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The archduke (Tokyo, Japan)

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Ridge Racer - PlayStation Portable
Ridge Racer - PlayStation Portable
Offered by EntertainmentForLess
Price: CDN$ 17.00
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars a great start for the psp, March 24 2005
Living in Japan, I was able to get my hands on the psp months ago, as well as the first wave of games that came along with it. My first purchase was Ridge Racers, and I must say that I had pretty high hopes for this first game, and I must admit that Ridge Racers lives up to these high expectations.
First of all, the graphics on the psp are great, of the same quailty that we have become accustomed to on the ps2. The gameplay itself is smooth running, and the levels are great. There are cool cars, cool tracks, and the game is quite challenging. The game makers did not ease up because this is the first release, so there is some serious time required to get thrugh the beginner, pro and expert levels of this game. Ridge Racers is not unlike most car racing games that we have seen before, but it gives good entertainment value for the relatively low cost of the game. as I am playing the japanese version of the game, it took some time to figure out the menus and some of the instructions, but this will not be a problem with the North american release.
also, the wi-fi system on the psp is easy to use, effective, and it runs pretty smoothly. It is a great way to pass time on the Tokyo trains, playing against another friend. The distance available with the wi-fi is impressive, so you are not stuck sitting right beside whoever you are playing against. This is a nice feature, because it eliminates the hassle of a connecting chord.
So, overall, the launch of the psp has been tremendously successful here in Japan, and Im sure the same will go for the North american release of the system. and Ridge Racers is a good place to start with this new system. This is a fun game, one that gets quite addictive to be sure, so I highly reccomend making this game one of your first psp purchases.

Before Sunset
Before Sunset
DVD ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: CDN$ 7.49
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply put: Brilliant, March 3 2005
This review is from: Before Sunset (DVD)
There was alot of hype leading up to the release of this film, and with good reason. The original movie, "Before Sunrise" has achieved the status of being a cult favorite among movie goers, and many were leary about what would take place in a sequel. So many questions were left unanswered with the first flim: would Jesse and Celine ever meet up six months later in Vienna? Would they be able to move on with their lives after their one incredible evening together? Many people, myself inculded, were somewhat afraid to find out these answers, instead preferring to let our imagination run away with us.
But I give major credit to Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who all three cowrote this movie. They know what works, and they knew how to answer all the questions that were important to the fans, and I have to admit that I would not change one thing about this film.
This one is now set in Paris, nine years after the initial meeting in Vienna. Jesse is now on a book tour, a book which is of course about his night with Celine. She meets him in a Paris bookstore, where he is being interviewed, and they embark on a real time one and a half hour catch up session before he must go to the airport and back to America. Their dialogue with one another is as though they never left each other, which in a way is very satisfying to see. The conversation relates to things they have talked about before, venturing into the philosophical issues of life, and the half written, half improvised script is very realistic, and very satisfying.
As much as I want to, I will not spill the secrets of this film, as they must be seen to be fully understood. What "Before Sunset" is is a brilliantly romantic movie about holding on to one's past, trying to keep heading for the future, and wondering what could have been. Everything here is perfect, and this needs to be considered one of the best movies of the year, without question. It is simple, quick and it gets to all the things we have wanted to know about for the last nine years. I also found that this movie had a very good ending, revealing just enough and leaving enough to the imagination to appease all viewers. This truly is a great film. For those fans of "Before Sunrise", this is an absolute must see, and Jesse and Celine should be considered some of the great romantic characters of all time.

