Friday, May 30, 2008

Heroes of the East











Heroes of the East

What happens when Chinese and Japanese martial arts clash? The answer is in the classic film Heroes of the East. Just released on DVD courtesy of The Weinstein Company, Celestial Pictures and Genius Products, this film is about a Chinese man (played by Gordon Liu) who marries a Japanese lady, and finds out she's no ordinary housewife. You see, she's a woman who practices martial arts and is extremely proud of her native style. So proud that she boastfully claims her Japanese style is better than the husband's Chinese style! Conflicts arise between the couple, and eventually the wife leaves to go back home to Japan. Back in China, the husband sends her a letter, which her family receives and takes as an insult to them. This causes the family to pack up and head to China to defend their pride. The funny thing is that the letter wasn't intended as an insult to them. So now the Chinese husband is put in a position to duel with seven Japanese ninjas! What follows is some of the best martial arts fighting scenes recorded on film. For any fan of kung fu films, this is definitely a must have.

Special Features on the DVD include:

- Feature Commentary With Hong Kong Cinema Expert Bey Logan
- Spotlight On A Legend: A Tribute To Celebrated Martial Arts Icon, Lau Kar-Lueng
- Hero of Shaolin: An Exclusive Interview With Leading Man Gordon Liu
- Shaolin Vs. Ninja: An Exploration Of The Legendary Martial Arts Weapons Forms Of China And Japan

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Diary Of The Dead (DVD)











Diary Of The Dead

The "dead series" continues...

Following up on my last review of Night Of The Living Dead, I want to cover George Romero's latest addition to the "dead series", Diary Of The Dead. While out making a movie, a group of student filmmakers suddenly find themselves running for their lives after they cross paths with killer zombies. Just like the other "dead" films, the zombies multiply at an unbelievable rate, and the only way to kill them is by shooting them in the head. What makes this zombie film unique is that the events are recorded on video by the characters, so people will know what really happened. Since Diary Of The Dead is presented in first person style, it brings you in to make you feel like you are in the story. Romero uses this style of filmmaking to try and creep you out in a different way, since the only view you have is what the characters see. There appears to be some subtle themes in the film that deal with mankind's nature. After all hell breaks loose, the people still alive show their nasty side. From the way the zombies keep wiping out the humans, the future doesn't look too bright for humans. As they fight to stay alive, and after seeing how people are to each other in a crisis, one of the characters at the end of the film asks, "Are we worth saving?" That's an interesting question indeed.


Diary Of The Dead is out now on DVD.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Night Of The Living Dead 40th Anniversary Edition












Night Of The Living Dead 40th Anniversary Edition

The classic horror film Night Of The Living Dead was just brought back to life with a 40th Anniversary DVD released by Dimension Extreme. The flesh eating zombies that creeped people out 40 years ago are back and remastered on this special edition. After being bombarded with films like the Japanese horror and Saw series, you become numb to the effect that an older horror movie can give. If you saw the ones I mentioned, you pretty much have seen it all. But watching Night Of The Living Dead again, I realized that this horror film was way ahead of it's time. I assume it was probably scary as hell back in 1968 when it was released. And you know what? It still gave me a few chills while watching it again. The idea that some radiation was causing dead bodies to come back to life and eat humans is disturbing. And disturbing is the exact feeling this film gives as you watch the zombies trying to get the people trapped inside a home. With a chilling story and some really haunting sound effects, Night Of The Living Dead is still one of the most important horror films ever made.


Special features included on the DVD are:

- Audio Commentary by Writer/Director George A. Romero, Producer/Actor Karl Hardman,
Actress Marilyn Eastman and Writer John A. Russo
- Audio Commentary by Producer Russel W. Streiner, Production Manager Vince Survinski,

Judith O’Dea, Actor Bill Hinzman, Actress Kyra Schon and Actor Keith Wayne
- One For The Fire: The Legacy of Night Of The Living Dead
- Duane Jones” Final Interview
- Speak To The Dead
- Night Of The Living Dead Trailer
- Still Gallery

