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Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
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J'ai tué ma mère
J'ai tué ma mère
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Precociously Artistic & Accomplished Film; Fortunately at Last another Edition of It Exists Which Does Include Subtitles, July 24 2014
This review is from: J'ai tué ma mère (DVD)
As sometimes happens with Québec films, this one, initially released on DVD in some editions in French only with no English subtitles (or even none at all in either language), came out initially unilingually, but now that the passage of years has made "J'ai tué ma mere" ("I Killed My Mother") internationally successful enough, a new edition (Kino Lobber K-1068) has appeared with the English subtitles included but with the dialogue still heard in French, as so many Anglophone viewers of non-English-language motion pictures prefer. It has been worth the wait, to say the least of it!

Only 25 at the time of this writing (2014), and only only 20 years old when "J'ai tué ma mere" was filmed and released, and this film is, at that (but before "J'ai tué ma mere", more limitedly as actor only), one of several films already to his credit by 2009, Xavier Dolan is an incredibly precocious cinematic genius. His artistry seems to have appeared, fully formed and functioning in all of the cinematic activities that his career embraces, right at the very outset of his career, accomplishing brilliantly all aspects of it simultaneously in "J'ai tué ma mere"!

The film is quasi-autobiographical and, given how subjective its entire subject is, about the conflicted relationship of the teenaged boy (16, then 17 years old during the action) with his mother (and, in passing during a scene, with his estranged father, too), the film is marvellously and judiciously well paced and coherent. Dolan, who acts in the film as well as directs it and had written its screenplay, looks very much the lad in his late teens, even if he was slightly older than that at the time of the film; many young guys at 20 still are decidedly adolescent in appearance, as Dolan looks in this film.

Recounting the story line in great detail for Amazon seems rather pointless; there is a good entry, including numerous fine reviews, on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb) that sum up and assess the film nicely. Most of the time Hubert (Dolan's role) is vituperatively at odds with his suburbanite, middle class mother, Chantale (acted by Anne Doral), who has to have (and does have) the patience of a female Job to deal with Hubert, but he has intermittent tender moments with her, too. Hubert's relationship with his teenage male paramour, Antonin (acted by François Arnaud, a sumptuously attractive lad himself at the age he was when making the film!), has attained mental maturity sooner than Hubert, but he still sizzles with gay teenage ardour, as Hubert does, in the lovers' sex scene together). Sometime folks forget that such early maturity as Antonin's can be a part of being human at that age. Niels Schneider, whose Apollonian fair, curly-headed blond, male loveliness were so astonishingly, achingly present in Dolan's film, "Les Amours imaginaires" (of 2010, the year following "J'ai tué ma mere"), being, albeit in a different and contrasting sort of way, even more gorgeous than Dolan himself, plays the beautiful school chum, Éric, who has a gay crush on Hubert at the Roman Catholic, rural boarding school to which Hubert's parents have sent him in order to deal with their son's obstreperous behaviour. Being the target of a gay-bashing incident there, in Magog, drives Hubert to run away from the boarding school, his patient mother finding him in the same locale as that of the opening of the film, where Dolan and Chantale had lived blissfully in Hubert's early childhood. Things turn out that it is Antonin, not Éric, who holds Hubert's affection and loyalty, as, the viewer feels reassured at movie's end, does his own mother, despite the ruggèd ways that the two have been traversing during Hubert's teen years.

The actors are all very fine, including, not mentioned so far, Hubert's caring school teacher, Julie (played by Julie Clément), at public school prior to Hubert's banishment to the Magog area's private school, and Antonin's mother, Hélène (acted by Patricia Tulasne), a more exuberant woman and readily accepting mother than Chantale is for Hubert. They and the rest of the cast are all very fine actors, totally believable.

Get this movie on DVD soon! Now that there is a North American edition with English subtitles, there is no longer any excuse to delay doing just that!

The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale Revised edition [Paperback(1986)]
The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale Revised edition [Paperback(1986)]
by J.I. Rodale
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from CDN$ 28.26

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, the Most Practical Thesaurus of English among Single-Volume Works of This Kind, July 13 2014
This is the thesaurus (for that is what "The Synonym Finder" is, essentially) to which I normally make first use when I need to find a word to substitute for another for greater clarity, to avoid repetitiousness, and similar needs in writing in English. Rodale's work, whether in the 1978 or earlier or subsequent editions, is not necessarily the most scholarly or learnèd of such works, and its alphabetical dictionary arrangement is less academically ideal (but, really, so much handier) than the logical and associative format of a classed thesaurus (which philologists prefer), but I have found "The Synonym Finder" to be the most practical thesaurus, as well as the most compendious, of those (many!) similar works which I use or, in the past, which I formerly used to use.

