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Lot of 2 = The Matrix: Collector's Edition (1999) and Independence Day [VHS] (1996)
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Lot of 2 = The Matrix: Collector's Edition (1999) and Independence Day [VHS] (1996)
Lot of 2 = The Matrix: Collector's Edition (1999) and Independence Day [VHS] (1996)

Lot of 2 = The Matrix: Collector's Edition (1999) and Independence Day [VHS] (1996)

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The Matrix

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
Directors: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Producers: Dan Cracchiolo, Barrie Osborne, Andrew Mason, Erwin Stoff, Bruce Berman
Format: Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Run Time: 162 minutes

One of the most exhilarating sci-fi/action movies of the 1990s. Set in the not too distant future in an insipid, characterless city, we find a young man named Neo (Keanu Reeves). A software techie by day and a computer hacker by night, he sits alone at home by his monitor, waiting for a sign, a signal--from what or whom he doesn't know--until one night, a mysterious woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) seeks him out and introduces him to that faceless character he has been waiting for: Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). A messiah of sorts, Morpheus presents Neo with the truth about his world by shedding light on the dark secrets that have troubled him for so long: "You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad." Ultimately, Morpheus illustrates to Neo what the Matrix is--a reality beyond reality that controls all of their lives, in a way that Neo can barely comprehend. Neo thus embarks on an adventure that is both terrifying and enthralling. Pitted against an enemy that transcends human concepts of evil, Morpheus and his team must train Neo to believe that he is the chosen champion of their fight. With mind-boggling, technically innovative special effects and a thought-provoking script that owes a debt of inspiration to the legacy of cyberpunk fiction, this is much more than an out-and-out action yarn; it's a thinking man's journey into the realm of futuristic fantasy, a dreamscape full of eye candy that will satisfy sci-fi, kung fu, action, and adventure fans alike. Although the film is headlined by Reeves and Fishburne, much of the fun and excitement should be attributed to Moss, who flawlessly mixes vulnerability with immense strength, making other contemporary female heroines look timid by comparison.

Independence Day

Actors: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch
Directors: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin
Producers: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Peter Winther, Ute Emmerich, William Fay
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, Special Edition, NTSC
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
VHS Release Date: November 22, 1996
Run Time: 145 minutes

In Independence Day, a scientist played by Jeff Goldblum once actually had a fistfight with a man (Bill Pullman) who is now president of the United States. That same president, late in the film, personally flies a jet fighter to deliver a payload of missiles against an attack by extraterrestrials. Independence Day is the kind of movie so giddy with its own outrageousness that one doesn't even blink at such howlers in the plot. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Independence Day is a pastiche of conventions from flying-saucer movies from the 1940s and 1950s, replete with icky monsters and bizarre coincidences that create convenient shortcuts in the story. (Such as the way the girlfriend of one of the film's heroes--played by Will Smith--just happens to run across the president's injured wife, who are then both rescued by Smith's character who somehow runs across them in alien-ravaged Los Angeles County.) The movie is just sheer fun, aided by a cast that knows how to balance the retro requirements of the genre with a more contemporary feel. --Tom Keogh
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