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The Magazine
The Magazine
Price: $9.99
92 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars what a magazine!, February 8, 2016
This review is from: The Magazine (Audio CD)
This album was made shortly after Rickie gave up drinking and/or drugs. That's pretty awesome for someone to be able to just suddenly quit like that. Not just anyone can do that you know!

"Prelude to Gravity" is a short orchestrated piano ballad. It's really beautiful and soft. Fitting for a trip to somewhere beautiful with mountains and streams all around. This leads into "Gravity" which immediately starts with Rickie's unique voice with the great lyric "Young girl standing underneath the EI train, standing there watching the trains go by, you think that nobody knows where you are girl, you think that nobody knows how this feel, alone in a world of your own, there you are girl" She sings this melody in a way that reminds me of Alanis Morrissette for some reason, but I'm not sure if that's an accurate comparison. This song is somewhat bouncy in its unconventional structure. Kind of dreamy in the second half too, and the way it fades away at the end is just bizarre with the guitar/piano/vocals.

"Juke Box Fury" is a good tune. The pace starts off slow and peacefully but picks up soon with the line "We got even with the circus, we bought tickets but we didn't go in, you won't like it here when I first take you, he's in the back doing his Father O'Riley for the cops, but you'll like Woody he's hiding in the shed, and we're going with him, I told my brother when the police come don't say nothing, don't say nothing and the police will go 'cuz they don't like when you beat them to the punch" Another interesting line- "And I've seen more dreams riding on his eyes than a sure thing like the starry skies, and you'll like it when you find out what he's got, in the backyard by the parking lot, hey baby you're my favorite boy I think about you all the time". The upbeat/bouncy structure of this tune is really awesome, as are the jazzy arrangements which feel appropriate too. Excellent vocals.

"It Must Be Love" is a soft ballad with a vocal melody that's only so-so to me. For some odd reason it reminds me of a song called "Roll to Me" by Del Amitri. Maybe that's why I can't enjoy it more. I know I should NOT be comparing Rickie Lee Jones to that stinkin' song, but oh, that song has tarnished me forever with its horrendous melody! That song irritates me really badly whenever it frequently plays on the radio. Thanks Del Amitri for ruining my enjoyment of "It Must Be Love" because of *your* song! I don't even care for the lyrics this time around. I like the part at the end when Rickie mentions a variety of different emotions like the way you are and the way you feel, and says it must all be love otherwise these lyrics are a little too cute for my liking.

The title song is next up. The vocals are more soulful than usual and remind me of Kate Bush's early 80's experimental phase. You can tell this is going to be a lyrical highlight with a gripping vocal melody and soft piano, and it is. "I can't come out and play Paddy with the Precinct boys no more but you and me baby we'll be lovers again but she's walking to the A, walking to the B, walking to the C now, where are you going? I'm just going with him" You can tell as the song rolls on it's only a matter of time until it's going to explode with Rickie's vocal range. "I don't think you know what you're doing, I don't think you know that she'll make him cry, make my baby cry 'cuz you'll break my heart!" I like the "Oooh oooh" part and how it's really melodic. It's a way of improving ideas and they work really well. "I know they're coming to me, I know they're coming!"

"The Real End" "Once I had a sweet love, always followed me around, the way I treated my little lamb was like the Marquis D, sade and her new clown, I guess I hurt him, I guess I hung up, I guess I should've called him back, I guess I didn't care, maybe I left him there, maybe a woman just acts like that" is a chilling line that opens my eyes with open somewhat. This album feels like it follows a familiar groove of soft vocals/piano before Rickie brings in some experimental ideas with her voice that are in between pop and soul. It's a good combination because the songs are memorable. "Well I had some dough, I had a big car, I turned around and all the money was spent, I don't know wherever it goes but that's probably where my baby went". "Don't leave him hanging on the telephone line, but keep him guessing, don't tell him where you are". "He's so fine, he wants to be with you all the time, but don't tell him he's the only one or your new boy becomes hard to find".

"Deep Space" is a really soft song that captures the feeling of space travel and the loneliness that follows. "Things that you do are always with me, when you're laughing you're always here, what's the use in crying it won't matter when we're old" is an eerie line. Maybe this song is a little *too* soft. It picks up during certain parts such as the "There's a woman who will wait on what you have to say" part at least. "Runaround" has a groovy rhythm (groovy in an early 80's slightly cheesy kind of way) but it's really good. The line "At everything I do just enough, and everything I wanted to just enough, and everything I put you through just enough to know he don't want me, oh you better wise up girl, you better get smart you better hide your heart" marks a familiar groove/melody routine that Rickie's settled into for this album. I really enjoy it though.

"Rorschachs: Theme for the Pope" is a different kind of experiment with pleasant Spanish guitar, humming and accordion. Beautiful instrumental. "The Unsigned Painting/The Weird Beast" is probably the weird song here. At first it's typical soft piano balladry with the "There must be a golden frame coming to me 'cuz where are you?" part, then the song suddenly changes with soft elegant vibes, and mellow talking vocals telling a story of a beast. Afterwards, the vocals change with the "Someday" part (I think she says "Someday"- I'm getting confused by this point and I apologize if my lyrics aren't right) and the vocals after this get somewhat messy and all over the place for about a minute before the song ends. Still a good song though.

