Retro action. Finally, an Expendables movie that really seems like it could have come from the 80's. Almost.
The first two Expendables movies were enjoyable for what they were - a nod to the over the top action movies of the 80's and 90's. The scripts and direction were passable, the actors competent, and the action was violent and over the top. The second movie developed a bit of a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that bordered on camp, but didn't quite cross that border.
For The Expendables 3 the acting ante has been upped. Mel Gibson came aboard as the villain, and he definitely shows that he can be a great actor. Harrison Ford replaces Bruce Willis as the mercenary group's CIA contact, but his performance is merely passable. Antonio Banderas, on the other hand, does a great job as the movie's comic relief. He gives a wild performance just oozing personality. And, of course, you've got the usual crew led by Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham, both of whom do well in these kinds of roles.
But there is also a group of younger would be action stars who also show up, definitely giving the movie some modern day sensibilities. When briefed on Stallone's plan to capture a bad guy, one of the young group says, "That would be a great plan - in 1985!"
Really, there's not a lot to review here. There are action sequences and set ups for action sequences. And a series of scenes where Stallone is trying to put together a new group of Expendables with the help of Kelsey Grammer (who is also quite good). That's about it. The plot is fairly simple (Mel is the bad guy - go get him and bring him back alive for trial on charges of war crimes), so what it comes down to is the action, the acting, and the direction.
The acting we've covered. The action sequences are very, very good. And the direction? Pretty good. The movie looks good except for the cheap CGI. In fact, this movie was obviously shot very quickly and on a tight budget. The CGI is less than state of the art, and the locations are just interesting enough to hold the film together from a visual standpoint. And yet the movie is still a lot of fun. The humor works well, and the action is exciting.
Stallone looks like a man 20 years younger than his 67 years. He is a marvel of modern physical fitness. And the chemistry he has with Jason Statham is good. Too bad there's a stretch in the middle of the movie without Statham and the rest of the long time Expendables. Even so, the movie works well and succeeds in the way that Stallone and the other producers had hoped.
The Expendables 3 is an entertaining, over the top action movie. If that's your kind of thing, it's definitely worth watching. If not? Not so much...
OK, that line got old after Second Sighting back in 1988. And as much as Ace comebacks are noteworthy due to the usual time elapsed between new studio albums Ace hasn't really been, "Back," in top form since Trouble Walkin' back in 1989. 2009's Anomaly certainly had a few great tracks ("Foxy and Free," "Outer Space," and, "Sister"), but it also had it's share of mediocre songs and a couple flat out embarrassing tracks that are truly cringe-worthy.
So would Ace step it up and top Anomaly, would he flatline and maintain the overall middling nature of that release, or would the quality of his next album slide backwards?
Well, the middle option, as it turns out, is really the most accurate answer. Space Invader doesn't really have anything as embarrassingly bad as, "Change The World," or, "A Little Below The Angels, " but it also lacks tracks of the high quality of the aforementioned, "Foxy and Free," "Outer Space," and, "Sister." Unfortunately. Space invader has a much narrower range between it's best songs and it's worst. There is a noticeable difference between it's best and it's worst, but not nearly as much of a gaping chasm as was the case with Anomaly.
The album opens with the title track, and, overall, it's a pretty good song and one of the album's highlights. The chorus is quite good, and the solo section break is not dissimilar to a couple similar breaks on his 1978 solo album (a nice touch). But the vocal melody to the verse is mediocre (it's very percussive, and almost rapped), and the song desperately needed a bridge between the verse and the chorus. Still, it's a fairly good track and works OK as the album opener.
"Gimme A Feelin'," is the next track, and it was the first single released from the album. It's a fairly generic halfway uptempo song, but it's also fairly catchy. What saves it from complete, utter mediocrity is the conviction with which Ace performs it both on lead guitar and with his lead vocals. Ace will never be mistaken for a great singer, but his vocals are often effective, and that's the case here. His voice has a quirky charm that works well with his riff writing style, and that much is evident on this track. His lead playing here is much better than on Anomaly, even if it doesn't reach the heights of his 1970's playing, or even his 1980's era when it comes to the solos.
"I Wanna Hold You," is an oddball of a track. It almost sounds like a cross between 1960's Surf Rock and 1970's era Ramones, presented through the prism of Ace's style. It's uptempo and energetic, and Ace holds on to that one chord throughout the verse as if his life depends on it (which wasn't necessary - he could have played nearly the same pattern with one or two other chords as accents). This isn't a great track, but in the context of the album it isn't bad and it is fairly infectious.
Ace steps up the songwriting quality on the slower midtempo, "Change." There isn't anything terribly special about this song, the riffs are fairly generic and ultra simple, the vocal melodies are standard issue - and yet the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. The one gripe I do have with this song is that there should be at least two more voices overdubbed in the backing vocals on the chorus. So while none of the parts individually are all that great, they work very well together making for a really good song.
Then Ace lets us know how much he likes to play with his, "Toys." This is another Mountain-esque song with a Dazed and Confused Mississippi Queen inspiring the main riff. Ace's quirky charm comes through again as this is the kind of song that wouldn't work well for most other artists, but somehow Ace gets away with it. The verse has the huge Mountain style riff while the chorus would find itself right at home on the first Frehley's Comet album. This is another of the album's highlights. Its not great, but it is a good track.
But things get dodgy from the get-go with the next track, "Immortal Pleasures." While an audio clip from the all time great Science Fiction movie Forbidden Planet is always welcomed, the editing of the clip was sloppy (the word, "But," is left in in a way that makes it clear that it has been edited quickly and without much thought - edit the word out and it sounds much more natural). After the potentially great (and very cool) classic clip was partially botched, Ace follows it up with a song nearly as bad as the worst on Anomaly. This song sounds goofy, and the lyrics are both cheesy and bad. Sometimes bad, cheesy lyrics can be fun, but these bad, cheesy lyrics just come across as pretentious. Musically, this song just sounds like Ace trying to be taken seriously as an, "Artist." He fails. Again, not as badly as on the pair of stinkers on Anomaly, but closely enough that this is clearly the worst track on the album.
Then we get, "Toys," Part II in the form of, "Inside The Vortex," and, guess what? It is another of the album's highlights. The riff's similarity to that of, "Toys," is a little off putting, especially with just one song in between, but the overall quality of the song quickly puts any negative feelings to rest. This is a very good song that shows how Ace still has some gas left in the tank. It's big, beefy, and just a little spacey.
"What Every Girl Wants," is her own copy of Space Invader on CD. OK, not really, but this song is pretty good all the same. It still isn't great, but it is pretty solid and would have been better than 4 or 5 of the songs on Anomaly. It's another upper midtempo song where Ace sings with a lot of conviction, sounding at least 20 years younger than the 63 years he's been on this planet. Pretty good stuff for sure, even if the chorus could have been better with a slightly different vocal melody and the word, "Needs," in place of , "Wants," the second time he sings the title in each verse. But that's a minor quibble. Or is it? The album has a lot of moments like that - little tweaks here and there would make several of the songs better. A little more time spent on vocal melodies would have been time well spent.
Ace's obsession with space based themes returns on, "Past the Milky Way," a song that would have fit in well in the mid 70's. This is a song with a lot of dynamics and a good slow-ish groove. The vocal melodies are a little stronger on this one than on several of the tracks, and the overall construction of the song shows a little more sophistication than most of the songs on Space Invader. This is another really good track, pushing greatness but not quite getting there. It is close enough, however, that it is another clear album highlight.
"Reckless," starts out sounding like something W.A.S.P. might have done on The Last Command, but that only lasts as long as the four bar intro. After that Ace jarringly turns the song into something completely different with clean electric guitar for the verse. It works, almost. This is another song that could have used a strong producer who could also co-write songs to guide Ace. It's a little disjointed, and the vocal melodies aren't all that hot, either. It's OK, and works in context of the album, but this song could have used more work at the songwriting stage.
Then we get Ace's cover of Steve Miller's, "The Joker." Ace had his greatest solo success with a cover song ("New York Groove"), and he's done cover songs on most of his albums (including a great cover of ELO's, "Do Ya," on Trouble Walkin'), but this one is only marginally effective. It doesn't stray too far from the original, but also lacks the subtelety of that version.
The album closes out with a Led Zeppelin-esque instrumental called, "Starship." There is another attempt at studio production with a presumed conversation between a spacewalker and mission command, but it is far too long and is almost completely unintelligable. The intro is a total fail. The rest of the song is a bit too long, but does feature some nice music and a really nice bass part. Ace's solos are fairly good as well. It's a decent way to end the album.
As for the audio production, it is a clear step down from Anomaly. It's more compressed than was Anomaly, doesn't feature guitar tones as good as those on Anomaly, and just sounds a little harsher (as if he were influenced by the mix on KISS recent Monster album - but, don't worry, it's not nearly that compressed or harsh). The overall tones and mix aren't bad, but as the last album's audio production was significantly better it is a letdown.
So Ace has delivered an album with a handful of tracks that are worth repeated listens. That alone makes the release worthwhile.
Last Edit: Aug 17, 2014 1:24:57 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
Judas Priest's last album, Nostradamus, was an ambitious release. A concept album. A double album.