Chasing Amy (Criterion Collection) [Import]
Chasing Amy (Criterion Collection) [Import]
DVD ~ Ben Affleck
Price: CDN$ 9.99
67 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Kevin Smith's best film, April 28 2004
Kevin Smith has redefined comedy in his Jersey quintilogy, bringing life to an entire community filled with strange and hilarious characters. In "Clerks" and "Mallrats" he gave us pure comedy, but in this third installment, he brings a more serious side to the making of "Chasing Amy", and what he has created is an excellent movie all around.
This is the story of Banke and Holden, the creators of the underground comic book "Bluntman and Chronic" (based on the characters of Jay and Silent Bob). Holden falls in love with another comic book writer, Alyssa Jones, who happens to be a lesbian and happens to have a long and infamous sexual history. This is a love story, more than anything, about coming to terms with who you are, who your partner is, and their past. And Smith does this really well. We care and love all of the characters, and there is still plenty of comedy here. The bar scene where Banke and Alyssa are comparing scars from previous sexual episodes is absolutely hilarious.
The movie is stolen here by Banke, played by Smith constant Jason Lee. He spews his dialogue with such ferocity and fun, that we cannot help but love his conflicted and overly-aggressive character.
There is a big plot twist at the end here, but like Holden says, it seems so inevitable that they all get to this point. This is a great movie, because it is a love story, and a powerful and different one at that, as well as a hilarious comedy. There are plenty of comic book references here, as well as plenty of swearing and sexual dialogue, which makes Smith's writing that much more authentic and believable.
Maybe "Chasing Amy" isn't the funniest movie Smith has done, but it is definitely the best all-around movie he has made. There is intelligence here as well, making this a can't miss movie.

Big Fish (Bilingual) [Import]
Big Fish (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by moviemars-canada
Price: CDN$ 9.75
44 used & new from CDN$ 0.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible father/son story, April 28 2004
The wonderful imagination of Tim Burton strikes again here, in his father and son story of "Big Fish". This movie is the incredible life of Edward Bloom, a grand storyteller whose life has remained a mystery because nobody can seperate the fact from the fiction.
Will Bloom is called back from Paris because his father is deathly ill. He brings his pregnant wife Josephine with him, and he will speak with his father in the first time in years. Will's problem with his dad stem from his father always stealing the show at the most important moments of his life, and the fact that he never knew who his father really was, because all he was ever told were elaborate tales of giants and witches and mysterious cities in the middle of nowhere. The goal of Will, played excellently by Billy Crudup (one of the most underrated actors out there, see "Almost Famous" and "Jesus' Son") is to sort out who is father really is.
The father is played by Albert Finney, and Ewan McGregor when he is younger. Both actors take the tall tales and run with them, and both of them come away with very strong performances.
"Big Fish" is the story of leading a huge life, even when it may have been duller than expected. It is the story of a man coming to terms with who his father was, or wasn't, and about the innocence of children dissapearing when the stories of their parents grow old and tiresome. There are so many layers to this movie, each one could be dissected for hours.
The direction here is top-notch, as Burton stuns again with his creative vision. This movie allows him to direct straight-ahead drama, as well as the incredible tales of Edward Bloom, which are visually stunning as well as compelling. All the actors here are good, including Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, Danny DeVito and Steve Buschemi.
"Big Fish" is a sad story, the story of a man and his son who stopped believing in him, and it is also a story filled with imagination and grandeur that only Tim Burton could bring to the screen.

Love Actually (Widescreen)
Love Actually (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Hugh Grant
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 10.22
48 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The King of romantic comedy, April 28 2004
This review is from: Love Actually (Widescreen) (DVD)
Usually, the basis for the romantic comedy is quite simple. We follow one story line of star-crossed lovers through a couple of laughs, and a couple of ups and downs, before their inevitable getting together in the final scene of the film. "Love Actually" also does this, but on a much grander scale. This movie has every romantic-comedy plotline ever invented: the simpleton just looking for sex, the best friend in love with his best friend's new bride, the cute assistant in love with someone more powerful than her, the sultry secretary trying to sleep with her boss, the married boss trying to keep together a long marriage, the man whose wife slept with his brother and retreats to France for a new frame of mind, the man whose wife has just died, the boy with his first love, the porn stars, the aging rocker. Okay, so all of these stories sound a little bit daunting, but they are put together seamlessly in this phenomenal movie.
Based around the month leading up to Christmas, the director takes us through these eight stories, who interconnect, of course. The one thing that is done better here than in many movies of this genre, is that we actually care about all of the stories. Enough is given here that we like all of the characters, whether they are "good" or "bad".
One thing that is all-too frequently left out of the romantic comedy genre is the comedy aspect of it. "Love Actually" is full of British wit, and there are a few laugh out loud scenes here. For those who enjoy the dryness of British humour, this is for you. If you laughed at "Bridget Jones' Diary", you will laugh at this.
What makes this such a good romantic comedy is that there are so many stories, and so much offered to the viewer that they cannot leave dissapointed. This is a movie that will make you smile, because it is so heartfelt, despite the obvious cheesiness and mellowdrama. This is one of those films that can briefly restore your faith in love and humanity, because everything in it is so wholesomely good and pure.
If you are a fan of romantic comedy, this movie is the ultimate. It conquers all of its rivals over the past few years, and handily at that. A dozen strong performances and a witty script help this tale along, making it difficult to dislike this movie.

