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Robin McDonald (USA)

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Paths of Glory (Full Screen)
Paths of Glory (Full Screen)
DVD ~ Kirk Douglas
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 10.04
35 used & new from CDN$ 9.23

4.0 out of 5 stars Paths of Glory, Aug. 17 2003
This review is from: Paths of Glory (Full Screen) (DVD)
I am not a great fan of Stanley Kubrick's most popular movies. But I very much enjoyed Paths of Glory. The impactful moments of treachery and defence of justice in the face of tyranny were more genuinely human than the more typical emotional distancing of Kubricks more celebrated works. Kirk Douglas turns in one of his strongest performances as the tough and gutsy commander Dax who knows as much at how to make an impact in a military board meeting as on the battlefield. He is the voice of compassion and reason in what is a very dark and cynical film about the politics of war. Some of the posturing of the evil French officials might seem over the top and cartoonish, but it works somehow because of the odd interplay of politeness mixed with the cavalier willingness to trade outrageously on human lives to score morale points with the men.

The Thin Man (Full Screen)
The Thin Man (Full Screen)
DVD ~ William Powell
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 42.36
14 used & new from CDN$ 4.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling in Ways Not Usually Mentioned, March 16 2003
This review is from: The Thin Man (Full Screen) (DVD)
The secret to the success of the "Thin Man" series isn't a mystery to anyone. Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles are the perfect married couple. Both charming, witty, rich and stylish. They banter back and forth hurling barbs and compliments at each other with equal ease. Their relationship defies every expectation for a movie couple. He drinks too much. Yet when she suspiciously asks how much he has been drinking, when he says five shots, rather than getting upset she tells the bartender to line up five shots neat so she can catch up. When Nora walks in on Nick in their bedroom holding a beautiful woman in her arms, rather than storm out hurt or shocked they begin making funny faces at each other. How can you not love this?
But there is something else in this movie that goes almost unnoticed in every commentary about this film. The gorgeous photography aided at every turn by the brilliant equally stylish character casting and costuming. There are rules artists use in laying out tones of black and white on dark grays and light grays to make an image really pop. Whomever was in charge of the cinematography understood these rules like a master. Every shot is gorgeous. Every turn of the camera is a jewel. You could do a screen capture of any frame and view it as a textbook study in use of diagonals, shadows, lighting, dynamic eyelines focusing the audience on the most important part of the image. Intellectualizing it isn't helpful because the net result is some of the most fun imagery ever captured. But if you do take the time to notice it you will marvel at how clever they were in making this movie.
The DVD is very good quality but only contains a minimum of extras. The only real extra is trailers for each of the "Thin Man" films. The most entertaining is the first for "The Thin Man" where William Powell has a conversation with himself as Nick Charles standing in the cover of a giant replica of the Dashell Hammet book. I am not going to gripe about the minimal extras as it wasn't very long ago you couldn't get a DVD at all for this movie. No doubt the included trailers are an encouraging sign Warner is planning to release all the Thin Man films to DVD soon.

The James Bond Collection: Volume One (Widescreen Special Edition) [Import]
The James Bond Collection: Volume One (Widescreen Special Edition) [Import]
DVD ~ Roger Moore
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 254.56
13 used & new from CDN$ 39.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Price is Ok but why get stuck, Oct. 1 2002
If your off to start collecting Bond movies for the first time then I guess this isn't a bad way to go. But I don't quite get the choices for this set. Why not a Sean Connery or Roger Moore set? This isn't even a best of bond collection, though many of the good ones are in here. When you buy a set you almost always end up paying for two or three dog movies to get the good ones. The best thing about this set is that it is a fair discount over buying these titles piecemeal. Pick your own favorites if you have any and you'll be a winner. Might be a nice gift though.

