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Gerald Parker "Gerald Parker" (Rouyn-Noranda, QC., Dominion of Canada)
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Vigo: histoire d'une passion
Vigo: histoire d'une passion
VHS

4.0 out of 5 stars Vigo's Tormented Life of Ill Heath, His Radical Experimentalism, and Beautiful Cinematic Aesthetic Are What This Film Is About, Oct. 12 2014
"Vigo: Passion for Life" (for the short one that Vigo lived!) is a free retelling (by director Julien Temple) of the life of French filmmaker, Jean Vigo, who died so young that he was able to make only a small number of films, during the 1930s. The story of his life and of his love for Lydu, the woman of his life, in this biopic is recounted rather rhapsodically but quite beautifully and sensitively. Vigo was dogged by difficulties which his radical parentage and his own leftist convictions posed for a career in so public an art as cinema. Worse, though, was the life-threatening affliction that Vigo had to bear with frail health. He died at only 29, of septicemia.

James Frain takes the title role. This motion picture is one dating from relatively early in the British actor's career, a circumstance that favours the portrayal of the young man Vigo, for Frain, being ever elegantly sleek of build (but having dieted somewhat drastically, anyway, to play this role, in order to appear yet more "beauteously skinny"), curly-headed, and (still at the time of this movie) smoothly fresh-faced of complexion, he naturally conveys alike the youth as well as the touch-and-go health that made Jean Vigo's life such a physical struggle as he lived out the ardours of devoting his cinematic career to difficult subjects (by standards both of then and now) and to such highly original treatments of anything that Vigo's movies are about. (Although Frain's looks, even with the weight loss, only in a rather general way resemble those of the real-life Vigo, that is not a matter of great importance in so imaginative biopic as this one is.)

The film takes many risks with the moviegoer's capacity to follow the story, which does cohere, but not in any obvious way. The movie is, really, quite beautifully filmed and is a joy to the viewer's eyes.

There seems to be no North American DVD or Blu-Ray edition of this motion picture. A good U.K. edition, however, among the various disc (and some VHS) editions of it which have been released in, variously, English or French, is suitable for those who have equipment that can handle the European DVD's PAL standard, is Park Circus VFD-4-1889, presenting the film in English, without any subtitles or special features (beyond the inclusion of the film's trailer).

Recommended for the adventurously and romantically minded!


Vigo: Passion For Life
Vigo: Passion For Life
3 used & new from CDN$ 22.51

4.0 out of 5 stars A Biopic about the the Life, Love, and Struggles of 1930s Filmmaker, Jean Vigo, Oct. 11 2014
This review is from: Vigo: Passion For Life (VHS Tape)
"Vigo: Passion for Life" (for the short one that Vigo lived!) is a free retelling (by director Julien Temple) of the life of French filmmaker, Jean Vigo, who died so young that he was able to make only a small number of films, during the 1930s. The story of his life and of his love for Lydu, the woman of his life, in this biopic is recounted rather rhapsodically but quite beautifully and sensitively. Vigo was dogged by difficulties which his radical parentage and his own leftist convictions posed for a career in so public an art as cinema. Worse, though, was the life-threatening affliction that Vigo had to bear with frail health. He died at only 29, of septicemia.

James Frain takes the title role. This motion picture is one dating from relatively early in the British actor's career, a circumstance that favours the portrayal of the young man Vigo, for Frain, being ever elegantly sleek of build (but having dieted somewhat drastically, anyway, to play this role, in order to appear yet more "beauteously skinny"), curly-headed, and (still at the time of this movie) smoothly fresh-faced of complexion, he naturally conveys alike the youth as well as the touch-and-go health that made Jean Vigo's life such a physical struggle as he lived out the ardours of devoting his cinematic career to difficult subjects (by standards both of then and now) and to such highly original treatments of anything that Vigo's movies are about. (Although Frain's looks, even with the weight loss, only in a rather general way resemble those of the real-life Vigo, that is not a matter of great importance in so imaginative biopic as this one is.)

The film takes many risks with the moviegoer's capacity to follow the story, which does cohere, but not in any obvious way. The movie is, really, quite beautifully filmed and is a joy to the viewer's eyes.

There seems to be no North American DVD or Blu-Ray edition of this motion picture. A good U.K. edition, however, among the various disc (and some VHS) editions of it which have been released in, variously, English or French, is suitable for those who have equipment that can handle the European DVD's PAL standard, is Park Circus VFD-4-1889, presenting the film in English, without any subtitles or special features (beyond the inclusion of the film's trailer).