Is this Rickie Lee Jones best album? No way. That would be Pirates in my opinion, but the Magazine is good too.


Girl At Her Volcano
Girl At Her Volcano
Price: $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars girl playing strong!, February 7, 2016
This review is from: Girl At Her Volcano (MP3 Music)
Girl At Her Volcano is a short LP and not an actual album, which explains why it's so short. Some of it is live too. You should be able to notice the live material from the studio instantly.

"Lush Life" starts off with some of Rickie's unique bluesy style of vocals making me dream of a stroll down city streets late at night. The piano really puts me in a hazy mood. Rickie sings like she does from her Pirates album which means her vocal range is somewhat screechier than on Rickie's first album. I don't mind it much, though this song is a little too slow to really captivate me. I admire the mood. The song doesn't feel like it's written as well as usual and the piano/vocals feel sloppily and quickly thrown together. Rickie sort of set the bar high on her first two albums that she can do a lot better. A nice line occurs with "The girls I knew had sad and sullen grey faces, with distingue faces that used to be there, you could see where they'd been washed away, by too many through the day 12:00 o'clock tales.

"My Funny Valentine" is basically in the same rainy day style with the piano. I like the "Your looks are laughable, unphotographable, yet you're my favorite work of art" line (and "unphotographable" is actually a word, ha!) This time Rickie's vocals appeal to me more, whether it's because she's just singing better here or maybe I'm getting acclimated to her style. She hits the high notes in all the right spots. Really like this song. "Letter from the 9th Ward/Walk Away Renee" is a studio song, and the production's noticeably really good. It's a little strange that a heavily orchestrated pop song like this is being turned into a slower-paced lullaby with female vocals, but it's decent. Actually it's more than decent- Rickie gives it a new spin. I'm just too used to the familiar version but it's okay.

"Something Cool" is in the same style as "Lush Life", however the piano feels more lounge-y and appropriate of dinner party music. Meh, not something I really like. Guess I'm just not in the right mood and admittedly I'm *not* in the right mood. I'm about to start up a Super Bowl party in a few hours! "A cigarette? No I don't smoke them as a rule, but I'll have one it might be fun with something, I'll bet you'll never imagine but I once had a house with so many rooms I couldn't count them all, yeah I know you wouldn't imagine but I had 15 different guys who would beg and beg to take me to a ball, and I know you wouldn't picture me the time I went to Paris in the fall, oh who would think the guy I loved was quite so handsome and quite so tall" is a nice line (but don't let it encourage youngsters to smoke darn it!), however this album is all about focusing on Rickie's voice and less about her lyrics. That's another thing to keep in mind. This song's okay but again, it's too mellow for me to really feel absorbed into it. Maybe playing it on a late night while it's raining would help me feel it better. "He's just a guy who stopped to buy me something cool" finishes off the song delicately.

"Under the Boardwalk" is another cover song. This one isn't nearly as interesting as "Walk Away Renee". Not only does Rickie's voice feel inappropriate for a song like this, but the tone is much happier and tropical which takes me out of the mood. The male vocals improve it somewhat but it's still out of place. "Rainbow Sleeves" has cleaner production which is a clear indication it's a studio song. The moody lullaby piano in the beginning is really pretty and I like the line "You used to dream yourself away each night to places that you'd never been, on wings made of wishes that you whispered to yourself, back when every night the moon and you would sweep away to places that you knew where you'd never get the blues" (which is true, I *do* dream myself away!) This is a really tender ballad which REALLY brings out Rickie's vocal range. A highlight on the album for sure.

"Hey Bub" is a another soft ballad (this one even softer than "Rainbow Sleeves") about a man who'll take care of Rickie Lee Jones ("I would call him "Hey Bub" he had a little place he kept for me, and he would tell me boy we were so in love, he moved us to a home there, a place where he'd take care of me, and I'd always know where he'd be"). The song has its share of great moments despite being only 2 minutes, such as the uplifting piano playing and Rickie's voice being really beautiful. Supposedly this song was meant for Rickie's first album and I can totally picture it being on that album. "So Long" is another 2-minute song with especially pretty/tender vocals from Rickie. I think it's a pretty decent song but at 2 minutes it doesn't make much of an impression. Perhaps "Hey Bub" and "So Long" should have been together as one song which would've been a cool idea (not that I think Rickie would've been onboard for that one since it's pretty weird!)

Overall Girl At Her Volcano is disappointing because it feels like a mish mash of ideas blending live and studio together that doesn't really work because the live/studio stuff has two entirely different moods, and plus the LP's way too short at 28 minutes. Otherwise I'd still recommend it for those looking to complete their Rickie Lee Jones collection.


