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Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
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Mexican Kids
Mexican Kids
3 used & new from CDN$ 42.90

4.0 out of 5 stars A Restless and Rambunctiously Energetic Mexican Kid, with His Friends & the Pizza Man, Make a Shambles of His Mother's Apartment, Sept. 29 2014
This review is from: Mexican Kids (DVD)
"Duck Season: Adulthood is a Moving Target" (Warner Independent Pictures 4032, in that particular edition for Canada and the U. S. of A.) is one of the English titles for this film as it has seen release (the other title being "Mexican Kids") on DVD of the Spanish-language film, "Temporada de patos: ser adulto no vale la pena". The movie is a succulent exercise in whimsy, the sort of uncoordinated, calm craziness of early adolescence in the case of a 14-year old boy left alone at home, with a pal of his own age, whom soon a more knowing girl of 16 joins, the lass being a bit of a flirt. Also participating in the ensuing revels is a 30-something years old slacker with a "McJob" delivering pizza, including to the two boys (with whom he ends up passing the day) on this dull Sunday afternoon, off-and-on with and without electrical power for the computer games that they so favour. The title derives from a painting and various duck-like objects that appear as a constant motif in the film.

Amazon-U.S. has several good reviews of this little cinematic charmer, so there is no need here to go into any considerable detail. The film is an exercise in whimsy, its fey charm lying in the depiction of the sweetly unaffected innocence of early puberty, of youth still without responsibility or more advanced sexual awakening, for the three teens, and of the frustrations of "slackerhood" for the hapless young man. Its "R" rating (for "restricted") is rather silly, due only to some mild profanity now and then from boys trying to exhibit how "cool" they are and for the deftly cute portrayal of how marijuana (in birthday brownies that the girl makes after a failed cake) affects the foursome's perceptions, pretty innocent stuff in terms of modern film-making!

One definitely should see it in this edition with English (or other) subtitles, unless the viewer's Spanish is good enough to catch banter, including slang, which the characters deliver often quite offhandedly, otherwise one is likely to miss the sly humour of what makes this low-key movie so endearing. (A particularly suitable DVD edition, for the U. S. of A.'s and for Canada's market which is in Spanish only, i.e. without English subtitles to view along with it, bearing the title and variant subtitle, "Temporada de patos: ¿a ti también te vale pito?", is available as R.T.C. Videomax Gold DVD-6342.) The film, obviously, is a bit of unpretentious fluff, but it is ingeniously clever, thus well worth watching time and again.

Mexican kids - temporada de patos
Mexican kids - temporada de patos
Offered by Prestivo3
Price: CDN$ 36.75
2 used & new from CDN$ 36.75

4.0 out of 5 stars The Swirl of High Energy Youthful Ability to Sow Confusion and Domestic Disorder Gets Ever Higher in Gear as the Action Proceeds, Sept. 28 2014
"Duck Season: Adulthood is a Moving Target" (Warner Independent Pictures 4032, in that particular edition for Canada and the U. S. of A.) is one of the English titles for this film as it has seen release (the other title being "Mexican Kids") on DVD of the Spanish-language film, "Temporada de patos: ser adulto no vale la pena". The movie is a succulent exercise in whimsy, the sort of uncoordinated, calm craziness of early adolescence in the case of a 14-year old boy left alone at home, with a pal of his own age, whom soon a more knowing girl of 16 joins, the lass being a bit of a flirt. Also participating in the ensuing revels is a 30-something years old slacker with a "McJob" delivering pizza, including to the two boys (with whom he ends up passing the day) on this dull Sunday afternoon, off-and-on with and without electrical power for the computer games that they so favour. The title derives from a painting and various duck-like objects that appear as a constant motif in the film.

Amazon-U.S. has several good reviews of this little cinematic charmer, so there is no need here to go into any considerable detail. The film is an exercise in whimsy, its fey charm lying in the depiction of the sweetly unaffected innocence of early puberty, of youth still without responsibility or more advanced sexual awakening, for the three teens, and of the frustrations of "slackerhood" for the hapless young man. Its "R" rating (for "restricted") is rather silly, due only to some mild profanity now and then from boys trying to exhibit how "cool" they are and for the deftly cute portrayal of how marijuana (in birthday brownies that the girl makes after a failed cake) affects the foursome's perceptions, pretty innocent stuff in terms of modern film-making!