Recommended for the adventurously and romantically minded!


Webster's New World Dictionary                                             College Edition
Webster's New World Dictionary College Edition
by Di
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 1.25

5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Edition Remains About as Fine as Any Other One of the Supremely Fine Webster's New World College Dictionary, Oct. 11 2014
I long have used the Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, the most recommendable and comprehensive of its variants being any designated for "college" (in U.S.A. lingo including "university") use. The edition which most people usually think of as the first edition of this dictionary was the only English dictionary which students at the college where I did my freshman and sophomore years of study, in the mid-1960s, were permitted to cite as their lexical authority (the then recently debased "Collegiate" dictionary from Merriam-Webster, having been prime among the dictionaries that students were forbidden to use in writing their papers and assignments). There had been forerunners of the supremely fine Webster's New World Dictionary under the same title, published decades before the 1950s, under the imprint of World Publishers, but those earlier ones did not so deserve to be considered the first edition (which seems to have gone through printings from 1954 or so to 1968, of which the one that I first obtained was the 1964 printing).

I have acquired and used every edition of this dictionary, right up to and including the fourth and now (updating this review slightly in 2014) the fifth editions. I have retained each much-loved, well-used edition, keeping them in various rooms of my house, along with some other favoured dictionaries, for ready resort near desks, tables, or chairs where I most often read or write. For those who specifically have a preference for the Third Edition, the purchaser from an Amazon WWW site should be aware that Prentice Hall published, for that edition itself (nice to have, but not affecting the overall desirability of it in any major way), a 1994 Update of the Third College Edition in, of course, 1994 (of which the ISBN number for it, "thumb-indexed", is 0-671-88243-0, and, "plain-edged", is 0-671-88289-9).

An interesting feature, by the way, of the Second College Edition, at least of the sturdy "Special School Printing" of it which I own, is a flexi-disc (33.3 r.p.m., 7 in.) included with it that bears the title upon it, "New World Phonoguide: an Audio Supplement to the Pronunciation Guide and Phonetic Symbols" which could be of considerable help to users for whom English is a second (third, etc.) language. I have not seen this helpful disc in other editions of this dictionary as I own copies of them. As for the fourth college edition, one or some printing(s) of it come(s) with an accompanying CD-ROM.

Each edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary has improved on the one that preceded it. Alas, some dictionaries, e.g., those benighted "Collegiate" dictionaries from Merriam-Webster, which fell from grace when they began to be based on the excessively permissive Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary which had displaced the rock-solid and far more trustworthy Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged 2nd Edition, on which earlier and better Merriam-Webster's "Collegiate" dictionary editions formerly and more happily had been based. Similar decline also has beset numerous other dictionaries which have not undergone wise or sufficient revision, leading to the lessening of quality or of reliability as later editions appear, when compared to former ones. The most admirable (of many good) qualities of the Webster's New World Dictionary is the sane approach to matters of word usage; while this dictionary is "prescriptive" in indicating what pronunciations and definitions are normative, it does give alternate ones that are common but less "proper", so far as American usage is concerned. It includes an healthy amount of words in informal English and slang; unlike the too prim-and-proper Funk and Wagnall dictionaries or the American Heritage Dictionary, both quite fine but rather too staid, the Webster's New World Dictionary does not purge such words and locutions of less-then-high-pedigree from the lexicon, but, rather, admits them while it very helpfully indicates their level of English usage admissibility or unacceptability for inclusion in formal writing or speaking. Each subsequent edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary, too, has undergone a thorough updating to add new words, technical or otherwise, to the vocabulary of the language.

A single, general-purpose college or desk-reference dictionary, even so admirably aimed at sophisticated adult level as the Webster's New World College Dictionary is, will not suffice to fulfil all requirements. For one thing, a truly unabridged dictionary, usually multi-volume, is good to have around for exceptional needs; I have several such dictionaries, of which, among them, I particularly commend "The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged", Second Edition, in one humongous and heavily oversized volume (of xlii, 2478, 32 p.). Also, one or a few dictionaries which correspond(s) to Commonwealth usage is (or are) important for non-American readers to possess and to use. Being here in Canada, I tend most to rely upon British dictionaries for spelling (especially Cassell's, Chamber's, and Harrap's fine recent editions of their respective dictionaries) and on specifically Canadian dictionaries (most notably the impeccable Gage dictionaries) for pronunciation or for peculiarly Canadian use and origin, but for definitions, I always have preferred the best American dictionaries, especially the various editions of Webster's New World Dictionary.

