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guillermoj (Washington, DC United States)

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The Eyes of Tammy Faye [Import]
The Eyes of Tammy Faye [Import]
DVD ~ RuPaul
Price: CDN$ 19.34
18 used & new from CDN$ 12.05

3.0 out of 5 stars Tammy Faye rocks and I wish could have liked this more, June 17 2004
I had been waiting to see this documentary on DVD for a very long time as Tammy Faye was such a cult and controversial figure in the 1980s, who has since then shown that behind all that caked on make-up there is a genuine person who walks the talk by embracing everyone, which is more than I can say for most of us, self included at times. Is she flawed? Heck yes. Was she guilty of illegal actions? Possibly, even if only by association. Is she vain? Absolutely. Is she over the top? Without a doubt; notwithstanding this documentary is less a fully researched character analysis, than cursory homage to a lady who obviously touched the hearts of the filmmakers and wound up falling under her hard to resist appeal.

Stumbling upon the public Tammy Faye is like trying to look away from an accident, and I don't mean this disrespectfully. It one of those scenarios in which you know that you should probably look away or move on, but you just can't take your eyes of her, whether she's playing with hand puppets on TV, sharing beauty tips, crying her eyes out through her allegedly water-proof mascara, or simply talking to the camera. If there was ever someone who want meant to be on TV, it is Tammy Faye and the documentary makes it clear that she is/was a natural and a hard-worker from the very beginning. We are shown a plethora of Tammy memorabilia and television footage that is at first a hoot to see, but starts to get repetitive, even if the documentary only last 78 minutes. There are many classic Tammy moments, best exemplified in a segment in which she is introducing her then PTL TV audience to male dysfunction paraphernalia.

In a nutshell "The Eyes Of Tammy Faye" is a loving look at a woman who does not look very smart in conventional terms, yet has had a life that would seem like fiction is it were not true. Although some critics wanted to see a more balanced view of Tammy Faye, I was not bothered by its obvious partisanship. What was missing was a structure and footage that would elevate this story to a more interesting level than a run of the mill E! star profile. Even the "Surreal Life" on the WB showed more about Tammy Faye than this documentary does. The attempts to address her past show little imagination and are quite shoddy. Any documentary about Tammy must show the air conditioned doggie houses as well as the interest and impact as reflected in an interview with Ted Coppell that was MAJOR water cooler material in its time.
Tammy Faye is way more interesting than what this documentary shows and has an undeniable appeal that I can attest to as I had the good fortune to literally walk up to Tammy Faye and her second husband in the streets of New York City only minutes before this documentary had its NYC premiere. Believe it or not, Tammy Faye looked petite and pretty in an almost conventional fashion as she signed autographs for fans on old Tammy Faye LPs that they brought and smiled for the cameras. Every time one goes to New York City one winds up seeing someone in the media, but few have given me as much giddy joy as seeing this little lady doing her thing for the huge crowd of well wishers. I could have watched her for hours, yet this documentary somehow misses the mark as it does not quite get the essence of Tammy nor does it camp it up enough to be seen as satire. It earns 3 stars from me just because of the subject matter and old footage that is great (check out those 1980s duds, hairdos, and the truth behind those lashes) yet quite representative of a particular place and time. Someone PLEASE give this woman another chance to be herself on TV as she is a riot and although she would not let anyone know it, I get the feeling that she understands her appeal and is in on all the jokes.

