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Topics - Bill Binkelman

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Everything and Nothing / Reviewer Michael Diamond medical news
« on: December 19, 2016, 06:58:35 PM »
Hello all.

Sorry to be so absent in recent years, but this post is not about me. I want to alert you to new age/ambient reviewer's Michael Diamond's medical status. He suffered a severe stroke, I think yesterday. He is a tireless advocate for instrumental music (and a musician himself), so for those of you who pray, please send up some to the big house yonder. If you are more agnostic like me, send healing energy and positive thoughts his way. Musician Joe Paulino has opened a Facebook page where updates will be posted. Michael has made some progress since the stroke, but it will be a long way back, it looks like. The Facebook page is here:

I met Michael 2 years ago in NOLA at the ZMR event. He is a kind soul and it would be great to see him recover fully.

I hope you are all well. I and Kathryn (who retired last year) wish you and yours a Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday and a most excellent 2017!

Independent Music Reviews / PDFs of Wind and Wire, the magazine
« on: January 30, 2015, 05:12:13 PM »
Hello folks,

I apologize for being mostly absent for a long time now. I have been dealing with medical issues (as has Kathryn) for more than a year now and that has taken me away from a lot of music things. Anyway, hope you are all well. I ran this by Mike yesterday and he approved my posting this news.

I have begun posting issues of Wind and Wire, the music magazine that I published from 1997-1999, in PDF format, on the Wind and Wire blog. These are not downloads (they are stored as a Google file so when you click, you view them) so it should be 100 percent virus-safe.

Old timers in this forum, this is your chance to relive the good old days! I admit feeling quite nostalgic when I viewed the scans myself. Currently, issue 1 and 2 are up and available. Those who never got the chance to see the magazine may want to take a look. Every issue featured reviews, interviews, some op-ed articles, my opinionated editorials  ;) and other stuff too. Mike was an early advertiser, and for that I have always been very grateful and appreciative. NOTE: Wind and Wire covered several genres of music, not just ambient, but there was always something of interest to ambient fans, I made sure of that, e.g. Issue 1 had interviews with Jon Jenkins and Howard Givens of Spotted Peccary and Jeff Pearce. Issue 2 put the spotlight on Tim Story, Meg Bowles, and Liquid Mind (Chuck Wild).

I will be uploading more issues up as I get them scanned and I will announce the uploads on both the Wind and Wire Facebook page and my personal Facebook page.

Here is a link to the blog (which also features new reviews by me, although since it is one of 3 reviewing gigs I currently have, I don't always have time to write for it). I hope you enjoy looking back at how it all began for yours truly (and several other later issues, Phil Derby came on board and reviewed a lot of ambient and EM).

Thanks to Mike for allowing me to do this.

Cheers to you all.


I am really excited about this film. The latest trailer makes it look like a serious SF film with brains and heart. Hopefully, this will not be a let-down (cough * Prometheus * cough).

This is a techie question for those of you who watch a fair amount of HDTV. I have to replace my 5 year old LCD Samsung due to ALL 4 of its HDMI ports quitting (a common problem with 2008-2010 models, apparently). I will be buying a 47 inch set (either LG or Samsung, most likely). I have been reading a lot that, in recent years, the 60Hz refresh rate LEDs has greatly improved in eliminating motion blur and that 120Hz actually can be worse due to the "soap opera" effect. On article on basically stated that thr upgrade from 60 to 120 Hz isn't worth the added expenditure (this was a 2013 article). I can save over 100 bucks buying a 60 Hz set. We don't play games (well, the VERY occasional Wii) and for sports, we only watch football or golf...we mostly watch cable TV and DVD movies (both standard and blu-ray), so I am considering a 60 Hz and 1080p set. My Samsung is a 120Hz 1080p set but we also have a LG 720p 60Hz set in the bedroom. Unless I sit within a foot, I have never seen blur from either set. So, what I am looking for is (a) general advice (whatever you want to offer) but more importantly (b) if you own a 60Hz set, do you ever see blur and is it a big issue for you? Thanks in advance for any and all opinions. With our HDMI ports out on the Samsung, we can't watch DVDs or use our Roku for streaming Netflix, which is a HUGE bummer for us, so I'd like to get this resolved soon.