One definitely should see it in this edition with English (or other) subtitles, unless the viewer's Spanish is good enough to catch banter, including slang, which the characters deliver often quite offhandedly, otherwise one is likely to miss the sly humour of what makes this low-key movie so endearing. (A particularly suitable DVD edition, for the U. S. of A.'s and for Canada's market which is in Spanish only, i.e. without English subtitles to view along with it, bearing the title and variant subtitle, "Temporada de patos: ¿a ti también te vale pito?", is available as R.T.C. Videomax Gold DVD-6342.) The film, obviously, is a bit of unpretentious fluff, but it is ingeniously clever, thus well worth watching time and again.

Cruising Bar
Cruising Bar
DVD ~ DVD
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 21.03
5 used & new from CDN$ 16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dating and Cruising Mania Among Montréal's and Laval's Middle-Class Men "on the Make" Depicted with Unquenchable Humour, Sept. 21 2014
This review is from: Cruising Bar (DVD)
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (a different edition, Alliance/VideoFilms 104900, being the DVD edition viewed) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, and insecure, cowardly, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.

Cruising Bar 2
Cruising Bar 2
DVD ~ Robert Ménard
Price: CDN$ 5.00
22 used & new from CDN$ 3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Sequel of the Amourous Trawling & Cavorting of These Character's Further Capers in Montréal's & Laval's Dating Joints, Sept. 21 2014
This review is from: Cruising Bar 2 (DVD)
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (Alliance/VideoFilms 104900 being the DVD edition viewed) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched, the front cover art different from that picture on this Amazon entry's DVD, thus probably not quite the same edition), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, and insecure, cowardly, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.

Cruising Bar (Version française)
Cruising Bar (Version française)
DVD ~ Michel Côté
3 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Frolicking Dudes Seeking Amourous Adventure and Sexual Release in Montréal's and Laval's Cruising and Dating Venues, Sept. 21 2014
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (Alliance/VideoFilms 104900 being the DVD edition viewed, so not quite the one pictured in this Amazon-U.S. entry) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, and insecure, cowardly, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.

Alborada Del Gracioso
Alborada Del Gracioso
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 37.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 29.37

5.0 out of 5 stars This Vanguard Recording Demonstrates Just How Much Leon Fleisher Was Master of the Concerto for Piano Left Hand Alone by Ravel, Sept. 16 2014
This review is from: Alborada Del Gracioso (Audio CD)
Leon Fleisher made two studio recordings of Maurice Ravel's Concerto for Piano, Left Hand Alone, of which the finer performance is this one (on Vanguard's CD) which Sergiu Comissiona conducts. The other (Sony Classical SK-47-188) has Fleisher in harness with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as that hunk of deadwood drifting in the tide, Seiji Ozawa conducts it.

The Fleisher/Commissiona recording is by far the better performance, with by turns voluptuously lovely, poetically evocative, and jazzily snazzy playing from the Baltimore ensemble under Comissiona's cunning direction. Fleisher plays better, too, with those Baltimore forces, which supply a much more atmospheric and colourful accompaniment under Sergiu Comissiona's inspired and poetic direction. Their collaboration with Fleisher Fleisher favourably with the sonic sludge that Ozawa draws, oozing gooily, from the B.S.O. (that abbreviation applying potentially to both orchestras, but being more widely recognised as standing for "Boston Symphony Orchestra" than as one indicating the Baltimore ensemble).

Leon Fleischer always has been an astute and highly virtuosic pianist. Fortunately, while he was lacking the use of his right hand, he continued to record piano works for left hand only as he had the opportunity, such as the other recordings on that later Ozawa-led CD from 1990 (matching the Ravel concerto with a left hand work by Sir Benjamin Britten) and 1991 (the left hand concerto by Serge Prokofiev on the same CD). This has been a boon to the record catalogues, for Fleisher's piano left-hand work has been of extraordinary quality, possibly the best in such repertory. He already had been one of the very greatest and most artistic, rigourously musical and intellectual keyboard players of the 20th century before fate made him turn to the repertory for left hand alone.