- Original Script DVD-ROM

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

R.E.M. - Accelerate











R.E.M.
Accelerate

Ok, so not ALL bands making a comeback album are in it just because it's become trendy. I'm talking about the trend where every band that has been asleep the last 10 to 20 years is getting back together for a reunion. And yes, New Kids On The Block is one of them (No, I'm not joking). So everyone is coming out of retirement and headlining new tours and the merchandise is being pushed at high speed. The cynical side of me almost held me back from getting the new R.E.M album. After listening to a copy, I'm happy to say that Accelerate is one that'll wake up any dormant R.E.M. fan out there. On here, the veteran rockers sharpen their swords and put out a more aggressive sound than before. This is a much different sound than previous hits like Stand, Shiny Happy People, and Losing My Religion. Lead singer Michael Stipe's contributing vocals sound a little raspier here, which is understandable after years of singing. It's still his trademark voice though. As the title suggests, their style "accelerates" as they show that they are not to be counted out of the scene just yet. This album definitely goes down as one of the year's best so far.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oban Star Racers Volumes 1 and 2













Oban Star Racers Volumes 1 and 2

After watching the first couple episodes of the French/Japanese animated show Oban Star Racers, I was hooked. I got restless waiting to see how the story would end. Oban Star Racers Volumes 1 and 2, which was recently released on DVD, is an amazing series that combines sci-fi, fantasy, and drama with Japanese style animation. In Oban, which has as many twists and turns in the plot as there are high-speed races, we watch a team of humans who carry the responsibility of saving the Earth. And this team is led by a 15-year-old racer known as Molly! To save the planet, they must participate in a race where the winner gets any wish they want. The problem is that one of the race's contestants, known as the Crog Imperium, wants to annihilate the planet Earth. So obviously you can see what's at stake here. Oban Star Racers has one of the best stories I've seen in an animated series. It covers loyalty, family issues, courage, and taking risks while chasing your dreams. Also worth mentioning is that it has some really awesome high-speed races. This 2-disc set is definitely worth checking out. It'll keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow the saga's beginning all the way to the dramatic final race.

For more info, click here and here...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Frank Sinatra’s Nothing But The Best










Nothing But The Best

When it comes to musical tastes, mine fly all over the place. I can get into just about any style, except for country. Having said that, there are certain figures I can't ignore when it comes to recognizing good music. One of those would have to be Frank Sinatra. If you look all the great music during the 20th century, you can't ignore the impact Frank Sinatra had on it. Also known as "Ol' Blue Eyes", this cultural icon entertained people for six decades. When compilation albums are put together for artists like him, it's hard to pin down exactly what songs to include, since there are so many good ones to choose. However, I think they nailed it down on the latest compilation CD Nothing But The Best. This album literally contains "the best" when it comes to Sinatra. From the beginning of the album to the last track, you get 22 of Ol' Blue Eyes finest songs. If you are looking to get familiar with Sinatra, I would definitely start with this ultimate collection.

Track Listing for the album:

1. Come Fly With Me
2. The Best Is Yet To Come
3. The Way You Look Tonight
4. Luck Be A Lady
5. Bewitched
6. The Good Life
7. The Girl From Ipanema
8. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)
9. Summer Wind
10. Strangers In The Night
11. Call Me Irresponsible
12. Somethin' Stupid
13. My Kind of Town
14. It Was A Very Good Year
15. That's Life
16. Moonlight Serenade
17. Nothing But The Best
18. Drinking Again
19. All My Tomorrows
20. My Way
21. Theme From New York, New York
22. Body And Soul



For more info, click here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Speed Racer Mach Go Go Go











Speed Racer Mach Go Go Go

Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer...


