march boutiques-francophones Unlimited cloud storage vpcflyout Furniture Introducing Kindle Oasis Music Deals Store sports Tools Family
Profile for Celil Parker > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Celil Parker
Top Reviewer Ranking: 119,928
Helpful Votes: 18

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

Reviews Written by
Celil Parker "Jerry Parker" (région de l'Abitibi, QC)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
pixel
Greenberg [Blu-ray]
Greenberg [Blu-ray]
Offered by e-moveo
Price: CDN$ 5.06
14 used & new from CDN$ 3.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Kudos to the Holder of the Best Role in This Dreary Film, March 7 2016
This review is from: Greenberg [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
--- And that role is the family mutt's. He, a big canine named Mahler, is a large and affable German Shepherd, for hound's sake.

However, this is not a "dog movie", despite Mahler the hound's importance to how the plot (such as it is) unfurls. Actually, it is hard to say what it "Greenberg" is at all, except perhaps a psychological (not thriller but rather) snoozer.

The writer and director, Noah Baumbach, thinks of Greater Los Angeles, Calif. itself as the chief character. There's some plausibility in that and -- let's be grateful -- L.A. seldom lets one down as a consciously intended element (rather than posing as somewhere else) in a movie. I grew up in Los Angeles County, first, as a poor white kid in the 1940s in the blighted, overwhelmingly black neighbourhood that Bell/Southgate/Watts together comprise, only later, to any considerable extent, Latino. Then the family, after many moves, settled in North Hollywood/Studio City, a really lovely part of Greater L.A., then, later still, in Long Beach (which I left for once for all in 1967 for the East Coast and, eventually, for Québec). Long Beach, which is not a setting, either, for anything in this film, but similar enough to other L.A. turf, was a city that, back in the 1940s and 1950s, was the working bloke's modest equivalent of the wealthy folk's Malibu vacation playland, at much more affordable prices and with lots of Long Beach's own peculiar funk (such as that of the inimitably tacky Oogla Smith's variety). So, yeah, I do appreciate the film's urban-suburban Los Angeles setting that I experienced with such diversity earlier in life. For all of that, however, a film needs more than that to be of any wide interest to a large public.

The lead (and eponymous) human character himself, Greenberg (first name, Roger), of whom Ben Stiller probably makes as much of a good "go" as really likely at depicting, is a middle-aged, narcissistic, obsessive, self-centred, creepy, and maladapted nerd who irritates and/or alienates almost anyone else in the film. At least, on-and-off, Florence, a young woman of remarkable patience, puts up with Roger Greenberg graciously and amiably, at least much of the time. Some of the other characters would be much more fun in motion picture of less somnolence than in this one.

Thanks to Roger Greenberg's overall irritability and weirdness, as Ben Stiller plays him with those and other personality qualities, this film at least is not one of those many excessively laid-back, So-Cal reveries, although my testimony on that score is that I nearly dozed off, anyway, at several points during the course of the movie. However, "Greenberg" (the edition viewed on widescreen DVD, rather than on Blu-ray, being Alliance 114747) takes more than good casting and setting alone to save it from its inherent flaws. Although I cherish almost any movie with Ben Stiller in the cast, this one is only going to be in my home video collection very temporarily.

Greenberg (Bilingual) [Import]
Greenberg (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Ben Stiller
Price: CDN$ 18.81
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Best Role, in This Mostly Rather Tedious Film, Is a Non-Speaking One!, March 6 2016
--- And that role is the family mutt's. He, a big canine named Mahler, is a large and affable German Shepherd, for hound's sake.

However, this is not a "dog movie", despite Mahler the hound's importance to how the plot (such as it is) unfurls. Actually, it is hard to say what it "Greenberg" is at all, except perhaps a psychological (not thriller but rather) snoozer.