Haunting [Import]
Haunting [Import]

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Haunting, July 27 2002
This review is from: Haunting [Import] (VHS Tape)
Looking square on at the film nothing really happens and your just watching a woman drive herself nuts over nothing. The Haunting feels like a German arthouse film with characters that would be welcomed with open arms by Dieter on the SNL skit Schprockets. They are paranoid or creepy and sometimes mean or irritating. I am one of the unfortunate few who look at the happenings in Hill House and see nothing scary going on at all. Julie Harris' character is just imagining the whole thing in her head so why is this scary? A very old staircase rattles and is about to maybe fall only because the bolts are very loose, there is a cold spot and its made pretty clear in the supernatural bulging door and crying wallpaper were imagined. But somehow most people seem to feel there really is something haunted at Hill House and find the movie extremely creepy and outright scary. So I have to give the movie its props for trying to make a film that thinks what is scary is only what goes on in your head. Its a good idea and for those it works for more power to them.
If this movie for you is boring or just too odd and after reading the reviews here you are left wondering if all the people here are as tippy as Julie Harris is in this film, try looking into "The Uninvited". It is the perfect antitoxin to The Haunting.

Come Upstairs
Come Upstairs
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 55.99
4 used & new from CDN$ 18.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Come Upstairs, July 23 2002
This review is from: Come Upstairs (Audio CD)
Well when I first played this record I just knew "Take Me As I Am" was going to be a huge hit and of course it never got played. For reasons I don't understand they chose Jesse. I can't give this album 5 stars because even though I liked it there are some definite problems. For one "Them" is really an embarassing track. This continues a trend she began with Boys In the Trees. She makes one extremely strange pick for a tune on each album after.
Boys In the Trees - Da Bat Fly in Me Face
Spy - Memorial Day
Come Upstairs - Them
Spoiled Girl - My New Boyfriend
I like a couple of these tunes but they are like putting a clowns nose on a pretty girl. Its sort of cute but I like her real nose without the rubber ball.\
I had all her albums when this was released. I think the album was a ballsy all out effort but this is Carly's first attempt to remake herself into something other than a balladeer. "Take me" is one of her best and In Pain she really lets her voice break. But I can only recommend this album to Carly fans who want to hear her do anything. I am that sort of person but I don't think this album stands the test of time as well as "No Secrets", "Another Passenger" and "Boys '". She does have one of the best voices in the industry, but for what its worth, dance music doesn't fit her like a glove. She spends the next three albums trying on different sounds till she comes back to something not far off from where she started before finding a broad audience again. An interesting diversion for Carly enthusiasts.

Pure Drivel
Pure Drivel
by Steve Martin
Edition: Audio CD
11 used & new from CDN$ 4.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Humor for the Super Literate, July 20 2002
This review is from: Pure Drivel (Audio CD)
Steve Martin has fabricated his own genre of humor which began with Cruel Shoes. Ultra sophisticated short stories which contain all the depth, emotion, insight and revealing introspection of great literature but totally absurd. Steve Martin's "Pure Drivel" is exactly like painting the Mona Lisa under a moustache. Its the same silly joke as painting the moustache on the Mona Lisa. But Martin is showing off his talent by embellishing the ridiculous with greatness rather than the other way around. Not many people could pull it off. Its a very funny book and good bathroom reading when you want to spend ten minutes on the can. The humor is so sophisticated its best taken in one or two short sets than sucked in all at once. "Michael Jackson's Old Face" sounds like a great opportunity to take some cheap shots, but instead Martin turns it into a detailed descriptive stream of consciousness about the volley of facial expresssions between Michael Jackson meeting Walter Mathow from Michaels perspective. You really have to keep your brain in high gear for sustained periods. So its best taken in short sets or listened to with Steve Martin's readings on the CD.

