Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review wrap-up: MGMT, Silversun Pickups, Notorious, Wolverine and Star Trek

I've once again fallen behind on my reviews, so you lovely readers will be spared a kabillion-word rant about each item and instead have the opportunity to enjoy shorter snippets (since there's no way I'm going to try to shell out five full reviews in one go. That's just silly, and a lot of work. I am both non-silly and lazy, so this works out for the best).

MGMT- Oracular Spectacular: If you were to throw David Bowie, the Bee Gees, a disco ball and a laser machine into a blender and hold down the button a few seconds, you'd have both a delicious treat and something sounding a lot like MGMT. The band's latest offering, Oracular Spectacular, dances merrily between genres with a healthy backbone of club beats and synthesizer holding all the tracks together. The album goes from nightclub anthem to southern rock to something sounding like an LSD trip and, somehow, it works...For the most part. MGMT is a fun experiment with sound and the majority of the tracks are worth a listen. Weekend Wars, Time to Pretend and Kids, though, are borderline brilliant.

Silversun Pickups- Swoon: A lot of people compare SSPU to the Smashing Pumpkins and, frankly, I just don't see it. That being said, Silversun is a great little underground group finally making its way into the limelight on the heels of multiple hit singles like the most recent, Panic Switch. If you like what you've heard on the radio, you can't go wrong here. That's also my only gripe with Swoon. Several of the songs sound a bit too similar. Other than that, the sound is great, the lyrics are interesting and the hooks are pretty killer. You'll be singing along in no time.

Notorious: I'm starting to think every successful musician had a rough childhood, knocked up their girlfriend when they were still too young, made bad decisions, paid for those decisions, fixed their life, reverted back to their old ways, paid for their sins once again, fixed their life again, got married, cheated, had another kid, then died. This seems to be the plot for every movie about a musician out there. Just an observation. Thankfully for Notorious, the elements tying that story together are interesting enough to warrant a watch. My only real complaint was that it was hard to feel much sympathy for Biggie. Unlike most rags to riches stories, he seemed to close a lot of doors on himself for the sake of making life harder. He had opportunities and ignored them and the film doesn't do a very good job of making me understand why. The impact of his music, however, cannot be denied. And the circumstances surrounding his untimely death are intriguing. These elements make Notorious worth a lazy weekend rental. Still, there wasn't much "new" here.

Wolverine: I can describe X-Men Origins- Wolverine in exactly one word..."Meh." Wolverine, the character, is a feral beast with a tarnished heart of gold and adamantium claws capable of ripping just about anything to shreds. That's the movie I wish I could have seen. Unfortunately, though the movie focuses heavily on Logan needing to "unleash the animal within," nothing he does ever seems to move remotely close to those heights of animosity. There's little in the line of violence without drastically pulled punches, and that upset me. The acting is surprisingly good, but there are too many characters present to give any of them enough time to be explored. Reynold's Deadpool, for instance, is spot-on and hilarious. Unfortunately, you get to enjoy him for all of five minutes. The story is good enough to carry you through the hour-and-a-half runtime, and it's nowhere near as bad as X-Men 3, but for a real fan of the character, I wasn't impressed.

Star Trek: The newest Star Trek, however, is badass. I've never really been a fan of the franchise, but much like the newest Bond films, I've been made into a believer. I watched a good bit of the classic series, so it was refreshing to see such a faithful adaptation mixed with a big bag full of new tricks. You wouldn't think the farcical humor of the old show would translate well into a high-budget, action packed roller coaster ride of a re-imagining, but it works very well. The characters are lovingly re-created by the new cast and the story is excellent. So good, in fact, I'm ready for a regular television show adaptation. I can't stand the thought of waiting several years to see where the new crew goes next. I highly recommend Star Trek to anyone looking to get their full money's worth at the theater. It's two-plus hours of top-notch entertainment that I couldn't get enough of.

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