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Michele Lyons RSS Feed (New York City)

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Hot Space Cowboys
Hot Space Cowboys
DVD ~ -
Price: $14.99
12 used & new from $3.95

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, most romantic, most moving films I have ever seen, February 1, 2016
This review is from: Hot Space Cowboys (DVD)
This was absolutely one of the best, most romantic stories that I ever saw. If you have no problem with male to male romance, then I would suggest seeing this one. There are explicit sex scenes, both rape and consensual . Apparently this was supposed to be only one movie of a series, and the others were never made. Basic story: takes place far in the future, where the human race has spread out to other planets. The human sphere is invaded by an alien race, superior in technology and firepower and they are set on wiping out the human race entirely. The most devastating part of the invasion is that alien war machines absorb the fighters that they do not kill outright. Once absorbed, there is nothing human left. They become part of the machine, their memories and all they are is used now to kill their fellow humans. A special unit, who are trained to operate huge mechanical war robots is created to battle the aliens. The two heros, Leonard and Tiberias, are roomates at the training facility. The facility is run by a piggish, sadistic pervert of a commandant, who preys sexually on the youngest cadets. Leonard is the older soldier, already battle hardened. He takes Tiberias, the younger cadet under his wing. Eventually the commandant rapes the young Tiberias, who is rescued by Leonard. Leonard finishes the Commandant by cutting off his privates. The entire episode is hushed up. A few days later Leonard is being transferred to the front lines. Leonard and Tiberias have fallen deeply in love, and have a single night of passion before they are separated. Leonard gives Tiberias his combat knife as a memento. Leonard's battle wing is destroyed, and he does not return. A short time later, Tiberias leads his own battle wing against the enemy aliens. Everyone on both sides is wiped out, except for Tiberias and one alien war robot. To his horror Tiberias finds that that this friend and lover Leonard has been absorbed by the alien machine he is facing. Tiberias robot is destroyed, because he cannot bring himself to fire on the alien which has absorbed his friend. He ejects from his robot before it explodes. At this point of no return, Tiberias remembers that Leonard had made him promise to kill him if he were ever to be absorbed by one of the alien war machines. Tiberias pulls the combat knife that Leonard had given him, springs onto the front of the alien war machine, where he can see his friends terribly changed, but still partly human appearing body. He drives the knife into his friend's chest, killing him. He leans in to kiss his lover’s face, which is beginning to disintegrate as the alien war machine goes critical. Tiberias clings to his love, not caring if he dies. A moment before the alien machine explodes, Leonard's hands come up out of the machine, and push Tiberias away, with enough force that he is thrown clear before the machine explodes. Some part of Leonard still survived, and he acted to save Tiberias at the last. The final scene is Tiberias, tears streaming down his face, coming to attention and saluting the destroyed robot where his friend now rests in peace. The write over states that here, in this place, was the first victory of the human race in their battle against the aliens. (which suggests that Tiberias survived and returned from the battlefield.) While incredibly sad, it was a splendid, romantic and very touching story. I have found that the Japanese generally do not go in for happy endings, but have some of the best, most moving stories. At the very end of the film there is a scene of the human high command finding the buried starship from the series Star Blazers. It makes you really wonder where they might have gone with the story, if it had continued. But even as a stand alone, it is well worth seeing. The music, especially at the end, is very beautiful and evocative of the mood. Beautiful, sorrowful, but showing that love is stronger than war, stronger than time, and stronger than death.

Three Hands in the Fountain: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery
Three Hands in the Fountain: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery
Offered by Audible, Inc. (US)
2 used & new from $11.95

1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible voice narration!, February 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My review is for the audio version of this book. While I am a confirmed fan of the Falco series, the choice of this narrator to read this story was a true disaster. When you want a book read aloud, you should choose someone without a strong accent and with a pleasant sounding voice. They did neither one with the reading of this book. The reader has a thick, lower class English accent, and a sharp, harsh, brittle voice. He makes the characters sound more like people from the English slums of David Copperfield than ancient Rome. More than one seems to have a definite cockney accent. And he overacts, constantly. Now, when reading a book on audio recording, the reader is supposed to effect different voices for the different characters, but this reader overdoes it ridiculously. And he makes the main characters sound like old men---cranky, complaining, doddering-----which none of the main characters in this novel are. Being visually impaired, I have a very large collection of audio discs which I thoroughly enjoy. This is the first time that I have run into a narrator with a voice so unpleasant. Although this story was excellent the reading of it made it almost unbearable. Hearing a book read on audio is supposed to be an pleasant experience, even a soothing one. Not one where you grit your teeth at the voice in order to get the end of the story. If you can enjoy this book in book form or on kindle, do so by all means. The story is well worth reading. But as an audio reading, do not waste money on this.

Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 10-Inch x 14-Inch Roaster with Built-In Rack, Gray
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 10-Inch x 14-Inch Roaster with Built-In Rack, Gray
Price: $13.38
12 used & new from $13.38

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars fraudulent advertising, May 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have had other faberware pots over the years, skillets, coffee pots, etc. and always got excellent quality and use from them. So when I was looking to replace my old roasting pans I bought these. I cannot express my disappointment in them strongly enough. I cook frequently: I roast chickens, turkeys, pork, beef, lamb, etc. These pans are supposedly "nonstick". Far from being nonstick, they would better be described as "everything sticks, and stays". Every spot of grease, every baked on stain, every fleck of anything permanently stains these pots. I have used them only a matter of weeks, and they already are so stained that they look like they have had years of hard wear. And there is no change regardless of how you clean them. Use sponges, bushes, brillo, detergent, Clorox, baking soda---absolutely nothing cleans them or gets any of the stains or baked on mess off. These pots were an absolute case of fraudulent advertising, and a complete rip off. I would strongly advise against buying these, or anything similar from farberware.

The Purge
The Purge
DVD ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: $7.50
47 used & new from $1.73

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds Familiar?, October 18, 2013
This review is from: The Purge (DVD)
The other reviews of this film will fill you in pretty much on the movie. It I worth watching, a predictable, kind of bloody, scary movie. What I found interesting is that the concept was lifted, almost entirely, from an old Star Trek episode. Anybody remember it? The moment I began watching this movie, that Star Trek episode sprang to mind. In the episode, Kirk, Spock and the landing party land on a planet where everyone is peaceful, content and law abiding. It turns out that the entire populace is being controlled by a master computer that they virtually worship as a god, and call "Landru". The computer controls their actions and thoughts, giving them peace and prosperity, except for one day a year---their "festival". During this day, all controls are turned off, and the entire population goes wild, rioting, burning, raping, murdering. As one of the characters in episode said---one day a year of complete cancer. By this method Landru purges the negative emotions of the humans he controls, and incidentally reduces the population. Doesn't that sound pretty much like the premise of this movie?

The Lost Years: A Novel
The Lost Years: A Novel
by Mary Higgins Clark
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $26.28
68 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing., July 11, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Lost Years: A Novel (Audio CD)
I bought this audio book because the description seemed to have everything, suspense, mystery, romance, historical background etc. In fact, it really had none of those things.

Supposedly the story is about the disappearance of a scroll purportedly written by Christ himself, and the murder of the man who had it in his possession. In fact the scroll is treated in the book as a minor plot point. It might just as well have been a missing ball point pen for all the attention it is given. Even the detectives supposedly investigating the murder do not seem to think that a missing artifact---worth hundreds of millions of dollars----is even important. In fact, they pay more attention to the theft of a woman's jewels that takes place next door.

What this story does do, is to go on and on, in excruciating and unnecessary detail, about the heroine's mother's mental deterioration from Alzheimer's. The readers understand the condition of the mother in the first chapter----it is not, in any way, needed for her condition and behavior to be described in detail and belabored in the manner that it was. Its constant appearance in nearly every chapter made for very painful listening. I was not looking for a story describing in detail the suffering of a person in the grip of an horrific disease that causes ever worsening dementia. The romance, what there was of it, was not convincing or interesting. The detectives look like morons, who are constantly upstaged by two extraneous characters in the book who decide to start investigating the crime themselves. The villain was not scary or even interesting, and was taken down in the end by the heroine, by the simple expedient of clubbing him over the head with a heavy object. I guess she got tired of waiting for the police or her romantic hero to show up to do it. And the scroll, when it is recovered, is finally authenticated as being genuine. Making it the most valuable artifact in history----worth billions, if a price could be put on it. The discovery, authentication, and eventual disposal of this priceless scroll is given all of about five sentences attention.

