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Reviews Written by
Amazon Customer "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.)

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My Sister's Keeper
My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback
243 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written book that raises some moral issues., June 19 2006
This review is from: My Sister's Keeper (Paperback)
Anna, a 13 year old, had been an IVF baby specifically created to be a genetic match for her older sister Kate who was dying from leukaemia. Throughout her short life she has undergone painful procedures in order to donate various parts of her to her sibling. No one ever asked Anna what she felt about this or questioned her willingness to be a donor. When Kate goes into renal failure it is assumed that Anna will donate a kidney to her. It is at this point Anna approaches an attorney and asks him to represent her, in a case against her parents, for the rights to her own body.

The book doesn't merely narrate Anna's story but also gives the views of Kate, Sara and Brian (her parents), Jesse, (her delinquent brother), her lawyer Cameron and Julia, the court appointed guardian. Sara wants to keep Kate alive no matter the cost, Brian wants everyone to be happy, Jesse feels neglected and left out, an `after thought'. What quickly becomes clear is that there is no black or white, just shades of grey, no easy answers and an awful moral and ethical dilemma. Is it right to use a child to save another? Is it morally right to create `designer babies' and who should make those decisions? Is a 13 year old mature enough to decide whether she wants to be a donor? Are parent's rights over their child absolute? Jodi Picoult has handled these issues sensitively and has managed to produce a thoughtful, moving story that will have the reader gripped from start to finish. This is one of those books that you cannot put down, a real page turner and one I would recommend highly.

Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season
Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Teri Hatcher
Price: CDN$ 19.97
53 used & new from CDN$ 7.37

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and very, very funny, June 19 2006
Desperate Housewives was a huge hit and rightly so. It is the story of several housewives living in Wisteria Lane, an expensive American suburban street. The main characters are Susan, Lynette, Gabrielle and Bree.

Susan (Teri Hatcher) is the ditsy divorced mother with one daughter and a fancy for her hunky new neighbour. Lynette was a high flying career woman but is now tied to the home and her unruly brood of 4 children. She could cope with anything at work but has problems coping with domesticity. Gabrielle is the Latin beauty, married to Carlos who is rich enough to provide everything she could want. However it's not enough and she is having an affair with her very young gardener. Bree is perfection personified, immaculately turned out and with a house like something from ideal homes. However her husband and children cannot live up to her ideals or live with this perfection. The narrator of the whole series is Mary Alice, a friend of all the women who, in the first episode, commits suicide. The central thread of the tale is why she was driven to this and what dark secrets are hidden in the lives of the characters.

Although there is a central theme, each episode does have a `stand alone' story for the occasional viewer, but to really enjoy it at its best the series should be watched in its entirety and from the beginning. Twists and turns, murder and mayhem, love and friendship are all to be found in a series that is by turn both wickedly funny and poignant. This is TV at its best; not to be missed.

Faerie Tale
Faerie Tale
by Raymond Feist
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.28
63 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Not the cute little fairies from childhood., June 19 2006
Raymond E. Feist is better known for his phenomenal novel Magician and his epic tales of the Riftwar. Faerie Tale was a complete change of direction for him and was written as a `stand alone' book rather than part of a lengthy series. The story centres on a family, writer Phil, his wife Gloria and their children, Patrick, Sean and Gabby. The family move to an old farmhouse in a rural New York so that Phil can have peace and quiet for his writing. What they are unaware of is the fact that the house has been built by a gateway to the land of the Faeries.

These faeries are not the cute little winged creatures beloved of children's books however; they are malevolent, selfish and cold with a penchant for meddling in the lives and minds of the hapless newcomers. Anyone familiar with old tales and legends will recognise such scenes as the Great Hunt, and characters such as Puck and the three White Women and it is easy to see where some of Feist's ideas have come from. However it certainly isn't a simple re-hash of old myths but a story with originality and depth, just what you would expect from a writer of Feist's calibre. It also makes a refreshing change to read a fantasy novel that isn't part of a trilogy or more.