The writer and director, Noah Baumbach, thinks of Greater Los Angeles, Calif. itself as the chief character. There's some plausibility in that and -- let's be grateful -- L.A. seldom lets one down as a consciously intended element (rather than posing as somewhere else) in a movie. I grew up in Los Angeles County, first, as a poor white kid in the 1940s in the blighted, overwhelmingly black neighbourhood that Bell/Southgate/Watts together comprise, only later, to any considerable extent, Latino. Then the family, after many moves, settled in North Hollywood/Studio City, a really lovely part of Greater L.A., then, later still, in Long Beach (which I left for once for all in 1967 for the East Coast and, eventually, for Québec). Long Beach, which is not a setting, either, for anything in this film, but similar enough to other L.A. turf, was a city that, back in the 1940s and 1950s, was the working bloke's modest equivalent of the wealthy folk's Malibu vacation playland, at much more affordable prices and with lots of Long Beach's own peculiar funk (such as that of the inimitably tacky Oogla Smith's variety). So, yeah, I do appreciate the film's urban-suburban Los Angeles setting that I experienced with such diversity earlier in life. For all of that, however, a film needs more than that to be of any wide interest to a large public.

The lead (and eponymous) human character himself, Greenberg (first name, Roger), of whom Ben Stiller probably makes as much of a good "go" as really likely at depicting, is a middle-aged, narcissistic, obsessive, self-centred, creepy, and maladapted nerd who irritates and/or alienates almost anyone else in the film. At least, on-and-off, Florence, a young woman of remarkable patience, puts up with Roger Greenberg graciously and amiably, at least much of the time. Some of the other characters would be much more fun in motion picture of less somnolence than in this one.

Thanks to Roger Greenberg's overall irritability and weirdness, as Ben Stiller plays him with those and other personality qualities, this film at least is not one of those many excessively laid-back, So-Cal reveries, although my testimony on that score is that I nearly dozed off, anyway, at several points during the course of the movie. However, "Greenberg" (the edition viewed on widescreen DVD being Alliance 114747) takes more than good casting and setting alone to save it from its inherent flaws. Although I cherish almost any movie with Ben Stiller in the cast, this one is only going to be in my home video collection very temporarily.

Among His Earliest 1932-35 by Harlequin Records (2002-06-25)
Among His Earliest 1932-35 by Harlequin Records (2002-06-25)
Offered by Sam Store CA
Price: CDN$ 46.62
2 used & new from CDN$ 46.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Latin and Nostalgic: Xavier Cugat's Early Recordings of Cuban and Other Latin Music, So Suitable for Dancing, Feb. 15 2016
Xavier Cugat long has wooed non-Islanders to Cuban and other Latin music. His musicians always have played sleek, rhythmically secure versions of Cuban songs and other musical numbers that usually are easy to dance to and which appeal to a wide audience that, without such recordings as his, might be a lot less familiar (at least superficially) with Cuban and Latin-American music. As the years went by, Cugat's band got larger, played even more "sweetly" than it did right from the outset, and became super-commercial in approach, even at times, in the 1950s with lots of gimmicks amply in place, catagorisable as the "Space-Age bachelor pad" variant of "lounge" music.

For a comparison of just how inflated (thought still likeable) Cugat's and his performers' music became by the 1950s, compare "Xavier Cugat: Among His Earliest, 1932-1935", the disc under review here (Harlequin HQCD-179, reissuing from various 78 r.p.m. discs), with the later "South America, Take It Away" (Dynamic-DYN2091, reissuing a 33.3 r.p.m. LP disc on CD), The music as heard on Dynamic's disc is much more modest and becoming in Cugat's earlier, less glitzy renditions of Latin dance music. The selections on "Among His Earliest" begin predominantly instrumental, then, as one proceeds, vocalists, female or male solo or vocal ensemble, variously, singing usually in Spanish and at other times in English, become more numerous. However, the spirit of the livelier numbers, at their most fun, occasionally can be antic, less restrained and "easy-listening" than what Cugat purveyed later. These ears prefer Cugat's first recordings, even if later ones nonetheless are enjoyable fodder for background (or "mood") music.

