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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Our Lady Peace used to be something like grunge’s version of The Cure. Most of its songs were all mopey and depressing – kind of like The Cure in flannel.But sometime after the turn of the century, OLP got happy. Many of its songs became upbeat and had a toe-tappy sound to them. “Burn Burn” hasn’t really changed that, which is somewhat ironic considering lead singer Raine Maida said it was the mainstream sound of the band’s previous album that ended its relationship with Columbia/Sony, and that “Burn Burn” is more like the older stuff. This couldn’t be further from the case.While the older stuff is the band’s best, their recent music wasn’t bad either. “Burn Burn” suffers from sounding like a lazy version of something OLP has already done. Maida has claimed this is a “proper rock album again,” but that isn’t what OLP was good at. It’s impossible to define any one track as proper rock, because they steal sounds from all genres. For a band that was compared to classics like Led Zepplin and more modern rock bands like Pearl Jam, this album is a huge departure from what OLP was good at – strange rock music with amazing yet abstract lyrics.Songs such as “All You Did was Save My Life” and “Time Bomb” are rife with peppy choruses and guitar hooks. “The Right Stuff” sounds like any kitschy, club rock song out now, and “Monkey Brains” sounds like a failed attempt to channel Primus.Maida himself produced this album, enjoying the freedom he had not having to answer to producers. But from the guy who worked on Avril Lavigne’s second album and has written songs and produced albums for “Canadian Idol” and “American Idol” winners, it’s safe to say the fresh and raw OLP is long gone.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Sugar Ray has never been a band that took itself seriously. When it arrived on the scene in 1997, its summery, nonchalant music was a semi-fresh sound compared to many of the rock bands out there. But now it’s let its gimmick of not caring about the critics go to its head, giving up all legitimacy.“Music for Cougars” is the first studio release from Sugar Ray since 2003, but it’s been almost nine years since the height of the band’s fame.Without even getting into the music, the innuendos in the song titles alone will make you laugh. “Girls were made to love” sounds like the creepy anthem of a sex offender. “She’s Got the (Woo-Hoo)” sounds like a theme song to a coed bar crawl, and “Dance Like No One’s Watchin’” sounds like it was written for people on MySpace who like cliche quotes.The music is even lamer. This album has teen-movie soundtrack written all over it. “Closer” sounds like a male version of Katy Perry, if not a downright rip-off of “Hot N Cold.” “She’s Got the (Woo-Hoo)” sounds like a song built for driving down the Vegas Strip in a limo with Champagne. Other than that, most of the songs sound too similar to be of any real mention. No track stands out as being exceptionally good.For a band that started out as a friendlier version of the nu-metal bands it used to run around with in the 1990s – bands like Incubus, Sevendust and Slipknot, to name a few – this is not the same Sugar Ray. “Music for Cougars” suffers from a lack of identity. With the title implying that McGrath and Co. are still loyal to the fans who helped them make it big (who are probably not actually old enough to be considered cougars yet), the music sounds a lot like a wish granted to a middle schooler. If you’re looking for one more summer album to help stave off the end of the break, then this is probably for you. But if you’re still asking how the band you grew up with and loved could sound like it was pressed in a bubble gum factory, you’re better off tossing this CD in the air and letting it fly.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>It’s been eight years since Maxwell’s last album “Now” hit shelves and two years since the new album was initially announced. Playing at a surprisingly short 37 minutes, his latest album, “BLACKsummers’night,” still manages to showcase growth from his previous albums.With beginnings in the ‘80s and early ’90s, Maxwell is considered one of a group of artists that brought mainstream attention to the neo-soul movement. Debuting at a time when R&B and hip-hop were beginning to merge and sing about “macho” things, Maxwell brought an alternative to audiences with a retro, sensual sound, “BLACKsummers’night” keeps that old feel alive.Known for his slow ballads, “BLACKsummers’night” is filled with more upbeat songs than previous albums. “Cold” and “Bad Habits” have a nice head-bobbing groove, while tracks like “Pretty Wings” and “Stop the World” remind you why Maxwell sings love songs. He’s good at them. Keeping the music simple with horns, bass, guitars and piano makes the music feel more real and organic, a nice compliment to his vocal abilities.Maxwell braves walking down the beaten path when most artists want to reinvent themselves continuously. With deep bass lines and buttery, smooth falsettos “BLACKsummers’night” is similar enough to not upset die-hard fans, but different enough to sound new. What shines the most is his journey to a more experienced, musical poet. Maxwell has said he took time to live his life, grow and learn to better fill his music with real emotions, and it shows. This is where the real draw to the album is. He never feels like someone singing another person’s words. It’s his ability to convey the feelings of the song that make the album fresh. The only thing that really brings the album down is it feels like it ends too soon.Planned as the first part of a trilogy, “BLACKsummers’night” is enough to whet the appetite of every fan who has been waiting for a new release. And with two more on the way, it’s only going to get better.