Welcome back to your CHUD.com SPECIAL EDITION.

All right now, class – students, please…everyone settle. I’d like you all to say “hello” to Brian Condry. He’s a transfer student from River City High School, and he’s here to talk to us about Video Games.

 “Hellooooo, Brian…”

Thank you. Now, in the words of our Lord and Savior…

OKAY…LET’S DO IT.

So…the next couple of weeks see a massive repackaged catalog dump from two different sources. Next week, MGM takes a stab at fleecing you with the same rotten batch of discs they dropped at the dawn of Blu Ray (yes, that MPEG-2 encoded Terminator Blu is still outclassed by the DVD version. Don’t get fooled again). But today, Lionsgate enters a partnership with Miramax to put shit on the shelves that, for the most part, is already there. I mean, is anyone having a hard time finding Kill Bill, Gone Baby Gone, No Country for Old Men, or Sin City? Right. That said, the suggested retail on a lot of these is $15.99, so they will end up priced to move at Buy More and the other big boxes.

Lionsgate does a fairly fine job with Blu, but there have been zero reviews of this product, so there’s no telling what to expect. These discs could just be from the same masters – which, in the case of something like No Country – is a good thing.

In the case of some of this other stuff…Caveat Klemptor, kids.

These Miramax Titles Include:

Adventureland – Greg Mottola’s coming-of-age film was sold as a comedy, but it’s largely a knowing, earnest drama with great performances all around.

Bad Santa

The Brothers Grimm – I don’t care what anyone says, Gilliam slumming is still better than many at their peak.

Clerks & Chasing Amy - Miramax would like to remind you that Kevin Smith had a voice once.

The Crow: City of Angels – Friels? We get the worthless sequel before we get the only good film? Thanks Easter Bunny!

Doubt

Finding Neverland

Extract

Finding Neverland

Gangs of New York

Gone Baby Gone

The Great Raid

Hero - Zhang Yimou directs an all-star cast in a beautiful film with…interesting politics.

Iron Monkey – Yu Rong Guang and Donnie Yen tell a sober tale of Wong Fei-Hung.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back - Kevin, you go where I cannot follow. Good Journey.

Kill Bill & Kill Bill Volume II – Wake me for The Whole Bloody Affair.

Legend of the Drunken Master aka Drunken Master II

Botched, hacked up stateside release of Jackie Chan’s finest hour, and one of the single most joyous pieces of cinema ever made. The original Miramax Blu was so unconscionably bad, it lived up (or down) to Dragon Dynasty Blu Ray standards. Did Lionsgate step up 2: the streets with this release, or did they just work with the transfer they were given? I think we all know the answer to that…

That said – did you know that there is not a single release of this film on DVD or Blu worth a soft serve shit? The uncut versions have awful picture quality, and the decent looking discs are cut, dubbed, or feature subtitles that seem to have been written by an American grade school kid. Which is why I’ve yet to part with my 24 karat gold-plated Mei Ah laserdisc (also, there’s a part of me that wants to hang the aforementioned platter around my neck on a goldie-lookin’ chain and hit the club) – and even that transfer has rotten burned in subtitles. We will never win. Though I promise to investigate this title further…

No Country for Old Men - You guys already own this, right?

The Queen

Scary Movie

Shall We Dance? – In the original Japanese film, a man taking dance lessons was seen as embarrassing. In America…not so much. So why would Richard Gere hide it from the woman in his life? No one knows…

Sin City

Sling Blade

Smart People

The Yards - aka The Yawds. Don’t know if this is the Director’s Cut from a couple years back or not. They don’t tell me anything… And to confuse matters further, Echo Bridge Entertainment drops exceedingly inferior Blu Ray versions of From Dusk Til Dawn and Halloween H20 on us on the same day. I don’t get how the deals went down just yet, but it looks like there are Miramax titles that went to Lionsgate, and Dimension titles that went to Echo Bridge. Echo Bridge’s Blu Ray stuff is so abysmal it makes Alliance Atlantis look like the fucking Criterion Collection. Avoid this shit at any cost.

