Friday, May 30, 2008

MOVIE: GRACE IS GONE



ABOUT: Grace Is Gone is a 2007 film starring John Cusack as a father who does not want to tell his two daughters that their mother has died while serving in Iraq. On January 29, 2007, it won the Audience Award for Drama at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

There was a time when Stanley Phillips could see his entire life clearly. He dreamed of patriotic service and was destined for a military career. He came close to that dream until it was cut short simply because of his poor eyesight. Now he's serving customers at a home supply store while his sergeant wife is fighting in Iraq. Equally as awkward at home as he is at work, he's raising Heidi, their 12-year-old daughter, and Dawn, her 8-year-old sister. Although a loving father, Stanley is unable to conform to a more affectionate role, and the girls miss their mother deeply.

While tolerating his job and stumbling through parenting he is abruptly awakened when tragedy strikes. Ill prepared to deal with it himself, he is at a complete loss contemplating how to tell his children. He's desperate to delay telling the children, so they embark on a spontaneous road trip. Grasping to give them their last moments of innocence, Stanley reveals a softer side as they travel to Dawn's chosen destination: Enchanted Gardens Theme Park. The farther they drive, the closer they become, yet Stanley knows he must face the inevitable task of changing their lives forever.





MY REVIEW: John Cusack is underrated as an actor I think. I know he is well known and everyone likes him but I don't think he gets much credit for his acting. If he did then people would talk more about his performances in movies like Say Anything, Being John Malkovich and High Fidelity which he should have been nominated for an Oscar for. Sure he's been in some bad ones and in his fair share of action movies. But I've never heard anyone talk about how good of an actor he really is. With his performance in Grace Is Gone, its the first time I have heard people talk about how good he really is.

Although the film didn't receive a wide release and quickly faded away, its a good film with a great performance by Cusack. It's not his best but he is the one who makes the movie worth it. There have been better movies dealing with lost loved ones to the war in Iraq. Especially documentaries like HBO's Last Letters Home. It's the performances that make the movie stand out along with its story. I can't recall a movie yet that has the role reversed and had the husband have to tell his children that their mom died in the war.

There isn't many actors in the movie besides Cusack and the two girls who play his daughters. I think the movie would have been a disaster if the girls couldn't act, but they sure can. There wasn't a moment in the film where they didn't seem like they were actually sisters. Their performances are almost as good as Cusack's and that is an important thing to have because if it was just Cusack acting alone in this film then I don't think it would have worked.

There are moments where the movie drags along but the ending makes up for it. The ending, when the time comes for him to tell his daughters about what happened to their mom, is sad and believable. Cusack is great in this scene and I hope he continues to do scenes like this more often.

The DVD has no features at all. None. So, that sucks.



MY CHEESY RATING: Grace Is Gone but she will be remembered with a 6 out of 10.


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Thursday, May 29, 2008

MOVIE: RAMBO



ABOUT: Rambo is a 2008 action film starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam War veteran John Rambo. Stallone also co-wrote and directed the film. It is the fourth installment of the Rambo franchise, twenty years since the last film.

Rambo
holds the record with the most kills out of the entire Rambo series, with 262 kills and an average of 3.2 per minute; also the number is more than that of the previous three movies combined. Stallone justified this in a press conference by saying the violence in the film was to underline the ongoing problems in Burma.

Twenty years after the last film in the series, John Rambo has retreated to northern Thailand, where he's running a longboat on the Salween River. On the nearby Thai-Burma border, the world's longest-running civil war, the Burmese-Karen conflict, rages into its 60th year. But Rambo, who lives a solitary, simple life in the mountains and jungles fishing and catching poisonous snakes to sell, has long given up fighting, even as medics, mercenaries, rebels and peace workers pass by on their way to the war-torn region.

That all changes when missionaries are captured by the Burmese Army. Pastor Arthur Marsh turns to Rambo for help. Although the United States military trained him to be a lethal super soldier in Vietnam, decades later Rambo's reluctance for violence and conflict are palpable, his scars faded, yet visible. However, the lone warrior knows what he must do.





