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Danno (NY, NY)

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A Mighty Wind (Widescreen)
A Mighty Wind (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Christopher Guest
Offered by Imagine This Music
Price: CDN$ 11.29
43 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny + folk-music + Eugene Levy, July 18 2004
This review is from: A Mighty Wind (Widescreen) (DVD)
Why only 4 stars and not 5? I cannot believe that in 2004 there are still companies that package DVDs in flimsy cardboard cases rather than plastic clamshell keepsakes. And this is a film you'll want to keep.
If you only know Eugene Levy from the American Pie films, you will be pleasantly surprised with A Mighty Wind. I had no idea Eugene Levy could sing so well, or was capable of a serio-comic performance. I usually love his bit roles in films, and this one was way better than I expected. Aside from Levy, this is another of director Christopher Guest's mockumentaries, albeit an extremely good-natured and lighthearted one centered around a PBS folk-music concert. Guest is one of the few filmmakers who can make the mockumentary format work (aside from Woody Allen), and he leads a brilliant cast into a largely improvised framework that contains laughter and sentimentality.
I'm not a folk-music fan at all, but I enjoyed the music in the film a lot. It's pleasant rather than annoying and preachy.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Sean Connery
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 4.81
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for hard core Connery Fans only!, July 17 2004
No matter how many average, weird, or downright awful movies Sean Connery makes, he'll always command an audience. In this film, Connery plays a retired British explorer roped into preventing WW I by leading a team of misfits in a vaguely Bondian adventurer. As a nice twist, most of the misfits consist of 19th Century British villains such as Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, and Captain Nemo. Of course, no one bothers to explain why such villains would agree to unite for any cause other than, well, villainy. The film is comic book-y in a bad way, with ridiculous dialogue and a poor sense of continuity, and the effects are frequently unintentionally funny, especially Mr. Hyde's appearance. Connery makes the film work as a throwaway action film, but it's clear from the extras that the cast and some of the crew were deluded into thinking this was something more. Not surprisingly, this movie plays much better on DVD than it did in the theaters. If you're a die-hard Connery fan, you'll like this one. If not, and you want to see Connery at his best, you'd be better off with Goldfinger.

This is Spinal Tap (Widescreen) [Import]
This is Spinal Tap (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Rob Reiner
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 9.03
30 used & new from CDN$ 1.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Rockin' and Mockin', July 4 2004
When this film was originally released, its targets were hard rock bands like Whitesnake and Dio, along with overly pretentious concert films like The Last Waltz and Song Remains the Same. 20 years later, the film still holds up - and practically everything in it could apply to newer bands like the Darkness, and VH1's ridiculous Behind the Music TV series. Why? The cast and creators manage to walk the fine line between satire and homage while staying in love with the spirit of rock n'roll. Sure, band members Nigel, David, and Derek may be half-witted hacks but we love them because they reflect not only most of our rock heroes - but our rock fantasies as well. There's a sense of joy in this film that's absent in many 'serious' rock bands and films that are soon forgotten. Director Rob Reiner was also smart enough not to aim for a constant barrage of one-liners and slapstick. There's actually a story and a subtext here that most parody films totally lack. The DVD comes with a grab-bag of Spinal Tap goodies, including a hilarious commentary track and rock videos. This one's a comedy for the ages.

Girl With a Pearl Earring [Import]
Girl With a Pearl Earring [Import]
DVD ~ Scarlett Johansson
Price: CDN$ 15.03
26 used & new from CDN$ 4.63

3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but slow-moving, July 4 2004
This film falls squarely in the "What If?" camp of film-making, speculating on what sort of person the painter Vermeer actually was, and who might have inspired his famous Girl with a Pearl Earring. Visually, this is an absolutely stunning and beautiful film, with gorgeous lighting and an exquisite attention to detail. Dramatically, however, what little happens occurs too slowly. I would not recommend watching this film if you are already drowsy, as it will put you to sleep! Given that the film is almost totally fictional (in reality Vermeer was primarily an art dealer, and seems to never have relied on painting as a regular source of income) I'd hoped that the DVD would include extras to clarify the 'real' vs. the 'reel' Vermeer. Alas, this was not to be. I did love watching the film, as I'd had the pleasure of seeing several Vermeers at both the Frick and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the film and the DVD presentation could have been so much better.

