Month: May 2013

“The Hangover Part III” review

Image

Phil, Stu and Alan – the Wolfpack – are back in a second sequel to end the trilogy. Thankfully, it was decided that they wouldn’t copy the formula of the first movie again. What we are left with is another adventure with the three characters we love so much.

Instead of waking up from a hangover and having to figure stuff out, the effects of the hangovers from the first two movies is what drives the plot. Chow had stolen gold from Marshall, the unseen boss of the gang from the first movie. Marshall knows that Alan had been communicating with Chow since he was imprisoned in Bangkok at the end of the second movie. Now that he has escaped, Marshall believes only the Wolfpack can find him and the gold. He takes Doug as a ransom, giving them three days to get Chow.

Chow is still hilarious, and it’s great to see him back again. I was happy to not see the same structure this time, but what replaced it definitely wasn’t funnier than the first movie. The first movie was so good because of the element of surprise as well as the hilarious situations the characters got themselves in. The comedy was situational, helped by some hilarious lines by the characters. This instalment is darker and has more action which gets in the way of the hilarity.

Alan is the most memorable character of this series, but I felt his lines were a little bit tired in this instalment. The opening scene with the giraffe wasn’t that funny; it’s not like I said “Classic Alan”. I think it tries a little too hard to be funny after that.

It was at least more surprising than the second movie, with a twist that I should’ve seen coming. Chow believing he can fly as seen in the trailer was pretty damn funny. Also, make sure you stay for the post-credits scene because it’s a gift to the fans. I was a little disappointed overall, but I give the writers credit for changing up the formula. It’s worth seeing, but the first is still the best!

I give The Hangover Part III 3/5.

Advertisements

Media in Australia: Video Games

The readings this week discussed the history of gaming, a medium that until recent years has been misunderstood by those who don’t consider themselves gamers. The latter half of the first decade of the twenty-first century saw a dramatic shift in the demographics of people playing video games. In Games and Gaming: An Introduction to New Media, Hjorth believes that three of the most influential trends in this new era of gaming were Nintendo’s Wii console, Apple’s iPhone and games on SNS (Social Networking Sites) such as Facebook. The Wii, which launched in 2006, led to those outside of the stereotyped demographic (young males) to play video games. Wii Sports, bundled with the system, became popular with parents, grandparents and others who had never had any previous desire to play video games (Hjorth, L 2011, pp. 127). Mobile gaming took off when the iPhone launched in 2007 and brought with it the App Store, a digital shop that sells applications for the devices. In The Media & Communications in Australia, Hjorth notes that by the end of 2008, more than half the applications sold on the store were video games (2010, pp. 264).

These “casual” games such as Wii Sports and Angry Birds are doing so well are because of their simplicity. Video game critic Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw notes that for a first-time gamer, playing a video game intended for established long time gamers can be “disorienting” (2010). iPhone games in particular usually require simply tapping the screen, which is a lot easier compared to ten buttons on today’s video game controllers.

References

Hjorth, L (2011), Games and Gaming: An Introduction to New Media, Berg Publishers, Oxford.

Hjorth, L. (2010), Chapter 15, The Media & Communications in Australia, 3rd edition, Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin.

Crowshaw, B 2010, Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Escapist, viewed 29 October 2012, < http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/extra-punctuation/7856-Super-Mario-Galaxy-2.2>.

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 30 OCTOBER 2012. MAY HAVE BEEN EDITED SLIGHTLY]

This is the final of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The links to the other nine can be found here: https://stefanb33.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/media-in-australia-university-blogs/

Tenacious D 2013 ‘Old School Acoustic Style’ tour live in Melbourne

ImageThe D is back!

Tossing aside the backing band for the “Old School Acoustic Style” tour, the set for the night consisted of Jack Black, Kyle Gass, their two acoustic guitars, a roadie, a sasquatch and a couple of other cameos. It was Tenacious D stripped down to the bone, which may have been a relief to some fans as this was a return to their roots back before they even had an album out. The intimacy of this approach was reflected with the show taking place in a theatre. No standing, no moshing, no headbanging, but I was fortunate to purchase tickets in the second row!

