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Profile for James V. Ruocco > Reviews

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Content by James V. Ruocco
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Reviews Written by
James V. Ruocco (Waterbury, CT United States)

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Final Destination 2
Final Destination 2
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 20.53
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Final Destination 2 Is Good, Creepy Fun, July 24 2003
This review is from: Final Destination 2 (DVD)
The idea of cheating death was done quite well in the first film, which offered moviegoers a chilling, authentic recreation of an actual plane crash. In the sequel, we get an equally exciting highway crash that is superbly created and edited by the filmmakers. This film is also pretty adept at some horrifying deaths that cry "Hit the rewind button." All in all the film is definately worth a peek. It's also a lot better than some of the garbage that has been hitting movie screens this summer.

Who's Who in Eastenders
Who's Who in Eastenders
by Kate Lock
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

3.0 out of 5 stars "EastEnders" is Great Show. Book Offers Strong Background, March 8 2003
Being relatively new to folks who populate Albert Square on "EastEnders," this book offered tremendous insight on what I've missed and who's who. It's great for background stuff, particularly on who's related to who and how they've grown since the show premiered. The only drawback is that it was written a few years back. That means some of the current characters are nowhere to be found. But you can't have everything.

Timeless Broadway
Timeless Broadway
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 57.58
3 used & new from CDN$ 50.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Narducci's Rich Tenor Voice is Beyond Excellent, Aug. 10 2002
This review is from: Timeless Broadway (Audio CD)
Last week, I went to three record stores searching for Susan Egan's new CD "So Far." To my surprise, no one had a copy in stock. Nor had senior magagement ever heard of this dynamic Broadway entertainer.
Still, not satisfied, I continued to peruse the "Easy Listening" stock. It was then...quite by accident...that I discovered "Timeless Broadway" by Daniel Narducci. Years ago, I had seen the actor/singer play Lancelot opposite Robert Goulet in the national touring compnay of "Camelot" and thought he was magnificent.
Nonetheless, I checked out the song selection on the back of his CD before making my decision. I didn't want another Broadway CD featuring the same tired showtunes from "Oklahoma!" "Phantom of the Opera," "The Pajama Game" and "Merrily We Roll Along."
For that matter, neither did Narducci.
His CD gets my vote as one of the best Broadway CD's of the last 15 years. In fact, the word virtuosity comes to mind when one listens to him sing (his voice reminds one of Sergio Franchi, Howard Keel, Alfred Drake, Robert Goulet, Harve Presnell, Ezio Pinza rolled into one) showtumes from "South Pacific," "Cats," "Man of La Mancha," "Sunset Boulevard," "Les Miserables," "Carousel," "The Most Happy Fella," "Camelot," "Kiss Me, Kate" "Shenandoah" and "Paint Your Wagon."
His style is distinct, powerful and romantic. His renditions of each song not only capture the mood and feel of the piece but often surpass those of the performers who first introduced them on Broadway. It's no wonder.
Just read the liner notes of his CD and check out his professional credits.
Ironically, Narducci also lives in Middlebury, Ct, the next town over from where I live. A twist of fate, indeed. But one I didn't know when I purchased his CD.
If you're a fan of musical theatre, then you must add "Timeless Broadway" to your collection. It's rare, nowadays, that one finds a CD of this magnitude.
As for Susan Egan, the hunt continues.

Speedway Junky (Widescreen)
Speedway Junky (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jesse Bradford
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 67.35
6 used & new from CDN$ 4.09

3.0 out of 5 stars Speedway Junky Does Have Its Moments, July 30 2002
This review is from: Speedway Junky (Widescreen) (DVD)
A straight teenager on the run befriends a gay male hustler in this gritty, somewhat flawed character portrait set against the seamier side of Las Vegas. With Gus Van Zant acting as executive producer, I expected this film to have a lot more depth in terms of character, dialogue and sub plotting. But you can't have everything.
The finished product does offer viewers a somewhat accurate portrait of teen runaways, teen drug substance and teen prostitution. Some of the scenes are pretty intense. So much so that they really get under your skin. Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Daryl Hannah star.

Vanilla Sky (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
Vanilla Sky (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 5.21
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Tommy Boy Goes For the Gold, July 28 2002
I like Tom Cruise. But lately, he's kicked into movie overdrive.
"Vanilla Sky," an entertaining, somewhat clunky drama, offers Tom Terrific the chance to play a vain, super-rich New Yorker who emerges from a near-fatal car crash with a hideously disfigured face. Poor, poor Tom.
The film does manage to hold your interest (Tom loves to ACT for all of us) but only because it is part Hitchcockian allegory, part sc-fi, part psychodrama and part let's see if Tom Terrific could snag an Oscar nomination. Halfway through, it falls apart, but picks itself once once the filmmakers tells what's real, possibly isn't. Dozens of other actors could have played this role, but Tom managed to get it first. That's not a bad thing, but not a good thing either.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Nicolas Cage
Price: CDN$ 9.99
43 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Great Scenery and Nothing More, Jan. 10 2002
Somewhat of a mixed bag, this lush but lopsided film adaptation of Louis de Bernieres' 1994 wartime novel is best observed for its breathtaking views of Cephalonia (I'd fly there tomorrow if I could). That plus Christian Bale's convincing portrayal of a jilted Greek fisherman (his Greek accent is perfect) make this overlong film somwwhat bearable.
On the downside, you get Penelope Crus completely miscast and wooden as a dewey-eyed Greek woman who falls in love with an Italian soldier played by Nicolas Cage. O.K., Cage tries to redeem himself. But his Italian accent is as phoney as the screenplay. In short, laughs comes in all the wrong places, especially when Cruz and Cage try to act sexy. UGH!

