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JAllen (Canada)

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Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years
Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years
by Various
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.09
23 used & new from CDN$ 26.91

2.0 out of 5 stars Bad selection and pathetic binding, Sept. 5 2014
Roughly half of these stories are undistinguished, largely because DC also wanted to do a companion volume featuring the Joker, and therefore made the incredibly stupid decision to leave him out of THIS book entrely. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the very best Batman stories involve the Joker, making this 'Celebration' a horribly diluted and unsatisfactory one.

Also: glued binding. I'm not a Marvel guy, but they certainly have the advantage where hardcovers are concerned, not on account of content, but by virtue of sewn bindings.

What the hell is wrong with DC that they consistently allow Marvel to embarrass them in this way?

I'd skip this one. Oddly, their Joker Celebration manages to be just as disappointing. Two bad books instead of one good one. Skip 'em both.

Sword in the Stone 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [Import]
Sword in the Stone 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [Import]
Offered by Mega Media CA
Price: CDN$ 39.85
19 used & new from CDN$ 19.97

1.0 out of 5 stars Worst blu-ray mastering ever?, July 24 2014
Whatever your feelings about the film itself, the mastering on this Blu-ray is the worst I have yet seen from a major company supposedly dedicated to preserving their film heritage. Anyone who has ever used Photoshop will recognise the fact that every line in the line art in this film has been smoothed and blurred, which is particularly destructive in long shots where characters' facial features disappear altogether! All of the natural grain has been sacrificed in favour of something that now looks like it was Flash animated on a computer three years ago.

Anyone who purchased this travesty is owed a refund. I'm not sure who Disney thought this botched job was going to please: after all, kids weren't going to be bothered by the grain, and blu-ray fans were going to be looking to make certain that it was present and accounted for. Shocking, really.

Another Earth [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
Another Earth [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy]
Price: CDN$ 24.93
20 used & new from CDN$ 21.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous, June 13 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is intense and intensely quiet film making: if you need something to compare it to I'd say it would sit very nicely on a quadruple bill with Hal Hartley's The Unbelievable Truth, Soderberg's Sex, Lies and Videotape, and Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice.

If you ever thought about making a movie you're going to want to see this: there are likely others I've missed, but Another Earth is the first real evidence I've seen of the New Cinema I've been anticipating since prosumer cameras put movie making in reach of the people who should be making them.

The Ruined Map: A Novel
The Ruined Map: A Novel
by Kobo Abe
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.68
31 used & new from CDN$ 8.25

1.0 out of 5 stars I'd love to be able to review Abe's novel.., June 4 2014
... but I'm reduced instead to reviewing the wretchedly opaque 'translation' by E. Dale Saunders, which is so poor you must fight it every step of the way to get even a fuzzy approximation of the narrative. If you read this edition you will find yourself retranslating in your head nearly EVERY sentence, trying to dope out what Abe was attempting to convey through the thick mist imposed by Saunders' impossible prose, so poor and disconnected it rather closely resembles something spit out by automatic translation software. It simply amazes me that the publishers would go to press with this mess. I truly hope that whoever cleared it for publication got fired, because it is eminently clear that this text doesn't even rate as a first draught, and any editor who even glanced at it would have realised that while Saunders may be able to read Japanese, he can't write English.

A new translation, from scratch, is called for. This one is, no exaggeration, stunningly, unerringly inept, requiring the reader to put in all the work the translator and publisher clearly did not. Mr. Abe deserves a lot better, and so do you, dear reader.

Godzilla - The Complete Animated Series
Godzilla - The Complete Animated Series
DVD ~ n/a
Price: CDN$ 12.99
27 used & new from CDN$ 7.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a buy! Two seasons for $12! And the quality is excellent., May 17 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The best thing about the new Godzilla film coming out is that someone finally saw fit to release this spin-off of the last American stab at Godzilla. I was a bit disappointed to find that this long awaited release was from Mill Creek, but though there are ten episodes on each of the four discs, the quality is very, very good -- at least on the first disc. I haven't watched the entire set yet, but so far I am EXTREMELY pleased. Mill Creek is transforming from a bargain label into a VERY interesting company on its way up -- and wisely keeping their prices rock bottom low while they do so.

Now how about giving us Men In Black: The Animated Series, also by Raynis, Kline & Co? With its gorgeous artwork and excellent character design, MIB was even more fun than this show, and both the MIB and Godzilla series were better than the films that inspired them. In fact, the animated shows ultimately made me more amenable to the films, neither of which I was a fan of at the time.

At Mill Creek prices I would definitely double dip and pick this set up AGAIN if they were to release it on blu-ray, hint hint.

Elementary: Season 1
Elementary: Season 1
DVD ~ Lucy Liu
Price: CDN$ 25.00
27 used & new from CDN$ 20.89

1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Blu-ray? No sale. Too bad. Excellent show., Aug. 30 2013
This review is from: Elementary: Season 1 (DVD)
Wow. No Blu-ray, eh? The people who market this stuff apparently have no clue who their audience is. It's a great show, and I was looking forward to the release of the first season, but I'm damned if I'm going to get stung by a Blu-ray release six months down the road.

Riders of Death Valley [Import]
Riders of Death Valley [Import]
DVD ~ Dick Foran
Price: CDN$ 34.87
15 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WATERMARKED print is unacceptable, June 25 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A VCI watermark pops up at very short intervals throughout what would otherwise be an excellent print. Wanting to protect your print from video pirates like Alpha is one thing, but doing so by ruining the print with an incredibly distracting watermark is simply idiotic. Bad enough if the thing was present for the duration, but to have it blink off and then blink back on again a minute later means your attention is continually drawn to the thing, making it impossible to forget that it's there.