It’s Not All From Miramax This Week – Here THE OTHER STUDIOS’ BLU RAY:

The Dilemma

Fuck you, Kevin James. Fuck you and the comically Photoshopped Mr. Potato Head standing in as your mug in this artwork. Conversely, I love you Jennifer Connelly…but you’re breaking my heart. Based on your recent choices, you and Prince Paul should check your apartment for excessive carbon monoxide – either that, or stop using Cuba Gooding Jr’s Magic Eight Ball to choose the work.

 

 

 

 

Fat Girl aka À ma sœur! aka For My Sister (Criterion)

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Catherine Breillat has only ever been hell-bent on terrifying us with sexuality. She reminds me a bit of Cronenberg in that regard – except I would argue that nothing Diamond Dave has ever committed to film has disturbed me the way Breillat’s films have. And I’ve seen everything…I’ve seen it all. It probably has something to do with the fact that Cronenberg almost always peers into the biological creepishness through a metaphorical membrane of the fantastique – whereas there’s nothing metaphorical about the nightmares Breillat’s women/girls face (there’s also nothing metaphorical about porn star Rocco Siffredi’s hwhang). Fat Girl is about two very young females exploring their ideas of love (kinda) and sexuality (totally), and how horrific both can be. The ending of this film will beat the fuck out of you, plain and simple – like Rocco Siffredi’s hwhang (hwy am I saying hwhat hwhat hway).

The Green Hornet3D/BLU/DVD Combo

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I’m going to cop to it – I dug this in the theater. I didn’t do the 3D. Don’t get me wrong, I love the [calvinbroadus]Trey Dizzle[/calvinbroadus]. I actually own a Panasonic 3D TV I believe to be the best screen I’ve ever purchased – but there was no way I was going to get fooled into watching a potentially shoddy post-conversion. Despite that, I’m a sucker for Rogan, and a sucker for Gondry, so – in the end – I found the film a fun attempt to revitalize a character no one gives a shit about, and I honestly believe it’s worth your time as a rental, at least. 

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster – Collector’s Edition

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 The sequel to the fantastic Donnie Yen vehicle plays like the Rocky II to the first film’s Rocky. Whch is to say that, while it doesn’t completely eschew the drama of the first film, Ip Man 2 is much more a straight-up tournament film than its predecessor – which means that Donnie gets to harm people under the watchful eye of the Fat Dragon himself, the legendary Sammo Hung Kam Bo. Fantastiche

  

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) I saw this movie when I was super little and was terrified that people could control my mind if they wanted to (little did I know that Mattel already did – they coulda’ put a lump of my own poop in “Masters of the Universe” packaging and made me buy it). Sinatra’s actually really good here, instead of just relying on his “ring-a-ding-ding” persona, and Laurence Harvey is creeptastic – but Angela Lansbury is the true wonder in this cast. Frankenheimer elevates material that could feel really pulpy in lesser hands. Somehow, all these years later, this version feels more relevant that the Denzel Washington redux.

The Skull & The Man Who Could Cheat Death

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HAMMER and AMICUS and CUSHING and LEE and FREDDIE FRANCIS collide – but I hate these two-flicks-on-one-disc packages. That’s some Video Treasures shit, right there.

 

 

 

Smiles of a Summer Night (Criterion)

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Voyager breaks out the Bergman with this sly and smarmy romantic comedy about, well, swinging, basically. Four couples bicker, break up, make up, and make out in a film from the director of The Seventh Seal. This, you’ve gotta’ see.

What Dreams May Come

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This is, of course, the Robin Williams/Cuba Gooding Jr. tearjerker, and for those who are not aware, it is one of the most oddly depressio mainstream movies ever. Based on an almost Scientology-level batch of I-made-up-my-own-religion weirdness from I Am Legend author Richard Matheson, the film follows the spirit of a dead man (Williams), as he descends into Hell to rescue the soul of his wife after she kills herself. I cannot give this a whole-hearted recommendation at all, due to its treacly nature, but I can offer that its depictions of Heaven and Hell might look glorious in high definition. Oh, and this movie is catnip for girls who refer to themselves as “beautifully broken” – so if that’s your thing, you may want to invest.

X-Men (AMAZON)

X2: X-Men United (AMAZON)

X-Men: The Can’t Stand (WHY WOULD YOU?)

