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Wolf Of Wall Street [HD]
Wolf Of Wall Street [HD]
DVD
Price: $19.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, yes, Engaging, no., December 16, 2014
It was said that while Bach could write boring music, he could never write bad music. I would say much the same about Martin Scorsese. The technical virtuosity and visual brilliance on display here prevent me from calling this a "bad" movie. But, about midway through this 3-hour marathon, I found myself wishing that it would be over sooner rather than later. The script is largely episodic, with not enough of a story narrative or arc to sustain interest. Some individual scenes are truly brilllinat, but because the overall plot structure is so weak, they come off more as brilliant acting school vignettes, rather than a part that enhances the whole. Scorsese fans will love it, because it is so self-referencing, even to the point of DiCaprio doing a perfect Ray Liota impression from Goodfellas. But is that enough of a reason to sit through 3 hours of this? For me, no.


Decca Sound: The Analogue Years (Limited Edition)
Decca Sound: The Analogue Years (Limited Edition)
Price: $113.95
32 used & new from $97.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Really Lives up to the Name -- Decca Sound, December 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Let's put aside for a moment the quality of the performances, which are clearly self-recommending as soon as you see the roster of great Decca artists of the era, the likes of Ansermet, Serafin-Tebaldi-Bergonzi, Solti, Monteux, and even the occasional Karajan (better known for his work with DG and EMI). What has to be recognized here is the inspired work of the Decca engineers in the 1950s and early 1960s, the very dawn of the age of the LP. They must surely have realized that, given the limitations of home audio systems of the era, very little of their extraordinary work was likely to be heard by their listeners -- yet they went ahead and did their work magnificently anyway, not cutting a single corner or compromising their standards in the least. Now, thanks to the wonders of today's audio systems and the compact disc, we get to unlock and enjoy all of the inspired work they now present to us -- not because they had to, but, surely, as an act of faith in the enduring legacy of great music in the future. With this set, I can only say thank you guys (and gals), your faith has been rewarded. This set is a triumph of great music -- and great sound -- which I treasure.


Cherubini: Medea
Cherubini: Medea
19 used & new from $25.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered by EMI with brilliance and immediacy, December 12, 2014
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This review is from: Cherubini: Medea (Audio CD)
Callas' Medea, recorded by EMI for Dischi Ricordi (the owner of the rights to the performance) in September 1957, has been remastered by EMI with brilliance and immediacy. Although the rich envelope of sound in Callas's 1957 voice, present on the earlier CD version, is a bit diminished here, there can be no doubt that this new remastering is a thrilling, if somewhat bright rendering of this classic performance. Callas's studio Medea (ie., this one) has often been described been as "tired-sounding," perhaps because of the lackluster sonics in most LP versions. While the earlier EMI CD edition was quite strong, the bright, dry sound of this new remastering presents Callas with an incisiveness not dissimilar from her live recordings in the role.


Elkay LKGT2041 Gourmet 13-1/16" Single Handle Kitchen Faucet with Pull Out Spray, Chrome
Elkay LKGT2041 Gourmet 13-1/16" Single Handle Kitchen Faucet with Pull Out Spray, Chrome
Offered by PoshHaus
Price: $334.43
5 used & new from $334.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Formidible Fixture, December 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Just a note -- this is a really well-built fixture, made mostly of solid copper internally. It is quite large/tall, which is hard to tell from the picture. It's great for a kitchen sink, but for a small bar sink, you might consider a smaller model.


Let Me Be Frank With You: A Frank Bascombe Book
Let Me Be Frank With You: A Frank Bascombe Book
by Richard Ford
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.01
89 used & new from $12.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last is Least, in this Case, November 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As much as I welcome this latest (and probably last) installment of Richard Ford's momentous Frank Bascombe cycle, this series of four short stories/novellas strikes me not as something new, but more like a series out-takes from Lay of the Land. Though a few years older, Frank is exactly the same guy he was in LOTL, and nothing he does is in anyway different from what I think he would have done as the grizzled, world weary survivor (of life, first, prostate cancer only secondarily) of the earlier novel. In short, there has been no discernible character development since LOTL, which from an artistic and compositional standpoint, renders this modest collection largely superfluous. With that in mind, one must also note that Richard Ford's writing is as good as ever here, pretty much the best around since Updike's premature and much-lamented departure, and the collection is not without Ford's trademark flourishes of humane and poignant pathos. I will also say that I enjoyed reading it despite the obvious limitations, and do recommend it to those who are still curious to see how old Frank is handling the latest insults to our universally shared, and often frustrating existence in the early 21st century.


