Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Child’s Play: Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition DVD












Before the franchise turned into shit, there was the original Child’s Play. That evil son-of-a-bitch toy known as Chucky scared everyone back in 1988. Now, in 2008 comes the 20th anniversary of the film and along with it Paramount has released a special Anniversary DVD. So what’s the big deal about this release? Well, like with any re-release of a classic film, you are treated to a hefty amount of interviews, commentaries, etc. The interviews with the creators of the film shed new light on where they got the idea to make a film about a killer doll. If you like horror films, then there’s no explanation needed as to why this is a classic. Let’s face it, dolls are creepy. Stare at one of them in a dark room for a while and I bet you’ll get the chills. Child’s Play took that creepiness about dolls and turned it into a full length horror film. At times the film comes off as silly, but it does have those chilling moments. If you’re in the mood for a good horror film, Child’s Play: Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition should do the trick. Just make sure you clear the room of toys before you watch!

Special Features on the DVD also include:

- Audio Commentary with Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and "Chucky" designer Kevin Yagher

- Audio Commentary with Producer David Kirschner and Screenwriter Don Mancini

- Select Scene Chucky Commentary

Friday, September 26, 2008

Iron Man (DVD)












Iron Man

Possibly the most important film in Robert Downey Jr.'s career, and one of the best superhero movies made, Iron Man is about to come out on DVD. Next to The Dark Knight, I’d have to say this is the most anticipated DVD release of the year. What else can you say about this film that hasn’t already been said? The acting was great all around (although Terrence Howard seemed a little uncomfortable) and the story reached deep into the human soul. How could you not get pumped up seeing Tony Stark escape death’s hand and use his second chance to fight evil as Iron Man? Robert Downey Jr. totally owned the role of Tony Stark. His journey from arrogant playboy to a superhero paralleled Downey’s own struggle with getting sober. Combine all those factors with the explosive action sequences make it an all around AWESOME film. I haven’t been this impressed with a superhero film in a while. The DVD is being released on September 30th and I imagine the sales will be high. As a heads up, if you get the 2-Disc Special Collector's Edition, it’s loaded with hours of extra features. Some of which include lots of pre-production behind-the-scenes features that show the tremendous work put in this film to make it stay true to the comic. Be on the look out for Iron Man next week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Literally, The Best Language Book Ever and Mo' Urban Dictionary: Fularious Street Slang Defined

Summer's been here and done that, and all in a blink. Where were you? Me? Well, I was mostly trying to catch up with all the haze and craze that is summer—this sounds so familiar, I'm so sure I've been here grumbling like this before, and in July too, when I first reported that The Half-blood Prince was soon to come out of his closet in November. Then, Warner Brothers happened, if you know what I mean, who suddenly prohibited the prince from emerging from his cave, or closet, until next July, supposedly to prevent him from clashing with his rival's upcoming revelation on Broadway, which surely smells like a marketing ploy, which by the way I haven't come to terms with yet, so I'll talk about it more later; still, Umbridge must be behind all this and secretly runs Warner Bros with the other bigwigs like Chaney—when a chance to do book reviews for Society's Elite came up. It's a really lucky thing because I've always been fascinated by the ever-intriguing subjects of philosophy and language, and some of the writings that relate to these topics I still enjoy are Moliere's The Misanthrope, Thomas Cathcart's and Daniel Klein's Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar, and George Carlin's Napalm and Silly Putty. That I get to review two books on language, each with a very distinct approach in presenting what we use, at best, to express ourselves and communicate with one another, was indeed lucky. The books' vastly different perspectives on the current status of our language are both astonishing and amusing.