Second resort, in the infrequent instances where Rodale does not quite give what I need, is the classic 1978 hardbound revised, updated "Library Edition" of "The New Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form", as edited by Norman Lewis (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1978).

With these two works at hand near my desk and also duplicated at my computer, I only seldom find that I need the many other thesauri and dictionaries of synonyms that I also happen to possess.

Synonym Finder by Rodale, J.I. (1997) Paperback
Synonym Finder by Rodale, J.I. (1997) Paperback
by J.I. Rodale
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, at Least Certainly for Daily Practical Use, among Rich Array Available of One-Volume Thesauri of the English Language, July 13 2014
This is the thesaurus (for that is what "The Synonym Finder" is, essentially) to which I normally make first use when I need to find a word to substitute for another for greater clarity, to avoid repetitiousness, and similar needs in writing in English. Rodale's work, whether in the 1978 or earlier or subsequent editions, is not necessarily the most scholarly or learnèd of such works, and its alphabetical dictionary arrangement of entries is less academically ideal (but, really, so much handier) than the logical and associative format of a classed thesaurus (which philologists prefer), but I have found "The Synonym Finder" to be the most practical thesaurus, as well as the most compendious, of those (many!) similar works which I use or, in the past, which I formerly used to use.

Second resort, in the infrequent instances where Rodale does not quite give what I need, is the classic 1978 hardbound revised, updated "Library Edition" of "The New Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form", as edited by Norman Lewis (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1978).

With these two works at hand near my desk and also duplicated at my computer, I only seldom find that I need the many other thesauri and dictionaries of synonyms that I also happen to possess.

The Synonym Finder
The Synonym Finder
by J. I. Rodale
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.16
49 used & new from CDN$ 5.87

5.0 out of 5 stars The One Thesaurus (or the First One) To Have, Saving Others as Back-up, July 12 2014
This review is from: The Synonym Finder (Paperback)
This is the thesaurus (for that is what "The Synonym Finder" is, essentially) to which I normally make first use when I need to find a word to substitute for another for greater clarity, to avoid repetitiousness, and similar needs in writing in English. Rodale's work, whether in the 1978 or earlier or subsequent editions, is not necessarily the most scholarly or learnèd of such works, and its alphabetical dictionary arrangement of entries is less academically ideal (but, really, so much handier) than the logical and associative format of a classed thesaurus (which philologists prefer), but I have found "The Synonym Finder" to be the most practical thesaurus, as well as the most compendious, of those (many!) similar works which I use or, in the past, which I formerly used to use.

Second resort, in the infrequent instances where Rodale does not quite give what I need, is the classic 1978 hardbound revised, updated "Library Edition" of "The New Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form", as edited by Norman Lewis (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1978).

With these two works at hand near my desk and also duplicated at my computer, I only seldom find that I need the many other thesauri and dictionaries of synonyms that I also happen to possess.

Synonym Finder New Edition by Rodale, J.I. published by Little, Brown US (1997)
Synonym Finder New Edition by Rodale, J.I. published by Little, Brown US (1997)
by J.I. Rodale
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from CDN$ 28.26

5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Practical and Comprehensive One-Volume Thesaurus of English That I Know of!, July 11 2014
This is the thesaurus (for that is what "The Synonym Finder" is, essentially) to which I normally make first use when I need to find a word to substitute for another for greater clarity, to avoid repetitiousness, and similar needs in writing in English. Rodale's work, whether in the 1978 or earlier or subsequent editions, is not necessarily the most scholarly or learnèd of such works, and its alphabetical dictionary arrangement of entries is less academically ideal (but, really, so much handier) than the logical and associative format of a classed thesaurus (which philologists prefer), but I have found "The Synonym Finder" to be the most practical thesaurus, as well as the most compendious, of those (many!) similar works which I use or, in the past, which I formerly used to use.

Second resort, in the infrequent instances where Rodale does not quite give what I need, is the classic 1978 hardbound revised, updated "Library Edition" of "The New Roget's Thesaurus in Dictionary Form", as edited by Norman Lewis (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1978).