The trepidation with which most Priest fans approached the album wasn't based solely on the subject matter (an outdated cliche if there ever was one), but also on the final song on Priest's previous album. The album, Angel Of Retribution, was Priest's best since Screaming For Vengeance - except for the last track on the album, "Loch Ness," a cheesy song about the mythical Loch Ness Monster. Not only were the lyrics cheesy (even by Judas Priest standards), but the music was pretty cheesy as well. It was a concept song, leading into their concept album. Nostradamus was every bit as bad and as cheesy as most fans feared.
After that album, fans had to wonder, "Does Judas Priest still have it? Can they still put out a great album, or are they spent as a songwriting force?"
Fortunately, Redeemer Of Souls shows that when focusing on making a straightforward album the Priest can still deliver the goods. Maybe the goods aren't as great as they were from Priest's 1976-1984 peak, but at least said goods aren't moldy cheese!
And don't misunderstand, Redeemer of Souls isn't a great album. As much as Priest fans were hoping for a re-energized return to form with some new blood in the band (Richie Faulkner, replacing original Priest guitarist K.K. Downing), Redeemer Of Souls is merely a good, solid Judas Priest album.
What keeps it from reaching the heights of Stained Class, Hell Bent For Leather (aka Killing Machine), and Screaming For Vengeance?
A little too much cheese, particularly in the vocal melody department (the lyrics have their share of cheese, but the vocal melodies themselves are occasionally pretty amateurish and sound like band aping Judas Priest rather than the real thing). Some of the music is overly predictable and familiar, but it's the vocal melody department that lets the album down most. Rob Halford wrote some great vocal melodies during Priest's heyday, and he almost always found a way to keep even the heavier Priest songs catchy and memorable. On Redeemer Of Souls he is hit or miss in that department. A little more hit than miss, fortunately, but nowhere near as consistently good as his songwriting was in the late 70's through the mid 80's.
Fortunately, the band focuses on the more straightforward melodic side Metal more than it does on the heavier, thrashier, more brutal side (unlike Painkiller or Jugulator). That doesn't make Redeemer Of Souls wimpy, and it's certainly not the second coming of Turbo or anything like that, so from the heavy side of music standpoint it should satisfy most Priest fans. The band hasn't missed a beat with the addition of Faulkner, as he fits right in with Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, and Scott Travis. It still sounds like Judas Priest.
Opening cut, "Dragonaut," is a non-thrashy uptempo track with some classic Priest riffing and some solid vocal melodies (and excellent vocals) from Halford. One thing is for sure, Judas Priest knows how to open an album. After that the results are good more often than not, with tracks like, "March Of The Damned," "Down In Flames," and, "Cold Blooded," among the standout songs.
Of interest are some songs where Judas Priest stretches out a bit. "Crossfire," is a bit bluesy, while, "Sword Of Damocles," sounds like new millennium Iron Maiden. Both are very good songs that work well on their own as well as in the context of the album as a whole, and it's really nice to hear Priest trying something a little different.
But fans of Painkiller can rest easy as there are a couple more songs here (beyond, "Dragonaut," that fit in with that style - "Metalizer," and, "Battle Cry," both of which are fairly solid musically. Also on display are a few songs that sound like paint by the numbers Judas Priest, most notably the title track. Even the standard issue Judas Priest songs are at least somewhat enjoyable, and there isn't anything flat out bad unlike the previous album.
And then there are the bonus tracks, which are generally very good. "Snakebite," is a solid Hard Rock track with a fairly good sense of groove and, "Tears Of Blood," sounds like a cross between British Steel and Defenders Of The Faith era Priest. "Creatures," has elements of both Defenders and Painkiller eras, while "Bring It On," has echoes of the more straightforward Hard Rock songs on Turbo as well as some of the less Metal songs from Angel Of Retribution. None of the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition are less than good, and, "Snakebite," and, "Bring It On," are both very good.
Musically, Judas Priest has bounced back fairly nicely after the huge misstep that was Nostradamus. Unfortunately, the audio production is below average for a Judas Priest album. The guitar tone is somewhat plastic sounding and a little hollow, and is a little lower in the mix than it should be on a few of the tracks (then again, it sounds like it's just a tad too low in the mix because it isn't as full or as warm as some previous Judas Priest guitar tones). The audio production and mix on Angel Of Retribution was far better than on this album, which is disappointing given the fact that Angel is nearly a decade old. Still, the album is listenable from an audiophile standpoint, and the songs are significantly better than on the last Priest album, so Redeemer Of Souls has to be seen as a win overall.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprisingly good franchise reboot. It was a well written movie that had both some legitimately good drama as well as some good action scenes.
And the apes looked like real apes. The special effects were fantastic.
Fast forward a couple years and we've got Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and even better written, better directed movie with even better special effects. James Franco chose not to take part in this one (the studio wanted him, but the two sides couldn't agree on a couple issues, including money), but that doesn't hurt the movie in the least. In fact, in some ways it makes it stronger, dramatically.
Dawn takes place roughly a decade after the events in the first movie. The virus created to cure Alzheimers has mutated into something that has wiped out 90% of humanity. The survivors live in what amounts to a post apocalyptic world. They have technology (the old devices still function), but their problem is power. They are running out of fuel to keep their generators running, so they need to turn to renewable energy - in this case a dam that creates hydro-electric power. Unfortunately, the humans heading to the dam run across some apes, and one of the humans is both distrustful of the apes and more than a little trigger happy. The result is a dead ape and the brink of war between the humans and the apes led by Caesar in their wooded home just north of San Francisco.
The dramatic tension between the humans who legitimately have no hostility towards the apes, and the apes themselves is both well written and well acted. Some of the apes are still bitter over their treatment as laboratory animals used for experiments. Some of the humans believe the apes to somehow be responsible for the virus that has killed most of humanity. Working together to allow the humans to repair the hydro-electric system in the dam is tenuous at best.
Ultimately, there is conflict, and the battle scenes are stunning. The motivation of individual apes shows the lengths to which the writers went to make sure that those characters were legitimate characters worthy of as much screen time as the human characters. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a remarkable summer movie in that it is actually very intelligent and very thoughtfully written. Add to that mix a fantastic job of directing the movie from Matt Reeves. It cannot be stressed highly enough how well thought out and well directed this movie was. It is an action/adventure movie, but it is also very legitimately a drama, with conflict and character development among the ape characters just as much as there is among the human characters.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a thoughtful, exciting movie that is well worth seeing in a theater (there is a lot to look at, and it looks great on the big screen). Highly recommended
Well, that's what a lot of his critics would say to him. But after a seven or so year wait, is ShutUp&Jam! a worthy addition to the Ted Nugent catalog? Is it as good as Craveman or better than Love Grenade?
In a word, no.
Ted Nugent released some of the best Hard Rock of the 1970's. His self titled album from 1975 is an absolute classic, and the follow up albums Free For All, Cat Scratch Fever, and Weekend Warriors were all very, very good. Ted even put out some great songs in the 80's. No great albums, unfortunately, but on each of his releases in the 80's there were at least two or three top notch songs, and rarely anything truly bad. Well, none of those album had more than one or two naff tracks. Ted even release an inspired album of outrageously energetic mayhem in 2002 called Craveman. But even that album was inconsistent and featured a couple lunkheaded clunkers. It's follow up, Love Grenade, was even more inconsistent, and failed to feature songs of equal quality to the highlights on Craveman.
So what's wrong with ShutUp&Jam!?
Ted has lapsed into the public Ted Nugent persona so often that he doesn't appear capable of getting out of that mindset long enough to create a truly great (or even very good) album anymore. Ted is on auto pilot in that larger than life opinionated loudmouth persona. Even if you agree with much of his politics, the fact that it has infiltrated his music to the degree it has makes ShutUp&Jam! a harder album to get through without hitting the, "Skip," button.
Case in point, the title track. It is pure political Ted Nugent, which wouldn't necessarily be the death of the song as a good song IF the music and vocal melodies were top notch. They aren't. The music is pure paint by the numbers Ted Nugent (and of lesser quality than most of his catalog), and the vocal melodies only seem to serve to give a platform for his political views. The actual music and vocal melodies seem to just exist to give life to Ted's point of view. There IS a ton of attitude here, which is part of what makes great Rock and Roll great, but the other part that makes great Rock and Roll great - great music and vocal melodies - is sadly missing.
"Fear Itself," starts off promisingly, and while it isn't a great track it is a huge step up from the title track that opens the album. There are some good riffs going on in this upper midtempo track, and the vocal melodies are legitimate rather than just a platform for Ted's lyrics. This one sounds like a cross between Ted's 1970's music and the kind of thing you'd hear on Craveman. It's definitely a worthy track.
As is the next song, which may actually be the best on the album - the Derek St. Holmes sung, "Everything Matters." This is, "Hey Baby," Part 2, more or less. The tempo is a little faster, and the riff is a little busier, but this is definitely that kind of song (heavily influenced by 1960's & 70's Motown and R&B). Derek still sounds great, and the song has some real substance both lyrically and musically. This one is definitely more than worthy.
Sammy Hagar makes a lead vocal appearance on the next track, the by the numbers, "She's Gone." This one opens up with a, "Conversation," between Ted and Sammy which would have sounded a little cheesy in the 80's, but now? The conversational intro is beyond cheesy. While, "She's Gone," is ultra simple and by the numbers, it is a decent track despite that and is enjoyable all the same. It's good.