X-Men Cashins: Wolverine (SERIOUSLY? DO YOU HATE YOURSELF)

This batch of one good film and…other problematic items comes with new Digibook packaging – and probably one of those Movie Money certificates…and a sizzle reel for the new X-Film. Or maybe it’s the same discs Fox has been pushing for awhile now. No one knows…

Marriage Italian Style (AMAZON)

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (AMAZON)

Sunflower (AMAZON)

Kino Lorber presents a trifecta of Vittorio DeSica films starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni as part of something they’re calling “The Sophia Loren Award Collection”. Marriage Italian Style is great.

But Wait…THERE’S MORE:

All the Right Moves
Being Human: Season Three
From Prada to Nada
Mao’s Last Dancer
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 3
Taps
Twelve O’Clock High
Waiting For Forever

It Means Everything: The BLU RAY TITLE OF THE WEEK!

Finally, in some interesting news for all sentient life: Kam & Ronson, a Hong Kong-based distro unit – in association with Fortune Star – is releasing to Blu Ray (in what is being advertised as “full 1080p high definition” and “lossless 7.1 audio”) one of the single greatest films ever commited to celluloid. They’re releasing John Woo’s THE KILLER.

And it’s REGION A.

Film fans love the Hard-Boiled (and hey – so do I), but that movie is Woo’s Hollywood audition film. As slick as it is, it doesn’t have an ounce of the soul found in Woo’s third collaboration with Chow Yun-Fat. With The Killer, Woo wears his heart on one sleeve and his influences (Bloody Sam, Walter Hill, Jean-Pierre Melville) on the other, and the results are simply weep-worthy. I’ve said it before and a thousand times more: if you do not like this film – I do not want to know you. You lack compassion and taste. The End.

I have no idea what the release looks like as yet. Mine hasn’t arrived. I pray to God (Chow Yun-Fat) that it’s better than the abyssmal Weinstein Brothers/Dragon Dynasty Buffet take on the material (and it would kind-of have to be – you’d have to start looking under the barrel to find something shittier), and I will keep you posted. I have longed for a decent version of this film for so long that I actually tried to create one in Premiere (I suck and have no idea what I’m doing). Perhaps this will be the one…?

If you can’t wait to find out for yourself, you can order it at DDDHOUSE. It’s only $125.00. That’s Hong Kong dollars, silly – though that is slightly less than I paid in American dollars for the Criterion Laserdisc back in the day…

All of It…All at Once…All for YOU:

  

8213: Gacy House (Special Edition)

Above Us The Waves

According to Jim: The Complete Third Season – There’s more than one season? Fuck.

The Adventures Of Tom Thumb And Thumbelina

All The Right Moves

ATV The Movie – I’m waiting for Ski-Doo: The Motion Picture

Bat Shit Crazy – The story of the Tea Party Movement?

Being Human: Season Three Below – Great David Twohy ghost story

Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Power Struggle

Blindness

Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies

Bloomington

Bob Dylan: Revealed – Shouldn’t this have been last week?

Bound By Blood: Wendigo

Boy Meets World: The Complete Fifth Season

Bruce Springsteen: The Promise

Close To Leo

Cold Showers

Confusion Of Genders

The Crow: City Of Angels

Curious George: Plays Ball – Why’s he curious? Let’s wait and see…

Daddy And Them

Dali: Love at First Sight

Danny In The Sky

Degrazia Centennial Concert

The Dilemma

Disasters at Sea

Discoveries America: Magic of Flight (Special Edition)

Discoveries Ireland: Castles & Ancient Treasures

Discoveries Ireland: Music & Dance A Rich Culture

Dora the Explorer: It’s Haircut Day!

Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Second Season

The Encounter

The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill…

Fat Girl (Criterion)

First Dog

Fist Full of Dirt

Fly Fishing Adventure: Alaska Rainbows

From Dusk Till Dawn

From Prada to Nada

Frontline: Revolution in Cairo

Ghost Sweeper Mikami Collection

Girls Gone Wild: Best Breasts on Campus

Girls Gone Wild: Wet & Willing 2

The Green Hornet

Halloween: H2O

Harvest

How I Ended This Summer

The I Inside

I’m a Potty Pirate – aka “Sailing the Seas of Pee”

I’m a Potty Princess – is it an educational video, or is it fetish porn? No one knows…

Identity

Jay Cutler: Undisputed Bodybuilding

Julian Assange: A Modern Day Hero?

