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Kasey G (Toronto, ON)
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Supreme
Supreme
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 44.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 39.93

3.0 out of 5 stars Dragged Down With Too Many Dull AC Numbers, Feb. 27 2012
This review is from: Supreme (Audio CD)
Mismanagement and Motown interference prevented the late Florence Ballard's comeback in 1968 on ABC records, but this CD contains most of the material she recorded as well as some early Supremes' songs featuring Flo on lead.

While much has been said and written about how Flo did possess the strongest pipes of The Supremes, this collection remains a curio more than anything else and is just a hodgepodge of material none of which really allows Ms. Ballard to shine. There's bland covers of "Yesterday", "It's Not Unusual", "The Impossible Dream" and "Going Out of My Head". The late '60s AC vibe is reminiscent of Dionne Warwick, and at times Flo even sounds a little like Dionne (and covers "Walk on By" here, too). The best moments are when she gets sassy, like on the Stax Records-styled opener "Like You Babe" but too often this collection drowns in its own syrupiness. More upbeat tunes may have saved it. "It Doesn't Matter How I Say It" is a little too cutesy-poo for its own good, but it is catchy and Flo gives a sexy breathy performance. The real gem is "Love Ain't Love" which had all the makings of a pop hit circa 1968; it's too bad it never got the promotion and radio support it deserved (no thanks to Barry Gordy, no doubt) because it certainly could have gone Top Ten.

On the plus side, the recordings here all sound terrific but this is not a CD that commands repeated listening and is certainly NOT worth the exorbitant price some Amazon sellers are now asking.

Three Stars. Fans of Flo will definitely want this in their collection, but it doesn't really show off her talents in the best light.

Vegas: The Third Season, Volume 1
Vegas: The Third Season, Volume 1
Price: CDN$ 31.93
22 used & new from CDN$ 22.14

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sin City in the Early '80s, Feb. 25 2012
Although "Vega$" was another glossy, cookie-cutter detective show from Aaron Spelling, it still has its inherent charms, although it would be cancelled at the end its third season when ABC purged itself of its long-time Wednesday night hits including also "Eight is Enough" and "Charlie's Angels".

Thankfully, CBS has managed stick with this show and while the split-seasons at full-cost have remained a point of contention for many, I never thought we'd get this far. "Vega$" must be selling well-enough and I really can't see CBS abandoning it at this point with only a half-season left to go.

Robert Urich WAS the show and carrying it rests squarely on his capable shoulders, but the guest stars were almost as much of the reason for success here as they were on Spelling's anthology series ("Love Boat", "Fantasy Island", "Hotel"). This 1/2 season includes big-screen/small-screen legends such as Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, John Saxon, Julie Adams, Patrick MacNee, June Lockhart, Eleanor Parker, Gary Lockwood, Barbara Parkins, Victor Buono, Dick Sargent, Jill St. John, Don Stroud and Edie Adams. Then-current stars like Jill Whelan, Erin Gray, Lindsay Bloom, Stephen Shortridge also show up as well as some yet-to-be-big actors like Stepfanie Kramer, Priscilla Barnes and Joe Penny.

Not as fresh or enjoyable as Season 1 because smart-mouthed but motherly Naomi Stevens and bodacious Judy Landers are missing in action, but still fluffy, escapist fun. I recommend picking up this one up for a flashback to Sin City at the dawn of the totally awesome '80s.

Island of Death
Island of Death
DVD ~ Robert Behling
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 192.56
9 used & new from CDN$ 71.32

3.0 out of 5 stars "If This Island's Full of S***, I'll Help Them Clean It Up", Feb. 25 2012
This review is from: Island of Death (DVD)
I judge a "good" exploitation flick by the way it leaves me feeling afterwards. If I feel dirty, uncomfortable and a little ashamed for watching it, then the movie has served its' purpose. Though "Island of Death" has been on the notorious Video Nasties list for years, it doesn't deserve to rank among the worst-of-the-worst.

