I've been compiling an end-of-the-year DVD list for releases that came out in 2009. And without further ado, here they are:
John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band Live In Toronto '69
This DVD contains the only performance caught on film by the above named band. John and Yoko sharing the stage together is quite a site to see. If you are a fan of John Lennon, I highly recommend you check it out. Yoko is real annoying here, but John does his magic on stage which turned out to be one great performance.
The Middleman: The Complete Series
Defending the Earth against against “exotic problems” is a tough job. But it never looked funnier than it does in The Middleman. This set released by Shout! Factory contains the entire series in a collectible 4-disc set. For fans of the bizarre and anything related to graphic novels, definitely give this one a try.
Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Season One
Finally! One of TV’s best series to come out in the past 20 years gets released on DVD. Parker Lewis was the hit series on FOX that was around in the early 90’s. Parker, you may remember, was the Ferris Bueller-ish character that made this series memorable. Witty, funny, and wildly entertaining, this DVD set of the first season is not to be missed.
BROTHERS & SISTERS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
This kind of show is usually not my cup of tea. However, if you are into family dramas, then this set may be right up your alley. A six-disc set of this ABC show starring Sally Field and Calista Flockhart, BROTHERS & SISTERS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON contains all the episodes along with cast interviews and deleted scenes to keep you entertained. Like I said, it’s not my type of show, but if you are, then you’d dig this set.
Transformers: Season Two, Vol. 1 25th Anniversary Edition
Shout! Factory continues to please fans again with the release of Transformers: Season Two, Vol. 1 25th Anniversary Edition. Optimus and company are back this time in a 4-disc set with the first 28 episodes from the show’s second season. Old and new fans alike will enjoy this collectible set that reminds us just how damn good this series was.
G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Season 1.2
Yo Joe! I haven't seen the movie yet, but from what I hear it can't hold up to the original animated series. Speaking of which, the second part of the first season put out by Shout! Factory contains 22 episodes with all the explosive action that made this show such a hit. Great for adults and kids alike, this makes a great addition to any fan's collection.
Mr. Belvedere: Season Three
You didn’t think he was gone for good, did you? Everyone’s favorite snarky housekeeper is back in the DVD set of the third season. This set keeps the laughter coming with episode after episode of the 80’s hit show Mr. Belvedere. If you like you’re housekeepers overly-sarcastic, then don’t miss this one.
thirtysomething: the complete first season
I was too young to get into this show when it was out, but with the release of the first season on DVD, I can now see why it was a hit. This show taps into the lives and struggles of a group of “thirtysomethings” and is just as relevant now as it was then. On the DVD set you’ll find 21 episodes, a behind the scenes look at the show, and commentaries with the cast and crew. Check it out.
Mister Ed: Season One
I remember seeing this as a kid on Nick At Nite. The infamous talking horse and his owner Wilbur provide tons of laughter in this DVD set of the entire first season. Released by Shout! Factory (surprised?), this set shows that this talking horse can never be outdated, and is still able to keep viewers laughing after all these years.
THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
Who knew physicists could be so funny? This second season DVD set of the hit series THE BIG BANG THEORY proves that they can. With 23 episodes packed into this one set, let Leonard, Sheldon and friends show you just how funny they can be. Highly enjoyable, this set is one that is perfect for any fan of this hit series.
CASTLE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
This one hit me by surprise. A bestselling novelist hooking up with a New York City detective to solve some serious crimes is just the right series to please any fan of crime mysteries. This three disc set contains lots of suspense and some extra features such as bloopers and extended scenes to make it a very entertaining collection to own.
LIFE ON MARS: THE COMPLETE SERIES
One of the best series I watched on DVD this year, LIFE ON MARS: THE COMPLETE SERIES is one that I’ll be checking out again down the road. When a NYC police detective gets mysteriously transported from 2008 back to 1973, things get pretty strange. This set contains all the episodes of this intriguing and suspenseful series and is one of this year’s best releases.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I'm a sucker for Christmas specials. That's one thing that hasn't left me since I was a kid. I'm more biased towards the traditional ones (i.e. Rudolph, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, etc) since that's what I grew up watching. Recently I just checked out the latest from the VeggieTales catalog titled Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving. With the trademark quirky humor that comes with most Big Idea productions, this holiday special tells the story of Saint Nicholas, the world’s greatest giver. It is a fun look at the origins of St. Nick, and one that is worth watching during the holidays. Although the music annoyed me at times, overall it is an entertaining show to watch with the family.
Monday, December 21, 2009
With Christmas fast approaching, a lot of us can probably use some good music to chill out to. Something to warm and comfort your soul. I would like to recommend two albums that I believe are destined to be classics. These are Salvation Is Created and ‘Come O Spirit!’ Anthology of Hymns, and Spiritual Songs Volume 1. Under the new Great Comfort Records, who’s founder is Lenny Smith (yep, Danielson’s dad) these two albums have some of the most creative spiritual tunes that you’ll get a chance to hear. If you’ve ever longed for the day when you’d hear some real creative songs rich with spiritual themes, then look no further than these albums.