Then Ted gets back to his early 70's roots with an Amboy Dukes type song in, "Never Stop Believing." Lyrically, Ted's trying to give us another glimpse into his life and his development as a thinker. Musically, it's not bad, but it's not all that good, either. This is a six plus minute song where Ted aims high but misses the mark. Not by a lot, but it is a clear miss. It just feels and sounds generic.
From there Ted pulls out a song found on his latest live album and DVD, Ultralive Ballisticrock. The studio version of, "I Still Believe," doesn't quite match the ferocity of the live version, but this is still one of the better songs on the album. Uptempo, and presented with a lot of energy and conviction, this is one of Ted's political songs that works fairly well.
"I Love My BBQ." Seriously? Musically, it sounds like something from Intensities In Ten Cities from 1981 or If You Can't Lick 'Em Lick 'Em from 1988. Lyrically? Ted gets goofy silly and just a little stoopid. Still, it's fun anyway and oddly enjoyable. That's probably due to the conviction with which the music and vocal melodies and performed. The music is pretty darned good even if it isn't great. Yeah, it's silly, but it's fun.
One of the other absolute highlights on the album, and a track where Ted not only returns to greatness, but he lives up to the album title as well, is, "Throttledown," a rip roaring instrumental that combines his mid 70's style with that of Craveman. This is a great song, and the fact that it is an instrumental will probably make it more appealing to his personal critics.
And then Ted lapses into political speech again with, "Do-Rags and a .45." Lyrically, he's trying to put a modern gang spin on his classic, "Dog Eat Dog," and musically he's not far off from the Free For All era, but this ode to Detroit just doesn't work as well as it should. Still, it is more than listenable in the context of the album as a whole.
It should be noted that a 65 year old man putting out songs as raucous and energetic as, "Screaming Eagles," is pretty remarkable, even if the song isn't great. Heck, it's barely passable musically and vocally, but it's remarkable all the same. Ted then salutes our military (the Marine Corps, particularly) with, "Semper Fi," a song short on subtlety and long on riffing. This midtempo song is one of the better tracks on the album, even if it is missing a solid chorus hook.
More of Ted's personal philosophy is presented in, "Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead." This is another midtempo song with some fairly good riffing and vocal melodies, but it's nothing spectacular, and nothing that will rival his better songs from the 70's. Unlike the time in 2002 where it seemed like Ted was going to get back to making very good to great albums, the last decade has seen Ted lapse into a middling quality of songwriting that he has a hard time shaking off. Maybe working with a real producer who would challenge him and not accept mediocrity would help, but at 65 Ted doesn't seem to be willing to give up control of the making of his albums to anyone who will tell him that some of the songs just aren't good enough.
The album closes with a Bluesy, laid back version of, "Never Stop Believing." It's OK, and maybe even better than the Rock version, but it still isn't a top notch song. It's an anti-climactic end to an album that finds Ted on auto pilot.
Half this album is worthy, but the other half isn't. Ted doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference anymore, and that's a shame.
ShutUp&Jam! isn't bad. Long time Nugent fans will probably like it to one degree or another (I do), but it sure isn't going to win over any new fans.
Last Edit: Jul 20, 2014 12:54:15 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
More needs to be written and researched about Bailey.... An unusual performer who post- Dollar moved into some tv roles, but faded from the scene. Apparently an alcoholic, he left his family And career behind and just disappeared. Pre dollar, he had a limited film career, and could have continued in character roles,but his portable demons nixed that. Certainly the best of the Johnnies, his previous radio star hung on the series Let George Do It,also an enjoyable, albeit lighter whodunit show, and worth a solid listen.
Short review? Edge Of Tomorrow is a very, very good movie with an excellent twist on an old theme. Highly recommended as a theatrical experience.
If you take the ages old Alien Invasion concept and infuse it with something new you just might have something worth watching. In the case of Edge Of Tomorrow that something new is more that a little Groundhog Day. Neither concept is new, but those two story ideas put together, as the producers and writers of this movie have, makes for a new mix, a new twist, and it works extremely well.
Tom Cruise plays a middle aged man, a former marketing rep named William Cage who joins the Army when his marketing firm goes under in the aftermath of an alien invasion that quickly swept through most of Europe. He becomes the pretty boy talking head for public relations to win support for the war effort and to bring in new recruits. Much to his surprise he is sent to England where he is told by a British general that he is being assigned to accompany an invasion force that will be launching the next day. Cage, having no combat experience or training (previously, he had only been in ROTC in college), attempts to get out of the assignment, going so far as to blackmail the general. The end result is he is arrested and busted down to private and sent to accompany the invasion force as a soldier, not a reporter. Unable to convince anyone that he does not really belong with the invasion force he finds himself under attack on the beach of Northern France, and is quickly killed (along with almost everyone else in the invasion force).
And that's where things get interesting.
Cage repeats the same day over and over until he is killed, at which point the day is reset.
He runs across the hero of the war up to that point, Sergeant Rita Vrataski on the French beach where the invasion takes place. They are both killed, but before they are killed she recognizes that he has been there before and she tells him to find her, "When you wake up." It turns out that she had been going through the same thing, resetting a day and replaying it over and over. So with the knowledge that she knows he has regarding the details of the invasion, she trains him to be a legitimate soldier and they begin their plans to use his ability to reset the day in order to defeat an enemy that always seems to be one step ahead of the humans.
As serious as this movie is there is still some room for comic relief, and a couple of the gags are laugh out loud funny. Edge of Tomorrow gets just about everything right. There is solid drama and character development, suspense, action, and the occasional bits of very effective humor. And the acting in the movie is excellent as well. Bill Paxton plays a key role as a sergeant leading a combat unit which includes now Private Cage. And Cruise and Emily Blunt (Vrataski) are outstanding in their roles as well. Cruise in particular is extremely effective in taking Cage from a pretty boy talking head to a hard boiled soldier willing to risk his life to stop the alien invasion.
The only downside to the movie is a scant look at the alien invaders. They come across as generic aliens with superior technology and aren't really given much in the way of motivation or explanation. Little is known about them and they tend to just serve the purpose of having bad guys to fight. Even so, they are a formidable enemy for humanity and the lack of information about them almost helps the story in that they are a bit of a mystery to the American and British military leaders. So even the movie's weak link is a strength in another way.
And the movie is just gorgeous to look at. The photography and direction are as good as you'll see in an alien invasion movie, and the editing is just right, too. Edge of Tomorrow may have plenty of time to breathe in between action scenes, but it never lags or drags.
Edge of Tomorrow is exactly what makers of big Summer movies should aspire to.
As noted in the beginning, this one is highly recommended for theatrical viewing.
Last Edit: Jun 15, 2014 22:18:20 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
After taking a decade long break from making new studio albums, Uriah Heep came roaring back with the outstanding Wake The Sleeper in 1998. It was the first album with new drummer Russell Gilbrook, and he provided the band plenty of new firepower to give the band a renewed spark. (Not that previous, and long time, Heep drummer Lee Kerslake was any slouch - he was a great drummer, but health problems forced him out of the band.) Wake The Sleeper was an album that combined strong melodies with a hard and heavy presentation. The band had become a powerhouse. (At many times they had been a musical powerhouse prior to this album, but never this powerful, and never this consistently.)
But that wasn't enough for Mick Box and the boys. They followed Wake The Sleeper with an even more vital and energetic album, Into The Wild in 2011. Uriah Heep was on fire, both in the studio and live on stage. They had renewed interest from the fans (both albums were very well received), and even the critics who had often slagged the band in the past gave them good marks for their new studio work. Everything was looking up for the Heep.
And then long time bass player Trevor Bolder was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Sadly, it wasn't long until Trevor was gone as he passed away in May of 2013. Into The Wild and the subsequent world tour turned out to be his last. His death was a huge loss to the band as Bolder could always be counted on to write a great song or two on each of Heep's albums. How much would his presence and songwriting prowess be missed?
As it turns out, a lot.
Don't misunderstand, the new Uriah Heep album, Outsider, is a solid album. It continues the styles shown on Wake The Sleeper and Into The Wild, and long time Heep fans and new fans alike should be fairly happy with their latest release. What really brings the album down a notch are two things - the lack of a Trevor Bolder song (or two), and the lack of a real killer instinct. There are a few songs that start out as energetic as many of the songs on Into The Wild, but then the vocals come in and the songs lose just a little of that vitality.
On Into The Wild the vocal melodies were written with an edge, sounding not unlike the kind of vocal melodies you'd hear on an Iron Maiden album. They were often aggressive and powerful. On Outsider the vocal melodies are slightly restrained compared to the approach taken on it's predecessor. Some of the vocal melodies here are slightly odd (on occasion) and just a little cheesier (not much, but a little) than on the previous pair of albums. It almost seems as if the age of the band members is starting to catch up with them. When Box and keyboard player Phil Lanzon (the band's songwriting duo) try to get aggressive with the vocal melodies it seems a little forced on a couple of the songs, whereas on Into The Wild it sounded natural. The songwriting approach almost sounds like that taken on the band's more laid back Sonic Origami from 1998, and then beefed up a little with more guitar and more aggressive (often double bass) drumming. Even the mix is more muted and restrained than the mixes on the last couple of albums.
