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    Moulin Rouge! (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 1st, 2010

    WELCOME! TO THE MOULIN ROUGE! *tips her purple satin top hat with an amethyst topped cane* Come in, come in! Take off your cloaks and have a drink of Absinthe! So many lonely women here tonight that need a partner… to dance with of course! Hope you brought lots of cash, your dancing shows, and perhaps a nice big diamond for one of our infamous Diamond Dogs! What’s that? Oh! Yes of course! I know, you came to see a show, and of course to see our lovely Satine! Well take a look see, here she comes! *cues “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and the curtains pull open!*
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    Glee: The Complete First Season (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on September 30th, 2010

    Most people who actually know me can say that I do love to sing. Much of my singing is relegated to a combination of karaoke and Xbox 360 games (Lips/Rock Band). But a long time ago, I wasn’t very comfortable with my singing. Had I been comfortable, I might have joined my school’s glee club. Fast forward a few years and we have a show about a high school glee club. Its funny how you can miss an experience you have never had.
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    Stomp the Yard: Homecoming

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on September 23rd, 2010

    This might be a newsflash to some, but I can’t dance. I can’t groove, shimmy or even lay down some dope moves. As such, a whole generation of movies is probably lost on me. In it, young hip kids move around and perform moves that would have made Fred Astaire jealous. It is a showcase of talent on the most basic level. One such movie appeared on my review plate named Stomp the Yard: Homecoming. Hopefully with some fresh moves, we can get an interesting story to boot.
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    Elvis 75th Birthday Collection

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on June 16th, 2010

    Elvis Presley is often referred to as The King Of Rock And Roll, at least to his fans. There’s no denying the impact that he had on the music scene. He was the first rock and roll star, to be sure. Colonel Tom Parker, his long-time manager and partner, created many of the marketing traditions that are commonplace in the industry today. He knew the value of his star, not only as a performer, but as a brand. For the first time, a musician’s image and name started to appear on everything from bath towels to women’s underwear. Fans are often split on their feelings for the self-styled Colonel, but Elvis would not have become the name brand he still is today, without him.
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    Preacher’s Kid (Blu-ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 10th, 2010

    A short time ago I had the unexpected pleasure of watching and then reviewing Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself. I say unexpected, because I was looking for the typical Madea antics and ended up drawn into a compelling gospel musical that was inspirational and entertaining without ever feeling like I was sitting in mass listening to a long homily. Now I’ve just had the opportunity to see Stan Foster’s The Preacher’s Kid. There’s no doubt that Foster has been inspired by the Black Theater productions of guys like Perry.
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    Fame: Extended Dance Edition (Blu-Ray)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on January 27th, 2010

    The original movie production of Fame came out in 1980 and followed a group of students as they progressed four years through the New York High School of Performing Arts. It was gritty, it was harsh, but it was a very deep portrayal of budding students trying to get into the world of singing, dancing and acting. Nearly 30 years later, somebody gets the bright idea of doing a remake. Let’s find out if it is anywhere close to the original.
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    Fame: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 13th, 2009

    Written by Adrienne Ambush

    Before there was American Idol, before there was So, You Think You Can Dance and definitely before there was Dancing with the Stars, there was Fame.

    Based on the 1980’s movie with the same title, Fame is a comedy/musical series about a group of gifted students and their faculty members, all of whose dream is to sing, dance, act, and play music.
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    The Shooter Series, Volume One: Brett Ratner

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on September 30th, 2009

    Written by Adrienne Ambush

    Anyone who has tuned into MTV or VH1 in the last 10 years has probably seen at least one music video that is featured in this collection of videos by Brett Ratner, but they probably couldn’t place a name or face to the man that is behind the camera–that is, until now.
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    Yentl

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 28th, 2009

    Barbra Streisand’s 1983 Historical Epic/Fable/Musical/Vanity Project comes to DVD for the first time ever in this deluxe release. Exciting news for a large chunk of our population, though in this instance it’s a case of “good news/bad news” for rabid Barbra fans. With Yentl, Streisand is in full-on quadruple threat mode, as director, producer, co-writer, and Star (yes, the capital ‘s’ is necessary), and her Herculean labours in getting this film made are probably as well known as the film itself. Her obvious passion for the project and the fact that she had a hand in it at every level gives access to a wealth of incredibly detailed information in the special features, including “Materials from Barbra’s Archive”. However, there are some technical shortcomings in this volume that will lessen the experience, even for fans.
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    Population: 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 3rd, 2009

