Tag Archives: Reviews

I Want to Believe..

The new X-Files is what you expect, but not.

Remember the good old days of early X-Files episodes which weren’t obsessed with the whole alien conspiracy theories, smoking men and Mulder’s daughter?

The movie is like that and it works. Scully smokes up the screen, and together with Mulder they just make you wish you were an ex-FBI agent with time to kill.

I really enjoyed it and although I may have been expecting a little more it was worth the whole $10 I spent on it (love those Hoyts Bluetooth prices!).

So, we’ve landed on Mars and are making little footprints with Phoenix craft. They’ve found evidence that water was there as well, and are now looking for the proof of life.

It’s pretty awesome if they find something. What do we call animals/organisms that exist on a planet other than ours? It’s like a whole blank canvas and a spanking new planet we can destroy.

Oh, and then some weird looking creature ‘washed up’ on the beach in New York

Looks convincing hey?

It’s most likely some viral marketing for a new Cartoon Network show called Cryptids, but damn, I wish it was real. Those little horns are cool, and is it just me or does it look like he is giving us the finger?


Help Mick Buy a New Mobile Phone.

Yes. As the title says, it is your chance to help me pick a new phone.

Here’s what I have at the moment.

It’s a ratty, old Sony-Ericsson k750i.

I have replaced the screen and the chassis last year, but the joystick is ratshit.

I have to physically force it in whichever direction I want to make it do anything. If I don’t force it in the exact right way it ‘selects’ something instead of moving up or down or left and right and it’s ANNOYING AS ALL FUCK.

Good thing is, it stops me from using my phone too much. Bad thing is I want to smash my phone onto the ground whenever I try to text, which is what happened today when I threw it hard onto the ground. TWICE.

The damn thing still works.

Anyway, before I really do some damage to it, I need a new mobile.

And no, I don’t want, nor can afford an iPhone.

But here’s what I am looking for.

I want the following, in order of desire

Needed

  • Good and easy to text.
  • has decent sized buttons.
  • has an FM Radio.
  • has expandable memory (bear in mind, I already have a 4Gb Memory Stick with my current phone, but I realise that most phone no longer use these)
  • Bluetooth

Preferred

  • 2Mb+ Camera Phone
  • 3.5mm headphone plug

Nice to Have

  • WiFi Access
  • GPS Tracking

Brands

  • Sony-Ericsson – I would prefer one of these because I have the memory card that fits into some of them, and I like their phones for toughness and compatibility
  • Nokia – I hate Nokia’s, mostly because I think they are made poorly and break way too easily. Having said that, I would consider one if it had good reviews
  • LG – No. Just No. Don’t you know that LG stands for Lousy Goods? (or as LaLa says, “Life’s Good, when it works)
  • Samsung – I have heard good things about Samsung phones, so would consider one.
  • Motorola – Not a fan of the Razr. Do they make anything else?

Style

  • Candybar – Yes please, yum yum, but also, yes please. I prefer this style of phone as there is less to break and no moving parts
  • Flip-phones – Annoying to answer and how many people have had flip-phones where the flippy bit just doesn’t work properly?
  • Slide-phones – I would consider one of these if it was made well, but prefer not to have to move anything to dial a number
  • Touch Screens – Yes please, but don’t know if my budget will extend that far.

Price

  • I don’t want to go on a contract if I can avoid it, but would consider it if I got a good enough deal with the phone.
  • I am currently on Virgin Mobile’s 10c/min, 10c/text pre-paid deal. It’s bloody good, but I still use $50 a month (automatically charged to credit card). I like pre-paid because it’s easier to manage and I’m not tired into anything, but similarly if I can find a good contract with decent rates, I would think about it
  • I would spend up to around 300-400 on a phone, buying it outright. eBay has pretty much every phone you’d ever want.

So, recommendations? What should I go for?

I have done a little bit of research and here’s what I am liking at the moment.

I raved about the Sony Ericsson k850i a while ago.

It’s the model up from mine and features most of what I want, but no WiFi or GPS and is a bit bulky. Also, my 4Gb Memory Stick would not work in it.

It is only about $250 – 300 on eBay though.