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
DVD
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars what a wife, February 7, 2016
This review is from: Gone Girl (Amazon Video)
I never would've guessed I'd be giving Gone Girl a 4-star rating based on what I think is a HORRIBLE first 35 minutes of writing. It's about a man (Ben Affleck) and his wife (Rosamund Pike) who are having severe relationship issues, but put on a front and pretend everything's okay. Rosamund's significantly smarter and more successful than Ben is, so she takes care of all the finances. She's the one who's in control.

The first 35 minutes or so is so horrible because the writing is veeeeeeeeery slow. All we see during this time is Ben and Rosamund going to fancy dinner parties and finding themselves in sudden romantic/sexual situations. They both come across as the snotty/high and mighty rich type which rubbed me the wrong way and made me *strongly* believe Ben and Rosamund were the wrong actors/actresses for the film. I even thought about turning the movie off because it didn't appear to be going anywhere, however...

Soemthing really amazing happens an hour in. Perhaps the most amazing thing I've seen in a movie in years, in fact. The story is that Rosamund went missing and the cops are constantly pestering Ben for clues about her disappearance because all signs indicate Ben's behind it all. He should be arrested on the spot. It appears that someone has kidnapped Rosamund extremely carefully as to cover their tracks. The story becomes so well-known that hundreds in town protest in Ben's front yard and want him arrested because the clues make him look incredibly guilty, and Ben not really caring isn't helping matters. Even when Ben gives a speech to plead his innocence nobody believes him, so the people continue hanging around. This makes it hard for his sister (Carrie Coon) to walk to the front door, and she too has trouble believing Ben since he was sleeping around with other women.

Now this next part is a spoiler and I recommend NOT reading it if you haven't seen the movie, but the thing is I feel like I have to mention it since it occurs in the middle of the movie when the storyline goes in another direction, and not describing it would make my review feel incomplete. Here it is-

Turns out Rosamund staged her disappearance, and she did it in a way that makes Ben look very guilty. This segment shows how Rosamund goes *way above and beyond* what any normal-thinking person would do as a sick prank or well, not even a prank. She MEANT to stage her disappearance and death in a mean-spirited way to get revenge on her husband. This is an *extremely* appealing piece of writing. Rosamund did everything from smearing blood on the floor just the right way to having a picture on the shelf positioned just enough so as to show a supposed "struggle" between Ben and Rosamund took place, which would have shaken the picture and made it fall. Who would ever be able to think THIS far ahead in staging their own death/disappearance while making the other person look guilty! It's really one of the most carefully planned staged murders/kidnaps I've ever seen, haha.

It makes me wonder just how much hatred Rosamund must've been keeping inside to go through with such a plan. Being incredibly smart and able to pull something like this off is one thing, but the kind of anger that was building inside of her? And the writing's so memorable it makes it look like Rosamund's being somewhat reasonable here, since she is the good housewife who never did anything to disappoint her husband!

Well for the second half of the movie (and I seriously hope you didn't turn it off before then, but I'd understand if you did given how boring the first 35 minutes are) Rosamund's hiding in a small building somewhere in the country with swimming pools and a nosey talkative neighbor (Emily Ratajkowski) who turns out to be suspicious (which caught me by surprise) the moment she finds out Rosamund is hoarding money during a game of miniature golf. Other characters come into the picture including Neil Patrick Harris who's apparently an old boyfriend of Rosamund's who's very nice to her.

Another SPOILER about the ending. I almost wish Rosamund had stayed in hiding the whole time and planned yet *another* elaborate trick to stay away from both the cops and Ben. Wow that would've been something but I certainly won't complain about the writing and storyline direction the way it is. Perhaps Ben Affleck should have shown more concern that his wife was missing in the beginning. This *did* make him look suspicious whenever he was questioned heavily by the cops. He was just too quiet and calm, though I guess you could interpret this as depressed (or later on when it's revealed what Rosamund's like and what she's capable of, he just didn't care about his wife given the unusual kind of relationship they had).

Moments of Gone Girl are dark comedy but the movie doesn't mention this in the description. It just says the movie is drama/murder mystery. I highly recommend watching Gone Girl but a lot of patience on your part is required as the story builds really slowly.


Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma
Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma
8 used & new from $20.87

5.0 out of 5 stars finally!, February 6, 2016
Infinite Rider On the Big Dogma (what in the world? lol) is uh, a late 70's Michael Nesmith album! Let's listen and see what it sounds like. Man I'm just going crazy here guys! Michael Nesmith is rockin' my daily playlists, hehe.

Oh yeah, "Dance!" is an appropriate way to open the album! A dance song with disco sounds... how typical of the late 70's. "I'm stuck in the freeway, I'm stuck in the woods" is a funny line the way Michael sings it. He sings in a different voice than usual. This style is raw, hoarse and bluesy. Drastically different from Michael's previous albums (no orchestrated soundtracks or tropical themes here bubs!) Love the aggressive guitar playing. Yes even though this is a dance song and the title is called "Dance", this could probably pass for hard rock. The production reminds me of early 70's Elton John, and particularly "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting".

