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Jerry (Celil) Parker (Abitibi region of Québec)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Total Calamity Foreseen and Depicted Then, and More Likely and Immiment Now, 28 July 2015
I first read Nevil Shute's novel, "On the Beach", years ago, back in the late 1950s, while (or very shortly after) it still was on the bestsellers list. Its pessimistic message about humanity's fate in a full-out nuclear war still resonates. In fact, things have become infinitely worse with the proliferation and power of nuclear weapons' capabilities since the time at which this novel was published. Things are worse than those nuclear times of the 1950s now in the late 20th and early 21st century as nuclear power industry accidents of the scale of Chernobyl and especially of Fukushima have occurred (and, to be assured, as ominous geo-engineering feats wreak their own damage, as well, to add their part to damaging the biosphere). The latter of those nuclear accidents, still uncontained (as of these words in late July 2015) and likely never to be halted by human means, threatens, month by month, year by year, to poison not only the North Pacific Ocean, but the entire Northern Hemisphere, land, sky, and all oceans, seas, and watercourses alike. If eventually the murderous pollution from Fukushima, however gradually, seep into the Southern Hemisphere, the historic scenario, indeed, may resemble that of Shute's fictional one.

Don't rely on either or both of the movies based upon this work to convey fully enough Nevil Shute's catastrophic vision. They both are worth seeing, of course, and each covers various aspects of the book in its own way. However, there is a lean and fatalistic yet tender quality to Shute's "On the Beach" that neither movie portrays quite adequately enough. The social breakdown that occurs in the novel as mass death spreads from the Northern Hemisphere down into the Southern one, into, specifically, Australia, is something that the book depicts much more chillingly and relentlessly than either of the movies does so. Of course, all ends, in any of these versions, monographic or cinematic, hopelessly with the end of human and animal life on the planet. Read the book!


A Serious Man [DVD]
A Serious Man [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Stuhlbarg
Price: £4.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Earnest Soul Strives to Be a "Serious Man", Like His Surely Fornicating Wife's Homely New Lover, 14 Mar. 2015
This review is from: A Serious Man [DVD] (DVD)
Here is a movie that is gently hilarious (if that even be conceivable!) but in a loving and usually quite tenderly understated manner. In 1967 the father, Larry, of a middle class Jewish Midwestern (Minneapolis area) family, is an earnest man whom misfortune besets, often to considerable financial as well as personal worry, in terrible but cinematically humourous ways. His run of bad luck sets in at the movie's outset when Larry's wife Judith demands a ritual divorce to marry anew, to his frumpish colleague Sy, who is reputed to be "a serious man" ("really?" the viewer cannot help but to ask himself), but who has been "cattin' around" with Judith. Further along, among much, much else, occurs Larry's son Danny's bar mitzvah, in which the 13 year-old boy participates, in a dazed stupor, while "stoned" on marijuana. So it goes, through a miscellany of merriment (for the viewer, not for Larry) throughout this motion picture, right the very end (as the ever-earnest husband and father is informed that he just may have some dreadful ailment, the nature of which the film does not reveal as it draws thereupon to a very "up-in-the-air" conclusion. Larry's problems are, variously, marital and familial, professional, legal, financial, at times riotously physical, and so on -- and on. Well, at least things never are quite so awful as they are in the nightmares that plague Larry's sleep!

Nothing much of any of this resolves itself. What goes on in the film is to pile one peculiar incongruity upon more of the same for the entire length of it. I suppose that many viewers will find the movie baffling or mystifying. Certainly, it helps to be some kind of, or at least to be some degree of, Jewish to understand all of this, or otherwise to have other familiarity with Jewish culture and folkways. In my own case, I can say that it is partly due to the "mischling" nature of the step-family in which I grew up, exceedingly repressed partly-Jewish Protestants, among a more extended family which, back In Thuringia, collectively had renounced Judaism in the decade or so preceding the First World War, not long before most of them would start to migrate to North America. They essentially had become (albeit spottily) Lutherans, with the edges of their forbears' renounced Jewishness often popping out in their own behaviour and conversation in the most unexpected ways and places. That background makes me feel like some sort of partial insider to all of this Yiddish madness; I also possess (and have read and listened to) a quite large amount of documentation of and about Judaica, both printed and recorded, sacred and secular (among it, much in Hebrew and in Yiddish), among my personal collecton of books and 78 r.p.m. and LP sound recordings. I was the only one in the family, either of my own or of my step-father's generations, to understand German (because I studied it at university), so only I came to realise just how much of my step-grandmother's supposedly venerable German really was laced generously with Yiddish (which is not hard, in large part, for someone knowing High German to recognise and to understand upon hearing it). Some of my step-father's cousins, mistakenly proud of their presumèdly "pure" German descent, spoke and read German in their homes and at their farms.

