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Verve (Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada)

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Alice in Wonderland (Bilingual)
Alice in Wonderland (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Johnny Depp
Price: CDN$ 9.97
43 used & new from CDN$ 5.52

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lewis Carroll Must Be Rolling in His Grave, June 15 2010
Tim Burton plus Alice in Wonderland should equal movie magic. Instead, this movie is a mess. Its stunning visuals are ruined by a daft script that wanders needlessly beyond the original story and thoroughly lacks its charm. Alice has not just grown a few years older, she has apparently had a complete DNA transplant. Gone is the spunky little girl who reacts normally to the bizarre characters and situations she encounters - the girl with boundless curiosity, thoughtful reasoning, and respectable outrage at injustice. In her place is this insipid older Alice - pale as a slug, deep as a puddle, and dull as a sloth on Valium. The tone is all wrong. Lewis Carroll's fantastical silliness was like a pleasant caress. By contrast, the movie whacks you on the head with its ponderous grandiosity, taking itself much too seriously. Unnecessary elements are inserted, from seduction and infidelity, to a tense execution scene, and the sickening spectacle of Alice slicing Jabberwocky limbs with a sword, gladiator-style. This is a shameless ripoff of a classic book, using its elements and characters without respecting its integrity.

Think Big: My Adventures in Life and Democracy
Think Big: My Adventures in Life and Democracy
by Preston Manning
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from CDN$ 3.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Politics, Principles, & Wit, Sept. 20 2008
This is an exceptionally well-written and witty (!) retrospective from the founder and leader of the Reform Party of Canada. Preston Manning is one of those too-rare politicians who rank issues and ethics over image and power; one with the unusual notion that government should be affordable, honest, and truly democratic, complete with referenda and recall.

As a record of the federal political scene in Canada from 1987 to 2002, this book is a gem of insight and easy readability. Mr. Manning also takes you deeply into his personal life, and shows you the beliefs that drive him. You share his journey from his schoolboy days (and the political-influence-by-osmosis of his provincial premier dad) to his career as a management consultant, to the meteoric rise of Reform, to his return to (relatively) private life. En route, you get an insider's view of the House of Commons and some of the infuriating nonsense therein. His analogies are dead-on hilarious. Yet, he does not come across as a muckraker; just as a keen observer of what's going on around him, much of which happens to be muck. To his everlasting credit, he still manages to see the good in those people whose actions he criticizes.

This is an inspiring demonstration of how one person with vision and drive can make a tremendous difference to the political landscape (especially if he happens to be a brilliant strategist.) It also answers the question: Can a man infused with Christian principles dive into the shark pool of politics and emerge with his integrity unscathed? Apparently, yes.

Live!
Live!
Price: CDN$ 12.00
10 used & new from CDN$ 6.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Acoustic Jewel, April 2 2008
This review is from: Live! (Audio CD)
Gordon Lightfoot is a mesmerising minstral with poetic lyrics. All he needs to captivate an audience are his voice, his songs, and an acoustic guitar. That's what you get here. The songs are all his own compositions, and he performs them flawlessly. There are no introductions, no between-songs chatter, no audience coughs or comments or other distractions; just an occasional burst of applause as unobtrusive as waves washing to shore. This CD is also known as "Sunday Concert." It was recorded in 1969 at one of his favourite haunts, Massey Hall in Toronto. It's a jewel.

Best of
Best of
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 92.95
3 used & new from CDN$ 87.93

4.0 out of 5 stars More Talent Than Fame, April 1 2008
This review is from: Best of (Audio CD)
Catchy, punchy, and pretty tunes are all over this CD - a mixture of pop/folk-rock harmonies from the late 1960s. This band was good. And versatile. In style and sound, they resemble aspects of The Mamas & Papas (especially in "You Don't Love Her Like I Do;") and of Peter, Paul & Mary (in "Springtime Meadow" and "Four in the Morning;") and of The Association (in "Blue May" and "I, To We, and Back Again;") and of The Seekers (in "Just Beyond Your Smile" and "It's Sunday;") and of Chad & Jeremy (in "Wingate Square;") and of Ian & Sylvia, who did their own version of "Darcy Farrow" and did it well, but not better. The Sunshine Company ventures just a little into rock. Near the end of "Wingate Square," you will notice a riff very like one in "Gloria" by Them/The Doors. There are bursts of psychedelic guitar in "Love That's Where It Is" and the otherwise folksy "Four in the Morning." Yet somehow, it all fits together. I love this disc. I just wish it included The Sunshine Company's version of "Up Up and Away," which might have been a hit for them had not the Fifth Dimension snagged that honour first.

Best Of The Love And Sunshine
Best Of The Love And Sunshine
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 86.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 34.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flower Power, Some of It Wilted, March 30 2008
If you are nostalgic about The Love Generation, you'll love this collection. If not, you might laugh. Some of the songs sound sadly dated; even flat-out dippy. (If you think "It's a Sunshine Day" by the Brady Bunch is hyper-chipper-cheery, wait 'til you hear the Love Generation do "Love & Sunshine," or "Groovy Summertime.") The Love Generation's vocals are beautifully harmonious, but often mannequin-stiff: They sound like the background singers they are. Still, some of the songs in this collection are respectable representations of the flower power joyfest; for four, "The Love in Me," "Let the Good Times In," "Love is a Rainy Sunday," and "You." The somber "Leaves Grow Grey" is haunting. Likewise, "Epitaph: A World Without Love," with its pretty orchestral strings. Over all, this CD is a nifty little time trip.