The only way to truly start this tour off is the title track of the new album Rize of the Fenix, to once again remind us that The D is back with a vengeance. It bummed me out a little (but not too much) that they played the shortened radio version. I was pleased that they played quite a few songs off the new record, because as some of you may know I think it’s awesome!

The comedy rock duo’s playing sounds as accomplished as ever; Jack Black’s vocals are still intact and Kyle’s soloing on his acoustic guitar is fast and fluid. Every acoustic arrangement was flawless, but of course the acoustic style meant that some of the songs on The Pick of Destiny soundtrack, such as “The Metal”, will never the light of the day on this tour.

Fans of The D don’t just come for the music, but also for the comedy. I’m not going to talk about it too much because you’d be better off seeing it yourself, but if it wasn’t the on-stage antics it was the little things like Kyle playing a recorder or Jack insulting members of the crowd.

Highlights include “Cosmic Shame”, where Black contends that some people have to give up their dreams and do the boring jobs too; “Roadie”, my favourite song of 2012; “Tribute”, which speaks for itself; “Kickapoo”, because it’s a fantastic story; and the wonderful “Wonderboy”.

A personal highlight for me was after the band finished their final song, “Fuck Her Gently”, and during the standing ovation, Jack Black extended his index finger out to the front row, so I reached as far as I could with my finger and sure enough, the two fingers connected. This amazing moment in my life and I’ll only become a better person from here on.

Thanks Tenacious D, and I only hope I don’t have to wait another five or six years for another tour.

Rating: 4/5.

Setlist below, highlights in bold.

Rize of the Fenix

Low Hangin’ Fruit

Señorita

Dude (I Totally Miss You)

Kyle Quit the Band

Friendship

Kielbasa

History

Kickapoo

Saxaboom

Roadie

Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)/Rock is Dead

The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage

To Be The Best

Cosmic Shame

Tribute

Double Team

Encore:

Baby

Flash (Queen cover)

Wonderboy

Fuck Her Gently

Media in Australia: Popular Music

Today’s music and associated industries are facing a number of challenges due to the changes in technology and behaviours of music fans. In The Media & Communications in Australia, Shane Homan discusses the ongoing battle for copyright and revenue, which turned quite ugly in 2002 when heavy metal band Metallica and the Recording Industry Association of America took successful legal action against file-sharing service Napster that year (2010, pp. 224). The two plaintiffs argued that downloading breaches copyright protection for music, and leads to a loss of revenue. (2010, pp. 225).

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in September 2012 that Australians “download music illegally more frequently, by head of population, than any other country”, making Australians the world leaders in illegal music downloads (Zuel, B 2012). Despite this, Australians also pay for digital downloads and also buy records in a physical format “at a rate which surprises the industry worldwide”. This seems to indicate that Australia are one of the biggest music consumers in the world and will do whatever it takes to obtain the music they want, whether legally or illegally. With digital music sales up 37% to last year, perhaps the Australian music industry isn’t in such a bad state after all.

References

Homan, S. (2010), Chapter 13, The Media & Communications in Australia, 3rd edition, Crows Nest, NSW, Allen & Unwin.

Zuel, B 2012, ‘Australians world’s worst for illegal music downloads’, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September, viewed 28 October 2012, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/australians-worlds-worst-for-illegal-music-downloads-20120918-2643a.html>.

 

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 29 OCTOBER 2012. MAY HAVE BEEN EDITED SLIGHTLY]

This is the ninth of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The next  two will be uploaded over the course of a few weeks, the links to which can be found here: https://stefanb33.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/media-in-australia-university-blogs/

“Iron Man 3” review

Iron_Man_3_theatrical_poster

If you think they were going to downscale Iron Man after The Avengers than you were wrong! Iron Man 3 is here and it blew away all expectations!

Tony Stark is experiencing post-traumatic stress order after “New York”, which refers to the alien invasion that occurred in The Avengers. His ways of dealing with this stress takes a toll on his relationship with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts.  After his home is destroyed by a huge threat, he sets out to get revenge on those responsible and to protect America from the Mandarin terrorist group that has blown up a series of bombs on American soil.