One reservation is the sexual content which, although only a small part of the story, is a little graphic at times and means this isn't a book suitable for younger readers. The plot isn't the most complex but that aside, this is a spine chilling story that keeps the suspense going throughout as the family fight to keep some normality and sanity in their lives. This is a great read for anyone wanting something a little different and well worth adding to a bookshelf

The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element
DVD ~ Bruce Willis
Price: CDN$ 8.75
57 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars high octane space opera., June 19 2006
This review is from: The Fifth Element (DVD)
Bruce Willis stars as Korben Dallas, a retired army major now working as a taxi driver. One day a beautiful young woman drops (literally) into the back of his cab and there starts the adventure. Milla Jovovitch is Leeloo, the girl who `dropped in' on him and who is on the run from the authorities. Her destiny is to save the world from an ancient evil that has reared its head and she needs the help of a reluctant Korben.

Also appearing are Gary Oldman as crooked, evil boss Zorg, Ian Holm as Cornelius,a priest and Chris Tucker, the latter providing comic relief as larger-than-life Ruby Rhod, a manic and neurotic D.J. who ends up accompanying the heroes on their quest.

Luc Besson has created a visually stunning piece of work. The cinematography is vibrant and colourful and the costumes (designed by Jean Paul Gaultier) have to be seen to be believed; the special effects are of the quality you would expect and add to the whole experience. This is a fast paced movie that grabs you and doesn't let go from start to finish, a real roller coaster ride of a movie that is well worth seeing. Turn up the volume and enjoy the ride.

12 Angry Men (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
12 Angry Men (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Henry Fonda
Offered by kingoftradeonline
Price: CDN$ 14.99
15 used & new from CDN$ 5.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping courtroom drama, June 15 2006
This is a courtroom drama with a difference. Apart from a very brief scene in the courtroom itself, the film takes place in the jury's deliberation room. The whole film revolves around the deliberations of a jury in a murder case in which a guilty verdict will lead to the death penalty for the accused. Initially it all seems very clear-cut with an all male jury having decided on a the young mans guilt before they have even sat down, all that is except for one man (Henry Fonda). Although he believes the accused may have possibly committed the murder, his values and ethics won't allow him to agree with his fellow jurors without thrashing out all of the evidence. Gradually he forces the other men to confront the evidence in front of them and to admit the situation is not as clear cut as it seemed. At the same time they are brought face to face with their own prejudices.

Filmed in black and white and shot almost entirely in one room, this film allows the viewer to concentrate entirely on the dialogue with nothing to distract from the story. It is a credit to the acting skills of the cast and to the direction of Sidney Lument (in his directorial debut) that the film remains gripping throughout. This is drama at its best and still one of the finest, if not the finest, courtroom dramas to be found.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride / La Mariée Cadavérique (Full Screen)
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride / La Mariée Cadavérique (Full Screen)
Offered by Empire DVD
Price: CDN$ 6.19
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Pure magic., June 15 2006
Any fan of Tim Burton's 'Nightmare Before Christmas' will love this film. It's a darkly gothic, yet beautiful love story about a young man, Victor who accidentally marries a corpse while practicing his wedding vows. His 'bride' Emily had been spurned by her lover in life, and is desperate to find love with her new groom, whilst the hapless Victor wants only to return to the land of the living and his beautiful fiancée, Victoria. Meanwhile the sinister Lord Barkis Bittern is determined to step into Victor's shoes and marry Victoria himself.

Filmed in stop/motion (like Nightmare) the film has a surreal but captivating air. The living world is colourless and dark whilst the land of the dead is a vibrant, lively place, full of music and colour...a nice twist on the usual view.

Tim Burton has once again teamed with Johnny Depp (the voice of Victor) and his real life partner Helena Bonham Carter (the corpse bride). He also uses the voices of other well-known talents such as Joanna Lumley, Richard E. Grant, Tracey Ullman, Christopher Lee and Jane Horrocks to name but a few. Danny Elfman composed the music for the movie and with his usual flair has matched the mood of the film perfectly.

The DVD has been well produced and there are several featurettes including a music only track, interviews with Tim Burton and Danny Elfman, production galleries, and a look at the actors performing their voice-overs. This is a quality film on a quality disc and well worth adding to your collection.

