Monday, December 26, 2011

The BEST + WORST of 2011

Music of 2011

10 // Zola Jesus Conatus
A little lighter than her last album, but still trademark sythy Zola.
Best track: Hikikomori

09 // Kimbra Vows
A great debut from an underrated artist. You'll be surprised at how easily she can go from popstar to soul singer.
Best track: Good Intent

08 // Gotye Making Mirrors
I can't believe it's taken me all these years to finally discover him. I love the cinematic feel of the production on the album.
Best track: Somebody That I Used To Know

07 // Nero Welcome Reality
It's a shame David Guetta and Calvin Harris get more radioplay than these guys, i really enjoyed this album, best dance record of the year for me.
Best track: Guilty

06 // Natalia Kills Perfectionist
What Natalie lacks in personality and charisma she makes up for with great production and melodies. For those who like their pop a little darker.
Best track: Wonderland

05 // Jay-Z & Kanye West Watch The Throne
There were big expectations for this collaboration, and not surprisingly, the guys delivered.
Best track: Murder To Excellence

04 // Katy B On A Mission
Haven't heard this sort of downtempo club sound since the first Sugababes album over a decade ago. Great debut.
Best track: Witches Brew

03 // Florence + The Machine Ceremonials
Florence doesn't tread any new ground with this album, but it does expand nicely on her previous record. It's bigger and better than her debut.
Best track: Leave My Body

02 // Lady Gaga Born This Way
Gaga explores some new sounds while still staying close to her trademark style. My favourite "popstar" album of the year.
Best track: Heavy Metal Lover

01 // Adele 21
There isn't one song on this album i can fault, it's perfect from start to finish. The only problem with 21 is she may never top it because she set the bar so high.
Best track: Someone Like You

Honorable Mentions:
Electric Lady Lab Flash!
Bjork Biophilia
iiO Exit 101
Beyonce 4

Avril Lavigne Goodbye Lullaby
Avril Lavigne has become a bit of a by the numbers type of act nowdays. She follows the same formula with each record, going between annoying upbeat first single and dull and uninspired second and 3rd singles following. She's gone as far as she can creatively, at this point, no one cares anymore, and one has to wonder how long she can keep dressing like a 15 year old emo as she edges close to turning 30 and selling her tweeny tinged product.
Songs of 2011

20 // David Guetta & Sia Titanium
Epic chorus, Sia's vocals are beautiful on this.

19 // Kelly Rowland Work It Man
I prefer Kelly doing r&b over dance.

18 // Taryn Manning Turn It Up
One half of Boomkat, Taryn is going solo!.

17 // Bjork Crystalline
Love the dupstep outro and melody on this.

16 // Wynter Gordon Till Death
Best dance track by a girl this year [yes, even better than than God awful 'We Found Love'].

15 // Zola Jesus Vessel

Love me some Zola Jesus!

14 // The Rapture How Deep Is Your Love

Caught onto this one a bit late, but better late than never i suppose.

13 // Electric Lady Lab Follow You
Could have used a couple of there songs on here, but i went for this one, underrated duo.

12 // Adele Someone Like You
Overplayed, but still such a great song.

11 // Calvin Harris Feels So Close

I'm not usually into his stuff, but this was a great track.

10 // Florence + The Machine Shake It Out
An epic song to compliment an equally epic album.

09 // J. Cole Work Out
His album disappointed me, this track was oddly missing from it, but i loved it anyway.

08 // Example Changed The Way You Kissed Me
Love the alternative style vocals mixed with the hard dance production.

07 // Katy B Witches Brew
Catchiest chorus of the year?

06 // Ms Dynamite Neva Soft

The UK is really delivering with underground acts this year. Love this song.

05 // Kimbra Good Intent
I fell in love with it the moment i heard it. Also became my favourite music video of the year.

04 // Beyonce Run The World [Girls]

I know pretty much everyone hated this, but i loved it.

03 // Natalia Kills Wonderland
It's an old track, but her debut album came out this year and this was on it.

