Text

If anyone cares, the latest instalment from the Transformers cash cow, Age Of Extinction, released its debut full length trailer today, and don’t worry… there’s dinosaurs.

Here’s the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGpDoyJvmI

Text

If you’re still following How I Met Your Mother, then well done you. This final season has been a dull struggle to endure, showcasing, easily, some of the worst episodes in the series’ history.

*SPOILERS*

However, this week’s episode “Vesuvius”, may have flipped the show on its ear and punched most viewers in the general face area at the same time.

As the internet ripples from shockwaves that may have confirmed an ongoing online theory, How I Met Your Mother fans are divided by what could be a bold choice by Bay and Thomas or, what could be the final nail in the coffin- excuse the pun.

In the episode, a few lines shared between Ted and the Mother in a future sequence, set in 2024, dropped hints as to the possibility that Ted is telling his children this elaborate 9 year story about meeting their mother, because in their present their mother has died. “What kind of mother would miss their daughter’s wedding?” says the Mother, cue Ted’s tears. As wet as Ted has always been, this reaction merits genuine emotion and really adds credibility to another mediocre episode.

I was surprised at the possibility the this show even had the potential to make such a potent narrative decision and, also, slightly impressed. Many object to this morbid twist, but I think that it offers a strong emotional conclusion and, while maybe slightly contrived, provides a strong, bittersweet platform for the narrative foundation of the the series’ storytelling.

For me, it’s ironic that a show that has been painfully dying for the best part of a year might find new life a death.

Text

The last few years have seen the rise of the small screen as a showcase for the highest quality premium entertainment and talent, but amongst the cream of the crop, we find HBO’s cherry on top.

True Detective is an 8 hour motion picture. It reaches new dizzying heights of suspense and menace, progressively darkening towards, what will no doubt be, an emotional bloody crescendo. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star as Rust Cohle and Marty Hart, respectively, and the level to which the actors embody their complex, twisted roles is never up for debate. Whilst trying to solve the mystery of a cult-like murder, True Detective is a insight into the lives of these two men and pulls no punches in depicting the trials they come up against. 

Decaying Louisiana is even more beautifully haunting and broken than its inhabitants- creating a stark juxtaposition between stagnant industry and abandoned, unbalanced wilderness. The environment and locations becomes a starring character of the show and provides the platform for such uncompromising and bleak realities.

The truest talent that propels True Detective to the forefront of the week’s TV listings comes from behind the camera. The ruthless writing from wordsmith Nic Pizzolatto coupled with the sharp eye of director Cary Fukunaga make this series more than others; it has a continuous tone and persistent stylistic feel. With the same people at the helm throughout the 8 episode series, True Detective never feels forced or jilted, but continuously gripping and visually stunning.

With only 2 episodes remaining, the roller-coaster that True Detective has ascended to is almost at a close, but there is no doubt that there are more surprises and shocking revelations to come in the final act.

Whist the series will return for a second season next year, it will be without Fukunaga and feature a completely new cast, meaning that this debut series of True Detective is truly unmissable.

If you aren’t watching it, then start. 

*****

Text

Another good thing to emerge online ahead of release is the new album from Dashboard Confessional’s front man, Chris Carrabba. Now with the outfit, Twin Forks, Carrabba claims to be doing something completely different to his Dashboard days, and while this doesn’t ring true, the result is a very good album of pop-rock-folk-ish hooks and melodies (even if at times it is lyrically low-hanging).

Listen to it here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/02/20/twin-forks-chris-carrabba-album-premiere/5612473/

Text

A wild Coldplay track appeared!

Atmospheric ambience and auto-tuned vocals bring a welcome curveball to the band’s repertoire.

Check it out because it’s actually really good. 

http://www.stereogum.com/1666711/coldplay-midnight/mp3s/

Text

Fitzgerald’s words fall quasi-believably from Leo’s lips with the unfortunate irony that they ring true.

image

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby’ offers little more satisfaction to a fan of the ‘great American novel’ than the previous 5 iterations, leaving me filled with frustration and the feeling that I am covered in gaudy glitter.