Simone (Widescreen / Fullscreen) [Import]
Simone (Widescreen / Fullscreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Al Pacino
Offered by eplayplay
Price: CDN$ 19.90
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars A wealth of riches that should have been so much better, June 14 2004
Andrew Niccol, writer of director's Peter Weir's highly entertaining and thought-provoking "The Truman Show" takes the helm by directing what I see as an interesting and recurring theme in his work. In both "Truman" and "Simone," Niccol seems postulate that we accept almost everything in our lives without close examination. He goes further to theorize that sometimes what we tend to believe what we are shown even more that what we see for ourselves even if we take the time for a cursory examination. This perspective is particularly appropriate with regard as to how we are in such awe of celebrities and think that whatever they do is worth reading/talking about.
In my opinion, he's on to something, but although "Simone" begins with an interesting premise, Niccol squanders the opportunity and the end result is neither thought-provoking, sufficiently funny, or ever believable at any level even as satire. Although I generally hate to give anything away about the movies that I review, I will get into the main premise, so if you know nothing about this movie, you may want to skip the rest of the review. The movie starts out with much promise as director Viktor Taransky (played by the always great to watch Al Pacino) is having major issues with his impossible to please leading lady Nicola Anders (played with over the top gusto by Winona Rider). Since Nicola believes that she's not being treated like the star that she is, she walks out of the movie before it is finished due to what will be termed the usual "creative differences," even though it's all about ego.
At this point the movie had me hooked as I started to anticipate a satire/spoof of Hollywood a la "The Player" or the creation of an alternate universe a la "The Truman Show," or even better something that would up the ante on both. Regrettably, what follows is a mess. Due to circumstances that are best left unrevealed, Viktor is able to create "Simone," a computer generated actress who does not act like a diva and winds up charming all of Hollywood. It still sounds like it has potential, does it not?
Well, not when the movie never makes a convincing case that Simone is a good actress (in fact her scenes are not very good, but with only one exception, they don't seem to be intended to be funny) or on the other hand the movie does not make the case that her universal appeal might due to her beauty or any "X" factor that it was computer generated that somehow convinced or hypnotized people overlook her obvious lack of talent.
What follows are many attempts to be "zany" as everyone wants a piece of Simone, but that can't happen since she's not real; notwithstanding Vikotr attempts to give the people what they want in ways thar are not as funny or suspenseful as they could have been. Then the movie totally runs out of the little steam it generated entirely by rounding up the story in such a sappy and absolutely unsatisfying way, that you wind up feeling not only bored but cheated.
The performances are good all across. Catherine Keener plays Viktor's ex-wife with great aplomb and Evan Rachel Wood (a future superstar) plays his daughter. Winona Ryder also appears later in the movie and has a scene with Pacino that simply steals the movie; however in the end the story and its execution are so ridiculous that it's impossible to take the characters or their situations seriously or even laugh with/at them. Accordingly if you don't buy what you are seeing nor care what happens, it is a clear sign that the movie has failed even at a base level. It's a shame to see such an interesting premise with such a talented cast totally wasted.
As it stands Niccol does not do anything to further or make fun of a technological practice that is already with us to different degrees. First came actors doing their thing in front blue screens to enhance action/suspense movies. Then came the ability to create of masses of people via just a few to add magnitude to certain scenes/movies requiring scale. Just recently an integral character in "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy was the result of a marriage of an actor and computer animation, and there was talk of an Oscar nomination for the actor "part" of the character. Simone is already with us, but she would not be receiving double Oscar nominations for her feeble seductions in the real world, nor does the movie create one to make such a premise possible.
I give "Simone" 2 stars only because of Winona Ryder's short but vital scenes and because the cast is top-notch even as the movie falls deeper and deeper into a third rate sitcom. I hope that Niccol's next project is more than just a concept as I am sure that the mind that wrote "The Truman Show" is capable of taking a premise and making it work within its own universe.

Shattered Glass [Import]
Shattered Glass [Import]
DVD ~ Hayden Christensen
Price: CDN$ 12.88
31 used & new from CDN$ 1.27

