The Best of Blu-Ray, Vol. 2 [Blu-ray]

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Overview

Special Features

  • The Last Samurai:
  • Deleted scenes
  • Director commentary
  • Extensive making-of documentary/ featurettes
  • The Fugitive:
  • Tommy Lee Jones/ director Andrew Davis intro
  • Making-of featurette
  • The Phantom of the Opera:
  • Additional scene
  • Detailed making-of documentaries on the story's stage-to-screen history
  • Unforgiven:
  • Biographer commentary
  • Making-of featurettes
  • Eastwood profile documentaries
  • Classic Maverick episode

Synopsis

Unforgiven
Dedicated to his mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, Clint Eastwood's 1992 Oscar winner examines the mythic violence of the Western, taking on the ghosts of his own star past. Disgusted by Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett's decree that several ponies make up for a cowhand slashing a whore's face, Big Whiskey prostitutes, led by fierce Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher), take justice into their own hands and put a 1000-dollar bounty on the lives of the perpetrators. Notorious outlaw-turned-hog farmer William Munny (Eastwood) is sought out by neophyte gunslinger the Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) to go with him to Big Whiskey and collect the bounty. While Munny insists, "I ain't like that no more," he needs the bounty money for his children, and the two men convince Munny's clean-living comrade Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to join them in righting a wrong done to a woman. Little Bill (Oscar winner Gene Hackman), however, has no intention of letting any bounty hunters impinge on his iron-clad authority. When pompous gunman English Bob (Richard Harris) arrives in Big Whiskey with pulp biographer W.W. Beauchamp (Saul Rubinek) in tow, Little Bill beats Bob senseless and promises to tell Beauchamp the real story about frontier life and justice. But when Munny, the true unwritten legend, comes to town, everyone soon learns a harsh lesson about the price of vindictive bloodshed and the malleability of ideas like "justice." "I don't deserve this," pleads Little Bill. "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it," growls Munny, simultaneously summing up the insanity of Western violence and the legacy of Eastwood's the Man With No Name. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

The Phantom of the Opera
One of the most popular stage musicals in the history of Broadway and London's West End makes its long-awaited arrival on the motion-picture screen in this lavish adaptation directed by Joel Schumacher. Christine (Emmy Rossum) is a beautiful and gifted young woman who longs to join the company of the Paris Opera House. During rehearsals for one of the opera's grand productions, a backdrop falls and crashes to the floor, nearly crushing leading lady Carlotta (Minnie Driver). When several members of the company suggest this could be the work of the "Phantom of the Opera," a spectral presence said to haunt the building, Carlotta drops out of the show, and the fates permit Christine to step in as her replacement. Christine's performance is a triumph, and on opening night she becomes reacquainted with Raoul (Patrick Wilson), a former childhood friend who is now a wealthy and well-known nobleman. Christine soon finds herself smitten with the handsome Raoul, but the same evening she makes a startling discovery -- the story of the Phantom is not just a legend. A brilliant but horribly disfigured composer (Gerard Butler) lives deep in the depths of the opera house, and taken with the beauty of Christine's voice, he abducts her and brings her to his lair, where he offers to help her perfect her talents, offering to write an opera especially for her. As the terrified Christine is comforted by Raoul, the two fall in love, but the phantom sees her affection for Raoul as a tremendous betrayal, and the jealous phantom nearly kills Christine as he nearly killed Carlotta. When the phantom emerges to present the opera's management with the piece he has written for Christine, the singer is asked to put her life on the line in an effort to capture the mad genius once and for all. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version of Gaston Leroux's novel, which had already enjoyed several stage and screen adaptations in the past, opened in London in 1986 and has been a popular favorite around the world ever since; the show was still running in New York and London when the film version premiered in late 2004. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Last Samurai
Edward Zwick returned to the director's chair for the first time since 1998's The Siege with this sweeping period drama set in 19th-century Japan. After centuries of relying on hired samurai for national defense, the Japanese monarchy has decided to do away with the warriors in favor of a more contemporary military. Tom Cruise stars as Nathan Algren, a veteran of the U.S. Civil War who is hired by the Emperor Meiji to train an army capable of wiping out the samurai. But when Algren is captured by the samurai and taught about their history and way of life, he finds himself conflicted over who he should be fighting alongside. Billy Connelly, Tony Goldwyn, and Ken Watanabe co-star. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

The Fugitive
This 1993 box-office smash partly adheres to the 1960s TV series on which it is based and partly goes off on several tangents of its own. Harrison Ford stars as Dr. Richard Kimble, convicted of murdering his wife. While being transferred to prison by bus, Kimble is involved in a spectacular bus-train collision (one of the best of its kind ever filmed). Surviving the disaster, Kimble escapes, vowing to track down the elusive professional criminal whom he holds responsible for the murder. Dogging the fugitive every foot of the way is U.S. marshal Sam Gerard (an Oscar-winning turn by Tommy Lee Jones), who announces his intention to search "every whorehouse, doghouse, and outhouse" to bring Kimble to justice. Unlike his dour TV-series counterpart Barry Morse, Jones plays the role with a sardonic sense of humor: when a cornered Kimble screams, "I didn't kill my wife," Gerard shrugs and famously replies, "I don't care." Once the premise has been established, scripters Jeb Stuart and David Twohy and director Andrew Davis pull off several audacious plot twists, ranging from Kimble's rendezvous with a sympathetic lab technician to a jaw-dropping dive into a huge waterfall. The second half of the film offers one surprise after another (including the true identity of the murderer), brilliantly avoiding the letdown that plagues many movie adaptations of old TV series. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Clint Eastwood
    Clint Eastwood - Bill Munny
  • Gene Hackman
    Gene Hackman - Sheriff "Little Bill" Daggett
  • Morgan Freeman
    Morgan Freeman - Ned Logan
  • Richard Harris
    Richard Harris - English Bob
  • Jaimz Woolvett
    Jaimz Woolvett - The "Schofield Kid"
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