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Content by Fredric Pierce
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Reviews Written by
Fredric Pierce (Huntington Beach, CA)

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Superbit Collection) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Superbit Collection) (Sous-titres français) [Import]
DVD ~ Yun-Fat Chow
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 14.11
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely, This Is One of My Favorite Films!, March 13 2004
OK, where do I start? Crouching Tiger was a totally new kind of film, for me. It is a martial arts movie, and yet, it is so complex and deep. It really can't be put in the same category as Bruce Lee or Van Damme. The fighting scenes are somehow more dance-like, dreamy, actually very artistically interesting.
I think it falls more into the category of fantasy, but , like any good art, is really hard to classify.
The characters are complex with deep conflicts, powerful motivations and difficult choices. It's never clear exactly what each one will do, or why. The story is full of twists and turns all presented in a beautiful Chinese fairy tale. I am not a film scholar, but I am a fan of great films, and I really enjoy watching this.
I have only seen Michelle Yeoh in this film and Tomorrow Never Dies. She really shows her acting ability here. She is quite good! Her character is full of pain and regret, yet driven by a deep sense of commitment and duty. She is strong, tough and vulnerable. Nicely done.
Yun-Fat Chow is a fine actor and does this part well. His strength and resolve are beautifully touched with a genuine tenderness.
Ziyi Zhang is brilliant. She is proud, spoiled, strong and foolish. She thinks she knows so much and really understands so little. The story really revolves around her. She is the eye of the storm, so to speak.
Chen Chang is wonderful as the carefree, ruthless bandit who falls hopelessly in love.
There is vastly better acting here, than I expected in a martial arts movie. The story is infinitely more absorbing than could be expected in that category. Ang Lee is clearly a major master of fine film making.
One other thing I want to say, is that I wish more fine films were available in the Superbit collection. I am really getting tired of all that "bonus material." I find it all so boring and distracting. After I spend a couple hours watching "The Making Of...," or "Deleted Scenes," or "Behind the Scenes..." I feel like I've wasted so much time. Superbit eliminates all those pointless extras and concentrates on presentation quality. I find that refreshing. When I put the disc in the player, all I want to do is watch a great movie. Superbit clears away all the fluff and gets right to the point of a film. Nothing in the way. I like that.

The Rocketeer (Bilingual)
The Rocketeer (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Alan Arkin
Price: CDN$ 8.88
28 used & new from CDN$ 3.64

5.0 out of 5 stars I Like It!, Jan. 10 2004
This review is from: The Rocketeer (Bilingual) (DVD)
The Rocketeer is real blast! It's a fun, truly action-packed adventure that should have been much more successful in the theaters. It's funny how some real stinkers make it big, and some great movies just go nowhere. The Rocketeer is definitely in the latter group. Bill Campbell is perfect as Cliff Secord, and I loved Alan Arkin as his pal/mentor 'Peevy.' It's a little jarring to see James Bond playing the bad guy, but Timothy Dalton works wonderfully as the movie star/villain. A thrill ride from curtain to curtain. A great family film, but be forewarned, there are a couple of scenes with some disturbing off-screen violence from Tiny Ron as Lothar. Younger children might find those a little too scary. But overall, everybody in my family liked The Rocketeer.

Treasure Island
Treasure Island
DVD ~ Bobby Driscoll
Price: CDN$ 14.99
32 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars THE Classic Long John Silver Makes It Great, Sept. 7 2003
This review is from: Treasure Island (DVD)
What can you say about a classic like Disney's Treasure Island. Robert Newton absolutely owns the role of Long John Silver. What a performance! Sure the rest of the cast is so-so, but Newton earns my five stars for them. Tim Curry was excellent in the Muppet version, but I'll still vote Newton the top honors. He just made my skin crawl. And then he's so pitiful. The pirates' pirate.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Widescreen)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Gregory Peck
Offered by WonderBook-USA
Price: CDN$ 44.24
25 used & new from CDN$ 6.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Filmmaking, Aug. 6 2003
I don't really feel the need to review "To Kill a Mockingbird." The editorial review and the opinion of the American Film Institute should say enough about the superiority of this work. Every actor gives a flawless performance. Atticus Finch is Gregory Peck's finest roll and his performance lives up to character. All the children are simply amazing. One performance that seems to get virtually no attention in reviews is Collin Wilcox Paxton as Mayella Violet Ewell. Ms. Paxton draws together an astounding collection of emotions and releases them in one to the most intense and frightening performances I have seen in any film. I remember seeing the film as a pre-teen (when it was new), and Ms. Paxton's anguished, screaming face is the image that is most vividly burned in my memory. She scared the bejeezers out of me.
There simply can be no reasonable rating less than 5 stars for this flawless classic. So I was curious to find out why some people would give it less!?! I scanned through all the reviews and found only a handful who, I feel, had legitimate reasons for giving 4 stars because they felt the DVD transfer was flawed.
I was amazed to find other reasons. Several school kids who had been forced to watch (and read) "To Kill a Mockingbird" who thought it was boring. Perhaps this says something about our schools, no? And maybe it says more about television.
Some people were upset because it was not in color. They were unable to get over their disappointment and see the movie as it is. It was made in black and white at a time when Technicolor ruled the screen. There is clearly a very specific artistic reason Robert Mulligan chose black and white. He made the right choice. The sense of the dusty, dry, poor depression era is beautifully reinforced by the black and white presentation.
But the most amazing review was one person that said "Racism still serves a purpose..."!! Wow! I guess there are still Bob Ewells among us!
"Too Kill a Mockingbird" is without doubt one of the finest examples of American filmmaking. Anybody (particularly any American) who can appreciate the finer things in life, and has any sensitivity to the complexities of human society, should watch this film. And it stands up well to repeat viewing, as does any truly classic work of great art.

