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Until the Twelfth of Never:  The Deadly Divorce of Dan & Betty Broderick
Until the Twelfth of Never: The Deadly Divorce of Dan & Betty Broderick
by Bella Stumbo
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $0.43

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but gripping tale of a deadly divorce; well written!, August 18, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have read some of the reviews here and actually wonder if they read this book or are just commenting on the case in general. Stumbo does an excellent job of giving both sides of the story, whether Dan is still alive or not. Neither one is made out to be a Saint. Betty was raised to be a perfect wife and mother, with very little support or encouragement from her family that she could do anything else. To be dumped for a younger woman as your youth is slipping away could be devastating to ANY woman. Just as Dan and Betty had reached the pinnacle of their lives and should have been enjoying the fruits of all their labors, Dan changed partners. Betty definitely behaved in an obsessive and calculating manner, unable to "let go" and move on, even though she eventually found another partner. This was her downfall. On the other hand, Dan used his legal maneuvers to taunt Betty and to save himself some money, making it his (literally) fatal mistake. Stumbo pulls no punches; by the end of the book, one is left with a sad feeling for the children who have gone through hell and practically lost both parents, as well as Betty, who has pretty much drifted into a state of denial while trying to recreate a perfect world in prison. It will be interesting to see what happens when her parole comes due.

Bella Stumbo has done an excellent job of researching the book as well as putting it together in a riveting tale.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2014 7:16 PM PDT


The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
DVD ~ Jodi Benson
Offered by MediaNett
Price: $42.15
48 used & new from $0.01

76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning - Review of the DVD!, August 17, 2008
I'm not sure why a number of people have chosen to review or bash a movie that they've never seen, but I for one found this movie to be very well done. Is it worthy of a big screen release? Not necessarily; it is a low-key story, but nonetheless, a VAST improvement over some of Disney's previous direct-to-dvd movies. The story is a prequel to "The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Platinum Edition)," and explains how King Triton banned music in his kingdom when his wife was killed. We learn how Sebastian became the music conductor for King Triton, and how Ariel & Flounder met. Naturally, it is the full-of-life Ariel who helps bring music back to her father's life. Although the villain is not as fun and nasty as the legendary Ursula, Marina Del Rey (ably voiced by Sally Field) is plenty of fun as the evil governess for King Triton's daughter. Not content to be a governess, she plots to usurp Sebastian's position, even if it means getting rid of Ariel. The one odd character in the movie is Marina's sidekick, Benjamin. His style of animation looks like something out of Barney. It is particularly jarring since the animation on this film is SOOOO good! It does not look like your typical straight-to-dvd release; in fact, I would go so far as to say that it is on par with the original feature. Jodi Benson returns as the voice of Ariel. In both singing and acting, she is fantastic and totally believeable as the songstress under the sea. As Sebastian, Samuel E. Wright returns...who else could voice this classic animated character? There are seven musical numbers in the film, and the fact that it was directed by a choreographer (Peggy Holmes) is a plus. The movement of the characters in the film AND the dance numbers is fantastic.

Extras are also great. 2 backstage Disney featurettes: "Splashdance" is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie, hosted by director Peggy Holmes. "The Little Mermaid: Under the Sea and Behind The Scenes On Broadway" gives a backstage look at the Broadway musical production, featuring interviews with the cast. There are 2 deleted scenes (shown in storyboard form), "Music & More" (where viewers can directly access the musical numbers AND watch them karaoke-style with the words on the screen), and the game "Mermaid Discovery Vanity Game," where you can learn about each of King Triton's daughters by clicking on the personal items on their vanity/makeup tables.

Overall, a wonderful DVD for children of all ages. Definitely a quality production!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2008 10:31 PM PDT


Project Runway - The Complete Second Season
Project Runway - The Complete Second Season
DVD ~ Project Runway
Price: $13.29
67 used & new from $4.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Creativity in Season 2, August 17, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This show really captured my attention the first time I caught it on TV; so much so that I bought all of the seasons that were available (including Project Runway - The Complete First Season and Project Runway - The Complete Third Season). Season 2 is basically the same format as its predecessor. Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn are back on board as hostess and advisor, respectively. The show begins with 16 designer hopefuls and narrows down to the final 3 who get to execute a complete line of designs for NYC Fashion Week. As before, what I enjoyed the most was the creativity. This season, watch the designers create a dress manufactured completely out of plants, lingerie for Heidi, an evening gown for model superstar Iman (to be worn on the red carpet at an event), an outfit for My Scene Barbie, and an outfit for Olympic skating silver medalist Sasha Cohen. There are other challenges as well through the season.