There’s the Sony Ericsson C902. It has HSDPA Web Browsing, radio, 5 Megapixel Camera and looks pretty.

They are also releasing the C905 later this year which has a 8.1 Megapixel camera and looks very pretty.

I wouldn’t mind a good quality camera on my phone, but it always lacks zoom, which is a pain. I have a 8 megapixel Lumix camera that I love, but it’s very bulky to take out on the town.

What about Nokia’s? Is the N95 any good? I hear people raving about it. It has a pretty screen, and GPS and WiFi, but it’s going for around $500 on eBay or free on a $49 cap at Three Mobile.

Argh. Too many to choose from and there are new ones every month.

Anyone out there willing to share their ideas on what to pick out of the mobile phone haze?

Help!


Australia Day Long Weekend – Part 3 – Atonement/Sweeney Todd Reviews

Righty-o.

So, are we sick of my marathon posts yet?

Yeah. I am.

This will be shorter.

I have seen 2 movies in the last week and although they are both very different, they are both worth seeing.

Atonement

It’s true. I wouldn’t have seen this movie at the cinemas if it hadn’t been nominated for Best Picture.

I was right. It is a romantic, period piece, (semi) chick flick move. Not your standard chick-flick like 27 Dresses, but let’s just say that humans of the female persuasion are more likely to attend this movie (and drag their other halves!)

At least the other halves would get to perve on Keira Knightly in her see-through slip. But I was a bit turned off by the boney shoulder blades and ribs. (shudder) The lack of breasts on her makes her look like a boy in one scene. Gross.


Pick the one where she’s not anorexic.

James McAvoy is the male lead in this movie and he is excellent. All performances are good, but Keria doesn’t really stretch herself too much really.

The storyline runs from an upper-class English country house to France in WWII. Some of the visuals of the war are amazing, and the grand English street shots are very well done. If anything, this movie should get cinematography accolades.

But, is it worthy of a Best Picture nomination? It’s hard to say as I haven’t seen the other contenders yet, but for me I don’t think there was anything very awardworthy about it. I really want to see ‘Juno’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’ before I can really compare movies.

Having said all that, the movie did keep be interested for the 2 hours and 5 minutes it ran for, although it was probably flying close to the wind on running time. The format of the movie and the way it shows scenes from different perspectives is quite well done and the ending was very much a surprise.

So, if you’re interested in successful novel translation to screen, I think you could do worse, but for me, it wasn’t anything worth cheering about..

I give it 3 1/2 Ming Vases.

Sweeney Todd

It was only 10 minutes before seeing this movie that I realised it was a musical!

Evidently, from the looks and sounds in the audience, a lot of people who were there didn’t realise this either and I think they were a bit disappointed.

Never-the-less, I wanted to see this movie (over Cloverfield and American Gangster) because it had 2 of my favourite movie makers in it. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. The 2 have combined in no less than 6 movies (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, Charlie the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow to name a few), and all of them have been quality. They also teamed up with Helena Bonham Carter again to add to the dark, gothic London theme they were looking for.

And very very dark it is. Right from the start you get the imagery of a dingy, dirty old London Town that has burnt Sweeney Todd many years ago. The singing from Depp and Bonham Carter is excellent. You just know that Depp has had the classic theatrical training that enables him to play such a diversity of roles. He’s come a long way from 21 Jump Street!

As with all Tim Burton films, he puts a lot of effort into the scenery and sets for the movie. Remember, he did the original gothic Batman movies that really brought out the real Gotham City. There is hardly any sun in this movie at all. Is that what London is like Aly? ๐Ÿ™‚

The movie ebbs and flows between the revenge that Todd (aka Benjamin Barker) craves over the man (Alan Rickman’s character) that took away his freedom 15 years earlier, and the forbidden love that a fellow sailor has over a young girl locked in a mansion. Of course the storylines cross over and make for a rollercoaster ride of murder, music and mayhem.

This is a bloody good…and I mean BLOODY good movie. I don’t think I have seem more red on the screen in a long time. It’s a black comedy, but there aren’t that many laughs in it. The most humourous character has to be Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Signor Pirelli. He does an excellent job as the tall travelling salesman and deserves more movie roles in the future that aren’t Borat or Ali G.

