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Kasey G (Toronto, ON)

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Glee: Season 5 (Sous-titres français)
Glee: Season 5 (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Jane Lynch
Offered by Renaud-Bray
Price: CDN$ 37.99
3 used & new from CDN$ 21.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GLEE Comes to a Somewhat Satisfying Near-Conclusion, March 3 2015

In its' first season, GLEE almostly instantly became an overnight phenomenon; the novelty of a weekly TV musical with quirky characters and storylines was positively addictive. Then came Season Two, and one of the biggest Crash-and-Burns in TV history. GLEE flew off the rails and continued its' descent into mediocrity the next few seasons by introducing new characters nobody cared about, becoming too preachy, too repetitive and worst of all, losing its' humour. The stellar Season One had laughs aplenty but the show has barely managed to make me crack a smile since 2010.

Despite the shortcomings, I have stuck with it for five seasons now and I must say that while it hasn't recaptured the magic or gained any rewatchability in Season Five, the writers at least have tried to do some long-overdue damage control and get things back on track to provide viewers with some satisfying closure as the series wraps up for good with an abbreviated final Season Six in 2015.

This collection of episodes is split between Lima and New York for the first half of the season which is ultimately better than the last. Rachel, Kurt and Santana are still trying to make it in the Big Apple and Adam Lambert injects some much-needed energy with several guest spots (Demi Levato also appears but she contributes almost zilch to the proceedings). Lambert has such a strong bombastic screen presence that he steals every musical scene he's in (There's a terrific by-the-numbers version of Madonna's "Into the Groove" that even Chris Colfer couldn't ruin). Meanwhile, things are a little less interesting back in Lima as the new Glee kids (Kitty, Ryder, Jake and Marley) are basically given recycled plots from seasons past (Their version of Katy Perry's "Roar" is a definite feel-good moment). Everything at Lima now seems stale from Becky's potty-mouthed zingers to Tina's never-ending angst (although the Prom episode's homage to "Carrie" was clever and fun).

Of course, the death of Corey Monteith was woven into the plots this season with a well-done tribute episode but even more shocking was the writers' decision to disband the Glee club mid-season with Sue winning her final victory over Will. Finn's death and the end of the club open the doors for all of the original members (Puck, Quinn, Mercedes, Brittany, Mike Chang) to return for guest appearances as well as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kristen Chenoweth. These familiar faces and reworkings of Season One numbers such as "Don't Stop Believing" and "Don't Rain on My Parade" remind the viewer what a great show GLEE actually used to be. Unfortunately, what follows the break-up of Glee club is kind of anticlimactic as Sue and Will's appearances for the rest of the season basically amount to cameos and some of the plots set in New York (the romantic pairing of Sam and Mercedes, for instance) seem forced and unbelievable.

Still, the whole 'blast-from-the-past' vibe that is interwoven into this season's stories serves the show well.

Three-and-a-half Stars. If you'd given up on GLEE and have some time to spare, I recommend checking this out if only to spark some warm, fuzzy feelings that harken back to Season One.

Muscle Beach Party [Blu-ray] [Import]
Muscle Beach Party [Blu-ray] [Import]
Price: CDN$ 23.62
19 used & new from CDN$ 19.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray Version is Worth the Upgrade, Feb. 21 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
While the movie itself is nowhere near worthy of a 5-Star rating, this brand new Blu-Ray release from Olive Films deserves it based on video/audio improvements. I recorded this off the late show in 1989, bought the official VHS in the 1990s and the MGM Midnight Movies DVD in 2004 but THIS is the copy to own for true fans of this film with crystal clear audio and eye-popping colors. **NOTE** See the screen grab comparisons I posted in this review. They do not do this release justice.

For me, the real draw here isn't Frankie or Annette, but watching Candy Johnson frug up a frenzy in an early scene on the beach and over the closing credits theme sung by Stevie Wonder; and seeing Mr. Peter Lupus [credited here as Rock Stevens] in all his muscled glory. Though he's not as ripped as some of the other competitive body builders that appear in Don Rickles' stable of beefcake, as his character himself states, Lupus' character Flex Martian is "the biggest, the strongest, the handsomest". I wholeheartedly concur!

