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Profile for Michael D. Baker > Reviews


Michael D. Baker's Profile

Customer Reviews: 6
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Helpful Votes: 29

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Michael D. Baker "Mike Baker" RSS Feed (Baltimore, MD)

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Gootium 20409CF Leisure Canvas Handbag,Coffee, for Men & Women
Gootium 20409CF Leisure Canvas Handbag,Coffee, for Men & Women
Offered by Otium
Price: $84.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent tote, December 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This tote is perfect for me as I'm in a long recovery from foot surgery. I have to give up one of my hands to a cane, so having something to "tote" things around and not have to give up my free hand is essential. This tote handbag is a perfect size, and the strap fits comfortably over my shoulder.

I'm adding this part at a point in my recovery my surgery where I don't need "that extra hand" so much. But I still use a cane and find my tote has become an integral part of my "uniform" when I carry things around that can't fit in my pants pockets. I suspect that if and when I no longer need the cane, my tote will have become so integrated into my life I'll continue to use it -- that's because it's so well designed. Finally, I have a friend who I always tease for having a hard time finding things in her purse. I had to confess to her that now I have the same problem!

Top Quality Santa Hawaiian Aloha Shirt , 2XL, RED
Top Quality Santa Hawaiian Aloha Shirt , 2XL, RED

5.0 out of 5 stars great shirt, November 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love this shirt. The design is fun and I got plenty of positive comments every time I wore it. Maybe Amazon will have another one for me this year.

Sarah's Key
Sarah's Key
DVD ~ Kristin Scott Thomas
Price: $6.14
66 used & new from $0.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps true to the spirit of the book, November 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sarah's Key (DVD)
This film is one of my 2011 favorites, by a wide margin. I won't add too much more to the many excellent reviews, except to comment on the Amazon featured review, in which the point is made of the historical part of the story being much better than the present day portion.

In the book, Julia had to work very hard to discover information about Sarah and her family. She was stonewalled by her husband's family for most of her search, and they only gave in when overwhelmed with her persistence and discoveries. She also had the issue of her husband's long-time and ongoing affair, which the director of the film chose to ignore. Her discoveries in America were only possible with the help of her sister in New York City.

True, the film has more richness in its' presentation of the history than the present, but that's a decision the director made. When I read the book I thought the richest part of the story was Julia's not Sarah's. So it's a valid criticism of the film, but for people like myself who read the book ahead of time, we knew that Julia's search was not the "everything drops right into place" scenario the director chose for us, but the result of hard work by a talented, dedicated and driven journalist and caring woman. Presenting the complete story of Julia, I feel, would have made Kristen Scott-Thomas a front runner candidate for the best actress Academy Award. As it is, her considerable talent has made the story of Julia better than the limited version of that part of the book the director chose to present. I think she'll still get some Oscar buzz, but if she had been given more to work with she would be getting more than buzz.

Every Little Step
Every Little Step
DVD ~ Ramon Flowers
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $7.69
30 used & new from $2.99

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it makes A Chorus Line all the better, October 14, 2009
This review is from: Every Little Step (DVD)
After wiping the tears away at the end of the film, my first thought was, "This helps erase the memory of the awful film Of A Chorus Line". Having seen the show a number of times before the film adaptation, I was ready for a permanent homage to my favorite of all Broadway shows. I could have shot the director after seeing his misinterpretation of the original show. Every Little Step is even better than a film of the show could be for those of us who love it.

We are given a look into the genesis of Michael Bennett's concept. I did not know how groundbreaking A Chorus Line was until seeing this film. I think we all know about workshopping plays and shows now, but this show was the first one. Mr. Bennett sold the concept and found several years' funding to develop the show. Everyone in the Broadway community knows how hard the life of chorus dancers is and I think was interested in seeing a show that honored them. Mr. Bennett "wrote" the show by committee. The stories are true, though the film points out that he might have done a lot better giving more credit to the contributors. The concept was so compelling that Marvin Hamlisch, then making a very good living doing Hollywood films, dropped everything and went to NYC to write the music. The story about retitling one of the songs is special.

The stories about making the show and the archival films bring back wonderful memories and give great insight to the original show and the inspiration to/for the revival. Having principals from the original show staging the new one gives us a special look at why casting for this revival was so hard to do. Most important to the director and backers was whether they should even dare to try reproducing this most perfect of all Broadway shows. Would they be able to honor the spirit of both the show and Michael Bennett? Well, I saw the show (on tour, not on Broadway) and think they did Mr. Bennett and the original cast proud.

Because the show was so personal, the selection of the cast was also very personal. Every one of the over 3000 people trying out was auditioned. There were no "resume only" cuts. Every performer was treated with the utmost respect, and well they should have been. The people trying out are exactly the same ones Michael Bennett workshopped and personally selected for his show, only a newer generation. There are descendants of the original cast. There are people who have been around a long time and are most certainly wondering if it's time to hang up their shoes. There are people with more talent than a single human ought to have. There are people who have what might seem like too much ego and some with so much modesty that you wonder how they get themselves on a stage. The creative team is often moved, as is the audience, by the auditions. There are people they want in the show and there are people who knock their socks off. Most of all, these are people who LOVE what they do and are willing to work possibly beyond their own capabilities to get a part in this show that honors their work.