MY REVIEW: With Rocky Balboa and now Rambo, Sylvester Stallone has made two films that bring dramatic closure to two characters that made him famous. Which is funny because no one expected that those two films would turn out the way they did. They both were written and directed by Stallone. They both had realistic drama attached to them even though the Rambo films were considered just action movies and the Rocky movies, with the exception of the first one, were just comedic entertainment.

Stallone does a good job of directing on Rambo. Especially the scenes that involve the rescue mission. In a lot of movies, rescue mission scenes can kind of go all over the place because of bad editing and directing. You don't know who is who and what is what in most movies like these but with Rambo that is not the case. You know who the bad guys are at all times and you know who the good guys are at all times and its never confusing along with being well choreographed. Even action movies have to have choreography.

The action scenes are intense. I don't mean that there is just a lot of action scenes, even though there are, but I'm talking guts flying everywhere and ripping throats out with bare hands. This is the bloodiest movie I have seen since Passion of the Christ.

I've never seen any of the other Rambo movies. I bet they were cheesy but a lot of fun. Rambo also has a bit of 80s touch to it, especially Rambo's hair. After seeing this Rambo I plan on checking out the earlier ones if I ever find the time to get to them. Stallone has said that he will be making another one so I guess Rambo really wasn't closure, but compared to the other films, it sure was different.

The DVD has deleted scenes so you can watch more killing if the ones in the movie wasn't enough for you. Audio commentary so you can hear Stallone talking about how much killing he did and making-of stuff so you can see how they did all the killing.



MY CHEESY RATING: Rambo gets a killer of a rating 7 out of 10.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

MOVIE: CASSANDRA'S DREAM



ABOUT: Cassandra's Dream (2007) is a suspense film directed by Woody Allen in the UK, starring Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell. It was released in 2007 in Europe and in January, 2008 in the US.

Set in contemporary London, Cassandra's Dream is a powerful and thrilling story about two brothers who are desperate to better their troubled lives. One is a chronic gambler in debt over his head, and the other is a young man in love with a beautiful woman he has recently met. Their lives gradually become entangled in a sinister situation with intense and unfortunate results.




The original score was composed by Philip Glass. This is the first Woody Allen film released with a stereo soundtrack. Allen previously eschewed stereo although often employing Dolby Stereo and Dolby Digital technologies to convey a higher quality mono soundtrack. The film is stereo for its music only.


MY REVIEW: Cassandra's Dream is the last film in Woody Allen's British romance and murder film trilogy. It's also the best one I think. Match Point was a film that mostly everyone loved but I didn't. I thought it was slow, I didn't care what happened to the characters and it was predictable. Scoop was a comedy but it still contained the romance and murder part. Allen was in it so that's always a treat. The way he and Scarlett Johansson go back and forth is the reason to see the movie. Not many liked it but I did. Now comes Cassandra's Dream, another one that not many liked, but I did.

I thought it was much better than Match Point. Mostly because we care about these characters and what happens to them. Even though there is the romance part, murder doesn't come into play mainly because of the romance, unlike Match Point or Allen's other Crimes and Misdemeanors. Where Match Point was predictable, in Cassandra's Dream you never know what is going to happen. Are they going to get away with it? If they do, what happens then?

The DVD contains no features at all. None. So, that sucks.



MY CHEESY RATING: Cassandra's Dream didn't give me nightmares and gets a 7 out of 10.


