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"kukuruku" (Belmont, CA)

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Yes We Didn't
Yes We Didn't

5.0 out of 5 stars Yes They Did, June 16 2004
This review is from: Yes We Didn't (Audio CD)
In Thelonious Moog, producer Joe "Guido" Welsh and keyboardist Steve Million have banded together in an unholy alliance sure to make Monk purists balk while delighting the rest of us.
Those who remember the wacky, way-out Moog music Jean-Jaques Perrey made in the early 70's will no doubt get a kick out of this CD. Sadly (or perhaps fortunately), that music went the way of the analog synthesizer. But the Mighty Moog synthesizer roars back on this album joined by Moog-alike revivals such as the synthesizer. Those instruments, and others in which nary a nand gate can be found, are masterfully combined and pitted against each other in a Battle Royal for your eardrums and attention.
It seems that analog synthesizers and the music of Thelonious Monk were made for each other--or so you will believe after hearing just a few tracks. What might have been tasteless quacks and burps in the hands of lesser talents here combine into a satisfying whole that can be summed up in the word "happy." A sense of fun pervades the entire album. This could be why Thelonious Moog is also a hit with children. Yet this is no kiddy record--just a jazzy and up-tempo musical romp that manages to push the limits while preserving the thematic integrity of each selection.
The musicians, apparently drawn from nearby Nashville, are outstanding. The arrangements are also topnotch. The title track, cobbled from four Monk melodies, expertly combines a catchy "hook," a danceable beat, and Steve Million's nearly out-of-control vocals.
The current revival in analog synthesizers has spawned a lamentable abundance of mechanically repetitive, amelodic, soulless robo-porn tracks that are banal at best and enervating at worst. Thelonious Moog once again treats us to real musicians playing real music by a real composer. Let's hope it starts a trend.

The Son [Import]
The Son [Import]
DVD ~ Olivier Gourmet
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 60.01
10 used & new from CDN$ 20.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great if you like necks, shoulders, and hair, May 27 2004
This review is from: The Son [Import] (DVD)
I love a good film and generally abhor effects flix that lack good writing, good dialogue and heart (like the Lord of the Rings series). Give me reality! But don't give me a home movie passing itself off as art, as with The Son.
This movie was poorly shot and insufferably paced. When people sit, they sit and sit and sit and sit. When they drive, they drive and drive and drive and drive. When they look, they look and look and look and look. Have these film makers never heard of editing? We get the point! Forty minutes into this cinematic water torture, I was thanking Hitachi for the Fast Foreword button on my remote.
It's no exaggeration to say that most of this film consists of the back of Gourmet's head (he really needs to get that growth behind his right ear looked at) and other shots taken inches from the characters' faces. The occasional long shot comes as blessed relief. It also seems the cameramen attended the Blair Witch school of cinematography (if it can be called that). The handheld videocam nonsense will have any person with an alimentary canal reaching for Dramamine or Ginger within minutes. It's a wonder I can type, as I'm literally reeling from motion sickness.
Suffice it to say that The Son is a story that any film maker who knows how to frame a shot and edit could have told in 40 minutes. It also has one of the most inconsequential endings of all time. Indeed, I rewound just to make sure the DVD hadn't skipped. Perhaps it really did skip--just as I should have skipped this pretentiously boring waste of time.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About as Good as Movies Get, May 1 2004
I rented this movie because I saw the name "Ben Kingsley," which means you almost can't go wrong. I suggest that other viewers see it as I saw it--not knowing a thing about the story line. You will be blown away by the true-to-life ironies of it.
Just when I thought Hollywood couldn't make movies like this anymore, we get a solid five-star film with some of the best writing, acting, editing and directing I've witnessed in the last decade. This movie will pull you in five emotional directions and have you glued to the screen the entire time. It's an experience that leaves you reeling, thanks to first-rate storytelling from the writers, director and editors, and first-rate acting from the entire cast. As if that weren't enough, the score serves the movie well, always augmenting what we see, rather than distracting us from it (as is too often the case with today's overblown syntho-scores).
My only regret is watching the "outtakes," which contain a scene that was wisely left out of the film, but taints my experience of it, now that I've seen it.
If you like the painful complexities that Greek tragedies have to offer, this film is a modern version that will completely satisfy you--truly a classic!

School Of Rock (Special Collector's Edition)
School Of Rock (Special Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Film
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 29.35
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Cute Veneer; Disturbing Undercurrent, April 27 2004
Not sure why this film is such a hit. I take it Jack Black is a big name (I never watch TV, so I don't know), but I honestly don't know what his appeal is supposed to be. He really does have a great rock voice, but his attempts at humor struck me as tired slapstick. Several of the jokes were embarrassingly stale. For example, when he holds up three fingers and says "read between the lines" or when he rehashes the old Woody Allen Joke that "those who can't teach, teach gym." There were other examples, but you get the idea.
In many ways this was a charming movie, but the message behind it was disturbing. "Stick it to the Man!" Ok, why? That is never explained, nor is it explained why that is supposed to be a good thing. The kids portrayed are successful, respectful and disciplined--the kind teachers nowadays pray for but don't get. He turns them into spoiled Hollywood brats--the kind of which there are all too many of in the media. In one scene, a father is talking to his son and the son starts walking away. "Don't walk away when I'm speaking to you!" says the father, and Black reacts as though the father had said something inappropriate. Sorry, but when your parents (or anybody for that matter) are speaking to you, you don't walk away. To point that out is good parenting, yet here it's treated as draconian oppression. In another scene, our hero gets a black girl to talk back and do that little stereotypical side-to-side head movement thing. What's the message behind that?
Talk to any teacher and they will tell you that the #1 problem is schools today is lack of respect and lack of discipline. This movie wraps irresponsibility and rebellion in a cutesy veneer. Whether that is to excuse the current situation or foster it is anybody's guess.