With these two works at hand near my desk and also duplicated at my computer, I only seldom find that I need the many other thesauri and dictionaries of synonyms that I also happen to possess.

A Bible Fit for the Restoration: The Epic Struggle That Brought Us the King James Version
A Bible Fit for the Restoration: The Epic Struggle That Brought Us the King James Version
by Andrew C. Skinner
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.68
18 used & new from CDN$ 3.07

4.0 out of 5 stars A Tribute from a L.D.S. Mormon Author to the Grandeur and Continuing Importance of the Authorised "King James" Version Bible, July 10 2014
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This book, Andrew Skinner's "A Bible Fit for the Restoration: the Epic Struggle That Brought Us the King James Version", published in Springville, Utah, by C.F.I. (Ceder Fort, Inc.; xvi, 112 p., ISBN 978-1-59955-908-7), is a pleasant little potted history to read of the Bible in English up to the Authorised "King James" Version (A.V). Another, longer, L.D.S. Mormon tribute to the A.V. Bible appeared the same year, namely Kent P. Jackson's "The King James Bible and the Restoration" (published jointly by Deseret Book and the B.Y.U. Religious Studies Center; ISBNs 10: 0842528024 and 13: 978-0842528023).

This reviewer considers English versions which have appeared subsequent to the A.V. to be as irrelevant and valueless as Skinner himself regards suchlike, who dismisses them quickly (but not vehemently) in a few words! That (i.e., at the A.V.) is the proper stopping point, later versions having too many problems and thus limited use, mostly due to:

(1) the corruption that inhers in their aberrant underlying texts in, variously, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin,

(2) excessive (or even total) resort to paraphrase where it is not needed,

and

(3) unbelieving or heretical bias in preserving, employing, and rendering the texts used.

Andrew C. Skinner, the author, does not attend much to such matters. He is more concerned (although justifiably) about Divine Providence's role in preserving, restoring, and transmitting worthy and correct texts of the Holy Scriptures across Christian history. Considering how much pretension there is to undertaking a scholarly study of the issues, such seemingly scholarly auspices having well funded Skinner's work concerning the transmission of the Holy Scriptures and the translations (especially those into German and English) of the sacred texts, Skinner's little study seems rather lacking in such learnèd initiative; his originality, to the limited extent that it is evident at all, amounts to proposing ways in which the history of the Bible, concentrating on its translation and propagation in English, paves the way for Mormonism's rise and the use of it in Mormon history, especially in L.D.S. (rather than R.L.D.S.) circles, notably during the founding years of "Prophets" Joseph Smith Jr. and Brigham Young. Frequent speculations, dubious and little more than mistakenly pious in kind, about how God, through the influence of the Authorised "King James" Version of the Bible upon Joseph Smith Jr.'s work and sense of mission, paved the way for the "Restoration" (i.e., for the Mormon concept thereof, ignoring the wider Restoration Movement which Alexander Campbell and others had originated).

Despite Skinner's illusions (or misrepresentations) about L.D.S. Mormonism's authenticity as Christian (regardless of the fact that L.D.S. Mormon scholars themselves also use the term "henotheism" to apply to their essentially pagan system), his book is a worthwhile read for Christians who seek a brief introduction to the historical context of the Bible, the Reformation (including precursor movements), and historical personages therein. Those interested in such matters, as well as in how Mormons perceive them, will find this book a pleasant and at time informative read. Especially worthwhile is Skinner's treatment of John Wycliffe, his pioneering English translation, and his followers, the Lollards, who paved the way, to some extent, for the English Reformation. William Tyndale and his path-breaking English translation (of the N.T. and a major part of the O.T.), and, before that, of course, Martin Luther and his vernacular German version, also receive greater emphasis than do other figures (whom Tyndale's and Luther's towering importance overshadows) in this survey of the Bible in the vernacular.

One particularly remarkable influence that the A.V. exerted, in the history of the Bible in English, that this little book (probably because of its contempt for Roman Catholicism) is a matter that Skinner unwisely ignores. This is the transformation of the Douay-Rheims Version (a translation, as Wycliffe's had been, from the Latin Vulgate Bible), an English version which Skinner only barely mentions, from the Douay and Rheims translators' dowdy, awkwardly Latinate English idiom into something far more graceful and literary, when saintly Bp. Richard Challoner, in revising the Douay-Rheims Version's text in the first half of the 18th century, metamorphosed it utterly into something far more graceful and memorable when his revision drew heavily from the wording of the O.T., Apocrypha, and N.T. of the Authorised "King James" Version (a Bible which the original Douay-Rheims translation itself had influenced to some extent) in overhauling the style of this Roman Catholic Bible to improve it dramatically. Bp. Challoner gave the world the only other Bible in English (i.e., the Douay-Rheims-Challoner Version) that has been of any long-lasting importance (and Challoner's version is, indeed, momentous and is coming back into use in Traditionalist Catholic circles). For that matter, one even may state that Bp. Challoner's Douay-Rheims revision rightly can share, to some large (but not quite total) extent the kinds of honours which the A.V. itself has enjoyed over the centuries.