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>What happens when you tell people there’s no script, just a general plot, and let the cameras roll? Well, it’ll probably end up something like “Year One.”“Year One” is a story about two cavemen who go in search of their destiny and discover many adventures along the way. Written and directed by Harold Ramis (of “Ghostbusters” fame), this movie seems like an extreme parody of the Bible and the movie “10,000 B.C.” all rolled into one. And it works all right.Most of the scenes revolve around Black and Cera’s exchanges, which basically consist of Black’s logical insanity and Cera’s subtle doses of reality. Many of the jokes are predictable, such as beating a woman in the tribe with a stick like a caveman, or references to boners, but they work because of the delivery of the actors.On paper, I’m sure the movie sounded funny, but it comes off as a poor man’s “Monty Python’s, The Life of Bryan” or Mel Brooks’ “History of the World: Part I.”Produced by Judd Apatow, “Year One” could be considered the one that was phoned in. It lacked a lot of the heart that “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” had, the intelligence of “Knocked Up” and the humor of “Superbad.” Other comedians such as Paul Rudd, David Cross and Hank Azaria make cameos and are arguably the best part of the film. Some of the lines that come out of Azaria’s mouth are predictable like the rest of the movie but almost make you do a spit take. Ultimately, all the cameos don’t add to the movie – even McLovin doesn’t help this one.Though there are few funny moments, it’s mostly just a bunch of village idiots reminding us that just because you’ve made a few classically funny movies, not all of them will be as evolved.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In 1984, a little-known metal band made a documentary about its experiences on tour. Twenty-five years later the band is still discussed, quoted and remembered for its excess and decadence.“Back from the Dead” is a pseudo re-release of the classic soundtrack “This is Spinal Tap,” to Rob Reiner’s mockumentary. If you stretch the joke out, it’s almost a parody of the “greatest hits” albums of modern bands that only have two albums to their name but repackage it with new and unreleased material. But this band only used one album (it had a second real studio release, but not many people know of it). And in a day when old bands try to recapture the glory of the spotlight, it’s no surprise that Tap has decided to re-release this album with re-recorded tracks.The album celebrates the 25th anniversary of the film and coincides with the 25th anniversary DVD release. Although the movie was making fun of bands and rock documentaries of the time, the songs actually are still enjoyable due to their exaggerated content. Updates to the classics also include a funk version of “Sex Farm” and even a reggae version of “(Listen to the) Flower People.” Some friends of Tap show up as guests on new tracks, including John Mayer, Steve Vai and Phil Collen on “Short and Sweet.” But one of the best parts about the album is that finally we get to hear the free-form jazz exploration in the three-part “Jazz Odyssey.”In the end, this album really doesn’t offer anything too new – remastered tracks, excess and lecherous lyrics. But what shines is the humor of the original movie and soundtrack. Now if only they will release Nigel Tufnel’s “Lick My Love Pump.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Will Ferrell is becoming a parody of his own punch lines. When he first began making big Hollywood movies, his humor was amusing. But lately his movies are turning into that joke that gets told because it’s so funny but is so often repeated it isn’t funny anymore.“Land of the Lost” is a film production of the original cult-fave TV show from the ’70s. Starring Ferrell as Dr. Rick Marshall, a quantum-paleontologist with a penchant for radical theories about time travel and show tunes, “Land of the Lost” takes watchers on a journey through time and space.Sadly, this film’s biggest drawback is also its biggest star, Ferrell. Like most of his previous films, this one is just a multi-million dollar excuse for Ferrell to run around acting like an idiot and making stupid comments. Per usual, he’s playing the oblivious, angry man-child that was once funny in “Anchorman.” Here, he’s an “expert” in some vocation who is really an idiot yet somehow becomes famous by luck. Marshall is a combination of some Frank “The Tank” (“Old School”), George W. Bush and every other guy Ferrell has played this decade. That’s not to say the movie isn’t funny. The rest of the cast actually provides some truly hilarious moments, playing off Ferrell’s antics. Oddly, the real scene-stealer is Matt Lauer. His two scenes were actually some of the best in the movie, and it’s probably not a good thing if a “Today Show” host brings the funny more than the star. It’s obvious that people’s short attention spans will allow Ferrell to keep making movies. If you aren’t the biggest fan of his work, then this movie won’t really be anything new for you. If you’re a fan of his movies, you’re in luck; the movie set itself up for a sequel, so you will get plenty more of the same jokes over and over.