The only downfall of this movie is that you don’t really get to see the acting talents of Johnny Depp further than his singing. He does an English accent splendidly, but this role isn’t that much of a stretch for him I don’t think. The little kid in the movie, Toby played by Ed Sanders, does a fantastic job and I think he’ll get some great roles out of this.

It will make you cringe, smile, sad and nauseous. But it’s a seriously good movie.

It gets 4 Meat Pies


Bogans, Bass Playing, Boring Footy and BDO Bands!

Lots to report on!

First. Things I learnt from my first 2 gigs with my new band.

  • I need to practice more
  • Cowra is a bit of a hole
  • Sleeping in Hotels with pubs is an interesting experience
  • Eugowra is a nice place
  • Kangaroos are stupid
  • Live bands at weddings are the way to go (let me know if you want one!)
  • Playing Bass in a band in front of people felt natural. Once I was past the nerves, it felt so right
  • Nice band-mates are a necessity. You hang out with them a LOT

It was great. I am looking forward to the next gig. I should have a lot more practice before then!

Could there be 2 more boring Grand Finals EVER? There was the possibility of the weekend of Grand Finals, which rarely ever happens on the same weekend any more, being one of the best footy weekends ever, but after 2 blowouts and and crap matchups….who cares?

Till….next year.

And then. Today.

The 1st announcement of bands for the BDO!

Here’s the bands they have named and my comment:

Rage Against The Machine – Well. We all know what I think about that! They WILL be the headliner. I guarantee it. Also, they will be the major cause of tickets selling out in record time! Can’t wait for them… Want….tickets…NOW!

Bjork – A huge drawcard and someone that will really split the BDO audience I predict. Yes, she looks weird. Yes, she sounds weird, but damn I am very much looking forward to seeing her. Homogenic and Medulla have been played many many times and from what I’ve heard of her new album, it sounds like she’s still at her freaky original best.

Grinspoon – Aussie pub rock. What’s there not to like? I don’t give 2 shits if they have copied riffs off other bands. I don’t care if Phil’s ice addiction was a media tactic. They are ROCK! I just saw them a couple of weeks back and they are in hot form after their latest album. I hope they play the main stage like Wolfmother did in 2006. I think the crowd will go off.

Arcade Fire – As I predicted! These Canadians have taken the world by storm with their ‘Neon Bible’ album and will bring their huge show to Australia for the first time. Prepare to be converted! Oh yeah, and there’ll be 9 of them on stage. Sweet.

Hilltop Hoods – They have come a long way since Left Foot, Right Foot in 2001, especially with the symphonic (pussy?) remake of the Hard Road album this year. Will they bring the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with them on the BDO junket? I freaking hope so, but i doubt it. If The Herd can’t make it this year, The Hoods will more than substitute!

Billy Bragg & Paul Kelly – 2 outstanding singer/songwriters from opposite sides of the world. I’ve never seen either, and have always wanted to see Paul Kelly. It will be interesting to see what sort of reaction he gets from the ‘Rage’ crowd, but for people who appreciate a true Aussie legend, he will fit right in. Now…where’s Ian Moss? (cough)

LCD Soundsystem – They will melt the Boiler Room with their infectious beats. I have not really spent that much time in the Boiler Room the last 2 years, but if I can make it for this gig, it will definitely be worth it. Yes. Melt.

Sarah Blasko – She’s cute. She sings. She has great songs. I am looking forward to checking her out finally

Faker & Battles – I know both bands from having heard them on JJJ, but am not a huge fan of either. Will probably not check them out unless I have nothing else on or am too drunk to realise.

Midnight Juggernauts – Was pissed that I missed these guys at the ANU bar recently. Might be spending more time in the Boiler Room! Great to see a new quality Aussie DJ’s!

Dizzee Rascal – A 21 year old hip-hop singing pom. He would be interesting, but not really into his stuff. I like his use of sirens though.

Something With Numbers – About as close to emo as I get. They supported Grinspoon the other week and were actually…good. Recognised lots of their songs from JJJ. Worth seeing and WAY better than those fucktards, My Chemical Romance.

Cut Off Your Hands – New Kiwi band that play some catchy pop that has been making me think they had to be from England or something. Nope…Kiwi’s apparently. Not sure what they’ll be like, but they’re making waves around the world. Cool band name too.

