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Reviews Written by
E. Lee Zimmerman "Trekscribbler (aka Ed)" (Earth)

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Superman: Our Worlds At War - Book 01
Superman: Our Worlds At War - Book 01
by Various
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 3.26

3.0 out of 5 stars Up, Up, and ... Away?, Oct. 20 2002
One of the staples to Supes personal history is the fact that he's held to standards that other superheroes might not be able to match ... until now. Reading Superman say the words, "I'm going to kill him," is perhaps the most startling revelation in the two-parter trade paperback OUR WORLDS AT WAR. Despite some negative reaction from a large part of the Super-fan base, OWAW is a good read but far from great. It presents a Superman that readers largely haven't seen before, one driven by a passionate instinct for revenge. While the books do possess some continuity issues, there are parts of the story important to our time: acts of terrorism, good surrendering to evil, the loss of life in times of war, etc. However, these two books do suffer from one crucial shortcoming that appears to be a growing trend in crossover / trade paperbacks, and that's the fact that the reader might be told of pivotal events several times from differing perspectives ... once from the Superman installment, once from the Young Justice installment, and once from a Wonder Woman installment. Whereas the end result should be interesting, it's far more confusing here, as some events toward the climax are reviewed slightly out-of-sequence. That said, a Darkseid story is always welcome at my house, and I enjoyed the pure escapism of a reasonably entertaining Superman story for what it was worth.
Would I recommend purchase? Erg. These two books are rather pricey for a story that isn't as tightly woven as it could've been. I would have rather seen the publishers create one volume, with a reasonable price, than two with a slightly higher than necessary pricetag. Damn capitalism. Damn commercialism. If you can get your hands on copies to borrow, I'd take that route first.

Angry Lead Skies: A Garrett, P.I., Novel
Angry Lead Skies: A Garrett, P.I., Novel
by Glen Cook
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ?????, Aug. 28 2002
You'll have to forgive me, but I think part of my reaction is my own problem.
I picked up this book based on the advertising jacket and the associated reviewers' praise associated to the book. What primarily drew my interest was the author's comparisons to Raymond Chandler ... and I have to wonder, "Did the reviewer EVER READ any Chandler?"
In my humble opinion, the book is awful ... so awful that it's been added to the small list of books that I didn't have the stomach to finish. The plot is incomprehensible, as well as the characters as their relationship to the principle private / not-so-private / not-really-a-private detective. After giving it 100 pages to actually develop into something more than a carbon copy ... of any good 1940's noir film set in an, albeit, warped perspective, I tossed it aside and unloaded it at the local secondhand bookstore.
Now, this is NOT to say that the book wouldn't be enjoyed by others. I'm an adult reader, and, if you've read any of my other reviews, you'll find that I've read a variety of types of books, listen to a variety of types of music, etc., etc., etc. I believe myself to be a rather eclectic participant with the arts, but the prose just kept slowing down the narrative of the story. The half-jokes and 'you had to be there' moments halted the story from making any real progress, in my estimation ... and, thus, I decided not to waste any more time with it. As I always say, "Life is too short to be lost to what you consider a bad read."
However, I do recommend followers of the author's previous work to pick it up. They'll probably be able to give a more informed response.