    Director Rene Daalder is best known in cult film circles as the man who gave us Massacre at Central High. But now Cult Epics has released a pair of his films (this and Here Is Always Somewhere Else) that seem more in keeping with his real interests. A long and twisting road led to this effort, starting with an abortive collaboration with Russ Meyer and the Sex Pistols, which brought Daalder into the world of punk rock. In that field he met Tomata Du Plenty, vocalist for The Screamers. After funding for their proposed collaboration Mensch collapsed and Du Plenty’s HIV-positive status became apparent, they put together the present film out of a mixture of footage from the abandoned project, plus new elements. The striking result is Du Plenty as the last survivor of nuclear holocaust, holed up in his bunker, declaming/singing poetic rants about the history of the United States, all the while surrounded by a phantasmagoria of bizarre sights. Whether the result is compelling or pretentious (or both) will depend on one’s sympathies with respect to the art scene from which it emerges, but that it is a work that rigorously works out its conceptual and artistic premises all the way to the end cannot be denied.
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    Mary Poppins (45th Anniversary Special Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 28th, 2009

    Mary Poppins was the subject of a series of books by P.L. Travers. Long before Harry Potter came on the scene, Mary was delighting children all over the world with her spectacular magical abilities. At the time Walt Disney was making a name for himself and his studio by bringing many of the children’s classics to the big screen. From fairy tales to Winnie The Pooh, the studio was providing the look and the soundtrack to the imaginative worlds already known and beloved by millions. It was a magnificent strategy, and it would pay off huge for the company.
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    Funny Face

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on January 14th, 2009

    It’s hard being the bad guy, but sometimes you just don’t like a film that seemingly everyone else does. Such is the case for me with Funny Face, the classic Audrey Hepburn-Fred Astaire teaming that sees a bookish young lady go from the obscurity of her lonely library to the glitzy Paris lights as a high-profile fashion model.
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    Bloodhounds of Broadway (1952)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 26th, 2008

    Damon Runyon’s stories would most famously make it into musical form in 1955 with Guys and Dolls. But in the meantime, this 1952 effort featured many of the same sorts of characters – wise-cracking-but-harmless gangsters and their glamorous molls. Here, Numbers Foster (Scott Brady) hightails it out of town to avoid a Congressional hearing, and on the way back, he picks up country songbird Emily Ann Stackerlee (Mitzi Gaynor), much to the displeasure of New York girlfriend Yvonne (Marguerite Chapman). Heavier on plot and lighter on numbers than some other musicals of the period, this is a jovial effort, but understandably in the shadow of its more famous cousin.
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    The Girl Next Door (1953)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 19th, 2008

    Star of song and stage Jeannie Laird (June Haver) returns from a triumphant tour to settle down in her new suburban home. Next door is widowed cartoonist Bill Carter (Dan Dailey), and sparks fly between the glamorous star and the low-key nice guy. The course of true love doesn’t run smoothly, however, due to Bill’s son Joe (Billy Gray, of The Day the Earth Stood Still), who doesn’t take kindly to the new woman in his father’s life.
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    With a Song In My Heart

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 11th, 2008

    A mixture of biopic and musical, this vehicle stars Susan Hayward as Jane Froman, an incredibly popular singing star in the 40s who had to battle back from terrible wounds suffered in a plane crash after her first performance for American troops overseas during WWII. The film begins with Froman’s triumphant comeback, and flashes back to the events leading up to this. The pic is efficiently put together, and Hayward’s lip-synching (Froman dubbed in her own singing) is unusually convincing. But the crash itself is disappointingly undramatic.
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    The Nightmare Before Christmas (2-Disc Collector’s Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 5th, 2008

    <>“This is Halloween…”

    There has to be something wrong with anyone who doesn’t have at least a small soft spot in their hearts for Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. The film will assuredly earn its rightful place as a classic as more years roll by. The film just works on so many levels. Danny Elfman deserves as much credit as Burton here for the wickedly wonderful tunes and songs that accentuate the deviously detailed world of Halloweentown. He also provides the singing voice for Jack, reminding us a bit of his early pop roots with the modestly successful Oingo Boingo.
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    Step Up 2 The Streets

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on August 8th, 2008

    For as much as I might viscerally disagree with the creation of a film or its sequel, I lay much of the blame at you, the viewer and movie-going public. You created the furor around the Step Up series of films. You all went in droves to the first film when it was released in August 2006, when movies were winding down in the blockbuster season and thus helped it make $65 million domestically and more than $110 worldwide. It’s your fault that another film was inevitable, so in the down-turn of this past February, we got a second one. That one made about the same domestically, but made $30 million or so more and almost brought in $150 million worldwide. Count on the fact that another 90-minute film about teens dancing will be made and that the Step Up trilogy (I threw up in my mouth a little when writing that) will be complete.