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

MUSIC: WEEZER "WEEZER (THE RED ALBUM)"



ABOUT: Weezer, also known as The Red Album, is the forthcoming sixth studio album by American rock band Weezer, set for release on June 3, 2008. Rick Rubin and Jacknife Lee have been named as producers. Unlike past Weezer records that featured Rivers Cuomo as the main songwriter and vocalist, other band members will contribute songwriting and lead vocals. The first eight tracks of the album leaked in early May.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. "Troublemaker" - 2:44
  2. "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)"- 5:52
  3. "Pork and Beans" - 3:09
  4. "Heart Songs" - 4:06
  5. "Everybody Get Dangerous" - 4:03
  6. "Dreamin’" - 5:12
  7. "Thought I Knew" - 3:01
  8. "Cold Dark World" - 3:51
  9. "Automatic" - 3:07
  10. "The Angel and the One" - 6:46

MY FAVORITE TRACK:
PORK AND BEANS (MP3)


"PORK AND BEANS" MUSIC VIDEO:



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MUSIC: THE BIRD AND THE BEE "PLEASE CLAP YOUR HANDS"



ABOUT: Please Clap Your Hands is a 5-track EP by American indie/pop duo The Bird and the Bee. It features four original tracks and one cover, "How Deep Is Your Love", originally by The Bee Gees. The cover features backing vocals from Sia Furler.

In addition to the regular duo, the EP contains other instrumental contributions from members of their touring band, including drummer Joey Waronker, guitarist Gus Seyffert, and background vocalists Willow Geer, Megan Geer Alsop, Alex Lilly, and the aforementioned Sia Furler.

The EP was released on September 25, 2007.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. "Polite Dance Song"
  2. "Man"
  3. "The Races"
  4. "So You Say"
  5. "How Deep Is Your Love" (The Bee Gees)

MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
POLITE DANCE SONG (MP3)
HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE (MP3)



"POLITE DANCE SONG" MUSIC VIDEO:



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MUSIC: ELBOW "THE SELDOM SEEN KID"



ABOUT: The Seldom Seen Kid is the fourth studio album by the indie rock band Elbow. It was released by Fiction Records on March 17, 2008 in the United Kingdom and was released by Geffen Records on April 22, 2008 in the United States. The dates for other countries have not been revealed yet.

The album was recorded at Blueprint Studios in Manchester, and is the first Elbow album to be entirely self-produced, mixed and recorded without any outside help. The bulk of the record was written and performed by the band, besides a guest appearance from singer-songwriter Richard Hawley who contributes to guest vocals, lead guitar and co-songwriting on "The Fix".

The title of the album is taken from a lyric in the first single, "Grounds for Divorce." It also is a nickname, given by Guy Garvey's father, for Bryan Glancy, a friend of the band who died suddenly in 2006. The closing track, "Friend of Ours," is dedicated in his memory. The album has received nearly unanimous praise from media outlets, including the NME, which gave Elbow their fourth consecutive 9/10 album rating. The album also debuted at #5 on the March 23 UK Albums Chart, the highest charting position of their career so far.

The album was released in the UK in three versions: a regular CD in a super-jewel box, a digipack CD (both with one bonus track, "We're Away") and a double 12" vinyl LP.

The first fifteen seconds of track one "Starlings" were omitted from the physical CD release to prevent contribution to the loudness war.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. "Starlings" - 5:20
  2. "The Bones of You" - 4:49
  3. "Mirrorball" - 5:50
  4. "Grounds for Divorce" - 3:39
  5. "An Audience with the Pope" - 4:27
  6. "Weather to Fly" - 4:29
  7. "The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver" - 5:14
  8. "The Fix" - 4:27
  9. "Some Riot" - 5:23
  10. "One Day Like This" - 6:34
  11. "Friend of Ours" - 5:01
  12. "We're Away" (UK bonus track) - 1:59

MY FAVORITE TRACK:
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE (MP3)


"GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE" MUSIC VIDEO:



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MUSIC: TAPES 'N TAPES "WALK IT OFF"



ABOUT: Walk It Off is the second album from the Minneapolis-based band Tapes 'n Tapes, released on 2 April 2008.

While their previous album, The Loon, was produced by the band's bassist and producer, Eric Applewick, and was recorded in a friend's unfinished basement studio, Walk It Off was recorded by producer, David Fridmann at Tarbox Road Studio in Cassadaga, New York. The album has 12 tracks, although it was originally planned to have fifteen. The first single released for the album was "Hang Them All".

