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Merry Christmas With Love
Merry Christmas With Love
Offered by Supply Chain Direct
Price: $3.95
229 used & new from $0.01

8 of 75 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Vocals good as usual, but arrangements are a tad sterile., November 17, 2004
Clay Aiken's voice is more suitable to the low-key style here, than on his solo album, but the arrangements are also a bit sterile and need more flair and better delivery.

His singing's fine and while no one's going to exactly complain about Aiken's versions of familiar Christmas songs, there have been much better versions out there. Still worth picking up if you're a Clay Aiken fan, but not the best he can do -- he still has a good album in him, he just needs the right group of songwriters, producers who can bring out his best.

No Title Available

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad movie delving into heartbreaking reality behind game, November 12, 2004
I have a strong taste for realistic movies, but I must say that "Friday Night Lights" almost brought me to tears. The most heartwrenching scene is when Derek Luke (who plays the self-confident and talented "Boobie" Miles) knows his season, and time playing football is over, and goes to clean out his locker. He's all smiles, and confidence, telling his teammates to be perfect and win. But as soon as he walks outside the school, and joins his uncle in his car, he breaks down. Football is all I have, he cries, it's all I can do, and his uncle holds him. I have rarely seen such a powerful scene. I don't cry at movies, but I fought to hold in tears. Derek Luke is a largely overrated actor and deserves to be a star. I've seen reviews that unforgivingly didn't even mention his name among the cast. The other sad, moving storyline is that of the second-string running back, whose abusive, alcoholic father is played by singer Tim McGraw. What this film doesn't have is a happy ending, and cliche-ridden sports formulas that sink most sports movies. It's all the more powerful for that. It's a bleak, almost depressing movie because you know for the vast majority of kids in this rural town (that lives precariously through high school kids who are expected to play to perfection) are going to go nowhere, to sink into working class lives. Weeks later after seeing it, I still can't shake the images and sounds of seeing Billingsley and Miles struggling under the weight of expectation and knowing they most likely live in a dead-end town.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2013 12:13 PM PST

Star Wars Obi-Wan
Star Wars Obi-Wan
Offered by Media-Recovery
Price: $28.46
106 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fun game, marred by disappointingly easy last battle, July 10, 2004
This review is from: Star Wars Obi-Wan (Video Game)
I am going to reveal the ending, so do not read ahead if you still want to play this game.
Many others have already posted their opinions here, so I will not go through the whole game in detail.
But as many others have said, the voice-acting for the Obi-Wan character is ridiculously, unintentionally humorous -- the actor sounds like a guy with a head cold trying to imitate Ewan McGregor doing Obi-Wan, exaggerating the distinctive traits McGregor's Scottish accent -- so even lilts in his voice are thrown into hyperdrive. (as exaggerated as the honker the graphics dept. gave to Qui-Gon Jinn -- yes, the bridge on Liam Neeson's nose may be somewhat big, but since when did he have Karl Malden's nose?)
The game is unfortunately lacking in the graphics department -- sometimes you can't see features on faces.
But onto the ending. The game is fun, with a handful of challenging levels -- mostly due to the swarms of droids that come your way and droids taking stance behind high-powered laser cannons.
But it's marred by a disappointingly quick and all-too-easy ending. The moment arrives -- you finally meet Darth Maul. Just like in the movie, you stand behind the laser wall and watch as Qui-Gon is struck down by Maul.
And finally the wall opens, you hold your breath, ready for a tough battle -- one that you may have to play repeatedly until you put together the right string of moves and blocks to take him out before your health runs out. But it's not to be.
Darth Maul is ridiculously easy to defeat. I beat him on my first try and in less than a minute. And you have to fight him twice -- as once you take him down the first time, he gets a new, full meter of health. So in less than a minute, I drew down two full health meters. I felt cheated, to say the least.
I remember fighting against Mace Windu to have to reach the next level, and I had to go toe to toe against him some 20 to 30 times before I finally beat him. I was expecting at least a battle on that level of difficulty, but it ended up being the easiest level of the whole game. All I had to do was slash at him and use some force saber twirls and Maul was done.
How in the world could the game's makers create such a lackluster, lifeless, no-threat ending battle? I was left extremely wanting, and if it were a movie, I would have angrily asked for my money back. I cannot say enough how disappointing the ending was. Even more now, the Darth Maul character cries out for a game of his own. One can only wish -- for this Maul must have been a clone or imposter to go down with nary a fight.

