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Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
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Generation Um [Import]
Generation Um [Import]
Offered by moviemars-canada
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3.0 out of 5 stars Torn Languidly between Boredom and Sheer Torpor, but, Hey!, It's Got Keanu!, Feb. 28 2014
This review is from: Generation Um [Import] (DVD)
"Generation Um" (released 2011) is a very static film, more about the ennui of being by turns bored, underemployed, irritated, and unmotivated in a big city (various parts of greater New York City). I guess that a lot of life in 20th and 21st century times has been, and can be, like that, especially if one is so lax in exercising any control over his life and ways as the characters in this film are. One of the two leading ladies does fellate John (who is Keanu Reeves' character), not in the apartment which she and he (as well as the other young woman) share, but in a public restroom, to John's visible delight. At another point he has an escape scene bounding away, several people in hot pursuit, with a portable film camera that he has stolen and his use of which forms most of what the remainder of the movie is about. The scene of Keanu filming and trying to outwit the camera-shy squirrels is cute, in a pretty inner-city park. Keanu's quirkily bobbing and bouncing head and torso dance motions at the steering wheel of his automobile have some charm, too. Most of the time, though, things are worse than dull; they are just in near-complete stasis for the 96-min. duration of this motion picture.

There is little point for most viewers to bother with the extended and cut footage, among the scant extra features on the widescreen bilingual edition (English and French, but with no subtitles in those or in any other languages) which I have. If anything, such footage is even more snooze-inducing than what is in the final film itself.

I am an "unconditional" fan of Keanu Reeves, so I watched the whole, seemingly endless thing. Keanu looks just fine in the film, lean-and-lankily fit and scruffily semi-bearded. It certainly is not his fault that this film is so listless; what little of genuine interest in it is due to his acting and to the New York cityscape itself. I'll keep this DVD "for completeness' sake" among my many, many Keanu Reeves films, but I doubt that I am likely to view it again any time soon.

generation um / génération crise... (Bilingual)
generation um / génération crise... (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Keanu Reeves
Price: CDN$ 28.49
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Keanu's Fans and, Well, Pretty Much ONLY for Even the Most Persistent and Patient of Them!, Feb. 27 2014
"Generation Um" (released 2011) is a very static film, more about the ennui of being by turns bored, underemployed, irritated, and unmotivated in a big city (various parts of greater New York City). I guess that a lot of life in 20th and 21st century times has been, and can be, like that, especially if one is so lax in exercising any control over his life and ways as the characters in this film are. One of the two leading ladies does fellate John (who is Keanu Reeves' character), not in the apartment which she and he (as well as the other young woman) share, but in a public restroom, to John's visible delight. At another point he has an escape scene bounding away, several people in hot pursuit, with a portable film camera that he has stolen and his use of which forms most of what the remainder of the movie is about. The scene of Keanu filming and trying to outwit the camera-shy squirrels is cute, in a pretty inner-city park. Keanu's quirkily bobbing and bouncing head and torso dance motions at the steering wheel of his automobile have some charm, too. Most of the time, though, things are worse than dull; they are just in near-complete stasis for the 96-min. duration of this motion picture.

There is little point for most viewers to bother with the extended and cut footage, among the scant extra features on the widescreen bilingual edition (English and French, but with no subtitles in those or in any other languages) which I have. If anything, such footage is even more snooze-inducing than what is in the final film itself.

I am an "unconditional" fan of Keanu Reeves, so I watched the whole, seemingly endless thing. Keanu looks just fine in the film, lean-and-lankily fit and scruffily semi-bearded. It certainly is not his fault that this film is so listless; what little of genuine interest in it is due to his acting and to the New York cityscape itself. I'll keep this DVD "for completeness' sake" among my many, many Keanu Reeves films, but I doubt that I am likely to view it again any time soon.