There are helpful b&w photos, illustrations, and photo-reduced facsimiles within Skinner's book to help the reader. The book is printed on good paper and in clear, somewhat large and nicely spaced type, attractively set within a glue binding that is sturdy and easy to manipulate to hold open without incurring the danger of cracking it apart.

The references appearing at the ends of chapters (often mentioning Mormon works little known to Christians, some of them perhaps worth following up for later consultation, at least for curiosity's sake) are worth consulting. Surprising it is, however, that in discussing and making bibliographical references to the English Bible which Wycliffe and those who assisted him produced, there is, among modern editions (and reprints) a text of its N.T. in modernised English spelling, greatly aiding use of it, which Skinner neglects to cite. This is "The Lollard New Testament: the Wycliffite Translation of c[a]. 1380 A.D. as Revised by John Penry and Others, c[a]. 1388-1389 A.D., in a Modern Spelling Edition with Introduction & Glossaries", edited by Stephen P. Westcott (Fairfax, Va.: Xulon Press, 2002; ISBN 1-591602-42-4).

There is, as well, in Skinner's book an index of personal names, which also facilitates use of the book, although an index including geographical and topical references would have aided the user even further. Readers who revere the A.V. Bible will enjoy this 400th anniversary tribute to that glorious work.

La Biblia de La Reforma
La Biblia de La Reforma
by H'Ctor E Hoppe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 59.02
8 used & new from CDN$ 48.79

5.0 out of 5 stars This Superb Study Bible, Based on Translation by Lutheran Pioneer Reformer, Casiodoro de Reina, Fills the Need Magnificentlly, July 8 2014
By translating into Spanish the study apparatus of Concordia Publishing House's "The Lutheran Study Bible" and fitting it out to the text of latest revision ("recent", bearing in mind that these comments are written in mid-2014) of the great Reina-Valera version of the Spanish Bible, Concordia (the official press of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) has produced perhaps the best truly Protestant (specifically, Lutheran, rather than merely sectarian) annotated study Bible available on the market.

Being Lutheran, the ample notes in this study Bible, in its original English or in this Spanish adaptation, are free of the "free will" Arminian "decision theology" (often verging on outright Pelagianism) and from the aberrant millenarian speculations of the sects (for example, on both counts, Methodists, Pentecostals, Campbellites, most Baptists, and motley suchlike), while, on the other side, they avoid the extremes of some thinkers in the Reformed/Calvinist camp. Thus, the annotations, eminently faithful, believing, and scholarly, in this study Bible will be acceptable, quite helpful also, to Lutherans, Anglicans, most Presbyterians, and other Confessional and conservative Protestants, and, in varying part, even to many Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians, as well. (And, yes, there are Spanish-speaking Christians, admittedly to quite varying extents, in eacg of these camps.)

The old Synodical Conference Lutheran orbit's own eccentric, peculiarly akimbo soteriological paradigm, that misleadingly is named "universal objective (and subjective) justification", raises its hoary head occasionally in the study notes. However, that does not mar the theology expressed therein too unduly, frequently, or at really odious length.

The numerous maps, the introductory ones in colour, the others mostly in black-and-white as scattered throughout the text (in order to position them at the portions of Scripture which they best help to provide further understanding from the geographical standpoint) are among the many welcome features. It would have been desirable to include a brief concordance (as there is one for the E.S.V. translation used in the original English edition of this study Bible); perhaps at time of publication there did not exist yet a fuller concordance of the Reina-Valera, in this "contemporánea" manifestation of that translation, available to have been abridged and adapted for inclusion. However, the great majority of the numerous features in English, which have made Concordia's "The Lutheran Study Bible" (the ISBNs of which, in hardback binding, are 10: 0758617607 and 13: 978-0758617606) to be so useful, are present also, in Spanish, in the same publisher's "La Biblia de la Reforma".

