Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews are like judgements on certain things; I, personally, like to review games, books and movies.

Tonight Alive’s What Are You So Scared Of?

I'm quite scared of the creepy girl on this album artwork. Cool as she is...

I’m quite scared of the creepy girl on this album artwork. Cool as she is…

Album Title: What Are You So Scared Of?

Artist: Tonight Alive

Label: Search and Destroy

Track List: 

  1. Eject, Eject, Eject!
  2. Breaking and Entering
  3. Starlight
  4. Sure As Hell
  5. Let It Land
  6. Fake  It
  7. Listening
  8. Reason To Sing
  9. Safe And Sound
  10. Thankyou and Goodnight Ft. Mark Hoppus
  11. Amelia
  12. In The First Place
  13. To Die For
  14. What Are You So Scared Of?
  15. Bonus Acoustic Track: What Are You So Scared Of?
  16. Bonus Acoustic Track: Safe & Sound
  17. Bonus Acoustic Track: Let It Land
  18. Bonus Acoustic Track: Breaking And Entering

REVIEW:

The début 18 track album of Australia’s hottest new band: Tonight Alive is quite the feat in my eyes. It’s not very often we hear of a band from down under ere in the UK but when we do you know it’s for good reason; I mean, look at Parkway Drive. But the whole thing with there being not many Australian bands known out there kind of confuses me considering Australia boast one of the largest open air music festivals in the world in the form of Soundwave. Yet, Tonight Alive have made the crossing and I’m quite delighted they’ve done so.

Tonight Alive are a five piece Pop-Punk group that are kind of like an Australian version of Paramore, the obvious comparison being that they have a female singer. However, after listening to the album quite a few times, I think it’s a little unfair to compare Tonight Alive to Paramore instantly just because they have a female singer, considering that Genre wise it’s very hard to place them. They are definitely a rock band but where to go from there in the large labyrinth of sub-genres  is quite the mystery. I, personally, would have put them down as a pop punk band thanks to the awesome catchy riffs that they dish out in songs like “Breaking and Entering” or “Thank You and Goodnight Ft. Mark Hoppuse” but there are even some strange tinges of Post Hardcore in the heavy yet melodic sounds of songs such “Listening” and “Fake It”. Even though it’s hard to place them, these blend of genres throughout the album are pretty sound sonically. It sounds amazing especially through a decent sound system, each song fits on the album and deserves its place on the CD.

RATING: AAAA

What Are You So Scared Of? is a very good début album and if anything has wet my appetite for more of Tonight Alive in the future, their catchy hooks, awesome guest appearances and awesome album artwork. I think one of the things that actually made me rate the CD so high was the Acoustic Bonus Tracks.  The tracks themselves sound great but when you can play that track acoustically and still have the power of a fully plugged in song like is shown in the “Breaking and Entering” acoustic rendition; it’s not good. It’s fantastic. So, I firmly recommend downloading and buying this CD if not to support the band but for the awesome well rounded quality of it.

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Beastly

Is that his good angle?

Is that his good angle?

UK Release Date:

Director: Daniel Barnz

Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Neil Patrick Harris & Mary-Kate Olsen

REVIEW:

As sad as it is to see HMV going down the toilet once again, there is always something you can rely on when such a huge company pops its clogs and that my friends is: The Blue-Cross sale. With 25% off almost everything in a store as cool as HMV, its been really hard for me to resist not taking a peek inside and both times I have done so, I have walked out with so much stuff its unreal but hey, at least it was cheap, right? Anyway, this isn’t a piece about me gloating at the fact I’m making a killing off of the death of one of Britain’s most famous hight street names; it’s a review so now onto the film.