However, the DVD of "A Serious Man" presents one case where it is worth seeing its bonus features, not very lengthy ones but quite helpful, before viewing the film, the more so if one has little or no understanding of things Jewish. The potential viewer, however, should not worry unduly about these matters. There is so much fun along the way that anyone should be able to follow the movie's action with delight! That's enough from me, since the many other reviews on Amazon-U.S. and of Amazon-Canada go into further (and welcome) details about plot, philosophical underpinnings, and other aspects of this motion picture.


A tribute to Emma
A tribute to Emma
by Mark H Forscutt
Edition: Unknown Binding

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Testimony to the Virtue of a Wife Sore Beset by Fate, Emma Hale Smith, Wife of Mormon Founder Joseph Smith, Junior, 7 Feb. 2015
This review is from: A tribute to Emma
The author of the text of this short work about Emma Hale Bidamon (former married name Smith), was an ordained elder, Mark H. Forscutt, in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (R.L.D.S., the religious denomination now calling itself the Community of Christ), who knew "Sister Emma" for many years. Forscutt's text was that of a long sermon honouring Sr. Emma, which he pronounced as a "commemorative Discourse" on 15 June 1879 in Plano, Illinois, in the month following the death of this "Elect Lady" of his religion's founder, the man whose work led to the polytheistic (and back then also polygamist) pagan Restorationist L.D.S. Mormon cult and also to the Christian Restorationist and Trinitarian R.L.D.S. Church.

Of course, one thus first and foremost thinks of this remarkable and valiant woman as the first (and only legal) wife of Mormonism's putative prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., the leading figure within that part of the Restorationist movement that commonly came to be called Mormon. Along with Emma herself and the R.L.D.S. Church, Forscutt denied the now indubitable fact that Joseph Smith, Jr., was a much-married polygamist, who attempted to conceal this type of philandering from his legal wife, Emma. My own mother, who during her life at beginning and, more briefly, later was a L.D.S. Mormon, was named Emma in honour of that noteworthy woman. Her father (hence my grandfather) had drifted into drunken polygamy in the first half and the decade past mid-20th century.

This little 40 p. staple-bound book is still readily available, despite Amazon's current (as of early 2015) inability to supply it, from the publisher (Bates City, Mo.: P. V. Ludy) of the 2002 republication of Forscutt's text (which originally appeared as an article, "Commemorative Discourse on the Death of Mrs. Emma H. Bidamon", in the 15 July 1870 issue of "The Saints' Herald", the R.L.D.S. Church's best-known serial publication). Ludy operates the Old Bookman distributor store and WWW site, also known simply as R.L.D.S. Books, and keeps Forscutt's discourse in stock to sell to those who wish to have it. Ludy's site is the leading source of materials, not only from the Community of Christ's official publisher, Herald House, but also published within the conservative Restorationist (and Trinitarian) movement within, and separated in protest from, the R.L.D.S. Community of Christ. In addition to currently available books and other matierals, Ludy also makes available many R.L.D.S. works which have gone out-of-print over the years. As an avid collector of hymnody, I especially have used Ludy's services, very satisfactorily, to obtain, among other R.L.D.S. materials, nearly all of the official and unofficial hymnals which the R.L.D.S. Church has used over the years. His current address (as of 2014) is 3209 Quarry Road, Bates City, Mo. 64011, U. S. of A. (tel. 819-210-8450).

Forscutt, like Sr. Emma herself, denied the polygamy and some other odious traits of Joseph Smith, Jr., opposing the Utah-based L.D.S. Mormon cult which in the past, and currently, promotes them. Emma H. Smith lived her life with her famous husband in a state of denial of his worst excesses. That is why, when the Reorganization finally materialised, she allied herself with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, based chiefly in Missouri and Iowa, instead of having done so with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based in Utah. Between Joseph Smith Jr.'s death and the establishment of an united, mostly Christian orthodox R.L.D.S. Church, she and her family were practising members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her Christian convictions had found no problem with Methodism.