Mama's Family: Season 6 [Import]
Mama's Family: Season 6 [Import]
DVD ~ Vicki Lawrence
Price: CDN$ 27.98
20 used & new from CDN$ 22.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mama's Swan Song is as Entertaining as the Rest, Feb. 2 2015
For those who couldn't afford to spring for the Deluxe Box Set of the Complete Series back in Fall 2013, here we have the Sixth and Final season of that guilty-pleasure treasure MAMA'S FAMILY. StarVista should be commended for releasing these single sets in such a timely manner following the big box set. It's been less than a year-and-a-half and all the stand-alone volumes are now available for those who want them.

The cast of MAMA'S FAMILY are still in top-form this final go-round and the consistent plot threads include Naomi and Vint's impending parenthood and Bubba's college antics. Some of my favorite episodes this season include MAMA'S MEDICINE SHOW in which Mama bottles and sells Miracle Tonic (watch for the scene at Church where Iola extols its' virtues); Mama becomes a radio consumer advocate to hilarious results in MAMA FIGHTS BACK; attends her High-School Reunion in A BLAST FROM THE PAST; and tries to impress a bunch of snooty society ladies in THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THE DAMES (which features Bubba in drag--sort of).

The final episode wraps things up nicely as Mama becomes a Grandma again to baby Tiffany-Thelma. It's a shame the show ceased production because the baby could have opened up new plot possibilities for another season. But perhaps it was for the best since this show NEVER Jumped the Shark. Although I prefer the crankier Mama of the early NBC era over the more hip, with-it, happy Mama found here, I highly recommend this season to complete your collection if you don't own the box set.

Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 27.97
13 used & new from CDN$ 19.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Should Have Stayed in the Bottle!, Jan. 3 2015
Sony dusts off the first of two "I Dream of Jeannie" reunion movies for a MOD DVD-R release and while I love the original series, I can't say this one's worth revisiting. I should have known better since I did watch this when it aired in the fall of 1985 and all these years the only thing I remembered about it was that Jeannie's evil sister was always sporting a short spikey hairdo like Susan Clark in "Webster".

At the time, Larry Hagman was busy with "Dallas" so the role of Tony Nelson went to poor Wayne Rogers ("M*A*S*H*) who has all the screen presence of a turnip here and zero chemistry with Barbara Eden. The plot has Tony about to retire from duty but when he agrees to go on another mission, Jeannie becomes furious and the two separate, she taking their pre-teen son Tony Jr. (MacKenzie Astin) with her. Her wicked sister figures largely into the plot as she constantly uses her powers to keep the two from reconciling. The most interesting thing about this travesty is seeing what ridiculous get-up Jeannie II will show up in next.

When Jeannie is interviewed for "Genie's Home Journal" (the reporter is played by Dody Goodman), we are treated to clips from the original TV series. Also, the movie re-creates the famous opening scene from the pilot episode where Tony frees Jeannie from her bottle on the beach and she gratefully throws her arms around him rewarding him with a kiss. These things only make one want to turn this off and go back and watch the original. William Asher directed this and it should be noted that many of the stale sight gags are stolen directly from "Bewitched": the suitcase packing itself, levitating teapot, the party guests frozen in time and Jeannie II sitting on a lampshade.

The familiar theme song morphs into a cheesy '80s synth version to stay "current and hip", but now seems more dated than the original. Haji has now become a flamboyant African-American gym bunny who runs a health club/aerobics studio in the movie's effort to stay oh-so-relevant to the mid-'80s.

Only diehard fans of Barbara Eden should get this. It's a terrible, dull movie. If you want to see Barbara in something much more fun and entertaining, check out her 1974 thriller "The Stranger Within" instead.

The video quality is terrific on the disc and it did play in my PC, but there are no subtitles or extras.

TWO STARS. Proceed at your own risk.

The Facts of Life: The Complete Series
The Facts of Life: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Charlotte Rae
Price: CDN$ 149.99
17 used & new from CDN$ 116.51

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Music Intact Except for One Episode!, Dec 21 2014
Shout Factory's strategy of releasing shows in Complete Series sets seems to be working well for them since in the last couple of years they've brought us "Leave it To Beaver", "Barney Miller", "Bob Newhart", "Dobie Gillis", "Mary Hartman", "All In the Family" and "The Jeffersons" to name a few. "Maude" is coming in a few months and I just received my copy of THE FACTS OF LIFE: THE COMPLETE SERIES since I ordered early direct from their website.