So to start, I picked up this film as part of a pair in a two for £10 shelf; it looked a little strange for a six foot four inches tall guy to be carrying around a total chick flick in his hands but when the other DVD in that pair was the BBC’s serial adaptation of Pride and Prejudice it wasn’t really that damning now was it? And even so, who was going to argue with me about it? Anyway, so I picked this up above everything else because of a few things: The first of these that it starred Alex Pettyfer, whom I quite like even as  a heterosexual man. He’s pretty cool and well, if I could swap lives with anyone for a day it would probably be him. The second reason is because I heard that it was basically a modern day retelling of Beauty and The Beast, which was one of my favourite Disney movies as a kid so, how bad could it be right?

So, the movie IS a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast focussing on High School Prince, Kyle [Alex Pettyfer] and his behaviour towards his fellow man, woman and child due to his vanity. Kyle has been led to believe that how people see him is directly proportional to what he looks like. Spoilt and shallow, Kyle is then transformed into something as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside after trying to humiliate a certain female student/ witch: Kendra [Mary-Kate Olsen]. Kyle now has one whole year to get someone to say those three magic words: “I love you” before the transformation becomes permanent.

Kyle and his anchorman father though have other ideas. Kyle is soon living a life of solitude within a lavish apartment with no one but his Jamaican housemaid and his newly appointed blind Tutor [Which surprising is Neil Patrick Harris] for company and time running short. His major breakthrough comes when a classmate of his, whom has been nothing but invisible most of her School life becomes the target of Kyle’s affections. Cue our Belle replacement, Lindy [Vanessa Hudgens] whom is soon living with Kyle, the Housemaid and Neil Patrick Harris as Kyle begins his miraculous transformation from self-loving jerk to most benevolent human being on the planet.

RATING: AAA

Although an interesting take on that good ol’ “Tale as Old as Time”, Beastly is missing some of the key magical elements that the original Beauty and the Beast has; maybe it’s the fact that they replaced the cool talking furniture characters with nothing but a housemaid and a blind man. Or maybe it’s because Beastly doesn’t quite rock the same amazing musical numbers as the original animated adventure did. I just don’t know but it just wasn’t as magical as The Beauty and The Beast that I grew up with as a child. Even though Pettyfer, Hudgens, Olsen and even NPH give some quite good performances; this film was if anything mediocre. It just goes to show that some classics don’t need that modern day retelling and that maybe, just maybe, that magic we’re all looking foir in films can be found by looking back rather than looking forward.

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Warriors Orochi 3

 

UK Release Date: 6th April 2012

Publisher: Koei

Platform: Xbox360

Review:

I’ve been a fan of the Koei Warriors series for a very long time; I remember first being introduced to Dynasty Warriors 3 on my friend Luke’s PS2 and falling in love with the Franchise then, we sat in that dark room for hours conquering Ancient China in the name of our favourite Three Kingdoms. Luke wasn’t as in to Samurai Warriors as I was. However, when Warriors Orochi; the first one was announced it was about bloody time!

I mean, everyone wanted a cross-over game it was just a matter for the developers to give us it and find a way to give us it. It wasn’t that hard by the looks of things and for the first game they did it well, the cast was smaller and there were less variables in those games as there were in the next renditions. Less weapons, less stages. It wasn’t as big as it soon became in the second rendition of the series and this is where things began to go downhill for the series as a whole.

Warriors Orochi 2 saw a quite significant boost in the character roster; mostly on behalf of the Samurai Warriors cast and the expansion toward Sekigehara in the stages. Those famous in these battles, joined the rosters as well as some other characters. It was quite cool to have them all together but things seemed to suffer due to the heavy casting.  Graphics became poor even on the XBOX 360 edition of the game and because there was little room left for animation, some characters weren’t eve given their proper weapons but rather, re-worked versions of already existing ones. It was sad and greatly shook my confidence in the series. I wasn’t really up to considering buying the third installment I knew was coming.

However, I then saw Warriors Orochi 3 and fell in love.