5.0 out of 5 stars One of 2003's very best movies. Highly recommended, June 10 2004
This review is from: Shattered Glass [Import] (DVD)
This is a gem of a movie, which is among 2003's very best, should have received more commercial, acclaim than it did when it was initially released. Although I did not see it during its theatrical run, am I ever glad that I listened to a friend of mine who loved the movie when he saw it at the movies. It's so good that I am going to buy it and I am not a big DVD buyer.
Although many of you are already familiar with this hard to believe true story, as it received much press and even appeared in the television show "60 Minutes," nothing you've heard can prepare you for this movie as its strength lies in its sublime acting, and even more importantly in the way the story is framed by writer and first time director Billy Ray in such a way that makes for a quite a suspenseful and thrilling ride.
Possible spoiler ahead, but does not reveal too much! However, if you've never heard of Steven Glass or the events that this movie chronicles, you may want jump to the next paragraph as not knowing anything in advance could make your movie experience may even more pleasurable (if that is even possible). In a nutshell the movie tells the story of a journalist at The New Republic" magazine, who had the unique talent to come up with and chronicle colorful stories that were a shot in the arm to a traditional magazine that was a must read mainly for policy-makers (yes, even Presidents) and other politicos. Even those of you who know that Mr. Glass will not be remembered for his reporting but for the series of events that led to his ultimate downfall, will enjoy what is in essence a universal story about ambition, power, manipulation, reinvention and that we should not always believe what hear or even see in print. This message is especially important with the advent of the internet.
For those who skipped the previous paragraph, it's safe to read now. The movie brilliantly chronicles the ups and downs of a young journalist (played by Hayden Christensen in one of the year's best and underlooked performances) of a high-brow political magazine. At the start I mention that the movie's main strength lies in the manner in which it frames the movie, and I won't give it away.
One interesting fact that you will find out in the director's commentary (which is an invaluable extra on this DVD) about the movie's greatest strength is that was originally not told in its eventual framework and was a last minute decision made when the original structure failed to impress anyone, including the director himself. From seeing the movie, you'd never know that to be the case, and it's one of those inside stories that to me represent the very best of DVD extras. If it had not been for an additional couple of days of shooting after the initial wrap, we could have seen what I think would still be a great movie, but certainly not as good as what we get to see. While the release has no deleted scenes or outtakes (which is for the best as there is usually a reason for their exclusion from a film), I was overjoyed to hear the director's commentary over the entire movie as it is a lesson in filmmaking from a guy who was directing his very first movie. The commentary was so interesting that I wound up in essence seeing the whole movie twice as I saw it and immediately jumped into the commentary and I could not stop until it ended. Thank God that the movie is very tight an just a little over 90 minutes.
As I indicated above, Hayden Christensen's performance as Stephen Glass is as good as there was during 2003 and shows that he's not a one trick pony. He should in no way be judged solely on his wooden work in the underwhelming "Star Wars" series as there must be a dumbing down bacteria in water of where George Lucas is filming this trilogy. Peter Sarsgaard who portrays Chuck Lane, Glass' editor of The New Republic, gives one of the most nuanced and brilliant performances ever captured on film. He plays a guy you want to dislike but you just might find yourself rooting for before the movie ends. Sarsgaard would have been a major movie star in the '70s, yet I hold hope that this performance makes other directors see what a goldmine he is. The performances would be considered outstanding even if they were not based on real people, but become much more brilliant when one considers how hard it is to walk the line between caricature and an honest portrayal of real people, especially when some of the real people in the story were actually present during the making of this film.
There is really not a single performance that is not solid and it shows what great things can happen when a writer-director gives his all and is supported not only by a great cast but a crew that makes him look so masterful. In the commentary Ray gives specific credit to several experts in their field who also supported him as a first time director. Even as a seasoned movie buff, I was surprised at my lack of appreciation of the people who make good directors look even better. Whether it's lighting, framing, scouting, or casting, the commentary made me want to know much more about the role of the people who we never get the public recognition that those in the forefront do. The director's commentary (maybe out of homage to journalism) highlights the few artistic liberties that he took in making this movie, which were supported by Chuck Lane, who also comments and expands on the words of Billy Ray.
The last 5 minutes of the movie are worth seeing time and time again. Although this may not mean anything right know, pay close attention to the group of people that Glass is speaking to as there is more than irony in those scenes. No, there is no big shock that is revealed, but something entirely more subtle and honest to the movie's structure. This is a must-see film which easily earns 5 stars.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars What I hope is balanced review of the hard to top Volume 1, June 10 2004
Although I am probably going to get many "Not Helpful" review ratings, I was disappointed by the follow up to the absolutely brilliant Kill Bill Volume 1. When I came out of seeing Volume 1, I could not stop reliving the amazing sequences, choreography, humor, music, and fundamental originality from one of my favorite directors. While some critics dismissed Vol. 1 as all show and no substance, I for one believe that there is ample room for movies to create their own universe. The elegance of the fight sequences (especially the heavenly final bout between the characters played by Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu) are worth the price of admission. One could argue that Tarentino was showing off, but he has the craft to do so and make an audience take notice. But enough about Kill Bill Volume 1 and on to Volume 2.
I went in to see Volume 2 with high expectations and had heard that the movie was less visceral and more cerebral than its predecessor, which seemed to please those who had found Volume 1 to lack heart. While it's hard to disagree with that, I for one found myself wanting to like this movie so much, yet not being able to do so for extended periods of time.
The Good:
Uma Thurman's role in Volume 2 requires even more of her, both physically and in emotional terms and she nails all of her scenes.
Quentin Tarantino's stylized direction is simply a marvel. He changes not only hues but styles and genres that are homages to his heroes but never rips them off. The black and white scenes are gorgeous, especially the one in which The Bride exits the chapel to meet Bill for the first time in this movie. The light and absolute stillness of the camera elevates that scene to high art.
The fight sequences, while not anywhere as outrageous and colorful, as those in Volume 1, are a marvel as they find the humor and humanity while being executed like heart surgery. There is a scene between Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen and another between Hannah and Thurman that show how to stage suspense in the smallest of scales versus those in Volume 1.
One of the most effective sequences in the movie involves one of the characters being put in a tight situation (don't want to give too much away) and how she manages to deal with it is truly a cinematic masterpiece. There is a scene basically fades to black and you hear some noises that are more frightening than anything that the "horror" genre has to offer.
Volume 2 really grounds some of the motivation for what occurred in Volume 1 and gives both The Bride and Bill valid reasons for doing what they do. Both Thurman and David Carradine shine in their scenes together and many unanswered questions get their due explanation.
The Bad
The movie spends way too much time at the beginning reminding us of what transpired in Volume 1 and I don't think it is necessary even for those who did not see Volume 1.
While some are praising Michael Madsen's performance (I've loved the actor in many of his performances, especially Reservoir Dogs and Thelma and Louise), I was bored by him and unlike the rest of the cast, he seemed to be in another movie.
Too much non-essential dialogue that took away from the narrative. Although Tarantino has a gift for dialogue as proven in Pulp Fiction and the underrated Jackie Brown, here the words seem scattered or didactic depending on the scene.
The first 40 minutes of the movie were a big yawn, and I've never ever experienced that with Tarentino. You may call it lack of sophistication on my part, but much of the "witty" dialogue at the church was not funny nor thought-provoking. Even the small details that the massacre really took place ..... instead of ..... are extraneous.
Daryl Hanah does not get enough screen time. Although I am not a big fan of hers (except in my guilty pleasure Summer Lovers), Tarantino shortchanges the fans as he has created a character that was so enticing in Volume 1 and promised to be much more prominent in Volume 2.
The Solution
While I give Volume 1 5+ stars, this one warrants 3 stars as I don't think it holds up well in and of itself. Although marketing considerations and even artistic ones made a compelling case to present this story in two parts, I think that the movie would have worked even better by trimming some scenes and releasing it as one. If Tarantino was able to work anime into Volume 1, he could have certainly worked with the arc of The Bride's "work" into one 10 star movie even if the director and Miramax executives keep insisting that it works better this way. I disagree and would have loved to see a 3 to 3  movie (it would not have been unprecedented) in which I could experience the entire journey in one sitting.
Seeing the closing credits confirmed my belief that Volume 2 would have worked better incorporated into Volume 1. Instead of having to look back at how much I enjoyed Vivica Fox, Lucy Liu, The 5-6-7-8's, (just to name a few) I could have seen the flash and the heart in one sitting. Having said this, it's never a waste to see ANY of Tarantino's work. my review just reflects that while Volume 1 can stand alone, Volume 2 did not stand alone well for me. I was still amazed and thrilled in parts, but boredom is something that one should never ever experience in a Tarantino movie as he's always putting something in every scene to keep you engaged. I can't wait for his next flick.

