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The Avengers
The Avengers
DVD ~ Ralph Fiennes
185 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHY Did I Do It?, August 12, 2007
This review is from: The Avengers (DVD)
As someone who was an insatiable fan of The Avengers British TV series, I was horrified when this movie appeared in 1998. I have always felt that one cannot improve upon perfection, and, at least as far as I was concerned, the original Avengers was about as close to that as anything can be, and still be man-made. Because of this, I vowed NOT TO SEE IT!

All right...granted, this movie has a marvelous cast, and even boasted a cameo role for Patrick Macnee (the first -- no, make that the REAL John Steed), but this was just another case where a great cast does not necessarily a good movie make.

Well, I kept my vow for all these years, but finally broke down and recently watched The Avengers, the movie.


Even Sean Connery couldn't pull this one out of the dumpster! It was painful. I was only able to suffer through half of it before I had to eject the disk in self defense! To cleanse myself, I watched three straight hours of the REAL Avengers immediately.

If you are tempted to watch this travesty because you fancy one of the stars...DON'T. Go and purchase another of their films instead, or, better yet, go and find the original Avengers and have at it! You'll be delighted, entertained, and you'll see it done the way it was INTENDED.

This was just...sad...

Power of the Pontchartrain
Power of the Pontchartrain
Price: $9.79
42 used & new from $3.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Get Much Better Than This, August 7, 2007
Power of the Pontchartrain is a bit of a departure for Benoit (now with Louisiana LeRoux) from the swampy-bluesy tone predominant in the rest of his albums. There may be many reasons for this departure, not the least of which being that he is reaching out to a broader audience. But, whatever the reason, Power of the Pontchartrain is Good Stuff, and definitely worth experiencing.

There is something for everyone in this album, from the contagious "Good to Ya, Baby", to the rendition of Julie and Stephen Miller's contemporary Gospel song "Shelter Me", and the poignantly evocative "Midnight and Lonesome" ( also a Julie Miller song, which might well be the best cut on the album).

And for the hardcore Benoit fans, there are such delights as Benoit's "Sac-au-Lait Fishing" and the title song, as well as "One Foot in the Bayou".

Also deserving special mention is Benoit's singular version of "For What it's Worth", to which he has added a verse to make it pertinent to the on-going need for Katrina relief...a subject Benoit, as a Louisiana resident, is passionate about, along with wetlands preservation.

To be honest, there really isn't a give-it-a-pass track on this album. Each one has something special to offer, and helps to make the album the delightful musical smorgasbord it is.

With each album he puts out, Benoit proves that he is force to be reckoned with in the music world, and I'm betting we hear quite a good deal more from him as more and more listeners "discover" Tab Benoit.

Alan Rickman: The Unauthorised Biography
Alan Rickman: The Unauthorised Biography
by Maureen Paton
Edition: Paperback
49 used & new from $0.01

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If You're a Fan, DON'T!!!!!, July 16, 2006
If you are truly a fan of Alan Rickman's -- or just interested in him as a wonderful actor -- run, don't walk, AWAY from this offensive drivel!

I am not even going to dignify this tripe with a lengthy review...even a NEGATIVE one (and, if you haven't guessed by now, this IS a negative review). If, indeed, the man is to have an unauthorized biography, let it be worthy of him, and not this nonsense.

by Lincoln Child
Edition: Paperback
94 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't Boring..., February 17, 2006
This review is from: Brimstone (Paperback)
One problem the reader will NOT have with "Brimstone" is getting into it. A man is found dead in his home, scorched beyond recognition (seemingly from the inside out), with a melted cross and a cloven hoof print near his remains.

Enter Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, a rather bizarre Holmesian sort of character, complete with a smarter and more-than-slightly-off-center brother, and his "Watson", one Sergeant Vincent D'Agosta.

Pendergast and D'Agosta begin to investigate the horrific crime, only to become embroiled in more suspiciously satanic deaths. Could it be that Satan himself is committing these unspeakable murders?