Warriors Orochi 3 even in the trailers and from the reveals of some of the newer characters to join the roster looked pretty darn impressive. As well as interesting. What was also quite interesting was the fact that Warriors Orochi 3 was using the Samurai Warriors 3 latest character models that had been exiled to the Wii.  So, with that I was determined to get the game, saving and scrimping in order to order it online after failing continually to get it in store. And I wasn’t disappointed, the game had definitely worked on its faults.

The graphics had been improved immensely and the characters looked amazing, even if some of the terrains did look basic. I was rather appreciative of the mish-mashed levels that included factors from Bladestorm, Ninja Gaiden and some other different games. It was nice to see and it was cool that other games associated with Koei were getting to use the Warriors franchise’s fame in order tor aise their profile. Koei is a great company and I think they used Warriors Orochi 3 well.

Another thing they did well with the game was to abolish multiple campaigns for one rather interesting storyline. A problem with the multiple stories was that even though they went together, even crossed over but sometimes continuations did emerge. With this singular story, which went well with the thjemes of the game and was rather interesting; Warriors Orochi 3 had quite a nice play through experience even for people who hadn’t played the game before.

A small thing though, was that there was no English dub; which made it hard to do certain things when people told you because of the fact whilst slicing your way through scores of enemiesyou suddenly had to read subtitles.

Review: AAAA

I think that, even though it is simple and Koei does simplicity well; the Warriors franchise and Warriors Orochi 3 are a good set of games. They aren’t stressful with prestige levels and they aren’t too mentally tasking, their just games you can sit down and play without too much forethought about how you’re going to best your enemies. They’re literally just a game which you can button bash your way through and do some cool stuff between battles with. With a good story mode, which a lot of games are missing nowadays; Warriors Orochi 3 can do nothing but score high with me I’m afraid.

 

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Snow White and The Huntsman

Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Who’s the most Badass of them all?

UK Release Date:  30th May 2012

Director:  Rupert Sanders

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, bobhoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost. Ray Winston and Eddie Marsan

Review:

So apart from the obvious casting mistake of Kristen Stewart apparently being hotter than Charlize Theron (whom by the way is beautiful just to get that out-of-the-way) and the notion that Chris Hemsworth could possibly play someone other than Thor; Snow White and the Huntsmen interested me for many different reasons.  I think it’s the whole ‘dark fairytale epic’ trend that’s going on in movies nowadays. They are all pretty interesting takes on classic stories and with the benchmark set by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland epic and how well it did, it’s obvious to see that this trend is something the movie going public are embracing. Films like Red Riding Hood, which was alright and soon to be released Jack the Giant Killer have all been given massive hype in their time and are hopping on the back of this trend. Snow White and the Huntsman has received no less acclaim and has been tipped as one of the years best movies. Maybe it’s the whole appeal of these darker fairytale  that attract both adult and child audiences; these tales have a more ‘realistic’ morale compass then the conventional that we’re used to. making them both a little more interesting and thought-provoking for older audiences.

I think it’s pretty what they did with the story honestly, it’s not the whole pure and wholesome image of Snow White we usually have where she can sing to birds and talk to animals. it’s a more gritty darker version of a character we know and love and her journey from prisoner to queen. The whole Joan of Arc image they gave Snow White in the film was quite refreshing; the strength she displays is cool and how the Witch isn’t overthrown as easily as kiss and still requires some amount of force is also something someone doesn’t consider when it comes to fairy tales, I think.  There are other aspects other than Snow White’s characteristic changes that were quite good and often left out of the original tales like that of the Evil Queen and her story. The introduction of this into the narrative and how she came to grow more powerful and what her powers do finally get us as an audience to understand her motives for doing what she does. In the original Snow White story, it just seems as though she’s not a big fan of Snow White because she’s more pretty than her but in this film there’s motive and rive to why she wants Snow White gone and as misdirected as it maybe; it makes for good drama.  The insertion of the character William Tell was also quite clever, the whole apple motif of Snow White fits into his story and that introduction and realisation made me feel really clever when I got it. I can be slow on those sort of things normally. So, when I do realise I have to point it out.