Batman: Bruce Wayne Murderer?
Batman: Bruce Wayne Murderer?
by Greg Rucka
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 19.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Just Read It, Cover to Cover ..., Aug. 27 2002
... and I can't tell you how thrilling it is, for a change, to deal with a story that is primarily about what the Batman does best: detection.
BRUCE WAYNE: MURDERER is about many things, but on the surface it only poses one question: how far is faith worth following?
After a long night of chucking bad guys, Batman and Sasha Bourdeaux (his latest in a growing list of sidekicks) return home ... Sasha a few moments later than her mentor. However, in one of the upstairs rooms, Vesper Fairchild -- one of Wayne's many conquests -- is found shot to death. A 911 call circumstantially points all fingers to the billionaire-playboy, and, thus, Batman is thrust behind Blackgate Prison's slim bars ... a place where he's housed so many of the city's treacherous underworld.
In the interim, all of the principles in the Batman universe -- Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, and Nightwing, primarily -- are left to explore the possibility of whether or not the man who has meant so much to them in their lifetimes COULD have committed the deed. Bruce Wayne's not speaking. He's not declaring his innocence, leaving second-guessing to overcome second nature, and the merry band of Batfamily members will be forever challenged and possibly changed by the graphic novel's climax.
Once again, DC Comics has produced evidence that graphic storytelling can be so far advanced than what it has long been considered: folly best left to juveniles. This book explores adult themes in an entirely adult reality, and the consequences of a single act may irrevocably change the world of Gotham, for better or for worse. Smartly, the storytellers let the reader decide, and they don't force feed morality down the throat.
While BRUCE WAYNE: MURDERER isn't a complete tale (it's only a set-up for a series of events to follow), it could be read as a stand alone tale ... the paradigm has shifted in the Batman universe, and Bruce Wayne -- long considered the true 'mask' character in the playboy/crimefighter duality -- is gone, leaving our hero to face the grim reality of his never-ending battle to free Gotham from the clutches of pure evil.

Shiri (Bilingual)
Shiri (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Suk-kyu Han
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 79.94
12 used & new from CDN$ 7.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Freaking Wow!, Aug. 24 2002
This review is from: Shiri (Bilingual) (DVD)
Sure, SHIRI might end up being little more than 'eye candy' on some critics lists, but two best picture awards aren't handed out like food samples at the corner grocery stores, now are they?
A densely layered action flick (a thinking man's DIE HARD), SHIRI plays out from start to finish with blistering action choreography ... brainwashing (a harrowing twist on THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE if there ever was one), gun battles (some of which are poorly photographed yet rival John Woo's HARD-BOILED in their choreographed frenzy), car chases (brief but rivals THE FRENCH CONNECTION in intensity), international espionage (a Cold War spin on the North / South Korea political situation) ... you name it, it's in there somewheres. All of that, and there's even a James Bond-like explosive called CTX that keeps our two government agents on the run against the would-be terrorists.
While there were several elements of the ending that the astute viewer will see coming, the impact of the performances maintain the interest level, doing an excellent job at elevating what could've been a stockpile story into a tiny little work of art.
All in all, SHIRI is a must for any fan of action movies. Thanks to the miracle of DVD, I've watched both the subtitled version and the dubbed, and I was quite pleased with the English language dubbing that was accomplished; it did very little to distract from this hot little gem.

Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles : The Tophet Campaign
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles : The Tophet Campaign
DVD ~ Nicholas Guest
Offered by e-moveo
Price: CDN$ 7.25
7 used & new from CDN$ 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This Show DESERVED A Wider Audience, Aug. 3 2002
A long time ago, I grew to accept the fact that all of my friends say I'm too hard on movies.
Having seen thousands of them in my life, I've grown cynical. Sure, I'm largely a sci-fi enthusiast, but I've had to look outside my comfort zone to find new, guilty pleasures. They're increasingly hard-to-find. So, I've accepted the grim reality that there is very little out there left in the land of entertainment for surprise or delight -- like seeing STAR WARS for the first time -- and one DVD is just a flick filling time until the next one comes available for rental or purchase.
Then, along came the ROUGHNECKS ...
This installment, I've already watched three times in under a week.
Call me a geek.
This outing of the Emmy-nominated ROUGHNECKS: STARSHIP TROOPER CHRONICLES only serves further evidence that this show -- utilizing state-of-the-art CGI technology along with highly-stylized fiction -- deserved a wider following that it will hopefully be treated to on DVD.
THE TOPHET CAMPAIGN is years ahead of other CGI-based adventure shows because its premise is a formula that works: action ... and plenty of it. Our heroes, the Roughnecks -- part of a futuristic Mobile Infantry fighting for mankind's survival against a race of sentient killer bugs --, are actually allowed to endure psychological as well as physical challenges, encouraged to face their own personal demons, and continue to grow in each subsequent arc of the overall story. After all, when's the last time 'Captain Planet' learned he might be wrong?
The story unfolds at a frenetic pace: the bugs have taken Tophet, where a race referred to as the Skinnies turn out to be unanticipated allies waiting to lure humanity into a trap. However, NOTHING is what it seems here, and that's perhaps the greatest attribute to the entire ROUGHNECKS series. Despite some story elements that might have been explored or even lifted from other works, the show continued to push its own bar higher, delivering plot twists almost at the same rate the soldiers deliver bullets.
The climax is an almost blockbuster-movie-caliber turn, with the adventure quotient turned up even higher, as Johnny Rico and Dizzy Flores and the rest of the troopers learn that Tophet holds far more secrets than they could've ever imagined.
One spectacular outing after another, THE TOPHET CAMPAIGN can be enjoyed by fans of the STARSHIP TROOPERS movie, general science fiction, or action/adventure enthusiasts alike. It's one DVD well worth the price.

