Profile for man_invisible > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by man_invisible
Top Reviewer Ranking: 468,286
Helpful Votes: 18

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

Reviews Written by
man_invisible (Dork, PA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18
pixel
Hollywood Strangler Meets T/Sk [Import]
Hollywood Strangler Meets T/Sk [Import]
DVD ~ Pierre Agostino
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 9.65
16 used & new from CDN$ 9.64

3.0 out of 5 stars great DVD, except for..., July 18 2004
I know I'm in the minority, but "The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher," is, to me, Ray Dennis Steckler's best movie, which is rather astounding, considering it's just 72 minutes of the same repetitious scenes. This DVD has a good deal of bonus gristle (probably more than the film deserves, but I'm not complaining), with two commentary tracks (one with Steckler, one with Joe Bob Briggs), a still gallery, and interviews with Steckler and Carolyn Brandt. The remastered sound and picture is superb for a Media Blasters release (though the image is a tad grainy). The one problem--and I don't know whether I should be more ticked off about this--is a bug within the DVD encoding (that has to be it, since I exchanged one copy for another copy that had the exact same problem) that occurs after scene selection 8, stops, and skips into scene 10, technically excising the whole scene at the modeling agency. Sheesh. Well, aside from that--and it'll probably be a minor complaint to anyone else--this is a good treatment of a highly disrespected film.

Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories
Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories
by Chuck Palahniuk
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars yeah, right., July 17 2004
Imagine if *talented* documentary filmmaker Michael Moore set up a tripod in a trailer park and just pressed 'record,' returning at the end of the day to claim the filled tape, you would have the first segment (titled 'People Together') of Chuck Palahniuk's new book, "Stranger Than Fiction," a nonfiction anthology. This first section might have you falling in and out of consciousness, as I was, with the author's description of boondock sex shows and combine demolition derbies, and...zzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry, nodded off for a moment. The second section, 'Portraits', is a series of blandly-written interviews with pseudo-celebrities (Juliette Lewis, Marilyn Manson, and a suck-up to Ira Levin, the only author who would write anything kind about Palahniuk's "Diary"). And the third section, 'Personal'--the most brief and interesting--deals with a handful of real-life experiences that have influenced Palahniuk's work (including the disturbing details of his father's death).
Unfortunately, this autheticity and interest enters far too late to have any chance of redeeming this flat, meandering book, which seems to have no rhyme or reason except to help Mr. Palahniuk pay his bills this month. The stylistic cleverness, sharp satire, and dark humor that punctuated "Fight Club," "Survivor," and "Lullaby" seems like a distant ghost Palahniuk has lost contact with, and it shows. I'm really beginning to wonder if the aforementioned novels were as great as I remember them being, and if I just wasn't swept up in the tidal wave of philosophical brilliance in "Fight Club" that caused me not to question the author's authority. For a while, Palahniuk seemed to be ushering in an era of renewed expectation for modern fiction, but with his increasing yearly output, it's becoming painfully obvious he's having a hard time keeping up. I'd rather wait five years for one well-developed narrative or memoir instead of receiving two substandard pieces of writing in a year. But like Marilyn Manson, Palahniuk's shock value has ceased to be shocking, his style has become predictable, and if he hopes to keep his fan base, he'd better concentrate on expanding his talents outward as opposed to keeping them confined, as he has with "Stranger Than Fiction." Another total letdown, redeemed somewhat by the last section.

Underworld (2-Disc Unrated Extended Cut) (Bilingual)
Underworld (2-Disc Unrated Extended Cut) (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Kate Beckinsale
Offered by LeftoverDVDs
Price: CDN$ 15.79
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars really pointless re-packaging, July 15 2004
23 minutes of new/remixed material, the glossy slipcase boasts. New bonus features, it boasts. Don't be a fool (as I was) and allow an attractive package to convince you that you need to buy yet another version of a pre-existing DVD. I, for one, am getting rather sick of this "release-one-version-then-release-another-one-six-months-later" deal that movie studios and DVD distributors pull to squeeze even more money from our pockets--I'd much rather wait extra-long for a definitive version of something than buy multiple versions of it. I am not the biggest "Underworld" fan, either, but what this version had to offer seemed intriguing--considerably less so when I watched the actual film. The recut/new scenes are mostly pointless filler, adding additional weight to an already heavy film, and do nothing to further develop characters or enrich the plot. "Underworld" plays best as a guilty-pleasure in the vein of "Ghosts of Mars"--put your logic on the back burner for a few hours and just obliterate your senses with some art-directed action. Those fans of "The Crow" will undoubtedly love this cooler-looking version--complete with a comic- and storyboard book--but for the more casual viewer, I'd merely stick with the stripped down, original DVD release, which is sufficient, and undoubtedly cheaper.

