Category Archives: Today’s Guest Review

Today’s Guest Reviewer, David E. Discusses – ‘The Immortals’

 

Review by: David E.

Before I dive into my review of this movie I have to say that as a parent of 2 small children (6 and 2) I was DISGUSTED with the number of underage children (about 7 yeas of age) who were in the theater watching this movie.  And I don’t mean teenagers; I mean preteens years (between 9 and 12 I’d guess), but little kids presumably there with parents/guardians.   WTF!  I don’t care if you can’t get a sitter!  And I don’t care if  junior does sit around and pop caps into fools at close range on Call of Duty all day when he’s not setting things on fire and getting D’s in math so it’s “okay” if he tags along.  No responsible adult parent or otherwise should be bringing young children to this movie!  And with that off my chest, here’s why:

 

 

King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has declared war against humanity and the Gods.  Amassing a bloodthirsty army, Hyperion has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power.  With this bow Hyperion can unleash the Titans, God like figures who have been imprisoned deep within the walls of Mount Tartarus since the dawn of time and thirst for revenge after being sent there by Zeus.  In the Hyperion’s hands, the bow would rain destruction upon mankind and with the Titans released he could destroy the Gods that allowed his family so suffer and die.  As a show of Zeus’s faith in mankind to make right decisions the Gods are forbidden to intervene in human affairs and are thus powerless to stop Hyperion…until a peasant secretly chosen by Zeus named Theseus (Henry Cavill) joins the fight against King Hyperion.

 

So, let me ask you this: do you like fake CGI blood?  Well if you do you’re in luck because this movie is drenched in it.  Seriously, anything that can be cut, sliced, stabbed, gouged, ripped, chopped, stomped, burned, or crushed (and by crushed I mean as in some dudes junk with a mallet the size of Rhode Island) is and no editing is done to spare you the graphic nature of it all.  Mickey Rourke does a great job as the villain and when he’s on screen you just know that someone is going to get hurt and hurt badly.  Henry Cavill certainly looks the part of the hero here and his acting is decent but doesn’t match Rourke’s.

However, here’s where this movie disappoints me.  What about the Gods?  While mankind teeters on the brink of all-out war a debate takes place on Mount Olympus in just one scene between the Gods as why they should or should not intervene.  Just one scene??   I wanted more of that debate brought out.  Luke Evans explains to us as Zeus that he believes in free will so it means not saving our asses when we screw up.  But what about people who are innocent victims of violence and didn’t deserve to die?  King Hyperion brings up this question, Theseus brings up this question, but we as an audience never get an answer from the Gods on the matter.  The story would have benefited from taking out a few beheadings and instead giving more time to the free will vs. divine guidance debate.  That being said, the Gods as fighters are effing AWESOME.  The movie makes you wait till the end for it but I’d say watching them do battle with the Titans is worth the wait especially since I saw this in 3D.

Overall I can say that if you liked 300 then you’ll like Immortals although it’s not nearly as good.  Immortals gives you tons of special effects, fights, and gore– (oh and throw in a few seconds of Freida Pinto’s breasts and ass yippeee!) one or two clichéd rah rah speeches but little or no depth in terms of its story or the worthy themes it touches on.

Guest Reviewer, David E.

Today’s Guest Reviewer – INXS at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery

 

INXS and Berlin (Photo: Chateau Ste. Michelle)

First, let me say I’m not a writer.  I’ve had allusions of being one, but that’s never manifested itself…until now.  So…here’s my chance…I’m getting to write my first review for my wife (!)  DivaJulia’s great Dipped in Cream blog. (As Seen on CNN-she made me say that.)

We had tickets to see INXS on Sunday, July 17th at the lovely Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville, WA.  We scheduled our vacation around being back in time to go.  We watched the extended forecast for the weather and it looked promising (it’s been March here in Seattle for the last 3 1/2 months!!!).  In a word…we were READY!!  That is until my sweet wife took ill on Saturday and was nowhere near well enough to go by Sunday evening.

Best friend Patrick to the rescue.  At Julia’s insistence I called him with 2 hours to go and he was ready when we met an hour later..  The concert started at 7:00pm and we were parking the car at 7:08…not bad.

Julia had found out earlier that week that Berlin, the 80’s New Wave/Synth Pop band would be opening for INXS…what a bonus!!!

Berlin

We walked in to hear Terri Nunn belting out “No More Words“. Her voice was “on point”…and she looked tremendous…signature 2-tone hair flying!  The band was sharp and tight, playing classics like “The Metro“, “Sex” and “Dancing in Berlin“.  In between she dedicated “Take My Breath Away” to her father, who is from the Seattle area, and she strolled through the crowd shaking hands, caressing faces and endearing herself to all she passed.  It was a touching moment.

They finished their set and Terri closed with a very heartfelt thank you to INXS for letting Berlin be the opening act.

Yours Truly...