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>There was a time when AC/DC used to be at the top of any list for a road trip soundtrack. The boys from down under could always spice up any hard rocking, driving playlist with songs that were simple yet intense, but now it seems like age has gotten the better of them.Black Ice is the first studio album in eight years for AC/DC, but it doesn’t capture the energy of previous albums. Produced by Brendan O’Brien and mixed by Mike Fraser (who between them have major rock and roll credits under their belts, having worked with bands like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica and many more), the album falls flat.The closest they come to recapturing their days of rock and roll anthems is the open track “Rock ‘N Roll Train.” Riffs galore from Angus Young and good bass lines from Malcolm Young make this song the only real standout track. Although “Stormy May Day” is unique in that it’s one of the only times Brian Johnson sings any part of a song in his normal voice instead of the screaming falsetto he’s known for.The rest of the album devolves into mediocrity pretty quickly. “Smash N’ Grab” is somewhat boring and uses what sounds like a metalophone during the chorus, which really just sounds like error beeps from a computer. “Spoilin’ for a Fight” sounds like it could barely inspire anyone to get off the couch, let alone kick someone’s ass. The ironically named “Decibel” seems pretty tame and quiet. With a name like that you’d expect it to be played loud, but it just gets more boring the louder you play it.All in all the album doesn’t seem to have any variation between the songs. For the band that came out with iconic songs like “Highway to Hell,” “Thunderstruck,” “You Shook Me All Night Long” and many more, this album is a big let down. If you want a rocking soundtrack for the road, your best bet is to just buy one of their pre-millenium albums and stick with the classics. Black Ice will just ruin the trip.
Simpson’s attempt at country heartache sucks just as much as her pop outings.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>It’s hard to ignore the fact that comics have been, more or less, safe fodder for Hollywood over the past decade. Sure, the first “Superman” film was made in the ’70s and “Batman” was done in the ’90s, but the last 10 years have been kind to Marvel and DC.However, in the last 20 years of comic book movies, none have seen the success of “The Dark Knight.” In the six weeks since it was released, it has grossed $870 million worldwide. It has broken numerous records, including the highest-grossing midnight showing and debut weekend, and recently became the second-most financially successful movie of all time. This has left many to question why this recent Batman franchise was more successful than the previous one, and whether that change will bleed into other comic movies.Darker comic book films on the wayAccording to a recent Wall Street Journal piece, DC has already begun to shift gears. A third “Batman” movie has been greenlit; the “Superman Returns” sequel was scrubbed to start over from scratch and two other DC projects are in the works. All have a “dark” tone, due to the success of “The Dark Knight.”The only problem with that is that not many comics lend themselves to dark atmospheres like “The Dark Knight” because they don’t have origins as dark as Batman’s. Superman’s origin ultimately dealt with him being saved from global destruction, the Flash was the result of a lab experiment and the Green Lantern received his ring because of his “sterling” character. Even in Marvel, it seems like most of the origin stories are a result of a lab or science experiment gone wrong (or in the case of Captain America, gone right). And the rest are either just supernatural or born that way, like the X-Men. Although a few Marvel stories are “dark,” they aren’t flagship characters like Batman.Why dark only works for ‘The Dark Knight’Attributing the success of “The Dark Knight” to its dark tone ignores what actually made the movie great: its realism and its heart. Christian Bale was able to do what previous “Batman” movies hadn’t by showing his failings (actually being able to fight also helped). Joel Schumacher almost buried the series due to his disco psychedelic experiment, and Tim Burton made a great comic book movie, but it had no believability. Batman always felt too superhuman, even though there’s nothing “super” about him. Christopher Nolan was able to do this because he focused on the characters, not the comic.Although there are exceptions to the rules – such as “300,” “Sin City” and “Watchmen” – that aren’t written in a colorful setting, most of the main characters