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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Dick Cavett

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Just a few weeks ago I got the chance to meet Dick Cavett on the 2016 TCM Classic Cruise. There were onboard interviews with him, he introduced several movies, and he also told amazing stories of Hollywood that spanned the decades. Recently, the Decades network started replaying his old talk shows from the sixties, seventies, and eighties, so even today’s generation may have heard of this fantastic interviewer, writer, and talk show host. If you’re hip to the man, there are a lot of gifts you might want to give or get this holiday. Meet me after the jump for… Dick Cavett!

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31 Days of Horror 2016: Rocky Horror Redux

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I have a long history with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but not as long as some folks my age. And as loyal and passionate as I am about the original, I had to watch and/or hate-watch the Fox TV remake last night. Meet me after a jump to the left for my thoughts.

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S03 E22: Ascension

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This is it, the season three finale, and the (hopefully) final battle between Hive and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With their base overrun by Alpha Primitives, Hive setting his master plan in motion, and the team haunted by Daisy’s future vision – who will save the world? Find out, along with my thoughts on “Ascension,” after the jump.

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Godzilla 2014

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I have been waiting for this for a long time. I am a hardcore Godzilla fan. I’ve seen all the Godzilla movies, I’ve seen all the Toho movies, I’ve even seen the, ahem, 1998 American version. I own all the movies, even that last one, and many of them I owned before they were legal in this country. That’s how hardcore I am. So you can imagine I was thrilled for the newest incarnation of Godzilla coming out this week. We’ll see. Meet me after the jump for my spoiler-filled review of the 2014 Godzilla.

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31 Days of Horror 2013: The Human Centipede

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When The Human Centipede came out almost five years ago, it became one of the most infamous horror films of its time, stretching the meaning of terror, disgust, and incredulity. It truly is an exercise in horror however, perfect for this time of year, but not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. You’ve been warned. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on The Human Centipede.

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David Bowie’s The Next Day – First Impressions

bowie3Much like the surprise of David Bowie releasing a new album after ten years of quiet retirement, today iTunes surprised us all by live streaming The Next Day, giving the world a very special sneak preview. Here are my thoughts after a first listen.

1. “The Next Day” (3:51) Dance rock from the master, the title tune gives a twisted positive message through story, typical of Bowie. This is reminiscent of his late eighties to me, sort of “Dancing with the Big Boys” vibe. A proper title track, and even better for a single, if they do such things these days.

2. “Dirty Boys” (2:58) Jazzy and off-kilter, more twisting surreality in the lyrics, which harken back to seventies Bowie for me. Appropriately and oddly, this reminds me of an uptempo “The Laughing Gnome.” I like it.

3. “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” 3:56 We know this one, the first up tempo tune released in startling innovative video just last week. This is the Bowie we remember – familiar sounds spun in new and unfamiliar ways.

4. “Love Is Lost” (3:57) Again, we have that touch of the old done in anew way, definitely Bowie, yet refreshing. This is a relentless spinning groove

5. “Where Are We Now?” (4:08) The first tune released from The Next Day, on Bowie’s 66th birthday, surprising us all as we thought he had retired a decade earlier. It’s slow methodical ballad, that like “The Stars,” with an edge of the old looking back on the young and what used to be.

6. “Valentine’s Day” (3:01) This one strikes me as both old school, and most likely to be the pop ballad single, too bad it missed the obvious holiday mark a few weeks back. I bet we’ll hear this all over pop/rock radio next year in February.

bowie27. “If You Can See Me” (3:16) Wonderful staccato drums and background vocals highlight this upbeat track, one of my favorites.

8. “I’d Rather Be High” (3:53) Continuing the strong drumwork, lyrically this the Bowie of old, he’s talking about the world, and the madness in it, specifically the young men going to wars in the middle east. One of the strongest tracks on the album.

9. “Boss Of Me” (4:09) Great horn work on this tale of an unconventional love, but then again, aren’t all Bowie love songs unconventional. It’s a bit reminiscent of “China Girl” to me.

10. “Dancing Out In Space” (3:24) This tune is one that has a lot of early critics talking, but for me, it’s a’right. It’s a good song, don’t get me wrong, and it does spotlight Bowie’s vocal talents, but the odd repetitive undulating guitar rift kinda annoyed me after a bit.

11. “How Does The Grass Grow” (4:33) I like this one a lot more than the previous track, although some might find Bowie’s backing vocals as annoying as I found the guitars in “Dancing.” I think this one is my fave so far. It’s hard, it’s spiraling, it has strong vocals, crazy lyrics, and it’s just sooo Bowie. Love it.

nextday12. “(You Will) Set The World On Fire” (3:30) Such strong guitars here and a bouncy beat, this dance rocker has a lot of potential. One of my faves.

13. “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die” (4:41) This midtempo ballad grew on me, carried by Bowie’s strong voice and lyrics, creating melancholy mood beautifully. I am inexplicably reminded of Tim Curry coming out into the audience at the end of Rocky Horror. Don’t overlook this one.

14. “Heat” (4:25) Another ethereal Bowie ballad with surreal lyrics, haunting and melodic. Lovely and morose.

There are also three other songs – “So She,” “Plan,” and “I’ll Take You There” – bonus tracks on the ‘deluxe’ album.  I suppose we will have to wait to hear those tunes. David Bowie’s The Next Day is set for official release on March 12th, 2013. I am so psyched!

The Many Faces of A Christmas Carol

carol1There are more than a few films considered to be traditional, or even required, viewing every year at Christmas time. There’s A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, one of the many versions of Miracle on 34th Street (though I prefer the original 1947 one myself), The Santa Clause, Home Alone, Die Hard, and for the more twisted folks like me, there’s also the 1959 Mexican classic Santa Claus. There’s also Elf, Holiday Inn, The Bishop’s Wife, and another of my favorites, Love Actually.

Yeah, those are all good, but really none of them really holds a candle to the all time classic story of the Christmas spirit – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, specifically the 1951 version, Scrooge. We’ll take a look at why that’s at the top of the heap and the king of the Christmas movies, in my opinion at least, after the jump.

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Saturday At The Movies: Santa Claus 1959

santa1“It’s just not Christmas until you watch the 1959 Mexican Santa Claus.” These are words we say around my home every year right around this time. It’s become tradition, and a fun and hilarity filled evening when we do it. Find out why this surreal bad movie is such a holiday classic in my house, after the jump.

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31 Days of Horror – Why Curse of the Demon Still Scares Us

A color lobby card from 1957’s Curse of the Demon

When folks think classic horror, sometimes they think of the silent days, sometimes of the Universal boom of the 1930s, some folks even think of the slasher flicks of the 1980s. There are exceptions along the way however, one or two classics from the old days that rise above the rest. The British horror from 1957, Curse of the Demon, is one of those. More after the jump.
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