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Gogmagog "fan of all things music, movies and media" (United States)

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Like,Omigod! 80's..Culture Box
Like,Omigod! 80's..Culture Box
3 used & new from CDN$ 199.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice overview - may be addictive..., June 27 2004
Be forewarned, the sugar-coated empty calories found in the LIKE, OMIGOD... box set from Rhino will just leave you wanting more. 142 tracks across seven CDs and it just scratches the surface on a shallow, yet oddly endearing decade.
LIKE, OMIGOD... hits almost all of the popularly acknowledged high points, including "867-5309/Jenny," "Tainted Love," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," - as well as great novelty numbers and underground tunes like "Pac-Man Fever," "Da Da Da," and "Turning Japanese." While not in strict chronological order like Rhino's 70s set, HAVE A NICE DECADE, LIKE, OMIGOD... is well-sequenced and provides a relatively satisfying trip - as well as a great set for any party. No need for "random play" here - just load this set, hit "play" and dance away.
While this set is almost certainly a one-stop shop for the music fan simply looking for a well-balanced 80s collection, the completist and discerning collector will no doubt view this as the tip of the iceberg. Those such as myself, more enthralled with the simultaneous New Wave movement, will find lots more to love (approximately 300 tracks worth - with minimal duplication) in Rhino's 15-volume JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH 80s collection. Even then, LIKE, OMIGOD... will spur you on to fill up your shopping cart with with entire albums by Billy Squier, Duran Duran, The Fixx, Pretenders and more.
The only downside to be found is that LIKE, OMIGOD... also forces the listener to take the bad with the good (or the worse with the bad?), presenting end-of-the-decade stinkers such as New Kids on the Block and Richard Marx toward the end of the seventh disc. For this listener, those musical tragedies are still too recent, too terrible to revisit with any degree of nostalgia.
As gaudily packaged as the decade it represents, LIKE, OMIGOD... is presented in a hardcover book format identical to HAVE A NICE DECADE and contains a similar full-color booklet complete with essays, trivia, 80s timeline and notes on each of the performers and songs included. The sound of the CDs, as with all Rhino product, is pristine. As for the sound of some of the music - well, you can't blame Rhino...

Inferno
Inferno
Price: CDN$ 17.81
18 used & new from CDN$ 9.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Motorhead - with a Touch of White Line Fever, June 25 2004
This review is from: Inferno (Audio CD)
Motorhead's most recent offering, INFERNO, lives up to a promise made to me by an in-the-know metalhead years ago, as he introduced me to the band: "They release an album every year, they keep their sound the same and they all rock."
INFERNO not only rocks, it churns and grinds and chugs along as only Motorhead does and reminds this listener most of their initial eponymous album from '77 - a simple, straightforward, yet immensely powerful record. Lemmy and Company hit all the usual subjects; death, sex, hopelessness, lycanthropy, etc, all at about the same tempo, with no real standout surprises - and no guitar trickery - just straight, simple rock-and-roll. That said, there are not any stinkers, either (though, to be perfectly honest, this band rarely falters). Consistency and quality are king and even guest Steve Vai doesn't overstep his bounds, adding a hand on a couple numbers. While these are still fast tracks, the speed-addled days of ACE OF SPADES seem past and the seasoned fan will likely agree that the tempo and feel of INFERNO, while not unlike that of the '77 debut, fits right in with recent works such as HAMMERED and WE ARE MOTORHEAD, though its subject matter is decidedly darker overall. Still, the boys aren't all doom and gloom and wrap up the entire affair with an excellent, fun acoustic blues number complete with Lemmy on harmonica - and it works.
While probably not the best place to begin for the Motorhead-curious (try NO REMORSE, ACE OF SPADES or OVERKILL), INFERNO certainly delivers what longtime fans have come to expect from a band that rarely strays from its formula yet never "phones it in." And across over 25 years and well over 20 albums, that's saying something.