The critical reception to the album was generally favorable, scoring a rating of 61% from MetaCritic.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. "Le Ruse" – 2:56
  2. "Time of Songs" – 3:42
  3. "Hang Them All" – 3:00
  4. "Headshock" – 2:48
  5. "Conquest" – 4:14
  6. "Say Back Something" – 3:12
  7. "Demon Apple" – 4:30
  8. "Blunt" – 3:10
  9. "George Michael" – 4:02
  10. "Anvil" – 3:34
  11. "Lines" – 4:03
  12. "The Dirty Dirty" – 5:02

MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
HANG THEM ALL (MP3)
GEORGE MICHAEL (MP3)



"HANG THEM ALL" MUSIC VIDEO:




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MUSIC: FLOBOTS "FIGHT WITH TOOLS"



ABOUT: Fight With Tools is the second album by Flobots released in September, 2007. It features the single "Handlebars", which became a popular hit on Modern Rock radio the following April.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. "There's A War Going For Your Mind" – 1:22
  2. "Mayday!!!" – 4:36
  3. "Same Thing" – 3:29
  4. "Stand Up" – 4:38
  5. "Fight With Tools" – 4:51
  6. "Handlebars" – 3:26
  7. "Never Had It" - 5:07
  8. "Combat" – 2:05
  9. "The Rhythm Method (Move!)" – 3:52
  10. "Anne Braden" - 4:21
  11. "We Are Winning" - 3:27
  12. "Rise" - 4:10

MY FAVORITE TRACK:
HANDLEBARS (MP3)


"HANDLEBARS" MUSIC VIDEO:



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MOVIE: FAHRENHEIT 451



ABOUT:
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1966 film of a dystopian future, based on the novel of the same name by Ray Bradbury.

According to Bradbury the novel is not about speech, but is a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature. The central character, Guy Montag, is employed as a "fireman" (which, in this case, means "book burner"). 451 degrees Fahrenheit (about 233°C) is stated as "The temperature at which book-paper catches fire, and burns ...". It was directed by François Truffaut, his only English-language film.



The film starred Oskar Werner as Montag and Julie Christie who was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role award for the dual roles of Linda (Mildred) Montag and Clarisse; having long red and short blonde hair respectively and being photographed through different coloured filters. Funding for the film became available when both Christie and Werner, both in popular films at the time, became interested in the project.


MY REVIEW: The filmmakers of Fahrenheit 451 must have taken acid and got all their ideas for this film from the acid because that's the only way they could have made this crap. It's a shame because you have a great idea from the book by Ray Bradbury and a great filmmaker making it, Truffaut.

Visually the film is really good, which I'm sure they also got from the acid, but it must have been the only thing they got from it that was good. The flow of the movie is terrible. Scenes make no sense and the way that Montag gets hooked on books happens just way to quick without any structure. I don't know why Christie plays two different characters. I guess it was because she was so popular at the time that they just said why not and had her play two roles so they could get the most out of her.


A couple of years ago I heard that Frank Darabont was making a remake and since then I have heard nothing of it. Maybe he decided not to do it but I hope he changes his mind. This is a great idea for a movie that wasn't pulled off to great here.



MY CHEESY RATING: Fahrenheit 451 burns itself and gets a 3 out of 10.


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MOVIE: 21 UP



ABOUT: The Up Series consists of a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. The latest film, 49 Up, was released in September 2005; filming for the next instalment in the series, 56 Up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012.




MY REVIEW: 7 Up was entertaining, 7 Plus Seven was kind of a bore and now 21 Up is where it starts to get interesting. The lives of these Brits enter into adulthood where most of them are already married, are getting married, poor, doing what they want to do while being happy or single and lonely.

Whats interesting is that most of their parents divorced shortly after they all were 14. It's also interesting to see how the ones who were friends with each other, are not so close anymore and have gone their separate ways, only to reunite for the films. Some quit school and do simple work but wish they could be doing something that they are interested in. Others are still in school and are doing great, mostly the richey rich kids. One is poor but is content. One is kinda lonely and depressed even though he won't admit it.

