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Ten Foot Bunny (Littleton, Colorado USA)

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Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean [3 Discs]
Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean [3 Discs]
DVD ~ Rowan Atkinson
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 125.77
9 used & new from CDN$ 61.07

4.0 out of 5 stars That's the last time I buy A&E..., June 12 2003
I've been a fool. When I went to the store to buy this set, I bought it despite the prominent A&E logo. There was a little birdie on my shoulder that told me I should read the Amazon reviews before making the purchase. However, I thought maybe A&E had learned their lesson after the Monty Python debacle, where they used the cut and censored BBC tapes from the '60s and '70s for the Flying Circus DVD set (to much outrage from loyal fans). It appears they have not.
So I'm now a disgruntled owner of the chopped-up Mr. Bean, and am kicking myself squarely in the face for it. I own the box sets of Are You Being Served, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances and The Young Ones, all from BBC Video. The packaging on each is superb. The video transfers are breathtaking, the episodes are faithful to their original broadcasts, and there are enough special features to choke a mollusk. Outtakes, interviews, episodes of related shows and commentary... it's all there with the BBC, and gives new depth to each beloved show. A&E uses that extra disc space to advertise their other products (though to be fair, the extras on the Bean box set were leaps and bounds over what they've done in the past).
When all is said and done, I'm left to ponder if A&E is lacking in the quality assurance department, or if they just don't care. Bean may not have been a BBC show, but A&E should look to any BBC Video release to see how to handle all future BritCom projects they plan to undertake. It actually pains me to give this box set four stars - Mr. Bean is a shoo-in for a five-star review if ever there was one - but sadly, A&E's hackjob demands it.

Bali : Gamelan of the Love God
Bali : Gamelan of the Love God
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 35.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 8.83

5.0 out of 5 stars If you were to only own one Explorer disc..., May 8 2003
I came to own this album by an amazing stroke of luck. One day, while fishing around my favorite music store, I walked into the world music section for the first time. Feeling disgruntled with my extensive (though musically shallow) CD collection, I figured it was time to spice things up a bit. I left the store with this CD. Popping it in my car's CD player, I made it through the first ten minutes (and halfway home) when I turned around, went back to the store, and bought four more discs from Nonesuch's Indonesia series. Such is the power of the Gamelan of the Love God.
The music presented here will capture your mind and your spirit, and will whisk them away to a time and place far removed from the doldrums of everyday life. No matter where you are, or what your situation, you'll feel that warm tropical breeze overtaking your senses from the first notes, to well beyond the triumphant finale. The well-written liner notes afford tremendous insight into the Balinese gamelan style, both from a technical and a cultural vantage point. Finally, the digital remastering is a work of art that makes the music shine on even the worst stereo systems.
I now own the entire Nonesuch Indonesia series, and am currently halfway through the Africa series as well. Thanks to this CD, I've been turned on to a music that I had never heard of in my 25 sheltered years of life. However, I'll be collecting gamelan extensively from now on. If you're only going to own one disc in the Explorer series, this is it.

The Road to Wellville
The Road to Wellville
DVD ~ Anthony Hopkins
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 156.68
6 used & new from CDN$ 40.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, but where's the big picture?, Sept. 17 2002
This review is from: The Road to Wellville (DVD)
Quite simply, this movie is hysterically funny. Well written, evenly paced and contains one of the most catchy soundtracks ever recorded. Chances are, if you're looking at this page for the DVD, you've seen the movie. If not, you can read the other reviews for the particulars because I'm going to focus on the technical aspects of the DVD. Besides, this is my second-favorite movie of all time, so any attempt to review the plot would be extremely biased and I know this movie isn't everyone's cup of tea.
First of all, the movie itself looks beautiful. They did a great job on the digital transfer... the compression isn't all that noticeable and everything is crisp and clear. Audio is par for the course. Nothing too special here, but nothing lacking.
However, one question begs to be asked: why, in these days of "Enhanced for 16:9 televisions," is a DVD being released containing ONLY a full screen version? The fact that they have "Full Screen Presentation" bulleted as a special feature shows just how far Columbia/Tristar missed the boat. The lack of widescreen is the only reason I've deducted a star from my rating. As for the other special features, don't be fooled by the "Bonus Trailers," which are all for other movies.
Should you get the DVD? Certainly! If you love this movie, you'll enjoy watching it with a clean digital picture (especially if you've had the tape for years and it's getting worn out.) But if you've been waiting all these years for a widescreen version, you're going to have to keep waiting. This DVD can only be described as a visual and audio upgrade from the videotape, but not a definitive version of the film.