of both the big comics’ lines are set to more cheerful backdrops. Spider-Man has a one liner for every situation, the Fantastic Four deal with family issues and the X-Men are all about overcoming adversity. Sure, all major stories and/or characters in comics have had dark times, but they are always able to overcome them.The difference with Batman is that he isn’t trying to make the world a better place for mutants, or trying to fall in love and be human, or trying to cure himself. Like Rachel Dawes told him at the end of “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne is his mask. Bruce Wayne isn’t trying to adjust to the superhero life while being normal. So the choice to make “The Dark Knight” with a dark tone wasn’t a superficial decision – Batman’s character wouldn’t work in a happy-go-lucky film.This is why the stories about shifting comic-book movies to a darker tone wouldn’t be a good decision. Making superficial changes to a film simply because it worked in a previous one is the equivalent to making a pick-up sports car simply because it works for pick-up trucks.Make the right choice, HollywoodEven if writers and studios chose to turn the story lines of the darker comics into movies, it wouldn’t work. They would require too much backstory, and, in any case, most of them are “what ifs” concocted to pull in readers and viewers. For example, Superman’s “Red Son” story line was centered upon the idea of what would happen if Clark Kent had fallen from the sky into Communist Russia instead of Smallville, but it was simply a one-off tale. The “X-Men” comics have tried so many future time-line stories that the concept is so convoluted it couldn’t work at all. “Spider-Man 3” tried the dark tone, and it was certainly not successful.Dark stories do make for good dramatic twists, but to make a blanket shift to dark movies would ignore what makes most of these stories worth watching, and what made “The Dark Knight” the success it was. The best we can hope for is that Hollywood will realize this so it can worry less about making perfect movies and more about making the right ones.
Freelance camera operator Chuck Goslin sets up his crane Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. Goslin is one of many camera operators who will be filming the Drum Corps International World Championships for a DVD of the event, as well as streaming a live feed to movie theaters across the country for fans who can't make it to Bloomington for the evening.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Motley Crue has had a storied past. Tommy Lee became a “porn star,” Vince Neil was convicted of manslaughter, Mick Mars’ was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Nikki Sixx’s literally died for two minutes before being resurrected, all indirectly leading to one of the greatest rock albums of the ’80s; Dr. Feelgood.Saints of Los Angeles is the first studio recording from the Crue in eight years, and it’s worth the wait, although this isn’t your older brother’s Motley Crue. While some of the songs still reflect the old days, there are also signs of growth and maturity (as well as age) from the wildest band in the Decade of Decadence.Standout tracks such as “Saints of Los Angeles,” “The Animal In Me” and “Down At the Whisky” show that despite Mick Mars’ condition, he can still shred better than anyone today, while tracks like “Chicks = Trouble” and “Face Down In the Dirt” bring back what was great about hair metal; fast beats, guitar riffs that fly and a hard living lifestyle.That lifestyle may also be one of the downsides of the album. Vince Neil, although still an amazing vocalist, has lost that high-pitched scream and found a little more of a growling yell. It works for many of the songs, but some sound as if old Vince could have made them better.Another downfall is that the album feels like a modern heavy-metal tribute to ’80s hair metal, as if Motley Crue made a tribute album to themselves. Sometimes it works, other times, the songs sound confused.All in all the album is a stellar release from a band that has softened over the years, what with half the Crue having done Vh1 reality shows and one having written his memoirs. Saints of Los Angeles shows you why the Crue are gods of rock.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Pixar has tackled many amazing locations over the years: the toy box, the backyard, your closet, the ocean, the West and even France. Now it’s taking aim at the final frontier.“Wall–E” is the story of a waste robot left to clean planet Earth after mankind is forced to leave. During his journey across the stars, he just happens to fall in love and save the world. It’s also the last movie planned after the success of “Toy Story” (along with “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Finding Nemo,” the rest of them developed later).