RECORD STORE TALES
- RECORD STORE TALES MkII:
GETTING MORE TALE
Music, Movies, and more
Written and Directed by David Thowy
I’ll confess that this review has little to do with rock and roll. The Blu-ray disc does contain a killer 7.1 DTS HD surround sound mix, and that will appeal to those who appreciate a good 7.1 soundtrack. I haven’t had the chance to review many 7.1 releases here. Other than that, the only connection is that Charlie Sheen parties like a rock star, so he’s in the club honorarily at this point. He did in fact proclaim himself a “total freakin’ rock star from Mars,” and I’m not going to argue with Charlie Sheen.
When this movie came out back in the 90’s, I snagged a neat widescreen VHS copy in a clamshell case, which ironically has more special features than the Blu-ray or DVD releases! It’s weird and disappointing to me that the interviews from the VHS version are not available anymore, but whatever — when I found this disc at a cut-rate price I decided to make the leap from the tape to Blu.
The good: The 7.1 surround mix is really excellent. When Charlie Sheen first discovers an alien signal, it’s rotating around the room in a really cool way. There aren’t many discs out there in 7.1, but if you’ve got the equipment, here’s a good sci-fi movie to try out. The hi-def transfer also looked quite good.
The bad: Oh dear Lord, some of these mid-90’s movies have the worst CG effects. The Arrival has some of the worst I’ve seen in a movie of this stature.
Plot summary: Charlie Sheen is Zane Zaminski, an astronomer working for the JPL in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Mirroring the plot of the concurrently released (but much higher budgeted) Contact, Zaminski finds a “wow” signal and takes it to his boss, Phil Gordian (Ron Silver). But there may be a conspiracy afoot — Gordian secretly destroys the tape, the only proof of the signal. He has Zaminski fired, and attempts to destroy his credibility in the scientific community. Why?
The firing scene is especially enjoyable today, as Zane Zaminski has a paranoid public meltdown foreshadowing that of his tiger blood drinking, eternally winning, rock-star-wizard real-life counterpart. It’s amusing from that point of view, but it’s also a really cool scene that Sheen and Silver both nail.
What follows is a series of mysteries, cover-ups and alien intrigue that links Zane to Ilana Green (Lindsay Crouse, Iceman) in Mexico. Dr. Green has found flowers growing in a small patch of grass in the frigid Arctic, and links it to a strange spike in CO2 emissions. But how is that happening, and to what ends?
Several exciting action sequences are to be enjoyed before Zane discovers what is really going on down in Mexico and why Gordian turned on him. It’s not a monumental earth-shattering revelation, nor is it a total surprise, but I won’t spoil it for you regardless. The Arrival is a fun movie, and that’s all it’s really intended to be, so I’ll save the fun for you.
For the price I paid ($11), this disc was totally worthwhile regardless of the fact that it has zero special features. It’s a decent yarn, the sound is awesome, and it’s always nice to upgrade from VHS to hi-def.
WTF Comments II: Everyone’s a Critic edition
Jeez, everyone’s a critic these days! Even critics have critics! Welcome to another installment of WTF Comments. This time I collected comments from readers who had a bone (or two, or three) to pick with my reviews! I realize that sometimes my reviews can be a bit acerbic, but I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em. Sometimes I can be a bit harsh, but it’s all in fun. It serves me right to have some critics of my own take some shots at me! First up, Bryan did not like my 3.5/5 (70%) review for the Rival Sons. Bryan’s comment was lengthy so I took the liberty of highlighting the parts I like best!
your gimmicky comment is idiotic. They record with real vintage gear because they are trying to create that vibe not for one song, but that’s who they are and frankly I’m glad. So much of what is out now is 150 tracks of productions and tricks that cater to the ADD society who needs a new sound effect coming at them every 10 seconds to keep their attention. Just enjoy the fact that these are guys are setting up a few mics into some of the best gear studios can pull out of the closet and they deliver great songs that they can actually reproduce live with backing tracks…hey, there’s a concept. If you can appreciate that you shouldn’t be reviewing music…you know..music???
also, STOP comparing them to Led Zeppelin just because the drums are open mic’d and there’s space. Go back and read the reviews when Zep was playing…the critics killed them…but somehow now their the greatest thing ever. Have you ever hear them live? I love Zep but Jay Buchanan can hit EVERY note on the album live, Plant couldn’t do that a lot of the time. But I don’t even compare the two, just enjoy the band without having to pigeon hole them. Basically your saying here’s this band, but we don’t really validate them because I heard something similar before. The album has potential…Geez.. the album kicks ass so just get past yourself and get on board. How about this for a review…”Hey everyone, in this day and age of laptops and samples, finally a band just plugs in and records to tape and here it is…enjoy some great rock with soul and vibe and enjoy these guys laying it out there while not pitch correcting and time aligning everything. AND, when you see them live they’ll sound like what you heard on your iPod, how refreshing. Rival Sons should be applauded and you should buy the CD”.
Thanks, Bryan! I always thought being compared to the mighty Zeppelin was quite a compliment, myself. Then there’s Dave. Dave also does not think much of my writing skills, in regards to Triumph’s 1986 turd The Sport of Kings:
This article is pretty lame. Please do some research before you post stuff like this. Triumph had issue with the producer Ron Nevison. He wanted them to have a hit single and he was trying to craft the songs to be radio friendly. The band had been pretty much cranking out an album a year for the whole decade and touring in between and the record company was demanding more. The band was spent! Some of the songs aren’t as strong as previous outings, but it sounds like you were never much of a fan in the first place. Never be embarrassed about the music you like…whether it’s Triumph, Kenny G or Michael Jackson. I like what I like and i don’t care what anyone else thinks!
Somebody needs to tell Dave that you don’t have to be “much of a fan” to write a music review!
Then lastly, there’s scm. He or she isn’t a person of many words, but smc didn’t think too much of my Man of Steel movie review.
You continue writing articles about what great screen writers & film makers bring son. Man of Steel 4.5/5.
For the record: I am not scm’s son! Hope you enjoyed these comments.