By Ralph C. Wood - Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Paperback Ed)
By Ralph C. Wood - Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Paperback Ed)
by Ralph C. Wood
Edition: Paperback
9 used & new from CDN$ 22.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but Not Wholly Convincing Study of the Christian Thought of Catholic Fiction Writer Flannery O'Connor, Feb. 17 2014
Many who have published studies about Flannery O'Connor ignore, or minimise unduly, the place of Roman Catholicism in the mind and art of this great literary figure of the South of the U. S. of A. In doing so, they limit their grasp of O'Connor's mind, either from their own secular mindset or from Protestant preconceptions. A good example of the latter bias is on display in Ralph C. Wood's "Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South" (W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2004). These remarks derive, as I excerpt and slightly adapt them, from my review of another work (by a Romish Catholic author) about O'Connor.

Wood does appreciate the impact of Christianity upon Flannery O'Connor's writing and on her sensibility, but Wood's own near obsession with Karl Barth and Neo-Orthodox theology prevents him from grasping how Catholic, in no uncertain terms, O'Connor's mind and art really were. Wood seizes upon O'Connor's interest (such as it was) in Karl Barth's thought, but grossly exaggerates its place in, and influence upon, her work. (On the other hand, although O'Connor had scant overt sympathy for the Existentialist philosophers whose influence was so pervasive in her own times, I cannot help but see a strongly Existentialist viewpoint work itself out, probably unconsciously, in almost all of her stories and novellas; this is a phenomenon that surely would merit, in itself, book-length treatment.)

If Wood had taken Flannery O'Connor's correspondence and her review writing sufficiently into consideration, he would have found that not only did Scholastic and then-modern Catholic thought more greatly occupy her attention, but even that Barth's Neo-Orthodoxy only faintly would seem likely to have had much of any impact upon her sympathies for Protestant and sectarian views of God and of the world. Even Paul Tillich would appear to have counted more for O'Connor than Barth mattered to her. Thus, as interesting and scholarly as Ralph Wood's book is, his perception of O'Connor's Christianity goes seriously askew.

In fact, the 20th century theologian who apparently fascinated Flannery O'Connor most was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin! She seems to have been unaware of how rightly the Roman Catholic authorities then were coming to assess Teilhard's views to be antipathetic to Catholic Christianity, or of traditional Christian faith more generally. In her day, Catholics and Protestants alike had not perceived yet just how destructive the impact of Tillich, Teilhard, Barth and others like them would be to Christian faith; since that time, the near-ruin of Romish Catholicism which has taken place, in the decades since O'Connor's time, has borne out the inherit dangers to Catholicism of accepting too uncritically so much of the speculative theology of such authors. Therefore, the believing and observant Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, or sectarian Christian believing reader should not be too alarmed at how much Flannery O'Connor esteemed such speculative religious thinkers to be of the worth that she accorded them.

Having read every last word that has become available in print, in book-length form, of O'Connor's writings, I think that I am safe in assuming that the stature of these variously Protestant and Catholic writers primarily as philosophers was what O'Connor most appreciated, something that would have helped to protect her Catholic faith from suffering unduly by reading those authors to take them overly seriously as theologians

Flannery O'Connor and The Christ Haunted South
Flannery O'Connor and The Christ Haunted South
by Ralph C. Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.32
30 used & new from CDN$ 10.20

3.0 out of 5 stars A Study of Flannery O'Connor the Protestant Orientation and Bias of Which Limits Its Usefulness and Real Insight, Feb. 17 2014
Many who have published studies about Flannery O'Connor ignore or minimise unduly the place of Roman Catholicism in the mind and art of this great literary figure of the South of the U. S. of A. In doing so, they limit their grasp of O'Connor's mind, either from their own secular mindset or from Protestant preconceptions. A good example of the latter bias is on display in Ralph C. Wood's "Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South" (W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2004). These remarks derive, as I excerpt and slightly adapt them, from my review of another work (by a Romish Catholic author) about O'Connor.