02 // Gotye & Kimbra Somebody That I Used To Know
For a while it was my #1 song of the year. Amazing song and i love Kimbra's part. 

01 // Lana Del Rey Video Games
She came out of nowhere this year, and Video Games became a sleeper hit on iTunes all over the world. The production on the song is beautiful and her voice is very haunting. 2012 will be a big year for her.


Cher Lloyd // Swagger Jagger
It's hard to believe this song was actually a serious release. It sounds like a cheap Black Eyed Peas attempt with a video that's one of the most cringe worthy things i've ever seen. Worst song of the year.

Bruno Mars // The Lazy Song
Bruno is a talented guy with a great voice, but i can't stand his music. It's annoying "songs for my cute sweet girlfriend" crap that bores me to tears. 'The Lazy Song' however the worst of the worst when it comes to his single releases. The annoying video that goes along with it makes it even more unbearable.

Jason Derulo // Don't Wanna Go Home
You may not want to go home, Jason, but i want you to. Awful use of a cringe sample.
Movies of 2011
 10 // Toast
This will no doubt fly by a lot of peoples radars, which is a shame because it's a great little feel good drama. Helena Bonham Carter always adds a little something "extra" to films she's in, i loved her in this.

09 // We Need To Talk About Kevin
Kevin is one fucked up kid, and this movie will no doubt leave feeling ill afterwards. Tilda Swinton was amazing in this, probably one of the best performances of the year.

08 // Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2
A fitting, if slightly short end to a mostly entertaining series. What really sells this finale is the emotional aspect of the story, which much like the book, is quite powerful.

07 // The Woman
Definitely not a film for everyone, but if you can handle the graphic nature of the story, you're in for an intense and dark movie experience.

06 // Rise of the Planet of the Apes
I love that Andy Serkis is causing an uproar in the film industry by bringing up the debate over whether motion cpature is a legitmate form of acting. His work in The Lord of the Rings and King Kong was fantastic, but he really hit his peak this year with 'Apes', he brought a lot of genuine heart to his character, Ceasar. A surprisingly moving film. 

05 // X-Men: First Class
I've loved all the X-men films, but the franchise did need a bit of an adrenaline shot after ther rushed 'X-Men: The Last Stand'. 'First Class' gave the franchise the life it needed. We haven't had a X-Men film this strong since the brilliant X-Men 2 almost a decade ago. 

04 // Black Swan
I know this came out in the U.S. in late 2010, but the rest of the world got it early 2011. It's a dark mind bending experience into madness with Natalie Portman giving the performance of her career. You literally watch a girl lose her mind for 2 hours, you almost feel tired by the end of it all.

03 // 50/50
The mixture of serious drama and comedy was done so perfectly, you'll find yourself laughing and crying at the same time. Joseph Gordon Levitt proves he's still one of the best young actors in Hollywood, Seth Rogen is hilarious, Anna Jendrick is as charming as always, and Angelica Huston was fantastic but sadly underused. I had this film stuck in my head for days afterwards, i loved it.

02 // Jane Eyre
I'm unfamiliar with the book and the previous film adaptations, so i'm not sure how this stands up against them. As a stand alone film though, i thought it was beautifully shot and the chemistry on screen between Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender felt very natural and genuine. It was very romantic, i even cried like a baby in the end *turns red*.

01 // Bridesmaids
It's not common for me to pick a comedy as my #1 film of the year, but this is one of those rare moments. Not only was this my favourite movie of the year, but it's also one of the funniest movies i have ever seen in my life. I haven't laughed this hard non-stop over a movie in a long time. The film doesn't just bring the laughs though, it also addresses some relatable depressing moments in peoples lives, especially around the main character, played brillianty by Kristen Wiig.

Honorable Mentions:
The Help
Wasted On The Young
Martha Marcey May Marlene
Cowboys & Aliens
Is it just me, or has Steven Spielberg been attaching his name as a producer to some SHOCKING work over the last few years? First the last 2 Transformers movies, and now this mess? You'd think cowboys shooting lasers at aliens would send your imagination wild, but this ended up being a massive bore.