It is extremely interesting to hear what the judges have to say about each designer and their creations. Michael Kors & Nina Garcia (Elle Magazine) are back again giving their sometimes cutting but accurate critiques. This season, the designers are much more vocal and sometimes talk back with disrespect to the judges (would you dare to question or sass back at Diane von Furstenberg?!?). The designers are not quite as loveable as the first season, but there are still many "characters" which are interesting to watch, most notably Santino Rice, the insensitive loudmouth and sometime "villain" of season 2. Debra Messing of "Will & Grace" joins the judges for the NYC Fashion Week critique of the Final 3.

Extras on the 4 DVD set include: outtakes & bloopers (do we really need to see André's crying scene unedited or Santino verbally sparring with Nina?), WEAR Are They Now (for the Final 3 contestants only), Cast Audition Tapes, Tim Gunn's Blog (which is an interesting episode-by-episode blog of Gunn's thoughts), and an Exclusive Season 3 Casting Call shot at LA's Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Naturally, this particular featurette focuses on the freakier contestants!

Overall, another great set that will test your creativity and increase your fashion knowledge!


Sex and the City: The Movie (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Sex and the City: The Movie (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Sarah Jessica Parker
Offered by SpReAdLoVe
Price: $5.98
61 used & new from $0.01

57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex and the City, 2-Disc Special Edition on DVD!, August 16, 2008
I was initially against a continuation of the runaway hit HBO series, Sex and the City - The Complete Series (Collector's Giftset) I felt that the season finale was perfection and any other stories to be told would only spoil it. Once the movie started though, I was drawn in and it felt great to see these "familiar" friends again: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis). Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) decide to tie the knot, and the movie revolves around how their relationship takes the next step. Meanwhile, Miranda and Steve are dealing with Miranda neglecting their relationship. Samantha has become an L.A. housewife and is none too happy about continually playing second-fiddle to Smith. Charlotte...well, she is just living a perfect life with adopted daughter and husband Harry. The movie continues the vision of the series: insightful, witty, and extremely well written. Jennifer Hudson has a nice supporting role as Carrie's personal assistant; she brings sass to her role and definitely leaves the door open for a possibility of a "next generation" of young hopeful women to hit New York City. My gripes? I felt that fashion played too much of a role; in the TV series, it was a nice semi-silent costar. In the movie, it was a little "in your face" and over the top. I also felt that Samantha's storyline seemed a little out of character and contrived; her supposed weight gain was minimal and for her to ever stay in the background for Smith just seemed out of step. Many original cast members returned for the movie, although some were absolutely wasted as they were relegated to non-speaking cameos. For some reason, Stanford & Anthony are now close friends (possibly even more), which is totally against how they were in the series. Obviously, much has happened in the years since we last saw them; it left a feeling that an explanation scene or two must be on the cutting room floor. Removal of some of the fashion stuff and putting back in more of the witty dialogue would have benefitted the movie greatly.Speaking of putting back in...yes, this version is an extended cut. Many scenes have been lengthened, and it definitely helps give the movie a more finished feel and explains much that I thought was missing in the theater. Extra fun is Carrie's fashion show in her apartment, where she tries on many of her 1980's bad outfits for the girls, who rate whether the outfits should be kept or tossed. In the extended cut, ALL the girls (including Charlotte's daughter Lily) join in the fun and try on the outfits. This is especially wonderful as SJP does not necessarily deserve the lion's share of credit for this successful series; it is definitely an ensemble cast. The restored Halloween scene of Harry as The Addams Family's Uncle Fester is not to be missed, either!

I saw it twice on the big screen - thoroughly entertained both times, and hoping for a follow-up!