Emma H. Smith Bidamon's place in the development of L.D.S. and R.L.D.S. hymnody is one that seldom receives much attention regarding her continuing role therein after her famous first husband's death. Forscutt himself ignores it. However, despite the modesty which kept her name from being mentioned within their pages in regard to her role in shaping some of the R.L.D.S. Church's hymnals, her part therein was determinative in many ways. As has happened with most L.D.S. and R.L.D.S. writings about Emma Hale Smith Bidamon, Forscutt concentrates on the early stages of Joseph Smith Junior's and his wife Emma's place and fate within the early decades of the Mormon Restorationist movement, the heritage of which, in differing ways, L.D.S. and R.L.D.S. adherents share. Only, for the most part, in the last pages of Forsutt's oration does he turn to any significant extent to Emma Smith Bidamon's later life as a widow and then remarried woman.

Forscutt's style is the kind of old-fashioned, rather fulsomely-styled discourse that public speakers in the 19th century tended to employ in such allocutions. He whitewashes the early history of Mormonism, reflecting the R.L.D.S. Church's official views on the facts of Joseph Smith Jr.'s life and of the more questionable activities (marital, political, and otherwise) of the followers of Smith's religious movement. Thus, this short publication serves more as a reflection of how its co-religionists view these aspects of that part of the Restorationist Movement's history and doings, rather than as any kind of reliable historical account of them.

On its own terms, Forcutt's text is an enjoyable read for anyone who recognises the important place of Emma H. Smith Bidamon in L.D.S. and R.L.D.S. history and who holds an admiring view of her character and life. For a full-length treatment of Emma Hale Smith Bidamon's life, treating all of her years and, most of various her roles in L.D.S. and R.L.D.S. Mormonism (except, again, the musical activities of her later life), there is a very honest treatment of her, the best one to date, in Linda King Newell's and Valeen Tippetts Avery's jointly authored book, "Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith" (the 2nd edition thereof published by the University of Illinois Press). Forscutt's speech remains an interesting source, (but hardly one that is entirely reliable) about Sr. Emma, being one, at least, which does that woman's noble character something like complete justice.


Nouvelle encyclopédie pratique d'électricité (tome second)
Nouvelle encyclopédie pratique d'électricité (tome second)
by Desarces Henri
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Several Editions of an Encyclopaedic Manual of the State of Electrical Technology of the Twentieth Century, 8 Jan. 2015
I own both volumes of this particular edition, from the 1930s, of Henri Desarces' magisterial, standard work, in French, about electrical technology. Whether one desires most to have the edition of this vintage, rather than another one from earlier in the 20th century or from around the middle of the century, before or after that point in time, depends upon for which decades the then state of electrical engineering technology interests one most. By 1964 the expanded work was being published in three volumes.

Not being particularly expert in the wider field, at least I have some very general familiarity with some subjects in the domain (namely, sound recording/reproduction and, to an extent, rail and seafaring transport), however much or less that they align with what this work covers best. I can attest to anyone interested in technology of the past century, pre-W.W.-2, that this is an exquisitely illustrated work, magnificently printed and bound, and very comprehensive. Desarce's encyclopaedic manual is an unusually fine specimen of bookcraft for a publication of so technical a nature and it is worth it to search out a copy in prime condition of each of the volumes. The set comprises a truly luxurious collector's item to cherish.

Recommended to anyone interested in the history of technology and its lore.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Fit for the Whole Family to Wear, Fit for Them All to Dine upon Those of Each Other, Too, It's Time for Edible Undies & Diapers!, 17 Dec. 2014
Don't stop at edible underwear (panties) and/or at edible jock straps. For those who have reservations about this, remember that these tasty undies are best consumed whole, not crotchless. Explore further, for this is a family thing!

Get EDIBLE DIAPERS for the baby, too, if they are available. For the whole smooth-textured infantile savour, the crotch included might enhance gustatory bonding of the parents (and maybe of the baby-sitter, too) with the child that much more fully! For that matter, including an edible crotch might facilitate guy-gal adult bonding, too.

