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Pantheon (Boston, United Kingdom)

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The Legacy Collection: The Lion King
The Legacy Collection: The Lion King
Price: £15.33

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the release this Soundtrack Deserves!, 3 July 2014
http://eclecticbloke.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/20th-anniversary-expanded-edition-first.html

The first release in Disney's new line of Deluxe CDs, entitled The Legacy Collection.
The Legacy Collection will be released from now and through 2015 and will include Deluxe Editions of Cinderella, Mary Poppins, Lady and the Tramp, Toy Story, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Little Mermaid, Fantasia and Aristocats.

In my opinion The Lion King is the perfect choice for this Deluxe treatment. One of the things I've always loved about Disney soundtracks is that they cover my two favourite styles: Score and Musical. But, the original Lion King soundtrack was missing so much of Hans Zimmer's beautiful score it was insulting. Watching the film you hear all that beautiful African themed music and it makes the spirit soar. It captures the heart and takes the story of Simba to new heights.
In short the score is the soul of The Lion King.

So, for that score to be so poorly represented on the first release of the soundtrack was a big disappointment. This was rectified slightly with the release of the brilliant Rhythm of the Pridelands which brought the incredible Lebo M to centre stage. Finally, when combined, much of the music from The Lion King was represented. Most, but not all - still missing was much of Zimmer's score.

While I don't think this release has given us a complete score, it's gone a long way to bridging the gap. Here we have three times as much score. Plus original Demo versions of the score. Plus two bonus songs - one of which never made it into any version of the film. This is the version of The Lion King film soundtrack I always wanted to hear.

It's also nicely presented in a hardback book style case, with full lyrics, some notes about the making of the film and some original concept art work.

Finally, the listening experience is as close to watching the film as you can get. The mood is there. The atmosphere is present. Now, you can follow the story through the music as each cue has been placed on the discs in order they appear in the film.

If you only ever buy one Disney soundtrack, surely it has to be this one? Utter brilliance from beginning to end.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2014 9:45 PM BST


Heathers The Musical / O.C.R.
Heathers The Musical / O.C.R.
Price: £13.45

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 30 Jun. 2014
I am editing this review from my blog entry.

For those who don't know, Heathers started out as a satirical comedy from the 80's starring a very young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater (also an even younger Shannon Doherty).
The story centres around a girl named Veronica who's biggest wish is to get 'in' with the cool girls, the 'Heathers' (so named because they're all named Heather).
There's only one problem - the Heathers are all really horrible.

Veronica gets her wish, but in the course of becoming popular she gets to see just how horrible her new 'friends' are and disillusion starts. Then she meets school bad-boy J.D. - Burnt-out-psycho in the making.

Teen suicide, murder, deception and teen angst abound. Cleverly written, underplayed and surprisingly on the ball. The film is pure genius in my opinion.

So....a musical based on the film. In principal I thought 'Yep, that could work', but then I read the rather mediocre reviews and started to worry.
As always, despite liking to read reviews, I rarely put much stock in them. I always prefer to make up my own mind (something I urge anyone reading this to do!!!).

There was something that made me feel it was worth the risk: composer Laurence O'Keefe.
O'Keefe has written one of my all-time favourite musicals (Bat Boy, the Musical). But I also really enjoy a some of his other shows, most notably Legally Blonde: The Musical, La Cava and Sarah, Plain and Tall. So, I felt I was on pretty safe ground. The reviews basically said the show wasn't as good as Legally Blonde, but, given that I thought that was his weakest show I wasn't too bothered.

I received my copy on Saturday and I'm on my third listen (probably be up to about 6 by the end of the day).

Before the end of the first song (Beautiful) I knew I was in for a treat.

Instantly capturing the feel of the film, and the 80's, the opening song introduces us to the characters, life in high school and the style of the show.

"Why do they hate me?
Why don't I fight back?
Why do I act like such a creep?
Why won't he date me?
Why did I hit him?
Why do I cry myself to sleep?
Somebody hug me!
Somebody fix me!
Somebody save me!"

With track two we hit 'The Heathers' signature song Candy Store which is possibly one of the most catchy contemporary musical songs I've heard in a long time.
The songs fit each character perfectly. Beautiful melodies abound, but so does the tension and drama. Clever, funny, witty and a little dark the show really deserves to be heard.

Veronica sings:
"We're not different
We don't choose who lives or dies,
Let's be normal, see bad movies,
Sneak a beer and watch TV.
We'll bake brownies,
or go bowling -
Don't you want a life with me?
Can't we be seventeen?"

As with all good teen stories each character has to overcome their own issues to get where they want to do. In the case of Heathers those issues have a fuse lit underneath them. Then everyone just sits back and watches the whole thing blow the hell up! It's genius.

