Saturday, March 26, 2011

REVIEW: Battle: Los Angeles

A movie that is both exciting, entertaining & awful at the same time...


Aaron Eckhart - Sgt. Michael Nantz
Ramon Rodriguez - 2nd Lt. William Martinez
Cory Hardrict - Cpl. Jason Lockett
Gino Anthony Pesi - Cpl. Nick Stavrou
Ne-Yo - Cpl. Kevin "Specks" Harris
James Hiroyuki Liao - LCpl. Steven Mottola
Bridget Moynahan - Michele
Noel Fisher - Pfc. Shaun Lenihan
Adetokumboh M'Cormack - Corpsman Jibril Adukwu
Bryce Cass - Hector Rincon (son of Joe Rincon)
Michael Peña - Joe Rincon (father of Hector Rincon)
Joey King - Kirsten
Michelle Rodriguez - TSgt. Elena Santos

WARNING: This review WILL contain spoilers

I always love a movie that involves aliens, large explosions and the possible end of humanity, so naturally I was excited about this movie. I loved this film & hated it at the same time.

To summarize the plot: Aliens out of nowhere invade Los Angeles and other major cities around the world, killing all humans. Just when all hope was lost, a small group of Marines fight back and push the alien forces back. Throw in some explosions, cheesy motivational speeches, explosions, conflicts between soldiers, explosions, bonding of friendships, oh, and explosions & you got yourself a movie.

Cue lot's of spoilers...

Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz (Eckhart) is handing in his papers to leave the military for good. Between his age and an incident overseas (he led his team in a dangerous zone, allowing enemy forces to kill a lot of his men, so he feels guilty), he is ready to move on. Just as he is about to leave, the military learns that the supposed meteors falling towards Earth are slowing down in the atmosphere, the US Government prepares for the worst. Just like that, Nantz is brought right back in.

This guy feels his pain...

Alien forces are invading, killing everyone and blowing everything up. Nantz and his crew are told by their commander that they need to rescue civilians in a Police station (guess where....) right in the middle of the conflict zone. After injuring one of the aliens, they learn the weak point of these indestructible creatures are their chest, right where the heart is (WOW!). Nantz and his team fight back, take down an alien command ship and tell the world how to "bring those sons of a bitches down"...

Seem familiar, right?

Let's start with the good news about this movie. First, lot's of explosions (I cannot comprehend just how much shit blows up in this movie). You wanna see a film where there are guns, bombs & shit exploding everywhere, this is the film for you. The entire film is 15 minutes of talk, an hour & 20 minutes of explosions.

Another great thing about this film is the special effects. The ships look awesome and the aliens look cool too. With everything pretty much blowing up at one point in the film, the special effects team did a fantastic job at making it look realistic.

Now it's starts to go all wrong, and I start with Aaron Eckhart. His pretty good acting job went to shit when he tried to pull a Bill Pullman and give a motivational speech right as when all hope was lost and everyone was ready to throw in the towel.

Yep, just like this.

That, and Nantz's crew learned about his incident overseas that got his men killed, one of the men being the brother of Jason Lockett (Hardrict). Can you say, "awkward"?

Another bad thing about this film, to much explosions. I like a lot of stuff blowing up, but this was just simply to much for me. Even Michael Bay would have a problem with how much shit blew up in this movie.

Another bad thing, YOU DON'T SEE THE ALIENS FACES! At least in other alien invasion films you get to see inside of their ship, they talk, etc. Not in this film. You see the top of their head and their body, which is body armor and weapons welded to their skin. I was very disappointed about that.

The biggest complaint I have about this film is the film doesn't end with the aliens dying, humans losing the war, some mystical being killing everything, NOTHING! The film ends with Sgt. Nantz saying "Now let's take back Los Angeles", while a helicopter carrying him and his crew fly towards a destructed downtown Los Angeles with human & alien forces fighting in the background. It's obvious they are gonna make a sequel to this film, but do they have to make it so obvious with this ending?

SUMMARY: Battle: Lost Angeles is a film you go see for entertainment. If your looking for brilliant acting, look elsewhere. However, if you like non stop action with tons of explosions and gun fights, this is a perfect film for you. This film isn't for everyone. You will either love it or hate it.

My Rating: 6/10

Written by: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Saturday, March 19, 2011

REVIEW: Dropkick Murphy's - Going Out In Style

The Celtic band returns with their best album in, well, ever...

Dropkick Murphy's are:

Tim Brennan - Guitar
James Lynch - Guitar
Al Barr - Vocals
Ken Casey - Bass
Matt Kelly - Drums
Josh "Scruffy" Wallace - Bagpipes
Jeff DaRosa - Mandolin, Tin Whistle

I've been a fan of these guy's for years. When I saw them in concert a few years ago in New York, they put on the best performance I've ever seen by a band live. They not only play their songs great live, but their entire show with stage presence, audience participation, cover songs, etc. puts this band in a league of their own. If you ever have the chance to see Dropkick Murphy's live, I strongly suggest you go see them.

Now, onto the album itself, which in my opinion, is the best album they put out. This beats "Warriors Code" by miles. The album tells a story of a fictional character named Cornelius Larkin. The story's told on the album are taken from the band's personal experiences. The first track on the album is "Hang Em High", and in true DKM fashion, it kicks your ass through your stereo.

Another track on the album I especially like is their version of the traditional Irish song, "The Irish Rover".

