20 Hidden DVD Gems to Seek Out: Vol. 2: Part Three

Over the course of this week, we will uncover twenty titles you need to seek out at your local DVD store. Here is Part 3.

The list is laid out something like this. The title, year it was made, genre, synopsis and finally my rating. I hope to do more of these lists as I uncover some of the treasures hidden at the local videostore.

9. The Gathering Storm (2002)

(Historical Drama): An intimate look at the marriage of Winston and Clementine Churchill (Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave) during the events leading up to the dawn of World War 2.

“The Gathering Storm” is another HBO gem. Finney’s courageous performance as the emerging leader would have won him an Oscar if this wasn’t an HBO film.

The celebration of the legendary leader is seen here in spades. But even if this is a tribute to the man we still see how very human he was.

This is where the magic is born. Redgrave compliments Finney with a more subdued performance but you can feel the patience and room-filled love housed in each of these historical figures. You can’t miss this film.

(95 mins) (4.5 out of 5)

10. Greenfingers (2000)

(Comedy): Colin Briggs (Clive Owen) has a green-thumb but the only problem is that he is a prison inmate. With his talents, Colin is surprisingly recognized by Martha Stewart clone Georgina Woodhouse (Helen Mirren).

Gardening becomes part of Colin and his fellow inmate’s rehabilitation and eventually sends Colin to enter a national gardening competition. This film is based on a true story.

“Greenfingers” doesn’t apologize for what it is. It is a light-hearted comedy with some razor-sharp wit tossed in. Like “Waking Ned Devine” and “Saving Grace” before it, “Greenfingers” is predictable entertainment but is also sweet and enduring with an adult twist.

If you haven’t heard the name Clive Owen or seen the movie “Croupier” then watch this film. Owen is a star on the rise and he is going to be big. “Greenfingers” is a delightful little Euro-comedy.

(91 mins) (3.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

11. The Guilty (2000)

(Crime – Thriller): Bill Pullman stars as Callum Crane, a man who finds himself on the way to a federal bench position. The very week of the appointment Crane is accused of assaulting his assistant (Gabrielle Anwar). Crane’s life is ruined much to the dismay of Crane’s wife (Joanne Whalley).

Crane becomes desperate and hires a young ex-con (Devon Sawa) to solve his problem by killing his assistant. Unbeknownst to Crane, the ex-con harbors another secret that could bring down Crane himself.

“The Guilty” is probably one of the best non-grisly crime thrillers I have seen in a long time. The film has so many twists, turns, shocks and pitfalls that it made me gasp.

Pullman is brilliant as the morally distraught Crane. Sawa, Anwar and Whalley compliment him very well with every scene. This could be Bill Pullman’s best role to date. Pullman made another court-room-crime thriller back in 1996 called “Mistrial” which was your typical cable movie fare but his second turn in the genre is pure magic.

(112 mins) (4.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

12. Harrison’s Flowers (2000)

(Drama): Andie MacDowell stars as Sarah Lloyd, a devoted wife who must journey into war-torn Yugoslavia and find her missing photo-journalist husband, Harrison Lloyd (David Strathairn). Helping her on her quest are fellow journalists, Kyle (Adrien Brody) and Chris (Gerard Butler).

“Harrison’s Flowers” is as powerful and majestic as it sounds. I am a great admirer of feature films about war correspondents.

This is the first of two I have added to this list. I was awe-struck to see how much Andie MacDowell has grown as an actress. She is purely riveting.

This is a very long way from her film debut in “Greystoke” where she was dubbed over by Glenn Close. I am also a strong supporter of Strathairn. He is one of the most under-used and under-rated working in Hollywood today. If you want to see another great Strathairn performance, watch “Limbo”.

I also really enjoyed Brody and Butler in this film. It is such a shame that more people didn’t see this amazing gem.

(130 mins) (4.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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