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007: The Sean Connery Collection (Volume 1) [Blu-ray + DHD]
007: The Sean Connery Collection (Volume 1) [Blu-ray + DHD]
DVD ~ Sean Connery
Price: $15.00
34 used & new from $9.90

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Clarity . . . Lots of Extras!, September 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Wow! If you don't already have your favorite Bond movie on blu-ray, this is the collection to buy. Three blu-ray movies on three discs for $14.98 --- you can't do better than that! These are the restored prints of these movies, and by restored I mean "restored". Incredible clarity, color, and sharpness! I doubt if the movies looked this good when they were initially released. I know these movies have been available on blu-ray before, but never at this low price. And there are extras galore --- commentary track, interviews, and other special features.

Although all three of the movies in this first collection ("Dr. No", "From Russia With Love", and "Goldfinger") were originally filmed at the aspect ratio of 1.37:1, they were meant to be shown in the United States at 1.85:1 using a gate on the projector that cuts off a bit of the top and bottom of the picture to change the aspect ratio. That's the way they appear on your TV screen. (This is done by design to save money. Another popular movie that used this technique was the 1983 film "A Christmas Story".) This means there are no black bars on the top, bottom, or sides of the image. Each movie fills your TV screen.

The only slight, very slight, objection I have is to the menu on each disc. In an effort to be cute, I suppose, you don't click on "Play" to start the movie, you click on "Initiate Mission"; instead of "Subtitles" you click on "Language Decryption": etc. This makes it more fun, I guess, but because of this I found the "Special Features" to be a bit tricky to navigate. This concern is probably mine alone, and as I said it's a very slight objection.

I have seen each of these movies many times, and I vividly remember seeing "Dr. No" in a theater when it was originally released (I was very young). But watching these blu-ray editions was a revelation. It was as though I had never seen these movies before. The quality of the picture is absolutely astonishing!

Very highly recommended!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2015 6:42 AM PDT

The Voice That Amazed America: The Life, Times, & Singing Career of Tommy Dix
The Voice That Amazed America: The Life, Times, & Singing Career of Tommy Dix
by Ken Robichaux
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.39
18 used & new from $11.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Biography with Occasional Quality Control Issues, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a delightful biography of a talented singer who was very popular during the 1940s. Unfortunately, like many entertainers who were famous in the past, Tommy Dix's show business career is now all but forgotten. But his rapid rise from growing up in coldwater flats near Harlem to performing on Broadway and then costarring in an MGM musical with Lucille Ball when he was only 19-years-old, is surely the stuff of legend. There is something inspirational about Tommy's rise to fame and then, after delighting audiences throughout the country for a decade, his decision to abandon show business at the height of his career for family life. This is a heavily illustrated biography, and a must-read for anyone who remembers the '40s or wants to know what it was like to be an entertainer during that period.

One small warning. I've ordered multiple copies of this biography for friends, and the quality control of Amazon's printing of this book leaves much to be desired. A number of copies I've received had their black and white photos color-tinted or printed too dark. In most cases my copies arrived with everything printed correctly, but I've had to send back at least three copies that were, in my opinon, defective because of the strangely tinted photos. Apparently no one is overseeing what is being produced at Amazon's printing facility. Even so, these printing issues do not detract from the overall appeal of this well written book.

MegaGear "Ever Ready" Black Leather Camera Case for New Olympus OM-D E-M5 Cameras with 12-50mm or 14-42mm Lens
MegaGear "Ever Ready" Black Leather Camera Case for New Olympus OM-D E-M5 Cameras with 12-50mm or 14-42mm Lens
Price: $34.42
7 used & new from $9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Protecting Your Camera While Traveling, March 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I just returned from a skiing trip to Utah where I used my new Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the first time. Although I had also ordered an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Professional Gadget Carrying Travel Case from NextDia (through Amazon) to transport my camera, I wanted some extra protection while carrying it through airports and on planes. The MegaGear "Ever Ready" Black Leather Camera Case turned out to be just what I needed. It's a sturdy case that completely encloses the E-M5 camera and a 12-50 mm lens, protecting both from the bumps and jolts that happen while traveling. When I arrived at my destination, I took the MegaGear camera case off the camera because I found it to be much too awkward to use while actually taking pictures. I suppose you could keep it on the camera while shooting, but for me it was much easier to take it off the camera when I didn't need that extra protection. I recommend this case for traveling and storing your camera, but I found it too unwieldy to use when trying to take pictures. Overall, I'm happy I purchased MegaGear's camera case and I have no complaints about either the packaging or shipping from MegaGear. But the case is more of a shield for the camera --- a refuge, if you will --- rather than an "Ever Ready" carrying case you can use to hang around your neck and flip open to take a photo. For me, that's not a bad thing, because I appreciate the case for what it is. (I think it's well priced, by the way.)