Kathy Smith: Ageless Staying Strong

Kristi Yamaguchi: Power Workout

Kung Fu Dunk

Kustom Cars Lead Sleds: Back From The Dead 2.2

La Soga

The Lookout – Such a great little flick

Make It Or Break It: Season Two, Volume Three

Malta Story Marvin’s Room

Megan Is Missing

Melrose Place: Sixth Season, Volume 1

Mindy Mylrea: All Out Cardio

Mindy Mylrea: Gliding Extreme

Momentum Mopar or No Car

Mopar Plumb Crazy

A Mother’s Prayer / When The Lights Go Out (Double Feature)

Mud Country

Murdoch Mysteries: Series 3

 Music Of The Heart – to cash in on the release of Scream 4, no doubt

 My Own Love Song

The Night Listener

Ninjas vs. Vampires

No Code of Conduct – SHEEN! SHEEN! DACASCOS!

O

Ordinary Decent Criminal

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Seasons 1-8

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The Complete 8th Season

Phoenix & The Magic Carpet Pirates! Scourge of the Seven Seas

The PJs: Season 1

Pocoyo: Let’s Party

Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys The Movie

Pokemon: Jirachi Wish Maker

Proof

The Proud Rebel

River of Darkness

Sarafina!

Sea Of Sand

Sesame Street: Elmo’s Travel Songs & Games

Sex, Lies & Death – The Jason Pollock Story?

The Shipping News

Simon And Laura

Sinister

Smiles Of A Summer Night (Criterion)

A Somewhat Gentle Man

Soy Tu Duena

The Super Hero Squad Show Volume 4

Supercop

Sync or Swim

Tales from the Crypt: Ritual

Talking To Heaven / Reading Room (Double Feature)

Taps

Teaching Mrs. Tingle

Tennessee’s Partner

They

The Thief And The Cobbler

Thoroughbred: Born to Run

Tit Queens of the Past Vol. 3 – Volume 3? Really…?

To Paris With Love

Train Escapade

Twelve O’Clock High

Two Bits & Pepper / The Derby Stallion (Double Feature)

UFC 127

Unsung Heroes

Upstairs And Downstairs

The Virginian: Fourth Season

Wagon Train: Third Season

Waiting for Forever

Waking Up In Reno

Ward No. 6

The Way To The Stars

We Need A Vacation

What Dreams May Come

When Zachary Beaver Came To Town / Baileys Billion (Double Feature)

Wow Wow Wubbzy: Saves the Day

X-Men

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men: The Last Stand

X2: X-Men United

The Yards

There’s so much MIRAMAX shit up there, it’s like the Pokemans. Can you catch ‘em all?

Where I Try to Convince You That a-ha is One of the Most Criminally Underrated Bands of ALL TIME (‘Cause I told you I would):

a-ha is a band known in the States for one song – the ubiquitous “Take On Me” – but, like Patton Oswalt twatted a few days ago, “The Sun Always Shines on TV” is the better jam. Even though only three of the group’s nine albums were released in the United States, the band actually managed to chart four singles here, despite a peculiar lack of interest in the American market (something that has been said to have caused friction within the group at different times). In point of fact, they’ve moved nearly 40 million albums worldwide – not bad for a one hit wonder. And they recorded a pretty kick-ass Bond theme (certainly, it was better than the last few).

Last year, the band decided to call it quits after their last album, Foot of the Mountain, did really well all over the world (except here, where it wasn’t released – though Rhino’s reissues of their first two albums entered the Billboard Top 40. Go figure). They toured extensively – including seven sold-out dates in the States – before finally returning to Norway for a six night stand at the Oslo Spectrum. I’m telling you this because I truly love this band, the Chicago show was wondrous, and a Blu Ray of the final concert has just been released, and it’s awesome.

a-ha: The Final ConcertBUY IT FROM AMAZON!