“Wall–E” is the best Pixar movie yet, despite the fact that it is very different than anything the company has done before. This isn’t a story about a group of toys and their journey home or how a town is forgotten on the side of the road; it’s about one robot on an abandoned planet. This simple plot makes the movie slower than the previous Pixar works, but not in a way that drags the movie down. Each scene is perfectly paced to display Wall–E and his lovable quirks. It’s spread out in a way that keeps you interested throughout the duration of the film, as jokes are balanced evenly with emotion and action.The animation is quite possibly the most amazing feat that Pixar has accomplished so far. Gigantic landscapes as well as the tiniest details are done crisply and cleanly. The voice acting is perfect, even though it’s almost non-existent. While the humans in the movie are the only ones with actual dialogue, the robots use simple reactions to show their feelings, sometimes seeming more human than the actual people. It’s almost as if director Andrew Stanton watched hours of classic silent movies to learn how to do it right. The soundtrack is a mix of composed pieces and classic 1950s songs, which works perfectly with the story. All of this comes together to give the film a more retro feel, tying into the themes, which are another big change for Pixar.The movie has two major political messages. Without ruining too much of the movie, it speaks against pollution and reliance on technology. Although previous Pixar movies have had some message to them, never have they been as blatant as in “Wall–E.”Pixar has proven once again why it is one of the greatest animation studios in the industry, and “Wall–E” is proof that Pixar can do no wrong.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Every so often a movie comes along that defines a generation. In some cases, it’s a simple movie about a group of friends, doing something important or poignant. But this time, it’s a movie made by a group of friends that define everything about our culture.“Superbad.” Say what you want about it, but it is quite possibly the funniest movie ever made. As cliche as it sounds, the phrase “doesn’t pull any punches” doesn’t do this movie justice. Period blood, illustrated dicks, McLovin and a great funk soundtrack never cease to punch the viewer with full force. With this merciless approach in mind, “Superbad” stands above other comedies that seemingly define a generation. “Austin Powers”? Although this movie did indeed define a generation, Mike Myers did a parody, not comedy, so it therefore cannot be compared to the genius of “Superbad.” “Old School”? Sure, Ferrell poops gold and pisses excellence, but its still nothing more than a re-imagining of “Animal House.”Many have claimed that “Superbad” is our generation’s “Animal House”– a bold statement, as “Animal House” was cinematic gold. Made on a relatively low budget nearly 30 years ago, it has gone on to become one of the defining movies of college life. I lived in the dorms for two years, and the first film showed on the IU movie channel was always “Animal House.” I’ve even heard rumors that fraternities on campus force their pledges to watch it. On top of all that, “Animal House” pretty much began the raunch genre. Sure there are other movies that came before it, but “Animal House” was one of the first that was accepted by the viewing masses. There are definitely enough technical similarities to validate the comparison. Booze? Check. Inappropriate amounts of booze? Check. The search for sex and disrespect for authority? Check. Funny nicknames you call your buddies? Check. Never takes itself too seriously, even when it’s trying to be serious? Check. About the only thing missing from “Superbad” that is rampant in “Animal House” is gratuitous nudity, which is one reason why “Superbad” is so great. Aside from the Judd Apatow collection, all the movies listed above have some form of nudity that is blatant, and yet “Superbad” doesn’t. The creators manage to not let this fact take anything away from the movie at all, which is a considerable achievement. College is an interesting time for any person. It’s a time to throw caution to the wind, to embrace things you may not normally embrace, and to laugh at jokes that could get you fired in the real world real world could get you fired. It’s a time to enjoy things that may be “inappropriate” to everyone else, but are actually appropriate in their realism. I’m willing to bet that all students on this campus can see a little bit of at least one of the “Superbad” characters in themselves. I myself can see a little of Evan’s timidity toward women in me (although anyone who knows me would probably say it’s more like Seth’s foul mouth and sex-starved antics, but that’s a debate for a different day). And based on the stories I hear, most underagers can sympathize with McLovin and his Hawaiian roots. The beauty of these two stories is that they are based on the writers and directors’ actual lives. “Animal House” resulted from stories published in National Lampoon magazine, and tweaked with stories from the directors. “Superbad” began when Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were 13, simply because they wanted to know if they could write a movie. Many of the other movies, while they may have some historical basis, probably don’t go as far as this. Defines our generation? Maybe it’s a little to soon to tell. Pulling out the “generation defining” card is like claiming the first movie released in January is the movie of the year. It’s as premature as the studying scene in “American Pie.” But so far, no movie has really pushed the limits of humor. “American Pie” had the raunch, but turned into a coming-of-age rom-com faster than a Matthew McConaughey movie. But in 15 years, I’m willing to bet “Superbad” will be quoted more than a “Chappelle’s Show” episode. And it’s then that we will know for sure if it truly defined our generation. But right now, it looks like a better bet than a democratic candidate.