‘Come O Spirit!’ Anthology of Hymns, and Spiritual Songs Volume 1
1. I Sought the Lord
2. It Is Finished
3. Come, O Spirit!
4. Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me
5. Just A Closer Walk
6. Open Thou Mine Eyes
7. The Mourner's Prayer
8. Hard Times
10. Be Still My Soul
11. How Calm And Beautiful the Morn
12. Lord, I Believe
13. He Never Said A Mumblin' Word
Salvation Is Created
1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
2. Joy Joy!!! (featuring Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri)
3. Bring A Torch Jeanette, Isabella (featuring Ben + Vesper)
4. O Little Town Of Bethlehem (featuring Sarah Fullen)
5. Let All Mortal Flesh (featuring Elin K. Smith)
6. Messiah (featuring Robert Heiskel)
7. Silent Night (featuring Diane Birch)
8. Out Of Heaven (featuring Derek Webb and Evan Gregory)
9. Veiled In Darkness (featuring Matt Bauer and Maeve)
10. Salvation Is Created (featuring Aimee Wilson)
Friday, December 18, 2009
If you’re looking to liven up your holidays with laughter, look no further than the DVD set for SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 6, Volume 1. With more Spongie-goodness than you can imagine packed into one set, Season 6 Volume 1 is guaranteed to have you gasping for breath with laughter. Over 300 minutes of SpongeBob fun is packed into this 2 disc set. Included are 24 side-splitting stories and the SpongeBob History Song to provide hours of enjoyment. This one would make a great gift for that special someone who’s fond of Mr. SquarePants. Or, if you just want to treat yourself, this set should do the job.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Listen up, because this is your chance to win a FREE DVD copy of Mike Judge's latest film EXTRACT! Starring Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Ben Afleck, and Mila Kunis, this film takes a wacky look at the life of the employees of a flavor extract factory (see clips below). To enter for your chance to win the DVD (which releases on December 22), simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any movie quote from Mike Judge's cult classic Office Space. The deadline for this is December 16th, and I will notify the winner via email on the 17th.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Like wine, Relient K's music gets better with age...
I love it when I'm caught by surprise. After hearing "Five Score", I was convinced that Relient K isn't a band that's destined to be a forgotten act. In fact, with each new release, they get better and better. This time, they put out what may be their best yet: Forget And Not Slow Down. What has been a rough past year or so in singer Matt Thiessen’s love life (apparently he had a bad breakup) has turned into a rebirth in creative freedom for his music. The jist of this album can be found in the album’s title “Forget And Not Slow Down”. Basically the theme is to forget about the negative things that weigh us down and move forward with life. The album is laced with honest lyrics about going through those rough times in life. You could say it’s therapeutic. Ironically there is a track titled “Therapy” to support this idea. Overall, this album contains the trademark catchy hooks that Relient K has become famous for and some thought provoking lyrics making it one of the year’s best releases.
at 12:51 PM
Here's another review by Amica Paige...
Lily Allen has graduated from mere flippancy in her sophomoric first album to a classier, more composed cheek with such melodic ease and lyrical wit in conveying her insights in It’s Not Me, It’s You. This time, she confronts societal norms, conformity, youth, relationships, and self-absorption of all sorts—in short, life—and calls for an openness that’s evocative of the late George Carlin, unapologetic, but that’s altogether chic, sassy, and melodious. With its delightfully varied sound that’s intermittently indie, jazzy, retro, as well as country, this album is a complete fare that’s entirely seasoned with sophisticated sarcasm for those finer, contemplative moments.
With the opening track’s, “Everyone’s At It”, sobering message about drug prevalence which infect all of society, “from grown politicians to adolescents”, and that could only be solved by admission, the song is in sheer contrast to its breezy melody, easy synth, and subtle beats,
Likewise, “The Fear” has a contradictory upbeat sound for such grave lyrics describing a human frailty caused by worldliness:
“I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever…about funny
I want loads of clothes…diamonds
…people die while trying to find them
…take my clothes off…
…that’s how you get famous…
I don’t know what’s right or real anymore
…how I’m meant to feel anymore
...cause I’m being taken over by the fear
Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
…all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn’t matter ‘cause I’m packing plastic
…makes my life so f**king fantastic
And I am a weapon of massive consumption
…how I’m programmed to function
I’ll look at the Sun and I’ll look in the mirror…
…I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
…everything’s cool…I’m getting thinner
…I’m being taken over by fear”
“Not Fair” is a galloping western bop that’s in sardonic contrast to what’s being sung, which is the utter dilemma of being in a relationship fraught with mounting discontent over the kind of sexual intimacy one is engaged in.