Houses Of The Mole
Houses Of The Mole
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 42.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars truuuuuuuuuuuuuuust me..., July 15 2004
This review is from: Houses Of The Mole (Audio CD)
"Animositisomina" played more like a tease of a comeback than an actual comeback from Ministry, who had stagnated into a shadow of their former selves with the ill-fated "Dark Side of the Spoon." Well, with the November election drawing nearer and Jourgensen and company apparently taking this to heart, Ministry has come up with a full-blown shot of vitrol in the form of "Houses of the Mole," a charged, angry assault on Bush II's term as puppet...er, 'president'. From the rollicking opening track 'No W,' complete with samples from Georgie Jr., to the drawn out pseudo-country (I just love the harmonica and sax parts) of 'Worm,' "Mole" is a startling, confident return that shows Ministry (sans Paul Barker) at their most motivated, uncompromising best. And though Al himself has said he writes his best material during Republican administrations (for obvious reasons), it is crucial that we all vote for Kerry (albeit by default) in November. Even if it means sitting through four years'-worth of bad Ministry albums, "Houses of the Mole" will make it justified.

Greater Wrong Of The Right
Greater Wrong Of The Right
Price: CDN$ 16.66
31 used & new from CDN$ 4.17

4.0 out of 5 stars the greater whine of the retrograde, July 15 2004
Not surprisingly, Skinny Puppy has breathed new life into a stagnant musical climate. Granted, this album is bound to divide people, but I happen to think it's very much worth the while. Will earn inescapable comparisons to Ogre's solo work, but there is something about TGWoTR that gels between the three artists--Key, Walk, Ogre, and a slew of guest musicians (the most notable being Danny Carey, who plays acoustic drums on the song 'Use Less') that separates it from such efforts; it comes out yet another individualistic, unique experience from this caravan of talented malcontents. There is some filler, less distorted noise (this is not "Cleanse Fold and Manipulate II"), and more singing on Ogre's part--some will view this as the band's shameless plea for mainstream acceptance (as if that will ever happen, people) and whine that it doesn't sound like Traditional Puppy, but isn't it contradictory to expect what is expected from a band that has built its career on DEFYING what is expected? The sound is bouncier, darker, and with cleaner production as a result of modern technological advances in music--it's obvious that Skinny Puppy is not going to deliberately record an album that sounds like "Bites" merely to please a whiny fan base whose musical tolerance peaked in 1987. A good effort from a band capable of great things, with a strong sense of protest and an EXCELLENT live show.

Thirteenth Step
Thirteenth Step
Price: CDN$ 21.54
39 used & new from CDN$ 4.40

5.0 out of 5 stars there's something seriously wrong here..., Oct. 23 2003
This review is from: Thirteenth Step (Audio CD)
...because "Thirteenth Step" is damn near perfect. This presents an interesting dilemma to my self-appointed status as a critc/fan, since I usually play the part of the bitter crank who addresses the faults other people tend to gloss over, and I hardly ever give 5-star reviews. Yet last night, after listening to TS on headphones in an isolated place, I hit the repeat button and listened to it again...every tiny nuance, every subtle word, every venomous chorus resonated with such confident force that my spinal cord seemed to be coiling up in fear. Imagine how it must feel to ride on a huge tidal wave that just carries you along and never crashes into the shoreline; then imagine being wrongfully sentenced to death as the judge slams down his gavel--this sums up the rollercoaster ride of "Thirteenth Step"; there are sharp turns, lazy & elegant lulls, and steep hills to be dealt with...and, so brilliantly, it's executed with a balanced musicianship that makes it one of the best albums I've heard, ever (and I realize I'm probably repeating the sentiments of a million TOOL sheep out there). I found myself thinking, over and over again: "This is what 'The Fragile' should have been"; the range of emotions explored on TS is astouding and effective (and the frequent juxtaposition of harshness and beauty works incredibly well, as in 'Crimes' and 'The Nurse Who Loved Me'), and Maynard has blossomed into an articulate and seductive frontman with a knack for clever wordplay (who else would turn a halo into a noose?) and an equally compelling vocal range. "Thirteenth Step" has its share of unpredictable surprises, beginning with the authentic desperation and despair of 'The Package' (the 7-minute opening track), to the 1920s string arrangement of 'The Nurse Who Loved Me', and culminating in a powerful anti-war diatribe called 'Pet', which is as good as anything Dylan wrote at the height of his career. The addition of former Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy also helps take A Perfect Circle into a more diverse direction. I should mention that "Mer De Noms" did not shake my aural universe--I found it to be a well-done album, both musically and lyrically, but nothing special; therefore you can imagine how neutral (actually non-existent) my expectations were for "Thirteenth Step," and how shocked I was when I let it take hold--this is an intelligent, musically diverse, and genuinely haunting masterpiece.

