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Mr. M. M. Waller "Maximus" (England)

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Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC)
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, Licence Card, 1 User (PC)
Price: 94.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting garbage!, 23 Sep 2013
This is a total swindle and immoral product. Everyone I know laughs at me if I tell them I use it. I'm appalled by the price for such a rubbish package.

Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Price: 31.71

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Butterfly Collector & One Fine Del Los Angeles", 19 Jan 2011
I'm going to put my neck on the proverbial chopping board and lay down the claim that this is the best Madama Butterfly on record. Having listened extensively to all the greats from Toti Del Monte/Serafin to Callas/Karajan to Tebaldi/Serafin, Leinsdorf/Price, De Los Angeles/Barbirolli and of course the glorious Ocean Liner of Butterfly recordings, Karajan & Freni/Pavarotti I have finally come to my epiphany.

Yes the sound is a little restricted and the voices are recorded right up close, but no sonic limitations can reduce the impact of the drama served up by Victoria, Giuseppe & Tito here. There is a momentum to this recording which cannot be matched anywhere else on record. It is fluid yet graceful. It intoxicates but never dwells in self reflection. It captures the oriental influence of Puccini's score perfectly and reaches the climaxes naturally and with tremendous impact. Of all the recordings it is the one that breaks my heart the most. Who would have thought that Gavazzeni would be the conductor who so comprehesively serves the score without affectation but with complete dedication. It is a miracle and even De Los Angeles live recording with Kempe cannot match it for overall execution. The prelude to act three has never been more immediate. It is compelling in the way that tragedy should be.

808s & Heartbreak [Digipack]
808s & Heartbreak [Digipack]
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purple Sodium Sonic Shower., 22 Nov 2010
Bridging the journey from Graduation's "Street Lights" to "My Dark Twisted Fantasy", "808'S & Heartbreak" is a woefully underated mood album that in its genre is comparable to Sinatra's "In The Wee Small Hours". From the mournful cries of "Say You Will" to "Coldest Winter", Kanye's deployment of the justly derided auto-tune is turned into something quite magical here. Kanye's half human/half computer vocalisations become poignant, disturbing and intimate in a way that no other artist would have thought to have used. His increasing depersonalisation as his emotional disintegration threatens to destroy his celebrity avatar is compelling. Lurking in the shadows of heartbreak with his then fiancee Alexis Phifer and the death of his Mother, Donda, 808'S & Heartbreak charts his loss and seperation of two people closest to him. In his private despair the album takes on the atmosphere of a personal confession. It's a brave album that stands out amongst all other commercial albums of 2008.

57 - in Concert (Gold
57 - in Concert (Gold

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Live and Swingin ... ", 13 April 2010
This review is from: 57 - in Concert (Gold (Audio CD)
This is one of those moments when you just have to say WOW in double caps. It's one of the greatest displays of Sinatra as singer, actor and comedian. What an amazing man. His humanity always shines through his more bitter moments. And what would Frankie be without his dark side anyway. He trails blazes through the capitol songbook like an olympic swimmer gliding through sparkling blue water. He is in his element here and note perfect. His perfection was not just contained within the studio, he took it with him wherever he went. A genius no doubt, but also the man who allowed the 2nd half of the 20th century to recognise the greatness of the Tin Pan Alley poets who owe Sinatra big. He took the songs from many a flimsy vehicle and turned it into grand opera. I have many live concerts of Frank's which I truly love, but Seattle 57 is the master in his element, riding high on the crest of success and loving every minute of it.

Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog (Penguin Classics)
Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog (Penguin Classics)
by Jerome K. Jerome
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There will always be an England., 11 April 2010
As a confirmed Hyperchondriac as well as a born again Englishman I can quite happily say that this is a bible for anyone looking to truly understand the complexities of the British psyche. All our foibles, our delibertaions, our occassional skirmishes with sentimentality, our gentle romantic philosophising and our love for nature are laid out in this incredible masterpiece of Victorian literature.

