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Wayne Klein "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.-Albert Einstein" RSS Feed (My Little Blue Window, USA)
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Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan [Director's Cut] [Blu-ray]
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [Director's Cut] [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ William Shatner
Price: $12.99
44 used & new from $7.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific remaster on Blu-ray (with issues fixed that dogged the previous edition) with terrific special features., July 23, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Regarded as one of the best films in the Trek series featuring the original cast, "The Wrath of Khan" was a surprise hit for Paramount produced on a fraction of the budget of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" director Nicholas Meyer ("The Seven Percent Solution", "The Day After") working with producer Harve Bennett (who worked on the script with Meyer although neither is credited--unfairly-- on the finished film as writers)and writer Jack Soward viewed all of the Trek episodes selecting the one with the most memorable nemesis for Kirk and crew.

If your edition has a yellow bar code, it is the corrected version of the Blu-ray without the duplicate scene featuring Sulu and the lip flap that occurs during that scene. As of the writing of this review, the new, corrected versions are also being shipped out to those who returned theirs to Paramount so the issue has been corrected. The packaging may have a white sticker covering the yellow bar code. I just peeled the side of it off to confirm it.

While out on a training mission with a crew, Captain Spock (the late Leonard Nimoy) and Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) receive an urgent message from Kirk's old flame Dr. Carol Marks (the late Bibi Besch) who believes that Kirk gave the order to take her experiment the Genesis Project which would terraform worlds in minutes for humans but rewrite the genetic code of anything on the planet. In reality it's Khan (the late Ricardo Montalban along with his real pecs) Kirk's nemesis from the "Star Trek" episode "Space Seed". Kirk and Khan play a game of cat and mouse battling each other with Kirk trying to prevent Khan from using Genesis as some sort of weapon.

Featuring Kirstie Alley (in her theatrical debut) and the returning cast of the series, the film captures all the excitement of the series at its best. The production design for the series is handsome as are the visual effects (although they aren't quite as detailed as the CGI used in the latest "Trek" films).

This new edition features the edits that Meyer had wanted to include for the original film (although he has dropped a line of dialog here deliberately that was on the DVD of the "Director's Cut") and the small differences actually improve an already terrific film from my perspective. Ricardo Montalban gives an impassioned performance as Khan the returning villain that matches William Shatner's performance (well restrained and perfect for the film except for one scene or two). This edition also features the original theatrical version as well both in restored editions (the "Director's Cut" has been restored--very nicely--for this edition).

The special features include a pair of commentary tracks from Meyer the second from the previous DVD with "Enterprise" writer/producer Manny Coto. We also get a terrific documentary on the making of the film "The Genesis Effect - Engineering The Wrath of Khan" along with a handful of exceptional featurettes. There's also a text commentary from Michael and Denise Okuda that was carried over from the previous DVD. Finally we get a collection of storyboards, trailers and the library computer interface from the previous DVD.


Mcdonald & Giles
Mcdonald & Giles
15 used & new from $33.92

4.0 out of 5 stars King Crimson duo produce an exceptional album of music in nicely remastered edition., July 23, 2016
This review is from: Mcdonald & Giles (Audio CD)
When King Crimson imploded, Robert Fripp carried on (temporarily) with Gregg Lake as lead vocalist and the Giles brothers on bass and drums (as session players). Ian McDonald who was responsible for co-writing most of the songs with lyricist Peter Sinfield on the debut by King Crimson quit the band after playing their last show at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Michael Giles quit, too but returned to play on "In the Wake of Poseidon" while Fripp regrouped with a new band of musicians.

McDonald and Giles made a strong album as a duo using material that McDonald had written both before and during his time in King Crimson and Giles resurrected a song written during Giles, Giles and Fripp.

The first remaster was "finished" by McDonald and Giles as Ian McDonald felt that he never got a chance to do a final mix and editing that he was happy about (one of the lines in one of the songs was changed as well because of the connotations).

This reissue sounds very nice although the previous version (released as an HDCD sounded pretty good as well) and the artwork is nicely replicated as well.

"McDonald and Giles" stands as the missing link in the King Crimson discography as the best material here would have improved KC's second.