Sucker Punch
Visually it's fantastic, and the soundtrack is great too, the rest however is the biggest clusterfuck mess of ideas i've ever seen. Nothing flows, nothing makes sense, nothing feels like a complete film. The sexy, yet cardboard thin characters didn't help either.

Tree of Life
Congrats to anybody who can sit through this over blown, boring as hell, pretentious mess of a movie. Shots of buildings, people whispering endlessly, and footage from "the best of National Geographic" is all you'll get from this load of self indulgent garbage.

Green Lantern
There were some great comic book films this year, Green Lantern wasn't one of them. Who's idea was it to cast Ryan Rynold's as a serious superhero? the guy cannot do drama, he constantly look like he's trying not to laugh, he has that face in ALL his films. And don't even start me on the mess that was his costume.......glowing green eyes, pouty lip glossed lips, perfect hair, practically naked body suit, he looked like a gay Mardi Gras float character. Awful.

Music Videos of 2011

 05 // Robyn Call Your Girlfriend
It's nothing but one continuous shot of Robyn freestyle dancing. Simple, but strangely re-watchable thanks to Robyn's energy.
Directed by: Max Vitali

04 // Gotye & Kimbra Somebody That I Used To Know
It's art house to the max, but it's still great. Gotye really does need to clean his feet next time he chooses to film them though.
Directed by: Natasha Pincus

03 // Lady Gaga Marry The Night
Gaga channels David Lynch and Kubrick in this dream-like biographical story of her rise to fame. As a first time solo directing effort, Gaga shows a lot of promise with an interesting eye for detail.
Directed by: Lady Gaga

02 // Kimbra Good Intent
She makes great use of having a low budget with her music videos, this one features some fantastic choreography and a great 1950's noir style.
Directed by: Guy Franklin 

01 // Lana Del Rey Born To Die
The only way to match the rich production of the song was to create an equally grand music video. With dynamic colours and wide sweeping cinematic camera work, Lana and Woodkid have created a beautifully visual music video that captures Lana's haunting vocals perfectly.
Directed by: Woodkid


 Cher Lloyd Swagger Jagger
It's bad enough that the song is so horrendous, but Cher seems to have made an even worse music video, yes....i didn't think it was possible either. She acts and looks ridiculous, it feels like a parody from a comedy sketch show. Unfortunately for Cher, it's not. 

Kat DeLuna Drop It Low
You'll find it so unintentionally hilarious that you'll no doubt watch the whole thing. From the awful attempts at looking sexy, to the weird choice to wear helmets during bizarre crotch thrusting dance moves and a random piano dance breakdown that will have you laughing off your chair. It's like watching a train-wreck right before your eyes, but most of what Kat DeLuna does is like that, so i can't say i'm shocked.

People of 2011 

BEST Person of the Year: Adele
No one is more deserving of the success they've achieved this year than Adele. With so many artists in the pop world vying for the cameras and their need to be #1 and make history at every moment of their careers, Adele casually walked through her blindingly huge year as the biggest artist on the planet, and she did it all without a gimmick or a controversial story behind her.
Her reign hasn't even stopped, she no doubt has another huge year coming up in 2012 as her album continues to break records and the demand for her music keeps on thriving.
My only regret is that i never got a chance to see her live since she's been plagued with medical problems and has had such a lazy approach to her tour for most of the year. Touring doesn't seem like something that sits well with her, seeing one of her shows seems to be a lucky opportunity for those that manage to catch her on one of her good days. I'm sure i'll get another opportunity in the future with her next record [whenever that may be].

WORST Person of the Year: Kim Kardashian
Throw in the rest of her horrid media whoring family under this title as well. I'll never understand the weird obsession the world has with Z list celebrities who filter every corner of the media for doing absolutely nothing.
Kim has been the worst offender of that this year, from her horribly scripted and acted "reality" TV show, to her endless need to try her hand at every possible thing, whether it's doing television, releasing a song [God help us], or shoving her face onto any product she can to make a buck. We haven't seen pointless fame from anyone like this since Paris Hilton 5 years ago. This is a style of celebrity i thought had died out with the last decade. Sadly, it hasn't.