The following review can also be seen with hyperlinks embedded and images at Wind and Wire (http://windandwire.blogspot com)

This Mortal Night

Katabaz Records
Download release only
Release date: 10/21/12

I fully admit to being an old-school person when it comes to recorded music, i.e. I cut my teeth on buying LPs at underground record stores in the late '60s and early '70s. Because of this, I am not up to date on the plethora of ambient netlabels out there, many of which I believe are releasing some excellent music. I only wish my limited time could be spent scouring the limits of the World Wide Web looking for gems such as the one I am reviewing now, the debut from This Mortal Night on the netlabel Katabaz records. The label queried me about this release and I thank my lucky stars I clicked on the link in the email.

This Mortal Night is an anonymous one-person "band" (according to the label) who, when I asked for further info, replied with "…we prefer not to give personal info (name, country), essentially because our music is based on imagination, fantasy and evocative atmosphere... and, of course, we are just a bunch of normal people so we don't really want to show what's going on "behind the magician curtain" if you know what I mean." Which I think is fair enough.

Instrumentation on the album consists of piano, synths, and some field recordings. The "tags" on the album page on bandcamp run the gamut: "ambient," "electronic," "dark ambient," "black metal" and even "dungeon synth" and "hell." If I had read those tags without streaming the music, I would've expected to hate this recording. While this certainly fits under the ambient banner and perhaps to some degree under the dark ambient one as well, the eight tracks are less "dark" than some might interpret the word, and instead might be classified more as atmospheric, moody, somber, with some elements of tragic melancholy (a la Tim Story, Mychael Danna or Jeff Greinke – his more recent works). The piano plays a lead role in much of the music, with an emphasis on minor notes and chords, but synths certainly contribute at times.

The first track, "Moan of the Winter Wind," starts off with, what else, wind, punctuated by mournful piano notes and a reverberating tone that has an eerie element to it (it sounds like a twangy guitar with a lot of reverb). This is probably the "darkest" song on the album, but it's more creepy and scary in a walking-through-a-graveyard-at-night way than a bottomless-pit-of-despair way which a lot of what I would label dark ambient tends to sound like to me. "My Cold and Beautiful Nights" strips away to just minimal piano, drenched in sustain/reverb, so that the notes overlap link ripples in water. A smattering of textural synth effects add some sepia tone to the sorrowful, melancholy of the piano, and on this track comparisons to Danna's recordings such as skys or North of Niagara would be accurate. "Echoes of Long Ago" bumps up the contributions from synthesizers while still having the piano a featured player. Classic retro synth chords underlie the piano while metallic-sounding noises float above the proceedings. "Field and Stream" is positively light by comparison to "Moan of the Winter Wind," as the reverbed piano melody has a warmish tint to it. Crickets open "Midnight Lake" and the mood is tranquil, as if one were sitting down by a dock off of the titular lake, watching the moon reflected on the blackness of the water, serenaded by the sounds of the night. A brushing of ethereal synths adds the perfect amount of ambient atmosphere. At just 1:43 in duration, the track is way too short (but then, the sure sign of good music is that it leaves the audience wanting more, yes?). "A Dark Sinister" opens with female chorals that are more angelic than sinister, although not in a syrupy way. Mournful synth horns and high pitched tones merge with the chorals which come and go from background to foreground and back again. The way the various synths are layered on this track is impressive (I'm listening on headphones and the mix is perfectly amorphous as it should be, i.e. the sounds all coalesce to surround you rather than being placed at unique positions in the soundfield). The last two tracks are "The Great White Hollow," which is another solemn piano tone poem with an emotionally neutral evocation, less impactful than the other tracks on the album and, as a result, it suffers somewhat by comparison, and "Those Were The Nights" on which the sound of wind and sparkling bell tones reminds me of Jeff Greinke's recent beautiful minimalism.

