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KaseyG (Toronto, ON)
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Legend of Lizzie Borden, The
Legend of Lizzie Borden, The
DVD ~ Elizabeth Montgomery
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 18.76
18 used & new from CDN$ 18.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best TV-Movie of Elizabeth's Illustrious Career, June 13 2015
This review is from: Legend of Lizzie Borden, The (DVD)
This movie would turn up on old UHF channels every so often in the late ‘70s and ‘80s on the Late Show and I couldn’t help but stay up and watch it each time. A&E ran it in the ‘90s and I haven’t seen it since then. It is wonderful to finally have an uncut copy at my disposal. I like how the ragged cover art makes it look like an Exploitation flick when in truth it couldn’t be any more subtle and understated as a horror movie. Actually it’s more a psychological thriller which I prefer over gratuitous slashers and Miss Liz delivers perhaps the best post-Bewitched performance of her illustrious TV career. What a delight to see her chilling ‘no-holds-barred-anything-but-Samantha-Stephens’ portrayal of the infamous ax-murderess.

The supporting cast is a top-notch roster of familiar character actors (though you may not know all their names, you’ll certainly recognize the faces) and this is undoubtedly one of the best TV-movies of all-time, whether you’re a Liz fan or not.

The film doesn’t give us a clean-cut resolution and the ambiguity works in its’ favor. The climactic flashback seen through Lizzie’s mind is played mostly in silence which adds to the creepiness rather than having a frightening, accompanying score try and manipulate the viewer.

The print hasn’t been remastered and looks a little grainy, but considering this was a period-piece to begin with, it’s actually appropriate.

FIVE STARS—a Classic that’s definitely worth revisiting now and again.

Bad Georgia Road [Import]
Bad Georgia Road [Import]
Price: CDN$ 26.54
15 used & new from CDN$ 22.77

3.0 out of 5 stars For Lockwood and Lynley Fans Only, June 7 2015
This review is from: Bad Georgia Road [Import] (DVD)
VCI brings us this 1977 rarity that can best be described as A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE meets THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. This is by no means a great film and is only worthwhile viewing for fans of Carol Lynley and Gary Lockwood (of which I am one).

Lynley's character is an uppity New Yorker in the fashion biz who chucks her career and heads for the South when she receives word her eccentric uncle has died and left her sole heir to his `estate' and fortune. She arrives with her fey assistant to find all that's waiting for her is run-down rural land and a mountain of debt. She also discovers boorish moonshine runner Lockwood whom she instantly despises but there's foreshadowing of a STREETCAR-like climax in which lust and carnal desire ultimately explode.

Nothing much else exciting happens; there's the obligatory car chases and barroom brawl and while this is your standard drive-in fare, it's pretty tame compared to other Exploitation flicks of the era. Lockwood barely flashes some butt cheek while preparing his breakfast and Lynley has a skinny-dipping scene that doesn't really show anything. Said scene contains probably the funniest line in the movie as she huffs to Lockwood while he gawks at her from the riverbank fondling her unmentionables "If you like those panties so much, maybe you should try them on".

THREE STARS but if you aren't a fan of the two leads you'll probably have no interest in this. The print looks great, however (SEE THE SCREEN GRABS I POSTED). It's not remastered and some scenes come off as soft-focus but for a rather obscure film, VCI did a decent job.

Malibu High / Hustler Squad [Import]
Malibu High / Hustler Squad [Import]
Price: CDN$ 22.58
19 used & new from CDN$ 15.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Upgrade for Fans of MALIBU HIGH, May 18 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
*NOTE: This review may contain spoilers** "Malibu High" is kind of a bland title for this low-budget trashfest "introducing" Jill Lansing as foul-mouthed, underachieving high school senior Kim Bentley. The film should have kept one of its other working titles, preferably "High School Hit Girl", being that's what our heroine ultimately graduates to after a stint of prostitution.