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    Control (2007)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on June 17th, 2008

    It’s nice when a movie lives up to its expectations and even surpasses them because it rarely seems to happen anymore. Such is the case with Anton Corbijn’s Ian Curtis bio-pic, Control.

    I’ve been waiting to see Control for a long time. From the start, the film sounded interesting, since I am a huge fan of post-punk alternative rock music, the genre that Ian Curtis and Joy Division practically invented in the late 1970’s. But when I heard that long-time band collaborator and renowned music video director Anton Corbijn was directing the film, my anticipation rose to even higher levels.
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    Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Special Collector’s Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on April 1st, 2008

    Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bohnam Carter, and a 1970’s Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim about a barber with a penchant for truly close, and rather bloody, shaves. With these kinds of ingredients you have a can’t miss recipe for Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street. The finished product is a wickedly clever and most unusual movie experience. Tim Burton’s style blends so seamlessly with the dark humor of the original production.
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    Once

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on March 27th, 2008

    From the Oscar ceremony, the only thing to speak of when it came to the quaint Irish charmer Once is that the girl was going to speak after the song “Falling Slowly” won the award for Best Original Song, and she was cut off, but she got a chance to thank everyone after the commercial, so points for trivia in case you stuck in there for that long (I know I didn’t). For those who hadn’t seen the film before that, they were certainly missing a slightly profound and moving experience.


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    New York, New York

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 22nd, 2008

    World War II has just ended, and the recently discharged Robert De Niro hits New York on the prowl for sex. He runs up against WAC Liza Minnelli, and the more she resists his advances, the more determined he becomes. There is more: he is a saxophonist, and she (of course) is a singer). So begins a tempestuous relationship between two artists whose enormous talents and equally enormous personalities mean they can neither live with nor without each other.
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    Can-Can

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on December 24th, 2007

    In Belle Époque Paris, the can-can is all the rage but also illegal, and Shirley MacLaine’s nightclub is cracked down on by uptight judge Louis Jourdan. MacLaine is defended by libertine lawyer Frank Sinatra. Jourdan falls for MacLaine, who is waiting perhaps in vain for Sinatra to marry her. Maurice Chevalier shows up to chuckle indulgently.
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    Hairspray (Shake & Shimmy Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 21st, 2007

    A remake of writer/director John Waters’ 1988 cult hit, Hairspray is an exhuberant movie musical that builds off the smash-hit Broadway production to recreate the excitement on film for a new generation. Whether it’s bigger and better than previous iterations, I can’t say, because this DVD release marks my first Hairspray experience. What I can say is if Waters’ original and the Broadway show are even half as good, they’re definitely worth your time.

    If that doesn’t convince you, this Hairspray also presents John Travolta as an obese, middle-aged woman — a transformation that required plenty of make-up and, more importantly, allowed Travolta to finally reveal his true self for all to see.


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    Selena (10th Anniversary Edition)

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 5th, 2007

    There are few things as tragic as potential that is unrealized. Whether it’s by choice or by extenuating circumstances, to see a life cut down before it has a chance to develop and make an imprint on the world is sad to see. And it seems to happen disproportionately among musicians. In most casts, drugs frequently has been the main culprit (see Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin), or suicide in some cases (Kurt Cobain being the more notable name in recent memory). But when an entertainer is murdered, the abrupt nature of the crime seems to shake many to the core. It was sad four decades ago when Sam Cooke was murdered, and equally disappointing two decades later when Marvin Gaye was felled by the hands of his father. When Selena Quintanilla was murdered by her business manager in 1995, it sent shockwaves through the Latin music community. Here was a young woman on the fast track to superstardom, gunned down before her full promise could be delivered.


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    Pigskin Parade

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 6th, 2007

    Planning a high-profile charity football game that they must nonetheless be sure of winning, the powers that be of Yale attempt to invite the University of Texas, but instead accidentally invite Texas State University, a small college whose town population is a mere 700. Newly arrived coach Jack Haley and his formidable wife Patsy Kelly face the challenge of somehow whipping the football team into something that won’t be utterly destroyed on the day of the big game. The key to possible victory is bumpkin-but-natural-prodigy Stuart Erwin, but he’s a package deal, and comes along with little sister Judy Garland, here making her debut.
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