Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Alice Cooper 2011

Alice is going back to the future with his latest album a sequel to his 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare.

A lot has changed in the last 35 years, Alice as much as anything. Constantly evolving as musical tastes change, so a reprise of an earlier album was going to be interesting.

Alice’s alter-ego Steven gets another outing, with his haunting piano theme introducing the album and his rythmic muttering on “The Nightmare returns”

“Caffine” and “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” are typical Alice crowd pleasers, I’m guessing the latter will become a staple of the live shows.

“The Last Man On Earth”, is a strutting top hat and cane song in the same ilk as “Some Things” whilst “The Congregation” has a touch of Ozzy Osbourne vocal and Marilyn Manson beat about it.

“Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever” somehow reminds me of Lordi while also managing to be completely different from anything that they’ve done, followed by “Ghouls Gone Wild” a Lordi song title if ever I heard one which turns out to be homage to Alice’s surf-song origins (With maybe a touch of Weird Al).

In some ways, this album is “Greatest Hits” of songs he’s never written before. Each song somehow harkening back to an earlier incarnation of everybody’s favourite anti-hero, whilst still being new and fresh.

Funny thing is, all the elements are there but it just doesn’t quite gel with me yet. Not to say that this won’t become a favourite, but like quite a few of Alice’s albums it takes a while for them to mature like a fine wine.

AC/DC had Bon Scott and Angus Young, the rest of the band (visually) faded into the background, the heirs to the throne Airbourne, have Joel O’Keeffe a frontman infused with the ghost of Scott and the spirit and energy of Angus.

Erupting onto the stage with ‘Raise the Flag’ the crowd immediately roused out of the stupor induced by the two support bands and the stage was set  for an hour and a half of high energy rock. With hardly a pause for breath Airbourne powered through their set.

Halfway through ‘Girls in Black’, the band go into an instrumental as Joel jumps off the stage to run the length of the front row, playing all the while. Next thing he’s disapeared, we can still hear his guitar, but he’s disapeared into the crowd. A moment later he’s back, not on stage but coming down the aisle in the circle across the front row of the balcony and out through the emergency exit stage right!!!

Back on stage the energy never seems to dim whether leaping from the drum riser or rocking from the top of the amps, O’Keefe is never still, behind the mic for just enough time to belt out the lyrics before he’s off again.

Just when you think things can’t get any better ‘No Way But the Hard Way’ lights another fuse and the crowd errupt somehow finding a hidden reserve as the band leave the stage with ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’

The pause before the encore is brief, the rest of the band starting a heavy riff and getting a little limelight before O’Keefe leaps back onto the stage with renewed energy to lead the band into ‘Runnin Wild’ and the final number ‘Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll’

Astronaut Captain Charles “Chuck” Baker is on a mission to boldly go where no man has gone before, the supposedly uninhabited Planet 51, so he is rather suprised to find himself in a small town in 50’s America, with one important difference, the residents are green.

Being the era of sci-fi B movies, the residents of Glipforg are terrified by the prospect of being turned into zombies by alien invaders of which Chick is their first real example. With the aid of Lem and his friends and space probe Rover, Chuck has to get back to his ship within 74 hours or be stranded on this distant planet.

This animation is obviously aimed at the younger generation, and the storyline and style will keep kids enthralled for the duration. But hiding in the background is a humour that adults will understand and kids won’t. Just the thing to keep the adults entralled as well.

If your a fan of sci-fi, then there are plenty of references to classic movies, from the alienesque dog Ripley who pees acid to the handbook on what to do if your town is attacked by a 50-foot woman. The film follows the B-movie cliche with the obvious twist that the human is the “alien” on this world, faced with the shoot em first, ask questions later mentality of the inhabitants.

If you have kids then buy this movie, if you haven’t then borrow some first.

Fresh from my introduction to Swedish cinema, I decided to buy the book. Luckily, someone called Reg Keeland has taken the time to translate it.

Suprisingly, the film is actually very close to the book and the understandibly condensed film version misses few of the plot elements (hopefully the planned Hollywood version will take note).

Usually I wouldn’t recommend reading the book before the film, as disapointment usually follows, but this time it certainly wasn’t the case.

The book clarifies that Lisbeth (the hacker with the dragon tattoo)  is investigating Mikael (the reporter) as a prelude to his being hired by Henrik Vanger.

While certain events and characters were condensed for the film, the plot follows the same investigation into the disapearance of Harriet, Henrick’s neice 40 years previously and the grim discovery of a series of brutal murders across Sweden.

The book further fleshes out the relationship between Mikael and his business partner Erika Berger and members of the Vanger family as he pursues his quest for the truth and details how he fell foul of the law in the first place.

This was my third free screening in just over a week, an Irish wedding comedy.

The story follows the wedding day of two couples who happen to have booked the same hotel for their reception. Freddie is marrying for the second time to the same girl and Maura having dodged marriage for 30 years is marrying for enough money to keep a roof over her’s and her daughter’s heads.

Both couples stumble from disaster to disaster, with a psycho father-in-law, a missing bride and  the immigration service featuring prominently, eventually the two marriage parties are forced together by Maura’s daughter.

This is a film that had huge potential, unfortunatly it never meets it. The action is funny in places, but once you’ve laughed there’s nothing to take it up another notch and the storyline isn’t strong enough to satisfy in the gaps. Since you already know what the ending of the film is going to be from the moment the oposing bride and groom set eyes on each other there’s no suprises either.

All in all, the film was OK, but I wouldn’t pay cinema prices to see it.

Michael Nyqvist – Mikael Blomkvist
Noomi Rapace – Lisbeth Salander
Sven-Bertil Taube – Henrik Vanger
Peter Haber – Martin Vanger
Marika Lagercrantz – Cecilia Vanger
Lena Endre – Erika Berger
Björn Granath – Police Inspector Morell
Ingvar Hirdwall – Dirch Frode – Henrik’s lawyer
Peter Andersson – Bjurman
Michalis Koutsogiannakis – Dragan – Lisbeth’s boss
Ewa Fröling – Harriet Vanger
Gunnel Lindblom – Isabella Vanger
Gösta Bredefeldt – Harald Vanger
Stefan Sauk – Hans-Erik Wennerström
Jacob Ericksson – Christer Malm
Sofia Ledarp – Malin Eriksson
David Dencik – Janne
Well, the first thing you need to know about this film, and something I didn’t realise before it started, it’s in Swedish. Luckily someone was kind enough to add subtitles.

Having lost a libel case and waiting to be sentenced Mikael Blomkvist is asked by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger to investigate the disapearance (and supposed murder) of his neice Harriet over 40 years ago.

In the mean time, tattooed and pierced punk hacker Lisbeth Salander (who for reasons that escape me is investigating Blomkvist) has been assigned a new guardian to oversee her financial affairs due to problems in her youth. The new guardian only releases money to her after brutally and sexually abusing her.

The two tales run side by side without connection until  Lisbeth decodes a message that she ransacked from Mikael’s computer and she joins him in his investigation.This leads to the discovery of a string of horrific unsolved murders across Sweden that Harriet had discovered just before her disapearance.

Once you get used to reading the subtitles, the film opens up into a gripping thriller that hopefully won’t be ruined with the planned Hollywood remake. The world weary journalist and the emotionally scarred young hacker are made believable by the acting tallents of Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace leaving you in no doubt as to the confusion both character’s face as their relationship unfolds.

I’m looking forward to getting hold of the books (I assume they’ve been translated into English) and will be watching to see if they make the rest of the trilogy (in Swe