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3M Privacy Screen Protector for Apple iPad mini/iPad mini with Retina display Portrait (MPF828571)
3M Privacy Screen Protector for Apple iPad mini/iPad mini with Retina display Portrait (MPF828571)
Offered by Shoplet
Price: $42.98
16 used & new from $30.28

1.0 out of 5 stars Rare rubbish from 3M, July 28, 2014
An unusually rubbish product from 3M. It's basically impossible to put this on tight enough on the iPad, and soon enough there are irritating splotches on the screen in the shape of random white maps against the screen. Waste of money. Not many companies make alternatives, sadly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2014 12:56 AM PDT


Snugg iPad 2 Case - Smart Cover with Kick Stand & Lifetime Guarantee (Distressed Brown Leather) for Apple iPad 2
Snugg iPad 2 Case - Smart Cover with Kick Stand & Lifetime Guarantee (Distressed Brown Leather) for Apple iPad 2
Offered by TheSnugg
Price: $69.98
2 used & new from $29.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unwieldy, ugly, May 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not sure why the name is "Snugg". It's not snug at all. This is probably the worst iPad case possible especially for the iPad Air -- why buy a sleek device only to wrap it up in this monstrosity. There are a gazillion sleeker covers on sites such as Etsy, or even at your local Apple store.


Inside Job
Inside Job
DVD ~ Matt Damon
Offered by amazingwildcat
Price: $6.98
71 used & new from $0.80

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SEARING EXPOSE OF WALL STREET SHENANIGANS, September 11, 2011
This review is from: Inside Job (DVD)
Whether or not the discerning viewer finds this a complete and well-rounded essay, or laments that it did not somehow manage to smoosh every facet of the financial crisis into its 2 hours, Inside Job is an exceptionally well-produced and eye-opening narrative on the peccadilloes of Wall Street, federal reserve, and even academia chasing their shadows in the name of financial innovation.

Its lucidity is intoxicating. Never once have I seen such a simple explanation of the math behind "credit default swaps", with illustrative graphs and patient narrative (in Matt Damon's voice).

It is not preachy. Unlike other efforts such as Michael Moore's "Capitalism", this is not a selective denunciation of highfalutin concepts, nor, thankfully, does it come with jerks of comic relief. The intent here is sincere, specific, focused.

And it is unyielding. It was a systemic failure from banks to ratings agencies to federal leadership turning a blind eye as their own personal coffers were not left wanting, and none of them is spared under the microscope.

The truly maddening bit: how little has ultimately happened despite all the moralistic rhetoric. Pre-election promises of Obama, "to bring the evildoers to book", have amounted to squat in the end. In less than a year, he re-appointed the derelict Ben Bernanke. Compensations have remained untouched and in 2010, the bonuses in the financial sector were highest in recent history. All the players are back in business, writing best-selling books, teaching at top universities, or running bailed-out banks that were ordained 'too big to fail'.

One wonders if exploring the greed of the average Joneses on the street would have made this analysis richer, more balanced. No finger is pointed at American consumers who speculated on home purchases in order to 'flip' properties to make a quick buck. Even those who borrowed for their own dwelling were flouting every principle of self-control, even if the banks misinformed them. The banks may have been over-extending themselves at insane multiples of 33 (which means a 3% decline in their value would have made them bankrupt -- does not make any sense) but people on the street were gleefully borrowing away too.

Anyway, not being able to cover every single perspective is a minor niggle for a 2-hour film that does its job and does it with pincer focus. For its sheer clarity in bringing the scale of the financial debacle to light, it deserves six stars out of five. You are missing something if you haven't watched it yet.

Highly recommended viewing.


The X-Files: I Want to Believe (Single-Disc Edition)
The X-Files: I Want to Believe (Single-Disc Edition)
DVD ~ David Duchovny
Offered by Matt's Media and More
Price: $23.75
113 used & new from $0.17

2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUTH IS (STILL) OUT THERE, February 7, 2009
Mulder and Scully run around a frozen town looking like they've seen a dead parrot. Oops, I'm sorry, I just told you the entire movie.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2009 3:03 PM PST


Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
DVD ~ Javier Bardem
Offered by PrimeTime Merchants
Price: $4.11
165 used & new from $0.01

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BREEZY, BROODING OUTING TO CATALONIA.., January 26, 2009
This review is from: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (DVD)
What a staggering experience, this film. Like several of Woody's recent scripts it has its own ebb and flow, but his varied musings over the years come together into this sunny little tale that carries you naturally through a mishmash of quietly whimsical characters.

