Thursday, May 31, 2007

Song/Video Review: "She Builds Quick Machines" by Velvet Revolver

I know I've blogged about this song before, when it was leaked on the net etc.. but it didn't take too long for it to grow on me. Great song, good music/lyrics and entertaining video as well.

While the lyrics focus on a girl with a hazardous lifestyle trying to make ends meet in questionable ways, the video focuses on the band's album concept: Libertad. It's another hot day in the Mexican dessert and the band members are dressed and equipped as modern day cowboys trying to rescue a winged angel kidnapped by some rural tyrants. The girl's character is Libertad, implying the "Angel of Freedom," played by a young Mexican actress from the capital city. The setting is similar to that of any Spaghetti Western flick, with Scott Weiland not so surprisingly resembling Clint Eastwood, and bassist Duff McKagan starting to resemble David Bowie in these later years. My favorite guitarist Slash, I believe, refused to play cowboy and insisted to be shown playing his guitar during the solo sequence, even though none of the other musicians had their instruments.

However, I don't fancy the new album cover (above) too much. It has the same color theme as their first CD Contraband, and their earlier suggestion for Libertad was much better.

Song: 8/10
Video: 7.5/10
CD Cover: 6/10

Can't wait till the album comes out! Enjoy the music video below:

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

'Anchorman' meets '300'

Seriously, who would have thought this would turn out so funny?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All ye South Park Fans

My movie review for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is a bit overdue, and I hope to post it soon.

In the mean time, my favorite web site, IMDb has posted a bunch of FAQ's about the cult favorite animation show South Park. Find out how many times Kenny dies, and how he comes back to life each time. Check it out:

Music Video/Song Review: White Stripes' Icky Thump

Icky Thump?? Weird name for a song, but a good composition overall. The White Stripes are back, with a new album, tour and a video already. Jack keeps playing guitar and pulls a bass occasionally with an octave divider. Meg seems to contribute to the music more with her percussions too.

They will actually visiting a nearby town at the end of July, when I'll be back from vacation and a paycheck earned. Will post a concert review if I do go see them play.

This song is about immigration, a mockery perhaps. The video may take a minute to load. Not bad overall, I'm a guitar aficionado and always appreciate a song with good leads, solos and bridges.

The White Stripes on Myspace

Monday, May 21, 2007

Movie Review: Shrek The Third

Movie Title: Shrek the Third
Starring: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Justin Timberlake and Rupert Everett (all in voices)
Directed by: Chris Miller & Raman Hui
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy/Family
My Rating: 7.8/10

As a colleague of mine rightfully stated today, "the summer of over hyped movies continues!" No, Shrek 3 wasn't as disappointing as Spider-man 3, wasn't bad at all, and I assure you it won't get the bashing I gave spidey!

What is much overdue from the audience like us is to have way less expectations from a part 3 movie.

Shrek the Third begins with the ailing King Harold, who's now a frog as continuing from the last movie, unable to run the kingdom and Shrek has been assigned the burden of knighting new lordships and breaking bottles on new ships. Our favorite ogre doesn't feel up to the job and decides to find the next of kin to take over the throne. The only other eligible contender for the throne besides Shrek happens to be Fiona's cousin Arthur, or Artie, an object of bullies at the Worcestershire high school.

Problems arise when Shrek is away trying to fetch this kid. The ever closeted-metro "former" Prince Charming invades the kingdom of Far-Far-Away with a crew of has-been Disney® cartoon villains, along with the elk trees from Lord of the Rings, and claims his way to the throne! You can complete the rest of the story, or just watch the movie. Spoilers saved.

The storyline isn't too bad. The flow of the movie isn't, either. Even the new characters such as Arthur (voiced by Timberlake), eccentric Merlin the magician, Snow White (SNL's Amy Poehler, yah!), Rapunzel (SNL's Maya Rudolph) and Cinderella managed to amuse in their given screen time. It may have just been the lack of a real overbearing villain; Charming is nothing without his deceased Fairy Godmother. The Pinocchio and Gingerbread Man jokes were funny, although a tad-bit recycled.

My favorite part was when Snow White and the rest of Fiona's fairy-tale girlfriends retaliate and re-enter the castle gates with a bird & squirrel army induced by chirpy human singing (remember part 1 when Fiona decided to fry some eggs for her new friends?). Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song started playing when they attacked, followed by Fergie's cover of Heart's Barracuda. It's in my philosophy that good rock n' roll music in the soundtrack can always save a movie. We're not talking of Last Action Hero here.

Overall I give this summer family animation a 7.8/10. I could have probably enjoyed it better if there weren't so many noisy kids all over the theater hall enjoying their holidays.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Music Preview: Chris Cornell

Former Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell finally releases his second solo album "Carry On" on June 5th. He recently performed at the home of grunge in Seatle, WA to promote his new album and tour, with covers of Soundgarden, Audioslave as well as Temple of the Dog!

