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Reviews Written by
David Bonesteel (Fresno, CA United States)

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Castle in the Sky (Bilingual)
Castle in the Sky (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Anna Paquin
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional animated film, Dec 1 2002
On a strange alternate earth, a young boy and girl evade capture by pirates and government agents as they try to learn the secret of the flying kingdom of Laputa, to which the girl has a mysterious connection. Although the animation is not as smooth as some of Miyazaki's later films, there are still plenty of mind-blowing visuals and actions sequences here. Although there are plenty of battles and high adventure, the movie also displays the gentle humanism for which Miyazaki is so well-known.
Disney needs to get more serious about releasing Miyazaki's work in a timely manner instead of pouring its energy into product such as "Peter Pan 2" and "Aladdin 3".

Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies [Import]
Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies [Import]

3.0 out of 5 stars Light, but entertaining, Nov. 30 2002
Various comic characters from different countries gather for a road rally through Europe in the 20's, setting the stage for plenty of good-natured, family friendly hijinks. The international cast (including Tony Curtis and the wonderful Terry-Thomas) is very good. Although lightweight, the story moves along at a good pace. If you enjoy the kind of madcap comedies with large ensemble casts that were made so often in the 60's (think "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"), you'll probably get a kick out of this.

Godspell [Import]
Godspell [Import]
DVD ~ Victor Garber
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 6.42
18 used & new from CDN$ 6.41

2.0 out of 5 stars Trite, dated musical with a dedicated cast, Nov. 29 2002
This review is from: Godspell [Import] (DVD)
An assortment of young people from various walks of life leave their mundane reality behind to follow a modern-day John the Baptist, becoming transformed into a cheerful tribe of flower children/mimes who cavort through the streets of an abandoned New York in the company of a Christ figure who sports a blond fro and a Superman T-shirt, performing a musical version of the Gospel According to Matthew. I can understand the feelings of those who are captivated by its hippy-dippy charm. The actors are cheerful and bursting with energy and exhuberance.
However, it didn't work for me. Only one tune, "Day by Day," is memorable. The film is extremely dated (an unfair criticism, perhaps, but that's how I feel). I was put off by the relentless cheer, yet the mournful ending came off as trite and simple-minded. Admittedly, I am not the ideal audience for this film, not being Christian myself. I am not hostile to the religion, though, and came to this film with an open mind. In the final analysis, it just didn't do it for me.

After Life
After Life
DVD ~ Arata Iura
4 used & new from CDN$ 44.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and moving, Nov. 26 2002
This review is from: After Life (DVD)
The recently deceased are transported to a way station en route to the afterlife, at which they are required to select a single memory in which they will exist for eternity. This is a terrific, thought-provoking concept that is very well executed. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda downplays the metaphysical angle by placing his characters in a very pragmatic, down-to-earth environment--an old building, harried case workers on a tight schedule, and a noticeable and commendable lack of ethereal visual or sound effects. We are treated to many interesting interviews with clients who are trying to select a memory. Some of these interviews are genuine and unscripted, conducted with non-actors. The most touching moments come as we get to know the case workers better and learn about their inner lives and the reason that they have been selected to work in this place rather than moving on to the next.

by Peter Benchley
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but the movie is much better, Nov. 26 2002
This review is from: Jaws (Mass Market Paperback)
A great white shark menaces a coastal community, threatening to scare off the summertime trade on which it depends, until the town sheriff, a young shark expert, and a renegade fisherman go on a hunt for it. It's not a bad book, but this is one of those rare cases in which the film is better. Spielberg cut away most of the fat that weighs the story down, such as the pointless antagonism between the three heroes and the affair between Brody's wife and Matt Hooper, which is presented through a silly and clumsily written swinger mentality that betrays the books '70's origin.