No Title Available

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the best comic book hero-based movie, July 5, 2004
Just having seen "Spider-Man 2" I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of its drama -- perhaps one could say the dramatic resonance is due to the long-known Spider-man back story, but director Sam Raimi actually makes the story and characters come first and the CGI and other effects serve the story, not the other way around -- which is how most comic book hero movies play out.
"Spider-Man 2" actually has true, deep scenes of drama, enough to move you -- and it's very few, if any, comic-book hero movies that do that. The first "Superman" movie is probably the only other one that acheives true drama.
Whereas my reaction to the first "Spider-Man" was one more of curious interest, than true appreciation, since it was a rather safe delivery. But "2" handles everything deftly -- Spidey's/Peter Parker's dilemma, his relationships with Harry Osborn, Mary Jane, Auntie May -- and it even deftly shows the conflict within Dr. Octavius. While it is made primarily for a young/teen audience, it does have a maturity and even, at times, a grim, melancholy mood. Most importantly, you care for these characters -- and Dr. Octavius is not your run-of-the-mill, mustache twisting bad guy. He's an inventor with good intentions who, due to a string of bad coincidences, is trapped by his own invention. If there is a downside, it's the J. Jonah Jameson performance. Sure, J. Jonah Jameson is an over-the-top persona/character, but the performance, while done with a sort of corny charm, it doesn't really fit in with the other performances which are straightforward and not cartoonish.
"Spider-Man 2" is a great improvement on the first movie, and definitely beats the sophomore jinx, making the rare sequel that is much better than the first.
Lastly, the "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" bit/montage was very humorous, and a nice touch, punctuated by one big wink.

Grand Theft Auto Double Pack: Grand Theft Auto III / Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto Double Pack: Grand Theft Auto III / Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
81 used & new from $2.98

5.0 out of 5 stars GTA III & Vice City weren't games, but worlds you inhabited, June 3, 2004
Grand Theft Auto III changed the way many gamers both saw and played games. It wasn't the first to incorporate cinematics, storylines and solid acting into a videogame, but it, forgive the cliche, truly was an experience as you weren't so much playing a game, but rather you were inhabiting a world, and it was one world of a game. In most games, you follow its line straight to the end with little, if any, straying from that path. But the world of GTA III felt as if it were alive: you could play for hours without doing any missions, exploring the various cities and causing havoc to your heart's content -- and then you could go back to completing the missions. And Vice City went even further, expanding the world in which the characters lived, breathed, interacted. It's amazing to think how the game's designers could get all that data onto one disk (from 9 radio stations, to all the dialogue, cinematics, expansive cities with malls, stores, garages, etc. etc. and the intricate, full-to-the-brim levels.
Simply put, game-playing just doesn't get better than GTA III and Vice City. They set the bar for gaming: in a GTA-free world, games such as True Crime or Hitman 2 would seem spectacular -- but such games pale in comparison to GTA.
Before the Xbox version of GTA III and VC came out, my one small quibble about the games was that they were missing some music genres, or specific songs that would fit right in. (it was odd that the Miami-Vice themed VC didn't have a reggae radio station, when reggae really first became popular in America in the 1980s, and how could Glenn Frey's "You Belong to the City" not be on it? If there ever was a Vice City song, that's it.) But with the Xbox's capability to copy music to its hard drive, you can now cruise around to your favorite tunes. (and now I can cruise and wreak havoc while playing Peter Tosh's ever-fitting "Wanted Dread and Alive" album from 1981).
As others have said, the graphics do look better, more smooth. So, a couple of great games have become even better. Who would have thought you could improve upon excellence?