Price: CDN$ 10.63
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but it's time to really shake things up!! B+, June 6 2004
This review is from: Patience (Audio CD)
I am a huge Wham! fan and think that George Michael's solo debut "Faith" serves as one of the greatest and most seamless transitions that a member of a frothy but critically underappreciated "boy band" has ever made. "Faith" was such a smash commercially and critically, yet George held on to the belief that he was not being taken as seriously as an "artist" is he thought he should and decided to lower his profile and released a pretty good second release ("Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1") that downplayed the melodies and hooks, but was still a winner in my book.
While not anywhere as commercially successful as his debut, it also received critical acclaim, but this is where things got REALLY weird. George obviously had a chip on his shoulder about what constituted critical acclaim, and although he refused to actively participate in the marketing of his second release, he blamed Sony for the lackluster sales when compared to "Faith." He refused to appear on the cover of the release or appear on any promotional material, and although record companies sometimes don't have an artist's best interests in mind, I think that they marketed this release as well as possible and even managed to come up with one of George's best videos by way of "Freedom 90." Although George was nowhere to be seen on the video, in a way it is the ultimate George Michael video.
As many know George lost his long legal battle with Sony and released his third CD ("Older") a full 6 years after "Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1." "Older" continued George's focus on following his less than commercial bliss and although I really liked it, it did not sell as it should have. For reason's unknown to me, we had to wait another 8 years for George to put out "Patience," which is only his fourth release of original songs as a solo artist. It is very much in the vein of "Older." Every single song is produced flawlessly and George continues to prove to be one of his generation's best balladeers.