"Magic" is a tender lullaby ballad with an almost Frankie Valli singing style. The song even sounds 50's-ish. "You know I love you, look in my eyes, you know I love you, it's paradise". Really good melody. "If you believe it'll always come true, that's the magic of love, I keep believing I'll always have you, that's the magic of trust". So touching, haha. You know what this melody reminds me of? "When a Man Loves a Woman", the Percy Sledge tune! "Tonite" has a REALLY cool bouncy rhythm! Yes this is certainly disco influenced, with a short and snappy vocal melody. Lyrics are funny too- "Everyone is made out of little thin lines, sometimes their fingers are blue, mine too". This melody also briefly has some weird outer space synths... I think they're synths! This instrument should have been utilized more, but then again who can possibly resist the vocal melody which is what's most fascinating here?

Oh finally, sanity! Well I mean similarities, hehe. That similar sound to Stephen Stills voice returns here (on "Flying"). I commented that Michael reminds me of Stills on previous reviews. "I was playing a solo on my electric guitar, next thing I know I'm sailing around through the air!" "I'm flying I'm flying I'm flying what more can I say! It's a thrill beyond words, it completely captures the day". This melody has a way of being soothingly emotional. Oh and the keyboards are a good addition too. I almost want to try flying on a night like this! Michael makes it sound possible. "Silks and satins and velvet soft evenings and penthouses nights, way down below me the maze of the city streets shine, I hear the soul and the heart of the city it pounds, while I fly up here I'm 2,000 feet above ground!"

"Carioca" is a different kind of soothe. Of the romantic balladry variety with the smell of gardenias and sailing off to magical lands. "Dancing and dancing all night to that blue carioca!" I actually LOVE this album so far. The songwriting is really strong, as is the instrumentation. Michael knows how to write music. Why is this album so unknown then? Who can we blame for this mishap? I blame you! Nah hehe. I don't blame you. What's fascinating is that Michael likes to take several genres and mix them together. So a song like "Carioca" has elements of several types of music which he borrows and uses in a new and enjoyable way.

"Cruisin" is a great cover song of the Jefferson Starship song... no wait, it's not that song at all. Instead this tune features one of the sexiest and grooviest tunes ever! Listen to that *amazing* groove. Man I feel like taking a trip to the bedroom if you get what I mean, hehe. Really unique song seriously. Really impressive! I almost get the feeling this isn't a great leap from something Frank Zappa was doing at the time. Unfortunately nobody remembers this but everyone loves Zappa. What an unfair world we live in!

"Factions" is next. "She grew out of her pants she's a little too advanced she's the daughter of rock and roll, she's a lot more aware of the things that weren't there before the light of the music made them show!" is a HILARIOUS line! Somebody sure is growing up in a hurry! Another bluesy/heavy rocker. Actually Molly Hatchet! THAT'S what this reminds me of! Love the jumpy rhythm and highly memorable vocal style. Oh and the slide! Who can resist that! "And it seems kind of bad that they both feel misled just because of rock and roll, when all they gotta do is give each other room just like it says in rock and roll!" is a terrific line that emphasizes fun. I like how the lyrics are about a young man and woman both headed towards a life of rock and roll, but I picture this in a dance setting with a cloud of haze and confusion looming in the air.

"Light" takes us down a path of melancholy reflections. Strong vocal melody but the sax is out of place. Well actually maybe not. After all Michael likes to bring in many different instruments and use them however he darn well pleases (very respectable decision might I add). For some reason certain parts of this melody remind me of Jackson Browne. Jackson Browne and... somebody else. Darn that sax! Okay the sax needs to go, haha. I like it but meh, it feels out of place.

"Horserace!" Place your bets! Whoa immediately the verse melody reminds me of a legendary favorite of mine- Dave Edmunds! Listen to Dave's late 70's music and then this... see that, they sound alike! "Betting on beauty to win!" This is one weird idea for a song. Singing about horse racing. Who does that? Well I support variety of all shapes and sizes, so I inadvertently support this. The lyrics sort of stink though. Michael sings the same way someone would describe why they have the winning horse... with disco beats. What horse is fueled by disco? Well wait, that one horse *did* win the triple crown during the disco era (Affirmed was his name). Hmmm.

"Capsule" opens with a catchy groove. Sort of a slow-paced borderline romantic type of groove. I can feel it man! "Drift away!" "Hello people 100 years from now, it might not make much different but let me tell you anyhow, let me tell you of the planet and what we're doing now, it really is bizarre enough to make me take it slow, there are cartoon creations made of people and of lines, and they dance around the TV and they dance around our minds, there are a bunch of different holy men pointing different ways" is a REALLY cool line, as are the soothing "Ooooh oooh oooh" background vocals. I can't quite describe this tune. Michael likes singing about women. Whether these are real women or fictional that's something I don't know the answer to. "Marie she looked like Linda with 50 extra teeth, Linda made the cover of a family magazine, and Bonnie was the singer that made both of them dream, but they all lost to disco the current mating machine". "As long as I can keep moving guess I'll keep up with the scene". Too bad you didn't make a bigger splash on the scene Michael. You'd be well-known and millions would like your music a lot!

