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derek glidewell

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Larger Than Life [Import]
Larger Than Life [Import]
DVD ~ Bill Murray
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 74.52
9 used & new from CDN$ 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Murray at his finest...well, since Ghostbusters that is., June 5 2003
This review is from: Larger Than Life [Import] (DVD)
Larger Than Life is a fun (and sadly forgotten) little family flick that everyone can enjoy. I´¿m 16 and I was chuckling all throughout by the likes of Bill Murray and Matthew McConaughey who are essentially the heart and soul of this kiddie adventure. The plot is a bit more advanced than most youthful ventures, and revolves around the escapades of sarcastic motivational speaker Jack Corcoran (Bill Murray), who receives a rather ´¿large´¿ inheritance from his estranged father and unknowingly gets a suitcase full of clown supplies and a ´¿large´¿ elephant named Vera. Deep in debt and eager to lose the new burden placed on his hands, Jack goes cross-country hoping to strike up a deal in which he can get Vera off his hands and make a little cash on the side. This, of course, goes awry and moral dilemmas lie in wait as Jack comes across floods, a paranoid hitchhiker played superbly by Matthew McConaughey going by the name Tip Tucker babbling about corrupt cops and conspiracies in motion by ´¿Big Brother´¿, hijacking semi trucks, and half a dozen other little slapstick moments that should have the kids giggling. Larger Than Life is a simpleminded comedy aimed for the adolescent audience and though a few crude jokes are disguised by adult talk and should be over most of their heads, should be one that will provide the young ones with 93 minutes of fun and constant laughs from Murray´¿s comical antics while still remaining family friendly and appropriate.
As for the disc, for one, you can expect Larger Than Life to be next to bare bones since it´¿s another nail in MGM´¿s budget title catalog and the demanding MSRP is reasonable, and secondly, it´¿s a kiddie flick and therefore features are not a top priority, and three, the films next to pitiful $8 Million box office haul doesn´¿t help either. That said, there is the obligatory Trailer presented in a widescreen format. Nothing special there. No booklet as usual. And since this is still an adolescent adventure, MGM gave us a bland full-frame presentation that is a tad bit above VHS quality. The picture quality is simple, faded, and bland. Nothing really stands out as a nice transfer would have and things remain in a neutral setting whether bright or dark, never adjusting quality with a change of atmosphere. And since there is really no sound effects and dramatic explosions to show off, the Stereo Surround mix is rather bland. Oh, and in addition to the less than par picture and sound quality we get a bland little promo for a dozen or so other MGM family budget titles.
The reason I give Larger Than Life a four star rating is because as a film I enjoyed it, Murray was flawless and his sarcastic humor never let me down, plus the fabulous cameo by McConaughey didn´¿t hurt. But as a DVD, it´¿s a toss up. MGM put no effort into the release and starved the flick of anything other than a Trailer. Yet on the other hand, the film is meant for the kids and there is not a demand for deleted scenes or commentaries among the target audience plus the low MSRP keeps Larger Than Life in reason. If you are looking for an affordable family fun title that the kids will get a kick out of then by all means go for Larger Than Life, and for those who are fans of Murray´¿s relentless sarcastic antics, but those who are looking for a full fledged feature filled disc (which I doubt there are more than a dozen or so including myself) should steer clear. Larger Than Life is a fun kids flick that the whole family can sit back and enjoy, and for the budget it´¿s a full fledged value. Thanks for reading my rather lengthy review of Larger Than Life; I hope it helps in your decision.