Terror State
Terror State
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 18.60
27 used & new from CDN$ 5.60

3.0 out of 5 stars too many slogans, not enough lyrics, Oct. 22 2003
This review is from: Terror State (Audio CD)
I guess as far as bands that started off with an underground following that eventually washed over into the mainstream Hot Topic mall culture, Anti-Flag has done a fairly good job of preserving their dignity without too heavily compromising their lefty political views. But I'm sure I'm not alone when I think their past few albums have shown a distinct decline in quality (seems that the more polished the artwork & packaging becomes, the less engaging the music is). That being said, they are one of a handful of punk bands I listen to, and are very talented at giving a voice to the disenfranchised and disgusted in this country. Unfortunately, "The Terror State" comes off well in the musical department, but is sorely lacking the raw insight that punctuated the lyrics of "Die for the Government" and "A New Kind of Army"; what we have here are songs that play like protest anthems...but whatever thought they're meant to provoke is relegated to the articles that accompany the lyric sheet. In other words, I felt that the band was lying down on the job--I was really looking forward to an all-out assault on the insane times we're living in, but all I got was a bunch of slogans (and I see enough of those on SUV bumpers).

Dying In Stereo
Dying In Stereo
Offered by CAMusicFiendz
Price: CDN$ 20.25
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars simplicity reigns supreme, Oct. 22 2003
This review is from: Dying In Stereo (Audio CD)
I really am not a fan of rap (save for the metal kind that Rage Against the Machine did so well), and picked this up primarily because of a very catchy song I'd heard on a late-night radio show specializing in independent/alternative acts (a non-hip-hop station, by the way). "A Thousand Words" is lightweight yet extremely catchy, with a quirky sense of humor (I loved the line: "The country's getting ugly and there's more in store, but don't blame me, 'cause I voted for Gore"), but nothing else on this short album comes even close to matching that guilty pleasure. The lyrics are the usual insipid stuff (parties, self-congratulation, etc.) that floods the mainstream, with completely random political jabs. The rhyming itself is pretty simplistic; these wenches are not as funky as they are clunky.

Neverwhere
Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
144 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars eh...Harry Potter goes Goth, Oct. 13 2003
This review is from: Neverwhere (Mass Market Paperback)
Neil Gaiman's Terry Pratchett-meets-Harry Potter-spiced-with-a-'dark edge'-style is appealing to some, I guess, but faeries and giants and characters that sound like Mythological rejects (which reminded me a LOT of Clive Barker's "Nightbreed," incidentally) have always been near the bottom of my interest list (along with chemistry and P.E.). "Neverwhere" is a fairly engaging novel, but the narrative is nothing outstanding or original (normal London dweller falls in with a D&D underworld populated by pixies, angels and nasty beasties). Gaiman overuses metaphors about "drops of mercury," and some passages just reek of bad Gothic poetry. As someone who isn't a fan of this genre, I still think it's a worthwhile book--sadly, the most interesting character--the marquis de Carabas--is given only supporting-player status (he needs his own novel!).

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
by Al Franken
Edition: Hardcover
127 used & new from CDN$ 0.28

3.0 out of 5 stars Stuart Smalley takes on the right, with mixed results, Oct. 13 2003
At certain points within "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," I could picture Al Franken's character, Stuart Smalley, whining in a shrill voice: "It's just not fair, darnit!"
That being said, Franken's new book delivers some well-deserved blows to vacuous right-wing windbags like Blarney O'Reilly and Malibu Barbie conservative Ann Coulter, but even a lefty (such as myself) has to admit that Franken's arguments can come across as pretty thin after the effects of his amplification have worn off. The first half of the book is engaging and frequently hilarious, but after that it hits a lull in which it has a hard time recovering (although later bits, like "Operation Chickenhawk: Episode One" and "The Lawyer and the Waitress" are effective). Another bothersome factor is Franken's incessant praise of the Democratic party as a flawless, saintly, do-no-wrong political institution (I'm a registered Green), which becomes tiresome, especially if you've been made privy to some of Clinton and Gore's shady dealings. Reading this hot on the heels of Michael Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?" I found the difference between Franken and Moore: Franken is an entertainer, while Moore is a crusader who happens to be entertaining. Does "Lies" expose the liberal bias in media for the myth it is? Yes, and I praise Franken for delivering some much-deserved comeuppance to the bullhorn warhawks dominating the country. But the book as a whole is too long, at times too vague, and also too centered around Franken's celebrity status as a comedian. It's a mixed bag.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-18