This is where the book fell apart for me. It went off in a thousand different directions, going into great detail about the multiple factors that present themselves to our dauntless heroes. We learn about Italian aristocracy, great violins, international treason against the USA, how to breach high tech security (in detail that would even boggle the mind of James Bond!), and how to deal with a Messianic nut-case who has managed to mobilize a following by convincing them of the arrival of the Last Days spouting his eschatology of the Imminent Perusia.

Not that it's a Bad Thing to add well-researched facts to a book, but this one seems to be drowning in them, and they are often so distracting, one forgets what the main goal of our team is.

In my opinion, Douglas and Lincoln might have done better by their storyline had they stuck by it, and not allowed themselves to become mired down in what was often ponderous minutia. I think I might also have made the characters a bit more dimensional, and not so set in their molds.

Not a bad book, some fun moments...just not a classic.

The Shoes of the Fisherman
The Shoes of the Fisherman
DVD ~ Anthony Quinn
Offered by ExpressDirect
Price: $10.98
39 used & new from $5.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Vastly Under-Appreciated Film, January 10, 2006
This review is from: The Shoes of the Fisherman (DVD)
For the life of me, I cannot understand why this movie didn't receive more recognition. The book was fascinating, the story was translated to the screen beautifully, the characters were amazing, the soundtrack was awesome, and the cast...well...what superlatives does one use to describe an ensemble including Sir Lawrence Olivier, Anthony Quinn (for once rising above his usual Zorba the Greek-like character portrayals), David Jansen and Oskar Werner?

Even if none of the above virtues appeal (and I cannot imagine that they wouldn't), Shoes of the Fisherman is an enthralling peek into the workings of the Vatican and the election of a new Pope. This would have been the perfect movie to show during the election of John Paul II (who was, indeed, the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 was the character elected Pope in the movie), and after his death when the recent Pope was elected. Step-by-step, the viewer is taken through the election process, which is made all the more poignant by the characters and the intertwining of their lives.

One doesn't have to be a Catholic to enjoy Shoes of the Fisherman. I am not, and find myself watching it at again and again. It is a well-crafted film, splendidly acted, beautifully scored and WELL worth a look-see.


Hopalong Cassidy, Vol. 1
Hopalong Cassidy, Vol. 1
DVD ~ William Boyd
Price: $6.99
27 used & new from $0.97

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Family Affair, November 8, 2005
This review is from: Hopalong Cassidy, Vol. 1 (DVD)
As a child I was in love with TV westerns. Actually, I was in love with horses. I was also fickle. One day it was Trigger, Roy Roger's palomino...then it was Champion, Autry's mount. Silver, Scout, Diablo, Loco all made their bids for my heart, but one big white horse had it always. He was Topper and he was ridden by Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd), hard-working foreman of the Bar 20 Ranch.

I not only watched Hoppy and Topper faithfully, but was able to go on the sets and sometimes location to watch them shoot the episodes. My great uncle was Sherman L. Lowe, and he wrote many of the Hoppy episodes (he also did Ramar of the Jungle, Gene Autry, and the Cisco Kid...and penned the movie "Cat Man of Paris"...but we don't admit to the latter in polite society ;) )

As a devoted niece, it falls upon me to laud my great uncle (and he often reminded me how great he was!) It couldn't have been easy grinding out all those horse operas, but he loved it, and I think he did himself proud. Of all the westerns on early TV, Hopalong Cassidy was my favorite, and remains so today. The show was well directed, full of action, and starred a man who never over-played his role, and still won the hearts of his viewers. (Oh, did I mention that MANY episodes were VERY well-written?)

Seriously, though...if you are a fan of the 40's and 50's TV westerns, you can't go wrong with Hopalong Cassidy. The show made the most of what it was, and never let the viewers down. Action, adventure, and a big white horse... Ahhhhhhh...that's MY kind of western!

(How'd I do, Uncle Sherm?)