Well Speed Racer finally came. This past month he arrived in theaters everywhere. Regardless of the film's success, the interest in the Speed Racer franchise has skyrocketed. Walk into any toy store and see tons of Speed Racer merchandise. Personally, I think even though some of the toys are cool, a lot of it is junk. There is one thing though that's been released that is worth getting. Speed Racer Mach Go Go Go, a 2-book collection of the original comics, is certainly not junk. Digital Manga Publishing (DMP) recently put out this hardcover set, with Speed on the cover of book 1, and Racer X on book 2. This set contains all the action you'd expect from creator Tatsuo Yoshida's popular series. Most of the pages are in black and white in each hardcover book, giving it a more authentic feel. There are plenty of stories here to get familiar with Speed and other characters like Trixie, Pops, and Racer X. And if you saw the movie, what better way to follow it up than by reading this complete collection in book form. And not only is it an awesome collection of stories, but the colorful art on the book covers make for a nice display in any home. I have mine sitting in my living room and my eyes are drawn to it whenever I walk by.

For more info, click here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Golden Compass (DVD)











The Golden Compass

I must say, nothing promotes a film as much as controversy. Want the word to get out about a movie (or anything else for that matter)? Make sure there's some controversy surrounding it. With the case of The Golden Compass, the controversy was that it promoted atheism. It was this type of "concern" from people that actually helped promote the film. Well I saw it, and I am not an atheist. I was impressed with what turned out to be a great fantasy movie. If people could get past their bias and just watch the movie for what it is, they would see a very imaginative world where talking animals coexist with humans. Sure, the writer claims to be an atheist and an agnostic. And if you look hard enough, you could see how that view fits into the story. But if you let that prevent you from watching the film, you are missing out. I haven't read the books, but what I saw in The Golden Compass was an adventurous story that follows a young girl named Lyra, and a tough (but good) polar bear named Iorek. Lyra proves to be a symbol of childlike bravery, and Iorek symbolizes someone who has "mastered his fear". I appreciated that about the character Iorek, since everyone has some kind of fear. But like in Iorek's case, it can be mastered if we learn how to. To see an example of power and corruption in an organization, look no further than the Magisterium. The Magisterium is an organization that is trying to dominate the world. Sure, the Magisterium resembles the Catholic church in the film, especially with the outfits. But you can also see how the Magesterium represents any oppressive regime in the world. There are some great battle sequences in the film, including a deathly fight between Iorek and the king of the bears. From the icy landscape, to the polar bears and flying witches, the visual effects were amazing. They apparently were good enough to win an Academy Award. Overall, this is a film for anyone who can appreciate a good fantasy.


The Golden Compass is out now on DVD.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bushspeak Volume 2: Fore More Years












So our economy's gone to hell and we're in a war that seems to never end. How much worse can it get? Let's face it, Dubya's presidential term is one that many Americans can't wait to end. At least he's leaving us with some comedic material from his speeches! The man had a way to get more people thinking, "What the hell did he just say?" than any other president in history ever did. Thanks to Shout! Factory, we have Bushspeak Volume 2: Fore More Years. This CD contains some of Dubya's best quotes such as:

"I'm the decider, and I decide what is best."

"I understand how tough it is, sir- I talk to the families who die."

"Interestingly enough, right after September 11, one of the first places I went was to a mosque... I went back to the same center 50 years later."


And there are many more where that came from on the hilarious CD Bushspeak Volume 2: Fore More Years.


For more info, click here.

He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season One - Volume 1












"I have the power!"

Following up on my last review, I want to cover He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season One - Volume 1. Now this is the original series. I can't begin to say how much of an impact this show had on me as a kid. I had all the toys, including the Castle of Greyskull play set. My friends and I would find re-enact the scenes from the show. It was an amazing time. Now, to be able to see the first season captured on DVD is such a great experience. This is a perfect collection for anyone who grew up on the series, as you get to relive the first 33 episodes on this 5 disc set. From the classic battles between He-Man and Skeletor, to the moral lessons included after every episode, this contains all the essentials to show why this cartoon was so big in the 80's. And over 20 years later, it still remains one of the best animated series ever.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe - Volume 1











He-Man got an upgrade.

