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Customer Reviews: 146
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Reviews Written by
Daniel S. Russell "syzygy121" RSS Feed (Blacksburg, VA United States)

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Sunbeam Hot Shot Beverage Machine
Sunbeam Hot Shot Beverage Machine
Offered by TheSaleBox
Price: $24.45
12 used & new from $21.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Great appliance for tea, instant coffee or soup, etc., March 25, 2014
Long before the K-cup arrived on the scene, I was using Sunbeam's Hot Shot for quick cupfull of boiling water. It's reliable and sturdy. Every office kitchen I've introduced it to loves it! Enjoy!

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun costume. Too popular?, October 7, 2011
I wore this to a Halloween costume ball last year. It's pretty good merchandise. Don't expect to look quite as hot as the model, but you may still turn heads. So, back to my story -- after I had been at the party for a while, another guy showed up in the same costume! WTW?!? Of course, I rocked it better than he did, but still, it was a little embarrassing!

Good value. Decent quality. Could be worn again, if you dare!

Mrs. Bridges' Upstairs, Downstairs Cookery Book
Mrs. Bridges' Upstairs, Downstairs Cookery Book
by Sagitta productions ltd
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from $1.34

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, but not comprehensive, June 1, 2007
This is a lovely little book full of period recipes and great illustrations. However, I find that it omits many food and drink items mentioned in the show -- for instance, simple things like hot posset and barley water or "infamous" foods from the series, such as Mrs. Bridges' ill-fated plum cake with almonds sat on by Gregory Wilmot. Also, I was expecting something that corresponded to the series a bit more closely. I would like to have seen, for instance, a section devoted to the dinner Mrs. Bridges prepared for King Edward VII, with a reproduction of the menu cards from the dinner. Obviously those who created this book simply gathered Edwardian recipes and didn't consult the production designers of the show.

upstairs, downstairs
upstairs, downstairs
by john hawkesworth
Edition: Hardcover
56 used & new from $0.01

9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vague description doesn't help the true Up/Down fan, June 1, 2007
This review is from: upstairs, downstairs (Hardcover)
This is in reality a novelization of the second series. The copy I bought is in great shape, so no complaints there, but it certainly isn't what I expected to see when I opened the package. Not sure if this is Amazon's fault or the sellers for being vague. I suppose it would be best to research the ASIN thoughoughly.

Upstairs Downstairs - The Complete Third Season
Upstairs Downstairs - The Complete Third Season
DVD ~ Jean Marsh
32 used & new from $7.11

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The weakest of the series..., May 3, 2005
Which is not to say that this is in any sense bad television, I just find the 3rd Series of USDS to be the most melodramatic. It certainly is a transitional season, which is never easy, with the introductions of three major new characters and the entrance/exit of scores of peripheral characters and story lines. There is a lot of busy-ness here without as much to show for it at the end of the season. Failed romances for Rose, Mrs. Bridges and Sir Richard? A miscarriage between episodes? It seems a bit rushed, as if the writers didn't know how to fill the time before the war. The politics surrounding the war are introduced quite late, again making it feel rushed. Yes, the episodes surrounding Lady Marjorie's death and the beginning of the war are among the most emotional of the entire series. The writing, while a bit maudlin at times, kept up the continuity very well. To my recollection, The "Titanic" disaster is referenced in every episode, at least indirectly. They also capture the atmosphere surrounding the start of WWI, even the weather, quite well. While not the best of the series, Series 3 of USDS is still better than most of what passes for television drama today.

Pact With the Devil
Pact With the Devil
DVD ~ Malcolm McDowell
10 used & new from $1.89

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Miserable, maudlin rehash, April 8, 2005
This review is from: Pact With the Devil (DVD)
There is very little redeeming here, even with Malcolm McDowell in the lead role. The tranforming of Henry into a Mephistophelean madman dooms this straight-to-video piece to the B-movie bin.

The movie makers can't decide if this is to be a "Red Shoe Diaries" episode or something from "Tales of the Dark Side." The satanic undertones and climax are laughable at best. I'm not even sure this deserves an "R" rating -- certainly it didn't get it for the sex...

Yes, Ethan Erickson is HOT, but he won't be remembered for this piece of rot. Full of plot holes and predictable "twists," "Pact with the Devil" must have Oscar Wilde spinning in his grave. It's clear that those responsible for this tripe have very little understanding of Wilde, let alone the ability to translate his aesthetic philosophy to the 21st century.

There's very little character development to the point that it's hard to care who lives or dies. It's all about that climactic scene -- "0oooh! What will the picture look like by the end!"

Don't waste your time. Rent the 1976 BBC version with John Gielgud if you want to hear the tale Wilde meant to tell!