American Ninja (Widescreen) [Import]
American Ninja (Widescreen) [Import]
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 54.17
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic Kung Fu Fun., April 24 2003
American Ninja is a simple-minded little Kung Fu action flick that is here simply for entertainment, no more no less. And let me start off by saying that American Ninja is by no means a film to be taken to heart, it's cheesy and hokey and is pumped full of the most annoying sword sound effects since The Street Fighter, but, American Ninja can be a fun little 80's flick that will keep you on the edge of your couch cushion for an hour and a half if you view it with all your logic in suspension and a nice bag of Act III. With all that said, let me get to the plot run down. Pretty boy Michael Dudikoff (with bulging biceps and all) plays new Army recruit "Joe", who, on only his second day on the job, gets caught up in a weapons heist while delivering Military supplies by a group of rogue guerrillas and a few Ninjas. Using his martial arts skills to fend off the lethal Ninjas, he saves himself and the colonel's daughter, Patricia Hickock, while 4 American soldiers are killed by the Ninjas. Upon his safe return to base, his fellow soldiers seem to have a newfound hatred for their "hero". All the while, a secret Military weapons exchange is being conducted among certain dirty Military head honchos and a local crime lord who feel that "Joe" is a threat to their operation and must be silenced. In addition to that sub-plot, we also learn a vague description of "Joe" and his past while the all too suspicious Black Star Ninja hounds his every move. American Ninja just tries too hard sometimes, I'm sure the minds who conceived this neato little Kung Fu flick intended for the film to be taken seriously, but deep down American Ninja is no more than a simple popcorn flick with a cute actor who bears his biceps nearly 90% of the film that by no means is meant to give us a new view on life and a warm-hearted feeling upon completion. By no means will you ever enjoy an ounce of American Ninja if you watch it expecting the likes of "Philadelphia". View it as nothing more than entertainment, or a WWE match with a plot, otherwise you'll be on here crying a river about how you got ripped for 10 bucks, just turn off your mind and relax.
As for the DVD quality of American Ninja, I must say MGM pumped out a nice budget title and put some faith in a relatively forgotten film. The transfer is pure and crisp, flesh tones are bright and the picture is clear and vibrant with no sign of aging. A high quality 1.85:1 transfer for such a lost 80's hit. As for the sound, well, I guess the quality is fine; as good as it's going to get for a Mono mix. But I guess the constant, cheesy little sword slashes and fake punches got to me, not that this has anything to do with the quality of the mix, it's the sound effects that got bothersome in those few scenes. So other than that, the mix is great and the sounds are well divided and decipherable from one another. As for features, we get an interesting little trailer that die-hard American Ninja fans will adore. The trailer is an old little 80's trailer with that booming voice we are so familiar with that narrated half of the 80's Action flicks way back when that bears the original title American Warrior. Kind of nostalgic and one for the fans. Plus the trailer itself is in great shape and has some decent, if not tiresome and aged sound.
American Ninja is a simple film that will keep you munching on popcorn for a good 95 minutes. If you are a fan of Martial Arts films or the cheesy Action films of the Reagan era then I can give a full-hearted recommendation for American Ninja. Those who have the viewing mentality of Roger Ebert need to steer clear, you'll only be complaining of the lack of relevance American Ninja fails to hold. Simply put, American Ninja is simply for the Action fans or those who feel like adding another mindless title to their growing collection, and for the Budget price and the high quality transfer I can easily say it's worth the price. Thanks for reading my lengthy review of American Ninja; I hope it helps in your decision.

The Prisoner
The Prisoner
by Cade Merrill
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.12

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept shattered by a lack of explanation..., Jan. 25 2003
The Prisoner is only the second Blair Witch Files novel I'd ventured in and I must say that is fails to make me eager to read another. When I read The Witch's Daughter I was really impressed and I was very eager to read another entry in the series, but upon finishing The Prisoner I just kinda felt...empty? I don't know which word describes my post-Prisoner mood, but I just felt like I wanted more to the story. I mean it has an interesting premise of a girl, Eliza Baynes, who was convicted of a crime she didn't commit, Murder, and is desperately seeking Cade's help. Cade gets involved, reads her diary and a bunch of weird events happen which seem a little more than coincidental. But like other reviewers I wanted to know more about the Blair Witch and Eliza Baynes, some of the explanations seem a little too easy to come by, and some of the dialogue the characters used was simply laughable and seemed like something from a poorly written Teenage Soap Opera. But on a better note I will say that there were some elements of the story that were just flat out eerie, I mean the way the author describes them and the mental image that gets associated with those words is just plain eerie.
As a whole I would say that The Prisoner was mildly entertaining, there were a lot of elements that I wanted to be deeper explored and I wanted thought out explanations, not just sloppy one or two sentences to explain a few chapters worth of going-ons. The Prisoner left me wanting to desire fulfillment, it didn't leave things unexplained involving Eliza Baynes, it's just that every explanation was just so blunt and fast that it left something to be desired. I can only recommend The Prisoner if you are a true Blair Witch fan, as most non-Blair Witch fans would probably be lost and would laugh at the bland pre-adolescent dialogue. Simply put, The Prisoner only slightly provided a sense of satisfaction upon completion and I can only recommend that fans of the Blair Witch Project check into it. I hope my review will help you in your decision on The Prisoner, whether you pass or buy, thanks for reading.

