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All reviews - Movies (66) - TV Shows (53) - Books (5) - Music (3)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb review

Posted : 3 years ago on 11 February 2021 02:48 (A review of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

OK, don't bother to watch Dr. Strangelove until you watch [Link removed - login to see] preferably back-to-back. Why? Well, first, Dr. Strangelove will serve as comic relief after watching the stark, horrifying concepts and paranoia over a nuclear holocaust proffered by Fail-Safe and second, Fail-Safe will give you a proper frame of the reference Strangelove so giddily lampoons.
The movie itself, while dated in it's concepts, is a tour-de-force (or perhaps a tour-de-farce?) From the multiple characters played by Peter Sellers through the stellar acting by some of Hollywood's greatest! And, perhaps with the exception of Slim Pickens' over-the-top B-52 commander, all done with a sublime straight face.

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Out of Exile review

Posted : 3 years ago on 5 February 2021 06:36 (A review of Out of Exile)

The collaboration between Chris Cornell and Rage Against The Machine was originally criticized as a one-off vanity project, replacing Zac's politically-charged angst rap with the "grunge" of Chris Cornell's soul-searing, nihilistic howling. Guess what? People liked them! They really liked them and the group spawned two more albums. This one is my personal favorite, probably because, unlike their eponymous CD, which sounded like Chris Cornell was simply replacing Zac for a Rage session, you can hear Cornell's stamp on most of the songs. "Like A Stone," Drown Me Slowly," and "Doesn't Remind Me" are my favorites and the three that have migrated to my streaming playlists. Such a shame Cornell isn't here anymore to create more of this magic.

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Cheap Trick at Budokan review

Posted : 3 years ago on 2 February 2021 03:44 (A review of Cheap Trick at Budokan)

I was barely aware of them as a kid until radio started playing "I Want You to Want Me" in heavy rotation. Following the success of their Japanese tour, they went from zeroes to heroes overnight. However, none of the songs carry any of the same energy (critics accused them of dubbing the overwhelming audience noise) in their studio format,...ain't that a shame?

To this day, I've owned the 8 track, LP, cassette AND CD!

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Ripper 2: Letter from Within review

Posted : 3 years ago on 1 February 2021 07:17 (A review of Ripper 2: Letter from Within)

Holy cow! The stuff I'll watch when I'm stuck in a blizzard! Even the presence of Erin Karpluk couldn't salvage this Canadian retread dreck!

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. review

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 21 January 2021 03:05 (A review of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)

Channeling my inner Rod Serling,...

Imagine, if you will: the year is 1964. The United States is still basking in the afterglow of Kennedy's visionary Camelot society. At the cinemas, the Western World was being introduced to that entertainment juggernaut of a suave, British spy with the three-digit moniker.

Well, this is post-WWII America and anything that Europeans can do, the Americans can do better, right? Well,...

The premise was terrific: take the premise of Bond's role as a righter of wrongs at any cost and serialize it. Give the main characters a numerical ID like Bond! Make the setting what was then arguably the West's center of entertainment, finance and politics, New York City, and nestle it into that center of global politics, the United Netw,...um,....Nations! (Originally, the "U.N." was meant to be ambiguous, but the show's producers feared legal issues with the real UN and fleshed out the name).

The first season, in black and white, as well as the technicolor second season, achieved the show's objectives: despots, dictators and any organization, such as THRUSH (a nod to Bond's SPECTRE) that threatened to disturb the UN's attempt to sow peace and self-reliance throughout the world were usurped by Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin and a who's who of the 60's character actors. And they were done in a cold, dramatic style that made many believe these were real global exploits. And, like SPECTRE, THRUSH was originally meant to have a leader who could easily change identities. Lee Meriwether's character, the ice-cold Dr. Egret, was meant to be the original, but the idea was never fully fleshed out.

The show rapidly became a global, iconic success. But like much of the entertainment industry of the latter 60s, the show because both a victim of its own success. Numerous TV shows and movies, like Dean Martin's Matt Helm and James Coburn's Flint made the concept all-too-ubiquitous. Then there was the acid-dropping silliness that infused Western culture. A poorly-made spinoff, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., failed to launch. The show devolved away from it's original plan. Now, lunatics with outlandish, camp visions of godhood and global domination often fell victim to their own gimmicky plans, simply with the help of U.N.C.L.E.

Ratings took a nose dive. The 4th season attempt at returning to the more serious, real-world escapades failed to recapture that early glory and the show limped off into the kaleidoscope sunset of 1968.

Sigh,...oh, what it could have been if it maintained the laser-like focus and discipline of similar shows like Mission Impossible!! And that 007 guy? Yeah, he's still around at the movies, isn't he?

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Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Glass Empires review

Posted : 3 years, 2 months ago on 16 December 2020 05:52 (A review of Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Glass Empires)

Superb! David Mack fleshed out the Season 4 two-part throwaway episodes [Link removed - login to see] into a timeline that spans hundreds of years into the future of an alternate Star Trek universe, featuring some of your favorite ST characters in completely different roles.

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The Medium is the Massage review

Posted : 3 years, 2 months ago on 14 December 2020 12:34 (A review of The Medium is the Massage)

Interesting book! Here we are, well into the 21st Century and many of the cartoons from the 1960s New Yorker magazine are still relevant today. I guess history really is doomed to repeat itself if we keep forgetting it?

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets review

Posted : 3 years, 3 months ago on 15 November 2020 06:13 (A review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets)

Luc Besson, a bunch of Euros with throwaway money and a 21st Century remake of The Fifth Element (with some Star Wars nods thrown in). I don't know if this was intended to be a franchise, but the all-too-abrupt ending makes me think those Euros ran out of euros.

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Sweet Corn review

Posted : 3 years, 3 months ago on 9 November 2020 09:26 (A review of Sweet Corn)

Nom-nom-nom! Sweet corn, salt, pepper and butter! Thrown on the grill wit your favorite proteins to accentuate the flavor and you're in heaven!

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Wasted Star Power

Posted : 5 years, 9 months ago on 3 June 2018 11:34 (A review of The Last Witch Hunter)

How do you take top-tier action-movie actors like Vin Diesel, mix them with other reliable box-office favorite actors (Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie, fresh off her star turn in Game Of Thrones) and a smattering of box-office greats like Michael Caine and NOT have a winner on your hands?ย  This had the look and feel of a guaranteed profitable franchise! What went wrong? Too much CGI, Vin Diesel's one-note performance, sub-plots going nowhere,...and the final chapter/plot wrap-up pretty much killed it for me.ย  Makes you wonder if the production team realized this wasn't the hit they wanted and re-wrote the end to cut their losses?

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