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Lonely Are the Brave (Blu-ray)

"Told you you didn't understand. A Westerner likes open country. That means he's got to hate fences. And the more fences there are, the more he hates them."

"I never heard such nonsense in my life."

"It's true, though. You ever notice how many fences there are getting to be? The signs they got on them: no hunting, no hiking, no admission, no trespass, private property, closed area, start moving, go away, get lost, drop dead. Know what I mean?"

"I don't even wanna know."

"Then they got those fences that say this side's jail or that side's the street. Or here's Arizona; that's Nevada. Or this is us; that's Mexico... That one between here and Mexico is the fence that got Paul into trouble. He just naturally didn't see the use of it, so he acted as if it wasn't there. So when people sneaked across it, he just felt they were still people, so he helped them."

"Jack, I'm going to tell you something: the world that you and Paul live in doesn't exist. Maybe it never did. Out there is a real world, and it's got real borders and real fences, real laws and real trouble. And either you go by the rules or you lose. You lose everything."

"You can always keep something."

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Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) remembers all too well what the West once represented. Freedom. Loyalty. Rugged individualism. Wide open spaces. Unspoiled natural beauty. A justice that was instinctively understood rather than codified in tens of thousands of pages of laws. He has no home to call his own. He carries with him not a driver's license or credit card, but a bandolier and a dried bull's ear. He travels on horseback rather than by automobile. The world around Jack may have transformed into something unrecognizable, but he himself is immutable. So too is Jack's devotion. He hasn't seen Paul [read the entire Blu-ray review of Lonely Are the Brave]

Alice in Wonderland (1933) (Blu-ray)

"And the moral of that is: be what you would like to be. Or, to put it more simply, never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been wasn't otherwise what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

"I should understand that better if it were written down. I can't quite follow it as you say it."

"That's nothing to what I could say if I chose. And the moral of that is...oh!"

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You know, if there's one thing sorely lacking from every other adaptation of Lewis Carroll's enduring classic, it's that hardly any of them have a parade of actors playing croquet with actual flamingos in hand, swinging the birds' wobbly heads towards a gaggle of guinea pigs. And I've sat here for hours Googling to track down other films starring an unrecognizable Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle – with tears streaming from his cow mask down onto his testudineous body as he bawls his way through a rendition of "Turtle Soup" – and the list somehow still begins and ends here.

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I was entranced when I first laid eyes on the trailer for Alice in Wonderland. Such titanic stars as Gary Cooper and W.C. Fields are daringly buried under nightmarish, grotesque costuming. Two of the most influential artists in the history of animation contribute a beautiful-slash-horrifying rendition of "The Walrus and the Carpenter". It's a marvel to witness Carroll's fantasy world realized in live-action, with a seemingly endless gauntlet of dazzling visual effects and surreal, expressionist sets. And so much of the author's most delightfully clever wordplay remains wholly intact, threatening to bury this review in blockquotes. The only problem is...well, that there isn't an only problem.

Billy Liar (Blu-ray)

"Well, being a scriptwriter, I'm perhaps at times a bit inclined to let my imagination run away with me, as you know."
"You don't mean you've been telling me lies."
"Well, not lies, exactly. But I suppose I've been – you know – exaggerating some things a bit, being a scriptwriter. For instance, there's that business about me father: him getting danger money on a petrol tanker."
"You mean he's not on a petrol tanker?"
"He wasn't even in the Navy."
"Well, what was he, then?"
"He was a conscientious, he wasn't anything. He wasn't fit. He has trouble with his knee."
"Oh. How many other lies have you been telling me?"

Bradley is the sort of modest, sleepy village in the North of England where everybody can't help but know everybody else. Where the same cookie-cutter home on a postage stamp-sized lot is passed down in the family for generations. Where the closest thing you're likely to have a brush with celebrity is at the opening of the new supermarket. Where precious little is more thrilling than hearing the DJ announce your birthday on the wireless. Where no one aspires for more than comfort, family, and community. Where they dutifully work at their mundane jobs, they come home in the evening for a nice family dinner, and they afterwards all sit in front of the telly together. Where every day is indistinguishable from the one before it. To some, it'd be paradise. The very thought makes Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) want to retch.

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As the song goes, there must be more than this provincial life. And for Billy, that means a career in Swinging London as a screenwriter. He proudly boasts about the job he's been offered writing for comedian Danny Boon (Leslie Randall) in the big city, and it's for the best that Billy has his foot out the door. His parents (Wilfred...[read the entire Blu-ray review of Billy Liar]

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