And some characters they are! Javier continues to astonish with his versatility. After the eerie gravitas of "No Country for Old Men", he is sensational here in his buffoonery as an uber-suave artist, just as devoted to an epicurean life as he is cynically convinced of its worthlessness, his deadpan yet extravagant screen presence making him a perfect foil for his perpetual Flirt mode. Johannson is what only she can be, bemused and befuddled, although expect some distance from her usual sultry exuberance as her coolness seems oddly stunted.

Rebecca Hall as Vicky, to me, seemed a bit grating in her attempt to fit the glove of a Woody Allen film too snugly, scattered speech patterns and all, but fortunately that seemed to go with the righteous ennui of her character. Penelope Cruz is fiery! I am sure her histrionics in the film will make critics buckle and heave, although I'd venture to suggest that shrieking tour-de-force parts are relatively easier to enact; embodying the ordinary on camera is what presents a challenge. But she is painfully convincing nonetheless.

It's the natural groove of these protagonists that makes the film what it is. If I were to nitpick, a couple of aesthetic choices puzzled me. For instance, an omnipresent voice-over starts off giving the impression of being glib and satirical, but quickly becomes run-on, and then abruptly disappears for almost the rest of the film. And then there's the overuse of certain musical motifs that gets a bit repetitive.

But the setting is gorgeous and makes up in spades. Spain gets its own visual paean, and what a lyric it is! No cultural stone is left unturned: photography, drawing, music, poetry, food, architecture, fashion. It's a fine ensemble.

While it's not your garden variety "Juno" brand of comedy, there is wit in the evocative undertones. The film oozes something visceral. A comedy for grown-ups perhaps. Whatever your views about menage-a-trois (or polyamory, or whatever they are calling it these days), the denouement is so natural and so untouched by pat pretenses that it is, well, sublime.

I was amazed at how this film came and went so effortlessly, and still managed to turn something in me upside down. If you have an evening to spare it should make for a fabulous time for the tasteful. Highly recommended.


Slumdog Millionaire: The Shooting Script
Slumdog Millionaire: The Shooting Script
by Simon Beaufoy
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.99
147 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars AMONG THE BEST SCRIPTS OF 2008, January 24, 2009
This is a review of the film's script, not the film itself. Apart from Frost/Nixon and Doubt, this is easily among the most gripping scripts of the year, and unlike Revolutionary Road or Doubt, it is quite a chromatic departure from the novel that inspired it. Kudos to Simon Beaufoy's endeavor. It's evident that much of the this film's breakneck sizzle came from its writing, and it only gets more layered when you read the screenplay.

The Newmarket series has become a bit like the book version of the "DVD extras". These scripts include interesting tidbits ranging from introductions by people involved to color stills from the sets. This should explain why the script is triple the price of, say, the original novel. It's a worthy purchase for anyone who's looking at this page to begin with.


No Title Available

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SPRIGHTLY ODE TO RESILIENCE (AND IT'S JUST A FILM, PEOPLE!), January 24, 2009
Frantic and pitiless, profane yet eloquent, flush with the ability to create laughter out of unspeakable situations, Slumdog Millionaire takes its simple message--what doesn't kill you yields the most lasting education--and weaves a riveting masterpiece about the life of a boy who makes it in a world of delicious contradictions.

This is trademark Danny Boyle stuff (of "Trainspotting" and "The Beach" fame). His stunners have left no doubt that he can poke into a subculture and emerge with a fresh new look at it. But Slumdog goes one better. It is pitch-perfect in its take, but also perhaps his most accessible endeavor thus far.

The narrative couches a crisp homage to Bollywood. Funky A.R.Rehman music. A largely Indian crew. Crisp acting, even from kids, in fact especially from kids. And then the gloriously larger-than-life thematic flourishes: poor folks at the behest of a cruel world, friend pitted against friend, brother against brother--and the most tried and tested one of all-- a rags to riches cavalcade of an underprivileged hero who makes it amid impossible odds. It's hero-giri alright.

