ARRAY(0xad3f2a98)
 
Profile for Laurence R. Hunt > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Laurence R. Hunt
Top Reviewer Ranking: 659
Helpful Votes: 60

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Laurence R. Hunt "Laurence Hunt" (Kenora, Ontario, Canada)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
Bowflex 3.1 Adjustable Bench
Bowflex 3.1 Adjustable Bench
Price: CDN$ 199.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth twice the price, Feb. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This bench is of outstanding quality at the present price point (and I paid $40 more than the current, recently-reduced price of $159). The most common problems with inexpensive benches are (1) size (too small), (2) poor workmanship, (3) instability, (4) limited features, and (5) difficult to assemble. This bench has NONE of those problems. This bench is very heavy duty, stable, well-made and easy to adjust. There is a more expensive version with an additional two positions, for which can't see any real need. This one gives you decline, flat, 45° and upright. At this price, for almost everybody, this is probably the bench to buy. If there is any downside, the seat is quite large, and for smaller people, it's going to feel like sitting in the king's chair. Additionally, the seat does not lift up, which could be a concern for some users. I have to make some adjustments in my body position to accommodate the large seat (it is both long and wide), but the absence of a seat lift has not proved a problem for me so far. I do about a dozen exercises on the bench, and it's sufficiently stable to do off-centre core work (legs up and to side, for example), as well as traditional dumbbell work. I will also be using this for bench press, though I haven't set it up yet. I keep the leg hold-down brace on all the time. So far, it hasn't gotten in the way of what I do.

Astronaut: Last Push [Import]
Astronaut: Last Push [Import]
Price: CDN$ 16.24
15 used & new from CDN$ 6.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Technologically optimistic science fiction, Jan. 19 2014
Rare in literature, though developed from time to time, technologically optimistic themes are almost never encountered in cinema. Astronaut: The Last Push doesn't skirt any of the tough issues - the vulnerability of humans in space, the devastating impact of technological failure, the cruel vagaries of chance, and the isolation of the lonely venturer. And then it also transcends them, in a plausible and credible manner. Not a high-budget film, there are scenes in this movie that have not been exceeded in films made with budgets a thousand times greater. Credit all the players for their dramatic skills as well. This is a masterpiece. One of the singularly great works of science fiction film-making: a work that will stand for all time. A victory at levels that have seldom been attempted. I would award six stars if available. I have been moved and inspired by this brilliant and groundbreaking work of art.

Anna Karenina / Anna Karénine (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Anna Karenina / Anna Karénine (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Keira Knightley
Price: CDN$ 22.99
12 used & new from CDN$ 9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An inspired failure, Dec 26 2013
The real failure of this production of Tolstoy's classic tale is not in the intermittent use of the stage as an artifice for the presentation of the story, but in the inability of the project to engage consistently with the characters at an emotional level. Despite the epic disappointment of this venture, much is well-done on a scene-by-scene basis, including, definitely, the cinematography, as well as, often, the craft of the actors, not to mention the timeless power of Tolstoy's epic tale. In balance, this production should probably be seen. Under a less-disengaged guiding hand, this might have been the best telling yet of the great novel on-screen.

Robot and Frank [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Robot and Frank [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
DVD ~ Frank Langella
Offered by Deal Beat
Price: CDN$ 37.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Technological optimism with tongue in cheek - this works...., Dec 25 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the dominant genres of the 1950s has all but disappeared - technologically optimistic science fiction. In my view, it's more interesting to think about how technological evolution might create positive possibilities. Almost unique in contemporary cinema, here is a sly piece of early-career, almost tongue in cheek film-making, that recaptures the feel of the 50s, without talking down to us, preaching to us, or losing a contemporary feel. And these young filmmakers, not that long out of film school, somehow managed to score Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Liv Tyler and more. And a robot that is not evil. Honestly, it's about time. Well worth watching, for its genre-bending slant, if nothing else.

