Archive for March, 2012

Updated Vita Impressions

To be honest, I just wanted an excuse to test the Vita’s in-built screenshot features. Many pictures coming up…

It has been just over a month since the worldwide launch of the Playstation Vita (You can see my first impressions of it here) and now that I’ve had some more time with the console, I can add a thing or two to my earlier article about it.

*Sigh* So green...

My main home screen, bubbles and all.

One of the things that has most impressed me in the last month about the Vita is its battery life. It’s a little refreshing to know that I have between four and a half to five hours to play around with on every charge (that’s while playing a Vita game with brightness and sound a decent way up) rather than the barely three hours the Nintendo 3DS yields at full stretch. Continue reading

Album Review: Born to Die – Lana Del Rey

This girl seems to be everywhere at the moment, so I thought I’d throw in my 2c on her debut album.

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Released:
January 2012
Label:
Interscope, Polydor
Genre: Pop
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Blue n' White

She's deadly serious.

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TRACK LISTING

1. Born to Die
2. Off to the Races
3. Blue Jeans
4. Video Games
5. Diet Mountain Dew
6. National Anthem
7. Dark Paradise
8. Radio
9. Carmen
10. Million Dollar Man
11. Summertime Sadness
12. This is What Makes Us Girls

Amidst this refreshingly anti-Gaga pop music landscape where female vocalists can be successful by relying on their voices and their voices alone, and building on the success of the likes of Adele and her terrific efforts, New Yorker Lana Del Rey (not her real name) has emerged in a hurricane of hype. In no time flat she has amassed the sales success to back up this hype thanks to her first major label release Born to Die. After happening upon this album through a family member’s wallet, I have only two questions. Where on earth did this come from and how can I get more? Continue reading

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Yes, the wait is finally over. Whether or not you are a fan of Suzanne Collins’ insanely popular teen novel trilogy, you can now check out the “next Harry Potter/next Twilight” phenomenon in cinemas (it came out on Thursday and I’ve already seen it twice). I suggest you do, lest you become bitter from the hype and turn into a hater.

This could be a long one…

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Starring:
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Director:
Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Big)
Rating: M
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the-hunger-games-posterI do not read novels. Like, ever. Snails move faster than my eyes across a page and so I generally find my leisure time better spent with other forms of entertainment media. So when my brother recommended I read Suzanne Collins‘ post-apocalyptic thriller The Hunger Games in January of 2010, it was only out of desperate boredom that I complied. I was hooked within minutes on its insanely fast-paced first person narrative style and over the next several months I made my way through the entire trilogy. Little did I know that I had stumbled upon what would soon be hailed as “the next big thing” in book-to-film translation.

Yeah, I liked it while it was underground. What of it?

Fast-forward two years and after months of anticipation, I found myself before a screen watching what was once confined to my imagination take shape as a shining example of how to do justice to literary source material while creating a unique identity as a film. There is nothing in the world that quite feels the same as the relief of justified hype. Continue reading

Movie Review: John Carter

The movie reviews on Vagrant Rant finally get started today with John Carter, a film I saw last night in the cinema. It came out on March 8 and you should see it.

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Starring:
Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong
Director:
Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E)
Rating: M
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John Carter Poster
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It’s always interesting to see the results when a film director known almost exclusively for one type of work tries his/her hand at another. Filmgoers got a taste of this phenomenon earlier in the year with gangster movie extraordinaire Martin Scorsese‘s family film Hugo, which won several Oscars despite its director’s violent screen reputation. In a similar vein, Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton tried his hand at making a live action film recently and the result is John Carter, which was one of my most anticipated films of 2012. While it certainly isn’t Academy Award material, the big budget Disney blockbuster is an admirable first effort.

Continue reading

Hundreds of ’em

Generic Movie Pic

Over the last few years I have been undertaking to watch and review 100 movies for the first time every 365 days, in an effort to get “more cultured”. I started at the end of 2009 with a strained attempt to remember everything I had watched that year (only reaching 50), then began in earnest in 2010. I published the lists on Facebook and if you’re interested you can skim through them using the following links.

You can check out that half-hearted 2009 effort here, the fragmented 2010 project here and here, and the complete 2011 list here.

This year I’m only up to twelve movies and we are already in March. Best get a move on. My first proper film review for Vagrant Rant goes up tomorrow!

Album Review: Evanescence – Evanescence

What’s that? You didn’t realise that Evanescence released a new album last year?

Exactly.

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Released:
October 2011
Label:
Wind-up
Genre: Rock
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Ooooohh

That’s a lot of cool colours (Thank you, Year 4 art class)!

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TRACK LISTING (iTunes Deluxe Edition)

1. What You Want
2. Made of Stone
3. The Change
4. My Heart is Broken
5. The Other Side
6. Erase This
7. Lost in Paradise
8. Sick
9. End of the Dream
10. Oceans
11. Never Go Back
12. Swimming Home
13. New Way to Bleed (Deluxe Only)
14. Say You Will (Deluxe Only)
15. Disappear (Deluxe Only)
16. Secret Door (Deluxe Only)

One-time symphonic rock superstars Evanescence arguably peaked just as they were getting started. They won a Grammy in 2004 for Best New Artist after their wildly successful debut album Fallen hypnotised much of the Western world. It brought the niche subgenre of hybrid orchestral movements and snaring guitar riffs into the mainstream through powerful singles such as Bring Me to Life and My Immortal. But dynamite lead vocalist Amy Lee was the catalyst for internal trouble in the band which delayed the release of their next effort until 2007. The Open Door didn’t see the success of the first album but it managed to build well off the strength of Lee’s voice while employing a great deal of variety in melody and themes. Continue reading

IDO: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3

Here starts a new series of articles called “In Defense Of”, which will attempt to address some of the negative accusations leveled at a host of popular things. Modern Warfare 3 (released on November 8th last year) seems like as good a place to start as any, because there are millions of people playing it even right now.
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I N   D E F E N S E   O F

–==Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3==–

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The Case Against:
The Call of Duty franchise is growing stale and Modern Warfare 3 is a glaring example of this. Every year the series repackages the same game and calls it a new one, expecting everyone to buy it anyway. Putting the disc into your console or PC will give you exactly the same experience as you got from Modern Warfare 2. The game is terrible and no-one should play it. Battlefield 3 is better in every way.
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Keanu muses

Indeed.

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The Defense:
It’s amazing how little time can elapse before a popular videogame franchise becomes ‘cool’ to hate on. But it’s simply astounding that such a franchise can attract as much bashing as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 does and still sell so ridiculously well as to become the highest selling entertainment media property of all time. That’s ultimately the bottom line when it comes to the latest COD: Its sheer sales numbers tell the best story of its enduring quality. No extra argument needed.

But extra argument I will give. Continue reading