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Price: $9.49

20 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I want it on CD, not lower quality MP3 download !!!, August 6, 2009
This review is from: Up (MP3 Music)
As a movie soundtrack fan, I will not download this album though I'm really dying to own it.

why?

because MP3 does not do justice to music in general, orchestral music in particular.
MP3 compression damages the sound quality, in the high and low register, minimizes sound depths and reduces reverb and all sort of details that make the music feel more lively.

I won't pay for MP3 quality music which anyway costs nearly the same as a physical CD.

and too bad I wont be able to own this score but I dont want to give in to that Disney statement that physical CDs are not commercially viable nomore.
After all, I suppose the main costs of a CD is not the CD itself, but the production of the music itself.

and since the production cost incurred to the movie production budget anyway, why couldn't Disney release a limited number of factory-produced CDs for fans? (who, as I understand from the other comments, are many!)


Monster House (Widescreen Edition)
Monster House (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Mitchel Musso
Price: $5.00
277 used & new from $0.01

32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good tricks for kids and a treat for their parents, September 15, 2006
Monster House uses the same motion-capture technology as Zemeckis' Polar Express but takes it to the next level. This time around, the whole context of the movie will appeal to a wider audience so this is a great opportunity to display the possibilities that this all digital technology offers.

Beyond the technical achievement, Monsterhouse is an excellent surprise for its family-oriented audience. Unlike Dreamworks and their Shrek-ish, below-the-belt, cynically adult-oriented features, this movie aims at both the kids and grown-ups in a way that tends to unite them around its subject, rather than addressing the two categories separately and alternatively.

To kids, this will be their first experience of an actual horror flick: the house IS seriously haunted and this is definitly no Casper-like curse. Lives are at stake here and the line between good and evil is not so strictly defined.

Some aspects of the plot have a very macabre touch, still a bittersweet feeling comes in balance towards the end.

A real implication is required from the kids, especially because a few thrills awaits them once the house has awaken.

On the parents' side, besides the fact that for those like me who grew up with the Amblin productions of the eighties (The Goonies, The Gremlins and co), you are in for a great back-to-the-future nostalgic trip. Not only because the action takes place in the 80's (various hints lead to believe it)but because the whole atmosphere, the characters, the humour will either make you wish you could still be 5 to 10 years old to fully dive into this nightmarish story, or simply will make you forget you've grown older and make you actually feel like you're a kid again.

So thank you Mr Zemeckis and Mr Spielberg for producing this little gem, which, though it draws its inspiration from a classic tradition of haunted mansion archetypes, never fails to find its own identity and energy.

In a nutshell: great style and screenplay, technically impressive and very concerned about offering a satisfying show to the audience.


Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut (Four-Disc Special Edition)
Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut (Four-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Orlando Bloom
Offered by cds_dvds_guaranteed
Price: $84.95
8 used & new from $25.89

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the kingdom has finally found grace, August 20, 2006
I found the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven to be very disappointing. How could Ridley Scott, one of our great story tellers, leave holes and inconsistencies in his movie?

As all reviewers seem to agree on, the director's cut simply answers each question or criticism you had about the original release.

Orlando Bloom's character which felt completely fake and 2-dimensional (the little blacksmith who suddenly becomes a knight and an army general, falling for the king's sister somewhere during his journey. How credible was all that?

The director's cut demonstrates the importance of good editing. The theatrical cut simply missed all the important exposition and development scenes! As incredible as it sounds, they managed to dry out the main character and the whole meaning of the movie.

You litteraly have not seen Kingdom of Heaven if you have not seen this director's cut.

Regarding the representation of religion in the script, I believe the movie is quite fair. Both sides, Muslims and Catholics, are depicted with equal attention and understanding.

There is clearly a lot of politics at work between the two leaders. I never thought the story was being hypocritical or revisionist.

The only thing one could argue is that Ibelin's view of god and catholicism a litte modern for a crusader. I mean, those guys took on a journey through Europe to fight for Jerusalem. How could they lose their faith so easily? This said, Ibelin's speech totally fits in the movie as you can understand he has doubts about his faith and god in general when he sees that the holy city has triggered such bloodshed.

I find Ridley Scott's cut to be a true masterpiece of epic films.

And please stop trying to compare this to Lord of the Rings. Please, please, please! History existed BEFORE Tolkien! And Ridley Scott was already a great director before Peter Jackson even released Bad Taste!

And even though Orlando Bloom may have been cast due to his appeal on younger viewers, it does not mean that Scott has been serving a cold plate: Kingdom now ranks among the greatest inspiring historical epics like Braveheart, Dances with Wolves, Gladiator,...

Just a note on the bonus discs: contrary to the movie itself, you could compare them to the supplemental material of the Lord of the Rings box set, which is not the lesser compliment. Every step of the movie-making is shown and discussed in great details.

This is a MUST-HAVE in all good DVD collection.


Supreme Power: Nighthawk (Graphic Novel Pb)
Supreme Power: Nighthawk (Graphic Novel Pb)
by Daniel Way
Edition: Paperback
61 used & new from $2.97

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars does not equal the master, August 20, 2006
Readers of Supreme Power, you should notice that JM Straczynski is not the writer for this spin-off focusing on the Nighthawk character.

