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David Girod RSS Feed (Westminster, Maryland)

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Stand By Me (Special Edition)
Stand By Me (Special Edition)
DVD ~ Wil Wheaton
Price: $5.00
251 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film and a Great King Adaptation, February 25, 2015
I remember catching this in the theater when I was quite a bit closer to the age of the film's heroes, and loving the movie. I remember too being shocked that it was based on a Stephen King story?!?! Having now shown this film to my own kids, it's great to see that this story carries an impact, and has aged so well.

I'm sure that most people are familiar with this film's basic plot, but if you aren't....quit reading reviews!! Go into this film knowing as little as possible and just sit back and enjoy. The basic story of four boys setting off one summer day to find the dead body of a kid struck by a train while picking berries will have you laughing one moment and welling up the next. "Stand By Me" is a story about growing up, about dealing with death, friendship and relationships, capturing those pre-teen/early teen years which seem like they'll never end but seem to end too quickly in hindsight. All set to a fantastic soundtrack.

One of the best King adaptations, and a film that I'll return to quite often and always seem to find something new with each viewing. Highly recommended.

Grave Encounters
Grave Encounters
DVD ~ Sean Rogerson
Price: $17.99
18 used & new from $11.63

2.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise Ruined By the Execution, February 24, 2015
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This review is from: Grave Encounters (DVD)
"Grave Encounters" starts pretty strong, and if you happen to be a fan of Zak Bagans and his "Ghost Adventures" TV show, you will love the first 20 minutes or so of this movie as it's a spot-on parody. "Grave Encounters" begins losing steam about 30 minutes in and never really recovers.

"Grave Encounters" is another found footage horror film, this time a "reality" TV crew is investigating an abandoned insane asylum, when their tapes are found and sent to their network. The footage is then presented as if this were an episode, the final episode, of the show. We soon learn that the host and crew are just in it to make a campy show, and don't really believe in ghosts or hauntings. They pay an actor to pretend he's a psychic, and a gardener to say that he's seen a ghost on the grounds, and the asylum handyman agrees to lock them in for the night, promising to return and unlock the doors in the morning. Once the crew gets locked in, strange things begin to happen, and they begin to hear voices and noises coming from the upper floors, and it seems like something in the asylum is not going to let them leave.

I really like the premise of "Grave Encounters", and enjoyed the performances in the film. Where the problem lies in the film is that it simply takes way too long to get to the creepy parts, and when they finally start with the scares, they are simply repetitive. They crew hears a strange noise or voice, go to investigate, something scares them and the run into a room. Deduct a crew member from each scene, and repeat, and repeat and repeat. By the 70 minute mark all horror is gone, and you just wish people would stop screaming and that the camera would settle down.

DVD ~ Roger Edwards
Price: $13.99
31 used & new from $9.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Addition for my Annual Halloween Playlist, February 24, 2015
This review is from: Exists (DVD)
As a kid I watched an episode of the TV show "In Search Of..." about Bigfoot, and it scared the hell out of me! From that moment on I became a fan of the mythical monster, and I've watched almost any/every movie dealing with the creature that I could get my hands my on; "The Legend of Bigfoot", "Abominable", "The Legend of Boggy Creek" etc. and I usually came away from the film less than thrilled.

I will say that I almost turned off "Exists" within the first five minutes. I'm so tired of the "found footage" horror film, it's just a lazy gimmick whose novelty wore off about a decade ago, but I hung in there. Two brothers and their three friends are heading deep into the woods to spend a weekend at their uncle's old cabin, While on the road they run into something on the highway, and thinking it was a deer or a dog, they jump back in their jeep and move on, despite hearing what sounds like screams coming from the woods around them. The weekend soon takes a nasty turn as they realize something in the woods is stalking them, and it doesn't want them to leave.

One common thread I've found in most Bigfoot horror movies is that they rarely have the monster actually menace anyone beyond making noises off screen, and that any and all scares are saved for the climax. That isn't the case with "Exists", about 10 minutes into the movie the Bigfoot attacks, and it doesn't let up for the rest of the film. There is plenty of tension and suspense in the movie, with a ton of jump scares. The creature F/X are solid, the kills are fairly bloodless, so if you are a gore-hound, you may be disappointed with that aspect. I found the entire film genuinely creepy, and lots of fun. This one is definitely going into my regular Halloween playlist.