Young couple vacationing on a beautiful Greek Island embark on a grisly killing spree, offing the residents in the most unpleasant of ways after degrading and ridiculing their victims: crucifixion, decapitation, human BBQ, close-range gunfire. Add to the mix golden showers and beastiality and you have a picture that should shock and repulse but the most shocking aspect is that it fails to evoke any emotion in the viewer. The best parts are the unintentional comedy by way of an over-the-top gay innkeeper, middle-aged nympho and deranged shepherd.

Perhaps the beautiful cinematography and stark white architecture wasn't the right atmosphere in which to stage such unpleasant set pieces; or the fact that the effects are none-too-convincing; the bottom line is--don't believe the hype. There are much gorier, trashier '70s flicks than this to 'enjoy' if that's your cup of tea. If you're still interested in seeking this out, you can find it free streaming online. Do not waste your money on the outrageously high-priced out-of-print DVDs.

Three stars.

Poor Pretty Eddie [Import]
Poor Pretty Eddie [Import]
DVD ~ Leslie Uggams
Offered by BARGOONS
Price: CDN$ 7.99
7 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as It Sounds, Feb. 19 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Poor Pretty Eddie [Import] (DVD)
As a '70s exploitation flick, this is just ok--I've seen much better and I've seen worse. Noted singer (Leslie Uggams) becomes stranded in hicksville after a gig and becomes the object of desire for the slightly off-balance wanna-be entertainer of the film's title. Problem is, Eddie is the "kept man" of Big Bertha (Shelley Winters) and she ain't about to give up her prize stud!

On paper it sounds like a dream: Ted Cassidy (Lurch from "The Addams Family"), Shelley Winters and Leslie Uggams in a tale of backwoods rape and depravity, but somehow it doesn't live up to its potential. Winters gets off a few great one-liners ("I don't care if she farts Chanel No. 5", "Eddie knows alot about poontang but don't know nothing about women") and calls Uggams a "vicious black little b**ch", and Eddie (Michael Christian) looks great in a wifebeater, but somehow it just isn't enough to save the movie. Uggams has such a chip on her shoulder from the beginning, we don't really sympathize with her. **NOTE** See the screen grabs I posted in the Images section of this product.

The screenplay was written by B.W. Sandefur, who must have loved writing these backwoods stories; he's the guy responsible for the worst episode of "Charlie's Angels"--the dreadful "Moonshinin' Angels" from the show's final season.

Okay to see once; but IMO it doesn't have much replay value.

Three Stars.

Dallas: The Complete Eleventh Season
Dallas: The Complete Eleventh Season
DVD ~ Barbara Bel Geddes
Price: CDN$ 26.88
30 used & new from CDN$ 21.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'd Like to Report a Double Murder...This Is Sue Ellen Ewing", Feb. 11 2012
The title of this review is about the most exciting thing about Season 11, and they are the final words spoken in the season-finale. Sadly, by this point the once-mighty "Dallas" is getting stale and not as addictive as it was during its 1979-83 heyday. Several of the storylines that could have played out over a few episodes are stretched out over the entire season and may induce drowsiness, so be warned.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

After the explosive car crash that ended Season 10, disfigured burn victim Pam secretly flees the hospital, leaving Bobby with nothing but a note and a wish that he and Christopher continue their lives without her. While grieving this loss, father and son are befriended by pretty blonde Lisa Alden (Amy Stock) who ingratiates herself into their lives until it's revealed she's Christopher's biological aunt who plans on suing for custody.

In the business world, J.R. tries to get controlling interest in Westar by snuggling up to Kimberly Cryder (Leigh Taylor-Young), who's dying Daddy owns some sizeable shares. The only way J.R. can get his hands on them is to divorce Sue Ellen and marry Kimberly. Taylor-Young's impossibly-high cheekbones and haughty persona make her the most interesting of the new cast additions this season. The same can't be said for the attractive-but-boring Karen Kopins, who appears as Senator's aide Kay Lloyd. She takes up with Bobby in Washington when he attempts to get back the Ewing Oil name by meeting with a shady Senator (Howard Duff) with a high price.