The one I found the most interesting was Tony, who wanted to be a jockey when he grows up and was for a while but just couldn't make it. So now he works down at the track taking bets and is about to become a cab driver. He is happy with his life and doesn't care what anyone else thinks of him. He doesn't like to compare himself with any of the other people in the series and says what he thinks. He is a free spirit.

The Up series is starting to get interesting like I had predicted and hopefully it continues.



MY CHEESY RATING: 21 Up is up to a 6 out of 10.


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MY REVIEWS OF SEVEN UP! AND 7 PLUS SEVEN

MOVIE: REDACTED



ABOUT: Redacted is a film written and directed by Brian De Palma that premiered at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, where it earned a Silver Lion "best director" award. This film is a companion to an earlier film by De Palma, 1989's Casualties of War. It was shot in Jordan.

It is a drama based on the Mahmudiyah killings, the gang-rape, murder, and burning of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in March 2006 by U.S. soldiers who also killed her parents and her younger sister.





MY REVIEW: Redacted tells a story that everyone should know about the Iraq War but don't. The story in the movie is based on real events that actually happened and it probably isn't the only one either. Events like these, where soldiers are under a lot of stress and end up doing things that they normally wouldn't do, have happened before in Vietnam. These stories need to be told because most of the time the American public doesn't get stories like these on their local news.

Brain De Palma found out about the story that is in Redacted from the Internet and YouTube. That is where we have to find our news now. The Internet is a powerful tool and with it we are able to find out almost anything about anything. Because the news networks choose not to cover stories for whatever reason, we are not able to trust them anymore with the news that we do get. So it is up to us to go on the Internet and find them. It's a sad thing but in a way it's kinda neat to be your own investigator and find the news for yourself, that is if you want to. I'm sure the people who watch Access Hollywood don't really care about whats going on around them in the real world so it doesn't apply to them. But people who do care need to stop trusting their favorite news channel and go on the web.

Redacted could have been better in a documentary style film but I understand that it would have been hard to make a docu about something that was hidden in the first place and hard to put together without footage of the incident or interviews. So De Palma reenacts the incidents and some of it works but some of it doesn't. All the actors in the film are unknown which makes it work but because they are not good actors they all tend to overact. Some scenes are beautiful in their horror and the scenes with the soldiers in their barracks drag on.

The story of Redacted is what is important though and so it doesn't really matter how the film went about telling the story but that it was just told at all.



MY CHEESY RATING: Redacted needs to redact its filmmaking technique. 5 out of 10


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Monday, May 26, 2008

MOVIE: THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE



ABOUT: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (also known as The Taking of Pelham 123) is a thriller movie released in 1974. It stars Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Jerry Stiller, and Martin Balsam; it was directed by Joseph Sargent, produced by Edgar J. Scherick, and was based on the novel of the same title by John Godey. Peter Stone wrote the screenplay, which takes its basics from the novel but is highly different in its approach, embracing a kind of NYC cynicism.

Four armed men hijack a New York City subway train and demand 1 million dollars - which must be delivered in 1 hour - for the train and the lives of the passengers held hostage. Lt. Zachary Garber of the New York City Transit Police must contend with City Hall red tape, the unrelenting demands of the hijackers, and the ever-ticking clock in his efforts to save the passengers and bring the hijackers to justice.




In 1998, the film was remade as a television movie with the same title, with Edward James Olmos in the Matthau role and Vincent D'Onofrio replacing Shaw as the senior hijacker. Although not particularly well received by critics or viewers, this version was reportedly more faithful to the book, though it updated the setting with new technologies. It was also devoid of the quirky humor that made the original so memorable.

Another remake, directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, will be released in 2009.


MY REVIEW: I've been waiting a long time to see one of those 70s NYC crime movies that I haven't seen before. I have never even heard of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three until recently when I found out that it was being remade by Tony Scott. So I thought that I would check it out before I saw the remake since usually the original films are better.

