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Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
DVD
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully done, April 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a movie that entertains, from beginning to end. The cast is wonderful. Mia Wasikowska is a great teenage Alice, sublime, with a steely core. Johnny Depp creates a masterful and flamboyant Hatter - I loved his scene with Alice at the end. Helena Bonham Carter is unforgettable as the Red Queen who has some real anger management issues. Just beautifully done - something kids and adults can both appreciate.


Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization
Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization
by Nancy Holder
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
74 used & new from $3.97

5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect compliment, March 6, 2016
"Crimson Peak" is an amazing movie, a gorgeous gothic feast - love story/character study/fairy tale/horror/thriller, all rolled into one. I'm normally not that crazy about novelizations of movies, but this one is a complete exception - it's beautifully done, totally engaging from beginning to end. Del Toro really crafted a film that was like a classic Victorian gothic novel, but filtered through his fantastic, unique imagination. Obviously, the author of this book (Nancy Holder) is highly skilled, but also inspired by the material. This is one of the most absorbing and entertaining reads I've had for some time - a perfect compliment to a classic film.


Crimson Peak (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Crimson Peak (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable experience, January 15, 2016
This is a gorgeous, moving and multi-layered score that captures the essence of the gothic-romance atmosphere of "Crimson Peak". The music is rich and symphonic, gloriously recorded at Abbey Road Studios. This soundtrack perfectly evokes the characters and situations of the film, but, at the same time, as a musical statement, totally satisfies on its own. The deep resonance of the cellos and basses are thrilling to hear . There's 75 minutes worth of music, but I wasn't bored for one second - the themes are developed, from simple to complex, from romantic to suspenseful, and I found myself swept along on a great emotional wave, from beginning to end. I've gone back to this recording multiple times - when it's finished I feel satisfied; I've gone through a memorable experience.


Crimson Peak [Blu-ray]
Crimson Peak [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Mia Wasikowska
4 used & new from $25.08

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Del Toro's gorgeous beast, October 24, 2015
This review is from: Crimson Peak [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
“Crimson Peak” is a beautiful, melancholy, grotesque dream/nightmare; it's a true hybrid (definitely classic gothic romance, but with a potent dose of horror and fairy tale) - the Brontes and Hitchcock, and much much more, all filtered through a wonderfully crazy mexican genius. I do feel del Toro has created a new breed of beast out of the old, comprised of many different parts, a kind of Frankenstein monster, but gorgeous and feminine, tragic and beautiful, unique and multi-layered. The acting by Wasikowska, Hiddelston and Chastain is absolutely first rate - it's melodrama, as in classic Hollywood, but not maudlin or cartoonish, the actors still manage to be naturalistic and not come off artificial; they’re both dramatic and subtle (beautiful work) - I found Mia Wasikowska particularly moving in the scene that takes place with Edith in the morgue. The characters, representing the polarities of love/fear, past/future, transformation and decay, and the tension between, are archetypes, but, at the same time, they’re complex individuals and profoundly human – they must choose their own destiny.

What I feel is often missing these days, with all the formula, box-checking approach to movies, is real individuality - Crimson Peak is the full expression of a creative artist, it's not following trends or determined by committees; it's one person bringing multiple talents together to express a vision. This film is visually fantastic, romantic and hallucinatory, tragic and outrageous - it creates its own "logic" within a waking-dream reality.

A film like this, that blends genres, can bring out many different responses - it's not clearly, obviously, one thing, meeting one set of expectations, but if one approaches it with an open mind, engaging the imagination, it will resonate deeply long after viewing.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eros/Thanatos, September 9, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a monstrous, depraved, beautiful and lofty book, obviously the work of a genius - the last third I found completely riveting, but I have to say it felt like I was being pulled deeper and deeper into the dark vortex of Flaubert's psychology, where terrible brutality is mixed with rapturous lyricism - hate and love, pleasure and pain become one and the same - very disturbing, actually - EROS/THANATOS unleashed. I now have certain images in my head that will be difficult to forget. This was probably one of the most violent and disturbing things that I've read; it's a book obsessed with sadomasochistic impulses, on an epic scale; it's quite troubling because it makes the reader complicit by joining in the eroticization of torture and killing, of human barbarity and degradation; nevertheless, I was compelled to keep reading - because of Flaubert's amazing artistry, I couldn't look away. "Salammbo" makes the horrors of battle real and visceral, while turning hell-on-earth into intoxicating poetry - a very strange but beautiful work. The original french readers of "Salammbo" (1862) must have experienced quite a shock; it was a financial success (following the sensation of "Madame Bovary"), but it wasn't translated into english until much later - now I think I understand why.

The true nature of Salammbo (more an archetype than a mortal heroine) isn't revealed to the reader, or to her, until the final pages of the book. What were Flaubert's motivations for writing this novel? I guess he had to get it out of his system; he's like a dangerous, intoxicated, wild animal, filled with blood lust, who can transform his cravings into mystical poetry. But perhaps this represents Flaubert's personal portrait of humanity, expressed through ancient history and myth: a twisted, eternal conflict encompassing light and dark, masculine and feminine, civilization and chaos, war and religion, mystic and erotic, but essentially, when stripped of it's outer forms, barbaric.