I'm the first to tell people to "look away" or "change the channel" when it comes to being bombarded with people they can't stand who are in the public eye. However, with someone like Kim, it's hard to get away from her. Every magazine cover, every news report, every tv channel has SOMETHING to say about her or her family. The family members have about 10 shows between them, they may as well call the E channel, the Kardashian channel considering how many times a day they appear on a different program.
And just when you thought Kim couldn't get anymore ridiculous, she showered the world with her self indulgent need to showcase her 10 million dollar wedding, which was then followed by a divorce only weeks later.
Thankfully, the public responded with mostly eye rolling, as people finally started to get sick of the fuckified lifestyle Kim kept opening herself up to so everyone could give her the attention she so desperately craved. Since then, she seems to have started her slow decline into irrelevancy, which imo can't come soon enough.


That's all. Till next year :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

The BUFFY Top 20! Part 2
10 Conversations with Dead People [Season 7]
Buffy goes art house! Season 7 was a bit hit and miss, but Conversations with Dead People was one of the few major highlights of the season. Each of the main characters are visited by The First who takes the form of a dead person they once knew. Buffy has an honest sit down conversation with an ex-student who is now a vampire, Willow gets a visit from a girl who died a few episodes earlier, and Dawn has the most bizarre visit of all, with The First appearing as her Mother during a group of very creepy hauntings while Dawn is home alone.
09 Fool For Love [Season 5]
Spike had a fascinating history, and we saw glimpse of it in this episode. Not only was this a great insight into his past, but it was also the start of what would eventually be a close but messy relationship between Buffy and Spike. They could have made a whole movie out of this.

08 Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered [Season 2]
Xander casts a love spell on Cordelia which backfires and makes every woman in town fall in love with him instead. They could have played this safe, but they actually went all out in this episode with Willow chasing Xander with an ax, Buffy getting turned into a rat and even Buffy's Mom lusting after Xander when he tries to find sanctuary in her home.

07 Band Candy [Season 3]
What a hilarious concept for an episode! The adults of Sunnydale revert back to acting like teenagers when the town starts eating some new [and suspicious] chocolatete bars that clearly have a secret ingredient not listed on the back of the wrapper. The sight of a rock n' roll bad boy Giles and a vandal happy gum chewing Joyce Summers is something you'll only ever see once in this series, so this episode is a must!.
06 The Body [Season 5]
Joss Whedon goes for a much more realistic style of direction in this episode, when Buffy has to deal with the consequences of finding her Mother dead. The deafening silence of the episode [which features no music whatsoever] is very powerful and makes the entire experience the characters go through that much more effective.
05 When She Was Bad [Season 2]
Buffy comes back from summer vacation and it seems like she has a few unresolved issues after dying [and coming back to life] at the end of season 1. Unfortunately for everyone around her, they have to deal with her rather nasty and unpleasant attitude. Other than her bipolar character turn in season 6, you won't see Buffy as far removed from her usual self as you do in this episode. Buffy's a bitch!

04 Hush [Season 4]
The town of Sunnydale have their ability to speak taken away from them when a group of creepy floating fairytale demons come to town. Buffy and friends have to try and find a way to solve the mystery behind how to stop the creatures, all while awkwardly signing/miming their way throughout the episode. The scene where Buffy motions using a stake, but looks like she's masturbating makes the episode worth it alone.
03 Living Conditions [Season 4]
In my opinion, this was the funniest episode from the whole series, and there were many of those, so that says a lot. Buffy goes to college for the first time in season 4 and finds herself sharing a dorm room with the most annoying roommate on Earth. She borrows Buffy's clothes, eats Buffy's food and is constantly listening to Cher's "Believe", much to Buffy's horror. The Scoobies think Buffy is starting to lose her mind when Buffy announces she wants to kill her roommate to end the torment, but later it's revealed that the roommate is in fact a demon, which Buffy is more than happy to use as an excuse to destroy her.
02 Restless [Season 4]
From a direction point of view, this was the best thing we ever saw in the series. Joss Whedon goes all David Lynch as he weaves in and out of characters dreams as they recieve prophetic messages from a dark figure that stalks them in their sleep. The weird moments and fantastic transitions between worlds are perfectly executed, i also love the confrontation between Buffy and the first Slayer during the last part of the episode. The visuals are hypnotic, but the interesting use of music and sound in the episode also adds to the strong eerie atmosphere of the dream worlds the characters encounter.
01 Becoming, Part 1 & 2 [Season 2]
I know technically i'm cheating with this since i've included both episodes in the #1 spot, but if i had to choose just one side of this epic 2 part finale, it would be part 2. I figured i'd write about both of them since they work best as one long double episode anyway.

