Profile for Richard Daystrom > Reviews

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Richard Daystrom "creator, M-5 multitronic unit" (Daystrom Institute, Earth, United Federation of Planets)

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FeelGood Buffalo Liver Snapz Treats for Cats, 50gm Pouch
FeelGood Buffalo Liver Snapz Treats for Cats, 50gm Pouch
Price: CDN$ 2.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice treat, Aug. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Our furry friend likes these just fine. Cats can be finicky, but we try to expose our cat to a rotating variety of good quality dried and canned food so that she doesn't get too hung up on just one flavor. Despite that, she has indeed turned her nose at one bag of certified organic treats that we gave her in the past. Our first time trying Feelgood Buffalo Liver Snapz has gone over very well. Cat likes the crunch and downs these as her late night snack with alacrity. I like that it has a few simple ingredients, and is Canadian-made at a reasonable price. Will try again.

The Sacrifice
The Sacrifice

5.0 out of 5 stars Great to have Lamb back!, March 7 2014
This review is from: The Sacrifice (Audio CD)
I was a bit late to the party in buying this album 9 years after its release. But I was not disappointed. I had for many years happy memories of grooving to 1970s Lamb on worn-out vinyl LPs, especially the earliest Lamb (1973) and Lamb II. Regardless of the subject matter, I consider Lamb (1973) among my favorite rock albums of the '70s. 1980s Lamb didn't quite work for me. The edge was gone; the music was too light and synthetic (synthesizers). Lamb had lost their rootsy appeal for me. Fast forward to the 21st century and this reconstituted Lamb with Chernoff joining former Lamb 1970s guitarist Ted Pearce, and I couldn't be happier.

The original Lamb was folk rock mingled with a traditional Jewish sound, and messianic lyrics. The Sacrifice, although missing the folk, Jesus Music elements, is a worthy successor to the original Lamb sound. The Sacrifice is a mature entry in the Contemporary Christian Music scene. As with early Lamb, there is a roots rock sound on some songs, especially Bitchu B'Adonai, The Time to Favor Zion and Walk In The Light. Good News is a song that would be welcomed by a Hillsong audience, or even an open-minded U2 audience. This is Lamb rock with the catchy, singable mix of Hebrew and English that Chernoff popularized in the 1970s. And Joel's rock vocal style is unmistakable. I am definitely grooving to this album. Chernoff is a gifted songwriter, and knows well how to create memorable, meaningful music and lyrics.

The album title, The Sacrifice, and the placement in large letters of LAMB beneath the title are a clear reference to the iconic song, The Sacrifice Lamb, from the first album. It was nice to have a new recording of that beautiful, haunting song on this album. It's nowhere near the original recording, but you can never equal a masterpiece. The original version might have been at home on a different kind of Neil Young album. For this re-recording, organ and acoustic guitar are replaced with piano, clarinet and a light rock sound. The artist has a right to mature and mellow out a bit, and I appreciated revisiting one of my favorite, and comforting songs from long ago. The Sacrifice is a worthy, and now much listened-to, addition to my Lamb library.

St. Anger
St. Anger
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 42.69
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw, heavy, meaningful rock 'n roll, Feb. 19 2012
This review is from: St. Anger (Audio CD)
Given the dearth of positive reviews for St. Anger St. Anger (Bonus DVD), I feel I need to state my credentials up front. I came late to metal. My own musical interests are varied and span centuries. Classic rock, punk rock, and hardcore are where I traditionally go to rock out.

Enter St. Anger, my first Metallica album. I am now a fan and will dabble in the back-catalog as a result of this garage-sounding, low-res album sent to us from a tortured soul. I have seen the documentary Metallica - Some Kind Of Monster (2004) and I understand the background and motivation for St. Anger. This is a back-to-basics hard rock album that is intended to be raw and spare. I get it and I relate. The snare drum that is much-talked about I understand completely and the drum's sound is integral to the album. Imagine U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday War (Rm) without the same drum. The drums on St. Anger are at once primal, like beating on an old garbage can lid, and somehow reminiscent of an old military band, making its procession down your street. This is a frantic call to arms, an 11th-hour plea for release from the monster that has taken control of our lives. I think you can fill in the blanks with your own monster and it all makes sense.