Investment banker Nicholas Pearce (Jack Scalia) is hired to help Sue Ellen with her thriving business, and mid-season the two become lovers. April (Sheree J. Wilson) hires a detective and discovers that Nicholas is hiding a shady past with mafia ties, and her curiosity results in kidnapping and murder. Watch for Sue Ellen's secretary Kelly; she's played by Linda Gray's real-life daughter Kehly Sloane.

Andrew Stevens appears as Casey Denault, the son of one of Jock's former business associates. J.R. pimps out the ambitious but inexperienced Casey to secure some choice deals until Casey gets too big for his britches.

Cliff sinks a fortune into drilling on the advice of drifter Dandy Dandridge (Bert Remsen) who reminds Cliff of his father Digger Barnes.

Charlie (Shalane McCall) becomes so rebellious (by dating a teenage Brad Pitt!!) that Ray and Jenna decide to have her shipped off to boarding school in Europe. But the Krebbs household has other problems because Jenna openly proclaims her feelings to Bobby (who doesn't respond warmly--perhaps it's her hideous little-Dutch-boy hairdo this season that turned him off for good); and later Ray helps out stranded female motorist Connie (Michele Scarabelli) who becomes so obsessed with him she models herself in Jenna's image (WHY???) and knifes him in bed when he rejects her (this on the heels of the big box-office success of "Fatal Attaction").

Clayton suffers a heart attack at the annual Oil Baron's ball and after his recovery strikes up an odd friendship with a 20-something British plant enthusiast who's hiding from her possessive boyfriend. Later, Clayton becomes a blackmail victim and murder suspect. All this drama has Miss Ellie wringing her hands and getting drunk.

At the end of the season, Charlene Tilton returns to the fold as Lucy takes up with Casey Denault when she learns they share a mutual dislike of J.R.

It's clear the writers are running out of ideas, as the old "J.R.-fights-Sue Ellen-for-custody-of-John-Ross" plot shows up again, as well as Miss Ellie's husband being charged with murder. A sub-plot of Cliff becoming addicted to tranquilizers goes nowhere.

The best moment of the season occurs when Miss Ellie tells a smug J.R. off after Clayton gets arrested. Also, watch how many times someone orders ice tea (must have been THE drink of 1987-88!). And you just can't beat Sue Ellen's massive shoulder pads and cute "Judy Jetson" hairdo this season, but it's not enough to alleviate alot of the boredom.

Definitely past it's prime, with a few good moments here and there, Season 11 of "Dallas" is not essential viewing, and may have you watching the clock. As far as video quality, for some reason some episodes look great, but a good many look like they were transferred from VHS tapes. On the plus side, every episode contains the "Last on 'Dallas' and "Next on 'Dallas'" bumpers at the beginning and end. Too bad the previous seasons did not.

Three and a half stars.

Landfall
Landfall
Price: CDN$ 17.43
4 used & new from CDN$ 17.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece--Fans Will NOT Be Disappointed!, Jan. 28 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Landfall (Audio CD)
After a five-year (!) wait, Carole Pope's "Landfall" album has finally been released--and for fans of Carole that haven't yet heard it--you won't be disappointed! The best way to appreciate "Landfall" is to turn down the lights, turn up the stereo and lay on the floor and just let this wonderful musical experience wash over you like a series of waves.

The darker, industrial-meshed-with-Broadway-showtune "Viral" is the perfect opener to this varied effort.

"Tell Me" is probably the weakest link because it reminds me of those female coffeehouse singer-songwriters of the '90s like Tori Amos and Natalie Merchant.

"Did I Mention" harkens back to the "For Those Who Think Young" era of 1981 with scratchy guitars, impossibly funky keyboards and its lyrics about coke spoons and discoteques. If Rough Trade had let Nile Rogers produce an album back in the '80s it would sound like this--easily my favorite song of the whole album. Those who are familiar with Carole's voice will probably know how she shrieks certain lyrics sometimes and this song highlights that unusual technique perfectly.