The musical is a joy from start to finish and easily the best show O'Keefe has written since Bat Boy. Every song is great, but some deserve a special mention:
Beautiful
Candy Store
Fight for Me
Blue
Seventeen
Dead Girl Walking


Rocky Broadway / O.B.C.
Rocky Broadway / O.B.C.
Price: £11.11

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a listen, 20 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Rocky Broadway / O.B.C. (Audio CD)
If, like me, you're a fan of musical theatre the film Rocky doesn't seem like the first choice to adapt into a musical. When I first heard it was going to happen I thought it was the most awful decision since Carrie: The Musical.

But, as with Carrie, Rocky Broadway (as they decided to all it) is a pleasant surprise.

The story centres on a struggling heavyweight boxer just waiting for his moment. That career defining moment. But, there are some things more important. Such as falling in love.

So, if you've seen the film with Sylvester Stallone you will already know the story. That story is reinvented for the stage and embellished to great effect by the songs. Surprised? I was.

Rocky Balboa singing does not immediately sound like it will work. I'm glad to say my misgivings were unfounded.

I rarely get to see a musical on stage, so, for me, the cast recording is my only experience of the show. Some recordings can completely fail to capture the show's atmosphere (Mamma Mia - MUCH better live), while others make you feel like you're in the theatre. I'm pleased to say that Rocky Broadway falls into the latter category.

This Broadway Cast recording stars Andy Karl as Rocky and Margo Seibert as Adrian. For me, it is the relationship and chemistry between these characters that make or break this show; and I'm very pleased to report that both of them are amazing.

Andy Karl brings a sensitivity to Rocky that was there in the film, but is now laid bare and exposed. Song does that anyway and never more so than in this show. The same can be said of Margo Seibert.

The show is written by long-time Broadway collaborators Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens - writers of such brilliant shows as Ragtime and Seussical The Musical.

What they've managed to do with this show is create an easily accessible score that still has enough complexity to appeal to more die-hard theatre fans. There are definitely songs in this show that you will be humming after a couple of listens.

There are moments in the score that reminded me of songs from Disney's Hercules (on Patriotic) and also Ghost the Musical (on In the Ring)- neither of which is a bad thing in my opinion.

Thankfully, the decision to still concentrate on the love story between Rocky and Adrian works.

Adrian's ode to hopes and fears about Rocky, Raining, is a stand-out track but there are many, many songs to admire here, such as: My Nose Ain't Broken, Happiness and Adrian. Also of special note is Training Montage 2 because it incorporates the brilliant Eye of the Tiger to great effect.

While maybe not as rewarding as other shows I've recently listened to such as The Bridges of Madison County or Violet, Rocky Broadway is nonetheless a worthy addition to the Broadway catalogue and to my musicals collection.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 1:15 AM GMT


Bridges Of Madison County / Ost
Bridges Of Madison County / Ost
Price: £15.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant New Musical...That Takes a Couple of Listens, 5 Jun. 2014
Normally, I'm a firm supporter of 'it's gotta grab me from the start' when it comes to musicals. After all, most of us would only get to see a show live once; and would only have a single listen to know if we like the music.

However, as I rarely get the chance to see a show live, all I have to go on is the CD release.

Jason Robert Brown (composer) wrote one of my all-time favourite musicals: Parade. As such, I have followed his career and bought his other shows (13 and The Last Five Years). But, they never lived up to my expectations. But, when I saw BoMC up for pre-order on Amazon.com I had to buy it.

On first listen I wasn't impressed. Kelli O'Hara's searing soprano really hurt my ears, and a couple of the other voices didn't sit well with me. HOWEVER, I was not giving the show my full attention. It was on as background music - and this is a show that really demands to be listened to and experienced. It is NOT a background music musical. On first listen I could hear that there were some good melodies in the show; but nothing really stood out to me.

Thankfully, I never dismiss things on first viewing/listen etc, so I've since listened to the show a further five times and I'm now totally in love with it. Even with Kelli O'Hara's voice.
Beautiful melodies, soaring vocals, tragic storyline all add up to a wonderful experience and I will be first in line if this ever gets a West End production.

If you're a musical theatre fan give it a listen...but listen more than once and you won't be disappointed!


I, Frankenstein [Blu-ray]
I, Frankenstein [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Aaron Eckhart
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £4.03

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the Bad Reviews, 24 May 2014
If you enjoyed Underworld, Van Helsing or any of the Frankenstein adaptations then this film should appeal to you. It's very action oriented but does pay homage to the previous Frankenstein incarnations with some good references.

The special effects are brilliant and of a standard expected of a blockbuster.

Personally, I found the story engaging from the very opening. Aaron Eckhart's performance as the 'creature'/Adam is very convincing and I found his dilemma very appealing.
The introduction of the Gargoyles was excellent and quite original (in my experience).

I really don't understand what the bad reviews are all about. The blu-ray quality is excellent.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2014 6:49 PM BST


Mission Impossible Quadrilogy [Blu-ray] [1996] [Region Free]
Mission Impossible Quadrilogy [Blu-ray] [1996] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Price: £9.45

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Boxset - SPANISH RELEASE, 26 April 2014
The films are great - but if you want reviews of each film there are many other reviews.