The Amazon buyer cannot go wrong in purchasing any variant of the Webster's New World Dictionary. If he cannot afford or find the latest edition, any of the previous "college" editions is quite suitable and reliable for everyday use. Go for it!


Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition (Thumb-Indexed)
Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition (Thumb-Indexed)
by The Editors of the Webster's New World Dictionaries
Edition: Hardcover
48 used & new from CDN$ 9.33

5.0 out of 5 stars No Better Dictionary, and Few Others So Good As This One, Cover American English Usage, Spelling, Pronunciation, Etc., Oct. 11 2014
I long have used the Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, the most recommendable and comprehensive of its variants being any designated for "college" (in U.S.A. lingo including "university") use. The edition which most people usually think of as the first edition of this dictionary was the only English dictionary which students at the college where I did my freshman and sophomore years of study, in the mid-1960s, were permitted to cite as their lexical authority (the then recently debased "Collegiate" dictionary from Merriam-Webster, having been prime among the dictionaries that students were forbidden to use in writing their papers and assignments). There had been forerunners of the supremely fine Webster's New World Dictionary under the same title, published decades before the 1950s, under the imprint of World Publishers, but those earlier ones did not so deserve to be considered the first edition (which seems to have gone through printings from 1954 or so to 1968, of which the one that I first obtained was the 1964 printing). I have acquired and used every edition of this dictionary, right up to and including the fourth and now (updating this review slightly in 2014) the fifth editions. I have retained each much-loved, well-used edition, keeping them in various rooms of my house, along with some other favoured dictionaries, for ready resort near desks, tables, or chairs where I most often read or write.

An interesting feature, by the way, of the Second College Edition, at least of the sturdy "Special School Printing" of it which I own, is a flexi-disc (33.3 r.p.m., 7 in.) included with it that bears the title upon it, "New World Phonoguide: an Audio Supplement to the Pronunciation Guide and Phonetic Symbols" which could be of considerable help to users for whom English is a second (third, etc.) language. I have not seen this helpful disc in other editions of this dictionary as I own copies of them. As for the fourth college edition, one or some printing(s) of it come(s) with an accompanying CD-ROM.

Each edition of the Webster's New World Dictionary has improved on the one that preceded it and one can make a good case especially for any of the Third to Fifth Editions as the one preferred for reasons of content or of sheer attractive format, ease, and presentation (the Third Edition being particularly fine in those regards, remaining quite a viable option to choice over the somewhat more austerely cramped pages of the Fifth Edition). Alas, for some dictionaries, decline, rather than consistently genuine improvement, can set in with their later editions. That is so very notably in the case of those benighted "Collegiate" dictionaries from Merriam-Webster, which fell from grace when they began to be based on the excessively permissive Webster's THIRD New International Dictionary (the unabridged dictionary from Merriam-Webster, which had displaced the rock-solid and far more trustworthy Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged SECOND Edition), Earlier and better Merriam-Webster's "Collegiate" dictionary editions formerly and more happily had been based, to such good effect, on the Unabridged Second Edition, which had guaranteed a solid foundation. Similar decay also has beset numerous other dictionaries which have not undergone wise or sufficient revision, leading to the lessening of quality or of reliability as later editions appear, when compared to former ones.

A single, general-purpose college or desk-reference dictionary, even so admirably aimed at sophisticated adult level as the Webster's New World College Dictionary is, will not suffice to fulfil all requirements. For one thing, a truly unabridged dictionary, usually multi-volume, is good to have around for exceptional needs; I have several such dictionaries, of which, among them, I particularly commend "The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged", Second Edition, in one humongous and heavily oversized volume (of xlii, 2478, 32 p.). Also, one or a few dictionaries which correspond(s) to Commonwealth usage is (or are) important for non-American readers to possess and to use. Being here in Canada, I tend most to rely upon British dictionaries for spelling (especially Cassell's, Chamber's, and Harrap's fine recent editions of their respective dictionaries) and on specifically Canadian dictionaries (most notably the impeccable Gage dictionaries) for pronunciation or for peculiarly Canadian use and origin, but for definitions, I always have preferred the best American dictionaries, especially the various editions of Webster's New World Dictionary.