Although the story was cool and stuff, it’s nothing unless someone can bring it to life and with such a star-studded cast it was always going to have some blinding performances. I mean, Theron excelled herself as the evil Queen, brining me to goosebumps at sometimes with how eerily well she played the role and even the smaller parts played by the likes of Ray Winston and Ian Mccshane were pretty darn amazing. I can even go as far to say that Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart were pleasant surprises. Even when the two slipped into their more famous roles as Thor and Bella Swan they managed to pull it back  and seperate their current roles from them despite the similarities. I mean, the Huntsman was basically a more emotionally capable/ broken hearted version of Thor and there were many traits from Snow White which one could link to Bella Swan. Yet, the roles stood out on their own and didn’t seem as if they were type-cast.  Which is nice, I do hate to see someone play pretty much the same character in every single film unless they’re really good at it.

The story coupled with the acting was a pretty amazing combination. Yet there was still one thing the film did very, very well in order to pull off an amazing tri-attack of excellence and this was the visuals. The scenes and the sets and the visual effects were amazing giving life to a magical and deep world; whether it was the charge of many horses or the Dark Forest itself. Every single camera angle and every single detail seemed to have been thought out with a startling precision.   It all looked stunning which like already said, coupled with everything from the story and the actors brought to the screen it made the whole film well rounded and amazing. If ine oif these three things was off, it could have led to the film being a flop in my eyes because I mean if you have such amazing elements you need the rest of the elements to stack up with it or you as an audience member aren’t able to get passed the fact that, the one element that isn’t as good at the rest is bringing the film down.

RATING: AAAA

Even though it was good and I was pleasantly surprised by even Kristen Stewart, there was something in the film that just didn’t quite sit right with me. At some parts it was amazing and at some parts it just wasn’t, it was pretty average for a fantasy film.  And then with the brief flashes into characters that you’ve already seen the actors act out like Stewart with Bella and Hemsworth with Thor. It kind of distracted you from what film you were watching. What was also really annoying is that Kristen Stewart really can’t smile, which I always thought was kind of an acting essential. The film was great but with peers like Avengers; it has a high standard to follow.

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Rock Of Ages

UK Release Date:  13th June 2012

Director: Adam Shankman

UK Certificate: 

Cast: Juliaane Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Russel Brand, Catherine Zeta Jones

Review:

So, yeah I’m seriously beginning to question my sexuality and all with all the dance flicks and Jukebox musicals but I mean man, aren’t they great? So, Rock of Ages literally came out yesterday and I’ve been really excited for it actually, I don’t know what it was that drew me to it; maybe it was the list of wicked 80’s music that makes up the soundtrack or the fact that Tom Cruise was half naked in the trailer (See I’m telling you, there is a homosexual inside me that is desperate to get out). But I went to see it thanks to my massive thing for musicals and rock music on the plus side though, it also gives me something wicked to do with my girlfriend which is always nice.

So, Rock of Ages follows the story Sherrie. A small town girl living in a lonely world in 1987 San Francisco in order to seek fame and fortune and Rock and Roll partying. They crack out some awesome music numbers. They have high times and low times. And of course there’s always some sort of love story. This one was between Sherrie (Hough) and wannabe rocker Bow (Boneta).

However, the cast was probably one of the coolest thing about the whole show; I mean, Tom Cruise was actually pretty cool in it. I wasn’t expecting such a good performance from 50-year-old Tom Cruise being a Rock God. I mean, it’s just not something you expect him to do really is it? Sure, he can scale buildings and believe in aliens and stuff but Rock God? No I just didn’t see it happening, I didn’t even expect them to be able to auto tune his voice or whatever they did in order to make him sound pretty good. And his wasn’t the only solid performance within the film; there was some pretty blinding performances from the likes of Catherine Zeta Jones as a crazy Christian mother with a goal to take down the Sunset Strip. Russell Brand as the English Liverpudlian Rocker and then to Alek Baldwin as Rock and Roll’s very own Peter Pan; when you think about it, it would be kind of hard for any sort of new blood to muck in with Legends such as TC, AB and CZJ but I honestly believe that Hough and Boneta managed to pull off a blinding performance.

