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30 January 2011
Let’s get straight to the point and conduct some basic character analysis:
The highlight of the movie boils down to the special effects, albeit a little excessive. Explosions, blasts, fireballs, car chases, airborne vehicles, spewing from machine guns... you name it, director Michael Gondry gives it. I enjoyed the end title sequence, wishing some of that sophistication could be incorporated into the main movie itself.
All in all, “The Green Hornet” is a fun movie to see, and that’s all it tries to be. If you’re looking for “The Dark Green Hornet Knight”, you won’t find it; likewise if you’re looking for “CSI: Green Hornet”. But if you “want to see something cool”, then this is your movie.
Labels: Movie Review
29 January 2011
1) Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me - Pop's ultimate starlet embraces her dance influences, perfectly delivering an angelic refrain over a propulsive backdrop of potent production from Max Martin and Dr. Luke.
2) Adele – Someone Like You - This track beautifully sums up the defunct reltionship that her entire record is about.
7) Example – Kickstarts - Elliot Gleave brings us a tune that transforms a love poem into a feel-good dance floorfiller.
8) Frankmusik – The Fear Inside - This pop tune features killer synthesizers and basslines, a chart-savvy chorus, and Frank's pitch-perfect vocals.
9) Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man - Mumford plants seeds of doubt and regret, and slows the mind into a dark place on this breakout single.
10) The Black Keys – Tighten Up - Grammy debutants team up with Danger Mouse to produce this tight & funky first single loaded with raw intensity.
11) Clare Maguire – The Last Dance - Fifth on the BBC's Sound of 2011 list, Clare showcases her fantastic vocals with appreciated aplomb.
12) Tim Berg – Seek Bromance - A radio-friendly smash that draws much of the energy that made trance an inescapable force in the '90s.
13) Christina Aguilera – Bound To You - Co-written by Sia Furler and Aguilera, this Burlesque track was nominated for Best Original Song at the Globes.
14) Laura Marling – Devil’s Spoke - The enchanting hooks and dark lyrical sneers in this track makes you want to discover this unique, young British talent.
15) Jessie J – Who You Are - Jessie injects vulnerability and soul into this raw power ballad that many of today's female artists aren't able to do.
16) David Guetta – Who’s That Chick (feat. Rihanna)
17) Avril Lavigne – What The Hell
18) Duffy – Too Hurt To Dance
19) The Wanted – Lose My Mind
20) Enrique Iglesias – Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)
Diddy Dirty Money feat Skylar Grey – Coming Home
Motion Picture of the Year
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Wiliams, Blue Valentine
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Achievement in Directing (No Christopher Nolan?!)
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
How to Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3
True Grit , Blue Valentine, Biutiful
Rob Bolin & Chelsee Oaks
These ex-lovers are simply amazing when their voices come together, as well as when they auditioned separately. I especially love Rob’s voice – it’s like a blend of James Morrison and Ray Lamontagne!! He is my favourite voice of this season thus far. I love both of their song choices.
I really couldn’t help but tear at this story. The love he had for her transcended so many boundaries.
15 years old, can you believe it? I absolutely adore her voice, and she probably gave Steven Tyler a scare when she started singing ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ in such a high key. She could probably improve on her fashion sense!
He is going to take away Cee Lo’s reputation as The Lady Killer. Smooth vocals!
Her audition itself told such a great story. Let’s hope this janitor gets out of her day job and is able to carve out a musical career of her own.
This Filipina-American singer has made MANY musical appearances, She even held her own debut concert in March 2010 in the Le Petit Trianon Theatre in San Jose, California. This video features her performing her own composition, ‘As I Do’. She also made it pretty far on America’s Got Talent, reaching all the way to the Quarter-Finals, where she got booted off after performing Miley’s ‘The Climb’. Looks like Idol producers are going to let her into the Top 12 if they want some viewership. Watch her audition here.
Molly DeWolf Swensen
I love how they played all the triumphant music whenever she mentioned about some academic milestone of hers. She applied randomly for an internship in the White House and managed to get the posting. Remember, she applied RANDOMLY. It seems this Harvard scholar is probably going to withdraw after getting through the audition rounds – she has bigger things in stored for her.
This is one 16-year-old with a charming personality and an ultra-sexy bass voice. Watch his audition here.
I like her soul and the emotion she put into her audition. She does a cover of ‘Check Yes Juliet’ with a friend of hers on Youtube, which I didn’t find very impressive, thus no link.