But where it departs from Bollywood is Simon Beaufoy's screenplay. It's dazzling. Professional Indian reviewers have been overly delicate in their reference to Vikas Swarup's novel that inspired the film, "Q & A". The book was an enjoyable read, but the film merely borrows the central premise and that's basically it. There is a scene towards the end with our two protagonists at a train station where a trick of reverse cutting will tell a discerning viewer just how innovative the thinking behind the screenplay truly is--that is such a sweet, affectionate shot that it moistened my eyes.

It's a bummer that such fuss and to-do has been made about how this film projects an unfair image of the country. Guess the confusion arises when established reviewers such as Roger Ebert decide to call it a testament to "the real India". I wouldn't be so pedantic. To me, the film carries no such delusions of grand purpose. It's a gleeful entertainer. A breakneck story of one individual from *one* aspect of an astonishingly multifaceted country. To that extent, it covers its subject with addicting vigor and focus. It's witty, gritty, and--for suitable values thereof--sh*tty.

To address some petty cavils:

(1) The use of English by the characters. It's a British production, what did you expect. There's a world outside a specific country. We call it "International Cinema". Bet there will be local dubbed versions for those who truly desire it that way (now that the film's multitude of nominations have drawn it far away from a SlumUnderdog status).

(2) The disrespectful use of the word "dog" in the title. This smacks of nothing but ignorance of colloquialisms. "Word up, dawg", for instance? People forget that an insult becomes an insult only when we choose to let it become one.

(3) Finally, the unfairness of how it depicts India in a manner that might give people the WrongIdea. To these Einsteins may I point out that the baffling kaleidoscope we call India makes it pretty hard to ever get the RightIdea to begin with?

What level of dimness would make a viewer go seeking a wholesome view of a country in *one* film? Just because "The Godfather" showed with such pizzazz one specific aspect of the American underworld, should we infer that every American is a gun-slinging gangster? "Crouching Tiger.." may have sketched a mellifluous perspective of China, but I don't recall anyone thinking that our Chinese colleagues fly from tree to tree on their way to work. And so on.

It's a movie, not a national treatise. Sure, it depicts poverty. So? Those who have expanded their horizons beyond Spiderman Part 38 will know that countless movies have been made in the last decade alone that depict hard times in *every* country. At any rate, reality is nothing but a collectively accepted notion. I'd say Slumdog is as equidistant from reality as, say, Bollywood's gigantic palaces (yeah, we live that way) or the scantily-clad "item girls" gyrating on snow-capped mountains.

To people who have yet to see this upbeat thriller: ignore all the Pavlovian drivel. It's a delectable film, brimming with fun and suspense, and it has its moral spine exactly where it belongs. With one sweeping flourish it will break your heart, then heal it, then send you packing with music. Literally.

Don't miss it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2011 4:30 PM PDT


Jumper
Jumper
DVD ~ Hayden Christensen
Price: $5.00
234 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THEY TRIPPED WHILE ATTEMPTING LEAPS OF FAITH, July 28, 2008
This review is from: Jumper (DVD)
One is immediately drawn to the thrilling premise based on the eponymous Stephen Gould novel (with liberal dilutions to the story) about a young lad named David who can teleport himself. One then sees the star-studded crew behind this caper and is almost certain to savor it: the director of The Bourne Identity, and script writers of Fight Club, Batman Begins and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Yet, despite all that they ought to have had going for themselves, somehow these cooks managed to make a stunning scattershot mess of this sci-fi broth. They decided, I suppose, that a movie named Jumper would do well with a jumpy screenplay. Why trouble yourself with exploring the socio-psychological ramifications of teleportation or some such meaningful effort, when you can opt for a wannabe-epic adventure targeted at the nose-pierced crowd?

Landscapes switch at 60,000 frames per second. Our hero has lunch in Rome only to digest it all while surfing in Fiji. You know how it works. The teleporting bits are fine, but how a puny little teenager who was chronically ragged by bullies at school learned to do all the funky stuff at will, goes a trifle unexplained.