Although Ian McDonald's vocals aren't as strong as Gregg Lake's, they aren't bad just a bit under powered compared to Lake's voice. McDonald started as a guitar player (something often overlooked because he played keyboards and reeds for KC and on other albums) so it's nice to hear him play here (although he doesn't make up for the brilliant playing of Fripp) and guests such as Steve Winwood (on organ) help fill out the sound of the duo along with Peter Giles bass playing.

Recommended.


CD mount,Xugoly Universal CD Slot Magnetic Car Mount Holder For Any Smartphone ,Fits For Iphone 6 6s Plus Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, LGG5 All Cellphone - Black
CD mount,Xugoly Universal CD Slot Magnetic Car Mount Holder For Any Smartphone ,Fits For Iphone 6 6s Plus Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, LGG5 All Cellphone - Black
Offered by Yuanzhi XU
Price: $13.99
2 used & new from $13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Can work well under the right circumstances but, if you hit a bump, the phone can easily be dislodged and fall to the floor., July 19, 2016
Please note: For disclosure purposes I received a promotional code to purchase this items so did not pay full price.

This is a clever idea. The device fits in your CD player (without damaging it) and has adapters you can add on if, for some reason, the opening for your CD drive is either smaller or larger than average. Overall I thought this was a pretty good device with a caveat -- there's an adhesive piece that fits on the back of your case for your phone (or the phone itself it you have no case). It is magnetic.

The ball joint that attaches to it via the magnet is is a little too flexible and doesn't lock into a specific position so, if you hit a major bump, your phone can easily be dislodged and fall to the floor. An improvement to this would include a little snap on piece for the bottom of the phone that could prevent it from falling to the floor.

It is fairly easy to take out of the CD slot.

The device (so far) seems sturdy and, aside from what is mentioned above, pretty well designed. As far as I know it only comes in black.


Quantum Leap Season 1 [Blu-ray]
Quantum Leap Season 1 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Dean Stockwell
Offered by TV-Depot
Price: $32.79
19 used & new from $30.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic series makes the leap to high definition and is region free in this nice import., July 16, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Sam Beckett (Scott Backula) discovers the secret of time travel but there are limitations--he can only travel during the years of his own lifetime and he ends up looking like the person that he ends up temporarily replacing in a specific time period. Sam is supposed to, somehow, change the course of history fixing an injustice before he can move on to the next "leap". Al (Dean Stockwell) tries to use Sam's super computer and those back in the control room to help guide Sam in hope that, someday, he will leap home to resume his life.

For those fans of the show "Quantum Leap" it was unfortunate when the series was cancelled without the appropriate final episode that fans wanted.

This import from Australia (it's supposed to be released shortly in the U.S. With what I would, imagine, to be the same transfer. This version is region free which means it can be played anywhere and there isn't any speed issues that sometimes would dog imports (the format of Blu-Ray is 25 fps whereas the DVD U.S. Format NTSC vs. the rest of the world that used PAL and this caused an issue with speed up issues) in other formats such as DVD. I should note that detail is proved but it isn't a night and day difference like some shows.

The transfer for video and audio looks quite nice. Depth is slightly improved especially compared to the DVD's. Given that the show was shot on film, edited and had all post production done on film, the show benefits unlike some of the contemporary shows that had all post production done on video.

The show is presented in its original aspect ratio for TV.

Sadly there aren't any subtitles.

The special features that were on the original DVDs are presented on this disc intact and none of the music has been replaced for this set.


Trilogy
Trilogy
Offered by World Wide Entertainment
Price: $29.99
43 used & new from $14.32

5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic album from the best period of ELP (RIP Keith Emerson) with two CDs and a DVD-A 5.1 disc., July 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Trilogy (Audio CD)
Greg Lake considered "Trilogy" ELP's masterpiece and he isn't to far off in that assessment. "Trilogy" demonstrates a maturity to their work. While there's a bit less fire here compared to some of their previous albums (or the live performances), the songwriting demonstrates a new level of depth.

The 3 disc reissue is the one to get for fans as it includes the original album (and mix) remastered by Andy Pearce. The second disc consists of alternative and stereo remixes. The third album features both the original album AND alternate mixes/new stereo remixes in a MLP 5.1 mix as well as a 24 bit, 96khz as well as DTS version.

The packaging is a digipak which folds out and includes a slot for a booklet which features a brief history of the band, the making of the album and comments from ELP.

Tarkus is up next. RIP Keith.


Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
by Jane Mayer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.89
108 used & new from $11.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute power and endless money corrupts absolutely in this scary and thought provoking book, July 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Jane Mayer does an amazing job of pulling back the curtain and revealing who the real wizard of politics are--we live in a society that continues to be manipulated by "dark money", i.e., money that billionaires (ironically from selling us stuff) push into think tanks that support their ideology designed to help figure out ways to sell these concepts to the public. Are these "good" concepts for a progressive government or dismantling it? It doesn't matter because it is the agenda of a select few and the doorway was open to this as reform laws have been loosened (often to the point where, like a pair of pants that are too big, they just fail and fall down)over the years (most recently by the misleadingly named "Citizens United" which destroyed the barriers for buying politicians).

This is the story of the super wealthy buying elections or creating a "grass roots effort" (in reality a corporation masquerading as a grass roots group like, for example, Citizens United) to change ideology, government, politics and the fabric of our society by continuing to corrupt the elements of our society. The robber barons of today rehabilitated so that now they are the heroes of the story.

Regardless of your political ideology, it's disturbing that the right or left are using "Citizens United" and tax havens such as think tanks to develop strategies to manipulate government, the law and just about anything that most folks hold dear. Now corruption isn't new nor is buying elections but it has never happened to the level of insanity we are currently at now.

Mayer creates a powerful narrative where we retreat from all the positive things that have been achieved in the last 75 years to the type of world that created the Great Depression and the banking crisis of the last decade.

Interestingly, prior to publication of this book a a disinformation campaign was attempted to make it seem as if Mayer's work perverted the work of others that she sited. When Mayer reached out to those she cited each agreed that she had properly cited and had not misrepresented their work in her book.


Green Room [Blu-ray + Digital HD]
Green Room [Blu-ray + Digital HD]
DVD ~ Anton Yelchin
Price: $16.99
38 used & new from $11.32

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We're not keeping you here, you're just staying."--Riveting thriller with sinister, droll performance from Patrick Stewart., July 13, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Marketed as a horror movie, "Green Room" plays more as a violent suspense thriller in my opinion. Featuring a number of stellar performances including an unexpected villainous turn in this tense film from director/writer Jeremy Saulnier. Shot on a small budget in Oregon, the film, unlike a lot of low budget movies, has atmosphere to spare as well as strong professional performances from the entire cast.

SPOILERS:

The late Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner and Joe Cole star as a punk band at the end of an exhausting, money losing tour. They are booked as last minute replacements at a club owned by Darcy (Patrick Stewart) where a murder occurs. The band who called themselves The Ain't Rights see the body and are trapped backstage with no way out as Darcy plans on killing them to protect a secret.

END OF SPOILERS:

The Blu-ray transfer looks terrific with a detailed, sharp presentation featuring plenty of detail. The audio is also stellar but with dialog front, clear and center throughout. Subtitles are provided in English.

The special features are limited but quite informative--the director provides an interesting commentary track and we get a featurette on the production of the film.

It's always exciting to see a major talent break through and "Green Room" provides that moment. Let's hope we see more from this director (he's done two previous strong films with "Blue Ruin" equally as good) as his development has been exciting to watch.

Recommended.


Eye in the Sky
Eye in the Sky
DVD
Price: $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war"-tense, dramatic thriller from director Gavin Hood., July 13, 2016
This review is from: Eye in the Sky (Amazon Video)
Regardless of politics, "Eye in the Sky" wrestles with the difficult decision to take out a terrorist group and the innocent that may be harm's way as a drone strike is launched by a British/American coalition.

If you're expecting a film filled with action and explosions from one minute to the next, you probably won't like this. The film is surprisingly cerebral as well as emotional focusing on the importance of completing the mission and saving innocents from terrorists at the potential cost of killing innocents abroad as a preemptive strike.

Featuring stellar performances by Helen Mirren, the late Alan Rickman and Aaron Paul are the big stars here. The performances are driven by the dramatic tension in making the moral choice--when do the benefits of the many outweigh the benefits of the few? It's not surprising that many soldiers end up suffering from PTSD given the decisions they have to make sometimes killing innocents when they are targeting the guilty.

Director Gavin Hood does a good job of increasing the tension level as the drone pilots push back on the command to shoot at a specific target because of the potential collateral damage.

There isn't an easy answer and the film doesn't take sides noting that the option to launch a drone strike vs. not launching it has potential cost of human life.

