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Kenneth M. Pizzi (San Mateo, CA United States)

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Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better
Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better
by David Shipley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.12

3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended by Hillary Clinton..., 13 Aug. 2015
Apparently Hillary Clinton read and requested this book from one of her campaign aides during her alleged email scandal--one wonders if it was really necessary or actually helpful. In this day and age of texting, blogs, email, etc, who really needs a manual for emailing? Apparently, "the smartest woman in the world" (her most ardent supporters claim) did, and only adds more doubt to her readiness or claim for the 2016 Democratic bid for the Presidency.

All Night Long [1962] [DVD]
All Night Long [1962] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick McGoohan
Price: £5.00

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For jazz fans, here's the ticket!, 7 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: All Night Long [1962] [DVD] (DVD)
Interesting movie, relatively unknown here in the US, re-released and re-mastered to reflect the popularity of perhaps, its best-known star, Patrick McGoohan, better know for his role as John Drake in "Secret Agent" and the cult-favorite, "The Prisoner." Richard Attenborough, also a name very familiar to fans of British cinema, rounds out the rest of the cast featuring a who's who's of 60's popular jazz: Dave Brubeck, Johnny Scott, Johnny Dankworth, Tubby Hayes, and none other than the legendary Charles Mingus all in cameo roles.

The plot is a hip and cool reworking of Shakespeare's "Othello" amongst the jazz clubs and warehouses in London circa early 60's. McGoohan, the baddie, shines here as talented but a manipulative drummer, Johnny Cousin (shades of Iago) who attempts to draw a former, and newlywed jazz diva, Emily (Betsy Blair) out of retirement ultimately pitting her against her jealous husband, jazzman Aurelius Rex (Paul Harris).

BAFTA-award winning director, Basil Dearden, effectively adds a "noir" atmosphere to the film: tall warehouses reflected on the wet streets of 60's London's most popular clubs for the "in" set where the clink of glasses and spirited conversation prevail. By no-means a piece of celluoid art per se, but an engaging and interesting movie with well-developed convincing characterizations and some great jazz riffs to boot!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 10, 2014 4:15 PM BST

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton Film Collection [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton Film Collection [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When they were good, they were superb......, 1 Nov. 2008
As a great admirer of Richard Burton's filmwork, I snatched this set up immediately. All the films, save for Vicente Minnelli's "The Sandpiper" held my interest throughout, with "Virginia Woolf" and "The Comedians" (based on the Graham Greene novel) taking top honors.

"The VIPs" was a pleasant surprise as I was completely unfamilar with this Burton/Taylor venture. Supporting cast is excellent with Rod Taylor, Louis Jourdan (as Tayor's lover), and the unmistakably impressive Orson Welles, in a semi-comedic role opposite Elsa Martinelli.

Melodrama to be sure, but done with class, wit, and an engaging storyline that holds one's interest throughout its entire 119 minutes. It is amazing how some actors, like Burton and Taylor can take a relatively bit of fluff from Terrence Rattigan's screenplay, and transform it into something absorbing and grand.

What makes these films work? One would have to argue that the chemistry between Burton and Taylor in so many of their films was unmistakable; certainly Mike Nichol's "Virginia Woolf" is a masterpiece, but these are performers who have a intrinsic quality that is rarely seen in actors today--I think we would call it PRESENCE--players ultimately in command of their material and the roles they play who make acting seem effortless and entirely convincing. Burton is a master of roles. He can play the burnt-out professor in "Virginia Woolf" as well as a conflicted, upstanding minister and school headmaster whose life, contrained as his clerical collar, tempts an extramarital affair with the free-spirited mother (Taylor) of one of his students in "The Sandpiper."

The commentaries and extras on "Virginia Woolf" are both ample and exemplary, while shedding a new critical light on this classic play.