When this album was in the making, Carole made much ado about working with Rufus Wainwright. On their duet "Landfall", I hated this upon first listen, but it's got great lyrics and has grown on me and is one of two songs here that make effective use of strings.

The harsh, alternative-sounding "My Flame" sounds like it was recorded in a room full of broken glass as Carole spits out the lyrics.

The grinding "God=Love" borrows a guitar hook from Chilliwack's "Crazy Talk" and the politically-charged lyrics have Carole singing "The White House might as well be a crack-house". This is probably my second favorite.

The ethereal yet modern-sounding "Torture" nicely fills the electronica quota.

"Shining Path" is really club music for grownups with discerning taste. It's got a late '80s European dance vibe that Lady Gaga's adopted as of late, except Carole's obviously anything but bubblegum.

Amidst the piercing violins and poetic lyrics of "Tourniquet", Carole registers angst better than Annie Lennox.

Upon first listen, the lyrics aren't as beautifully poetic as some of the songs on "Transcend" ("Sweet Dream 6") or angry and cynical ("World of One"), but at age 62, Carole Pope's vocal and writing skills are in still in top form. I haven't heard such a powerful album from a female vocalist since Sinead O'Connor's "Lion and the Cobra" nearly 25 years ago.

"Landfall" speaks of political hypocrisy, painful relationships and emotional baggage like only Carole Pope can. Next time please don't make us wait so long between albums, Carole.

Five stars--another winner! Thank God Carole is still writing/making great music in this crazy era when horrible acts like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are inexplicably making millions.

Zipper Catches Skin
Zipper Catches Skin
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 97.20
2 used & new from CDN$ 72.40

3.0 out of 5 stars Only a Couple Keepers on This One, Jan. 28 2012
This review is from: Zipper Catches Skin (Audio CD)
Alice Cooper's 1982 "Zipper Catches Skin" is more straight-ahead rock and less New Wave than his two previous albums, but contains some material that seems like leftovers from "Flush the Fashion" and "Special Forces".

It's an average Alice album at best, and if you skip this one you're not missing that much.

The best cuts are the galloping opener "Zorro's Ascent"; The fiery, clever "Tag, You're It" has Alice assuming the role of horror-movie director and the entire song is made up of his direction to the terrified leading lady hiding from a psycho-killer. It alone makes this album worth getting. Though the militant "I Better Be Good" sounds like a leftover from "Special Forces", it's still one of the best tracks here lyrically and musically. Patty Donahue of The Waitresses appears to take Alice to task on "I Like Girls" and her asides are typically amusing and make the song ("What happened? Run out of gas?" etc).

Among the rest: "Make That Money (Scrooge's Song)" is nothing special except the instrumental finale sounds like something straight out of the "Killer" era, which should please fans of the original ACG. In the slower "I Am the Future", Alice forgoes the sap of earlier shamaltz for a ballad with bite--exactly like a slow Coop song should be.

Some of the lyrics get a little silly, as on "No Baloney Homosapiens" but it's a decent sing-a-long cut nontheless, the showy chorus reminiscent of "Hello Hurray". The rocking "I'm Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned)" also sounds like something from B$B updated for 1982.

"Adaptable (Anything For You)", "Remarkably Insincere" are actually both UNremarkable.

Although "Zipper Catches Skin" is not a bad album--and would be decent for any other artist, Alice is capable of much more than what's here.

Three Stars--an average Coop effort.

Special Forces
Special Forces
Offered by Mega Media CA
Price: CDN$ 15.75
30 used & new from CDN$ 6.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Alice Turns Into David Bowie, Jan. 17 2012
This review is from: Special Forces (Audio CD)
"Special Forces" is one of those albums that takes a while to appreciate; but it definitely will grow on you. It was a daring, unpredictable release for Alice at the time but it does suffer a bit from simple, repetitive lyrics.