Hellraiser:Hellseeker
Hellraiser:Hellseeker
DVD ~ Dean Winters
Offered by discounts
Price: CDN$ 19.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Entry in the Hellraiser Canon, June 22 2004
This review is from: Hellraiser:Hellseeker (DVD)
HELLRAISER: HELLSEEKER, the sixth installment in the Hellraiser series, is a fine, taut chiller, handled masterfully by first-time director Rick Bota (cinematographer on DEMON KNIGHT, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and VALENTINE and director of the upcoming Hellraiser sequels DEADER and HELLWORLD). This is a nail-biter, especially for newcomers to the series, who will no doubt love this 90-minute amalgam of murder mystery and nightmarish gore pic. Hellraiser faithfuls, however, may be a bit off-put by the similarities to its predecessor, HELLRAISER: INFERNO (still the finest sequel the series has seen).
INFERNO aside, there's still plenty for the horror film buff to love in HELLSEEKER. Bota provides incredibly claustrophic framing throughout, so the viewer can never quite see over protagonist Dean Winters' shoulder. Additionally, the film is very well-lit with hospital neon greens and police station blues adding intensity to the dizzying nightmare. Bota's cinematography experience serves him well and what HELLSEEKER lacks in originality is more than made up for in pure atmosphere.
And then there's the return of Kirsty. Series followers were no doubt hoping for a Kirsty/Pinhead showdown, but that's nowhere to be found in HELLSEEKER. Doug Bradley's Pinhead keeps scarce (a la INFERNO) as does Kirsty, both simply popping in and out when twists and/or exposition are called for. While this does come as a sort of letdown, it ultimately provides an interesting direction for Kirsty as a new antihero and leaves the series wide open for the future sequels. Still, it was nice to see the series reconnected to its origins. This reviewer was pleased to hear a few references to Uncle Frank throughout the film (and was that a quick cameo by Kirsty's flayed father in the basement of the police station?!?)
All in all, HELLSEEKER is an admirable - and extremely enjoyable - entry into the Hellraiser series. While the hardcore fan can tell early on that this is INFERNO redux, that's still not necessarily a bad thing. For those of us still reeling from BLOODLINE and HELL ON EARTH, it's downright welcome.
The HELLSEEKER DVD looks great and sounds OK. The 5.1 Surround is underused (especially for a fright flick) and poorly utilized when it does come into play. Bota's commentary is again a welcome addition for fans of the series as recent DVDs have been bare bones affairs. Several alternate scenes are also provided. Highly recommended for fans of the series and B-flicks alike.

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins...
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins...
DVD ~ Fred Ward
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 126.50
9 used & new from CDN$ 24.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Film - Would Benefit from a Sequel, June 12 2004
A late-night cable favorite since its creation, REMO WILLIAMS has always been close to my heart and revisiting this DVD recently reignited my wishes for a sequel.
REMO WILLIAMS' strong point has always been its weakness as well. "The Adventure Begins" the title tells us up front, and presents a tale devoted almost entirely to character origin and development. Whereas lesser films would have thrown in a training montage across three minutes of film, Remo's lasts ninety. And it's not even over. Never "ready" to be unleashed as the assassin he's meant to be, Remo Williams spends the entirety of the film under Chiun's tutelage, forced into action only by circumstance. Only in the final minutes does he seem ready to begin the life he has been designed for.
How does this affect the film? Well, it will feel downright slow for the Fast and Furious generation weaned on quick-cut, shallow films like XXX which speed along from one explosion to the next. For those of us who used to read way back when and enjoyed seeing these pulpy characters fleshed out onscreen - as well as those of us who dug Kung Fu Theatre on Sunday afternoons (check out KILL BILL Vol 2's "Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mai" sequence for the heavy influence of Chiun), it means this is a simultaneous delight and letdown (the latter only because, realistically, we know there will never be a sequel to continue this story).
My only other minor criticism of REMO WILLIAMS is its relatively bloodless onscreen presentation. Not that I'm looking for gore, but for an assassination film, this one is very tame. On the upside, one could feel very comfortable sharing this film with pre-teen action enthusiasts.
The REMO WILLIAMS DVD is a bare bones, full-screen affair, but at its bargain price, who can really complain? You know what you're getting and it looks better than a TV re-run. A deluxe edition DVD would be nice but this viewer isn't holding his breath.

