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Robert I. Hedges
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Trail/Pink Panther
Trail/Pink Panther
VHS

2.0 out of 5 stars I Hope You Enjoy The 3,000 Pounds Of Jell-O!, July 14 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Trail/Pink Panther (VHS Tape)
Some people have entertained this as a tribute to Peter Sellers, and I don't want to judge the motives of Blake Edwards and crew, but for the record I am highly suspect when it is asserted that this wasn't a quick money grab.
The first part of the film is a rehash of some scenes from earlier "Panther" movies and outtakes cleverly edited to try to resemble a story. The truth be told, there are some individually hilarious clips in the first half, which is why I gave the film two stars.
Hands down the best scene in the movie involves a nightmare that Herbert Lom has regarding a birthday present from Clouseau, and his attempts to swim in it. In fact, the only truly great moments in the film all star Lom, the most gifted of any of the "Panther" co-stars. I was also amused that the name of Hercule's (Seller's friend and regular of the series, Graham Stark) boat was "The Moth", of course pronounced "Muuuth" as homage to Sellers.
The second half (after Clouseau's plane disappears...) is devoted to annoyingly self-important reporter Marie Jouvet, played by the pretty but untalented Joanna Lumley, looking for clues about Clouseau's disappearance. She takes the opportunity to interview Dreyfus and Cato, and as well as Sir Charles and Lady Litton (David Niven and the late Capucine, who, the back story reveals are now married), and most embarrassingly of all Clouseau's "father" and nanny. The scene with Clouseau, Senior and "Nanna" is utterly painful to watch and is nothing but a bad caricature of Sellers. The childhood flashbacks which follow are even more wretched, particularly the dismal "Good, Bad, and the Ugly" parody of Clint Eastwood with a cap gun. Finally, to add insult to injury, the friendly reporter tangles with the mafia in a pointless plot cul-de-sac and fights with Cato, in what may have been the worst single idea in an otherwise artistically bankrupt movie.
This film is now available as part of the "Pink Panther" DVD set, so I would watch it if only for Dreyfus in the Jell-O, but I wouldn't seek it out.

The Pink Panther Film Collection (The Pink Panther / A Shot in the Dark / Strikes Again / Revenge of the Pink Panther / Trail of the Pink Panther)
The Pink Panther Film Collection (The Pink Panther / A Shot in the Dark / Strikes Again / Revenge of the Pink Panther / Trail of the Pink Panther)
DVD ~ Peter Sellers
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 161.62
12 used & new from CDN$ 81.21

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Old Friends, They're Always Great To See!, July 14 2004
Having been a fan of "The Pink Panther" series from childhood, I was ecstatic that this set was being released, as the films are otherwise out of print on DVD (although luckily I still have my trusty VHS copies in reserve). I am tempted to give the set five stars simply because it is a wonderful day to see these films back in print, but realistically I had to take it down a notch as there a couple of negative considerations, the most obvious of which, of course, is the absence of "Return of the Pink Panther" from the collection, ostensibly because of legal hang-ups. Whatever the cause, the absence of the first of the 1970s-era "Panthers" is sorely missed. The other minor negative is the relative absence of special features on the movie DVDs, although the original "Pink Panther" has a wonderful trivia track. I would have really loved commentary tracks with Blake Edwards and some of the actors. I am somewhat ambivalent on the extremely unusual packaging the set comes in. It is hard to adequately describe the case, but suffice it to say that removing half of the DVDs is annoyingly difficult, although it looks very stylish.
On the positive end, you get four great "Panther" movies and the bodged-together "Trail of the Pink Panther", plus a disk of extras. Some people have dismissed the extras disk as inconsequential, but I rather enjoyed it. I particularly liked the documentary "The Pink Panther Story" which was heavy on interviews and insight. I had no idea that Sellers hated "A Shot in the Dark", whereas I (and many others) think it is a perfect movie in every way. I knew that Sellers could be somewhat Mercurial to work with, but I had no idea, for instance, that he had certain colors that he would not tolerate around him, and in fact made the producers of one of the movies once repaint a train because he couldn't stand the color! Also on the disk is a documentary about the animated Panther, which is quite interesting, as well as several of the short subject cartoons, which seem selected at random. They did include the Oscar winning "Pink Phink", the first cartoon short of the Pink Panther, which was an excellent choice. "Psychedelic Pink" included an annoying laugh track, and "Pinkfinger" was one of the weaker of the cartoons, which I have great recollection of from childhood. Interestingly enough, there are two related subject cartoons, one each of the Ant and the Aardvark, and The Inspector (in a fairly weak episode) to round out the extra disk.
This is a great set overall, with just a couple of things bringing it down to a four rating. I recommend it to all "Panther" fans everywhere, and to anyone who loves to laugh.