The Amazon buyer cannot go wrong in purchasing any variant of the Webster's New World Dictionary. If he cannot afford or find the latest edition, any of the previous "college" editions is quite suitable and reliable for everyday use. Go for it!


Mexican Kids
Mexican Kids
2 used & new from CDN$ 36.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Restless and Rambunctiously Energetic Mexican Kid, with His Friends & the Pizza Man, Make a Shambles of His Mother's Apartment, Sept. 29 2014
This review is from: Mexican Kids (DVD)
"Duck Season: Adulthood is a Moving Target" (Warner Independent Pictures 4032, in that particular so-titled edition for Canada and the U. S. of A.) is one of the English titles for this film as it has seen release (the other title being "Mexican Kids") on DVD of the Spanish-language film, "Temporada de patos: ser adulto no vale la pena". The movie is a succulent exercise in whimsy, the sort of uncoordinated, calm craziness of early adolescence in the case of a 14-year old boy left alone at home, with a pal of his own age, whom soon a more knowing girl of 16 joins, the lass being a bit of a flirt. Also participating in the ensuing revels is a 30-something years old slacker with a "McJob" delivering pizza, including to the two boys (with whom he ends up passing the day) on this dull Sunday afternoon, off-and-on with and without electrical power for the computer games that they so favour. The title derives from a painting and various duck-like objects that appear as a constant motif in the film.

Amazon-U.S. has several good reviews of this little cinematic charmer, so there is no need here to go into any considerable detail. The film is an exercise in whimsy, its fey charm lying in the depiction of the sweetly unaffected innocence of early puberty, of youth still without responsibility or more advanced sexual awakening, for the three teens, and of the frustrations of "slackerhood" for the hapless young man. Its "R" rating (for "restricted") is rather silly, due only to some mild profanity now and then from boys trying to exhibit how "cool" they are and for the deftly cute portrayal of how marijuana (in birthday brownies that the girl makes after a failed cake) affects the foursome's perceptions, pretty innocent stuff in terms of modern film-making!

One definitely should see it in this edition with English (or other) subtitles, unless the viewer's Spanish is good enough to catch banter, including slang, which the characters deliver often quite offhandedly, otherwise one is likely to miss the sly humour of what makes this low-key movie so endearing. (A particularly suitable DVD edition, for the U. S. of A.'s and for Canada's market which is in Spanish only, i.e. without English subtitles to view along with it, bearing the title and variant subtitle, "Temporada de patos: ¿a ti también te vale pito?", is available as R.T.C. Videomax Gold DVD-6342.) The film, obviously, is a bit of unpretentious fluff, but it is ingeniously clever, thus well worth watching time and again.


Mexican kids - temporada de patos
Mexican kids - temporada de patos
Offered by La Boutique Française
Price: CDN$ 24.87
5 used & new from CDN$ 24.87

4.0 out of 5 stars The Swirl of High Energy Youthful Ability to Sow Confusion and Domestic Disorder Gets Ever Higher in Gear as the Action Proceeds, Sept. 28 2014
"Duck Season: Adulthood is a Moving Target" (Warner Independent Pictures 4032, in that particular so-titled edition for Canada and the U. S. of A.) is one of the English titles for this film as it has seen release (the other title being "Mexican Kids") on DVD of the Spanish-language film, "Temporada de patos: ser adulto no vale la pena". The movie is a succulent exercise in whimsy, the sort of uncoordinated, calm craziness of early adolescence in the case of a 14-year old boy left alone at home, with a pal of his own age, whom soon a more knowing girl of 16 joins, the lass being a bit of a flirt. Also participating in the ensuing revels is a 30-something years old slacker with a "McJob" delivering pizza, including to the two boys (with whom he ends up passing the day) on this dull Sunday afternoon, off-and-on with and without electrical power for the computer games that they so favour. The title derives from a painting and various duck-like objects that appear as a constant motif in the film.

