Perhaps this should be subtitled ‘Elvis’ Eternal Reach Beyond the Grave’. Sure, this is an impressive collection of facts and details about the boy from Tupelo—from his love of Monty Python to his quotes about money to his first ride on an airplane – and it’s replete with rare photos and an abundance of quotes from and about the man. But it also documents his wide-reaching influence in pop culture to this day. Elvis-themed restaurants, merchandise, movies (of course), and all the people, places, and industries his persona impacted are meticulously listed, here. You’ll see an entry on homosexuality, another on Stax history, and so much more. This is an excellent historical resource and a pleasurable flip-through read. I can think of about, oh, a few million who would just die to have this book in their collection.
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Before he became the “bad boy” of British cinema, middle aged maverick Russell was making amazing musical biographies for UK television. This masterful boxset contains six of his best - Elgar, The Debussy Film, Always on Sunday, Isadora Duncan: The Biggest Dancer in the World, Dante’s Inferno, and Summer of Song. Sadly, his slam on Richard Strauss, The Dance of the Seven Veils, was pulled at the last minute. Still, with famous faces like Oliver Reed and Vivian Pickles along for the ride, this collection is a revelation, and a testament to one of the most criminally underrated directors of all time.
Impressively comprehensive and stunning in scope, The Soul of Rock and Roll is also a beautifully packaged boxed set. Its presentation befits the image, the voice, the legend of Roy Orbison. The limited edition comes in a gorgeous white linen-covered casing holding a collectible reproduction of the 1953 Wildcats of Wink High School yearbook, and a 95-page booklet filled with an extensive biography, clippings, a discography and hundreds of striking photos. The astounding four disc collection spans Orbison’s more than 30-year career with 107 tracks of classics, covers, ‘50s demos and live performances, 12 of which are previously unreleased. Each and every one of these 107 tracks is special, and the collection as a whole is phenomenal. You’d be hard-pressed to find any box set, by any artist, that is as thoroughly comprehensive and as lovingly presented as this one is. So, for that, it is remarkable. But Roy Orbison doesn’t really need all of those extras to make this box set unique. His music and his voice, his legend and his legacy, the long shadow he casts over every rock and roll singer to step into a spotlight, are a testament to the man who truly was the Soul of Rock and Roll.
Horror film has never been more popular and so the timing of this collection of frightful stories from the pages of Creepy magazine’s vaults is right on target. This first volume goes back to 1964 and winds up in 1966, reproducing the first five issues of the magazine in the exact size of the original, including the full-color covers. Another great contribution to the preservation of comics history from Dark Horse.
While it’s been called “Grand Theft Auto: Africa”, Far Cry 2 only shares the most basic of traits with the Rockstar game—it’s a sprawling open world shooter with vehicles. But what sets Far Cry 2 apart is the beautiful and distinct African world it’s set in. If Grand Theft Auto vaguely resembles a movie like Goodfellas, Far Cry 2 is Blood Diamond meets Hotel Rwanda—a somewhat terrifying look into the complicated, Machiavellian world of African politics where mercenaries and arms dealers seem to rule. It’s into this anarchic world that your character is thrust, ambushed by malaria with no friends and no weapons. You must then contend and interact with various warring factions, merchants, the church, and fellow mercenaries, as you freely roam the African countryside by car, jeep, and riverboat. Sure, the bottom line of the game is the same as most of this kind—shoot or be shot—but the atmospheric Far Cry 2 is a cut above the average first-person shooter.