This album is WAY too fascinating to give it anything less than 5 stars. Michael Nesmith is blowing me away. Does he have any bad albums? Maybe, I don't want to know. It's inevitable that all musicians release bad music. Didn't happen on Infinite on the Big Dogma and that's all that matters.


American Sniper
American Sniper
DVD
Price: $14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real american, February 5, 2016
This review is from: American Sniper (Amazon Video)
I finally watched American Sniper tonight, the film that has won countless awards and is recognized as a masterpiece by millions. Does it live up to the hype? For the most part, I'd say it does. However...

Compared to most war films American Sniper probably isn't as good. However the way it portrays the real life American sniper Chris Kyle, whether accurately or not (that's up to debate apparently, though don't ask me which events really happened and which ones are fabricated). Bradley Cooper does a tremendous job portraying the many war tours Chris Kyle chose to persevere. Talk about an *extremely* dangerous job. Geez, this movie is proof I don't have what it takes to be a soldier in a million years.

Anyway there's several memorable scenes involving Chris' tour in Iraq. The best scenes are the ones where Bradley and his troop are having dinner with an Iraqi family, and after the husband suspiciously drops his silverware on the floor Bradley senses something isn't right about the guy, so he explores his house and discovers bombs under the floorboards when bringing up the carpet. Another memorable scene is the one that shows a little boy picking up a bazooka after Bradley snipes the Iraqi soldier preparing to use the gun, and Bradley's desperately hoping the boy doesn't fire the weapon so he doesn't have to wipe out a child. Other memorable scenes involve Bradley's best friends getting shot and killed and how this messes with Bradley's mind. A really dramatic ordeal Bradley had to go through.

The movie works like this- Bradley comes home after serving a tour, spends time with his wife (played by Sienna Miller) and children, goes back for another tour, and each time he returns the relationship with his family deteriorates as Bradley succumbs to post traumatic stress disorder. This affects his marriage to the point Sienna threatens to leave him at one point, though perhaps she's understanding of the situation given the short phone calls the two have while Bradley's in the middle of a conflict and she's able to overhear the gunfire and explosions in the background. This is why she was so adamant that Bradley stay home for good because let's be honest, a wife/mother can't handle that kind of stress for a long period of time. I like how every time Bradley returns for another tour, his troop mates act strange. They were obviously traumatized and never recovered from the things they noticed and had to do to protect themselves and their troop from the first tour.

The ending of the movie isn't very good. SPOILERS! It doesn't show how Chris Kyle dies. Instead the final scene fades showing Sienna closing the front door of their house after getting a weird feeling watching Bradley jump in a car with another veteran. She somehow knew this was going to be the final time she sees her husband alive. Instead of showing how Bradley/Chris dies, a message appears on screen that says he died while trying to help a soldier. Sort of disappointing, however the eerily quiet credits at the end is totally fitting and understandable given everything he went through.

The movie only occasionally touches on post traumatic stress disorder, and focuses more on the kind of man Chris Kyle was. He was *very* patriotic according to this movie and would go to the ends of the earth to defend the country he loves. Even Sienna didn't understand his devotion to our country. In the beginning the way he was able to win over his wife even though she was skeptical of soldiers based on her experience with men serving their country is good writing. Basically the movie focuses on Bradley positioned on rooftops sniping the bad Iraqis from a distance while the rest of the troop fight below by driving through dangerous territory, entering abandoned buildings and questioning anything suspicious. Only occasionally does Bradley join them on the ground. Lots of gunfire and explosions all over the place. The movie does a good job (at least in my opinion, I could be wrong I admit) showing the war in Iraq and just how crazy and chaotic it is over there.

Really fantastic moving. Best war movie ever? Nah I wouldn't go that far, but it certainly is compelling enough to understand the hype surrounding it. We just needed a better ending even though it would've been hard to watch. Yes it stinks that someone who accomplished so much and helped so many had to die in such a crappy way, but I think it needed to be shown for closure.


Wolves
Wolves
DVD ~ Lucas Till
Price: $12.05
54 used & new from $3.00

4.0 out of 5 stars howlin' through the woods, February 5, 2016
This review is from: Wolves (DVD)
Usually I think werewolf movies are silly and not scary whatsoever, but Wolves manages to draw me in with a fairly compelling story, a decent amount of action/fight scenes, and the setting taking place in the farmlands was a lot better than the clichéd suburban neighborhood areas I'm used to seeing. It's about a man played by Lucas Till who has werewolf-changing abilities, but he doesn't know how to manage them safely or what they mean. For example when he sees two men beating on a woman and laughing about it, he goes ballistic and physically beats the heck out of them. We even see blood flying which is cool. He can't control himself!

