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Pan's Labyrinth (Two-Disc Edition)
Pan's Labyrinth (Two-Disc Edition)
DVD ~ Ivana Baquero
Offered by DealsAreUs
Price: CDN$ 19.69
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.88

2 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disturbing, July 10 2007
1. NOT FOR CHILDREN. Usually movies of this genre (which seem to target young audiences) will try and tow the line between violence that is suggested or acted out by evil characters but ultimately allowing good to "prevail." I found the movie dishonest in this regard, parents might think it something that would keep their kids distracted for at least an hour what with a little girl being the main character, and nice little fairies and large but seemingly benevolent creatures interacting with the main character....but no....the violence is overdone. At one point the main villain caves in a persons face with a broken end of a bottle, with audio sounds even more disturbing than the visual effect of covering himself in blood and having to see a face caved in. Then extended scenes where soldiers torture prisoners, and kill surviving soldiers left alive on the battlefield with a shot to the head or worse. I understand the point that children of that age might have witnessed such atrocities in the 1940's in WWII, but please, those are things to tell your kids about or have them study in high school, NOT something for them to see on film when they are ages 6-12.

2. The excessive VIOLENCE IS IRRELEVANT in the end. Why? Because the movie spends over an hour developing characters that have no bearing on the plot at all. The rebels living in the forest, their battles with the main Villain and his men, the brutal torture, the "double agents" and the excessive violence (see above) and killing they have to all resort to in the end--all of it could have happened, or not, and would have NO BEARING on the actual point of the movie. As one reviewer says here, if the sacrifice made by the little girl (the main character) is so important, and is the PLOT in effect, and is the main POINT of the movie, then why do we need all this violence? Is "violence" the plot in that case? Everyone in the movie seems to resort to it in the end, but there are far better ways to communicate the notion of "sacrifice" than to have so much gore and violence in the movie that one wonders whether it is really there to be critiqued by the "message" of the movie (sacrifice) or simply there to make a bad movie with a single washed-up 2000 year old philosophical point actually exciting and have some sense of drama so that it makes a few sales, hopefully to children and unsuspecting parents. All of which is just irresponsible and terrible writing at best, despicable at worst.

3. NOTHING MAKES SENSE. One could argue that the movie is about how the world (at that time) is a terrible place and the little girl sees things, imagines them, because she seeks escape. Brilliant opening. But, it makes no sense. How terrible is her life? Sure, she lost her father. But that has nothing to do with being in WWII, and is something many people have suffered. And so the attempt to link the plot of the movie as having omething to do with the "horrifying" nature of her time is mute, because she never sees any of the gore or violence. No no, its all about her having such a bad life. But as the story opens, we learn she has a brother on the way, and her mother has married a rich captain in the military, who is obviously wealthy. Oh my, what a horrible life. New dresses, new shoes, a new family, wow, what a terrible life indeed. But no, thats the reason she starts reading about fairy tales and eventually starts to "see" things, that may or may not be there. Or maybe the fantasy creatures that appear to her do so out of pity, in order to save her from her truly "terrible" life.

4. MORE AND MORE MAKES NO SENSE. This poor girl goes on a few quests, one where she must use a key in the right spot...but the temptation of good food and drink is there, and the Creature that gives her the quest says NOT to eat or drink anything and that it was of the utmost importance. Well apparently being away from the kitchen in the mansion and dozens of servants for 5 minutes (she only has a few minutes to complete the quest before getting back to her room of course!) proves too much for her, and she MUST have a few grapes, even though it is obvious that if she does give in to that temptation that a monster, sitting at the very same table, will obviously wake up and something bad will happen. Also, many of the irrelevant characters doing things in the "real world" are of course double agents of sorts, but are so stupid that they leave evidence for the villain to find with such ease that you don't feel sorry for them when he catches them, because no one trying to be a double agent should be THAT stupid. So not only do you start hating the plot, but hating the stupidity of the characters as well.