The Reina-Valera Version of the Bible in Spanish, in the variously divergent published texts of it which have appeared over the years, remains the most widely used translation in that language. Since Reina translated ALL of the Old Testament, including the deuterocanonical writings, Reina's original version, if presented complete, would be a great choice as one for Catholics and Orthodox as well as for Lutherans, other Protestants, and even for the sectaries. Only seldom, however, does one find the deuterocanonical writings included within an edition of the Reina-Valera Bible, so it is not surprising that "La Biblia de la Reforma" omits them, too.

Such is the case also with the LCMS' paperback edition of the 1960 text of the Reina-Valera Spanish Bible, equally shorn within the Old Testament (or as an adjunct thereto) of the deuterocanonical writings. That convenient and attractive, low-cost Spanish Bible, which comes with some Lutheran catechetical and doctrinal documents printed and bound in before and after the text of the 1960 Reina-Valera text of the Bible, is entitled "Santa Biblia: edición especial con el Catechismo menor de Lutero y la Exposición breve", its publication under the auspices of what is named, in Spanish, the Fundación Patrimonio Luterano (i.e., the Lutheran Heritage Foundation), under the American Bible Society's imprint by arrangement with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. (The ISBNs which that paperback Bible bears are 10: 1-58516-078-4 and 13: 978-1-58516-078-5.) The paperback LCMS Spanish Bible is inexpensive and handy for everyday use, but it is not, per se, a "study Bible" or an "annotated Bible" in the normal sense of those terms (i.e., one in which numerous annotations would appear with the biblical texts) but which "La Biblia de la Reforma", by contrast, most assuredly is.

There is little need to go into detail about the study features of "La Biblia de la Reforma"; the very numerous Amazon and other reviews of its original English-language edition suffice for that. It is Héctor E. Hoppe who is the Spanish-language editor of the notes, of which the original ones in English fell under the editorship of Edward A. Engelbrecht. The array of contributors reflects the traditional strength of the L.C.M.S.' exegetical and linguistic Bible scholars.

Not having encountered the "Reina-Valera contemporánea" manifestation of Casiodoro de Reina's great translation, I initially had a lurking misapprehension that it unduly might have compromised the "Majority Text" (e.g., "Textus Receptus" or "Complutensian") Greek language under-text of Reina's Spanish translation, which is so obviously in evidence in Reina's own work of translation. Over the years, as editions have appeared which, to various degrees, have updated Reina's translation into more current Spanish usage, editors of some of them have weakened the nuances of the Byzantine Text which Reina's Spanish translation originally had conveyed and had rendered with great faithfulness and meticulous care, although, to date, the various later editors of Reina's version, in modernising its language, have not yet lessened that Byzantine faithfulness to excessively calamitous result.

To do a quick check regarding this important matter, not readily having found much direct Internet comment thereon, I made resort to T. H. Brown's publication, "The Divine Original", as it appears now on the Trinitarian Bible Society's WWW site. Although T. H. Brown's comments specifically concern the R.S.V. English-language Bible, there is found therein a list, in the latter part of Brown's text (including brief analysis) of some verses, within the

"Critical Text" New Testament base (and in other biased sources for the Old Testament), which the R.S.V.'s wording perpetuates harmfully in English, thus most blatantly undermining Christian dogmas as the R.S.V.'s rendering has compromised or obliterated them. Anyone with a knowledge of both English and Spanish can detect, by extrapolation, the problems in any English

or other language translation, such as into Spanish, of the Holy Scriptures. There are plenty of other verses within the Old Testament and, especially, in the New Testament which suffer degradation, usually more subtly, in modern editions or translations of the Bible, but T.H. Brown's sampling provides a good initial means to assess the reliability and faithfulness of any Bible version. For that matter, the various published editions of the Reina-Valera version fare better than the E.S.V. itself does so, upon which the English-language edition, "The Lutheran Study Bible" itself, has as its Bible text! Of course, however, there are other factors to take into consideration when assessing the worth and reliability of any Bible translation.

Fortunately, like prior modern editions of the Reina-Valera Version, the "Reina-Valera contemporánea" Version avoids the grossest and most disturbing textual substitutions found in the Minority ("Critical") Text (basically the U.B.S./Nestlé-Aland/Westcott-Hort type of text), just as Divine Providence has prevented that from happening in other variants of the Reina-Valera version over the years.

