Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Favourite Albums Of ALL TIME! #4

Marilyn Manson Mechanical Animals

Out of every Manson album out there, i think this one really showcased how creative and conceptual he could be as an artist. Although the previous album 'Antichrist Superstar' was strong, 'Mechanical Animals' proved he could do more than just hard metal.

There's a more glam rock vibe to the songs mixed in with Manson's token thrashy rock. Songs like 'Rock Is Dead' and 'Dope Show' sound like trademark shouty Marilyn, and 'Fundementally Loanesome' is probably the most unique track on the record, with obvious inspiration taken from old skool glam David Bowie.

As great as the faster songs on the album are ['Posthuman' has a bit of a Prodigy vibe to it], it's the slower tracks that really stand out for me. 'Coma White', 'The Last Day On Earth' and 'Speed of Pain' are probably my three favourite songs from the album. All 3 of them are beautifully produced with eerie synthy verses and big sweeping choruses.

As far as image goes, Manson played a lot of with gender reversal during this era. He's depicted as an androgenous alien with breasts and no genitals on the album cover, and he dropped the the darker gothic look he'd been carrying for years and coloured it up with silvers and bright colours in his costumes. It was all very Ziggy Stardust.

His popularity and relevancy has wained over the last decade, but i'm still a fan of his current music. He knows how to write a good hook, and that's not an easy thing for me to find when it comes to metal. Say what you will about how "done" he is now, but Mechanical Animals is a masterpiece, and a good representation of the highest point of his career. I love it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World [2010]
Starring: Michael Cera, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Edgar Wright

Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriends 7 evil exes in order to win her heart.

I haven't read the comics this film is based on, so i won't be doing any comparisons to it in my review. I am familiar with the artwork and general vibe of the comics though, so i can see how it does look like a loyal adaptation based on what little i know. From what fans have said, its a good translation from book to screen, so if you're worried about that, don't be.

As a stand alone movie, Scott Pilgrim is REALLY entertaining, in fact, it turned out a lot better than i expected. I thought i'd go in experiencing cool action and quirky scenery with not much else, but i was wrong. The characters themselves were really great, and the dialogue is odd, but funny. The movie is borderline pretentious with it's quirk factor, but not in an "i'm an asshole, punch me" way. It's nothing like 500 Days of Summer, which was so tedious to sit through with it's moronic characters and fuckified take on love. Scott is much more light hearted, and really doesn't take itself all that seriously. It does however take it's pop culture references and video game throwback visuals seriously, so that may rub some people up the wrong way, i didn't mind though, i liked how it was all put together.

Michael Cera who plays 'Scott' is an actor i'm starting to get a bit bored with, but in this, i thought he did an AMAZING job. I'm sure it's due more to the writing of the character, but still, he was matched perfectly with Scott and he was adorable and funny in the role. Everyone else was good too, with other standouts being Keiren Culkin as Scott's gay room-mate, and the female drummer from Scott's band, Sex Bom Omb [forgot her name].

Visually the movie is incredible, and when the action starts you won't ever get bored. The fight scenes are all creatively put together and each one is very different to the last. You may feel like you're on a sugar high watching the film, because it runs on A.D.D. from the very first scene,but that just adds to the fun of it all. The 8-bit soundtrack and other songs featured in the movie were great too.

The only couple of faults i can give the film are, the running time, which i felt was a tiny bit over long [thankfully the fantastic finale made up for any lagging], and one scene involving the theme music from Seinfeld with a laughing track thrown in, it just didn't make any sense and i wasn't getting the joke. Maybe there was nothing TO get, i'm not sure, but it felt so out of place.
There have also been a few comparisons between Kick Ass and Scott Pilgrim. As much as i liked Scott, i think it's Kick Ass that will hold up longer down the line. What Scott lacked that Kick Ass had was an emotional impact, Scott also didn't have 'Hit Girl'. Kick Ass also offered more with it's story, whereas Scott was entertaining, but lacked any sort of real point at the end of the day.