Though this makes an enjoyable hour of reading, I must the plot is pretty thin and the resolution of the story is very linear and without surprise.

This feels too much like the screenplays of too many TV series where the plot, the characters and the whole background could be very easily transposed into another series (apart from the main character, the story does not relate to the universe of Supreme Power).

So, if you can't wait until the next "real" supreme power release, I'd recommend to buy the other spinoff "HYPERION" which was written by Straczynski, and has much more density and interest.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2010 2:12 PM PDT


Ridley Scott: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers)
Ridley Scott: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers)
by Ridley Scott
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.93
53 used & new from $6.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Key of Ridley's Kingdom, August 20, 2006
I usually own all the movies directed by my favorite directors. Even their lesser achievements often prove to say a lot about them. And you usually get to understand the man (if not know them) through their filmography.
I must admit that I never thought of Ridley Scott as one of my favorite directors until I read this book. I never actually realized that I actually own all his movies! and the reason for that is because I was not always connecting the themes and constants all along his career. If you take Alien and Thelma&Louise, one could wonder what is the link between the 2 films. I am not saying that we should always try to connect every filmmaker's movie to his previous ones but after reading Ridley's interviews, I really started understanding the man's endeavour. All through the interviews, spreading from 1975 to 2000, he actually never discusses politics or mystical matters. He is a filmmaker with a pragmatic approach to his art. Coming with an art director background, he likes to build his movies. At some point, it is said he likes to create universe. And this is the connection between all of his movies: the sets speak for Ridley. He seems to take acting very seriously as well so he is not just painting on the surface; content does matter equally as the surface but Ridley works in subtle touches. He obviously demonstrates through the years that he leaves nothing to chance.
Highly recommanded.


Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Widescreen Edition)
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Offered by SOUTHWEST MEDIA
Price: $9.49
147 used & new from $1.24

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars spirit, heart and guts, July 25, 2006
The trailer for KissKissBangBang did not prepare me for the movie I saw. I had to go and see it because Shane Black's previous screenplays (Lethal Weapon, the Last Boyscout, The Long kiss Goodnight) were hardboiled action flicks with a great feel of cool attitude, but they all featured characters that were really touching for the genre. (Remember Bruce Willis saying "f*ck you" to his cheating wife to show her he cares about her at the end of Boyscout? Isn't that a great scene?)

Warner advertised the movie as a kind of comedy. The trailer focused a quidproquo scene that does not exceed 2 minutes of screentime.

THIS MOVIE HAS SPIRIT

Anyway, Black has written his best screenplay ever, with highly colorful characters, offering Downey and Kilmer, 2 beautiful has-been in Hollywood terms, their best roles in 10 years.

Black likes film noir and he knows how the genre works. In the great tradition of The Big Sleep, the plot, though very simple in the end, is narrated in such a way that it looks very complicated. The characters follow wrong trails, and Downey's voiceover is a hilarious hommage to the cynical tough guy attitude that Bogart might have been.

There are different layers in the screenplay and Black seems to be playing with the mechanic of writing. He even reveals some of his trick-of-the-trades through some dialogues, not only about KKBB but he also makes connection to his previous scripts (L.A., buddy movies, Xmas time, scenes of torture followed by a big gunfight,...)

THIS MOVIE HAS HEART

One could compare KKBB to Tarantino's work. You take a genre film, quote the rules, wink at the audience, then break the rules. But there is one thing I did not find in PulpFiction or Reservoir Dogs, it's heart and sympathy for the characters.

KKBB cares about the characters. They're all losers in a way or another, just trying to survive in the city. There are beautiful moments between Downey and Michelle Monaghan, and especially one piece of dialogue you would not expect after the spider-scene (you'll have to see this movie).

Look also for a short but terribly gripping flashback about the childhood of Monaghan's character.

I am thinking also about the killing of an anonymous "pink haired girl": her death is presented in a disturbing manner, compared to the usual action/thriller style.

THIS MOVIE HAS GUTS

It really does! The dialogues are sharp and straight to the stomach style.

Expect a few loud laughs as well. Some scenes got me laughing very lound in the theater whereas I first saw it by myself. And I usually am a vey quiet person when watching a movie.

I showed the movie to 5 persons who virtually had no will to see it based on the trailer and they all loved it. I suspect a huge fan-base will build around this unsung masterpiece.

This came as the greatest surprise of last year and I just could watch it over and over again.


Surprise
Surprise
Offered by CAC Media
Price: $32.49
85 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different style again but still true to himself, May 22, 2006
This review is from: Surprise (Audio CD)
Mr Simon is now 65 years old. That means he is one of the not-so-many cross-generational artists who witnessed the sociological changes and breakthrough of the late 60s/early 70s and translated them into songs, contributing in their turn to a cultural boom. After a 30 year-long-or-so solo career, I am not surprised that some reviewers still compare Paul Simon's current work to Simon&Garfunkel's: that just confirms the feeling of timelessness linked to their songs.