The beginning was slow. Real slow. We go through a flashback to 1999 to introduce a couple of characters. Maya Hansen, one of Stark’s one-night stands, is a scientist who invented the Extremis, which is a treatment that can regenerate crippling injuries. Aldrich Killian, a disabled scientist, wanted Stark and Hanson in his company, but Stark rejected the offer and humiliated him in the process.

Even after this flashback, the story continues to be a slow starter. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop. The jokes don’t stop, and I think this has the funniest dialogue of any Marvel film adaptation. This film is over two hours long, and I just did not want it to end. The plot may feel overwrought at times, but it’s not too difficult to follow. Action movies have the ability to make you think in your head “Oh my God, this is just so awesome”. I thought that multiple times, because these action sequences did not let up. Tony Stark did not stop being Tony Stark, which is great because Robert Downey Jr does a fantastic job with the character.

I remember loving Iron Man 1 and The Avengers, but I also remember not liking Iron Man 2 for reasons I can’t recall…I will remember how good Iron Man 3 is for a very long time.

It’s not all perfect; I picked up a few flaws, but almost everything else I overwhelmingly view positively.

Downey Jr once again plays a great starring role as the one and only Iron Man. The film starts off a bit slow, but once we finally get into the swing of things, we don’t look back because we simply can’t resist the awesomeness inhabiting our screen. The only way I possibly couldn’t recommend this is if you have a very strange dislike for Iron Man, The Avengers or superhero movies in general. To everyone else: you should have seen it by now!

Rating: 4.5/5.

I also would recommend you read my friend Pigeon’s review too, he is a film/TV university student, so he knows what he’s talking about!

Media in Australia: Mobile Communications and Culture

Kath Albury and Kate Crawford’s article ‘Sexting, Consent & Young People’s Ethics: Beyond Megan’s Story’ (2012), discusses issues raised by the Megan’s Story video and the issues it ignores. The video depicts a teenage girl named Megan leaving the girls toilet, who then sends a “sext” of herself with her mobile phone to a boy in her class. A sext refers to sexually explicit messages, photos or videos, usually sent between mobile phones. While in class, Megan realises that the image is being forwarded to other members of the class. They react by glaring at her, insulting her and passing her a piece of paper with an offensive note. While this is happening, we see shots of her becoming more and more worried and distressed. After her teacher receives the sext and looks at her with disappointment, she becomes overwhelmed with distress and leaves the classroom (ThinkUKnowAUS 2010). The message of the video is to be careful of what you send to other people as you never know what they will do with it. However, as Albury and Crawford’s article states, the video doesn’t make a single mention of the legal implications that face Megan and her classmates (2012, pp. 465).

Albury and Crawford believe that the video as a warning could be better if it made note of the criminal charges all the characters could face. Megan could be charged with “production and distribution of child pornography”. The boy who forwarded Megan’s sext faces the same potential charge, as will all the others in the classroom who forwarded the sext. Then there’s the teacher, who would be “charged with the possession of child pornography”. Albury and Crawford’s point is that Megan’s Story “fails to engage with the serious legal penalties facing young people who are charged for sexting, and the double role imposed on them as both criminals and vulnerable subjects.” (2012, pp. 466). While the classmates and the teacher would be offenders, Megan would be both a victim and an offender.

Liberty Victoria has made a submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Sexting. In their submission, the civil liberties organisation questions the adequacy of existing laws. For example, under current laws, Megan, her classmates and her teacher could be criminally charged with a sexual offence and placed on a sex offenders register. Liberty Victoria believes this is too harsh for sexting, and it lowers the value of the register as a database of offenders posing a real risk to the community (Liberty Victoria 2012, pp. 2). Compared to a real sex offender who commits rape or sexual violence, Megan, her classmates and her teacher don’t pose a significant danger to the public.

References

Albury, K., Crawford, K., (2012) ‘Sexting, Consent & Young People’s Ethics: Beyond Megan’s Story’, Continuum, 26 (3), pp. 463-473.

ThinkUKnowAUS, 2010, Megan’s Story, 6 September, viewed 5 October 2012, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwKgg35YbC4>.