Got an opinion or two, or a peeve or three? Well, Paul Yeager is certainly not without his grumbles, as expressed by his book's title.
Literally, The Best Language Book Ever, Annoying Words and Abused Phrases You Should Never Use Again spells out society's blatant misuse of the English language—from grammatical blunders to redundant repetitions, to arbitrary lingoes and wordiness, to trite and dated phrases, as well as clumsy conversions of nouns into verbs, called "Verbification", of which I'm absolutely guilty of, since I doggedly google, instead of properly research just about everything on the internet. And you, meteorologists, aren't exempt either; you're condemned of prepositional glut, as in "showers are moving on over into a region". (Refer to pg. 10 for your vernacular crime). It's a shameful thing. We're just not a very articulate society. Eloquence simply evades us. I sympathize with Mr. Yeager's frustration about the abysmal deterioration of our language, a national affair so grim that one might just prefer to stay home and have tea alone than to suffer a dismal and bland conversation outside. Blame it on the administration at large, all the workplaces and schools included. Blame it on Bush too, as with everything else and as he single-handedly runs the nation. These officials should know better by teaching us the precise use of nouns, like "mentor", "leverage", "task", "transition", "partner", and "retail" which are strictly nouns, just like a "parent", and must never be used as verbs; therefore, to parent a child or acquire parenting skills is clearly unacceptable. (Refer to Verbification, Ch.3) However, while Mr. Yeager doesn't claim being "some great language dictator" and actually "[doubts] that you'll agree with [the book's entries]", he just doesn't allow inarticulacy in his house either, according to his Introduction on page XIII. There goes our chance for ever being invited to tea, or coffee, for my googling and a friend's gifting. Then again, the gathering for a satisfying conversation at his place might be awfully small, since most of us, if not all, are oftentimes guilty of flawed speech. In fact, Mr. Yeager's slip-up is quite obvious on page VIII, with his use of the phrase "my personal favorite" instead of the more succinct my favorite, or a personal favorite, or even a favorite of mine, since my, personal, or mine, per se, denotes ownership. Nevertheless, I appreciate having read his book. While a bit pedantic in some parts, it ardently reminds us to try our best to avoid inept language so that "we can better choose how we present ourselves" and "participate in, rather than glide through, our daily conversations". In other words, we need to stop being flippant about our English and start taking it seriously. In short, speak clear English already, people! It can get tricky though, especially when our grammar is highly dependent on the meanings of the words we use. Let's not forget that the world evolves. And so do we and our words. And since our perceptions and experiences dictate what we say, new words are created, existing words converted, and definitions adjusted. These modifications taking place inevitably affect our syntax, our expressions, and thus, our language. Change is inescapable. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here, where we can talk together and have a dialogue or a discourse, a speech, a discussion, or even a conversation; those words essentially mean the same, by the way. Who invented them, these synonyms? What about nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs? And what of articles, prepositions, and interjections? And gerunds? These are verbs converted to nouns by adding the suffix, ing. Does the principle ring familiar? It's verbification, only inverted, isn't it? But are gerunds more acceptable, as in thinking, than a verbification like parenting, because it's all right to convert the verb, think, into a noun, but isn't okay to turn the noun, parent, into a verb, merely out of convention? Who started this tradition? Who established what we've all now come to accept? Who uttered the first word? Was it the Anglos, the Saxons, or the Cro-Magnons? And what was it? Was it an emphatic, "Ah"? Ah, history certainly proves how far we've come since the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, to the Asians who can imitate most things. Well, maybe language isn't that easy, specifically English, much of which is borrowed, or to put it more gently, derived from other languages; hence, its inconsistent principles, such as the rules on pronunciation—i.e. the present tense, read, the past tense, read, and the color red; basically, the past tense, read cannot be read, or pronounced, like red. Still, society will surely continue to party until something else takes its place, like the more polished expression of to partake in revelry or "mild-mannered frivolity", as preferred by Professor McGonagall. Language is sentient, lest we forget. And lingoes will endure, as our communication changes with time. We may as well keep an open mind that we learn to appreciate this sort of evolution, or not. But keep an open mind anyway. Plus, it could be fun, like a musician's ad lib act. I call it play-speak, as in googling and gifting, though I choose giving a present rather than gifting or even presenting a gift. Yet, I commend Mr. Yeager for saying what he means, with neither a squirm nor a skirting the issue, as he strongly suggests, to all of you who don't speak his language, that you can learn to and should speak smartly; only, the choice is yours. And to those who talk his talk, more brevity and clarity to you. Written boldly, this is a sure read for the earnest student or any aficionado of the English language. This book left me both tickled and stunned with its sharp sarcasms and puns. And if this review is hogwash, drivel, nonsense, or claptrap, or rubbish, garbage, gabble, or twaddle, or hooey, humbug, gibberish, or bunkum, or even hokum and baloney, and gobbledygook, or whatever, for its length and/or content, the point is clear. It doesn't matter much who formed these combinations of sounds or syllables, called words, and who determines what's acceptable or not, unless you're doing a school project or engage with something of a very fussy nature, as long as we allow each other to express ourselves freely. We zip through life—with one hand on a cell phone, not a beeper or a payphone, and the other clutching a latte (thanks to Ms. Alanis Morissette's Hand In My Pocket for the concept)—and inadvertently affect or freak each other out, as it is. And about "freaking" (pg. 52), too much of it can and do get anal and unhealthy for us, like anything else; though I can't deny that it jumps out of my mouth every now and then. And, "Who'd've thunk it?" (pg. 58) is absolutely hilarious. Finally, "it goes without saying"...this concludes this review. Who'd've thunk that I'd "literally" finish it…