The Who - The Kids Are Alright (Special Edition) (2DVD)
The Who - The Kids Are Alright (Special Edition) (2DVD)
DVD ~ Roger Daltrey
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 68.55
15 used & new from CDN$ 13.77

5.0 out of 5 stars None Better You Bet, April 6 2004
Easily the best Rock-and-Roll DVD available, and probably one of the finest DVD releases overall I've ever seen, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT is guaranteed to satisfy any Who fan and make a fan out of those not already initiated.
This DVD finds the film fully restored and presented with stunning clarity and incredible sound. The DTS track shook our living room yet every instrument remained distinct and clear, especially impressive during the show-stopping "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again."
None too boring (and a bit light on actual history), one cannot consider KIDS as the band's story, at least not in a "we were four lads in London..." sense. This film lets the music speak for itself, interjecting small bits of banter and interview segments between the numbers, which are not presented chronologically but instead perfectly juxtaposed old against new against older against newer yet, leaving the viewer/listener awash in absolute and utterly joyful sounds and images of the world's loudest (and easily one of the best) rock bands.
There is not a single complaint to be registered regarding this DVD. The second disc boasts a wealth of extras for the Who fanatic and DVD minutae-phile alike - if you can get to it. Once I finished the main feature, I started it all over again. Rock-and-Roll cinema gets no finer. No "Behind the Music"-esque drama, no reunion shots of a band past their prime - THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT is a heavy slab of the Who at their best. Grab it now. Call it a bargain. The best you ever had.

Tourist Trap (Widescreen)
Tourist Trap (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Chuck Connors
5 used & new from CDN$ 16.56

3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Blood, A Few Scares, Lots of Fun, March 28 2004
This review is from: Tourist Trap (Widescreen) (DVD)
TOURIST TRAP is a film for the horror afficionado, not the casual horror fan. If you like shock, gore and nail-biting, screaming scare scenes, this may bore you. If you've spent hundreds of hours watching all-night camp fright flicks and have a soft spot in your heart for good (not great) and slightly goofy films a la MOTEL HELL, you'll fall in love with TOURIST TRAP.
The set-up is the same you've seen a thousand times. Three gals and two guys break down in the woods, go skinny dipping and then die one by one. You know by the second murder who the killer "really" is and also which heroine will survive the carnage (this one plays by all the standard rules). Still, you've got a great cornball factor with Chuck "Rifleman" Connors in the Jim Siedow-esque role of helpful country bumpkin and a bona fide Scream Queen in Jocelyn Jones (easily the best performer in the film, her eyes convey true terror - it's a pity she didn't make a career of this).
The film fails in the pacing department and we have too many escapes and recaptures and escapes again after the killer's identity is revealed two-thirds of the way through the film. Still, there is a genuine creep factor in the apearance and manipulation of the mannequins (and Ms. Jones' mental breakdown at the film's end has the viewer wondering if they're really alive as well), though it's almost cancelled out by the notion of the lunatic slasher wielding psychokinetic powers as well. Coming five years after TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, the vision of the hulking killer in a woman's mask surrounded by an artifical family of mannequins doesn't seems as original and eerie as it should.
All in all, though, TOURIST TRAP is fun viewing - and actually appropriate for the young horror fan (no nudity, cursing and very little blood) as well. This DVD, from Koch Vision Entertainment, looks great and boasts a nice selection of extra features, all at an incredibly reasonable price. Not the best by far, but this will undoubtedly warm the heart of anyone who enjoys films such as Tobe Hooper's FUNHOUSE, ALICE SWEET ALICE, MOTEL HELL, HELL NIGHT, and PHANTASM. Grab WAXWORK and make it a double feature!

Live From Down Under
Live From Down Under
Price: CDN$ 30.22
5 used & new from CDN$ 30.22

2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely uneven set for the Shaver fan, Nov. 26 2003
This review is from: Live From Down Under (Audio CD)
While Shaver completists will no doubt "need" this CD in their collection (I did - and I'll keep it), this is not the live album I was hoping for. Shaver's songs, overall well-delivered, are overpowered by Friedman and Company's personality and off-the-wall performances. Familiar only with Friedman by name, I didn't know his music before buying this record and have no desire to hear any more. I felt the pairing ruined any enjoyment to be gleaned from Shaver's contribution.
The Friedman fan, however, may really, really like this record - and may even say Shaver drags it down - the two styles really do not complement one another. Should you like both, you're probably in luck.
The Shaver fan awaiting another UNSHAVEN should keep waiting and pass this one by. And the Shaver-curious looking for live thrills should grab that record instead of this one - it's a far better example of Shaver's power fronting a live band.