It doesn't get any bigger in terms of "wow" moments for me in Buffy than it does with Becoming parts 1 and 2. From the death of Kendra, to Angel's plot to open the gates of hell, through to Buffy being framed for murder and eventually taking Angel head on in a battle to the death, it's like a mini movie!. While part 1 builds up the momentum to part 2 perfectly [especially with Kendra's death], it's part 2 that brings it all full circle.
I'm sure every fan who watched this back in the day remembers how tense the lead up to Buffy and Angel's confrontation felt. It was even more shocking when Angel's soul was finally restored thanks to the Willow's magic, only to have Buffy still need to kill him to close the portal he already opened. It was the most dramatic the series got at the time, and the cinematic feel of the story showcased how capable the series was at telling really great epic stories.

Honorable mentions:

Prophecy Girl [Season 1]
The Gift [Season 5]
Witch [Season 1]
Tabula-Rasa [Season 6]
Wrecked [Season 6]

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The BUFFY Top 20! Part 1
After 15 years of watching Buffy episodes over and over again, i had a fair idea as to what would make my top 10. My top 20 however took a bit more thought. I could swap a few episodes here and there with others that didn't make the list, but overall i'd say this is pretty much the definitive top 20 for me.
Naturally, fans will agree and disagree with a few of my choices. I could ha
ve easily made my list based on the biggest and most popular fan favourites that are always picked, however, my selection process was a little broader. Here's part 1, episodes 20-11...

20 Passion [Season 2]
As Jenny Calendar tries to find a solution to restoring Angels soul, Angel begins sending cryptic messages to Buffy and the gang via dead fish [Willow] and drawings during sleep time [Buffy]. Eventually Angel comes head to head with Jenny, and kills her. Well......he snaps her neck to be more precise, and i'll always remember it as the first genuine shock of the series, completely unexpected and proof for the first time that no one was safe, even if you're part of the Scooby Gang.

19 Chosen [Season 7]
I still think it should have been a feature length finale, but as a final episode it still delivers the goods. After living for 7 years with these characters, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing them finally close the Sunnydale Hellmouth for good in the last ever episode of the series.

18 Grave [Season 6]
Season 6 comes to a massive finish when an evil and heartbroken Willow tries to take down the entire planet after her girlfriend [Tara] is killed. The episodes final scene between Willow and Xander is one of the most touching moments from the series.

17 Storyteller [Season 7]
Ex-villain and geek supreme, Andrew, is held captive in the Buffy house. To pass his time, he records a day in the life of the Scooby Gang with a hand held camera. The slow motion kitchen scene is a highlight.

16 Who Are You? [Season 4]
The return of Faith in season 4 was a big one! Just when you thought she may redeem herself after the events of season 3, she comes rampaging back into Buffy's life, swaps bodies with her and causes yet another mess. It only gets worse once she makes her way to Angel in L.A for another double episode in his series where she really loses it.

15 Double Meat Palace [Season 6]
This gets hated on by a lot by fans, i'm not sure why. I've always found Buffy's attempt at an everyday dead end fast food job kinda hilarious. The weird staff, Spike ordering a meal, the constant state of depression Buffy is in ect. Sure the monster at the end is a bit silly, but it all adds to the weird vibe of the whole episode.

14 Lie To Me [Season 2]
Ever notice how the Joss directed episodes were the best ones? this was a great change of pace for the series at the time, showcasing a different perspective of why someone would actually choose to become a vampire.