Now, switch your attention to Aaron Peckham's Mo' Urban Dictionary: Fularious Street Slang Defined. What else can I say, when the title clearly speaks for itself. Written to give people "a chance to explain how they use and change existing language to express their views of the world around them", this book is funny and hilarious highly enhanced. It's fluent urban speak, with its rich collection of words and a unique amalgam of expressions, submitted by the culturally receptive, a modern society who's an absolute antithesis to what could be an otherwise stringently erudite and austere culture. From the abc'ssuch as "abso-frickinlutely", which is "a reinforced expression of absolutely"; "abacadaba", to zip through a fill-in-the-bubble-and-get-it-over-and-done-with-fast-because-it's-just-so-ridiculously-hard-that-even-trying-to-score-high-is-made-impossible-and-pointless-multiple-choice test; and "air-biscuit", fart, plain and simple, as in, How dare you give me air biscuit I clearly didn't ask for?; "backne", simply back acne, of course; "bollocks", which could mean anything from rubbish, lies, great, or the best possible, to an exclamation made when one bungles, or even testicles; and "cankles", which are tubular legs where the calves and the ankles are indistinguishable from each other—to the xyz's of life, as in, literally, "xyz", short for "examine your zipper", or to remind someone to zip up the fly in the briefest and most discreet way—in addition to Peckham's droll examples, the Mo' Urban Dictionary definitely preserves and represents the language of today's subcultures and of everyone else in between and outside—[from the rebellious teens…tweens and thirtysomethings…to the 'rents, teachers…and even avid students of the English Language all over the world]. As Aaron Peckham aptly put, "Everyone deserves the opportunity to understand and be understood." Now, "chillax" and learn the lingo in this totally "fularious" book. Then, pick up its "ridonkulous" sequel, The Ridonkulous Street Slang Defined, lest you forget that language is fast paced and get left behind.

Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King (DVD)












Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King

Wizards, fairies, witches, goblins, the Headless Horseman, and a talking Jack O’Lantern. What do they all have in common? They are part of an all-star cast of ghouls in the new animated film called Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King . In one of the bravest roles I’ve ever seen them in, Scooby and Shaggy must save their friends from the spell of a wicked warlock. These two characters that are known more for being cowards must learn COURAGE as they embark on a magical quest. Just in time for Halloween, this frightfully entertaining film is packed with lots of laughs featuring the voice talents of Wayne Knight, Hayden Panettiere, Tim Curry, and Jay Leno. Included on the DVD is a cool feature called “Scooby-Doo You Believe in Magic?” that teaches easy-to-learn magic tricks such as the Floating Paper Clip and the Disappearing Card Trick! Scooby-Doo & The Goblin King is out now on DVD and it’s a great addition to the long line of Scooby-Doo shows.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Smallville - Season 7 (DVD)












