Thursday, September 15, 2011

Codes and Keys: a Review.

The so-called “Indie music pioneers”, Death Cab for Cutie, released their latest album, Codes and Keys, on May 31st, 2011. The album was recorded in a plethora of places, among them being Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver, using Logic Pro software. The lead of the band, Benjamin Gibbard, said that Codes and Keys has “more life than the last record.”  Why record a new album when you haven’t since 2002? Well, because they are awesome, that’s why. Death Cab, as fans call them, consists of four members: Jason McGerr on drums, Nick Harmer on bass, Chris Walla on guitar and piano (Walla also produces for DCFC), and the omni-talanted Benjamin Gibbard on vocals, drums, piano, guitar, and bass. Gibbard, Harmer, and Walla are the original members of the band (1997), while McGerr has been a member since early 2003. Gibbard began DCFC as a solo project, releasing a cassette tape under the title You Can Play These Songs with Chords. It was surprisingly successful, so Ben decided a band was in order. Thus Death Cab for Cutie was born.
                Since 1997, the band has produced 5 eps, and 8 full length records. Codes and Keys is their most recent and was released on May 3st, 2011. The record is the seventh studio album. Many Death Cab fans state that the members are now incredibly happy. While the overall tone of the record is much more cheerful than their previous material, their supposed rainbow-and-unicorn outlook on life isn’t true.  In an interview with 102.1 The Edge, Ben said that he thinks “that this record is reflective of a more balanced place” in his life, and he “doesn’t necessarily see this as being a happy record or something. It’s not a Prozac record or anything, but it has more life than the previous record.” He compares Codes and Keys to Narrow Stairs by saying that C&K is “much more emotionally even,” and there “are parts of very bright light” on the record.
                As for the sound of the album, it was very much an experiment for the group. The record is different from the usual DCFC, but it remains consequently Death Cab. They have managed what so few bands are able to do when changing their sound, which is not losing sight of who they are. The album is engrossing, original and awe-inspiring. Unlike their previous material, the guitar appears way less as a big authoritative instrument in the songs, and more as a texture of sorts. Gibbards voice is used more often as an instrument than in previous records, showing off his incredible vocal talent. The album still has the harmony laden arpeggio parts that define the group, but the record has a “more harmonic and sonic foundation,” according to Walla in the 102.1 interview. The bands previous album, Narrow Stairs, is quite dark and has a very present level of self-loathing in Gibbards melancholic lyrics. The lyrical themes differ in this record, primarily because he (Gibbard) is now happily married to Zooey Deschanel. Another variation from previous albums is the lyrical and vocal contributions put in by Chris Walla, who usually tends to stick with producing and his piano playing.
                All in all, the album is incredible. It is well-produced, well-performed, and is quintessential Death Cab for Cutie, but with a twist. Yes, it is different, but it is fresh, alive, and beautiful.
• Marx was born on May 5th, 1818 into a middle class family. He came from a long line of rabbis on both sides of his family.

• At the age of 17, he enrolled the Faculty of Law at the University of Bonn. There, he met the daughter of a Baron, Jenny Von Westphalen, and became engaged to her.

• The year after Karl and Jenny became engaged, Marx’ father sent him to the University of Berlin which had a more serious law program.

• Marx found out about a group called the Young Hegelian movement. The group included the soon to be famous theorist David Friedrich Strauss. The group gave radical critiques of Christianity and, in conjunction, were names the liberal opposition to the Prussian autocracy.

• When Marx finished his degree in Law, he moved into journalism and became an editor in Cologne for a liberal newspaper called Rheinische Zeitung.

• Marx's articles, which were primarily written about controversial economic questions, caused the Prussian government to close the paper.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Genre: Drama
Director: Lee Daniels
Main Actors: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton
Rating: R (Would be awkward with parents Info in the post.)
Length: 109 mins.
IMDb Synopsis:
Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect

    Originaly a novel entitled Push by Saphire (which none of us has read but fully intend to), it was adapted into screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher. Fletcher did an amazing job. This film… just… wow. It was a tough one to watch.  Not because it was boring or because it was badly done (it was quite the contrary actually), but because it was so real. Normally people watch a film to get their mind off of the world and escape into one that is different. In movies things are rarely how they actually are in life. In Precious though, man… you see everything. We knew that people have hard lives but we didn’t realize just how difficult some people have it. It changes your perspective on a lot of things.

    Precious was rated R by MPAA. We don’t always agree with their ratings but this one was classified perfectly. This is a graphic film. One of the characters gets sexually assaulted and the scene is harsh and sad. There is also quite a bit of… scratch that, A LOT of colourful language used in the film. There is physical and verbal abuse. There is some nudity and some sexual content. There is also fair amount of violence.