My review is purely for informational reasons for people looking for which blu-ray box to buy.

Ever since the first release of this set I've been put off by the monumentally bad reviews from everyone. Bad picture. Bad sound. Bad packaging. You name it, it's been said.

Eventually, I couldn't resist any more and decided to buy a copy of the boxset...and the research began. Only to find that information was a bit scarce.
Finally, I settled on the Spanish Steelbook release (costing me £24 and being priced at 10 euro less than the standard release on Amazon.es).

This is a very nice steelbook.
But, even more importantly, I'm completely blown away by the quality.

I've checked out the picture on all four films and they look amazing. None of the problems plaguing previous release seem to be present. There is only ONE let down...
All subtitles are removable.

Mission Impossible: Excellent picture. DTS HD Master 5.1 english.
Mi:II - see above
Mi:III - excellent picture, but still DD5.1 sound. Yes, that's the let down; but it's a very GOOD DD 5.1 track so I'm willing to forgive for the excellent picture.
Mi:Ghost Protocol - perfect.

All the extras look to be the same as previous releases (Mi:III is the single disc release).

So, if you're looking to upgrade, then this is definitely worth considering. And, based on the reviews, it's miles ahead of the UK release.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 1:16 AM GMT


Chorus Line [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Chorus Line [Blu-ray] [US Import]

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Blu-ray - Picture, 20 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As my title says, the picture on this blu-ray is great. The DVD has always been grainy and murky, and while the BD retains it's filmic look it no longer is grainy OR murky. It's got a lovely image.
The only let downs with this release are the lack of any real extras (trailer only) and the DTS 2.0 sound. While the sound does a pretty good job, I couldn't help but wish for a DTS 5.1 HD Master track. It's a musical with long dance numbers and the sound really needed to be a WOW factor; and it isn't. But it IS much better than the DVD.

As for the film...it's a great musical that takes a few mis-steps along the way. The choice to remove about five of the original Broadway tracks is a bad idea, as the songs are character building (especially the amazing 'Sing'), but the addition of 'Surprise' and 'Let Me Dance for You' makes up for that slightly. I've always loved the film and to have it on blu is brilliant.

This US blu-ray plays perfectly fine in my UK (Region B locked) player.


Phantom of the Opera (1989) [Blu-ray]
Phantom of the Opera (1989) [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Robert Englund
Price: £9.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Not Great BLU-RAY, 17 April 2014
The box has a glaring error which will really put some people off: it states the film is in 1.33.1 ratio (that 4.3 or Fullscreen to others).
Well, I can assure you that it's not. It's in widescreen 16.9. It looks like 1.85.1 to me.

At first glance the picture isn't brilliant - but it DOES look better than the DVD version.

Edit: Having now watched the film I can confirm that it is a massive improvement over its DVD counterpart; but it's not brilliant. There are still some shots that are a bit soft and grainy - but none of it is too distracting. The sound is PCM 2.0 and does an adequate job; but given the films music-derived plot I can't help feeling that a 5.1 DTS audio track would have made a difference. Oh well.
Disappointed that there are no extras. The only menu options are Play and Chapters. Also, there are no subtitles at all.

All in all, this is an OK release of an OK film, but if like me you're a fan of the film you won't really care. It's a worthy upgrade from the DVD and that's what matters.

For anyone who's never seen the film it's a bit more gruesome than other adaptations but pretty much follows a similar storyline. A few liberties have been taken but they're acceptable. Other people have given more in depth review - which is why my review focuses only on blu-ray.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2014 9:22 PM GMT


The Omen Trilogy [Blu-ray]
The Omen Trilogy [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Lee Remick
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £9.79

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLU-RAY is Excellent!!!, 16 April 2014
At the current price this set is a must-have for any blu-ray/film collector. I think this the best these films have ever looked and they are a massive improvement over the DVD versions. There are a few scenes that have some fuzziness and soft focus - but that's a filming choice and nothing to do with the mastering and even those scenes look better than the DVD.
The extras are primarily on The Omen and are quite comprehensive and well worth watching.

As for The Final Conflict being cut - well, if it is, I didn't notice it.

Also according to this site: [...] there are no cuts on the DVD either; so I seriously doubt if there are any cuts for the blu-ray.
I've searched the web for evidence of cuts and cannot find any. Sorry.

It's taken me forever to buy this set because of the reviews saying the picture was bad the final film being cut. Once again I'm so glad I did more research and took the risk.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2014 1:01 AM BST


First Date
First Date
Price: £10.56

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good musical - but too short, 14 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: First Date (Audio CD)
As my review suggests, this is a very short CD. Clocking in at approx 36 minutes. Which for a musical seems very short. Indeed, while listening it seems to end quite abruptly.
Each song is good with some very clever and funny lyrics; but for some reason it didn't leave me satisfied. Maybe it is the length. I'm not sure.
It's definitely worth having if you're a musical theatre fan - but try to get it cheap.


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