Architecture of Today
Architecture of Today
by Andreas C. Papadakis
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 6.55

2.0 out of 5 stars Uneven And Light On Content, July 12 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Architecture of Today (Paperback)
I expected this book to be better. It isn't actually bad; it just isn't up to the standard of critical architectural writing now commonly available. The book is a large format coffee table book, with a very inviting cover. Inside you will largely find many color pictures of several buildings the authors consider significant, although I frequently disagree with their appraisals of individual projects. There are some truly breathtaking projects illustrated, my favorite of which is the Ackerberg House in Malibu, California, though there are several other worthy projects depicted such as the Stockholm University Library and some of Itsuko Hasegawa's greatest Japanese homes in Tokyo and Shizuoka, Japan.
Unfortunately, the book does not pick uniformly excellent or even representative works to showcase. Some of the most garish and hideous examples of contemporary architecture imaginable are illustrated in this book, such as the grotesque Lloyds Building (London), which appears to have taken its form from that of a refinery, the mind-bogglingly ugly INIST Documentation Centre (Nancy, France), which appears to be the work of nomadic architects trying to redefine a tent as high art, and the most ungainly building of all, the Renault Distribution Centre in Swindon, England, which looks like a giant anthropomorphic caterpillar walking across otherwise beautiful English countryside.
Taken in combination with the text, which is Spartan and not particularly enlightening, I think that this book had great potential, but withered on the vine. Some of the book is great, but the bulk is merely bland, and some is downright awful.
Although there are some good features in the book, overall it only deserves two stars in my estimation: there are just too many other truly excellent books on modern architecture available to bother with this.

Monster In The Closet
Monster In The Closet
DVD ~ Donald Grant
2 used & new from CDN$ 41.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick! Grab The Xylophone And The Kazoo!, July 11 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Monster In The Closet (DVD)
This rare film, made with lots of personal sacrifice from the cast and crew, is well worth the effort to seek out. "Monster In The Closet" is a satire of formulaic monster movies, and is done with great wit and charm on a low budget. The story concerns a mysterious set of serial murders in which all victims are killed in their closets. Early victims include the horror movie institution, John Carradine, this time as a cranky blind man who gets eaten.
A spittoon-toting Sheriff (Claude Akins) tries to defeat the monster while ignoring scientific counsel from scientists Denise Dubarry and Henry Gibson. Gibson is particularly entertaining as a half-baked forgetful professor who thinks he can communicate with the creature via a xylophone (he can, as it turns out, not that it does him any good), and is forever prattling on about a frog he once found. The male lead is Donald Grant, who does a great job as the naive 'Pretty Boy' reporter sent to cover the story as harassment by veteran reporter "Scoop" played by Frank Ashmore. I have never been as pleased in a movie as when Grant stands up to Ashmore.
When the creature finally does show up it is a gross looking kind of excrement monster with a second sub-head in a spoof of "Alien", which actually can be communicated with. In the end not only does Gibson get to chat with the creature via the xylophone, but Grant gets to chat via kazoo, as well. The Army seems powerless to do anything, a romance subplot flourishes, and we get to what would seem to be the climactic scene of the film. There is a great twist in the last 15 minutes, which I did not see coming, and probably most other people won't either. Suffice it to say, it is silly, involves a lot of property mutilation that I would not want to explain to my Homeowner's policy issuer, love, self-sacrifice (sort of), and hope springing eternal. (And ultimately a lot of expensive remodeling.)
The film is a great, cheesy, fun movie to watch (best with friends) and I highly recommend it. Troma distributes it, but did not produce it, so it is not typical Troma fare. It is not particularly violent (except the scenes of violent closet disruption and some Army efforts at the grade school) or gory (well, OK, the monster mouth is pretty nasty), has little objectionable except one fairly gratuitous scene of Stella Stevens in an excellent "Psycho" parody, and is just plain fun.
Watch a great low budget movie and see why B Movies can be so much fun. Grab "Monster In The Closet" today!