Too lazy to study for better grades, broke and recently dumped by her blond surfer boyfriend Kevin, Kim quickly takes local pimp/drug dealer Tony (Al Mannino) up on his offer to become a "working girl". Mannino is no stranger to grindhouse cinema as he has appeared in everything from the classick 1971 rabies-fest "I Drink Your Blood" as a human sacrifice to a gay construction worker billed as "Le Fruit" in 1983's "Microwave Massacre", possibly one of the stupidist horror movies ever made. Here Mannino (aka Alex Mann) sports a pencil thin moustache that makes him resemble John Waters on steroids.

When Kim gets fed-up with Tony taking a bigger cut of her profits than she appreciates, she begins working for a higher-class pimp named Lance (Garth Howard). They ultimately become lovers and when one of her tricks freaks her out by setting up an S&M scene, she murders him with an ice pick, later revealing to Lance that she kind of got off on it. This event causes a light bulb to go off as Lance realizes Kim's lack of conscience will make her a perfect hit-girl to off his enemies.

Our heroine also begins coming on to her teachers and then blackmailing them after she seduces them. When the principal calls her on her behaviour, she straddles him topless causing the old coot to have a heart attack! Of course, things escalate to the boiling point until Kim commits a murder that hits close to home and a big showdown ensues (complete with the theme music from the "People's Court").

This is cheaply made, mindless entertainment, but it's good for a few laughs. There is a cheesy disco sequence, and it's a little unbelievable that an average (by Hollywood standards) looking girl like Kim would quickly become known as the hottest piece of tail in town. The barbed exchanges between Kim and her hapless mother are a highlight as is the moment when Kevin's new squeeze repeatedly refers to Kim as something you flush down the toilet.

Not since Dawn Davenport in "Female Trouble" has there been a leading lady so unsympathetic and hell-bent on destroying herself. Like Dawn, Kim gets her just desserts in the end. Worth viewing at least once for the cheese factor and several laugh-out-loud lines.

This movie is available on the budget-priced "Drive-In Cult Classics" DVD set that routinely sells for around five bucks on Amazon. However, in 2014 it was paired with "Hustler Squad" in a remastered edition that is worth seeking out if you like this film. The new version has been cleaned up considerably and there is less cropping (NOTE: Check out the screen caps I posted of the old version vs. the new transfer--there's a world of difference).

Maude: Season 2
Maude: Season 2
DVD ~ Bea Arthur
Price: CDN$ 24.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 21.22

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Television as an Art Form, May 12 2015
This review is from: Maude: Season 2 (DVD)
If you didn't feel tempted to shell out for the Complete Series released a few months back (and how could you NOT), here--at long last--after 8 years, comes MAUDE's sophomore season that contains the 24 episodes that aired originally during 1973-74 on CBS' Tuesday night schedule.

While Maude's debut season mined much of its' humor from topical stories, here the show wisely sidesteps the issues-oriented scripts (for the most part) to explore the most interesting aspect of the show--the complicated, turbulent relationship between Maude and Walter. "Maude's Revolt" is one of my favorites episodes from this season and Ms. Arthur is wonderful as her frustration builds during her birthday party at which Walter breaks an important promise. Another winner is "The Will" which builds to a deliciously ironic finale after another decibel-shattering argument.

The character of Maude is given more depth this season as she questions her own liberal thinking in episodes such as "Double Standard" (a must-see for the charades sequence and Bill Macy's performance) or "Philip's Problem" and "Maude's Guest" (featuring a hysterical turn by guest Tamu Blackwell). "Maude's Facelift, Part 1" offers another intelligent, hilarious script that has Maude wailing about how she's aging and graying which no doubt had millions of American women of a certain age nodding along with her. Scripts and performances like these made the character more relatable even to non-feminists.

This is the season in which Arthur (Conrad Bain) hooks up with Vivian (Rue McClanahan) essentially giving Maude and Walter their Fred-and-Ethel off of which to play. This dynamic would blossom into much more in future seasons, but the chemistry is already here in Season Two.