Amazon-U.S. has several good reviews of this little cinematic charmer, so there is no need here to go into any considerable detail. The film is an exercise in whimsy, its fey charm lying in the depiction of the sweetly unaffected innocence of early puberty, of youth still without responsibility or more advanced sexual awakening, for the three teens, and of the frustrations of "slackerhood" for the hapless young man. Its "R" rating (for "restricted") is rather silly, due only to some mild profanity now and then from boys trying to exhibit how "cool" they are and for the deftly cute portrayal of how marijuana (in birthday brownies that the girl makes after a failed cake) affects the foursome's perceptions, pretty innocent stuff in terms of modern film-making!

One definitely should see it in this edition with English (or other) subtitles, unless the viewer's Spanish is good enough to catch banter, including slang, which the characters deliver often quite offhandedly, otherwise one is likely to miss the sly humour of what makes this low-key movie so endearing. (A particularly suitable DVD edition, for the U. S. of A.'s and for Canada's market which is in Spanish only, i.e. without English subtitles to view along with it, bearing the title and variant subtitle, "Temporada de patos: ¿a ti también te vale pito?", is available as R.T.C. Videomax Gold DVD-6342.) The film, obviously, is a bit of unpretentious fluff, but it is ingeniously clever, thus well worth watching time and again.


CRUISING BAR 1
CRUISING BAR 1
DVD ~ DVD
Offered by goodemotions
Price: CDN$ 21.13
2 used & new from CDN$ 21.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Dating and Cruising Mania Among Montréal's and Laval's Middle-Class Men "on the Make" Depicted with Unquenchable Humour, Sept. 21 2014
This review is from: CRUISING BAR 1 (DVD)
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (a different edition, Alliance/VideoFilms 104900, being the DVD edition viewed) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, and insecure, cowardly, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.


Cruising Bar 2 (Bilingual)
Cruising Bar 2 (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Robert Ménard
Price: CDN$ 5.00
28 used & new from CDN$ 2.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Sequel of the Amourous Trawling & Cavorting of These Character's Further Capers in Montréal's & Laval's Dating Joints, Sept. 21 2014
This review is from: Cruising Bar 2 (Bilingual) (DVD)
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (Alliance/VideoFilms 104900 being the DVD edition viewed) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched, the front cover art different from that picture on this Amazon entry's DVD, thus probably not quite the same edition), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, and insecure, cowardly, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.


Cruising Bar (Version française)
Cruising Bar (Version française)
DVD ~ Michel Côté
5 used & new from CDN$ 24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Frolicking Dudes Seeking Amourous Adventure and Sexual Release in Montréal's and Laval's Cruising and Dating Venues, Sept. 21 2014
It is rather astonishing that the movies, "Cruising Bar: [1]" (Alliance/VideoFilms 104900 being the DVD edition viewed, so not quite the one pictured in this Amazon-U.S. entry) and its sequel, "Cruising Bar: [2]" (Alliance VideoFilms 107406 being the DVD edition watched), seem, judging from so few reviews of them, to have generated, thus far (as of Sept. 2014), so little interest on Amazon's WWW sites. This is true even for Amazon-Canada, the national WWW site for the Dominion of Canada, where one would expect that films so phenomenally successful in Québec (by Québec's appropriate measure) would have garnered by now numerous reviews, "pro and con".

The two films are out-and-out farces, of course, which perhaps has meant that many who have viewed them, while enjoying the two movies, have not taken their worth seriously enough. Well, yes, they are farcical, but in the cleverest way possible! They are destined to be comedy classics in the way that the great Marx Brothers films, those of Mel Brooks, or, to single out an individual motion picture, as "Hellzazpoppin'" (1941) all have become.

Michel Côté is a comedian of stature whose films, nearly all of them, have attained that kind of status in Québec. In the case of these two films mocking the cruising patterns of date-scavenging (or, to be blunt, trawling for a "one-night-stand" hook-up), the humour is of the sort that easily should embrace the same kind of response from English-speaking audiences as from Québec viewers. The culture of dating, with all of its decadence and inherent comic potential, from the 1970s onwards (with parallels in the past of dance hall and "bar-hopping" behaviour), which the two films portray, is internationally entrenched, for better or for worse, in most of the Western World. That phenomenon is something ripe for humour!