This story was an enormous disappointment and was certainly not worth the money I paid for it or the time it took to listen to it. Spend your money on something else.

by James Patterson
Edition: Audio CD
41 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Review, January 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Zoo (Audio CD)
This reveiw is for the audio version of this book. I will be discussing specfics of the story, so anyone who does not want to read this, should stop here.

First, this story was a science fantasy, in which the animal kingdom has risen against the human race. The story revolves around the struggle of one ecologist who has discovered the problem, and his trying to get the public and the government to pay attention. He faces physical danger, professional jealousy and political stupidity, as he slowly discovers the scope and cause of the killer animal plague. The story is fast paced, involved and very interesting. I was so captivated by the telling of the story that I had to listen to it all in one sitting. I remained interested right up until the ending---which was why I gave this a mixed review. The ending was weak, at best. It was as if the author had gotten tired of the story, or didn't know how else to end it. Patterson usually gives his books neat endings, tying up all loose ends satisfactorily. I was very dissappointed in this one.

The premise of the story is that a certain kind of polution caused by modern technology is causing a pheromone that is causing the animal attacks. But the way to stop the killer animal plague is to stop using technology---all of it. No electricity, no cars, no indoor heating, no anything. Well, as a measure of desperation, the country does this for one week, and the animal plague stops. But then the ban on technology is broken by the rich and powerful, who cannot do without their playtoys. And, of course, the animal plague starts back up again. The story ends rather abruptly with the hero and his family hiding out in a bunker with various scientists and government officials, watching human civilization disolving around them, all over the world. And that's the end!

With apologies to the author, if the "cure" for a plague is for the human race to return to the stoneage, that is not much of a cure. Modern technology does a lot more than supply playtoys to people. Without it, you could not supply and transport food, water, clothing, medicine, heating, everything that people need to live. It would not be only the rich who could not live without technology--modern civilization would not be possible without it. I would not want to live in a world permanently returned to the stoneage. Permanently disposing of all technology is simply not a reasonable remedy for anything.

Even in the real world, serious polution problems can be overcome and fixed. In New York City, 30 years ago the water was sludge black, filled with floating garbage and stank. Today it is rich blue, and teaming with life. Fish of 40, 60 and 75 pounds are regularly pulled out by fishermen. We learned from our mistakes and fixed it. I kept expecting the characters in this story to do the same thing----to work with what they had disovered and learn to fix the problem. But to fix the problem by disposing of all technology was a silly and unsatisfactory ending entirely. It think the story would have been made much better by a couple more chapters at the end, where the characters slowly discovered a real way to resolve the problem.

This book is still worth listening to (or reading) but I think possible buyers should be aware of the weak and unsatisfying ending.

Stallions of the Quest
Stallions of the Quest
by Robert Vavra
Edition: Hardcover
38 used & new from $6.92

1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, December 22, 2012
This review is from: Stallions of the Quest (Hardcover)
I am a long time collector of Robert Vavra's books of horse photography. I have every one of his earler works, and in them, every page is a treasure.

That is why I took the chance of ordering this book sight unseen. It was a gamble and I lost. In Mr. Vavra's earlier works, page after page would be filled with gorgeous horse photos. In this book page after page is wasted on photos of extreme closeups of parts of horses: the extreme closeup of an eye, the tip of a nose, the end of a flying mane. Not just a few of them, but literally half the pictures in the book look that way. Very artsy, I am sure, but not what I wanted. There are only a tiny handful of really beautiful horse photos, of the quality I have seen in his ealier books. This is not a good book for a lover of horse photography. I would suggest finding one of Mr. Vavra's ealier books---they are fabulous and worth every penny. This book was not even worth the postage to ship it.