No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men
DVD ~ Tommy Lee Jones
Price: CDN$ 6.98
33 used & new from CDN$ 1.40

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stark and Bleak Realism, March 29 2008
This review is from: No Country for Old Men (DVD)
This is not an easy movie to watch - it is rife with tension and gore - but it is a thought-provoking one. With stark and bleak realism, it shows what can happen when criminals clash with other criminals, law-enforcers, crafty wild cards, and naive bystanders sucked into the criminal vortex. It shows what can happen when a relatively good man succumbs to the temptation to take an illegal route out of poverty, and, crafty though he is, finds himself up against a diabolically smart and ruthless sociopath - someone not likewise burdened by such distractions as a conscience or concern for loved ones. It shows how utterly cold a sociopath can be, and what a trail of destruction he can leave in his wake. Nothing is glossed here. The good guys are not better shots. Bodies do not conveniently disappear. Killings are not veiled or glorified or antiseptic, but graphic, tragic, and messy. Unlike so many action movies, this one does not lean on a punchy soundtrack or quick scene changes to heighten its impact. Rather, it moves in relative real time, and its quietness and its unblinking stare at events are quite dramatic enough. The ending is atypical, too - more of a whimper than a bang - and I think that to be disappointed by this is to miss the movie's point. In this movie, brutality is not depicted as rollicking entertainment, but as the messy, ugly, unfair, disgusting, and just plain depressing thing that it is.

The Ruins
The Ruins
by Scott Smith
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars When Vines Are Smarter Than People, Oct. 4 2007
This review is from: The Ruins (Mass Market Paperback)
From the title, I expected "The Ruins" to be an intriguing mystery involving ancient artefacts or Mayan temples. Instead, it is about a killer vine offing careless tourists - just shallow schlock horror saturated in sickening gore. I would entitle it "Rampage of the Killer Flowers," or "Plants: Several; Tourists: Zero." To get themselves into this predicament, the two young couples vacationing in Mexico have to make foolish decision after foolish decision. First, they trust the word of another tourist - one they have just met and hardly know - when he says that he wants to find his missing brother out there in the wilds of Mexico. Evidently feeling themselves more qualified searchers than, say, a trained search team, they go with him. Another tagalong, a Greek tourist who doesn't speak English, at least has the sense to tell his friends where he's going, but the others notify no-one. Nor do they take a cell phone. They take little food and few provisions. When they get near their destination - an archaeological site - they do not heed the warnings of the Mayan locals that they stay away. Result: They get trapped in a death zone from which the Mayans will not let them escape, and in which they find the bones of those who entered before them. (The Mayans deserve a slap or three, too, for feeling entitled to forcing these tourists to die slow deaths.) Their reasoning doesn't get a whole lot better as time goes by and they begin to lose energy and drink tequila to ease their pain. There is lots of tension, but it is offset by the fact that part of you wishes the plants would just finish them off for being such obvious candidates for Darwin Awards.

My Secret Life
My Secret Life
Offered by HSR Mailorder
Price: CDN$ 27.67
5 used & new from CDN$ 27.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, March 27 2007
This review is from: My Secret Life (Audio CD)
This 2004 CD clearly shows why Eric Burdon is a rock legend. Several songs are irresistbily catchy, especially the hard-driving "Over the Border," "Devil Slide," and "Can't Kill the Boogieman." That last one is a tip of the hat to John Lee Hooker and that classic guitar riff of his, famously ripped off in ZZ Top's "La Grange." I especially love "Highway 62," a slowish sexy drawl of a song which gives me the same spooked feeling as Robbie Robertson's "Somewhere Down the Crazy River." "Black and White World" is pop rock at its jauntiest. "Jazzman" jumps. It took me longer to warm up to the slower songs in this collection; but the more I listen to them, the more I like them. "Factory Girl" is a bluesy lament, reminiscent of traditional Irish/Scottish folk ballads. "Heaven" has the sleepy feel of an empty bar at half-past closing time. There is a lovely hint of Spanish guitar styling in the bitter breakup ballad "Motorcycle Girl." "The Secret" fuses intriguingly spooky lyrics to light percussion with a ribbon of soprano sax swirling through it. Eric Burdon's talent hasn't diminished at all in the decades since he exploded into the charts with The Animals. The man can sing. And write. I bought this one based just on the raves here on Amazon, not having heard a single tune, and I don't regret it.

Wayne and Shuster: 50 Years of Comedy
Wayne and Shuster: 50 Years of Comedy
DVD ~ Johnny Wayne
Offered by VideoWorks
Price: CDN$ 19.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection., Sept. 16 2005
Even when Wayne and Shuster aren't especially funny, they are extremely likeable. But they have their moments of being extremely funny - and with a high level of intelligence and literacy. They make Shakespeare fun. They make baseball Shakespearian. They make Zorro hilarious. They even take the boredom out of golf. This is a great collection of some classic moments in comedy.

EVERYBODYS TALKIN
EVERYBODYS TALKIN
Price: CDN$ 12.42
12 used & new from CDN$ 12.14

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy It For "Blackbird", Aug. 17 2005
This review is from: EVERYBODYS TALKIN (Audio CD)
This is an eclectic collection of cover versions - perhaps too eclectic to be cohesive. Taken individually, though, certain tracks are gems. Catherine McKinnon has an exquisite voice with good range and flawless enunciation. But when it lacks emotion, and when it is backed by uninspired arrangements, the songs fall as flat as elevator music. Such is the case with her renditions of Donovan's "Colours" and "Catch the Wind." When things are "on," though, the results are beautiful. She positively shines on the two traditional songs, for which her voice is a perfect match - namely, the poignant minor key "All Around My Hat" and the a cappella "Bold Irish Boy." Sylvia Tyson's "Woman's World" is touchingly performed. "Dangling Conversation" has its moments. But the best song on this CD, and by itself worth the price of admission, is her version of "Blackbird." It is better than Sarah McLachlin's. It is better than the Beatles' own. It is simply perfect.

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