Doomsday Deck
Doomsday Deck
by Diana G. Gallagher
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A short but pleasant supernatural venture..., Jan. 6 2003
I'll spare you the basic rundown of the plot and synopsis, as I'm sure you are aware that it involves a sinister Tarot Deck from the other reviews and the description, so I'll get right into my review and criticism.
It's been a while since I've read a "Buffy" novel but this one was a pleasant revisitation to the series and I found it to be a nice change from the general Demon or Vampire going ons in Hellmouth. This novel takes the series into a new dilemma of a Tarot deck and to my knowledge has never been explored by the series thus far, so it was fun to have a change. The characters are essentially the same and Giles role is to a minimum as well, but this is actually a good thing as it spends more time devoted to everyone in general and never really just sets on following the adventures of one particular person. Doomsday Deck is a well written novel that is short and to the point, not taking it's time with much character development or inane dialogue and corny one-liners to fill it's pages, no Doomsday Deck has a goal and it finishes it in a minimal amount of time, which can be for the better or worse. I actually liked the idea of a shorter novel as it helped me finish the novel quicker and the amount of satisfaction was the same. Gallagher did sum this whole Slayer venture quickly and efficiently and accomplishes a fine story that stays true to what the characters personality is and how they might handle a situation in the TV series without going on and on for a good 300 pages. Not that 300 page novels are bad it's just fun to be able to find a "Buffy" adventure that tells an original story and has some nice action sequences and can complete its goal in a relatively short amount of time.
Doomsday Deck is a fine novel that I'm sure "Buffy" fans would get a kick out of and I see no reason why a general reader would not enjoy it as well. I can easily recommend this novel to just about anyone; the only downfall one may find is its lack of length (193 Pages to be exact), but other than that slight fault it should be a novel you would be pleased to read, I know I was. I honestly hope this helps in your decision on purchasing this novel whether you pass or buy, thanks for reading.

Return to Horror High (Widescreen)
Return to Horror High (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Lori Lethin
Offered by 5A/30 Entertainment
Price: CDN$ 66.28
10 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good 80's slasher!, May 13 2002
Unlike many reviewers, I actually enjoyed this film, "Return to Horror High" is not only a 80's nostalgic slasher, it is also a spoof/satire on the whole low-budget horror film franchise, which I feel gives the film a big boost. The plot is rather original, it's not the typical "invincible man in a mask stalking half naked teens through the woods with farm tools" formula, it's about a film crew who is filming a low-budget horror film on a mass murder that happened 3 years ago at Crippen High, and mysteriously the killer was never apprehended. So as soon as filming begins, one by one the cast and crew start getting knocked off, and it's up our heroic duo to solve the mystery of who could be behind the murders and what really happened at Crippen High. The story is more "in-depth" than the typical 80's slasher flick and the acting is above average, as most of the cast provide very believable performances. The overall production value is high, as the effects are realistic, even when purposefully campy, and the overall school setting is eerie.
As for the DVD, Anchor Bay has done another fine job restoring a lost 80's classic. The only feature is a trailer, which is more like a teaser, but is superbly crafted and is made of the highest quality, it's very convincing, very dark, and I personally do not see how it didn't sell the film well. The picture is in 1.85:1 widescreen ratio, and is excellent, no blotches, no streaks, no cracks, and the colors are well divided and very vibrant. My only complaint was the sound, if they would have done a 3.0 surrond, or even a 2.0 Stereo remix, the effect of many "BOO" scenes would have been much greater as oppose to Mono. But still the dialogue and sound effects are distinguishable from each other and do not blend. Plus you get a mini theatrical one-sheet inside the package.
Overall, I highly reccomend "Return to Horror High". Some may get confused by the ending, but I feel it's from a lack of paying attention, because I understood the ending just fine, but if you pay attention and listen carefully during the last 10 minutes, everything should make sense. Once again, Anchor Bay has provided us with another great classic and given it a nice transfer, plus a very reasonable price. All horror fans should enjoy this one, as well as film buffs, if you feel weary about his one because of the mixed reviews, then I suggest a rental, and then decide. I hope this helped in making your final decision, whether you buy or pass. Thanks for reading.