Salammbo
Salammbo
by Gustave Flaubert
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
44 used & new from $7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eros/Thanatos, September 8, 2015
This review is from: Salammbo (Paperback)
This is a monstrous, depraved, beautiful and lofty book, obviously the work of a genius - the last third I found completely riveting, but I have to say it felt like I was being pulled deeper and deeper into the dark vortex of Flaubert's psychology, where terrible brutality is mixed with rapturous lyricism - hate and love, pleasure and pain become one and the same - very disturbing, actually - EROS/THANATOS unleashed. I now have certain images in my head that will be difficult to forget. This was probably one of the most violent and disturbing things that I've read; it's a book obsessed with sadomasochistic impulses, on an epic scale; it's quite troubling because it makes the reader complicit by joining in the eroticization of torture and killing, of human barbarity and degradation; nevertheless, I was compelled to keep reading - because of Flaubert's amazing artistry, I couldn't look away. "Salammbo" makes the horrors of battle real and visceral, while turning hell-on-earth into intoxicating poetry - a very strange but beautiful work. The original french readers of "Salammbo" (1862) must have experienced quite a shock; it was a financial success (following the sensation of "Madame Bovary"), but it wasn't translated into english until much later - now I think I understand why.

The true nature of Salammbo (more an archetype than a mortal heroine) isn't revealed to the reader, or to her, until the final pages of the book. What were Flaubert's motivations for writing this novel? I guess he had to get it out of his system; he's like a dangerous, intoxicated, wild animal, filled with blood lust, who can transform his cravings into mystical poetry. But perhaps this represents Flaubert's personal portrait of humanity, expressed through ancient history and myth: a twisted, eternal conflict encompassing light and dark, masculine and feminine, civilization and chaos, war and religion, mystic and erotic, but essentially, when stripped of it's outer forms, barbaric.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2015 12:26 PM PDT


Madame Bovary (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Madame Bovary (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Price: $7.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the unattainable, July 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The soundtrack to "Madame Bovary" is ethereal, delicate, impressionistic, refined and dreamlike - everything Hollywood isn't; it's music that's quiet, reflective and absorbing ... in one word, haunting. The film really has some of the most beautiful and thoughtful cinematography I've seen - the Galperine brother's score works in perfect counterpoint to the visuals, conveying Emma's emotional journey as a subtle, melancholy tone poem, an aesthetic experience blending light and shade, a wakening to reality, with a longing for the unattainable.


Madame Bovary
Madame Bovary
DVD
Price: $3.99

52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly beautiful, June 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Madame Bovary (Amazon Video)
Mia Wasikowska, in this new, atmospheric adaptation of "Madame Bovary" (a revolutionary classic), makes a fascinating, sensitive, and convincing Emma; one that resembles not so much previous Bovary's from previous films, but rather the complicated, twenty-something, anti-heroine of the novel (which I've long loved). Casting an uncanny spell, the young actress captures much of the conflicted ambiguity of Emma, and manages to create empathy while making so many foolish, self-destructive choices. I've watched the film twice, and by the second viewing I got past the differences from the book (I know all the dialogue and scenes), the gradual pace, and was absorbed by the melancholy stillness that builds, in stages, to the soul's unraveling. I haven't felt any movie has captured the book (which may be an impossible feat), but this one is subtle and affecting; it has it's own poetic perspective, mystique and beauty (without the novel's ironic detachment), and Mia's portrayal has the enigmatic, haunting qualities that have made me a Bovary addict.

Scenes of Emma running ornately clad through cow pastures vividly show her stranger-in-a-strange-land status (a peacock surrounded by peasantry). There were many references to her conflicted relationship to nature (reality), including the hunt with the Marquis, that I felt were effective, showing her, after the killing of the stag, instinctively seeking power and station equal to men. Emma asserted herself through her sexuality (adulterous affairs), and conspicuous consumption; not surprisingly, this didn't work out too well. I think that in both the book and this film, Emma is seeking some measure of power, and, of course, love, but in a reckless, unconscious way. The final, climactic scene was stark and poignant; it felt real to me. This version of "Madame Bovary" (as seen through Emma's eyes) is a haunting tone poem, with a sad, blue-tinged beauty of its own.

The cinematography, costumes, and production design are gasp-inducing gorgeous (reflecting Flaubert's aesthetic bliss), but they're more than eye-candy, they are integrally connected to the emotional journey of Emma, and rapturously convey, in delicate detail, the dreamer's eternal longing for a distant ideal.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2016 7:28 AM PDT


Maps to the Stars
Maps to the Stars
Price: $17.34
31 used & new from $9.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Rhythmical Dreamscape, April 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Maps to the Stars (Audio CD)
Howard Shore is a master at finding the perfect tone that evokes and enhances the subtext of a film ("Maps to the Stars" has lots of subtext). This is a very beautiful and subtle, dreamscape of a score: sophisticated, layered electronics combined with hypnotic percussion (great tabla playing) and classical string orchestrations. The soundtrack holds up completely on its own as a unified statement, perfect for either background or up close, attentive listening. The complex, trance-inducing rhythms, along with the celestial backdrops, create a mystical floating sensation, with a distinct sense of longing and melancholy - quite gorgeous.


Maps to the Stars
Maps to the Stars
DVD
Price: $9.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Greater Constellation, February 27, 2015
This review is from: Maps to the Stars (Amazon Video)
"Maps to the Stars" is audacious and amazingly divisive - it's like some satirical, greek tragedy, soap opera/sit com from hell. The film has brilliant acting all around, especially Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska (last seen together in "The Kids Are Alright") and some people will find it masterful and darkly funny, others will find it repellent (all those reactions are understandable). "Maps" is definitely disturbing - the ghoulishness of the characters may be too much for some, but I found it compelling, sad, and impossible to ignore. David Cronenberg doesn't make films for the faint of heart, and Bruce Wagner's script drips venom (while deftly embedding celestial and Dharmic law). Movies that dissect Hollywood have obviously been done before, but this one is about more than Hollywood (Heart of Darkness), and it may require more than one viewing to pick up all the threads and to connect all the "Stars" that individually burn and implode, but that when viewed from some distance, form a greater constellation.


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