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We’ve got three new CDs from La-La Land Records heading your way!

First up is the next edition in La-La Land’s Expanded Archival Collection, lets all return to Gotham for this two disc remastered and expanded presentation of Danny Elfman’s magnificent score to the 1992 Warner Bros. motion picture blockbuster Batman Returns, starring Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito, and directed by Tim Burton. Composer Danny Elfman (Batman, Mars Attacks, Wanted, Alice in Wonderland) revisits his iconic theme and expertly weaves it into a sumptuous musical experience, bringing to life the film’s breathtaking action and rich emotional and psychological underpinnings. Produced by Neil S. Bulk, Dan Goldwasser and MV Gerhard and mastered by James Nelson from Shawn Murphy’s first generation three-track digital mixes, this limited edition release features more than 30 minutes of previously unreleased music, including alternate cues. The in-depth, exclusive liner notes are by John Takis and the art direction is by David C. Fein. This release is limited to only 3,500 copies, so get them while you can.

Next up is the world premiere release of acclaimed composer James Horner’s (Aliens, Glory, Titanic, Avatar) score to the 1995 Paramount Pictures feature film Jade, starring David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino and Chazz Palminteri, directed by William Friedkin. Previously unavailable in any format, this release of Horner’s erotically charged, Asian-tinged score finally takes its place in his soundtrack canon of notable 1990’s works. 1995 proved to be an especially successful year for Horner, having released scores to such films as Casper, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Jumanji and Balto. This release of Jade now fills the hole in one of his most important years as a composer! Produced for La-La Land Records by Dan Goldwasser and mastered by Mike Matessino from ½ inch Paramount vault materials, this release contains bonus tracks that include Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mystic’s Dream” and the classical piece “Le Sacre du Printemps,” both of which are featured in the film’s score. Exclusive, in-depth liner notes by Daniel Schweiger feature comments from the film’s director, William Friedkin. Art direction is by Mark Banning.

Finally we have another premiere release from composer John Morris’ (Blazing Saddles, Clue, Young Frankenstein) sumptuous orchestral score to the 1986 Orion Pictures feature flim, Haunted Honeymoon, starring Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner and Dom DeLuise, and directed/co-written by Gene Wilder. Produced by Ford A. Thaxton and digitally edited and mastered by James Nelson, this release finally makes available one of John Morris’ most technically spectacular and evocative scores, that’s brilliantly performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Limited to 1,200 copies, this release features exclusive, in-depth liner notes are by film music writer Jeff Bond.

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“Avatar”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Okay, so I finally got around to seeing Avatar. Ah, well… It was definitely… I think… You know what? Let’s come back to that. Avatar is the story of human beings doing what they do best, taking what they want. It’s the year 2154 and groups of people from Earth have traveled to the distant planet of Pandora to harvest a rare mineral called Unobtanium. Don’t worry. We’ll come back to that too. The only thing standing in the way of our obtaining the Unobtanium (God, even I want to punch me in the face.) is the natives of Pandora, called the Na’vi. They’re basically giant blue cat-monkeys. Sorry if anyone thinks that’s racist. I don’t want to aggravate you’re Pandora Blues Syndrome. We’ll get back to that as well. So, before the conflict started getting out of hand, the humans tried to negotiate with the Na’vi, by using Avatars. An Avatar is a bioengineered life form that is a mix of Na’vi DNA and the human controller’s DNA. It’s like virtual reality, but you’re not in a simulated computer system. Instead, your consciousness is uploaded into the Avatar body in the real world. When Jake Sully, a paraplegic war veteran, played by Sam Worthington, who’s twin brother is killed, the opportunity presents itself for Jake to step into his shoes… Well, metaphorically. Jake’s brother was set to work on the Avatar program, and since his DNA make-up matches that of his twin brother’s, Jake is able to operate his brother’s Avatar. Once in the Avatar program, Jake is met with the promise of getting his real legs back, if he would be willing to spy on the Na’vi for Colonel Miles Quaritch, played by Stephen Lang, and provide him with some inside information from behind the enemy lines. However, once on the inside, Jake finds himself questioning his loyalties, and will soon need to choose a side.

Well, okay. I guess I’ve got a few things to get back to here. First, it took James Cameron twelve years to make this movie, and I really find it hard to believe that in twelve years he couldn’t come up with something better than Unobtanium. I mean what the fuck! Are you kidding me?! You could have called it Shitanium, and even that would have been better than Unobtanium. James Cameron you’re better than that. I do have one request though James. Please do not pull a George Lucas, and make a new Terminator series that claims the Terminator’s exoskeleton is actually made of Unobtanium. That would be even more unforgivable than Titanic, which brings us to our next callback point, the Pandora Blues Syndrome. People are claiming to find themselves dealing with depression symptoms after seeing the film, because Pandora is not a real place. I’m not even going to touch that. Let’s move on.

I didn’t really care for this movie. Let me clarify, I didn’t find myself getting emerged in this world at all. When you see a movie like this, like Jurassic Park or Harry Potter, I think it’s really important to care about the world the film is trying to sell you on. At no point during Avatar, did I find myself immersed or excited to be experiencing this world, and in 3-D no less. Don’t get me wrong, the world of Pandora in Avatar is well imagined, but there’s just something missing that I can’t put my finger on. Once again, I have to point out that this movie took twelve years to make! In this day and age, I think we are just not as easily impressed with ground breaking effects these days. In the last decade, we’ve seen so many amazing leaps in special effects, and it’s hard to see what took twelve years to achieve in this film. It’s the kind of thing where you really need to see the behind the scenes footage to fully appreciate what they’ve done.

With that said, let’s talk about the story. Did you ever see Dances with Wolves? Great! So, we’ve talked about the story. I’m not kidding; this is Dances with Wolves in space. I understand that every story has been told before, but come on! It’s really hard to enjoy a movie when you don’t care about the world you are in, and you know every twist and turn of the story, because you’ve heard it before. Avatar is so not the best picture of the year! I can’t believe it won the Golden Globe for Best Picture Drama. It shouldn’t even be in that category. It’s more of an animated film than anything else. I would say 80% of it is CGI generated. With all that said, I think it’s an okay movie. At no point did I want to stop watching it, I just wished I could have enjoyed it more.

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