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Noctem (SoCal)

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Covenant
Covenant
Price: CDN$ 13.79
20 used & new from CDN$ 7.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Covenant., Sept. 21 2003
This review is from: Covenant (Audio CD)
Covenant. Released in 1993, this would be the pioneering Death Metal band's last great moment. Every track here is Morbid Angle perfection: evil, spidering riffs, shredding beats, angry growls, tribalistic lyrics; all wrapped up within the tight production of Fleming Rasmussen, who made a name for himself with Metallica's Master of Puppets. The first Death Metal release on a major label, Covenant continues to sound fresh today. Amazing. And though the lyrics are pushed into one thematic direction, which borders on derivative, it's more than made up for by simple, yet tight and effective musicianship. There is no pretention here; no pretending to be anything other than pure anti-Christian brutality. If you're even remotely interested in what superior Death Metal is about, spend that hard-earned cash on Covenant.

Godfather III
Godfather III
VHS
11 used & new from CDN$ 2.49

2.0 out of 5 stars A pale reflection, Aug. 8 2003
This review is from: Godfather III (VHS Tape)
Godfather III has often been accused of being a desperate gamble to salvage a failing career; and in many ways, this is correct. There was no need for this film; nothing in the coda of Godfather II demanded a furthering of the tale. As such, Godfather III feels like an exploitation. But there are other problems as well: the film suffers from the absense of Robert Duvall; Tom Hagan simply cannot be replaced. While the acting was a strength of the first two films, Godfather III features the disasterous decision to cast Sofia Coppola; whenever she opens her mouth, the movie loses credibility. But perhaps the biggest sin is that the movie is simply dull.
The first film featured the shadow of power cast by narcotics; the second film fell into the depths of a powerful and treacherous jew; the third film revolved around sleep-inducing corporate intrigue involving the Vatican. Had Godfather III told the story of an aging, suffering Michael Corleone within the fast paced, popcorn style of the 1930's gangster flick, it would have been a far better film. Instead, we get a bloated, portentous epic. Indeed, while gorgeously photographed, the classic feel of the first two films are gone. This is a modern setting. And it doesn't feel right. Interesting enough, Coppola acknowledges that he lost much of the artistic power he once had, and found himself at the mercy of a studio who had little interest in what made the first two films so great. That speaks volumes about the failure of Godfather III. And while there are powerful moments, they are too few and far between. Everything about this film is a pale reflection of what came before. Such a shame.

Salvador (Special Edition)
Salvador (Special Edition)
DVD ~ James Woods
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 20.99
20 used & new from CDN$ 8.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and hopeless., Aug. 5 2003
This review is from: Salvador (Special Edition) (DVD)
Salvador. After years of struggling with big budget filmmaking, Oliver Stone took five million dollars and went to Mexico to film Salvador. He shot the film in fifty days. And though it continues to stand as one of his more obscure projects, it is one of his best. Although Salvador pretends to be a character study of real-life photojournalist Richard Boyle, it is an aggressive condemnation of American foreign policy in El Salvador and its support of an anti-communist regime. This is certainly James Woods finest role. His portrayl of a filthy, sleazy photojournalist earned him an Oscar nomination. His personal life in chaos, Woods heads for El Salvador to exploit the civil war that has ripped the nation apart. Along for the fun is fellow scumbag, James Belushi. They quickly find themselves surrounded by horror and atrocity. Stone pulls no punches in Salvador: nuns get raped, death squads butcher people -- right before our eyes. As leftist propaganda, Salvador is hopeless. Oliver Stone demands that we despise the fascist government who waged war with Marxist rebels. The methods of the government are indeed brutal. But we do not wish to see Marxists succeed and impliment their own brutality. So as it stands, Salvador is an unforgiving film that remains one of Oliver Stone's most passionate and fiery protests.

Malaga
Malaga
Price: CDN$ 24.31
12 used & new from CDN$ 8.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate, July 28 2003
This review is from: Malaga (Audio CD)
Armik. A truly talented guitarist. On Malaga, his fourth release, and named after the Spanish port city of the same name, Armik continues with the style that has made him rather popular across the world: uncomplicated Spanish folk. And it is this very simplicity that marks Armik's strength. Easily dismissed by the flamenco purist, Armik concentrates his awesome technique on forging beautiful melodies that invoke sadness and spirit. Fortunately, there are no New Age elements on here; no waterfalls or annoying birds. Only a slight percussion that compliments everything. Indeed, Armik pours enough skill, soul and sincerity into his music to satisfy any afficianado of Spanish style guitar.