For something more closely adhering to the Traditional Majority Text in a Reina-Valera Bible, one might try supplementing use of the "Reina-Valera contemporánea" found in "La Biblia de la Reforma" with one of the more conservative revisions in Spanish of the Reina-Valera Version, such as the "Santa Biblia, Valera 1602 purificada", copyrighted 2007 (under the imprint of the Iglesia Bautista bíblica de la gracia, Santa Catarina, N.L., México, without ISBN), which, despite its sectarian Baptist auspices (the Bearing Precious Seed Global ministry) and some lingering problems of reviser Robert Breaker's own (and notwithstanding the continuing lack of Reina's rendering of the O.T. Apocrypha), is one of the better Reina-Valera Bibles available nowadays, albeit none of them is without its own minor faults.

Yet more desirable et would be a return altogether to Reina's so-called "Biblia del Oso" initial text (named after a woodcut on the first edition's title page), merely updating the spelling and nothing else, to retain Casiodoro de Reina's version (with the deuterocanonical writings included therein) in its original, quite Lutheran (and to a considerable extent also Catholic-friendly) form (albeit the early 17th century Spanish would be somewhat quaint even in modern spelling), since revisers from Cipriano de Valera's time onwards, right down to Robert Breaker et alia, have adjusted Reina's text in ways that favour Reformed and sectarian options in its readings. A mere updating of the text of Reina's original 1569 translations into modern spelling and punctuation would avoid the non-Lutheran orientations of the Reformed, Fundamentalist-sectarian, and oecumenical revisions who have worked over Reina's text across the years. At least, however, some printings and facsimiles from various publishers available so far (as of mid-2014), which Amazon distributes, have made Reina's 1569 text available as it first appeared, antique spellings and all.

At any rate, this superb Spanish study Bible from Concordia, allied with the reasonably sound modernised text of the Reina-Valera Bible that appears as its basis, makes "La Biblia de la Reforma" a superb study instrument. The hard cover option (bearing the ISBN 978-0-7586-2746-9), among the available bindings (and it is available in leather covers as well), is sturdily durable and elegantly attractive; the paper is quite thin, but it does not "stick together" from static electricity, as the "onion skin Bible paper" in so other many fine-quality editions of the Scriptures tends to do. "La Biblia de la Reforma" also is suitable for devotional reading as well as for detailed study.

Clandestinos [Import]
Clandestinos [Import]
DVD ~ Juan Luis Galiardo
Price: CDN$ 16.46
5 used & new from CDN$ 15.88

5.0 out of 5 stars A Touching, Sometimes Suspenseful Depiction of Some Young Men Whose Naïveté Puts Them, Blissfully Unaware, into Grave Danger, June 13 2014
This review is from: Clandestinos [Import] (DVD)
Growing up on the streets (and, along the way, at a reform school for teenage males) of large urban centres in Spain, without parents' attentions, can lead young guys into a lot of trouble. That is just what happens to Xabi and his two friends in "Clandestinos" (the 2007 Spanish film of this title, not the 1987 Cuban film so titled) after they escape from their reform school and end up on the wrong side of the law. Xabi (acted by Israel Rodríguez) is full of delusional ardour about just what being a militant activist, even amateur terrorist, means for himself and for other Basques. He is the only Basque of the three youths and the lad whose adventures the movie follows most closely. In his sweetly doglike devotion to Xabi, an Arab lad somewhat younger than Xabi, Driss (played by Mehroz Arif), falls in with Xabi's romanticised ideas and self-assumed role as a freelance terrorist for the Basque cause. The third guy, Joel (acted by Hugo Catalán), is from México, and is basically apolitical, more interested in girls (a taste for which his good looks assure easy success) than in any political struggle. Xabi and Driss undergo a roller-coaster ride in roughly "coming of age" through the activist and amourous adventures that befall them.

Driss, cavorting along with Joel, also finds a girlfriend, one who is chubby, rather bossy, and suspicious, but Driss remains true to his devotion to Xabi, who is gay, but Xabi is unassertive of that with Driss, treating the Arab lad as a kid brother and apprentice-associate in the Basque nationalist cause; needless to say, Xabi is only one slight, awkward step at a time ahead of Driss in developing their "radical-chic" skills!