Of course it would be very easy for George to go write some fast paced songs in the vein that made him famous, but it seems like commercial success is less important to him than writing the type of music that seems close to his soul. I for one would like to see both Georges, one singing the heck out of energy-filled songs and the more contemplative one found in "Older" and now "Patience."
To put my review in perspective, I gave "Faith" 5 stars, both "Listen..." and "Older" earned 4 stars, and I was wavering between 3 and 4 stars for "Patience," but after a few listens it easily earns 4 stars. Don't get me wrong, listening to the release in its entirety is quite a pleasure, but George seems to be set in his ways regarding the type of music that he's is going to release. The first song "Patience" is quite beautiful, but sounds just a little too close for comfort to the more effective 'Praying For Time." "Amazing" also reminds me of a previous George song both lyrically and musically, although I like it a lot.
Other highlights for me include "Cars and Trains" as it perks things up. It's still mid-tempo, but unlike some songs it shows a very strong conviction and the accompaniment makes it stand out from the rest. Although I've already started my desire for George to do more up-tempo stuff, both "My Mother Had A Brother" and "American Angel" are gems and unlike much of today's music it tells a story and you really want to listen to the lyrics. Then comes my favorite song "Flawless (Go To The City)" a thumping anthem that I would love to have George record more of. He may think that these songs are musical tripe, but putting out good dance music is a talent in as much as his more personal stuff. "Precious Box" has an addictive ambient beat that brings something new to the production arsenal. The mid-tempo, Latin-tinged "Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo's Song)" is a beautiful song both lyrically and musically. Although "Freeek! '04" sounds a little too much like "Freedom 90" with a little "I Want Your Sex" on the side, it's still a fun song. "Through" serves as the perfect ender as it reflects that one should always have hope and although it may sound cheesy, I don't think you can hear that enough in these scary times.
Although I give this release 4 stars, I wish that George would let loose and release music without feeling that upbeat and beat-driven songs are lesser than the slow and mid-tempo songs he seems to prefer. I am glad that this release is selling very well (currently number 17 on the charts) as I thought that at best it would sell as much as "Older."
Not to beat a dead horse here, but it seems like George wants to have it both ways as he wants both critical and commercial success, yet he has not been pushing this release enough and the only two pictures in the entire CD seem to be from the "Faith" and "Older" periods. The generous inserts have these great pictures of different people, and while may have artistic merit, I wish that George would embrace both his private and public personas as I think that the byproduct would truly free him from any demons that may still haunt him from the overwhelming success and loss of privacy experienced in during the chart life of "Faith" and maybe his tenure with Wham!.

