Wednesday, January 31, 2007

sweet music

It's time for this week's roundup- the last one for January 2007. February is going to be the beginning of a big year for classic film releases, with some great stuff heading our way next week; but more on that later. For now, let's head straight into this week's Top Shelf Pick.

Top Shelf Pick of the Week:
Harry Connick, Jr.
We make no pretense here that we enjoy Harry Connick, Jr.'s music. Mrs. Loophole loves Harry Connick, Jr. She likes his music too. I do not begrudge her that one bit, as I am a fan. And for fans, this is a great week of two concurrent releases: Oh, My Nola and Chanson du Vieux Carre. Both are a tribute to Connick's home town of New Orleans, and in a way, is a heartfelt love letter to New Orleans, and its music and people. Oh, My Nola features songs that are closely related to the city, and several new tracks by Connick. Chanson du Vieux Carre focuses on the music tradition of New Orleans that reverberates with big band, swing, Dixieland and jazz. A must for any fan of the music or of Harry Connick, Jr.

Norah Jones: Not Too Late
Norah Jones hit the big time with her first major studio release, and hasn't looked back since. Her sophomore effort was just as outstanding and some feared that the dreaded "follow up slump", that accompanies so many artists who achieve success so early, would catch up to her soon. It appears that may not be the case here. Her third album, Not Too Late, continues on the path of self-expression, multiple threads of musical styles, and features that same, sweet, hypnotically soothing voice.

Dave Koz: At the Movies
With the Oscars coming up, and especially the marathon goodness that is 31 days of Oscar now happening on TCM, this is a great disc to get to get you in the right mood. Featuring several guest artists such as Chris Botti and Anita Baker, Koz does his take on many iconic and perhaps less well known, but beautiful, movie themes. Somewhere, As Time Goes By, The Pink Panther, and the always present Over the Rainbow are just of few of the classic tracks you'll find on the discs. Yes, many artists have done their take on many of these songs, but- this is the Koz, man!

Hitler's Beneficiaries by: Gotz Aly
When Gotz Aly published this book in Germany, it immediately became a controversy. Aly looks at the question which many have asked, but few have come up with an answer for: How did Hitler win the allegiance of ordinary Germans? The answers are complex on several levels, but Aly's book examines at how Hitler focused his propaganda, not just on nationalism, but on "the German people." Hitler promised many things to the poor and the Germans who felt dispossessed. Using many records and documents to support and back up his findings, Aly demonstrates how Hitler used the plunder from the war, taken from Jewish families and business, and others deemed enemies of the state in Germany; by funneling the goods and funds not just into the war effort, but also into redistribution of wealth and handouts. This book is not only important to read for understanding our history, but it is important for understanding our present day situation. It is difficult for me to look at what is going with Hugo Chavez and not think of the tragedies, like this one, of the past.
Flyboys (Reader Mini-Review alert!)
Disclaimer: I have not seen this film. Assessment: It looks pretty cool.
Opinion: I think I will get it. Reason: It looks like a good, old fashioned swashbuckler war movie. Any questions?
Verdict: We'll let you know when we see it. If you've seen it and would like to give us your own mini-review, email us at The Shelf: and we will randomly select one out of all the entries and put your mini-review up on next week's roundup! This is a new feature that we are trying out so we can have more interaction with our readers! Please, no profanity or diatribes. Let us know what you think and you may be featured in next week's Reader Mini-Review!

Madame Curie
The lovely Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon star in this bio-pic about Marie Curie and her work and discovery of radium, and the story of her marriage to Pierre Currie. The film was directed by Mervyn Leroy, and based on the book by the Curie's daughter, Eve Curie.
Alright, forget Danny Glover- and forget Disney on this one. The original Angels in the Outfield is much better. Starring Paul Douglas, Keenan Wynn, and the beautiful Janet Leigh was made in 1951 and has more charm and humor than the lackluster remake. The sad thing is that few people know that the 90s film was a remake. Special features include several cartoons and a radio adaptation of the film. This is an Amazon Exclusive disc.

Can you say 1980s grade-A cheese? Can you say guilty pleasure? In the mid 1980's, Ninjas were huge. Me and the gang loved watching Lee Van Cleef in The Master on television (by the way where is that DVD set?) and we played Shinobi in the arcade. Ninja movies were everywhere, and somehow, somewhere, a big wig in Hollywood said one day: "Hey let's combine America's fascination with Ninjas and it's love for competitive Gymnastics. It's a win-win!" Kurt Thomas may have never been able to compete in the 1980 Olympics because of the ban, but he had his shot at taking on the Cold War in ... Gymkata!

Band of Angels
Clark Gable, Sydney Poitier, and (the recently and sadly deceased) Yvonne DeCarlo star in this 50's film about a Southern Belle whose fortunes turn south when her father dies during the Civil War era. Hmmm...sounds familiar. And it stars Clark Gable? Oh, but wait...the similarities end there. The film delves into slavery, family secrets, and torrid romance. Did I say they end? Well, actually the movie is quite different from that other one you are thinking of. Worth checking out, indeed.

Well that's all folks... Wait! No TCM picks today? Well, don't worry we have a massive TCM Shelf picks coming up next that celebrates- The Academy Awards. Stick around and don't miss it!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

There are many sounds around us, each is slightly different. So small as to go un-noticed by the person who is unaware. Do not hear the wood split. Hear the only sound of axe, cutting air. Read the air itself. It has much say to you.


Laura said...

These Connick CDs look really interesting. Thanks for the good tip!

Enjoying your recent posts. Love the big pic of Robert Mitchum on last week's Roundup. :)

Best wishes, Laura

Laura said...

A postscript, thanks to your post alerting me to these new Connick releases, I picked up OH MY NOLA on sale at Target this week (just $10!). Looking forward to playing and also picking up the other album.

Best wishes, Laura

J.C. Loophole said...

Thanks for your comments, Laura. You can't go wrong with Harry Connick, Jr. The one thing that has impressed me is that he is one of the few celebrities who has truly worked hard to rebuild and regroup his hometown. His family still lives there and he obviously has a deep connection. He isn't concerned with the blame game as much as other celebrities that have run their mouth and then run off.


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