Soon enough, our supra-hero discovers that his abilities have landed him in the persecuted half of an old historic war. Sigh. On one side are his band of teleporting buddies called Jumpers -- all mysteriously young and fit, one quite thoughtfully a British (where were the token black and Chinese buddies?). On the other side are efficient "Paladins" organized to demolish them. The chief Paladin is a self-same Samuel Jackson sporting a silver crew-cut.

Now, for some uncommon reason, David has a nice revealing collection of photographs at home. Snapshots of *all* the places in the world to which he "jumps". Which naturally aids our chief Paladin's search. But not before a romantic angle is tossed in as David takes his high-school girlfriend out to Rome for a swing -- they fly regular Northwest of course, despite the hunt on for his arrest at NSA level.

The plot holes are large enough for obese teleporters to jump through. Christensen, an actor chosen clearly to appeal to the younger Star Wars fans, would have done well to consider a repertoire of at least two facial expressions. The final 15 minutes or so have so much rammed into them, with pulse-pounding heavy metal music of course, that one wonders if the film was about to overrun its deadline and had to be chip-chopped in a rush.

The loud hints at the end suggest that there might be a Jumper II. Optimistic as that may be, one hopes they will rope in someone else to write, direct, act in, and score it. The theme and Stephen Gould surely deserve better.


Rambo [Blu-ray]
Rambo [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Sylvester Stallone
113 used & new from $0.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SURPRISINGLY ENGAGING, July 28, 2008
This review is from: Rambo [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Count me among the non-believers who forever delayed seeing the botoxed muscle-bound Stallone when this fourth installment was released. Used to be the corner of his mouth that would exhibit an oddity all of its own, now it's his entire face. Thankfully, this crackerjack explosive thriller requires much of neither. It takes a clearcut plot but throws in some simmering action that is not only updated for the times (think Bourne Identity's Aikido-style stylization), it is also hardboiled enough to make the lily-livered cringe.

There's a healthy dose of intelligence in the manner in which our beloved moose blows up entire armies of people using chickenwire, a bow and arrows, and of course his bandanna. Plus, would you believe it, you might also feel an emotion or two because, you know, evil is repugnant and evil is precisely what many of the munchkins in a nondescript Asian island (okay, Burma) happen to be: fresh cardboard variety.

A very worthy rental if you know what to expect from a Rambo movie. You'll get it in spades. Literally.


Street Kings
Street Kings
DVD ~ Keanu Reeves
Price: $6.59
171 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ROUGH AND TUMBLE POLICE PROCEDURAL, July 26, 2008
This review is from: Street Kings (DVD)
It must be hard to come up with a new spin on the tired cliche of a police procedural where a corrupt cop unit comes unraveled thanks to a couple of good members who are not on the take. In fact, the rhythm and fabric of Street Kings harks back to Nick Nolte's Q & A from the 80's or Denzel Washington's Training Day from more recent memory.

But it still manages to bring something new to the table, a grip and focus that you expect from a good action thriller. The suspense of who's clean and who's not is maintained right until the end. None of it is particularly unpredictable, so you're not really guessing, just wondering if you are right (and you most likely are). But the hard-boiled action will delight fans of gun-slinging fight scenes and suitably accompany the popcorn for the rest of us.

Keanu Reeves leads the proceedings with exuberance. Despite his chiseled looks, it is now becoming evident that he couldn't muster chemistry with his female leads if his life depended on it--here a nurse with exactly three appearances, which translates into six minutes of running time in all, hmm--but his focused high-wrung cop hero is just right for this plot. Whitaker punches in just the cards you would expect him to; he's convincing in the role of a shady commander. Hugh Laurie brings the same gun-chewing caviler pizazz you've seen on House M.D. The rest of the star-studded cast is basically an afterthought. John Corbett sports a sharp haircut, but along with an equally wasted Jay Mohr, looks just about the most clueless cop in town.

Some of the lingo is a bit too LAPD for my taste. For instance "Come on, gimme some King X", which I suppose in its context meant "Please allow me some latitude". But despite this coolspeak, a handful of plot conveniences (why are you thinking so hard anyway?), and the cardboard EvilPeople who would let themselves on from a mile away, it's a smooth enough ride that goes about its business without distractions and even a couple of surprising twists.

Worthy rental. Don't go expecting a classic and you'll do fine.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2008 7:06 PM PDT


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