The guitar work is hard and raw, and Hetfield's broken-voiced lyrics render the work sincere. Stand-outs on this album are especially the first 4 tracks: Frantic, St. Anger, the monumental Some Kind of Monster, and Dirty Window. Over the years my musical tastes have expanded rather than receded, and I can now listen to metal with an open mind and no preconceptions. If it rocks, if the band are in a serious groove, I'm into it. St. Anger rocks hard and the lyrics are heart-felt. Ulrich's drums are in your face so much that if you're listening to this in the car you'll want to stop the car, get out, find a can somewhere and start beating the living daylights out of it. Cool. I want more of this.

Dream Theater: A Nightmare to Remember
Dream Theater: A Nightmare to Remember
DVD ~ Dream Theater
Price: CDN$ 20.96
2 used & new from CDN$ 20.03

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bootleg, for completists, Jan. 22 2012
If you're a die-hard Dream Theater fan and are okay with poor bootleg quality video and audio, you will be satisfied with this basic concert video from Seoul, Korea 2000. The recording seems to have been done professionally, perhaps for a live TV broadcast in Korea? There is a large, annoying, and screen-damaging icon in the top right that says LIVE in black letters on white background. This box seems to be hiding a round logo (from a TV station?) that you can only see the outline of. Along the left side of the screen is a vertical white band, the sort of thing that would disappear if your screen is set to the old overscan mode.

Video quality is like that of an older videocassette that you've had lying around for a few years (i.e. not terribly clear, but passable). I bought my copy in a major retail store, but the whole concert really does have the appearance of pirate material from TV. There were clearly a few cameras used in the filming, so I don't think the film is fan-made. Audio is 2.0 stereo -- clear enough but nothing you would play for enjoyment on your sound system.

The concert is alright. Musically, the band are as tight as ever. Material is from the Metropolis 2000 tour. Lead singer LaBrie's vocals are pitiful much of the time, with his voice breaking, or going far off key. At times he is just screaming notes to get through the material. Would I purchase this video after reading my own review? No. I'll get my viewing out of this a few times and sell to a used DVD store for someone else to check out.

Van Helsing: The London Assignment
Van Helsing: The London Assignment
DVD ~ Hugh Jackman
Offered by Canada-Ven
Price: CDN$ 9.99
44 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable Van Helsing adventure, Oct. 24 2009
Preferences going in:

I enjoyed the Van Helsing (2004) feature film, and am a fan of classic horror films of the 20th century. I watch all types of animation, from short cartoons to Japanese animated movies.

This Van Helsing prequel short film has become a favorite of mine, along with the feature film. As some have said, this might have made a nice addition to a special edition blu-ray disc, since it is 33 min. in length. The historical fiction involving Queen Victoria and Dr. Jekyll's age-reversal elixir was fun. To me, this is the stuff of classic horror. And, as with the movie, the filmmakers clearly love the material and enjoyed making the piece. Voices from actors I enjoy like Hugh Jackman, Robbie Coltrane, and Dwight Schultz were a real treat. As a Star Trek fan, I was attracted by the writer's names: Canadian-born writing duo Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, who have many respected Trek credits to their names.

DVD: The unique bonus features were a treat.
28-min. making-of documentary on Van Helsing feature film. This one is quite good, and not on the DVD or BD versions
7-min. making of the Van Helsing videogame. I have not played the game, but the interviews with the actors (incl. Jackman, who lends his own voice) were great. Again, this featurette is unique to the VHLA disc.
7-min. animatics comparisons. Not so thrilling for me, as I have watched similar material on other discs in the past, but a nice inclusion.

Nice to have subtitles in Eng, Fre and Spa, and the 5.1 Dolby Surround soundtrack sounded great from my sound system.

This short film package comes highly recommended for fans of classic horror. As of 2009 it is no longer in print. I got mine for a very low price at a discount retailer in one of their large sales bins that you have to rummage through. Well worth seeking out.