Now, it may seem like this is a critical review slamming the album. Not true. It's just when you follow up a pair of great albums a good album is less satisfying in comparison. Unmet expectations create a lot of disappointment, opportunities lost and all. But once you get past any expectations based on the two previous albums and really judge Outsider on it's own merits it does stand on it's own fairly well.
There is no question that Outsider fits in well with Wake The Sleeper and Into The Wild. There are some very cool guitar riffs to be found on Outsider, and the band's performances are excellent. Mick Box is one of the more underappreciated guitar players in Rock, and he has been for decades. His work on Outsider is excellent. Bernie Shaw is a great frontman live, and in the studio he is a huge asset with a great voice and delivery, and that is reflected in most of the songs on Outsider. Phil Lanzon is a very, very good keyboard player, and his tasteful work once again helps elevate a Heep album. Russell Gilbrook is a powerhouse on drums, with a similar style to what Eric Singer played from the late 80's through the mid 90's. He is another huge asset to the band. New bass player Dave Rimmer brings a good, solid, melodic style to the band, and he does as well as could be hoped for in filling the position previously held by the perfect bass player for Uriah Heep.
The songs range from uptempo bursts of energy ("The Outsider," "Looking At You"), to mid tempo songs with a pulsing beat ("The Law," "Rock The Foundation") to dynamic tracks with multiple tempos ("Kiss The Rainbow"), to the slower, darker, "Is Anybody Gonna Help Me." There's even a bit of the classic Heep shuffle in, "Can't Take That Away," for the long, LONG time fans.
Outsider is a classy, melodic Hard Rock album that fits in very well with most of the Uriah Heep catalog. Heep fans will be happy with this one (overall), and they may yet convert some new fans with the sheer professionalism and quality of the album.
Sixteen years later an American movie studio gets another shot at making a Godzilla movie.
Would it be better than the disappointing 1998 attempt?
Absolutely. Much better.
Is the new Godzilla movie, this one directed by Monsters director Gareth Edwards, as good as it could have been? No. But it's a hugely entertaining movie all the same. Really, it's a huge movie in general.
The new design for Godzilla is more faithful to the original, so the movie has that going for it. It is also a more serious movie, where he 1998 version was more than a little campy. The original 1954 Godzilla (aka Gojira) was a dark, somber movie with Godzilla acting as an allegory to the atomic bombs that had been dropped on Japan just nine years earlier. The Godzilla series got less and less serious over the next two decades until Toho took a break, but when the series re-started in 1984 it was again deadly serious. Most of the Japanese Godzilla movies since then were more serious than the 1998 Roland Emmerich disappointment, and Gareth Edwards picks up the tone from there.
The one noticeable difference is that this movie is a little more ominous. There is a moodier atmosphere in this movie than in most of the recent Japanese entries to the series. Edwards' Godzilla movie has more of the, "Potential end of the world disaster," movie type vibe than a straight monster movie, and that works well.
The movie opens in 1999 in the Philippines, with a Japanese scientist (Dr. Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe) investigating the remains of a giant prehistoric creature. From there we quickly go to Japan and one of their nuclear power plants. American Joe Brody is an engineer working at the plant when something goes wrong. His wife is killed and he becomes obsessed with finding what really happened. Fast forward fifteen years and his young son, Ford, is now an adult in the military. Ford has a family of his own, and he is taken away from them when he learns that his father has been arrested in Japan for breaking into a quarantined zone while attempting to get to his old home to find data recorded on old style floppy discs. He is close to finding out what happened and is willing to do whatever it takes to get that information, including getting arrested again. He and Ford make it back to their old home, only to be detained while trying to leave. They are taken to the old nuclear plant where the governments of both Japan and the United States have been allowing some kind of egg sack to grow. From there all sorts of chaos ensues.
There are a few surprises along the way, but the bottom line for any Godzilla movie is simply this - how are the destruction scenes with Big G? On that count this movie is a huge success. The scenes of Godzilla are excellent. There is a geniune sense of size and weight with Godzilla that makes those scenes very believable. The movie could have been better with more Godzilla, but what is there is worth the price of admission.
And while some people have criticized the movie for it's human characters, the only one that really doesn't carry his dramatic weight is that of Ford Brody (as played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson). The character is basically written as a faceless, generic military guy with a family, and Taylor-Johnson doesn't help matters much with his low key, low emotion performance. On the other hand, Bryan Cranston (as his father, Joe Brody) is excellent. He really seems like a man obsessed with finding out the truth behind his wife's death. He doesn't believe for a second that it was a natural disaster, and the more he discovers the more his obsession is fed. Cranston was extremely well cast, and it's just a shame that his role isn't bigger than what we get in the final cut.
Edwards' direction is excellent as well, as he handles the visuals spectacularly. He also helps bring that ominous tone to the movie which gives it the gravitas that the 1998 movie never had.
While this isn't the perfect Godzilla movie, it is a far cry from the weaker entries in the series, and is a welcome return to the darker, more ominous tone that was missing in 1998.
When you mention, "Godzilla," most people think of cheesy films featuring guys in rubber suits aimed at an audience of kids .
They wouldn't be all that wrong. Not when it comes to the Godzilla movies of the late 60's and early 70's. But the iconic movie series started as something completely different. Something absolutely deadly serious.
Godzilla first appeared on the big screen in 1954 in Gojira, a movie that was an allegory to the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan to end the Pacific War portion of World War II. It wasn't kids' stuff, and it wasn't supposed to be light entertainment. One of the primary pieces of inspiration for the movie was the incident with the fishing boat the Lucky Dragon #5. The Lucky Dragon 5 was out on a routine fishing run when it strayed too close to an area where the U.S. military was testing a new atomic bomb. This was a new, more powerful atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb, and while the Lucky Dragon 5 wasn't caught in the heat or concussion of the blast, radioactive ash fell on the boat, contaminating it and all of it's passengers. Most of the crew fell ill from radiation poisoning fairly quickly, one member of the crew died just weeks later, while others would develop cancer years later. That incident is mirrored in the opening of Gojira, only instead of a nuclear blast it is the radioactive breath of Godzilla (the monster unseen at this early point in the mnovie) that kills the crew and destroys the boat. Not exactly the kind of thing that you'd expect to see followed up years later with fun movies featuring monsters battling each other, but funny things happen as years go by and budgets and marketing come into play.
In 2014 we see a new, again deadly serious, Godzilla on the big screen, only this time it isn't Japan's legendary Toho studio producing the movie, it's Warner Brothers and Legendary Films producing and distributing the movie. Unlike the 1998 disappointment, this American made Godzilla movie lives up to the mood of the original 1954 classic.
While the title of this article does state that our rankings of the Godzilla movies would be from best to worst, let's go at this from a different angle, starting at the bottom and working our way up in quality to the top.
So here it is, the Vista Records rankings of the Godzilla movies, from worst to best...
30. Godzilla VS Hedorah, aka Godzilla VS The Smog Monster (1971) - This one has a really good central concept (a monster created by pollution including the dumping of toxic chemicals and radioactive waste), and the first ten minutes or so are really good. And then the bottom falls out. The movie just gets weirder as it goes along, and the quality of the script drops as it gets weirder. Definitely a product of it's time, Godzilla VS Hedorah was a golden opportunity to bring the Godzilla series back to a more serious, more adult level. Unfortunately, the end product seems more like a bad drug trip featuring Godzilla than anything else. Weird, trippy animated sequences, bad dialogue (even in the original Japanese version), and ridiculous situations (including Godzilla using his breath to fly like a rocket, sort of) undermine and sabotage what could have been a highlight of the series.
29. All Monsters Attack, aka Godzilla's Revenge (1969) - This is a very interesting movie, and clearly the ideas behind it were somewhat ambitious. The story is really about a little boy (who must be around nine years old) who daydreams about Godzilla and the other inhabitants of Monster Island. It isn't clear whether Godzilla and the various Toho monsters are, "Real," in this movie, or if they are just fictional movie characters. It seems most likely that this movie exists outside the continuity of the movies around it, with it taking place in our reality where the Godzilla movies are just that - movies. Where All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla's Revenge) falls short is in the actual Godzilla scenes. Much of the Godzilla footage is recycled from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (aka Godzilla VS The Sea Monster) and Son Of Godzilla. There is a little new Godzilla footage here including new scenes with the Son of Godzilla himself (and, in the boy's daydreams, the Son of Big G. can talk). The new monster villain filmed for this movie is named Gabara, and he looks funky. No tail, and he's just got a weird look to him. The scenes with Ichiro (the little boy) are cute, and he is a very appealing character, but the reuse of so much battle footage and the poor design of Gabara sabotages this movie. Had Toho put a little more money into this one and given the script a rewrite it may have been a middle of the pack Godzilla movie.
28. Godzilla VS Megalon (1973) - The franchise bottomed out here in terms of production budgets and ambition or aspiration. Godzilla VS Megalon is entertaining despite itself, because it is loaded with cheese and recycled battle footage from previous movies. What makes this movie work are the human characters. Yes, they are cardboard cutouts, but they are very appealing and entertaining cardboard cutouts thanks to the actors involved. If it sounds like I'm praising a movie near the bottom of the list, well, I am. For what it is (a cheesy low budget movie aimed at kids) it's fun to watch if you're in the right mindset. If you're not, it's a horrible movie. The enemies in the movie (the political leadership of the undersea country, Seatopia) are silly at best. They wear togas and are pissed off because of nuclear weapons tests that have damaged their country. That's all there is to them. Well, that and an ability to contact aliens in space for the purpose of borrowing the monster Gigan to help their own monster, Megalon, destroy the surface world. After this movie Toho would take the making of Godzilla movies a little more seriously. Not a lot (it wouldn't be until 1984 that they really took making Godzilla movies seriously), but a little bit more seriously - and they'd spend more money on them.