This Mortal Night
(the album) flits between darkish creepiness, atmospheric pensiveness, and soothing calmness, but these mood swings are bathed in the unifying aspect of the piano's presence on most tracks as well as a general pervasive feeling of gentle melancholy occasionally tinted with unease on one end and somber reflection on the other. I know all too well that characterizing an ambient song as "beautiful" or, even worse, "pretty" is the kiss of death, but some of the tracks here are just that, e.g. "Midnight Lake." Finally, the cover image, a black and white ink drawing of a lonely, hooded figure, walking in the dead of night against a driving rain storm in a rural landscape, perfectly captures the mood of this solidly recommended album.

Look, folks, Katabaz is only charging as little as 2 bucks for this recording (or you can pay more if you like). If you enjoy Tim Story, Jeff Greinke, Mychael Danna, or similar artists, you won't be sorry you plunked down your money on This Mortal Night. I think it's a real find, personally, and I certainly hope to hear a lot more from the artist and the new netlabel in the future.

Soundclips and purchase links:

Bill Binkelman
Wind and Wire

In the Season of Fading Light

Self-released (2012)

Jeff Pearce, the master of evocative ambient guitar and purveyor of sublime Chapman stick instrumentals has apparently decided that "the world is not enough," and has now added piano to his tool box, as it were. And, of course, he uses this new tool as artistically as he has his previous ones, evidenced throughout his piano debut In the Season of Fading Light [be sure to read the * footnote at the review's end for important information about the CD's origins and Pearce's charitable aspect of this release].

Graced with a startlingly gorgeous cover by Teodora Chinde (as beautiful, if not more so, than 2008's Rainshadow Sky), flawless mastering by Corin Nelsen, and graphic design by Hypnos label founder Mike Griffin, In the Season of Fading Light displays three distinct "personas" to Pearce's composing and piano playing. One of these is no doubt due to the influence of noted pianist Philip Aaberg (whose online piano lessons Pearce is taking). This style is reflected in pieces such as "Autumn and Regret II," "The Road and the Wind" and "Into Spring." These songs are less melancholic and possess a more defined melody, although could still be classified as tone poems. The second type of music on the album (which I would describe as vintage Pearce) may be best exemplified on the opening title track, featuring plaintive piano accented by Pearce's always emotive ambient guitar which sighs softly underneath the sparse, intimate moody shadows of the piano. "After the Frost" could also fall into this category, especially if one imagines Jeff playing the same forlorn melody on either Chapman stick or guitar. The heartrending sad beauty of "Words from the Rain" (with an expertly applied backdrop of falling rain) is indicative of the third type of music on the album, one that bears a strong resemblance to the minimalist chamber style of Tim Story (note the deeply echoed piano on this track, a device that Story uses on many of his solo works).

All of the thirteen tracks on In the Season… are winners, as the mood crisscrosses various moods and sensations: the subtle liveliness of "Autumn and Regret II," the somber yet slowly rolling fluidity of "Where the Rivers Begin," a faint whisper of hope (with a hint of church hymn music contained in the melody) in "Harvest Prayer," a dash of jazz amidst the sepia tones of "Newfallen," and the deep (almost funereal) drama of "Where All Rivers End," on which the cries of ambient guitar form a subdued wailing of sorrow amidst the stark darkness of the piano, accented by other ambient textures underneath.

It may be that long time readers of my reviews will view this gushing praise of In the Season of Fading Light as Binkelman going all sycophantic on yet another Pearce release. If such is the case, so be it. When I hear talent this obvious, I call it like I hear it – and I hear Jeff Pearce's genius once again in evidence.

*Twelve of the thirteen tracks on In the Season of Fading Light were originally released as the Provision Series, digital-download-only singles which were released monthly beginning in July 2011. Jeff Pearce donated a part of each sale to a different charity each month, taking particular care to select charities which were (according to the artist's website "… run through the databases of a few organizations that monitor a charity's activities." Now with the release of In the Season of Fading Light, Jeff Pearce is donating one dollar from the sale of each album to the charity Feeding America. More info, including Jeff's reasons for doing great work available is at Jeff Pearce's website. While I have no doubt he will bristle at my writing this, Jeff Pearce's example should serve as a beacon to all of us, especially given how many people in America (and elsewhere) are in dire straits right now. I applaud him for this generous gesture and his commitment to caring about the plight of others in such a direct manner.