Making the Grade (Widescreen) [Import]
Making the Grade (Widescreen) [Import]
DVD ~ Judd Nelson
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 16.98
12 used & new from CDN$ 7.51

3.0 out of 5 stars Below average, very disappointing., May 12 2002
(Actually I give it 2 and a half stars) "Making the Grade" is a below-average teen comedy. The plot is paper-thin, it simply revolves around Palmer Woodrow (Dana Olsen) who is told that he has to graduate from college (Dear God!) or he will have to get a job! So what does he do? He hires street-hustler Eddie Keaton (Judd Nelson) to stand in for him and attend classes under his name. Not much substance here. And the plot isn't the only thing that suffers, so does the whole overall production value, i.e. sloppy editing, grainy footage, a heavily annoying score, etc. I myself was drawn to this movie because of the presence of Judd Nelson and Andrew "Dice" Clay. Both give above-average performances and do good with what little they are given. Nelson pretty much portrays a mild and more-likable Johnny Bender and the "Dice Man" pretty much protrays an exact duplicate of himself, except he's actually "tame" in a sense. Dana Olsen also does a moderately good job as Palmer, he did the best to his ability with such an unfunny premise.
As for the DVD itself, nothing special here, just a poorly edited trailer, not even a booklet! The sound is below standard, whether it's just the way the master was recorded or the remix was poor, I can't tell. But I do know that it isn't consistent and is hard to make out what the actors are saying because the sound effects and dialogue are blended together. The picture quality is slightly above VHS quality, as the picture is very blotchy and white streaks peirce the screen momentarily, it appears as thought they didn't even digitally master it, let alone bleach it. Plus a few scenes are dark and are hard to make out.
Overall, I was rather disappointed with "Making the Grade", the film and DVD. This is an exact example of how even actors can not save a film from disaster, but they can prevent total failure and shed some light on an otherwise dull film. I feel that should they had a better, more indepth script, they could have had a memorable teen flick. I can only recomend this film if you enjoy 80's teen comedies, like Judd Nelson, or are compelled by the price, which isn't bad and saves this one from a total waste. But saying that, don't expect a lot. For those of you who do not fit under either of these categories, I suggest you pass and try "Slackers". Thanks for reading, I hope this helped in making your decision, enjoy.

Titan A E Akimas Story
Titan A E Akimas Story
by K Anderson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At times corny, but overall good., March 11 2002
"Akima's Story" is a good novel, simple and childish, but good. "Akima's Story" is a prequel to the film "Titan A.E.", and the plot centers around Akima and her friend Ishaq, both of which
reside on a human drifter colony, New Marrakech, until it is attacked by the Drej. The attack leaves Akima and Ishaq's parental guardian dead, and this motivates the two of them to buy a ship and find work. The couple easily find work transporting goods to Solbrecht, and on their first mission they find trouble. After narrowly escaping death from a criminal kingpin's goons Akima and Ishaq team up with Stith to take down Golbus and to locate acient artifacts that Ishaq's father and Sam Tucker had been hiding.

The plot is original, but doesn't seem like it took a lot of thought to develop, and the dialogue is very "childish" and corny. But I just tried to turn off my brain and enjoy it for what it was, and even though it has a lot of plot holes that didn't stay consistant with the film, I just tried to read it as if it were a totally different story, and I think that if you do the same a lot of the plot holes will not be so evident.
I feel that the people who would enjoy this novel the most are those who are fans of "Titan A.E.", for those who enjoy Science Fiction stories, and for young ones, as there is no real offensive language and almost no violence. Though fans of either of the above mentioned may feel that it's to kiddie to be taken seriously and many may want to laugh at some of the dialogue. Overall, I did enjoy "Akima's Story", and you may enjoy it as well if you keep an open mind. Thanks for reading.

