Tag Archives: review

Cue Vengaboys!

Katie and I made the trek to Six Flags Great Adventure today. We took lots and lots of photos, as one might expect. Here is a Flickr set containing all of mine, along with the trademark snappy comments.

We did manage to ride Kingda Ka, the new ridiculously overpowered coaster. While the fact sheet gives you the raw technical numbers – 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds, then up 456 feet, then down the same amount – and this streaming video will give you a general idea of what the ride is like, let me present you my personal version of the experience to drive the point home:

– The line is long, *much* longer than the actual ride. We lucked out, by going on a weekday and finding our way over right after the ride had opened; our wait was only 65 minutes. I’ve been told by coaster fanatic friends that the lines can go up to 5 hours long.
– There is a sign near the front politely informing you that on occasion, the cars *don’t* make it over the 456 foot hill, but they were designed to gracefully come back down to the base and then re-launch. This will haunt you the entire time you’re in line.
– You are forced to watch these cars go from 0 to 128 mph over, and over, and over while you’re in line.
– As such, by the time you’re actually in the car, you – and everyone else – will be screaming the second it leaves the station, even though you probably have another minute before you’re screwed.
– Ride in one of the first two rows. Do not ride in the last row.
– There is a horn that blows shortly before you take off. This horn can be heard everywhere in the park. This horn will haunt you.
– The 0-to-128 acceleration is so quick that my eyelids were literally shaking in the wind.

The rest of the park is crap, but I’m certainly glad we got to ride what will be the most notorious coaster for at least the next few years.

Glengarry Glen Ross – A Broadway Review

This afternoon, Katie and I went to a matinee of the new version of David Mamet’s *Glengarry Glen Ross*. We sat in the Orchestra section. This review contains no spoilers.

For those not familiar with the Pultizer winning play, I’ll quote the [official site](http://glengarryglenross.biz/)’s synopsis:

> GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS is a riveting account of the competing personalities in a seedy Chicago real estate office, where it’s business as usual until a high-stakes sales contest takes a shocking turn. Welcome to the fast and furious world of American entrepreneurship, where lying, cheating and stealing are all in a day’s work… and where the salesman will stop at nothing to close a deal.

It was made into a [popular movie](http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0104348/) in 1992 with an amazing ensemble cast: Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jonathan Pryce, and Jude Ciccolella. The play includes all of these parts save Alec Baldwin’s. The three most notable cast members for the stage version are Alan Alda (playing Jack Lemmon’s character of Shelley Levene), Liev Schreiber (playing Pacino’s firey Ricky Roma), and Jeffrey Tambor (picking up Alan Arkin’s George Aaronow).

Over the past 6 years or so – I saw the movie first when I was in college, long after its release – I’ve grown a huge appreciation for the movie, with its classic roles, relentless dialog, and tense pacing. I had high hopes for the stage version, and it mostly met my expectations. I apologize in advance about what follows, as all my thoughts on the play largely revolve around comparisons to the film. A point by point breakdown in no particular order:

**+ Liev Schreiber and Jeffrey Tambor were excellent.**

I never got much of a handle on the character of George in the movie – I had always considered him the weakest of the bunch in the movie. But Tambor poured a hell of a lot into the character, giving him a real personality that was unique to the play, even despite what would seem like similarities in manner to Shelley. I was a big fan of Jeffrey coming into this from his work on *Arrested Development*, and this only cemented it further.

I was also pleasantly surprised by Liev Schreiber; I had my doubts at first at his ability to fill in the shoes of a character I have such a strong connotation with Al Pacino for, but he did it admirably. I’ve previously only seen Liev in *The Manchurian Candidate*, and my impression of him coming in was favorable – his take on the role was unique and powerful in its own way.

**= Alan Alda and Gordon Clapp were decent.**

I should preface this by saying I’ve never seen the play before today, only the film, and so perhaps Alda nailed the part – but compared to the Shelley Levine character I’ve known, it felt like Alda was forcing it a bit, rambling a bit too much and just going too broad. He didn’t ruin the play by any stretch – his acting was still good – but I just felt he was too overzealous at times. Perhaps it was because he was laying the accent on too thick.