The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray
DVD ~ Charles Aidman
Price: $11.32
35 used & new from $3.47

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The "straightening up" of Dorian Gray, April 8, 2005
This review is from: The Picture of Dorian Gray (DVD)
Leaving aside audio issues, which are there, not imagined, this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novella leaves many other things to be desired.

Not only does the screenplay and eerie soundtrack lend an ominous, "Dark Shadows" feel to the proceedings, there has been a concerted effort to downplay the homo-erotic subtext of Wilde's work. Gray is transformed into a Jack-the-Ripperesque, Jeckel and Hyde figure, preying on women, living the life of a rock-star or playboy. Shane Briant does have a bit of a Freddie Mercury/David Bowie quality about him, but any suggestion that he might be involved with other men is minimized to a few lingering glances and innuendo.

Without Wilde's subtext, some plot points and characters no longer make sense. Here Sybil kills herself because Gray deflowers her and then abandons her -- in the text it is a split over aesthetics in a much more profound and psychological encounter. This Gray is simply an insensitive cad, not worthy of the picture becoming so twisted. Wilde's Gray is a self-consumed aesthete who tires of people and throws them aside when he becomes disillusioned. This is far more damning to one's soul.

The tell-tale test for me was the handling of Alan Campbell. Compare this rendering with that of the BBC version just three years later. Again this one doesn't make much sense. Nor does the relationship with Beatrice, again I feel as an attempt to "straighten up" Dorian.

Certainly this production is more ambitious than the BBC version, including remote shots and crowd scenes, but what good are production values when the script is fatally flawed and the mood is reduced to melodramatic horror.

Watch the BBC version with John Gielgud and the far superior Peter Firth. Not only is that cast more attractive and has a better grasp of the work, it's to be chosen primarily if you want to come anywhere near Wilde's spirit and intention.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2012 8:01 AM PDT

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marty goes to Hollywood, April 1, 2005
Witness the everyman gain his fifteen minutes of fame only to find himself parodied and exploited for being just that -- an everyman.

Thanks to Robert Crumb and his cadre of underground comic writers, Harvey Pekar and his average existence has been immortalized in "American Splendor." Who else could go from drawing stick-figure frames about his life to having his life chronicled in critically acclaimed comic books, a play and a feature film.

The film is surprisingly as gentle and moving as it is humorous and nerve-wracking. Hah! A bit like a real man's life, huh? I found myself both squirming in discomfort and laughing out loud at the sheer insanity of everyday situations.

The film breaks all kinds of walls, not just the fourth, in part by incorporating the real-life subject with the fiction, archival footage with off-stage dramatization. I love the scenes with Harvey and Paul Giamatti on the set together. I also really enjoyed the intermingling of animation over the shoulder of live actors. The film seems effortless in its portrayal of this everyman and his everyday world that comes so close to falling apart and yet continues on with what actually amounts to a happy ending.

This one will be a landmark in the new cinema-virtualite.

Whereas "Crumb" was a decidedly dark and almost voyeuristic look into the life of an artistic misfit-genius, "American Splendor" celebrates life and its foibles, follies and joys.


Luigi Boccherini - Stabat Mater (Jubilaeum Collection 2000 A.D.)
Luigi Boccherini - Stabat Mater (Jubilaeum Collection 2000 A.D.)
DVD ~ Maria Dragoni
16 used & new from $0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performance piece, March 28, 2005
Not only does this piece contain a wonderful performance of Boccherini's Good Friday mass, it marks a vast improvement over some of the other DVDs in this series. The camera work here is stellar compared to some of the other static examples in other installments. The audio and the performances are vastly improved as well. Dragoni is clearly deserving of her acclaim.

Based on reviews I've read on other sites, I'm pleased that Amazon's reviewers are substantially better educated in this genre. No, this is NOT a music video, so if you are easily bored by a musical performance that lacks pyrotechnics and dancers, move along. But in terms of "documenting" a classic performance of sacred music, this is among the best.

Far and Away
Far and Away
DVD ~ Tom Cruise
Price: $6.06
205 used & new from $0.01

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars so-so romantic melodrama, March 25, 2005
This review is from: Far and Away (DVD)
If you loved the dialogue and romance of "Titanic" you're bound to love "Far and Away." They are very similar films -- formulaic, predictable melodrama about a poor boy and a rich girl who have a great adventure together. The endings are different, granted, but there are several similarities.

Ron Howard does a decent job of capturing a variety of locales and historical situations. However there are huge plot holes and the script is rife with cliches and stereotypes.

In the end, I don't think Cruise and pull it off. His accent is decent and not nearly as inconsistent as Kostner's, but there's not much depth to his character. The supporting cast is good, but they aren't given much to work with.

Decent historical melodrama, but there are more gripping and convincing films out there.

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