Inquiry into Sexting 2012, Liberty Victoria, viewed 5 October 2012, <http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/lawrefrom/isexting/subs/S28_-_Liberty_Victoria.pdf>.

 

[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 5 OCTOBER 2012. MAY HAVE BEEN EDITED SLIGHTLY]

This is the eighth of ten blogs I wrote for my university subject, Media in Australia, in 2012. The next  two will be uploaded over the course of a few weeks, the links to which can be found here: https://stefanb33.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/media-in-australia-university-blogs/

Black Sabbath 2013 Melbourne concert review

Image

“Let’s see those fucking hands!”

“Everybody jump!”

“Is everyone having a fucking good time?”

“I can’t fucking hear you!”

Ozzy Osbourne loves to please a crowd. After nearly four decades of waiting, Black Sabbath finally returned six feet down under to Australia with three out of the four original members.

Firstly I’d like to congratulate alternative rock supporting band Shihad for giving me a great first impression with incredibly loud guitar music! I’m keen to check them out, because they have such a fiery energy.

Opening with sirens blazing, the Black Sabbath went straight into ‘War Pigs’ and Ozzy’s voice sounded surprisingly in good shape for a 64 year old. That’s not to say he was in top form the entire show, unfortunately. The band did not shy away from smiling at each other, displaying just as much excitement about the reunion as the fans.

After getting through a few old favourites, we were treated to the world premiere of a new song off their upcoming album ‘13’, entitled ‘Loner’. During this and the other two new songs, the crowd were either eagerly listening or eagerly grabbing a drink. I think that’s unfortunate because I can always appreciate new material.

During ‘Black Sabbath’, the crowd took out their phones and lighters to lighten up the joint…as well as their own joints. It’s been a while since I’ve had to experience second hand smoking in a crowd. A personal highlight for me was Geezer Butler’s bass solo at the start of ‘N.I.B.’. That’s some fine finger picking skills right there and it certainly left me inspired.

‘Fairies Wear Boots’ is my favourite Sabbath song, and I enjoyed every minute of Tony Iommi’s metal pumping riffs. Ozzy then left the stage to let the other boys jam to ‘Symptom of the Universe’ and then just left fill-in drummer Tommy Clufetos to play a rather lengthy solo. I thought this was a bit strange due to the controversy surrounding original drummer Bill Ward. Clufetos may not be a member of the band, but I guess it’s nice that his existence is acknowledged.

Returning to play ‘Iron Man’, the crowd was incredibly excited to hear one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time played by the great man who penned it. It’s a riff so iconic that Ozzy had the crowd sing along to it.

‘Paranoid’ ended the show on a high note, with the crowd jumping about, singing along, and realising that this was their last chance to crowd surf. I am a relatively new fan of Black Sabbath, so I avoided watching their live videos to make the concert a fresh experience, and the show ended up being even better than I expected!

My friend Pigeon also had a great time, except for a random person in the crowd making him feel rather uncomfortable. During ‘Snowblind’, Iommi opened with that great riff and everyone started to jump. Pigeon stopped jumping, but the middle-aged man in front of him kept on bouncing very close to Pigeon, like he was grinding him. To make matters worse, his long oily hair was snowing dandruff and smelt terrible. You could say Pigeon experienced “Snowgrind”. Hehehehe. Something happens to him almost every concert, so go follow his blog at Pigeon Stories for reviews and more hilariously embarrassing tales to show your sympathy (or lack thereof).

Hope you guys enjoyed reading this. Did you agree, disagree? What are your experience with Black Sabbath and are you looking forward to the new album? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

Rating: 4/5

Here’s the setlist, with my favourite moments in bold.

  1. War Pigs 
  2. Into the Void 
  3. Under the Sun 
  4. Snowblind 
  5. Loner  (World Premiere)
  6. Black Sabbath 
  7. Behind the Wall of Sleep 
  8. N.I.B. 
  9. End of the Beginning 
  10. Fairies Wear Boots 
  11. Symptom of the Universe (instrumental)
  12. Drum Solo 
  13. Iron Man 
  14. God Is Dead? 
  15. Dirty Women 
  16. Children of the Grave 
  17. Paranoid (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)