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In case you didn’t know, Uwe Boll is quite possibly the worst director to exist since, well, the creation of Hollywood. He is hated so much that there is now a petition online to get him to stop making movies.“In the Name of the King” is a coming-of-age story about a farmer, coincidentally named “Farmer,” who must rally to battle in order to discover who he is and save his wife from an evil sorcerer bent on dominating the Kingdom. I’d say more, but it wouldn’t help.This movie is a.) a poor excuse for a movie, and b.) is nothing more than a poor man’s “Lord of the Rings.” According to a post on IMDB.com, it’s a “Lord of the Rings” for Nickelback fans, which couldn’t be a more accurate description.With a mix of talented and useless actors it’s no surprise this movie fails epically. John Rhys-Davies is gold in everything he touches, usually, but he can barely create a character more inspiring than Matthew Lillard’s waste of an existence as the nephew of the King. (How does Lillard still get work?)On top of that, Boll can’t decide if he wants to force everyone to use a British accent or not. Random lesser characters speak in one, while the king sounds like every other character Burt Reynolds has played. This movie should never have seen theaters and isn’t even worthy of a TV special on SciFi. The extras are as devoid of character as the story was. A behind-the-scenes featurette that doesn’t even have the great Uwe Boll talking about his craft is nothing more than a lame home video shot from the corners of the scenes and sets, and deleted/extended scenes are all you get.Save yourself some money, and buy four DVDs from the $5 bin. It’ll be a more worthy investment than this piece of crap.
Imagine “Easy Rider” on a budget. And the riders don’t die in the end.\nAfter graduation, many students go on vacations and see one place in the world. For IU freshman Sam Gage, that vacation started in 2005 when his dad, Dennis Gage, invited him to go riding in Scotland on a Triumph Sprint ST motorcycle.\n“These four days in the summer of 2005, it was clear skies, 80 degrees,” Sam Gage said. “I got a sunburn in Northern Scotland. I mean, how does that happen?”\nWhat started as an invitation from photographer friend Neale Bayly to ride around Scotland on motorcycles became a two-year adventure, and in the end, a series of one-hour specials on the Speed Channel called “Trippin’ On Two Wheels.” The third episode will air at 11 a.m. Sunday on the Speed Channel.\n“My dad got a film crew together,” Sam Gage said. “We went over and we shot this show. Once he had all this material, he decided this would be a good opportunity to start this motorcycle show he wanted all this time.”\nAfter Dennis Gage made 30-minute special the Speed Channel liked, he then made it into an hour-long segment. But it didn’t make it on TV.\n“Maybe with two shows, Speed would take it,” Sam Gage said. “They didn’t, so maybe they will take three.”\nThe unplanned show eventually became a two-year trip with a six-man crew – the three riders, a cameraman, an audio technician and the producer – and the show was finally picked up after their third try.\nTraveling through amazing locales, the show follows the three riders as they make completely unplanned trips around Scotland, Sicily, Spain and Quebec.\n“Really, it’s not ‘We must do Europe,’” Sam Gage said. “It’s really just ‘Where will someone give us three motorcycles and let us go?’”\nThe show documents the scenery as well as the difficult riding conditions of each location, such as in Sicily and Spain, which have near-vertical hills that are impossible to ride when they’re wet.\n“You have no traction whatsoever,” Sam Gage said. “When I left Arcos de la Frontera, I got off my motorcycle and I literally kissed the ground because I thought I was going to die that day.”\nHe was lucky enough to celebrate his 17th birthday at 4 a.m. in Sicily after a 17-and-a-half hour ferry ride to the island. \n“(My father) took me to McDonald’s,” Sam Gage said. “And over there, McDonald’s is actually a four-star restaurant.”\nFor each episode, the crew would talk with people, eat at local restaurants, stay in local hotels and try not to be tourists.\n“We rode British bikes in Britain, Italian bikes in Sicily and Spanish bikes in Spain,” Sam Gage said. “So the people will kind of gravitate to it.”\nThere are many places Dennis Gage is interested in riding in the future, including South Africa, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Japan.\n“My dad wants to ride the German Alps on a BMW,” Sam Gage said.\n“Trippin’ On Two Wheels” episode three will re-air at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Speed Channel.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Where do you begin when you’ve seen the worst movie ever made? “Reservation Road” is supposedly a “touching” story about loss, forgiveness, redemption and other touchy-feely stuff. But in actuality it’s crap, on a bed of dung, wrapped in a blanket of shit.Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly play Ethan and Grace Learner, whose son is killed in a motor accident by Dwight Arno, played by Mark Ruffalo. Through the story they come together in a twist of odd coincidences, which finally brings the story to a conclusion. For the first 20 or 30 minutes, the nicest thing you can say is that the acting is pretty good. After that, the whole movie falls apart. The filming is ridiculously sporadic: cutting from short scenes to another character and back, making it hard to keep up with what you’re being told.Ultimately, the director relies on overdramatizing everything in order to make the audience feel the emotion, as opposed to writing a good story. The only redeemable aspect of this movie was that Jennifer Connelly’s character was passably believable.As for extras, there aren’t any to choose from. Some deleted scenes (which is ironic, since this whole movie should have been deleted). A “behind the scenes” video of interviews that is more pretentious than David Blaine walking down the street with a deck of cards. Listening to these actors talking about their “characters,” while at the same time making it clear that they’re not trivializing the real victims, was the most nauseating thing, apart from listening to these award-winners explain their craft. If only they had applied some of that craft to the film they actually made. The first episode of the current season of “Friday Night Lights” is included, which was better than the movie itself. Representing yet another product of post-writer’s strike rushed material. If you had any reservations about seeing this movie, listen to them and keep driving by.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Three names that have been a staple in the music industry since before JT, before Led Zeppelin, and even before The Beatles. Sure, they’re animated. Sure, they’re chipmunks. But the harmonies they sing are timeless.“Alvin and the Chipmunks” is the live action/animated story of the rise of these three harmonious rodentia, and a touching coming-of-age story about how a man comes to adore these bushy tailed bards as his own children – all while trying to break into the music business and win over a girl who is about two seconds away from getting a restraining order. Sounds like a real winner, doesn’t it?But don’t let the “questionable” background story fool you. Surprisingly, this movie is refreshing. In light of the butchering of the source material to create films like “Transformers,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks” stays true to the story, almost 100 percent. The colors, the personality, even the voices (voiced by Justin Long as Alvin, Matthew Gray Gubler as Simon, and Jesse McCartney as Theodore), including tone, pitch and speaking patterns, were almost identical to the cartoon. Even the hip-hop flavored “Witch Doctor” or “The Chipmunk” sound amazingly true to the original sounds of the chipmunks. Jason Lee felt more like Earl Hickey than Dave Seville, as if he just couldn’t master the intricacies of Dave yelling at Alvin. Still, David Cross’ forced and artificial “record producer” was the worst part of the movie.The DVD is scary at first, though. The menu features the ’munks rapping about dropping the Escalade for a drop top, which had me worried and primed to think this movie was just some cheap excuse for a rap soundtrack. And as for features, well, the DVD leaves a lot to be desired. The features on the history of the Chipmunks, as well as a short documentary about how they recorded the voices for the songs, are actually interesting to watch. The lack of commentary from the actors complaining about losing their voices during recording would have been funny.“Alvin and the Chipmunks” surprised me in the end, with its strict faithfulness to the original and the fact that it was funny without coming off as a complete child’s movie. I just hope they come out with a special edition some day.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The B-52’s have never been known to make poignant, thought-provoking music. But they’ve never really cared either. They were synonymous with cheesy, electro-beach-blanket tunes. Whether it was the futuristic “Channel Z” or the surfer-esque “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster,” The B-52’s provided the perfect soundtrack for a road trip through big city California that ended in a clambake at a beach with all your friends.Which is why their first studio release in 16 years (since “Cosmic Thing” in 1992) is such a let down. Inspired by New Order’s Get Ready, The B-52’s hired producer Steve Osborne to help create an updated sound for Funplex. Sadly this new sound, which is overproduced, lacks the magic of previous albums. Gone are the days of “Love Shack.” Say hello to the “electric luau” according to the opening track “Pump.” A majority of the tracks sound as if they were written in the hopes that Paris Hilton would personally cruise around Beverly Hills with the top down on Rodeo Drive, blasting this album. The sounds of dance-club pop and California beach rock are so discordant that it sounds like a sonic version of President Bush and a Democratic Congress. They just don’t mix, and ultimately one of them gets completely ignored. Songs such as “Funplex” and “Hot Corner”, and essentially most of the album, sound like they don’t even want you to go to the beach, preferring that you just stay at the mall.Some of their old magic, however, sneaks into songs like “Juliet of Spirits,” which features Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson working in harmony, reminiscent of “Deadbeat Club;” and “Love in the Year 3000” seems to have pushed the old B-52’s sound behind and focused more on the “new” sound, which actually makes this song an original gem on the album.The new sound ultimately is what kills this album. Unlike the song “Keep This Party Going,” this was a party they should never have started.