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on March 29, 2011
I always tend to think of Van Morrison as the King of Quirk, but this record serves as a reminder that he's at least commercial enough to become something of a staple on movie soundtracks. And no, I haven't seen half the movies referenced on VAN MORRISON AT THE MOVIES--haven't even heard of some of 'em--but no matter. Point is, filmmakers know that Van has something that resonates with audiences. Besides this collection works on its own terms, and pretty much winds up making its own mental movie. It's hard to think of anyone whose music is more "cinematic" in its scope and imagery. He's always played on my own personal interior soundtrack anyway--even when I couldn't always follow the plot.

But why this collection over other anthologies or "best of" packages? Well, as others have stressed, this one's worth it (and for some fans will be absolutely essential) if only for the live versions of "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Moondance," which don't necessarily eclipse the well known originals, but do add new dimensions to them. Also among the live tracks are the riveting take on "Caravan" from THE LAST WALTZ) AND the closer, "Comfortably Numb" from the 1991 Berlin production of THE WALL. The former is just sheer magic. I remember seeing that movie and just gaping at what I was witnessing on that screen. I've never seen anybody that ON before.

As for "Comfortably Numb," that track is officially a duet with Roger Waters, of course--and it is Waters' song--but Van's impassioned vocal breathes new life into what was rapidly becoming a countercultural warhorse. We'd had the original album, the movie and a decade and a half of hearing it on Classic Rock Radio. Waters probably couldn't pass up to perform THE WALL in post-Cold War Berlin, but bringing in the guest artists was probably a must by that point. And including Van the Man was an inspired choice. When the song opens, Roger's doing his standard remote ironic thing. The exciting new element is Van's (relatively)quiet fire vocal. I know guitar enthusiasts also get excieted about the contributions of guest guitarists Snowy White and Rick DiFonzo, and yeah, they provide some exciting moments.

But it's Van's presence that (re)defines the song.

The classic Morrison R&B numbers are almost exactly what you'd expect: "Gloria," and "Baby Please Don't Go" from the the Them era. "Domino," "Jackie Wilson Said," "Real Real Gone," (the song which proved Van knew what EVERYBODY said, and not just Jackie Wilson). They're great, but so are the ballads: I just read, while googling about the other day, that "Queen of the Slipstream" was a favorite song of the late Farrah Fawcett and was featured in a documentary about her facing cancer. I don't know why, but for some reason I found that touching. I hope it brought her real comfort. In fact, I'm sure it did. The guy's got the touch.

I could go on about the individual tracks. But mainly, I love this record just for the sequencing, one where flow is much more important that mere chronology (just like in concert, yeah). If you're old fashioned enough to listen to CD's straight through, you'll find it holds together beautifully.

'Course it's not so bad on random select either. And I don't imagine you downloaders will be too unhappy with just the occasional individual track. But it appears Van and crew put real thought into this collection. You'll see some of these songs in a new light--even if you didn't see the movie.
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on April 23, 2007
Over the course of a career spanning forty years Van Morrison has released, by my count, thirty-seven albums. In one format or another I have about twenty of them. Thus, when I read that the man had released At The Movies I thought to myself "do I really need this?" After all, I count only three tracks on this cd that I don't have else ware. I suspect that my reaction was not uncommon. Well, having listened to the cd a couple of times, my answer is "no - I don't really need this - but I'm very happy to have it!"

I don't think that the song selection could be improved. All of the usual suspects are here, Gloria, Brown-Eyed Girl, Moondance, Domino, Jackie Wilson Said, Wild Night, Into the Mystic. However, there are also a few lesser known gems. Of the nineteen songs five are live or re-recorded. Particularly notable is the terrific Comfortably Numb with Roger Waters. Accordingly, although not usually a fan of "greatest hits" packages, I heartily recommend this release to both long-standing fans and those who are only slightly acquainted with the artist. You will not be disappointed.
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on April 1, 2007
On one hand its just another Van compilation including many of the same songs previously released on "best of" releases. But, it also includes some different performances of familar songs including a number of live performances that are outstanding. Sound quality is improved over the original CD releases of the previous 2 "best of" CD's. I love the live Domino, Moondance and of course, Caravan live from The Last Waltz. The re-recorded version of Brown Eyed Girl is nice and surprisingly doesn't deviate as much from the original as you would expect. Even as a movie soundtrack of Van Morrison its not complete. I noticed one missing great song; I Will Be Your Lover, Too from the Street Choir CD.

