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Outlander: Season 1 Volume 1 - Collector's Edition with Script to Screen [Blu-ray + UltraViolet] (Sous-titres français)
Outlander: Season 1 Volume 1 - Collector's Edition with Script to Screen [Blu-ray + UltraViolet] (Sous-titres français)
Offered by Shopville Canada
Price: CDN$ 69.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 52.31

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best television series ever., May 27 2015
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"Outlander" is superb. Oh, yes. it takes liberties with history, but the novels are works of fiction based on history, so the television series. It sometimes copies famous film angles that are so well known that they are avoided by cinematographers - "Gone with The Wind" has four famous moments that this series has recreated, intentionally or otherwise. In order to cover as much from a source of such size, it skims over a few points that are illogical and yet believable in the books, but, hey, once we accept the passage through stone into another age, why not accept those slips?
On the plus side, begin with the scenery. Scotland, you are breathtakingly beautiful, always have been, always will be. But this series touches you with magic. The costumes are closer to historically correct than any I have seen in any other movie, play, or television program. And where they alter history, it adds a smile to any historian, amateur or professional, and not a sneer. The technical aspects are superbly handled. Only "Pushing Daisies", and a comedy, at that, had more vibrancy in its colours and depths in the filming. And it was so expensive to produce that it doomed one of the cleverest comedies far before it was time to let it go.
And then there are the actors. I keep waiting for someone to mess up one of the many phenomenal characters created, but no one does. From the leads, sensational, to the smallest parts, perfection. And the third lead has to portray two such separate characters that I am astonished that he pulls it off with such subtle style; angel or devil, he is an experience one seldom encounters on television. Yet he is largely ignored, even by people who know that a protagonist is only as good as the antagonist is threatening.
Now we need a series set somewhere in time between "Outlander" and "Downtown Abbey". Perhaps set in Ireland? Even the American series have generally been better this year than in many past seasons - "How to Get Way with Murder" left most of us gobsmacked with the conclusion, "Elementary" was a clever spin on the Holmes treasury, "and "Grimm" got grimmer, to mention just three. Only"Penny Dreadful" seemed to have toned down the delightful gore of the original penny dreadfuls. (Leave to Eva Green. She'll bring it back to life...or is it death?)
So, "Outlander". Buy it. Sit back, don't think of whips. It will probably be a long time before another show of this calibre, and emotional impact, comes our way. The price has dropped since it was first offered, and it does come with a great box to also hold the second half of the season...yes, on that point I am being sarcastic.

Rive Gauche
Rive Gauche
Price: CDN$ 14.99
26 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise!, May 27 2015
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This review is from: Rive Gauche (Audio CD)
To be honest, I have no idea why I bought this CD, but I'm very, very glad that I did. I now tend to skip the last two numbers because they aren't needed. The rest are so enjoyable and yet soothing. Alain Lefevre has a tender touch that makes each number a melodious journey into the heart. I shall now have to be on the watch for him to arrive in my home city and present a concert of his own lovely compositions or of others. He has been under my radar too long. This album will soon be joined by another of his CDs. At first it would appear to be one of those gentle soothing collections that lull one to sleep; but it isn't. It sooths, but it intrigues as the rhapsodies, just touched by jazz and yet routed in the classics, stir the imagination. The man composes pieces of magic, plays them with ethereal skill, and gives us a CD to treasure for all time. Bravo!