Ginger Snaps [Import]
Ginger Snaps [Import]
DVD ~ Emily Perkins
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 38.10
6 used & new from CDN$ 24.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally - a cult favorite that lives up to the hype., Oct. 4 2003
This review is from: Ginger Snaps [Import] (DVD)
I was afraid to buy this. It sounded too good to be true. A good werewolf movie? So many years (and bad films) after the Howling? You bet your life. GINGER SNAPS is not just good, it's great. And smart. Hip without being snide, slick yet retaining integrity, this is not just a good werewolf movie - or a good horror movie - it's just a great movie altogether.
Mimi Rogers aside, the cast were all unknown to this viewer yet could not have been more perfectly chosen for their roles. You know these characters (or you are these characters) and even though you may not be a lycanthrope, you're easily drawn in and aligned with their trials. This is no out-at-the-full-moon and back-at-dawn transformation, this is one long, drawn-out shapeshift; the misery of puberty. Even if you didn't grow a tail when you turned 16, if you felt like you might as well have, this is a movie for you.
Well-paced, expertly directed and, of course, PERFECTLY acted, GINGER SNAPS only disappoints slightly in the same way almost all werewolf films do: the final, full-on beast just never looks 100% convincing. Who cares? Getting there is all the fun and the film's final scene avoids the cliched, easy ending and goes for the heart.
I hear the two leads are in on production for GINGER SNAPS II as well as a prequel. I don't know where these could go, but I'll even give the dread horror sequel a chance based on this refreshingly strong, nearly flawless film. One of my favorite finds this year.

Fright Night Part II [Import]
Fright Night Part II [Import]
DVD ~ William Ragsdale
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 112.11
10 used & new from CDN$ 59.64

3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel, medicore DVD presentation, Aug. 23 2003
I loved FRIGHT NIGHT PART II upon its original release in '89. Having picked it up again in its first DVD incarnation, I can't help but feel disappointed.
The film itself suffers from sequelitis in general. The story is nowhere near as compelling nor well-told as the first, but it is still a lot of fun with the same core protagonists from the original and features well-done effects and direction. While the original FRIGHT NIGHT still carries a strong 80s flavor, this film feels even more dated, however, and suffers accordingly. Still, those who enjoyed it back then should pick it up now - still a great late night viewing.
The DVD, on the other hand, is unfortunately typical lower-grade Artisan fare. A bare-bones DVD, the picture looks terrible - grainy, foggy and full of defects. Of course, who but perhaps Anchor bay would invest the time and money to restore a film as this (and perhaps they will some day)? Fans will doubtless be happy to own this film in any form and it looks no worse than it would on any late night cable station. Knee-jerk naysayers will bemoan the lack of a "widescreen" presentation, but this film was originally shot in a full-screen ratio (perhaps because it was directed toward a growing home-video market at the time, though it did enjoy a brief theatrical release).
All in all, a really fun film and not a bad buy at all for fans of the series.

The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia
The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia
by Peter Dendle
Edition: Hardcover
18 used & new from CDN$ 12.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, concise, yet extremely thorough..., Aug. 17 2003
If you're a zombie film-lover wondering whether this volume is worth the hardcover price, simply click the "buy" button and get it over with. Once it's in your hands, you'll forget about the cost and enjoy several hours of great reading - as well as a reference you'll return to again and again.
Dendle provides several scholarly (yet not stuffy) pages of historical overview and then delves into a film-by-film analysis that had me re-visiting and re-appreciating my own video library and then running out to buy those films I know knew I could not live without. As any zombie film fanatic knows, we can spend lots of money and sit through hundreds of wasted hours before finding a diamond in the rough. Dr. Dendle's done the work for you - all you have to do now is find the films.
The ZOMBIE MOVIE ENCYCLOPEDIA is by no means complete - while the author visits many films that have even the slightest zombie connection (e.g., WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S PART 2), he misses out on others altogether that could easily fall into the zombie genre (e.g., John Carpenter's PRINCE OF DARKNESS or Lamberto Bava's DEMONS films). Still, there's no way any of us can see them all and Dendle appears to have seen and reviewed more than anyone else.
I cannot recommend this book more highly. Ignore the cheesy cover art. Don't worry about the price. If you love zombie films, this will immediately become your primary reference source. As a matter of fact, buy two - every zombie fanatic seems to have a friend who's just as devoted to the genre - and this will make a great gift.

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