All in all its a very enjoyable and thankfully different compilation for those of us who already own the best of Van. As for new people looking to get a brief, initial overview of Van's music, I think it works well as a single CD compilation. It will most likely make you want to explore other areas of his vast catalog. And that is a good thing!
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VINE VOICEon February 16, 2007
If you are in the market to own just one Van Morrison CD collection, Van Morrison "At The Movies", is the disc for you. This cd combines 19 tracks from all phases of his long distinguished career. The Irish soul man has never sounded better with remastered clarity, that makes this the choice over "Greatest Hits Vol-1 & Vol-2. This cd actually combines the best of those two collections and more. His classic gems from the "Them" days "Gloria", and "Baby Please Don't Go", are included here as well. His reworking of "Brown Eyed Girl", proves he has not lost anything from those vocal chords. His live take on "Caravan" from the "Last Waltz", is one of the finest live recordings ever. Lots of modern gems here as well, like 'Days Like This", "Real Real Gone", and the "Bright Side Of The Road". The real treat on this collection however, is the inclusion of his collaboration with Pink Floyds Roger Waters, on "Comfotably Numb", which was recorded live in Berlin in 1986 and features Rick Danko and Levon Helm. Some outstanding ballads are here as well like, "Someone Like You", "Have I Told You Lately", "Wonderful Remark", and "Hungry For Your Love". Considering the price and the fantastic content of this cd, I consider this cd essential to everyone who is both new to Van Morrison music and to well seasoned fans who would like to add a career retrospective not available until now. It doesn't get any better than this.
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on September 30, 2015
I have always admired Van Morrison as a prolific original. This album is an odd compilation of many if his major hits, but you can get them from the Best of VM. The live version of Moon Dance here is brilliant, which led me to buy the disc. But I would have just bought the single song if I had listened to the entire album first. Just not great in its entirety. But VM still reigns supreme, in my mind.
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on February 18, 2007
I'm a huge Van Morrison fan - I own everything he has ever released as well as just about every bootleg, too. With that said, when I first saw this release on the schedule I thought "Oh, I'll already own all of that stuff, so I can probably forgo buying it."

Well, I was wrong. Yes, most of the stuff on this has already been released, but if you are a Van completist, you'll need this CD. First of all, it has a couple of live versions you might not already own. But most importantly, there is a re-recorded version of "Brown Eyed Girl" that is essential. It is not better than the now 40-year-old original radio chestnut, but it is great to hear Van's mature voice on this awesome song.

And if you are a casual Van fan then this is as good a place to start as Van's Best of CD.
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on September 2, 2015
Must have for Van Morrison fans! I'm not a fan of Roger Watters/Pink Floyd, but track 19, "Comfortably Numb" is a great experience with Van & Roger together, the rest of the songs are all the best of Van's classics. Love this CD
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on September 14, 2017
Great Find!
A Must Have 4 A Van Morrison CD Collector.
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on March 21, 2007
Since I don't watch many modern movies, I was unaware that any of these songs featured in one. But even though I had heard and already had on CD most of what is on At The Movies, I decided to get it anyway because I wanted to hear the few live cuts I hadn't yet heard. Yes, I've read the complaints in the music press about Van getting lazy by issuing yet another compilation but its my view that you can never get too much Van Morrison.

I like the whole CD with the exception of Wonderful Remark which I never cared for. Beyond that, what you get when you buy this is a handy and quick Van Morrison fix when you just can't decide which of his albums you want to hear. Van newbies also get a broad overview of his career which touches on the first three-quarters of it. I won't say these songs are the highlights of that career because most aren't, but with the exception of the one I don't care for I would say that they are all good and worthy examples of Morrison's songcraft.

Long-time fans might ask if the few live songs are enough to make you want to open your wallet. Well, at this price and the amount of music you are getting, what are you waiting for?
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on August 6, 2016
A great collection of Soundtrack hits done by Van Morrison, some I didn't even know he had done.
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