Among His Earliest 1932-35
Among His Earliest 1932-35
Price: CDN$ 22.23
14 used & new from CDN$ 16.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Easily Dancible, Tuneful, and Sleekly Arranged Cuban Popular Music, Geared to the Liking of North American Ears, Feb. 13 2016
Xavier Cugat long has wooed non-Islanders to Cuban and other Latin music. His musicians always have played sleek, rhythmically secure versions of Cuban songs and other musical numbers that usually are easy to dance to and which appeal to a wide audience that, without such recordings as his, might be a lot less familiar (at least superficially) with Cuban and Latin-American music. As the years went by, Cugat's band got larger, played even more "sweetly" than it did right from the outset, and became super-commercial in approach, even at times, in the 1950s with lots of gimmicks amply in place, catagorisable as the "Space-Age bachelor pad" variant of "lounge" music.

For a comparison of just how inflated (thought still likeable) Cugat's and his performers' music became by the 1950s, compare "Xavier Cugat: Among His Earliest, 1932-1935", the disc under review here (Harlequin HQCD-179, reissuing from various 78 r.p.m. discs), with the later "South America, Take It Away" (Dynamic-DYN2091, reissuing a 33.3 r.p.m. LP disc on CD), The music as heard on Dynamic's disc is much more modest and becoming in Cugat's earlier, less glitzy renditions of Latin dance music. The selections on "Among His Earliest" begin predominantly instrumental, then, as one proceeds, vocalists, female or male solo or vocal ensemble, variously, singing usually in Spanish and at other times in English, become more numerous. However, the spirit of the livelier numbers, at their most fun, occasionally can be antic, less restrained and "easy-listening" than what Cugat purveyed later. These ears prefer Cugat's first recordings, even if later ones nonetheless are enjoyable fodder for background (or "mood") music.

Vinyan (Bilingual) [Import]
Vinyan (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Emmanuelle Béart
Price: CDN$ 18.99
23 used & new from CDN$ 1.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Weird, Densely Beautiful, Disturbing French Film, but Not One for Placidly and Exclusively Mainstream Tastes, Feb. 7 2016
This review is from: Vinyan (Bilingual) [Import] (DVD)
C'mon, Amazonian-Canadians! We can do better than those prior two excessively brief comments about this interesting, mysterious, and visually rich motion picture. Alas, while one review, the two-liner, at least hinted at some enjoyment and appreciation of the film, the other, in three jagged lines, was so uncomprehending that one has to wonder why the viewer bothered.

Well, get this into the head: "Vinyan" is far from being the typical Hollywood, well-made, formulaic, and straightforward movie. (Many marvellous films have come, and continue to appear, from Hollywood, but they are not the kind of yardstick by which dunderheads write such dismissive reviews as what one finds for "Vinyan".) There is a narrative thread in this French motion picture (with a Brit, Rufus Sewell among the excellent cast), something that is lacking in many equally or more ambitions and wonderful avant-garde films. However, story (with extensive nudity in the telling) is not the point; psychology and nightmarish alternative, swarming jungle reality (feral jungle kids of the demonic spawn sort and all) definitely are.

Anyway, ignore the skimpy Canadian reviews and hone in on some of those for Amazon's U.K. and U.S. Websites. If one's liking is only-and-ever for films that are not straightforward and made as much to chew popcorn by than for attentive viewing, do not bother with "Vinyan" (the DVD edition watched being Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 304773). The lush scenery of South Asian rainforest and jungle set on jagged landscape) is very beautifully filmed and for some viewers might reason enough to see this film. Overall, "Vinyan" is a treat for the adventurous movie-lover.

Something Must Break
Something Must Break
Offered by Global French Shop
Price: CDN$ 55.12
6 used & new from CDN$ 29.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Two Young Swedish Men, One Ambiguously Bisexual, the Other a Tranny, Meet, Carry on a Sexual Relationship, then Part Company, Jan. 14 2016
This review is from: Something Must Break (DVD)
This 2014 Swedish film presents the melancholy prospect of observing two men, Andreas, whose latent bisexuality is veering towards more homosexual attraction to men, at least to tranny Sebastian (a.k.a. "Ellie"), while Sebastian/Ellie him/herself gradually is drifting, over the summer's and early autumn's span of time, into increasingly greater assertion of a female identity (at least, more or less, queerly so). As their trajectories of sexual identity and desire meet, cross, and render asunder, one observes the desperation of Andreas to hold onto Ellie, while Sebastian/Ellie becomes ever more strongly, more defiantly and surely self-feminised.

