Profile for Howard Sauertieg > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Howard Sauertieg
Top Reviewer Ranking: 580,692
Helpful Votes: 27

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Howard Sauertieg "Howard Sauertieg" (Harrisburg, PA USA)
(REAL NAME)   

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
pixel
Saved
Saved
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 24.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm so glad!, March 14 2004
This review is from: Saved (Audio CD)
Mr. Dylan's most strictly "Christian" album is not bad. Musically, it is quite stirring in places. Dylan's voice is deteriorating here, but his enthusiasm for the "message" he's trying to convey is always touching. He really sounds like a man who's been saved from "the fiery pit" in the nick of time.
In a way, SAVED is Dylan's "gospel" equivalent to NASHVILLE SKYLINE, his "country" album. He immersed himself in a genre, turned out some good-to-passable songs in the new idiom, then moved on to other things. Much of the criticism of Dylan's gospel work reeks of hypocrisy. Rock music "experts" like Dave Marsh did chastise Mr. Dylan for buying into a prepackaged ideology and trying to force it onto an unwilling public, while simultaneously lavishing their worthless praise on dead, quasi-literate black men like Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Gary Davis, both of whom sang almost nothing but gospel on street corners. (See the ROLLING STONE RECORD GUIDES of the 1980s.) So what if Dylan resembles more Blind Willie Johnson than he does Blind Willie McTell? Judge the music, not the man. Furthermore, the ideology of the "protest song" movement is fixed for all time, for anyone to adopt and make his own, if only to sell records to a target audience and make a name for himself - as Dylan did when he was young.
SAVED isn't a failure because it's a Christian album from end to end, or because its maker was an icon of the "counterculture." The problem with SAVED, I think, is that it was somewhat hastily thrown together between two evangelical tours, and poorly recorded at that. Dylan's lyrics on SAVED are atypically focused and straightforward, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. "Are You Ready?" sounds like a Chick tract [crass evangelical comic books, strategically placed in rest rooms and telephone booths] set to music, though somehow it's one of Dylan's best gospel numbers, a nasty mid-tempo groove similar to "Gotta Serve Somebody" but far more threatening in tone. "Solid Rock" is also very much "by the Book," lyrically, and likewise more compelling on the basis of its music. "Solid Rock" and "Pressing On" hammer home one of Dylan's favorite themes, that of the struggle to maintain spiritual correctness against the contrary forces of persecution, ridicule, and one's own weakness. That's another potentially off-putting aspect of SAVED and Dylan's gospel work in general - the singer frankly anticipates these "enemies" and flaunts his struggle against them, as though he's doomed to suffer the tortures of the damned for his correct beliefs. The album opens with a traditional tune, "Satisfied Mind," but Dylan sounds anything but satisfied most of the time. The one "upbeat" tune is the title track; when the singer chants "I'm so glad," you can almost hear the smile on his face.
In the period from STREET LEGAL (1978) to INFIDELS (1983), SAVED is the least eccentric Dylan album, and it's more raw and undisciplined (in a good way) than the rest. Unfortunately, the original mix doesn't do justice to the music on this album. If SAVED ever gets a remix & the SACD treatment accorded to STREET LEGAL and some other Dylan manifestos, it will get more of the respect it deserves.

Saved
Saved
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 24.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm so glad!, March 14 2004
This review is from: Saved (Audio CD)
Mr. Dylan's most strictly "Christian" album is not bad. Musically, it is quite stirring in places. Dylan's voice is deteriorating here, but his enthusiasm for the "message" he's trying to convey is always touching. He really sounds like a man who's been saved from "the fiery pit" in the nick of time.
Much of the criticism of Dylan's gospel work reeks of hypocrisy. Rock music "experts" like Dave Marsh did chastise Mr. Dylan for buying into a prepackaged ideology and trying to force it onto an unwilling public, while simultaneously lavishing their worthless praise on dead, quasi-literate black men like Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Gary Davis, both of whom sang almost nothing but gospel on street corners. (See the ROLLING STONE RECORD GUIDES of the 1980s.) So what if Dylan resembles more Blind Willie Johnson than he does Blind Willie McTell? Judge the music, not the man. Furthermore, the ideology of the "protest song" movement was (and is to some extent) fixed for all time, for anyone to adopt and make his own, if only to sell records to a target audience and make a name for himself - as Dylan did when he was young.
SAVED isn't a failure because it's a Christian album from end to end, or because its maker was an icon of the "counterculture." The problem with SAVED, I think, is that it was somewhat hastily thrown together between two evangelical tours, and poorly recorded at that. Dylan's lyrics on SAVED are atypically focused and straightforward, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. "Are You Ready?" sounds like a Chick tract [crass evangelical comic books, strategically placed in rest rooms and telephone booths] set to music, though somehow it's one of Dylan's best gospel numbers, a nasty mid-tempo groove similar to "Gotta Serve Somebody" but far more threatening in tone. "Solid Rock" is also very much "by the Book," lyrically, and likewise more compelling on the basis of its music. "Solid Rock" and "Pressing On" hammer home one of Dylan's favorite themes, that of the struggle to maintain spiritual correctness against the contrary forces of persecution, ridicule, and one's own weakness. That's another potentially off-putting aspect of SAVED and Dylan's gospel work in general - the singer frankly anticipates these "enemies" and flaunts his struggle against them, as though he's doomed to suffer the tortures of the damned for his correct beliefs. The album opens with a traditional tune, "Satisfied Mind," but Dylan sounds anything but satisfied most of the time. The one "upbeat" tune is the title track; when the singer chants "I'm so glad," you can almost hear the smile on his face.
In the period from STREET LEGAL (1978) to INFIDELS (1983), SAVED is the least eccentric Dylan album, and it's more raw and undisciplined (in a good way) than the rest. Unfortunately, the original mix doesn't do justice to the music on this album. If SAVED ever gets a remix & the SACD treatment accorded to STREET LEGAL and some other Dylan manifestos, it will get more of the respect it deserves.