The Minority Report
The Minority Report
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Majority Resort ... At Profit, Aug. 1 2002
This review is from: The Minority Report (Hardcover)
MINORITY REPORT, the inspiration for the latest Spielberg film, is perhaps one of Philip K. Dick's most accessible pieces of short fiction, and it's given the big blockbuster treatment here that it (arguably) deserves ... hardcover format with a clever sideways printing scheme resembling that of a traditional detective's notepad.
However, despite the popularity (or not) of the film, this item is really intended for Dick's hardcore fans. Those people drawn to it for the film might be disappointed in the significant differences from film to print (isn't that always the case?), or they might just discover one of science fiction's most memorable authors.
Still, MINORITY REPORT always worked best for me b/c it was a short story: Dick's longer works tend to be very cerebral at times, while his shorter tales do possess a stronger feel targeting a mass audience. It's a brisk read that draws only a few parallels with the film (thankfully); instead of posing and focusing on an infinite series of sociological themes, it hits the ground running very quickly and lets the reader make his/her mind up as the tale unfolds about whether or not the moral issue of punishment associated to Precrime is praiseworthy or laughable.
In Dick's world, there is little gray.

Me Myself I
Me Myself I
DVD ~ Rachel Griffiths
Offered by Kay's Movies
Price: CDN$ 16.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 8.94

4.0 out of 5 stars What If ... With Mature Themes?, July 28 2002
This review is from: Me Myself I (DVD)
ME MYSELF I is a wonderfully uplifting and inspiring movie by a bunch of Australian filmmakers -- sort of an adult-themed FREAKY FRIDAY.
Rachel Griffiths stars as Pamela Dickson, a thirtysomething journalist yearning with a passion to connect emotionally with another person. She lives in the past, clinging psychologically to the scenario of "What if I had accepted that marriage proposal from the man of my dreams?" long ago.
Little does she know that SHE DID, but that Pamela Dickson is wondering, "What if I had said no?"
Through a twist of fate, the two Pams meet and magically change places, each learning valuable lessons about why they made the choices that they did ... and why they're infinitely better human beings for having done so.
The film is delivered with an adult wit (some relatively strong sexual themes pervade a significant portion of the film), and the acting by Ms. Griffiths -- as well as all of the principals -- is right on. While the filmmakers could've taken a wrong turn to make this romantic comedy into a tragedy of mid-life angst, they stepped clear of it and, instead, delivered a compact story that deals with one woman's reaction to life's unexpected foibles.
In short, ME MYSELF I is a wonderful story with only a single flaw: alas, it could never happen.