27. Destroy All Monsters (1968) - There seems to be a common theme at the bottom of the list. Most of these movies all have ambitious ideas behind them, but the execution fails to live up to the potential of those ideas. Destroy All Monsters was set to take place in the futuristic world of 1999 when the monsters of Earth were all confined to one island - Monsterland, aka Monster Island. Aliens come to earth, take control of the monsters, and free them in order to take over the Earth. The movie features most of Toho's roster of giant monsters, and for that it has earned a place of reverence among many Godzilla fans. Unfortunately, the script is weighed down by a ton of cheese, and then the production adds even more cheese to what was already in the script. The aliens are presented in a cheesy way, and the human characters are as cheesy and one dimensional as they are in any of Toho's monster movies. They are not only cardboard cut-outs, but they are fairly unlikeable cardboard cut-outs. This movie can be fun to watch with reasonable expectations going in, but it is still a pretty bad movie overall.
26. Godzilla VS Space Godzilla (1994) - The second wave of Godzilla movies, known as the Heisei series, was a return to the more serious tone of the first two Godzilla movies. Most of these movies were quite good, and hold up well a couple decades later. The one exception is Godzilla VS Space Godzilla. This one is undone by the cardinal sin of Godzilla movies - it's dull. The idea of a mutant monster created when Godzilla cells are combined with crystalline life forms in space is an interesting one. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't stay interesting. The Space Godzilla suit is too bulky (he can't move well), so the fight scenes aren't very good, and the movie itself drags at several points and feels about a half hour longer than it really is. By the time the final battle comes it's more of a relief than a source of entertainment or excitement. Edited down with fifteen minutes removed this might have been another solid Heisei era Godzilla movie, but it wasn't edited down, and it drags. Even the fight scenes get old and tired. Like Godzilla VS Hedorah, this one had the potential to be a series hightlight, but poor execution resulted in a poor movie.
25. Godzilla VS Gigan, aka Godzilla On Monster Island (1972) - Not much of this movie actually takes place on Monster Island, and it also features a couple scenes where Godzilla and Anguiras (aka Angilas) have conversations translated into English. Did I mention that the evil aliens are really human sized cockroaches? (Oops, spoiler alert - a little late?) Oh, I did discuss the wannabe hippies? And some of the Ghidorah footage is stock footage? No? Well, all of that is true - all of those things figure into Godzilla VS Gigan. And yet the movie is still entertaining and fun. Welcome to the contradictory world of late 1960's and early 1970's Godzilla movies. This one is kind of bad, and yet kind of good. It's not a highlight of the series, and from a technical standpoint it can't hold a candle to Godzilla VS Space Godzilla - but it's just more fun and entertaining.
24. Godzilla, aka GINO, aka Zilla, aka The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1998) - While some people would put this one at the bottom of the list, the truth is it's not that bad. It's a decent, lighthearted remake of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, which was one of the primary influences on the original 1954 Gojira. The problem is that some of the jokes and gags go too far over the top, and it really isn't a Godzilla movie as much as it is a remake of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Godzilla runs away from the military. Godzilla can be fairly easily hurt by the military, and Godzilla looks like a giant iguana. Those are three cardinal sins of Godzilla movies, three sins that many Godzilla fans can't (or won't) overlook.
23. Terror Of MechaGodzilla, aka The Terror Of Godzilla (1975) - Original Godzilla director Inoshiro Honda returned for what turned out to be the final Godzilla movie of the original series. He attempted to put the terror back into Godzilla and make it less of a kids' movie. He was only partially successful. The previous movie, Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla was actually better all around. This isn't a bad Godzilla movie at all, but it was a good place to give the franchise a break so that Toho could reassess what to do and where to go with the Big G.
22. Ebirah, Horror Of The Deep aka Godzilla VS The Sea Monster (1966) - A movie originally intended for King Kong (Toho had already produced King Kong VS Godzilla and King Kong Escapes), this one was reworked to feature Godzilla instead. Oddly, some of Kong's characteristics are kept for Godzilla - he is revived by lightning (as Kong was in KKVG), and he has an attraction to a girl (as Kong has in most King Kong movies). This is a movie clearly inspired by the 1960's James Bond phenomenon as it features an evil military organization intent on world domination (an attempt to combine SMERSH and SPECTRE type organizations with a full military, more or less). This movie features some great human characters (and actors, including the great Akira Takarada as a safe cracking thief), and a totally different approach to a Godzilla movie, which is refreshing. On the other hand, it also features some of the weakest Godzilla fights to date. Godzilla's lamest opponent, a giant condor, is handled rather pathetically by the special effects team and the model makers. It looks pathetic and the fight scenes are executed extremely poorly. If this movie had a worthy opponent for Godzilla and some good Godzilla fight scenes it would be in the upper half of the Godzilla series. But it doesn't, so it's not.
21. Invasion of Astro Monster, aka Godzilla VS Monster Zero (1965) - Picking up where Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster left off, Godzilla VS Monster Zero featured an American actor in a main role and was a co-production with the small American production company, UPA, in an attempt to create more interest in the movie internationally. Adams is actually quite good as the astronaut, Glenn, and he has geniuine chemistry with Japanese lead Akira Takarada (despite Adams speaking his lines in English, while the rest of the cast was speaking Japanese). Monster Zero features Godzilla and Rodan taking on Ghidorah yet again (as in the preivous movie), but without the involvement of Mothra this time out. Don't let the #22 spot fool you - this is a fun, entertaining movie well worth watching for anyone who is even a casual Godzilla fan.
20. Son Of Godzilla (1967) - While the Godzilla suit in this one (particularly, Godzilla's head & face) is the absolute worst in the series, this movie is actually pretty good. The human characters are fairly well rounded - and pretty darned compelling - and some of them are very likeable. There are some really good actors in this one, and the story is actually well conceived and well written in the final script. While Son of Godzila is clearly aimed at a family audience, it doesn't insult the intelligence of the adults in that audience. This is a well made movie that succeeds in most areas. The areas where it falls short on occasion include the previously mentioned Godzilla suit and the special effects. Some of the fight scenes are pretty good, some are not. And Minya (or Minilla), aka The Son of Godzilla, doesn't look particularly good. He's cute, in a hideous kind of way, but he looks like a puppet much of the time. Still, for the top notch script and acting, and the fairly convincing tropical setting, Son of Godzilla gets fairly high marks.
19. Mothra VS Godzilla aka Godzilla VS The Thing, aka Godzilla VS Mothra (1964) - This movie usually finds its way into the Top 10 on most Godzilla movie lists. And there is a strong argument that can be made for that. Godzilla is still a bad guy, destroying buildings and killing people - he's a true monster. The Godzilla suit looks pretty good. The story is very serious and still fairly adult. The cinematography is also quite good. So why the relatively low ranking? Simple - Mothra. Or, more accurately, the fact that Mothra, as portrayed in 1964, was clearly no match for Godzilla. Further, the battle scenes aren't very convincing and the ending is completely unconvincing (sorry, I'm not buying the idea of twin mothra larvae beating Big G by spinning a cocoon around him). If it were a more worthy adversary with everything else in place the way it was this would have been a Top 5 Godzilla movie for sure. Mothra just doesn't cut it as an opponent for Godzilla. Otherwise, this is a great Godzilla movie.
18. Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla aka Godzilla VS The Cosmic Monster, aka Godzilla VS The Bionic Monster (1974) - After a decade of a continual slide into kids movie territory, the Godzilla producers at Toho decided to get serious again. Or, more serious. Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla had a larger budget than it's two predecessors, and there was an emphasis on action and adult characters. We still got alien invaders, and we still had what some call, "Puppy Dog Godzilla," (he's got a friendly, "Puppy dog," type face), but the shift in tone was apparent. This movie was taken much more seriously by the producers and writers than the last couple of Godzilla movies had been, and the results reflect that. The human action scenes are very good, and the Godzilla action scenes are some of the best of the original Showa series. It's still a little silly in spots, but the improvement over the previous 5 or so films is noteworthy.
More to come...
Last Edit: Jun 28, 2014 20:49:56 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
In theory, the debut album from California Breed (featuring Glenn Hughes on bass & vocals, Jason Bonham on drums, and Andrew Watt on guitar) should have been a, "Can't miss," proposition. Tons of talent on display, with a multi-generational lineup of old meets middle aged meets new, and a fairly well regarded producer really should have resulted in a great album. Or a very good one at the very least.
Instead, what we got was a good album with one great track and eleven other tracks ranging from very good to utterly mediocre. In a bubble (or in a vacuum, pick your metaphor), this album is fairly enjoyable and a success. But we don't live in a bubble or a vacuum, and there are three recent albums to compare this one to, and it doesn't hold up terribly well in that comparison. The three albums being, of course, the three albums that Hughes and Bonham did with Black Country Communion. Missing from that group, of course, is guitar player/singer Joe Bonamassa who quit the band under tumultous circumstances. But also missing is keyboard player Derek Sherinian, who's use of Hammond organ with that group is also noticeably absent here. And missed.
