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Content by Joanna Daneman
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Reviews Written by
Joanna Daneman (USA)

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Day Of Colours (Pakistan)
Day Of Colours (Pakistan)
Price: CDN$ 21.40
9 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Songs of Praise, July 15 2004
This album is an offering from the nephews of the late very famous qawwali master, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The brothers Rizwan Ali Khan and Muazzam Ali Khan recorded a selection of a Sufi Islamic devotional music in Persian, Punjabi and Urdu.
It sounds a cross between the music you'd expect from Pakistan--a bit Indian, a bit Persian, a bit Arabic. By far the best cut on the album is "Life and Soul." The music is harmonium, tabla (drums) and vocals. This would be of interest to those who like Islamic devotional music. The singing is heartfelt. I rate Three Stars, not for quality, which seems excellent, but because this world-music CD is of perhaps specific interest and not for casual listening.

Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 63.99
7 used & new from CDN$ 17.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Aptly named The Pearl-- Pure and luminous, July 8 2004
This review is from: Pearl (Audio CD)
I love Brian Eno and Harold Budd's music. The drifting effect of ambient music is soothing yet interesting to the ear and it really does create an atmosphere in the space in which you are playing it.
The Pearl is mostly "treated piano" (gosh, as a lifelong player, I sometimes shudder at what they do to my favorite instrument, but it sounds divine.) Even though there is less of the electronic spacey effect, these pieces create an incredible sense of mood and emotion. "Late October" really has the feel of the regret of late autumn, when cold winter is on the way and only a ghost of happy times in summer and a glorious fall remain in a russet-colored landscape. "An Echo of Night" is mysterious and dreamy.
Though the Ambient 1-4 were my favorite albums by Eno and Budd, Pearl is pushing its way right up there for "most listened-to." If you are a fan, I'd say this is one that you have to have. I just love it.

The Pucker Factor: One Noncombatant's Vietnam Memoirs
The Pucker Factor: One Noncombatant's Vietnam Memoirs
by Daniel C. Webster
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A non-com's memoirs of Viet Nam--interesting reading, July 5 2004
I love to read memoirs, and Daniel Webster's "The Pucker Factor" is a good one because he covers the good, the bad and the ugly about himself as he recounts his story of his time in Viet Nam in the heart of the war. He was not a "war hero"--instead, his role was as a non-combatant, as a clerk and photographer and assisting the 336th Assault Helicopter Company in making maps for missions. He had a number of roles as a non-combatant in Viet Nam, moving around the country, starting as an information sergeant, ending up in intelligence. But the real story Webster tells is of the life of a soldier off-duty in Viet Nam.
The stories are of a soldier's daily life, human interest stories. The problems with a wife in distant Oklahoma, the girls he meets, loves and loses in Viet Nam. Webster was no angel though he tried to be a gentleman. So this book has stories of pimps, prostitutes and sex and drinking. Nothing you wouldn't have heard from the average Nam vet, but still, beware this isn't a pretty tale in every aspect. But it's an honest one. Webster talks about his own faults, while trying to give the reader a feel for what life was like during the war.
The writing is pretty good--Webster can tell a story well. The photos are grainy as one would expect in a paperback edition and that's a shame--I can tell some of them are excellent photos and I'd love to see them reproduced as they are meant to be seen. I enjoyed the book a lot; it reminded me of the tales my classmates and friends told me about their time in Viet Nam.

Paycheck (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
Paycheck (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Ben Affleck
Offered by EntertainmentForLess
Price: CDN$ 13.60
34 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Relaxing fun, action-packed film, June 20 2004
This isn't a brainy film, in fact, you definitely have to check your brain at the door for the last 20 minutes of "Paycheck." That's because during all the shooting, as USUAL, the bad guys have exceptionally poor aim. And the good guys can dodge point-blank bullets. But OTHER than that complaint, Paycheck delivers non-stop action and loads of fun in this sci-fi thriller.
Ben Affleck is fine as the lead, a thoughtless engineer-for-hire who reverse-engineers any latest technology to get a jump on the competition. Only, he has to have his memories erased so he won't go and reverse-engineer the device for someone else. Or anyway, that's the plot, so go with it. Uma Thurman plays a biologist who gets involved with Affleck and ends up being his sidekick, though Affleck has had her memory erased and hasn't a clue who she really is. Fun twist on a romance.
The extras are interesting; an alternate ending (yeah, it was weaker, good they changed it) and a segment about John Woo's technique, excellent for understanding this director's outlook on cinema. This is a fun, "entertain-me" film and if there are a few plot holes, you can overlook them.

Those Who Give
Those Who Give
by Rosemary Cania Maio
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from CDN$ 29.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Complex tale about a dedicated teacher, June 20 2004
This review is from: Those Who Give (Paperback)
My favorite part of this book, a long complex novel about human themes like love and betrayal, set in a school, is the list of books that one of the teachers wants to have as required reading:
"1984. That should be required reading for all the ignoramuses. That and Fahrenheit 451"
"Banned. Both."
.."Removed from the school library shelves ...along with Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World, A Farewell to Arms. The Catcher in the Rye, The Merchant of Venice..."
and the list goes on. Every book that has something to teach on the human condition. What better way to illustrate conflict of progress versus the establishment than that list.