The album is available from Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes.

Independent Music Reviews / Wind and Wire is back
« on: November 10, 2012, 06:47:49 PM »
I just wanted to announce here that I have finally re-launched Wind and a blogspot hosted blog, here:

I intend to feature the entire gamut of reviews I used to feature at the previous webzine format, including getting back in the swing of ambient and EM. I only have 3 reviews so far, as I only re-launched a few weeks ago and I am still gearing up, but at least it is there  :D
Again, the site will have music reviews from genres that I doubt any of you will find interesting, but that was the original vision of the magazine and I want to stay true to that.

I have a very large backlog of ambient CDs to review. Also, Spotted Peccary, Lotuspike and Projekt have been very gracious in sending me new discs all this time (I have sometimes reviewed them for my magazine gig, Retailing Insight). So, I have current copies of the new ones by Michael Allison (Darshan Ambient), Zero Ohms and Craig Padilla, Erik Wollo, and others, plus a LOT  of stuff from as far back as 2008 that I never got around to reviewing as I took a break from the genre to concentrate on reviewing other genres for both my paying gig at R.I. (then known as New Age Retailer) and the website Zone Music Reporter, where I will also still be submitting reviews.

When I review CDs that I think may be of interest to forum readers, I will post the reviews here in this section (look for my review posting still later tonight of Jeff Pearce's In the Season of Fading Light).

The two men who run Zone Music Reporter, which used to be New Age Reporter, wanted me to mention that they are are trying to raise enough money so that next year's awards for albums of the year (in all the genres they cover, including ambient and electronic) will be presented at a live event in New Orleans, where Ben and Daryl live. While the majority of recordings that chart and/or are reviewed at ZMR are not ambient, they do annually award both a "best ambient" and "best electronic" award and the site's monthly chart of radio airplay does also feature ambient artists by virtue of DJs reporting who they are playing on their shows. Currently, the following artists in the ambient/electronic genre are on the top 100 airplay chart:

Craig Padilla - Heart of the Soul
Cyber Zen Sound Engine - Cooperation
John Lyell - Eternity
Steve Roach - Back to Life
Patrick O'Hearn - Transitions
Seren Ffordd & Oophoi - The Martian Chronicles
Steve Roach - Day Out of Time
Marconi Union - Different Colors
Amongst Myself - Ambient Landscape and Space
Bruno Sanfilippo - Urbs
Steve Roach and Dirk Serries - Low Volume Music
Gert Emmens - An Artist's Stroke
Erik Wollo - Silent Currents
and more

I realize that ZMR is more a new age and world beat site...there's no denying it...and I am not coming here with hat in hand as much as relaying a message from the two men at ZMR. I also know my reviewing of ambient has been more or less absent for a few years. But, all the same, if you want to read more about the event and feel like throwing Ben and Daryl a few bucks, here is a link to the Facebook even page about the proposed shindig. Right now, they are woefully short of the goal, but a bunch of folks, me included, have gone on the record that it would be better to scale back on the amount desired and have a more modest gathering ( I suggested beer and pizza) but still do it in person so that many artists who have only met in virtual space can gather together and celebrate the music's uniqueness. Granted, there is absolutely no love lost between the new age and ambient communities - I know that better than anyone. But nothing ventured nothing gained. If the event does happen, I will be there, baring an act of god.

Here is the Facebook link

Since I am not an employee of ZMR, I only review for them, please don't consider this virtual pan-handling. I am merely conveying the message per the request of ZMR because neither of those two men is known by name by any of you, I imagine.

Thanks for your consideration. I appreciate it. And no witty retorts or snappy remarks to close - a first for me here, no doubt.