The one great song on the album, "Midnight Oil," was released as an album preview a little over a month before the album's release, and it certainly hinted at an album that would meet expectations. The previous single ("Sweet Tea"), however, while a very good song wasn't quite as good as, "Midnight Oil," and it borrowed more than a little from Robert Palmer's, "Addicted To Love." But, even so, the quality of the two tracks, and the monumental greatness of, "Midnight Oil," kept expectations high.
Then we got the full album. Ouch.
It hurts when we fall from those lofty expectations.
To be fair, California Breed is not a bad album at all. There are moments of greatness in several tracks. Unfortunately, none of those tracks can maintain that level throughout. Some of them have verses or bridges or choruses that are maddeningly mediocre, often boring and lifeless. "Chemical Rain," is a good example. There are some good ideas in there, but the finished product comes across like a dirge, lacking in vitality and consistency. The album lacks energy overall, and needed more time in the songwriting process. Producer Dave Cobb let the band down on multiple fronts.
First, he didn't direct the band well when it came to songwriting and song selection. He either just went with their ideas, or his input wasn't very good. Either way, he earns a below average grade for his handling of the actual music on the album. Secondly, and nearly as important, his handling of the sonics of the album was poor. There isn't a single guitar tone here that makes me go, "WOW! That's a great guitar tone!" There isn't even a single guitar tone that makes me say, "That's a really nice guitar tone." It's all that modern retro thing, and none of it sounds all that great. The snare drum sounds pretty bad when you focus on it. It's a clanky, empty metal drum sound lacking in actual snares. It sounds like a glorified metal tom. Poorly recorded and mixed. (All it needed to be vastly improved was a mic under the drum pointed at the snares, and an eq job focused more on high mids to make the drum snappier.) The final mix is just OK as well. I'm no fan of Kevin Shirley's audio production (his mixes are really lacking in high and low end - very midrangey and cardboardy), but Shirley's work on the Black Country Communion albums was much better than this.
And still I feel like I'm focusing too much on the negatives of the album and overlooking the positives, especially considering that there are a lot of positives here. "Midnight Oil," "Sweet Tea," "The Grey," and, "The Way," are all very enjoyable. But of the rest too many are slow dirges that sound like a band trying to find a combination of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Trapeze, and the White Stripes. Too many of the songs are net energy drains rather than sources, and some of them just aren't all well written (again, not bad, but not good, either). The album needed more time and direction in the songwriting department prior to heading into the studio.
Is there hope for this band to put out a better album in the future? Absolutely. But they need to attack the songwriting from a different perspective, and they need a producer who can better direct them in that department.
As it is the debut album (which may end up being the only album) from California Breed earns a...
Last Edit: May 17, 2014 22:08:10 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
Without question, Ronnie James Dio was one of the true giants of the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal world, an irony not unlost on most of his fans as his short stature made him the butt of jokes for several years in the early and mid 80's. The man with one of the biggest voices, and the man with a huge musical talent, was himself physically smaller than most of those who wished they had half of that talent.
The DIO album catalog is loaded with classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs, and several of their albums can rightly be called Metal Classics today.
4. Dream Evil (1987) - Darker and more melodic than most DIO albums, Dream Evil didn't go over well at the time but has since become a fan favorite. And with good reason. The songwriting was very good on this one. This was the first DIO album featuring Craig Goldy on guitar. Unfortunately, Angelo Arcuri didn't go a great job of recording and mixing the instruments, and the album sounds muddy as a result. Even Ronnie's vocals are occasionally recorded too far into the red and the resulting clipping (distortion) is slightly distracting at times. Still, this is a very good album and it holds up well decades later.
5. Strange Highways (1993) - Another dark album, this one was the first to feature guitar player Tracy G, who took what Steve Stevens did and made it darker and heavier. Strange Highways has moments that show influences from the (then) new Industrial style of music, but it never veers too far away from traditional DIO territory. There are some great songs on this album, and it is far better than some people would lead you believe.
6. Sacred Heart (1985) - This was where the curse of releasing two all time great albums for the genre to start your band's career really hurt. Conflict between Ronnie and Vivian Campbell hurt the creative process on this album, and Angelo Arcuri's overly bright mix (that is lacking a solid bottom end - not enough bass in the mix) really hurts. There are a few great songs on here, and a few more very good tracks. Unfortunately, there are a couple mediocre tracks on the album as well, making Sacred Heart the first disappointment in the DIO catalog. Still, it is a good album overall. Had this been the band's first album most Ronnie James Dio fans would have been satisfied with it.
7. Lock Up The Wolves (1990) - Too many slow, almost plodding songs sabotage this album. There are several really, really good songs here, and the production & mix is an improvement over the previous two albums (although it could use just a tad more guitar), but the overabundance of slower, near plodding songs tends to bog the album down as a whole. This is, however, still a better album than it's reputation says it is. The highlights are definitely worth the price of admission.
8. Master Of The Moon (2004) - The final DIO album, and an album that is definitely worthy of the DIO (band) name. No, it's not in the same class as Killing The Dragon (it's immediate predecessor), but it isn't all that far off and several songs would have been right at home on that album. "Shivers," "One More For The Road," "Living The Lie," and, "Death By Love," are just about as good as anything from Killing The Dragon, and, again, there isn't anything really bad here. There is, yet again, an overabundance of slower songs (this time given a more dynamic, melodic presentation, but still slow, somewhat plodding songs all the same). File this under the, "Good, but not great," category.
9. Angry Machines (1996) - The second and final studio album with Tracy G. Like Strange Highways and Master Of The Moon, this one features Jeff Pilson of Dokken on bass. And despite his presence the album is perhaps the most lacking in strong melodies in the entire DIO catalog. Don't misunderstand, there are melodies here, but overall, as a collection of songs this is the least melodic under the DIO name. It's not a bad album at all, but it is definitely a lesser release from Ronnie and company.
10. Magica (2000) - Ronnie's grand attempt at a concept album. Again, this isn't a bad album at all. At times this is a very good album. Unfortunately, some of the presentation is more than a little cheesy (the mechanical dialogue in between some of the songs, and the narrated Magica story at the end), and the album is lacking in uptempo songs. It could be argued that the album is lacking in top notch songs altogether, but that's probably a bit extreme. The riffs are not as memorable as on most other DIO albums, and the vocal melodies do lapse into cheese more often than they should. Magica definitely gets points for the effort as this is DIO's most ambitious album, but the execution left something to be desired. Still, I'd rate this one a fairly solid 7 out of 10.
Last Edit: May 9, 2014 16:05:37 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
Ronnie James Dio passed away on May 16, 2010 leaving behind an amazing legacy of great music.
His recorded works started in the late 1950's and continued up until just months before his death. He, as most Rock fans know, was (and still is) best known for his time in three bands - Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and DIO. All three groups put out stellar albums, and Ronnie was always a huge part of the reason why those albums were so good. Ronnie wasn't just a singer. He was a multi instrumentalist who could play guitar, bass, and keyboards among other instruments. He worked with some of the most iconic musicians in Rock, including Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. He co-founded Rainbow with Blackmore, creating some truly great Hard Rock albums with the former Deep Purple legend. He helped modernize and streamline Black Sabbath's sound, bringing new life to a band that many had written off as passe. From there he formed his own band and proceeded to release some of the best straightforward (non-Thrash) Heavy Metal albums of all time.
But of all the DIO albums, which ones are the best? Which ones are the weakest? And are any of them truly, "Bad?" Saying that the DIO albums are ranked below from, "Best to Worst," might indicate that one or more of them weren't good, which wasn't actually the case, so...
Here is the official Vista Records list of the DIO (the band) albums, ranked from top to bottom!
1. Holy Diver (1983)
Holy crap, Batman!!! That Holy Diver album is amazing! Ahhh, if we could only get Burt Ward to record those lines. It might be the most accurate thing he ever said as an actor! Holy Diver is an amazing album. When Ronnie left Black Sabbath and focused on his upcoming solo album (which was already in the planning stages), he turned that solo album into a full blown band. He kept drummer Vinnie Appice from Black Sabbath, brought in former Rainbow bandmate Jimmy Bain on bass, and after auditioning several guitar players he settled on newcomer Vivian Campbell from Northern Ireland for that key role. DIO, the band, had been born. This wasn't just a solo album or a solo project, this was going to be a full blown band (albeit with Ronnie firmly placed as the band's leader). While Ronnie already had several songs largely ready to go, he didn't have a full album's worth of material. Campbell turned out to be an inspired choice to be the band's guitar player as he was not only a great player, but he also provided the music for some of the greatest Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs of all time. The collaboration between Ronnie and Vivian resulted in some truly amazing songs. On Holy Diver those songs included, "Gypsy," "Invisible," and one of the band's biggest FM Rock Radio hits, "Rainbow In The Dark." Holy Diver, the album, was a case of catching lightning in a bottle.