Prisons of Light - Black Holes
Prisons of Light - Black Holes
by Kitty Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 51.95
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Explanation for Non-Scientists, Sept. 8 2002
Kitty Ferguson has an amazing gift for translating incredibly difficult concepts from modern physics into language that anybody can grasp. "Prisons of Light" is a great example. If you want to understand black holes, but you know nothing of calculus or quantum dynamics, than this is the book for you. It is enjoyable reading and informative in the extreme. It is the place to start in this subject area. Highly recommended!

Surf N Burn
Surf N Burn
Price: CDN$ 15.00
34 used & new from CDN$ 11.42

4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Low on Energy, April 11 2002
This review is from: Surf N Burn (Audio CD)
Surf-N-Burn has some hip tracks. These dudes are definitly hot players. (Needless to say, the Heartbreakers are top level pros.) I dug all the tunes. But...when I listen to the King of the Surf Guitar, I hear about 5db higher energy levels (I'm not talking about sound pressure.) Listening to Dick Dale feels like Waimea Bay, the Blue Stingrays feel more like Huntington Beach. I'm not sorry I bought it. I've listened to it several times. I just wish they Stingers had clocked it up just a bit. Go on, buy it. It's pretty sweet.

Skipping Christmas
Skipping Christmas
by John Grisham
Edition: Hardcover
98 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Skipping Christmas - Hey! That's not a Bad Idea!, Jan. 29 2002
This review is from: Skipping Christmas (Hardcover)
Well, I guess all the John Grisham fans might find this story so totally outside his usual genre, that they won't like it, but I really enjoyed it. It's a cute, funny story that left me laughing, feeling good and even plotting how to pull it off, successfully!

Skipping Christmas, when considered immediately after the Holiday, is a very attractive concept! And, of course I can see all the mistakes Luther and Nora Krank made. Maybe, just maybe, it can be done.

The story starts a little slow and seems a bit repetetive for the first half of the book, but come Christmas Eve, the action (and the laughs) pick up considerably. It all sounds so simple at first. Luther's and Nora's daughter is off to the far lands for Christmas and for the first time, they will have the Holiday to themselves. Under the emotional stress of this big change, Luther, an accountant, can't sleep and decides to total up the costs of last Christmas. $6100! What a waste! The genius latches onto the notion that the whole thing can be done without and Nora gets taken in by the idea. Unfortunately, neighbors, Boy Scouts, merchants, and miscellaneous other charities, business associates and friends, see this as more of a personal insult than a great idea! The pressure builds. Every day brings some new test to the Kranks' resolve. But Luther is determined to get on that cruise boat, if it costs him every relationship he has. The deeper he digs in his heels the funnier it gets.

Skipping Christmas is clever, witty and the way it both appeals and repels is really interesting. It was a good read!

Galapagos in 3-D
Galapagos in 3-D
by Mark Blum
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 3.50

5.0 out of 5 stars How Cool Can a Picture Book Be??, Dec 15 2001
This review is from: Galapagos in 3-D (Hardcover)
This series is plainly one of my all time favorites! All ages will love this book.
Explore the wildlife and landscape of the famous Galapagos islands, above and below the ocean's surface. Galapagos in 3-D is filled with beautiful photography with informative captions. But, if you have normal binocular depth perception, you will be absolutely blown away by the amazing 3-D stereo effect.
Mark Blum is certainly a leading practioner of the difficult art of stereo photography. He has designed and even built his own specialized cameras. He uses cameras capable of seeing the world from the perspective of a tiny shrimp, or giving the viewer a crystaline sense of depth in a vast scene of cactii spreading out to the horizon.
I am especially intrigued by the underwater stereo photographs. The book ends with a magnifacent shot of 2 hammerhead sharks surrounded by a huge shoal of creolefish. The depth effect is incredible!
I simply can't recommend Galapagos in 3-D highly enough! All of Mark Blum's books are superb!

Amphibians & Reptiles In 3-D
Amphibians & Reptiles In 3-D
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.64

5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FUN for ALL Ages!!, Nov. 8 2001
Well, I am running out of superlatives for Mark Blum's work! I just have to repeat myself - AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES IN 3-D is simply FABULOUS!! One of the MANY wonderful aspects of this book is how it takes you right INTO the world of these creatures. YOU get shrunk down to the size of a tree frog to meet one! AMAZING!
The content quality is excellent!
The production quality is excellent!
The overall experience is excellent!
And all for this price!?!? How DO they do it?
Can't I give it 10 stars? 20?

Bugs in 3-D
Bugs in 3-D
by Mark Blum
Edition: Hardcover
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Another GREAT Mark Blum Book!, Nov. 8 2001
This review is from: Bugs in 3-D (Hardcover)
Mark Blum is clearly a very talented and skillful nature photographer! His books, including BUGS IN 3-D, are all FABULOUS! I can't recommend this book highly enough!
In BUGS IN 3-D, you will be shrunk to the size of a grasshopper, taken off to exotic forests, and introduced face-to-face to some really amazing insects! It is just like entering their world! INCREDIBLE!
The photography is exquisite!
The 3-D stereo effect is remarkable!
The subject is fascinating!
The price is bargain!
There are NO negatives about this book!
Children, parents, science students, naturalists; I can't think of anybody who won't love this book!

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