It was easy for someone who loves the show like me to get quickly involved. I have friends who have not seen the show who got hooked almost as quickly as I did. Nobody I knew at the preview screening "survived" the film with dry eyes, and we all sat through to the last credit, savoring the film to the very last second. For those who have only seen the film adaptation -- just forget a lot of what you saw and who did the songs. Every Little Step gets it right. Those of you who claim to not like Broadway shows can find much to like in watching these very talented people competing for jobs which, in many cases, are the goal they've been shooting for all their careers. They work so hard and bare their souls trying to be "the one". "I really need this job" isn't just a song, it's the real thing here. Many of the people auditioning are on unemployment. And you just can't help getting involved. There was lots of applause when certain performers were selected. There was much discussion after the film about why their -- mine, too -- person wasn't chosen. For instance, I think you'll be glad to know the person who wasn't chosen for the role of Cassie has gone on to do much great featured work in the DC area. She's really good, too! Take it from someone who's seen her live.

Haven't you bought the film yet? What are you waiting for?

Lipstick on Your Collar [VHS]
Lipstick on Your Collar [VHS]
17 used & new from $10.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dennis Potter, always brilliant, February 17, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Dennis Potter created many of the very best programs ever seen on TV. We here in the US have always loved the BBC offerings on our PBS stations. It's hard to count the number of programs that occupy the top ranks of "best ever", but I'll bet nearly all of them crossed the pond courtesy of BBC.

Lipstick on Your Collar is another brilliant Dennis Potter satire, this time about the end of the British Empire. It ended, by the way, with a resounding 'thud" when Egypt kicked the Brits out of their country and took control of the Suez Canal.

As usual, Potter takes a story and peppers it with oddly appropriate lip-synched songs. A very young Ewan McGregor is brilliant as a young "cog" in the British bureaucracy. He shows clear signs of the brilliant actor we all now know him to be. Potter shows the staid British Aristocracy that can't or won't believe the Empire they have been pretending still exists is finally finished. Potter basically tells them to wake up to the truth and accept the world as it really is. His approach takes a potentially boring history lesson and turns it into a drama that leaves us hanging on every word, eager to see how Potter describes the next boneheaded move the British government takes.

I think "Pennies from Heaven" and "The Singing Detective" are the two best programs ever to be seen on TV and "Lipstick on Your Collar" is the third. How often do we have the opportunity to be challenged by such writing and production? Bring your brains with you, you'll need them. It's hard to describe my reaction to "Lipstick", my brain has seldom been blessed with such brilliance.

When will we see this wonderful series on DVD in a USA format? Precious few of us can afford the huge price for a rare copy of the VHS set. Head to your rare video store or library and rent this brilliant program. Your brain will be forever in your debt. Oh, and just go ahead and buy "Pennies from Heaven" and "The Singing Detective". your DVD collection will immediately become an order of magnitude better and you'll want to see them again and again.

Stormy Weather
Stormy Weather
DVD ~ Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $34.79
26 used & new from $11.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great entertainment, November 24, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Stormy Weather (DVD)
I first saw "Stormy Weather" in the early 70's in a weekly program of "Race Movies". I used to get my kids on weekends back then and I took them to lots of events like this.

The film is loaded with great music and dancing and manages to hang a slim plot in there somewhere. Don't watch it for the story, just the music. There is music from Lena Horne, Cab Callaway and the great Fats Waller, and possibly the greatest dance performance ever filmed. I had never seen an early Lena Horne film and when she first came on screen I almost hyperventilated. "Extraordinary beauty" falls very short of what I saw. Whew! She delivers a fine rendition of "Stormy Weather"

Fats Waller co-king of stride piano along with the venerable James P Johnson, just tears up the screen. He was one of the truly great performers of the 20th century. I just sit in awe whenever I get to see him on film. Cab Calloway seemed to have more energy than the rest of his band and everyone in the room. Harnessing his energy might have lit an entire city. His band really puts out the sound.

The biggest treat of the film comes when the Nicholas Brothers do a dance performance that is simply unbelievable. And when you think it might be over it just keeps going. They were light on their feet and beautifully physical. It was as if each brother possessed the talent of both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. At the end of the routine there was a lot of spontaneous applause, something I had never witnessed in a theater.

Fayard and Harold Nicholas appeared in many "Race Films" and finally made it to the "big Screen" in a Gene Kelly film, "The Pirate". They were good, but deferred to Kelly. They were not going to get a shot at the mainstream because the movie industry already had its' stars and knew the brothers might well show them up. They went to Europe for many years, where the public flocked to see them. I think they returned to the States because of Harold's health problems.

The dedication of the National WWII Memorial in April, 2004 included a WWII reunion. People who had proudly served the USA came by the thousands. That also included USO performers. As you might suspect, blacks entertained only blacks and whites only whites. At the entertainment stage there were many USO films, which often included the Nicholas Brothers. AS I was watching, a Smithsonian escort was helping a small black man to a seat and somehow I recognized him as Fayard Nicholas. I went over and chatted with him for a while. It was one of the great moments in my life. I can now point to my right hand and say, "Shook hands with both Fayard Nicholas and Ted Williams"(note the order).

Go watch "Stormy Weather" and other films with the Nicholas Brothers and celebrate seeing two American Masters -- and Treasures.

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