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JR Pinto (New Jersey)

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From a Buick 8
From a Buick 8
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
109 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...Satisfaction brought her back..., July 13 2004
From a Buick 8 finds Stephen King returning to the horror genre again. It was after the publication of this book that King announced his "retirement" - he feels that he's begun to copy himself, writing ANOTHER EVIL CAR story. Well, even so, From a Buick 8 is pretty good. It isn't so much an "evil car story" as it is about State Police Troopers and the lives they lead.
One day, twenty years ago, someone (an alien) abandons what seems to be a Buick at a gas station in western Pennsylvania. The police confiscate it and soon discover that it isn't a car at all. The central conceit of the book is how the police (unforgivably, if you ask me) keep an alien machine to themselves, despite how dangerous it is.
King has mellowed with age. His characters are older and more sedate. The story itself is fairly laid-back, although terrible things do happen. However, it doesn't have the kinetic energy of King's early work, and I think that is what the negative reviews are responding to. It is still a good, scary book however. King has not lost his touch for characterization or creating a richly detailed and researched world - you feel you know what it is like to be a State Trooper at the end of this. If you are a Stephen King fan, you will enjoy this novel.

Troublemakers : Stories by Harlan Ellison
Troublemakers : Stories by Harlan Ellison
16 used & new from CDN$ 3.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The Very Best of Harlan..., July 3 2004
Troublemakers is the best introduction to the stories of Harlan Ellison in print. Out of the roughly 2,000 stories he has written, some of his greatest are here, including Soldier, Jeffty is Five, and "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman. Each story comes with a little preface by the author, wherein he loosely ties them all together with the theme of "troublemaking." (In actuality, this is a "greatest hits" collection.) However, this by no means contains ALL of his greatest hits. For instance, The Whimper of Whipped Dogs is absent, as is Demon with a Glass Hand. For something along those lines you'd need to purchase The Essential Ellison - and only Harlan could get away with calling a book the size of the Norton Anthology "essential." However, to begin a study of his work, this is the place to start.

Paisley Girl: A Novel
Paisley Girl: A Novel
by Fran Gordon
Edition: Paperback
9 used & new from CDN$ 15.25

4.0 out of 5 stars The Abstract Figure..., July 1 2004
This review is from: Paisley Girl: A Novel (Paperback)
A young groupie in the eighties develops a rare blood disease which seemingly makes her allergic to her own skin. After going through the trauma of hospitalization, she takes off for the Caribbean for some carpe diem. Paisley Girl is about her funny, sad, and lyrical journey, and the people she encounters. Despite the subject-matter, Gordon never devolves into sentimentality or tearfulness. If anything, Paisley Girl is an uplifting novel about a young girl's desire to say "yes" to life despite all odds.

Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
52 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best book on Horror EVER!, June 28 2004
For any serious fan of horror, Stephen King's Danse Macabre is an invaluable book, right up there with Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror in Literature. To use a rough analogy, it is as if Hitchcock wrote a book on suspense (actually, Truffaut's interviews with him amount to just that). Some of the negative reviews I've read on this site claim that King is too digressive. Well, it is digressive - the paperback clocks in at just over 400 pages - but Stephen King is not an academic, and he does not write like one. For me, that made this scholarly work all the more readable and enjoyable. (I am a King fan, so my opinion is biased).
The stated goal of the book is cover Horror from 1950 to 1980. However, he cannot do this without turning to the horror "heavy-hitters" of literature - Dracula, Frankenstein, and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. According to King, these books define the three archetypes (he calls them "Tarot Cards") of horror - the Vampire, the Thing with No Name, and the Werewolf, respectively. (There is a fourth card for the Ghost or the Bad Place, but that can't be narrowed down to one book.)
He discusses movies, books, and television. What is refreshing is how critical King is - even about his own novels. He has bad things to say about a lot of popular works - he will annoy fans of The Exorcist, The Twilight Zone, and other popular books. But, as any lover of horror movies must admit, King opens up about his love of bad movies and even finds nice things to say about the movies, The Amityville Horror and The Prophecy. (I am also shocked about how many nice things he has to say about Stanley Kubrick and The Shining - a film he supposedly doesn't like.)
Fortunately, I had read most of the books and seen most of the movies that King discusses. He also provides invaluable appendices for further reading and viewing. What is of tremendous interest is King's analysis of his contemporary writers, who have been so gracious as to discuss their own works with him. Here we find the best commentary ANYWHERE on Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Richard Matheson. King also tackles the questions of why we read horror and if it has a deleterious effect on society.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ANY HORROR/FANTASY/SCI-FI GEEK!!!

