Today I saw my second favorite Harry Potter film The Prisoner of Azkaban and for the first time I noticed just how absolutely awesome the score is. Each track blends so perfectly with each scene and props to John Williams for again creating wonderful music. I think that from this score on each Harry Potter score has been getting progressively better, with a few exceptions (I’m looking at you Deathly Hallows, Part 1).
“Well, we’re living here in Alan Town / And he’s driven our lives into the ground / When we woke up we were wasted and drunk / Phil got shot… / We got beaten by a monk… / I was happy and my life was good / Getting married like a dentist should / Roasting marshmallows on a stick / I got fucked in the ass… / By a girl with a dick… / And we’re living here in Alan Town / But they’re taking Teddy’s finger now… / And I’m pretty sure I’m gonna lose my shit /… and shoot Alan in the face /… and shoot myself.”— Stu (Ed Helms) singing Allentown, (from The Hangover, Part II)
A while back I used to do these lists on a weekly basis and now that it’s summer and I have almost nothing to do, why not make these lists again? I’ll tell you upfront that they won’t be weekly, instead they will be every two weeks or so. The main purpose of these types of post is to not only introduce you to some artists and songs you may not know, but also to highlight overshadowed songs by familiar artists. And also, each song has a link at the end so you can go a listen to it. Okay, let’s begin!
10. My Medicine by The Pretty Reckless.
The Pretty Reckless’s Light Me Up was the first album of the year I heard and even though much better stuff has come since then, I can’t deny that it is an excellent debut album. Comparisons with Joan Jett and The Runaways are understandable and plentiful, but who cares? These songs are badass and My Medicine is definitely among the best. (Listen)
9. A Lack of Understanding by The Vaccines.
One of the most catchy songs I’ve heard so far this year and it is one you won’t feel guilty about. Good-old awesome rock music. (Listen)
8. How Can U Luve Me by Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a new band that in all honesty doesn’t look like it will become a huge deal. Having said that, they are still excellent and make indie music proud. How Can U Luv Me sounds like a hit indie song and reminds me a bit of Fatboy Slim, MGMT and being at the beach. It is undeniably likable and cheerful and you’ll be singing it in no time. (Listen)
7. Bad Karma by Ida Maria.
After Ida Maria’s 2008 album Fortress Round My Heart rapidly became one of my favorite albums ever, I was eagerly anticipating for its follow up which comes in the form of Katla. This album is full of awesome guitar driven songs and Bad Karma is easily one of the most up-beat unapologetic ones. It’s awesome and her channeling of The Black Keys works perfectly. (Listen)
6. The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie by The Joy Formidable.
This song is pure spectacle and it feels like it would work so well in huge arena. It’s a pretty ambitious song with one of the best choruses I’ve heard all year. Even with it’s running-time of 7 minutes, the song is so brilliant that once it ends you’ll want so much more. (Listen)
5. Bat’s Mouth by Bat for Lashes.
One of the main reason why I think Bat for Lashes is so great is because of the poetic imagery her songs have. Natasha Khan is a great lyricist and knows how to convey different meanings without given it all away. Bat’s Mouth is a brilliant songs with numerous layers that will only surface after listening to it a couple of times. (Listen)
4. Embody by SebastiAn.
This song was my first obsession of the year. This whole album by SebastiAn is filled with outstanding and eternally likable tracks, but Embody is just something else. It is extremely catchy, awesome and I cannot stop listening to it. It makes me want to dance, which is the perfect thing for the summer. (Listen)
3. Give Up The Ghost by Radiohead.
Radiohead’s new album The King Of Limbs is one of those Radiohead album that has taken me a while to grow fond of. But the one song that always make me come back to it is this one. There’s just something so haunting, melancholic and subtly beautiful about it that I can easily say it’s among the best of the year. Thom Yorke hasn’t sound this amazing in such a long time. (Listen)
2. Midnight City by M83.
M83 is one of my favorite artists and while I prefer his more mellow, atmospheric and somewhat mournful tunes, Midnight City’s energy is completely intoxicating. This song is easily one of the most up-beat, danceable, cheerful and awesome songs I’ve heard this year and after listening to it non-stop for 3 hours, I still love it. (Listen)
