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sml17 "music & film afficionado" (Pleasantville, USA)

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Gospel Sound
Gospel Sound
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 38.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 22.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive historical anthology of gospel roots, Sept. 28 2003
This review is from: Gospel Sound (Audio CD)
I acquired this as an LP set while at university in 1980. The tracks are arranged chronologically, and illustrate the remarkable progression of African-American spiritual music as recorded on Columbia records. This label is remarkable in that, beginning in the early part of the 20th century, it developed an extensive library of various American music forms. Not only is this compilation a good primer for gospel neophytes, but it is also essential for anyone involved in religious music -- particularly gospel music history. Pick this set up quickly, before it goes out of print again!

Jesus of Nazareth (Full Screen) [2 Discs] [Import]
Jesus of Nazareth (Full Screen) [2 Discs] [Import]
DVD ~ Robert Powell
Offered by The Book Depository
Price: CDN$ 12.40
28 used & new from CDN$ 8.18

5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive film Christ, without special effects, Sept. 9 2003
Franco Zefirelli, a one-time opera director, entered the "classical" film subjects with "Romeo & Juliet", and reached his epic apex with this miniseries, trimmed down to 6 hours, from reportedly dozens of hours of finished footage. Is any of that other footage still about? Let's get it out!!What sets this film apart from all others is the acting, the fidelity to the main story, and the spectacular locations and cinematography. Sure, "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "King Of Kings" (both versions), "Last Temptation", etc. have their moments, but this production -- a joint British and Italian job -- surpasses them all. [...] There are few films I've done that with! Even if you are an agnostic film fan, this is some of the best historical filmmaking ever released. Sell your golden calves and buy this product.

The Beatles Anthology
The Beatles Anthology
DVD ~ The Beatles
Price: CDN$ 106.49
28 used & new from CDN$ 61.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty definitive -- a must for serious fans, Sept. 9 2003
This review is from: The Beatles Anthology (DVD)
The Beatles were/are inarguably the most popular and influential rock & roll/pop group in the short history of modern music. Their influence spanned generations, fashion, film, and culture. This DVD anthology set illustrates why. What's good about this presentation is that the Beatles themselves narrate their own history as well as comment on how they influenced the world. Naturally, they don't go into WHY. They're rather humble, and they aren't sociologists anyway. There are only 2 flaws: first is that there is such a lack of post-Beatles Lennon footage -- he did some good TV interviews, and only snippets appear here. Second is that this could have been an "Exhaustive" collection by presenting ALL the music videos these guys did. But then perhaps that's the NEXT project on the Apple agenda. Let's hope so. I'd love to see their music videos (then called "promo clips" or "promo films") from '63 thru the mid-70s (the Capitol contract era).

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Full Screen) (The Criterion Collection)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Full Screen) (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Maria Falconetti
Price: CDN$ 42.99
17 used & new from CDN$ 30.20

4.0 out of 5 stars An apparently brilliant restoration of a rare treasure, Aug. 8 2003
I read the hype on this re-discovery a few years ago, and was curious about seeing it. As a fan of silent films and having some knowledge of religion ... Not disappointed! Artsy (direction-wise), melodramatic (in a positive, theatrical sense), atmospheric (particularly the oratorio used to score it), and historical (based on transcripts from the "trial"). The only things I didn't like were the historical truths it portrayed (a judgemental and spiritually bankrupt panel of monk-judges, a dreamy, inarticulate defendant). A must for religious people -- the filmmaker draws obvious parallels between the passion of Christ and that of Jeanne D'Arc. A must for film history/silent/art house fans for its directorial style and spare ambience. DVD also features documentaries on the restoration and the music. Buy it.

Sounds Of Summer: Very Best Of the Beach Boys
Sounds Of Summer: Very Best Of the Beach Boys
Price: CDN$ 8.00
35 used & new from CDN$ 5.33

2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete, just as Beatles 1 is incomplete, July 16 2003
"It's OK" missing? NOT okay! Their best 45 release in the 70s, and a personal favourite for Mike "Ego" Love's lyrics: "Lookin' Good Down The Hood Of A Funky Ride, On The Way To The Tide Just To Tan Yer Hide...."There are rumours that a two CD set is being compiled on the BBs, featuring 40 top 40 international hits. Wait for it instead. This gets two stars because it would be a good purchase for neophytes -- or as a gift for Christmas, birthdays, etc. If you're serious about learning the BBs' legacy, pick up GH 1, 2, and 3. Or buy the box set.By the way, for those not "in the know" about the Beatles, they had a handful of other #1 hits worldwide, including the posthumous "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird". Beatles 1 should've been two -- CDs, that is.

Sounds of Summer
Sounds of Summer
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 23.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 18.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, if incomplete, BB trivia disc, June 23 2003
This review is from: Sounds of Summer (Audio CD)
Yes, this CD single features the famous Beach Boys Medley -- that is, the American 45 rpm single version -- which hit the top 20 or something in 1981. At the time, it was a pretty well-mixed medley of original Beach Boys hits from 15 to 20 years earlier, manufactured no doubt to compete with the then-popular "Stars On" hit single, a medley record of sound-alike musicians and singers covering the Beatles, etc.This CD single is given 4 stars for 2 reasons: first, it's the Beach Boys, so everyone should buy it regardless; also, it's a trivia single, not found on any other CD. It only got 4 stars because it SHOULD have included the 12" version of the Medley, as well as the 12" Ballad Medley, both of which were released on vinyl in Japan. Sham(e) on Capitol for not including those two gems as well.