What’s most agonising about 2013’s offering to this literary classic is that it has so much potential to be an outstanding piece of film, reaching for more than just cinematography. I feel like Team Baz stared shallowly at the source material and saw an opportunity to make something elaborate, glitzy and stylish and in an effort to accomplish this, accumulated a CGI bill trying to rival Star Trek. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the visual effects had been of Star Trek standard, but the Pixar graphics give the proceedings an unnervingly Zach Snyder vibe; the setting seems like a farce and detracts from any engagement with the period and those that inhabit it. This is hugely unfortunately because, overall, the casting is well executed, with strong performances from DiCaprio as the suspiciously charming (slightly Australian sounding) and naive, Jay Gatsby and Edgerton as a thoroughly unlikable, Tom Buchanan. Isla Fisher, luckily, has little screen time as she really lets the side down, all the while Elizabeth Debicki’s Jordan Baker never quite seems to work, in fact her role is disappointingly down-played.

The audio anachronisms work in some scenes and are laughable in others; whilst Lana Del Rey’s over milked ‘Young and Beautiful’ is the strongest song on Jay-Z’s self-indulgent soundtrack, Florence + The Machine is hauntingly reborn in the dying moments of party decadence. Practically every song from the soundtrack, and more, are included in the film, crowding it with, often unneeded, famous voices in a search for box office greatness.

My main criticism of the film is of its over inclusivity. All beautiful subtleties of the book are lost in a tornado of dub-step, green screen and some appalling editing decision (yes, I’m talking about you narrated-words-getting-typed-on-screen-as-Tobey-Maguire-reads-them). The film’s narrative flow is frequently disrupted by painful montage and flashback and the overexposure of excess being portrayed.

The Great Gatsby is my favourite book and while there was undoubtedly something glorious about seeing the words brought to life more successfully than ever before, it seems like stylistic premise took priority over emotional connection and era engagement. Of course, this film has charm; the cool, beautiful appeal of the time, itself, is something of great desire but it also feels stifled and contrived under its own weight- which, I suppose, is an accurately commentary but it seems to contradict what Luhrmann tries to achieve.

Parts of Gatsby are vastly enjoyable, but comedic elements and lavish partying, complemented by stunning set and costume design boarder living in the shadows of the film’s loud and obtuse flaws. It isn’t as bad as it could have been (or has been) but the modern incarnation of the great American novel leaves a lot to be desired- often through desiring less from a world that seems artificial with a predominately unrealisable population. Yet, this is not a bad film; it just isn’t the film a Gatsby fan expected or wanted.

The roaring twenties seem to roar the loudest in the wrong places and limp when they need to “beat on, ceaselessly”.

Rating: 50%- half great, half grating.

Photo

Excited for the return of Breaking Bad?

You should be.

selflessanthropocentrism:

(By Michael Stevenson)

(via freddiequell)

Source: society6.com
Text

Just so everyone knows, The Lord Of The Rings is one of the greatest, if not greatest trilogy of all time; it is the Star Wars of our generation and makes Harry Potter look like a pathetic cinematic romp about some lame kids waving sticks around whilst being shit at acting. 

Is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as good as The Lord Of The Rings? No. Is it a good film worth seeing? 100% yes. 

There are a lot of things I don’t like about Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-Earth, but the majority of these issues stem from differences in source material. The Hobbit is a more animated and comedic book and this translates into the film, which for me feels like an undoing of the stern world of LOTR. It’s the small things like exaggerated prosthetic feet, silly hair and cartoonish bulbous noses that make many of the dwarf characters (of which there are many) feel a bit stupid and unbelievable- with one committing to full retard and pissing me off. 

I was worried that PJ’s, seemingly, mental idea to churn out 3 films would result in slow paced obscurity devoid of all relevance, but surprisingly, with the exception of a slow start, the film is very well paced and doesn’t feel like it outstays its welcome. As a true fan, I wasn’t phased by the slow start, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the very first credit of ‘Wingnut Films’ I was like: “Eek, it’s the LOTR writing!” and I felt like I was 10 years old again. The greatest success of this film is how it manages to ensue a sense of nostalgia upon the viewer, a feeling that very few franchises are able to produce. The sets and landscapes of yesteryear are back along with some of the characters; a scene where The Big 4 (you’ll know if you’ve seen it) meet to discuss the dwarves quest filled me with fond memories and excitement at the prospect of another, not 1, but 2 instalments.