Lost Broadway & More: Volume 5 Comden/Green/Styne
Lost Broadway & More: Volume 5 Comden/Green/Styne
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 59.46
2 used & new from CDN$ 59.46

4.0 out of 5 stars Solo pianos don't cut it., May 27 2015
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There is so much that is wrong with this series. BUT, without it, we would not have the songs that for one reason or another were dropped, or hidden away in the scores. But none of them are as good as all the fantastic stuff that "Follies" discarded, added, altered along the way. But what could be?
First - why not tell us where they were, precisely in the show, when given the ax? Give us a more particular frame of reference. It would add to the enjoyment. Knowing where "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight" was placed in "My Fair Lady" adds to our enjoyment of both "MFL" and "Gigi" where it finally appeared. And no guesses - there are too many of them here - someone still has to be alive to give us a fuller story of the songs' histories.
Second - match up the singers to the songs a little better. The men, in particular, seem to have drawn the titles from a hat, and some came off well, and some are struggling, and dying, with the wrong material.
Third - How much more would it have cost to have a trio of instruments? The piano is a lovely instrument, but for Broadway, a dangerous route to take when stranded by itself. Here, the additional problem is that with only the sounds of a piano behind the singers, the pace is slowed down to a dismal crawl too often. Some of these songs do not do well when a dirge is the tempo they slip into.
Fourth - fewer singers. Allow the CD to develop a tone, a character. With so many voices, most good, some trapped in arrangements that even a mother would loath, there is almost no impact. Choose four or five and let them have some fun with the songs and communicate that fun to us.
Fifth - Why not have at least a shortened version of some of the songs that replaced these castaways? Few are familiar with "Say, Darling", which has good score. How many people have heard it? And so with many of the other shows.
Keep the series going. But at least reconsider this grabbag approach that is there now.
Buy it? Toss a coin.

On the Twentieth Century - New Broadway Cast Recording (Deluxe)
On the Twentieth Century - New Broadway Cast Recording (Deluxe)
Price: CDN$ 18.42
25 used & new from CDN$ 18.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous!, May 27 2015
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The original show should have run for years, but like many delicacies it was ahead of its time. Now, with this terrific cast, it is a show for all seasons. Chenoweth is a gorgeous force of nature. Gallagher is the leading man Broadway desperately needs. Ron Raines can't be in every show. Together they make this experience sensational. I saw the original production on Broadway, eons ago, and though it was splendid, it never seemed to pull quite together so that it reached the heights. Now I shall have to get down to New York and see this version, soon. The CDs are the best advertising imaginable. Also, the CDs are interestingly different from one another. There is a different tone to each, clearly establishing that this is NOT one of those shows with a great first act, with nowhere to go in the Second Act. One could on and describe each song with rapturous praise, but the comments would be repetitious as it all is the best out there. May it run for years, and with these leads. Their chemistry is great, each voice suited to so well to the material, which at last is given the ultimate perfection it deserves. I can't say they've never been better - "Guys and Dolls" and "Wicked" each glowed with their presence. But together - dynamite! Delicious, delectable dynamite!
Buy it? Only if you're alive. Actually, the joy of it might raise the dead!

Perfectly Frank
Perfectly Frank
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 12.85
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Bennett at his usual., May 11 2015
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This review is from: Perfectly Frank (Audio CD)
Tony Bennett has wisely avoided most of the 'Frank Sinatra" signature songs. Only about five of them are here. The rest are songs Sinatra did record, but not as well as Bennett does here. Sinatra played with lyrics, rhythms, all of which we enjoyed at the time; Bennett gives each song the respect and fine treatment that it deserves. In some cases he rescues songs that had almost slipped into oblivion and demonstrated how fine and wonderful they are. The Sinatra that comes closest is in "Time After Time" before Frank got the gimmicks going.Here we are reminded of Frank, but is Tony Bennett that carries the day with a, naturally, more mature approach to the lyric. Other than that, one could argue that "The Lady is a Tramp" is more Frank Sinatra than Tony Bennett, but get into any discussion, music lovers never argue, and many of us will state firmly that the song belongs to Lena Horne who knew how to swing it and give it more bite than anyone before or since. Otherwise, forget Sinatra. It is a nice Bennett gesture, and almost certainly most sincere, but it has given Bennett a chance to come up with one of the best albums of his career, one that will probably still be played decades from now as an example of the best that our time had to offer. His "Foggy Day" even surpasses Fred Astaire (a feat I would have thought impossible.) and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square" is so very beautiful that it transports one to place that the song declares does not exist.
If you need a CD to wash away your worries, to restore your heart and soul, to lift your spirits, and to enjoy every second of, this is it.