Talkin' Honky Blues
Talkin' Honky Blues
Price: CDN$ 14.66
25 used & new from CDN$ 6.48

5.0 out of 5 stars True Alternative music, April 28 2004
This review is from: Talkin' Honky Blues (Audio CD)
Everything about "Talkin' Honky Blues" screams originality. This could be the rebirth of alternative music, as Buck 65 has deliciously spliced together innumerable styles of music here into one great hip-hop fusion. With influences spanning from rap to country to folk to blues to rock, there is something for everybody here. Fans of hip-hop will be happy, because this is a great record for that genre. But it is the extras here that make this so amazing. Lyrical references to Johnny Cash and musical influences by the likes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds make this album ulike any other you will hear.
This is different, that is for sure. Never has there been a fusion of country/folk and rap, but here it is. This is nothing like the tired combination of rap and metal. Buck 65 deserves the acclaim he is receiving for this disc, and he even won a Juno for best alternative album, also much decerved. Lets hope that he continues to produce material that is not mainstream, not in the normal range of what we expect from a hip-hop disc. I am a big Swollen Members fan, and always had claimed them as the best of Canadian rap, but I think they have just been unseated by Buck 65.
Since there truly is something for everybody here, I strongly reccomend this album, filled start to finish with cool, different songs.

Mossflower
Mossflower
by Brian Jacques
Edition: Paperback
57 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second installment a winner, April 28 2004
This review is from: Mossflower (Paperback)
"Mossflower" is the second book in the wide world of Brian Jaques and his warrior mice, badgers, otters and squirrels. This book provides the backstory of how Martin the Warrior came and saved Mossflower from the evil rule of the crazed wildcat Tsarmina. This is the story of the exiled woodlanders, not free to live in peace, because of the cruel wildcat rule. When the Warrior comes to them, he convinces them to fight for their freedom, instead of hiding out for the rest of their lives.
This is a sprawling adventure story, and I liked it more than "Redwall". The characters are all likeable, and the adventure is even larger, as Martin and his friends quest to Salamandaston, home of the great badger kings who once ruled Mossflower in peace and tranquility. There are battles aplenty here, and despite the young targeted audience, Jaques keeps up this spirit of war with lots of violence and bloodhsed. The theme of this book could be the courage of a few saving many, or the desire to fight for what one believes in.
This is a very good book, giving the history behind the creation of Redwall Abbey, and how its inhabitants came to the head of Mossflower woods. It also makes more sense of "Redwall", as we know more about the mouse that Matthias and the entire population of the Abbey revere and speak about as though legend.

