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Daniel S. "Daniel" (Geneva, Switzerland)

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Woman on Top (Widescreen)
Woman on Top (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Penélope Cruz
Price: CDN$ 6.98
8 used & new from CDN$ 1.77

3.0 out of 5 stars PENELOPE, BOSSA NOVA AND GASTRONOMY, April 22 2002
This review is from: Woman on Top (Widescreen) (DVD)
If, like me, you're a fan of spanish actress Penélope Cruz, you will certainly buy any DVD she appears in even if it features a nepalese film dubbed in swedish with bulgarian subtitles only, won't you ? Now if you're not particularly attracted by Penelope's radiant smile, I understand that you hesitate in front of this Fox presentation.
WOMAN ON TOP is a romantic comedy directed by the venezuelian born director Fina Torres in 2000. Add a little magic with the intervention of a Sea Goddess -Yemanja-, a brazilian orchestra with a few love songs in portuguese and two or three comic second characters like Monica the transvestite or Cliff the fitness addict TV producer and you'll have a funny comedy to rent.
Nothing special in the bonus features department with the usual trailers. Images and sound OK.
A DVD zone Penélope reserved shelf.

Obsession (Widescreen)
Obsession (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Cliff Robertson
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 157.94
2 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars PALI(-N)MPS(-C)EST, April 10 2002
This review is from: Obsession (Widescreen) (DVD)
Based on a very smart screenplay directly written for the screen by Paul Schrader and Brian De Palma, OBSESSION is, in my opinion, the masterpiece of the director of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. The movie can be read at several different levels but is primarily an excellent thriller treating of the guiltiness felt by a man who failed to rescue his wife and his daughter when kidnapped in New orleans.
The key of OBSESSION lies in the scene of the first encounter between Courtland and Sandra, in the medieval church in which the hero married his first wife. Sandra is trying to restore old paintings that happen to have been themselves painted over older paintings. Asked by Courtland if the new paintings will be erased, Sandra answers that it's not useful to destroy them in order to bring into light the original ones.
So OBSESSION is clearly an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO but is also a movie of its own who deserves credit. I remember that the sumptuous travellings of De Palma's camera were, in the seventies, rather unusual in the american production and generated numerous critics. One can only observe, 25 years later, that De Palma new aesthetics has inspired a whole generation of american filmmakers, like Steven Spielberg for instance, who has understood that a camera movement could produce emotions in the viewer's heart.
Among the bonus features of this DVD, there is a very interesting featurette with recent interviews of the cast.
A DVD zone your library.

Three Days of the Condor
Three Days of the Condor
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 35.52
12 used & new from CDN$ 6.95

4.0 out of 5 stars PARANOID, April 4 2002
This review is from: Three Days of the Condor (DVD)
Here are the seventies again ! At that time, Hollywood was ruled by such directors as Alan J. Pakula, John Frankenheimer or Sydney Pollack. The bad guys were the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Big consortiums or the Army and the good guys had the face of Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty or John Doe. It was one of the only periods in the history of cinema during which Hollywood was the champion of morality. Alas, times change...
THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR stands very well the test of time with a solid plot involving a Faye Dunaway smiling for the first and last time in a motion picture, a Robert Redford gaining with this role a star status and a Max Von Sydow impersonating an official hitman. Nevertheless, there are a few gaps in the screenplay ; for instance, Robert Redford can a little bit too easily enter the Bell Central building and Faye Dunaway hasn't any difficulty to meet one of the C.I.A. big bosses. But, after all, it's only cinema !
THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR is a classic political thriller of above-average quality which deserves a place in every serious movie lover's library. Sound is very well balanced and clear and images reflect the sadness of an early winter.<P...

