On October 29th and 30th, 2009, rock ‘n’ roll royalty assembled for the 25th anniversary of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Filmed at Madison Square Garden, this historic series of concerts featured once in a lifetime collaborations between a wide range of artists, including John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen crooning “Oh, Pretty Woman”, and Mick Jagger and Fergie belting out a blistering version of “Gimme Shelter”. Originally airing on HBO last November, this special event scored five Emmy nominations, and includes bonus performances not seen on TV. It will blow your mind.
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By former high-art German auteur Ulli Lommel, this film meanders through vignettes and Warholian moments—impressionistic gazes and raw naïve acting. A German woman falls in love with a bohemian, played by dashing but wooden Richard Hell. Warning: the story-line is paper-thin, bursting with improbable hipster dialog.
Studios, bars, and streets make up the murky tableau as they navigate the end of punk rock’s salad days, when profits mattered more than St. Marks Poetry readings. Warhol even shows up, like an icy, surreal mannequin barely morphing into a human. Incredible live footage captures cavernous, cathedral-lit CBGBs with nimble Voidoids wreckage.
The extra interview with wooly bearded Hell and historian and cultural critic Luc Sante is informative and informal. This is a prime art-house 1980 time-capsule for cold month nostalgia—perfect for the metrosexual, urbane rocker on your list.
Have someone on your list who asked for the world this Christmas? Well, now you can give it to them (and a bit more from our solar system, as well), with the History Channel’s epic six-disc blue-ray set Earth and Space. The set includes the best selling series The Universe and How the Earth was Made as well as a bonus, feature length documentary, Beyond the Big Bang.
The groundbreaking miniseries, The Universe, uses cutting edge technology to take you to the outer reaches of distant galaxies and back home to our solar system. In How the Earth was Made, you can travel the world looking at the physical process that lead to some of the most recognizable geographical features on our planet today. The double set features all 26 episodes from the first seasons of both The Universe and How the Earth was Made. Beautiful!
Twilight Zone Fan Favorites is a 5-DVD set consisting of 19 classic episodes of Rod Sterling’s landmark series, The Twilight Zone. The set includes classic episodes like “Nothing in the Dark”, featuring a very young Robert Redford as Death, “Nightmare at 20,000 feet”, featuring William Shatner on a very bumpy flight, and “Two”, featuring Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson, two foes that find themselves the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust; along with many more that exemplify what this influential series represents—chilling stuff, really. With over eight hours of episodes, this box set is perfect for any fan of the legendary television series.
Sometimes, a title is all you need. Within said moniker, everything and anything is possible. Coming up with the perfect label is never easy, but when you do, it does almost all of your narrative heavy lifting. You can even throw logical and esoteric wrenches into the mix, and as long as your tag takes care of the counterbalance, you’re home free. Such is the case with Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof, and J.J. Abrams’ absolutely brilliant Lost. Not only did said brand indicate the basic premise of his complex castaway drama but it suggested the level of depth viewers could expect in the sometimes arcane path toward enlightenment.
It’s a feeling carried over to the recently released multi-disc Blu-ray package of the complete six seasons. Within its world of known conspiracies and series secrets are a wealth of hidden extras that make the return trip through Series One through Six a breathtaking reexamination of the entire Lost legacy. In fact, it’s safe to say that this seminal TV show was always more interested in the journey than the eventual answers found along the way. Those revelations kept fans riveted, but just like the name “Lost” suggests, the real purpose was to propose realities outside the rhetoric, to reduce the survival of a bunch of plane crash victims into a matryoshka of multi-layered meanings.
This is the TV box set of the year… a perfect 10 for both content and extras.