I'll just leave this's Richard Corliss' (TIME magazine) review of The Dark Knight Rises. Will this be the serious-minded, adult, provocative film that Prometheus was supposed to be? Or once again will many people fall for the hype of a film that ultimately disappoints? Only time (3 days) will tell, I guess. This one I WILL be seeing as soon as possible.

Computers, Internet and Technology / Purchase advice requested
« on: June 23, 2012, 01:05:51 PM »
This is a broader question than just about computers, but it is about Wi-Fi and technology, so here goes (I also posted this at Facebook):

I have a purchase decision to make and I'd appreciate any and all opinions. Kathryn and I have the Netflix streaming option but our Samsung Blu-ray player sucks at that part (reading reviews of the player, it seems we are not alone...many folks complain about how bad it is at that function). The connection drops all the time and the player won't even recognize the wi-fi signal most of the time, even though the TV says it's connected to the Internet - go figure. So, my two options are as follows: Buy a new Blu-ray player with wi-fi built-in - looks like Panasonic or Sony are best bets and relegate the Samsung to the bedroom where all it will do is play DVDs..OR buy a Roku device and keep the Samsung where it is (living room) but use it only for DVD/Blu-ray and depend on the Roku for my streaming applications (neither the Samsung nor Roku offers YouTube, though). There is nothing wrong with the player part of the Samsung but it's stupid to keep paying Netflix for the streaming option and not be streaming anything. So, any and all opinions are welcome. I know of no one with a Roku standalone streaming device, but CNET reviews were overall positive. Would like to make a decision soon. Thanks! Oh, I will have to disconnect the Blu-ray player whenever I use the Roku because of a lack of inputs on the TV (Samsung also is known for flaky HDMI ports...I have lost 3 of my 4 HDMI ports so far and the on which works is hooked to the Blu-ray player). So, an added inconvenience will be to disconnect one device and switch the cable to another one.  OH, one more option I suppose is to buy an Wi-Fi ready TV and put the current LR TV into the bedroom. That's the most expensive option, though.

CNN's obituary here:

Well, he lived to be 91, which is pretty damn good, IMO, but still it's a sad day for those of us who loved classic science fiction.  :(

I just watched the latest Japanese market trailer for The Avengers and this film just keeps looking better and better. Between this and The Dark Knight Rises it's gonna be a great summer for popcorn flicks. I can't believe how good the Marvel comic films have gotten. I enjoyed Thor and Captain America both and own copies of both Iron Man movies. I feel like a kid again with all this geek love from Hollywood coming out (I was a HUGE fan of silver age Marvel comics - collected them ravenously when I was in grade school 1964-68 and even the first few years in high school).

First Ralph McQuarrie (the conceptual artist who birthed the look of Star Wars) now Moebius, who was the creative genius behind part of the look of the original Alien movie (spacesuits and Nostromo interiors), as well as the original Tron and The Fifth Element, and his famous comic strips which ran in the magazine Heavy Metal, (which he co-founded) has left us. There is a write up at here:

as well as articles at venues like the the Chicago Sun Times:

and The Washington Post

I am really feeling old lately.  :(

He was the conceptual artist for the first Star Wars trilogy. Really visionary, IMO.

Good day for the Grim Reaper...BAD day for us humans.

Everything and Nothing / Guitarist Ronnie Montrose dies...
« on: March 04, 2012, 02:55:29 PM »
Wow! I LOVED his first two albums (Montrose, and Paper Money) and played them a LOT as a teen and into my 20s and was just set to order the CD of Paper Money from Amazon. His playing on They Only Come Out at Night was fantastic and MADE that album, IMO. Really sad.
Here is Rolling Stone's article:

Computers, Internet and Technology / Troubleshooting a weird tech problem
« on: December 23, 2011, 12:20:06 PM »
If any of you have any ideas on this, I'd love to hear them...