The militant "Who Do You Think We Are" sets the tone for the entire album. It, along with "Seven and Seven Is", "Prettiest Cop on the Block" and "Vicious Rumours" are some of the fastest-pumping songs Alice ever recorded; 80s mosh-pit music if there ever was.

There's an updated live version of "Generation Landslide ('81)" that actually works due to the new, harder arrangement. An eerie harpsichord opens the bass-driven "Skeletons in the Closet" which sounds like a blueprint for David Bowie's 1983 hit "China Girl". This album seems ahead of its time in that it clearly influenced some mid-80s songs that came later; especially those drum machines in "You Want It, You Got It" and the synthesized handclaps in "You're a Movie". The closest thing to '70s Alice here is the fashion-bashing rocker "You Look Good in Rags".

Fans are divided on this one. I for one was glad to see Alice refuse to get stuck in a rut and try something new.

Four stars: Not an exceptional album but a lot better than average.

Designing Women S6
Designing Women S6
Price: CDN$ 34.03
21 used & new from CDN$ 34.03

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sugarbakers Gets a Personnel Makeover, Jan. 12 2012
This review is from: Designing Women S6 (DVD)
During the summer of 1991, "Designing Women" was riding high in the Nielsens with its biggest ratings ever due to all the publicity the show was receiving in the tabloids after the dismissal of Delta Burke. After much speculation about her successor, it was revealed that Julia Duffy (having recently come off a 7-season stint as spoiled Stephanie on "Newhart") would be her replacement. At the time the producers were quoted as saying "There are very few actresses who can play spoiled, stuffy characters without making you hate them...and Julia Duffy is one of those few". That statement was spot-on and viewers had their hopes as high as the Thomasons that the show would continue to enchant audiences. "Saturday Night Live" alumna Jan Hooks would be taking over for Jean Smart, who's departure was so overshadowed by Delta's, it practically slipped under everyone's radar and was hardly mentioned.

The hour-long season-premiere on September 16, 1991 titled "The Big Desk" generated such buzz it brought in viewers by the millions and was only bested by the season-premiere of lead-in "Murphy Brown". The episode was brilliantly-written to introduce the two new characters as well as send-off Jean Smart, whose promises to return for guest spots never materialized.

Thank God for Shout Factory! I was worried they would stop after Season 5 but bless their little hearts, they have come through with the Season I have been waiting for most of all. With Pam Norris still producing, the vibe is very similar to Season 5 despite the cast changes. Although some of the writing is a little weaker in spots, the delivery and comic timing of all the actresses is impeccable, and I found myself laughing out loud many times over the course of these 23 episodes.

Julia Duffy does her best with a difficult role. The writers basically painted themselves into a corner by giving cousin Allison Sugarbaker the dreaded Obnoxious Personality Disorder then expecting Duffy to win over audiences. Jan Hooks had a much easier time of it as the naive, sometimes unknowingly tactless Carlene. But if nothing else, Bernice (Alice Ghostley) gets more screen time than ever this season and begins bellowing her signature song at Anthony every opportunity she gets ("Black Man, Black Man...Wherrrrre did you come from?").

Some of the best episodes this season include "All About Odes to Atlanta" where Carlene enters a singing contest and acquires a needy groupie named Heather; "Mamed" has Anthony casting Julia as Auntie Mame in a community theatre production that features a hilarious guest spot by Gretchen Wyler; Anthony's infamous former cellmate T. Tommy Reed takes a shine to Allison when the ladies partake in a prison outreach program in "Last Tango In Atlanta"; Jackee appears as Anthony's new squeeze, sassy Vanessa Chamberlain in "Shades of Vanessa"; and "The Strange Case of Clarence (Thomas) and Anita (Hill)" though now dated--features what may be the fastest reaction to current events a scripted TV show ever managed to pull off.

I'm nitpicking and don't mean to sound like an ingrate, but to die-hard fans, the cover art looks a little odd since it features Season 1 shots of Carter and Potts mixed in with Sixth Season shots of Duffy and Hooks. But I'm so glad Shout is delivering the goods with one of my favorite seasons, I'll forgive them!