Smallville's season 7 is out now on DVD. This show that took Clark Kent’s hometown in Kansas and made it a hip little spot, has made it through seven seasons! Honestly, while I enjoyed the show when it first came out, I didn’t think it would get a large enough fan base to make it this far. I obviously misjudged it. You can thank the clever writers for the wild stories they come up with that keeps the show moving along. So what surprises are in store in Season 7? Well, there’s the arrival of Clark’s cousin Kara, a.k.a. Supergirl. Then there’s also Bizarro, Clark’s enemy that shares his DNA and matches his strength. Die hard comic book fans should be satisfied seeing these characters thrown in the mix. There are also issues with Chloe trying to deal with her powers, Lois Lane getting hired by The Daily Planet, and Lex Luthor’s cunning presence that adds more tension to the show. Overall, it’s a season packed with surprises, action, and drama all contained on an extremely entertaining 6-disc set.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Collector’s Edition












After the many times of walking in and out of the Disney Store in the mall (when you have a kid, you do these things), I was always greeted by Jack’s face from The Nightmare Before Christmas. He was on t-shirts, toys, mugs, you name it. That got me wondering if they were ever going to re-release this classic film on DVD. Sure enough, Disney released a Collector’s Edition of this wonderful film by movie genius Tim Burton. This 2-disc set includes the film and is packed with more than enough bonus features, even including Tim Burton’s short film titled Vincent! With Halloween and Christmas fast approaching, this is the perfect time to relive this amazing dark fantasy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Music Builds Tour – September 13th at PNC Arts Center NJ











The Music Builds Tour made its stop this past weekend at the PNC Arts Center in NJ. The tour is a collective effort to help raise money for Habitat For Humanity with performances by Jars of Clay, Third Day, and Switchfoot. That’s a pretty diverse group of musicians on the same tour, who apparently share the same vision. The energy was buzzing throughout the arena before the opening act, Jars of Clay, took the stage. They wasted no time once they came out as they jumped right into their popular song Flood. I think that was the most energized set I’ve seen them perform (I’ve only watched them twice), mostly due to their recent change in musical style. Ever since their album Good Monsters, they went from folk/alternative to straight up rock music. That transformation in Jars’ sound was clearly reflected in their stage presence as they gave an awesome performance. They played a set that included songs like Flood, Love Song for a Savior, along with songs from their new EP Closer. Honestly, next to Switchfoot I think they gave the most solid performance. Speaking of Switchfoot, from the time leading up to their set, you could feel the excitement buzzing from the fans all over the arena. The moment they came onto the stage, the crowd went nuts. They opened with the song Stars, in which the crowd graciously sang along to. Jon Foreman and company brought out their ammo and gave one hell of a show as they rocked the Jersey crowd. They went through most of the fan favorites from their albums The Beautiful Letdown, Nothing Is Sound, and Oh! Gravity. One of the highlights of their set was when they played a live version of Beyonce’s Crazy In Love as an intro to their song Gone! It was pretty funny seeing sections of the audience go from rocking out to suddenly shakin’ their booty as Jon sang, "Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh". I’ve seen a lot of shows this past year in the NYC area, and this definitely goes down as one of the best. If you ever get the chance to see these guys live, you’ll surely get your money’s worth (along with your ears ringing the next day).