The Revenge of the Pink Panther (Widescreen/Full Screen)
The Revenge of the Pink Panther (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Peter Sellers
Offered by CanadianPickers
Price: CDN$ 36.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 4.48

4.0 out of 5 stars "Inflatable Goiters? Yes, The Valentine's Day Collection.", July 11 2004
I am an enormous Peter Sellers fan, and love the whole "Pink Panther" series, but while still funny, this is not one of my favorite outings. Sellers is back as Jacques Clouseau, and this time is taking on "The French Connection" crime organization in the midst of a huge heroin transaction that takes them from France to Hong Kong. Robert Webber plays Philippe Douvier, chief of the organization, and while he is smooth, the interactions are more forced and formulaic than in the other "Panther" films. This time the beautiful vixen is played by Dyan Cannon (as Simone Legree), and series stalwart Burt Kwouk returns as the always helpful Cato (who starts his own business for a new twist...)
Also returning (somehow) is the wonderful Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, although some suspension of belief is needed for the continuity to work inasmuch as he was last seen in "Strikes Again" being atomized by the doomsday machine. Notwithstanding that continuity gaffe, Lom gives the best performance of the film, and in fact single-handedly rescues this installment from a three star rating by virtue of the sublime funeral scene in which he has to give the giggling eulogy for "Clouseau" in what must be one of the funniest scenes ever caught on film.
Here the plot seems very contrived and the screenplay devolves frequently to only modestly amusing puns. Clouseau's disguise designer, for instance, is named "Auguste Balls", and you can see the hilarity that can result. Pretty grade school level, I'm afraid. Also devolving into tedium is the seemingly eternal chase scene at the close of the film, which looks like something the Three Stooges would have done, and set to extremely repetitive, annoying, whistle-laden vaudeville slapstick music. I remember seeing this a long time ago and thinking this scene lasted too long, but this time I actually started thumbing through a magazine to pass the time until it was over.
This movie is funny, and I do recommend it, with a couple of caveats. First, it is recommended only to people who are already fans of the series, and second, it is recommended only to those with patience to muddle through a bit more tedium than is typical of the rest of the "Pink Panther" films.

Understanding Buildings: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Understanding Buildings: A Multidisciplinary Approach
by Esmond Reid
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.55
17 used & new from CDN$ 2.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Hyperboloid Of Revolution, July 10 2004
This book was written mainly for aspiring architects and civil engineers, and covers almost all types of building systems thoroughly. It is very detailed and has separate chapters for important topics such as structure, climate services, lighting, acoustics, fire safety, etc. Although the author largely stays away from mathematics, he is always clear and concise in dealing even with complex analytical problems. As an example I would give his excellent treatment of two and three-hinged portals, and the fascinating parallels he draws between the engineering ideal of arches and the different types of portals. He covers all major construction techniques from timber platform frame construction (generally of houses), to more complex forms such as the hyperbolic paraboloid (opposed double curvature), and the esoteric "hyperboloid of revolution", the opposed double curvature architecture (almost always in concrete) common in power station cooling towers.
His writing on accessory systems such as heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and fire detection and prevention are both introductory and comprehensive. In all areas from structure to systems he is careful to explain real-world rationale in an approachable format that is both thorough and easy to understand.
This book is wonderful. It should be read by every student in engineering or architecture school (the section in chapter one on stresses is of enormous value to technical students), and I would further recommend it to practicing professionals as an excellent conceptual 'refresher course' of real world building systems wisdom. This is an excellent book.

Understanding Buildings: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Understanding Buildings: A Multidisciplinary Approach
by Esmond Reid
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.55
17 used & new from CDN$ 2.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Architectural And Engineering Primer, July 10 2004
This book was written mainly for aspiring architects and civil engineers, and covers almost all types of building systems thoroughly. It is very detailed and has separate chapters for important topics such as structure, climate services, lighting, acoustics, fire safety, etc. Although the author largely stays away from mathematics, he is always clear and concise in dealing even with complex analytical problems. As an example I would give his excellent treatment of two and three-hinged portals, and the fascinating parallels he draws between the engineering ideal of arches and the different types of portals. He covers all major construction techniques from timber platform frame construction (generally of houses), to more complex forms such as the hyperbolic paraboloid (opposed double curvature), and the esoteric "hyperboloid of revolution", the opposed double curvature architecture (almost always in concrete) common in power station cooling towers.
His writing on accessory systems such as heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and fire detection and prevention are both introductory and comprehensive. In all areas from structure to systems he is careful to explain real-world rationale in an approachable format that is both thorough and easy to understand.
This book is wonderful. It should be read by every student in engineering or architecture school (the section in chapter one on stresses is of enormous value to technical students), and I would further recommend it to practicing professionals as an excellent conceptual 'refresher course' of real world building systems wisdom. This is an excellent book.