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (2-Disc Special Edition)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (2-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Jack Nicholson
Price: CDN$ 16.64
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.47

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, June 22 2004
THE MOVIE ITSELF:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the one authentically great movie Milos Foreman has ever made (and he has been imitating it ever since). Anyone familiar with the book will recognize that Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher do not look anything like the descriptions of their characters, and yet they capture the spirit of those characters perfectly. The action has been moved forward in time fifteen years to 1975. This is one of Nicholson's best performances. The movie has an objective, documentary feel to it. We miss out on some characterization because of this (especially the Chief's) but instead we get a sense of what it would be like in a real institution. Despite the subject-matter, it is very funny and has moments of true joy. It is a marvelous piece of 70's filmmaking and ranks as #12 on the IMDB Greatest Movies list. Definitely worth owning.
THE DVD'S:
The DVD's were made from a new transfer so they look and sound terrific. Unfortunately, it is a 2-DVD set, but all of the information could have easily fit on one disc. The only things on the second disc are some deleted scenes and a making-of documentary. The documentary is good, but not great. It tells of how Kirk Douglas first discovered the book and tried to make a movie out of it, but not of the friction when his son Michael (the film's producer) told him he was too old to be in it. There is also no mention of the film's success and its sweep of all the top Oscars. They don't even talk about novelist Ken Kesey (who supposedly was so against the film he still hasn't seen it).

Sleep Over Artist Fiction
Sleep Over Artist Fiction
by Thomas Beller
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.87
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as racy as you think..., June 21 2004
Thomas Beller's The Sleep-Over Artist is a novel-in-short-stories, all centered on the character of Alex Fader. Alex is a Jewish kid who lives on Riverside Drive in Manhattan, and has the childhood experiences unique to natives of that island. We first meet Alex in the seventies when he is six years old and we follow him to his early twenties. There is no real story to the novel - it is merely a collection of episodes forming a sort of Bildungsroman. To say the least, Alex is a morally ambivalent character and he is not always likeable. The book's title and its blurbs lead one to believe that it is more risqué than it actually is. Yet it is well-written and provides a good look into the life of a young, educated, Manhattanite.

City of God (Sous-titres français) [Import]
City of God (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Alexandre Rodrigues
Price: CDN$ 16.37
10 used & new from CDN$ 3.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Disturbing, June 19 2004
This is one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. I've never been to Rio. I know of its poverty and, after seeing this, I never want to go there. The film is made with a great amount of style in the Tarrantino fashion of non-linear filmmaking. It is told from the point of view of Rocket, an aspiring photographer from the City of God (the slums of Rio). The central character however is a young gangster boss known as Lil'Ze. We first meet him when he is a pre-teen known as Lil'Dice. Lil'Dice soon discovers that nothing is as amusing to him as killing people - as many as possible. This sociopath grows up (to all of 18) to be the biggest drug boss in the City of God. His bloodlust knows no bounds. What made this movie so disturbing to me is the violence directed towards - and perpetrated by - children. Human life is less-than-worthless there and killing people seems to be the only pastime. I know that this is a great movie but it is gut-wrenching to watch.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
by Ken Kesey
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
80 used & new from CDN$ 1.22