Ender's Game [Blu-ray]
Ender's Game [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 27.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult project handled successfully, Dec 23 2013
This review is from: Ender's Game [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Basically, Steven Aldersley has accomplished an excellent review (and overview) of this movie in its context as novel made film. I will add that I also am a lifelong science fiction fan, and have also read the book (just once - it was the Heinlein novels that I re-read, which, unfortunately, have never been made into top-tier movies). I wish to clarify a few additional points from my own perspective. Above all, yes, this is a very successful translation of book to screen, and that is not easily done - so credit to everyone involved in this project. I chose a 5-star rating because the movie definitely exceeded my expectations, and by quite a bit. In fact, I was dubious at the outset, as I had thought that Harrison Ford appeared weak in the previews, and the viewing of the film confirmed this. Honestly, Mr. Ford came across, in my view, more as a washed-up former leader, though I will credit him for rising to the occasion under pressure (both in his on-screen role and as an actor who appears to be literally "off his peak"). But Mr. Ford will have to "get it together" to carry such roles in future. Asa Butterfield as Ender was almost a perfect pick, as he was able to avoid either over-playing or under-playing the character. I was not expecting the actor playing Ender to look like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger - as Ender's strengths are ultimately cerebral, but I though he appeared a little bit too de-conditioned actually to have survived the physical tests (peer conflicts) with which he was faced. But let's be clear: Ender's character is all about mental agility and fast processing, not physical strength, and this could easily have been over-done in the opposite direction, so the 96-pound weakling who kicks dust in the face of the bully without bothering with the physical training is an acceptable compromise, in my view. (But honestly, after 8 years of military training, he'd have to have grown some muscle mass to complement his brain power!) Finally, I do not have the Kiwi accent down pat, so I can't comment on Mr. Kingsley's mastery of it (or not), but Ben Kingsley MADE THIS MOVIE. Without him, it would definitely have failed - honestly, the other pieces could not have come together without Mr. Kingsley's consummate performance. So, among the actors, I would award Mr. Kingsley with an extra star for his ability to define Mazer Rackham onscreen with a searing portrayal of a fierce and intense character. Let me also second Mr. Aldersley. One can hope for a sequel. As to Mr. Card's politics (with which I happen to disagree), he has used his right to free speech appropriately, and recognized his limits - even commenting that he has "lost" on the issue, so why the hubbub? This movie has nothing whatsoever to do with the author's politics. In fact, the movie backed off from what I think is by far the most difficult aspect of the book as a young readers' selection - and that is that Ender was in fact selected based in part on his capacity to take life (a requirement of any soldier, but a fact of life from which we usually prefer to shield our children). If there had been any public controversy about this film, it is this area, if any, that should have been considered difficult and disturbing. That is, Ender is raised as a child soldier, and in the background, there are questions that hark to such stories as those of Omar Khadr, the Lord's Resistance Army, etc. Should we train children to kill from a very young age? One can easily argue that, in context, the humans of the future had little choice - as we were to face an adversary that appeared to have in mind our extinction - certainly a genocidal mass slaughter so that they could inhabit our planet. And should we defeat them, we of course are faced with a similar ethical dilemma - which Mr. Card addresses in later works... particularly as it is stressed that Ender is an empathetic character. Without moving into the domain of spoilers, the means by which Ender was brought into active duty also raise multiple difficult ethical questions - as was indeed the author's intent. Later works are required to address and explore these dilemmas, and that same disclaimer applies to the film version. So, as is often the case, the public controversy about the author's politics was a misguided diversion from the extremely difficult ethical questions about child soldiers raised by his work - about which there has been far less public debate. Note that neither the film nor broad public comment has yet really attended to this issue. Were I to be discussing this story with young people, that is certainly the question I would be asking them to think about. Perhaps that opportunity will arise, with a sequel....