Encased in a bright, colorful and sturdy outer box, there are 5 plastic cases inside and each one houses two seasons of the show, except for the last which contains Season 9 and the Bonus Features (The Paley Center Reunion, a Trivia Feature, an episode of "Diff'rent Strokes" as well as the two TV-Movies "Goes to Paris" (1982) and "Down Under" (1987).

It's wonderful to finally own all 201 episodes of this iconic sitcom. The only music clearance issue occurs in the Season 7 episode "Tootie's Graduation" where the song "Ease on Down the Road" had to be cut; otherwise everything else is complete, including the songs in the "Cruising" episode as well as the ones with El Debarge and Stacey Q. So with the exception of that one cut episode, diehard fans can now toss those old VHS tapes of Seasons 6-9.

A FIVE STAR release from Shout Factory.

Silk Electric
Silk Electric
Price: CDN$ 24.09
17 used & new from CDN$ 9.13

2.0 out of 5 stars The Warhol Cover is the Best Thing About It, Dec 20 2014
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.

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

Maude: The Complete Series
Maude: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Bea Arthur
Price: CDN$ 126.20
23 used & new from CDN$ 124.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She Is Woman, Hear Her Roar!, Dec 14 2014
This review is from: Maude: The Complete Series (DVD)
It's been nearly eight years since the stand-alone Season One release from Sony, but the saviours of Classic TV at Shout Factory have finally made one of my TV dreams come true by announcing the release of MAUDE: THE COMPLETE SERIES on DVD in 2015!

Of the nearly 100 TV series that line my entertainment center shelves, this one is going to be the crowing jewel. The 1972-78 CBS Emmy-winning comedy heavyweight from prolific creator Norman Lear is without a doubt my favorite television show of all-time and it is going to be an absolute joy to relive all 141 episodes commercial-free and uncut (Shout was amazingly able to clear all music for this release so there are no omissions/substitutions).

When "Maude" premiered in 1972, Lear was on a roll with "Sanford and Son" and of course, the series in which the Maude character first appeared, Lear's flagship series "All in the Family". As Edith Bunker's ultra-liberal, feisty, outspoken cousin, the four-times-married Maude was the perfect counterpoint for Archie Bunker and her guest spot was so successful that with much persuasion Lear was able to get stage actress Beatrice Arthur to take on the role as a weekly series. The feminist movement was in full swing, Helen Reddy was singing "I Am Woman" and the series premiered at the perfect time.

Never before had audiences seen a leading lady so ballsy, brassy, opinionated and loud (to name just a few traits; the irressistibly-catchy theme song by Donny Hathaway spelled out all the rest). Like it's parent show, MAUDE was a series that wasn't afraid to tackle issues. In the ninth episode aired, the forty-seven-year-old Maude discovers she's pregnant and the abortion issue is raised in a two-parter that had sponsors panicking and angry viewers penning protest letters to the network. But abortion was only the beginning: the series also tackled marijuana use, alcoholism, spousal abuse, homosexuality, wife-swapping, bi-polar disorder, suicide, death, adultery and more. The cast of seasoned stage performers including Bill Macy, Rue McClanahan, Adrienne Barbeau and Conrad Bain effortlessly ebb and flow between the serious and the hysterically funny bits in each script. The topicality is much more evident in the early seasons; as the show progresses, it's toned down somewhat and it's pure comedy in the later years.

I can honestly say there are only about three clunkers in the entire series run and even those aren't as bad as you may think. "Captain Hero" fails because of the silly premise and guest star John Byner; "Speed Trap" puts Walter and Arthur in the spotlight and without Maude the show suffers; "The Flying Saucer" is a cash-in on 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and it's just not believable that someone as level-headed as Maude would believe in UFOs. Other than those, this series is a definite winner from beginning to end. Bea is brilliant in the role. Her stage presence is incredible, her timing impeccable. Some of the best moments are those pregnant pauses when she holds back a zinger just long enough and you know it's coming, and yet never disappoints. Syndicators found these pauses an easy edit to trim time so it's going to be great to have them all restored here. No one could deliver an icy, withering glare or slam a door like Maude Findlay and those long vests of hers are a hilarious reminder of '70s bad fashion.