Offered by Rarewaves-CA
Price: CDN$ 15.57
22 used & new from CDN$ 15.57

3.0 out of 5 stars Great promise--is the the first album of a new hot star?, June 20 2004
This review is from: DON'T TAKE YOUR TIME (Audio CD)
Erin Bode was inspired by Eva Cassidy's cover of Lauper's "Time After Time" and she does a creditable version on "Don't Take your Time." You can hear the idea "How would I interpret a song the way Eva did, yet have my own stamp on it?" Erin succeeds brilliantly here. And her own composition that gives the album its title is very, very fine--a nice modern alternative ballad that mixes folk, jazz with contemporary pop.
However, the rest of the album is mostly standard jazz, and not particularly notable jazz, either. I like Erin Bode's singing a lot--after hearing a sample, I really wanted to listen to more. But I hope her next album will be filled with HER songs, which are worth listening to. Here is a singer with a lot of talent and feeling, and the ability to write great stuff. More, please!

Ponette (Version française)
Ponette (Version française)
DVD ~ Victoire Thivisol
Offered by eplayplay
Price: CDN$ 125.41
11 used & new from CDN$ 44.99

5.0 out of 5 stars About belief, magic and coming to terms with grief, June 14 2004
This review is from: Ponette (Version française) (DVD)
This is quite an amazing film; the lead actress is Victoire Thivosol ("Chocolat"--Anouk) who gives an award-winning performance at the tender age of 4 years old. She plays Ponette, the young daughter of a woman killed in an auto accident. Her father, unable to deal well with the loss himself, leaves Ponette at an aunt's and ultimately at a children's school. During the school days and the weekends with her cousins, Ponette deals with the horrendous loss. She seeks her own form of belief, and is bumped around by all the other children, who good-naturedly or not try to share their own beliefs and magic gestures to make sense of the world.
The ending doesn't please everyone but I liked it, especially for the cameo role played by Marie Trintignant. The camera angle is interesting throughout--tight and close and at child-level. We see the world up close and at Ponette's viewpoint, adding to the feeling of being overwhelmed and buffeted by life.
This film is well-deserving of the many awards it received and Victoire Thivisol is nothing short of amazing. Definitely see this one.

Greatest Hits 1
Greatest Hits 1
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 65.99
23 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent selection of Ray Charles' versatility and talent, June 11 2004
This review is from: Greatest Hits 1 (Audio CD)
The marvelous Ray Charles lifted himself across generations; my jazz-loving dad used to crow loudly "RAY CHARLES!" when his music would come on the radio. Our generation, the Boomers, loved his hits in the 60's and 70's. Ray could do country, R&B, jazz, gospel, each in HIS style yet true to the genre. He was a titan--and he's now gone from us in 2004, I presume singing in heaven for the angels.
This album is notable for the variety, from pop hits with soupy 50's style string and voice backup arrangements, to jazz to country and plain old good R*B. It's really a good way to sample the best of Ray Charles. If you find a copy, you won't be disappointed. I like it a lot because it's a sampler and I don't get tired of listening to the entire album--it's changing from song to song to keep the ear interested.

The Lamb
The Lamb
by Bruce P Burnett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.18
13 used & new from CDN$ 3.51

4.0 out of 5 stars My "Summer Beach Read 2004" pick-- fast-paced suspense, June 10 2004
This review is from: The Lamb (Paperback)
I got totally absorbed in this novel from Page One. Is Josh able to bring people back from the dead, and why is he always being picked on? The mystery unfolds with great care, and we are kept in suspense the entire time, wondering how a vial of ancient blood could match Josh's DNA, and whether or not he's more than just a boy with an unusual gift.
The story has been compared to "The DaVinci Code" but I think it's rather different, and it certainly is my pick for the 2004 "Summer Beach Read Award." If you want a fast-paced mystery, this certainly is a great choice. I couldn't put it down. This is Dr. Burnett's first novel (another is on the way) and I am looking forward to reading more from this novelist.

The Magdalene Sisters (Bilingual) [Import]
The Magdalene Sisters (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Eileen Walsh
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 74.06
8 used & new from CDN$ 10.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Sad, shocking and touching, June 7 2004
This film would seem like a wild exaggeration, or a sort of Frank McCourt "Angela's Ashes" story, but the makers of "The Magdalene Sisters" saw fit to include the documentary "Sex in a Cold Climate"--the inspiration for the film as an extra on this DVD. So after watching the story of unwed mothers, too-pretty orphans and rape victims become the property of the Church, essentially forced labor in a laundry, you get to see the real women behind the story, too. Just in case you don't believe.
The Magdalene Asylums were built in the 19th century to house "wayward women", prostitutes and unwed mothers. By the 20th Century, they became a place to dump family embarrassments, unwed mothers and incorrigible girls. And in some cases, a place to hide rape victims to keep scandal from flying. The women were made to work from sun-up to sundown without pay and without hope of reprieve unless some sympathetic relative came to get them. The last asylum wasn't closed until 1996.
The story centers around four girls brought to the asylum for various sins, bearing a child out of wedlock, a rape and one girl who was just "too pretty" and who would doubtless end up in trouble. Lock her up for the sake of her soul, then. The nuns were brutal, beating the girls, cutting off their hair and ridiculing them. The scenes are shocking, like something out of a film about the Nazi Holocaust in a way--in the brutality of one group of people with complete power over another.
There are many sad scenes and sad ends here, but the film had bright spots--some of the girls managed to get out and salvage at least part of their lives. It's a story that had to be told, and the casting and filming are amazing, especially in light of the documentary that inspired the film. A must-see.

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