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One singular sensation... "One singular sensation..." (Toronto, Canada)

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In the Still of the Night
In the Still of the Night
Price: CDN$ 22.41
17 used & new from CDN$ 10.13

3.0 out of 5 stars Next time, a piano, a bass, and a bit of brass., Jan. 19 2015
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Dvorsky has a pleasant voice, but it has limitations that this CD magnifies rather than helps to conceal. First, despite his success, get him a good vocal coach, not a singing teacher. and get rid of the occasional very wrong enunciations. Then fire whomever did most of the arrangements on this CD. Dvorsky is not Sinatra, but the arranger must have thought that he, the arranger, was Nelson Riddle. As a result, instead of giving Dvorsky the best settings to show off his voice, he is overwhelmed too often so that he becomes bland in comparison with the musicians. The man's voice is better suited to gentler works, but with the accompaniment he gets, he becomes almost incidental to the CD. It is a pity as two or three of the songs here show how lovely his voice is, while the rest bury him. Compare the first track to the third and you will see what I mean.
Pity. It could have been so much better. Dvorsky is capable of that.

How Green Was My Valley
How Green Was My Valley
DVD ~ Walter Pidgeon
Price: CDN$ 15.69
27 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly dated, but not outclassed., Jan. 19 2015
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This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
"How Green Was my Valley" was a great read. The movie that John Ford made from it surpassed the book in many ways, and slipped up once or twice. But John Ford was simply not capable of making an 'average' film, let alone a bad one. The casting is perfect. On paper Pidgeon and O'Hara may have seemed to be a mismatch, but they work because of the relationship of the characters. To support them Ford has selected few of his group of supporting actors, and selected a cast of superb actors who become the characters they play.

The plot may contain a few cliches by today's standards, but I doubt they were cliches in the 1940's. The miracle is that we can connect with so many of them in 2015, their joys, sorrows, disappointments, and coping with life in less than ideal circumstances.

The photography is still magnificently perfect. The sound is better than when I first saw the film in a revival theatre when the picture was perfect but the sound dated. Technically, there are few elements, other than colour, different from the best of today's films. The best advantage is that everyone here gives totally of themselves, knowing they are making a film for the ages.

La Cage Aux Folles
La Cage Aux Folles
Price: CDN$ 13.41
12 used & new from CDN$ 8.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Jerry Herman and another golden show, Jan. 18 2015
This review is from: La Cage Aux Folles (Audio CD)
I avoided buying this CD because people kept complaining that they tried to, but got a CD of one of the reinventions of the show, and I wanted George Hearn. (Outside of Len Cariou, the best Sweeney Todd yet...)
The cast is fantastic, the songs are wonderful, the performances brilliant, the orchestration vibrant, melodic, forceful, gentle....whatever was perfect for the moment.
I have only one complaint - I love Jerry Herman's music, which it seems there will be no more of - and while each time it happens, the songs are well adjusted for plot and characters, there are too many reprises and not enough new and different melodies. George Hearn's "I Am what I Am" is even used by the chorus in the opening number. Why? Leave it to George, who made it an instant hit, though several others in the show should have, and would have in earlier times, been on the hit parade.
"The Best of Times" is one that I am surprised has not been used by singers everywhere.
So now that the original original cast is available, do buy it if you liked "Dolly", or "Mame", or like me, fell in love with the score of "Mack and Mabel" (which failed because of the book, not the songs and not the cast...) ("I Won't Send Roses" is one of Robert Preston's best moments including "76 Trombones", and Bernadette Peters' "Time Heals Everything" is quite probably the best 'broken-heart' song ever written or recorded.)
So try "La Cage", a much more mature show than the movie versions were, and filled with glorious Jerry Herman songs...just not enough of them.