Axis Trilogy #1 Battleaxe
Axis Trilogy #1 Battleaxe
by Sara Douglass
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic but still a good read., June 15 2006
I picked up this book with some trepidation as it has had very mixed reviews but it really isn't a bad read at all. The `Battleaxe' of the title is Axis, the leader of the Axe-Wielders, a religious army. He is the illegitimate son of a princess and nephew of King Priam who refuses to acknowledge him as family. His half brother Borneheld, heir to the childless king, hates Axis and is determined to see him destroyed. The purpose of the Axe-wielders is to uphold the religious beliefs of the land and destroy any of the `Forbidden' they may chance upon. The Forbidden are races of beings that once populated the land alongside the humans but centuries ago were driven into exile. A prophecy says that one day the Starman will come who will once again unite the races.

Sara Douglass doesn't have the most mature writing style but she has produced a fast paced, action filled tale. Sure, it isn't the most original fantasy ever written, and true, some of the characters are a little one-dimensional, but overall it is interesting enough to keep you reading and if you want a quick and fairly easy read it is ideal.

Sims 2 Special DVD Edition
Sims 2 Special DVD Edition
7 used & new from CDN$ 12.95

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun for a short while., June 15 2006
This isn't a bad addition for your Sims as long as you don't expect an expansion pack along the lines of Sims University/ Nightlife. What you are buying is a disc that provides new outfits and goodies for your Sims to enjoy, such as Christmas trees, presents, festive lights, wreaths, decorations and so on. You can now cook a holiday feast and receive a visit from Santa too. Just make sure that you have a fire alarm installed before you put the Christmas tree lights on...oh, and don't pet the electric reindeer.

This is an add-on that is limited in its interest, fun at Christmas for a few days but not interesting enough to keep the interest levels high for long. Still, it is a low price, and it's always good to add to the Sims inventory.

The Graduate (Bilingual)
The Graduate (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Dustin Hoffman
Price: CDN$ 7.99
40 used & new from CDN$ 2.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 60's movie, June 15 2006
This review is from: The Graduate (Bilingual) (DVD)
The Graduate has become a classic film, one that makes all those `top 100 film' lists. It stars a young Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, a young man from a wealthy family, who has just graduated from college. He is in limbo, unsure of what to do with his time and where life will lead him. The Robinson's are his parents' best friends and it is their daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross) who Ben's parents have earmarked as a partner for their son. However Mrs Robinson (played by a brilliantly predatory Anne Bancroft) has other plans and is set on seducing the naïve young man. When Elaine returns from college, Ben falls for her and ends his relationship with her mother. Predictably Mrs Robinson reacts with hostility and sets out to ruin both his relationship with her daughter and his life.

Simon and Garfunkle provide the music in their inimitable style and the title song, Mrs Robinson, was a huge hit for them. Director Mike Nichols managed, in this film, to capture the feel and mood of the 60's flawlessly and he deservedly won an Oscar for his work. The DVD itself has few extras, a documentary by the director, interview with Hoffman, some trailers and the usual subtitles. The picture and sound quality are good, what you would expect from the format. This is a film that has stood the test of time and is still worth watching today.

My Cousin Vinny (Widescreen) [Import]
My Cousin Vinny (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Joe Pesci
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 47.31
17 used & new from CDN$ 1.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest films ever., June 15 2006
Two friends, Stan and Billy, take a road trip down south but run into trouble when they are mistakenly arrested for murder in Alabama. The hapless youngsters have no money to hire an attorney but Billy's cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci) is a lawyer so they call on him to help. What they don't realise is that Vinny took 6 attempts to pass his legal exams and, what's more, has no courtroom experience to speak of. What follows is none stop humour and 'laugh aloud' moments as the brash New Yorker sweeps into the hick town accompanied by his strident girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei).

Vinny's lack of court etiquette, such as dressing in leathers and arriving late, quickly upsets the traditionalist judge, played by a brilliantly dry Fred Gwynne. The judge decides to have Vinny investigated in order to prove he is not fit to take the case whilst Vinny races against time to complete the case before the judge finds any information against him.

Marisa Tomei is the real scene-stealer with her brilliant portrayal of Mona Lisa, her courtroom scenes are pure genius, and she deservedly won an Oscar for the part. The film is no high budget work of art and the DVD has little in the way of extras but the sheer quality of acting and the wonderfully funny script more than compensate.

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