Stage Fright (Widescreen)
Stage Fright (Widescreen)
DVD ~ David Brandon
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 127.60
4 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars HALL -OWL- WEEN, March 21 2002
This review is from: Stage Fright (Widescreen) (DVD)
The first fiction movie of Michele Soavi is a very good surprise for the amateur of horror flicks. I mean of good horror flicks because, believe me or not, those movies exist but you must have a strong stomach and a lot of patience to discover them amidst the vast choice available. STAGE FRIGHT belongs to the peculiar sub-genre of the psycho-thriller, a genre directly inspired by Agatha Christie's AND THEN THEY WERE NONE. Take a dozen innocent victims and a madman with a mask and that's it.
From these premises on, directors reveal their peculiar skills or interests : some are, to speak frankly, would-be surgeons and like to fill the screen with gallons of blood during 90 minutes, some are more interested in the possibility to discover new ways of killing and the others seem to have accepted the job only in order to pay their taxes. Those directors are of no interest to me so I just skip them.
But Michele Soavi's STAGE FRIGHT reveals an authentic filmmaker. Locked in a theater, nine actors and a director must defend themselves against a madman who's just escaped from the local asylum. Like Jason or HALLOWEEN's Michael Myers, this madman wears a mask, the mask of an owl. And that's really innovative and scary. But completely stupid as the audience knows from the beginning of the movie on that the killer is Irving Wallace (not a spoiler), a serial killer.
So, from the moment one understands that the director's purpose is not to revolutionize the genre but rather to pay an homage to his colleagues and to the best scenes presented so far - in 1987 - , the movie stops being only a scary flick and becomes a wonderful journey through the annals of the cinema of horror. I've particularly liked the homage to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, a scene filled with a visual poesy one rarely finds in such movies.
Of course, Soavi didn't have an enormous budget to spend, certain characters don't have much to say and the actors are a little amateurish at times but who cares after all, STAGE FRIGHT delivering a subtle pleasure that blockbusters unfortunately can't give anymore nowadays.
Superb transfer from Anchor Bay, a trailer and a biography of the director as bonus pictures.
A DVD zone screaming room.

Indiscretion Of America
Indiscretion Of America
DVD ~ Jennifer Jones
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 31.90
6 used & new from CDN$ 23.84

1.0 out of 5 stars THE SELZNICK HOLLYWOODSAW CUT MASSACRE, March 13 2002
This review is from: Indiscretion Of America (DVD)
Well, firstly I think people should be aware that the european version of Vittorio de Sica's INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE is 120 minutes long and that the U.S. release presented here by The Roan Group lasts...63 minutes. The hour long neo-realistic scenes shot by the italian director had been cut by a David Selznick fearing that the american audience could be shocked by the 1953 italian reality. The Dream Factory couldn't accept a movie that would have awakened the nice sleepers of America.
So, what's left of the movie is watchable, nothing more. Jennifer and Montgomery spend a lot of time running through Rome Main Station and cruise a few symbolical figures that have lost all their impact.
So let's hope that the european version will appear soon in the Criterion catalogue. Just production notes as bonus feature. No more than average sound and images.
A DVD for the garbage can.

Positive I.D. (Widescreen)
Positive I.D. (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Stephanie Rascoe
4 used & new from CDN$ 70.27

4.0 out of 5 stars MEMENTO, Feb. 26 2002
This review is from: Positive I.D. (Widescreen) (DVD)
One of the reasons that made me welcome the DVD standard was the rerelease of hundreds of little forgotten gems I couldn't find in Europe in VHS nor in our local theaters. As I enjoy my television set only because it allows me to watch movies I've carefully chosen on the web, I haven't had the opportunity until now to discover POSITIVE I.D., a movie written, produced and directed by Andy Anderson. So, one more time, thank you Anchor Bay for releasing movies that don't match the usual criteria of Hollywood moghuls.
POSITIVE I.D. owes a lot to Stephanie Rascoe who plays the characters of Julie Kenner and Bobbie King. She is simply outstanding, giving a tremendous reality to Julie, a 30 years old woman trying to recover from the trauma of an assault. She doesn't speak a lot but we feel how she is suffering while her husband and her children are slowly disappearing from her life. One could say that the plot is somewhat evident because the director never fools us by letting us believe that Julie is suffering from a schizophrenia that forces her to become Bobbie King, a gorgeous young woman from Florida, when she leaves home. We understand that, if she frequents the dangerous downtown streets of Dallas, it's for an evident reason I won't spoil here. No, Andy Anderson is smarter than that and the final twist of POSITIVE I.D. leaves us with the need to watch again the movie from a different perspective. From Julie's perspective.
Only a trailer as bonus feature, video and sound no more than average.
A DVD zone discovery.

Piano Works
Piano Works
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 39.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 16.87

5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT SELECTION OF PIANO WORKS, Feb. 25 2002
This review is from: Piano Works (Audio CD)
This is the CD box I usually offer to the people I like. Four CD's that may arouse in them the envy to discover the whole discography of Robert Schumann. I'm not a musician and I'm not specialized in musical criticism so don't expect to find here comparisons with other Schumann records but I can assure you that William Kempff's choice is a pure marvel if you don't look for the complete piano works of the composer.
I also believe that the best way to enjoy these recordings is to read, while listening the music, a Robert Schumann biography. So you will intimately feel the hopes of the young composer in THE SYMPHONISCHE ETUDEN or in KREISLERIANA and suffer with him the painful separation with Clara in the FANTASIE op.17.
Less pathetic and evident than Chopin, Schumann deserves to be listened to numerous times if you want to enter his romantic world. The path can be dangerous and obscure but when you finally reach the secret heart of the forest, your life will be changed for ever.
A CD for your library.