The Happening [Blu-ray]
The Happening [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 11.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 4.73

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thinking-person's zombie film, Aug. 6 2009
This review is from: The Happening [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The Happening [Blu-ray]
The Happening is a suspenseful, spooky movie with occasional gruesome violence, unusual to date in a Shyamalan film. This 2008 movie is a thought-provoking thriller that provides hints, but no real answers to the apocalyptic crisis. The audience is left to sort through the possible causes of the cataclysmic Happening, as well as to decide what it was that ended the crisis as quickly as it began.

Was there an environmental catastrophe? Was there some earthly ecological consciousness that arose to fight off the harmful human presence that is destroying the planet? Was it a malevolent supernatural force that moved in the air, possessing and killing victims in its wake?

What stopped or slowed the phenomenon? Did it peter out as a storm dissipates? If it was some satanic force, did it just move on to another place (Paris) to possess its next victims? If the catastrophe was caused by an intelligence, ecological or supernatural, did it recognize the power of love, which halted it in its tracks?

The story focuses on the troubled relationship of a couple (Wahlberg, Deschanel) fleeing their urban life in search of anywhere safer. Both characters were played simply, pared down, but endearing and demonstrating a vulnerability and truthfulness.

I was reminded of the Biblical story of Lot and his wife, and their flight from the doomed twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite the couples' efforts in both stories, they failed to save the population (or fellow refugees) after repeated attempts.

I didn't find clear answers in the film, but enjoyed debating the issues afterwards. I enjoy films like this that offer more than just entertainment for a couple of hours. Shyamalan takes his place with Rod Serling (and perhaps even Carl Sagan) as a modern speculative storyteller who seeks to understand humanity and our relationship not only to each other but to the cosmos.

I enjoyed The Happening enough to purchase the BD copy. I have seen both the DVD and Blu-ray versions. The Blu-ray offers a few bonus featurettes not included on the DVD edition, as well as improved picture and nice audio quality, and a textual commentary track with occasional PiP interview material. It is regrettable that there is no commentary track from the principals or writer-director Shyamalan on either version. But the high-def bonuses are a must for any who enjoyed this film.

The Message (30th Anniversary Edition) [Import]
The Message (30th Anniversary Edition) [Import]
DVD ~ Anthony Quinn
Offered by PaperbackshopCA
Price: CDN$ 10.41
20 used & new from CDN$ 10.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Request for improved edition, Feb. 3 2009
The Message (30th Anniversary Edition)

Review here is of the 2005 DVD product, "30th Anniversary Edition." Having seen only the English-language version on videocassette, I was glad to find a newer release with both English and Arabic films, and hoped for some new bonus features.

Alas, after all these years, what we have here is essentially a re-release onto disc of the contents of the old videocassette. The making-of feature is the same one that was included with previous videocassettes. No subtitles of any kind are provided. However, the same analog-access English closed captions from the VHS release are available on the English film. No subtitles or closed captioning on the Arabic version. What a shame that this alternate edition of The Message remains inaccessible to non-Arabic speakers, despite them making the effort to provide the film on disc two.

Hopefully we will see a true special edition release of The Message in the future.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Wii
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Wii
Offered by Galactics Canada
Price: CDN$ 24.09
17 used & new from CDN$ 4.47

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Star Wars tie-in, enjoyable Wii game, Jan. 4 2009
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

I enjoyed this one a lot, and was surprised how much I did, after very mixed reviews on the internet, and on Amazon.com site. Most reviewers also seem to prefer The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels to this one. I have both, and prefer The Force Unleashed to Lightsaber Duels, mostly for the story and interesting visuals. As a fan of the classic trilogy, this one appeals to me a lot -- familiar characters, ships, etc. Unlike the disappointing Star Trek: Conquest game for Wii, the figures, vehicles, and ships here are large and colorful, enhancing the enjoyment for this player.

The lightsaber fighting is perhaps a bit more accurate on Lightsaber Duels, but the Force Unleashed worked well enough with the Wii remote to keep me happy. I do not put myself in the camp of serious gamers, and am probably more interested in videogame stories and visuals than I am in killing enemies. So I might not be as critical of the fight seqences as others would be.