Gordon Clapp, taking up Ed Harris’ role of Dave Moss, was great in his interactions with Jeffrey Tambor but lacked the punch needed when facing off against Liev. Not bad, just not great.

(Ironically, both of these men, along with Liev, are the ones nominated for Tony’s. I’m pulling for Liev.)

**- Fred Weller and Tom Wopat were forgettable.**

Fred Weller, picking up Kevin Spacey’s role, spent a lot of his time on stage not saying anything, and his body language didn’t convey anything. Spacey had a real edge in the role, and Mr. Weller was just lacking it.

Tom “Luke Duke” Wopat was showing the wrong sort of desperation as James Lingk; while Jonathan Pryce had nailed down a man who is backed into a corner by everyone he deals with, Wopat came across as wishy washy and didn’t leave much of an impression on me by the end of the play.

**+ The set design was amazing.**

If you go to see this play after reading my review, you may sit through Act I wondering what the hell I was thinking. But the second Act II starts, there is an audible gasp in the audience when you see the set. It’s one of the most detailed, functional sets I’ve seen yet, and it’s mighty impressive. I find myself crossing my fingers for Santo Loquasto – he deserves the set design Tony.

**= The first act was sort of blah.**

This is Mamet’s fault, not anyone in this cast; the structure of the first act requires too much piecing bits together through snippets of dialog, too much trying to connect people through disjoint scenes, and a real lack of flow. Luckily, it’s different enough from the film where people who have seen the movie aren’t going to be bored out of their skulls.

**+ The second act was electric.**

This also falls on Mamet’s shoulders, thankfully. There are no breaks in the second act, and it all flows beautifully. At the intermission, I was wondering if the play was worth seeing – the second act sealed the deal completely.

**? It’s very weird to be in the audience.**

The movie doesn’t come across as funny at all, just suspenseful and tense. While the play certainly has some intentional humor written into it, there were lots of instances where there’d be laughter just at swearing or cuts at other actors. The audience was also predominantly old, presumably because they all wanted to see Alan Alda. Not a good or bad thing, just strange.


In conclusion: The cast is above average and works well together, and while the first act is a little weak, the second act is more than worth the cost of admission. I recommend catching this in matinee whether you’ve seen the movie a thousand times or not seen it at all.

Glengarry Glen Ross runs through August 28th at the Royale Theatre on West 45th St.


Katie and I had a chance to see a private pre-screening of [Old Boy](http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0364569/ “IMDB listing”) tonight, thanks to our lovely friends at [Gothamist](http://www.gothamist.com/).

Short synopsis before I get going: Oh Dae-Su, a man with a reputation for getting drunk and womanizing, is mysteriously imprisoned in a fake hotel room for 15 years, living on fried dumplings and TV only. After the 15 years are up, he finds himself awake on a roof. He is given fancy clothes, a cell, and money. But what his captor has waiting for him after his release – while Oh Dae-Su plots his revenge – may be far worse than his imprisonment.

I can’t remember the last time I came out of a movie feeling so emotionally drained – it’s like my soul got in a fight with the movie and lost.

The acting was fantastic for all the key characters, especially the two leads. Choi Min-sik, who plays Oh Dae-su, has *huge* range, and the acting muscle he shows in the last 20 minutes leaves me unable to even find one person in US cinema to compare him to. Yu Ji-Tae, playing his captor/tormentor, comes off as genuinely evil without descending into camp to get the point across.

Somewhere in here is the single best fight scene I’ve ever witnessed that wasn’t boosted by special effects. There’s also some well-timed black humor, more than sufficient character development, and more than enough twists and turns that you’ll get slack-jawed at least once. (And in the good-for-Dan department, there weren’t enough plot holes to make me deconstruct the whole thing after the fact.)

People who have been reading my blog for long enough know I don’t write a lot of movie reviews. I save the indivudual movie posts for one of two cases – a [really good movie](http://vjarmy.com/archives/2004/09/aim_for_the_hea.php), or a [really poor movie](http://vjarmy.com/archives/2003/09/the_occasional.php). Oldboy completely falls on the side of the good movies, and until further notice is my Favorite Movie Of 2005.

Check out [the trailer](http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/old_boy.html), and be sure to catch it when it opens in the immediate future.