My Generation (Dlx Ed)
My Generation (Dlx Ed)
Price: CDN$ 29.20
31 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, but the remix needs an explanation, Sept. 2 2002
This review is from: My Generation (Dlx Ed) (Audio CD)
After years of EQ-adjusted CD releases and bootleg discs that claimed to be "from the mono masters," we're finally treated to a CD that's been culled from the earliest possible sources. While the sound quality is superb and the packaging is lavish (the Who's management must have seen the "Instant Party" bootleg!), they should have packaged a track-by-track explanation of what you're hearing. These are the songs as they exist on the three-track masters, blemishes included, and without any overdubs.
This may seem an odd choice, given the large amount of variation between the songs as they're presented here, and how they were presented on the original LP and CD releases. But there IS a reason... upon hearing the original three-track masters, it was discovered that many elements were recorded directly to the finished mono mix. Therefore, isolated tracks of these "add-ons" didn't exist to be put into this stereo remix. Such elements include the guitar overdubs on "My Generation" and "A Legal Matter", the vocal harmony in the second verse of "Much Too Much" and, most noticeably, the doubletracked vocal in "La-La-La Lies" which covered up the error that is now laid bare on this CD. Note: I've read that the french horn on "Circles" was not an overdub, but is still not present on this stereo remaster. This is the biggest reason I've deducted a star from my rating (and the fact that both discs clock in at under an hour.)
The extra tracks are incredible! They fill in a gap that could previously only be filled by tracking down copies of "Who's Missing", "Two's Missing" and the "Rarities" albums. The standouts here are "Instant Party Mixture" and the alternate vocal version of "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere." Interestingly enough, the common version of the latter track is not present, because of the same overdub issue I mentioned above. The vocal line we're more accustomed to hearing was an overdub, and does not exist today in an isolated form. The vocal line you hear on this CD was the original, and has only been officially released once - by accident - on a 1966 French EP. All previous CD releases of this track have been on bootlegs, and have all sounded hideous. This sounds like it was recorded yesterday.
This set is alternately cohesive and chaotic. It captures the raw studio essence of The Who in 1965, but comes off as sounding unfinished. It's a proud testimonial to how the '60s British music machine worked - it wasn't recorded perfectly because the record wasn't expected to have a shelf life of more than a month. Recording was done in a quick and dirty fashion, and that hampered the ability to perfectly remix it. They did the absolute best with what they had to work with, and it's well worth the money... and the years of waiting.

Shadow of the Vampire (Widescreen)
Shadow of the Vampire (Widescreen)
DVD ~ John Malkovich
Offered by Planet Video
Price: CDN$ 37.99
17 used & new from CDN$ 3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars A great film, but for the ending, Aug. 25 2002
This movie was an exercise of the mind. For the most part, it avoided Hollywood horror movie cliches and focused, instead, on blurry lines.
What is the line between art and science? With the exception of actors, the real Murnau made everyone on his sets wear labcoats and goggles because he viewed filmmaking as a science, not an art. Malkovich does a wonderful job playing a tortured soul trying to create something as subjective as a film through the objective lens of science. He butts heads with the actors and his own crew, who don't share his view on filmmaking. Max Schreck, with his unorthodox acting methods, quickly becomes Murnau's nemesis.
What is the line between genius and lunacy? Was Max Schreck the Uber-Artiste, or a madman? Was Murnau's relentless pursuit of scientific achievement a result of brilliance in action, or merely obsessive ravings? More than anything, "Shadow" is the story of two men. Neither one may be in their right mind, but both believe they have ultimate control of a final product. The artist, the scientist... are they really so different?
The ending IS different. It wraps up so nicely, and that's a problem. For a film that brought up serious philosophical questions, the end seems cut-and-dry. In real life, strange, unexplained incidents plagued the set of the movie. Noone ever knew what really happened. After shooting was wrapped up, Murnau and Schreck parted ways. Murnau had almost made it in Hollywood when he died in a car accident in 1931. Schreck had a long career that lasted until his death from a heart attack in 1936. To compensate for the lack of exciting facts, "Shadow" wraps up in Hollywood fashion: low in intellect, large in bang. It's as though it was written by a test audience.
But in Hollywood, who can tell what's real?

The Ultimate Collection
The Ultimate Collection
Price: CDN$ 19.29
35 used & new from CDN$ 11.04

4.0 out of 5 stars Finally!! Unremixed remasters!, June 13 2002
This review is from: The Ultimate Collection (Audio CD)
Those of us who were unhappy with the "Remix" part of the '90s Who CDs will find The Ultimate Collection to be a real treat. While slightly flawed, this set packs some bona fide gems that haven't been available on CD for years. "I'm A Boy" is the true stereo version with the horn and drum section restored, along with the backing vocal harmony. "Boris The Spider" is also in true stereo. "Join Together" doesn't have the annoying flute at the end. "Eminence Front" has the botched mix in the first chorus restored, as well as the original bassline. Finally, I'd like to applaud the compiler who saw fit to put "Pure And Easy" in it's rightful place alongside The Who's greatest tracks.
The biggest flaws are the omission of "Dogs", "Relay" and "When I Was A Boy"... especially considering the inclusion of "Sister Disco", "See Me Feel Me", and "Let's See Action", all unimportant fluff tracks. For some reason, "Call Me Lightning" has been sped up, making Daltrey sound like he's halfway to Chipmunkland. "Happy Jack" is some odd fake stereo version, but since this song was never mixed in true stereo and is readily available in mono on CD, it's an interesting inclusion.
The bonus disc is good, but has nothing great to offer if you're a hardcore collector (especially if you have the Instant Party set, which has a breathtakingly clean-sounding version of the US "Substitute" single). I would've liked to have seen some of the most elusive Who tracks get the remaster treatment: the 7 minute "Magic Bus", the version of "Call Me Lightning" without the lead guitar line, "Waspman", or, as a real treat, the UK version of "Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde". But since this is a bonus disc, one can't complain! This only shows how generous The Who are to their fans.
Overall, the good far outweighs the bad, making this a very worthwhile collection. To get remastered tracks in their original mixes is a treat to even the most diehard Who collectors.
EDITED 6/29/02 - RIP John Entwistle. He was my fav Who songwriter, and will be sorely missed. Thank you, John, for writing the soundtrack of my life.

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