Perhaps my favorite episode of the entire 141 shows is included here. "The Tax Audit" is a perfectly flawless script that does not contain one single line of extraneous dialogue and tells the story of how Maude slowly recognizes Walter's tax auditor as the same man who tried to rape her three decades prior back in the '40s. It sounds like another dark, depressing Norman Lear hallmark (shades of "Edith's 50th Birthday") but is surprisingly one of the series' funniest, if not best acted.

Lastly, towards the end of this collection, Florida (Esther Rolle) exits the show for her own GOOD TIMES spinoff and shares a touching, tearful goodbye with Maude. It's one of the most affecting, honest scenes Rolle played in her short time on the series.

Highly theatrical, side-splitting hilarious, amusingly witty, MAUDE in this second season is even better than its' first.

The video quality here is better than I've ever seen it in reruns. I posted various screen grabs in the IMAGES section so check for yourself.

FIVE STARS and long overdue!

Dallas: Season 3 (DVD) by Warner Home Video
Dallas: Season 3 (DVD) by Warner Home Video
Offered by JnP Store Canada
Price: CDN$ 79.48

3.0 out of 5 stars Best Season of the 2012 Reboot, May 4 2015
I've watched the 2012 DALLAS reboot since the first season was released on DVD and for the most part found it disappointing. The third [and final] season is a step up from the previous two in terms of storytelling and acting. Whereas the first two seasons were all over the map as far as plots [with boring stories about Christopher developing new eco-friendly fuel, etc] this one is more cohesive with everything coming together in the last half of the season to make for a gripping, intense viewing experience that dares to descend into darker territory never before seen on any incarnation of DALLAS. The episode "Boxed In" gets my vote for the most dramatic, interesting and best-acted.

The writers have upped their game and certain cast members like Brenda Strong and Josh Henderson rise to the occasion. Others such as Jesse Metcalfe continue to underwhelm, unfortunately. Other cons include the excessive jump cuts and edits that producers see fit to employ to appeal to today's ADD viewers and the various montages that pop up to make the show look like a music video. Judith Light's character has some of her best scenery-chewing moments this season but for some reason they have allowed her to glam up to the point where she no longer looks believable as Mitch Pileggi's mother [they look more like siblings this year].

Still nowhere near as good as the original 1978-91 but this is the only season of the 2012 DALLAS I can say I recommend.

Dallas: The Complete Third Season
Dallas: The Complete Third Season
DVD ~ Josh Henderson
Price: CDN$ 22.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 22.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The Best Season of the 2012 Reboot, May 4 2015
I've watched the 2012 DALLAS reboot since the first season was released on DVD and for the most part found it disappointing. The third [and final] season is a step up from the previous two in terms of storytelling and acting. Whereas the first two seasons were all over the map as far as plots [with boring stories about Christopher developing new eco-friendly fuel, etc] this one is more cohesive with everything coming together in the last half of the season to make for a gripping, intense viewing experience that dares to descend into darker territory never before seen on any incarnation of DALLAS. The episode "Boxed In" gets my vote for the most dramatic, interesting and best-acted.

The writers have upped their game and certain cast members like Brenda Strong and Josh Henderson rise to the occasion. Others such as Jesse Metcalfe continue to underwhelm, unfortunately. Other cons include the excessive jump cuts and edits that producers see fit to employ to appeal to today's ADD viewers and the various montages that pop up to make the show look like a music video. Judith Light's character has some of her best scenery-chewing moments this season but for some reason they have allowed her to glam up to the point where she no longer looks believable as Mitch Pileggi's mother [they look more like siblings this year].

Still nowhere near as good as the original 1978-91 but this is the only season of the 2012 DALLAS I can say I recommend.