Eventually Lucas ends up spending time in bars and farmlands figuring out what the deal is with his wolf transformations, when he meets an older gentlemen (John Pyper Ferguson) who possess the same skills and a girl (bartender) named Merritt Patterson who we eventually learn is related to werewolf folks and understands Lucas. The look in John Pyper's eyes alarms Lucas before suddenly disappearing (but not before throwing a dart at a map hanging on a wall showing the location Lucas needs to travel). Turns out there's a whole heritage of people who can change into werewolves, and with the help of Merritt Patterson and others, Lucas learns who's on the good side and who's on the bad (Jason Momoa being on the bad side).

While the storyline is incredibly silly and there's no way around that one, at least the fights that take place along the way are memorable. The fight at the end is really good, as is the story. You'd have to be a werewolf fanatic to grasp all the strange little ins and outs of the story so this means I was only able to follow along to certain key points. Or in other words, recognize that Merritt Patterson and Stephen McHattie's characters are there to take in Lucas so he can chip in around the farm doing work and that Jason showing a particularly nasty demeanor and John Pyper's character being a little strange had their reasons in relation to Lucas' parents.

The acting is pretty good overall and comparable to the Twilight Saga series but with greater emphasis on action, story and character development instead of romance. The romance that takes place here is short and barely happens which is how I prefer it. I do however wonder what would've happened had Lucas taken Miriam McDonald's character home and never gave a glance to Merritt, haha! Recommended for werewolf lovers.


The Prison
The Prison
6 used & new from $20.99

5.0 out of 5 stars no prison here... unless prison is a field of dandelions, February 4, 2016
This review is from: The Prison (Audio CD)
Ah, a Michael Nesmith soundtrack. Well that's certainly interesting- a musician from a feel good pop band taking himself seriously enough to lay down something sweeping. Let's see what it's like.

"Opening Theme (Life the Unsuspecting Captive)" has a really beautiful and dare I say tear-jerking vocal melody? Yup I'm going to say it! The line "Chains of desire bind so fastly to the earth" just sounds so sincere I can't help but love it. Never thought Michael could sing so powerfully but he pulls it off. This is the ultimate stage performance of a moment right here (and I can totally see Michael singing this on stage as well).

This song drifts smoothly into "Dance Between the Raindrops" with an almost looping acoustic guitar line. The song starts off slowly but picks up in a country rockin' style during the "There is no way out of everywhere" part. Everything about this song is just lovely and about as opposite of a prison as one could imagine. Strange! Maybe if we think of the pleasantness of the melody and guitar in terms of relating to a prison, it could describe a prisoner hoping and dreaming of a better place. Or heck, not just a prison but anyone feeling trapped somewhere. I don't know, I'm either stating the obvious or way off the point!

"Elusive Ragings" arrives next without a break in between which is another incredibly smooth transition between songs. Another country song with softer vocals this time. Like the "Despair cries "Retreat!" then stands to watch, then cascading campaigning the bright tones of relief" line. This is when the tone temporarily turns playful. Love the sailing synths that play quietly in the background. Makes me think of geese playing. This song has a way of absorbing me into its beauty.

"Waking Mystery" is next. Wow these songs instantly flow directly into the next and this seems to be the case for the entire album. What a wonderful idea! It's almost like there's no breaks. This song has a more slow dance quality to it after a night of romance in the dining hall. I'm starting to think this album is like Camel's the Snow Goose but with vocals. Not so much in the arrangements which are drastically different (Camel is a progressive rock band with heavy electric guitars, keyboards and synths) but in atmosphere I feel a similarity.

I don't quite think these vocals are suitable for a lounge act because they're too memorable and able to interest me, which is something that true lounge can't quite produce for me personally. Nah this is a blend of dreaminess and country. It works really good. "The morning's near, confrontation conquers fear, hope arouses truth unfolds, the child of God as man is whole" is a good line. I really love this vocal melody and bass but I can't figure out why. Not just any musician can create something this nonchalantly soothing and expect it to satisfy me! This is a weird thing to say, but the way Michael sings reminds me of both Neil Diamond and Neil Young combined. Yeah that's right- the two big time Neil's. Together as one! This flows right into the cowboy-paced "Hear Me Calling?" with nice piano. Really soft ballad until a couple key points ("Showing you at long last, the long arms of truth"). Love the way it drifts into the sunset during the repeating of the "hear me calling" at the end.

"Marie's Theme" has some really good guitar playing and bass in the beginning before the vocals come in. This vocal melody sounds familiar. Not sure if the melody is recycled from a previous song on the album or maybe it just sounds so fitting I'm only thinking I heard a similar melody earlier. "With no real direction, just a simple reflection" Really pleasant mood with the dreamy synths after the first verse melody is over. When the vocals return, well to be honest the album sort of reveals a flaw- that being this song isn't meant to be 12 minutes long because it gets into a groove of repeating the "Hidden behind all the logic one finds without truth" line WAY too many times. It's not a bad melody but it's really ridiculously repetitive. How many times does this line repeat? Yikes! STOP IT MICHAEL! Bad idea, haha. It's not like the beautiful arrangements make it more listenable either because the vocals are so upfront you're being bombarded with it.