For the SW fan, and someone who enjoys the way the Wii system allows you to interact physically with the screen characters, I am placing this one among my top favorites right now.

Star Wars The Clone Wars 2009 Calendar
Star Wars The Clone Wars 2009 Calendar
7 used & new from CDN$ 27.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Star Wars calendar, Nov. 17 2008
Item reviewed: Star Wars The Clone Wars 2009 Calendar

I've never reviewed a calendar before, but I really enjoy the visuals on this SW offering. Bright, rich, vivid colors to lighten one's mood in the morning. The characters are large and can be clearly seen from a good distance away, which is nice if you have it up at work where I do. Several images of classic SW characters to please even the original-trilogy fans: Jabba, C-3P0, R2-D2, Yoda. The wood-sculpted look of Count Dooku is nicely presented too. A happy purchase to brighten even this most-jaded Star Wars fan's day!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars / Star Wars: La Guerre des clones (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Star Wars: The Clone Wars / Star Wars: La Guerre des clones (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 23.49
4 used & new from CDN$ 11.00

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best SW movie since Empire Strikes Back!, Nov. 17 2008
Item reviewed: Star Wars: The Clone Wars [Blu-ray]

Okay, okay. I know that's not saying much.

My biases going in:
1) I haven't thought much of SW movies since 1980's Empire Strikes Back (Ep. V). The saga has been on a downward slide since those first two phenomenal films.
2) Best performance in The Phantom Menace was provided by Watto.
3) I rather enjoyed the 2003 animated series "Clone Wars" that takes place just prior to this new computer-animated "The Clone Wars"
4) I have very few expectations any more from SW movies, so I'm ready to enjoy whatever they might have to offer.

The plot of The Clone Wars is simple, and inoffensive, focusing on the abduction of Jabba the Hutt's offspring Rotta and the political scheming related to it. Much of the film is devoted to colorful and impressive battle scenes on planet Christophsis as the Clone Wars are now in full swing. I got what I wanted out of this movie: some light SW fun, vivid colorful presentation, some breathtaking battle scenes, and plenty of Clone Troopers.

I liked the stylized animation of the characters. In a way, I was reminded of the marionettes used by Gerry Anderson in his classic 1960s science fiction and secret agent shows.

The BD edition of The Clone Wars looks great on my high-definition screen and contains all the same bonus features included on the 2-disc DVD issued at the same time. All of the bonus features are in HD, too, except the on-screen video commentary version of the film, which is in standard definition. Extra features and commentaries are a big draw for me, and I'm not sure I would have put money out for a bare-bones edition of the film alone, knowing that this TV series pilot will be included in a series or season box set at some point.

I debated waiting for a future box set of the TV series, but enjoyed the visuals in The Clone Wars enough to splurge on this first offering from the new series. If you saw the film in the theatre and did not enjoy it, the extra features are unlikely to change your opinion. But if you were able to accept The Clone Wars as a light episode after Ep. II Attack of the Clones, then this edition with the featurettes and interviews might enrich the experience enough to justify a purchase.

Edit:
Amazon.ca doesn't have any detailed specs on the BD edition yet, and didn't accept my product info update, so until they provide more, here is what I have:

Version: U.S.A / Warner / Region A, B, C
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
VC-1 BD-50 / Advanced Profile 3
Running time: 1:38:25
Number of chapters: 45
Subtitles: English SDH / French / Portuguese / Spanish

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 5.1 / Dolby Digital EX Audio English
Dolby Digital EX Audio French
Dolby Digital EX Audio Portuguese
Dolby Digital EX Audio Spanish
#Video commentary
#Behind the story
(HD) The Clone Wars: the untold story
(HD) The voices of The Clone Wars
(HD) The music score
(HD) Gallery
#Webisodes
Introduction: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
(HD) Epic battles
(HD) The Clones are coming
(HD) Heroes
(HD) Villains
(HD) Anakin's Padawan
(HD) Trailers Launch, Dark and (SD) Video game trailers
#Game - The Hologram memory challenge game
#DVD Digital Copy

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