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Content by Gayle Gibson
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Reviews Written by
Gayle Gibson (Toronto, Ontario Canada)
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Revengers Tragedy [Import]
Revengers Tragedy [Import]
DVD ~ Christopher Eccleston
Offered by moviemars-canada
Price: CDN$ 22.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 11.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Alex Cox' brilliant version of a Jacobean Revenge Tragedy, Nov. 1 2015
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This review is from: Revengers Tragedy [Import] (DVD)
This version of the Jacobean Revenger's Tragedy is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Everyone plays it just a bit broad, a touch over the top, and it all works. Derek Jacobi is perfect loathsome as the evil Duke, while Christopher Eccleston as Vindici manages to be somehow charming in his single-minded pursuit of vengeance. Eddie Izzard is powerful and believable as the Duke's heir, Lussurioso. Alex Cox's direction gets to the heart of this old play and makes it entirely modern and archetypal at the same time. The sets are tawdry, lush and decadent, both future and past in every shot. The film was shot on location in Liverpool, giving the whole story a gritty realism and surrealism all at once.

SHAKESPEARE: Antony and Cleopatra
SHAKESPEARE: Antony and Cleopatra
Offered by Rarewaves-CA
Price: CDN$ 29.26
5 used & new from CDN$ 29.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Believable and enchanting - a terrific version of this play., Nov. 1 2015
This is a terrific, energetic and very clear Antony and Cleopatra. Clive Wood is very attractive as a grizzled veteran Antony, full of flaws as a man, but also, as Cleopatra knows, better, bigger, more heroic, more shining than any more sensible man. Eve Best's Cleopatra is a delight. She manages to be entirely believable as the mercurial queen, and also as the woman who loves Antony beyond sense or reason. The entire supporting cast, as one expects from the RSC, is wonderful. Charmion and Iras, played by Sirine Saba and Rosie Hilal, are clearly differentiated and interesting women in their own right. Hilal also plays Octavia with warmth and subdued charm. Phil Daniel's Enobarbus is a man who has lost his place in the world and cannot understand the true passion of Antony for his queen, but, like her, loves Antony with all his weary, cynical heart. Fine costumes, and great dancing, too. Simply the best Antony and Cleopatra i know.

The Mentalist: The Complete Seventh Final Season
The Mentalist: The Complete Seventh Final Season
DVD ~ Simon Baker
Price: CDN$ 18.99
22 used & new from CDN$ 18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine and fitting end to the series, Aug. 18 2015
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After seven seasons and innumerable crimes solved and committed, the saga of Patrick Jane came to an end with a series of intricate plots and a happy ending to please all fans. While the Red John storyline is well in the past by the time this set begins, the effects of being both victim and killer torment our hero. These episodes detail Patrick Jane's journey back to his own life, to real community and happiness. The final episode may have elements of fairy-tale, but the whole series has been an archetypal quest for revenge and search for peace and love. It's just fine.

Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
DVD ~ Mark Rylance
Price: CDN$ 33.35
24 used & new from CDN$ 25.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, wonderful actors, beautiful sets, Aug. 18 2015
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This review is from: Wolf Hall (DVD)
With the best actors in the world, wonderful costumes, and, as sets, Tudor buildings that still exist, this series is absolutely wonderful. Mark Rylance plays it straight without in any way being dull or ordinary. Few actors can match him for subtly showing the physical joy of making love, or the unbearable pain of losing those he loves. He makes Cromwell seem, as he was, one of the most interesting men in a time filled with fascinating characters. Anton Lesser's Thomas More is beautifully nuanced; it will be a shock for those who know More only from A Man For All Seasons, but it's probably much closer to the real man than Paul Scofield's saint. Damien Lewis is charming, attractive and quite terrifying as Henry VIII, played as man whose only real interest is himself. Claire Foy makes a believable Anne Boleyn - neither temptress nor saint, but a very human woman caught up in world of wolves, indeed. The perfectly dressed sets and original sites add beauty and accuracy to this portrayal of the modern world in its infancy.