Oh goodness, it's finally over! Now we get one more song fittingly titled "Closing Theme". This is another upbeat country tune with sincere vocals. "Oh for the price of the wisdom sublime" is beautiful for the way the pace slows down for this part. I really love Michael's style of country. The arrangements are really amazing throughout the album and especially beautiful on this song. Piano, bass, acoustic guitar, synths... this album is just beautiful. I love the way "Closing Theme" builds into the amazing acoustic part two minutes before the album finally winds down and ends. That just feels a cherry blossom breathing with life. Perhaps the guitar during the very final minute is meh.

The only hiccup is the repetitive part at the end of "Marie's Theme". Otherwise this strikes me as an album that was *really* carefully planned and Michael went over everything several times to make sure the results were almost flawless... and you know, other than *ahem* (that one moment!) this album arguably IS flawless!


From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing
From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing
11 used & new from $11.85

5.0 out of 5 stars goin' to the beach and havin' a drink, February 3, 2016
I'm stepping away from the norm tonight! Oh yeah baby, I'm reviewing an artist I've never heard before (well I mean, other than his Monkees tunes that I'm familiar with of course, but I think we all know those tunes since they're classic!) You see I just found out a few minutes ago that Michael Nesmith was a member of the Monkees. I didn't know this. Not sure why he never had a more successful solo career in the 70's. I'm sure there's a reason and I just don't know the answer to it.

Anyway "Rio" opens this album and it sounds *nothing at all* like the Monkees. No, this is a laidback tropical beach music for your relaxing satisfaction! It's somewhere in between county and soft rock with gentle female vocals in the background. Think Jimmy Buffett actually. Not much different from Buffett, but the guitar playing seems to interest me in this song a lot more than your typical Buffett tune. That slide guitar has a bit of a George Harrison vibe too which I admire.

Is "Rio" overlong? Yeah it is, I'm afraid, by a couple minutes. Nobody wants to listen to this stuff for over 6 minutes. Well then again if you're sitting by the pool with a refreshing drink by your side and having content conversations with your partner (goodness I miss summer though February's okay too since it means summer's getting one month closer!) this music would be ideal to you. But the guitar is tastefully played at least. For some reason the vocals remind me of Willie Nelson but I'm probably crazy there. I think crazy sometimes! That's how I keep my sanity, heh. The end of this song makes me think of waves drifting off into darkness. Sort of eerie.

"Casablanca Moonlight" continues the tropical-ness. This is more like Don Henley/Eagles soft rock, however the vocal melody is bouncy enough to keep me interested. By bouncy I mean, it slightly steps away from the beaten track. Slightly funky bass work is admirable. What the? A violin? Now that's pretty cool admittedly. "It allllll takes me home" is a beautifully sung line, though it's interesting how Michael raises his vocal range when repeating the line. The verse melody steals the show though and the unpredictability of the violin. I mean who would've guessed the violin on an album like this? "Ladies of the island, ladies of estate, mingle close and dance the rhumba". I don't feel this song is overlong at all especially with such a pretty violin line at the end.

"More Than We Imagine" is almost a normal country song but it has a certain charm... a certain boost in the songwriting, that slightly elevates it above your typical country song. I can only guess Michael being associated with such a classic pop band like the Monkees gives this album an extra punch. Or perhaps it just means I'm more willing to listen to it based on his Monkees success. Who knows really! Sometimes it's good not to overthink these things. "And more than we ever can imagine, life extends beyond our dreams, it spreads out its lasting promises and shelters with its wing" is a line that has a sense of sincerity to it that I love.

"Navajo Trail" opens reminding me of Steve Miller's... oh man I can't remember the song now. Geez I hate when that happens. Let me grab my copy of Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits. "Wild Mountain Honey!" I think that's the song. Or it could be "Wintertime". I don't exactly brush up on my Steve Miller on a daily basis folks! Only the rhythm and mysterious atmosphere share connections to the Steve Miller song because otherwise the female vocals here put an image in my head of cowboys riding through snowy Rocky mountains on a clear starry skied night in search of food and water. It's a unique imagery however. Lonely wandering cowboy country rock. The guitar, female vocals and chugging bass all create a really unique tune here.

"We Are Awake" has really good Stephen Stills-like vocals with piano playing, harmonica, funky drumming, bass and sparse female vocals. Really good songwriting once again. The thumping pace is really appealing. Not quite country or rock- somewhere in between. This song feels fuller than the other songs. "Wisdom Has Its Way" has more Stephen Stills similarities in the vocals but the melody itself is really strong. Another song that's hard to figure what it is exactly. There's country and rock blending naturally. Seems like Michael Nesmith has a knack for knowing how to blend the two. I get the feeling Michael's trying to sing something meaningful here with the lyrics. "The echoes of the anguished are enraging, to intellects who stare at baseless woe, while answers are successfully evading, the foolishness of those who think they know". Wow, really intelligently said but I'm one of the fools apparently since I'm not sure what these lyrics mean.