Gods & Generals (Widescreen)
Gods & Generals (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jeff Daniels
Price: CDN$ 9.93
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Blue Paint, Red Sky, July 27 2003
This review is from: Gods & Generals (Widescreen) (DVD)
I wanted to like this movie. But it's difficult to like a movie that didn't use an editor. Someone who could have removed all those pointless scenes and storylines that were irrelevant to the film. But then it wouldn't have been a long film. And a groan inducing running-time seems to be requisite for most Civil War films. Gods and Generals lumbers for almost four hours, tracing events from the first days of the war to the crushing Union defeat at Fredericksburg. That would have been forgivable, of course, had Gods and Generals possessed narrative logic, tight direction, and not featured cardboard cutouts who's mind-numbing sermons replace convincing dialogue. Where its predecessor (or sequel) had focus and coherence, Gods and Generals is simply slipshod.
While most Hollywood productions (and history books) about the Civil War paint the Confederacy as a slice of Nazi Germany, Gods and Generals attempted to address this lie by depicting the Southern cause for what it really was: a war for freedom from Federal tyranny. Of course this got under the skin of most critics, who are little more than politically corrected lambs; unfortunately, however, [director] Ron Maxwell copped out. We get too many lame soliloquies from both Union and Confederate soldiers about slavery and how it was the reason they were fighting. And then Stonewall Jackson took nearly ten minutes to preach not only how terrible slavery was, but also how terrible war was. And if that wasn't bad enough, General Chamberlain talks about how it was a kind act to free the slaves. Yes, well, the Emancipation Proclamation was a political weapon. Nothing more. Nothing less. In fact, it had a clause saying it could be repealed after the war. It just makes me wonder if Hollywood will ever produce a film about the real Abraham Lincoln. Nah, I doubt it.

Godfather I
Godfather I
VHS
Offered by Time Traveller Books
Price: CDN$ 25.00
11 used & new from CDN$ 1.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Another review, another voice of praise, July 25 2003
This review is from: Godfather I (VHS Tape)
There's little left to be said. Time has not diminshed The Godfather. It's still just a fresh, just as powerful today. Amazing. And one thing's for sure: they don't make them like this anymore. The Godfather is a deeply American film, because the Corleone family is, in many ways, a shattering reflection of American enterprise and capitalism. A handful of unknown faces (along with Brando, who somehow made it through the entire production) and a young, unknown director crafted a film that set a standard for filmmaking matched only by its sequel. The story is told from within the halls of Mafia power; we are forced to sympathize with these people because we never the civilian victims. As such, the Corleones are accessible, understandable, tragic, noble. The cinematography, screenplay, and score are perfect. If you have not seen it, it is essential viewing.

Evita [Import]
Evita [Import]
DVD ~ Madonna
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 6.54
21 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Springtime for Evita, July 22 2003
This review is from: Evita [Import] (DVD)
It took nearly twenty years for Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical about Argentinean heroine Eva Peron to make a transition to the screen. And beyond its lavish production and smokey atmosphere, there is little worth praising. There is not a word of spoken dialogue to punctuate the musical strains of Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, which renders the storyline a dull mess. And if that wasn't bad enough, we have Madonna. Saint Madonna. This octavelly challenged singer must have been chosen for her name alone. To listen to her struggle with the vocal range that these songs demand is nothing short of embarrassing. Jonathan Pryce as dictator Juan Peron simply mumbles and fumbles his songs. Funny, actually. But also good for a laugh is Antonio Banderas who is nearly indecipherable as Che -- the Everyman who passes "judgment". Interesting enough, Hollywood has chosen to whitewash Evita. Interesting because Eva Peron and her husband Juan Peron were personally responsible for helping Nazi's escape punishment (including Adolf Eichmann). Indeed, it was surprising that the American media provided no counterpoint to the films hype. Not that it matters.