MSN has been kind enough to air the recorded performance, and you can watch it here:

Chris Cornell live in Seattle

The only weird part was him covering Michael Jackson's Billie Jean in a somber, blues-ish fashion. The new songs seem decent and well composed.

Impressive, I must say. The band is good too. A bunch of young kids with probably dreams of their own. Never doubted Chris Cornell as a great performer, and look forward to seeing him in concert, hopefully in Memphis.

However, it would be cool to see Cornell play guitar while singing too. Here's an clip from a year ago when he was still in Audioslave and performed "Black Hole Sun" by himself:

Rock on, Chris Cornell!

Chris Cornell MySpace

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Movie Review: Spider-Man 3

Movie Title: Spider-Man 3
Starring: Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Hayden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard.
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Thriller/Superhero
My Rating: 7.5/10

Where do I begin? I didn't bother with the sneak preview, didn't watch on the opening weekend, and didn't wait to watch it on IMAX either. Moreover, I loved Spider-Man 2; it was a great improvement over it's prequel. I just can't say the same about Spider-Man 3. The "spidey" franchise is one where the hype finally got to it, just like it did to George Lucas which resulted in debacles such as Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. Forgive me for comparing these franchises, but just like in the movies, too much fame can sometimes hurt, and hurt really bad.

I wouldn't want to say that 3 is a disappointment, but it definitely isn't an improvement over 2, and barely more entertaining than 1! Without filtering the less-than-satisfactory feedback that I received from other sources about this movie, I'll start by saying it was a good movie. Just a bit dull in comparison, that's all.

The story starts where the last movie ended: Peter Parker (Maguire) and Mary-Jane (Dunst) are a happily dating couple, with the former making straight-A's in college, and the latter making it to Broadway musicals. Peter even thinks he's ready to ask MJ to marry him, but then the following happens:

  • Villain #1

  • Villain #2
    ..... oh wait..and,

  • Villain #3

Actually one of them is just half a villain, and another doesn't become a villain until much later. However, none of these villains are what we'd call "bad asses." They're not cool. They're not cold enough. Even if they tried. None of them could match Alfred Molina who played Doc Ock in 2.

The New Goblin is nothing new. Maybe just a bit more real without that lame mask worn in 1. Harry (Franco) is still pissed and wants to avenge his pissed off but deceased father's death by killing spidey. We already knew this was coming, if you've seen the ending of 2.

Sandman could have been a much more effective baddie had they scripted the character's demeanor a bit more emphatically. Flint Marko (Church) is an escaped convict who used to be a small-time crook trying to gather funds for his terminal daughter's medical treatment. It also turns out that Marko was the real killer of Peter's Uncle Ben, and not that skunk-head who stole from the wrestling organizers in 1. How convenient, couldn't the screenwriters let go of the past already?

Venom looks more like a character who escaped out of a comic-book and is puzzled about what real people look like. Eddie Brock (Grace) is Peter's rival freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle and tries to steal any opportunity from Peter that he can. This villain does look the creepiest. But in real, I couldn't see Topher (Eric from That 70's Show) hurt a chicken.

Brock happens to be dating Gwen Stacy, played by a graceful and miscasted Bryce Dallas Howard (Lady in the Water, The Village). Gwen is also Peter's lab Partner, a prospective model, and the daughter of the Police Captain who informs Peter and Aunt May about uncle Ben's real killer. Golly, am I really confused or did they just make New York City seem to be so small, where everyone knows (or is connected to) everyone?

Just like the franchise, fame gets Peter way over his head, he loses MJ, and decides to turn to the dark side with the black alien substance in his dark suit. This is when the producers decide to cater to the young audience - by making the lead character EMO! Click on that word if you really don't know what that is. And of course, he comes around. Everyone does. Well, not everyone, but definitely the hero does!

There are a few musical moments that try to light up the flow, a bit jazzy and Broadway-like, and I'd dare compare that to Bollywood.

Overall, Spider-Man 3 is a great summer entertainer. Being more violent than it's predecessors, it earned the PG-13 rating. The special effects are amazing for lack of better words. But that's the part that you expect and it lived up to. I still enjoyed this movie despite my possible harsh criticism in the paragraphs above. I do look forward to a possible part 4 or even beyond. It left a good ending to continue with.

7.5/10. Take a lot of popcorn, and a large soda. 2 hours and 20 minutes may just fly.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Timbaland does Bollywood-style

Anyone who knows me personally will agree that I'm not the greatest fan of hip-hop (don't hate it though), nor am I a great fan of modern Bollywood music. Music producer Timbaland recorded a song "Bombay" in his latest album Shock Value and I find the integration of Bollywood/Hip-hop to be an interesting one.

I admit to liking the song. Hindi vocals are by Amar - same lady who sang for Tavlin Singh's Jaan, which was in the soundtrack for Replacement Killers.

Check it out: (Audio only)