We Were Born In A Flame
We Were Born In A Flame
Price: CDN$ 5.00
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Shaggy Roberts offers up some gems, April 13 2004
This review is from: We Were Born In A Flame (Audio CD)
"We Were Born in a Flame", the eagerly anticipated full-length release by Sam Roberts, the Montreal singer/songwriter, had more expectations heaped on it than people would have origianally thought, Roberts included. But this disc lives up to expectations, as he gives us some solid songwriting and catchy tunes that are more or less entertaining.
The faults with this record are that two of the best songs, "Don't Walk Away Eileen" and "Brother Down" are also on his debut EP. But he serves up another big hit with the anthemic "Where Have All the Good People Gone?", a great song that was plastered all over Canadian radio upon its release. While those are the best three, there are some other worthy tracks here, although the sound on some of the more mellow numbers gets a tad repetitive, taking away from his intelligent lyrics. Had he gone to a different song structure on some of these songs, they could have been much better.
But overall, this is a very good disc, showing the world that there is indeed a strong young crop of Canadian musicians, and Sam Roberts has shown himself to be one of the scruffy leaders of this movement. There is much influence here from the 60's and 70's, which gives many tunes here a certain foot-tapping delight that is becoming more common, but is still relatively rare. "We Were Born in a Flame" signalled the arrival of Sam Roberts on the Canadian scene, and no doubt we will be seeing more of him in the future, when he comes out with his next disc of undeniably Canadian rock.

The Matrix Revolutions (Widescreen) (2 Discs)
The Matrix Revolutions (Widescreen) (2 Discs)
DVD ~ Keanu Reeves
Price: CDN$ 7.49
107 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy finish, April 10 2004
Too many people dislike "The Matrix Revolutions" for the wrong reasons. They can say that they didn't like the plot or action, but the real reason is that this is a movie that makes you think, and this is not what many people want when they go see a huge-budget action movie. There are very intellectual things in the entire "Matrix" series, altough much of it seems to stem from first or second year philosophy courses.
This film is an absolute epic, concluding the series that is not really viewed as an epic in the same way that "Lord of the Rings" is, but it should be. A massive world has been created by the Waschowski brothers, one that can be confusing at times, but one that never stops entertaining the viewers. The action here is still second to none, every stunt trying to outdo the last. Of course these stop-motion shots that the directors have invented have become overused and clicheed, but that it because many directors who had no business using this technology were ripping them off left, right and center. The fact is that these guys invented this new style of action, and they are definitely the ones who do it the best. Those who aren't amazed by the action in "Revolutions" should give their heads a shake, because they are simply asking too much from a movie.
There are many ways to think about "The Matrix", but it is impossible to overlook the religious overtones of the film. Many were dissapointed by the ending of this movie, but look at it like a religion. There are no answers carved into stone, only guidelines and certain things that can only be considered leaps of faith. The same goes for this. Personally I was glad there were a few loose ends, because it lets our imagination play, thinking out how everything else could be resolved.
This brings me back to the first point. If you don't want to use your brain, then do not see this movie, because there is intelligence in it. But this cannot take away from the fact that this is a brilliant action movie, and a series that will be considered an absolute classic in years to come. Think of how these films revolutionized filmmaking over the past five years or so. "The Matrix" is important for many reasons, and "Revolutions" is an excellent conclusion to the series that managed to amaze people from the start.

My Life Without Me
My Life Without Me
DVD ~ DVD
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 149.99
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A woman dying in private, April 1 2004
This review is from: My Life Without Me (DVD)
The premise of this film is not new, it has definitely been done before, but that is not to take away from this movie that can often be quite powerful. "My Life Without Me" is about a woman diagnosed with cancer who writes a list of things to do before she dies in a couple of months. We lose sympathy for the character because she writes things such as Making somebody else fall in love with her, and having sex with other men so that she knows what it feels like. Anne, played well by Sarah Polley, had her first daughter at 17 and was married to the first man she ever kissed.
There is much about this film that is quite predictable, but it is still good. The writing could have used a new twist on this done story, but there are things to respect about the characters. The mother, played by singer Deborah Harry, is well-rounded in her bitterness towards the world. The French neighbor is also an important character, although she is given very little screen time. Both of the men in the film, the husband played by Scott Speedman and the fling played by Mark Ruffalo are quite well done, and their affections for Anne are quite believable.
But watching this film, it seems as though there is something missing, and it seems that this is soul. For such an emotional story, there is not much passion or desperation eminating from the screen. There could have been more heart, from any sources, be it the acting, writing or directing. The one plus of this is that this film comes across as very realistic, and not as a standard mellowdrama as it could have easily been.
There is more than enough here to make "My Life Without Me" a worthwhile viewing, but not enough to consider it to be a great movie.

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