As for the geographical setting (Montréal) that both works share, the two "Cruising Bar" motion pictures lack the grubby look of most U.S. and British cities since they, for their own part, have endured the ravages of commercial, economic, and industrial decline, which "Free Trade" and outsourcing of industry and technology have wrought, all besetting them since the baneful times of Grinnin' Clinton, Bush-whacker Jr., Obawumpa (in the U. S. of A.), and Thrasher, Blyar, and the new Cameroon Goon (in Britain). Montréal, for its part (here in Québec), still is a clean and attractive large city. However, "Cruising Bar: [1]", from 1989, and "Cruising Bar: [2], of 2008, are set in earlier times (the second just barely) when some U.S. and British cities still had looked like something besides recycled Calcutta. So, "nos ami(e)s Anglos", let your imaginations wander and in your imagination apply the action that takes place in Montréal to what had gone on in your own nearest-by pre-2008 metropolis. It helps that one can view the "Cruising Bar: [1]" with the dialogue set to hear it in English and that both pictures, on the other hand, are viewable in French with English subtitles. The antics in the two films, anyhow, are so physical in nature (with, of course, many visual gags), as farce naturally tends to be, that they would reveal what goes on even with the sound turned off!

Michel Côté is such a master of comedy and disguise that his assumption of the roles of four different "dudes on the make", young (30s or so) in the 1989 film who have become middle-aged (50s or thereabouts) in the 2008 film, are totally convincing. When I first saw "Cruising Bar: [1]" back in 1989, I did not realise (as many other cinema-goers also did not) that Côté was playing all four of the horny philanders! They are, by their nicknames, to take each in a different order herewith:

-- Le Taureau (The Bull, a genial, multi-orgasmic bourgeois businessman in a constant state of rut, who unrelentingly cheats on his wife, at work and at the local kitsch dating-pits in the suburbs);

-- Le Taon (The Peacock, a prissy "clothes-horse", fashion-obsessed and vacuously empty-headed "metrosexual", for whom no woman is quite perfect enough to justify his amourous attentions but who seeks sex, ineffectually, anyhow);

-- Le Lion (The Lion, the frenetically energetic and dim-witted "perpetual adolescent" who never takes responsibility for his gaffs and who brags and behaves delusionally, thus never learns how to become a responsible adult who can offer a woman the stable love that she needs);

and

-- Le Ver de terre (the Worm, an insecure, cowardly, insecure, and ugly nerd, who cringes at any challenge and is fearful to face life's challenges).

Côté transforms himself in look and demeanor so successfully that he has no need of heavy disguise, apart from some help to pad out his trim body out for the chubby and dumpy-looking Bull, with that character's sagging paunch and chin(s) and fat cheeks. He seems (although I am not sure of this) to be using some costume teeth to give the Lion his toothy grin, but aside from these, he plays his various parts mostly through the sheer transforming art of great comic acting. The result, at any rate, is utter hilarity.

"Cruising Bar: [1]" is even more fun to watch than its sequel, but both films are wonderfully comic. There is an aspect of "Cruising Bar: 2" that is very pleasing: it gives resolution and closure to the problems that most of the goofy dudes whom Michel Côté plays face. In the second film,

-- The Bull's marriage is saved and he learns to be content (well, more so) with his own wife than to be cavorting with the other suburban housewives.

-- The Worm finds his true soul mate; he hooks up at last, at the dance studio, with a real soul mate, a needy woman who is as timid, as homely-looking, and as gauche as he, the Worm, himself is.

-- The Peacock, the vain metrosexual who by two decades later has lost both his naturally suave good looks and his hair, too (an hilarious scene in which his wig falls off during attempted love-making rendering that latter loss comically evident!), now by the end of "Cruising Bar: 2" still is as uppity and absurd as ever in some ways. However, as things work out, he is able, at least, to affirm his masculinity when he had begun to face the possibility that he might be gay. His experience of "testing the waters" of Montréal's vibrant gay life are side-splittingly droll, yet without being sexist (although he is!).

On the other hand,

-- The Lion still is close to being as idiotic and juvenile as ever, but he does recognise and appreciate the value of his daughter's love.

These developments bring the second film to a satisfyingly well-rounded conclusion. There is no need to worry that this review has too many "spoilers"; the wealth of comic invention in the two movies and of so many unanticipated plot twists and abundant comic detail within the films far exceed the rough outline of the action which this review indicates.

The special features of "Cruising Bar: 2" are longer and more extensive than the short ones which are included with "Cruising Bar: [1]" (in both cases only in French, without subtitles for that part of each DVD's content). Since the bonus features with the second film concern both movies, they fill in the viewer's understanding of the earlier motion picture as well as of the sequel.


