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Verdi - La Traviata / Sutherland, Pavarotti, Manuguerra, NPO, Bonynge
Verdi - La Traviata / Sutherland, Pavarotti, Manuguerra, NPO, Bonynge
Price: £21.19

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raise your joyous chalices to Dame Joan Sutherland, 28 Feb. 2002
Joan Sutherland has often been critiscised as "swalloing her vowel sounds and slurring her consonants". Whilst she does seemingly do this, her diction is not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. Diction aside, her singing, espeically in this recording of "La Traviata" is fautless, each not is hit with ear splitting precision, however not only is this recording (especially Sempre Libera) a superb showcase for the human voice, embodied by both stars, but it is also a perfect example of the amazing results produced by a conductor attentive not only to the score but to the differing stlyes of the singers. Perhaps being married to the star is an unfair advantage, but the result justifies this!
When listening to this recording I am contiunally in awe of Dame Joan Sutherland, her voice is/was on a completely different level to the leading sopranos of today, elegant, refined, yet keenly aware of the dramatic merit of what is being sung without over emphasis. It is widely acknowledged that nobody can ever hope to reach the levels of recognition set by Maria Callas, yet Joan Sutherland - recognised by Callas as a superb singer, is a very close second.
In my opinion, having listened to other recordings of "La Traviata" this is the definitive, better than Sutherland's earlier, yet perfectly admirable recording, and better than Angela Gheorghiu's attempt at the role. Gheorghiu's "Sempre Libera" is overdone, and vocally uncontrolled - whilst this conveys the emotion the peice is difficult to listen to. In the recorded form of any musical dramatic work a healthy balance between emotion and elegance must be struck, this balance is perfectly hit by Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti.
Dominic Mattos

French Kiss [VHS] [1995]
French Kiss [VHS] [1995]
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £9.98

1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If the breath is bad in the first place, the kiss is rubbish, 8 Mar. 2001
This is an interesting movie. It takes absolute sentimental drivvle as its theme. It then combines this with an unconvincing over the top performance by Mr Klein, and Meg Ryan's usual portrayal of the watery female.
This film did however make me laugh on several occasions, and laughter is generally desirable in a comedy.
Final comments from me are that this is a feelgood movie, with an uninteresting plot, and flawfull characterisation from the cast.
This film goes to show that pots of money and big names, don't necessarily make good movies.
Dominic Mattos

Bette of Roses
Bette of Roses
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.26

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm gonna listen to Bette's Bette of roses!, 1 Mar. 2001
This review is from: Bette of Roses (Audio CD)
This album is not the tpye of album we all expect from Bette Midler. Though it contains ballads in her trademark style, there is something more mature and quite frankly better about this album than the slightly sentimental 'Wind Beneath my wings' (which though I do love, it can be a little too slushy!!). Bette reaches new vocal heights with this album, and the quite amazing song 'Let this be the last time' demonstrates new and experimental vocal levels which pay off. Also the incredibly moving 'To comfort you' which is - for me - the best song of the album. This album is a rare thing - it combines a diverse range of songs, which explore love and life, and it also combines different vocal stlyes. However though these songs are diverse they are all held together by their subject matter and by the talent of Bette Midler. I think this album is slightly overlooked - don't overlook it, treasure it!!

A Midsummer Night's Dream [VHS] [1999]
A Midsummer Night's Dream [VHS] [1999]
Offered by rdowns33
Price: £4.23

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ill met by any light, Hollywood desecration, 8 Feb. 2001
As is evident from my preamble I do not have the greatest respect for this Hollywood mish mash of Shakespeare's masterpiece.
If you are looking for a faithful representation in film of 'the dream' then you will be disappointed, the film lacks any insight into the text and lacks a true grasp of the language and humour of the play. I think the director went for the 'airy fairy happy skippy' interpretation of the play ignoring the baser and more sinister aspects of the play, such as Oberon and Titania's fight and the true and gritty nastiness of the fairy realm.
This film does however provide very good entertainment, with good performances from Kevin Klein and the majority of the cast. This film however is not the play I know and love. The mechanicals just were not funny. The mechanicals play overlooked time honoured gags that make it hilarious and Thisbe's death seemed more like a heartfelt sincere death of a character in an Austrailian soap than the farsical play acting of a man in drag. Having played the part of Flute myself I was not impressed!!!
The only thing that saves this film for me is that it is feelgood entertainment, though it would have given Shakespeare a heart attack it is watchable and that's what slightly redeems it for me.
Dominic Mattos.