Bill Macy as Walter comes across as the typical hen-pecked husband but his performance matches Bea's and you can't help but cheer when he occasionally bellows "Maude, SIT!!!" and she obeys. Bodacious Adrienne Barbeau is a delight as Carol and it's great to see how Conrad Bain's Arthur gets under Maude's skin. Rue McClanahan's role here as ditsy Vivian isn't as much fun as her future turn as Blanche Devereaux on "The Golden Girls", but the several Lucy-and-Ethelesque moments she shares with Maude are laugh-out-loud worthy ("The Game Show" from Season Five is an absolute must-see with the two actresses so in-synch there must have been electricity in the air the night of the taping). Of the three housekeepers Maude employs over the series' run, I prefer the cynical, hard-drinking Mrs. Naugatuck (Hermione Baddeley) followed by wise-cracking, sharp Florida (Esther Rolle). Maude's third and final maid, Victoria (Marlene Warfield) doesn't make much of a splash in the show although the episode that introduces her ("The New Maid") is a standout.

MAUDE is a thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying ride all the way and includes guest appearances by then up-and-coming actors such as Jill Clayburgh, Michael Keaton, Bernadette Peters and Terri Garr to big stars like John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Van Johnson and Eve Arden as well as sitcom veterans like Conchata Ferrell, Richard Deacon, Carole Cook, Richard Stahl, James Coco, Philip Bruns, Vincent Gardenia, Ed Begley, Jr., Arthur Peterson, John Hillerman, Audra Lindley, Graham Jarvis, Ron Glass, Helen Martin, Fred Grandy, Darryl Hickman, Judith Lowry, Arlene Golonka, Sudie Bond, Herb Edelman, Robert Mandan, Alice Ghostley, Mary-Louise Wilson, Marcia Rodd (who orginally had the role of Carol in the pilot), Jack Dodson, Richard Kline, Roscoe Lee Brown, James Cromwell, Charles Siebert, Barbara Rhoades, J. Pat O'Malley, Dick Van Patten, Conrad Janis, Michael O'Keefe, William Schallert, Charles Lane, Eugene Roche, Mary-Jo Catlett, Nanette Fabray, Priscilla Morrill, Phil Leeds, Lyle Waggoner and Tom Bosley.

To sweeten the pot even more, Shout has unearthed two UNAIRED EPISODES from the Sony Vault which were scrapped, reshot and aired later ("Double Standard" and "Arthur's Friends") so those will be a rare treat for super-fans like me who thought they'd seen it all! The glossy episode booklet/guide is very detailed and contains some full-page color and black-and-white cast photos some of which I have NEVER seen before (and I've collected MAUDE press and publicity pics since 1992).

The video quality is better than I've ever seen it in reruns. Check out the screen grabs I posted in the IMAGES section and see for yourself.

Thank you again Shout Factory for FINALLY giving MAUDE her due. You've made the fans (especially this one) VERY happy with this news! Yes, I was the one who uploaded an episode to Youtube with annotations all over it to email Shout and request MAUDE on DVD. Hey, it worked and I'm not sorry :)

I'd pay five-hundred-bucks for this and give this TEN STARS if I could! Now please bring on ONE DAY AT A TIME and IT'S A LIVING!

Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean
Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean
DVD ~ Cher
Offered by Canadian Apple Sales
Price: CDN$ 26.05
20 used & new from CDN$ 24.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Steel Magnolias, THIS Is the Best Southern-Fried Chick Flick of the '80s, Dec 7 2014
This film has been a favorite of mine ever since the VCR rental days of the 1980s and it's great to finally have a restored DVD copy to own.

Sadly, there are no commentaries as it would have been great to hear from Cher and Kathy Bates, but the movie still packs a wallop and being somewhat of a period piece, it hasn't really dated at all. That being said, it all takes place on a single set and is totally dialogue-driven, so if you're looking for fast-paced action or lots of plot twists, this probably isn't your cup of tea.

This film plays like a stage play set in a run-down Woolworth's store in 1975 (the Five and Dime of the title) during the 20th Anniversary Reunion of a now-defunct James Dean Fan Club. The mirror at the soda fountain is used as the window to all the flashbacks to 1955 in which we learn how the characters came to be where they are now. Sandy Dennis plays the twitchy, almost schizophrenic Mona, who was "chosen" by James Dean all those years ago when she was a movie extra, and has a mentally-challenged son fathered by the late star; Cher plays the sassy, sexy, foul-mouthed waitress Cissy, who hasn't given up on her dreams--even though she's pushing 40; Kathy Bates is the flashy, fast-talking successful one, and Marta Heflin the shy, dowdy and perpetually pregnant shrinking violet. The proprietress of the joint is played by the wonderful, scene-stealing Sudie Bond, whom I've loved ever since she was appearing in nearly every Norman Lear sitcom ever made in the '70s. Her no-nonsense, God-fearing Christian character is the most entertaining of the bunch. Into this mix comes the mysterious yet intriguingly familiar Karen Black as Joanne whose arrival stirs up long-forgotten painful memories for a few of the other characters.