Which Brings Us to MUSIC – with your host (and mine) – JEB DELIA:

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

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If the band can be taken at their word, a number of reviewers seem to have got the wrong end of the stick on this album: contrary to the notion that it’s the product of three years of procrastination and writer’s block, the bulk of these songs were originally to have been recorded within 6-8 months of the 2008 release of Fleet Foxes. Instead, the avalanche of attention that album garnered (thanks, NPR!) kept them too busy to actually cut the tracks. Which would be neither here nor there, except that Helplessness Blues might have been a bit more interesting as a picture of where these guys are today, and what they’ve made of their recent experiences. Instead, we once more find Robin Pecknold wandering lost through a world full of questions that makes sense only in the context of singing about them. ”Why is the earth moving ’round the sun?” wonders our Robin.

The science lesson gets philosophical with “I was raised up believing I was somehow unique / Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes / Unique in each way you can see,” and the questioning doesn’t end until Pecknold ponders the view from his deathbed: “I wonder if I’ll see / Any faces above me / Or just cracks in the ceiling.” Granted, they’re the sorts of questions we’ve all asked, but art, at its best, helps to guide us toward the answers, rather than restating them, which means that the album pretty much stands or falls on its not inconsiderable musical strengths. Because once again, that gorgeous mass of harmony vocals can make your hair stand on end, and while a lot of the album does sound like Fleet Foxes 2, they’re stretching out this time, with unexpected leaps like the Middle Eastern flavors of “Bedouin Dress,” and the valiant attempt at free jazz to round out “The Argument.” And the fact that it’s a more interesting album to listen to than to think about just means that it’s like most pop music, anyway.

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part 2

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Chalk up any recent lassitude to Adam Yauch’s cancer, and figure this return to form as a celebration of his beating it. We’re all invited to “Make Some Noise,” and the band quickly gets down to the business of doing just that, with Nas adding extra fuel to “Too Many Rappers,” there’s much gleeful silliness on “Lee Majors Comes Again,” and vintage B-Boys on “Here’s a Little Something For Ya” and “OK.” They also throw out the odd change-up here and there, particularly on their reggae-drenched collaboration with Santigold, ”Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” and the weird-beard experimentation of “Tadlock’s Glasses.” I’ll admit that I find rappper-on-rapper putdowns kinda tiresome as a rule, and a line like “Your style is cheap, boy, just like a dutch / You know you’re not smoking on the microphone much” doesn’t do much to make me revise that attitude: it wasn’t that long ago that shit like “We Got The Power” and “It Takes Time To Build” suggested that these guys knew how to blend the call to party with the call to action, and this time they’re not sharing that side of themselves: the only track to hint at a world outside of the cloistered adolescent naughtiness of hip-hop is “Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament,” which is an instrumental. But that’s OK: when an album features lines like ”I’m running wild like rats in the Taco Bell,” you’re willing to cut it plenty of slack.

Stevie Nicks – In Your Dreams BUY IT FROM AMAZON! Christine McVie was the voice of hard-won experience; Lindsey Buckingham was the wide-eyed ironist; Nicks was the sex-kitten fantasist. And, naturally, it’s the fantasist that has managed to remain a commercially viable solo artist (a fact driven home by the classically hippie-dippie album cover photo). It’s been ten years since Nicks released an album of new material, and her singing here sounds strong and invigorated, as though she’s delighted to have something to wrap her pipes around besides endless performances of “Rhiannon” and “Gypsy.” And while earlier albums have tended to a musical sameness, this time around she seems aware that her songs always worked best when set in contrast with McVie and Buckingham, and Nicks, with producer Dave Stewart (who co-wrote much of the album), seems to be trying to bring something of the variety, and shifting perspectives, that was the specialty of the full-on version of The Mac. “You May Be The One” struts along with the sort of blues bottom that was the root of the original Fleetwood Mac, “Ghosts Are Gone” has some of the drive of her best collaborations with Buckingham, “For What It’s Worth” (no, not Buffalo Springfield) features Nicks playing both roles in a relationship built on love and longing, while the gentle melody recalls the country-lite stylings of “Gold Dust Woman” or “Landslide,” and “New Orleans” continues to memorialize the devastation of Katrina. But while I welcome back the tough-minded woman who’s endured more than most people’s share of romantic and sexual roundabout, Nicks still spends a bit too much time in conventionally needy territory on songs like “Secret Love” (“I’m not asking for forever from you / I’m just asking to be held for a while”) and the title song, which redeems its whiny complaints (“I’m always in and out of your life”) with driving Petty-like guitar. From anyone else, “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)” would sound like cheap cash-in on the upcoming Twilight denouncement; from Nicks, it’s just more proof that not even a life spent in the company of Mick Fleetwood is weird enough for this woman’s dreams.

Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Tell My Sister

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Loudon Wainwright III – 40 Odd Years

BUY IT FROM AMAZON! As far as I can see, only one perfect album is being released this week: the reissue of the stunning self-titled 1975 debut of Canadian sisters Kate (who passed away last year) and Anna McGarrigle. At a time when “folk-rock” was trying to straddle the trad-based sounds of Steeleye Span and Pentangle, from the laid-back L.A. countrifiication of The Eagles or Jackson Browne, the McGarrigles turned every cliché of both camps on its head, with a sound that was uniquely their own. It takes a certain brash confidence for a pair of artists just setting out to lead off an album with a song called “Kiss and Say Goodbye,” replete with barrelhouse piano, nice dirty sax, and a dryness of wit that only Richard Thompson would match, much less for women of the 1970’s to cheerfully demand that their man make it snappy, so the narrator can “kiss you till my mouth gets numb.” While the sisterly harmonies are exquisite, they’re clear and sharp rather than lush, so that even “Talk to Me of Mendocino” and “Heart Like A Wheel” occupy an emotional landscape deeper than the sweet sentimentality they found in the hands of artists like Linda Ronstadt or Emmylou Harris. And for all the depth of family feeling they put into a song like “Tell My Sister,” they go out on a rousing gospel number that suggests that, if you can forget all the crap they taught you as a kid, that Jesus fella might have been all right after all. Some listeners might actually prefer their 1977 follow-up, Dancer With Bruised Knees, also included here, and the third disc includes demos and rarities. Essential stuff.

Kate McGarrigle was also the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, who came along during her marriage to singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III, who this week offers a sprawling career retrospective in the aptly-titled 40 Odd Years: 4 CD’s and a DVD, that cover his career from his earliest folkie outings (yes, he’s the “Dead Skunk” guy) through the progression of albums he released in the 80’s and 90’s detailing his life as a substance abuser, and miserable husband and father (something Kate withstood with an almost bemused dignity), with a wit more inclined to scald himself than anyone else; his recent collaboration with Richard Thompson on the Knocked Up soundtrack (“Grey in L.A.” might be the best song anyone’s ever written about the city: “When it’s grey in L.A. I sure like it that way / ‘Cause there’s way too much sunshine round here”); and his Grammy-winning High, Wide and Handsome (my favorite album of 2009). The DVD includes rare performance footage and a fascinating Dutch (!) documentary. Unfortunately, this set is probably going to work best for serious Wainwright fans to fill in gaps in their collection; it’s kinda pricey for an introduction. But if you plunk down the coin for it, you’ll meet one of the wittiest and most intelligent songwriters America has ever produced, and I can almost guarantee that the four CD’s will just leave you wanting more.

OTHER NOTABLE 5/3 RELEASES:

Blind Boys of Alabama – Take The High Road

Another expert blending of the sacred and secular, as the Blind Boys join with folks like Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, and the Oak Ridge Boys to take gospel harmony favorites and juice them up with the blues, and some tough, unsentimental country. Secret weapon is co-producer Jamey Johnson, who seems to know precisely how far to let the guests impose on the Blind Boys’ stunning harmonies, and whose own The Guitar Song may have been the most under-appreciated album of 2010.

Eliza Gilkyson – Roses at the End of Time Emerging from last year’s Red House roundabout collective, Gilkyson stretches out with her most musically varied album yet. She’s lost none of her quiet fire at a world she says is “poised on the edge of moral, economic and environmental bankruptcy,” and even borrows brother Tony’s song “Death in Arkansas” for a banjo workout with backing vocals by fellow Red House-ters John Gorka and Lucy Kaplansky.