Wood does appreciate the impact of Christianity upon Flannery O'Connor's writing and on her sensibility, but Wood's own near obsession with Karl Barth and Neo-Orthodox theology prevents him from grasping how Catholic, in no uncertain terms, O'Connor's mind and art really were. Wood seizes upon O'Connor's interest (such as it was) in Karl Barth's thought, but grossly exaggerates its place in, and influence upon, her work. (On the other hand, although O'Connor had scant overt sympathy for the Existentialist philosophers whose influence was so pervasive in her own times, I cannot help but see a strongly Existentialist viewpoint work itself out, probably unconsciously, in almost all of her stories and novellas; this is a phenomenon that surely would merit, in itself, book-length treatment.)

If Wood had taken Flannery O'Connor's correspondence and her review writing sufficiently into consideration, he would have found that not only did Scholastic and then-modern Catholic thought more greatly occupy her attention, but even that Barth's Neo-Orthodoxy only faintly would seem likely to have had much of any impact upon her sympathies for Protestant and sectarian views of God and of the world. Even Paul Tillich would appear to have counted more for O'Connor than Barth mattered to her. Thus, as interesting and scholarly as Ralph Wood's book is, his perception of O'Connor's Christianity goes seriously askew.

In fact, the 20th century theologian who apparently fascinated Flannery O'Connor most was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin! She seems to have been unaware of how rightly the Roman Catholic authorities then were coming to assess Teilhard's views to be antipathetic to Catholic Christianity, or of traditional Christian faith more generally. In her day, Catholics and Protestants alike had not perceived yet just how destructive the impact of Tillich, Teilhard, Barth and others like them would be to Christian faith; since that time, the near-ruin of Romish Catholicism which has taken place, in the decades since O'Connor's time, has borne out the inherit dangers to Catholicism of accepting too uncritically so much of the speculative theology of such authors. Therefore, the believing and observant Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, or sectarian Christian believing reader should not be too alarmed at how much Flannery O'Connor esteemed such speculative religious thinkers to be of the worth that she accorded them.

Having read every last word that has become available in print, in book-length form, of O'Connor's writings, I think that I am safe in assuming that the stature of these variously Protestant and Catholic writers primarily as philosophers was what O'Connor most appreciated, something that would have helped to protect her Catholic faith from suffering unduly by reading those authors to take them overly seriously as theologians!

Coach Carter - Ff No Gwp
Coach Carter - Ff No Gwp
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 37.54
6 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Sport Like Basketball Is Fun To Play, but a Champion Team Needs To Work Hard at It to Win Consistently, Feb. 12 2014
This review is from: Coach Carter - Ff No Gwp (DVD)
This motion picture has a great, big, wonderful heart! Lots of grit, too. Coach Carter, whose real life story and those of his players the film recounts, has a vision (and the fortitude to carry it out), of high school basketball that does not sacrifice, in the name of high sports achievement, the academic grades, college/university aspirations, and better lives in adulthood for which his young player players also should be striving after high school is over.

Those were realistic goals and reasonable hopes back in 2005, when this film was released. Since then, due to the ongoing (as of 2014 as I write this) collapse of the U.S. economy that set in during 2007-2008, largely due to years of off-shoring American jobs (industrial, office, technical, and much professional work alike) and to the collusion of the cynical financiers of Wall Street and the corrupt U.S. government, such hopes have waned and higher education seems mostly nowadays to leave the young with crushing student debt to pay off without the job prospects that once had been there for graduates to seize hold of. However, this film also, from the educational standpoint, is about staying through high school to graduation with decent marks, and that, at least, would help to prepare American workers for so many of the more menial jobs that are left in the wrecked U.S. economy after the devastations that "Free Trade" policies have inflicted upon the labour market and, also, of the further financial ruin that has set in from 2008 onwards.

However, how it was in 2005 is, in so many essential ways, what the world really should be like and what the promise that civilised life, indeed, should hold! In the film, all of the sportsmen, the coach and his young basketball team members alike, who are struggling to live out Coach Carter's work ethic, are in and of Richmond, a "disadvantaged town of mixed black, chicano, and some white population, in Northern California's Bay (Greater San Francisco) area, rather like the Southeast Los Angeles (Bell, Southgate, Watts) area of part of my own childhood, further south in the same state.

The music is excellent, too, hot and energetic, as the kids like it, expertly crafted and delivered. Perhaps best of all, for those who love sport, at any rate, is the intense and skillful basketball playing seen. This movie simply has it all!