I have a Samsung HDTV (LCD) and use Comcast cable for my TV. For the last 2.5 years, everything was fine. I used HDMI cables for both TV and my blu-ray player. My Samsung TV has 4 HDMI ports, plus component inputs too, of course. Well, Thursday morning, my Samsung TV read as "No Signal" when I tried to watch TV. There were no power outages or surges that night (all the digital clocks were fine). I re-booted the cable box twice. No luck. I tried switching the HDMI cables, thinking the TV one was bad. Nope. My blu-ray player was fine, so the TV itself still had a picture. I even hooked up the Component video cables and still "No Signal." And yes, I always changed the source on the source menu for the TV. So, Comcast said "Switch out the cable box for a new one" (I use a DVR type box). So, I did that last night and still no luck. I thought "Okay, all 4 HDMI ports can't be bad and at least one of the HDMI cables works because it works for the blu ray player." I suspected signal loss somewhere along the line from where the cable hits the house to the cable feed near the HDTV (the regular TV in the bed room, which is analog, was getting a fine signal, so it wasn't the signal from the pole in the alley to the house).

The Comcast guy came and hooked up his signal meter and the signal strength was better than good. He was stumped too. But when he switched out the blu ray HDMI and routed it to HDMI port 3 and put the cable lead into HDMI 2, then the TV worked...BUT the blu ray didn't...and now it gets weird. See, when you select a source on a Samsung device that has no signal, it displays "No Signal" on the TV screen (duh). But when I selected the blu ray player on the source menu (when it was plugged into port 3), instead of displaying "No Signal" the TV "jumped" and displayed the TV signal instead (which is on HDMI port 2) even though the source menu read "HDMI 3." The Comcast guy said he had never seen anything like it. How can a TV "select" a different source on its own?

With the new cable box, the composite video cables DID end up working (I must have forgotten to check THAT option after I got the new box), so I am running my hi def TV cable signal via composite cables which are nearly as good as HDMI but way clunkier and the one "good" HDMI port is used for the blu-ray player. I'm not keen on this, but...

Here is my question. What is the likelihood that, literally all of a sudden, 3 of the 4 HDMI ports would go bad with no apparent cause? Complicating this is that 3 of the HDMI ports are on the back of the TV (including the one good port) and the 4th HDMI port is on the side (for use with game consoles, I assume). If it's a weird hardware issue with how the ports are wired, or a blown circuit, I would think the one good port would be port 4, since it's not located where the other three are.

The TV in question is 2.5 years old. I was going to get a bigger one soon (this one which is our main set is only 37") anyway and move this to the bedroom were the HDMI vs component issue is moot since the box there doesn't have an HDMI output. But do I bother trying to trouble-shoot it some more with Samsung? I have spoken with them twice in the past but it's that whole "This is Peggy..." thing (outsourced to a non-native English speaking country...sorry to sound ethnocentric but talking tech issues with a non-native speaker is very frustrating, IMO). Do I just say "Fuck it...I have a high def signal and that's all that matters" (although I can tell a subtle difference between the component and HDMI signal, to be honest).

Any advice or suggestions or opinions are welcome.

And that doesn't even address my other tech problem which is that every time there is power surge/power failure, the Netgear box that feeds Wi-Fi to my blu ray player (it plugs into my Ethernet port on the blu ray and receives the 'net signal from my Netgear router) "loses" the internet and I have to reset the entire set-up and restore the blu-ray factory settings (which is weird because my laptop just "re-finds" the router and modem with no reset or reboot necessary). It's frustrating because it makes streaming Netflix a dicey proposition until I reboot, reset, and reprogram the blu ray player after every power loss or if the player gets unplugged for some reason. A Samsung rep said "Yup, every time the blu ray player loses power, you will have the problem"...but come on, really? The reason I didn't buy a "wi-fi built-in" blu-ray player (and opted for one that is "wi-fi ready" instead) is because many reviews of the built-ins got worse consumer reviews...people complained about slow streaming, etc. WHEN this Netgear "booster" is working, I can stream Netflix no problem, but it's a royal pain to reboot the modem, router, and have the router "find" the booster and THEN have to reset all the player stuff, including reauthorizing it to Netflix account, etc.