Alborada Del Gracioso
Alborada Del Gracioso
3 used & new from CDN$ 83.38

5.0 out of 5 stars This Vanguard Recording Demonstrates Just How Much Leon Fleisher Was Master of the Concerto for Piano Left Hand Alone by Ravel, Sept. 16 2014
This review is from: Alborada Del Gracioso (Audio CD)
Leon Fleisher made two studio recordings of Maurice Ravel's Concerto for Piano, Left Hand Alone, of which the finer performance is this one (on Vanguard's CD) which Sergiu Comissiona conducts. The other (Sony Classical SK-47-188) has Fleisher in harness with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as that hunk of deadwood drifting in the tide, Seiji Ozawa conducts it.

The Fleisher/Commissiona recording is by far the better performance, with by turns voluptuously lovely, poetically evocative, and jazzily snazzy playing from the Baltimore ensemble under Comissiona's cunning direction. Fleisher plays better, too, with those Baltimore forces, which supply a much more atmospheric and colourful accompaniment under Sergiu Comissiona's inspired and poetic direction. Their collaboration with Fleisher Fleisher favourably with the sonic sludge that Ozawa draws, oozing gooily, from the B.S.O. (that abbreviation applying potentially to both orchestras, but being more widely recognised as standing for "Boston Symphony Orchestra" than as one indicating the Baltimore ensemble).

Leon Fleischer always has been an astute and highly virtuosic pianist. Fortunately, while he was lacking the use of his right hand, he continued to record piano works for left hand only as he had the opportunity, such as the other recordings on that later Ozawa-led CD from 1990 (matching the Ravel concerto with a left hand work by Sir Benjamin Britten) and 1991 (the left hand concerto by Serge Prokofiev on the same CD). This has been a boon to the record catalogues, for Fleisher's piano left-hand work has been of extraordinary quality, possibly the best in such repertory. He already had been one of the very greatest and most artistic, rigourously musical and intellectual keyboard players of the 20th century before fate made him turn to the repertory for left hand alone.

Fleisher and Comissiona simply enchant the listener on their Vanguard recording of the concerto by Ravel, whereas the 1990 recording under Ozawa's direction just lumbers along by comparison. The tempi are faster and tauter, to marvellously invigourating effect, on the 1982 Vanguard recording, whereas the 1990 performance, trudging and plodding along like a musical pachyderm, never really quite gets fully into gear. By comparison with Vanguard's Fleisher/Comissiona recording, the sound of both the orchestra and piano on Sony's recording pairing Fleisher with Ozawa seems like an insufficiently detailed blur, downright blowzy for the orchestra; as for the piano or, perhaps, the way that the instrument was recorded, there is a distinct difference between the clarity and tonally varied timbre of the piano that Fleisher used for the Vanguard recording, an instrument so completely suited to this quintessentially French music, and the rich but excessively rotund, monochromatic sound of the instrument which the soloist plays on the Sony recording, one that probably is better suited to some German and English music than it is to French or Slavic repertory.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for Vanguard, covers itself in glory as Sergiu Comissiona so skillfully leads it to such delectable effect. The orchestral sound there is clear, replete with seasoning as well as juice, and gloriously colourful. Compare Baltimore's exquisite results to what the Boston Symphony Orchestra delivers under Ozawa's baton. Before Ozawa had succeeded, as he desired and intended, to destroy the special character of that ensemble, considered widely as the best French orchestra in the world (even if, ironically, it was not not in a country of "La Francophonie"), that great Bostonian musical institution excelled in French and Russian repertoire, as Sergei Koussevitzky, Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch, and Erich Leinsdorf at the helm of the Boston Symphony Orchestra so brilliantly documented, nearly always in the exceedingly good sound (for their respective dates) as R.C.A.'s recording studios captured it. In "blanding down" the B.S.O.'s musical character, resulting in it becoming "just another" generic-sounding musical formation of the kind.

While the Boston orchestra has suffered a dismally downward trajectory under Ozawa, the orchestra in Baltimore has been making a remarkable upward ascent, as one can hear for oneself in all of the works by Ravel included on Vanguard's treasurable disc. The Baltimore orchestra under Comissiona never sounded better in its recorded history and that orchestra, in fact, is a first rank choice to accompany such a great artist as Leon Fleisher in Ravel's music. Enjoy the results of their collaboration in Ravel's concerto on Vanguard's CD!


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