13 Once More With Feeling... [Season 6]
A demon turns the entire town of Sunnydale into a singing and dancing cast from a musical. The Scooby Gang try to restore the town back to normal all while breaking out into random outbursts of song and dance.
Joss Whedon's dream to write a musical comes true with original songs and real singing from each of the cast members. There's actually some really great tracks in the e
pisode and it's the weirdest you'll ever see the characters in the series.

12 Dopplegangland [Season 3]
Anya tries to regain her powers while accidentally bringing in a vampire version of Willow from an alternate reality into the "real" world. Willow as an evil vampire is a lot of fun to watch, especially when she's so out of place with the rest of the confused cast.
Willow's comment about her vampire alter-ego being "gay" was also a funny hint at what was to come of Willow in season 4.

11 Ted [Season 2]
Forget the awkward robot episode from season 1 [I, Robot...You, Jane], in season 2 of Buffy, the writers created a much more entertaining way for Buffy to come head to head with a robot in the evil form of Buffy's Mom's new boyfriends, Ted [played by John Ritter].
Sarah and John play opposite each other perfectly, it's very tense between their characters. John's guest appearance was the best one the series ever had.

Part 2 next week!...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Florence + The Machine
Ceremonials: Deluxe Edition [2011]

The new Florence album doesn't tread any dramatic new ground, in fact, if you've heard her previous album, 'Lungs', you'll know exactly what you're in for as far as tone and sound goes. What Ceremonials does is build on an already signature sound for the singer, while taking it to a much bigger, yet still familiar place.

Lungs was a very whimsical and light sounding album, pretty harps and organic production were littered throughout the songs, and there was a child-like innocence to the overall sound of the music. 'Ceremonials' puts a much louder spin on that by amplifying the drums, and giving the songs a much more booming and epic scope.
There's an anger and sense of urgency in Ceremonials that was missing from Lungs, and even the more lighter songs on the new album maintain a very vast sound.

The beautiful, 'Shake It Out', is the perfect throw-back to Lungs and works well as the lead single off the album. The anthem sounding, 'What The Water Gave Me', hints at a song that would sound incredible with a live audience singing along, and the build up towards the final minutes in the track are perfectly produced. Other songs like 'Never Let Me Go' and the romantic sounding, 'All This And Heaven Too', have a similar build up.
The witchy and dark, 'Seven Devils', is slow and powerful with a beautiful choir on backing vocals, that choir is used again just as well in chorus for, 'Leave My Body' [my favourite song off the album]. The tribal-esque drums on 'Heartlines' are deep enough to shatter your speakers, and the drum and chant heavy, 'No Light No Light', is just as lively.

There are moments where the album feels a little "samey". There is so much use of the same sorts of instruments and chants that certain songs can get lost within the similar production. 'Spectrum' is a decent track, but i feel by the time i get to it, i've kinda heard it all before, so it loses a bit of impact for me. Personally, i think the bonus track, 'Strangeness and Charm' should have replaced it on the standard track listing. It packs a bit more of a catchy punch.
A couple songs are so over produced to the point of being a little overbearing as well, 'Breaking Down' and 'Lover To Lover' suffer because of that, and the melodies within the songs border on the cheesy side a little.

What the standard tracklisting lacks is made up for with a few of the bonus tracks from the deluxe edition. 'Remain Nameless' is a nice change of pace for Florence, less organic than the rest of the album, it would have broken up the standard track listing nicely, it's a great song. 'Bedroom Hyms', is a nice one also.

Much like 'Lungs', 'Ceremonials' is nearly perfect, but stumbles in a few areas that stop it from being flawless from start to finish. However, the good certainly out-weights the bad, and 'Ceremonials' is a strong sophomore effort from Florence. In many ways, it's actually stronger than her debut, and if you liked her previous work, you'll love this.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Favourite Films of ALL TIME! #20Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Directed by: James Cameron

James Cameron has a bit of a reputation of outdoing original films by giving them much stronger sequels. The first time he did this was with Aliens [sequel to Ridley Scott's Alien], which wasn't an easy thing to do since Ridley's first Alien was such a classic. James however managed to take the sequel to a new and much bigger place, and that's exactly what he did with T2 as well.