Big Business [VHS]
Big Business [VHS]

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Big Business, Big costumes, Big jokes, Big acting, Big laugh, 7 Feb. 2001
This review is from: Big Business [VHS] (VHS Tape)
To be honest this film is quite corny, it has a farily predictable plot as well as a slightly clichéd script.
HOWEVER.It is a formula that, though predictable, works. It is a film that is very very funny. The comic timing of the two principal actresses is excellent, and the supporting cast also provide hearty and comedic performances that add to the general revelry of the film.
There are several hilariously funny scenes in this film, which coupled with the tried and tested 'mistaken identity' plot make 'Big Business' a film to watch over and over again.
Other points to note on this film;
The production is good. It is a classic 80's film - making it fresh and optimistic, even though the plot has be used many a time. The comic acting of Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin is excellent, Tomlin holds her ground very well next to Bette!!!
This film has a 3 star rating because;
-the film is a little predictable
- the script is a little clichéd

Outrageous Fortune [VHS] [1987]
Outrageous Fortune [VHS] [1987]
Offered by Discountdiscs-UK : Dispatched daily from the UK.
Price: £2.49

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bette but still well worth a whirl ;-), 3 Feb. 2001
I wouldn't say this is a bad film but...
Sometimes the script is a little dubious,with a gallon or two of clichés, which are still I may add made funny by Bette Midler and Shelly Long.
With a loose and slightly saggy script this movie still manages to be highly watchable, with many very funny moments and a dazzling screen chemistry between Long and Midler.
The wardrobe is a funny as the lines!!!!
However, for me, as always Bette Midler steals the show with her nefarious tongue and stunningly accurate comic timimg!

For The Boys [VHS] (1991)
For The Boys [VHS] (1991)
Offered by Discountdiscs-UK : Dispatched daily from the UK.
Price: £4.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sit down, shut up, buy this film!!, 3 Feb. 2001
Well, this was Bette's other oscar nomination, and she should have got the award!!!
This film is as others have said about two wartime entertainers, who are now, in the present day picking up lifetime acheivment awards.
As the story of Dixie's life develops we see a touching and moving story with excellent acting by Bette Midler and her supporting cast. This film has comedy, tradgedy, drama and action. It is a great film with a great soundtrack.
Buy it.

Beaches [VHS] [1989]
Beaches [VHS] [1989]
Offered by pkeylock
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I need not say much but..., 3 Dec. 2000
This review is from: Beaches [VHS] [1989] (VHS Tape)
Beaches, as detailed in other reviews is the story of two girls for which a chance meeting starts a lasting friendship.
This film is superbly acted, and dialogue is interspersed with songs sung in the way only Bette Midler can sing them.
The acting in this film is excellent from all parties, espesically, Barbara Hershey and Bette Midler.
This film, although deemed "melodramatic and sentimental" by stuffy critics, is astronomically good. It is fitting that it launched Bette Midler's producing career and relaunched her musical career with the US number one "wind beneath my wings".
Buy and enjoy it, buy the soundtrack too, it's great.
- Dominic Mattos

The Rose [VHS] [1979]
The Rose [VHS] [1979]
Offered by VideoHeavenDVD
Price: £2.99

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was Bette's first Rose, 3 Dec. 2000
This review is from: The Rose [VHS] [1979] (VHS Tape)
Bette's first ever film. I cannot really think of how to describe this movie. In essence it gives a story of a conglomerate character that represents many of the female 'go for broke' rock stars of the 70's. Most recognisably Janis Joplin.
The Rose (Midler) needs a break from performing, and in due course promises her new partner that after she plays her home town she will take a year out and get sober. The Rose later realises that her love of performing is too great for a year out. Her partner leaves her and she takes every pill, every drug she can find, and then collapses on stage in a highly dramatic almost disturbing final scene.
I realise as I read back over the few lines of utter garbage that I have written that I will never be able to express my feelings about this film in words, it is a film that has to be watched.
As Bette Midler's greatest fan, all I can say is that her acting is flawless. I have seen films such as "that old feeling" and "outrageous fortune" in which everyone including our dear Bette is very over the top and I was quite shocked when I saw "The Rose". Bette's acting is true and gritty realism, she deserved the golden globe and she should have got the Oscar.
One last remark, if you are expecting a "CC Bloom" character from this film, um... DON'T!!!!
Buy this film otherwise Fr Christmas will realise you have been naughty and will never bring you presents again!!!!
Dominic Mattos

Gypsy [VHS] [1993]
Gypsy [VHS] [1993]
Offered by qualityfilmsfromuk
Price: £9.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honey everything's come up roses for Bette and Bette fans, 19 Nov. 2000
This review is from: Gypsy [VHS] [1993] (VHS Tape)
OK well Bette fans if you do not own this, then are you really a decent enough Bette fan.
As Midler herself says in the video 'Diva las Vegas' "the most fun I ever had was when I got to do Mama Rose in Gypsy". Midler's performance certainly demonstrates this intense enthuisiasm for the role and how could anyone fail to wish to see the boradway phenomenon of the 1950's brought back to life by one of the world's greates superstars?
From Bette's very first line in this we know that Gyspy is going to be a film to enjoy time after time, Midler's performance is comedic, poigniant, forceful and quite frankly amazing. Who would have thought that Ethel Merman's role could ever be played as well as Ethel Merman played it, but Better Midler is astounding.
Though the start of this may seem slow, it is made up for by the extremely poigniant 'Rose's Turn' the finale to the musical in which Bette Midler demonstrates that she really is worthy of the title 'superstar'.
All I can say is that you must buy this, must must must must must.
Further Ratings (out of five stars)
Bette Midler's performance: 5 Other major performances: 5
Dominic Mattos

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