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K. Gordon
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Frances Ha (Bilingual)
Frances Ha (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Greta Gerwig
Price: CDN$ 26.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly sweet low budget comedy/drama from the normally far darker, very talented Baumbach., Dec 2 2013
This review is from: Frances Ha (Bilingual) (DVD)
More a character study than plot driven film, it tells of the lost, screwed up 27 year old Francis, played with lost, screwed up loveable-ness by co-writer Greta Gerwig.
She has what seems an amazingly close relationship with her roommate and best friend Sophie (a terrific Mickey Summer), but it all comes crashing down when
Sophie decides to move out (and maybe grow up) for a better apartment (not as crazy as that sounds in NYC), leaving Frances suddenly uprooted and alone.

We follow Frances as she pin-balls through places to live and people to connect with (or not), seeming too childlike for her own good, and unable to take control of her
life. But she never sinks so low that she loses the spark that makes us want good things for her, in spite of her continually getting in her own way.

While the film has some very touching moments, and generally excellent acting and writing, something in it made me feel held a bit at arms length. For all the joy and
sorrow in Frances’ life, I felt more like a clinical observer and less like a participant than I wanted to. And while some of Baumbach’s nods to French new wave film-making
work wonderfully (the high-spirited musical romp Frances takes down New York streets is wildly infectious), some of them, like the constant use of music from those seminal
1960s films as score was, for me, distracting and too self-conscious. Frances is a good enough character, and Baumbach a talented enough story teller that it the film didn’t
need such heavy handed style laid over it.

Still, a unique, if flawed film about a unique if flawed character. It’s good to see Baumbach stretch, even if he – like Francis – hasn’t quite figured out where he’s going yet.

Partner
Partner
DVD ~ Pierre Clémenti
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 26.95
14 used & new from CDN$ 17.96

4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun for a experimental, revolutionary 60s tract., Dec 1 2013
This review is from: Partner (DVD)
While the often noticed aping by Bertolucci of his hero Godard in this early film is quite true (even the film itself admits its debt to Godard
right on screen), there is more here than mere imitation. Whether intentional or not I saw plenty of other influences from Bunuel, to the
paintings if Rene Magritte. A loose, examination of schizophrenia; an inhibited intellectual young man spawns a separate self who is
confident, aggressive and revolutionary.

While vaguely based on Dostoyevsky’s “The Double”, this is very much it’s own story, and a hell of a lot of fun. I found Bertolucci’s surreal
playfulness more inviting than most of Godard’s work from that period. It asks many of the same questions, and has much of the same
distain for modern consumer society, (and film narrative conventions) but does it with an absurdist sense of humor that give rise to some
moments that now seem as much “Monty Python” as they are French New Wave.

The most egregious Godard rip-offs can be annoying (sudden inappropriate music, etc), but they are for the most part mercifully brief.
Mostly this is more influence and homage than theft, and creates a time capsule that still has relevance and interest, and pleasure in the
watching. Pierre Clementi does a fine job playing the two different versions of the hero Giaccobe.

The "No Shame" transfer is quite nice, and contains a number of interesting extras, including an entire 2nd feature film by critic
Eduardo Bruno.

Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man
Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if not quite compelling, with swings from drama to near farcical satire, Nov. 30 2013
Well acted by Ugo Tognanzzi as a self made cheese factory owner whose son is apparently kidnapped, although we can see there’s a real possibility the
kidnapping was staged so the son could raise money for left-wing causes he supports. Most of the film is about Tognazzi dealing with the kidnapping
by pondering selling his factory, and getting to know two go betweens who may or may not have there own agendas (the son’s girlfriend, and a leftist
sort-of priest), as well as dealing with his wife, Anouk Aimee, who is far more anxious to sell everything they own to pay the kidnappers than the more
cynical and wily Tognazzi.

What was hard for me was that, unlike it’s spiritual forerunner “The Spider’s Strategem”, the more satirical, lighter-toned approach seems to work against the
drama and vice versa. None-the-less this is interesting and thought provoking. And if not among Bertolucci’s greatest works, still well worth seeing.