Enter the Dragon (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Enter the Dragon (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Bruce Lee
Offered by torontomediadvd_com
Price: CDN$ 54.88
16 used & new from CDN$ 7.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Bruce Lee, June 21 2004
Enter the Dragon, as any fan will tell you, is the definitive Bruce Lee film. It rightly deserves 5 stars both on its own merits and its influence on subsequent films. The audio and video quality have never been better. This deluxe 2-DVD set serves not just as a tribute to the film, but also to Bruce Lee's entire career. It includes documentaries on his life, as well as a reconstruction of several key scenes in Game of Death - the intended follow-up to Enter the Dragon. This is the DVD that Bruce Lee fans deserve, and newer fans will have no idea how spoiled they will be by the wealth of goodies Warners included in this set.

The Man Who Knew Too Little (Widescreen/Full Screen)
The Man Who Knew Too Little (Widescreen/Full Screen)
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 84.22
8 used & new from CDN$ 23.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Desert for Bill Murray Fans, May 30 2004
This is an enjoyable, lightweight Blake Edwards-style farce that gave me plenty of belly laughs. Bill Murray is such a good comic actor that he takes what ought to be a one-joke pastiche and milks it for every last drop of comedy. I've seen bumbling detectives and secret agent spoofs before, but Murray turns this into something special. I wouldn't rate it as highly as "Ghostbusters" or "Groundhog Day" but "The Man Who Knew Too Little" is enough of an overlooked gem for me to recommend it.

Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces
Vermeer's Camera: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Masterpieces
by Philip Steadman
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 53.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Detective Story for Vermeer Lovers, May 24 2004
This treasure is actually a mystery novel in the guise of an art book! Steadman cleverly examines the long-held debate over Vermeer's alleged use of camera-like inventions to help create his masterworks. He does so by constructing models of the rooms, examining long-overlooked clues and engaging in some very pragmatic thinking. At times Steadman almost comes across as art history's answer to Lt. Colombo, which is a compliment. This is a very readable and enjoyable book for any art lover who also loves a good mystery, brain teasers, and practical application of optics. My only quibble is that additional illustrations and plates would have helped Steadman make his point better.

Bouguereau
Bouguereau
by Fronia E. Wissman
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 16.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best (and only) book-length Bouguereau in print, May 19 2004
This review is from: Bouguereau (Paperback)
Wissman did a great job providing a fair and balanced view of French painter Bouguereau's career. And it's a good thing too! Everything else related to the artist is either out of print or a flimsy postcard book. How could this be? Well, the unfortunate stereotype of Bougeureau buffs is that they "don't know much about art but know what they like." It may be that many editors assume that if you like Bougeureau's paintings, you aren't the type to read a serious art book. I like to believe this is wrong. I enjoy Bougureau's art very much and am glad that someone published a reasonable paperback history and criticism of the artist. I hope that one day, others write similarly good books about other "forgotten" 19th century artists.

The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) (5DVD)
The Marx Brothers Collection (A Night at The Opera/A Day at The Races/A Night in Casablanca/Room Service/At the Circus/Go West/The Big Store) (5DVD)
DVD ~ Groucho Marx
Offered by DealsAreUs
Price: CDN$ 56.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 26.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Make Mine Marx!, May 17 2004
Both "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" are wonderful vintage comedies that sell themselves. They are also hilarious! The rest of the films included here all have their moments, especially if you are a fan of Groucho, Chico & Harpo. Honestly, if you've got more than a passing interest in the Marx Brothers, you will probably end up buying this set. The image and sound quality is first-rate, and Warners did a good job putting together commentary tracks and bonus documentaries. This is especially nice to see, because these films are well over 60 years old and any "lost" scenes are by now permanently lost. The cartoons and short subjects are a nice added touch, although I would have preferred to see Marx-themed cartoons. But why complain? As a rule, movies of this vintage are poorly served by major studios and allowed to fall into public domain and inferior releases. Warners did the right thing with the Marx Brothers, and I hope this is part of a new trend that shows greater respect for all good films made before 1970.

The Phantom (Widescreen) (1996)
The Phantom (Widescreen) (1996)
DVD ~ Billy Zane
Offered by boutiquecinemaniac,com
Price: CDN$ 29.95
11 used & new from CDN$ 7.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nifty live-action comicbook, May 13 2004
This is the type of DVD that works best if you watch it on a rainy Saturday morning. I missed "Phantom" when it was released theatrically many years ago and discovered it on DVD. This is an old-fashioned comicstrip/movie serial sort of film that's perhaps too straightforward for most tastes. There's no irony or winking references here, which sets it apart from most other superhero movies. I liked it, but didn't love it, and I can fully understand if it's not to everyone's taste. I suggest you rent it, watch it on a gloomy weekend and see if it doesn't make you feel like a kid again if only for a few minutes.

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