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Taliesn Jones "Taliesn" (Dulles, Virginia United States)

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Dune (Widescreen)
Dune (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Kyle MacLachlan
Offered by Kay's Movies
Price: CDN$ 10.94
33 used & new from CDN$ 4.34

3.0 out of 5 stars Dune almost done, Aug. 4 2003
This review is from: Dune (Widescreen) (DVD)
Well I'm definitely "not" here to make apologies for either the David Lynch original nor the Alan Smithee after-thought.
However I "am" here to state that with all of this "extra" footage , why oh why couldn't the publishers of this DVD just include the extra footage sans that gawd-awful failed attempt at an Orson Wellsian narration. This is because one of the key features that is so very striking about this production is its "Look".
What separates out truly classic science fiction cinema is its ability to transport you into another world and Lynch's "Dune" has "always" succeeded on that front. That is why it would've been a classier choice to include the extra scene footage as just that and be done with it. All of the cut scenes are still more moments to be suspended in this world.
The "Look" and most of the performances really do help make up for one of its weakest links being the "uneven" quality of that script which "is" David Lynch's doing.
My God I see the great British actor's performances in this and yearned for what this film could've been had it been treated with BBC /Masrepiece Theatre-style writing (.
BTW: The classic Brit masterpiece mini-series "I,Claudius" comes immediately to mind in which Patrick Stewart plays a fascinating supporting role and in which Reverend Mother actress Sian Phillips played the fascinating & powerful lead role of Empress Livia .
Add in Freddie Jones' Mentat and Francesca Annis' Lady Jesisica along with the solid performances of German actor Jurgen Pruchow , of "Das Boot" fame , and always masterful Max Von Sydow ( "Minority Report" of late )and you really do have enough quality talent on screen to make the sometimes amatuerish script work its way through.
( I'd often fantasized Baron Harkonnen played by classic Brit-film actor Sidney Greenstreet_ You know ," The Fat gent" in "Casablanca"_ however I'm as convinced that Rod Stieger would've created a far more powerful and chilling performance as the Baron. I know , dream on )
Now add the masterful costumes ,"especially" the most crucial design of the stillsuits , the Jules Verne look of the technology of an empire , and the masterful craftsmanship of the worms by one Carlo Rimbaldi who made H.R.Giger's "Alien" head work and come to life and you really do have enough of the ingredients of what makes a classic work of SciFi worth owning.
The soundtrack is appropriately engaging enough , but if only Toto could've resisted that one temptation to include those oh so cheezy lead guitar licks during Paul's first ride of the great worm. Cheapens the whole effect Lynch was trying for.
Well there's plenty of Lynch's infamous "quirky" touches in this to be amusing for its own sake , but the "original" is still
the best. Again ,too bad "all" of the original footage is not included on this DVD ,but there's enough there to make the point.

The Thing from Another World [Import]
The Thing from Another World [Import]
DVD ~ Kenneth Tobey
Price: CDN$ 14.98
24 used & new from CDN$ 6.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Finally this Scifi "Original" on DVD, June 18 2003
This film ranks up there with such influential Scifi classics as it's full color contemporary masterpiece ," Forbidden Planet", and Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis".
A lot of the reasons have already been expressed in these other amazon reviews so I'll add a few not quite yet touched upon here.
First and foremost is the truly eerie & thrilling atmospherics created by that incredible soundtrack ( by Dimitri Tiomkin )with one of the few truly appropirate uses of that pre-Moog electronic instrument ,Ye Olde Theramin , within a film studio orchestra. ( BTW: There was a film score compilation CD that included this score referred to as " The Thing from Another World " suite offered on amazon.com ,but is since listed as "unavailable"....really too bad ). This is certainly a case where the soundtrack is an active member of the script and crucial to the full experience.This score grabs you by the ears from the moment of those "can't be improved upon" opening credits and just leads along the rest of the journey and you just come right along willingly.
The filmmaking further builds upon the film technique of H.Hawks and brings the "Citizen Kane"-style cross-talk to SciFi story-telling ( shades of Orson Wells' " Wars of the Worlds" Halloween prank radio performance ). I used to listen , while doing homework or illustrating , to cassette audio tapes I'd made of the "The Thing" from TV and the story told works just by listening to it as "if" a radio theatre performance. That's how compelling the story ,the writing ,the character performances , and that soundtrack are. (Can't stress the importance of well-composed soundtracks enough which I now listen to as contemporary orchestral music when at work at my digital drawing board .