Scary Movie II (Widescreen)
Scary Movie II (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Anna Faris
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 21.27
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars Dear Hollywood: Enough of This Inane Garbage, Jan. 10 2002
This review is from: Scary Movie II (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Scary Movie 2" satirizes "The Exorcist," "Unbreakable," "In Living Color," "What Lies Beneath" and at least 20 other movies. Nonetheless, it's a lifeless piece of Hollywood drivel that left moviegoers running for the exit doors when it landed with a THUMP in theaters during the July 4th holidays. Most videophiles will probably ask for a refund and rightly so.
The first film was fun. Its gross expulsion of movie spoofs kept people howling from start to finish. Part "2" does nothing except make you think "God, did someone actually get paid to write this crap.?" Or "My God, what was going through the actor's minds while the cameras rolled?"
If you're looking for gross humor, rent "Dude, Where's My Car?" "Road Trip," "Freddy Got Fingered" or catch "Not Just Another Teen Movie" in theaters.

Verve Jazz Masters #51
Verve Jazz Masters #51
Price: CDN$ 15.00
28 used & new from CDN$ 4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A Blossom Any Day of the Week, Oct. 30 2001
This review is from: Verve Jazz Masters #51 (Audio CD)
"They Say It's Spring." "Let Me Love You." "The Party's Over." "I Won't Dance." No matter what she sings, Blossom Dearie does just that. She blossoms. O.K. lots of people have never heard of her. I'm one of the lucky ones. Since I was three or four, I can remember hearing Blossom's radiant voice on my parent's stereo0. I also had the pleasure of seeing her live in concert three years ago in New York.
What's amazing (live or on CD) is that she sounds no different today than she did back in 1956. That's quite an accomplishment, but it's true.
This CD - 16 songs in all - is the perfect intro to this national treasure. Even better, she does her own thing with each and every one of the songs that come her way including her daft rendition of "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top." If you should add this CD to your collection, upon the first spin you'll be hooked. Go Blossom.

NEW With A Friend Like Harry (DVD)
NEW With A Friend Like Harry (DVD)
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 53.88
9 used & new from CDN$ 35.44

5.0 out of 5 stars You Must See This Movie, Oct. 29 2001
Dominik Moll's taut, sardonic thriller begins quite simply.
In the men's room of a gas filling station, Michael (Laurent Lucas) finds himself reacquainted with Harry (Sergi Lopez), a high school chum he hasn't seen in years.
They chat. They talk about the good old days.
Eventually, Harry ends up at Michael's country house.
Big mistake.
What follows is a slick, intense study of the male psyche filled with murderous impulses, hints of homosexualty, psychotic obsessions, stalking, bloodshed, nudity, razor-sharp dialogue and a surprise ending guaranteed to knock your socks off.
And all because Harry decides the time has come to free Michael from domestic shackles which include a nagging wife, two screaming kids, a deceitful brother and two meddlesome parents.
On the big screen, "With a Friend Like Harry" sizzled. On DVD, the result is the same. The only difference: You can hit the reply button every now and then, particularly when you think "Wait a minute! Did what just happen really happen?"

The Sound of Music (Five Star Collection) [Import]
The Sound of Music (Five Star Collection) [Import]
DVD ~ Julie Andrews
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 12.87
21 used & new from CDN$ 10.54

5.0 out of 5 stars The Hills Are Alive...Now and Forever, Aug. 22 2001
No matter how many times you've seen this 1965 musicalization of the 1959 stage classic, it's still a joy to behold. For me, there are many reasons. On location filming in Saltzburg heightens the story's magnitude. The casting of Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp was a coup for both 20th Century Fox and director Robert Wise. She's magnificent and ever so professional. Back then, this was only her third Hollywood movie. But she's a pro from start to finish. Everything she does it fraught with such emotion and conviction, you'd swear she was Maria Von Trapp. Opening up the stage play with several new scenes, sub plots, songs, characters and dialogue also benefits what could have been a very sticky situation. Finally, there's the DVD itself. This is the widescreen version that was shown back in theaters when the film first opened. It includes the intermission and the Act II opening music. With no formatting for television, you get to see everything in all it's technicolor glory. On video, half the Von Trapp children didn't fit on the televsion screen. Musical numbers lost there scope as did scenes where you had 13 characters in one room and only saw 7 on the screen. I highly recommend this DVD. But wait, there's more. The 87-minute documentary is awesome. So are segments showing scenes that were cut and up dates on how the kids look today.

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