1. Cosmogony by Björk.
Every time Björk comes with new material I am instantly excited. Why? Because there is no one like Björk and she always manages to create something you have never heard or seen. With her new album called Biophilia, she’s exploring the relationships between the universe and it’s physical forces. In Cosmogony she creates a sort of haunting lullaby about the creation of the world. It is moody, unconventional, eternally interesting and instantly likable. (Listen)
We all know what happened between Conan O’Brien and NBC, and even if you preferred Jay Leno you still looked at that and shook your head in disbelief. After being kicked out of The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien went out on a comedy tour across the U.S. and Canada and this documentary gives us a behind the scenes look at the tour. As far as documentaries go, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is definitely one of the weakest ones I’ve seen. Don’t get me wrong, I love Conan O’Brien but the documentary showed too much of the actual tour show. I would preferred if it focused a lot more on the behind the scenes stuff, which is where we truly see how and who Conan O’Brien is. He is a dick sometimes, but then he is also charming and a really nice person.
One of the things I really liked about the documentary is that it shows us how superficial and sort of two-face showbusiness is (I know, big surprise!). And these things come from different angles, but you can understand why they are there. Being nice to everyone all the time even when you’re tired and angry isn’t an easy thing to do, but in a business like that it’s a necessity. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is an okay documentary, but I rather watch Conan O’Brien’s show on TBS. That’s far funnier than this.
A First Impressions Anecdote of: Captain America The First Avenger.
2011 so far has been the year with the most high profile comic-book films from Thor to Green Lantern to X-Men and now Captain America. Thor was brilliant, Green Lantern was total shit and X-Men was watchable. But Captain America is easily the best comic-book film since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Succeeding in basically all areas of filmmaking, Captain America is also one of the best films I’ve seen this year.
After being rejected multiple times from entering the U.S. Army and helping win War World II, Steven Rogers (Chris Evans) is given a chance to make a different by being a part of top secret experiment. The purpose of the experiment is to create a super soldier and after it is done, Steven Rogers goes from small almost malnourished man to full-flesh ultra muscular powerhouse man. His mission is find out what rogue Nazi commander Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) who has attained otherworldly powers.
Unlike the other comic-book films of this year, everything in Captain America works. The story of a very idealistic and noble man who wants to do good is not only relatable but also inspirational. The first half of the film establishes the character of Steven Rogers who has been beaten up by almost every aspect of his life. He is a man who keeps trying even after being rejected multiple times, and that feeling of rejection is a feeling that most of us have experienced at some point. When he is finally given a chance he rises to the challenge and proves to everyone that he can do it. But the road to that isn’t always an easy one.
Chris Evans has always been an extremely charming actor, but most of his characters have always displayed somewhat of charming arrogance and extreme confidence. With Steven Rogers he shows us different side, he is still confident but much more humble and vulnerable which is something I’ve never seen in Evans. There’s a real sense of humanity and he conveys his struggle to prove himself perfectly.
The rest of the cast is also pretty impressive. Tommy Lee-Jones and Stanley Tucci are excellent with each of them bringing some laughs and adequately showing us the reality of war. Dominic Cooper is awesome as Howard Stark and is responsible for the most laughs and Hayley Atwell is absolutely brilliant as Peggy Carter. Atwell is charming, beautiful, a total badass and has great chemistry with Chris Evans. Then there’s Hugo Weaving who needs to play the villain in every film. His Red Skull is menacing, intimidating and very, very awesome.
Every comic-book film needs action and Captain America has so many cool action scenes. They are all very exciting and show a lot of blood which is surprising for a PG-13 film. The special effects in the film are amazing, especially the special effects used on Chris Evans to make him look so tiny and thin. They were very polished and completely believable. The score by Alan Silvestri was outstanding and director Joe Johnston has totally redeemed himself with this film.
But what I loved the most about this film was the cinematography. Shelly Johnson did an absolutely genius job with the whole look of the film. It was a bit stylish but also really gritty and realistic and I just could not get enough of it. Every scene looked great and I really loved the way she used shadows and depth of field. Captain America is also the only other film after Avatar whose 3D I’ve genuinely loved, which is really surprising since it was post-converted.