John Mayall – Howling At The Moon Not only is Mayall still alive: more to the point, he was still alive and vital in the 80’s, when pretty much everyone had already forgotten him. This collection of live tracks from the 1982 features contributions from John McVie and Mick Taylor, among others, and is a reminder that “white boy blues” isn’t always a put-down.

Western Jazz Band – Songs of Happiness Poison & Ululation You and I might have trouble boogieing down to songs whose titles translate as “Don’t Trust People,” “Bad Friends,” or “Calamity Has Dogged Me,” but on the evidence of this album, that’s what they were doing in Dar Es Salaam back in 1975. And doing it in damned catchy style.

Mick Harvey - Sketches From the Book of the Dead I don’t know if there’s a cultural artifact more misunderstood or misused than the Tibetan “Book of the Dead,” but Harvey’s ruminations on the passing of old friends are powerful enough to overlook it.

From Bikes to Trains to VIDEO GAMES – with BRIAN CONDRY:

Two weeks ago we had the big hits Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat. I can guarantee you those bad boys will be hitting Game of the Year lists in December. Two weeks from now, we’ll have L.A. Noire and The Witcher 2. GOTY material, for sure.

Until then, here’s some shit you can buy – and then bitch when you don’t have the money for better games:

MOTORSTORM: APOCALYPSE (PS3; Retail)

The extremest of Motorstorms. Taking place in a city that is collapsing AS YOU RACE, you probably do exactly the same thing as you did in the previous Motorstorms, but in a far more metal fashion. The previous incarnations were fun, but the cutscene art style and general attitude of this one just rub me wrong. And with PS3’s net service still down, don’t expect to play any multiplayer for awhile.

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (EVERY SYSTEM IN THE WORLD; Retail)

This could be good. I mean, Spider-man 2 was great. But look at the odds, people. This will be boxed shit. Say – Mortal Kombat 9 is awesome. You should get that if you want to waste punks as a thunder god. MOON DIVER (360; Arcade) Looking like a Japanese-ass Japanese Strider, apparently Moon Diver is hard as balls. PS3 owners have been allowing this game access to their hate centers for a couple of weeks already. Since I’m a total pussy these days, I have no inclination to curse at my TV more than I already do. But for those of you that love stupid anime designs and hardcore difficulty, this one is probably a safe bet.

OTHER NOTABLES:

Two PSN games are SUPPOSED to be out this week, but God knows if that’ll happen. UNDER SIEGE, which is a prequel to Dark Territory (this is probably a lie. It looks medieval and RTSish), and something called Red Johnson’s Chronicles. It might have something to do with dog dicks. I’m not entirely sure.

And for you crazy bastard(s) that remember the original Bangai-O, there’s a new one headed to XBLA this week, called BANGAI-O HD MISSILE FURY. It’s Bangai-O, so I thought “missile fury” was already implied.

For those of you in need of a $15 Tribes-style shooter on your PC, SECTION 8: PREJUDICE is out, after hitting XBLA a couple of weeks ago. I have no warm fuzzies for Tribes, but this is apparently not ass (unlike the first Section 8) and might be at least fifteen bucks worth of fun. Jetpacks, son.

Oh – last week OUTLAND was released on XBLA. I haven’t had a chance to play it, but it looks pretty cool. It’s like a platformer version of Ikaruga, where you need to switch your character’s colors to kill enemies and not fall through platforms. Also, it’s co-op.

You Know – I Loved the TLC Reference, But I Don’t Think It’s Fair to Keep Using It:

Rock Band DLC (hey, PS3 people – just add these to your “Songs to Buy When PSN Isn’t Balls” pile…)

* denotes the ability to purchase Pro Bass/Guitar

Culture Club – Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

Faith No More - From Out of Nowhere

Loverboy - Working for the Weekend*

Phish – Stash *

Phish – Tweezer

Stone Temple Pilots – Big Bang Baby*

I will refrain from making any comment about the musical selections, save that I’ll be Working for the Weekend. And I’ll grab the STP track, which I guess they just had laying around after the last STP pack came out.

FIN.

That wraps this week up with a golden bow. I’d like to thank Jed and Brian for laying it on the line. And you fiends for stopping by. CHUD SPECIAL ED 2.0 is still a work in progress, so feel free to get in touch if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.