If you like video games and comics, you'll most likely love this. I thought it was one of the coolest things i've seen all year, and i can't wait to check out the 'making of' for the film once it hits blu-ray, i may even check out the comic at some point.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Splice [2009]
Starring: Sarah Polley, Adrian Brodey
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali

Two young, rebellious scientists, defy legal and ethical boundaries and forge ahead with a dangerous experiment: splicing together human and animal DNA to create a new organism.

This movie really divided audiences when it came out earlier this year, and i can sort of understand why. It certainly presents a very strange set up as a storyline, which can border on a little over the top and sometimes kinda gross. For me though, those were the qualities that added to the films charm i think, and since it IS a sci fi movie, suspension of belief should pretty much automatically happen when watching Splice.

With all it's melodrama, there's still no denying how entertaining the whole story is. This isn't just "fun" either, the movie is actually really interesting at times.
In the earlier parts of the story we get to see Dren [the creature] grow and learn how to adjust to her surroundings. Not only is Dren cute, but it's interesting to see how she adapts to her life and how her "parents" bond with her. As she grows into more of an adult, we see the story go from an entertaining "creature feature" to more of a layered film about relationships and morals. Dren isn't a kid anymore, and with that comes hormones and a whole mix of other problems. This is where Splice seemed to make viewers a bit grossed out, because a bit of hybrid/creature and human....erm....RELATIONS start to make things a little freaky. I admit, the movie is very strange at times, if i wasn't raising my eyebrows over the sexual themes of the story, then i was staring at Dren and trying to come to terms with how her face looked, she was so weird looking, while still being kinda...pretty, it was odd.
None of this turned me off the movie though, i still found it to be a really interesting direction to take the story in. I thought the film would have been a little more straight forward than it was, so i was surprised to see that the film makers really tried to give us something with actual ideas behind it.

Another great thing about Splice was the cast. Brody and Polley carry the film well, and they come across as genuinely caring "parents". There's a realistic feel to their relationship with Dren. As for Dren [Played by Delphine Chaneace], the design behind her is pretty cool, and i found myself liking her a lot. There are moments where you feel bad for her, and other times where she comes across as creepy. I liked seeing her evolve as the film went on.

My only major gripe with the movie would be that it could have pushed it's themes a little further. The sex part of the story was taken far enough, but Dren herself should have been explored more. It felt like there was so much more to her than they showed us. She is kept as a prisoner throughout the story, and her freedom is something she brings up a few times. Just ONCE i would have loved to see her break loose like crazy and go nuts. It NEARLY happens at one point during a roof top scene [my favourite scene in the movie], but they quickly reel her back in, and it doesn't go any further than that.
Don't get me wrong, i'm sure the restrained feel of her character was intentional. Dren is kept as a prisoner [for her own safety] , so it makes sense the viewer feels just as tied down as she was. Still, it would have been cool to see her abilities REALLY showcased.

Some people could find Splice a bit too weird, especially if they are squeamish, but i personally liked the fact that the film made me a little uncomfortable. I thought it was a fascinating movie, both this and Inception are two of the most unique things i've seen this year. I think a lot of people on here would get a real kick out of this.

DVD Roundup: JULY 2010

The Craft [Blu-ray]
Who grew up in the late 90's and didn't see or love this?. One of my favourites.

Closer [Blu-ray]
2nd fav film ever. Fact.

Predator [Blu-ray]
"GET TO DA CHOPPA!"..............epic classic action movie. Don't bother with Predator 2, skip that shit, just watch this and then check out the new one, Predators.

Claymore [Blu-ray]
My favourite anime ever, and about 100 times more awesome in crispy HD. The look of this is mouth watering.

Sold Out: A Threevening With Kevin Smith
Hilarious. This man can talk for hours on end and never bore me.

Degrassi Junior High & Degrassi High: The Complete Series
Imma tease ma hurr and wear ma fluro parachute pants when i watch this. High school 80's fuckery, MINE.