Phew!

That is just the first announcement!

2nd announcement soon, but really, I don’t need any more. There are 6 or 8 acts there that I would pay $125 to see without a second thought.

Throw in the Pumpkins or The Chemical Brothers and it will just be icing on an already luscious and moist cake!

Tickets on sale next Wednesday. 2 ticket limit. GOOD.

Only online sales this year but there is NO WAY I am going through Ticketmaster. They can suck my balls.


Barnesy, Farnesy and Tina no more!

The ARIA Award nominations are out and I am quite impressed with the range of music that is now getting national coverage and recognition.

You know, we all listen to music. It may be on a commercial station (read: Australian Idol ‘classics’ on repeat). It may be on the golden oldies station (the land that Y2K forgot), or it may be the classical music on Classic FM. (but I am sure none of you read this blog, or know what a blog stands for.)

Me? It’s no secret I am a huge supporter of Triple J.

For one thing, there is bugger all else to listen to in Canberra (proven by the fact that JJJ is the 4th most listened to station in the ACT), and if you want to hear new Australian music, it is either JJJ or your independent stations.

I like the fact that music that I appreciate as good music; Well written, well performed and well produced; seems to be agreed to by it’s own industry (1000 music industry members vote).

Not that I agree with all the nominations below, but check out the Album of the Year noms…

  • Mixed Blood – Gotye
  • Grand National – John Butler Trio
  • Powderfinger – Dream Day at the Hotel Existence
  • Silverchair – Young Modern
  • Sneaky Sound System – Sneaky Sound System

Gotye gets a very worthy nod with his collaborative remake of his own music by other musicians. An interesting project that was definitely pulled off.

Best Group of the Year?

  • Eskimo Joe
  • Powderfinger
  • Silverchair
  • Sneaky Sound System
  • Wolfmother

A bit of a disappointing category, but good to see the Joe get a nom, as well as Wolfmother (although what have they done in the last year?). Ever Sneaky’s inclusion is worthwhile as they seem to have attracted dance clubs into playing at least one Australian club act in a world surrounded by US crap.

The Best Pop Release? No more Delta. No more Veronicas. No more Savage Garden. Yes! We now have Operator Please!

  • Operator Please – Just a Song about Ping Pong
  • Missy Higgins – On a Clear Night
  • Evermore – Light Surrounding You
  • Kate Miller-Heidke – Little Eve
  • Sarah Blasko – What the Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have

Take out Evermore and you have 4 Pop releases that I would proudly put in my library. Not that Evermore are ..that..crap..

In other noms, Grinspoon (who did a KICK-ARSE gig the other night at the ANU bar) get a nom for their latest in the Rock Album category and Kid Kenobi and poxyMusic both got noms in the Dance Release category. Score!

One of my favourites of the year, Josh Pyke, already scored 2 well deserved Arias for best Producer and Engineer of the year and got a nomination for Best BreakThrough Artist-Album along with another great up and coming band, Expatriate.

What is an Urban Release? Anything not released in the country?

  • Bliss N Eso – Day of the Dog Phazed Out
  • Foreign Heights – Get Yours
  • Hilltop Hoods – The Hard Road Restrung
  • Jackson Jackson – The Fire is on The Bird
  • Justice and Kaos – Turn it On

I love Jackson Jackson. Harry Angus from Cat Empire formed this band as a side project, but it’s so damn good that it could overtake his former band’s popularity in time.

To top it off, Architecture in Helsinki scored a nom in the Single of the Year category (alongside JBT, Powder/Chair and SSS)ย  for ‘Heart It Races’. An eclectic mishmash of sounds and beats formed into a catchy-arse little song.

See what I mean? Quality music being nominated.

I am almost 100% certain that it won’t translate into awards to the outsiders, but the fact they were nominated by industry peers is congratulations enough to these bands.

My pick? Silverchair. They’ll win a shitload of awards, and justifiably so. Young Modern is an excellent album that brought me back into the Silverchair fold that lost me at Diorama.