Review: Spamalot

Last night, Katie and I joined my parents at the fourth NYC preview showing of Spamalot, “a new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail'”, at the Shubert Theatre. This is my best attempt as a full-fledged review.

There are light spoilers below, so don’t read on if you want to be completely surprised when you see the show.

General Information

The story runs very much parallel to that of the movie, although with a fair number of changes. The introduction of the knights are consolidated into characters from other bits, thus streamlining the first act. There are a number of bits removed from the story just because it’d be difficult to cram it all in *and* add musical numbers – more on this later. Finally, as there is a large amount of riffing off musicals in general, there is a subplot involving…well, Broadway.

Tim Curry plays King Arthur; David Hyde Pierce takes on the role of Sir Robin and some ancillary characters; Hank Azaria (in his Broadway debut) plays Sir Lancelot, Tim the Enchanter, the primary Knight of Ni, and the French Taunter. There are five other primary cast members, most noticably the newly-added Lady Of The Lake, played by Sara Ramirez. There are sixteen ensemble members in a variety of roles. The only Python member actually used in the musical is John Cleese, who provides the voice of God (admittedly, not live).

The show runs just over two hours, including a fifteen minute intermission. Tickets are currently ranging from $35 (back of the upper balcony) to over $100 for orchestra.

Repeating Material – The Purist Problem

There are very few people who only merely like Monty Python. Most every fan can quote excessively from the shows and/or the movies. A large number of the purists will, by this point in their lives, know Holy Grail by heart and frequently bother their co-workers by quoting it at great lengths. I am a moderate purist, able to riff on most sketches and movies and even some of the CD material. I feel I have a good grounding in Python.

A lot of purists will be confused by this show, because a number of very famous bits from the movie have been cut out. Here’s a quick breakdown:

In The Musical: The Opening Credits (see next section), You’ve Just Got Two Coconuts, The Monks With Boards, Bring Out Your Dead, Dennis the Peasant, The Historian, Camelot, A Blessing From The Lord, The French Castle / Wooden Rabbit, Sir Robin and his Minstrels, The Black Knight, The Knights Who Say Ni, Prince Herbert, Tim The Enchanter/The Killer Rabbit

Not In The Musical: She’s A Witch, The Three Headed Knight, The Castle Anthrax, The Old Man In Scene 12, The Bridge Of Death, The Great Black Beast Of Aaauugh, The Castle Aaaagh

Note that a handful of those bits listed as still being in the musical have been modified from what you remember, especially Camelot and Prince Herbert, but also The Knights Who Say Ni, The French Castle, and much of Sir Robin’s material.

Of also questionable effect to the purists is that a number of portions of other Python bits have been inserted into the musical. There are a variety of references to The Parrot Sketch, Silly Elections, The Fish Slapping Dance, The Lumberjack Song, and plenty of others I’ve probably forgotten by now. And strangest of all, Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life makes not only an appearance but also gets a karaoke-sing-along reprise. (Having never really been a fan of the original song, I don’t think it’s a great choice here, but all the other references made me snicker at the least.

So the issue is this – if you are a hardcore Python nerd, you will likely hate this show, as many things you know and love have been changed or left on the cutting board floor. Your enjoyment of this show may hinge on one or two bits being exactly the way you remember them, or at least being in the show – please use the guide above and save yourself potential pain if you’re the sort of person I’ve been describing. Personally, I thought the changes were fine.

If you’re not familiar with Holy Grail or haven’t seen it in a while, there’s a good chance you will greatly enjoy the content of the show.

One final issue: There’s a lot of audience cheering in recognition of certain bits.

About Finland

This is a spoiler: There’s a great fakeout at the beginning where the cast misheard “England” as “Finland” and the opening scene is a full Finnish fish-slapping song (complete with appropriate dance), followed by some singing from Finland, Finland, Finland. There’s also a good four pages in the playbill written by Michael Palin about the show you’re seeing – “Dik Od Triaanenen Fol (Finns Ain’t What They Used To Be)”. In fact, there’s a lot of comedy scattered around the playbill – read it cover to cover.