Teenage children of families that dine on each other's undergarments, whether the brand be Pussy Willow, Pipedream, or any other, may stay at home more, since they may feel too shy (or, however oddly, embarrassed) about this collective familial eating habit, inhibiting them from "hanging out" with their adolescent contemporaries who make fun of that dietary penchant. Parents, enjoy their company!

Remember, to paraphrase an old Evangelical expression, "the family that eats its shorts together stays together!"

All kidding aside, this product makes for a five-star novelty product to spring upon newlywed friends, perhaps fewer stars for actual dining after wear.


Pierre Boulez - The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Pierre Boulez - The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Price: £106.38

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pierre Boulez, the Conductor, in All of His Peculiar Splendour, 25 Nov. 2014
For those who detest conducting that is "wishy-washy", non-committal, indecisive, or otherwise mediocre and lacking in distinction, whether bland and unadventurous as Swarowski's or all but few of Haitinck's or tend to be, or deadly pedantic, as those of Wenziger, Harnoncourt, or Norrington's assuredly are, Boulez is one part, at least, of the remedy. Pierre Boulez is on the side of the conducting spectrum that seeks clarity, transparency of texture, fidelity to (at least) the most obvious aspects of scores (whether or not he always captures the music's spirit, too, which many debate!), and what usually is called "objectivity" (an elusive goal, at best).

On another side of the spectrum, among conductors who contrast markedly to Boulez, there are Furtwangler, Mengelberg, Konwitschny, Walter, Klemperer, Bernstein (in his case, during his prime as he recorded for C.B.S./Sony and Decca/London), Janigro, Scherchen, all to various degrees, all of whom seek variously the emotional, grandly noble, picturesque, Romantic, or the aesthetic, spiritual, and philosophical stature of the music which they conduct, who see the innate character and potential of the music and seek to express it to the fullest. Then there are the colourists or, in some cases (and not meaning this dismissively), charmers, e.g. Stokowsky, Slatkin (thinking of Felix, a very fine musician but seldom recorded up to the repertory level that he deserved, rather than of his more widely praised and very distinguished son, Leonard), Beecham, and others.

I admittedly would prefer, among such conductors, to hear the music of Cherubini, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel, among many other composers, at the hands of Markevitch, Rescigno (in opera), Munch, Muti, or, for that matter, Ormandy, but I still would want to experience their music, to the extent that his discography permits that, through the skills, non-romantic but intensely refined sensibility and the rigourous outlook of Boulez (who only sometimes, as also can be the case with Toscanini or Muti, may descend to being too excessively scrupulous or joyless).

I opt for any of these "extremes" of approach and utterly pass over the flat, conformist mindset and profile of more academically "correct" performances of the "merely competent" mini-maestros who are non-committal about the significance of the music which they conduct signifies, about the music's very potential. For me, that means that I welcome CD reissue projects such as this one for Pierre Boulez, as well as similar projects, accomplished, underway, or hoped-for, regarding the likes of Munch, Beecham, Koussevitzky, Barbirolli, or Ansermet. It is instructive to compare approaches that contrast vividly, for the sake of understanding the music itself. So, up with Boulez, may his recordings endure in the catalogue, as controversial as his conducting output surely was!

The earliest exposure that I recall to Pierre Boulez, both as composer and as conductor, was his gorgeously beautifully textured "Pli selon pli", an enchanting work, if one abandon himself to it, as the work deserves (and, really, requires). However, it was upon hearing his magnificent recording of Debussy's "La Mer" that I truly realised, for the first time, Boulez' great stature as a conductor, per se. I was at a record collector group's meeting in Boston, when its leader gave a talk about Boulez, virulently denouncing him. He played two recordings of "La Mer", Munch's R.C.A. recording with the Boston Symphony (one of my own favourites on Munch's part), after having played Boulez' LP of the work. I sat there fascinated! As a musician trained to play polyphonic music on the piano, and as an orchestral player (double bass and violoncello), I had been reared on Bach and Hindemith, above all, and my own composition were mostly in, variously, counterpoint or free polyphony; going back to those scores of my youth (having abandoned composition after my 20s) easily show the overriding influence of those two composers (along with Bartók and Scriabin). So, I always have tended to listen INTO music, classical or jazz, rather than just TO it. So, feeling like I was swimming on, down into, and all through Debussy's great work, I was transfixed at how revelatorily transparent Boulez made the textures, the very orchestral sectional writing, of "La Mer". That clarity has been perhaps the cardinal virtue of Pierre Boulez' art as a conductor. At that record collectors' meeting, the speaker, after his rant, held up Boulez' LP of "La Mer", saying, with a sneer, "Take this somebody, or I am going to melt it in the oven!" (which was something that he did regularly with any recordings, no matter how expensive, or even rare, that he despised). I leaped to my feet and eagerly took the LP treasure into my hands, thence into my own record collection, and repeatedly onto my turntable.