A Child's Christmas in Wales
A Child's Christmas in Wales
DVD ~ Denholm Elliott
Offered by ITS Goods Online
Price: $173.98
16 used & new from $11.43

70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Gem, October 31, 2005
This review is from: A Child's Christmas in Wales (DVD)
I am really surprised that it took so long for "A Child's Christmas in Wales" to appear on DVD. The piece is an extraordinary immersion in nostalgia, which can be appreciated by all everyone who remembers what it's like to be a child at Christmastime.

The casting is perfection, the settings spot-on, and Dylan Thomas' work comes alive vividly before your eyes.

So well does this film conjure the savory smells coming from the Christmas-Day kitchen, when all the women are busy preparing the meal, that one's mouth waters. We can't help but laugh at the uncles, who having stuffed themselves to capacity, loosen their belts and fall asleep in that fine sleeping time post-revelry. And then there is that wonderful moment, at the end of the day, when Christmas carols are sung and a weary child is tucked into bed, head still full of Christmas pleasures...

"A Child's Christmas in Wales" is a warm and poignant treat for the senses and for the heart. I give it five stars enthusiastically, and look forward to our annual viewing. It has become a family tradition.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2011 10:18 AM PST

The Lady in White
The Lady in White
DVD ~ Lukas Haas
Offered by Paradise Falls DVD
Price: $44.99
18 used & new from $16.54

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classy Haunting, September 25, 2005
This review is from: The Lady in White (DVD)
"Lady in White" is a must-have for anyone who loves a truly GOOD ghost story.

Told through the eyes of a child - now an adult - the story opens with the grown child revisiting his hometown. Now a successful writer, the adult-who-was-the-child begins to spin a rich account of his life as a child, concentrating especially on one fateful Halloween and the life-altering events that followed.

The boy, Frankie, brilliantly played by Lukas Haas, is the youngest of a loving Italian family, including his father, his grandparents, and his older brother, his mother having passed away some time before.

It would not be fair to potential viewers to go into a detailed account of the story, as the unfolding of the plot is a large part of the tension so wonderfully achieved all through this haunted chiller. I shall just say that there ARE, indeed, ghosts, and it is, truly, SCARY.

Beautifully scripted, excellently acted...a real treat for those who appreciate a good ghost tale!

The Village
The Village
19 used & new from $10.93

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Brilliant, September 25, 2005
This review is from: The Village (Audio CD)
Let me first say that I was not a fan of the movie "The Village". I felt it felt sadly short of the hype that heralded it. The soundtrack, however, is another thing entirely.

"The Village" soundtrack is brilliant...compellingly evocative...almost achingly so. It is one of those rare soundtracks one can put on and listen to all the way through...and enjoy. I head a writer's workshop, and we recently used the score as the backdrop for an assignment. The music brought forth amazing imagery from everyone.

I can't say enough about this soundtrack...but I can say that if you love music, you are missing a true treat if you do not own this CD.

Summertime (The Criterion Collection)
Summertime (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Katharine Hepburn
Price: $20.15
21 used & new from $12.60

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah, Venice...Ah, Rossano..., September 21, 2005
In spite of the plethora of tourists milling about like geese waking up on a new morning, and in spite of the garbage being dumped daily into the canals, Venice remains a perfect city for romance. Certainly Katharine Hepburn finds this true in the charming screen romance "Summertime".

But then...who would not fall in love with such a city? A city of canals, gondolas, ancient history, art treasures, and Rossano Brazzi (who, by the way, is simply delicious in this role).

The locations are perfect, the unlikely pairing of Hepburn and Brazzi is brilliant, and the to swoon for. "Summertime" is a beautifully crafted film, worth adding to any collection, especially if the collector is a Hepburn fan, a Brazzi fan a romance fan, or a fan of Venice.

If you enjoy a good escape and long for a REAL romance, this is the film for you. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Now, I must go open the Chianti. Ciao.

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