The result is a break that Andreas does not want, but which Ellie needs to plunge fully into his/her new identity. Along the way, Ellie pries into Andreas' life and friendships, causing some strain which only furthers the lovers' alienation one from the other (not to mention, but it gets mention here anyway, embarrassment and difficulties for Andreas). There are some pleasant scenes of Sebastian and Andreas cavorting sexually, with some discreet full-frontal nudity, in various settings, urban/domestic, parklands, and nature.

The edition viewed, Network Releasing 7954293, is one obtained from Amazon-U.K., the DVD being in the PAL format. (There is a North American DVD edition available, formatted NTSC, as well, with similar features.). English subtitles are embedded, well displayed but not so prominently on the screen as to be unduly distracting, with the dialogue being in Swedish. The film is rather slow-moving, so it is not hard to stay apace with the dialogue via the subtitles. The only extra features are pretty minimal, namely, a trailer and a gallery of images.

Well filmed and enjoyable in a low-key, languorously elegiac sort of way.

Totally Fucked Up [Import allemand]
Totally Fucked Up [Import allemand]
Offered by Prestivo3
Price: CDN$ 59.65
4 used & new from CDN$ 59.65

3.0 out of 5 stars A Confusing Film, Until One Gets a Grip on the Narratives Unfolding within It, Jan. 9 2016
Although Gregg Araki is a film director and producer whose work in alternative (mostly gay-related) cinema I cherish, I really cannot say that "Totally F(uck)ed up", from 1993, is among my favourite films of his, whether as the first part of his "Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy", or amidst his wider body of work, or among the works of other directors and producers, either. The DVD edition viewed was a North American one (Peccadillo Pictures PPD-227). For all my quibbles, "Totally F(uck)ed up" does have its charms and a certain magic to it, if one be patient enough to untangle the strands, or at least some of them, that comprise the tangle of gay relationships unfurling within the film. They seem pretty much pell-mell, leaping back and forth from one thing to another.

For me, the most arresting to one's attention among the pairs of gay boyfriends and "hook-ups" in the film is that of Andy and Ian, played, respectively, by James Duval (looking quite different here as than he had as sweet but dopey character, Jordan White, in "The Doom Generation", part 2 of Araki's trilogy) and Alan Boyce. They are surely the best-looking young dudes in the movie, as well, and their gay relationship generates a lot of romantic and sexual heat, although there is little bare skin visible in their scenes together (and only two quick glimpses of full frontal male nudity in the entire film, so far as I noticed). Their love gives some temporary meaning to Andy's life. When Ian disappoints him and the two fail to connect by telephone at a critical moment when Andy, who has found little worth in living apart from this relationship, goes into deep anguish and commits suicide, the viewer really cares (or should do so) about the fate of these two young men. Fixing one's attention on their scenes (the most enjoyable and sexy in the film, anyway) can make some narrative sense of at least their parts of the movie, then, on reviewing, the rest, the action and the other characters, falls more easily into place.

I purchased "Totally F(uck)ed up" in order to complete the trilogy, of which this film is the least satisfactory segment. However, once I got my bearings in the confusing mish-mash of "Totally F(uck)ed up", I really did come to enjoy it.

Napoleon Dynamite (Sous-titres français)
Napoleon Dynamite (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Jon Heder
Price: CDN$ 5.00
94 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Peculiar and Funny Doings in the "Mormon Country" of Idaho, Jan. 8 2016
There already are more reviews of this delightful film on the various Amazon sites than anyone is likely to read all or most of. I'll just limit my contribution to comments about the movie to noting that I enjoy all the visual humour in this film, among its many other great ingredients.