Having suffered for many years with health anxiety, a condition which doesn't prompt much sympathy from non sufferers "Three Men In A Boat" offered truly profound consolidation. Jerome K Jerome encapsualtes the neurosis of the condition and the hilarity of its self propigating nature within the first 3 pages. It's the funniest three pages in the whole of world literature. It never fails to lift my spirits and help me put my phantom "conditions" into perspective.

As the three men embark on what should be a relatively straightforward boating expedition events turn out to become an odyssey quite as perilous as any greek myth or adventure story.

But it's the serene musings on nature that I find most extraordinary. The novel is not wholly comic, there is great profundity offered here also and that is what helps it beyond being just an amusing commentary on bumbling english folk, messing around on river banks.

In fact, riverbanks always reminds me of that other great English classic Kenneth Graheme's "The Wind In The Willows" with its lyrical passages that encapsulate a similar spirit. Toad, Ratty and Mole would not seem out of place in this world of idle romanticism and tomfoolery.

A perfect double bill then. Both books offer us a nature on a page and what a lot of pages there are to enjoy in these odes to Mother Earth.

Eyes Wide Shut (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1999]
Eyes Wide Shut (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Offered by Sent2u
Price: 6.50

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Eyes Wide Open", 6 April 2010
The seventh commandment tells us "Thou Shalt not commit adultury" and so Kubrick's Swan Song has left us with an ambigous moral dilemma. When is adultury commited ? When it's real ? Or when it's fantasy ?

It's the same dilemma that plagued Tom Ewell's and his "fantasy" affair with Marily Monroe in Billy Wilder's "The Seven Year Itch." It seems ironic in retrospect that Billy Wilder was originally planning to film the book "Dream Story" by Arthur Schnitzler on which "EWS" is adapated .

It was spookily apt to cast Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the roles of Dr Hartman and his wife Alice, a Rich Park Avenue couple who's marriage is unhinged by Kidman's late night confession of adultury to her husband. This intimate revelation quickly propels Cruise on his very own own erotic odyssey. And so, as in life, as in art, the same question marks which hang over Dr Hartman and his Wife's marriage in fiction hang over Cruise and Kidman's relationship in reality.

Kubrick has created his very own New York for this film where his characters exist in a twilight world of twinkling christmas lights which adorn both Zielger's Christmas Party and Dr Hartford's lonely office and finally his home where ultimately we are reminded of the fragility of the family ideal at christmas, a time of both light and darkness.

But where in his pantheon will this film be placed amongst Kubrick's numerous masterpieces ? Time can only tell, but for the meantime the Master's left us with this curious adult fairy tale which will linger in our minds long after we close our eyes.

Ninotchka [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Ninotchka [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Greta Garbo
Price: 8.61

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "They wouldn't let me in so I had to get you out.", 3 April 2010
Lubitsch is a genius there's no doubt about that, but I feel he reached the summit of his ambitions with this masterpiece. The screenplay of Ninotchka is truly one of the greatest by Brackett and Wilder. The seduction scene alone is worth the "price of admission". If you ever need tips on how to seduce a russian commissaire then watch Melvyn Douglas as he marvels at the austere beauty of Greta Garbo's greatest character. Any conversation that includes, "communism, captialism, corneas, polish lancers and the line "do you want to see my wound?" has to be worth its weight in diamonds.

Everything about this romantic comedy is extraordinary. The political observations that weigh up the pros and cons of captialism vs communism are done so deftly you probably wouldn't even need to know who Lenin was to enjoy it.

But the most profound message in this film is that whenever a group of Russians scoundrels such as Iranoff, Bulijanoff and Kalpalski are sent on errands by their humourless employers they do more for the good of Mother Russia by spreading their humour, their zest for life and other attributes across the globe.

A key scene toward the end of the film summarises the film's sublime philosophy when Melvyn Douglas says to Garbo ...

"If you don't stay with me, I'll have to continue my fight. I'll travel wherever Russian commissions are. I'll turn them all into Buljanoffs, Iranoffs, and Kopalskis. The world will be crowded with Russian restaurants. I'll depopulate Russia. Once you saved your country by going back. This time you can save it by staying here."