As far as being good solid science fiction:the new idea of an advanced being evolved from plant-life that then is discovered to possibly be on a mission of "harvesting" US was quite a unique twist. How they arrive at this theory is something I won't give away ,but , when they do just the end of the dialogue from one of the scientists to the lead scientist Dr. Carrington alone says it all :
" Arthur ,what if this thing didn't come to just visit the earth ,but conquer it....start growing some horrble army...turn the human race into food for it..." to which the sleep-deprived Dr. Carrington cuts him off by declaring ".....There are no enemies in sceince , doctor. , only phenomena to study .We are studying one."
Sorry , but it just don't get better'n that ,folks ,and that's only just past midway in the film.

Needless to day the culture-clash between scientists working on the extreme edge of military-supported science , by what had become the post-Manhattan Project preisthood class , being juxtopposed to the professionally "practical" soldier class is played to peffection and even takes on evermore ominousness looking back with 21st century hindsight. I mean the theme of the lurking fear of a genration fresh from winning a World War that was ended by a top secret technology inaugurating this wierd new "Cold War " with it twin "nuclear age" that was beyond anyone's but a higfhly select and secret few's comprehension is strikingly "there" in the film . Having faced down 2 "horrible armies" of Germany & Japan only to face 2 "new" ones from the U.S.S.R and ,then ,what was to be China & Korea in the Korean War, really suggests how close to home this select line reflect the fear of the times. This film can ,on a subliminal level now , rekindle an awareness of what was as genuine a fear during the then new "nuclear age" of the 50's as that cultural sense we all now share in this post-9/11 age.
Then throw in the tension of this new unknown enemy with
an even higher technology the scientists simply "must" understand in order to "use" it ( a reason why they hesitate to immediately "kill" the thing ) and add then throw in its "occupant" being as murderously efficient as anything these soldiers have experienced "as" soldiers in war makes for just too well tuned a plot to be missed. ( again , a multi-layered appreciation only from a 21st century 20/20 hindsight )
This adaption of "The Thing from Another World" needn't be "remade" because a well-enough adpation from this script treatment might just be too much to hope for. It's possible.
Perhaps something of a "little film" projetc that Peter Jackson says he'd like to do when he's recovered from the " LotR"cycle.
Suffice it to say ,then ,that this DVD release immediately get's a resounding "'Bout damn time" rating ( another will be the ,as yet , unavailable docu on the making of "Apocalypse Now" ; "Hearts of Darkness" , but that's another review ).

Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends
Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 39.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 34.95