Fleisher and Comissiona simply enchant the listener on their Vanguard recording of the concerto by Ravel, whereas the 1990 recording under Ozawa's direction just lumbers along by comparison. The tempi are faster and tauter, to marvellously invigourating effect, on the 1982 Vanguard recording, whereas the 1990 performance, trudging and plodding along like a musical pachyderm, never really quite gets fully into gear. By comparison with Vanguard's Fleisher/Comissiona recording, the sound of both the orchestra and piano on Sony's recording pairing Fleisher with Ozawa seems like an insufficiently detailed blur, downright blowzy for the orchestra; as for the piano or, perhaps, the way that the instrument was recorded, there is a distinct difference between the clarity and tonally varied timbre of the piano that Fleisher used for the Vanguard recording, an instrument so completely suited to this quintessentially French music, and the rich but excessively rotund, monochromatic sound of the instrument which the soloist plays on the Sony recording, one that probably is better suited to some German and English music than it is to French or Slavic repertory.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for Vanguard, covers itself in glory as Sergiu Comissiona so skillfully leads it to such delectable effect. The orchestral sound there is clear, replete with seasoning as well as juice, and gloriously colourful. Compare Baltimore's exquisite results to what the Boston Symphony Orchestra delivers under Ozawa's baton. Before Ozawa had succeeded, as he desired and intended, to destroy the special character of that ensemble, considered widely as the best French orchestra in the world (even if, ironically, it was not not in a country of "La Francophonie"), that great Bostonian musical institution excelled in French and Russian repertoire, as Sergei Koussevitzky, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, and Erich Leinsdorf at the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra so brilliantly documented, nearly always in the exceedingly good sound (for their respective dates) as R.C.A.'s recording studios captured it. In "blanding down" the B.S.O.'s musical character, resulting in it becoming "just another" generic-sounding musical formation of the kind.

While the Boston orchestra has suffered a dismally downward trajectory under Ozawa, the orchestra in Baltimore has been making a remarkable upward ascent, as one can hear for oneself in all of the works by Ravel included on Vanguard's treasurable disc. The Baltimore orchestra under Comissiona never sounded better in its recorded history and that orchestra, in fact, is a first rank choice to accompany such a great artist as Leon Fleisher in Ravel's music. Enjoy the results of their collaboration in Ravel's concerto on Vanguard's CD!

Ravel:  Concerto for the Left
Ravel: Concerto for the Left
Price: CDN$ 14.20
17 used & new from CDN$ 6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Fleisher, Yes, but Espcially with His Baltimore Accompaniment, so Infinitely Superior to His Boston Recording, Sept. 13 2014
Leon Fleisher made two studio recordings of Maurice Ravel's Concerto for Piano, Left Hand Alone, of which the finer performance is this one (on Vanguard's CD) which Sergiu Comissiona conducts. The other (Sony Classical SK-47-188) has Fleisher in harness with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as that hunk of deadwood drifting in the tide, Seiji Ozawa conducts it.

The Fleisher/Commissiona recording is by far the better performance, with by turns voluptuously lovely, poetically evocative, and jazzily snazzy playing from the Baltimore ensemble under Comissiona's cunning direction. Fleisher plays better, too, with those Baltimore forces, which supply a much more atmospheric and colourful accompaniment under Sergiu Comissiona's inspired and poetic direction. Their collaboration with Fleisher Fleisher favourably with the sonic sludge that Ozawa draws, oozing gooily, from the B.S.O. (that abbreviation applying potentially to both orchestras, but being more widely recognised as standing for "Boston Symphony Orchestra" than as one indicating the Baltimore ensemble).

Leon Fleischer always has been an astute and highly virtuosic pianist. Fortunately, while he was lacking the use of his right hand, he continued to record piano works for left hand only as he had the opportunity, such as the other recordings on that later Ozawa-led CD from 1990 (matching the Ravel concerto with a left hand work by Sir Benjamin Britten) and 1991 (the left hand concerto by Serge Prokofiev on the same CD). This has been a boon to the record catalogues, for Fleisher's piano left-hand work has been of extraordinary quality, possibly the best in such repertory. He already had been one of the very greatest and most artistic, rigourously musical and intellectual keyboard players of the 20th century before fate made him turn to the repertory for left hand alone.