Mulder sluts up the screen

There’s usually at least one show a year that comes out of the US that pushes the boundaries. (Sex and the City, Deadwood, Weeds to name a few)

Usually something that includes lots of swearing, sex, drugs and debauchery that you voyeuristically watch it to get your dose of jollies.

This year, it is Californication. The new raunchy comedy on Channel 10. It is really fucking good. Duchovny belongs on TV. His movie forays have been pretty lame.

He gets to be a rough, slovenly, sexy in a just-got-out-of-bed-and-put-my-underwear-on-backwards sort of way. I think he was made for this role. He plays it a little too well. What’s he been doing with his X-Files income over the last 5 years?

So, he’s a writer. He’s lost his muse. He pines for his ex. He’s trying to raise his 13 yr old daughter together with his ex, who is going out with a straight boring rich guy.

He manages to pick up every girl that he looks at, but they are all screwed up in that great LA way. (in the pilot show he ends up having sex with a 16 yr old who has a penchant for punching during sex and ends up being the daughter of his ex’s new fiancee) See! It’s fucked up!

Another good thing is that we are seeing it just a week after the US (streamed my arse), and it’s quick enough that there’s no spoilers or chance to hear about it.

So, if you feel like watching something smart, funny and sexy, check it out. It’s way better than most of the tripe on the tube


Review: Die Hard 4.0

I’m alive!

And so is John McClane! He just keeps on keeping on in this 4th installment of the best Action franchise there is.

19 years ago Die Hard 1.0 came out and it is probably my favourite action movie of all time. The whole concept of keeping the action confined to one building was innovative for the time and the discovery of Bruce Willis as a blockbuster action actor has changed films for the better. Just think if we had to be stuck with the soft romantic comedies of Bruce.

Not that he isn’t a versatile actor, but we all know he does the gritty, hardened, wise-arse cop, the best.

I remember the build up to Die Hard 2.0. It was billed as ‘Die Hard on a Plane!’. Of course, it was more like in an airport/tunnel/church/runway, but we still loved it. Lots of shooting. Lots of explosions and lots of funny McClanisms.

They felt the need to re-unite Samuel L Jackson with Bruce in Die Hard 3.0 and we got ‘Die Hard in New York’. Many people say that it was the best of the trilogy, but I disagree. I have always thought that Sam Jackson took a bit of the shine of McClane. After all, it is HIS franchise. Jeremy Irons also took away some shine as well, and although is accent is great for a baddie, it was just a little too much.

So, we have Die Hard 4.0 (otherwise known as Live Free or Die Hard in the US). Of course, it has the explosions, the adrenalin pumping action, the wise cracks, the funny lines and the bits where you just shake your head and go, “What the hell. They expect us to believe this stuff…?”.

The great thing is, we know what to expect and we know we’re not supposed to believe that a car could actually bring down a helicopter, or John could jump from a speeding car and just come out with a few bruises and scratches. It’s the parts that could actually really happen that make you believe this movie.

The motivation and concept behind the baddies in this movie is virtual terrorism, where a group of hackers can have a ‘Fire Sale’. Bring down transport, finance and utilities. It’s not as far fetched as it sounds and the idea is based on an article, “A Farewell to Arms” written by John Carlin.

The best thing about Die Hard movies is that we love John McClane. I don’t think there is any other action hero that we can feel so close to and love to see on screen. And damn, I hope I look like Bruce Willis when I am 52.

Another bonus for me in this movie are all the on location shots done in Washington D.C. I kept seeing places I’d been and poking Stevie (who saved me from seeing it by myself) and saying, “I’ve been there. I’ve been there”

Oh, and that kid from the TV Show, Ed (Justin Long) is great in this. I’ve always liked him and his performance in this is fantastic. You really grow to like the 2 of them together and it actually makes me want to see them work together again. The cameo by Kevin ‘Silent Bob’ Smith is very cool as well. His ‘Command Centre’ is too cool. Look for the Star Wars line!

The great thing? The franchise continues. Even though I heard that this was going to be the final installment, Bruce confirms that a 5th movie is almost certainly going to happen and he wants to re-unite with his ex (Holly Generro) in the next one.

So, yes. SEE THIS MOVIE ON THE BIG SCREEN. It’s worth it.

It gets 4 1/2 Explosions from me!