It was a very generous birthday gift-cheque from a relative that impelled me, at last after longing for this set from the moment of its release, to obtain these complete Columbia/Sony recordings of Pierre Boulez, during his New York Philharmonic period (my favourite part of his career as conductor and musical facilitator). The set is beautifully presented, with the front cover art and back cover original sleeve-notes, all considerably photoreduced, of course, to fit physically on each individual CD slipcase, but without the brochures of such LP issues which had included the like for more extensive printed matter, the absence of libretti for large-scale vocal works being particularly regrettable. The box is larger in length than really necessary; I added some layers of plastic "bubble sheets" inside the box so that the individual CDs would stand upright.

Vocal music (and chamber music) always have been the centre of my collecting interests. Therefore, rather than to attempt to evaluate the whole spectrum of Pierre Boulez' musical output as conductor, I'll zero in on his work in opera, taking one of his recordings thereof, as an example of his strengths and limitations. That said, of course, Boulez had very, very few weaknesses as a conductor, and even at his relative patchiest, his recordings, of opera or of anything else, are of commanding interest. Boulez was rather uneven in the vocalists whom he engaged, but that applies mostly, really, to the few operas included in this Sony set (and for DGG, as well) rather than to the wonderfully sung works in other vocal genres.

A prime example, continuing with Debussy for illustration, is Boulez' recording of that composer's "Pelléas et Mélisande", a work which Boulez always conducted with a perfection of instrumental detail and sheer loveliness, so far as the orchestra is concerned, that simply was unparallelled. However, the cast of solo vocalists, quite the "ungallic" lot of them but who largely do well in their roles, includes George Shirley as Pelléas when that singer was still master of his vocal resources, and Elisabeth Söderström as Mélisande, whose slightly droopy vocal quality, however, does her no favours in depicting her fragile character, for whom a more pellucidly voiced soprano would be more suitable. In this Columbia recording, further to the point, David McIntyre as Golaud is too much a cypher dramatically to be convincing as the stern, brooding, and jealous brother who is the obstacle that Pelléas really confronts in both music and text. McIntyre as Golaud is an example of casting to merely musical capability without taking into consideration, as one must for an opera recording, the singer's abilities at projecting theatricality as well as benefiting from sheer vocal allure. The singers in the Columbia "Pelléas" all are sufficient to the musical task, which always seemed to be the only criterion that mattered to Boulez (being less fussy, it would seem, about vocalists than about instrumentalists of excellence). but some singers on his recordings were not enough more than merely satisfactory, in some key roles, to make a particular recording one that most opera lovers would cherish above other recordings more star-studded in their line-ups than, for example, this one of "Pelléas", that Boulez conducted. I am singling out the Columbia "Pelléas et Mélisande" to illustrate that point, but this matter affects most of his opera recordings, which tend to be too unevenly cast, maddeningly so in some cases. Fortunately, in the case of "Pelléas", Boulez made a DVD recording of the opera in a lovely staging. It features a cast of little-known singers, who, however, are so vocally and physically well suited to their roles that that later recording in video form is the complete triumph that the Columbia/Sony sound recording just did not quite manage to add up to being.

Fortunately, Boulez, in selecting solo singers to recording in for non-theatrical vocal works with orchestra or with other instrumental ensemble, would choose almost uniformly wisely; it is no small thing to have the likes of Jesse Norman, Walter Berry, Yvonne Minton, Seigmund Nimsgern, Judith Blegen (just to mention a few very fine singers entirely at random, some of whom took part also in his opera recordings) to participate in such non-theatrical vocal works that Boulez recorded with more distinction than his in his recordings of music theatre works.