    The acting in this film was phenomenal. This was Gabourey Sidibe’s first film ever. She tried for it on a whim and got the part, which is amazing. She really made the movie. Her acting along with Mo’Nique was beautifully executed; they had some intense scenes! This must have been an incredibly difficult novel to bring to life on the silver screen, but they played the roles incredibly well. In our opinion, Gabourey could go very far with her acting career. She didn’t only play the role of Precious, she embodied it.

   Incredible acting, incredible message, incredible story. Go out and watch this movie. Buy it, download it illegally, stream it online, we don't care how you watch it as long as you do. We give this movie a well deserved 90%.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife

Genre: Drama/Fantasy/Mystery/Romance
Director: Robert Schwentke
Main Actors: Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana
Rating: PG-13 (Fine for children, but thye may not fully understand.)
Length: 107 mins.

IMDb Synopsis:
When Henry DeTamble meets Clare Abshire in a Chicago library they both understand that he is a time traveller, but she she knows much more than this about him as he has not yet been to the times and places where they have met before. He falls in love with her, as she has already with him, but his continuing unavoidable absences time travelling - and then returning with increasing knowledge of their future - makes things ever more difficult for Clare.

   Well, at the beginning of the movie I was so confused, even more confused than when my teacher tries to explain algebra or chemistry to me. Which means I was very very confused. Eventually, the confusion is straightened out. Don't worry.
   Once again we have the amazing Rachel McAdams starring in one of our movie night films- and of course she was amazing. This time her leading man was Eric Bana, who I'd never seen before- but happened to be tall, dark and handsome! Their chemistry is great, Rachel McAdams has perfected playing female romantic leads, and has so much experience in it now that it looks almost second nature to her! And Eric Bana, well Erin in particular liked her, and placed him under our "hungry/rugged" guys list. He was also very impressive in this movie. He had been visiting Clare since she was a young girl when he came there from the future. This was the part that confused me; the whole concept of him not knowing this because he hadn't done it yet was a bit beyond my mental capacity. It makes a lot more sense in the end though. This movie is based of the book which I've never actually read, but probably should so I don't know how well the script was written based on the book- I just know the movie was done very well.

   The setting of the movie, especially the meadow scene, I absolutely loved. And the relationship of Clare and Henry was so cute! Heartbreaking too, one can only imagine how hard it would be for the one you love to disappear randomly, without knowing when they will return, and for him not being able to control it in the least. I especially loved Tatum and Hailey McCann who played Clare and Eric's daughter Alba at four and five, and nine and ten. They made the somewhat strange child seem so cute, I forsee a good future in the acting world for the both of them. Possibly one of the best movie night movies coming up close to The Notebook- we gave this movie a 96%

The Last Song

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Julie Anne Robinson
Main Actors: Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
Rating: PG (Suitable to watch with parents/ younger siblings)
Length: 107 mins.

IMDb Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Veronica 'Ronnie' Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Tybee Island, Georgia. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father ...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer on Tybee Island with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms - first love, the love between parents and children - that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts ...and heal them.

   Well, firstly I will let you know that we really do not like Miley Cyrus; so we could be a bit biased here, we will try very hard not to me. This movie is based off of the Nicholas Sparks novel which we loved and the movie, which we... not so much loved. Greg Kinnear, and Bobby Coleman were fantastic as Steve and Jonah (the dad, and son). Their relationship in the movie was hilarious, and at the end heartbreaking. Bobby was so cute, and his acting ability is well beyond his years. Liam Hemsworth was pretty good, I do think he would have been better than Taylor Lautner who was also considered for the role of Will (Caroline's opinion. hehe.).Liam's comedic timing, not to mention his overall chemistry with Miley (which was kind of one sided if you ask us) was great. Now, Miley. Miley, Miley, Miley. You are not an actress. You are a much better singer. For once, we agree with Rotten Tomatoes on this one. We didn't think that she was able to handle this type of drama/romance film, and could see her more in a comedy, but like I said before, we weren't Miley Cyrus fansto begin with.
   The setting for this movie was really nice. It was filmed in Atlanta Georgia, which fit really well- although it was supposed to be set in North Carolina, according to the novel. Now, we didn't agree with everything the writers did in regards to writing the script. It seems that with the Nicholas Sparks novels, they all get changed drastically- some for the good (The Notebook) and others for the bad (Dear John, The Last Song). Not saying this script wasn't good- because it was- but it omitted quite a few important parts , some which had a lot of meaning to the plot and even turned around one plotline (the church fire) completely!
   Although this definetely wasn't our favorite movie, what happened in the end and Bobby Coleman and Greg Kinnear's acting definetely made us cry, not so much Miley and Liam but whatever. Maybe we're freaks. Our rating for the Last Song was a definite 40%