The Cast

When I had originally heard the casting, I was strangely curious, as I couldn’t picture David Hyde Pierce fitting in with Tim Curry or Hank Azaria to mesh into a Python show. But as it turns out, the three of them are perfectly cast, and not because they’re all fine actors. The reason this show clicks so well is that each adapts into the roles of existing Python players seemlessly. Tim Curry perfectly captures the slightly arrogent royality that Graham Chapman played in the movie. David Hyde Pierce picked up the Eric Idle portions, and his mannerisms are spot on. Hank Azaria sort of draws a double duty, getting both Michael Palin and John Cleese’s parts, and as a guy with a huge range of voice talent, he swings through it all perfectly.

In fact, I’m going to throw an extra shout out to Hank Azaria, because for someone who’s entirely new to Broadway as of this show, he could’ve fooled anyone in the audience. He truly looked like this was old hat, and seemed to really be enjoying himself. He even threw in a “glaiven” at one point, much to the delight of the Simpsons fans. I will admit that occasionally the voices sounded a bit close to Moe, but that’s not the end of the world.

Azaria isn’t the only one in the cast who seemed to be enjoying himself – Tim Curry looked very close to breaking into laughter at least three times during the show, and David Hyde Pierce’s portions involved a heavy bout of hamming it up. So again, I have no quarrel with the three leads.

Another huge bout of respect goes to the one new part for the show – the Lady Of The Lake, played by Sara Ramirez. The woman has a simply amazing vocal range, great comedic timing, and fit in perfectly for her part. Cheers, huge cheers to Sara.

The ensemble cast all fit in well; the choreography was consistent, the voices were in key, and they flew from one scene to another without trouble.

The New Material

There are fifteen new songs for the show; one of them is a much revamped version of “Knights Of The Round Table”. There are also four reprises. A few of the songs are on the short side, but they all work well.
Three of the songs tie into a strong subplot that mocks the Broadway formula; “The Song That Goes Like This” mocks the Andrew Lloyd Webber-esqe sweeping balads that are staples of far too many musicals. Later, the Lady Of The Lake tells King Arthur that to find the grail, he’ll have to open a musical on Broadway. This is followed by the funniest number, “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway” has Sir Robin (DHP) singing to King Arthur about how there is no way they can succeed on Broadway without any Jews. The song spirals out of control with more and more Jewish imagery – jewish dancing girls give way to a jewish line dance which gives way to a giant lit-up Star of David that comes from the top of the stage. I’m not kidding. Finally, Lady Of The Lake makes her return in Act Two with “The Diva’s Lament”, where she loudly complains that she’s been offstage for far too long and inquires where her part went.

This subplot can be a little too inside-jokey at times (I don’t follow a lot of Broadway shows, so there were musical references I missed), but is routinely hilarious and doesn’t falter.

The Prince Herbert sequence has been radically changed with a massive twist which leads to a song and dance number; I refuse to spoil this. Trust me, if you see the show, the sudden change in direction of the scene will have you laughing pretty hard.


If you’re the sort of person who liked Avenue Q, who digs Python, or just enjoys some Broadway stylings that doesn’t take itself even close to seriously, go see Spamalot. It’s a good time for all.

In The Struggle For My Attention, Porn Wins

Today, most of the New Yorkers I know were out taking pictures of The Gates.

We, on the other hand, were taking in a movie. A documentary, actually. A porno documentary.
Yes, we trekked to the one screen in NYC – the Sunshine Landmark Cinema – showing Inside Deep Throat. (There seems to be this issue in NYC where high-publicity indy films – Closer, Assassination Of Richard Nixon, and the one today – are only playing on one screen. I still don’t quite understand why.)

The movie covered here, Deep Throat, remains one of the most notorious porno films of all time – made at a time while such movies regularly had to feature doctors giving sexual instruction, so the film could be passed off as “educational”. For those really unfamiliar with the plot of the movie, Linda Lovelace’s character allegedly has her clitoris oddly located at the back of her throat, and the only way she can find full satisfaction is…well, you can guess from the title.

The documentary focuses on the whole progression of how Deep Throat affected culture, from the mainstreaming of porn to the many indecency trials revolving around the movie. It’s a pretty remarkable story, where hundreds of regular people were lining up around the block in Times Square (and the country) for a porno flick.