This has been the first Amazon user review, on its Canadian and U.S. WWW sites (although Amazon-U.K. already has several fine reviews), of this massive release, mostly of Boulez' many C.B.S./Sony recordings. Now it is time for others to go into further details about what it is that is so wonderful (or otherwise, depending on how others are minded) about this set and the performances included within it. I am eager to see what others have to say!


6 Souls [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
6 Souls [DVD] [2010] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £8.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Portrayal of a Case of Multiple Personalities Disorder as One of a Supernatural Order, 11 Nov. 2014
I have to wonder how many viewers of this movie (very well made even if it was a film essentially made for video rather than for theatre release) have had direct experience with the phenomenon of multiple personality disorder. I have had such experience in my life, most directly for almost a full year, and, to some extent, the film corresponds to my own perception of this weirdness, i.e., THAT IT IS REAL, whether the explanation of it be purely psychological and neurological, occult, spiritual, or a combination of such factors.

For example, the afflicted one's trauma and anguish that occur as one personality gives place to another is part of what I have witnessed numerous times. It is deeply unsettling and frightening, as just about everything to do with this disorder, mental or (as in this film) spiritual, perhaps in both cases supernatural to at least some degree. In the case of a friend (whose case, preserving his anonymity, was thoroughly documented by paranormal researchers and resulted in several theses and dissertations about him, as I eventually was to learn), some of the physical manifestations even went beyond what this film shows. Allied to all of this, as the son of a Portuguese witch, were the extraordinarily vivid powers of E.S.P. and of telekinesis (or psychokinesis) of some of this friend's personalities. Seeing the face change unrecognisably before one's eyes and the body turn, variously, taut or looser upon the bones, the paranormal powers sometimes activate, too, is profoundly shocking to witness, not to mention to hear changes in dialect and in languages that the individual persons speak and/or understand. The changes in personality can be downright frightful.

The film, "Shelter: before He Takes Your Life, He Will Take Your Soul", a.k.a. "6 Souls" (of which the DVD with catalogue release number 210474-DV is the one viewed) handles these phenomena well, with restraint, and, believe me, in some ways less bizarre than they can take place in real life. To give too much a description of the supernatural nature of the tormented soul that Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrays would be to convey "spoilers" of the kind that many prefer not to encounter in a review. Let's just say that the characters in this supernatural psycho-thriller are in for "quite a ride on the wild side" and leave it at that! I watched "Shelter" ("6 Souls") for the second time the next evening after first having seen the movie, and it was as terrifying and vividly gripping as seeing it initially. The concluding moments, without verbalising anything, are of horrifying irony, like a stake driven into the viewer's own heart.

The movie's setting is urban Pittsburgh and in the Appalachian hills and mountains, where old ways and folk religion have flourished in relative isolation, not far away from Pennsylvania's metropolis. Most folks have heard tales of that region, so the cinematic milieu provides a credible sense of place and of primitive culture on which to peg the story. The result is a real work of art, however modestly this film has been marketed.


Shelter [DVD]
Shelter [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julianne Moore
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: £3.65

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Portrayal of Multiple Personalities Disorder as, in This Case, a Supernatural Phenomenon, 11 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Shelter [DVD] (DVD)
I have to wonder how many viewers of this movie (very well made even if it was a film essentially made for video rather than for theatre release) have had direct experience with the phenomenon of multiple personality disorder. I have had such experience in my life, most directly for almost a full year, and, to some extent, the film corresponds to my own perception of this weirdness, i.e., THAT IT IS REAL, whether the explanation of it be purely psychological and neurological, occult, spiritual, or a combination of such factors.

For example, the afflicted one's trauma and anguish that occur as one personality gives place to another is part of what I have witnessed numerous times. It is deeply unsettling and frightening, as just about everything to do with this disorder, mental or (as in this film) spiritual, perhaps in both cases supernatural to at least some degree. In the case of a friend (whose case, preserving his anonymity, was thoroughly documented by paranormal researchers and resulted in several theses and dissertations about him, as I eventually was to learn), some of the physical manifestations even went beyond what this film shows. Allied to all of this, as the son of a Portuguese witch, were the extraordinarily vivid powers of E.S.P. and of telekinesis (or psychokinesis) of some of this friend's personalities. Seeing the face change unrecognisably before one's eyes and the body turn, variously, taut or looser upon the bones, the paranormal powers sometimes activate, too, is profoundly shocking to witness, not to mention to hear changes in dialect and in languages that the individual persons speak and/or understand. The changes in personality can be downright frightful.