Waterloo [DVD] [1970]
Waterloo [DVD] [1970]
Dvd ~ Rod Steiger
Offered by joe4books
Price: £9.99

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Rod Steiger's most overlooked underappreciated performances...., 29 July 2008
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This review is from: Waterloo [DVD] [1970] (DVD)
In the tradition of the cinematic epics like Kubrick's "Spartacus" and Mann's "Fall of the Roman Empire," Bondarchuk's "Waterloo" succeeds in depicting Napoleon's desperate and final bid for power and glory. Steiger, no stranger to roles that have consistently challenged his acting ability, is quite good as the deposed French emperor who narrowly lost his final battle. Orson Welles' appearance as Louis XVIII, is far too brief but most welcome, and Plummer as Lord Wellington is a casting director's dream. Dino de Laurentiis has produced some questionable if not laughable films in the past "King Kong" (1976) and "Flash Gordon" (1980); however, "Waterloo" must be seen as one of his better efforts.

Many critics here at Amazon will applaud the many and well-orchestrated battle scenes--a case-in-point are the great aerial shots of the British "squares" organized against Marshall Ney (Dan O' Herlihy) and the French cavalry--and one can easily understand the film's strong visual appeal, but this opus succeeds in other ways too.

The non-battle scenes, for instance, like the ball before the battle which introduces us to Napoleon's nemesis, Wellington, and the scenes of Napoleon dictating letters to his secretaries, are thoughtful touches that broaden the scope of this highly entertaining film and successfully depict an aristocratically genteel milieu shattered by the cataclysm that is nineteenth-century warfare. On the surface, an era characterized by the gentility of the landed gentry and sportsmanlike conduct on the battlefield, later destroyed by the real brutalities and devastation of war.

Unlike too many directors who take liberties with depicting historical events (Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" quickly come to mind), Bondarchuck successfully and accurately depicts Napoleon in his decline--plagued with self-doubt, his irascible outbursts towards subordinates compounded by his ill-health (now confirmed by modern bio-historians as a combination of dysuria, piles, dermatitis, and stomach cancer) and his symptoms of grandiose delusion .

This is a Region 2 PAL encoded disc, so you will require a multi-region DVD player to view it. This film originally ran at 3 hours on its initial theatrical release in 1970, now cut down to 2 hours and eight minutes. It is a pity that we do not have the film in its entirety with Region 1 encoding as the director originally intended. Although this item is listed here as currently "unavailable," try purchasing it thru the AmazonUK site.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2015 6:12 AM BST

For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond
For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming + James Bond
by Ben Macintyre
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the uninitiated into world of Fleming....., 29 July 2008
As one who studied Fleming's work extensively as a graduate student and later publishing a thesis on the writer's impact on pop culture of the period, I must admit I was a bit skeptical about yet another bland and redundant Bond "coffee table" book for the masses. Happily, this is not the case with "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond" by Ben Macintyre, written on the centenary of the author's birth. Highly readable and enjoyable and chock full with full-color photos of props used throughout all 21 Bond films, this book is a comprehensive survey of not just of Bond's impact on fiction and the cinema, but a real in-depth analysis of the man who breathed live into one of popular culture's most endurable icons.

Much is written about Fleming's childhood, adolescence, education at Eton, relationships with family (brother Peter, noted travel writer), his military career, his closest friends (Ivar Bryce and Noel Coward), his love-hate relationships with wife Ann, and the author's affairs with numerous beautiful women which oddly resemble Fleming's fictional alter-ego. For those who wish to learn more about Bond and the writer who created him, this tome is a great springboard into the Bond phenomenon which has spanned over forty years.

Never Say Never Again [DVD] [1983]
Never Say Never Again [DVD] [1983]
Dvd ~ Sean Connery
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.98

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Connery looks great, but the film does not really deliver, 15 July 2008
For many Bond fans, the return of Sean Connery in this "unofficial" Bond entry, was an exciting opportunity to experience the Connery magic and charisma before the earlier pre-Roger Moore years. Released in 1983, the film competed head-to-head against Moore's entry, "Octopussy" which, to some critics of note, one of the better Roger Moore efforts. Obviously, this production had a more engaging cast, an entertaining story, and some good actors: Maude Adams and Lois Jourdan as Bond's nemesis than "Never Say Never Again."