The idea that the individual is a microcosm of society and can take its society with them wherever he or she travels is a powerful concept. It was once said that if the whole of France burned down in one night it could be reconstructed simply by watching Renoir's "The Rules of the Game". Well I feel that way about people. And perhaps if we all accepted this blissful idea then there would be less wars and conflicts in the world.

"Lovers of the world unite. We won't stretch up our arms, we won't clench our fists. Our salute will be a kiss. Yes a kiss, salute!"

Mad Men - Complete Season 2 [DVD]
Mad Men - Complete Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jon Hamm
Price: 11.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Knight Returns ..., 13 Mar 2010
With Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, it's alright" still echoing in my mind's chamber from the sublime finale to season 1, I was just about ready to return to Sterling Cooper for the second season of Mad Men. And seamlessly we drift back into the ad agency where Don and Betty's "secret lives" threaten to overturn their seemingly stable, professional lives.

Don is becoming more and more caught in the duality of his various identities and Betty is slowly finding her feet as an independent woman. As Tammy Wynette once wrote, "sometimes it's hard to be a woman" and so it proves as Betty finds herself still at odds with the overbearingly chauvinistic New York.

There are too many reasons to love this show. It's basically perfect. Even when you think it's caught in a mid town malaise it comes back for a finale with a upper west side cut. If Don Draper isn't the greatest male role model for modern men then I don't know who is. Move over Tony Soprano, the Dark Knight's back in town.

Symphony No 1, Intro And Allegro (Barbirolli, Halle Orch.)
Symphony No 1, Intro And Allegro (Barbirolli, Halle Orch.)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Elgar's 1st and Barbirolli's last", 9 Feb 2010
The strings in the adagio shimmer like the River Severn on a late autumn afternoon. My heart swells as I hear the notes of this symphony rise and fall like beautiful breaths. This music is the most profound an Englishman ever composed, the score, a sacred sunset. If pressed to join the juvenile debate about Elgar vs Vaughan Williams, then I will err on the side of Elgar. My defence in the Court of Music will be his 1st symphony and my testimony will be this recording. How moving to hear Sir John lead his beloved Halle through death's dark valley with this immortal piece. The love imbued in his final rendering of Elgar's masterpiece is so overwhelming that I'm surprised the cockney Maestro didn't pass away immediately after the final note was played out, like the tide on a moonlit night.

A Short Film About Love [DVD] [1988]
A Short Film About Love [DVD] [1988]
Dvd ~ Grazyna Szapolowska
Price: 7.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Kieslowski's Rear Window", 9 Feb 2010
This film makes me instantly nostalgic for 1980's Poland. I've never been to that country they call the "European Tiger" but such is the power of Kieslowski's film making that he captures something about his native country which reaches through the camera into our very heart and soul. When I watch his Polish based films, I feel like I'm a native, not just some tourist cineaste on vaccation for the duration of the film's running time.

Another thing that strikes me about this film after repeated viewings is the humanity of Kieslowski. He allows you to identify with Tomek in a way that is totally authentic and honest. There's no hiding the slightly creepy "Peeping Tom" aspect of his nature, no doubt born out of loneliness, but so too we recognise his basic goodness. And what is also effective is that we're spying on Tomek ourselves so we've intrinsically become voyeurs ourselves. We watch Tomek's every move as he watches Magda in her apartment and we share his pain and joy as he charts her life from the window in his room.

The music is a big part of how we understand the film's heartbeat. Preisner, a movie composer par excellence is at his very best with this beautifully modest film. His music here recalls the adagio from Mozart's Piano Concerto 23. The guitar strings that express the main theme are almost as delicate as the sound of Tomek's heart breaking when Magda humiliates him in her apartment.

"A Short Film About Love" would make a great double bill with Hitchcock's "Rear Window". Both films are lovingly made by two directors at the very pinnacle of their powers and whether we be in Hitchcock's studio rendering of Greenwich Village or Kieslowski's authentic Warsaw, both absorb us with their use of story and location. Both films are love letters to the medium of cinema and the fact that so much action takes place in stationary settings only heightens the brilliant ingenuity of both directors.

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