4.0 out of 5 stars ELP's, Oct. 22 2002
1st I must explain the reason for the "Live at leeds" reference and why it fits. The reference is to the Who's first album after the phenomenal impact of their masterpiece "Tommy" which was all studio. The Who were always working to be best known for their live performances while so many "name" bands were "selling" for their studio performances , but proving to be *weak* for their "put-up-or-shut-up" live performances with the Beatles & the Stones topping that list as "live" mediocrities at the time. This is why "Cream" and the "Hendrix Experience" made such a turning point impact as they clearly separated the "manufactured" Brit studio pop bands from the genuine "virtuoso's".
I'll go so far as to say that Hendrix would *not* have made the sensation he initially acheived had he not gone to the U.K. *first* , been influenced by the new wave of muscianship virtuosity converging in London at the time, and thus drawing energy and direction from his accomplished Brit bassist and drummer..
So the Who just *had* to release a live album to prove to their new found expanded "Tommy'" audience that they weren't just studio "hothouse flowers". With "Live at Leeds" as one of *the* best live rock performance recordings yet they kicked every pretender's butt and proved that they were every bit peers to the newly raised-bar standard set by Cream & the *UK*Hendrix Experience .
Now this musicianship virtuosity was always the case for Keith Emerson with his lesser known founding band "The Nice" where he was already proving himself as the Hendrix of the keyboard and which he still is.
With this reference as context we get "Welcome Back My Friends..." . I could also compare this to the other triple LP masterpiece of a "Live" document that *preceeded* ELP's triple LP; namely the 1973 release of "Yessongs".
All that said, in this ELP afficianado's seasoned opinion , the most improtant performance piece on this entire album is the "Tarkus Suite". Yes the opening "Hoedown" at twice the original tempo "live" definitely smacks upside the head and makes damn sure you're paying attention , but it's the 'Tarkus Suite" this is ELP's true tour de force performance piece here.
When first released "Tarkus" was more known and taken notice of more for the sophistication of its composition as a workpiece. The signature Hammond B3
jazz-fusion work was dead-on as was the drumming and Lake's powerful and profoundly clear voice, but the then revolutionary Moog that made such a sensation with the epilogue solo to "Lucky man" was still weak here. With the studio "Tarkus" the final instrumental was done with the poorest choice of Moog voicings ,a kind of synthesized oboe that sounds more like Donald Duck on helium at times, and just ruined the Sci-fi gravitas that this pre-Brain Salad Surgery piece potentially possessed.
This glaring flaw was just left out there to hang until atlast it was magnificiantly *corrected* with this live "Tarkus Suite" as it really turns this composition into the Sci-fi tour de force it always deserved to be ( it 's intensity makes the "X-Files" theme sound like downright wimpy "sightings" while Emerson's Moog is *the* voice of mothership by comparison. With X-files theme "the Truth is still out there". With the Tarkus Suite Live, the alien Truth "has landed".....right between yer ears. ( and right in your lap if you ever saw it performed "live" in its entirety. )

I mean just this powerul composition , now performed to highlight the Moog , alone was pure Sci-Fi in and of itself because of the elecronic orchestra of voices of the instrument , but then further it was further advanced by its Jules Verne/H.G.Wellsian appearance with its arrays of blinking lights and bristling with patch chords. ( ELP *crystalized* this Sci-Fi theme in "Brain Salad Surgery" with the equally brilliant choice of H.R.Giger's album cover art which perfectly set the mood for the "Karn Eval 9 Suite " and gave ELP their Sci-fi personnae.) Thus in live performances Emerson's Uber-Moog just looked like something right out of Dr. Who, but then the Doctor Keith awoke and let loose that Uber-Moog's far more powerful *unearthly" voice and it is with the "Tarkus Suite" that you really hear him "ride her to the stars" as he makes it roar and wail like some alien mothership . ( Here it's far more profound and dramatic than that silly accoustic instrumental duet John Willaims composed for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when the scientists musically communicated with the mothership and it answers with tuba , french horn,and clarinet and all the while in front of this even more amazing A.R.P. uber-synth playingjust those 5 little notes. It's a joke to this day.
I've often imagined what it would've sounded like if Keith Emerson were let loose to play the incedible A.R.P cathedral synthesizer to commune with the mothership. It would've been apparent that he was more familiar with the language of the mothership in the *voice* of the mothership; fluent in electronically pure "Synth"
Anyway, the entire "Tarkus Suite" is a perfromance masterpiece , is *the* best version of Tarkus anywhere ever, ( except for the powerful intro on the "Live at Albert hall" album ) , and is the best reason have this live performance in one's collection. It makes the original studio version sound like a demo. I kid you not. This is the one to hear with the lights out. I'll let the reviews of the other songs, of varying excitement ( hence no 5 stars ),stand , but with this review the "Tarkus Suite" was something I felt required a little more special attention . If one composition can capture the essense of ELP It is this piece *Live* as it is *pure* ELP virtuosity, bravado, and power of *presense*.

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