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John G. Gleeson Sr. (Frederic, Mi USA)
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High Crimes (Widescreen)
High Crimes (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jim Caviezel
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Prix : CDN$ 15.62
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fast Paced And Well Acted, Aug. 28 2002
Ce commentaire est de: High Crimes (Widescreen) (DVD)
"High Crimes" is based on a book of the same name by Joseph Finder, and is so frequently the case, the book is better than the movie. Which isn't to say that this is a bad movie; in fact, it is a very good one. In today's world, fascinated with trials and the legal system, the emphasis on courtroom events is to be expected, but as a retired lawyer with 30 years in the Courts, I find this aspect a bit ho-hum. But the underlying plot of a military atrocity being possibly covered up by the court martial of a scapegoat NCO is effectively rendered here. Ashley Judd, who I view as a B- level actress does a commendable job as the lawyer wife of the accused ex-soldier. Morgan Freeman, who I rank as an A- actor, and a favorite of mine, is excellent as the alchoholic ex-military lawyer who tries to help defend the accused, played very well by Jim Caviezel.It is a fast paced flic with a surprise twist ending that is a good effort and an enjoyable movie.

A Bridge Too Far
A Bridge Too Far
DVD ~ Sean Connery
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Prix : CDN$ 20.24
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 étoiles sur 5 There Are Better War Movies, Aug. 28 2002
Ce commentaire est de: A Bridge Too Far (DVD)
My problem with this movie is that it tries to do too much. Operation Market Garden was a fatally flawed plan to end World War II by seizing a series of bridges with paratroops and rushing an armored column over them to attack Germany from an exposed flank. In order to depict this series of events, the attacks on the various bridges, the film is necessarily episodic. There is no unifying theme and no central characters, and is thus more of a documentary than a "war movie". Not that it's a bad film: it depicts the events fairly accurately, is well cast and has combat sequences that hold up very well. I'm glad that it is in my DVD library, but, as noted, there are better films.

Hart's War (Widescreen)
Hart's War (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Bruce Willis
Offered by screenlinepd
Prix : CDN$ 12.55
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Worthwhile Experience And Well Worth watching, Aug. 28 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Hart's War (Widescreen) (DVD)
I didn't see this film when it was in the theatre, despite urging from friends to do so. I didn't because Hollywood's approach to stories with racial themes is usually so politically correct as to insult the viewer's intelligence (which is demonstrated by my buying the DVD, rather than paying $5.00 for the matinee ticket?). This is a well made movie with an excellent cast. The interaction between the German POW Camp staff and the prisoners is excellent - taut and dramatic. The racial bias of the white enlisted men vs. the black Air Force officers is also realistic, and because it is not sanitized, it comes across very well. Good films are "good", because they draw the viewer into the story; one becomes a viewer, through the camera, of the plot, and often loses the sense of "watching a movie". Older films have less of this characteristic, I think, because stylized camera and acting techniques of that time detract from the viewer becoming totally immersed in watching believeable action. This movie brings the viewer into contact with characters and plot from the outset, and never lets go. Bruce Willis has come a long way from the "Die Hard" days, and is more convincing because of his matured talent. The rest of the cast perform very well. It's a very enjoyable, yet thought provoking experience.

Them!
Them!
DVD ~ James Whitmore
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Prix : CDN$ 118.75
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.00

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Early Monster Flic, Aug. 25 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Them! (DVD)
Watching "Them" was a trip down memory lane, because I saw this when it was released, and along with "The Thing" ( the original, not the Curt Russell re-make) were the only movies that ever scared me as a child. It has stood the test of time fairly well, although the special effects pale in comparison with today's capabilities, obviously. But still, the plot works, the script is still decent and the suspense is effective. Some things which I sensed didn't work when I first saw it still jar me. One example is that the uniforms of the troops in the last action sequence look like they just came from the cleaners, and James Arness' helmet liner (why did't they use the real thing?) looks a few sizes too small. But these are minor reservations. I still like this movie and the DVD production is all that could be asked of a 1950's black and white film. If you're hung up on DTS and computer animated graphics, you should probably pass on. But if you like a good action story that is well presented, I think that you'll ejoy "Them"

Johnny Dangerously (Widescreen)
Johnny Dangerously (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Michael Keaton
Prix : CDN$ 11.10
11 used & new from CDN$ 6.94