The Legendary 1928-1930 Recordings
The Legendary 1928-1930 Recordings
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 52.95
4 used & new from CDN$ 37.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Great bargain, great fun, Jan. 31 2004
This release pairs the earliest recordings by Sleepy John Estes with an almost-complete set of classic tracks by Cannon's Jug Stompers, one of the great rural jug bands of the 1920's. Noah Lewis, high-powered harmonica blower, recorded with Estes, Cannon and his own jug band, supplying the conceptual bridge between the two discs. Lewis's work as a bandleader is included on Disc 1, making this a solid "5-star" set all the way around.
This is a more comprehensive set than either of Yazoo's CJS discs, including their old "Complete Works" CD which features only 23 tracks... As for the sound quality, the digital remastering by John R.T. Davies is excellent, making these old records sound their best without either going overboard or shirking on noise-reduction. Best of all, the music is great fun!

Touch of Her Flesh/ the Curse
Touch of Her Flesh/ the Curse
DVD ~ Suzanne Marre
Price: CDN$ 12.99
21 used & new from CDN$ 7.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming, long-awaited DVD, Oct. 30 2003
Having read enthusiastic reports of the FLESH trilogy's wild abandon and craziness, I was seriously disappointed when I actually saw these films.

TOUCH OF HER FLESH is my favorite of the three, though it's not less dull than its sequels. The main character, Jennings, finds his wife entertaining another man in their marital bed. He responds by running pell mell into traffic, where he becomes crippled. Confined to a wheelchair, wearing an eyepatch to hide the wounded socket beneath, Jennings stews over his wife's infidelity and plans vengeance against his wife, her lover and all women "who display themselves in public." That's a lot of vengeance, most of it irrational and pointless.
With its classical score, ambitious photography and palpable angst, TOUCH plays like a lowly art film. Its "success," I presume, inspired two sequels. For the first of these, CURSE, the Jennings character must be resurrected and given something to do. He is, and his bizarrely mindless assault on friends and relations of his wife, her lover, and random sex-industry types remains a template for cheap serial-killer sequels.
Both CURSE and KISS demand not to be taken seriously, which would be fine if the Findlays had put their artistic license to good use. Inexcusably, their films are slow as molasses, coming to life only when another unorthodox murder is imminent. Between killings lie vast deserts of bad acting, repellent fake sex and arbitrary, ludicrous plot developments.
The FLESH trilogy is not for children or impressionable adults.