While it's good to have Connery back, looking actually fitter than he did in "Diamond Are Forever" in 1971, and wearing a faultless toupee, the film manages to fall short on a number of levels. Viewers should note, it is a different film; for instance, no gun barrel logo in the pre-credits sequence, or the familiar incidental Bond theme music we all recognize.

Bear in mind this film, in actuality, is simply a remake of Terrence Young's "Thunderball" (1965), that represented the apogee of the James Bond franchise. Some of the other leads turn in a respectable performance, Bernie Casey, as an African-American Felix Leiter, is adequate as is Klaus Maria Bandauer in the role of "Maximillian Largo," a change from "Emilio Largo" from the '65 film, originally played by Adolfo Celi. But he is simply not menacing enough. The sequence at the casino between Largo and Bond is rather odd; they play a silly tabletop video game called "World Domination" rather than baccarat or chemin-de-fer. Not really effective, nor does this really belong in a Bond film.

Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush, reprises the role of Fiona Volope(Lucianna Paluzzi in "Thunderball") the film's femme fatale, in what could be considered an over-the-top-performance that borders on the hysterical with her outlandish costumes, hats and formal evening attire. Kim Basinger, as Domino, although lovely to look at, comes off as rather dull and uninspired. We long for an actress like the lovely former Miss. France, Claudine Auger, who, although not an actress by a long shot in the original "Thunderball," managed to bring an aura of sophistication, beauty, and unavailability shared by most Bond heroines before they succumb to the charms of 007.

"M" played by Edward Fox, is competent and irascible, but too young for the role--only illustrating how much we truly miss Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny) from the original series. In all, the film has a distinct look and pace that strikes one of a lavish made-for-tv production; not a quality Bond feature despite some exotic locations and interiors.

Despite Bond's rocket powered motorcycle, and an explosive fountain pen, the gadgets are few (thankfully), and the film is really an opportunity for Connery to prove, once again, HE is the James Bond everyone recognizes, knows, and respects above all others in the franchise's forty-five plus year history.

The Professionals: Series 1 [DVD]
The Professionals: Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gordon Jackson
Offered by vicky's media 4 u
Price: £21.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're not regular coppers!" "No, we're worse, much worse.", 8 May 2008
And "Adam 12" this ain't. These cops never heard of the Miranda rule!

A terrific action-packed police series from the UK, but only available in Region 2 encoding, so you will need a multi-region DVD player to watch them. Hopefully, a DVD collection will be available in Region 1 encoding for us here in the USA. Check [...] for ordering if interested.

Although the series was criticized for being too violent and somewhat sexist upon its release, The Professionals is both a gritty, tense, and realistic crime series. These episodes are a refreshing antidote to the politically-correct police dramas that poliferate today's cable and regular broadcast networks with cops that are apparently more comfortable in the laboratory than fighting the bad guys.

Ex-soldier Bodie and former street cop Doyle (Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw), are the agents for CI5 with Scotsman George Cowley (Gordon Jackson)as their no-nonsense boss. All three characters are unconventional, tough, and uncompromising foes of international crime, corruption, terrorism and anarchy. Seriously, this is an enjoyable and entertaining crime drama--the action simply does not let up.

The interplay and the banter between the three characters is excellent and, at times, very amusing. Bodie and Doyle are a couple of wiseasses who often take the law into their own hands and require Cowley keep them in line. The scripts and the stories around are interesting and hardly feel dated at all.

The transfers in this set are uncut and digtially remastered and look reasonably good for their age (circa 1977-80).

The series is an unconventional and refreshing combination of action and drama a la "Starsky and Hutch" and "Lethal Weapon." Exciting viewing all the same..Enjoy!

Burke'S Law- The Complete Series One [DVD] [2006]
Burke'S Law- The Complete Series One [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Diana Dors

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improbable, but highly entertaining series...., 8 May 2008
How many of LA's Chief of Detectives, have been chauffeured to work in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, live in a palatial mansion, and are the toast of society? Enter one, Amos Burke, played expertly by Gene Barry, whose only real distinction in the cinema was a starring role in George Pal's "War of the Worlds," (1953).