Fleisher and Comissiona simply enchant the listener on their Vanguard recording of the concerto by Ravel, whereas the 1990 recording under Ozawa's direction just lumbers along by comparison. The tempi are faster and tauter, to marvellously invigourating effect, on the 1982 Vanguard recording, whereas the 1990 performance, trudging and plodding along like a musical pachyderm, never really quite gets fully into gear. By comparison with Vanguard's Fleisher/Comissiona recording, the sound of both the orchestra and piano on Sony's recording pairing Fleisher with Ozawa seems like an insufficiently detailed blur, downright blowzy for the orchestra; as for the piano or, perhaps, the way that the instrument was recorded, there is a distinct difference between the clarity and tonally varied timbre of the piano that Fleisher used for the Vanguard recording, an instrument so completely suited to this quintessentially French music, and the rich but excessively rotund, monochromatic sound of the instrument which the soloist plays on the Sony recording, one that probably is better suited to some German and English music than it is to French or Slavic repertory.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for Vanguard, covers itself in glory as Sergiu Comissiona so skillfully leads it to such delectable effect. The orchestral sound there is clear, replete with seasoning as well as juice, and gloriously colourful. Compare Baltimore's exquisite results to what the Boston Symphony Orchestra delivers under Ozawa's baton. Before Ozawa had succeeded, as he desired and intended, to destroy the special character of that ensemble, considered widely as the best French orchestra in the world (even if, ironically, it was not not in a country of "La Francophonie"), that great Bostonian musical institution excelled in French and Russian repertoire, as Sergei Koussevitzky, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, and Erich Leinsdorf at the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra so brilliantly documented, nearly always in the exceedingly good sound (for their respective dates) as R.C.A.'s recording studios captured it. In "blanding down" the B.S.O.'s musical character, resulting in it becoming "just another" generic-sounding musical formation of the kind.

While the Boston orchestra has suffered a dismally downward trajectory under Ozawa, the orchestra in Baltimore has been making a remarkable upward ascent, as one can hear for oneself in all of the works by Ravel included on Vanguard's treasurable disc. The Baltimore orchestra under Comissiona never sounded better in its recorded history and that orchestra, in fact, is a first rank choice to accompany such a great artist as Leon Fleisher in Ravel's music. Enjoy the results of their collaboration in Ravel's concerto on Vanguard's CD!

All the King's Men (Bilingual Special Edition)
All the King's Men (Bilingual Special Edition)
DVD ~ Steven Zaillian
Price: CDN$ 3.97
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Two Cinematic "Takes" on R. Penn Warren's Novel, "All the King's Men" and on Gov. Huey Long Himself, the Movie's Subject, Sept. 9 2014
Having watched two different cinematic accounts of All the King's Men, the common assessment that the 1949 film, with Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 13052 being the edition viewed), is a greater movie than the 2006 film starring Sean Penn in the same role (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment16953-LIT being the "Special Edition" watched) seems rather debatable. That is not because Sean Penn is better than Broderick Crawford in that role; Penn is, indeed excessively, rather clownishly over-the-top, but so, to only a little lesser degree (but more believably) Crawford is also. Penn's faked Southern accent, however, is pretty dreadful, too, and is grossly exaggerated. Newsreels of the time convey what Long really was like, in looks and in public behaviour, and it is Crawford who most approximates the Huey Long of history.

This review is meant to apply to both motion pictures as released on DVD, Blu-Ray, or VHS.

The other actors in the 2006 film may not quite sound like native-born Southerners, either; however, not going so far to fake the regional accent, they irritate less than Sean Penn does. (Having a whole side of the family from Southern roots, that kind of linguistic fakery always sets this viewer's teeth gritting and on edge!)

The cast of the film, aside from Sean Penn, is superb. Jude Law's portrayal of Jack Burden is especially poignant, and, in its quiet way, very effective and subtle. John Ireland, a Canadian-born actor, is effective in the role of Jack Burden, but Law brings just that much more subtlety and personal appeal to the part, although Law does not have the reservations, and hence more intensely felt and expressed ambiguities, about supporting and working with Willie Stark, written more strongly into the 1949 film's very script, that Ireland portrays.

Actually, for the history behind the story, Huey Long, the real life politician that Stark's character represents, could be quite the buffoon, too, as well as quite ruthless; one had to take the progressive good along with the dictatorial bad back then in supporting Huey Long Huey Long, who was corrupt, yes, but who had a real heart for the people of Louisiana, unlike the lying, greedy graft-hogs feeding fiscally at the public trough in government in our own times, the early decades of the 21st century, at the national level (and in numerous states) in the U. S. of A. under Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama, in the Dominion of Canada under Harper, and among the rest of the neo-con corrupted English-speaking world under their respective leaders (and among the various continental nations of the European Union and their ruling elite).

The 2006 motion picture is considerably much more atmospheric and artistic, as a whole, than the earlier movie. The 1949 film seems too didactic and overly controlled, the acting and direction of all of its cast (not merely singling out Broderick Crawford) is excessively overdrawn and too obvious. That 1949 movie is the well-made-film "to a tee", but it suffers comparison with the 2006 motion picture partly from that very fact.