For me, the biggest flaw was a reliance on CGI over the Academy Award winning makeup of Frodo and Co’s travels. Some of the special effects are thoroughly underwhelming and detract from the experience of such an incredibly created world. However, Gollum looks better than ever and Serkis (shamefully uncredited for his 2nd Unit direction) relives his alter-ego(s) with perfection, further complements go to Freeman as protagonist Bilbo and Richard Armitage’s dwarf heir, Thorin. 

I wasn’t expecting greatness from this film and while The Hobbit may fall short of greatness it remains a bloody good film that I enjoyed start to finish far more than I ever anticipated, coincidentally making it ‘an unexpected journey’ to the cinema that defined a generation over a decade ago.

7.5/10

Photo
Text

Writer and director, Andrew Dominik (Chopper), turns the 1974 novel into a tense and immersive vision of a bleak world, littered with desperation and very wordy conversations. 

There are a few things you will immediately reflect upon once the credits role, most predominately will be the brutality that Killing Them Softly exhibits, expect blood and broken bones on a few occasions, with one character getting beaten savagely to within inches of life. Another note will be the length of conversations, some of the scenes go on and on without much clue as to where they are taking you- this can be frustrating because you continuously doubt the relevance of the topics (but not in a Tarantino ‘Inglorious’ self-indulgent/important way), it is these conversations that paint the world in the various shades of depressing grey that really amplify how lost some of the characters really are. Speaking of characters, the entire cast work excellently and are thoroughly believable; shining most brightly (excuse the irony of the metaphor) is James Gandolfini’s sex addicted alcoholic hit-man and most surprisingly comes Ben Mendelsohn’s heroin addicted no-hoper. Both of these characters provide some comic value but it is the kind of comedy that you feel uncomfortable for laughing about- it is in these moments that Killing Them Softly’s excellence is realised; it puts the viewer in a position that at times seems as twisted and confused as those of the characters on screen- not an easy accomplishment. 

In terms of storyline Killing Them Softly uses the 1974 ‘Cogan’s Trade’ as its source and remains very simple, yet the execution of simple things to such a high level really makes this film a worthwhile watch. The clear and present argument would be that the film is slow and I suppose this is true. If you refuse to lend yourself for its 97 minute run you probably won’t take much away, but I’d say this is hard to do because the film is made with an alarmingly real style- nothing sugarcoated here. The world sucks and frequent political and economic undertones will continuously remind you that everything is turning to shit.

Oozing with stylistic touches whilst remaining frighteningly bleak, Killing Them Softly is thoroughly well written with polarising moments of dialogue and brutality, cast exceptionally, delivers some classic quotes and is beautifully shot. Whilst the film is a slow moving vehicle it hits like a freight train.

****

Text

It’s been almost a week since The XX’s sophomore album was released and if I’ve listened to any other artist this week is has been, either, due to shuffle or by accident. 

While the 11 track release isn’t groundbreaking and in many ways feels like an extension to their Mercury Prize winning self-titled debut from 2009 this isn’t really a bad thing. It can be attributed to the London 3-piece’s distinct sound of ambient guitars and pulsating bass arranged with gentle vocals from both Romy Croft and Oliver Sim. These components coupled with the estranged production and percussion style of Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) make for and atmospheric and immersive sound that captivates the listener from the first play. The opening track/ first single ‘Angels’ explores a more emotional territory for the band and this continues through to the close, ‘Our Song’. 

Every song on this album has merit, standout tracks include; ‘Try’, ‘Missing’, ‘Tides’ and ‘Angels’. The XX have cemented their instantly recognisable sound as contender for commercial success as well as critical. Coexist is an album that, in no way, reinvents the band but instead employs an “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and it delivers true with catchy hooks, stirring vocals and hauntingly weighted silences.

****1/2
Photo Set

Thor: The Dark World (Thor 2) is currently being filmed in the Bourne Woods in Surrey, England. There are 4 of the totem-esque structures and surrounding them are yurts and the whole set has a kind of aztec vibe. Initially there was confusion because the set does not immediately scream Marvel but recent photos have revealed Chris Hemsworth doing battle with, what are believed to be, Dark Elves, as well as some of Loki’s henchman. The scene being filmed is obviously some form of fight, including large explosions and lots of extras.

Photo Set

Explosions and car chases aren’t required to make something incredible.

Photo Set

How times change; I couldn’t be more excited for, what finally appears to be, an incredible incarnation of my favourite book.

Photo