Idle Hands
Idle Hands
DVD ~ Devon Sawa
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 50.10
10 used & new from CDN$ 13.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious horror flick., Feb. 2 2002
This review is from: Idle Hands (DVD)
"Idle Hands" has got to be one of the best horror/comedies ever. I absolutely love this film, it is filled with so much horror and comedy that you can't really put it into just one genre. "Idle Hands" is basically about pot-head Anton (Devon Sawa)whose right hand gets possessed by the devil and takes him on a wild (and hilarious) killing spree. The plot is simple, but the actors are what bring the film to life. Seth Green, Devon Sawa, and Elden Henson make the perfect trio of burn-outs and are absolutely hysterical. Jack Noseworthy is also good as the Motley-Crue-loving-motor-jock. The film is excellent, but what really brings this DVD to life are the features. We get a commentary by Rodman Flender, Seth Green, and Elden Henson, which is very informative and fun to listen to. You learn a lot of facts from the commentary; like how Seth and Elden won the role of Mick and Pnub, how Devon Sawa used a real butcher-knife for the hand-chopping sequence, Rodman poitning out numerous goofs and cameos by The Offspring, Ricky Martin, and a member of Blink-182, and many other little facts. The deleted scene is actually an alternate ending, which is totally different than the theatrical ending, and there is an introduction with Rodman Flender explaining why they cut it. Even though this ending is good, I still prefer the theatrical ending. Then we get some interesting storyboard-comparisons of two scenes, which are fun to watch if you really like the film. The production notes and talent files are okay, nothing special, and the making of featurette is good, you'll also learn some interesting facts and see how they did some of the effects. Then we finish with the trailers for "Idle Hands" and "Can't hardly wait". The trailer is good, it features a few glimpses of some cut scenes, see if you can catch em'.
"Idle Hands" is a superbly crafted film that unfortunately bombed at the box-office (though I don't see why it bombed) and in a few years will probably become a cult-classic. "Idle Hands" is a solid buy, the special features are great and so is the price.

From Hell
From Hell
Offered by USA_Seller_4_Canada
Price: CDN$ 42.52
4 used & new from CDN$ 11.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique suspense-filled score., Jan. 28 2002
This review is from: From Hell (Audio CD)
"From Hell" is a magnificent score, you not only get a dark and suspenseful score that we've come to expect from a horror film, but you also get a calm and relaxing score too. "From Hell" starts out with a good track by Marilyn Manson, entitled "The Nobodies", and then starts the score with "In Memorian", which is quite peaceful for the most part. The whole score is outstanding, but I think "The compass and the ruler" is a memorable track because the first 20 seconds sound like it's playing from an old phonograph. My favorite track is "Bow Belle (Absinthium)", I really enjoy listening to it because, like the beginning of "The compass and the ruler", it sounds like it's being played from a phonograph, and I think it's an ironic way to end a horror score with such an "uplifting" track.
"From Hell" is up with Bennett Salvay's "Jeepers Creepers" as my favorite scores of 2001. Why it's one of my favorite scores of 2001 is because Trevor Jones composed a diverse and unique mixture of suspense and calmness to create an excellent score, instead of conforming with the typical jolting horror score, now don't get me wrong, I love the jolting scores that are essential to a horror film, I just think it's good to have a change. "From Hell" is a must for fans of the film and for those who like horror scores, and even those who just like instrumental music will probably enjoy it as well.

The Forsaken (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
The Forsaken (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Kerr Smith
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 5.99
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, disappointing features., Oct. 24 2001
I saw "The Forsaken" in theaters last May, and I loved it, I thought it was a great film. "The Forsaken" is a story about Sean (Kerr Smith) who is going cross-country to deliver a car to a guy in Florida, and on his way he picks up a lone hitchhiker, Nick (Brendan Fehr). The two pick up a strange girl who has just been bitten by a vampire, and while trying to help her, Sean gets bitten by the lady they picked up. And so the threesome are out to stop the head vampire so that they can prevent becoming vampires. The plot is semi-original, the acting was believable, the direction was pretty good, and the film overall was great, but the dvd was disapointing. When I saw the packaging and the special features that were on the dvd, it made me want to get "The Forsaken" even more, plus the price was right, so I bought it. I finally watched it today, and the features were good but not what I expected. The 3 deleted scenes were good, one is where Nick tells Sean about his childhood, I felt that one should have been included in the film, because it adds charecter-development. Another deleted scene has Nick and Sean leaving a diner and Sean asks Nick if crosses, garlic, ect. work on vampires, and the final one has a confrontation between the head vampire and Izabella Miko's character. All 3 deleted scenes equal roughly 4 minutes. And there are trailers for "The Forsaken", "Hollow man", "Vampires", "Dracula",
and "Ghosts of Mars". The real let-down was the two making-of features, one is a profile of Brendan Fehr which is about 2 minutes, and the other is about the Mercedes used in the film, and who they filmed one of the vampires death scenes and is roughly 2 and a-half minutes. Usually featurettes are atleast 5 minutes, both of these combined aren't even 5 minutes long.
Overall, "The Forsaken" is worth buying alone just to see a great vampire flick, but if you're looking for special features, they are there, but are relatively short and disapointing. "The Forsaken" is for vampire and horror film fans, but those who aren't into those types of movies may want to stick with a rental.

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