RATING: AAA

Even though Rock of Ages boasted a good cast and was a real feel good film. There was something about it that just didn’t quite sit right with me; I think my girlfriend managed to put it in the best way and said that: “They tried to make everything sound like Glee.” Which when you thought about it made sense and you soon came to realise that Rock of Ages had been on your TV screens for a couple of years now just not with all the big names and not with some of the wicked songs and humour. What’s more is that some of the songs that they did ‘Glee-ify’ really didn’t suit that style; which happens. It’s not a disaster. It was a good film, there are much worse things out there on DVD at the Moment: Troll Hunter being one of them. My thing was that I enjoyed myself, it was a good musical and musicals are always a sure win in my eyes, I love musicals and although it sounds like I’ve bashed Glee a little. I do like Glee. I’ve liked it for ages. It’s just the fact that Rock of Ages seems to be exactly the same as Glee at some points, which isn’t a good thing. Glee is Glee and Rock of Ages should be Rock of Ages.

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I Am Number Four (Novel)

It's not the cool cover but still it's a wicked book.

AUTHOR: Pittacus Lore

PUBLISHER: Harper

DATE: 4th January 2011

The Review:

It’s a bit weird to be finally doing a book review on the Authorial, it was mostly games and CDs back on Blogger and now, instead of doing my work for tomorrow’s university lectures or anything of the sort I really want to try something different. Well, that and the fact my girlfriend is cutely snoring away in my bed; although she has stopped…

I’m back, a day later actually, she didn’t die; she’s ok but back to business. After watching the film of I AM NUMBER FOUR (which from the trailers did actually look rather terrible but when I watched it, it was actually alright) I really wanted to read the book. The only problem with the film was that like most book-to-film adapatations I AM NUMBER FOUR as a film was quite the broken narrative, due to the depth that a sci-fi novel needs that can never be transferred onto screen there were more questions then answers really. So then, reading the book should answer posed questions and fill in the gaps, right?

It did.

The book unlike the film was a whole narrative and after being bugged by both Jennifer and my friend Thomas Di Domenico to read it; I thought that I may as well give it a shot. At first glance though, throughout the books opening; I was rather sceptical, raising an eyebrow to my partner and asking her “Is it all written like this?” If she’d have turned around and said “Yes. Yes it is.” I would have probably put down the book there and then. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but the writing style of the opening was strange, I’m not sure what really put me off it; was it that it was clumsy or that it lacked power? Like I said I was not sure but people I talked to all assured me that “Yes, it starts weird but gets better.” I couldn’t go and doubt the majority now could I? So, I plodded on and they were indeed right.

I was rather glad that the book began to… how do I put it? Become stronger as the story developed, I was quite enthralled by the adventures of Number Four or “John Smith”, our young out of place narrator and I personally believed that you grew to love the book as he grew. The power of narration that the author used within I AM NUMBER FOUR was amazing because not only was it believable but it was also constantly developing. Whether it was Four as a character or the growth of your love for Four as a character; the narrative style of I AM NUMBER FOUR was if anything: Amazing and was one of the highlights of the book for me. It was this narrative that then gave birth to the other elements that really made the book stand out from all the other books I have read within the past couple of months; without the narrative style I think the fast paced action and moments of tension would have been lost without the close relationship we felt with Number Four as a voyeur and audience to his story. Which is great. Beyond great even. Because as a writer, we all know how hard it is in order to get people to gel well with a character; especially if it is that character taking them on their journey through the story. But as I have already stated with Number Four you genuinely grew to love him and feel for him and just want to be with him whether he was falling in love or running for his life which was a true testament to the writer’s abilities.