Lucie Aubrac [Import]
Lucie Aubrac [Import]
2 used & new from CDN$ 19.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid WWII romance and thriller, Nov. 30 2013
This review is from: Lucie Aubrac [Import] (VHS Tape)
While not on a par with Berri’s remarkable 2 film epic “Jean de Florette” and Manon of the Spring”, this is a fairly engrossing, romantic, if somewhat
romanticized true story of a married pair of resistance fighters in WWII France. Both Daniel Auteil and Carole Bouquet are solid as the couple, especially
in their scenes together, which nicely capture the erotic tension of a married couple deeply in love, whose passion is not just physical, but fed by the
fact they admire each other as human beings as well. It’s also nice to see a war film where the woman pulls off the heroics to try and save her man,
rather than the other way around.

But the darkness of occupied France seems a but sanitized here, the awful price paid by those fighting back and their innocent families is alluded too but
never fully dealt with, and there is something a bit light weight about it in the end. Bouquet keeps everything so hidden when not around Autiel that she
becomes somewhat opaque.

It’s always interesting, but a bit stolid. Rarely truly tense, frightening or emotional. Still it’s a good, decent, involving film, if not a great one.

Blue Jasmine [Blu-ray] [Import]
Blue Jasmine [Blu-ray] [Import]
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 28.47
7 used & new from CDN$ 16.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After 44 films, Allen continues to evolve, Nov. 29 2013
Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of Allen's yearly offerings, you have to admire a man that
is in his 70s, has made 44 movies, and yet seems to keep trying to stretch his wings, and style,
while still retaining a very recognizable film-making technique. Allen's films are always clearly
his, yet the tone, feel and structure of the films is so almost always something a little new. In
this case, Allen is going for straight drama, (yes there are a few amusing moments, but in general
this is pretty serious stuff) something he hasn't done since "Match Point". But "Match Point" also
had the structure of being a mystery/thriller, whereas "Blue Jasmine" is a character study, pure
and simple. And in that it's not quite like anything Allen has done in his many, many films. The
earlier dramas like "Interiors" or "Another Woman" were both more stylized and weren't really
about dissecting a single fatally flawed character as if under a microscope.

This grew on me on a second viewing. Some of my problems remained; a lot of the supporting characters
are stereotypes, in spite of being played by wonderful actors, doing all they can to bring them life. But
the great Cate Blanchett, who seems incapable of being less than amazing, somehow manages to bring
reality, humanity and sometimes even pathos to this self-involved borderline crazy and theatrical mess
of a human being.

Whatever the quibbles, this is intelligent, grown up film-making, trying to grapple with big questions of
morality and personal responsibility, and unafraid of being a study of a largely unlikable woman. Allen is
still among the braver and least compromised of U.S. directors, and continues to be worth watching
and supporting.

Blue Jasmine (Bilingual) - UltraViolet [Blu-ray]
Blue Jasmine (Bilingual) - UltraViolet [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Bobby Cannavale
Price: CDN$ 21.98
14 used & new from CDN$ 14.49

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After 44 films, Allen continues to evolve, Nov. 29 2013
Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of Allen's yearly offerings, you have to admire a man that is in his 70s, has made 44 movies, and yet
seems to keep trying to stretch his wings, and style, while still retaining a very recognizable film-making technique. Allen's films are
instantly recognizable as his, yet the tone, feel and structure of the films is so almost always something a little new. In this case, Allen
is going for straight, dark drama, something he hasn't done since "Match Point". But "Match Point"also had the structure of being a
mystery/thriller, whereas "Blue Jasmine" is a character study, pure and simple. And in that it's not quite like anything Allen has done in his
many, many films. The earlier dramas like "Interiors" or "AnotherWoman" were both more stylized and weren't really about dissecting a
single fatally flawed character as if under a microscope.

As a film, to me it's not Allen at his very best. A lot of the supporting characters are stereotypes, in spite of being played by
wonderful actors, doing all they can to bring them life (Andrew Dice Clay, of all people, is something of a revelation). And at times,
even the great Cate Blanchett, who seems incapable of being less than amazing, does cross the line from playing a theatrical, unstable, over
the top woman (Blanche Dubois comes to mind) to giving a slightly theatrical performance where the close up lens reveals some of the
actress playing a character.

But for all that, this is still intelligent, grown up film-making, trying to grapple with big questions of morality and personal responsibility,
and unafraid of being a study of a largely unlikable woman. By merit of that if nothing else, Allen is still among the bravest and least
compromised of U.S. directors, and continues to be worth watching and supporting.

