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Brockeim "Playful Literary Adventurer" (Where the wind blows.)

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Cyrano De Bergerac
Cyrano De Bergerac
DVD ~ José Ferrer
Prix : CDN$ 6.98
19 used & new from CDN$ 4.24

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Magnificent José Ferrer Makes This Cyrano a Classic, Jan. 19 2011
Ce commentaire est de: Cyrano De Bergerac (DVD)
José Ferrer is Cyrano de Bergerac. That fact alone is enough to see this version. I say this with the confidence that, until this week, until watching the Hal Roach edition of the 1950 version, Gérard Depardieu owned the role.

In Depardieu's favor was his charm and average or even unattractive appearance. So likable, so gentile, yet not enough. Depardieu was terrific, but he was not as fierce and as bitter as Ferrer in the first part of the movie. Depardieu's obsessive rage was acted, not owned. Ferrer, to the contrary, for me, demonstrated the proper depth of bitterness, insecurity, arrogance, wit, and broken heartedness.

The story is simple: an ugly poet/master swordsman (Cyrano) loves a beautiful woman (Roxanne), but is too insecure to tell her. She in turn loves a pretty boy soldier (Christian) who, by his own admission, is void of wit. Christian does not realize Cyrano loves the same woman. Each man uses the other to successfully reach into the woman's heart. She overcomes her shallow view of beauty, but the ugly poet remains diffident and unwilling to risk his heart to her.

José Ferrer is more than the star here. Cyrano's love for Roxanne is truly the story, with no subplots woven in. He capably goes from bold leader to broken man and back again. This puts Ferrer's skill to the test, to engage the audience from scene to scene, emotion to emotion.

When he fights dozens of men to protect the baker, I believe it. Unlike many great swashbuckling movies, the choreograph is not fluid. It appears chaotic, like a street fight would be.

This movie, Cyrano de Bergerac, is left open to criticism, like that so much was filmed on a stage. We see painted backdrops instead of a genuine wartime sky. Outside of a cane and slow steps, no one seemed older in the final garden scenes. The costuming is impressive, but, beyond that spectacular nose, the makeup is not. That could all be easily improved.

Mala Powers as Roxanne worked well enough, though vacuously. I saw her as shallow yet stunningly beautiful from beginning to end. A better actress may have been found as some scenes she played as more of a place keeper than love interest.

It is easy to feel for Christian, played by William Prince. Though he is lacking Cyrano's wit, his passion is real. He is brave and bright, but not when it comes to poetry. His sword is mightier than his pen, but he makes no pretense and asks Cyrano for help.

A few production value concerns do not hold back the movie, but they do exist. However, with the consuming power of Academy Award winning actor José Ferrer as the focal point, Cyrano de Bergerac receives top marks from me.

--Brockeim

The Pearl Diver
The Pearl Diver
by Jeff Talarigo
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 13.68
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Tragedy of Leprosy and Human Scorn Unraveled in Beautifully Told Story, Nov. 24 2010
Ce commentaire est de: The Pearl Diver (Paperback)
"The Pearl Diver" is a difficult book. Leprosy is not part of most our lives, and much of what we think of may involve Jesus Christ's healing of the 10 lepers in the Gospel of Luke. The book is not about leprosy, but it is the context which drives the story. It is about being confined in flesh, the ever present and ubiquitous human condition.

Imagine a young woman diving with great skill to the ocean floor. The grace, beauty and athleticism just off the shore of a Japanese island alone is an image to carry a reader through each page. Author Jeff Talarigo finds the proper tone and pace so as to begin the story well. A diagnosis of leprosy changes this scene, and the woman quickly moves to a leper colony. Her family cannot handle the shame and disowns her.

Giving context to the story are 'Artifacts', something Talarigo uses as object/symbols. The technique works like a subtitle within a chapter like as with "Artifact Number 0596: A bar of soap." The soap represents cleanliness and purity. Miss Fuji, as the young woman is called at the colony, carves them into shells or fish, and in them briefly finds freedom.

The tone of the book is beautifully dour. It never ebbs and flows like the waves of the ocean dove into, creating emotional exhaustion for readers who want to leave the book uplifted. But leprosy in the 1940s is not a happy disease. The disease itself is hard, as is the social outcasting that packaged with it.

It occasionally leaves a contemplative place and falls into sentimentality, and arcs into cynicism as Miss Fuji reacts against one patient who describes her faith to her. The most tragic portion is when Miss Fuji falls into intolerance, and "wants to rip their skin apart," whenever someone religious talks about what they believe. At once she claims it is OK for some, yet is enraged when patients discuss their beliefs openly.