La Dona
La Dona
Price: CDN$ 10.45
35 used & new from CDN$ 1.28

4.0 out of 5 stars No nostalgia here, just an incredible talent doing her stuff, June 6 2004
This review is from: La Dona (Audio CD)
From the second that Lady T utters the line "Let 'Em Wait" in the operatic and larger than life "La Dona Intro", I started getting goose bumps. Unlike most intros this one makes a case that Teena is coming back for "La Famiglia" and she's backed by her daughter on some cool "Godfather" elements that let the listener know that something big is going to happen. Some may find the introduction to be self-serving, buy I think that it's mostly tongue in cheek and fun.
I was shocked when I first heard that Teena Marie was going to REALLY release a new CD as although she is one of my all time favorites, I was totally unaware that the songs that she'd been working on would ever see the light of day as she's been away for so long. In reading some of the reviews, which are mostly positive (with reason), I think many people's beyond high expectations will simply be hard/impossible to be met as it's hard to compete with the memory of what many may have of one of music's most talented and mysterious figures. Although her talent should never be questioned, I think that it's unfair to compare this release to any of her greatest hits releases (which are spectacular but represent the best of her best) or even worse, a singular song of hers that rocked your world. Having said that, I too had huge expectations, and they were more than met.
Teena's voice sounds EXACTLY as it did when she was at her peak, if not even better and more controlled. The song quality is great, the production is top notch, and although there are many guest stars (which is usually not a good thing), her personality and sound are never relinquished. Songs like "I'm Still In Love," (my current favorite), "Honey," "My Body's Hungry," "A Rose By Another Other Name," (with Gerald Levert playing what would have been the Rick James role if it had been recorded in the 1980s) sound absolutely contemporary but would not seem out of place in any of her early releases.
She tries some new things with songs like "Off The Chain," yet in my opinion it sounds like a natural evolution and not based of marketability or attempt to appeal to kids who have been weaned on hip-hop. I don't even mind the rap by Baby as I think it suits the song because it is incorporated, not added on to improve a bad song as is the case with many other producers. Also, let's not forget that Lady T rapped in "Square Biz," so rap is not new to her. Having said that I think that with the exception of the rap on "Off The Chain," other rap-infused songs are not up to the quality of the songs which she tackles alone and with Levert, as the one with Rick James is just OK. "Baby I'm Your Fiend," "I Love Him Too" has a neo-soul edge that suits Teena perfectly. "High Yellow Girl" and "Black Rain" have a jazzy feel that I also like "I'm On Fire" as it sounds so "Teena"'like.
This release easily earns 4 stars. The only thing that I would improve is that I would have kept out 4 or 5 of the songs because although there are not any major duds, some of the ok songs take away from the strength of a solid release. I also would have loved to have a couple of killer torch songs because this woman interprets these like few can. like I only hope that this is the beginning of more to come. Some veterans like Al Green, Patti LaBelle, Ron Isley, and Earth, Wind, and Fire have recently put out releases that are as good as anything they ever did, and Lady T has certainly joined this group. No nostalgia, just great music. Also, although irrelevant to the rating it's a pleasure to see Teena being so classy by including references to other musical talents, including some touching words to Aaliyah's mom. Another reason to call Teena Lady T.

