Monthly Archives: October 2012

Review: Nickelback (04/10/12)

Last night Nickelback took to the stage at Manchester Arena on the UK leg of their European tour.

American rock band Daughtry opened the show at 7:30 and were the perfect support act for the show. After supporting Nickelback on their 2011 tour their music style fit in nicely with the thousands of Nickelback fans in attendance.  Chris Daughtry’s powerful voice and the bands dynamic songs got the crowd going and it was clear that there were plenty of Daughtry fans also in attendance.

The Canadian four piece then took to the stage at 8:45 to a sold out crowd. Opening with ‘This Means War’ from their latest album ‘Here and Now’, the audience erupted and Nickelback set out on a two-hour non-stop show.

Accompanied by a great light show and stage videos, the band who have performed at the arena before, were in their element.  Singing classic hits ‘Photograph’, ‘How You Remind Me’ and ‘Rockstar’, the band had great stage presence as their gratitude to there fans clearly showed. All dressed in black, Chad, Ryan, Daniel and Mike thanked fans at every opportunity. Chad Kroger’s vocals were on point and his signature voice surrounded every part of the arena. Daniel Adair also delivered his classic drum solo piece as audience members watched in awe at his talent.

The crowd of all ages sang along to every song and at points it was hard to hear Chads vocals over the crowd. The crowd was clearly full of true fans that were out to see a great show.

The show ended loudly with ‘Burn It To The Ground’, which is also when the crowd were at their best. Singing loudly along to every word the arena was electrified with the crowd and bands energy. All in all Nickelback certainly delivered a great rock show and will surely be welcomed back to Manchester anytime.

The tour continues throughout the UK heading to Newcastle, Sheffield and London before the band jet off to Russia and then Australia.

2012 Film Rankings

This post will contain a ranking of all the films I watch throughout 2012. Each time I watch a new film, I will update the list. Let me know what you think and feel free to post any of your own lists 🙂

  1. The Dark Knight Rises
  2. Avengers Assemble
  3. The Amazing Spider-Man
  4. The Descendants
  5. Looper
  6. The Hunger Games
  7. Shame
  8. 21 Jump Street
  9. The Cabin In The Woods
  10. The Watch
  11. American Reunion
  12. Premium Rush
  13. Lawless
  14. Rock of Ages
  15. Contraband
  16. The Woman In Black
  17. The Five Year Engagement
  18. Magic Mike
  19. The Muppets
  20. Red Lights
  21. Safe House
  22. Dark Shadows
  23. Prometheus
  24. Chernobyl Diaries
  25. The Grey
  26. Chronicle
  27. Killer Joe
  28. Ted
  29. Project X

One Tree Hill: End of An Era

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN APRIL 2012

After nine seasons, 184 episodes, three weddings, six births, three psychos, three murders and one suicide One Tree Hill is about to air its final episodes.

The Show debuted in the US in 2003 and has attracted millions of viewers. Originally One Tree Hill followed the lives of half brothers Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) living in the fictional town of Tree Hill, who compete for positions on their school basketball teams. Their relationship then evolved form soulless enemies to loyal siblings. The audience was then taken through the whirlwind romances of Lucas and Peyton (Hilarie Burton), Lucas and Brooke (Sophia Bush) and Nathan and Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti). By the time the show reached season five, creator Mark Schwan decided to jump four years ahead in time to show the characters lives in college and by the start of season seven the show had jumped another fourteen months ahead of time.

After six seasons, it was announced that Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton would not be returning to the show therefore season six would mark the last time that the original cast would be together. Arguably seasons seven and eight where the less popular of the shows run. It seemed that the writers had begun to recycle old storyline instead of bringing in new stories. Storylines such as the psycho Derek storyline from season four where reused in season six with the introduction of Nanny Carrie. The idea of reintroducing Karen’s Café in season eight also seemed problematic as it looked as if the show was trying to revert back to its old ways.

