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Reviews Written by
Matt Howe "outloud98" (Washington, DC)
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Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
by William McDonough
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.75
54 used & new from CDN$ 3.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Abundance in Action, Dec 2 2002
This book is a fantastic document of William McDonough and Michael Braungart's commitment to solution. The first half of the book illustrates the overwhelmingly toxic and seemingly insurmountable world we have created through industry and the pursuit of progress. Then, through innovation, action and compassion, the authors outline, define and remind us toward obtainable solutions. At times, poetic, at times complex, like nature. This book sets itself apart from others not only in its subject matter, but in its manufacture, as stated in the opening pages: "This book is not a tree". The pages are made from synthetic "paper"...truly remaking the way we make things.

Wallpaper For The Soul
Wallpaper For The Soul
Price: CDN$ 15.51
21 used & new from CDN$ 2.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Ssssoul Deeeep, Dec 2 2002
This review is from: Wallpaper For The Soul (Audio CD)
The new Tahiti 80 cd is a masterpiece of future pop production. On this sophomore release, they have managed brilliantly to communicate their sound in a focused, flowy album. The overall tone is a sunshine day and the shades that accentuate the brilliance. The opening title song is downright inspirational. Xavier Boyer sings "in your heart there's plenty of room". The album goes on to give space to the room and colors to the "wallpaper". The production is elaborate and yet classic. Boyer's lyrics are poignant and simultaneously pop. In "Open Book" the fantastic lyric: "it's always the same vicious circle, you fall in love like you fall from a bicycle" This is pop at it's finest. Richer with every listen.

Duets
Duets
Price: CDN$ 4.99
34 used & new from CDN$ 1.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Streisand's Collaborations, Nov. 26 2002
This review is from: Duets (Audio CD)
2002 is the 40th anniversary of Barbra Streisand's recording career with Columbia Records. She signed her first contract with them on Oct. 1, 1962! Columbia, in celebration of this, released ESSENTIAL BARBRA STREISAND along with several remastered Streisand albums earlier this year. As 2002 draws to a close, Columbia has released *another* collection of Streisand hits - this time DUETS - Streisand's collaborations with various singers over the years.
The DUETS album has 2 new tracks: a duet with Barry Manilow ("I Won't Be The One To Let Go") and another with freshman and producer David Foster protege Josh Groban ("All I Know of Love"). The new tracks show that, at 60, Barbra is still in excellent voice and singing like a dream. The Manilow song (cowritten by Richard Marx) is an old-fashioned pop tune which I like a lot. "All I Know Of Love" (written by Foster) takes some getting used to. It's a "busy" song, half classical, half pop. Groban sings in Italian. Barbra does not. Yet, it is a fresh sound for Streisand and she rises to the occasion.
The rest of the tracks have appeared on previous Streisand albums. A new fan may not have heard these songs. They range from excellent (the duet with Judy Garland; Ray Charles; "One Hand One Heart" with Johnny Mathis) to simply ordinary.
There are some overlooked gems that I am glad were included here. I happen to like the Don Johnson duet ("Till I Loved You"). If you can get past the obvious Johnson jokes, it is actually a good song and their voices (rough and sweet) mix wonderfully. "Make No Mistake He's Mine" is the best Streisand duet with another woman, IMHO. Again, Kim Carnes' gritty voice is a great foil for Streisand's smooth one. "One Less Bell" is a duet from the BARBRA JOAN STREISAND album - Barbra duets with herself! This is an incredible track. Some will make fun of the fact that Streisand duets with herself, but I suggest listening first - it's an instant classic and I am glad it's getting the exposure on this DUETS album.
I would be happy never seeing "Enough Is Enough", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Guilty" on another Streisand album again. They have already appeared on at least 3 other albums. They are excellent songs and definitely have a place in Streisand's catalog. I just wish they'd stop getting recycled. (It would be cool to hear a remix of "Enough is Enough" though...)
I gave this cd 5 stars because I love Streisand and am glad everyone will get to hear these classic duets assembled on one cd.