From the opening guitar riff of the breathtakingly uptempo, "Stand Up And Shout," to the final fade out of, "Shame On The Night," Holy Diver stands as as a timeless classic. Ronnie wrote both the legendary title track and the fan favorite, "Don't Talk To Strangers," by himself. Bain contributed to the songwriting on the aforementioned, "Stand Up And Shout," (a highlight of not only this album, but of DIO's entire catalog), the pulsatingly powerful (yet melodic), "Straight Through The Heart," as well as, "Rainbow In The Dark," and, "Shame On The Night." Even Appice got into the songwriting, contributing to, "Caught In The Middle," "Invisible," "Shame On The Night, and, "Rainbow In The Dark." Holy Diver truly was an album from DIO, the band, not Ronnie James Dio, the man.
And everything works on Holy Diver. From the songwriting to the musical performances to the audio production and the mix, Holy Diver is an excercize in superlatives. The weakest track on the album, "Caught In The Middle," is still a good song that would be a standout on lesser albums. Holy Diver proved that Ronnie could thrive outside of a group with legendary members (Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow) or outside the context of a legendary band (Black Sabbath). The only problem that Ronnie faced with Holy Diver was putting out such an all-time great album right out of the gate. How could he and the band ever hope to match it? Forget about topping it, how could the band ever meet these standards on relatively short notice? (Bands in the 80's generally released albums every 12 to 24 months, with about 18 months being the average time between albums for major acts.)
2. The Last In Line (1984)
Well, Ronnie, Vivian, Jimmy, and Vinnie couldn't match the sky high standards of Holy Diver come release number two, but The Last In Line came very, very close. (Close enough that the difference didn't really matter.)
The same line-up was in place, and the band had a full tour under their collective belt to gel further as a unit by the time they started writing and rehearsing for what would be the band's second album. The studio engineer from the first album, Angelo Arcuri, also returned to take part in the project. The only new ingredient was keyboard player Claude Schnell. Ronnie himself had handled what few keyboard duties there were on the first album, but for The Last In Line he decided a full time, dedicated keyboard player made more sense. Schnell would not only play in the studio, but he would tour with the band as well, allowing the band to more accurately recreate the songs live.
Like Holy Diver, The Last In Line opens up at a breakneck pace with, "We Rock," a song nearly as good as the previous album's opener. "We Rock," leads into one of DIO's best (and most iconic songs) ever in it's title track. "The Last In Line," is absolutely timeless, and absolutely flawless. From it's softer, mellow, melodic intro to the rest of the pulsatingly heavy mid tempo song, "The Last In Line," is pure. The excellence of the song carries the album as a whole as, again, there isn't anything here that is less than good. Songs like, "Breathless," "I Speed At Night," and, "One Night In The City," are all heavy, but solidly melodic with good hooks to go along with the power and attitude.
If Holy Diver was a 10 out of 10, then The Last In Line is a 9.75 out of 10. The difference in quality between the two was infinitesimal. But, again, the band had painted themselves into a corner, only this time they wouldn't be able to come as close to matching the quality of their last album as Sacred Heart suffered from problems within the band. The quality level would drop noticeably next time out.
3. Killing The Dragon (2002)
By 2002 DIO, the band, had become Ronnie James Dio and whomever he happened to employ in the band at that given time. It was still a band, still a collaborative effort, but it more resembled the Big Band Jazz groups of the 1940's through the 1980's than an actual name Rock group (with those Big Band groups the bandleader was the name, such as Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, and the band had turnover every year changing out at least a couple of the musicians in the group). More importantly, by 2002 DIO's brand of Heavy Metal had lost favor and lost the attention of the youth. DIO was yesterday's news.
And DIO had been criticized for a decline in album quality through the late 80's into the 90's. While none of DIO's albums were truly bad, some of them clearly didn't meet the standards of the band's first two albums.
But just when you wrote Ronnie James Dio off he came roaring back, and that's just what happened here. Killing The Dragon was generally accepted by most fans as a welcome return to form for DIO, the band. Some fans called it the best album since Dream Evil. Others went further and said it was the best DIO album since The Last In Line. I have to side with the group that says it's the best since DIO's 1984 album. It's not a whole lot better than Dream Evil or Sacred Heart, but from my perspective it is a better album with stronger highlights.
The title track (this time leading off the album) is an excellent uptempo track with some slight classical influences. It's like a really good Yngwie Malmsteen song with stronger vocals and vocal melodies. But what really sets Killing The Dragon apart from some of DIO's post Dream Evil albums is the balance between the slower or mid-tempo songs and the uptempo tracks. On Killing The Dragon there is a true balance, and not only is there balance, but most of the songs are very well written. This is a very good album that works well as a whole. That being said, there are some clear highlights here: the title track, "Along Comes A Spider," "Scream," "Better In The Dark," "Push," and, "Before the Fall." New DIO guitar player Doug Aldrich was invaluable to the band as he brought a high level of energy that revitalized the group. Fomer AC/DC (and by this time longtime DIO) drummer Simon Wright gives an excellent performance, and Jimmy Bain is exceptional as a co-writer on most of the album's tracks.
Killing The Dragon may be the last great (or, more accurately, near-great) DIO album, but it was a great return to form for a band that helped define Heavy Metal in the early to mid 1980's.
Last Edit: May 9, 2014 15:33:38 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
Forget about all of the negative reviews and comments (well, forget most of them, anyway), because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a very good comic book superhero movie.
No, this isn't a movie that sets a new standard for comic book superhero movies, but it is a far more satisfying and entertaining movie than, say, last year's Man Of Steel. The one gripe going in was that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was following Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 in terms of villain overload (and in that movie it was overloaded with villains, cramming in too much story and too many complications for two hours and fifteen minutes). In this movie there is really only one main villain, and that is Electro (aka Max Dillon, played by Jamie Foxx). Yes, the Green Goblin and the Rhino make appearances, but the focus of the story (beyond the character issues and personal drama that carries much of the movie) is on Electro.
But that conflict comes after Peter Parker has dealt with his personal demons, which include the death of his uncle, his abandonment by his parents, and the death of NYPD Captain George Stacy and the promise Peter made to Captain Stacy regarding his daughter, Gwen. Peter promised to stay away from Gwen despite his feelings for her, a promise made to keep her safe from Peter's enemies (or, more accurately, Spider-Man's enemies). Peter has a hard time keeping that promise (Gwen is a great girlfriend - not only is she beautiful, but she's smart and caring, too), but he also finds out that breaking that promise is hard on him as well. Peter is haunted by the thought of Captain Stacy watching him, knowing that Peter broke his promise. This creates a dilemma for Peter, and some wonderful character moments that are deeper than those you would find in the average superhero movie. You could say that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is really a love story and a story about the consequences of our actions just as much as it is a superhero movie.
There is, however, plenty of action and excitement in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (let's just call it TASM2 for short), and the action scenes have been ratcheted up to near epic proportions by director Marc Webb and screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner. No, this isn't The Avengers kind of action, but it's much bigger than what we saw in TASM1. But the nice thing is that while the action is bigger, it doesn't feel forced. It feels natural to the story.
And at the heart of the story is Oscorp, the multi billion dollar company founded and owned by Norman Osborn, father to Peter Parker's childhood friend, Harry Osborn. Oscorp is so big and so powerful that they have a security force that rivals the C.IA. in resources and abilities. And as it turns out, Oscorp is at the heart of the disappearance (and deaths) of Richard and Mary Parker, and the accidental creation of Spider-Man's newest enemy, Electro. Electro is set up as the culmination of all the bad things that have happened to a social misfit, electrical engineer Max Dillon. Dillon is socially awkward, and, as he notes, invisible to most people. Most people don't remember him if they even pay attention to him in the first place (and most people don't). Dillon's obsession with Spider-Man as his personal hero after being saved by the web slinger is twisted into hatred when Spidey has to try and stop Dillon from attacking a strong contingent of police in Times Square. From there Spider-Man has to deal with an opponent with powers very different and, in many ways, far greater than his own.
Yes, the Green Goblin does appear towards the end of the movie, and the Rhino makes an appearance as well, but the Goblin's appearance is mainly to push the plot forward and to set up events in future Spider-Man movies. The Rhino's appearance is just a brief teaser giving viewers an idea of what to expect in the future. Neither of these appearances take anything away or distract from the main conflict with Electro.
The nice thing about TASM2 is that the tone is right. Spider-Man is a wisecracking hero, just like in the comic books (Sam Raimi's Spider-Man was a little more restrained with the smartass one liners), and Andrew Garfield does a much better job of capturing the post high school Peter Parker than did Tobey Maguire in Raimi's Spidey movies. We do miss J. Jonah Jameson here to a point (although he is mentioned by name), but cramming in another character would have been a bit much, so that's not a problem. Emma Stone is, again, excellent as Gwen Stacy, and is a step up from Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson (although Dunst does get a lot of unfair criticism for her performances in the previous Spidey movies).
The movie's visuals are spectacular. This is definitely a BIG SCREEN movie. The effects are effective (not just special), and the action really works.
Ultimately, TASM2 is an improvement over TASM1, and is a significantly better movie than Raimi's Spider-Man 3. Well done.
Last Edit: May 4, 2014 20:53:02 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
Thanks to Olive Films a top notch crime drama with leanings towards Film Noir has finally been released on DVD and Blu Ray.
OK, truth be told you could say that about several movies, as Olive has gotten into the Classic Film business wholeheartedly.