By Request
By Request
5 used & new from CDN$ 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Still Crazy After All These Years, Jan. 20 2004
This review is from: By Request (Audio CD)
As the Ultimate Carlos Fan and an analog synthesist, I was elated to discover that By Request, which I've had since it appeared on vinyl, was at last available on CD. I'm happy to report that it is just as good now as it was almost three decades ago. That's right--three decades!
The music on this well-remastered CD still shines even though songs like "What's New Pussycat?" are no longer in vogue. The CD is a hodgepodge of various tunes from Bach to Beatles supposedly requested by listeners after The Well Tempered Synthesizer was released. The result may only only be mildly interesting to the occasional listener, but to followers of electronic music, it's like rediscovering a lost gem.
The three dances from The Nutcracker aren't particular standouts by Carlosian standards, nor are some of the other selections. Suffice it to say of the album that when it is good, it is very very good, and when it is bad it is merely good. Here are random notes on some of the more interesting pieces:
"Dialogues" and "Episodes" are early piano/synth pieces in the academic style. They will NOT appeal to some listeners, but they are well composed and extremely well performed, given the difficulty of creating electronic music back then.
"What's New Pussycat?" of Bacharach fame is another early Moog piece that is about as "Moogy" as Carlos has ever gotten. The Moog waa-waa filter cliche normally shunned by Carlos is here put to playful use in a chorus of drunken cats. I can't listen to this piece without smiling at the obvious good humor and sense of fun behind it.
"Geodesic Dance" remains one of my all-time favorites and appears here in all its modernistic glory. The piece is beautifully composed and full of the spatial and dynamic subtleties that set Carlos' analog work leagues above the rest. It ranks with "Timesteps" and "Country Lane" from the later Clockwork Orange album as thoroughly competent and quintessentially Carlos.
The CD's Big Finale, of course, is "Pompous Circumstances," a playful send-up of the Elgar classic performed in a wide variety of styles. Once again, Carlos' talent as a composer and consummate synthesist shine through, along with a dose of good humor. It's a pastiche, but not without it's serious moments, which might be why it's such a satisfying work.
Given the extreme difficulty and tedium of recording on a monophonic analog synthesizer--where changing a sound means striking a patch that may have taken hours to create and starting all over again--it's a wonder that the outcome could sound so good. But Carlos is a perfectionist and it shows on this album as it does on all of the Moog works. I confess that Carlos' digital music sounds flat and mundane to me and doesn't stand up to repeated listening. The analog works, for all their difficulty, continue to sound fresh and spirited. My request for Wendy's next "By Request" album would be to do another one like this--all analog.

DVD ~ Duel Farnes
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 63.14
12 used & new from CDN$ 7.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious Garbage, Jan. 6 2004
This review is from: Northfork (DVD)
This is a film I wanted to like but couldn't. As it turns out, there was nothing there to like, so I don't feel so bad.
I knew I was in trouble when the preacher, in the begining of the film, misread the Bible when retelling the flood story (the "bow" God sets in the air is a rainbow, not a bow (rhymes with wow) as in ship.) And why do they call the preacher "Father?" There is nothing at all to indicate that he or his followers are Catholic (nor would they likely be in that area). And nobody builds an outhouse with a cross on it--particularly in the Bible Belt. The Christianity in this film is like a pastiche written by somebody who has no inkling of what Christianity is about. The writer must also be young-- men back then didn't wear hats indoors! I also suspect the writer is from NYC or California because 1.5 acres of property would not have been a sizeable award in that era--let alone that locale--even if it were lakefront!
This film has more loose ends than a pair of worn out socks. Why does the child have a foreign accent? What is that strange creature (a.k.a. man on stilts)? Who are the "angels"? Why does one of them have a head full of safety pins? Why does another have interchangable hands? Why is another dressed as a drag queen? What was that scene in the diner all about? Why do the men in black give out wings?
And then there is the bad Foley--the plague of movies nowadays. Why does everything have to make a sound? Somebody touches a feather, and you hear crinkling noises. Somebody touches skin and you hear "shhhhhippp." Footsteps on open ground can be heard from 50 feet away. Too bad the sound people didn't pay more attention to reality (that musical door chime would have sounded like crazy when the door was open and closed).
The score? It was lovely until they brought in cheap Casio synthesizer sonorities. And enough with the digital-synth-as-music-box!
Far from "A Masterpiece! A Visionary Epic!" as the sell-out critic Roger Ebert squeals, Northfork is a classic exercise in pretension. Characters are cardboard, scenes go nowhere, there is no real plot, and if you look very carefully, you'll notice that most of the "artsy" editing is done in the first 20 minutes and then abandoned--as though they wanted you to know the movie was "art," then got it over with.
This silly, puffed-up piece of trash ranks among the worst movies of recent memory. Flood the town already!

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