White Collar: Season 5
White Collar: Season 5
DVD ~ Matt Bomer
Price: CDN$ 49.98
2 used & new from CDN$ 47.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm keeping the fifth star for the final season., Jan. 18 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: White Collar: Season 5 (DVD)
This little unassuming crime series is one of the best on television, and has been since it began. Murder and murderers may occur about once a season, but only in relation to a white collar crime already being investigated. This means that we can dig deeper into character. The problem was that there wouldn't be much to dig into; but there has been a great deal revealed about both central characters and several others as we have progressed through good seasons and great ones. To this credit belongs to the writers and to the two actors at the top of their game. Bomer has shown such acting chops here that one wonders why he hasn't progressed to the top ranks. At last, a film this year gave him the chance to shine,"The Normal Heart" which does not seem to carry. Maybe a Golden Globe will change their minds.. "Magic Mike", on the other hand, used him just for his body, and never gave him a chance to show what a terrific actor he is. As his handler, Tim DeKay (What a dreadfully wrong pun that is...), is equally excellent and able to bring all of the different aspects of this complex character together into one very believable and sympathetic character.

If you haven't discovered "White Collar" since the big four don't carry it, buy at least the first season and discover what you've been missing. It is almost a certainty that you will want Season Two and Seasons Three, Four, Five, Six.

CSI and the others that run on and on past their expiry dates may be good. But you will never care so much about the characters and the show as you will here.

Movie Stars Sing
Movie Stars Sing
Offered by Mega Media CA
Price: CDN$ 50.07
27 used & new from CDN$ 8.40

3.0 out of 5 stars and she is heard on the DECCA original cast recording of "There's No Business Like Show Business" doing all the Marilyn Monroe n, Jan. 17 2015
This review is from: Movie Stars Sing (Audio CD)

Not a review of the CD, but a correction to another review - Dolores Gray made FOUR films at least in which she was prominently seen.: KISMET (very sexy), IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (very funny), THE OPPOSITE SEX (Pure delightful bitch, and she got to sing the title song in an otherwise essentially June Allyson film), DESIGNING WOMAN (Poor Gregory Peck, Gray and Lauren Bacall to cope with in one film...envy, envy), and she is heard on the DECCA original cast recording of "There's No Business Like Show Business" doing all the Marilyn Monroe numbers since Monroe was under contract to another recording studio....why, when she really wasn't a singer? Gray knocked the numbers out of the park and the recording is well worth having just to hear her take on "Heat Wave". (hotter than Monroe ever dreamt of being.)

Stephen Sondheim: A Life
Stephen Sondheim: A Life
by Meryle Secrest
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
31 used & new from CDN$ 12.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Now, if it only continued to the present..., Jan. 2 2015
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I love the works of Stephen Sondheim. even "Anyone Can Whistle" and "Merrily We Roll Along". And then there is "Follies", the likes of which Broadway will never see again - it was that special. "Company","A Little Night Music"."Into the Woods" (not the movie version which is a kettle of fish and not a musical in the best sense. Please stop Marshall from making Broadway musicals into movies. If you were to judge the movie "Nine" as an accurate presentation of the play, you would wonder how this masterpiece lasted so long on Broadway; Marshall totally butchered it!) were all treasures unequalled in the past century. And then, ignoring the movie again, there is "Sweeney Todd", quite likely the greatest musical masterpiece that Broadway has ever seen, and, no, I am not forgetting "Porgy and Bess", brilliance in its own way, but with a few too many flaws, especially in its latest reincarnation.
So I delayed getting the book for fear of Sondheim somehow being diminished in my eyes, and heart. It didn't happen. There is too much about his miserable mother, but otherwise, there isn't a page that doesn't deliver insights into the man and his musicals. I suspect there will be no new musicals from him, but while he's still blessedly with us, I can hope. I wouldn't even mind if it turned out to be another "Pacific Overtures", which I'm still trying to get my head around since it is his one show I have not seen on a stage.
If you love his works even half as much as I do, buy the book. It is a life story worth reading about as it is well-researched, well-written, and gives us so much more knowledge of the genius of this man and his work. He certainly had "a good thing going", and it would be sheer heaven to see it keep on going still.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jennifer Lawrence
Price: CDN$ 26.96