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why Does This Movie Get Bad Reviews??, Aug. 25 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Johnny Dangerously (Widescreen) (DVD)
I have NEVER understood why this movie has been so poorly rated. It is hilarious from start to finish; it has fantastic comedic writing and a wonderful cast. Anyone who watched this with me on tape ended up borrowing it, and no one I know agrees with the reviewers; they LIKE this movie! It is a parody of the 1930's gangster movies and, as such is in a class with "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles". Michel Keaton is the title character who turns to a life of "crime" in order to provide for his mother's endless series of life saving surgeries. His old Irish mother is played by Maureen Stapleton (and no one will ever forget "Hi. I'm Ma Kelley and I go both ways"). The characters and the one liners are simply fantastic. I tend to be very critical of movies and books: to "work" they have to occasion that "willful suspension of disbelief" that lets the viewer/reader get "into" the story. In my experience, this is most difficult in a comedy because it is hard to sustain the participation of the viewer in observing the story. However, it happens here seamlessly. I was particularly happy to have the DVD, because my tape was showing its age and use. From a technical point of view, the DVD does what it is supposed to do: crisp, clean and vivid picture and good (pre-Dolby 5.1, though) sound. The price is right, too. If you watch it and disagree with my high regard for this film, send an e-mail. But I'll bet that you find it to be a delightful film.

1633
1633
by Eric Flint
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 26.05
24 used & new from CDN$ 2.47

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Great Read, With One Flaw, Aug. 25 2002
Ce commentaire est de: 1633 (Hardcover)
Almost by reflex, I would give David Weber a 5 star on every book he has written; I have read all of them and enjoyed all of them, especially his Honor Harrington series. I read and enjoyed the previous book in this series, "1632", and although I didn't review it, I had the same reservation. But let's talk about the "good stuff" first: Flint and Weber have as the device to create their "world" of the 17th Century, a mysterious event that sends a section of West Virginia back in time, to the era of The Thirty Years War. It was a vicious time of intense religious and political conflict which seriously depopulated Central Europe. The conflict between modern man and 17th Century civilization comes off superbly, and the authors have captured the era almost perfectly. While military action occurs, this book is more than traditional military sci-fi, and as such, it is as near great work of fiction, as is "1632", and if you decide, as I hope you do, to try this book, you should read "1632" first. This is a stand alone book, to be sure, but it is a continuation of the earlier work in which nearly all of the characters in "1633" first appear. Which leads me to my only reservation about these books. Eric Flint's bio tells us that he is a labor organizer, and his belief in the superiority of the blue collar guy and his disdain for the "suits" becomes almost preachy. And ,please don't e-mail me as anti-labor; I ain't. I just don't like to have a ripping good yarn interrupted by statements about the writer's socio-political beliefs. I don't like it when Tom Clancy does it and I don't like it when Flint does it; it disrupts the story and contributes nothing to the plot (By the way, I enjoy e-mail from folks who agree or disagree with a review; I just want to be clear on this criticism). Despite my single reservation about these books, they still represent a very high level of adventure fiction, and I look forward to "1634".

The Prince
The Prince
by Jerry Pournelle
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 21.79

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent Military Sci--Fi, Aug. 25 2002
Ce commentaire est de: The Prince (Hardcover)
It was Coleridge who coined the term, "...the willful suspension of disbelief", and it is this concept, I think, that marks successful fiction of every genre. It is the element that gets the reader "into" the story, and it is hardest to achieve in epic fantasy and military science fiction. This is because the writer has to do more than create believeable characters and plot; he/she has to create the very worlds in which the characters exist, including geography, politics, economics, etc. All of this comes across in superb manner in "The Prince". Originally published several years ago as four separate books, this is the story of the death of one civilization, and the gritty birth of another, from the standpoint of Falkenburg's Legion, a mercenary unit whose origins include such seemingly disparate military models as the Roman Legion and the French Foreign Legion. I would have given this book a 5 star rating but for a stylistic aspect that I have always found to be off-putting, because I find that it interrupts the story: in the first book, the writers switch between first person and third person narrative. It may be simply a personal quirk of mine, but there it is. On the other hand, the writing is of a consistantly high quality, and the plot move with a good pace and some very intense action. If you like the genre, read this book. Jim Baen of Baen Books has the inside track on military sci-fi, with a cadre of writers which includes David Weber (my alltime favorite), Eric Flint, David Drake and many others.
"The Prince" is a worthwile addition to the Baen Catalog and is sure to please most readers.