Zodiac Killer/Sex Killer/Zero
Zodiac Killer/Sex Killer/Zero
DVD ~ Hal Reed
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 19.47
5 used & new from CDN$ 19.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Heaven help us, Oct. 29 2003
This "Sharpshooter Triple Feature" is one of the best Something Weird releases of 2003, despite the unpromising theme of the disc. Each film is a close-up study of a psychopathic murderer, and perhaps "Pathetic Loser Triple Feature" is a more accurate blanket description. The SEX KILLER doesn't even carry a gun.
ZODIAC KILLER is the most professional-looking of the three, yet it defines "cheap exploitation," dealing with a hot topic in a quasi-documentary, mostly melodramatic format. A pair of pathetic losers are introduced and half the film plays a game with the audience - which one is Zodiac, the disgruntled postman or the misogynistic middle-aged truck driver? The real Zodiac, of course, has never been identified, but the film offers its own ideas about the killer's personality and Freudian urges. The picture is washed out and grainy, the soundtrack distorted and variable in quality, actors flub their lines, but ZODIAC KILLER is great fun if you like exploitation. Some arty directorial flourishes work pretty well in this context, depicting Zodiac's warped view of humanity (vile, worthless, malevolent species). The cast of amateurs, portraying diverse "ordinary people" in Zodiac's orbit, is quite convincing, more effective in their parts than a bevy of B-list SAG pros would have been. In sum, ZODIAC KILLER is not a particularly good film, but it is entertaining, and as exploitation it is exemplary.
ZERO IN AND SCREAM and SEX KILLER are almost equally bad, two threadbare plots padded with a busload of flesh to reach the coveted 60-minute mark, yet SEX KILLER still falls short by 4 minutes. SEX KILLER is as bad as you'd expect a Barry Mahon psychodrama to be; there's very little dialogue, and most of that is restricted to blunt one-liners telling us the "sex killer" is a weird guy, something we know already. SEX KILLER is most successful in its attempt to create a stifling, hellish atmosphere around its protagonist. New York City's busy streets and grimy corridors should be top-billed in SEX KILLER, along with the creepy department store mannequins who lure this shy, inhibited boy into the depraved nightmare existence of a murderous necrophiliac. It's not a strange compulsion - it's a way of life. An idea is weakly developed throughout, that society is implicated in the killings because people are either indifferent to, or titillated by, these events. A similar notion crops up in ZODIAC KILLER.
ZERO IN AND SCREAM is something like the bastard/invert kin of MANTIS IN LACE, and is notable only for its copious and complete nudity, with little else to recommend it. Actually it's more remarkable for its awfulness, as it raises the question of how little development an anecdote requires to become a (barely) full-length feature film.
A small but excellent batch of trailers rounds out the program. There's also a gallery of exploitation stills for fans of the genre. Definitely worth a look!

The Wicker Man (Widescreen)
The Wicker Man (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Edward Woodward
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 54.97
12 used & new from CDN$ 6.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing cat & mouse tale, Sept. 6 2003
This review is from: The Wicker Man (Widescreen) (DVD)
In THE WICKER MAN, an English police officer visits a Scottish island, to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The island is home to a fertility-based religious cult. Rampant & picturesque paganism - of the "Old Age," not "New Age" variety - deeply offends the devout Christian police officer.
A lot of viewers react the same way as Sgt. Howie when confronted with seemingly gratuitous nudity and musical interludes. Apparently, people should always wear clothes and only sing on stage, in a studio, or in the shower... not to mention public love-making. Much of what seems silly in THE WICKER MAN is a natural outgrowth of the subject matter. The islanders sing and dance and couple with one another, without shame or modesty. Whereas the viewer can stop the DVD and find something more "serious" to watch, Sgt. Howie must solve his case by dealing with these strangely uncooperative people.
The most interesting character is Lord Summerisle, the cult's leader and heir to the island. As he informs Howie, the Lord's grandfather banished Christianity and resurrected the "old religion" to make the people happy. The present Lord Summerisle speaks as though he knows better than to believe in Grandpa's homespun paganism, but one can not be sure that he does (or doesn't). People raised on small islands, without radio or television, are bound to develop attitudes and lifestyles that we cannot easily explain! Such may be the case on Summerisle.
THE WICKER MAN is a most intriguing film that becomes even more interesting with repeated viewings. It's not a study of paganism, but rather a depiction of the conflict between modern and ancient views of the world. Obviously, we're accustomed to seeing the ancient view defeated - that's why it's not the modern view, after all... which makes THE WICKER MAN all the more disturbing.
This 88-minute version isn't the best one, but it's not incoherent either, and it looks great thanks to Anchor Bay's restoration work. The 100-minute videotape (only available on DVD in the double-disc box set) includes some expository scenes that help to explain Sgt. Howie's motivations, but with the videotape you don't get the extras included with this DVD version.

