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Kona (Emerald City)
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ZZZzzz..., Dec 30 2012
The movie examines Abraham Lincoln's (Daniel Day-Lewis) efforts to pass the 13th Amendment in the last few months of his life. It is a detailed account of his strategy and the negotiations of the members of his cabinet, especially his Secretary of State, William Seward (David Strathairn).

The story deals with the minute details involved in making slavery illegal; conversations between pompous politicians are endless and dry and I found it boring. I would have preferred a biography of Lincoln's life; this story has little action and the nonstop speechifying was tedious in the extreme. None of the dialogue sounded spontaneous; each line sounded well-rehearsed with the result that it looks like a filmed play.

Day-Lewis certainly looks the part, but his Lincoln isn't very interesting or charismatic. His soft, high voice was particularly unengaging; I was hoping for the measured gravitas of Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch. The movie was too long and a crashing bore.

24: Season 2
24: Season 2
Price: CDN$ 16.98
21 used & new from CDN$ 13.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Bauer saves the day (again), Dec 30 2012
This review is from: 24: Season 2 (DVD)
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) returns to CTU as an impending nuclear bomb explosion threatens southern California. The President (Dennis Haysbert) must rely on Jack's help to prevent WWIII.

While the writing is not as good as Season One, this is still the best series on TV. Kiefer Sutherland is outstanding as the intrepid secret agent who overcomes all adversities with the help of computers, cell phones, and his trusty CTU pals, Tony and Michelle. David Palmer and his manipulative ex-wife are back as well, as is Jack's nemesis from last season, Nina. Rounding out the superb supporting cast are Jude Ciccolella and Glenn Morshower as Chief of State Mike Novick and Agent Pierce.

The weak link this season is the storyline involvong Jack's daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), who is surely the most annoying character on TV. She's onscreen half of the time and yet nothing she does affects the main plot; she's just a time-filler. Kim is unbelievably stupid, weak, and whiny and I want to fast forward whenever I see her.

The production values are high and the series feels like a good feature film. It's tense and exciting with several shockingly graphic torture scenes. There are occasional commentaries, deleted scenes, and some behind-the-scenes features.

Arbitrage (Bilingual)
Arbitrage (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Richard Gere
Price: CDN$ 21.98
7 used & new from CDN$ 8.49

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, Dec 28 2012
This review is from: Arbitrage (Bilingual) (DVD)
Richard Gere stars as a millionaire Wall Street financier with big troubles at work and a dead mistress, too.

It's always a bad sign when I have to look up the meaning of a movie title after seeing the movie and still don't know what it means. This was a big disappointment, although the acting was excellent. Richard Gere is always a pleasure to watch; he's confidant, capable, and charismatic, giving a very good performance as a single-minded and unscrupulous man. The problem here is the script, which is confusing and boring, and gives us no one to root for. None of the characters are likable and most of the dialogue consist of muffled references to Big Trade Deals that we aren't meant to fully understand.

The story paints a believable picture of a powerful man who can buy anything except, of course, his family's love. The movie is predictable and only interesting in brief spurts; basically, it's an unsympathetic and dull story. Recommended only for those who find high finance interesting.

The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love
The Cat Who Came Back for Christmas: How a Cat Brought a Family the Gift of Love
54 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars How a cat changed an autistic boy's life, Dec 20 2012
This heartwarming book is the true story of Julia Romp and George, her autistic son. It details the endless challenges she faced with a screaming, stiff baby and a distant, unresponsive adolescent. Then Ben came into their lives, a mangy stray cat that nobody wanted...except George.

This story is about autism and while the cat did, indeed "come back for Christmas," those expecting a "cat book" will be disappointed and the target audience, those interested in autism, may well overlook it. I understand photos of the family would violate their privacy, but I still would have liked to see some or, at the very least, have the real Ben on the cover.

The book is very well-written and is fast-paced and emotion-packed, drawing tears several times. I'd be very interested in reading a follow-up book in a few years. Recommended.

24: Season One
24: Season One
DVD ~ Kiefer Sutherland
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 42.81
24 used & new from CDN$ 3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars "We've had a hard day.", Dec 18 2012
This review is from: 24: Season One (DVD)
Kiefer Sutherland stars as Jack Bauer, a counter-terrorist government agent. In one, very long day, he will see his family kidnapped, be involved in the assassination of a presidential candidate, and uncover a spy among his colleagues.

This series will take your breath away. Jack faces certain death every 15 minutes in a series of jaw-dropping scenarios that are both exhausting and exhilarating to watch. Production values are high, with frequent split screens following several subplots, music that enhances the terrifying story, and acting from a top-notch cast.

Sutherland is absolutely convincing as the fearless and endlessly-resourceful agent. He fills the screen with his charismatic presence and gives a riveting performance. Dennis Haysbert is perfect as the noble presidential candidate who must cope with public enemies and domestic disasters. And Sarah Clarke is unforgettable as Jack's ex-flame.