The Host [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
The Host [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Price: CDN$ 11.98
16 used & new from CDN$ 3.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A human-alien encounter movie about the relationship that develops... worth watching and thinking about, Oct. 26 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Host. OK, it's patently aimed at a target audience of adolescent females. So let's take about a half hour of kissing scenes out of there and see what's left. Turns out that this movie does quite a bit that's right. I complain endlessly about the fixation of science fiction cinema and television on "evil aliens." This movie goes several steps past that interminable dead-end, and develops a complex human-alien relationship that works, and asks and in some cases answers questions about what may ultimately happen when we do encounter other intelligences... which is looking increasingly likely (whether now or in 2000 years). How do we accommodate their aims and ours? This movie asks that question, without bombarding us with invading alien hordes. It is a better question than is asked by the great majority of human-alien encounter science fiction stories (in film at least). Now in my adolescent days, I loved scifi stories targeted at boys with shall we say an "incomplete" maturity level. So, hey, why not give one to the girls? This one is for them, but, yes, there is something there for the rest of us. And, by the way, alternative eco-tech in a human hideout in a semi-extinct volcano(!??!). OK. It's improbable, but it's cool. I definitely liked the alternative world!

Cubafrica
Cubafrica
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 72.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 49.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate, May 18 2013
This review is from: Cubafrica (Audio CD)
An outstanding collaboration. I have been listening to Manu Dibango for many years. This project is unique and engaging. It is striking how well the African and Cuban sounds blend, and that should be no surprise, given Cuba's partially African history. One of his best ever. It as though the blend of the two genres has selected out only the best of each. Lively, yet a gorgeous background selection as well.

Rebelle (War Witch) (Bilingual)
Rebelle (War Witch) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Rachel Mwanza
Price: CDN$ 29.71
4 used & new from CDN$ 22.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, difficult, necessary, inspiring, May 6 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is quite simply one of the most outstanding films I have ever viewed. Once having connected with the characters, it is impossible not to desire to follow their tragic, yet human and uplifting story. The film-making technique is incredibly subtle, and the work of the indigenous actors approaches flawlessness. Mood and atmosphere are conveyed consistently through the work of the camera, the setting of the scenes, and the moments of emotional communication by the actors. In a suppressive environment, the subtlest of gestures takes on deeper layers of meaning. This is an entirely inspired piece of film-making. This has instantly acquired a place in my informal "top ten" list. If there were only ten films I could keep to watch again, and then again and again, this would be one of them. You will thank me if you watch this film. I'm not saying it's easy. Far from it. But you will understand more about almost everything for having done so. A work of brilliance and stunning insight.

What's This Thing Called Love
What's This Thing Called Love

4.0 out of 5 stars Route 66 on this album is cool and laid back...., Jan. 27 2013
I listened only to the title, "Route 66," from this album, on Radio Swiss Jazz (RSJ). It is a laid back and cool extended rendering of the classic. It got my attention enough to stop and look it up on Amazon.ca! RSJ identifies Othella Dallas as Swiss in Nationality. Believe me, the Swiss know their jazz.

Eureka: Season 4.5
Eureka: Season 4.5
DVD ~ Cast
Price: CDN$ 24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Titan Astraeus mission a great theme for this series, July 3 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Eureka: Season 4.5 (DVD)
This part of the season (4.5) was focused around the planned 6-month Titan Astraeus mission by Global Dynamics.

As manned space exploration is in disarray (as is also the SyFy network, with literally nothing left for science/thinking-oriented viewers), it was inspiring to give thought to how a human space mission might be planned and executed in the near future.

Living in Canada, I don't have access to the (rapidly devolving) SyFy network, so am waiting for the release of Season 5.0 to see how the final cliffhanger plays out.

Season 4.5 has all the usual great features, and the crossover episode with Warehouse 13 was distinctly well-done.

Gone: Stargate, Battlestar, Caprica, Dollhouse, Firefly, Defying Gravity, Sarah Conner, Bionic Woman, Dark Angel, etc. (not all SyFy programs, to be clear!). There is literally nothing left in the true SciFi genre. Eureka has been fabulous, and I always appreciated the scientific tidbits which hold the show together.

I guess I'll go back to rewatching the great old shows....

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4