5 August 2010

Bon voyage Leckie! (The Pacific Part 6)

Part 6: Directed by Tony To

Starting off with a mini warning from the real footage and the interviews with the soldiers in the particularly battle which will be depicted, the comparison o
f numbers of Japanese men to Marines sums up the whole piece and the battle that takes place on the airfield. It’s a long battle sequence and easily one of the best of the series so far. It looks spectacular and clearly the main piece in the whole series, with tons of money being used to recreate something so close to reality it’s scary. Bodies flying all over the place, limbs all over the battleground, men screaming and shouting whilst being shot at and the place going off in smoke. It’s a terrifying representation of war and with two main characters involved; you begin to wonder if their time is up. With Leckie and his men seen from the very beginning of the series, they are a close knit team and it’s sad to see them slowly one by one begin to get killed. Leckie takes it hard in this episode, resulting in him being emitted into the more serious casualty boat. Whilst Sledge seems to be growing to his new team where they were very different, almost forcing him to be an outcast, but in war, you must be a team and it seems to have changed for them. Sledge looking round and realising that it is as brutal as what people have called it. It’s a great episode and the pinnacle point of the series so far. I really hope it gets even better from here or it carries on the battle of Peleliu. It seems to be drawn out a lot with the whole fighting, but maybe now with the airfield being taken, it will move to somewhere new.

Simon Childs

1 August 2010

Knocked Up for the mild geeks...

She's Out of my League - Jim Field Smith

A massive market of romantic comedies still exist and to be something different in this genre, you have to stand out as being something familiar and something renovated, it’s hard thing to do but sometimes it happens and proves that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. And the case here is made by the new 2010 version of Knocked Up, She’s Out Of My League, staring a young cast who you may have seen in other films but not know the name of. The lead Jay Baruchel proves to the world that, with this being his first lead film, that he deserves to be here and deserves to become a much bigger name. It seems its Baruchel’s year, with massive releases this summer in a varied amount of ways with How To Train Your Dragon and the newly released The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I’m a massive fan of Baruchel since a small television show which lasted for one season called Undeclared and was a great show about college written and directed by none other than the famous Judd Apatow at the start of his career and stars Baruchel as the lead with Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, who know both headlines films and earn a massive amount of money every time they release something. Sadly Baruchel didn’t blossom as quick, but now with the huge releases and his future looking bright, he could easily steal in and take a huge chuck of the audience favouritism away from Rogen and Segel.

Baruchel plays a lonely guy who doesn’t have much luck in his life including with woman, his job and his friends. He works as an airport security worker who works with his friends (who almost steal every scene in the film!) and one day due to a freak coincident, helps retrieve Molly’s (played by the stunningly attractive Alice Eve) lost phone. After helping getting her phone back, she asks him on a date. And straight away, Baruchel begins to wonder why such an attractive woman would date a guy like him, the average Joe. Throw in some really funny scenes with explanations how he could be funny, and Baruchel bringing Molly to his family’s house, where the family can’t quite believe what’s happened and you have a relatively funny film, but in a sweet way. I especially enjoyed Baruchel playing the sweet and innocent guy who just can’t seem to come off the way he hopes and with a surprising, but in a good way, ending, the best part is when it starts to go wrong, and for the first time, it’s realistic and isn’t the fairytale you would expect. The scenes with Baruchel best friends are clearly the main parts of the film that interact with the audience the best, it’s very similar to The Hangover, but sitting down.

Overall, a really decent romantic comedy that mixes it up a little. I expect the next step of Jay Baruchel to be big...


Simon Childs

A film about a day i despise...