As a documentary, it’s very well grounded. Narration by Dennis Hopper is minimal, and there are no occasions where you hear the interviewer posing questions; the monologues from the key players and celebrity commentators really drive the story along. They are often allowed to play off each other, leading to some amusing quasi-dialog. Everyone gets their licks in on both sides, including a number of FBI agents and prosecutors.

All in all, it does what a documentary should – it informs, it pulls you through all the major emotions (amusement/joy/sorrow/anger), and it entertains. Katie and I both enjoyed it a lot, and recommend it if it’s playing in your area. I should note though, that the movie IS rated NC-17 for some full frontal nudity as well as a good 30 seconds of the deed described in the movie title; it would’ve been a bit of a cheat not to show it after so many of the people involved in the movie described it as an amazing act.

Review: V-Rare 5

This is the musical review of the CD that comes with MAX2JP. Standard 1-100 scale. (50 is average, 60 means it ends up on my main playlist, over 80 means it ends up on my “really good” playlist.) Reviews are written while I’m listening to the song.

Kind Lady (Long Edit)

Kind Lady has always been one of those songs that feels like it COULD be good but never actually IS. This mix – which essentially combines the Rough Instrumental Interlude from V-Rare 1 and the original and then extends the hell out of it – finally makes it feel complete. Even with the weird breakdown near the end, it feels complete enough to get a 62/100 from me.

Do It Right (Harmonized 2Step Mix Long)

This game-length version sort of warmed me up to the song in general, but didn’t do as much for me as the 80’s Electro mix. This version…it takes a minute and a half to get to anything resembling “2step”. I’m unfortunately getting burned out on the lyrics, since no one seems to have the decency to even cut-and-paste it in a different order like they did for Burnin’ The Floor. I could live without this. 48/100.

Look To The Sky (Extended Trance Mix)

Nearly 6 minutes of the Oni course mix from MAX2CS. I forget who said it (probably Reo), but if they had left the vocals out, this would be PERFECT. Like, I love the non-vocal parts, but as soon as “Anna” comes in, I cringe – partially Kyle Snyder’s fault. Squeaks by with a 60/100.

Feelings Won’t Fade (Extended Trance Mix)

And this is entirely new. And holy crap, it’s almost like exactly what I was asking for last time. System SF trance, only without any vocals! Woo! (Edit: I realized where this is from – this is the end credit music from MAX2CS. Still, it rocks.) 70/100.

Kind Lady (Future Trance Mix)

And while we’re in the trance section, let’s see how this works out. Apparently Konami wants Kind Lady to be the new overplayed song of the decade. This sounds more like the intro to Jump by Van Halen than Trance…oh there we go. Ooh, crazy vocal loopage…and wow. It doesn’t feel like a perfect fit, but it works really well. Okay, well, this little breakdown is meh…ooh, but back to the good stuff. It gets a little electro here and there. My one complaint is that the refrain hits with minimal build a couple of times – but the one right at the end is solid. 82/100.

Midnite Blaze (SySF Mix)

And this will be a really tough sell because I HATE Midnite Blaze. Harder than the rest of the trance we’ve heard thus far. The rap part vocals are put through some filter, and again we’re going more towards electro than Trance. It’s a little uneven, but it’s good enough for science. 60/100.

Glacial (Radio Edit)

Hey, welcome to Diversionville! Population, Riyu! And, uh, wait, this is Hyper Eurobeat in Japanese. It works a little better than the KILL ME NOW do-over that Dive Into The Night turned into. Outside of Riyu, Naoki sounds like he’s having an indentity crisis. Apparently he got bored of just doing Eurobeat, so now he’s merging BeForU Breakdown-style guitars with the “thoughtful piano” from the Naoki Underground stuff. But then we start getting everything all at once, and it’s just a mess. Decent, but not good enough to make the rotation – 55/100.

i feel…(New Age Hope Mix)

They weren’t kidding about the New Age part. Okay, so V-Rare 1 ended with the piano version of Memories, where Paula Terry proved she could actually do alright without The Hyper Eurobeat Machine behind her. This is some piano and the “I FeeeEEEEEEEllllll iiiiittttt” vocal bit over it and overlayed on itself a bit. Again, Kyle Snyder ruined this for me, but Kyle cannot entirely be blamed, because this sucks. 41/100.