Cardenas: Horses & Home
Cardenas: Horses & Home
by Robert Vavra
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from $2.23

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, December 22, 2012
I am a long time collector of Robert Vavra's books of horse photography. I have all of his earlier books, and every page was a treasure. Because of this, I took the chance of buying this book sight unseen. It was a gamble and I lost. This book was a complete disappointment. The vast majority of the photos in this book were of houses, the insides of homes, gardens, etc. All very nice, but not what I wanted when I bought an expensive book of horse photography. Of the tiny handful of pictures of actual horses in the book, only a few show entire horses, and none were of the breath-taking quality of Mr. Vavra's earlier photos. In fact, most of the pictures were extreme close ups of parts of horses----the tip of an ear, the closeup of an eye, the end of a flying mane. Very artsy, I am sure, but not what I was looking for. In fact, the only beautiful horse photo in the entire book is the one that appears on the cover. If you are looking for a really stunning book of horse photography, I sincerely suggest getting one of Mr. Vavra's earlier works---they are stunning and worth every penny. But this book is not for the horse lover, spend your money on something else.

Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series
Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series
DVD ~ Matt Smith
Offered by Two Thumbs Up
Price: $51.83
28 used & new from $37.74

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this from Amazon---Fake disks!, June 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I suggest that you do not buy this product from Amazon. They are not being careful as to whether or not they are selling a legal, professionally produced item. I received this Dr. Who the sixth season, and it is very obviously a cheap copy. The disks are scratched, the holders are clear (not dark blue as they should be) and are falling apart. The cardstock is cheap and not glossy, the printing is not sharp as it should be. It is nothing but a knock off. I have already complained to Amazon, and am arranging to return this for a refund. I usually do business with Amazon to avoid this kind of problem---I am dismayed to find them selling phoney disks. And if Amazon is not selling them direct, they are not be careful about what kind of product they are selling for another compnay. My advice is to get your Dr. Who, the Sixth season somewhere else.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2013 4:34 PM PDT

Wrath of the Titans
Wrath of the Titans
DVD ~ Sam Worthington
Price: $3.74
112 used & new from $0.01

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Throughly Enjoyable!, June 26, 2012
This review is from: Wrath of the Titans (DVD)
This movie is entertaining, fun to watch, interesting and engaging. The special effects are outstanding. The numerous monsters and creatures really seem alive and present in the scenes. There are fabulous scenes of temples, moving mazes, and lots and lots of creatures. The black Pegasus is back, better than ever. (there is one marvelous scene, where an annoyed Pegasus smacks Perseus with his wing) There is action and excitement and heroics. The movie does not suffer from the darkness that "Clash of the Titans" had, which made many scenes hard to make out. What it does have in common with the first movie, is the choice of colors. Really, if you are going to film in color, how about you use, well, some COLORS! The entire movie is filmed in sepia tints, with only the blue sky and sea to break up the browns, rusts, sands, beiges, and blacks. Still for all of that, the movie is well worth watching and buying.

Spoiler Alert----Just so you know, I am going to mention specifics of the movie, what I liked and didn't, and what I thought, so if you don't like to read that kind of thing, stop here.

The movie begins in the twilight of the gods of Olympus. Apparently following several years after the first film, "Clash of the Titans", the human race has continued to lose faith in the gods and to turn from worshipping them. The gods have depended for so long on the strength given them by the faith of humans that they are all losing their powers. The most immediate threat caused by this is that the barriers between earth and Tartarus are breaking down. All the demons and monsters imprisoned there are escaping to rampage in the human world. And if Kronos, the monstrous father of the elder gods, (Zeus, Hades and Poseidon) should escape, all of creation will be destroyed.

Zeus, Poseidon and Aries go to Hades realm to confront Kronos, only to be met with treachery and death. Zeus is captured and Poseidon mortally wounded. The other, younger gods (Apollo, Aphrodite, etc.) are all conspicuous by their absence. This is one of the places were I wished the movie had been longer and with more detail. Hades delivers a one line explanation that, like him, the other gods will live if they support Kronos. This really doesn't hang together. All the younger gods, and numerous demi-gods, all decided to run and hide, and trust their fates to Kronos? Doesn't really track. And if they did, wouldn't Zeus and Poseidon have noticed something wrong? Are the younger gods already dead, or so weak that they cannot offer any support? Nothing about them is really mentioned. In fact, why did Zeus travel to Tartarus with so little backup? Sure, Poseidon and Zeus are the most powerful of the gods, and maybe this is a case of hubris on their part. And a fatal error, as they do not suspect treachery of Hades and Aries, and underestimate how much their powers have been weakened.