The insanely popular cartoon series in the 80's got a makeover. With some minor changes to the story (but not too much that would have betrayed the original) He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe returned, introducing them to a new generation. He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe - Volume 1 is the first DVD released containing the beginning episodes of this modern series. All the familiar characters like He-Man, Skeletor, and Man-At-Arms are here from the original. Some look just as they did in the 80's, and some had slight changes done to their appearance. However, this version did stay true to the spirit of the original show. This DVD set takes you to the beginning of the saga, all the way when Adam found out he was destined to become He-Man. This is something I always wished the older show did more of. There were some unanswered questions I had about how he actually got his magic sword. For all I knew, he said in the intro of the old show that he just "held up is magical sword". Anyway, the animation here is obviously much more advanced than the older. So you can expect the action to be a lot more intense as the Masters Of The Universe battle against Skeletor's evil army. This DVD set woke up the inner He-Man fan that's been asleep since I was a kid. Overall, this is an awesome collection of an animated series that keeps the Masters Of The Universe legacy running strong.

Batman Gotham Knight (Interview with Kevin Conroy)








Kevin Conroy Discusses Voicing Title Character In DC Universe Animated Original Film "Batman Gotham Knight"

Kevin Conroy had studied for and starred on the stage, advanced his career through soap operas, and was featured in television series like “Dynasty” and “Tour of Duty.” He had no idea that stepping into a sound booth in 1991 to audition for his first cartoon voiceover role would forever cement his place in the annals of animation and help to extend the Batman legacy to untold legions of fans.

Conroy quickly became the Batman voice by which all others are judged – and rarely assessed as an equal. He has cast a loud shadow in voicing the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne for 17 years, beginning with “Batman: The Animated Series” and continuing through 16 films, video games and animated series (covering more than 220 episodes). He reprises the role in triumphant fashion in “Batman Gotham Knight,” the highly-anticipated third film in the ongoing series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 movies.

"Batman Gotham Knight" will arrive July 8, 2008 on DVD and Blu-Ray disc, and will also be available that day On Demand via digital cable and for download through broadband sites. The film is produced as a collaboration between DC Comics, Warner Premiere, Warner Home Video and Warner Bros. Animation. The film will receive its world premiere at Wizard World Chicago in late June.

From his home in New York City, Conroy spoke at length about the film, his ongoing relationship with the character, and the surprising manner in which he first approached and procured the role of Batman.



Question:
What are your impressions of the film?

Kevin Conroy:
It’s a really rich experience. The artwork in this film is so beautiful, so amazing. I love the adult-themed animated shows like “The Simpsons” and “South Park” and “King of the Hill.” I love the appeal of their writing, the irony, the sense of humor. Those are great animated productions. But you forget just how rich animation artwork can be until you see a film like this. There’s just no comparison. I’ve never seen anything like this in terms of diverse and rich animation in the industry – it’s like getting six movies in one.

The story is very interesting, especially the way it weaves in and out of Bruce Wayne’s history – like the flashback to him training in India, learning to endure pain. It’s very well conceived story and I think it enhances a lot of the Batman mythology.

I don’t think there’s any question the fans will love it, because it’s such a deep animation experience, and it gives such great background into a character they already love. It’s a very positive piece.

Question:
After three years away from the character, what were the challenges of donning the cape once again?

Kevin Conroy:
Getting back into the Batman voice was not hard – after so many years, it’s so familiar to me now that it’s like putting on an old coat. As you live with a character over the years, you fill out the skin. You don’t even realize you’re doing it. Sometimes they ask during a recording session, “What sound would Batman make here?” or “What would he say here” and they trust me to do that. They know I’ve been living with him for so long, I know what he’d say, and how he’d react.

Question:
Batman Gotham Knight has essentially 12 different looks at your characters – nine of Batman and three of Bruce Wayne, varying in design and age range. Were there any challenges to maintaining the consistency of your performance despite voicing to so many different image variations?

Kevin Conroy:
In the past, we’ve always treated the shows like a radio play – we recorded the lines and then the animation took place. This time, the artwork came first, and that made the process interesting. Sometimes the artists put extra mouth flaps in, or they made the cadence different from the way I’d usually deliver a line. So we had to work within those parameters and try to time the acting to fill the space.

Interestingly, they originally they were going to cast another actor to do the younger Bruce Wayne, and Andrea (Romano) convinced them to let me take a stab at it. I had done the younger voice in a number of the “Batman: The Animated Series” flashbacks, so Andrea knew that I could do it. And once I got into the studio and gave them a sample, they were convinced. The challenge is making the distinctions – you have to make concessions for youth and give the character the sound of a younger man, while still believably being the same guy.

