Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lana Del Rey
Live @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Thursday 27/7/12

Lana's stage, laced with countless plants, a string quartet band and a giant projector screen showcasing vintage video montages on loop was the perfect setting for Lana to make her first Sydney concert entrance.
Starting the show off with 'Blue Jeans', Lana walked her way directly into the crowd as she greeted fans and sang the opening track amidst a sea of ecstatic arms grabbing at her. She even took a couple opportunities to stand on some strategically placed platforms to get a better birds eye view of the crowd from the front row, that in turn only made the crowd even more excited to finally see her, which made the smile on her face obviously hard to hide.
Although she didn't talk a lot to the audience outside of a few "thank you" moments, she did get very up close and physical a few times during the concert, which well and truly made up for the lack of dialog. She seemed at ease with her fans, and received a few nice gifts every time she ventured into the crowd, it was cute.

Her venue gigs, away from the eyes of awkward live TV, have always been her comfort zone as far as performing goes. She's able to kick back and just enjoy the moment.
Vocally she sounded great, with her best delivery on a jazzed up version of 'Million Dollar Man', definitely a show highlight. 'Without You' was also surprisingly nicely sung, as well as 'Carmen'.
The haunting, 'I Sing The Body Electric' was one of her best performances of the night, but my personal favourite from the show was her newly added cover of Nirvana's 'Heart Shaped Box'. It completely came out of nowhere and was a nice surprise for the audience. Hopefully we see it on a future release by her.
Although it was sad to see a few great tracks not performed from her debut album, like 'Lolita' and 'Dark Paradise', there was still enough on offer from the record like, 'Radio', 'Summertime Sadness' and the epic final track of the night, 'National Anthem', which Lana performed draped in an Australian flag handed to her by a fan in the audience.

My only minor complaint was that the show was a bit short, it would have been nice to see her utilize a few more of her songs to give the crowd a fuller experience, however to be fair, for a show of it's size, it was paced fairly well and by the end of it, it still felt like a well rounded enough concert.
My only regret is that i didn't get tickets to see her again on the following Friday. Guess i'll just have to wait till the next time she visits, which i'm sure won't be too long away.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy
Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy. 

 Much like the previous installments in Nolan's Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises provides another tense and complicated storyline that weaves itself together with the last two films to wrap up the trilogy with a fitting and complete finish. Once you get to the end of the film, it's amazing to piece together everything you've seen from the trilogy over the years and be impressed by the sheer scope of everything. The movies are huge and i imagine watching them back to back would be exhausting, in a good way of course.
Rises is the grittiest out of all the Nolan films, everything is multiplied by 10. The stakes are at their highest,  the emotional scope of the story is at it's most moving and Bruce's journey feels very much like it's coming to a proper closing as the film unfolds. The twists and turns Rises takes are also massive, with a few major surprises popping up within the story [mostly toward the end] that i didn't see coming.

As usual with these Batman films, the cast do a fantastic job of portraying their characters. The original cast are all solid, with Bale giving his best performance yet as Wayne, taking his journey full circle as he revisits his past and tries to get himself back onto the road of redemption to save Gotham City. Cain as Alfred and Oldman as Gordan give Bruce's story the emotional depth it needed between all the tense storytelling and brutal action.
The real standouts in Rises however are the newcomers to the cast. Levitt is very likeable as a young Detective working alongside Bruce and Gordon, his character played a much bigger role than i expected, Hardy is brooding and scary as the muscled and menacing, Bane, and last but not least, Hathaway as Selina Kyle, who received the biggest eyebrow raise by fans when she was cast actually does a really fantastic job of playing her iconic character. She has the sex appeal and mischievous nature of the Selina on point, and her character is given a well written and layered story which i wish we saw more of [she's never actually refereed to as Catwoman]. Her chemistry with Bruce is also natural and believable.

There's very little to fault with this film, aside from some minor pacing issues [it moves a little too fast at times], the movie was pretty much flaw free. I remember not being overly blown away by Batman Begins, i thought it was enjoyable, but it didn't leave any sort of lasting impression on me. The Dark Knight was something i went into with very low expectations and came out of it completely blown away by how incredible it was. Rises certainly had a lot to live up to when it came to not only being anywhere near as good as Dark Knight, but also finishing off the trilogy strong enough. The Dark Knight probably has the extra edge thanks to Ledger as The Joker, who is still my favourite villain from these films, but Rises is much grander, and the fact that Nolan has been able to maintain such a high standard of quality over three films is impressive to see when you sit each movie side by side. Rises doesn't have a villain as perfect as The Joker, but it does have enough twists, turns and a moving ending to really give The Dark Knight a run for it's money.

Overall, Rises won't disappoint. In fact, it not only makes the Nolan films one of the best trilogies we've ever seen, but it also makes Rises one of, if not THE BEST 3rd film from a trilogy i have ever come across. The only other film i can think of that comes close as far as quality goes is The Return of The King.