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source











The economy’s in baaaad shape. Politicians are tearing at each others throats to win a seat where the winner gets to bullshit the country for 4 years. What else? We are in an endless war. And it seems like the rich get richer while the middle class gets royally screwed up the ass. What better way to laugh at the state of things than by reading The Onion Presents Our Dumb Century! This book is a hilarious take on our “dumb” history by recounting the twentieth century’s famous events with The Onion’s trademark satire. Things that made newspaper headlines in the past have been re-edited and “touched up” by The Onion’s fine writing staff. For example, you might find yourself cracking up when coming across the headline "NEW PRESIDENT FEELS NATION'S PAIN, BREASTS", referring to President Clinton. Simply put, it’s a great book to get lost in and forget about the disastrous state of our world.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Radiohead: The Best Of












It wasn’t until I stood in line one day at a Barnes and Nobles that it hit me how big Radiohead has gotten. Of course I already knew they were big. Obviously, they are a huge force in the music industry since most bands out now have been influenced by them in one way or another. But when you come across a “Best Of” album for a band, something in your brain “clicks” and you are suddenly aware of the impact that particular artist has made. It’s no surprise Radiohead has received 2 Grammy awards and sold over 25 million records worldwide. But those facts don’t mean anything until you actually “experience” Radiohead. This “Best Of” collection has all the essential songs to experience this amazing band. After all they’ve accomplished, I don’t think much more can be said about them. They’ve blown apart any walls that tried to box them in and defied the critics that once labeled them as "one-hit wonders". This “Best Of” collection is an album that celebrates one of the most influential bands of our generation.

Tracklisting for Radiohead: The Best Of

1. Just
2. Paranoid Android
3. Karma Police
4. Creep
5. No Surprises
6. High and Dry
7. My Iron Lung
8. There There
9. Lucky
10. Optimistic
11. Fake Plastic Trees
12. Idioteque
13. 2+2 = 5
14. The Bends
15. Pyramid Song
16. Street Spirit (Fade Out)
17. Everything In Its Right Place

Thursday, September 11, 2008

X-Files Revelations (DVD)












To accompany the recent X-Files movie this summer, a DVD was released titled X-Files Revelations. These are not new episodes or anything that hasn’t been seen before, but according to the series creators, these are essential to see before watching the film. I haven’t seen the film, but this DVD does contain some of the best episodes of the series. The 2-disc DVD set contains eight episodes of crazy paranormal cases that Mulder and Scully always get involved with. Here they deal with alien abductions, psychic phenomena, and even that disturbing creature that lives in the New Jersey sewer in the episode called "The Host". One of the features on the DVD includes explanations given by the series creators as to why they chose these particular episodes over the many others. I’m not sure why these episodes are “essential” to the new movie since I haven’t watched it yet. But they are a great set of episodes to own on DVD if you’re a fan of “Spooky” Mulder and Agent Scully.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Speed Racer (DVD)












Speed Racer

The summer blockbusters are starting to roll in on DVD. Coming out on September 16th is Speed Racer. This visually stunning film based on the popular Japanese cartoon was done by the Wachowski brothers, the same minds behind the Matrix Trilogy. If you haven't had the chance to see this film during the summer, I highly recommend checking it out. The special effects have the Wachowskis' fingerprints all over it, so expect lots of "Whoa!" moments throughout the film. Another thing that's unique about the film is the COLORS. The colorful world that was created for this film is amazing in all of its psychadelic fashion. It really added to all of the explosive action during each race of the film. Watching a film like this on DVD can't replace the feeling of being in a theater. However it still is a great experience to watch it on DVD. One of the benefits of owning it is obviously the special features that are included. I particularly enjoyed checking out the feature on the DVD titled "Spritle In The Big Leagues!" This special feature followed Paulie Litt (Spritle) as he gave a tour of the work being done on the set to create the movie. By now, the critics have said their opinion of this film. Regardless of what they say, this film is one helluva ride. It's a fast and wild ride of a film that brings to life this classic cartoon like never before.