Coach Carter - Ws No Gwp
Coach Carter - Ws No Gwp
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 106.89
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Exceptionally Absorbing Sports Movie Which Holds the Attention and That Inculcates the Effective and Lasting Values in Life, Feb. 12 2014
This review is from: Coach Carter - Ws No Gwp (DVD)
This motion picture has a great, big, wonderful heart! Lots of grit, too. Coach Carter, whose real life story and those of his players the film recounts, has a vision (and the fortitude to carry it out), of high school basketball that does not sacrifice, in the name of high sports achievement, the academic grades, college/university aspirations, and better lives in adulthood for which his young player players also should be striving after high school is over.

Those were realistic goals and reasonable hopes back in 2005, when this film was released. Since then, due to the ongoing (as of 2014 as I write this) collapse of the U.S. economy that set in during 2007-2008, largely due to years of off-shoring American jobs (industrial, office, technical, and much professional work alike) and to the collusion of the cynical financiers of Wall Street and the corrupt U.S. government, such hopes have waned and higher education seems mostly nowadays to leave the young with crushing student debt to pay off without the job prospects that once had been there for graduates to seize hold of. However, this film also, from the educational standpoint, is about staying through high school to graduation with decent marks, and that, at least, would help to prepare American workers for so many of the more menial jobs that are left in the wrecked U.S. economy after the devastations that "Free Trade" policies have inflicted upon the labour market and, also, of the further financial ruin that has set in from 2008 onwards.

However, how it was in 2005 is, in so many essential ways, what the world really should be like and what the promise that civilised life, indeed, should hold! In the film, all of the sportsmen, the coach and his young basketball team members alike, who are struggling to live out Coach Carter's work ethic, are in and of Richmond, a "disadvantaged town of mixed black, chicano, and some white population, in Northern California's Bay (Greater San Francisco) area, rather like the Southeast Los Angeles (Bell, Southgate, Watts) area of part of my own childhood, further south in the same state.

The music is excellent, too, hot and energetic, as the kids like it, expertly crafted and delivered. Perhaps best of all, for those who love sport, at any rate, is the intense and skillful basketball playing seen. This movie simply has it all!

Léandre Bergeron, né en exil
Léandre Bergeron, né en exil
by Sylvain Rivière
Edition: Paperback
8 used & new from CDN$ 22.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Life and Musings of an Important Man of Canadian Left Politics, of Linguistics and Lexicography, and of Much More, Feb. 10 2014
Partly, this fascinating glimpse, into the life and mind of Léandre Bergeron who has long lived on his farm in the Abitibi region of Québec, is biographical. In larger part, the book collects writings on his thoughts about his many interests, republishing various writings, by and about him, from his illustrious and colourfully varied past. Because so much of the book is a compilation, it is uneven and a bit wayward, but nonetheless it constitutes a probing and significant work in Léandre Bergeron's and, of course, Sylvain Rivest's respective bibliographies. Léandre Bergeron was one of the leading figures of the Québec and Canadian Left and of strongly Marxust-tinged Québec nationalism, during the exciting years of the 1960s and 1970s. During those years he was teaching at Concordia University, one of the rare Francophone professors during those years on this institution's faculty. The man's English is nearly as impeccable as his French is, something that may surprise those who know of Bergeron's importance in defending the cause of Québécois French, even of "Joual" slang dialect.

Despite being a Franco-Manitoban of humble origin, but educated in France, Léandre Bergeron spent much of his life in intellectual and literary endeavours, as well as in militancy. This aspect of his life and thought is very to the fore in his most famous, rousing "indépendantiste" (or "separatist" as so many federalist Canadians dismissively call this tendency), and popular work, "Le Petit manuel d'histoire du Québec", recently revised, updated, and much expanded in a new edition which Pierre Landry undertook for Bergeron and which Éditions Trois-Pistoles published in 2008. However, after becoming disillusioned with, and tired of, life as an university professor in Montréal, Bergeron willingly gave up his former life to set himself up in agriculture and then, notoriously and wonderfully, in baking and health food, earning his living by manual labour on the farm in the company of his vigourous wife Francine, of his livestock, horses, farm dog, and valiantly wolf-slaying donkey. This was an honest and determined choice; circumstances did not compel Bergeron to make such a change. Living in the country in the rural stretches of Rouyn-Noranda, he home-schooled his daughters, whose births were undertaken by midwifery (about which he wrote a much translated manual), baked, and farmed for his living.