The 18-year-old who didn’t make it past all the audition rounds the past season, is back again for another try. I love her voice. Watch her, along with her 2 friends, perform an acapella version of ‘Killing Me Softly’ here.
23 January 2011
It was good that there were so many scathing reviews of Burlesque prior to the day I watched it, because I entered the cinema with so low expectations, but was pleased to be surprised by the entire production of the musical.
Critics never fail to slam pop stars and musicians who attempt at a leap of faith and step into movies. We’ve seen Britney in Crossroads, Mariah Carey in Glitter. However, singers like Justin Timberlake (Alpha Dog, The Social Network) has proven that it can be done, and I’m convinced Xtina has done it on Burlesque as well.
The cast is undoubtedly very strong. You have Cher (who recently just won Best Original Song for ‘You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me’ at the Golden Globes), Xtina (who, although is going through a rough patch, did fantastic as the Executive Music Producer and as Ali), Kristen Bell & Cam Gigandet (both amazing), Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy), and even Dianna Agron (GLEE!), who made a 10 second appearance.
I loved how Xtina looked in the first five minutes of the film – somehow she was teleported back to the ‘What A Girl Wants’ days. She really can do away with make-up and curly hair.
The plot’s really simple. Ali (Xtina) comes from a small town who wants to follow her dreams, thus moving to L.A. She spots a Burlesque nightclub owned by Tess (Cher), and got a job there from the bartender Jack (Gigandet). She thinks he’s gay because of the eyeliner, but thought wrong. Nikki (Bell) is the resident bitch, and when she starts turning on everyone, Ali takes her spot and does tremendously well.
Tess is struggling to keep the club open, facing insolvency in the future. The movie obviously needed a more complicated plot like this to see things through. Eric Dane wants to buy the club, but Cher refuses to let him do so. Stanley Tucci is Cher’s amazing right hand man, and is as funny as he was in The Devil Wears Prada. Ali miraculously figures a way to save the club, and all problems are solved.
There, plot summarized in two paragraphs. Three songs that I love from the movie? ‘Express’, ‘Bound To You’, and ‘You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me’.
Labels: Movie Review
Afrojack feat. Eva Simons – Take Over Control
Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina – Stereo Love
Martin Solveig & Dragonette – Hello
Lady Gaga – Anatomy of Change
Swedish House Mafia – One
Example – Kickstarts
DJ Fresh – Gold Dust
Alex Gaudino – I’m In Love (I Wanna Do It)
Pink – Fuckin’ Perfect
Avril Lavigne – What The Hell
21 January 2011
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting the contestants who have impressed me during the auditions phase, and I'll dig out a bit of their background for your viewing and listening pleasure! This season certainly has no lack of talent, as the judges are seeking a more contemporary and relevant artiste to win the competition. J. Lo and Steven Tyler are too lenient, though. We shall see how the season progresses over the next few weeks!
Meanwhile, here are 9 singers whom I thought did great in the debut episodes. I've attached some of their performances outside of Idol.
16 January 2011
Clare Maguire – The Last Dance
James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream (BBC Radio Live)
Tinie Tempah – Invincible (feat. Kelly Rowland)
Plan B – Love Goes Down
Nicole Scherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath (Song Link)
15 January 2011
This edition of SURVIVOR will feature a new twist when, for the first time, castaways who have been eliminated from the game will have an opportunity to seek redemption and return for a chance to win the million dollar prize. Each week at Tribal Council when a castaway is voted off, they will be sent to an isolated island called "Redemption Island," where they will live alone in exile. To stay on Redemption Island, they will need to compete in a duel against the next person eliminated at Tribal Council and sent to the Island. The winner of each duel earns the right to continue fighting for an opportunity to return to the game and the chance to compete for the title of Sole Survivor; the loser is sent home.
The battle unfolds in Nicaragua where the 18 castaways will be divided into two Tribes of nine: the Ometepe Tribe and the Zapatera Tribe. The tribes are comprised of individuals from all different backgrounds with the same ultimate goal: to be the Sole Survivor. While 16 of the contestants are new to the competition, two are former castaways who will be given another chance to compete for the million dollar prize and one last shot at redemption.
PREDICTIONS OF PEOPLE WHO WILL GO FAR
Natalie Tenerelli, 19, Dancer / Student from Acton, CA
The teenage beauty had not watched much Survivor before she was cast, but ended up on the show after being on a professional volleyball dance team — don't worry, we have no idea what that is either — with Jennifer Parker of The Amazing Race (season 12). And she's already looking for another young hottie to partner up with. ''I definitely want to align with a girl — a younger girl. Because I feel like if I'm not in an alliance with another girl that they will be jealous of me if say, I'm with two or three other guys.''