Catch A Fire (Remastered)
Catch A Fire (Remastered)
Offered by B68 Solutions Limited
Price: $10.49
97 used & new from $3.95

40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Burnin' ", "Catch a Fire" stellar "debuts" never surpassed, May 31, 2004
In The Wailers' "Catch A Fire" and "Burnin'" (both released in the same year, 1973), the group released two instant classics that they never surpassed in terms of artistry, musicianship, rhythm foundation or edginess. And these two albums were also the last two that the original Wailing Wailers (Marley, Tosh, Bunny) made together.
A blend of new and old (such familiar tracks as "Concrete Jungle," "Slave Driver," "400 Years," "Stop that Train" from "Catch A Fire," and "Put It On," "Small Axe" and "Duppy Conqueror" from "Burnin'" were remakes), these albums were the Wailers first releases with the intent to reach an international, mainstream audience. Blending in some rock influences such as the guitar style, and toning down the bass and drum for more treble sounds to reach the rock audiences in Europe and America, the Wailers debut on Island label snuck up slowly on these listeners, just as the intro to "Concrete Jungle" slowly rolls in, opening the "Catch A Fire" album. There may be some lesser, lighter moments on both albums, but no songs are throwaway, no songs are filler.
Sadly, despite being full of gems and instant Wailers classics, original members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left to start solo careers, feeling they were in the shadow of Bob, and had their own stories to tell musically. It was more unfortunate, because Bob Marley and the Wailers (as the group became known) never surpassed the quality of these albums on later efforts. With Tosh's departure went the edgy, bassy rhythm sounds, and with both Bunny and Tosh went the delectable harmonies they provided behind Bob's lead vocals. If there are only two albums in the Wailers library of music, they go by the names "Catch A Fire" and "Burnin'." They both had a stark, unadulterated emotion and edge that Bob Marley's more pop-influenced efforts lack. With the departures of Tosh and Bunny, it felt as if a light was being extinguished. But listening to these albums again, makes me remember back to a time, when the childhood friends were like brothers, making music together until the sun came up. Listening to these albums is bittersweet, but I can still relive those times listening to the sweet, harmonious music they made together, as family, reminiscing to a time when something truly mystical, magical was happening in the studio. But with the breakup of the original Wailing Wailers, the circle was broken, the fire doused, and what once was one, was splintered into three, to never join back together again. "In the ghetto, bitter was sweet....."
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2012 10:06 AM PDT

Tupac - Resurrection (Widescreen Edition)
Tupac - Resurrection (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Tupac Shakur
Price: $16.44
64 used & new from $0.07

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Tupac documentary, told biographically with own quotes, May 31, 2004
"Tupac -- Resurrection" takes a page from the "Peter Tosh -- Stepping Razor/Red X" documentary "book" by basically having Tupac Shakur tell his own story by weaving together snippets of interviews with the rapper himself.
The documentary of reggae legend Tosh did it to better effect, namely because the "Red X" tapes were made by Tosh with the intent to turn them into his own story, spoken in his own voice. And both interesting and sad, Tupac's life and death somewhat mirrors the life of the Jamaican legend who still is put in the shadows of Bob Marley's iconic worship. Tosh also lived by the gun and died by the gun. His gun was his fiery vocals and lyrics, and it was his relentless, don't-back-down stances that made him a target of the government and police who would mark all his government papers with a red "X." And he was beaten by the police on numerous occassions, one time almost being beaten to death. And it was his unflinching demand for equal rights that lead to his death at his home in 1987.
And so, in many ways Tupac is like an American Tosh. He was similarly relentless, and uttered truths in an in-your-face, unabridged manner.
Whereas Tosh's documentary is governed by a sadness stemming from a childhood in which he was abandoned by his father (and had no fatherly presence in his life) and was taunted and teased for being "dark-skinned" -- ultimately all he wanted was love, not just for himself, but for the poor and struggling, and he was seeking the always-elusive truth to bring it to the people (both friend and foe alike), a lonely man always seeking happiness and love, but yet he never truly found it.
In contrast, while Tupac fought for much of the same and had a semi-similar upbringing (lacking a father), he had more support around him (going to the Baltimore arts school), and he was a living, walking contradiction as many who fall under the Gemini sign are, living in many extremes (feminist--misogynist, lover--firebrand, sensitive--hateful). For Tosh, he didn't fly between such opposites -- he was who he was, didn't pander to anyone or anything, but what he believed to be the truth.
So while Tosh's documentary is driven by an underlying sadness of unrequited love, Tupac's movie carries with it a sort of ghostly creepiness, as it begins with him seemingly speaking about his own murder. It may be somewhat light and superficial as many documentaries for fallen icons are, but it doesn't entirely shy away from showing his faults. It may not answer new questions, but it's still worth picking up for any Tupac fan, if only because you have Tupac, like Tosh, telling his own story -- which is arguably the best way to hear his story.
Who knew it? Tosh and Tupac, T and T, related in death.
(get both DVDs, telling stories of two men who never knew each other with Tosh dying just as Tupac's career was getting started, but yet having many striking similarities)