In this case the movie is Cry Danger, a nifty detective story starring the great Dick Powell. Powell had made his name in Hollywood in the 1930's as an actor in light drama and musical comedies. He was a crooner, a song and dance man. And then he started aging. Powell knew that his leading man roles in that kind of movie would be harder and harder to come by, so at age 40 he made the decision to become a tough guy in hard boiled crime and detective movies. One movie changed his career forever. That movie was Murder, My Sweet (1944) which featured Powell playing the legendary character Philip Marlowe. Powell was, in fact, the first actor to play Marlowe on the big screen. The movie was a big hit, and Powell followed it up with another Edward Dmytryk directed Film Noir, Cornered, and then Powell took on the leading role as Richard Rogue in the radio drama (yes, a detective show), Rogue's Gallery.
The die was cast, and Powell was now firmly cemented in moviegoers minds as a wisecracking tough guy.
By 1951 Powell had moved on to another hard boiled detective show on radio, this time in Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Richard Diamond was a great radio show, more often than not written by future feature film director Blake Edwards. Edwards' scripts were loaded with biting, witty one liners, and Powell delivered them with a brilliant low key snarky gusto. It was the kind of marriage of talents of which radio producers usually could only dream. The show was a a big success.
And in 1951 RKO released Cry Danger, a movie that found Powell delivering the kind of witty, biting one liners that he did so well on radio as Richard Diamond. (I wouldn't find it at all surprising if Powell brought Edwards in to punch up the script - uncredited, of course - a practice not unheard of in Hollywood back then, and one that is commonplace now.) The movie was yet another hit for Powell.
Cry Danger opens with Powell as Rocky Mulloy arriving in Los Angeles after being pardoned for a crime he didn't commit. The problem for Mulloy is very few people believe he was really innocent of the crime for which he had spent five years in prison. Most notably, L.A. police detective Gus Cobb and a crippled former Marine named Delong who had come forward to provide an airtight alibi for Mulloy, prompting the pardon.
Delong's alibi, however, was a lie as the two had never met and never even seen each other previously. Delong believed that Mulloy really did have all or part of the $100,000 (worth over a million dollars today) that he had been convicted of stealing (as part of a heist that saw someone killed, thus a life sentence for Mulloy). Detective Cobb also believes that Mulloy either took part in the robbery or knows who did and where the money is (the money had never been recovered). This is all laid out in the first five minutes of the movie right after Rocky gets off the train and before he can even leave the station.
From there Cry Danger becomes a detective movie without a licenced detective leading the investigation. Mulloy is looking to get his hands on the money as he feels he is entitled to it since he went to prison for stealing it. And Mulloy does know who was involved in the robbery, at least the man who came up with the plan (and who, Rocky believed, likely took part in the holdup) - Louie Castro. When Mulloy meets with Castro (played by radio's Marshal Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke, William Conrad) he makes it plain that he wants the money, or else. Castro isn't thrilled to see Rocky, nor is he eager to give up the money. He gives Mulloy $500 and tips him off on a horse that is sure to win a race the next day as a longshot. Mulloy places the bet with the local bookie that Castro suggests and from there the mystery gets deeper before it is cleared up.
The movie is a very good crime drama that occasionally plants it's feet into Film Noir ground. It is not as dark as a full blown Film Noir, but it is darker and features a more character self destruction (typical of films noir) than do many movies that have since been lumped into the, "Film Noir," category. Director Robert Parrish did a fine job of filming the movie (along with cinematographer Joseph F. Biroc), and he keeps the film moving along at a good pace (not too fast, though, as he and editor Bernard W. Burton allow the story to unfold without being rushed). Parrish also did a great job handling the actors, as just about everyone involved gave good (or, in some cases, very good) performances. The cast seems confident and comfortable in their roles.
Powell, of course, is right at home playing the kind of character that is a little bitter when he should be furiously angry (having spent five years in prison for something he didn't do, something for which he was framed - and he knew who framed him). Rocky Mulloy is pragmatic. He knows who set him up, but he wants money as his payback, not murder. As noted previously, the script is loaded with great dialogue and one liners for Powell that could have easily been written by Blake Edwards for Powell's then current radio show, Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Whether or not Edwards acted as a script doctor is unknown, but his style is there. It is more than possible that screenwriter William Bowers merely copied the style of one-liners that Powell had read so well on radio. Bowers' script is excellent for this type of crime drama, and if he wrote it alone (as he was credited), then he did a fantastic job.
Fans of the 1946 classic The Big Sleep would have loved Cry Danger then, and newer fans of Bogart's film playing Philip Marlowe who have discovered the movie in recent years will likewise love Cry Danger today. It is a very, very good crime drama that fans of Film Noir will greatly enjoy.
As for Olive Films' Blu Ray, it looks spectacular. No, it hasn't gone through a full digital restoration, removing every spec of dust and every scratch, but it is fairly clean and the print is excellent. It is crisp and sharp, with nice film grain that doesn't look overly grainy - it just looks like actual film and not digital video (so, obviously, this hasn't gone through excessive digital noise reduction, and it is more likely that none at all has been used). The contrast is just about perfect with good shadow detail along with solid blacks. Olive may not have the budget to fully restore films, but they get the best copies they can, and this one had been preserved by UCLA so it is in very good shape. This is one of those releases that really benefits from the Blu Ray format - it looks great. (Probably better than most filmgoers saw when they went to see it in the theaters back in 1951.)
If you're a fan of classic movies (especially if you're a fan of Film Noir or crime dramas) then you should definitely pick up a copy of this Olive Films Blu Ray. You'll be glad you did.
One of the more pleasant surprises for many people was 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger.
It was a different kind of superhero movie - one that took place during World War II (for the most part). Director Joe Jonston did a great job of capturing the look and feel of the 1940's while still giving the film modern sensibilities. It was very similar to his early 90's movie, The Rocketeer in that regard.
Fast forward three years (two years past the monumental Avengers movie) and you've got Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living in modern America. He's still a fish out of water (and his stereo has 40's Big Band Jazz playing, as it should), but he's starting to acclimate himself to a brave new world. He's still an idealist, and the same reasons why he kept trying to get into the military as a scrawny 100 pound weakling still apply in his mind to what is right and what is wrong. He doesn't agree with SHIELD's plans to pro-actively take out threats to world security. Punishment before the crime is committed doesn't seem right to Steve. Freedom still means a lot to him.
Needless to say, there is plenty of action in The Winter Soldier (which could also have been called, "The Avengers 1.5"). This isn't a small movie. However, there are elements of 1970's style political thrillers present, as well as a bit of a mystery. This, like The First Avenger, is a well rounded movie with a lot going on.
One of the things going on is the appearance of The Winter Soldier, an assassin so effective and so elusive that many believed him to be just a myth. The identity of The Winter Soldier is probably pretty well known by now, but I'll avoid spoiling it just in case you don't know yet - but, needless to say, it does create further conflict for an already deeply conflicted Steve Rogers.
And as Steve Rogers Chris Evans has been, and continues to be, amazingly effective. A far cry from the brash, thoughtless, impulsive Johnny Storm that he played nearly a decade ago in a pair of Fantastic Four movies, Evans' Steve Rogers is thoughtful and mature. Wise beyond his years in the 1940s his wisdom is desperately needed in modern times, and Evans perfectly captures that. His performance isn't just seriousness and contemplation - he is (as he was in The Fantastic Four movies) excellent with the one liners. Evans has a great balance between the serious character drama and the lighthearted nature of fun comic book movies. A better Captain America would have been hard to find.
But the great performances don't stop there. Scarlett Johansson is a pleasure to watch as Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow. Her charm is inescapable. Also very noteworthy in the cast is Robert Redford - yes THE Robert Redford - as SHIELD supreme commander, Alexander Pierce. Redford gives a standard Robert Redford performance. It's not Redford at his absolute best, but he isn't just phoning it in, either. Average Redford is better than most actors at their best, and that's the case here, and his presence alone gives the film a certain weight and gravitas that it couldn't have had with just another actor in the role. Kudos to Marvel for landing him!
Samuel L. Jackson is Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, which makes sense as the character was re-imagined in his image for Marvel's, "Ultimates," line of comics (a line where everything was started over from scratch and given a modern spin). Newcomer to the Marvel universe, Anthony Mackie, also brings a lot to the table as Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon. In the comics The Falcon was Captain America's partner in crimefighting for about a decade. In the movie he is a valuable asset as both a character and as an actor giving the cast a new dimension that wasn't seen in The First Avenger or The Avengers.
The story is more than solid. It is well thought out, and well scripted. The Winter Soldier really could be subtitled, "Avengers 1.5," because that's what it is, more or less. There is enough excitement to satisfy that crowd, and enough twists and turns to satisfy the skeptics.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo (the Russo brothers) have done a great job of bringing not only a comic book to life, but of also adding elements of political intrigue and mystery to the comic book superhero action movie mix. The movie moves at a breakneck pace, but still finds time for solid character moments and plot development.
The Winter Soldier will end up being one of the highlights of 2014 at the movies. Don't miss it.
Last Edit: Apr 15, 2014 19:13:10 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp
Here's a great episode adapting an Isaac Asimov story. This one is about a time of galactic war, and how people behave under extreme stress and what they will do to be free.
From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future. Adventures in which you'll live in a million, "Could be," years on a thousand, "May be," worlds. The National Broadcasting company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction magazine presents...
X.. Minus... One...
Last Edit: Mar 22, 2014 3:40:56 GMT -5 by Erik Rupp