Léandre Bergeron has never shied away from controversy or, at times, collisions with political and bureaucratic "authority". Having become a philosophical and practical anarchist, one of reasoned and moderate rather than radical persuasion, Bergeron has remained in the public eye for his many wide and deeply probing pursuits, including, among them, a strong interest in the philology and lexicography of the French language, especially as used in Québec. (Those familiar with his rather extreme "Dictionnaire de la langue québécoise" ought to explore also his other published writings about French linguistics, few in number but very insightful.)

Nonetheless, this man of thought is not one to "pigeon-hole" easily (not at all, really!). Bergeron also wrote for a wide readership, for the working man at least much as for those who cultivate learning and the arts. His interests range widely and his convictions can be more unpredictable than those of many writers who wear their intellectual credentials on their sleeves. Besides this interesting book and others by and about Léandre Bergeron, one can get an introductory glimpse into his life and thought by means of the documentary film about him, "Léandre Bergeron: avec conviction, sans espoir", which Sylvain Rivest undertook (for Canada's National Film Board), as he also did the monograph, "Né en exil". The film's title reflects Bergeron's combination of honesty, commitment, and pessimism. The reader who has a moderate command of French, or above that level, will profit much from reading the pages of this book!

Yes (Sous-titres français)
Yes (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Joan Allen
Offered by Canadian Apple Sales
Price: CDN$ 24.90
28 used & new from CDN$ 6.22

4.0 out of 5 stars This Film Strives for Sublime Ertocism and Goes about That in Some Very Imaginative Ways, Feb. 6 2014
This review is from: Yes (Sous-titres français) (DVD)
This erotic fantasy, "Yes", one with lots of bared skin but nothing close to full nudity (no outright full dorsal or frontal nakedness), is a bit patchy. Simon Abkarian is a sleekly lean, handsome, and well-made man, so it is worth seeing as much, literally, of him as one can! His slyly affectionate gallantries endear him to viewers as they so do, obviously, to the lady who benefits from his amourous attentions. At its best, the first part of the film when the couple is getting ever closer to each other in intimacy, there is a wonderful dreamlike quality, which the lilt of the poetic verses in which the characters (they and others in the film) converse carries one along drifting on the lyricism of the screenplay.

When "love goes bad", however, the film seems unconvincingly motivated. The lovers have, for awhile, irreconcilable cultural antagonism that their affair really does not seem to justify except in barren stereotypes. Thus the temporary rupture between them (which, along with losing his job in the U.K., results in the man's return to Beyrouth, in his native Lebanon) seems too contrived to be more naturally convincing. Not to worry, though, the lovers reconcile, on (for them) the neutral turf of Cuba and all ends hopefully (or so, at least, it seems) for this pair, from what I could grasp of the film. There are subsidiary characters and narratives in the movie which other reviewers on Amazon's various national WWW sites describe in their own reviews, so I shall not delve into them here.

It would have helped enormously if there had been English subtitles. I am becoming somewhat hard of hearing and there was much of the dialogue that simply did not register on my ears. There are French subtitles (in, at any rate, the North American edition that I acquired, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 10906, in the series, "Sony Pictures Classics"), but this film so strives (intermittently successfully and short of that) for a literary effect in English that seeing and understanding the original text along with the images really would count for much. (Fortunately, Newmarket Press has published the film script.) The extra feature, about some of the filming of the movie, is likely only to be of interest to those with an understanding of, and/or fascination with, technical and some artistic matters of film work.