The world continues on without her, and it will continue when she's gone. She understands this, but isn't satisfied and pursues freedom.

Excellently written, if a bit monotonic, "The Pearl Diver" is more than moralism wrapped in an exotic context. It looks for, and arrives at deliverance.

--Brockeim

The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 9.91
35 used & new from CDN$ 8.04

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Kipling's Masterful Storytelling, History, and Modern Mythology Come Together, Nov. 24 2010
Ce commentaire est de: The Jungle Book (Hardcover)
Legends are made from legends. Rudyard Kipling dug deep into the tales of the jungle from his years living in India, and drew from them the kinds of stories that live forever.

"The Jungle Book" is more than how Mowgli, the man cub, learns to live and survive amongst enemies like Shere Khan. The intense mongoose vs cobra "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," also well-known, is here, as are several lesser-known and unrelated adventures.

Richly written, with details and contexts unfamiliar to Western readers, "The Jungle Book" lifts imagination and language beautifully. Poetic, and written in a literary style, it shines above most modern prose.

This is the stuff of afternoon stories read to older boys and girls. Young teens will while away rainy evenings, unwilling to part until finished. Sometimes scary and always exciting, Kipling also uses the book to teach lessons much greater than a jungle in India.

When chapters were first read to me many years ago, I listened gawk-eyed, listening intently for as long as my mother would read. I read it with different eyes now, but no less a young boy as I worry how Baloo will handle the Bandar-Log monkeys.

It isn't perfect. A few scientific details are fudged (wolf pack breeding structure, for example), but nothing that matters in the big picture. Kipling will have you in the palm of his hand, even though it was first published over 100 years ago.

May "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling be as amazing to you as it has been to me.

--Brockeim

Apple iPod shuffle 2 GB Blue (4th Generation) NEWEST MODEL (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Apple iPod shuffle 2 GB Blue (4th Generation) NEWEST MODEL (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

1 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent For Use on Train Rides at the Cusp of Summer and Autumn, Nov. 24 2010
The last vestiges of summer are eking out the daylight glory that is waning. Soon, the dull overcast of autumn will take over the brilliance of June, July and August. Within the space of the cusping transitional days, there will be cool music. The Apple iPod Shuffle will maintain and supply that music as you, like I, examine how many permutations of red and yellow can be tasted in a sunset.

With 500 songs, you can listen from the corking of Port wine at the first sundown, through the first coffee after the second sundown. Around 27 hours will be enough if you choose your music well. It comes in several colors, matching what you wear like a flower on your lapel, or a discrete tattoo above your belt. Where it lacks comparatively in functions found on larger iPods, it brings currency and portability.

Lengthen summer's last sunset and your pleasure of listening by taking a train west. Watch out the window, absorb the convergence of seasons, and be there when the next one arrives. The conductor will understand.

Whether Carlos Montoya's The Art of the Flamenco dances with sound through his flamenco guitar, or Andrea Bocelli's Sacred Arias glorifies the moment with his aria Gloria a te, Cristo Gesù, the Shuffle will satisfy.

May the grace of autumn be met with sound and color, tuned into music and scenery worthy of now.

--Brockeim

Kitchen Stories
Kitchen Stories
DVD ~ Tomas Norström
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Prix : CDN$ 66.11
7 used & new from CDN$ 34.36

2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Friendship Unbound, May 27 2009
Ce commentaire est de: Kitchen Stories (DVD)
Isak did not care to speak to Folke. Folke was not to speak to Isak. Such were the rules unspoken and otherwise. This is "Kitchen Stories," or, as this movie is known in Norway, "Salmer Fra Kjøkkenet."

Isak, as the subject of Folke's sociological research, offered himself up to be studied thinking a horse was to be provided, and when a toy horse arrived instead of a breathing one, on strike he went. Thus began their banal arrangement.

Things delved into a quiet silence, each respecting the other's space in the midst of themselves. Each watched the other. One took notes, the other remembered. Soon, they realized how similar they were: two single men doing little more than avoiding relationships, living alone.

Isak is a curmudgeoned older bachelor living in Norway, whilst Folke, also a bachelor, makes a living studying people like Isak. However, having never dialogued with his subjects, Folke, he never saw more them as more than moving objects to be charted and analyzed. Within a few cups of coffee, two lonely men become brothers, seeing there is something more important than a self-induced hermitage.