If you look at Season 6 as a whole new show and forget what Delta and Jean Smart brought to the table, you'll be surprised how much fun these episodes are. Anyone who was turned off by the topical women's issues this show preached during its earlier seasons will probably like this incarnation better since the comedy is front and center. Also, for all the hate spewed towards this season, it should be noted that more people watched these episodes of "Designing Women" than any of the ones with the original cast. The series reached at an all-time peak in the ratings during 1991-92, coming in at #6 among all programs on the air--ironic!

Kudos to Shout Factory because "The Big Desk" is presented in its original hour-long format, not split into two parts as it was in syndication. Also, some episodes featured original classic '60s songs such as "It's My Party" and "When Will I Be Loved" over the closing credits and they appear intact here. Thank you Shout Factory, you've made this DW fan VERY happy!

Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season
Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season
DVD ~ Penny Marshall
Price: CDN$ 17.97
23 used & new from CDN$ 17.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Betty Please...Pick Up Your Hash..Blacks", Jan. 10 2012
I was dead-certain "Laverne & Shirley" was stalled indefinitely on DVD because it's been four long years since Season Four was released, but CBS shocked everybody by announcing Season Five will come out April 10, 2012.

This is the last season to feature the girls in their original locale of Milwaukee and contains several classic episodes, perhaps the most memorable being "The Diner" in which Laverne and Shirley toil in a greasy spoon Lenny has inherited from his late uncle. The title of this review is a line from the episode that everyone seems to remember.

Also included among the 26 episodes to be found on this set are "Shotgun Wedding", which was originally the conclusion of a story arc that began on a "Happy Days" episode (which will be included as a Bonus Feature so we fans will get both parts); as well as two separate two-parters: "Murder on the Moosejaw Express" and "You're In The Army Now" which features Vicki Lawrence as the intimidating Seargant Plout. The girls perform "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay" in the episode "The Fourth Annual Shotz Talent Show".

The following episodes will be included on the set and Episode Promos for ALL of them are included. The single bonus feature is a Blooper Reel which is fun but a little short at only three minutes.

13/Sep/79 Shotgun Wedding (Part 2; Part 1 is a "Happy Days" episode)
20/Sep/79 One Heckuva Note
27/Sep/79 Fat City Holiday
04/Oct/79 Upstairs, Downstairs
18/Oct/79 What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor? (guest Ed Begley Jr.)
25/Oct/79 You've Pushed Me Too Far
01/Nov/79 The Wedding
08/Nov/79 Bad Girls
15/Nov/79 You're in the Army, Now (2 parts) (guest Vicki Lawrence)
22/Nov/79 Take Two, They're Small
06/Dec/79 The Fourth Annual Shotz Talent Show
13/Dec/79 Testing, Testing
07/Jan/80 Not Quite South of the Border
14/Jan/80 You Oughta Be in Pictures
21/Jan/80 The Beatnik Show (guests Art Garfunkel, Paul Kreppel)
28/Jan/80 The Right to Light (guest Richard Stahl)
04/Feb/80 Why Did the Fireman . . . (guest Ted Danson)
11/Feb/80 The Collector (guest Billy Sands)
26/Feb/80 Murder on the Moosejaw Express (Part 1) (guests Charlene Tilton, Charles Pierce, Scatman Crothers, Roger C. Carmel, Conrad Janis, Wilfred Hyde-White)
04/Mar/80 Murder on the Moosejaw Express (Part 2)
11/Mar/80 Survival Test (guest Vicki Lawrence)
25/Mar/80 The Duke of Squiggmann
01/Apr/80 Antonio, the Amazing
06/May/80 The Diner
13/May/80 Separate Tables

The show lost a little something the following year when Laverne, Shirley and their friends moved to California, so enjoy this last hurrah of those hilarious "brewery belles"...just don't call them bimbos!

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