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Couples Retreat

Genre: Comedy
Director: Peter Billingsley
Main Actors: Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell
Rating: PG-13- (could watch it with parents, but it'd be a bit awkward.)
Length: 113 mins

IMDb Synopsis:
Dave and Ronnie, Jason and Cynthia, and Joey and Lucy are close. The group used to include Shane and Jennifer, but they divorced and she's gone. Jason and Cynthia announce that their marriage is in trouble, and they beg their friends (and Shane's young girlfriend) to join them on a couples' retreat, at the package rate, on a tropical island. The others reluctantly agree, planning to play while Jason and Cynthia work on their marriage with an island psychologist. To everyone's surprise, the package is inflexible: each couple must participate in the couples' exercises. Soon fault lines appear in all four relationships. What's in store for each couple?

   Okay, so frankly, this movie was pretty terrible. Honestly. We were bored, somewhat disgusted, and only laughed at one scene. The concepts that would be funny once were WAY overused. Such as the male on male embarassment etc. And the guitar hero duel. WTF? They had a really great cast, but the script was terrible, they ran out of unique ideas in about the first 10 minutes. The one scene that Erin had us watch over. and over. and over. at 4am in the morning was the yoga scene where the almost nude Carlos Ponce shows the group how to do yoga. He is a european, manwhore, very well built yoga teacher with like a 35 pack or something. One of the girls in particular enjoys him and instructs him to basically dry hump her to try and stretch out her back. Some other scenes that trying-too-hard-to-be-funny would be the one where the sharks "attack" the guys, and the one where they had to strip down to their underwear, but one guy wasn't wearing shorts. By the end all the problems had been solved and everyone was happy. Yay.
   The setting on the island of wherever was GORGEOUS. Seriously, I'm going to prebook my honeymoon there or something, the water is the bluest blue I have ever seen, and the tiki huts and stuff? SO CUTE.
   But other than the setting- this movie was NOT worth watching. Seriously, if you're reading this review while in Blockbuster- put down the DVD, and go rent Harry Potter. Please. It will be a waste of 5 dollars and you could have seen something actually worthwile instead of wasing almsot 2 hours of your life that you can never get back, hence the 26% that we give it.

Sex and the City

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance...Chick Flick!
Director: Michael Patrick King
Main Actors: Sarah Jessica Parker; Kim Cattral; Kristin Davis; Cynthia Nixon
Length: 145 mins
Rating: R (see first paragraph for details.)

IMDb Synopsis:
After moving in together in an impossibly beautiful New York apartment, Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big make a rather arbitrary decision to get married. The wedding itself proves to be anything but a hasty affair--the guest list quickly blooms from 75 to 200 guests, and Carrie's simple, label-less wedding gown gives way to an enormous creation that makes her look like a gigantic cream puff. An upcoming photo spread in Vogue puts the event--which will take place at the New York Public Library--squarely in the public eye. Meanwhile, Carrie's girlfriends--Samantha, the sexpot; Charlotte, the sweet naïf; and Miranda, the rigid perfectionist--could not be happier. At least, they couldn't be happier for Carrie. Charlotte still has the unrealized hope of getting pregnant. Samantha is finding a loving, committed relationship more grueling than she could have imagined. Miranda unwittingly lets her own unhappiness--created when Steve admits to cheating on her just once--spoil Carrie's. After a heated encounter with Steve, she happens to spot Mr. Big and tells him he's crazy to get married. She's really only thinking of her own marriage. But her angry remark gets Mr. Big to thinking.

   Okay first, this movie has a lot of sex. And I mean A LOT. That would be the reason this movie is rated R for all the sex, and nudity. And it shows EVERYTHING. This film is NOT for kids, or even preteens really. However for teens and up, and on a girls night or when you are feeling bad, this would be a very good choice :) We loved it, it had us rolling on the floor laughing at some of the lines, and we've even come to repeating some of them (ex. colour!)

    Although this movie was a bit long, it spans over a whole year, spending longer in places like halloween, new years, valentines day, and so on. The scenery in Mexico, was gorgeous that you saw, they really didn't leave the resort, and every bit of NYC you saw was perfectly suited for whatever scene they happened to be shooting. The plot, which revolves around the lives of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte is mostly centered in on Carrie, and the fact that she was going to be the 40- year old bride, but since most people don't get their happily ever after, things happened. Of course most things ended up resolving themselves by the end, and it's a very good inappropriate feel good movie- like I said before the perfect chick flick. The acting was good, a lot better than I thought it would be, and the comedic timing was perfect. Of course these women are pretty well adapted to these characters after doing the tv show for years, so it wasn't too big of a surprise. All in all, we give the film a 75%

We'll be reviewing sex and the city 2 next month, so watch this one, then hang tight!