Their relationship develops with subtle sophistication, with Folke bringing in rare treats his elderly aunt sends him, and Isak, saving his friend from being run over by a train.

Like 84 Charing Cross Road, "Kitchen Stories" is graceful in its presentation and unfolding of phileo love.

--Brockeim

Praise Song for the Day
Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 5.49
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 étoiles sur 5 Missing Barack Obama's Presidential Quality, May 27 2009
Ce commentaire est de: Praise Song for the Day (Paperback)
In a word: mediocre. Yes, this will disappoint devotees and debutantes, but, away from the politics of it all, the poem was not a strongly written piece. It is with sadness I post this review.

While I love a poem filled with descriptive images, Alexander chose unimaginative cliches to show America. She presented no nuance, no color, nothing that is more than a prosaic poem not fit for a high school talent contest.

She looked for meaning, then scraped it clean of impact and influence before committing her idea to paper.

Who or what is she praising? A day? The definition of praise here is uniformly unpointed, as a day has no power. If the day has power, then it becomes a god, with a kind of omnipotent power.

"A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, 'Take out your pencils. Begin.'" So what? Farmers do that. Teachers do that. She neither tells us something new, nor gives us insight about their action.

Her attempt to summon the spirit of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman fails with, "Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks..." as her song has no notes.

She suggests, "Some live by 'Love thy neighbor as thy self.'" Is she suggesting others do not want to live by that, living entirely selfishly? That's hardly an Obaminian thought.

"Love that casts a widening pool of light." Love, here, is a living entity, after she tries to explain what love looks like in vague terms.

Praise changes from a thing to an action, clunking on the ground as the listener hums the platonic, monotonous drumbeat, "On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light."

All of Obama's passion was passed in Alexander's poem. It will be quoted because it was read at an inauguration, but for no other reason.

--Brockeim

84, Charing Cross Road
84, Charing Cross Road
by Helene Hanff
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 13.72
67 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Friendship with Depth and Love, Oct. 17 2006
Ce commentaire est de: 84, Charing Cross Road (Paperback)
In these days of e-books, and bland books constructed from franchised ideas and formulas, we are presented "84, Charing Cross Road," a story about a relationship begun because of a mutual love of old great books.

Frank Doel owns the English bookstore, and Helene Hanff mails him a request for a book. Correspondence and a relationship begins. Contently and confidently married, Doel responds as an older brother might, and the two grow to cherish each other despite the distance.

As they care for each other, and slowly, their local friends and family become aware, we see how love transcends the sea. Neither character has an agenda, and this left me feeling a little less cynical about the world around me.

Like Nick Bantock's "Griffin and Sabine," it carries a romantic mystery and intrigue. We read the correspondence and imagine.

Like so many of today's e-mail- and chatroom-only friendships, they learn to appreciate each other, though knowing only the other as they choose to describe themselves.

This isn't a story about books or bookstores, despite the honest representation of their demeanor and personality. Any booklover knows the search for a book, and the texture of a bookseller's knowledge and connection with his books.

This is a book about the depth, trust, and love of one unexpected relationship. Book lovers will enjoy the context, and good friends will smile knowingly.

The movie with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft is likewise worth viewing, carrying the letters into a emotional zone of charm and delight.

--Brockeim

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence
Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence
by Nick Bantock
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 17.29
119 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Delicious and Mysterious Romance, Feb. 20 2003
Lovers love, and whatever distance or mystery is tossed between them, they still will love. In "Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence" by Nick Bantock, we begin an intimate journey between two lovers destined to be enraptured in all that is dreamt of. They catapult the divide of geography and join mid-mail in a postal embrace, captured by Bantock in a sweet and phenomenal book.

Griffin is a postcard artist in England and Sabine is a stamp designer for a small Pacific island. Each is perceived as sublimely exotic to the other as they reveal the secrets of their lives through correspondence.

What is the romance of "Griffin & Sabine?" Besides being an 'extraordinary correspondence,' it is about two lovers who connect through the artistic passions they share. Like the romances that now happen through the internet, or the Victorian era correspondences, there is an innocence and delicacy to their exchanges of mail.

This is the romance which never happened in "84 Charing Cross Road." This is what the romance should've been in "You've Got Mail." This is what "Cyrano De Bergerac" could've been if not a tragedy.