When a much older Spaniard, Germán (the role taken by Juan Luis Galiardo) picks up Xabi at a shopping mall, where the boy is earning his way to some extent as a young hustler, making himself available, for a price, to interested men, Xabi goes home with the older man and, after having sex and slept awhile in the man's bed, Xabi furtively rises, takes the man's money and a gun, then escapes with Germán, now awake, in pursuit. Back at the apartment where the friends live without paying rent, Xabi passes along to Driss some basic knowledge of weaponry and explosives and the two lads start off on an intended spree of lawlessness for the Basque cause.

It is possible that one reason that Xabi does not seek to have a sexual relationship with Driss, is that Xabi yearns romantically to reunite soon with Iñaki (acted by Luis Hostalot) seeking to link back up with that older Basque terrorist for love and comradeship in the cause of Basque independence. Xabi does not realise that Iñaki does not share the same level of gay male love for Xabi that Xabi himself has for Iñaki (the older Basque, in any event, being bisexual) and that Iñaki certainly does not approve of Xabi's uncontrolled "do-it-yourself" loner terrorism, which is causing embarrassment and difficulties for the Basque cause. His own uncritical zeal ends up putting Xabi into grave danger from Iñaki.

To find out how Xabi is rescued from the dangers into which his bumbling nationalist militancy has led him, from Iñaki and from the police, and how Germán, just barely in time, comes to Xabi's rescue, the Amazon customer should obtain this entertaining and delightful DVD (T.L.A. Releasing TLAD-211 being the edition viewed, in Spanish with English subtitles) to watch it for himself. There is an extra incitement for gay men who fancy beautiful young males, for Xabi is an exceedingly attractive young dude, slender and lithely (but not heavily) muscled; the other two renegades from the reform school also are "easy on the eyes" to only somewhat lesser degree (but that depends, for sure, on other viewers' taste, which might rank differently these lads' respective degrees of allure). Xabi has several opportunities to appear full-frontally naked (genitals in plain sight) and Israel Rodríguez acting the part looks fine in any state of dress or of undress!

The acting of one and all is superbly professional (and, in the case of the younger members of the cast, remarkably assured for teenagers), engaging attention with never any flagging of interest. It is easy to understand how this movie became such a favourite with audiences in Spain.

Caine Mutiny Court-Martial [Import]
Caine Mutiny Court-Martial [Import]
DVD ~ Eric Bogosian
Price: CDN$ 22.27
19 used & new from CDN$ 16.11

3.0 out of 5 stars Lesser Achievement & More Limited in Scope than the 1954 Motion Picture, but the 1988 Follow-up Film Has Some Specialist Worth, June 12 2014
Straight off the mark, there is no point in viewing this partial retelling, from 1988, of Herman Wouk's tale of the Navy ship, the Caine, unless one has read Wouk's novel or, at least, has seen the classic "The Caine Mutiny" Hollywood movie (1954) with Bogart, Ferrer, et alia. That earlier movie itself, though presenting less detail of the trial scene, did a magnificent job of cinematically recounting that along with all of the rest of the Caine saga that it ventured to put on the "silver screen". (The earliest and lattermost parts of the novel were not accounted for even in the 1954 film.) I have read the novel and seen both movies on DVD (the edition viewed of the 1988 film being Lions Gate Home Entertainment 15650-E), so I am in a good position to assess that.

The one thing most gratefully that the 1954 classic wisely avoided doing was to depict Lt. Greenwald's self-indulgent, vulgar wallowing in of his own and his dear mother's ethnically Jewish identity matters, one of the few blights (along with Greenwald's partially and groundlessly exculpatory comments about Queeg) on the novel's literary quality. When I saw the film, after having read the book, that self-restraint greatly gained my appreciation for the 1954 depiction of the court martial and the party afterwards. Since Wouk wrote the stage play and adapted it himself to movie form in 1988, it is Wouk who elected to display that side of Lt. Greenwald (as Eric Bogosian steels himself to the ordeal of playing Greenwald) to the full, definitely not at all to the better thereof -- Wouk himself be damned -- as a work of art!

It is startling that the film opens on the court martial as it takes place in a Navy base's gymnasium as its setting. There is nothing unrealistic about that, but the more posh interior sets of the film add to the dignity of the court martial proceedings, as weird as they become, that take place. Some of the actors in the 1988 film are less in keeping with the novel's own characterisation of them or than as the 1954 film presents them. This is especially true of squishily soft-looking Kevin J. O'Connor as Lt. Keefer (Fred MacMurray in 1954 not having been quite the ideal for the part, either, but much superior to O'Connor), Keefer being the real villain in both films and in the novel. Almost inevitably, it is Brad Davis as Lt. Cdr. Queeg, the odious captain of the Caine, despite doing really quite well in his own lesser way with the part, who who most suffers from comparisons with the earlier film's cast of actors, in Davis' case with the immortal Humphrey Bogart, who in the 1954 film is the ideal impersonation (probably for eternity!) of the ship's appointed commanding officer as both the novel and the 1954 film depict him, alike in physical type, actions, mannerisms, and in every other way.