Maude: Season 1
Maude: Season 1
DVD ~ Bill Macy, Conrad Bain Bea Arthur
Price: CDN$ 13.35
19 used & new from CDN$ 7.24

5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Issues-Oriented Season, But Not The Best One, April 7 2015
This review is from: Maude: Season 1 (DVD)
An immediate hit with audiences when she made her first momentous appearance on "All In The Family", Bea Arthur's "Maude" quickly established itself a Top Five hit in the Nielsen's in its' debut season here available dirt-cheap from the folks at Mill Creek.

THIS is the "Maude" that Conservatives love to hate. When they decry the show for its' "incessant topicality", THIS is the Season they refer to; the political references were quickly phased out and the subsequent seasons are nowhere near as issues-oriented as this one. In episodes such as "Doctor, Doctor", "Flashback", "Grass Story", "Maude and the Medical Profession" and most of all "Maude's Dilemma" the writers hammer home plenty of message scripts dealing with Liberalism, politics, marijuana laws, malpractice and abortion. But for all its' preaching, the comedy still remainds the Gold Standard as Bea, Bill Macy and the rest of the cast deliver.

Some of the better offerings this debut year include "Maude Meets Florida" which cleverly conveys all the necessary expository information about the characters; "Like Mother, Like Daughter" which offers Maude some great zingers; "Love and Marriage" which culminates in one of the first spectacular fightd between Maude and Walter; and "The Convention" in which the script traps the couple in a cheap motel room where Maude slowly reveals her dissatisfaction with being 'merely' a housewife.

The episode "Maude's Good Deed" suffers from some jarring, odd edits where it seems they inserted several audience-less retakes into the finished product. But Bea sports a longer, softer hairdo pinned back for many episodes [see the IMAGES posted] that is actually very flattering.

By no means the strongest season, and the topicality is at an all-time high for the series, but the performances are top-notch and you can't beat the price. If you like what you see here, I highly recommend going with Shout Factory's Complete Series.

Swept Away
Swept Away
Price: CDN$ 22.07
9 used & new from CDN$ 22.07

3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven But The Good Outshines The Bad, March 21 2015
This review is from: Swept Away (Audio CD)
The highs on this album rank among some of Diana's best and had "Swept Away" been an EP containing only the five best selections it would rank Five Stars. Unfortunately, the blandness of the weaker cuts drag it down to a Three-and-a-half Stars.

The beautiful "Missing You" is her best ballad in a decade, yet though a tribute to the then-recently deceased Marvin Gaye, the lyrics aren't specific enough to prevent this from being as much an anthem of lost love as "Reflections". Another winner is the grandiose Julio Iglesias duet "All of You", which barely scraped the Top 20. It's baffling why this wasn't a bigger hit because at the time female/male duets such as "Islands in the Stream", "Baby Come to Me", "You and I", and "We've Got Tonight" were huge. The Calypso-flavored "Touch by Touch" is all drum-machines with a memorable melody and guitar break. The dynamic title track is a slick fusion of '80s dance-rock with one of Diana's grittiest vocals ever but the best moment comes in "Nobody Makes Me Crazy (Like You Do)" which ranks among one of the most interesting things she's ever done. With it's hypnotic, thumping bass, eerie synth line, cooing vocal, heavy panting and maniacal giggle, this is Miss Ross' "I Feel Love". It's a lost gem and a real shame Diana didn't step outside the box more often with wonderful surprises like this one. This alone makes the album worth getting.

The other half of the album is weak and contains an unnecessary and uninspired cover of the Fontella Bass chestnut "Rescue Me"; the breezy "It's Your Move" and sexy "Telephone" are merely average; "We Are the Children of the World" oddly combines overly-syrupy lyrics with a bouncy aerobics beat; "Forever Young" is a piano number in the same vein as "It's My Turn" but it's not as memorable as either the Alphaville or Rod Stewart songs of the same name.