Omen IV: The Awakening
Omen IV: The Awakening
DVD ~ Faye Grant
Price: $9.98
31 used & new from $2.22

2.0 out of 5 stars Tepid TV Movie Which My Have Some Similarities to "The Omen", February 23, 2015
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This review is from: Omen IV: The Awakening (DVD)
This is a bad movie, and not a so-bad-it's-good movie, it's just a bore. I could tear this up and down, and as I see by quite a few other reviewers here, my sentiments about this film seem to be shared by quite a few others.

"The Awakening" begins with a young married couple adopting a little girl from an church run orphanage. After not being able to have children they are excited to bring home this little baby, but almost immediately things go wrong when, at the baby's christening, she begins screaming and crying until the mother carries her out. The baby scratches the mother, and the wound is almost immediately infected, and as the child grows strange things always seem to happen around her. She has no friends, she is the bully's bully at school and horror of horrors, she wrecks a psychic fair!! What is a psychic fair...well apparently it's where you set up various flammable kiosks in the middle of Winter and tell fortunes or snap aura photographs? The mother begins to suspect her daughter isn't quite "right" and so she hires a private investigator to find her birth parents...and since this is a "Omen" movie, I'm sure you can guess where that leads?

There really isn't a reason to watch this film unless you're a completest (like me). I will say that while there is almost nothing good about this film, I did like the performance Faye Grant as the adoptive mother and Asia Viera as Delia, the adopted daughter. It's just a shame they weren't really given a whole lot to do.

Galaxy Quest
Galaxy Quest
DVD ~ Various
Price: $4.93
39 used & new from $1.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Cast & Story, February 19, 2015
This review is from: Galaxy Quest (DVD)
"Galaxy Quest" is a great ride of a movie, and if you are a fan of "Star Trek" then this is a must-see!!

As the film opens we see some behind-the-scenes action taking place at a Sci-Fi convention where the cast of a 1980's cult TV show "Galaxy Quest" is getting ready to take the stage for a Q&A. Jason Nesmith who played the commander on the show (Tim Allen) is soaking up the spotlight, and loves greeting his fans. The other cast members see this a quick way to make a buck off of their once-famous names. Nesmith is approached by a group of aliens who say that their homeworld is being threatened, he plays along with it, thinking that they are in character for the convention. When they take him up to their ship he soon realizes that they believe he is actually the commander of a star ship, and that the old TV reruns we historical documents. Gathering up the rest of his crew, Nesmith is enjoying his role as real star ship commander, until he realizes there are real stakes, and lives are on the line.

I'm not normally a Tim Allen fan, but he's perfect in this role of hammy actor suddenly forced to confront genuine danger. The entire cast is top notch with Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell as the crew of the Galaxy Quest. There are tons of great "Trek" references; (the Commander's torn shirt, the unnamed crewman going on a mission, the jiggle factor etc.) and even if you aren't a fan of "Trek", you will still be laughing right along.

Great story, great performances, and some wonderful F/X make this film a pleasure to re-visit quite often.

Cycle of the Werewolf (Signet)
Cycle of the Werewolf (Signet)
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.99
161 used & new from $2.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Quick Hit by the Master of Horror, February 18, 2015
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If you're looking for a great way to kill a lunch break, pick up "Cycle of the Werewolf". A crisp scary tale about a small town's year dealing with a Beast in their midst. I don't know if you would categorize this tale as a novella or a long short story, either way, you'll breeze through the story in an hour.

As the tale opens, it's a cold, snowy evening in January, and as the citizens of Tarker's Mill are tucking themselves in, the Beast takes it's first victim. The tale plays out with each chapter centered around each month's full moon. The body count rises, and the people of Tarker's Mill begin to wonder if they have a monster or a madman walking among them, and it seems that only 10 year Marty Coslaw may know the answer.

As you can imagine, there is almost no character development here, and honestly as I read I kept waiting for Marty and Uncle Al to play a larger role in the story (I'm sure this is because of the "Silver Bullet" film adaptation), but even our main characters are little more than secondary characters here. I guess the only character that's fleshed out to any degree is the monster (no spoilers here, so I won't name them).

If you like King's short fiction, you'll like this story. If you are looking for something with a bit more depth, you may want to pick up something else. I would like to note the artwork included in the novel. While I enjoyed the drawings, I found that their placement in the story almost always provided spoilers about how and when the monster would attack. Maybe they could push each illustration back by one page?