Question:
At its core, this film represents several different perspectives of Batman, providing many different layers to the character. Can you discuss that range of emotions the film explores, and to what depths you reach to capture those emotions?

Kevin Conroy:
It’s that delicate balance you get in voices. As an actor, it’s still the same job – it’s acting – except that you only have your voice, and you have to be a little more precise in finding the balance. You have to keep it very minimal and you don’t want to be too cartoony, but at the same time you only have your voice to tell the story – so you have to juice it up a bit. Sometimes the hardest acting is in the non-dialogue aspects of the performance. As an example, there was one long scream when Batman is falling down a series of ladders into a pit. They recorded that over and over and over again, trying to figure out how to do it just right, and not overdue it. I had to give them lots of variations and I’m sure they picked the best one later. Overall, it was a little challenging with the different artistic styles and the different stories, but it was still Batman.

Question:
The legions of Batman animation fans have hailed you as the definitive voice of the character. How did you originally settle on that particular voice?


Kevin Conroy:
To tell the truth, after reading the original script, I really went to audition for the character voices – like Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Like most actors, I really love to be challenged, and I thought they’d be more interesting and really push me. And then Bruce (Timm) and Andrea (Romano) said they wanted to hear me do Batman. The only exposure I’d had was the campy Adam West live-action series, and they said that wasn’t what they wanted. So I put myself into a very dark place in my voice, and my voice got deeper and darker and huskier, and it came out very mysterious. I really just took a stab at what I thought the voice would be, and then I saw Bruce and Andrea and Paul (Dini) running around the booth, so I knew I either was very good or very bad. That’s how it started -- just me in a sound booth, them on the other side of the glass describing the character, and then the voice just came out of my imagination. And it worked. So initially I was much more interested in doing the character voices, but luckily they talked me into Batman.

Question:
Do you require a certain mindset to approach the voice of Batman?

Kevin Conroy:
There’s an emotional place I go to – Bruce (Timm) says he see it in me in the booth. It’s much more a psychology than just producing the sound. Batman is very complex. The Bruce Wayne voice is the real put-on. This is a guy who saw his parents murdered in front of him, and nobody would be normal and together after that. He feels like a freak inside. So to do the voice, you have to take on all that drama.

That’s why everyone relates to Batman – because everyone feels like a freak inside. Everyone has ghosts that they don’t want to show anyone else. All of us feel like we have that inside us. For me, that’s one of the most interesting aspects of the character – that a super hero would ultimately be based on that inner-freak that we all feel that we have.

Question:
In your mind, what’s special about playing Batman?


Kevin Conroy:
I think what I didn’t anticipate about voicing Batman was the fact that I was playing an icon – I just didn’t take into account how much Batman meant to so many people. Coming from a very conservative background, and not having extensive exposure to comic books and the character, it just never occurred to me. So in the beginning, I only thought of it as an acting job.

Question:
And now … you’re an icon in the Batman universe?


Kevin Conroy:
I’m always flattered that people actually know who the voices are. It seems to me such an anonymous job. But periodically, somebody recognizes me – it happened in a furniture store recently. To me, that’s truly amazing – first that someone knows who does the voice, and it’s even more amazing that someone would know the face of the voice. I think a lot of the reason that I’m so linked to Batman is because I’ve been doing it for so long. Before “Batman: The Animated Series,” there really hadn’t been a voice aside from Adam West. People knew Batman from the campy live action series, and the fans knew the Dark Knight comic books, but there hadn’t been a voice associated with the character, and certainly not a dramatic voice. I think I just lucked out because I was the one who started with it, and people grew up with that voice.


Trademark information for the images:

"Batman Gotham Knight" (c) Warner Bros. Ent Inc.