I come from an Utah family on my mother's side and this film, set in Idaho, which is a single cultural entity, also highly L.D.S. Mormon, along with Utah itself; I admit gladly that some, maybe even many, Idaho folks, even some among those whom I know personally, disagree with that or resent that fact. There are lots of little clues that Napoleon and his family, and surely others in the cast of characters, are L.D.S. Mormons.

As for that amusing outdoor interracial wedding ceremony between Napoleon's older, very nerdy, pipsqueak brother, Kip, and very tall Lafawnduh, for those who wonder about the matter, one should realise that less than half of L.D.S. Mormon weddings take place in one of the L.D.S. Temples, so Kip's and Lafawnduh's is not surprising at all. My L.D.S. grandfather married twenty-two times (mostly in civil ceremonies in the days, before computerised records, when polygamists could be difficult to apprehend) and so far as I know, most or none of those times did he marry his mostly polygamous wives in the Temple; by his time, at any rate, polygamy was a "no-no" in the L.D.S. cult. Anyhow, grandpa was too much of a boozer to be able to obtain a "Temple recommend". Mormon bye-ways and folk culture do not necessarily comply with what many outsiders expect.

Among the funniest of the sly indicators of the Mormon culture underlying this comedy is one of Napoleon's t-shirts, which says "Ricks College" on it. Ha! Who even would want to identify so openly with that notoriously mediocre institution, which is on the low-brow end of Mormon education (B.Y.U. being at the high, VERY HIGH end)? Ricks College was a junior college, oriented towards business, education, and other middle-class quasi-professional or trade studies rather than at anything very intellectual or artistic soever. (However, Ricks has become an university in recent years.) So, wearing a t-shirt for Ricks is a sign of low aspirations.

Anyway, I love the movie. Westerners especially will enjoy it, but it is fun for all and sundry.

Catholic Subject Headings
Catholic Subject Headings
by Oliver Leonard Kapsner
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Seemingly Outdated, This Work Nevertheless Still Can Provide Considerable Help for Those with an Interest in Religious Studies, Aug. 29 2015
Most readers might wonder why a professional librarianship working tool like this list of subject headings could be of any interest or use to them. Well, it can be such if one has any interest in religious studies, Roman Catholic or otherwise. Lists of subject headings (or, to more limited extent, of descriptors) are a map of the grid of studies in any area. These subject headings, among other uses, can provide possible phrases to use in doing computer searches, or, in isolating key words within the subject headings, to use as descriptors for similar searches.

The complete U.S. Library of Congress subject headings list is an attempt to do this kind of thing for all aspects and areas of human knowledge; on that scale, obviously, such a work is by necessity sketchier than a list of subject headings, references, etc. would be for a particular subject, which a specialised list, such as "Catholic Subject Headings", can map out in greater detail than any list can do that for all of knowledge and human endeavour. While it is true that any edition inexorably dates quickly for how libraries and abstracting services apply specific headings, which can change terminology and other factors over time, any edition at all of something like "Catholic Subject Headings" remains a valid outline of the subject and potentially a great help for anyone who needs the right vocabulary for searching a religious subject without prior knowledge of appropriate scholarly terminology, whether in subject bibliographies, specialised dictionaries and cyclopaedias, indexing and abstracting services (in print or digital form) and within book indices. The same applies to online searching of most kinds. It is a good investment to acquire some edition of "Catholic Subject Headings", at least if the cost does not exceed sixty dollars or so.

This particular list of subject headings is not limited to matters specifically Roman Catholic. It applies to Christianity and religion generally. "Catholic Subject Headings" can aid any religious scholar, sometimes greatly, to organise his use of terminology, to get an overview of aspects large and small, and to have a grasp of to what religious studies amount. The cross-references, as well as the subject headings themselves, are very helpful in breaking out of any logjam that may block one's path through such studies by indicating alternative and parallel modes to approach similar subject matter and its terminology, by single words or in phrases, by means of the grid that together they provide.

So, in sum, this "Catholic Subject Headings", in any of its editions, is a work admittedly of limited usefulness. However, it also is one that can solve problems of a nature with which even dictionaries and encyclopaedias help in ways that are not always pertinent to a researcher's needs for the particular approach and terminology that a subject thesaurus like this subject lists lays out with such clarity.