Bonus features for 2-Disc Special Edition DVD:

DISC 1:
* Audio Commentary by director Michael Patrick King
DISC 2:
* Additional Scenes restored to the actual movie as well as a separate section with deleted scenes that feature commentary by Michael Patrick King as to why they were cut.
* A Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King: a nice look at the movie with SJP and MPK, giving further insight into many of the choices made for the movie.
* The Fabulous Fashion of Sex And The City: Excellent featurette with Patricia Fields discussing how she finds all the different fashions for the character. Not one to get caught up in labels, her talent is for mixing up totally different looks and creating magic.
* Fergie in the Studio: watch a hit in the making as the singer records Labels or Love for the movie soundtrack, interspersed with Fergie fawning over the original TV series. A short featurette but cool to watch nonetheless.

UPDATE: You might want to hold off on buying this version, as an Sex and the City: The Movie (Ultimate Collector's Edition) with approximately 4 more hours of extras is due to be released on December; so far, no Blu-ray version of this set has been announced.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2012 6:28 AM PDT


Sex and the City: The Movie [Blu-ray]
Sex and the City: The Movie [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Sarah Jessica Parker
Price: $9.64
102 used & new from $0.01

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex and the City on Blu-ray!, August 16, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was initially against a continuation of the runaway hit HBO series, Sex and the City - The Complete Series (Collector's Giftset) I felt that the season finale was perfection and any other stories to be told would only spoil it. Once the movie started though, I was drawn in and it felt great to see these "familiar" friends again: Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis). Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) decide to tie the knot, and the movie revolves around how their relationship takes the next step. Meanwhile, Miranda and Steve are dealing with Miranda neglecting their relationship. Samantha has become an L.A. housewife and is none too happy about continually playing second-fiddle to Smith. Charlotte...well, she is just living a perfect life with adopted daughter and husband Harry. The movie continues the vision of the series: insightful, witty, and extremely well written. Jennifer Hudson has a nice supporting role as Carrie's personal assistant; she brings sass to her role and definitely leaves the door open for a possibility of a "next generation" of young hopeful women to hit New York City. My gripes? I felt that fashion played too much of a role; in the TV series, it was a nice semi-silent costar. In the movie, it was a little "in your face" and over the top. I also felt that Samantha's storyline seemed a little out of character and contrived; her supposed weight gain was minimal and for her to ever stay in the background for Smith just seemed out of step. Many original cast members returned for the movie, although some were absolutely wasted as they were relegated to non-speaking cameos. For some reason, Stanford & Anthony are now close friends (possibly even more), which is totally against how they were in the series. Obviously, much has happened in the years since we last saw them; it left a feeling that an explanation scene or two must be on the cutting room floor. Removal of some of the fashion stuff and putting back in more of the witty dialogue would have benefitted the movie greatly. Speaking of putting back in...yes, this version is an extended cut. Many scenes have been lengthened, and it definitely helps give the movie a more finished feel and explains much that I thought was missing in the theater. Extra fun is Carrie's fashion show in her apartment, where she tries on many of her 1980's bad outfits for the girls, who rate whether the outfits should be kept or tossed. In the extended cut, ALL the girls (including Charlotte's daughter Lily) join in the fun and try on the outfits. This is especially wonderful as SJP does not necessarily deserve the lion's share of credit for this successful series; it is definitely an ensemble cast. The restored Halloween scene of Harry as The Addams Family's Uncle Fester is not to be missed, either!

Still, I saw it twice on the big screen - thoroughly entertained both times, and hoping for a follow-up!

The picture on the blu-ray is wonderful, with one exception. Just like the promotional photos for the movie, the actress' eye area is WAAAAAY over photoshopped/CGI enhanced to the point that they look unnatural. This is especially the case for Sarah Jessica Parker. The CGI work is not done well, as it changes from shot to shot, and looks fake to begin with. The sound mix is fantastic too, especially with a system that takes advantage of it.

Bonus features for Blu-ray version:
* Audio Commentary by director Michael Patrick King
* Additional Scenes restored to the actual movie as well as a separate section with deleted scenes that feature commentary by Michael Patrick King as to why they were cut.
* A Conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King: a nice look at the movie with SJP and MPK, giving further insight into many of the choices made for the movie.
* The Fabulous Fashion of Sex And The City: Excellent featurette with Patricia Fields discussing how she finds all the different fashions for the character. Not one to get caught up in labels, her talent is for mixing up totally different looks and creating magic.
* Fergie in the Studio: watch a hit in the making as the singer records Labels or Love for the movie soundtrack, interspersed with Fergie fawning over the original TV series. A short featurette but cool to watch nonetheless.

