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Titanic (Widescreen)
Titanic (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 41.11
16 used & new from CDN$ 3.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Ship of Fools, May 2 2003
This review is from: Titanic (Widescreen) (DVD)
Titanic is the cinematic equivalent of a pop-up fairy tale book for children, complete with cardboard characters and a plot that would be laughed out of Junior High. Its story and cast of Ogres and Heroes could be described as cartoon-like but somehow manages to be more two-dimensional and is so drawn-out that it seems the voyage is filmed in real time. It's astonishing popularity I can only credit to a world wide stupidity epidemic, perhaps passed on by ship's rats.
We start shipping water right from the start with the introduction of `Jack', the main protagonist. He is dressed in period garb but may as well have stepped out of a rap video for all the sense of 1912 he conveys. He sleeps rough every night yet manages to wash his blond hair daily. Funny about that. The rest of the crew and guests resemble nothing more than ones and zeros in the shimmering computer simulation we know the ship to be.
But hark! A lookout has spied something huge heaving into view - the iceberg, the real star of the movie, appearing at last? Alas no, it's James Cameron's ego steaming toward us, bent on wreaking havoc below the waterline. Armed with his deathly dialogue and with no way to pump out the bilge water of his drama fast enough, there is no escape and we are doomed to slide beneath the cold dark waves.

A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume
A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume
by Foundation for Inner Peace
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 8.02

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fake - but a unique and important one, April 29 2003
After reading ACIM several times over a number of years and after researching the author I've come to the conclusion that while it does undoubtedly have some insight and value and I personally have benefited from it the book's stated origins are a fraud. After decoding the bible-based language into plain English and then boiling away the superfluous prose we end up with a residue of ideas that the writer almost certainly got from other sources; a mix of Eastern thought and more modern psychological theory grafted onto a Christian ideology. The overly long and repetitive text is written in such soft and vague language that it becomes a blank canvas that allows the reader to paint whatever he wishes on it, encouraging the day-dream like quality seen in the course's more slavish followers. It has to be realized how easy it is to become hypnotized by revered texts, be they literary or philosophical, and be falsely convinced of their profundity. Instead of the hoped-for monologue of truth from them we find ourselves in a dialogue formed from one's own dreams and memory. Rather like gazing into a still pool expecting depths but finding only self reflections.
There are clues sprinkled throughout the book to its true origin. It is heavily psychoanalytical in flavor which just happens to be the profession of the woman who 'channeled' it and there are other biographical pointers which I won't go into here. The work is most variable in quality and in places (the second half of the Workbook for example) is very weak and uninspired. To be frank, wouldn't a divine being produce better metaphors and imagery than the catalogue of cliches the book is stuffed with?
Having said all that I still believe the book has considerable merit as psychological description and can be profitably used as a tool for spiritual exploration and refinement. After all, should it matter where it came from as long as it has value? The book does stand by itself in spite of rather than because of its Christian structure and terminology. The author herself clearly struggles within these self-imposed confines and causes wonderment at what a more honest book would have been like. It's in the parts where ideology is discarded that the book is most effective.
The concept of projection, central to the course's philosophy, which I wasn't aware of before even though many earlier thinkers (such as Freud) have used it is perhaps the single most important explainer of human behavior. The sections on 'Special Relationships' and seeking within rather than in worldly changes are vivid and eloquently stated . Other themes such as 'The Holy Instant' and the defense of a artificial self are well chosen but are handled better by others such as J. Krishnamurti.
Reading the reviews here it seems that people either bow down in awe to ACIM or else dismiss it in disgust. Why does it have to be one or the other? Take away the florid religious prose and cut it down to a third (less?) of its original length and what we have here is a handy if not indispensable guide to the human psyche, well worth owning and reading if you keep a careful eye on it. I'd like to give my thanks to Jacob Glass whose lectures and humor brought this to my attention.