I was tickled to see Walter Matthau in a serious but comedic role and Jerry Stiller looking not young but middle aged was pretty funny too. Robert Shaw is awesome as the leader of the train kidnapping gang. I like how the movie is serious and at the same time playing for laughs. I doubt that the remake will be like that but its always nice to change things up a bit.

The film is suspenseful all the way through and a subway train is a nice change of scenery after countless bank heist films.

MY CHEESY RATING: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three will take you on a suspenseful subway ride. 7 out of 10


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Sunday, May 25, 2008

MOVIE: 7 PLUS SEVEN



ABOUT: The Up Series consists of a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. The latest film, 49 Up, was released in September 2005; filming for the next instalment in the series, 56 Up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012.




MY REVIEW: In my review of Seven Up! I talked about how as each film comes along it will get more interesting because as one grows older more things happen in their lives. 7 Plus Seven kind of skips that theory this film because when I think about it, I wasn't that interesting when I was 14. In the first film the kids were 7 and they talked about girls and what a 7 year old likes to do. It was funny and interesting. Now that the kids are 14 they are a little bit more serious and boring.

7 Plus Seven is an hour long and that's half an hour longer than the first film and I think it really didn't need to be. I think when they reach adulthood it can be an hour but listening to a 14 year old talk about their life for an hour starts to become tiresome after 14 min. The rich kids talk about how rich they are and like to do rich things. The poor kids talk about what they want to be when they grow up, which they basically did in the first film and for most of them it hasn't changed. The two kids that didn't have a family and were interesting in the first film, now barely say anything and are a bore.

I think the series will become interesting again when they are 21 but it just isn't at 14. Ask yourself if you could talk about your life for an hour at 14 years old and get back to me. If you can please e-mail it to me and I'm sure it would be a lot more interesting then these kids.


MY CHEESY RATING: 7 Plus Seven = Boreteen. 4 out of 10


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MY REVIEW OF SEVEN UP!

MOVIE: SEVEN UP!



ABOUT: The Up Series consists of a series of documentary films that have followed the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, when they were seven years old. The children were selected to represent the range of socio-economic backgrounds in Britain at that time, with the explicit assumption that each child's social class predetermines their future. Every seven years, the director, Michael Apted, films new material from as many of the fourteen as he can get to participate. The latest film, 49 Up, was released in September 2005; filming for the next installment in the series, 56 Up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012.

The first film in the series, Seven Up!, was directed by Paul Almond, and commissioned by Granada Television as a programme in the World in Action series broadcast in 1964. At the time there was no plan for them to return in seven years time; the second film was made almost as an afterthought, but the pattern of the series was established. From 7 plus Seven onwards the films have been directed by Michael Apted, who had been a researcher on Seven Up! and chose the original children with Gordon McDougall. The premise of the film was taken from the Jesuit motto "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man," which is based on a quote by Francis Xavier. The 1998 programme was commissioned by BBC One, although still produced for them by Granada.





MY REVIEW: I have been meaning to watch the Up Series for the longest time and now I am getting around to it. I just had to find the right amount of free time to watch a documentary series that follows the lives of a bunch of people every 7 years. I am going to review each film instead of the whole series so far because the series isn't finished yet and I haven't watched most of the other ones anyway.

Seven Up! pretty much plays like an episode of Kids Say The Darndest Things. It's only half an hour long and whats more entertaining than a bunch of kids talking about girls and what they want to be when they grow up. I work in child care so I am around kids all day and let me tell you, kids will say things that you won't believe would ever come out of a 7 year olds mouth.

Seven Up! wasn't great but it was short and sweet. I'm guessing that the series will become more interesting more and more after each film as all these kids grow up. They will have to face life as an adult someday and thats when it will get interesting. I also suspect that when they start to become old that it will get less interesting and we will end up watching them stand in the grocery store checkout line for 15 min. counting all their coupons.