Overall consensus: Good enough!

Dancemania Ex 2

To those who don’t know – EMI Toshiba in Japan likes to release dance compilations called Dancemania. These are notable because of an agreement with Konami, which makes these the licensed tracks that tend to appear on Bemani games. Dancemania Ex 2 is the 26th album in the “main” series, which tends to be fairly standard dance music. Other lines include Speed (which are all overly fast), Bass (now discontinued, almost all booty-bass songs), and a few other smaller lines. Today, I shall be reviewing Ex2.

Listening to each track, one at a time, rating on the standard 1-100 MP3 rating scale. For those who don’t know, I tend to average a rating of 40/100 across all my MP3s. Anything equal to or over 60/100 gets automatic inclusion on my usual playlist.

Captain Jack / Centerfold (130 BPM Move It Remix)

Oh lord, this is a bad start to the album. Isn’t this John Melloncamp? No, in fact, it’s the J. Geils Band. Talking about 80s trash – you want to know how ridiculous they looked?

Am I honestly listening to a CJ cover of a song I hated to begin with? I mean, some of the stupid CJ covers work – Iko Iko was okay – but this is just ridiculously bad. In fact, there’s absolutely nothing redeeming about this song. And that picture made it even worse. 1/100

Creamy / Never Ending Story (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)

Creamy, of course, also did I Do I Do I Do which is currently being underplayed on Extreme. This isn’t any worse than the other Never Ending Story remix we’ve been subjected to, although it gets a little chipmunky before the refrain. While the last song was just stupid, this one at least doesn’t make me want to turn it off immediately. We’ll go with the pedestrian 40/100.

Atomic Kitten / The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling) (Lasgo Remix)

Oh my god, ANOTHER cover. If it wasn’t for the rest of the track list, I’d just call this Covers 3. Covering Blondie and/or Billie Piper depending on how you’re looking at it…this is very minimal for an Atomic Kitten song, I guess. Meh. 35/100.

Smile.dk / Domo Domo Domo

It’s like Nori Nori Nori crossed with Butterfly! I wish I was joking. Frankly, outside the refrain, this song is fine. But the refrain is SUCH a waste. I’ll be nice and give this 50/100.

Ladybird / Dangerous To Me

Okay, the bassline sounds like Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. The vocals sound a bit like Kylie. This is nothing spectacular, but it’s good – and given how it sucks far less than everything else I’ve been subjected to, let’s go 60/100.

Cream / I’m Back Now

Given that this has a little bit of a female vocal house feel, I’m guessing this isn’t the legendary band Cream. Makes a lot of sense to have a name very similar to another band on the album, too. Still, it’s decent vocal house, it’s not grating on my nerves too much…but it’s missing just a touch of something. 58/100

Funk Project / You Make Me Feel

I can’t get into this. Cheese + standard dance bass line + badly synthed horns + echoed female vocals with lots of “oooOOoOOO” lines = not my cup of tea. It’s not as bad as CJ, though. 37/100

X-Treme / Long Train Running

This will be interesting, since I love both X-treme, and the Bus Stop cover of Long Train Running. Okay, so the vocals sound like they’re done by some BeeGees knock-offs. And alternately, you get some weird “rapping” from the guy who does most of the X-Treme vocals. The reworking of the song itself sounds really good, but the vocals…wow, they really blew the potential on this one. Seven words I never hope to say again – I’ll stick with the Bus Stop version. 40/100

Bus Stop / Let The Music Play

Speak of the devils…WHAT THE HELL IS THIS EURO TRANCE COMING FROM MY SPEAKERS. Female vocals? Okay, odd. Where’s my lisping rapper? Oh, there he is, only it sounds like he’s being sampled – ironically, sort of like he did on Long Train Running. I can deal with this. Expect this to get massive shouts of “THIS SHOULD BE ON DEE DEE ARR” from the fanboys. 65/100