The Best of Peter Tosh, 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection
The Best of Peter Tosh, 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection
Offered by muboutletstore
Price: $9.97
29 used & new from $3.36

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compilation of Tosh singles, circa 1971-73, May 31, 2004
These compilation is a rather interesting curio in that it takes a left turn away from what companies usually do with "best-ofs" (they take the same, familiar handful of popular tracks and repackage them). But, in a pleasant turn, the Universal umbrella has collected some early Tosh singles that he largely did on his own without the Wailers, showing he had much talent to spare -- and, despite his popularity, still remains an underrated and under-recognized musician, even though he was the one who taught Bob Marley how to play guitar. (just listen to the Wailers music under Marley after Tosh and Bunny Wailer left -- it lacks the edginess and solid rhythm foundation that the fiery Tosh influenced).
But, if there is a problem with this compilation, it's that the Tosh completists and hardcore fans will already have these songs, and the casual Tosh fan is likely to hesitate before buying this compilation, since it's not a true "best-of," but rather a "Peter Tosh: The Early Years" CD. So while the label deserves some kudos for highlighting lesser known Tosh material, the question remains: "Will those Tosh fans who don't know these songs pick this one up?" Hopefully, the answer will be "yes."

Andrew Sings Tosh: He Never Died
Andrew Sings Tosh: He Never Died
4 used & new from $6.98

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Leaves you longing for some original Andrew Tosh, May 15, 2004
Aside from perhaps one song or so, "Payday," Andrew Tosh has been largely invisible since around 1989, when he dropped his stellar album "Make Place For the Youth." On that album, he showed talent, a knack for memorable and catchy lines, and unlike Ziggy Marley, he showed he didn't have to lean upon his father's name to get listeners. But here, on his latest "album," he covers a load of his father's songs.
While the performances aren't bad, they do leave you longing for the passion the elder Tosh delivers on the originals. Take the usually rousing "Bukk-in-ham Palace"; here, the younger Tosh sounds rather laid back, almost to the point of sounding like he's merely reciting lines from a lyrics sheet.
While it's good to hear the young Tosh, and see recent pics of him with long dreads falling past his shoulders, this album is a bit of a quandary in that it leaves you wanting to cue up either the elder Tosh's original and far better versions, or Andrew Tosh's "Make Place For the Youth," on which he does an applaudable version of "Small Axe."
Give this one a chance if you're a hardcore Andrew Tosh fan or want to hear the younger Tosh cover his father's tunes. Otherwise, try to find "Make Place for the Youth," or go for Peter Tosh, who now has numerous compilations covering both his Columbia/CBS and EMI years.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic - Xbox
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic - Xbox
Offered by Legendary Games
Price: $73.42
190 used & new from $6.51

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the great game experience most make it out to be, May 4, 2004
It's a solid, full experience, but the fact that you're not taking any active role in the fights detracts from what otherwise is a fully realized world.
Those looking for a Star Wars RPG will love this, as I'm sure many RPG lovers will. But after playing such Star Wars games as Jedi Academy, Bounty Hunter and Jedi Outcast, I was disappointed, that you couldn't just run in and start attacking foes with either a lightsaber or take aim and fire your choice of weapon. Rather, you can only target, and WATCH as your character slowly exchanges fire with enemies who don't move even an inch in any direction as you fire, duck, he fires, you fire, he fires, you fire, etc. etc. I've never been much of an RPG fan nor a fan of the Final Fantasy series which seems like the Holy Grail of RPGs, so perhaps that's why, the battle scenes disappoint me. Not a game worth buying for anything more than half of the original retail price.

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