* Blu-ray Exclusive Content:
Interactive Features (Games) -
* Sex and the City: The City. Click on different areas of the city and select a corresponding clip from the movie that talks about fashion, entertainment, etc. Nice idea, but does take a little bit of patience and navigation work. Think Google Map!
* Dish It!: Pop-ups of trivia and info will appear while you watch the movie if this is selected. Very fun!

Technical specs: 151-min. extended cut on a BD-50 dual-layer disc with 1080p video (1.85:1) and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround audio (English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and English and Spanish subtitles).


Project Runway - The Complete First Season
Project Runway - The Complete First Season
DVD ~ Heidi Klum
Price: $35.99
5 used & new from $29.93

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! Creativity on Reality TV!, August 16, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was immediately hooked when I caught some re-runs of this show on Bravo, and decided to buy the DVDs...ALL OF THEM! As an artist and photographer, I was immediately captured by the premise of the creative challenges presented to the budding designers each week. Heidi Klum is the attractive hostess of the show, ably supported by Tim Gunn, the Director of the renowned Parsons New School of Design. 12 hopeful designers start off the competition, and are eliminated one at a time each week after they are evaluated by judges (including designer Michael Kors & Nina Garcia from Elle Magazine) on the runway for their fashion creations. Some of the creative challenges include using things purchased at a grocery store to create a dress, re-designing the uniform of a postal worker (after spending a day in the field wearing the uniform), and working with the models (who also get eliminated one at a time each week) to create the model's ideal wedding gown. Reality TV is usually about the drama and contrived situations; do they exist here? Sure, however, it is refreshing to see that the majority of the show is about design and critiquing the unique creations that the designers whip up...and I do mean whip, as each challenge is done with very little lead time. The last 3 "survivors" get to exhibit an entire line at New York's Fashion week (actress Parker Posey sits in as one of the judges), with the grand prize including a photo spread in Elle Magazine and $100k in funding to create their own design line of clothes.

Extras on the DVD include "Wear Are They Now" featurettes for the final 5 designers; deleted scenes (which are best watching AFTER you watch the episodes, as they show further behind-the-scenes antics of the 12 contestants); a design photo gallery for all 12 designers.

An excellent set for up-and-coming designers as well as models. This show is a class act that rarely gets bogged down in the emotional drama (although there are a few choice scenes!).


Smart People
Smart People
DVD ~ Dennis Quaid
Offered by Big_Box_Bargains
Price: $7.04
174 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart movie; smart extras!, August 12, 2008
This review is from: Smart People (DVD)
This refreshing movie definitely has an "indie" feel to it. Lawrence (Dennis Quaid) is a widower who teaches literature at Carnegie Mellon University; he sleepwalks through life, still in a funk over the loss of his wife, and unable to connect to his 2 children or any of his students. Enter Lawrence's lazy but perceptive adopted brother Chuck (Thomas Haden Church); he moves in with Lawrence and his teenage daughter Vanessa (Ellen Page), and the changes begin to occur. Vanessa is as controlled and uptight as her father; Chuck does his best to unwind her...almost too successfully, as she begins to develop a crush on him. Meanwhile, Lawrence meets Janet, an ER doctor (beautifully underplayed by Sarah Jessica Parker) who begins to unravel him as well. There are no breathless on the edge of your seat scenes; but many subtle laughs (mainly from Thomas Haden Church, who steals the movie from the rest of the cast) and interesting characters that will stay with you well after the movie is over. It is interesting to see SJP in a role outside of her "Sex and the City" Carrie Bradshaw personna; gone is the over-the-top neurotic hijinks of that character; instead, we see a more refined and controlled character. Quaid gives an excellent performance as the lonely and lost widower; Ellen Page is perfectly cast as the conniving bitter daughter.

The DVD contains a number of deleted scenes (interesting to watch, but not really central to the movie), bloopers (your typical gag reel), feature commentary by filmmaker Noam Murro and writer Mark Jude Poirier. There is a making of featurette as well that includes interviews with the cast as well as info how Carnegie Mellon was picked as the school used in this movie. 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, widescreen (2:35:1, enhanced for 16x9 television), and French & Spanish subtitles. Note: this film has a somewhat muted pallette, which goes along nicely with the story and its setting. A nice little gem worth watching.


