The fourth of our special, slightly expanded gift-giving editions of Culture Jamming. This week: a last-minute-shopping grab bag.
Phil Collins: Hello, I Must Be Going! 24-Karat Gold CD
Before there were CDs, there were pricey versions of vinyl records that promised superior sound to picky audio snobs. That practice is alive and well in 24-Karat Gold CDs, which do more than just boost the volume on some classic albums from yesteryear. Phil Collins' second solo album from 1982 sounds positively fabulous in the format, especially the crisp horns that fuel so many of the songs.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
Ever since the original GoldenEye revolutionized gaming back in the day, publishers have been trying to kick-start the concept for new generations. The latest outing, for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, goes for nostalgia, transporting the old game's look, story, and gameplay to HD consoles. And whaddaya know? It's still a really fun shooter. Plus, James Bond has a few new tricks up his tux sleeve.
The Grateful Dead Movie
This concert movie from 1977 makes its Blu-ray debut, and the sights and sounds are so clear you practically get a contact high from the minute you press “play.” The film, a midnight-movie staple in the '70s, is culled from a series of shows the Dead performed on their home turf of San Francisco in 1974. All of your druggy favorites are here. The disc includes a bunch of very long bonus tracks.
Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life
Tim Riley's exhaustive biography of the most complex Beatle doesn't skimp on details of his life or art. Lots of this has been covered before, but rarely balanced with such reverence and criticism. Riley talks to many of the people who worked with, looked up to, and put up with Lennon during his short life. The book is at its best when life and art collide for some magical music moments.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXII
The latest four-disc box gathers a quartet of crappy movies from the '40s through '70s, all of which the robots and their human pals (both Joel and Mike are at the controls here) skewer with onscreen commentary. Like most of the recent MST3K boxes, this one offers some extras for fans of the cult TV show. Best is a profile of actor Rondo Hatton, who stars in the set's, um, best movie, The Brute Man.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete 7th Season
All 50 episodes from the seventh season of one of the best cartoons of the past quarter century are collected on this four-disc box. The best ones – like “The Great Patty Caper” and “Legends of Bikini Bottom” – are just as funny the 30th time you watch them (do Squidward's sarcastic asides ever get old? No). Extras include a bunch of animated shorts that aired before their original showings.
The Best of Joss Stone: 2003-2009
The British soul singer has had some ups and downs over the past decade, resulting in some very shaky albums. This 13-track hits collection weeds out the filler so all you're left with is prime Stone. At her best – like on “You Had Me” and “Tell Me 'Bout It” – she burns with a voice that cuts through the occasionally stifling production. And it sure beats anything she did with that blah SuperHeavy group.