MY CHEESY RATING: Seven Up! isn't a seven, but it's close. 6 out of 10


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Friday, May 23, 2008

MUSIC: PORCUPINE TREE "IN ABSENTIA"



ABOUT: In Absentia is the seventh studio album by British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, first released on September 24, 2002. It was their first release on a major record label, Lava Records. The song "Strip the Soul" was featured in the soundtrack of the Xbox video game Project Gotham Racing 2.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. "Blackest Eyes" – 4:23
  2. "Trains" – 5:56
  3. "Lips of Ashes" – 4:39
  4. "The Sound of Muzak" – 4:59
  5. "Gravity Eyelids" – 7:56
  6. "Wedding Nails" - 6:33
  7. "Prodigal" – 5:35
  8. ".3" – 5:25
  9. "The Creator Has a Mastertape" – 5:21
  10. "Heartattack in a Layby" – 4:15
  11. "Strip the Soul" – 7:21
  12. "Collapse the Light into Earth" – 5:54

MY FAVORITE TRACK:
THE SOUND OF MUZAK (MP3)


PORCUPINE TREE "FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET":



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MUSIC: FOURPLAY "THE JOY OF..."



ABOUT: The Joy Of… is an album by FourPlay String Quartet.
This is their second studio album, Though still predominately consisting of covers, Has more original pieces than their debut album.



TRACK LISTING:
  1. Domino — The Clouds
  2. Just Like U Said It Would B — Sinéad O'Connor
  3. August — original by Lara Goodridge
  4. Meshugganah (dub) — original by Peter Hollo
  5. Meshugganah (klezmer) — original by Peter Hollo
  6. Ich Bin Ein Auslander — Pop Will Eat Itself
  7. Breakfast In America — Supertramp
  8. The Boy From Ipanema — Antonio Carlos Jobim
  9. On The Road Again — Willie Nelson
  10. Cut Up — Ned's Atomic Dustbin
  11. Lilli Pilli Drive — original by Peter Hollo, Tim Hollo, Lara Goodridge and Chris Emerson
  12. Gypsy Scream — original by Veren Grigorov
  13. Femme Fatale — The Velvet Underground

MY FAVORITE TRACK:
BREAKFAST IN AMERICA


FOURPLAY "SABOTAGE":



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Thursday, May 22, 2008

MOVIE: JOHNNY GUITAR



ABOUT:
Johnny Guitar is a 1954 Western made by Republic Pictures, famed for its unusual storyline and colorful cinematography. It features Joan Crawford as a tough, trouser-wearing saloon owner and Sterling Hayden as the eponymous musician who helps her fight a wrongful accusation of murder by the town officials, who are led by another woman (Mercedes McCambridge).

It was directed by Nicholas Ray, from a screenplay by Philip Yordan (although this credit is disputed and claimed by Ben Maddow), which was based on a novel by Roy Chanslor. The film was the last feature film produced in Republic's color process Trucolor.

The film's unusual sexual politics influenced some later Westerns (e.g. Samuel Fuller's 1957 Forty Guns, starring Barbara Stanwyck, revisits the formula of the strong woman. It also influenced foreign cineastes such as Godard, Truffaut, and Sergio Leone. The plot of Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) is partly based on Ray's Western.


MY REVIEW: Johnny Guitar starts off like it's going to be a really good western, but then it turns into a weird, goofy, colorized, comedic movie with gay sexual undertones. I think that is what the filmmakers were trying for and if it was then they did a great job but I was hoping for better. The first part of the movie is so good that it doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the movie which is kind of like watching a skit at an improv theater.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing though. I did enjoy the film. Crawford and McCambridge give two really good performances, even if they are the goofiest two performances I've ever seen. Some scenes are really good, like the YouTube clip above, but some scenes are just so awkwardly done that it takes away from the rest of the movie.

I found out while doing my research of the movie that the writer was made to testify at the McCarthy trials and that Johnny Guitar's plot is supposed to be based off of the trails. Which is all fine and dandy but why did it have to have all these goofy scenes and performances. What is up with all the weird homosexual talk. I wish it could have been a kickass western but it's basically a good western with awkward 50s humor thrown around.



MY CHEESY RATING: Johnny Guitar will play a nice tune for you but don't let him play an encore. 6 out of 10


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