Timeless Journey
Timeless Journey
Price: CDN$ 17.56
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Patti hits a homerun with this flawless release. WOW!!!!!, June 5 2004
This review is from: Timeless Journey (Audio CD)
I am a huge Patti Labelle fan and have bought most of her releases. The few who might be unfamiliar with her, MUST buy her greatest hits CD, which was released on MCA in 1996. It's a 5-star release and a great point of departure for the casual fan, but let's move onto Timeless Journey, which is her first release on the Island Def Jam Music Group label.
Just when I thought had gotten my arms around where Patti was heading musically, she goes on to release her best CD since 1991's "Burnin'," which is amazing as I thought that 1997's "Flame" was as good as it was going to get for Patti, as most artists with her amazing history have either resorted to releasing staid laid back adult contemporary music, or failed miserably by allowing their record companies to pair them with the latest rap star to generally produce a general mess.
I don't even know where to begin in reviewing this CD, as it's simply perfect. This 60 year-old goddess not only can out sing her younger imitators, but has surprisingly released a CD that is more current than current without for one second letting you forget that you are listening to Miss Patty. All the songs are perfect and Patti seamlessly travels through neo-soul, hip-hop, gospel, and even Latin grooves and it all fits like a glove. My favorite so song ("Unpredictable") is a gospel gem that on paper could have been a mess as it samples Nelly Furtado's "Turn Off The Light," but unlike most samples this one enhances and moves the song to places that you never see coming. This song should have been the first single, but since singles are not sales drivers these days, her new label can be forgiven. You could hear this song over and over and over (as I have) and find it even better with each listen.
Other favorites are ALL, but the lead off song "More Than Material" is a mid-tempo gem that addresses her past outrageous outfits/hair styles. I am generally not a fan of mid-tempo as I like it slow and/or jumping, but the lead off as well "It's Time," Sometimes Love" work because of the arrangements and a voice that sounds as powerful yet controlled as ever. The first single of this release "New Day," basically serves Miss Patti positive attitude no matter what happens and although there are even more radio-friendly songs, this one reflects why she's been and will be able to enjoy a timeless journey. Her voice on "Something More" starts off "relatively" restrained and she knocks it out of the ballpark even before the VOICE takes over.
'Hear My Cry" has Patti working with Floetry and the results are pure Patti with a little British seasoning that actually enhances the song, instead of taking it over. "2 Steps Away," my second favorite song (although too close to my favorite to call), has Patti soaring vocally over a sparse strings arrangement that may become one of her signature songs. The lyrics just grab you but you know that no matter how painful something is, Patti will pick herself up. Strings also dominate "Finally Got The Nerve" but it has a hip-hop/neo-soul feel that make this song quite special. If no one had never heard of Patti Labelle, critics would be knocking themselves over writing about neo-soul's next "it" girl. The CD ends with "When You Smile" and before I heard it, I was doubtful that I would like it as it's a collaboration with Carlos Santana and many others, but although upon hearing it, you will immediately know that Carlos' guitar is the driving force of this song, there is enough Patti to make me like it. It's the only song that I am still ambivalent about, but I don't remember buying a CD in recent years that I find as consistently tight as this one.
I still can't get over how good this CD is. It may be the very best of her career at a point when other treasures are either losing relevance or are totally ignored commercially. If you are a Patti fan, buying this is a no brainer, as it without a doubt a 5-star release (which I give few off for non-greatest hits collections) that is priced to buy. Instead of retailing at a mind-blowing $18.99, it was release to retail at $13.98 and you can find it much cheaper in other outlets.
If you are too young to know much about Patti Labelle, she has a soaring voice and can match or put to shame many of the younger "divas" (that word is way too overused theses days) who I am sure must have listened to Patti along the way. Not to put any other singers down, but if you liked the remake of Patti's "Lade Marmalade" by Pink, Mia, Christina, and Lil' Kim, listen to the original if you want to pipes that have withstood time. The only quibble I have with this CD is totally irrelevant, but I wish that Patti's picture on the CD itself was of the same high quality as those in the insert. Patti is so beautiful inside and out, and the print just does not cut it. But having said that, I can't complain as even though this CD is priced to sell, the inserts are very good and include detailed lyrics and pictures. I hope that this release sells like hotcakes as although Patti has never gone away, this release sounds like an arrival!

Best Of
Best Of
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 54.69
10 used & new from CDN$ 1.45

4.0 out of 5 stars So much more than just weird hair and "I Ran (So Far Away)", June 3 2004
This review is from: Best Of (Audio CD)
Although most people only remember of A Flock of Seagulls due to the lead singer's beyond scary space age hairdo and their huge single "I Ran (So Far Away)," listening to this classic new wave collection clearly shows that they were so much more than a novelty act. I should warn those who have not heard of this group that the lead singer has a somewhat robotic voice that may not be to everyone's liking, but I actually find it very melodic and soothing in a very unconventional fashion
The CD opens up with 3 songs from their debut. First we get an awesome extended instrumental intro to their biggest hit and the great sounds keep coming. Next come the infectious "Space Age Love Song" and "Telecommunication", which have hooks that will stick with you days after you hear them. The former is a wonderfully optimistic song while the former is a beat driven gem that is pure new wave fluff.
The fourth song ("The More You Live, The More You Love") comes from their third album is much more polished and although it charted, many probably have not heard it. I think it's as good as anything they ever put out. The fifth and sixth songs come from their underrated second CD. "Nightmares" is a moody, scary, but very hypnotic, while "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" expresses a new wave yearning that sounds very detached yet it works. The next three songs are good, but nothing as peppy as "D.N.A," a killer instrumental that is as catchy as any song the group ever released.
One could argue that many of A Flock Of Seagull's songs sound alike and I would not argue with said statement. While this group may not be remembered as being either innovators or even as good as many of their new wave counterparts, they put out more than a handful of great songs that I loved when they came out and actually like even more today. This collection grabs their best stuff and easily earns 4 stars. I'd give it 5 stars if they had included a couple of songs that I really liked from their highly underrated debut, but as far as compilations go, this is the one to buy