The film may be a bit heavy handed and preachy at times and it doesn't give us an easy answer as to what the right choice might be at the conclusion of the film.

We rented this on demand so I can't comment on whether on any of the special features might come with the DVD or Blu-ray.


THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
DVD ~ PETER CUSHING
Offered by cardzncomics
Price: $42.00
3 used & new from $31.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Twilight Time shows Hammer some love with a super Blu-Ray release for Fisher's Holmes mystery., July 11, 2016
Twilight Time's handsome Blu-Ray for Terence Fisher's take on Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mystery "The Hound of the Baskervilles". This isn't the most faithful version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic but Peter Cushing gives one of the definitive readings of Holmes that is perfectly complimented the underrated Andre Morrell.

Holmes (Cushing) is called in to investigate the death of Sir Baskerville and prevent the newest Henry Baskerville (Christopher Lee) from being claimed by death as well. Holmes directs his companion Dr. Watson (Morrell who plays Watson--finally!--as a bright man of action much like Holmes) to escort and protect Henry as it become clear early on that someone plans on killing him as well.

Peter Bryan's ("Brides of Dracula") script adds as much as it subtracts but, largely, keeps the basic frame of the story intact. Terry Fisher brings his energetic direction to the film complimenting Jack Ascher's effective (and unusual) gothic lighting. The main flaw with the film is the fact that the small ensemble telegraphs to the audience who the killers are early on. Still, even Hitchcock, Histon or Welles would shy away from revealing the solution of a mystery early on to allow them more creative freedom.

Twilight Time presents a handsome looking version of the film. It isn't a perfect Blu-Ray transfer but it looks exceptionally good with nice depth, texture, color's that pop and detail that was largely hidden in previous video incarnations. The audio sounds pretty good with dialog clear and English subtitles.

The special features for this release are very nice (heck, I'm happy whenever a Hammer film gets special features from anyone). We get two audio commentary tracks by film historians David Del Valle & Steven Perros and Paul Scrabo, Hank Reineke and Lee Pfeiffer. We get an isolated score along with a featurette featuring Christopher Lee discussing Peter Cushing and their working relationship, friendship (carried over from the MGM DVD) as well as Lee reading from Doyle's story (also ported over from the MGM DVD). We get a new interview with the widow of Bernard Robinson discussing the making of the mask (one of the weakest moments in the film--what should be terrifying is a ho-hum moment in the film) and Julie Kirgo provides with a brief but effective essay that touches on where it fits in Fisher's filmography, Hammer's history and the Holmes films. The special features are rounded out with the theatrical trailer.

Twilight Time has done a terrific job with "Baskervilles" which is, in my humble opinion, comparable with what Arrow did for the region "B" release.

Recommended.


The In-Laws (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The In-Laws (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Peter Falk
Price: $26.19
22 used & new from $22.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Serpentine!" "The In-Laws" receives an exceptional presentation in high definition with two excellent new supplements., July 9, 2016
Unlike drama with comedy you usually just live or die--it either works or it doesn't. A farce (one shot through with black comedy). Comedy, like drama, depends on a basis in reality even more than drama because the characters are faced with increasingly crazy situations or are crazy themselves.

"The In-Laws" when it was released back in 1979 was a comic delight and the result of Alan Arkin and Peter Falk wanting to work together. Arkin worked with Andrew Bergman (who wrote the original first draft of "Blazing Saddles" before Mel Brooks was involved) on a story with Bergman running off to create a comic classic. Although director Arthur Hiller isn't looked at as an "auteur", he had the perfect approach for working to bring the writer's vision to the screen AND handling a variety of genres including black comedies and farces.

Warner has begun to open its vaults for more specialized classics like "The In-Laws" to release on high definition. The film looks exceptional with a very nice new 2K transfer. The original audio sounds quite nice and is in the original and dialog remains clear throughout. We get English subtitles.

The special features are quite nice with an 2013 audio commentary from director Arthur Hiller and two excellent supplments: we get an exceptional look back at the making of the film with David Paymer (it was his first film), Nancy Dussault and James Hong reflecting on how they were cast, what it was like working with director Hiller, writer Bergman and how it impacted their career. Hong shares a very funny story about how he was allowed to ad lib a sequence where the dialog was all done in Chinese.

This is a terrific presentation of a classic comedy. Highly recommended.


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