Loves of a Blonde (Full Screen)
Loves of a Blonde (Full Screen)
DVD ~ Hana Brejchová
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 21.40
17 used & new from CDN$ 21.40

4.0 out of 5 stars CITY OF WOMEN, Feb. 17 2002
Ivan Passer and Milos Forman, who wrote the screenplay of LOVES OF A BLONDE in 1965, left Czechoslovakia for Hollywood 30 years ago. While Milos Forman directed some hits like ONE FLEW OVER A CUCKOO'S NEST or AMADEUS, Ivan Passer had a less successful career, in terms of boxoffice, even if one can consider his movie CUTTER'S WAY (1981) as one of the most important american films of the eighties. So no wonder if Criterion has chosen to present this winter the two movies they wrote together back in the 60's : LOVES OF A BLONDE and FIREMEN'S BALL.
LOVES OF A BLONDE is a bittersweet comedy, in fact less sweet than bitter, relating the anxieties of the young women of an industrial small town. These girls are desperately looking for the man of their dreams while the male population of the town doesn't exceed the tenth of the female number. So when Andula is seduced by the pianist of a Praguan band and is invited to come to his place if she ever comes to the Czechoslovakian capital, she doesn't hesitate. Needless to say that the pianist will be a little annoyed when Andula knocks at his parents's door in the middle of the night.
So one smiles a lot during LOVES OF A BLONDE, particularly at the ball scene involving middle-aged reservists soldiers who can't believe their eyes in front of the numerous women available for dancing. One smiles a little less as an almost documentary camera lingers on the girl's faces waiting to be invited for a dance. Tragedy is never far away in this movie you can not disregard if you're interested in the revival of european cinema during the 60's.
The bonus features include a deleted scene and a recent video interview of Milos Forman. Sound and images superb even if a vertical black line is visible during the first minutes of the film.
A DVD zone Adam and Evas.

Mississippi Mermaid (Widescreen)
Mississippi Mermaid (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Catherine Deneuve
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 29.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 8.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A ROMANTIC LOST IN THE XXth CENTURY, Feb. 3 2002
MISSISSIPPI MERMAID could be considered as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock. True if one appreciates the musical score of the movie very Bernard Herrmann-like or discreet little touches reminding of the english master touch. But that's all because there is any suspense in Truffaut's MISSISSIPPI MERMAID. As in THE BRIDE WORE BLACK, Truffaut kills carefully any tension that could arise in the viewer's mind.
Jean-Paul Belmondo is another variation of Antoine Doinel, the well-known Truffaut double, he is a romantic hero, speaks like a romantic hero and finally acts like a romantic hero of the french XXth century literature. On the contrary, Catherine Deneuve is the impersonation of a 1968 young woman - at least, in Truffaut's mind - egotistical, money hungry and materialistic. Their encounter cannot but produce a hiatus. Hence, the strange mood of the movie and the curious reactions of the characters almost unbelievable for the XXth century rational Truffaut fan. So if you don't know the movies of François Truffaut, begin your discovery with THE 400 BLOWS or THE SOFT SKIN and leave this movie for later, for the moment you will be ready to accept this peculiar love story.
Just a trailer as bonus features if one excepts the various subtitles with this MGM DVD. Images and sound no more than average.
A DVD zone make your choice.

Exotica (Widescreen)
Exotica (Widescreen)
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 78.69
9 used & new from CDN$ 20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE, Feb. 2 2002
This review is from: Exotica (Widescreen) (DVD)
In my opinion, Atom Egoyan's EXOTICA is one of the best movies of the last decade. Those of us who had the opportunity to watch in the eighties Egoyan's first movies such as THE ADJUSTER or FAMILY VIEWING are not surprised by the nowadays international recognition of the armenian-canadian director. With EXOTICA, he has joined the very small guild of the writer/directors whose name will be remembered in the future.
Atom Egoyan is treating such universal themes as Redemption, Guiltiness or Desire, mixing them in a puzzle of images and subplots that leave us petrified by the beauty of the movie and the deepness of the feelings experienced by the characters. EXOTICA, like a book you cherish, must be seen several times in order to appreciate the complexity of the screenplay. Don't hesitate to buy it, you cannot be wrong with this movie.
There are alas no bonus features with this Disney/Buena Vista DVD, a company that prefers present extra long documentaries about the making of some infantile movie rather than contribute to the nobler but less profitable effort to help true artists reveal their work. Shame.
A DVD zone your library.

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