Steve Lawrence Conquers Broadway
Steve Lawrence Conquers Broadway
Price: CDN$ 25.23
31 used & new from CDN$ 9.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Steve Lawrence - good stylist, but misleading title for the CD, May 11 2015
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There are a lot of LPs out there that demonstrate that Steve Lawrence could sing Broadway songs. He was in several of them, and though the shows got mixed or poor reviews, Lawrence escaped unscathed. And in "A Room Without Windows" from 'What Makes Sammy Run" he hit solid golddust. But that isn't on this CD. Nor are any of the other songs that he introduced on Broadway in weak books with great scores. Pity.
What we get is the Latin craze of the 50's and partially into the 60's. One keep expecting Xavier Cugat and his chiwawa (sic) to turn up. (Surely that wasn't a dog!) So everything gets the latin treatment even if the Latin beat wasn't to be heard significantly on Broadway until well after Lawrence had left it.
So, if Steve Lawrence and South America are what you are after, this will be perfection. If you want to hear the man who starred on Broadway and was a fine vocalist of Broadway songs, give it a pass. Steve is still good, but the years have rolled on and styles change. Some of these arrangements are almost enough to make a grown man cry, and not with happiness.
Perhaps good decades ago, a misstep now. And that misleading title should be dropped...FAST.

Wolf Hall
Wolf Hall
DVD ~ Mark Rylance
Price: CDN$ 30.99
19 used & new from CDN$ 27.25

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stop messing with history!, May 11 2015
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This review is from: Wolf Hall (DVD)
This series is based upon novel(s), not historical fact. Oh, at times they overlap, but this whitewashing of Cromwell will never go over with any historian. The novels attempted to make him into a 'good guy', and the tv series almost makes him a saint, but it is not accurate, or even close to reality. True, Cromwell could not have been as bad, inept, ruthless, and obsequious as some would believe, but the character we see, almost stoically heroic, in this series is NOT Cromwell. And Henry was capricious, perhaps more so with Cromwell than anyone else, including his wives - except for Anne of Cleves, Cromwell's fatal choice for a wife for Henry. Giving him two major titles and then having his head chopped off three months later proves that. Unless, of course one looks at the other forces at play at the time. Being king meant not angering the public too much, and the public hated Cromwell. Add the machiavellian force of the Howard family, and Henry truly had little choice except banishment, and that had never proved successful. And Thomas More was still, though dead for years, a force to reckon with and whose demise was greatly Cromwell's doing. Goodbye Cromwell - the royal ass had been kissed once too often. True, he left much changed in his wake, but much of that has gone the way of the Dodo, and the establishment of the Anglican Church, becoming constantly less important, can be considered his greatest achievement, even if he didn't fully understand it at the time - but Anne Boleyn was now his enemy whereas they had once been good friends. But to rid Henry of her the church was formed.
But forget history, The actors are fine, though they are not playing historical people but fictions of a writer's imagination, and sometimes are either badly directed, or left to their own devices too often so that they are not in step as the plot unfolds. The costumes come close, but fall short of history. (Guess I can't forget history since it is violated so often here.)
Give them different names, give us an England that never was, such as the age of Camelot or Robin Hood, and they might have got away with it. And for those who don't know their history, please, take what you are seeing with a ton of salt. Perhaps next year the same producers will bring us a program about Joan of Arc, not being burned at the stake but opening a brothel in Paris to serve soldiers who lost a limb or two in the Hundred Years War. Of course, she only ministers to their wounds. Bah, humbug, on this whole enterprise, and my condolences to a capable cast working against the odds - but a job is better than no job, and Lewis, at least will survive having been wise enough to take a secondary role.