Good Timin: Live At Knebworth, England 1980
Good Timin: Live At Knebworth, England 1980
Price: CDN$ 15.25
24 used & new from CDN$ 2.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the last live album by these legends, June 12 2003
True, this was recorded 23 years ago, and yet the sound quality and performances are tight and fun. Keep in mind that while the Beach Boys lost favour in the states from 1967 on, they continued to be extremely popular in Britain and throughout Europe for the rest of their careers. For me and some of my closest BB friends, this CD is extremely welcome: for some time I've had homemade off-the-TV recordings of the BBs' 7/4/80 show, in which Mike Love's vocals are unusually off-key, and their 7/5/81 show, in which Brian fails at carrying the vocals on many songs because Carl was touring solo to promote his own album. This tour was THE LAST to promote fresh material. Beginning in the 80s the BBs mainly did the "Endless Summer" tour, sprinkling a rarity here and there among an oldies set. The only lack in this CD is Bruce Johnston's solo piano cover of "I Write The Songs", which was apparently added to the set list shortly after this. Buy this, or better -- buy the DVD instead, hook your TV up to the stereo, and enjoy watching the performance as well.

American Band & I Just Wasn't Made for These Times [Import]
American Band & I Just Wasn't Made for These Times [Import]
DVD ~ Brian Wilson
Price: CDN$ 16.90
29 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars First BB documentary paired with recent BW doc is a deal, Feb. 26 2003
I flipped in 1985 when the first BB doc, "An American Band" came out. It had great archival footage and music, told the story (although skipping Manson, Blondie & Ricki, and their 70s output), and was reminiscent of the poorly titled "Compleat Beatles", out a few years earlier. What's good about this doc, like the later, superior "Endless Harmony", is that the BBs themselves are key participants in the storytelling. Don Was' B&W art doc, "I Just Wasn't Made...", is equally rewarding. Some important (and a few inconsequential) interviewees dish on Brian -- Linda Ronstadt notably shows she's intelligent with a psychological/sociological awareness, and Graham Nash (a likeable fellow) makes a fatal trivia mistake: "When was 'In My Room'? Was it '66?" No, dude, you're 3 years late. I've seen both the enclosed pan-n-scan version of IJWMFTT as well as the letterbox version. Sadly, the former is featured here, and that pegs the package down a notch. AAB has been improved over the original VHS in that the Pet Sounds sound clips are now replaced by the recently released stereo mix, and the opening and closing credits feature the stirring "Surf's Up" playing over film footage of a surfer in a tasty wave. But another notch down because of its inferiority to the "Endless Harmony" doc. Buy it, but as soon as you find IJWMFTT in widescreen and the aforementioned EH doc, trade this one in.

Brainwashed
Brainwashed
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 171.58
6 used & new from CDN$ 34.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Horse's last trot comes in by a length, Nov. 22 2002
This review is from: Brainwashed (Audio CD)
Over the last several years friends and colleagues would ask me about my opinion/taste with regard to the post-Beatle solo albums. Sure, I like each former member of the Fabs. Ringo's records are at times finger-snapping commercial pop, or excellent country-western ditties, or needless filler. Paul's records are consistently good, with frequent glimpses of the genius composer/musician he is. John's records were either ear-splittingly angry or heartwarmingly beautiful. And George's records are the most consistently polished and tasteful body of work by any artist in rock history -- including the laryngitic vocals on "Dark Horse". True, his choices of the original Phil Spector and the new Phil Spector -- Jeff Lynne -- have proved mindblowing, but even if this were a collection of acoustic demos the playing, singing and writing would still be there. It's becoming well-known that George retired, over the past decade, to his gardens and ukelele collection (that was my first instrument, by the way), and apparently family life. Buy this CD because it IS a continuation of the craftsmanship of Cloud Nine and the previous albums. "Devil & The Deep Blue Sea" is the excellent bow that Harrison has taken over many albums to the vast ouvre of pre-Sinatra American ditties, and would've been at least the B-side to a 45 (if we still had 'em). Biting wit, corny charm, that trademark voice and guitar style...what more can one ask?How about a bonus DVD showing a clip of the abovementioned song, interviews with Beatle George lookalike winner and son Dhani, co-producer and co-Wilbury Jeff Lynne, longtime skin-beater Jim Keltner, and The Reclusive One himself. This package is a blessing. If further archive material comes out, IT MUST BE of this production and artistic caliber!

UHF (Widescreen)
UHF (Widescreen)
DVD ~ 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Offered by niff78
Price: CDN$ 49.97
13 used & new from CDN$ 10.88

3.0 out of 5 stars Music video trailblazer goes for the big screen, Nov. 2 2002
This review is from: UHF (Widescreen) (DVD)
Sure, Wierd Al has had mega success in Grammy Award-winning parody albums, and MTV Award-winning parody videos, but what about a full-length film?Well, here are a few comments: this is a film venture not just for Al, whose slapstick vignettes and commercial/TV parodies really hit well, but also for Michael Richards, Seinfeldian-to-be. Richards is spectacular as a downtrodden janitor who saves the cable channel as a wacky kid-show host; bit parter Emo Phillips needed a bigger role to accentuate his bizarre persona, and the flimsy plot takes away from what should have been an episodic film, not unlike Animal House and Fast Times. Like the latter, this film would've done better without a plot at all.This DVD release only gets a 3 not just because of the weak plot, but also because the one I bought had pan-n-scan on one side of the DVD, and allegedly widescreen on the other. There is no widescreen on my copy, and I'm disappointed. Buy, rent, watch, borrow this fim, however, for the great music, great slapstick (remember the clip of Richards aiming a potent fire hose at a young tyke's opened mouth, and the child flying across the set?), and Al's own performance knowing that he's funny and that he's not an actor. He seemed to move through this film as though saying, in subtitles with an implied smirk, "Hey -- I know I'm not really an actor, but I'm funny. And I'm rich enough to do this." Well done, Al; what's next for you in film?

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