Coach Carter
Coach Carter
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 14.58
22 used & new from CDN$ 3.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Work Pays off in High School Basketball and in Life beyond, as Coach Carter Trains His Boys, Feb. 5 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Coach Carter (DVD)
This motion picture has a great, big, wonderful heart! Lots of grit, too. Coach Carter, whose real life story and those of his players the film recounts, has a vision (and the fortitude to carry it out), of high school basketball that does not sacrifice, in the name of high sports achievement, the academic grades, college/university aspirations, and better lives in adulthood for which his young player players also should be striving after high school is over.

Those were realistic goals and reasonable hopes back in 2005, when this film was released. Since then, due to the ongoing (as of 2014 as I write this) collapse of the U.S. economy that set in during 2007-2008, largely due to years of off-shoring American jobs (industrial, office, technical, and much professional work alike) and to the collusion of the cynical financiers of Wall Street and the corrupt U.S. government, such hopes have waned and higher education seems mostly nowadays to leave the young with crushing student debt to pay off without the job prospects that once had been there for graduates to seize hold of. However, this film also, from the educational standpoint, is about staying through high school to graduation with decent marks, and that, at least, would help to prepare American workers for so many of the more menial jobs that are left in the wrecked U.S. economy after the devastations that "Free Trade" policies have inflicted upon the labour market and, also, of the further financial ruin that has set in from 2008 onwards.

However, how it was in 2005 is, in so many essential ways, what the world really should be like and what the promise that civilised life, indeed, should hold! In the film, all of the sportsmen, the coach and his young basketball team members alike, who are struggling to live out Coach Carter's work ethic, are in and of Richmond, a "disadvantaged town of mixed black, chicano, and some white population, in Northern California's Bay (Greater San Francisco) area, rather like the Southeast Los Angeles (Bell, Southgate, Watts) area of part of my own childhood, further south in the same state.

The music is excellent, too, hot and energetic, as the kids like it, expertly crafted and delivered. Perhaps best of all, for those who love sport, at any rate, is the intense and skillful basketball playing seen. This movie simply has it all!

Coach Carter (Bilingual)
Coach Carter (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Rob Brown
Price: CDN$ 6.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Film about Sports and Educational Values Alike!, Feb. 4 2014
This review is from: Coach Carter (Bilingual) (DVD)
This motion picture has a great, big, wonderful heart! Lots of grit, too. Coach Carter, whose real life story and those of his players the film recounts, has a vision (and the fortitude to carry it out), of high school basketball that does not sacrifice, in the name of high sports achievement, the academic grades, college/university aspirations, and better lives in adulthood for which his young player players also should be striving after high school is over.

Those were realistic goals and reasonable hopes back in 2005, when this film was released. Since then, due to the ongoing (as of 2014 as I write this) collapse of the U.S. economy that set in during 2007-2008, largely due to years of off-shoring American jobs (industrial, office, technical, and much professional work alike) and to the collusion of the cynical financiers of Wall Street and the corrupt U.S. government, such hopes have waned and higher education seems mostly nowadays to leave the young with crushing student debt to pay off without the job prospects that once had been there for graduates to seize hold of. However, this film also, from the educational standpoint, is about staying through high school to graduation with decent marks, and that, at least, would help to prepare American workers for so many of the more menial jobs that are left in the wrecked U.S. economy after the devastations that "Free Trade" policies have inflicted upon the labour market and, also, of the further financial ruin that has set in from 2008 onwards.

However, how it was in 2005 is, in so many essential ways, what the world really should be like and what the promise that civilised life, indeed, should hold! In the film, all of the sportsmen, the coach and his young basketball team members alike, who are struggling to live out Coach Carter's work ethic, are in and of Richmond, a "disadvantaged town of mixed black, chicano, and some white population, in Northern California's Bay (Greater San Francisco) area, rather like the Southeast Los Angeles (Bell, Southgate, Watts) area of part of my own childhood, further south in the same state.

The music is excellent, too, hot and energetic, as the kids like it, expertly crafted and delivered. Perhaps best of all, for those who love sport, at any rate, is the intense and skillful basketball playing seen. This movie simply has it all!

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