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Movies 101 DVD Review

by Kam Williams

AMC Network's Celebrity Interview Series Arrives on DVD

For over a quarter of a century, Richard Brown's Movies 101 has been one of the most popular courses at NYU. The way the class has been conducted is that the students first watch an upcoming film prior to its release date, followed by observing their professor conduct an interview with the picture's director and/or star.

Many of the interviews have aired on the AMC Network's series of the same name, and now 16 choice chats have been packaged together as a treat for serious cineastes. The tete-a-tetes have been divided into four categories, each with its own disc, namely, Award Winners, Icons, Leading Ladies and Leading Men.

The first one features all Academy Award-winners: Martin Scorcese (for The Departed), Susan Sarandon (for Dead Man Walking), Cuba Gooding, Jr (for Jerry Maguire) and Whoopi Goldberg (for Ghost), who expounds on how she got her start in showbiz. Among the Icons are a couple of Oscar-recipients, too, Jon Voight (for Coming Home) and Kevin Kline (for A Fish Called Wanda) who devotes some time to discussing his love of Shakespeare. And that disc is rounded out by Willem Dafoe and Jeff Bridges who fondly reminisces about how his father, the late actor Lloyd Bridges, influenced his career.

Among the Leading Ladies there's only one Oscar-winner in Jennifer Connelly (for A Beautiful Mind), plus several very accomplished thespians in Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Aniston who weighs in on making the transition to a producer. And the Leading Men section has two more winners, George Clooney (for Syriana) and Daniel Day-Lewis (for My Left Foot), along with Dennis Quaid and the up-and-coming Josh Lucas, who spells out the types of flicks he'd like to make in the future.

Overall, credit Professor Brown for compiling quite a collection of candid conversations with an impressive cross-section of Hollywood royalty.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 12 hours
Studio: City Lights Media
4-Disc DVD Extras: A highlights trailer, each interview contains 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage, exclusive interviews with Professor Richard Brown and a DVD-ROM link with bonus interviews.

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