"Batman" and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and

(c) DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mo' Urban Dictionary: Ridonkulous Street Slang Defined











Take a peek at these terms and see if you're familiar with any:
Pregret
Foreploy
Hobosexual
Bluetool


If these words look foreign to you, then you need to get a copy of Mo' Urban Dictionary: Ridonkulous Street Slang Defined, compiled by Urban Dictionary creator Aaron Peckham. In it, you'll find that Pregret means "regretting something you're about to do anyway". Or you'll learn that a Hobosexual is "the opposite of a metrosexual; one who cares little for their own appearance". That's just a sample of the many ways you can expand your vocabulary from reading this book! Laugh your ass off while getting schooled on all the new terms out there. If you're familiar with urbandictionary.com, then you already know what material to expect here. If not, you'll be in for a surprise with this 231 page collection of some smoking hot slang. Holla!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Untraceable (DVD)












Untraceable

When the terms "cat and mouse chase" and "serial killer" are used in the same sentence to describe a film, it's too easy to compare it to Silence of the Lambs. With the film Untraceable, I actually I found it closer to Saw than Silence of the Lambs. You've heard the premise before. Someone gets traumatized by a life situation, and seeks to teach some kind of "lesson" through murdering people. In this case, the murders are broadcasted live on a website where the more hits the site gets, the faster the victims die. And the "lesson" he's trying to teach? It's mostly about society's fascination with seeing people exploited for the sake of entertainment. To stop this killer, a tech savvy FBI team led by Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) step in to find the killer. The problem is that he's always one step ahead of them, since his website is "untraceable". When one of the killings gets personal to Jennifer, she needs to think really fast since her life is now at stake. This film reminds us that while the Internet can be used for doing wonderful things, there also is a dark side to that. Some sick shit can be done in the hands of the wrong person. Although the story is not the most original I've seen, I thought it was a decent thriller. Diane Lane pulled through in the main role playing an FBI agent who's also a single mom. And it's her character's fate that's in jeopardy at the climatic ending, when she winds up in the hands of the killer. The only question is how will she make it out alive, since the killer is untraceable?


Untraceable comes out on DVD May 13th.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Jars Of Clay - Greatest Hits












Jars Of Clay - Greatest Hits

I'm still confused why there was a need to release 2 greatest hits albums in less than a year. If you already own the 2-disc set The Essential Jars of Clay, then you have all the songs here, with the exception of Show You Love and Love Is The Protest. One of my complaints with the Essential CD is that it left off Show You Love. One benefit of this greatest hits release is that it contains this song. Also included here is a bonus track called Love Is The Protest. Nothing against their other hits here, but this was the highlight of the album for me. This song continues where their last album Good Monsters left off. It's a reminder that the old Jars Of Clay is gone, and has been replaced with a band that rocks out a lot more (and shows their love for 80's music too).


Here's the track list for Greatest Hits:

Flood
Love Song For A Savior
Like A Child
Worlds Apart
Crazy Times
Frail
Unforgetful You
I Need You
Show You Love
Amazing Grace
God Will Lift Up Your Head
Dead Man (Carry Me)
Work
Love Is The Protest

The Great Debaters












If you're in the mood to see an underdog film with some great acting, check out The Great Debaters. Based on a true story, this inspirational film includes A-list actors such as Denzel Washington (proving again why he's one of Hollywood's best) and Forest Whitaker. Professor Melvin Tolson (played by Denzel) is the coach of a debate team for a small African American college during the 1930's. Tolson teaches his team the power of words, and challenges them to use their skills to debate bigger universities. Along the way, they deal with extreme racism along with their own personal conflicts. In regards to the racism issue, there is one scene that got me really pissed off. It was very hard to watch. But seeing the team work to overcome the odds and travel to Harvard for a final debate made up for the horrible situations they had to deal with. Expect to be cheering for them by the ending of the film!

The Great Debaters comes out on DVD May 13th. The special features include a commentary by Denzel Washington and a documentary with the original debaters, giving you more insight into the story.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Eisley - Live at Highline Ballroom NYC (4/23/08)



The last time I saw them live, they opened up for Mute Math, which was a phenomenal show. I though then that Eisley was much more than an opening act. Last week, Eisley came back to NYC to play at the Highline Ballroom. My beliefs were confirmed that they deserved their own tour.