Live in Chicago
Live in Chicago
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 32.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ledge Rocks The House, July 9 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Live in Chicago (Audio CD)
I have been a fan of The Ledge since I was first introduced to "Paralyzed" many years ago. I had no idea that so many other people found The Ledge fascinating and entertaining until recently and I think that is a wonderful thing. Some will find his music confusing or hard to appreciate, but if you can see the beauty of it, it is timeless. I think that I have a complete catalog of Ledge material, but have never seen him live. This CD is the best simulation of that experience available. The band is great and The Ledge is in fine form, featuring not only brilliant vocalizations, but excellent trumpet work (the solo on "Paralyzed" is still one of the most entertaining bits of musical genius in history).
Standouts include not only the very up-tempo version of "Ghost riders In The Sky" to open the show, but also (of course) "Paralyzed", and "Standing In A Trashcan (Thinking Of You)". The sound quality is good, and the audience is very enthusiastic.
The Ledge isn't for everybody, but if you like borderline insanity in a live Psychobilly act, this CD can't be beat!

Pearl Harbor:Legacy Of The
Pearl Harbor:Legacy Of The
DVD ~ Tom Brokaw
Price: CDN$ 19.95
15 used & new from CDN$ 17.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Made, Yet Painful To Watch, July 8 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Pearl Harbor:Legacy Of The (DVD)
Nobody who has been to Pearl Harbor and the 'Arizona' memorial is untouched by the experience. I had always wanted to visit it since I was a child, and finally did so in 2002. Even after all the planning and anticipation, it was still far more emotional and moving that I could have imagined. This DVD is like that, too, although on a smaller scale. Even if you have read about Pearl Harbor, this documentary still has the power to draw tears to the eyes of viewers.
The DVD is multifaceted. In part it showcases Bob Ballard and his quest for a Japanese midget sub. That is interesting enough, but that isn't the real attraction of the documentary. The more important part of the film are images of the December 7, 1941 attack, the haunting footage of the 'Arizona' as she is now (including unbelievable interior shots), and most powerfully of all, the interviews with Pearl Harbor survivors. There are also some interactive maps, a behind the scenes feature and extended survivor interviews as bonus features.
I really must emphasize the importance of the survivor interviews. These interviews are unstructured, and they tell the audience what they think is important. It is all important. I can't imagine that anyone can listen to these men recount their experiences without feeling a huge debt of gratitude to them. They are true American heroes. This DVD is about sacrifice and the things that are good about the United States. It is hard to watch what they went through, but it is important that we never forget.
Buy this DVD and remember the lessons of Pearl Harbor.

Airbus A300
Airbus A300
by Gunter Endres
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 52.67

5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Overview Of The A-300, July 8 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Airbus A300 (Paperback)
I am a fan of the "Airliner Color History" series, and believe they all offer something valuable to an aviation historian. This volume deals with the development of the A-300, and traces the evolution of Airbus as an organization in the early years. I have no personal knowledge of the A-300, although I am very favorably disposed to the later Airbus products (particularly from my experiences flying the A-320). This book is a valuable reference for people interested in the pioneering Airbus, the A-300 (which is still being built today, albeit as the A-300-600).
The book includes a well written section on systems, contains an operators list, production list, and accident list, and assorted other information (technical advances, Zero-G simulator, Beluga, etc.) While I don't think this is the best of the series (the Birtles L-1011 book is easily the best in the "Airliner Color History" series), I still think it is very well done, and although I can't personally vouch for the technical accuracy in this volume, Gunter Endres writes in an authoritarian and informative manner, and seems eminently credible. I recommend it to anyone interested in early Airbus history or the A-300 specifically.

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