5. Overall, the attempt to portray the horrors of WWII life in a country (spain) that most do not first think of when we think of WWII is an absolute failure. The most believable aspect of the movie is the fantasy creatures themselves, not the gore, the violence, or any of the human worries and troubles that plague the irrelevant characters. Sadly, a powerful idea is squandered here, for if it was clear that the girl had come from poverty (and stayed there!) and a broken home, and had witnessed the same gore and meaningless violence that we, the viewers, had to suffer through, the point of the movie would have been well founded--seeking happiness through other unworldly means. We may not agree with it in the end, but at least it would be believable!!

In that sense, the way the movie was constructed, and how it was meant to "connect" the "plot", if you can call it that, and its failure to do so, only says more about the unorganized jumble of ideas, fears, and terrifying memories of those who put this movie together than it does about WWII or anything to do with the real world--which makes the movie fail its intended goal. My review might seem overly harsh, and sarcastic, but I am angered by the idea that we can make such movies that seem to be made on a whim with little care for coherence. Sure, the world needs bad movies as well. But as for those who made this movie, if you try to make something that is fueled by the memories of human tragedy and do not take the care to make it believable or at least logical, then you have only done a disservice to that real and very human tragedy--- and only hampers the rest of us in trying to understand what it means to encounter it in full, and who did.

Gravity
Gravity
Price: CDN$ 10.91
35 used & new from CDN$ 6.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dynamic, Nov. 17 2006
This review is from: Gravity (Audio CD)
It always amazes me how ignorant reviewers can be on amazon. Many people have complained that Cook's style is "empty" or lacking in depth, or playing too fast. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The showcase song here, mario takes a walk, has dumbfounded me for years. Why? Because in it, IF YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY, you can pick up where Jesse Cook has begun to re-bridge the gap that seperates flamenco with near eastern/arabic/persian music (for lack of a better word). This is too hard for most of us to understand, and it sounds like white noise to some so it seems.

Also...what is this complaining about Jesse Cook playing too fast? Have any of you actually listened to earlier Flamenco? If anything Jesse Cook is reserved in comparison to earlier figures like Montoya and Paco de lucia! In addition, how can a finger based picking guitarist play fast in such a way that the guitar is muted? Because Jesse Cook is enough of an innovator to also use 'guitar picks' as well as his fingers, and does it well.

In other words, to listen to Jesse Cook is to hear snippets of what the gypsys heard as they traveled over the centuries (arabic, persian, and so on) in other countries and how it eventually influenced their own folk music. Jesse is merely bringing the different strands of music back together; a re-creation of a genre of music that is therefore far from simply "flamenco".

I could go on. Think outside the box before you pop in his CD. By the same token, do not expect to hear extended sets of improvisation, record companies do not care for that. If you want to hear Cook's ability to improvise, go see him live if you want to see what Cook can really do outside of the constraints of having to make his music "listenable" for the record companies. His ability to improvise is the true measure of his talent in all the areas I have mentioned.

Ineffability
Ineffability
by Ben-Ami Scharfstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 35.06
17 used & new from CDN$ 28.56

5.0 out of 5 stars A Few "Descriptive Words" on Ineffability, Dec 10 2002
This review is from: Ineffability (Paperback)
The title of this book does not lie. There is much here on the history of ideas (philosophy/religion) concerning ineffability in both Western and Eastern tradition. Anyone in philosphy or religious studies (as in Comparitive Religion: Being a "Historian of Religion") and interested in this area of study will find this composition easy to read and bearing an overall accurate presentation of ideas from the variety of thinkers included. This is an fundamentally evocative book. Meaning that with a brief but concise description of the thinkers and traditions included the reader is given just enough to tease their interest. And this challenges them to then seek out more in depth sources related to this new found interest. Lastly, overall, the author writes with a critical bent yet with a care for honesty and heart seldom found amoung academics. A little Gem by all standards.
"We've come a long way together. I can't have finished what I want to say, but for the while, I've said what I could."
Ben-Ami Scharfstein

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