After multiple listens to this album, I'm very happy they didn't fall in the trap Green Day did with telling a story through multiple songs on an album. Growing up a Green Day fan, they had their sound and their style. Over the past few years they have become a completely different band, trying to sound like their original selves. Not Dropkick Murphy's. This album is the sound you expect to hear, with clever, very well written lyrics.

One track that really impressed me is "1953". It's a well written, deeply emotional song that tells a fantastic story about love and friendship. Normally a song like this will get "this song's gay" comments. Not this one. It's fantastic.

Every single track on this album is excellent. My favorite track though is probably the title track "Going Out In Style".

This song will be one of their all time classics that everyone will know the words and sing along to at their show. My friend said to me that he wants this song played at his funeral. I don't blame him, this song's amazing.

SUMMARY: Dropkick Murphy's return with their first studio album in 4 years and in my opinion, their masterpiece. Every single song on this album is brilliant and you will listen to it over and over again. Perfect.

MY RATING: 10/10

Written by: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Sunday, March 6, 2011

REVIEW: Woods Of Arden - Short Fuse Dynamite EP

A fantastic EP by an even more fantastic band...

Woods Of Arden is:

Alex Kostov - Vocals
Mario Traina - Lead Guitar
Chad Cresante- Rhythm Guitar
Jordan Wolfson - Bass
Michael Gambino - Drums

First off, let me first state that while I'll always like a mainstream band I follow that puts out a great album, what I love even more is an unknown, local, unsigned band that just "get's it". When I say that, I mean they know what they are doing with their music and understand their sound. They don't try any bullshit with effects on their instruments and vocals. It's just them, kicking ass. When I first popped this EP into my car stereo, by the end of the first track "Over The Line", I nodded my head and said to myself "Yeah, these guy's get it".

I've heard a lot of demo's and EP's by local bands that want to make it. Most of the bands were wannabe rip offs. Some were just not good. Others tried to be Linkin Park and mess with Auto-Tune and made their record sound like shit, when it could have been a pretty decent record. Not Woods Of Arden. They go right around the garbage that is Auto-Tune and deliver 6 amazing Rock tracks that rival the mainstream artists.

This EP has everything I look for in a good band: Good sound from all the instruments, catchy guitar riffs, smooth bass, good drum technique and a singer that can deliver the goods live. Today's technology, while amazing and brilliant, can make the worst singers sound like Sinatra. I was worried about this band being another one of those disappointments, until they performed "Crazy" on an episode of Ham Radio not to long ago...

I was blown away by these guy's. They took an already great sounding song, toned it down to make it into a deep, dark sounding acoustic song. It reminds me of early Nine Inch Nails, which is saying a lot. The only criticism I have if anything, is on the studio version of "Crazy", instead of going right into the vocals, they should have started it with the acoustic guitar chords and kicked in the vocals like they did in that video. I tried to find anything else about this EP I didn't like. I failed. I looked up videos of them performing live and I came across this...

It's the best video of them live I could find where you hear everything in a live performance. There is no doubt in my mind that on the EP that is all Alex's voice, not Auto-Tune. That to me is what makes a great band.

Although my favorite track on the EP is "Twice As Nice", every song is a 5 star effort.

Summary: Woods Of Arden, a local band from Staten Island, NY, created a 6 track EP that is nothing short of epic. Why they aren't signed to a label and have heavy rotation on Rock stations everywhere is mind-boggling. I strongly suggest you get this EP on Itunes. It's the best $6.00 you could spend.

MY RATING: 9.5/10

Written by: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Friday, March 4, 2011

The "Movies Everyone Except Hammy Has Seen" Report

It's a known fact that Hammy hasn't seen a lot of classic movies. On the previous episode of Brainstu Radio, the guy's found out just how many movies he hasn't seen. With that, we present, The complete "Good Movies Everyone Except Hammy Has Seen" list:

A Fistful Of Dollars
And Justice For All
Apocalypse Now
Army Of Darkness
Bad Santa (Both)
Beverly Hills Cop (All Of Them)
Billy Madison
Blade Runner
Blazing Saddles
Boogie Nights
Carlito's Way
Clash Of The Titans (Original)
Conan The Barbarian
Dawn Of The Dead
Day Of The Dead
Die Hard (All of them)
Dirty Harry
Demolition Man
Dog Day Afternoon
Easy Rider
Escape From New York
Fight Club
For A Few Dollars More
Full Metal Jacket
Gangs Of New York
Ghostbusters (Both of them)
Kill Bill (Both of them)
Lethal Weapon (All Of Them)
Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels
Lord Of The Rings (Two Towers, Return)
Magnum Force
Major League (All of them)
Mean Streets
Night Of The Living Dead
No Country For Old Men
Once Upon A Time In America
Point Break
Primal Fear
Public Enemies
Raging Bull
Rambo (All of them)
Reservoir Dogs
Road To Perdition
Robocop (All of them)
Shutter Island
Slap Shot
Starship Troopers
The Bad News Bears (Original)
The Big Lebowski
The Blues Brothers
The Bourne... (All)
The Color Of Money
The Deer Hunter
The Evil Dead (Both Of Them)
The French Connection
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
The Green Mile
The History Of The World: Part 1
The Hurt Locker
The Last Dragon
The Last Temptation Of Christ
The Natural
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shining
The Thing
There Will Be Blood
They Live
Young Frankenstein