I'm Movin' on
I'm Movin' on
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 26.69
15 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Cece is AMAZING but this is not anywhere near her best, June 2 2004
This review is from: I'm Movin' on (Audio CD)
Cece Peniston had a career that came and went too quickly. Her smash debut yielded a ton of dance singles as her rich voice was bathed in irresistible beats, but she also delivered on the ballads. Her second CD started to move away from her dance roots into what I think was a more contemporary/stale R & B sound that did not suit her as it was too generic. Maybe it was Cece's decision or maybe her record company's but at least the first 3 tracks were on fire.
So then came her third and last CD, which almost totally abandoned the energy and infectiousness of her beginnings. While Cece's voice is as expressive as ever and does a good cover of "Someone Else's Guy." Jocelyn Brown still sings the definitive version, but Cece's is quite good. I also liked "Don't Know What to Do," but most of the songs are dead on arrival as she moved full force into what probably seemed like a good marketing move at the time, but her songs and arrangements wound up sounding like everyone else's in the 1990s. I would give Cece's first release 4 stars, 3 stars for her second, but can't in good conscience give her more than 2 stars for I'm Moving On.
I hope that Cece makes a comeback on her own terms and hopefully will focus on the dance floor classics that made her so very special and brought her the greatest commercial success. Everytime I hear "Keep On Walkin'" I am reminded of how much I like this woman.

Finding Nemo (2-disc Collector's Edition, Widescreen & Fullscreen) (Bilingual)
Finding Nemo (2-disc Collector's Edition, Widescreen & Fullscreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Albert Brooks
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 42.83
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.76

5.0 out of 5 stars A visual treat that will keep children AND adults engaged, May 30 2004
From reading the reviews for this movie, I assume that yet another fawning review may not be needed; notwithstanding I have to agree with most of the folks here who loved this movie. I did not see it when it originally came out and missed out on seeing some of the most beautiful visuals ever captured in an animated feature and most features for that matter.
As most fans know Pixar, is the animation house behind Finding Nemo, as well as Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life and the two Toy Story movies, all of which I have found hard to resist. They have single-handedly elevated the genre to a level where these movies can compete with any live action movie in all aspects of visuals and storytelling. I am not a kid nor have kids of my own yet, so my like for the aforementioned comes as a surprise to me as I usually like my movies on the acerbic side or depressing movies that people don't rush out to see.
I just saw this movie and it had a lot to live up to and it did. I was surprised that the movie was not as syrupy as I would have expected and in fact starts out with quite an emotional/violent wallop that may scare and surprise many children and adults. The computer animated images and dialogue make for scenes that are so realistic you have to keep reminding yourself are watching animation. The facial expressions of all major and supporting characters as well as the three-dimensional components of this underwater treat will leave you breathless. Although I hate to give any detail away, most who read this will know that the movie in large part takes place in an underwater world. That world is so beautifully detailed to show loving and playful underwater images as well as the shocking truths about different species having to share an environment where things are not always as cute as they seem to be.
The voices behind every character are masterful with special honors going to Ellen DeGeneres, who really makes the Dora character so wacky and lovable that it leaves me thinking that there was no way that the character was written with anyone but Ellen in mind. As usual, these types of stories represent a cautionary tale of sorts, which will tug at the strings of your heart, will make you laugh, and give you some form of security that no matter how bad things get, somehow they will be ok in some shape way or form. Finding Nemo manages to use the usual story construct but it manages to take out the sometimes didactic messages that prevent people from embracing animation as they have in recent years. Most viewers will be able to empathize with what happens in this story and will laugh and maybe find some parts to be really sad, but the movie earns all its laughs and sad moments.
I could go on and on about the detail and beauty of the animation; action sequences that outdo most live action summer extravaganzas; the imaginative way in which marine life is "humanized" yet respected; but all any potential viewer needs to know is that this movie is hard to resist. Although this is a G-rated movie, I think that some small children (and their parents) may find some sequences to be too visceral so I would caution parents not to let very young kids see the movie alone. The only thing that I did not like (but did make me laugh) was a young girl (who happens to a terror) who seems to be too easy of a target to make "evil" based on her unattractive appearance. Not a big deal, but kids do pick up on these things and the filmmakers could have probably gotten as much mileage out of the character had they made her less outwardly unappealing and focused on her internal ugliness. For the adults watching, they'll recognize many elements and lines that are meant just for their enjoyment and those may fly over the head of some of the younger viewers, who will be so enthralled to notice. All in all, I give a 5-star review to movie that I just saw and without a doubt want to see again as soon as possible.

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