The gods seem terribly human here. I found the scenes between Zeus and Hades very touching. There is guilt and forgiveness on both sides. Hades' greatest fear is very telling: humans have immortal souls, that pass on after the death of their mortal bodies---but what about the gods? Do they have souls as well, that will continue, or do they simply fade into oblivion if they should die? A truly human fear, and an interesting thought. Humans have their many religions and faiths to turn to in times of trial---but what of the gods? If you are a god, and your power fails you, where do you turn for succor, if you believe in nothing greater than yourself?

And the god Aries? His weaknesses are truly human. How sad it is that Aries, powerful, immortal god of war, is jealous of his half brother, Perseus. Perseus, who has no godly power, who is not immortal, who lives in a hut and works as a poor fisherman, lucky if he has enough to eat day to day? You would think that Perseus would be beneath Aries' notice, but Aries is jealous because he thinks that Zeus loves Perseus more than Aries himself. And he has allowed his bitterness to fester into unreasoning hatred. He is so fixated on hurting both Zeus and Perseus that he does not care about anything else. And so he makes a devil's bargain with Kronos. Supposedly Kronos has promised Hades and Aries their immortal lives, if they free him. Both ally themselves with Kronos out of their weaknesses: Hades out of his fear of perishing forever, Aries out of his hatred and jealousy. And neither one of them are using their heads----when Kronos is free, why should he keep his bargains with anyone? Zeus tries to warn the pair, to no avail.

Poseidon lives long enough to give warning to Perseus, setting off the action for the rest of the story. Interestingly enough, he sends Perseus to find his own half human son. The two demi-gods ally themselves and set off to rescue Zeus and stop Kronos.
There are some great scenes between them, although I would have liked to see more. The passing of the gods is very well done---they crumble to ash, leaving nothing behind.

Liam Neeson does a wonderful job as the god Zeus, making the character regal, godly, but loving and human as well. I am very pleased that Mr. Neeson has finally been getting the appreciation from the public that he deserves. He appears in more movies, in better roles and with far better acting than half the so called "super-stars" of today combined. Neeson makes the character of Zeus seem alive, both noble and human, with faults and strengths. In Greek and Roman mythology, none of the gods were particularly noble or admirable characters, much less people who's passing you would mourn. But Liam Neeson gives Zeus all those qualities. He has some short but truly fine scenes with Hades, where both of the brothers ask for, and grant, forgiveness to each other. Hades seems far less the monster than he was in the last movie. Hades realizes that he has been controlled by his fear, and has a "What have I done?!" moment. Faced with their final ends, both gods forgive their offences against each other, and remember their loving bonds as brothers. I loved the scenes where both godly brothers go to war against Kronos to save the world and the human race, even though they both know the probable consequence for that action. Between them, and Perseus, Kronos is destroyed and earth is saved.

Zeus is killed, living only long enough to give a loving farewell to Perseus. I really objected to this part of the story, although it is very dramatic. I really thought that Hades should have been killed, and Zeus should have survived to rebuild Olympus. Although perhaps this was really a better punishment for Hades, as his godly powers are now mostly gone, and he may have only a short time to live. He must face his worst fear, all alone.

I, for one, do not believe that the gods had no souls. No beings capable of such depths of feeling, of such great deeds, of such great hopes, could be bereft of immortal souls. So rest in peace Zeus. And Poseidon, and yes, Hades as well. You all did well.

And they left the race of man behind them. Just as flawed, but just as capable of greatness. And perhaps we are better for it, because our accomplishments take so much more effort.

In a way, the ending of this movie reminded me slightly of the end of the story "The Lord of the Rings". The end of both stories see the beginning of the reign of man, and the end of all things of magic. With the gods gone, we have to assume that all the wonders (like Pegasus) and terrors (monsters, demons) will slowly fade away, leaving man in sole possession of the world. The torch is passed, from Zeus to Perseus, to his son, Helios. The gods have gone, but left the half-gods, like Perseus, behind. And they are more human than not.

This movie was fun, a good watching experience. I would recommend it.

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