ISLAND AT WAR DVD
ISLAND AT WAR DVD
DVD ~ Saskia Reeves
Offered by MightySilver
Price: $34.57
10 used & new from $24.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Well done, if Abrupt, November 30, 2014
This review is from: ISLAND AT WAR DVD (DVD)
As I went into this knowing that the series ended rather deus et machina due to the premature death of the screenwriter after just 6 episodes, I was able to enjoy it on its own terms, as one might enjoy Schubert's Unfinished symphony. What there is of it is quite rewarding, a challenging "what if" exploration of what life in occupied Great Britain might have been like, using the historical background of an actual occupation of a channel island as a proxy for the larger country. What we find is people on both sides, German and English, revealing themselves to be first and foremost human beings, interested in their own survival and that of their love ones, under the most difficult of situations. The terrain is fraught with moral ambiguities, as real life in war must always be, but that movies studiously avoid, in favor of black and white portrayals of "evil" enemies vs. "good" patriots. The subject matter is uncomfortable at times -- there is not the least suggestion in the film that Nazi Germany was anything other than the purest form of evil ever invented. Yet, people had to find a way to live together, even if one group were jailers and the others their hostages, as people do. What makes this work in the end is the acting, good on both sides, which is able to convey this human and moral ambiguity honestly and convincingly, a achievement for which this series earns my 5-star rating.


The Originals: Legendary Recordings, 50 CD Box Set (Limited Edition)
The Originals: Legendary Recordings, 50 CD Box Set (Limited Edition)
Price: $113.81
33 used & new from $109.82

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DG at Its best, November 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Although one might quibble with the DG sound engineering in the era of these recordings -- on the dry, analytic side, and rather closely miked -- there can be no question with regard to the performances, which are impeccable. Here you get the full range of DG's top artists and conductors of the 60, 70s, 80s and 90s -- Kleiber, Fricsay, Karajan, and Bohm -- as well as some of its most legendary recordings, many of which were bestsellers, both instrumental and operatic, in their day. At a little more than $2 disc, this is a striking bargain.


Legendary Demos
Legendary Demos
Price: $9.74
51 used & new from $2.45

3.0 out of 5 stars Mishandled Treasures, November 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Legendary Demos (Audio CD)
While these are priceless, historic recordings beautifully sung by the auteur herself, I'm afraid the mastering has been badlymuffed. Instead of allowing the authentic sound of the demo tapes to shine through, with the intimate sonic limitations of all demo master tapes, which were never intended for public release, the engineers apparently decided that they could "improve" and "modernize" the sound via hi-tech digital processing. So instead of having a beautiful period restoration of the tapes as they actually sound, what we have here is a horribly compressed, loud, and hot mastering. It is totally unnatural, and almost unlistenably shrill sonically And let me emphasize again, I am not talking about the limitations of the original demo tapes, which I would have been happy to accept in anything close to their original form. So yes, if you love Carole King and great music, you will still enjoy this, but in a much diminished form that does not do justice to the genius of Carole King, nor to what I consider the natural beauty of her singing her own compositions, as she originally conceived them. I hope if when they dig deeper into the CK vault in the future, they will treat subsequent releases with greater respect for their sonic and artistic integrity.


Parallel Lines/Plastic Letters
Parallel Lines/Plastic Letters
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $16.92
25 used & new from $6.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Transfers, November 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I need not comment on the performances, as PaLi/Pl/Le are now enshrined in the annals of great rock, and always will be (PaLi is often ranked as a top 100 of the century.) This is strictly on the sound, which is extremely good. There are many transfers of both these songs and these two albums floating about. Aside from one very expensive Mobil Fidelity transfer which is now out of print, these are the best sounding CDs I have encountered, and are really quite natural sounding. The main competition is the 2001 remasters, which many complain are too bright, and the original Chrysalis CDs, which many feel are too soft and muddy. Exactly where these transfers came from I do not know, but this is a European pressing, which may have used masters sent over to the EU in the earlier days of LP. In any event, they are nicely done, totally non-compressed, and not digitally processed sounding at all. Quite similar to the original LPs, which were quite good. Highly recommended, and obviously, a tremendous value.


Mozart's Operas: Cosi Fan Tutte / Don Giovanni / The Magic Flute / Le Nozze Di Figaro
Mozart's Operas: Cosi Fan Tutte / Don Giovanni / The Magic Flute / Le Nozze Di Figaro
Offered by Bert-US
Price: $19.99
25 used & new from $12.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Perfformances From the Golden Age of Audio, November 5, 2014
Intro Note: I wonder if there are two pressings of this floating around, as several reviews have commented that the recordings are in mono. On my set, only the Flute is in mono, as it was recorded in mono. The other three were recorded in stereo, and are presented this way on my set.

Of the these four operas, three have become not only my favorite performances of the opera, but my favorite recordings. Yes, the Magic Flute is in mono, and a bit boxy, but there is a warmth and integrity to the sound that even many stereo recordings never capture. Of course, Fricsay's conducting is superb, and Rita Streich's Queen of the Night, which she was never able to perform on stage, is the best on record IMHO. The 1955 Decca stereo on Figaro and Don Giovanni is a bit tubby in the bass, but the ambiance is wonderful, with great clarity to the voices. The stars of both performances is Hilde Gueden, although Kleiber's conducting on Figaro also earns a place in the Hall of Legends. Only the Cosi Fan Tutte disappoints, as it appears to be a transfer from an LP, the master tapes apparently lost. (The original Decca CD release also appears to be the same vinyl transfer). It's a fine, performance, but neither the sound (which is stereo) nor the performance quite sparkles like the others.


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