Savior (Widescreen/Full Screen)
Savior (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Dennis Quaid
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 172.03
7 used & new from CDN$ 11.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and unforgiving., July 6 2003
Few words can describe the impact of Savior, a rather obscure war film from 1998. This is a film soaked in death and sorrow. The story takes place in former Yugoslavia. It's based on a true story. Dennis Quaid loses his wife and son to Muslim terrorist's; the film wastes no time despatching them and thrusting Quaid into a world of hatred. After the murder of his wife and child, Quaid walks into a mosque and quickly does his own despatching.
This is an honest film.
Dennis Quaid's descent from a rather dull family man to ice cold mercenary, fighting alongside Serbian mercenaries and hunting down Muslims, is effective. At one point, Quaid snipers a child looking for his goat. Shocking. But a flashback reveals that his best friend was killed by a child. Something that could be happening in Iraq at this very moment. This is war. A truce is soon declared. Quaid and his violent Serbian comrade, Goran, take custody of a pregnant Serbian woman. Goran knows the woman's family. In a tunnel, he beats her. Her crime: raped by a Muslim. But Quaid has had enough bloodshed. He kills his comrade and finds himself in possession of the woman, named Vera. From there, the story follows Quaidï¿s redemption through the protection of this woman and her child. But the cruel and savage hand of old tribal hatred must pass its judgement one last time. A brutal and heartbreaking judgement. Although filmed on a 10 million dollar budget, director (and political prisoner) Peter Antonijevic establishes a harrowingly realistic tone throughout. Most of the movie was filmed in Serbia proper and Montenegro, showing off the scenic countryside of the Balkan region. Some will say the film is pro-Serbian: we see Arab Mujahedeen fighting for the Muslims; Muslims breaking cease-fires; Muslims using children as weapons, and so on. But all sides have blood on their hands. The film leaves it up to you to decide which side you would take.

Psycho (Widescreen)
Psycho (Widescreen)
DVD ~ DVD
Price: CDN$ 21.12
20 used & new from CDN$ 7.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Psycho, June 30 2003
This review is from: Psycho (Widescreen) (DVD)
Psycho. There is very little left to say about it. This was the film that set a standard for Hollywood violence that continues to resonate to this day. Back in 1960, no one was prepared for Psycho; and Alfred Hitchcock new it. On the surface, Psycho comes across as a simple exploitation film, with its low-budget, cheap production values -- all shot in black and white. And yet, there is nothing in the films setup that even remotely hints at the horror that is to come; indeed, at first, Psycho appears to be pure Hitchcock: an ordinary person stumbles into a criminal situation, with good intentions. In fact, it's so well set-up, first time viewers will expect to see this plot thread taken to its natural conclusion. Wrong. This ordinary person, played by Janet Leigh, is soon confronted by an unfathomable horror. That horror coming in the form of a disturbed kid. That disturbed kid is Norman Bates. And no one saw it coming. When we first see Norman Bates -- we like him. And that is truly scary. Indeed, Hitchcock's masterful powers of manipulation are perhaps at their strongest in Psycho: even after Norman Bates reveals himself to be a, well, psycho, Hitchcock manages to manipulate us into sympathizing with this killer. Pure genius. As it stands, Psycho is one of the finest horror films ever made. It never substitutes brains for blood, art for money. It is a brilliant film, pure and simple.

The Omega Man (Widescreen/Full Screen)
The Omega Man (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Charlton Heston
Offered by OMydeals
Price: CDN$ 47.40
19 used & new from CDN$ 3.83

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Feel the love, June 29 2003
The Omega Man. A film that want's to say alot of things. But doesn't know how to say them. In the shadow of a biological conflict, Charlton Heston is convinced he is the last man on Earth. He tools around an abandoned Los Angeles, stealing cars and taking whatever he needs to survive. Heston was a government scientist who injected himself with a vaccine and is immune to the plague that was unleashed. However, he soon discovers that he is not alone. The Family has survived. Who is The Family? B-movie Mutants. Or Something. It's not really clear. Perhaps they're related to the Manson Family (just love the robes and shades). But after watching Heston go to an abandoned cinema to watch "Woodstock," they might very well be. Indeed, instead of the post-apocalypse nihilism of The Road Warrior, we get Hippie propaganda: the joys of communalism and altered states headspace. And if that wasn't bad enough, the film vomits up a clumsy allegory between Heston and Jesus Christ. Oh boy. And, if THAT wasn't bad enough, we then get our Blaxploitation fix with Rosalind Cash as lilly White Heston's Brown Sugar. Ahh, love the Afro, Foxy Lady. But hey, at least the soundtrack sounds like 70's porno funk; just gotta boogy. Oh yeah, The Omega Man is based on Richard Matheson's classic, I Am Legend. ...

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