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly good sci-fi action film, Jan. 2 2015
Okay, I'm over the hill; a senior citizen who should state that this is another piece of half-witted pablum for the young and nothing more. BUT that is not true. The film is a well-crafted thrill ride. Most of that can be attributed to the cast, especially Jennifer Lawrence, who make us believe and care about their characters. The plot, seemingly obvious from the opening credits, has enough twists and a few major shifts, to keep us from guessing the ending until near the very end - unless we have read the book. I hadn't. But I enjoyed the film, the photography more than the plot, and the balance of an idea which blends the serious with a subtle sense of humour.
So, old-timers like me, give it a chance. Unfortunately it has been followed up by one inferior sequel, with a third waiting to rake in the profits, but this movie stands on its own as a complete narrative. In fact, it would be better if there were no sequel and we could consider Lawrence's job done, and done so very well.

Higher and Higher
Higher and Higher
DVD ~ Michèle Morgan
Offered by torontomediadvd_com
Price: CDN$ 9.88
10 used & new from CDN$ 4.12

3.0 out of 5 stars Time passes and some joys fade...., Jan. 2 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Higher and Higher (DVD)
There is nothing wrong with "Higher and Higher", but little of it is right for 2015. The laughs have become smiles, the songs are pleasant but no longer ones that stay in the memory and leave you humming them, and the plot's gaping holes are just too much to take seriously. When the movie was made, none of this would have been true. One would forgive the plot, ignore the miscasting, laugh at the ridiculous situations - few one-liners of any significance - and find the music enchanting. But the time for this sort of musical, even as pure nostalgia, is passing. Sinatra plays Sinatra which gives you a clear picture of what the music will do - take you away briefly from the plot - but lead you nowhere. He sings some nice songs in a delightful way, but the style, the class of the singer to come is missing. The cast does the best it can with the plot, though the two leads could have, should have been replaced; there is no chemistry at all between them so that the entire enterprise crashes badly.
But if you want early Sinatra - which is why I bould the DVD - do add it to your collection. It is not one to play once and toss away. It will see the light of day every two years or so, but, sadly, with diminishing results with each playing. Thank heavens for being able to fast forward through a lot of it.

White Collar: Season 1
White Collar: Season 1
DVD ~ Matt Bomer
Price: CDN$ 9.99
42 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thank Heavens - the FBI without a high body count!, Dec 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: White Collar: Season 1 (DVD)
"White Collar" was a show that I never gave a chance to when it was on television. There are so many murder-mystery shows, so many FBI shows, CSI shows...that they start to run into one big pile of mysteriously piled up corpses.

But this one is different.

It does have the occasional killing, but they are few and always justifiable by the plot, and happen to eliminate characters that one doesn't like very much anyway. On the other hand, the two male leads are exceptional, and the cast that support them are also near perfection. One can believe in them all, and their quirks are fascinating in good ways.

For once we have a show where the heroes make mistakes but still most often manage to solve their cases. And with a good deal of humour involved, too. Also, I love the idea of the ex-con-now-FBI
assistant with a wardrobe, part up to date and part from earlier times - men should go back to wearing hats!

A good series that starts well and improves with each season. And watch for the references to
art, artists, books, old films - these writers do not have their heads in the sand. Buy, and enjoy.

Louisiana Purchase - Music & L
Louisiana Purchase - Music & L
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 33.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 24.73

4.0 out of 5 stars So that's what Berlin was doing in the early 1940's!, Dec 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There was a Paramount Picture with this title many decades ago, but it didn't contain a single song from the Berlin Broadway score. And to the best of my knowledge, I'm not ancient enough to have been buying music back then, not a single hit came from the score. In fact, the only song I am familiar with is "What Chance Have I With Love" which was Donald O'Connor's solo in "Singing in the Rain" where it had a better pace, presentation, and arrangement.
But this late 1990's recording is generally a good deal of fun. I have to admit that it took about three playings to get into the right frame of mind for it as it is not typical of Berlin, and has been arranged so that one wishes that Glen Miller and his Band has been in the pit playing it.But once that hurdle has been passed, the show is a good deal of fun. It is not a CD that will make it to your sound system as much as "Annie Get Your Gun" or "Call Me Madam", but once there, you are certain to enjoy it.If you like Berlin, you will come to find a treasure in this score - but give it three playings to get there.

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