T2 picks up a few years after the original Terminator film left off, with Sarah Connor [survivor from film 1] being locked in a mental ward due to her crazy rants about being stalked by a cyborg from the future. Her teenage son, John Connor, is living with foster parents. Arnold reprises his classic role as The Terminator in T2, however this time, he isn't playin
g the bad guy, he's the good guy. He's been sent back again in time to protect John from a different Cyborg, who's job is to finish the job 'bad guy Terminator Arnie' failed to do in movie 1.
In film 1, Sarah Connor was the target because her future son was going to lead a resistance against the future Cyborgs who will declare war against mankind. Since she escaped first time around, she was then free to have her son, which now means John is the new target for assassination. Once all of this is revealed to John after he escapes near death at the hands of the new terminator [who's metallic form can melt into shape changing liquid metal], he sets out on a mission with the Arnie-bot to free his Mother from the mental institut
ion she's being held captive in so they can fight against the newly upgraded assassin cyborg that is out to kill John.
To say T2 is an upgrade from the first film is putting it lightly, the scope is 10 times bigger, the story is more developed and the biggest change of all comes in the form of a newly buff and tough, Sarah Connor, who is transformed from a puffy haired screaming woman in the 80's to a muscle punching, shotgun shooting warrior of the 90's. The change Linda went through to become the new Sarah is incredible, and not only does she look the part, but her acting in the role is incredible. Many critics and movie fans over the years have labeled Linda's performance in T2 as one/if not the best female action role in movie history, only ever being close to Ripley in the Alien franchise. In fact, James knows how to create really powerful female leads in his stories [Aliens, Avatar].

At the time, T2 was also showcasing brand new special effects, mostly due to the liquid metal effects of the evil cyborg. They still hold up today, and there are some really iconic moments in T2 that showcase how far they pushed the visual effects back then.
With so much action and sparkling effects on show, James still manages to put together a very moving and powerful story. Whether it's Sarah Connor dealing with having to work alongside the cyborg who tried to kill her years earlier, or the Father-like relationship John Connor develops with the Arnie-bot, there are some great character moments within the story that are very moving.
The impending apocalypse within the story gives the movie a strong atmosphere as well, one scene in particular is quite eerie and used to really creep me out as a kid. It revolves around a dream Sarah Connor has, where she watches children play in an outdoor playground just as an atomic explosion hits the area and her silent muted screams of danger are met with a volcanic explosion of fire and destruction as the city is destroyed and Sarah's body is burnt away to the bone. It's a strong image, and you can't help but wonder "what if?" when thinking about this sort of thing happening in our world today.

Terminator 1 is a favourite of many, but to be honest, it's never been a film that has blown me away. For me, T2 is where the series really does something special. There's a great nostalgia attached to T2 because i've been watching it since i was a kid, i even remember being 7 years old and seeing it at the cinemas. It's one of my earliest memories of going to the movies for the first few times in my life. The classic film score is also one of my favourites.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Most Underrated Movies EVER!
These are my personal picks, i know there are a few you may think are underrated that i haven't included in the list, so let me know what they are in the comments section....

Freeway [1996]
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Keither Sutherland
This had a very small cinema run [i think only in the U.S.] and was eventu
ally released straight to video and has since become one of those random old movies that not many people i know have seen. I do stumble upon a few people every so often on the web who have seen it at some point though, and it did have a very small cult following which got it a direct to video sequel [without Reese].

Cube [1997]
Starring: A bunch of nobodies
More of a known treat for watchers of sci-fi, but generally a small indi forgotten gem that passed a lot of people by when it was released.

