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Sunday, Dec 3, 2006

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection [Remastered] [Fox - $99.98]


Six amazing movie musicals—Oklahoma! , Carousel, South Pacific, State Fair, The King and I and The Sound of Music -– 12 DVDs packed with breathtaking supplemental scope. Arguably the greatest creative team in all of show tune history, the overall impact of these talented titans cannot be underestimated. Like Sondheim would do in the ‘60s/‘70s, Rodgers and Hammerstein reinvented the song and dance spectacle, moving it from its variety act, revue style format from the turn of the century into a new, post-modern manner of sonic storytelling. These are the men who invented the idea that characterization could be clarified in song, and one listen to the instantly hummable melodies contained herein argues for their success at such a strategy. Even the little known State Fair shines in this wonderful digital compendium. [Amazon


The Sound Of Music: Do-Re-Mi


 


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Sunday, Dec 3, 2006

The Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack (PC) [Electronic Arts - $24.99 at Amazon]


There are plenty of gamers looking for something a little less frantic than war games and shmups, and what better way to celebrate the holidays than to, say, buy a new kitty cat for the one you love?  What’s even better is that a SimKitty won’t give you hives, or rip your curtains apart, or breed with a stray, though the same can’t necessarily be said for your poor SimOwners.  Pets is a worthy Sims 2 expansion pack, one that takes an awful lot of time in figuring out how to make time for the new inhabitants of your SimHome.  Just, whatever you do, don’t kick your chihuahua.  You may think it’ll make you feel better, but it doesn’t. [Amazon]



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Sunday, Dec 3, 2006

The Jayne Mansfield Collection [Fox - $49.98]


Consisting of three of Mansfield’s more memorable movie turns (the excellent The Girl Can’t Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? , along with the less successful The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw), this is one compendium overloaded with both cinematic and camp value. Tons of DVD extras (commentaries, interviews, documentaries, featurettes) and pristine transfers help disprove the theory that Mansfield was nothing more than a low rent Marilyn Monroe. In fact, it is safe to say that Ms. Jayne was the lovely link between old world glamour and post-modern brashness. Though she never really got a chance to stretch as an actress, this is one sex symbol that was more than an over-inflated chest—at least, for a short while. [Amazon]


The Girl Can’t Help It


The Girl Can’t Help It


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Sunday, Dec 3, 2006

Various Artists: Rockabye Baby! [Baby Rock - $16.98 each]


Yes, even hipsters have kids. What are the little hipsterettes in the cradles to listen to in order to please their oh-so-cool mommies and daddies?  Baby Rock has the answer with their series of lullaby music CDs for the wee ones set to tunes that 20- and 30-somethings can dig.  The nine available titles include soothing takes on Radiohead, Coldplay, The Beach Boys, The Cure, Pink Floyd (no “Comfortably Numb”, I’m afraid), Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Tool, and even Nirvana, if you can believe that.


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Sunday, Dec 3, 2006

Factotum by Charles Bukowski [Ecco - $13.95]


Released this year in a compact new edition to coincide with the film’s release, Bukowski’s second novel is his most heartbreaking and funny. Factotum chronicles would-be writer Henry Chaiski’s journey from dead-end job to unemployment line and back again (and again). Thirty years after its initial release, Factotum remains one of the finest investigations into artistic self-deprivation and devastation ever written. It’s also a wonderful comment on writing as freedom from that devastation. A great gift for the writer (or the unemployed) in your family.  [Amazon]


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