Valentine's Day - Garry Marshall

I really hope this kind of film doesn’t become a trend similar to Christmas where films are written for the audience at that time, trying to ignite the spark in the audience’s imagination and grabbing that mad money of the holiday audiences. But, what makes this different is filming tailoring around a holiday that’s not an official holiday but a date made up by companies to make you spend more money. Yes, it sounds like I’m a bitter man about the whole thing, and no i haven’t had bad experiences with Valentine’s Day where I’ve been dumped or I’ve been cheated on, sadly i don’t live the Hollywood film lifestyle. More often than not, I’m single of Valentine’s Day and that suits me just fine. Moving back on track with this review, i hate Valentine’s Day the holiday, so going into this romantic comedy, i knew it would irritate the fuck out of me. Of all the actors and performances, clearly the money was the major factor for all of them, cashing in on the holiday itself where couples would go see it and have a wonderful evening. (Sick in my mouth). Instead, you get two hours of pure self praise, where each actor appears doing the exact same thing the last actors do, trying to be funny and sweet but showing that the script is bare, the storylines sometimes don’t work and it gets very annoying. Now you may disagree and think it’s an okay film with some funny sections and a decent watch on a Saturday night. There are millions, literally millions of films that are better than this in just the romantic genre or a film that make you laugh.

Normally with the review, this is the section i write about what the film is about, but I’m not going to describe it as it’s a mesh of different tales of different people on Valentine’s Day, with people cheating, people breaking up, kids learning about romance, old people still in love, people against the day, and other random fucking stories that aren’t funny nor cute. It stars a mixture of great actors who have great careers being in decent films like Topher Grace, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway and Bradley Cooper and then we have some mediocre actors who are in the end of their dying careers like Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah and Kathy Bates. And throw in a couple of surprise appearances of the two “hunks” from Greys Anatomy and that werewolf guy from the Twilight films and the girl he was supposedly seeing, yes that famous young country singer, the film is overpopulated with lame performances. Using the blueprint set by New York i Love You and Paris, je t’aime, decent films that had separate sections about different relationships in the city where it’s set, but at the same time the relationships felt real and the performances furthered the story and made it entirely captivating with the different directing styles.

So don’t watch this pile of shit, instead watch New York I Love You and Paris, je t’aime, ten times better all round, i promise.


Simon Childs

Album of the Month - JULY 2010

We Are Scientists – Barbara

Welcome to our first music review and for the next couple of months we’ll be giving you the latest album of the month of what we are listening to and what we think you’ll enjoy. It’s something a little different for us here so just sit back and enjoy. And you can do is go through each track like we will be doing and see if you agree with the comments and if you agree with that we’ll have myself, Simon do most of the commenting and sometimes we’ll have a special guest way in with some comments and points about tracks and even whole albums. Look for at the end of each month for the album of the month. And starting with July, your album of the month goes to We Are Scientists and their latest release Barbara.

A New York based band formed way back in 2000, originally formed by Chris Cain, Keith Murray and Michael Tapper, with Cain on bass, Murray on guitar and lead vocals and Tapper on drums, the band released a self-made album in 2002 called Safety, Fun, and Learning (In That Order) with notably success but only onto their next album after a few EPs, named With Love and Squalor did their mainstream success begin with huge hits like Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt, The Great Escape and It’s A Hit, three big tunes that pushed the band into the limelight with performances at Reading and Leeds festival and a huge tour supporting upcoming bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Mystery Jets. Sadly in 2007, Michael Tapper left the band, just before the release of the next album Brain Thrust Mastery and with the release the band did not receive the massive outbreak they deserved but did see their popularity rise back home in the US with the single After Hours being used in many television shows and films. We Are Scientists were mainly popular in the UK due to their wacky interviews, their intense live shows with comedy thrown in and their ability to write songs to dance to. And now moving onto their latest release Barbara, a new drummer is found, the former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows, We Are Scientists return to their back to basics charm of With Love and Squalor but bring along their melodic charm from Brain Thrust Mastery, choosing not to have crazy drum beats or heavy guitars but smooth sounds. Barbara sees the band truly show that they deserve more credit and deserve to be recognised, but is it enough for the audience to want this? Well here is a track by track run-through of the album, giving comments about the songs best and worst parts and the album as a whole piece.

1. Rules Don’t Stop

The first track off the album, and a sense of urgency from the laid back band that begin to show off the new drummer, the lyrics are good here and the chorus is typical WAS with the addicted and shouty chorus, one made for the festival circuit. The song breaks down at the end with a nice little bridge which shows a great first tune to start off the show. It’s one cleverly thought out by the band to have a song about not stopping to show the critics they can produce a solid record. Moving onto...