UNSTABLE FABLES: TORTOISE VS. HARE











It could turn into a catastrophe when you take an old story and try to remake it for modern times. In this case, The Jim Henson Company is taking classic fables and compiling them in a series called “Unstable Fables”. To their benefit, they have found a way to take these cherished fables and turn them into hilarious CGI films that adults and kids can enjoy. Their previous release was a funny take on the Three Little Pigs called Three Pigs and A Baby. This time, they take on the fable Tortoise and the Hare and titled it Tortoise vs. Hare. Just out on DVD today, this computer animated film stars the voice talents of Danny Glover (Tortoise) and Jay Leno (Hare) in the lead roles. The film takes place 15 years after Hare was upset by Tortoise in that world famous race. As a rematch is about to take place, he prepares at all costs to reclaim his honor by beating Tortoise. It was funny watching these two go at it while waiting to see who will be victorious. With most animated films, the comedy here is not “dumbed down”, so there are parts that adults can find funny, while kids might not “get it”. But for the most part, it’s a film that everyone can enjoy, whether you’re an adult or child. As for the CGI in the film, I thought it was awesome. I am just not used to seeing the name "Jim Henson" attached to CGI films. I will always associate that name with talking puppets. But whoever is steering the direction of his company seems to have found the right thing to keep them moving with the times.

The DVD is out now, and included with the film are the following special features:

• The Voices Of Tortoise vs. Hare
• How To Draw A Character With Director Howard E. Baker
• Sneak Peek At The Next Unstable Fables Title – The Goldilocks and the Three Bears Show

Friday, September 05, 2008

TERMINATOR – THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (DVD)












Between the business of everyday life and my hectic schedule, I find that I have practically no time to watch TV. Even if I did have the time, I don’t think I would plop my ass on the couch and spend hours watching. However, there are some shows out there that I would probably make time for. Thanks to shows being released on DVD, it’s great to be able to own an entire season and watch at your own convenience. Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles is one show I never got the chance to watch, until its recent release on DVD. This is definitely one show I would make the time for. Having been a big fan of the original Terminator films, I found that this one stayed true to the storyline. The show follows Sarah and her son John, who’s destined to become a savior type figure that helps humans fight off robots threatening the entire race. Together they are on the run for their lives as Sarah tries to protect them from getting wiped out by killer terminators sent from the future. This is a perfect show for anyone that craves explosive action mixed with a brilliant sci-fi theme. The DVD set has three discs that contain all nine adrenaline pumping episodes from the first season. This is definitely one of the best “TV on DVD” sets released all year, making it another addition to WB’s fine catalog of home videos.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sixpence None The Richer - Live at Revelation Generation (Aug. 30, 2008)










In 1999, Sixpence None The Richer was one of the biggest bands around. Their song “Kiss Me” catapulted them into the spotlight as the song made its way to the top of the charts along with appearing in the film She’s All That. That was all they needed to become household names among music fans everywhere. Even until now, you can still hear that famous guitar intro to Kiss Me leading up to Leigh Nash’s unique vocals that open the song. You don’t hear much of them these days, especially since they parted ways a few years ago. Well if you haven’t heard, they’re back together. After Leigh tried going the solo route with her album Blue on Blue, Sixpence is together again and touring as we speak. This past weekend they made their way to NJ. Curious at what the band was up to these days, I decided to check them out since I haven’t heard from them in a while. The venue they played was called Revelation Generation, which is a Christian music festival. What’s ironic is that “Rev Gen” is specifically a “Christian” event, and I know the members of Sixpence have mentioned while they are Christians, they’ve been against labeling themselves a “Christian band” and being lumped into the Christian music industry. So it was kind of funny walking to the stage to get ready for the show and passing tons of Christian merchandise, otherwise known as “Jesus Junk”. Well when the time came for the band to finally come on stage, the audience welcomed them with a huge applause. They went through a set that included some songs off their latest album, some from Leigh’s solo album, and obviously fan favorites such as There She Goes and Kiss Me. They really gave the fans their money’s worth as they sounded just as good live, if not better, than how they do on the radio. After hearing Leigh’s vocals soar through the crowd in each song, I say she still remains as one of the best female vocalists out there. I have never been a huge fan of the band, but after hearing them perform live, I came out with a better appreciation of their sound and am looking forward to their future projects.