Ultimate Collection Comp Hits
Ultimate Collection Comp Hits
Price: CDN$ 10.29
32 used & new from CDN$ 6.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Smile For Me One More Time, Nov. 25 2002
When will The Captain and Tenille be discovered again? I thought that the funny cell phone tv commercial would do it ("he thought you said 'Captain and Tenille'...").
It's true - they are the 70's incarnate (and some people won't appreciate that). I, however, was always a Captain and Tenille fan. Tenille's voice, as deep as Cher or Karen Carpenter, but as soulful as can be, was part of the attraction. The fact that they appeared to be a happily married show-biz couple was also attractive. But, most importantly, they made happy, pop music - and that's nothing to sneeze at!
This compilation features their well-known hits (although a few tracks that I enjoy are missing: I *love* "Smile For Me One More Time!"
"Love Will Keep Us Together" was their big hit. I prefer Tenille's singing on "I Write the Songs" better than Barry Manilow's version. I've always had a special place in my heart for "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" (with those crickets!). "Shop Around" is pure Motown fun. "Muskrat Love" is a camp classic and has some nice 70's keyboard tricks in it. And "Can't Stop Dancing" has a driving beat.
My personal favorite of all is "Come in from the Rain". The duo opens the track with the sound of rain. And Tenille's voice is perfect for this bittersweet song. Gorgeous and unaged.
The Captain and Tenille were one of my favorite 70's act - I watched their short-lived tv show all the time. If you like 70's pop and haven't experienced C&T, then try this cd. It'll bring back good memories.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Extra-Terrific, Nov. 15 2002
Universal did a good job on the E.T. DVD release. The film doesn't need too much in-depth exploration since the whole movie's believability rests on your willing disbelief that E.T. is actually an alien from outer space. I must admit that some of the behind-the-scenes clips showing little people in the E.T. suit are a bit shocking! I know he's only a special effect, but seeing those scenes is a bit like learning the truth about Santa Clause -- I suggest *not* viewing the behind-the-scenes featurettes until *after* you watch the movie (if this is your first E.T. experience).
The digital makeover was probably needed and doesn't bother me that much. For those who are purists, Universal has included the original 1982 version of the film. I think Spielberg went a bit too far when he digitally removed the guns -- I can understand why he made the decision though.
I really enjoyed the preproduction designs of E.T. and his spaceship. It is very nice to see the Ralph McQuarrie (of STAR WARS fame) spaceship designs.
The Harrison Ford scene (cut from the film ... he played Elliot's principal) is still missing, however there are some black and white stills from the scene -- Elliot's chair levitated, apparantly. Hmmmm. Interesting.
E.T. is a classic film. The new DVD set (in attractive packaging) is nice to add to my collection.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Special Widescreen Extended Edition) (4 Discs)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Special Widescreen Extended Edition) (4 Discs)
DVD ~ Elijah Wood
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 126.67
26 used & new from CDN$ 10.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Extended DVD, Nov. 13 2002
This review is of ASIN: B000067DNF (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING - EXTENDED VERSION)
LOTR: FOTR has just been released as a 4-disc, extended version -- a 3 hour film on 2 discs, plus 2 extra behind-the-scenes discs. I am happy to report that this extravanganza has been executed very well, with as much care as the theatrical film received, and it is well worth the extra money.
I've been watching the film, the bonus materials, and listening to the audio comments for over a week now! There is a lot here. The discs are so comprehensive and incredible. My favorite behind-the-scenes documentaries are "Scale", which deals with the movie magic employed to make hobbits hobbit-sized. Fascinating! I also enjoyed the documentary on "Digital Grading", which is the "photoshop" process that the entire film went through -- it is amazing how the images can be manipulated. "Book to Screen", and the Alan Lee and John Howe docuementary are just as good.
The film itself has been extended by 1/2 hour. The new footage (which is marked on the chapter menus) is seamlessly integrated. There is a completely new beginning (following the Second Age prologue)! "Concerning Hobbits" immediately roots the film in Tolkien's writings. There's more surprised: we get to *see* the Sacksville-Baggins!! There is a charming scene with Frodo and Sam at the beginning of their journey - they talk about never getting used to sleeping on the ground, which is quite poignant when you think of the journey ahead of them. I could go on ... the extended film is really incredible!
My favorite thing about the set is that is it handsomely produced. From the packaging to the menus, this is a first class keepsake! The menus are charming and feature a book motif - the book "opens up" to the chapters, which reflect Tolkien's chapter names, etc. Very cool!
I can't tell you how remarkable this is. One wishes all films released to DVD could be this thoroughly prepared. Peter Jackson is omnipresent on the DVD. One can feel the overwhelming love for this project -- from the big screen to the small screen, Jackson's care is palatable.