Zabriskie Point by Warner Home Video
Zabriskie Point by Warner Home Video
DVD ~ Michelangelo Antonioni
Offered by JnP Store Canada
Price: CDN$ 37.72
2 used & new from CDN$ 37.72

5.0 out of 5 stars A Young Couple of the 1960s/1970s in the U. S. of A. Act on the Rebellious Spirit of That Age and the Lad Loses His Life for It, April 11 2015
I lived through (and took part in) the student activism and "alternative culture" of the 1960s and the dawn of the 1970s as a student myself (at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, in the same urban centre where actor Mark Frechette carried out his activism during that decade, and at the all-too-explosively alive Kent State University). I remember how we despised the acrid and shallow materialism of the prevailing culture of the U. S. of A. and how we longed to see it all blow up in the faces of that nation''s besotted leaders and of the easily deluded citzenry that kept on (and continues) voting them into office. That has happened, at last, with the implosion of the U.S. economy in the first decade of the 21st Century. It is a pity that this collapse, that makes an arrogant nation seethe with poverty and frustration thus doomed soon to powerlessness, did not occur sooner. Such timing would have limited the toll of victims of American power and greed to between the time of the film, 1970, and that of an earlier financial and militarily agonised doom.

Daria, seething with resentment for Mark's needless death (although his carelessness certainly brought it upon him), fantasises that the very symbol of the bourgeois fatuity of American callousness and vulgarity, i.e., the garishly opulent corporate facility (and/or mansion) set high in the desert surface, with joltingly sudden violent force explodes to smithereens (with visions of explosions of urban artificialty of many additional sorts added to this). That creates a breathtaking vision of justice come to a besotted and unworthy American culture of excess and greed.

I like the natural touch of the two leading actors using their real first names for their roles. Mark and Daria are the only truly natural humans in the film, doing what comes naturally to them, too, even if by thoughtless whimsy (e.g., Mark's theft of the aeroplane) at times, as well as by following their feelings to moving expression of what they experience at every moment, leads them, unafraid, to such natural sexuality and joyous revelry in each other, amidst the artificial constructs throughout the film, from which they stand aloof, of crazed student ideological excess, ruthless law enforcement, business and corporate cupidity, and so forth. Some of this may be naïve, and doubtlessly is, but it is such a relief to find these two young adults in this film who do not fall into the "cookie-cutter" patterns of American popular and corporate culture.

Alas, Mark in the film dies for daring what he does, from an insistence on following his impulses (for better and for worse) in unfettered freedom, which his society quickly crushes brutally and without immediate sufficient cause (i.e., for him having "borrowed" without permission the aeroplane which he is returning). Mark Frechette himself, whose performance in the role is so edgily convincing (and who was the gay lover of American-Québécois writer, Robert Dôle, also a young hippie during those years, before Antonioni filmed "Zabriskie Point", Dôle having departed by then to live in Québec) was a true counter-cultural rebel who lived out his convictions (none too wisely, but very intensely) and who died all too young for living out what he believed. As someone who was as radical and impulsive as the character Mark in the film, Mark Frechette, the handsome young actor whose career and very life ended so prematurely, was a real-life parallel (apart from the matter of Frechette's gay sexuality) in important aspects to what and whom he portrayed in this movie in which he appeared.

This is a wonderful film, redolent (of course!) of its era, but surprisingly relevant for the decades to follow and for present times of so much accumulated bitterness and of justice that too long has been delayed. A mere account of the film's action simply cannot convey the richness and untrammeled irony of what Antonioni accomplished thereby in this masterpiece of cinema.

I wish that the DVD edition that I acquired (or any other one) had included supplementary material and an appreciation of what Antonioni accomplished (but only if it were well done and worthy of him) but I also am simply pleased that this DVD is available at all, being a film, as it is, which does not flinch from judging the crassest kind of modernity that Southern California, Arizona, and the U. S. of A. as a whole, embody and have to represent to the entire world.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5