Farscape: Season 1, Volume 2 [Import]
Farscape: Season 1, Volume 2 [Import]
DVD ~ Ben Browder
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 40.18
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.63

4.0 out of 5 stars "Exodus"--3 stars; "Throne"--4 stars, Nov. 19 2002
"Farscape" has developed into one of the best shows on television. Enjoyment of these early episodes is enhanced by the addition of deleted material and lively commentary. "Escape from Exodus" is an enjoyable story, but far from "Farscape" at its best. The tale of an infestation by space parasites is enlivened by entertaining character interaction, always one of this show's strengths. "Throne for a Loss," on the other hand, is terrific. Rygel, as despicably hilarious as ever, is kidnapped by the Tavleks, a race of warriors who rely on an addictive drug, administered through "power gauntlets," to heighten their power and aggression. To save Rygel, Aeryn, Crichton, and D'Argo all take their turns with the weapon, and the way in which it affects each of them provides interesting and amusing insights into their characters. The way in which Crichton resolves the conflict is perfect.

Force 10 From Navarone (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import]
Force 10 From Navarone (Widescreen/Full Screen) [Import]
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 15.33
21 used & new from CDN$ 5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars So-so, Nov. 7 2002
A band of soldiers in WWII go behind German lines to blow up a dam. The whole production is rather stiff and cheap, with a creaky script that depends upon a lengthy string of unlikely coincidences for its plot twists. It's remarkable how, with a rather large territory to wander about in, key characters just happen to encounter each other at the right moments.
It benefits from some fun performances from Robert Shaw and Edward Fox and a kind of retro feel to it that makes it seem like a film that could have been made twenty years earlier.

Monster's Ball
Monster's Ball
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 6.29
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Quietly moving story, Oct. 20 2002
This review is from: Monster's Ball (DVD)
A white corrections officer with a racist upbringing (Billy Bob Thornton) and a black waitress unsuccessfully struggling to make a life (Halle Berry) encounter each other by chance and form a bond based on their mutual need. The complications that such a relationship in the Deep South must necessarily entail are largely ignored rather than confronted, but that is not a flaw in this film. Rather, it is true to the nature of the characters, who are so desperate for a nurturing human connection that all other concerns fall by the wayside. The understated screenplay (by Milo Addica and Will Rokos) does not wrap everything up into a neat package at the end, leaving us to wonder about the ultimate fate of this couple. Great performances and fine direction by Marc Forster.

Mule Variations
Mule Variations
Price: CDN$ 23.17
34 used & new from CDN$ 4.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece, Oct. 17 2002
This review is from: Mule Variations (Audio CD)
I can't think of a musician who infuses his material with a grittier atmosphere or more of a sense of hard-earned world-weariness than Tom Waits. Each song evokes its own reality. Taken as a whole, Waits' ouevre summons up a world of lonely losers, heartbroken romantics and other vulnerable types at odds with an essentially cruel and uncaring world in which they can only look to others like themselves for some scrap of caring or tenderness. Waits accomplishes this through an amazing variety of material--from harsh, abrasive rave-ups that must be heard to be believed to sweet, simple tunes that avoid being maudlin through the intimacy and honesty of his delivery.
"Mule Variations" is another twisted masterpiece. The nightmarish, primitive rockers are there ("Eyeball Kid," "Filipino Box Spring Hog") as are the more tuneful weepers ("Georgia Lee," "House Where Nobody Lives"). Highly recommended.

The Taste of Others (Version française) [Import]
The Taste of Others (Version française) [Import]
DVD ~ Anne Alvaro
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 113.04
4 used & new from CDN$ 42.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Very tasteful, Oct. 14 2002
A successful businessman who lives a life of coinventional affluence falls in love with an actress and teacher who represents for him a world of art and interesting people that has always been closed to him. She rejects him, but he persistantly attempts to ingratriate himself with her, frequently becoming the [end] of jokes among her artsy friends as he repeatedly demonstrates his poor taste. A parallel storyline concerns the temporary friendship that arises between the businessman's driver and the bodyguard that an insurance company has engaged to provide security during an important business deal. Their conversations and differing approaches to women provide much amusement.
This film often reminded me of such Woody Allen films as "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" as we watch a varied cast of interesting characters encounter and transform each other in different ways.

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