The novel in comparison to the film seemed more whole, more complete and even though it was fast paced did not seem as rushed and forced as it did on screen; we really did as a reader take the baby steps with Four as he was put into these brilliantly described real scenes and places and totally believable situations in comparison to being in them with bizarre sci-fi elements such as powers and aliens and the like.

RATING: AAAA and a Half

It’s weird to be giving something half an A; it’s even more weird to try and imagine what half an A looks like. I mean you could write it on a piece of paper and stuff but it’d still be weird. Anyway, I AM NUMBER FOUR was a great book even though it had such a strange beginning for me and I really did grow to enjoy it. There was just something missing for me in order to give it that 5A rating though, maybe I’m just sore because I haven’t got THE POWER OF SIX yet. But all I know is that I better make room in my reading list for the next installation of Number Four’s adventure because if the characterisation is anywhere near as good as it was in I AM NUMBER FOUR, then, I want to be with him every step of the way.

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Street Fighter X Tekken

Street Fighter X Tekken Standard Edition Xbox Case

UK Release Date: 9th March 2012

Publisher: Capcom

Platform: XBOX360

Review:

I’m not going to lie to you; when I first saw the Street Fighter X Tekken reveal trailer on an E3 live stream I kind of made an inhuman and possibly sexually explicit noise down my headset to all my XBOX LIVE party. It was weird. It was awkward but in reality I didn’t care because you know what: Street Fighter was about to go head to head with Tekken. The two greatest fighting franchises in the world were about to smash head on in a battle that could possibly unravel the fabric of time and space due to awesomeness.

Now, I’ve missed classic side to side beat ’em ups on my XBOX, especially Tekken because on my PS2 I spent most of my time as Hwaorang beating the shit out of the other Tekken Characters and pretty much taking out them all out for hours in survival mode. Yet, on XBOX the Tekken franchise had seemd to take a bit of a dip into more RPG like elements, forsaking the traditional martial arts and beat em up elements for things such as move customisation and stances and levels and all sorts. Which, I’m sorry namco, wasn’t really what we wanted. Look at what was successful on the PS2; games like Tekken Tag, Tekken 4 and Tekken 3 are pinnacles of the fighting game genre and is the reason why I outright stated that in the SFXT battle I was solidly aligned with the Tekken Franchise with which I had always grown up.

However, I could not help but realise that CAPCOM not NAMCO were the producers of the game which meant that it was going to be kind of like Street Fighter with Tekken characters in it, yet, even with this preconception in mind I was still rather excited because even with my love for Tekken and it’s characters it’s hard not to appreciate the SF series. I mean it is one of the longest running Franchise’s in video game history especially of the beat ’em up genre. Even with the unrealistic fighting styles and the 1,000,000 hit combos; it was still a hell of a lot of fun to button bash your way to the top or spam moves like Dhalsim’s stretchy leg or Hadouken to defeat opponents. The two player rage against me was wicked.

REVIEW: AAA

Although the game is wicked for what it is there are some key flaws in it. The first of these is the lack of an actual, proper and well thought out story mode. If you play as the certain teams assigned you can find certain glimpses of story, it lacks the depth of the storyline features we had seen in previous instalments of both franchises. Thanks to the lack of such a story mode, Street Fighter X Tekken fell into the classic Beat ’em up trap in which the game becomes way too short in comparison to what it’s epicness should allow. But then the only way to extend the life of such a game is a classic and that is Versus mode.

The coolest thing about SFxT is the versus mode. Having your mates to beat the shit out of each other and settle old feuds is probably the best feature of the game as a whole; with so many teams to try out and the fun you can have with things such as tournaments and the like; Tekken X Street Fighter is probably a game you should own if you’re the type of friends who like to sit in and play games together, it’s a great party game and captures elements of both franchises to appease hardcore fans of either series.

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