Field of Lost Shoes
Field of Lost Shoes
DVD ~ David Arquette, Lauren Holly, Luke Benward Jason Issac
Price: CDN$ 6.88
18 used & new from CDN$ 5.80

2.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian effort, not worth the watching, Aug. 18 2015
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This review is from: Field of Lost Shoes (DVD)
This production is very slow-paced, more suited to afternoon television than film, as if the title had enforced a limping pace. The dialogue is obvious and awkward, and the actors, some of them very fine actors in other productions, are reduced to just saying these pedestrian lines as if hoping to get to the end of the scene and off to a coffee-break. Though the costumes are reasonably accurate, most of the cast does not wear them as 'clothes' but very clearly as 'cosplay.' Even a real fan of Civil War films will have trouble staying with this one. Save your money for something better.

Great Performances: King Lear
Great Performances: King Lear
DVD ~ Ian McKellen
Price: CDN$ 23.66
20 used & new from CDN$ 16.54

3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre production, Aug. 18 2015
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Sir Ian McKellen is one of the greatest and most intelligent actors of our time, but this is not a record of one of his best performances. It's a TV film made at the end of a stage run of a production, and appears to have been filmed without enough thought being given to the differences between theatre and television, and the requirements of each. The film seems flat; the sets appear to be about ten feet deep, plain and dark. The costumes, chosen by director Trevor Nunn, are a puzzle. The men are dressed in a sort of 1900s Russian costume (Germaine Greer called it 'Ruritanian') and the women in . . . well, something remarkably unattractive that looks more like the undergarments for a ballgown than anything any woman has ever worn at any court. The claustrophobic set reduces the great Storm scene to a group of people gathered around a stylized doghouse. It just doesn't work.
If you need to complete your set of all the filmed versions of King Lear, then you need this one. Otherwise, give it a pass.

1913: Seeds of Conflict
1913: Seeds of Conflict
DVD ~ Various
Price: CDN$ 26.40
22 used & new from CDN$ 20.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calm, sad, and beautiful: visions of a lost world, Aug. 18 2015
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This review is from: 1913: Seeds of Conflict (DVD)
This account of early Jewish settlements in Palestine clarifies the distinctions between the various aliya, or waves of immigration. Rare old film footage shows the world of the Ottoman Empire, and discusses the relationships between Moslems, Jews, and Christians from about 1880 until 1913. The films are beautiful windows into a lost world of hope, co-operation and accommodation. Letters and other documents from the period are read by actors in the original languages with subtitles; this device works very well to show the variety of peoples, languages, philosophies and thought during the period. This film is a calm and reasonable look at the beginnings of a conflict whose end is not yet in sight.

Twelfth Night: A User's Guide
Twelfth Night: A User's Guide
by Michael Pennington
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.54
19 used & new from CDN$ 14.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Twelfth Night - on stage, in the imagination, and in the bones, Aug. 18 2015
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Another splendid book by actor-director Michael Pennington. In this volume he discusses the play, Twelfth Night, pretty much line by line, and also tells the reader about his adventures in Japan, directing a production there. His commentary is infused with knowledge that is not merely erudition, but the bone-and-muscle understanding of an actor. If you love the play, or are puzzled by it, this is a book to read.

Sweet William: A User's Guide to Shakespeare
Sweet William: A User's Guide to Shakespeare
by Michael Pennington
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 32.40
13 used & new from CDN$ 15.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, erudite, and utterly charming, Aug. 18 2015
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Michael Pennington is a wonderful actor, full of surprising moments, tenderness and harshness whose performances always bring something new and illuminating to the roles he plays. Who would have guessed he is as fine a writer as he is an actor? This book is a delight, whether you read it from beginning to end, or dip into it to read his thoughts on your favourite plays. Pennington as writer is charming, witty, erudite and self-effacing. It's one of the best books about Shakespeare i've ever read. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
DVD ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: CDN$ 14.88
7 used & new from CDN$ 7.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just barely bearable, Aug. 16 2015
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This review is from: Cymbeline (DVD)
This production attempts to make sense of one of Shakespeare's hardest plays. Setting it in the world of American biker gangs and corrupt police does not really do the plot any disservice. Ed Harris as the King and Ethan Hawk as Iachimo are very very good - they can speak the language. The director knew that most of the casts could speak well, and so cut the text till there is just barely enough to make sense of the plot. The weakest link is Dakota Johnson as Imogen. Unwilling or unable to vary her intonation or expression, she delivers every line with a flatness that is hard to bear.
The good thing about it is that you can catch on to the complex plot by watching it, and then go to the wonderful BBC 1982 version with a luminous young Helen Mirren and a very moving Michael Pennington as Posthumus.

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