Ghost World
Ghost World
DVD ~ Steve Buscemi
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 58.90
15 used & new from CDN$ 11.69

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of the year, May 9 2002
This review is from: Ghost World (DVD)
A study of contemporary alienation among the young and not so young that alternates the sad and funny and often mixes the two. The film's central character (played by Thora Birch) graduates from High School to find herself floating in a summer adrift in the adult world. Uncommonly alive and intelligent, she realizes the conventional search for happiness asks not too much but too little. Although she might recoil from the description, she is an idealist who finds it hard to contort herself into society's compromises. She blurts out things like "Everyone's stupid!" and even starts to grow apart from her more level-headed long-time friend. She meets a soul mate of sorts (Steve Buscemi), older if little wiser who is at least functional even if he hardly fits in. Together they search for the authentic and novel in life and art, disdaining the narrowness of "success" be it money, status or the praise of a High School art teacher. Both are dismayed with the soullessness they see around them and both have little idea of what to replace it with other than nihilism and withdrawal. After all, what is alienation but a lack of empathy? Instead of reaching out she strikes out and he buries himself within. This is the sadness of the picture that ends up overwhelming the comedy, effective though that is. The film didn't make me laugh as much as Election (also starring Miss Birch) but the quality of its internal scenery makes it equally worthwhile.

The Devil's Own (Widescreen)  (Bilingual)
The Devil's Own (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Offered by 1stVideo
Price: CDN$ 12.17
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It's an Ammurkan film not an Oirish one., Oct. 26 2001
In this, perhaps the worst film ever about Northern Ireland, we see the true arrogance of the Hollywood film machine. They take one of the world's political hotspots as background, twist the situation in a ridiculous and inflammatory way, and then market this bilge in the sure knowledge that the American public is too stupid to know better and that foreigners are either star-struck morons or will just have to lump it. The preposterous action sequences alone should have been enough reason for the execs to get out of their hot tubs long enough to cancel this project but perhaps that would have messed up their hair. This is a film that leaves no cliche unturned in its fevered depiction of Oirland including the reluctant but noble urban terrorists, the lovely redheaded Colleens that love them, and the annoying pipe music that follows them everywhere: it's a sap's paradise.

The Street & Other Stories
The Street & Other Stories
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.12

1.0 out of 5 stars Killer stories, Oct. 24 2001
Irish-Americans love affair with terrorism continues with this book with Jimmy Breslin (who should be ashamed of himself) adding his endorsement of the bearded killer.Adams may or may not have some talent as a writer but I suspect his shady past adds a sick and decayed glamor in the minds of his fans, particularly in the US which has a distant and romantic view of IRA violence. On an ironical note I wonder how many Irish-Americans who died in the WTC were Noraid members.

The Cable Guy (Bilingual)
The Cable Guy (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Jim Carrey
Offered by Sunrise Records
Price: CDN$ 11.19
20 used & new from CDN$ 2.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time, July 14 2000
This review is from: The Cable Guy (Bilingual) (DVD)
Along with This Is Spinal Tap and the more recent Election, Cable Guy is one of the most original movies of the late 20C. In scene after scene it somehow manages to be both wild and controlled, hitting the sweet spot of the absurd: the bizzare Karaoke party and aftermath, the riotous Medieval Times/Star Trek evening, and even the too-edgy-for-some restaurant bathroom humiliation scene.The pacing and characterization are excellent as is the acting of the two main protagonists; Carry gives the performance of his career (it's hard to imagine anyone else being anything like as good in the role) and straight man Matthew Broderick (so underrated) is the perfect foil.
The film flopped with Carry's hard core fans - and others - because of the low expectations inherent in such an audience. The average movie goer is in search of comfort and distraction - bite sized pieces of mediocrity to chomp down with his popcorn.I read a piece by a Carrey fan a week or so ago who picked his favorite moments from the actor. He hated CG of course but choose one scene he did like: it was the movies one off-key note, the Porno Password scene!

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