Both cinematic renderings of southerner Robert Penn Warren's novel are the kind of dramatic films about the South that do not heap the kind of contempt, derision, or condescension on the region unlike so the motion pictures of so many of Hollywood's hostile Yankee interlopers. It is well worth it to see both of the films based upon this story and on Louisiana's fascinating political lore. The 1949 movie, set in the 1930s (like Huey Long's career and Warren's novel itself) was an Academy Award winner and has remained a famous classic of American cinema.

A more incidental advantage of the 1949 film is that Broderick Crawford looks rather a lot like Huey Long himself; certainly Crawford was of very much the same physical "type" as Long. The 2006 film, apart from Sean Penn's buffoonery and grotesquely exaggerated accent (and lack of physical resemblance to Huey Long), for its part, is very evocative of the later period (1950s) in which it is set.

Among the several welcome bonus features of the DVD edition cited of the 2006 film are scenes deleted from the movie. Watch them! There is much in the dialogue that amplifies and clarifies motives of what Willie Stark and others do. The final scene, apart from being in b&w and in sepia (highlighting the redness of blood, in colour, that flows in such a context), does not differ much from the film's depiction of the assassination, but it extends the end to the funerals and a conversation that Jack Burden has with Sugar, Willie's chief bodyguard, which also reveals a key element in what led to the governor's murder and to what propelled Adam Stanton's to carry it out.

Many consider these two films to be veritable monuments of Hollywood excellence. Maybe so, maybe not---. Be sure to view both of them to judge for oneself!

All the King's Men
All the King's Men
DVD ~ Broderick Crawford
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 7.26
7 used & new from CDN$ 7.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Stirring Motion Pictures, Both Based upon the Great Novel, "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren, Depicting Gov. Huey Long, Sept. 9 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: All the King's Men (DVD)
Having watched two different cinematic accounts of All the King's Men, the common assessment that the 1949 film, with Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 13052 being the edition viewed), is a greater movie than the 2006 film starring Sean Penn in the same role (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment16953-LIT being the "Special Edition" watched) seems rather debatable. That is not because Sean Penn is better than Broderick Crawford in that role; Penn is, indeed excessively, rather clownishly over-the-top, but so, to only a little lesser degree (but more believably) Crawford is also. Penn's faked Southern accent, however, is pretty dreadful, too, and is grossly exaggerated. Newsreels of the time convey what Long really was like, in looks and in public behaviour, and it is Crawford who most approximates the Huey Long of history.

This review is meant to apply to both motion pictures as released on DVD, Blu-Ray, or VHS.

The other actors in the 2006 film may not quite sound like native-born Southerners, either; however, not going so far to fake the regional accent, they irritate less than Sean Penn does. (Having a whole side of the family from Southern roots, that kind of linguistic fakery always sets this viewer's teeth gritting and on edge!)

The cast of the film, aside from Sean Penn, is superb. Jude Law's portrayal of Jack Burden is especially poignant, and, in its quiet way, very effective and subtle. John Ireland, a Canadian-born actor, is effective in the role of Jack Burden, but Law brings just that much more subtlety and personal appeal to the part, although Law does not have the reservations, and hence more intensely felt and expressed ambiguities, about supporting and working with Willie Stark, written more strongly into the 1949 film's very script, that Ireland portrays.

Actually, for the history behind the story, Huey Long, the real life politician that Stark's character represents, could be quite the buffoon, too, as well as quite ruthless; one had to take the progressive good along with the dictatorial bad back then in supporting Huey Long Huey Long, who was corrupt, yes, but who had a real heart for the people of Louisiana, unlike the lying, greedy graft-hogs feeding fiscally at the public trough in government in our own times, the early decades of the 21st century, at the national level (and in numerous states) in the U. S. of A. under Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama, in the Dominion of Canada under Harper, and among the rest of the neo-con corrupted English-speaking world under their respective leaders (and among the various continental nations of the European Union and their ruling elite).

The 2006 motion picture is considerably much more atmospheric and artistic, as a whole, than the earlier movie. The 1949 film seems too didactic and overly controlled, the acting and direction of all of its cast (not merely singling out Broderick Crawford) is excessively overdrawn and too obvious. That 1949 movie is the well-made-film "to a tee", but it suffers comparison with the 2006 motion picture partly from that very fact.