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Let’s face it — history and Hollywood don’t mix. Every time a studio creates a movie based on some sort of historical event, history gets butchered. “Gladiator”, “Pearl Harbor”, “Superman”. While those are all entertaining movies, Tinseltown is notorious for mangling the source material; the treatment is always worse when the source material is historical fact.“10,000 B.C.” is a coming-of-age story about D’Leh (Strait), a caveman who comes to be the leader of his tribe. He’s set to marry his one true love, the prophesied blue-eyed Evolet (Camilla Belle), but his plans are messed up when a group of nomadic desert pirates arrive on horses and capture many of the cavemen, along with what appear to be African tribesman, and sell them into slavery to help build the pyramids.Cavemen + pirates + Egyptian pyramids = the best Hollywood could come up with after the writers’ strike? If that’s not enough, apparently the slaves used mammoths to help build the pyramids. And the “Egyptian” god who was orchestrating everything? Just a crusty old white man. Kind of like realizing Darth Vader was a white guy in Return of the Jedi.Although it’s possible that better acting would have made the story passable, I doubt it. Apparently cavemen speak English, and sometime in the past a caveman taught one of the men in the African tribe how to speak it. Every character in this movie is impossible to believe.The worst part of this movie was its bad audio and visual composition. On more than one occasion the film is grainy, and not just noisy grain. The grain takes away from what little enjoyment you could force yourself to get out of this movie, because it seems to happen during the “dramatic” scenes.The computer graphics, supposedly the center-piece of the film, involve horrendously-blatant green screens, obviously-animated crowd scenes and a total lack of realism concerning the behavior of the animals — possibly because most of the animals featured didn’t exist in the same time periods. It’s as if this movie’s effects were sent through a time warp from 1993.In the end, what really killed this movie was simple: a poorly planned production and an even more poorly written story that has no basis in reality. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something even more stupid happens.This movie was nothing more than a copy of “Epic Movie” except without the farcical humor. “1,000 B.C.” took bits and pieces of movies like “Braveheart”, “Gladiator”, “300”, etc., and chopped them together to make the most awful movie ever. This one should be buried in a tar pit somewhere.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>I remember watching this movie as a kid, and I don’t know why. I’d never seen it all the way through, but I still remembered it vividly for some reason. Now, 20-some years later, it doesn’t live up to the memories I had.“The Wiz” is an “urban,” modern adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” Set against a big-city backdrop, it is nothing but two hours of stereotyping. Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, is living with her Auntie Em because she’s afraid to move out, all while being pushed to start dating a well-dressed man. The Tin Man, played by Nipsey Russel, does a little tap dancing, while this movie’s wizard, the Wiz, was a homeless Richard Pryor.I was expecting the movie to be directed by a white man, considering many of the “blaxploitation” films ended up being made by white guys, but the scariest thing to find was that the screenplay was done by Joel Schumacher. That’s right – the man guilty of putting nipples and oversized codpieces on Batman and Robin wrote the black “Wizard of Oz.” So it’s no surprise that toward the end of the movie when the evil witch is dead, there are a lot of half-naked people dancing around in skimpy outfits in a “sweat” shop in New York (that is, a shop that makes and distributes sweat).Another huge letdown was the fact that this “30th Anniversary” release was nothing more than the $5 version you would find in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. They throw in a soundtrack, but besides that, a new digital transfer and a very short documentary about the making of the film are all you get for the features. Granted, the movie as a whole isn’t worth $20, but watching Michael Jackson before he went “off the wall” helps. Jackson is no doubt the star of the movie, and his believability as the Scarecrow redeems this exploitative throwaway.