It is Eric Bogosian (as Greenwald) who perhaps comes closest to matching the sheer acting quality of those who took their parts in the 1954 film (Bogosian's counterpart being the great José Ferrer), despite the relative artistic weakness in how the 1988 film-script at the end spoils the depiction of the Navy lawyer. As for Peter Gallagher, the 1988 film's "biggest name" of its cast, he does a fine, dignified, and very distinguished job in handling Lt. Cdr. Challee's part, faring better with that role than even E.G. Marshall had done in 1954.

I would recommend, albeit rather lukewarmly, "The Caine Mutiny Court Marshall", but only to truly devoted fans of Naval warfare motion pictures, in general, and of cinematic retellings of "The Caine Mutiny", in particular. It holds the viewer's attention admirably, but the 1988 film is a mere cinematic curiosity, really, and amounts to little more than that.

TEST
TEST
DVD ~ Matthew Risch, Kristoffer Cusick, Damon K. Sperber Scott Marlowe
Price: CDN$ 24.41
15 used & new from CDN$ 17.80

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Test" Is Delight to View, Choreographically and Cinematically Very Accomplished!, June 11 2014
This review is from: TEST (DVD)
This film was a long time a-coming, especially due to the need to raise funds for its production; that cannot have been an easy matter, for this is both dance and cinema, each of which has its respective expenses to cover. Anyway, the result is a triumph. This is one of Wolfe's videos or films that really works as cinema, not "feeling" like slightly glorified television. "The Test" (Wolfe WOL-5203-D) is an intimate film, to be sure, but it is not cramped and airless in the manner of so much TV.

The choreography (by the illustrious Sidra Bell), which the dancers of the film's small San Francisco modern dance company are seen rehearsing and performing at various times during its preparation and theatrical run, is superb, resulting in a showcase that displays really fine modern dance choreography and dancing at their best. Some of the dancers are better than others, but all function at a satisfyingly professional level or at more than that. The work danced is brief but very absorbing, feeling neither too short nor too extended, eminently well suited to its place in the movie. Most of the dancers are male, and it is they who hold the stage and the viewer's attention for most of the work, but there are some women among them, too.

There are no real costumes, as such, for the cast. (If the location were 21st century Montréal, instead of 1980s San Francisco, the dancers probably would appear nude in such an abstract work.) The lighting suffices for background and foreground, illuminating men with good-looking bodies, some of whom, like the main character, Frankie (Scott Marlowe's role), are exceptionally handsome, Marlowe himself being so in a leanly muscled, lithe, boyish way, having a dancer's ideal physique, if there can be said to be such. They dance shirtless and in full length, snugly-fitting pants (rather than in skin-tight leotards). Moments of the choreography, as depicted in rehearsal and in various performances, interweave throughout the movie, while a bonus feature presents, very welcomely, the entire choreography uninterrupted.

Frankie, Scott Marlowe's role, is an understudy who triumphs when it comes time for him to appear in the dance production. That is one sense in which he passes a professional "test". What gives "The Test" its title, however, are the HIV tests which he and two other of the film's characters take. The two dancers among them, after tense waiting, learn that they are "HIV negative". Alas, one of the men (the one of the three who is not a professional dancer), with whom Frankie already has fornicated homosexually, finds out that he has tested negative, only adding, of course, to the main character's edginess. While there is tension surrounding the condition, at a time (1985) where there still was so much uncertainty regarding so much of what HIV-AIDS is and what causes it (not even mention to mention the lack of a cure, or, for that matter, even of palliative prescription treatment at that time), this film, for a refreshing change, does not go into high weeping gear or quasi-tragic antics in the face of all of that, as so many other gay films do so! Thus, Marlowe's character passes the test regarding health as successfully as he fares in his feat of professional attainment.

This film is a triumph over all the adversities and obstacles that there had been to finance and to film it. I had waited impatiently for its appearance, now in 2014, and the project is a complete success!

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