Lady & Jack Jones Sings
Lady & Jack Jones Sings
Price: CDN$ 25.00
21 used & new from CDN$ 16.41

3.0 out of 5 stars Time isn't always kind., May 11 2015
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This review is from: Lady & Jack Jones Sings (Audio CD)
Jack Jones was great - back decades ago when Perry Como was hanging up his hat, Vic Damone had moved on to better songs, and John Gary was too soft for the masses. But times change. And so do tastes. Jack Jones, would have been better served if they had not packed two of his Lps into this CD but selected carefully from them and dropped the 'songs' that were dated a year after he recorded them. There is too much dross here, most of it that had been forgotten over the years. But now, here they are, back again, but not to add variety to the CD, but to drag it down. That's the curse of all these old collections rammed together on a CD. But it shows up more here than is usual. Which is a crime, because Jack Jones could truly sing. He could do wonders with a song. He was highly listenable. That is still true for much of this CD, but there is too much here that is too dated, both the songs and the arrangements. Rethink the policy that everything recorded years ago is still pleasurable. It all too often isn't, and here the dated choices come perilously close to spoiling the whole CD.

Homeland: The Complete Second Season (Sous-titres français)
Homeland: The Complete Second Season (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Claire Danes
Price: CDN$ 15.00
41 used & new from CDN$ 10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Something is rotten in the state of....", May 11 2015
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There has always been a problem with this series. It is produced well, acted brilliantly,but it is hollow. The plot is too obvious, and not strong enough to hold up a series, except the actors are so blastedly good that we don't notice it. Danes and Lewis are two of the best actors in the business, and are worth every penny they are, (or were, in his case) paid. The other lead can't put aside his stage persona to get fully into the part, but for those who have never seen Patinkin on stage or at a concert, they may not notice this. Now, if only there was something here that could emotionally involve us instead of showing how emotionally involved the characters are, I would have been hooked. But there isn't. The plot rolls on by the numbers, and if we are surprised, it is because we are numb to the trivializing of the issues by the writers, overcome in part by the brilliance of the cast. Just, please, don't give Danes the telephone book - is there still such a thing? - ask her to read it and have us applaud; she's a skilled, brilliant actress, but the writers had better start doing better by her.

Stages (Deluxe)
Stages (Deluxe)
Price: CDN$ 13.79
34 used & new from CDN$ 11.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Have to Own This CD!, May 11 2015
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This review is from: Stages (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
Groban is one of the best singers of this age. But this particular CD goes well beyond anything he has done before. Except for one fragile and gorgeous French song, it has presented us with the best of music,(though I can't stand "Phantom" - a sexual predator as hero?!?!?!?!)from Broadway and Hollywood. I love Judy Garland's version of "Over the Rainbow", a song that everyone else, until now, has failed to deliver anywhere near as well. But Groban has made it more than a song for a young girl wanting to escape the life she was living. It is an anthem for all of us, of any age, sex, race, condition. The best moments are the ones one might expect:"If I Loved You" is sheer heaven, but it is from "Carousel", the best musical of the past century, and may be the best song. (I still feel shivers up and down my spine when I hear "The Highest Judge of All", cut because 20th Century Fox made a major, and wrongheaded decision about the plot - typical of that studio.) Here, "If I Loved You" has only one competitor - the original London Cast album, hard to get hold of, and perfect if only because both Billy and Julie are played by people of the right age and their innocence and bravado give the song the extra edge it has always needed.
One might go one praising song after song where there is no competition from other singers. Groban has never been better, nor more accessible. His voice is a wonder, his choices here impeccable, (with the one exception already noted. Though, I admit, is it a lovely song for a sick-minded stalker to sing in L.W.'s twisted world. Previous versions did not even try to make the Phantom a 'hero". He was a nasty piece of work, and always will be.) Groban almost redeems it for me, which is a bit of a miracle. Anything else and he would have made me fall in love with a song I had never before appreciated.
The CD belongs in any music lovers collection. You want the best; here it is.
I am hooked. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Fabulous music, fantastically performed does have that power.
You want the best; here it is.

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