Well, any suggestions or ideas on this one are also appreciated. I know lots of you forumites are super high tech wizards, and as I wrote, I am NOT tech savvy enough to do all my own setups, installs, etc. for audio, video and computer, but one or more of you may be a LOT smarter than me with these problems - I hope so.

I'm really not technologically challenged, IMO, but these two problems have proven vexing to the say the least.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Over the last two years or so, I find more and more that I don't take the time to go see movies in theaters much any more, except for blockbusters and even not so much those any more. My TV is modest (37 inch LCD 1080i/120mHz), so it's not like I get that great an experience watching at home. And here in Mpls, you can still see movies on first run, at matinees, for as cheap as $5-$6. I can't really explain what is driving this shift in my behavior.

I am shocked at the big action flicks I haven't seen in theaters recently (which is how these films should be seen, right?), when I used to see ALL "big event" pictures that way. For example, I didn't go see Captain America, or X-Men: First Class, or Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, to name just a few of the summer biggies. I just can't seem to get motivated to get in the car, drive the 20 minutes or so to theater, get there at 10 minutes prior to get a decent seat (I'm picky that way), etc. I'd rather wait and get it at redbox or through netflix. I know when I upgrade the set to a 50 incher, which I hope to do next year sometime, I will be even less inclined, since then my blu-ray player will really make a difference.

I also admit that with how rude people are now (cell phone conversations, talking loudly during the movie, coming in late, bringing bratty kids, talking back to the screen), that also enters into the equation.

So, how many of you here have switched to watching more movies at home and less in the theaters? Am in the minority or are more folks opting for not going out but staying in and waiting until the films get on DVD or streaming?

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / For fantasy fans...
« on: April 06, 2011, 06:30:35 PM »
In case you don't know, HBO has produced a 10-part miniseries of the first book of George R.R. Martin's fantastic "A Song of Fire and Ice" series. The first book (and first miniseries) is "A Game of Thrones." and it looks fucking fantastic and is garnering rave advanced reviews. It starts in about 10 days or so. I got HBO just to see it. This is VERY ADULT fantasy and makes LOTR look like a Disney movie. Tons of violence and brutality - not much "fantasy" per se (i.e. no real magic) but lots of political machinations, betrayals, plots, etc. I am super-psyched as I have read all the books in the series (so far). Check it out at

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 10, 2011, 11:50:28 AM »
Reviews for this are all over the map...some are totally panning it and others are calling it "Blackhawk Down-like" in its intensity. I never did see Skyline, because the reviews were so bad (and Darren Rogers helped to talk me out of it - thanks, Darren). BUT I thought the trailers for that movie (Skyline) were awesome, and I feel the same way about Battle: Los Angeles, which gives me pause. More and more often a movie's trailer gives a false indication of what the actual movie will be like (See trailers for Legion and Monsters, to name two films I saw recently on DVD and the movies were NOTHINg like what the trailers inferred).

So, is anyone here excited about this film? Is this just this year's Skyline or will it be an intense ground-level up-close "you are there" combat movie, just about aliens, not humans?

OTOH, many reviews for Tron Legacy, which I just saw 2 nights ago, were negative and I liked it a lot (saw the 2-d version). So, what the frack do reviewers know?  ::)

Everything and Nothing / Holiday season movie review thread
« on: November 26, 2010, 04:57:09 PM »
Thought we could open a thread with readers' reviews of all the big (or small and indie) movies coming out during this holiday season. I'll start off. Kathryn and I tried to See "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" but it was sold out, so we saw "Unstoppable" with Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson. VERY GOOD adrenalin-rush thriller...You completely buy the whole thing, IMO. GREAT set pieces with that runaway train taking on an almost palpable sense of evil. Tony Scott's direction (minus his usually excessive jittery-cam) was flawless..this movie didn't have a wasted second. Nothing like an edge-of-your-seat thriller to get the blood pumping.

We're gonna shoot to see HP sometime next week (can't believe it sold out 30 minutes prior to show time at 1:30 when it was showing om 4 MORE SCREENS at this multiplex).

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