We buy commercial prints specifically in order to be able to watch a good print of a film, uninterrupted by advertising or watermarks. This is a disgrace.

VCI, you don't distinguish yourself from your competition by ruining your own product. Let the quality of your reputation and your prints speak for themselves: sadly, your watermark mars both, and I will be researching anything I contemplate purchasing from you in the future to be sure I don't get stung again.

Mischievous Moon
Mischievous Moon
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 16.19
15 used & new from CDN$ 6.50

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Took Me By Surprise' is, bar none, the best song of the year, June 14 2011
This review is from: Mischievous Moon (Audio CD)
The showstopper is the wonderful 'Took Me By Surprise', which should have been the first single, as it's the best song of the year. The rest of the album can't quite match it, but, then again, nothing on any other album recorded this year does either. So I'm giving it 5 stars to make up for the review from Edmonton.

Too bad Amazon doesn't have a sample you could listen to...

Action Heroes Archives, The: VOL 02
Action Heroes Archives, The: VOL 02
by David Kaler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 92.00
16 used & new from CDN$ 51.95

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst reproduction I have EVER seen..., Oct. 8 2009
This volume contains Steve Ditko's fascinatingly mental Question material, which is why I actually felt compelled to pay the outrageous price DC asks for their Archive editions rather than attempting to track down the original Charlton Comics. Charlton being considered the Poverty Row of the comics world, renowned for shoddy business practices and cut-rate printing, I assumed that DC would be able to offer improved reproduction on quality paper stock. Well, the paper is heavy enough (though the finish should probably be matte, and perhaps not so blindingly white), but the artwork has been DESTROYED. Whatever you feel about Ditko's work on its own merits, you aren't getting a fair impression with this book, as the art appears to have been scanned from the original comics, traced over with a blunted black marker, and the original dot colouring replaced with garishly ugly puddles of solid colour.

I'm not exaggerating. I was so appalled by the art in this book that I tracked down a copy of Mysterious Suspense #1(the only full-length Ditko Question comic Charlton produced) and compared them side by side. Poor as the original printing was, it was infinitely superior to what DC has fobbed off on us, with lovely fine line work and only minor color bleed problems that any teenager with a copy of Photoshop on their computer could have remedied. DC's masterly, museum-grade Archive presentation looks like it was 'restored' by your kid sister while bored in math class.

I'm not just bitching here: what DC have done here is simply unbelievable -- utterly disrespectful of Ditko and criminal at any price. And the price is obscenely HIGH.

Feast II: Sloppy Seconds [Import]
Feast II: Sloppy Seconds [Import]
DVD ~ Jenny Wade
Price: CDN$ 9.07
10 used & new from CDN$ 4.43

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems a shame to see this languish with a 2 star rating, so..., May 8 2009
Make no mistake: this is crap. But it's energetic crap that does everything it can to try to please (short of actually spending any money to do it, that is). Dimension Films appear to have a sequel system in place, in which every new horror film they put out gets a sequel whether it warrants one or not, and then a third one just in case there's anyone still hanging on who happens to have the price of a rental in their pocket and hope springing eternal in their breast. A very firmly established law of diminishing returns reigns in the Dimension sequel factory, apparently by design: the first sequel gets about twice as much time and money lavished on it as the final film, and in the case of Feast 2 and 3 they may actually have been made back to back, without a break in production. And, at 76 minutes each, and both running far too long, there was just about enough meat to make one pretty damned good little movie if you edited them both together. The editing is the enemy here: it is TERRIBLE, and clearly the product of someone who was told to stretch it to within spitting distance of feature length. Personally, I'd be okay with an hour or less if it meant not having to suffer through fifteen minutes of padding and scenes blown by being dragged past the breaking point in each film.

But you have to admire the Gulagher family for seizing the opportunity to make another movie (and then, after that, a final half-a-movie), and TREATING it like an opportunity rather than a chore. I would venture to say that Feast 2, warts and all, will actually linger longer in my memory than the first one, which I know I saw but remember exactly one scene from, because Gulagher clearly believes, as I do, that a microbudget is better than no budget at all, and not to be sneezed at. Feast 3, on the other hand, feels padded by a full half an hour at only 76 minutes, has an unwatchable underground strobe light battle that seems to go on forever, and contains glaring continuity errors that appear to be the result of footage that never got shot. Still, with the Feast films (#2 in particular), you get more than you really have a right to expect from Dimension, or, for that matter, really deserve.

P.S.: If you bother with them after seeing Pulse 2 and 3, that is. Egad. You'd think some young enthusiastic horror buff out there might have been able to do something with the idea of a world taken over by lonely ghosts -- particularly with the Japanese original to crib from -- but Dimension, rather than finding even an enthusiastic half-talent -- like Gulagher here -- hired directors who had neither interest nor invention, and produced garbage that cut corners to the point of not even leaving the studio for long stretches, choosing instead to stand actors in front of greenscreens, resulting in footage that looked like it had been prepared for a fifteen year old live action video game.

By Dimension standards, Gulagher is Orson Welles. Give the man some credit for at least trying not to rob you, horror fans. Would have been nice if they'd been able to afford the blonde for the third installment, however.

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