“22” is an 80’s jingle reminiscent of Belinda Carlisle’s “Circle in the Sand” or Madonna’s “Cherish”, but where they cooed about a seeming frivolity, Allen coolly croons about the difficult feat of confronting societal standards which declares that the only thing left for a 30 year old lady to do is to wait for the “man of her dreams”.
“I Could Say” is a song of liberation from that certain “chip” on the shoulder, wherein Allen cheekily chirps, “Since you’ve gone, I’ve lost that chip on my shoulder… I’ve gotten older…the whole wide world is my stage… …I’ve been let out of my cage”.
“Back to the Start” has perhaps the fastest danceable rhythm, as in the 80’s new wave with a subtle chime-like synth, that conversely plays a message of apology for one’s past jealousies and an appeal to start over.
“F**k You” sweetly expresses defiance against intolerance, with a kick in the air, joined arms a la the Rockettes, repeated chanting of “F***k you very very much”, and sticking both tongue and lollipop in the cheek, while jumping to the tune’s pulsing beats.
The following tracks have similarly breezy melodies, but with slightly slower tempos:
While “Never Gonna Happen” relates an unsteady relationship, “Who’d Have Known” examines a growing affection. And “Chinese” is quite the song, as well as the food, to have around when thinking about cuddling in front of the TV with a dear one. And whereas Allen blithely questions god in “Him” with unquestionable cynicism, she airily hoots about a father’s neglect and desertion with unmistakable sarcasm in “He Wasn’t There”.
Have this album for easy, thoughtful listening with a bit of shake. It’s especially soothing for those inspired moments when you’re itching to break out the paint, write, or simply be creative in other ways.
Monday, December 07, 2009
I THOUGHT SPIKE LEE WAS A KNICKS' FAN???
Mr. Spike “Do The Right Thing” Lee is known for many things. Film director and die-hard Knicks fan are two that come to mind. That’s why I was surprised when I heard he made a film about Lakers’ all-star Kobe Bryant. Well whatever his motivation, Spike made a fine film following Kobe on court during a very pivotal game in the 2007-08 season. Kobe Doin' Work is an in-depth look at one of the NBA’s best players during a game between the Lakers and Spurs. With Kobe as the narrator and footage from the game filmed using 30 cameras, you literally feel like you are on the court yourself. For any serious basketball fan, this is as close as you can get to feel like you are a player yourself. The camera work in this film is incredible, and I was very impressed with this film that’s definitely not the standard “Spike Lee Joint”. Overall, Kobe Doin' Work is a very entertaining look at a tremendously talented player.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Here's a review of The Ting Tings by my associate, Amica Paige...
Have you heard their ting? That you haven’t heard their tunes is very unlikely since their debut album was released sometime last summer, topping the U.K. chart and sending the tireless Madonna to rest then. Here are my two cents on yet another grand act to emerge from Big Ben’s soil: upbeat and offbeat. Fresh is hard to come by these days even in a highly advanced society, and the irony is we’ve been there, done that, seen and heard it all, and recycled, revised, and repackaged so heavily as we’ve figured out the formulas, that there seems to be very little left to be discovered as original, especially in music. Hence, it’s always refreshing to see those who manage to reinvent and rise above the crowd every now and then, regardless of how long they stay up. And when one creates a distinct sound, it’s got a certain ring, or ting, that will cause you to listen again and again. And this dynamic duo’s certainly got it. They most certainly have that “ting” factor. The funky fusion of Jules De Martino’s dominant drumbeats and Katie White’s sometimes brazen, sometimes fragile, and frequently distressed or defiant vocals merged with their various other musical elements and influences, one of which echoes a pared-down, 80’s new-wave among others, power the invisible machine behind their playful sound. Their music is a little fresher and groovier than most of its contemporaries that currently saturate our airwaves. Even as the duo chant “We Started Nothing” incessantly in their finale, the 8-tract album can serve as an instant tonic to get you started in those days needing a bit of jolt, with Great DJ, That’s Not My Name, Fruit Machine, Shut Up…, Keep Your Head, We Walk, Impacilla Carpisung, along with the title tract, or just keep you coolly on your feet, with the Traffic Light and Be The One, even if only for a little more than half an hour, unless you have it on repeat.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Stop what you’re doing and get ready for the Krusty Krab's "Eleventy Seventh" anniversary. On the DVD for the TV movie SpongeBob Square Pants: Truth or Square, fans can expect to be treated to a hilarious time at Bikini Bottom. With a running time of about 108 minutes, this DVD contains the Extended Director’s Cut of the Truth or Square movie, along with some extra goodies. Features such as the karaoke music videos and the behind-the-scenes look at the SpongeBob opening make this a great addition to any DVD collection.
Check it out!