2. I Don’t Bite

A great little introduction smoothly transcends into this track, where it’s a sharp guitar track which mixes in a lovely harmony from Keith mixed with his own vocals, it’s a strange mix but it works and having a fade guitar in the background or keyboard, hard to clarify but it feels like a falling effect that connects with the lyrics a little. Always being witty WAS using their history of creating funny lyrics here to a good use. And the song has a great ending with the band really performing and not having Keith sing. Good little dance tune too. A soft end to match the lyrics, it instantly makes you move your head to the beat.

3. Nice Guys

The lead single with a quirky video the song shows the true definition of We Are Scientists performing a good pop song for the mass audience but at the same time being distinct in doing it. Not my favourite song on the album but it’s a good summer tune where it’s made for a car journey in the sun. A jingle jangle beat to it, it isn’t as strong as the first two tracks but it’s defiantly radio friendly.

4. Jack & Ginger

Now for one of my favourites on the album, a jazz feel to this song which comes in strong with a great keyboard beat which soon follows with cleverly laid guitar and drums with some good lyrics here too. An addictive chorus again where’ll it will soon be in your head and it’s a song which i can imagine being used to describe problems relationship problems or being used at the end of a messy night. The production here is very good.

5. Pittsburgh

A dogged down song which starts off sounding like old school We Are Scientists with heavy guitar and drums; a complete departure from the start and soon the dark side of the band appears with the relationship problems taken to the next level. And again they show they can throw together a sing-along chorus, even if it’s a sad song. Well a sad song in the lines of We Are Scientists can offer, talking about sex and how they are only “after one thing”. There almost seems a light at the end of the tunnel too for the song where it seems Keith opens up about how it’s a problem and how he might change, but i doubt it.

6. Ambition

Another great song on the album which seems to be hitting up some great tracks from a band coming into their own, and sure maybe it doesn’t have the urgency or the lack of giving a fuck from the first album and it doesn’t have the ballad and skilled lyrics from the second, but it defiantly shows they can take their formula and make good pop songs, something which i command them for, and this song with a nice vocals and again solid guitar and drum work. It’s got a light feel to it which is nice, a good midpoint of the album.

7. Break It Up

A 70’s feel to this song at the start, almost like a Blondie song, quite different and it’s needed before the album gets repetitive. A great dance track in the sense you can dance to it and enjoy it. Sure it’s airy and has nothing really in depth about it, but what you expect from a good pop indie record is songs to put in the background and dance to, have choruses to sing and cheer along to.

8. Foreign Kicks

A complete change from the other songs with a tripped out guitar plucking with a strong chorus of Keith showing he can sing quite well. The drumming is solid as always and the band again carries on with a good range of styles. I specially love the bridge with the lyrics “forget about the summer, it’s over”, a band who seem to have made a summer album about the end of the summer and how they want to move on.

9. You Should Learn

Ending the album on a high, this second to last song starts off like a rocket with fast paced drumming and strong guitar playing where it accompanies the lead singers harmonies in a more effective manner than before, where it seems his voice is key here and that the background music is well, kept to the back. The song does get a bit repetitive towards the end but as it breaks down (a common theme in their song) you see that WAS are great at many things, but it does get a little boring.

10. Central AC

As you can see by the reviews of each track, I’ve become slightly bored by the end because of the repetitive nature and the fact that many songs do sound the same and you just wish they would mix it up a little and when this song explodes open, it’s different and i like it, very reminiscent of the first album and it shows the band leading off into a new direction, well a new direction into the past perhaps? Here’s hoping so!

A solid album full of summer tunes where you’ll be dancing with friends, it will get some radio airplay because it’s very Radio 1 friendly but it won’t push them into stadium filling limelight, but do you ever see this band doing it? I think they are content on performing in large venues, or opening for a big act. It makes sense that keep with this act because it fits the hole missed by so many pop-rock bands, a sense of purpose and who are actually talented and likeable with it.


Simon Childs