Bells of St. Mary's [Blu-ray]
Bells of St. Mary's [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Bing Crosby
Offered by Marks Markdowns!
Price: $14.99
25 used & new from $13.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good But Not Perfect, November 23, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Olive Films Blu-ray of "Bells of St. Mary's" is a significant improvement over the DVD released by Republic Pictures years ago. The print used for the Blu-ray is steady, clean, and clear. In fact, the print is so free of artifacts like scratches and dirt specks that I suspect quite a bit of restoration was done. I would say that 98% of viewers are going to be delighted with this product. However, for the 2% that are super-critical collectors, this product is not perfect in the way similar vintage film restorations from companies like Criterion are perfect. Although it varies from scene to scene, the print is a bit over-exposed and the focus is often soft (especially noticeable during close-ups). The print is also on the grainy side which is again most obvious during close-ups or if you pause the picture. During the opening credits, and in one or two other scenes, it looks like each side of the screen is being illuminated by some soft ambient light that washes out the picture a bit on those sides. This ambient light is not noticeable on the Republic Pictures DVD.

But, as I said, these defects are going to annoy only the super-critical collector. If you like this type of warmhearted, uplifting movie from Hollywood's 'Golden Age' (and I admit that I do), you will be pleased with this new black and white release from Olive Films.

(The Blu-ray contains no extras.)

Orson Welles' The Stranger: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
Orson Welles' The Stranger: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Edward G. Robinson
Offered by Marks Markdowns!
Price: $19.46
19 used & new from $13.92

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A High-Definition Transfer of a Mediocre Print, October 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you are expecting the 'Kino Classics Remastered Blu-ray' version of Orson Welles' "The Stranger" to be the definitive print you've been waiting for, you'll be sadly disappointed. The Kino release is a Blu-ray disc of a mediocre print that the Library of Congress received from International Pictures. No effort (that I can see) was made to restore or improve this over-exposed, grainy, scratchy print, whose defects are made even more obvious in high-definition. If you wish to watch a much, much better print of this movie, get the DVD released by MGM as part of their (MGM Film Noir) series. The MGM version has much better contrast, exposure, and is remarkably free of scratches and other artifacts. It's not high-definition, but it is far superior to the Kino Blu-ray release in every other way.

However, one of the two reasons you might wish to buy this pitiful Kino Blu-ray release is the commentary track by film historian Bret Wood. It's excellent! The other reason is to see the horrible footage of the Nazi death camps put together by Billy Wilder in 1946, which is one of the disc's extras. Watching "Death Mills" is a reminder of why we should never forget the atrocities of the Nazi regime. A few shots from this documentary are used in "The Stranger".

I'm still patiently waiting for a Criterion release of this film, whenever that might be. Unlike Kino, Criterion is the one company you can always rely on for stunning prints and informative extras of important movies.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2013 5:23 PM PDT

One Thousand Nights at the Movies: An Illustrated History of Motion Pictures, 1895-1915
One Thousand Nights at the Movies: An Illustrated History of Motion Pictures, 1895-1915
by Q. David Bowers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $52.85
15 used & new from $52.85

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Introduction to the Silent-Film Era, February 4, 2013
I run a website that focuses on the history of motion pictures, and have a library of over 500 volumes devoted to that subject. In my library I have quite a few volumes devoted to film's silent-era including Brownlow's "The Parade's Gone By"; Abel's "Encyclopedia of Early Film"; Musser's "The Emergence of Cinema" (and all of the other volumes in the University of California Press' "History of the American Cinema" series); Spehr's "The Man Who Made Movies"; and Ramsaye's "A Million and One Nights" to name but a few. I say this merely to indicate that I have a fairly good idea of what's out there on the subject.

"One Thousand Nights at the Movies" was given to me as a gift, and I was thunderstruck at the number and quality of the many (often rare) illustrations included in the book. The text gives a concise overview of almost every subject of interest to the non-specialist, and after reading the book and studying the illustrations I believe any reader would have a very clear idea of what was going on during the motion picture industry's first 20 years, and what it was like to be part of that industry.

This book was not meant to be an academic treatise, although I believe even a jaded academic would find something of interest in it. This is a beautifully produced introduction to the early years of motion picture history and, I say this with no hesitation, the finest introduction for the layperson I have yet seen. Fun and easy to read, and spiced up on virtually every page with delicious eye-candy (is that a mixed metaphor?), I would recommend this enormous volume to anyone with an interest in the subject. (Is there going to be a second similar volume covering the years 1915-1930?)

With all of that said, however, I would like to agree with the other reviewers about the quality of the binding. When I opened the cover of my first copy I noticed a two-inch long tear where the cover was joined to the book. I sent it back as defective only to receive a replacement copy with two similar (although smaller) tears in the same place. I decided to keep the replacement even with the tears.

To Q. David Bowers and Kathryn Fuller-Seeley, "Well done!" I believe your book will make a perfect companion to Peter Kobel's "Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture."

Movie Theaters of South Carolina
Movie Theaters of South Carolina
by John R Coles
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
3 used & new from $14.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping the Memories Alive, September 6, 2012
As the original, single-screen movie theaters are being torn down, and those who watched movies in them become fewer and fewer, the memories of what it was like to go to a movie in small-town America during the first half of the 20th Century are sadly being forgotten and lost. This book is a treasure . . . a treasure of images and recollections that deserve to be read, remembered, cherished and saved. I think the authors have done a remarkable job conveying the sights and experiences of what it was like to attend a movie when 'going to the movies' was still something very special. Great job, guys!

Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X10
Photographer's Guide to the Fujifilm X10
by Alexander S. White
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.95
34 used & new from $22.00

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you have an X10, you should have this book!, May 9, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having decided to buy a more sophisticated camera I purchased my Fujifilm X10 almost as soon as it came out, and when I opened the box I immediately studied the included owner's manual. Like most company-written manuals it quickly explained the camera's settings but, like most company manuals, it didn't give any suggestions about which settings were considered "standard" and which should only be chosen for a particular situation. It just explained what each function and setting did. (The manual was actually written better than most, but it tended to overwhelm me with unnecessary details before I understood the camera's basic functions and controls.) After setting up my camera and taking many, many photos I felt a bit frustrated that I never really achieved the results I felt I should get from such a camera. There's no doubt that this is an amazing camera, and I felt that the photos I took with it should be consistently outstanding. But to be honest, my photos seemed to be about the same quality as I had achieved with my cheaper point-and-shoot cameras.

Then I purchased this book. Wow! After reading the first few pages I realized that I hadn't chosen the correct settings for my needs; hadn't downloaded the newest Firmware update (the author tells you how); and never realized what I could do with this incredible camera. This book has been a revelation! Reading it is like having one of the designers from the Fujifilm camera factory sit down with you and slowly but methodically explain the camera's functions one by one. The author, Alexander White, tells you what settings to use if you just want to snap vacation photos, and what to do if you want to utilize the camera's advanced functions. The book is clearly thought out, written in a pleasant, conversational style, and well illustrated. If you have a Fujifilm X10, you will be doing yourself a great disservice if you don't purchase this book. My only complaint --- I wish the book were spiral-bound so it would lay flat while I am trying to both read and fiddle with my camera at the same time. I also wish the book had been printed on glossy paper so the color illustrations would be a little crisper --- but that's a very minor complaint.

This is the author's ninth book in his "Photographer's Guide" series, and I believe all of his books are self-published.

The Australian Story aka: Kangaroo
The Australian Story aka: Kangaroo
DVD ~ Maureen O Hara
Price: $9.99
14 used & new from $3.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Ho-hum Print of a Ho-hum Movie., August 10, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lets talk for a moment about "restored" prints. When the hollywood studios or companies like Criterion talk about "restored prints, they mean a print that was produced from the original negative or a first-generation print that has been digitally cleaned up (scratches and dirt removed), color-corrected, and "restored" (as much as possible) to its original state. This produces a sharp, clear, vibrant image that is a pleasure to watch.

VCI Entertainment is one of those hit-or-miss companies that sometimes produces beautiful prints of rare movies, and at other times produces cloudy prints that are almost unwatchable. Their print of "The Australian Story" lies somewhere between these two extremes. It appears to have been "restored" from a 2nd or 3rd generation print, or a videotape, and displays the soft, underexposed, limited color range such a print would imply. Although the print has been cleaned of scratches and dirt specks, it is still a rather poor print of this movie (if you are a collector) and not something VCI should boast about.

The movie itself is a rather conventional story, and the only thing that sets it apart is that it was filmed on location in the Outback of Australia. If you are looking for a much nicer print of a much better story set in Australia'a Outback, buy "The Sundowners" starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr ( The Sundowners ). This movie, "The Australian Story", is for those who collect everything shot in the Outback.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2015 11:56 AM PDT

Spring in a Small Town
Spring in a Small Town
DVD ~ Chaoming Cui
2 used & new from $34.94

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but feels strangely European., May 13, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Spring in a Small Town (DVD)
I am writing this from the perspective of a Westerner who has no knowledge of the Chinese language and has been to China only once (although rather recently).

"Spring in a Small Town" is, for the most part, subtly acted, written, and directed and is not afraid to use symbolism when appropriate. Because it uses a limited number of interior sets for most of the story, it gave me the feeling I was watching a stage play that had been expanded for the screen. Although I found the story to be engaging, I sometimes felt as though I was watching an Ingmar Bergman film (which is not bad). Indeed, the production owes much more to the influences of European filmmakers than to Hollywood, and there is a sort of Scandivavian languor in the way the story is told and developed.

On the negative side, the print is mediocre and the soundtrack, which seems to disappear in a few places, often contains a hum. The English subtitles, which frequently race by so quickly that they can be only partially read, are often, obviously, incorrectly translated. (One of many examples of this is when Zhou Yuwen tells her husband to, "Go back to bed", when he is already in bed. I suspect the correct translation should have been, "Go back to sleep.") There is no music on the soundtrack until the last minute or two when it suddenly comes out of the blue with a somewhat disconcerting effect.

With this said, this is probably the best print that is available for this movie, and if you have any interest in the history of Asian/Chinese film or culture, this is certainly a film to see. Too bad such films do not have access to the financial resources to be properly restored. (Where is the George Eastman House when you need them?)

As for it being "The Greatest Chinese Film Ever Made"? I couldn't tell you since I haven't seen that many Chinese films. But, to be honest, I hope it isn't . . .

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