Battle Royale
Battle Royale
DVD ~ Chiaki Kuriyama
Price: $9.96
40 used & new from $5.24

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Rental, February 18, 2015
This review is from: Battle Royale (DVD)
I remember when the "Hunger Games" movie came out, and everyone was stating that it was a rip-off of "Battle Royale", and while I enjoyed the "Hunger Games" books (well...the first two anyway), and the films (so far), I was interested in seeing where the comparison to "Battle Royale" came from. I guess there are some parallels, like kids fighting to the death on a remote island. There are also oppressive governments' in both films, but then then you could also toss "Death Race 2000" into the mix, and that film pre-dates both of these stories by decades, and this is hardly a "new" idea, there are tons of similar stories going back ages.

As "Battle Royale" begins we learn that Japan's government has become ineffective, and that children everywhere are rebelling against authority. In order to quell this uprising, the Battle Royale is created. Every year one class is taken to a remote location where they must fight to the death. They have 3 days to eliminate their classmates, and at the end of that time, if there is not one winner, then all will die. Each student has a tracking device necklace strapped around their neck, and if at the end of three days, there is no winner, the necklace will explode.

There are a few attempts at character development, but it's not like they are fully fleshed out. There is a bit more gore in this film, and a few scenes where the brutality is pretty wicked, but if you are hoping for exploitation or a shock film, you may be disappointed. Overall, I'm glad I finally got around to renting this off of Amazon, but don't think it's a film I'll re-visit, so I'll pass on buying the DVD.

Revlon Curl Collection Heated Styling Brush
Revlon Curl Collection Heated Styling Brush
Price: $15.86
27 used & new from $15.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Quickly Heats and You'll Need the Glove, February 18, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Picked this up for my wife and daughter. I have to say they were a bit intimidated to try it once they saw the enclosed glove!! And the curler does heat up very fast, and it gets very, very hot.

After carefully using the curler, my wife did like how it gave her hair more body, she has pretty thin hair, and it's straight as a pin. But my wife is also a word-class klutz, and she is nervous using this curler.

My daughter is a bit more adventurous, and with thicker hair, the styling brush worked a bit better. She was still a tad nervous about how heated the brush became, but seems to wield it with more confidence the more she used it.

I don't think this is going to replace their regular curling iron anytime soon, but it will be put to use occasionally.

Joyland (Hard Case Crime)
Joyland (Hard Case Crime)
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.99
509 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Mystery, Great Storytelling, a Page-Turner, February 16, 2015
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I have to say I was kind of hesitant about picking up Joyland, and there's a reason I've waiting as long as I have to finally crack open this novel by King, and that's because King's "The Colorado Kid"...his first entry in the "Hard Case Crime" series. If you haven't read that novel I'm about to drop a spoiler (kind of) about that story. I loved the set-up of the earlier novel, but felt there was really no payoff, it almost felt as if "The Colorado Kid" was an unfinished novel they King provided to the publishers to fulfill some kind of contractual obligation. I was worried that "Joyland" would be something similar.

I'm happy to say that "Joyland" is a complete story, and a great story/mystery to boot. I've always been a sucker for fiction set in and around a carnival, fair or amusement park, and with "Joyland", King creates a fantastic atmosphere in which he sets a genuinely fun and creepy mystery.

Dev Jones is spending his summer off of college working in the small North Carolina beachfront amusement park called "Joyland". While trying to cope with a broken heart, Dev begins making new friends, and learning the ropes of the carny industry. While staying at a nearby boarding house, Dev befriends a young mother and her son and as the summer progresses he learns many things about Joyland; from performing for families dressed as the park's mascot, to running the ferris wheel, to learning that the Haunted House is actually haunted by the ghost of a girl that had been murdered there years before.

This was a fun page-turner, and features everything fans have come to expect from a Stephen King novel. Highly recommended.

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th (Blu-ray + DVD Combo)
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History Of Friday The 13th (Blu-ray + DVD Combo)
DVD ~ Corey Feldman
Price: $22.99
18 used & new from $20.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, February 16, 2015
"Crystal Lake Memories" is a MUST OWN documentary for every "Friday" fan. The research done and presentation of this project is simply fantastic. As a huge fan of the series, I was excited when the Hardback book came out, and spent quite a bit of time reading through each film's segment, but it cannot hold a candle to the info found on these disks.

Each film is given plenty it's own Chapter, where the cast and crew discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of making their "Friday" installment. I love hearing about how each film was reviewed upon release, the numbers each film did at the box office, and especially the recollections of the stars and the people behind the cameras.

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