With a stellar supporting cast and spine-chilling script, this is a must-see dramatic series.

NEW Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (DVD)
NEW Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (DVD)
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 15.87
25 used & new from CDN$ 6.46

4.0 out of 5 stars "On Sunday, we go to Target.", Dec 17 2012
A zillionaire Yemeni sheik likes fly fishing, so his British aide (Emily Blunt) enlists the help of a fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) to bring 10,000 salmon to his desert country.

This movie is heavy on talk, light on action, and feels like a true story (but isn't). McGregor and Blunt make a good, low-key couple and Amr Waked is excellent as the kindly sheik. Kristin Scott Thomas steals the show, however, in a small but witty part as a Ministry official; she gives her trademark sarcastic performance and injects much needed humor into an otherwise tepid story.

This is a sweet, but slow and predictable story (I wouldn't call it a romantic comedy) that would be of particular interest to fly fishing fans. 3.5 stars.

Capricorn One (Special Edition) [Import]
Capricorn One (Special Edition) [Import]
DVD ~ Norman Bartold
Price: CDN$ 22.28
20 used & new from CDN$ 8.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller, Dec 13 2012
The first manned space flight to Mars is just about to launch when the crew is suddenly taken off the Capricorn One. It seems there's a malfunctioning part that would prove fatal to the space program's funding (and the astronauts, as well). But the director has a plan to make everything alright...or not.

I saw this movie in 1978, and absolutely loved it; watching it again did not disappoint in any way. It's edge-of-your-seat exciting from start to finish. Elliot Gould is perfectly cast as a reporter who suspects foul play, James Brolin plays a likable astronaut, and Hal Holbrook is unforgettable as the sinister mastermind behind the hoax. The desert photography is impressive as is the Jerry Goldsmith score.

This story is still riveting (and plausible); the clever and terrifying script has one of the best final scenes ever and still makes me a little nervous when I see a helicopter. Recommended!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
DVD ~ Benjamin Walker
Price: CDN$ 10.49
17 used & new from CDN$ 5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-made gore fest, Dec 10 2012
When young Abraham Lincoln angers a man (who happens to a vampire), the man takes his revenge by killing the boy's mother. Lincoln then dedicates his life to finding vampires and killing them with his silver-tipped ax.

I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it's horrifically gory at times, but the clever mix of fantasy and true events is very well done and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. We follow Lincoln from store clerk to the White House. The movie isn't playing for laughs, it's utterly serious. I actually found it more entertaining than Daniel Day-Lewis' "Lincoln."

The title had me expecting a cheesy, low-budget slasher, but the production values are high and the special effects are excellent. The acting is also very good; Benjamin Walker plays a convincing Lincoln and Rufus Sewell is truly menacing as his nemesis.

This is a surprising, clever story that includes just enough historical facts to make it almost plausible. A lot of blood, but still recommended.

Flight / Vol (Bilingual)
Flight / Vol (Bilingual)
Offered by distrmem
Price: CDN$ 9.99
5 used & new from CDN$ 8.75

14 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting but flawed movie, Dec 7 2012
This review is from: Flight / Vol (Bilingual) (DVD)
A routine plane flight has a catastrophic malfunction, but the alcoholic, drugged pilot miraculously saves many lives. Now the question is: How will his additions affect the crash investigation?

Denzel Washington plays the pilot and gives an outstanding performance. He's utterly charismatic, sympathetic, and a pleasure to watch. Though his character is troubled and weak, I was rooting for him. The plane emergency is so real and scary, you'll never want to fly again.

On the down side, I found the prolonged nudity in the opening scene and the nonstop profanity to be completely unnecessary and degrading. Also, John Goodman's comic-relief drug dealer is viewed as an amiable and even helpful man, which is off-putting.

Washington is such a fine actor, I wish he had had a better script that didn't rely on the shock value of gutter language, nudity, and drug abuse.

Arthur Christmas
Arthur Christmas
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 34.14
24 used & new from CDN$ 4.27

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun for the whole family, Dec 5 2012
This review is from: Arthur Christmas (DVD)
Santa has scored another perfect Christmas Eve and is back at the North Pole to rest. But wait! A toy has been overlooked and not delivered! Who will save the day? Can Arthur, Santa's bumbling son, do it?

I loved everything about this movie. The animation is bright and beautiful, the script is witty, the pacing is quick, and it all ends happily. Children will love seeing Santa, the reindeer, and sleigh (even though he usually drives a solar-powered spacecraft aided by a NASA-like control room manned by elves) and adults will laugh nonstop at the very funny dialogue that combines tradition values with modern technology. Turn on the subtitles to catch them all.

The British cast headed by James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie, and Jim Broadbent is outstanding and I was left with a big smile on my face. Recommended!

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