DJ Alligator Project feat. Dr. Alban / I Like To Move It

I have lived in fear of this track since the track list was announced. Dr. Alban appears to be the ones doing the vocals, and his accent (what is that, Indian?) is pretty thick. This seems to be a pretty standard trance cover…oh THERE’S DJ Alligator. Okay, this is really sad – before October, I hadn’t heard the original I Like To Move It in ages. However, thanks to the grand wisdom of Jason Enos, I’ve unfortunately been re-subjected to it and now know what it’s supposed to sound like. So while DJ Alligator does fine on his rap part, and the techno cover is passable, Dr. Alban is SERIOUSLY out of place here. Still, I’m willing to include this into the usual list. 60/100

DJ Rasputin / Katjusha

I Like To Move It gets mixed into this for far too long (50 seconds). And this is just hard trance with goofy sirens mixed in with what I’d imagine is a Russian melody of some sort. They should’ve just gone with the Tetris theme. Not doing anything either way for me. 50/100.

Kirsty Hawkshaw / Fine Day

Standard arena trance that I’ve heard before – surprisingly, this is the same vocalist who did the other trance version. What the difference is outside just the vocalist being credited, I’m not quite sure. Huh, just found out that the original of this was sampled into Halcyon + On + On. Interesting that this is on Dancemania *now*. Passable, if nothing else, but I’ve heard this a lot in the past. 60/100.

Lasgo / Alone

Triplet hoover trance with female vocals. And then some bassline I’ve heard before. Oh wait, this was remixed on FantasiA 3. No wonder it sounds familiar. So this must be the original? Not bad. Sadly, my willpower has been broken down so that the chorus is hooking me. Watch me rate this down in two weeks. 65/100

Milk Inc. / In My Eyes (DJ Philip Radio Edit)

Wow, another Female Vocal Trance track. This even has the stupid breakdown-snare fill comeback that I’ve heard in nearly every “trance” song since 1998. 30/100

Nouvelle Vague / Love and Pride

Wow, now it’s a trance track where the guy SOUNDS like a girl…and it’s just gone ultra-stupid. They sound a bit like wannabe Duran Duran. And the trance melody sounds like Fire from Beatmania 6th Mix. Better than the average we’ve been batting this album, but that’s not saying much. 52/100

Obsession / Your Song (Transensual Mix)

We seem to have dropped back to the lighter dance-trance. Oh good lord no. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. It’s an Elton John cover. A female vocal trance Elton John cover with snare fills and triplet melody and standard bassline. All I need is to put this on endless repeat, get Kyle Snyder freestyling in here, and I can have my own personal hell! 15/100, only because Kate’s going to want to hear it.

LMC feat. Karen West / Everything U Need

Just unremarkable on a whole. Relies more on rhythm and the voice of the female rather than most of the standard trance elements, so I guess that’s something. A pitiful 40/100.

E-Rotic / Fred Come To Bed 2003

And to close out the album, we get another remix of an E-rotic staple – and even though it’s got snare fills and the standard bass line I’ve been bitching about, at least E-rotic can make it INTERESTING. So help me god, I’m giving this a 60/100.

Final Thoughts

So half the songs are covers of songs I absolutely hate. The majority of the remainders are by the book female vocal trance. Some even hit both of those categories. There are 5 songs on here that I’d be willing to listen to again – and by “willing”, I mean that if they come on my playlist, I’m not going to flip the song immediately.

Skip this, unless you have a desire for pain or the ability to stomach all crappy trance and covers.
I’m tired of the Speed series (Classical Speed was a waste), the main series, as Herbie said, has sucked since 21; I’d really, REALLY like to see another Scorccio mix. Or some more FantasiA. Please, anything except this shit they’ve been churning out.

Movie Review: Death Race 2000

(Note: In an effort to do more content, anything vagually interesting I
see/hear/play/go to will now get a review. I know you’re excited.)

Death Race 2000 (1975) stars David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. It
was made on a $300,000 budget. The concept is that in the year 2000,
there is a transcontinental race where points are awarded for the more
pedestrians you kill.

It sounds bad because it is. It was terrible. From the indescribable
soundtrack, to the cheesy lines (“A lot of people think you’re cute, but
I just think you’re a big baked potato.”), to the numerous continuity
errors, to the traps straight out of a Road Runner cartoon, this movie
is terrible.

It’s also the funniest movie I’ve seen in the past year. I almost pissed
myself with laughter. Big thumbs up for nothing more than its pure

Hmm, I think it’s time to make a new logo…