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I was first made aware of this DVD from a video clip on PBS. It is an excellent program, at least on the same par as the "Mind's Eye" computer animation series, with the usual technical advances in the art since "Mind's Eye" was produced.
The quality is excellent, both visually and aurally. I always thought that computer animation and music could be successfully integrated in some way, and "Animusic" is the successful result. Unlike other computer animation subjects, where the music drives or complements the action, in "Animusic," the music IS the action.
The viewer is transported to a futuristic concert where the musicians are complex, sophisticated computers and intelligent instruments, able to weave many intricate melodies and harmonies at once, playing instruments that are very futuristic -- laser-beam-controlled guitars, a four-handed drum kit, violins that seem to play themselves, string and metal harps played by flying balls, huge clockwork drum kits, high-voltage musical transformers, and other fantastic, out-of-this-world musical instruments of the sort that one might find only in a science fiction novel.
It is easy to see how one can be drawn into the different musical settings and be mesmerized by the music and the visual surroundings. In addition, this DVD has various "angles" available on each track that allow the viewer to watch a separate instrument as it is played or sits idle over the course of the selection.
This DVD is a very good starting point for those who have never before experienced computer animation firsthand. The producers have done a splendid job on "Animusic" by making the music literally come alive.
There are seven selections on this DVD: 1. Future Retro 2. Stick Figures 3. Aqua Harp 4. Drum Machine 5. Pipe Dream 6. Acoustic Curves 7. Harmonic Voltage
Each selection conveys a different mood, using unique instruments and realistic backgrounds. My personal favorites are 1, 5 and 7.
Kudos to Wayne Lytle!
Crime Doctor (1943)
Not on DVD?
I recently saw all of the Crime Doctor movies on Turner Classic Movies. I'd sure like to see these made available on DVD, but it doesn't seem that they're available on ANY medium yet.
I rather enjoyed all of the movies of the "Crime Doctor" series. I have a particular affinity for detective stories and crime dramas from that time period, in both the movie and radio formats. I consider them to be at least the same caliber as the "Thin Man" series, although "Crime Doctor" tended to be more cerebral, while Nick Charles was rather more flamboyant and party-hardy, and I suspect that Asta was smarter than he was!
If the Crime Doctor is made available on DVD, perhaps they might at least be released on CD as an audio series. Perhaps I might even be able to find some of the original issues from Detective Comics.
You're in the Navy Now (1951)
USS Teakettle? (possible spoiler)
This movie is a very comical look at an actual incident that happened in the US Navy during World War II.
* Warning -- Spoiler * Gary Cooper plays Lieutenant John W. Harkness, a naval reserve officer who, because the Navy was short of officers, went through their crash course on how to be an officer. On receiving his commission, he finds he has the unfortunate luck of being assigned to one of the Navy's "experiments" -- a sub chaser powered by an experimental steam engine. Due to his degree in mechanical engineering, or perhaps because of it, Lt. Harkness is the only person on board who knows anything about steam engines.
Dubbed the "USS Teakettle," a nom de plume intended by the rest of the Navy as a slur against the ship, the crew takes the name and runs with it. Unfortunately, the ship is plagued with problems from the get go, and Lt. Harkness and his crew become the butt of many jokes. The crew manages to redeem themselves only through a base-sponsored boxing match.
The "coup de grace" occurs when the Teakettle is on another test run with the program's commander, Rear Admiral L. C. Tennant. After completing a successful run, the throttles on the steam engine freeze wide open, causing the ship to slough through the harbor waters at break-neck speeds until it finally comes to rest smashed against an aircraft carrier. Honor is finally satisfied, however, when the Admiral proclaims the experiment a failure and refits the ship with a diesel engine.
This movie is full of hilarious sequences and scenes of a ship commander who'd rather be someplace else.
The movie stars Gary Cooper, Jane Greer, Edward Albert, Ray Collins, Jack Webb and Henry Slate. Directed by Henry Hathaway.
Danger Lights (1930)
One of the best railroad movies ever made!
"Danger Lights" is one of the best railroad movies ever made, and this was made in 1930! If you are a railfan (railroad enthusiast), you can appreciate the detail and authenticity that went into the making of this movie, as most of the operations depicted were authentic. Perhaps the high-speed run was a little over the top (a little artistic license, perhaps?) but it was not unusual for an engineer in the days before two-way radio to run his train over 100 miles per hour to make up a few minutes in his schedule. There's hardly a dull scene in the movie, and in general it is a quality project.
Whether you are a railfan or not, you'll certainly enjoy this movie. "Danger Lights" set a precedent for all the railroad-themed action movies that would follow. Those who are fans of movies such as "The General," "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, "Von Ryan's Express," "The Great Train Robbery" and "Runaway Train" will appreciate this movie as well as those who admire action flicks in general.
Organ Works (1996)
An excellent look at the "King of Instruments"
This is a very entertaining and informative look at the history of the pipe organ, from its beginnings as the "hydraulis" in early Roman times, on through its evolution as a "portable" organ used by bards in the middle ages, its development by composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach in the 18th Century, to today's modern pipe organs and their computerized, electronic cousins. Howard Goodall has taken a subject that many consider dull or boring and presents it in a way that John Q. Public can understand.
Many examples of the pipe organ through the ages, along with their histories, are presented, including how a pipe organ works, what makes one up, how pipe organ music has remained popular throughout the centuries, and what the future holds for the pipe organ. Many organs are played throughout the program, some by Mr. Goodall himself. Examples include the world's oldest playable pipe organ from the late 16th Century and the newest computerized, digitally-sampled models being created today. Throughout the program, a synopsis of how the pipe organ art has changed over the centuries while still managing to hold on to its earlier traditions is realized.
This four-part program is an excellent introduction to the art. Even if you have little or no interest in the pipe organ, you will still find the program interesting and entertaining. After viewing this program, you'll know why the pipe organ is referred to as the "King of Instruments."
Ernest Rides Again (1993)
Ernest Saves the Day Again!
This ranks among my most favorite of "Ernest" movies. The bumbling janitor Ernest P. Worrel (Jim Varney)and his wishy-washy, history-professor friend, Abner Melon (Ron James), stumble upon an old revolutionary-war cannon known as "Goliath," that Abner has been searching for his whole life. Unbeknownst to them, other people are also interested in the cannon because it contains the crown jewels of England: a history professor and Abner's boss, who moonlights as a crime boss, and an British secret agent who wants to recover the jewels for England.
As the other reviewer stated, "Ernest Rides Again" is a bit more serious in plot, but it is filled with laughs nevertheless, especially in the scenes where Varney plays against straight-man Ron James. Don't miss the hilarious canon "chase" scenes! The relative seriousness of the plot makes the laughs that much funnier. Definitely a "must see," especially for those who have never seen an "Ernest" movie!