Boys in the Trees
Boys in the Trees
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 61.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Great Carly Simon Album, July 20 2002
This review is from: Boys in the Trees (Audio CD)
This is the last GREAT Carly Simon album. "You Belong to Me", which may be her best song, opens the album and sets the mood for a series of great lyrics and melodies. This album is very romantic and sultry than any of her previous albums. There is less storytelling here and more pure music. But "In a Small Moment" is classic story Simon. The cover of "Devoted to You" sung with then still husband James Taylor is wonderful and nostalgic and could make you cry. This is just a pretty pretty album with one exception. "Da Bat Fly in Me Face". Its sort of like putting a clowns nose on a pretty girl. Its cute and funny, but I prefer her pretty nose. I like this song sort of but it does begin a pattern where she starts inserting a really embarassingly [sad] song in each of her subsequent albums. After "Boys in the Trees" she tried to remake herself a dozen different ways to find a more hip Carly image for the eighties. She tried disco with 'Come Upstairs' and tried the Linda Ronstadt old standards route with 'Torch' before she exhausted herself and found a new mature voice of her own with "Coming Around Again". If you are a Carly Simon fan you might like some of these interim efforts but none of them hit with the public like this one. This is one of the "must have" albums along with "No Secrets" and for me "Another Passenger". The new Carly has never quite had the same attraction. I admire her later work but I think maybe only Tina Turner managed to get more sexy and sultry after age fifty. She still looks great though.

Greatest Hits Live
Greatest Hits Live
Offered by Polar Bear Store
Price: CDN$ 28.68
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.56

3.0 out of 5 stars Well, Ok... but you can do better, July 20 2002
This review is from: Greatest Hits Live (Audio CD)
I am a pretty big Carly Simon fan. I have about the first thirteen of her albums. I have this on video. And having had the privilege of missing her last scheduled concert before this because she cancelled due to chronic stagefright; I am glad to have seen this performance on tape. The setting is in her home shores of Martha's Vineyard to an audience of friends to keep her anxiety to a minimum. However at times you can hear a the shyness in her voice particularly when addressing the crowd directly between songs. So while there are a lot of her big hits on this album I think her studio performances on her greatest hits are a lot stronger. She is just more comfortable there. The newest greatest hits album has more and better songs too. This was just a little too soon for a new greatest hits album. The newer songs of that era were pulled from her "Coming Around Again" album. This is the first album in many years that got her noticed again. But there were some better songs on her middle albums that didn't become great hits that might have been even better choices. This is sort of Greatest Hits plus "Coming Around Again". This is a good album, but if you are looking for a greatest hits album, get the early one or the later one. You might track down the VHS and see it as well as listen if you are really interested in a live Carly performance. The video probably costs less!

No Secrets
No Secrets
Price: CDN$ 7.88
52 used & new from CDN$ 3.89

5.0 out of 5 stars No Secrets, July 20 2002
This review is from: No Secrets (Audio CD)
I bought all of Carly's first thirteen albums. And then a couple later in her career. No Secrets is the peak. You can buy a greatest hits album, but this one tells the story of why she became an enduring fixture on the music scene. There are songs on this album that never got radio play but are just great to listen to never the less. "The Carter Family" is a great tune about the realization of missing what is good while its here. I had a young guest once and he must have played that song a hundred times during his visit. "It Was so Easy" is wistful and happy and similarly reminiscent about the joys of childhood. A lot of her songs seemed to be about regrets but with the exception of "That's the Way I Always Heard it Should Be" made you feel pretty good. She seems to have made all the mature grown up mistakes when she was pretty young. So they have a sense of wisdom about them. It is fitting she is classified as one of the great singer songwriters. You want to listen to the words. "Her Friends are More than Fond of Robin" was a favorite of mine as it was about some great guy she knew named Robin... The album finishes beautifuly with a lovely modern lullaby adding a perfect closing note to a satisfying piece of vinyl.

Vanilla Sky (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
Vanilla Sky (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by WonderBook-USA
Price: CDN$ 1.98
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I really, really liked it!, June 4 2002
I am surprised. I really enjoyed Vanilla Sky. I quite expected to like parts of it but leave feeling a little irritated because it was difficult and I would be left swimming in ambiguity and pretense. But I thought Vanilla Sky was one of the most original movies I have seen in a long time and I had fun watching it. Its twilight zonish but it doesn't spin the movie on its ear like revelation in "The Sixth Sense". However the movie is almost as fun to watch a second time around when you know what is really happening. Everything is very clear at the end so I didn't feel jerked around. Or if I was being jerked around I really enjoyed the experience. I wish I had seen it during first release because it would have been on my top ten list for the year. This is the kind of movie I enjoy liking because I know everyone doesn't. It will be fun meeting other people that liked it too.

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