Anthem of the Sun (Expanded)
Anthem of the Sun (Expanded)
Price: CDN$ 11.98
22 used & new from CDN$ 5.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic cosmic Dead, May 5 2003
This remastered CD is an essential replacement for the original CD issue. The old CD restored the album's original mix (very psychedelic & complicated, a collage of studio & various concert recordings) but was mastered in such a way that the dynamics were compressed beyond all reason, in some cases even inverted. As such, it was a travesty. Rhino's remastered version not only cleans up the sound, but it also restores the dynamics of the original mix, so the louds are LOUD, the lows are LOW, etc. For the first time, we get to hear ANTHEM OF THE SUN in all its lysergic glory! Listen through headphones for the full experience.
The song list on ANTHEM includes all the new material the band was performing in concert in '68 except for "China Cat Sunflower," which showed up on their next LP AOXOMOXOA. Some of ANTHEM was recorded in the studio, the rest is a collage of concert recordings (anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen, it's hard to tell) faded in and out chaotically by Garcia and Lesh. They say they "mixed it for the hallucinations," and that effectively describes the album's ambience .
Apart from the chaos, ANTHEM includes some nice melodies - particularly "Cryptical Envelopment" and "New Potato Caboose."
"Alligator" is the original Dead jam/dance number. It lurches forward from complete goofiness to a kind of wriggling rhythmic grandeur; then Garcia steps in and propels the tune into Pigpen's bluesy voodoo-love rap, "Caution: Do Not Stop On Tracks." This finale builds gradually, deceptively grows calm and then explodes into feedback & electronic squeaks and squawks, cymbal crashes, just a whole lot of noise.
They don't make albums like ANTHEM OF THE SUN anymore.
The bonus material is of the same vintage as the live TWO FROM THE VAULT recordings, and it demonstrates how these ANTHEM numbers sounded before they received the studio treatment (including, but not limited to, the famous kazoos on "Alligator"). Great performance from start to finish. The CD also includes a hidden bonus track, well worth the search.
Only 4 stars because the mix is somewhat crude & sloppy, though that's a natural outcome when drug-addled amateurs take over the studio. ANTHEM is still one of my favorite albums.

Trader Hornee
Trader Hornee
DVD ~ Buddy Pantsari
Price: CDN$ 17.86
21 used & new from CDN$ 11.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Here's Algona!, May 5 2003
This review is from: Trader Hornee (DVD)
Friedman's spoof of Hollywood 'jungle movies' is over 30 years old, but it still holds up as both comedy and 'adult' fare.
There's a fair measure of toplessness and multitudes of bare behinds, particularly among the jungle denizens, so this film is not for the kiddies (unless you're a rather progressive parent). What makes the film memorable, however, is its outrageous treatment of that timeless Hollywood genre wherein Anglo-Americans venture into savage territory for treasure or to capture some legendary creature (e.g. King Kong). Friedman (who wrote the screenplay) pulls out all the stops here, making TRADER HORNEE both a masterpiece of political incorrectness (stuffed with questionably racist & sexist jokes) and a harmless confection of tame eroticism.
Blond siren Deke Sills ("Algona") never made another film, but she's a great amateur actress - greatly amateur, if you get my drift - and a balm to the soul. If you're red-blooded, full of pep and ambition, and a fan of matinee-style jungle adventures, you don't want to miss TRADER HORNEE!
The DVD includes the 8-minute film trailer - a classic of pulchritudinous self-congratulatory rhetoric - and an informative though low-key audio commentary by Friedman & Something Weird's Mike Vraney. You'll watch it more than once, and that's saying something!

Prehistoric Women [Import]
Prehistoric Women [Import]
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 108.56

3.0 out of 5 stars Defines "camp classic", Feb. 16 2003
Rhino-worshipping jungle brunettes dominate hapless jungle blondes who strive to be free in this fantastic nonsense-movie. For a film with such a simple dynamic, there are a surprising number of diversions from the main plot. These are very entertaining (dances, weddings, catfights) although they're obviously filler, padding out the film to feature length with eye candy. Definitely a late-night or rainy Saturday afternoon feature.
Some reviewers have said that "Prehistoric Women" is missing 16 minutes of footage, but that's incorrect! Actually "Prehistoric Women" is the American version that runs 16 minutes longer (90 minutes) than the 74-minute British release, titled "Slave Girls." THIS IS THE U.S. RELEASE - THE LONG VERSION. Thanks Anchor Bay!

Prehistoric Women [Import]
Prehistoric Women [Import]
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 108.56

3.0 out of 5 stars Defines "camp classic", Feb. 16 2003
Rhino-worshipping jungle brunettes dominate hapless jungle blondes who strive to be free in this fantastic nonsense-movie. For a film with such a simple dynamic, there are a surprising number of diversions from the main plot. These are very entertaining (dances, weddings, catfights) although they're obviously filler, padding out the film to feature length with eye candy. Definitely a late-night or rainy Saturday afternoon feature.
Some reviewers have said that "Prehistoric Women" is missing 16 minutes of footage, but that's incorrect! Actually "Prehistoric Women" is the American version that runs 16 minutes longer (90 minutes) than the 74-minute British release, titled "Slave Girls." THIS IS THE U.S. RELEASE - THE LONG VERSION. Thanks Anchor Bay!

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7