4.0 out of 5 stars One flew east, one flew west..., June 19 2004
The novel is told in the first-person from the POV of Chief Broom. Early on, it becomes clear that he is the "unreliable narrator" in the Edgar Allen Poe sense. The Chief may be faking deafness, but it is obvious through his descriptions that he is a schizophrenic who suffers from hallucinations. It is up to the reader to sort out the "real" from the "imaginary."
Although Broom and his fellow inmates are insane, they are still good people and they do not deserve the treatment they receive at the hands of the evil Nurse Ratched. She is one of the most memorably evil villains in all literature. Even though she is only a nurse, she is in complete control of the entire hospital. What she wants is for everything to run like clockwork. She does not want anyone to ever "get better." In walks Randall Patrick MacMurphy. Like Hamlet, MacMurphy fakes madness (in order to get out of a labor camp). He soon sets himself up as the ward's personal savior (there is a lot of Christ imagery) and engages in a war with Nurse Ratched.
This is a great book that is really about non-conformity; the tyranny of people who dictate what is "normal" and what is not. The only flaw is a strain of misogyny that runs through the subtext. There is a lot of talk of how men shouldn't be bossed around by women and how they should be kept in their place. Granted, this is the characters speaking and not Ken Kesey, but the message is there. After all, this is a book that culminates in an act of violence against a woman. It's a shame because it is a great book and just because Nurse Ratched is evil, there is no need to extend the message towards women in general.

Different Seasons
Different Seasons
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.50
100 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The proof that Stephen King is a great writer..., June 13 2004
Different Seasons is perhaps the best Stephen King book with which to initiate the neophyte who says, "He can't be a good writer - he writes HORROR." This is King's first, greatest take on the mainstream. Each of the four offerings could be textbook examples of the perfectly written novella. Not coincidentally, this book has inspired three of his best movie-adaptations.
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption: Yes, even if you have seen the movie, you should read this. It tells the story of how an innocent man is able to keep hope alive in prison.
Apt Pupil: This, it can be argued, is really a monster story; the monsters however are all too real. A teen-aged boy obsessed with the holocaust discovers his own pet Nazi in the neighborhood.
The Body: The inspiration for the wonderful film Stand by Me, it is a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale and the power of friendship.
The Breathing Method: The book's one true horror story. I won't try to attempt to explain what it is about.
In the Afterward, King commits his worst sin by famously referring to his own work as "the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and a large fries from MacDonald's." Not only does that cut himself short, it is an insult to us, his readers, who think his stuff is pretty darn good. Want proof? Read these stories.

The Shawshank Redemption (Widescreen Edition)
The Shawshank Redemption (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Tim Robbins
Offered by Round3CA
Price: CDN$ 0.01
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Hope springs eternal..., June 11 2004
Stephen King claims that this is the best film adaptation of one of his stories. Although my vote would be for The Shining (a film he hates) I see what he means. The novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is one of King's "non-horror" works. As such, director Frank Darabont doesn't fall into the trap that almost all other filmmakers do when adapting King's work: ignore characterization for cheap thrills. One of the things that make Stephen King a great writer (and I mean this) is that his books are about PEOPLE. He makes us care about the characters, and then we are frightened when they are put in jeopardy. The movie, The Shawshank Redemption, succeeds because it is all about the characters - who they are, and the journey they take.
The story is about an innocent man (Tim Robbins) sentenced to life in prison - well, two life sentences, actually. He forms a friendship with a fellow-inmate named Red (Morgan Freeman) and uses his own natural resources to create a life for himself. The film does differ from the source material in several ways. Ironically, because of the shortness of King's story, more is put-in than taken-out. The ending is changed slightly, but it works for the screen. The message of the film (and the book) is that hope springs eternal. "Either get busy living or get busy dying." Considering the enduring popularity of the piece, it seems most people opt for the former.

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