Mary Poppins Comes Back
Mary Poppins Comes Back
by P. L. Travers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.29
82 used & new from $1.04

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice edition, but book is more of the same, August 4, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm not sure that P. L. Travers' classic, "Mary Poppins" really needed a sequel. She is a beloved character whose crusty exterior hides a heart-of-magical-gold. This 2nd installment is more of the same...she takes the children on magical journeys where they meet amazing people/creatures, and then she denies it ever happened. Each chapter is a stand-alone tale, perfect for bedtime reading to a child. And, just like in the last book (upcoming spoiler!), she leaves again. As before, Travers does a nice job with the characterization, but it just seems repetitive and actually diminishes the special quality of the first book.


9 to 5 (Sexist, Egotistical, Lying Hypocritical Bigot Edition - Widescreen)
9 to 5 (Sexist, Egotistical, Lying Hypocritical Bigot Edition - Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jane Fonda
Price: $6.57
51 used & new from $3.48

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 to 5 - Sexist, Egotistical, Lying Hypocritical Bigot Edition, August 4, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Even though the office equipment used in this movie has gone out of style, the comedy still packs a punch! This special edition DVD also has some nice extras celebrating the most famous office comedy of the bunch. What a combo! Fonda, Tomlin, and Parton...who could have ever imagined that one (watch the DVD and you'll see how Fonda herself came up with the casting one enchanted evening).

When this movie was made (1980), the office secretary had no respect. As Fonda points out in the DVD's featurette, the best way to address serious issues and get them out to a large audience is through comedy. This one succeeds on all levels. Judy (Fonda) has just been dumped by her husband...for his secretary. To pay the bills, she takes a job as (what else?) a secretary at the Consolidated Corporation. No-nonsense office manager Violet (Tomlin) trains Judy and passes on some of her frustration at always getting "leap-frogged" over for promotions by the good-ol'-boys network, headed by her sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical boss, Franklin Hart (Dabney Coleman). Hart's personal secretary, Doralee (Parton), has made no friends in the steno pool because Hart has let it "leak" that the two are having an affair; the rest of the girls shun her for this.

When Violet accidentally pours rat poison into her boss' coffee instead of Skinny & Sweet, the antics begin and the office will never be the same as all 3 girls band together to make some changes.

Casting is amazing; Coleman is letter perfect as the slime-ball boss. Parton hits a home-run in her first movie as the heart-of-gold southern secretary who doesn't stand for bull-s&*t. Tomlin is excellent as Violet, especially in a fantasy sequence as a surreal Snow-White. Fonda is totally believeable as the clumsy defenseless woman dumped by a husband who is forced to fend for herself.

Extras include: commentary track with all Fonda, Tomlin, & Parton. Fonda is a little overbearing and is actually told to shut-up at one point. However, much of the excitement is due to how proud all three feel about this film, and how much fun they had making it. Not a lot of behind-the-scenes info, but just hearing the 3 together again is tons of fun. The featurette on the making-of again has all 3 reminiscing about the making of the movie, and includes flubs as well as how the movie came to be. A featurette on Writer/Director Colin Higgins is touching (Higgins has passed away), and all three leads agree on one thing: what a comically gifted and sweet man he was. It is obvious that much of "9 to 5"'s success is due to him. They all credit him for his humor and timing and belief in the project. A few deleted scenes, a gag reel (some of the footage also appears in the documentaries), theatrical trailer, and a karaoke version of the hit title tune round out this excellent DVD.

DEFINITELY one for your comedy collection!


The Rest is Illusion
The Rest is Illusion
by Eric Arvin
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from $12.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and compelling read, July 30, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Rest is Illusion (Paperback)
I had no idea what to expect from this story and was very pleasantly surprised. The story is of 5 students at Verona College, each one dealing with their own "coming of age" issues: Dashel is an openly gay male with a terminal illness, Ash is a free-spirited albino who rooms with Dash (Dashel), Sarah is overcoming her unreturned romantic feelings for Dash as well as the hatred she feels towards her repressive father, Tony is a closeted BMOC in the fraternity and on the football team, and Wilder enjoys blackmailing the other students into doing his will. How these 5 fit together is brilliant; and the imagery is wonderful. Arvin scores a home-run on his first published book. You will find yourself wanting more out of these amazingly original characters.


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