Season Nine began on its English home E4 on 5thMarch 2012 and is a thirteen episode long season. As someone who has previewed the current season it is easy to say that One Tree Hill is back on form and season nine can be looked at as another great season. With more twists and turns, the death of an important character and the return of a missed character, the writers are giving its audience the opportunity to go out with a bang. It will be a sad day when One Tree Hill ultimately finishes and the CW has already announced that there will be a two-hour season finale (it is unknown if this will also be shown in the UK) with cast and crew reminiscing over the past nine years.

One Tree Hill has been a loved show and has reached audiences of up to 4.3 million and even though it’s the end of its TV run, fans will be able to relive the show via DVD. The ending of the show is the end of an era and fans around the world only need to remember one thing…..there is only One Tree Hill.

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

IThe Dark Knight Rises is the final installment of the Batman franchise brought to us by writer and director Christopher Nolan. This final piece follows on from Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). After it’s opening weekend The Dark Knight Rises made $160.9 million at the box office, which is a record for a 2D movie.

The Dark Knight Rises is set eight years after The Dark Knight and when a new terrorist leader turns up in town, it is down to Batman to return and defend a city that has branded him an enemy.

The first thing that needs to be said about this film is that the cast is brilliant.  The original cast from previous films are back and are as great as ever. Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox bring back the familiarity and reprise their roles well. The new member of the cast on the other hand are outstanding and really make this film what it is. Tom Hardy is brilliant as Bane. His physical presence is over whelming and his overall power is presented extremely well. When it was originally announced that Anne Hathaway would be playing Selina Kyle there were some doubts from critics but she is a sexy and sophisticated Selina Kyle who has great on screen chemistry with Batman. Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate is also great on screen and he character fits in perfectly into Batman’s world. Finally, for me, the one new character that steals the whole film is Joseph Gordon Levitt as John Blake, a young Gotham cop. He really does bring a new emotional and endearing side to the whole film.

The overall film is honestly amazing to watch. The story is continuously unfolding and developing within minutes and keeps you gripped at every opportunity. The characters, in particular Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon Levitt are mesmerising to watch and everything really does come together nicely. It is hard to find flaws with this film and the only thing that I can pick on is the use of actress Juno Temple as Jen, a friend of Selina Kyle. The character just seems miss placed and unnecessary. Some audience members have also said that there are some problems with Bane’s dialogue. I personally didn’t have any problems hearing him. I think there was only one time where I had think about what he had said. This may be down to the fact that you cant see his mouth move so have to really tune your ear or the fact that this may have been done purposely to show how his voice struggles.

As a film, this is a masterpiece. I laughed, I cried, I sat in awe at what I was watching, my jaw was on the floor for the final hour and I honestly wanted to clap when the credits began to role.  There are twists and turns and cameos and so much for the audience to pick up on and just watch as this world unfolds. Everyone who has made this film should be given credit but if the Academy Awards and other awards bodies disregard this film then it really is unfair. Christopher Nolan has delivered an amazing piece of film and you can really see that this has come from someone who is not only a director but also a fan. Finally, if you can get to an IMAX theatre then go. There is over an hours worth of IMAX footage and it just adds to the experience.

* * * * *

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Five years ago, the original Spiderman trilogy starring Tobey McGuire came to an end. The final instalment to the trilogy wasn’t well received and the reset button was pressed. Fast-forward to 2012 and we have a new Spiderman, a new villain and importantly a new title.
The Amazing Spider-Man tells the same story as to how and why Spiderman evolves but brings in a new aspect about Peter Parkers (Andre Garfield) father. When Peter finds a clue as to why his father disappeared during his childhood, he is taken on the journey to try and find the truth. This puts him on a collision course with Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner.

The casting for this film is perfect. Andrew Garfield (Social Network) plays the role of both Peter Parker and his alter ego really well. He can pull off the geeky aspect along with the cocky and confident side well without it becoming unbelievable. He is also very believable as seventeen-year-old boy even though he is almost twenty-eight. Emma Stone (Easy A) is well cast as Gwen Stacey. She also plays off the teenage girl role well and can pull off the confident, smart and yet emotional side to her character strongly. Finally Rhys Ifans (The Boat That Rocked) plays a good bad guy. He is believable as the vulnerable Dr Connors and transforms into his alter ego The Lizard perfectly. The cast is then well rounded off with Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Sally Field as Aunt May.