The Faculty [1998]
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Clea DuVall
The way this movie was marketed was wrong. Robert Rodriguez's tongue in cheek approach to the film trailer seemed to not sit well with people. It just sounded l
ike a really stupid premise when watching the trailer. The film however was actually really great, and the old skool sci-fi throwback genre fit in perfectly with Robert's hip high school setting. Josh Hartnett and his badly cut hair can grate on the nerves a bit, but the rest of the cast put in some good performances. It's a fun movie, but one that seems to only live on through people my age who lived through it back in the late 90's.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame [1996]
Starring: Demi Moore, Jason Alexander
Disney was on a roll during the 90's with one massive re
lease after another [The Lion King, Aladdin ect], and even though Hunchback did well on it's release, i've noticed it's really fallen to the bottom of the list amongst such massively popular films that came before and after it. It's in my top 3 favourite Disney flicks of all time, and features some of the most dynamic animation and music Disney has ever put out.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [2010]
Starring: Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick
Based on a popular cult comic series, this was set to bring the geeks flocking to cinemas to make it a box office hit, however, the movie severely underperformed at the b
ox office and was a flop. It still found a certain audience though, and ironically like the comic book series, has become a bit more of a "cult" affair.

Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love [1996]
Starring: Naveen Andrews, Indira Varma
It's beautifully filmed and acted, but Kama Sutra seems to have disappeared into no mans land over the years. It's one of those movies i ask people about and they'v
e never heard of it. Maybe it's low key cast and sexual subject matter made it zoom past peoples radars. It's one of my all time favourites.

Lost Highway [1997]
Starring: Patricia Arquette, Bill Pullman
Certainly known amongst David Lynch fans and people who watch a lot of a
rt house cinema, but compared to Lynch's other more high profile films [Blue Velvet, Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive], this one always felt like it fell through the gaps of the public audience a little. Maybe it was too dark or too explicit, but it's never really mentioned by critics or regular cinema folk compared to his other films. Personally, this is my favourite Lynch film.

Pitch Black [2000]
Starring: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell
Not as low key as some of the other films on here, but it does seem like a b
it of a forgotten gem, especially since Vin Diesel took the Riddick character from Pitch Black and gave him his own much more high profile adventure [The Chronicles of Riddick]. It's a low key film, shot in Australia, and features a fairly unknown cast [at the time Vin was making his debut in this]. I think it's one of the best sci-fi flicks to come out of the last decade, it doesn't get enough re-visits from a lot of casual movie goers in my opinion.

Legend [1985]
Starring: Tom Cruise, Tim Curry
There were so many sword and sorcery flicks in the 80's, this was the best one in my opinion. Beautifully directed by Ridley Scott, and perfectly scored by Jerry Goldsmith. The U.S. version came with a crappy score by Tangerine Dream, which sucked all the atmosphere and other worldly feel out of the the Jerry Goldsmith version. It's no surprise it flopped badly on initial release in America with how much of an edited mess it became, had they stuck to the original version which is a visual and audio masterpiece, maybe it would have received better reviews. The non-U.S version faired a bit better outside of America, and it was the version i grew up with.

The Prophecy [1996]
Starring: Christopher Walken
This actually was a popular straight to video film that spawned a few sequels, but i still find it's a film not a lot of people have stayed connected to over the years. I feel like
i'm the only person on Earth who not only saw it, but owns it too.

Leon: The Professional [1994]
Starring: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman
This has certainly held a strong cult status over the years, and is also well known for it's controversial casting of a very young Natalie Portman playing a very Lolita-esque child assassin. Even though it has it's fans though, i've always felt more people should see it. I've introduced this to a good few people over the years and they've all loved it. It's a classic to me, and the director's cut adds so much more to the original film, if you ever get the opportunity to see it, make sure it's that version.

Go [1996]
Starring: Katie Holmes, Scott Wolf, Sarah Polley
Similar to The Faculty, this seems to be a film that has stayed with teens at the time it was released, but has since been forgotten by everyone else. Great film, critics called it Pulp Fiction for a younger audience.

The Doom Generation [1995]
Starring: Rose McGowan, James Duval
This is a Gregg Araki film, so you can't help but have this be a lot more low key than you're usual indi film. Still, it's a great mind fuck of a movie with an awesome soundtrack and a wacky over-sexed cast. Not for everyone, but still underrated.