Review DVD Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)

5 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Why Dancing is Part of Growing Up,

November 6, 2005
Heather Berman
I got this on a whim, intending to help my 6th grader, and ended up loving it. There are some unusually good reviews by others, so I will not repeat them. The bottom line is that this movie is for grade school what E.O. Wilson’s book “Consilience” is for adults. In that book he answers the questions, “why are the humanities vital to the sciences” and concluded that science out of context is not helpful to humanity.

Watching this movie, I found myself really admiring New York City for understanding how dancing could contribute to social IQ and to human interactions. As my own teen-ager (145+ IQ) rejects rote learning in high school, I am compelled to believe that we need to drastically change education, and do more of this social interaction, learning to learn, learning to find people who know, learning to exchange ideas rather than memorize old ideas, etcetera.

As a suburban New Yorker from the 1960’s, I also found that this movie considerably enhanced my appreciation for New York, and the school system, in the aftermath of 9-11. Over-all this movie is a credit to kids at their best, to the idea that dancing matters, to the NYC school systems and its teachers, and to the “Big Apple” itself.

Super, worthy of any adults time, and a definite pick for family nights in over pizza.

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Review DVD: Bride and Prejudice

5 Star, Culture, DVD - Light, Reviews (DVD Only)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Clever at All Levels–Remakes US View of India,

July 19, 2005
Naveen Andrews
This movie is so extraordinarily clever, at all levels, that I have watched it twice with undivided attention, and have it playing on background now. It does nothing less than remake US views of India. As I read the full page advertisements in the Washington Post saluting the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, and reading about the White House agreeing to sponsor nuclear information exchanges while India sponsors a second green revolution, I cannot help but think that this movie, in a unique way, captures both the beauty of India, and its arrival as a world power equal to the US.

I spend a lot of time thinking about both reality and perception. The US has blown it when it comes to the billions of poor–not just the Arab fundamentalists, but the non-violent individuals who see us occupying their countries and looting their natural resources. If America could produce a movie like this, one that reflected the best of America, the ideals of the original Republic, it would have more of an impact than the billions of dollars we are spending on a heavy-metal military.

This movie is extraordinary. It is brilliant. It is worth buying, viewing multiple times, and as a gift idea.

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Review: The Trail of Painted Ponies, Collectors Edition

4 Star, Culture, DVD - Light

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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Overview of the Collection and How It Came To Be,

February 12, 2005
Rod Barker
I bought this book in paperback at the same time that I bought four horses from a store and then–using the book as a guide–ordered two more from the web site.

It tells a great story and is a pleasure to have.

My only complaint is that the book focuses on telling a story with larger photos of a very small number of the horses, and then gives each of the **many** other horses in the collection nothing more than a thumbnail, literally (twelve 1.5 inch bu 1.5 inch tiny tiny tiny photos).

I would strongly encourage the sponsors to do a new edition that gives a quarter page to each horse, and also specifies the material that the horse is made of–I find the ceramic glaze horses generally disappointing.

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Review DVD: Gandhi (1982)

6 Star Special, Complexity & Resilience, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, DVD - Light, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Leadership, Religion & Politics of Religion, Reviews (DVD Only)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Basic Introduction to Achieving World Peace,

August 25, 2004
Ben Kingsley
Edit: The core point below is that clashes of millions of adherents of different religions, i.e. Catholic versus everyone else, Muslim versus Hindu, are not new, and the past does indeed demonstrate that force of arms is an ineffective means–indeed a pathological means that makes it worse–for addressing such schisms. Gandhi, and Gandhi alone, has shown the way with proven success at the level of Nations and Peoples.

9-11 focused some of us, but not enough of us, on the monumental issues of war and peace such as have not occurred since World War II–the Cold War being, as Derek Leebaert documents so well in “The Fifty Year Wound”, a false war, one with enormous costs to all mankind.

I bought this video recently–having seen it many years ago–to refresh my memory on the essence of Gandhi and his proven concept of non-violent resistance. The DVD capped several years of reading in the non-fiction national security arena (see my other 470+ reviews on war and peace), and has proven to be the ultimate primer as well as the ultimate Master’s Seminar.

This is the movie to watch if you want to get down to fundamentals; Gandhi’s three basic lessons of war and peace as shown so beautifully here are these: 1) the only devils are in our own minds; 2) the separation of Pakistan and India, like the separation of Palestine and Israel, violated the civil order between Muslims and Hindus, and destroyed all that Gandhi had achieved: peaceful coexistence of peoples within a single nation; and 3) in the end, after great pain, truth and love inevitably triumph.

Although I was tempted to fast-forward to the current six-front 100-year war between radicalized Islam and militarized America on the one hand, and between impoverished billions and corporate America on the other, I paused to reflect on the past first. It was the Spanish who first committed genocide against the American Indians, who expelled the Muslims and then the Jews, who sponsored the Inquisition and the Crusades. It was the British who stupidly pitted Muslim against Hindu in their attempts to assert their imperial will–nothing makes them look as stupid as the movie’s coverage of how the “Empire” forbade the locals to take salt from their very own sea: the Indian Sea.

Now I fast forward to our current circumstances, with special reference to Jonathan Schell’s “Unconquerable World,” perhaps complemented by Clyde Prestowitz’ “Rogue Nation” (the US), and Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire”–and the other 470+ books relevant to war and peace today. Bottom line: boy, have we screwed this up. First off, invading Afghanistan made Al Qaeda stronger, not weaker. Second off, invading Iraq has made America weaker, not stronger, and inflamed the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Africa, the Pacific Rim, and the Muslim populations in the Americas.

We need a Gandhi. I cannot think of any modern leader who is even close, although the current Pope has certainly tried. This movie depicts, in terms stark and relevant, the opposite of 9-11–the clash of mobs driven by ideology or religion, completely oblivious to the core facts that Gandhi tried to teach: non-violence, love, truth, the Golden Rule. All else is evil.

If you have time for just one serious DVD, this is it.

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