As I said before, Captain America: The First Avenger is not only one of the best comic-book films in recent memory, it is also the absolute best of this year. Everything about it works really well and in perfect badass unison. The film has a light and very nerdy vibe that some people might not like, but as the nerd I am I loved it. Captain America is simply one of the most fun I’ve had watching a film all year.
In Limitless Bradley Cooper attains and clear pill that completely clears his mind and makes him use the full extent of his brain. He goes from shy and pitiful aspiring writer to powerhouse stock broker aiding in one of the biggest mergers in American business history. However, his supply of pills is limited and the real question is: what will happen once they run out?
I don’t have too much to say about Limitless besides that it is an extremely, extremely cool film. I haven’t seen a film with this type cool swagger in a long time and it completely works. Limitless is pure Bradley Cooper and with it he not only proves he can easily be a leading man, but also that he has a lot of potential to became one of the best and most charming leading man in recent memory. Yes, the film has some faults but everything worked so well that I honestly did not care. Limitless is totally awesome, packs a great soundtrack, has a very cool direction, features Chuck (Anna Friel) from Pushing Daisies, and should not be missed.
Bat for Lashes is one of my all-time favorite artist and the curious thing about my love for her is that it comes and goes. There are months where I am completely obsessed with her and then there are months where I don’t even listen to her. Since I started to listen to her first album last week I’ve been obsessed with this song in particular. I’ve always liked it but now it’s like it has a new profound, haunting and much more meaningful influence on me. I love her.
“When we finish making a movie, we’re with people for many months, they’re like our family, but when it’s over, everyone goes on to other movies and goes home. I got so close to those kids, that this time when I went home from E.T., I didn’t want to go home… And then I realized why I was feeling so sad, that this was the first time in my life I wanted children and I had never felt that before… and now I have 7 children, all thanks to E.T.”— Steven Spielberg, Comic Con 2011 at The Adventures of Tintin panel (via yenni)
Before you judge me for watching what can easily be one of the worst films ever made, let me justify my dumb decision by saying that I only saw Beastly for Mary-Kate Olsen. I should also confess that I pretty much fast forward the whole thing and saw it in under 30 minutes. The few times I stopped the wonderful and deeply profound script was so overwhelming that my brain couldn’t process it for more than a minute. And then there was the Oscar caliber acting that truly places Meryl Streep to shame.
Sarcasm aside, Beastly is honestly the most superficial hollow overly idiotic colossal piece of monumental horse shit I have ever seen. I’m pretty sure if I actually saw the whole thing I would’ve become so stupid that I probably would stare at my laptop and marvel at the futuristic devices a fruit can create. But I digress, Mary-Kate Olsen was decent and very sexy. I prefer just looking at photoshoots of her though, God knows there’s more intellect and actually logic in those pictures.
In Unknown Liam Neeson plays a man who enters a coma after being in car crash only to wake up and have his whole identity taken away. Without any ID he can’t prove to people who he is and to make matters worst, someone else has taken his identity and not even his wife remembers him. Neeson sets out to discover who did this to him and why.
Unknown was being sold as another Taken, but what people should know up front that that is a complete misconception. Unknown is to Taken what The Adjustment Bureau is to the Bourne films, and one must adjust their expectations from the get-go. Similar to The Adjustment Bureau, Unknown is drench with problem with logic but in here they are much more consistent and frankly really frustrating.
The main problem is lenght, the film wanders aimlessly for far too long and after an hour of waiting for something to happen you’ve lost interest. After that hour Liam Neeson’s character completely changes, going from normal man to total action badass. The way he can randomly drive like Jason Bourne and fight like he did in Taken doesn’t fit the previously introduced character. Even though some of scenes are exciting, I didn’t really care and was just waiting for the final reveal.
Another huge problem is none other than January “Ice-Queen-Mother-From-Hell” Jones. God, this woman can’t act worth shit. She doesn’t show emotions and has less personality than a blank white wall. Thank God she has a sex scene in the film, because God knows that the only thing she is good for. She works great in Mad Men but I’m beginning to think she must be like that in real life.
Overall Unknown is a really forgettable film. The idea of your identity being stolen from you is a really frightening one, but it deserves a better film. Unknown just couldn’t handle the concept in any sort of logical and entertaining manner. Liam Neeson should just go ahead and give us Taken 2.