No doubt though that at 65, the man is different from what he was at 25... and that's a great thing for us as he's always been offering new styles, new arrangements and surrounded himself with new talents.

For Surprise, I had concerns about Eno and Simon confronting their styles and sensibilities but I actually forgot something: as a producer/arranger, Eno never tries to distract you from the main element: the artist's song. So, when I played the CD the first time around, I leaped with joy when the first track started: this is another genuine Simon gem (the first songs of Graceland, Rhythm, Capeman and the One are great introductions to the rest of the albums). His voice, or should I say, his narration has its usual exquisite accents, that just go from a "simple" succession of notes sung to a sudden emotional variation that makes you forget that the song is driven by a melody. The lyrics take a life of their own, suddenly becoming a sonic painting and you're sitting there, listening to Simon's poetry take shape.

Listen to "another galaxy", which, with simple and short words, paints the story of a whole life.

Unlike the other albums since Graceland, the band is very small on this album, so you don't get this feeling that a whole big band is performing. Simon seems to use a minimalist approach to song writing, less relying on very detailed multi-track writing. The compositions have an ambiant touch thanks to Eno but the musical dexterity, still present though, is not in the first row this time.

As such, a couple of songs may reminisce of a way of writing inherited from the 70's. I am thinking about Wartime Prayers. This could have been written 30 years ago. It has the hope and will to believe in the power of songs and art in general to influence the conscience. Very powerful.

To end what could be his last album after all(he's 65 and since he's releasing a new album every 6 year or so...), Simon gives a simply beautiful song called Father and Daughter. It's all in the title, I guess. It is very direct, joyful tune that just speaks to the heart and does not bother what the mind could think: the lyrics are not beating around the bush, the father loves his daughter and that's it. It does not take more to end the album with the confirmation, if you still needed it, that listening to Paul Simon actually makes you feel better and lighter.


Fantastic Four by J. Michael Straczynski, Vol. 1
Fantastic Four by J. Michael Straczynski, Vol. 1
by J. Michael Straczynski
Edition: Hardcover
57 used & new from $2.67

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Straczynski scores with existing material too!, March 3, 2006
I like comics a lot but I find that mega-classic characters (XMen, Spidey,...) have stories of irregular quality, all the more deteriorated by the fact that each new writer feels obliged to try and present the same mythology again and again from a supposedly fresher perspective. Still, a lot of them fail in their ambition to re-invent classic characters. Not Straczinski. I am not a big fan of the F4 and I think it's because of their seemingly all-too-well balanced group: the F4 are complementary but never in real opposition (their arguments have a comedic sense in my opinion) and thus, there is not a lot to feed on once you have scratched the surface of the characters. Having said that, the only reason why I bought this book is because Mr Straczynski wrote it. I had found that Midnight Nation, Rising Stars and Supreme Power had great story-lines but most of all, the charaterization of the protagonists (the main ones but secondary roles as well) was brilliantly exposed and written. And here again, careful attention is brought to both characters AND story.

Rather than trying to re-invent the F4 for the reader, Straczynski shows the characters re-inventing themselves. Reed Richards is caught in an intergalactic plot that goes back (via a time travel paradox) to the very accident that created the F4. The story analyzes how and why the F4 became what they are in a very modern, yet not cynical, manner. In a few pages, you understand the links between the F4. Richards is definitly the brain of the group and the leader, you will see why. Those superheroes suddenly turn into quasi-divine figures as you see that their fate is linked to the very existence of Earth... and the rest! Welcome metaphysics into the world of the F4!


The Fan
The Fan
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by Media Favorites
Price: $9.99
272 used & new from $0.01

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars this is a full frame only edition, January 25, 2006
This review is from: The Fan (DVD)
Contrary to what the product description mentions, this DVD only offers the full frame version of the film. The original format was 2.35 so you've now been warned: the picture was butchered by Sony on this one!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2012 3:46 PM PDT


Chicken Little
Chicken Little
DVD ~ Zach Braff
Price: $9.45
178 used & new from $0.01

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made in 2005 but feels like a good old cartoon, January 18, 2006
This review is from: Chicken Little (DVD)
The Disney studios dropped traditional animation. It is, for historical reasons, very sad and this is definitely the end of an era for animation, and cinema in general.

I must say the trailer for Chicken Little did not make this movie very appealing. We took our 4 year old daughter to see it and all enjoyed it after all. The humour is upbeat, no doubt modern, but never trivial or vulgar. The characters play much better than expected (the fish is a truly classic but effective cartoon character) and even though the storyline probably does not go any further than the average"Goof Troop" tv episode, the dialogues and the action surely deliver good entertainment.

For animation fans, which I am, I don't think we should try to compare Chicken Little with a Pixar film for it would not live up to that but still, this one comes highly recommanded.

Unlike some of the dreamworks 3D flicks, Chicken Little has a heart and you can feel that the animators and directors really have a good appreciation and understanding of animation.

A certain heritage and tradition of American animation lives on throught this movie.

Seeing that Disney scored at their first attempt at 3D animation is a relief, now let's wait for their next release to confirm the hopes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2007 1:50 AM PST


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