From the moment they stepped on stage, you could feel the energy rise as the crowd excitedly welcomed them through much cheering. The band went through most of the songs on the album Combinations, and they couldn't have sounded any better. With the Dupree sisters' haunting vocals soaring on each track, they played a set that made sure the fans got their moneys worth. Not to take away from their last performance, but I thought they sounded better this time around. Proof that this band is moving full steam ahead, rather than floating in musical oblivion.










One other observation at the show. As much as the band gave a stellar performance, I thought the crowd could have moved around a bit more. I mean, they showed their support by applauding and singing along. But damn, we could have moved a bit more people!!! Some jumping at least?? Other than that, it was a memorable performance by this sibling band from Texas.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I'm Not There (DVD)












I was never a fan of Bob Dylan's music. I grew up during the 80's and 90's, so I was way past his era. The cynical side of me thought that the people around me who claimed to be Dylan fans, were just doing it because it seemed trendy. Being open to different forms of creativity, I gave his music a try. I still couldn't get into it even after listening. Mind you, I did think that he was great at poetic expressions, which carried over into him becoming a huge cultural icon. And I respected the way he inspired people through creativity, even if I didn't like his music. Well, my respect for his work went up a bit after seeing a little film called I'm Not There. This isn't any ordinary film though. It's about Bob Dylan, only he's played by 6 different people! This cast of six actors each playing Dylan includes Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger (R.I.P.), Ben Whishaw, and Marcus Carl Franklin. I just watched the DVD this weekend and I thought the movie was fascinating. The idea to have multiple actors each playing a different side of one character was genius. And of course, the acting was awesome. The standout performance though (if you haven't already heard) is Cate Blanchett's. I remember rolling my eyes when people were raving about it. It wasn't until I saw the DVD the other night that I understood all the attention she got for this role. You almost think you're watching Dylan himself! This surprisingly turned out to be one of the most unique films I've seen, about a very complex artist.

I'm Not There comes out on DVD May 6th.

Friday, May 02, 2008

In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale












In the film In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, I couldn't wait for Ray Liotta's loathsome character Gallian to die a slow death. Yeah, he's that bad. In fact, after about the first 20 minutes, you want to jump through the screen and seek vengeance yourself for what he does. But, that's why the hero known as Farmer (played by Jason Statham) is there. This is one farmer you don't want to mess with. He can take on legions of men by himself using martial arts along with his weapon skills. And you get to see him in action after Gallian commits a horrible act against Farmer's family. I would hate to ruin it for anyone who hasn't watched the film, so I will refrain from going into detail as to what Gallian does. But what I will say is that Farmer seeks justice with a vengeance. I was a little uncomfortable the first half of the film watching the cast that includes Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ray Liotta, and Burt Reynolds in a fantasy/adventure film like this. But, by the time the story kicked into gear, the sometimes uncomfortable acting was outweighed by the Lord Of The Rings style action. And in this underdog story, you get taken on a journey to see an ordinary farmer transform into an unlikely hero, as he leads an uprising against a very evil army.

In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is out now on DVD.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

David Attenborough: Wildlife Specials












David Attenborough: Wildlife Specials
"Out now on DVD"

I don't know about you, but living in the NYC area, I tend to forget about the wildlife on our planet. Usually, the only time you'll see wildlife here is if you go barhopping on a Saturday night. But that's beside the point. I recently checked out one of BBC Video's latest releases, David Attenborough: Wildlife Specials. I was blown away by this amazing collection of episodes that studied wildlife such as Polar Bears, Crocodiles, Leopards, Eagle, Whales, and Wolves. I was surprised at how ignorant I was about these complex creatures. With David Attenborough narrating each episode along with some stunning camera work, you are taken right into the world of these animals. You get to follow them as they hunt for prey in some of the most remote areas. I particularly enjoyed the special about the leopard, who hunts for food in complete darkness. With the leopard being taped by infrared technology, you get to see this animal on the move at night. And along with the leopard, each animal here shows how amazing they really are. By far, this is one of the best wildlife specials I have ever seen. Even if you're not into animals, I am sure you will be amazed at this brilliant DVD set.