Clockwatchers (Widescreen)
Clockwatchers (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Toni Collette
Offered by eplayplay
Price: CDN$ 36.11
10 used & new from CDN$ 16.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Small Movie, Big Kudos, Nov. 8 2002
This review is from: Clockwatchers (Widescreen) (DVD)
I liked this film a lot. Besides the fact that I like to support smaller, independent films (especially since this one features a lot of women in front of and behind the scenes), CLOCKWATCHERS is simply an entertaining show! It has a smart tone, and is a close cousin to OFFICE SPACE (featuring that *other* FRIENDS star, Jennifer Aniston).
The story is engrossing and concerns a pack of temps. Toni Collette plays Iris, who starts out as a timid, shy and introverted person. Her encounters with the other girls changes her (especially with the outspoken and quirky character played by Parker Posey - she's great in this!). Toni Collette is very good here - and although she is an Academy Award nominated actress (THE SIXTH SENSE) it's funny how the director's use of a new shade of lipstick is filmatic shorthand for the character change Iris goes through! Lisa Kudrow is not quite as ditzy as she usually is on FRIENDS. It's nice to see her in a different mode.
There's not much more story than that. If you've been a temp or work in an office environment you will appreciate this film. The film's theme is about sleepwalking through life and making your mark. Most of the girls cow to the corporate machine. One of them scratches "I was here" on her desk - just to make her mark.
There's an interesting subplot about an office thief that gets tied into the movie's theme nicely.
Please rent or buy this film. It's not SPIDERMAN, but it deserves your attention. Again, it is a "small-character-study" sort of film. But it is very well done, with excellent performances from its cast.

The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy
The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy
by Brian Sibley
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from CDN$ 1.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Behind The Rings, Nov. 6 2002
Brian Sibley, the author of "The Making of The Movie Trilogy" has been connected to Tolkien-dom for many years -- he wrote the BBC radio dramatization. So it's no fluke that he was charged with creating this excellent behind-the-scenes account of the making of Peter Jackson's new LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. With Part Two (THE TWO TOWERS) due in theaters in just a few weeks, the release of this book has excellent timing!
At almost 200 pages long with over 300 pictures, the book is thorough and entertaining all at once. The pictures, many never seen before, are excellent! Sibley's writings/chapters range from typical, glossy actor interviews to in-depth descriptions of movie-making. After one reading, there is more in the book for me to investigate!
Enjoy the book. It's a great companion to a (so far!) excellent film series.

Madonna - The Drowned World Tour
Madonna - The Drowned World Tour
DVD ~ Madonna
Price: CDN$ 26.99
30 used & new from CDN$ 4.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Madonna *Not* Drowning In This World Tour, Oct. 28 2002
I didn't get to see Madonna's "Drowned World Tour" live, but this video more than makes up for what I missed.
I happen to like Madonna in all of her reincarnations. This 2001 tour finds her still very active (dancing all over the stage!) but less exhibitionistic (less skin) and more thoughtful.
The biggest surprise here is that Madonna is quite a musician. For so many years we've seen her lip syncing in concert (so much dancing!). But I realized that Madonna writes most of her songs. She has also taken up playing the guitar, and it is nice to see her strumming on it toward the end of the concert. In fact, she looks downright happy!
The best part of the concert is the last third. "Don't Tell Me" is a lot of fun (with the plastic-wrapped haystacks). "Secret" gets a nice, ethnic rendition. "Lo Que Siente la Mujer (What It Feels Like for a Girl)" is sexy and wonderful. And "La Isla Bonita" rocks!! Madonna strums her guitar and the dancers jam onstage - it's as if Madonna was a gypsy, playing for her dancers by the bonfire. The heat, energy and sexuality is incredible in this number. And Madonna tears it up with the finale, "Music". Damn, watch her do those squat-jumps! My thighs hurt just thinking about it!
So, as a 40-something wife and mother, Madonna proves that she can still kick butt in concert. Her message, even after all these years, is simple and persuasive: get up, get on the dance floor, we need a holiday.

Beauty and the Beast (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
Beauty and the Beast (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
DVD ~ Paige O'Hara
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 131.93
9 used & new from CDN$ 28.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty is the Best, Oct. 25 2002
Like the sumptuous DVD of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves", Disney has produced another gloriously packaged keepsake for its Academy Award-nominated film "Beauty and the Beast".
The DVD has enough contents to keep the viewer busy for days! There are three versions of the movie here! The "work in progress" version (all line drawings, black and white, and rough) is a little hard to watch after a while, but very interesting, nonetheless.
The menues are adorable and Disneyesque. I find the disks to be very easy to navigate. Although, on disk 2 the voices tell you not to choose the "rose window" -- that leads to the west wing of the castle and is forbidden!! Of course, the first thing I wanted to do was click on the rose window. So there is a sense of fun on the disk.
I found the documentaries to be especially informative. The art of animation is explained. The use of computers is shown. The process of developing the story is fascinating: A powdered wig fop was the original villain. "Be My Guest" was sung to Belle's father, not Belle. There are lots of these stories. There are galleries that show the film's early artwork and the "Dangerous Liaisons" look that the artists were going for.
The movie itself is very entertaining. I'm a huge admirer of the opening musical number ("this small provential town...") - it sets the mood and tone for the film so wonderfully.
"Beauty and the Beast" proved that Disney can sometimes achieve greatness with the animated film like Uncle Walt used to in the old days. It's right up there with "Lion King" as one of the best films in the new Michael Eisner/Disney regime.

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