While the fate of most of the characters is somewhat depressing, the movie ends up leaving the viewer more satisfied than sad at the end.

Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 48.63
17 used & new from CDN$ 36.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye Florence Jean, Hello Belle Dupree, Nov. 16 2014
The fourth season of "ALICE" found the gang at Mel's Diner enjoying their highest ratings ever as the show finished #4 among all programs on the air during the 1979-80 TV Season. This was also a year of big changes as the show loses it's most popular character when Polly Holliday's Flo exits for her own short-lived spinoff series. "Flo's Farewell" is a bittersweet episode that gives the sassy redhead a fitting sendoff and contains a touching scene that Holliday and Vic Tayback play perfectly. With Flo gone, "ALICE" loses it's best character, but good writing and strong performances keep the show going strong for the next couple of seasons at least.

In what was likely seen by producers as a clever casting move, they brought in the original Flo from the 1974 film "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" when Diane Ladd arrives as new character Belle Dupree, an ex-waitress of Mel's who returns from Mississippi with aspirations of becoming a famous country songwriter. Ladd appears in the season's final six episodes and some things about her character work and others don't. When Flo left, she took her famous catchphrase with her ("Kiss My Grits!") and the writers try something for Belle, but instead of a simple three word phrase, they saddle her with the clunky "My little voice calls me Isabelle" which is thankfully dropped quickly after a few unsuccessful attempts to turn it into a running gag.

Despite the cast change, "ALICE" still delivers some great episodes this season. "Vera the Vamp" is one of the season's best and made a strong showing when WB polled fans back in 2006 for their picks to be included on the Fan Favorites disc. Also of note is the season-opener with guest star Telly Savalas containing a terrific scene in which Lavin serenades him on bended-knee imploring him to return to the diner to dissuade Vera from quitting. Mel's famous chili steals the show in THREE separate episodes this season. First, Mel fires Flo when he believes she gave his recipe to his biggest competitor. Later, Mel's invited to prepare his chili on Dinah Shore's TV show and finally tries to get Art Carney to endorse it as Chili con Carney. "Good Buddy Flo" features a hilarious and elaborate sight-gag as a jealous Flo crashes her two-timing trucker boyfriend's rig through the wall of Mel's diner.

Even if you aren't a fan of the Belle character, this one is a must-have being Flo's last hurrah on the series.

Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 44.55
17 used & new from CDN$ 36.17

5.0 out of 5 stars ALICE Is Cooking on All Four Burners!, Nov. 16 2014
The third season of ALICE consists of 24 episodes that aired Sunday nights on CBS during the 1978-79 TV season. Halfway through the season ALICE was moved to the prestigious 9:00 Sunday time slot and became the CBS anchor for the night, a position it would hold until the fall of 1982.

TV veteran William Asher ("I Love Lucy", "Bewitched") directs most of these installments and it's here that that show starts cooking on all four burners. Some of the earlier episodes had a static feel to them--not so with this bunch. There's a terrific two-parter where Mel sells the diner to a snooty restaurateur (Hans Conried) and the series walks the fine line between comedy and pathos in the terrific season-finale "Flo Finds Her Father" (played by F-TROOP's Forrest Tucker). That episode as well as the one that precedes it on this set ("My Fair Vera") boasts exceptional video quality. In fact, I noticed an improvement on most of these episodes over those on Warner Archive's Season 1 and 2 sets.

The writing just seems sharper at this point in the series, and surprisingly, even though the episodes themselves are self-contained, there is a continuity that was unheard of on sitcoms at this time. "Alice's Decision", "If The Shoe Fits" and "My Fair Vera" all make mention of Alice auditioning for the same talent scout and Vera appearing in a children's theatre production of Cinderella.

If you have been on the fence about springing for any of these M-O-D ALICE sets so far, make this the one to get--you won't be disappointed.

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