Bantock dangles a sensuous, sumptuous step into the hearts of a fantasy based in a reality that the reader will smile, wondering if the writer knew someone like Sabine, if she has been created like Pygmalion sculpted Galatea.

Begin with "Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence" and follow their story through subsequent tales in other book.

--Brockeim

Chile Pepper Red Ribbed Wire-O, 5x7
Chile Pepper Red Ribbed Wire-O, 5x7
by Paperblank Book Company
Edition: Spiral-bound

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Suitable For Recording Every Adventure, Jan. 19 2003
How notable is a blank notebook? How much can be said, other than the paper is taut, the spine is sure, and the cover is attractive?

It is not the purchase of a blank notebook that clamors for a review. It is the use.

Mine, now tattered and shorn of its original color, and its spine, now feeble and loose, has known value. The years will take their toll on any notebook. This one will do just fine.

The pages held well the ink of many years, chronicling the names and stories of loves lost, found and lost again. It did not buckle under tears, or tear under the angry scraping of my pen after the ending of what should've been. The spine did not bend or break when she left, and I threw the notebook across the room. The pages did not leave their shelter when I slipped the book quickly into my bag when I met her best friend, whose name was later written with a punctuated smile.

The spiral binding will suit most needs.

--Brockeim

Alive II (2CD)
Alive II (2CD)
Prix : CDN$ 21.57
39 used & new from CDN$ 11.74

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Troubled Lives Reflected in Troubling Lyrics, Nov. 20 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Alive II (2CD) (Audio CD)
Prophetic are the possessively-inspired hard rock lyrics of KISS, but not without concern for their internal, personal well-being. KISS Alive II brought out the darker, contemplative side to the band, and that no matter how popular the KISS Army considered them, there were matters beyond what fans saw.

The angst felt by Peter Criss as he wrote "Beth" has a Faustian air to them, as he folds in the pain of knowing what he has traded: "You say you feel so empty, that our house just ain't a home./I'm always somewhere else and you're always there alone."

And further, he looks to his beloved Beth as the seer of truth, "Oh, Beth, what can I do?/Beth, what can I do?" He repeats the line, knowing he has sold his soul, but wishing, begging for a way out.

Paul Stanley, however, brings together different issues. In "God of Thunder," he laments his frailty yet declaring he is a deity, "I am the lord of the wastelands."

"I Want You (I Want You) Baby, baby, babe..." shows a more tender side to Mr. Stanley, as he realizes how connected his ID is with his emotions.

"Detroit Rock City" presents Mr. Stanley's emotions more viscerally. How does he feel? In the inward psyche, what does he contemplate? He tells us plainly, "I feel uptight on a Saturday night." Serving as his own therapist, he is concerned for his well-being, "Ya gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City." Moving from Detroit doesn't seem to be an easy option, but ever-lucid, Mr. Stanley is determined to set boundaries, albeit his body will suffer, "Ten O'Clock and I know I gotta hit the road./First I drink, then I smoke."

Gene Simmons is a psychological practitioner as well, and by his own admission, does well in his practice, as indicated in "Calling Dr. Love." His patients, it seems, don't know his real name, and Mr. Simmons (or Dr., as the case may be), seems self-assured. Still, he feels most appreciated by his patients when they identify him by a nickname, "They call me...(Dr. Love) They call me Dr. Love. (Calling Dr. Love)."

One particular young lady causes Mr. Simmons pedophiliac anxiety, as sung in "Christine Sixteen". He sings about a school gal of 16 he watches daily, whose impact is negative on both a physical and psychological level, "She's got me dizzy... She drives me crazy."

Mr. Stanley's relationship troubles stem from his own undoing, "Oh, yeah. Bye-bye. So long. Don't cry./I've been packin' my bags. Yeah, leavin' you." Not unlike Mr. Criss' problems with Beth, commitment is not very important. He is indecisive, however, because in another song he sings with great repetition the title of that song, "I Want You"

Myopic, Mr. Stanley and Mr. Simmons teamed up to pen, "Shout It Out Loud" Apparently not a fan of jazz or classical, or even blues, they sing, "We can't do it any other way./Ev'rybody's got to rock and roll!"

While critics may be uncertain to what level a eugenics analysis applied here, there is surely a sense of patriotism among the band members, "I'm a six-foot, Hot-look, All American Man!" Mr. Stanley again presents himself in the identity which pleases him most. Does he realy know himself?

Delve into the rest of the album, as space limits me here, but know that the masks they wore, the paint they wore may be just the protection they needed to hide their tears.

--Brockeim

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