Ross (1983) / Vinyl record [Vinyl-LP]
Ross (1983) / Vinyl record [Vinyl-LP]

3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Cohesive Ross Album, March 21 2015
1983's "Ross" is what I'd say is Diana's sleeper album of the decade. While it didn't spawn any hit singles ("Pieces of Ice" peaked at #31), it's a pleasant listen and her best album since 1980's "Diana" that's surprisingly cohesive despite a myriad of writers and producers aiding her here including Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Ray Parker, Jr. While none of the tracks stand out like "Upside Down", Diana's vocals have never sounded so relaxed. There are no overblown Michael Masser piano ballads here (which are great if taken in small doses), just a fun, breezy Adult Contemporary-Pop album.

THAT'S HOW YOU START OVER - Michael McDonald wrote it; fast-paced number about moving forward to open the album, though not as celebratory or exuberant as I'M COMING OUT, etc.
LOVE WILL MAKE IT RIGHT- Written by Donald Fagen, Diana sounds nonchalant about carrying on a forbidden affair. Her attitude is summed up by the title and there's some interesting drumming on this one
YOU DO IT - This song reminds me so much of "Personally" by Karla Bonoff
PIECES OF ICE - Some terrific guitar work and chugs along nicely with a subtle, understated very slight and classier "Flashdance" vibe
LET'S GO UP - Another slice of optimism, this one features the cheeriest vocal found here and sunny synth line
LOVE OR LONELINESS - Written by Ray Parker, Jr. and if you're familiar with his hits JACK AND JILL or A WOMAN NEEDS LOVE you know what to expect here; perhaps the album's best moment
UP FRONT - Parker, Jr. again but this time an in-your-face pop-rocker; it's ok but not great
GIRLS - Diana tries to channel Evelyn Champagne King; another average number

Though it didn't spawn any Top Ten singles like the albums that bookend it, ROSS may well be Diana's most consistent effort between 1981-86.

Three-and-a-Half Stars.

Silk Electric
Silk Electric
Offered by momox ca
Price: CDN$ 6.59
5 used & new from CDN$ 6.59

2.0 out of 5 stars The Warhol Cover is the Best Thing About It, March 21 2015
This review is from: Silk Electric (Audio CD)
I suppose Diana Ross was expecting critical praise in 1982 when she boasted of the diversity to be found on "Silk Electric", but while I commend any artist for stepping outside the box, they do need to be taken to task for bad choices and poor judgement because this stinker suffers as a result.

Buoyed by the Top-Ten-Michael-Jackson-penned "Muscles" which features breathy, lustful vocals by Diana (and backup by the late King of Pop himself), the only real hit here is like the musical equivalent of candyfloss--no substance, but enjoyable nontheless for the few minutes you're experiencing it. Much better is the Side Two opener "Who", which recalls the glory days of 1980's "Diana" album with a definite CHIC influence and Diana sounding much sexier and sophisticated with her vocal sung in a lower register. This one alone makes "Silk Electric" worth the oft-painful listen and should have been the follow-up to "Muscles" but the record execs probably figured the sound was a little passe by 1983. Instead they chose to release the dreadful faux-Doo-Wop "So Close", which is a basic rip-off of "In The Still of the Night" but the synthesized keyboards could not be more incongruous with the rest of the arrangement. Diana's thin, strained vocals don't help, and yet this dud managed to make #40 on Billboard's singles chart!

But despite it's problems, "So Close" is far from the lowest point. That dubious distinction belongs to the attempted stab at a hard-rock number "Fool For Your Love" in which Diana hopelessly--no, LAUGHABLY tries to convince us she can pull off a ball-busting Pat Benatar impersonation--MUST be heard to be believed. The album closer "I Am Me" is an attempt at light reggae and is much more successful and in keeping with the Ross persona.

Of the ballads, "Love Lies" fares best, and "In Your Arms" and "Anywhere You Run To" were both done much better by Whitney Houston & Teddy Pendergrass and David Roberts, respectively.

Only worthy of Two-and-a-half stars and worth owning solely for the wonderfully smooth and catchy "Who" and the cool Warhol cover.

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