Greetings from Tim Buckley
Greetings from Tim Buckley
DVD ~ Penn Badgley
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 31.34
24 used & new from CDN$ 18.41

4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and touching, Nov. 27 2013
This review is from: Greetings from Tim Buckley (DVD)
A gentle, touching film about young musician Jeff Buckley, 3 years before his break out (and only) album “Grace” traveling
to NYC to perform in a tribute concert for his father Tim.

Having never known his father, but living in his shadow, and yet gifted with some of the same talent it’s an unusual and
quietly intimate look at the connections and hurts between fathers and sons, even those who never met.

Penn Badgley does a very nice job not only with the young Jeff’s angst, but also his voice, which is not an easy one to capture.
Imogen Poots is lovely as a young fan of Jeff’s father with whom Tim has a sweet momentary romance. Not all the performances
are at the same level, and the film doesn’t delve very deep, but seeing a father and son (there are various flashbacks to Tim
played by Ben Rosenfeld) at about the same age, so similar and so different is an effective and unique structural concept.
The tragedy that both men completed their lives eerily alike, dying far too young, casts a haunting melancholy over it all.

Breaking Bad: The Final Season / La saison finale : le chimiste (Bilingual)
Breaking Bad: The Final Season / La saison finale : le chimiste (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Bryan Cranston
Offered by Deal Beat
Price: CDN$ 32.31
17 used & new from CDN$ 14.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great end for one of the greatest series, Nov. 22 2013
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very
few series that competes with the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling.
Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing.

A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to
make money for his family before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking
performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work from all the supporting roles,
this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and
more disturbing each year.

In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey
from innocence to darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money
and success - how we lose ourselves, so that succeeding and having ever more becomes an
end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route to happiness, trapping us in a
game we can never win.

Kudos too, to creator Vince Gilligan to have the courage to end the show at just the right time
rather than string it out past where the story would bear. This last season brings together all
the shows themes and central characters and finds a way to end it all without ever selling
out the story or the ideas. This brief 8 episode season has some of the series very best episodes.
This is powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Breaking Bad: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Aaron Paul
Offered by Deal Beat
Price: CDN$ 499.99
4 used & new from CDN$ 297.66

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An achievement in film storytelling, Nov. 22 2013
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very
few series that competes with the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling.
Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing.

A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to
make money for his family before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking
performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work from all the supporting roles,
this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and
more disturbing each year.

In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey
from innocence to darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money
and success - how we lose ourselves, so that succeeding and having ever more becomes an
end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route to happiness, trapping us in a
game we can never win.

Kudos too, to creator Vince Gilligan to have the courage to end the show at just the right time
rather than string it out past where the story would bear. It may take a few episodes to get into,
but you oweit to yourself to try. This is powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.

As for this box-set, at the current price of $198 it's not the rip off some of these sets are.
To buy all 6 sets on blu-ray would cost nearly as much, and there are some cool extras
here for fans of that sort of thing. That said, if you already have much of the series, the extras
may not be so amazing as to warrant a double dip.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season (Sous-titres français)
Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Bryan Cranston
Price: CDN$ 15.00
45 used & new from CDN$ 9.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the greatest season of a great show, Nov. 21 2013
What can be said about this spectacular saga that hasn't been said before? One of the very
few series that competes with the best films in history for achievement in cinematic storytelling.
Like a great novel slowly unfolding, it's funny, heartbreaking, incredibly tense, deeply disturbing,
full of brilliant plot twists, rich, compelling characters and a pitch-black sense of humor.

A nebbishy high-school science teacher finds he has lung cancer, so becomes a meth dealer to
make money for his family before his death. Often visually stunning, with a breathtaking
performance by Brian Cranston in the lead, and great work from all the supporting roles,
this portrait of a man's decent into hell couldn't be much better, and it just grows darker and
more disturbing each year.

In a way, thematically it recalls "The Godfather I and II" in how that epic charts Michael's journey
from innocence to darkness, along with the moral murkiness of the endless drive for money
and success - how we lose ourselves, so that succeeding and having ever more becomes an
end in itself for which we will pay any price, rather than a route to happiness, trapping us in a
game we can never win.

This fourth season take the form of an epic battle for control between Walter and his
nemisis Gus. Along the way Walter's morality crumbles even as he becomes ever more
brilliant at manipulating the people and situations around him. And just enough of his
remaining humanity pokes through to keep us caring in spite of ourselves.
This is powerful, important and utterly enthralling stuff.

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