Barry, not unlike the character depicted in "Burke's Law," was well-suited to the role. Born into a family with musical credentials, (his father was a violinst; his mother a singer) Barry had a sense of effortless grace, charm and and attractive baritone voice and entertained the idea of an operatic career for the stage.

After appearing in several forgettable films, save "War of the Worlds," Barry embarked on a successful acting career throughout the 50's and 60's. He even had the distinctive honor to be the first villain in the pilot for "Columbo" entitled "Prescription Murder" (1968), as what else? An eminent psychiatrist suspected of killing his wife. In the 70's Barry starred in the short-lived series, "The Adventurer" with Barry Morse as a globetrotting, ultra wealthy, bachelor (although a little too old for the role)solving international capers.

Nonetheless, this first set of Burke's Law comes highly recommended. VCA has done a superb job of remastering the episodes and the show also stars a pre-"Land of the Giants" Gary Conway as Burke's indispensable assistant. The show has a bevy of recognizable guest stars that reads like recitation from Hollywood's Walk of Fame--even silent star Zazu Pitts and Anne Francis in the pilot episode, "Who Killed Honey West?"

If you like classic crime dramas as I do, here is yet another collection you will add to your DVD library.

Van Der Valk - Series 1-5 - Complete [DVD] [1972]
Van Der Valk - Series 1-5 - Complete [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Barry Foster
Price: £31.00

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series; long overdue on DVD, 22 Jan. 2008
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Van der Valk is truly an absorbing and entertaining detective drama that featured the late talented actor Barry Foster as Commissaris Piet Van Der Valk of the Amsterdam Police. With an catchy opening theme called "Eye Level," the series was not only shot on location around quaint Amsterdam and its canals, but was filled with a number of engaging stories involving murder, kidnapping, blackmail, illicit drugs, and prostitution with many elite, high-profile suspects.

Those expecting a crime drama on the order of "Mannix" or the popular UK series "The Professionals" are likely to be disappointed. Van der Valk is a detective drama similar to the popular series "Columbo" here in the US or "Bergerac" in the UK. But unlike Peter Falk's exasperating detective from the LAPD, Foster's character has a certain appeal: a cynical and hardened yet sophisticated cop with a taste for fine wines, classical music, and quoting Baudelaire.

Supporting cast is also excellent with Susan Travers as Van der Valk's wife, Arlette, and Michael Latimer as Inspector Johnny Kroon, Van der Valk's rookie detective-in-training clearly recalling the chemistry between Karl Malden and Michael Douglas in the popular "Streets of San Francisco" soon to be released here in the US on DVD. Unfortunately, this set is not remastered very well; some episodes seem fare better than others when viewed on anything larger than a 40 in plasma or LCD television.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2011 9:13 PM BST

The Prisoner - 40th Anniversary Special Edition - Complete  [DVD]
The Prisoner - 40th Anniversary Special Edition - Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick McGoohan

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply fabulous!, 23 Oct. 2007
Lightyears beyond the typical A&E boxed set available here in the USA, this is the set to own. The restoration work is simply exemplary--it's like uncovering a masterpiece and looking at an old painting with new eyes. The extras are generous as are the interviews (Bernie Williams adds some fascinating insight into the series and McGoohan), the commentaries, the extensive number of stills, and comments from various castmembers. It is interesting to note that many of the actors who guest starred on the series we less-than-kind with regard to their comments about McGoohan--a man more feared than actually respected. Annette Andre recalls that her experience on "It's Your Funeral" was the worse in her entire acting career. Others found McGoohan terribly difficult to work with--extremely demanding, hard-drinking, irascible, and a bully on he set. Leo McKern recounts his near nervous breakdown on the set of "Once Upon a Time" having no qualms about calling McGoohan a ****** in a pre-recorded interview at a pub. All great stuff if you want to know more about the ins and outs of this fascinating television series penned in the mind of one of our most brilliant and creative minds in acting today.

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