Gettysburg
Gettysburg
DVD ~ Tom Berenger
Prix : CDN$ 9.93
43 used & new from CDN$ 2.21

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Splendid, Magnificent, Spellbinding and Deeply Moving, Aug. 25 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Gettysburg (DVD)
A lot of folks have commented on this movie, so why should there be one more? Last night a friend and his wife joined me for dinner. Afterwards, I showed him the section where the Confederates form up for Pickett's Charge. He is a Korean War vet who wept unabashedly as the Charge went in. This is my all time favorite movie to the extent that I wore out the VHS tape with repeated viewings. It is a painstakingly yet loving and respectful rendering of the pivotal battle of the Civil War. It is well cast and well acted. Martin Sheen is not a favorite of mine, but he captures Robert E. Lee as well as anyone could. The film shows in moving detail how deeply the troops cared for Lee, as they did in reality. Tom Beringer, who is a favorite, is excellent as General Longstreet. The facial hair on most characters is obviously fake, but not to the point of being distracting. At four hours, it's a long, long film, but it simply never drags; it is in the details that the story line and the reality of the setting are maintained There are no computer enhanced graphics; the cast includes several thousand Civil War reinactors, which produces combat scenes of gut-wrenching realism. Some of them are interviewed in an "extra feature", and their reverence for the battle site is moving. "Gettysburg" permits the viewer to understand, through the onscreen exchanges between characters, what the Civil War was all about. But most of all, it demonstrates the unflagging courage which American soldiers have displayed since the birth of our Country, and it is probably that aspect of the film that I find most moving. The DVD needs a big screen to do justice to the panoramic scope of the battle scenes, but the disc is a marked improvement over the tape. If I have one reservation, it has to do with the sound. Dolby 5.0 is good, but to have the subwoofer kick in during the artillery firing sequences would have been better. If you want to find out a little bit about what this Country is all about, see this film

Red Rabbit
Red Rabbit
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 25.19
101 used & new from CDN$ 2.72

2.0 étoiles sur 5 Boring -This Is For Insomniacs Only., Aug. 23 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Red Rabbit (Hardcover)
One expects a lot more "oomph!" from a Tom Clancy book, like stolen submarines, Irish terrorists, planes crashing into The Capitol Building -- stuff like that. Clancy's plots usually keep me up until the wee hours, but this one put me to sleep. I enjoyed doing legal research during my professional career more than I did reading this book. The plot was dull, the characters were insipid, the suspense wasn't. Everyone has a bad day now and then, and I hope that Clancy gets back into form with the next one. There really isn't much more to say about this book except that if it is made into a movie, see something else.

We Were Soldiers (Widescreen)
We Were Soldiers (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Mel Gibson
Offered by SwordkillersCanada
Prix : CDN$ 9.70
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Compelling Story Of Honor And Courage Under Fire, Aug. 22 2002
Ce commentaire est de: We Were Soldiers (Widescreen) (DVD)
This is another of the recent trend ( "Blackhawk Down", "Behind Enemy Lines") to make war movies based on true stories. Here, the war is in Vietnam, and as most know, it was a war that sharply divided the Country (in fact, the last "fuss" that I engaged in was in objection to a fellow that needed a bath & haircut who was cussing out a soldier in an airport). This film operates at several levels. First is the basic (if one can describe such courage and dedication under that rubric) story of LTC Hal Moore and his airmobile regiment in the Ia Drang Valley, called "the valley of death", in 1965. More important to ,me, at least, was the depiction of Moore as a commander DEEPLY committed to his men, as well as to his mission. There is also the aspect of a clear sense of failed support, both from Moore's superiors and from the Federal Government. Finally, there is a moving segment that shows the effects on the home front, as casualty telegrams are received by the soldiers' families. To tell more would spoil the unfolding story of this excellent film. It is a very realistic reinactment, and as such is an effective reminder as to what happens when we ask our young men and women to go in harm's way. Soldiers don't make policy or start wars; they follow orders and go where they are sent. It has been very gratifying to see the development of Mel Gibson as an actor since the "Mad Max" days, and his performance here is simply compelling. All of the cast perform well, but I make special note of Madeline Stowe's outstanding portrayal of LTC Moore's wife; she is a beautiful woman and an excellent actress; if you are not moved by her performance, you lack a heart. Also, the very talented Sam Elliott is perfect in the role of Moore's VERY tough Sargeant Major. Visually, the film is fantastic: the combat scenes are gut-wrenching, rivalling those in "Blackhawk Down". Sonically, the disc offers Dolby 5.1EX, so be prepared for complaints from the neighbors. I underscore the realism of the combat scenes. While such are always "troubling" to watch in the sense of the reality of war, if you, as a potential viewer, cannot handle such scenes, pass on. However, "We Were Soldiers" is an outstanding tribute to the brave men and women who followed orders in the Vietnam War, and, I suspect, to the men and women in uniform today. It's a great movie!

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