Matthew Elrod, 22, Pre-med Student from Nashville, TN
This Fabio lookalike feels that — like the season 21 winner — he is a secret weapon waiting to explode. ''I believe I'll be an underestimated player out here when in reality I'm probably one of the most dangerous. Because I believe I'm much more intelligent than I appear. And I think I'm going to use that to my advantage. I'm athletic and I've got a good social game and I think everybody's going to have a hard time not liking me. They might see the long blond hair and just say 'Oh, he's just a surfer guy and doesn't really have a thought going through that head of his,' but in reality I'm measuring everybody up and I'm gonna know what's going on.''
Kristina Kell, 46, Law Student from Los Angeles, CA
Give Kristina points for having a pretty good idea what fate is awaiting her in the elements. ''I'm expecting to be miserable. I'm expecting to be hungry. I'm expecting to be cold. I'm expecting for my feet and my hands to rot. I'm expecting to be tired and angry and lonely. I'm expecting all of it.'' But unlike, say, NaOnka and Purple Kelly, she won't let that deter her from her goal. ''I'm going to knock every person out one by one until I'm the only one left. I will do everything in my power. I will say anything, do anything, go anywhere. I will faint and throw up before I give up. I have to win. This is it.''
Ashley Underwood, 26, Business Owner/Model from Benton, ME
The former Miss USA competitor has a theory on why pageant girls have had success in this game before. ''Pageant girls are very strategic and very charismatic and I think you have to be likable in this game,'' says Ashley. ''I want to be likable and I want to build relationships with everybody. And through pageants you really have to work on that side of your personality.'' She names Stephenie and Parvati as her favorite players. As for her least favorite? Surprise! It's Russell! ''He's a jerk and I know you can't be everybody's best friend. But he was nobody's friend. Let's be real.''
13 January 2011
Dicky (played by Christian Bale) has a brother called Micky (played by Mark Wahlberg). They are both boxers. Dicky defeats a boxer called Sugar Ray Leonard a few years back, and since then, he plunges into a nightmare of crack addiction, violence and prison. Micky then fights on his own terms and pulls his family out of despair with his meteoric rise in the ring. When Dicky is released from jail, he finds redemption training his little brother, for his Welterweight Championship bout with Shea Neary. No prizes for guessing the conclusion.
While this film is ostensibly about boxing, the fighting never stops beyond the ring – for the ring action is just a vessel for the real combat between a frustrated young man and the family that pins him in a corner and won't let up.
The first thing that comes at you in this movie — and it comes right at you — is Bale's performance as Dicky. Gaunt with a bald spot on the back of his head, a jumble of nerves and bravado, Dicky is immediately larger and louder than life. At first it seems too obvious, but then you realize the guy is a crack addict, and Bale paints him with tones both comic and poignant.
Every bit as strong are Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, as Alice and Charlene respectively. How the princess from "Enchanted" got such a mouth on her is anybody's guess, but Adams shows here she's more than just delightful: She's a true actress. Her chemistry with the two lead actors are incredible as well.
Leo has been a fine actress for years, but she's never been given a character like this. Alice is tough and self-absorbed and a brute, but she's also surprisingly tender at times. There's complexity behind that cloud of cigarette smoke.
At the center of all this is Wahlberg, who has been involved with this film since 2005. Wahlberg knows Micky is the steady rock in the film and lets his co-stars have their flourishes while he takes the body punches. He is the embodiment of the adage that if you want to be a great actor don't ever let anyone catch you doing it.
Director David O. Russell has pulled together a rumble of disparate elements — athletics, drug addiction, family dysfunction, redemption, romance — and fixed them with a crazy energy that permeates the film. David Russell doesn't just play with the boxing movie; he flips its form and clichés into a central plot element. An HBO documentary crew is following Micky's brother and trainer, Dicky Ecklund. Dicky, chronically irresponsible and self-destructive, thinks the filmmakers want to chronicle his comeback attempt. They're really interested in his crack addiction, depicted unflinchingly in the run-down houses of Lowell.
Besides the great casting, the movie triumphs by making the standard moves feel modern, by adding some grit to the family melodrama and carving out a sense of media savvy. It doesn't hurt that the boxing sequences are superbly staged: The nimble camerawork opens up the ring, and the exaggerated combat common to the genre is kept to a minimum without minimizing the impact of the hardest blows.
Labels: Movie Review
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