Both cinematic renderings of southerner Robert Penn Warren's novel are the kind of dramatic films about the South that do not heap the kind of contempt, derision, or condescension on the region unlike so the motion pictures of so many of Hollywood's hostile Yankee interlopers. It is well worth it to see both of the films based upon this story and on Louisiana's fascinating political lore. The 1949 movie, set in the 1930s (like Huey Long's career and Warren's novel itself) was an Academy Award winner and has remained a famous classic of American cinema.

A more incidental advantage of the 1949 film is that Broderick Crawford looks rather a lot like Huey Long himself; certainly Crawford was of very much the same physical "type" as Long. The 2006 film, apart from Sean Penn's buffoonery and grotesquely exaggerated accent (and lack of physical resemblance to Huey Long), for its part, is very evocative of the later period (1950s) in which it is set.

Among the several welcome bonus features of the DVD edition cited of the 2006 film are scenes deleted from the movie. Watch them! There is much in the dialogue that amplifies and clarifies motives of what Willie Stark and others do. The final scene, apart from being in b&w and in sepia (highlighting the redness of blood, in colour, that flows in such a context), does not differ much from the film's depiction of the assassination, but it extends the end to the funerals and a conversation that Jack Burden has with Sugar, Willie's chief bodyguard, which also reveals a key element in what led to the governor's murder and to what propelled Adam Stanton's to carry it out.

Many consider these two films to be veritable monuments of Hollywood excellence. Maybe so, maybe not---. Be sure to view both of them to judge for oneself!

Beware of My Love - DVD
Beware of My Love - DVD
DVD ~ Nathalie Baye
Offered by moviemars-canada
Price: CDN$ 5.67
11 used & new from CDN$ 5.67

4.0 out of 5 stars A Mismatched Couple Who Crave Each Other Physically but Who Cannot Live, Ultimately, with and around Each Other for Very Long, Sept. 8 2014
This review is from: Beware of My Love - DVD (DVD)
This French film's original title is "Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi", a line, of course, which most famously, Carmen sings to Don José in the opera "Carmen" (and which both of the major protagonists in "Beware of My Love" rightly could communicate one to the other!). The tale of two mismatched but passionate people, the male, Samuel (or Sami as he sometimes is called in the film, played by Daniel Duval) of which is, apparently, a displaced Turk or Kurd from Izmir (and not, I wouldn't think, an Arab or Berber from North Africa as some have inferred), who is stateless and without papers or financial means (other than gambling, mooching off the ladies, and selling oriental rugs) in France. He and Muriel (acted by Nathalie Baye), a successful and sophisticated woman of the arts, as writer, film editor, and (whether professionally or as a skilled amateur) classical pianist, encounter each other on the train. Muriel helps Samuel to avoid detection and hence the need to pay for his fare (which he cannot).

Back in Paris, Samuel tracks down Muriel and forces his way into her life and, on her own terms, into her heart. However, Samuel is very abusive, jealous, and excessively assertive. The remainder of "Beware of My Love" consists of the constant struggle of Samuel to dominate Muriel, who, although she makes love with him frequently and appreciates his physical assets as a lover (and Duval, even as a man in late middle age, the film dating from 1998, is in great physical shape, as one can appreciate in his frequent full frontally buck-naked appearances), she becomes impatient with his Middle Eastern machismo and even mocks him in a way that is very unsettling to Samuel. Needless to say, Muriel's very carnal and, to an extent, caring love for Samuel evaporates in the face of his aggressivity and dangerously unpredictable moods and behaviour. By film's end they separate, once for all. Muriel simply is too self-assured and independent to let Samuel dominate her as, inevitably and repeatedly, he desires (despite some protestations on his part occasionally to the contrary) that she accept him, unconditionally, as lover.

The film's eroticism and other depicted behaviour will seem brutal at times and bewilderingly errant to many Anglophone viewers; this kind of lived-out existentialist angst comes more naturally to the French (and to those of some other latin cultures) than it does to audiences in Canada, aside from Québec, and the U. S. of A. If one likes French cinema of this sort, be assured that the film is a worthy specimen of the genre, a work of art, not (despite all the nudity and overt sex) one that is merely pornographic. The DVD is subtitled in English, fairly well despite some errors here and there (an hilariously inappropriate one being "gay" for what the French intends as "guy" at one point!). If the viewer is up to such fare, which hardly is rare in French cinema, this film is for him or for her.

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