The film, "Shelter: before He Takes Your Life, He Will Take Your Soul", a.k.a. "6 Souls" (of which the North American DVD edition with catalogue release number 210474-DV is the one viewed) handles these phenomena well, with restraint, and, believe me, in some ways less bizarre than they can take place in real life. To give too much a description of the supernatural nature of the tormented soul that Jonathan Rhys Meyers portrays would be to convey "spoilers" of the kind that many prefer not to encounter in a review. Let's just say that the characters in this supernatural psycho-thriller are in for "quite a ride on the wild side" and leave it at that! I watched "Shelter" ("6 Souls") for the second time the next evening after first having seen the movie, and it was as terrifying and vividly gripping as seeing it initially. The concluding moments, without verbalising anything, are of horrifying irony, like a stake driven into the viewer's own heart.

The movie's setting is urban Pittsburgh and in the Appalachian hills and mountains, where old ways and folk religion have flourished in relative isolation, not far away from Pennsylvania's metropolis. Most folks have heard tales of that region, so the cinematic milieu provides a credible sense of place and of primitive culture on which to peg the story. The result is a real work of art, however modestly this film has been marketed.


Off Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Off Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

1.0 out of 5 stars Lame, Inept, and Eventually Just Plain Tiresome, This Film Exists Only To Make Merry at Its Innumerable Cinematic Failings!, 7 Nov. 2014
This is one of the most unbelievably poor attempts at a movie that ever I have seen, at least among those which attained public release, the more so on DVD, at that! You've heard of haunted houses, right? Try an haunted motel room. Yeah, it does not make the grade! The movie is very poorly paced, atop its visual limitations (poorly filmed, anyway). There are reams of non-sequiturs in the plot and in its many visual gaffs, too, what (politely in this case) would be called "bad continuity". This is not even a low-budget horror film of passable quality; "The Off Season" is certainly not "film noir", as some have labelled this product; it is "film scum".

However, if one seeks a movie to play on the DVD player as a "party film" (i.e., one to laugh at, from its relentless amateurishness, when one has company over), this is it! I and friends watched this one twice holding our sides roaring with mirth. Then I gave away the DVD as a mock birthday present to one of them (and then gave him the real gift afterwards!), to the unmitigated laughter of all at his party.

For all of that, "The Off Season" goes on much too long, with (among all of its other shoddy ingredients) too many side-plots and rambling toll of incidents of tiresomely little consequence, to sustain its feeble substance. Thus it is likely, after a lot of "yucks", simply to put you and your pals to sleep.


Tough Enough [DVD] [1983] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Tough Enough [DVD] [1983] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £5.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Movie, Unsurprisingly, Is a Sports-Oriented Pleasure, but Also, Less Expectedly, a Musical One, Too!, 6 Nov. 2014
"Tough Enough" (Anchor Bay Entertainment DV-24390 being the North American DVD edition viewed) wins on two principal counts -- and somebody should point this out, even if I have to be the one: Dennis Quaid puts up a game fight, very convincingly, and he also sings wonderfully well! His role, after all, is that of a country-western singer who enters into amateur boxing competition in order to gain the reward money to fund his musical career and home life. Dennis Quaid is not known much for his musical ability, but it surely is on display in this movie.

Of the music which Quaid himself sings (others taking some of the remaining songs), he does all of it exceedingly well. His phrasing and his breath control are those of a born vocalist of an high order and the sound of his voice is very pleasing to the ear. Given how many male country music performers of renown (though certainly not the very best of them) huff-and-puff and/or bluff their way, with dodgy intonation and shortness of breath, through what they perform, Dennis Quaid's achievement is all the more remarkable.

The film has a lot of grit and soul, and there is humour, too, with that winsome grin of Dennis Quaid welcomely present when he shows it. I obtained this film at the behest of somebody else and never would have expected to like it so much as I do, since I am not much of a sports enthusiast. This film has taken me by surprise and it just may do the same for other potential viewers as well.


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