Marie Sisters
Marie Sisters
Offered by TUNESUS
Price: CDN$ 2.32
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars How In The [heck] Did They Do It?, July 9 2002
This review is from: Marie Sisters (Audio CD)
An absolutely awesome debut.
How in the [heck] did this smooth-sounding sister harmony duo manage to seamlessly pen such a song as REAL BAD MOOD ... a toe-tapping, head-nodding, [booty]-shaking rhythm that combines elements of country, bluegrass, gospel, pop rock, and blues? It's one [darn] good listen, if not a new national anthem for America!
OH YEAH = great almost country hip-hoppy reflection on 'love at first sight.'
STRONG FOR YOU = the kind of personal statement song that Phil Vassar has been penning for years. Deserves to be a radio hit.
BRING IT ON BACK = fairly standard country ballad of love and loss, given a wonderful spin with a great refrain.
YOU WERE A MOUNTAIN = the kind of song that Martina McBride or Sara Evans would probably sing an octave higher and belt out like country gospel.
STILL = bluegrass ballad that melds pop and country twang that way Shania used to do b/f she made it big. Arguably, this might be the best track on the album as it showcases the sisters pure talents.
CRAZY TO RUN = an interesting mix of a traditional country sound with the contemporary. Message song.
I WILL HOLD ON = another deserving radio hit, if not for the sisters look for one of the current wave of pop stars to remake it in a year or two and it'll be christened the next big thing. While STILL might be the best overall track on the album, this one runs a very close second.
CIRCLE OF LOVE = Sounds very much like a song from Ireland's The Coors with a country spin. Great refrain that lifts the relatively low-key opening to the tune.
KISS ME GOODBYE = again, another song that's probably destined to be remade by a pop star, which speaks well for their talent. Almost has an Alanis Morrisette sound to it. Good rhythm and a wonderful musical statement on relationships.
IF I FALL IN LOVE TONIGHT = a bit of a retread on a topic already covered so much better on earlier tracks of the album, but a catchy song, nonetheless.
This album is obviously as much a work of the heart as it is the head. The Sisters should have a very bright future. While some of the songs do run the risk of sounding a bit too much like the previous track on the CD or even songs from other of today's top country performers, the gals do an outstanding job of experimenting with some artistic creative stamps of their own.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
DVD ~ Ben Affleck
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 281.39
6 used & new from CDN$ 22.34

4.0 out of 5 stars "A Disc That Will Live In Infamy ...", July 5 2002
This review is from: Pearl Harbor (DVD)
It's hard to imagine anyone chocking more material about the making of a major motion picture onto a series of discs (this has 3 separate commentary tracks for review, and they're all worthy of the time).
It's also hard to imagine how this cut -- the director's version -- was hacked down to what was shown theatrically. Granted, not everything brought back to life was absolutely necessary to advance the story, and there are still some great ... um ... er ... interpretations of what happened throughout the Doolittle Raid. Alec Baldwin, despite a handful of additional screen time, is still unconvincing as the legendary Jimmy Doolittle, but (thankfully) Dan Ackroyd's and Jon Voigt's additional screen time are welcome additions. There's certainly more tension in the build-up toward the attack, and there's a wealth of additional battle scenes (one of them nearly entirely reconstructed to bring out a different focus) that make the discs worth the investment.
While PEARL was dealt a fairly critical lashing for its self-indulgence, Director Michael Bay takes a baby step toward redemption in this Vista Series addition, but what still misses the mark is the love triangle. Like a bad 60's love story, it just didn't compute. Perhaps if the script had provided more substance to Kate Beckingsale's character or a stronger motivation for her falling so easily into Danny (Josh Hartnett) for comfort, the situation might not have seemed so forced, so engineered.
But, despite its flaws, a restored PEARL is a wonderfully crafted World War II epic whose newly envisioned battle sequences (much of the footage reinserted into this cut) compete artistically with those from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in at least the "emotional aftershock department."
... and the extras.
Wow.
Hours and hours and hours to go.

When You Lie Next To Me
When You Lie Next To Me
Offered by Business Surplus Depot
Price: CDN$ 4.99
12 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Coffey Break!, July 3 2002
This review is from: When You Lie Next To Me (Audio CD)
This is one of the most incredible debuts I've heard in my entire life.
Kellie Coffey's voice is as smooth and polished as Celion Dion's, and she knows just when to throw in a country twang for good measure. Whether she's belting out a traditional ballad the strength of WHEN YOU LIE NEXT TO ME or the more subdued OUTSIDE LOOKING IN to the fun rhythms of LOVE'S FUNNY THAT WAY and BLUER SKIES, this is one complete easy-listening musical journey of a true songbird who deserves to rise to the top of the industry. Where other artists might allow some of the lesser tunes to serve as nothing more than filler, Kellie winningly puts her own appealing personal stamp on every tune.
Easily, Kellie can stand on equal ground with the phenomenal likes of Trisha Yearwood as a vocalist, and she can hold her own up against the pop nuances of Faith Hill.

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