Some of the best parts of the film take place during Parkers transformation to Spiderman. They are far better than the original film and also add some humour to the overall film. The film is set in New York and this adds to the beauty of the film. A lot of the Spiderman scenes take place at night and the setting is beautiful to look at. New York is a great setting for these types of film and scenes of Spider Man swinging through the brightly lit city at night look amazing.The Amazing Spider-Man is also presented in 3D. In all honesty, the 3D isn’t amazing but there are aspects, which are great and stand out. The only other problem with the film (and its hard to call it a problem) is the fact that it is the same story that has previously been told and some audiences may see this new Spiderman as coming too early after the original.

Overall The Amazing Spider-Man is a great reboot of an old franchise and will be great for new blood to watch and enjoy. If you get chance to see the film in IMAX 3D then definitely take that chance. The IMAX experience makes the film ten times better. The film looks great and is presented well. As the second superhero film released this summer then it lives up to expectations and a second instalment is already due for release in 2014.

* * * *

Review: The Five Year Engagement

The Five Year Engagement is the latest offering written by and starring Jason Segel alongside co-star Emily Blunt released in the UK on 22nd June. Co produced by Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow, The Five Year Engagement follows the lives of couple Tom, an up and coming chef and Violet, a British research student in experimental psychology. After a year of dating, Tom proposes to Violet and the two have to face the pressures of an upcoming wedding. More pressure is then added after Toms best man Alex (Chris Pratt) and Violets sister Suzie (Alison Brie) quickly get married after they find out they are pregnant after a one night stand.  This along with pressure from parents, work and everyday relationship doubts force the couple to really discover if they are 100% right for each other.

As well as starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans co stars as Violets university professor and when the three are together, the comedy is great. Chris Pratt who plays Segels laddish best friend also brings a lot of laughs and is paired well with his on screen wife Alison Brie. The comedy in the film is great and is spread throughout the film well. For a two-hour film, the comedy is never really lacking and is spot in when it is given to the audience. The overall feel of the film is lovely and is your typical rom com which will really attract fans of this genre.

The downside to this film is its length. For some reason the film is over two hours long and it does feel too long. The run time for the film is 2 hours and 4 minutes and even though the comedy is there and you like the characters, you sort of get the point after an hour and a half and kind of want it to end.

Overall The Five Year Engagement is a loveable film with loveable characters and an underlying storyline that I’m sure a lot of couple can relate to.  The comedy hits the right spots and the casting is good but ultimately the length of the film lets it down.

* * *

Review: Red Lights

Red Lights is written and directed by Rodrigo Cortés who brought us the 2010 thriller Buried. Red Lights follows the story of psychological and paranormal investigators Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) who investigate fake psychics. When the chance to investigate world-renowned psychic, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), Tom can’t resist and gets involved with the messy world of psychic phenomenon.

The first hour of Red Lights is strong and draws the audience in with its twists and turns and really does get you questioning the ability of psychics. Cillian Murphy (Batman Begin, Inception) is the strongest member of the cast and is supported well by Sigourney Weaver. Robert De Niro plays blind psychic Simon Silver well and other cast members including Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House) and Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) add to the ensemble.

After the first hour it is hard to stay engrossed with the film as it starts to drag in places and simply pulls scenes out of nowhere to fill time. The action of the film is also hard to watch and often comes across as awkward and not necessarily needed. Unfortunately the ending of the film is what really lets it down and could ultimately be its downfall. The film spends the first hour trying to say one thing and in the final ten minutes it completely contradicts itself and says something else.

It is hard to love Red lights because of its clunky action and its awful ending but the cast is enjoyable to watch and the first half is good cinema. It’s a shame that the ending is what is going to judge this film and the actors do deserve more. Red Lights is a thriller that you don’t need to rush out and see but you could maybe catch it on DVD or on TV when that time comes.

* *