"Love's First Kiss" is nothing special but, you know, there *is* something special about it. Must be the really likeable and carefree vibes and gentle vocals. The guitar playing appears in all the right spots too. "It had come to bless love's first kiss, to keep romance alive!" For some reason the opening guitar lines of "The Other Room" remind me of Joe Walsh, however the rest of the song is very un-Joe Walsh like. It's now some kind of upbeat country tune with tasty guitar lines behind the vocals (some of the guitar rocks, other times... yup you guessed it, sounds country). I really like this vocal melody a lot.

Well this is certainly unexpected! A REALLY good album by a musician I'm listening to for the first time tonight. Michael Nesmith, you did it man! It's no Monkees, but it's good at being a laidback late 70's mix of country and rock.


Peppermint Candy Canes 3-12 ct boxes
Peppermint Candy Canes 3-12 ct boxes
Offered by Sunny Day Dealz
Price: $9.49
6 used & new from $9.49

4.0 out of 5 stars still tasty, February 3, 2016
Early February. This is that time of year people start finishing up their candy canes or throwing them away because certain folks believe they've become sticky and inedible, however I recommend eating them anyway. Even if they're broken and shoved in the back of the snack cabinet, pull them out and eat them. Why? Because they're still fresh. It takes a lot longer than 2 months for candy canes to go bad, unless you live in a rat or bug infested house that is. No I wouldn't eat anything that a rodent or bug touched either. Totally acceptable in this case. The cold air helps preserve the freshness of candy canes. Oh and don't tell me you don't have leftover candy canes either. We all do! These are always the very last candy to leave the Christmas shelf. Spangler Candy Company is a top notch candy cane company.


Eulogy
Eulogy
DVD ~ Ray Romano
Price: $6.59
137 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars this one's funny!, February 3, 2016
This review is from: Eulogy (DVD)
Whoa I wasn't expecting Eulogy to be so consistently funny and awesome! This is a really mean-spirited, dirty, immature, disrespectful and zany type of comedy that won't be for everybody. I loved it though!

I can't believe I didn't recognize Zooey Deschanel despite being the star of the movie until I came online and had to read the cast who starred in the film, haha. Silly me. She looks so young here, that's probably why I didn't recognize her face. Anyway usually I hate Ray Romano but he's hilariously offensive in Eulogy. He acts like a bum and doesn't know what he says- being a buffoon comes natural! Hank Azaria is another awesome character, as are the sisters and others (Famke Janssen, Kelly Preston and Debra Winger). The mother is played by Micole Mercurio... I *think*. There's a lot of characters so I might be wrong about her name. My personal favorite characters are the two twin boys (Ray's kids) because they're REALLY funny!

The story is about a father/husband (played by Rip Torn... is that actually his name? LOL!) who dies and the entire family has to come together for his funeral. The story mainly takes place the day before the funeral while everyone's at home... acting about as offbeat, irrational and disrespectful as possible. First of all there's two women who drop by that love each another, and the one sister won't stop making fun of the two ladies and criticize them at every opportunity. LOVED the dinner fight! The two twin boys I mention above have several antics up their sleeves such as smearing a cake (assuming it's a birthday cake), tossing a raw egg across the faces of the other kids in a little game, and wanting to know more/get closer to the one woman who loves the other lady. Ray Romano offends the two ladies as well.

Despite how outrageous this comedy is, it finds a way of being steadily well-written and enjoyable the whole way through. It never really lets up much, except perhaps near the middle when the adults decide to do a lot of drugs in the basement which leads to funny stories being sold (and a story that couldn't be told due to the influence of drugs resulting in memory loss, hehe). Meanwhile Zooey finds love with childhood friend Jesse Bradford's character, and this leads to one of the funniest scenes in the movie when the mother can't handle her disrespectful family anymore and decides to jump out of the car and kill herself... but she happens to land on top of Zooey and Jesse while they're making love in a field. She gets torn up but reappears for more funny scenes later.

I was preparing myself for the possibility of Rip's character either waking up or discovering that he was faking his funeral for a variety of reasons (hint hint, to get away from his crazy family!) but he never does. Instead, well, let's just say he takes a boat ride and the flaming arrows will help him on his way! And the preacher breaking down at Rip's funeral? Classic stuff. And the beautiful piano playing suddenly interrupted? Yes, that scene's extremely good too.

However at the end of the day there is a well-meaning moral to this story. Zooey does make a legitimate effort to keep the family together enough to assure they end up caring about the father which is why she continues to interview her family so they can find *some* kind of compliment to say about their father. Apparently there was nothing good to say about the guy, perhaps rightfully so after we see the hilarious video of Rip's farewell message while the family is going through with the will reading.

All the characters are highly memorable and I was really impressed with the writing. There's all kinds of little jokes that you probably won't catch the first time you watch Eulogy, so you'll need to watch it a couple more times to catch everything. We need more comedies like this one!


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