BREAK TIME…GETTING A 2ND BOTTLE OF WINE.  A nice Cabernet after the White blend that was vaguely reminiscent of the Chablis I used to drink in my college days decades ago…not my favorite!!

Garry and Tim
J.D. Fortune

And then it began. Jon, Andrew and Tim Farris, dressed impeccably like Reservoir Dogs in jet black suits, crisp white shirts and skinny black ties started off the set doing a drum opera intro that got the crowd standing and bopping/nodding heads ready for what was to come. It was truly electric!!

Enter J.D. Fortune, Garry Gary Beers, and Kirk Pengilly to round off the group and slide right into “Suicide Blonde”.

Before I go further, let me say that I personally was never a big devotee of live music until my beautiful DivaJulia entered my life.  I’ve been to more concerts over the last 8 years since I married her than I have in the previous 50!!  That being said, she was really at odds about the addition of  J.D, to replace Michael Hutchence when did their talent search (Rockstar INXS) in 2005 for a new lead singer.  She had never seen INXS live when Michael was alive and just couldn’t buy into someone replacing him.

Me…not as big a deal!!  But…since Julia, I’ve seen almost every video INXS made, watched the dvd,  “Live Baby Live” countless times, downloaded practically every song they’ve recorded, and read three biographies.  I.LOVE.THIS.BAND…I WAS STOKED!!!

Oh man…!!!  “Devil Inside“.  Ah, ah, ah!J.D. is trying his best and I have to give him credit.  He’s not Michael–he doesn’t have his powerful voice, but he’s in tune, he sounds good, and I don’t care–I’m seeing INXS live!!!

The five original members are spot on…Tim and Kirk swapping lead and rhythm, Garry on bass, Andrew on keyboards and Jon on drums are blowing my mind.  I feel as though I’m seeing “Live Baby Live” in front of me and it’s GREAT!!

The band moves smoothly into “The Stairs“, “Listen Like Thieves” and, one of my favorites from the early days, “Kiss the Dirt“.  Throughout the progression of the concert, the guys progressively loosen their ties, open their shirt collars and eventually toss the jackets getting comfortably into the meat of the set.  The audience seems to be in revery, singing along with every song, standing the whole time, clapping and swaying to the timeless music.

Pretty Vegas” was next, the song that J.D. supposedly wrote as an original for INXS to perform during the “Rock Star INXS” competition six years ago.  Word has it Andrew collaborated heavily on it with him and, of course, J.D. won and joined the group.  That’s all I’m sayin’….

Then followed “Bitter Tears“, “Mystify” and “Don’t Change“.  J.D. made a valiant attempt to include the audience in the chorus by stating, “Sing it!!” on “Mystify” just as Michael had done at the famous 1991 concert at the old Wembley Stadium, but the crowd wasn’t 70,000+ strong.  Plus, I’m sure many of them have not watched the “Live Baby Live” dvd a “bazillion” times like yours truly and Julia, and didn’t recognize the cue.

Strangely, “Don’t Change” generally was reserved for the last song of their encore in most of their live concerts when Michael was alive, so I wondered why it’s placement mid-set.  As it turned out, this wasn’t the only number that seemed out of sequence.

J.D. then stepped off stage and one of the backup singers came up and did a beautiful ballad rendition of “New Sensation“.  I haven’t been able to find her name, but she was lovely and had a great voice.  Another surprise was Train front-man, Pat Monahan coming on to sing “Beautiful Girl“.  While he did a decent job, either he wasn’t miked properly or he isn’t blessed with a very powerful voice…it was really hard to hear him.

 

J.D. returned to center-stage while the back-lighting flashed, “Mediate“.  Again, it seemed out of sequence to me…I’m just used to hearing “Need You Tonight” first which segues smoothly through the drums into “Mediate“….this was backwards!  Granted, either way it’s always lovely to hear Kirk’s haunting sax solo at the end of “Mediate“, and he didn’t disappoint.

Our BFF Patrick's diggin' it, man.

The band finished out the set in great form with, “Not Enough Time“, (Patrick’s favorite)  “Disappear“, “Taste It“, “Original Sin“, “What You Need“, and “Never Tear Us Apart“.  Every song touched me in way I didn’t expect, but I think I can attribute it to listening, watching and reading all that was INXS for these many years and feeling like I knew the five original members personally, and I was developing an admiration and acceptance of J.D. Fortune.

The evening had been exceptional, but it wasn’t over yet!!  Refreshed, re-shirted and reinvigorated, the boys took the stage once more for the encore and made our collective night.  They went right into “By My Side“, then the original version of “New Sensation” and finally, yes, the finale, “Don’t Change“.  At that point it did sound like Wembley, with everyone singing along.  Perfection!!!

They took a group bow, Jon threw his sticks, Kirk and Tim their picks and they exited to very extended, sincere and grateful applause.  I walked back to the car with Patrick, a grin on my face that wouldn’t fade for hours.  I’d seen INXS live!!!!

NOTE: If you get the chance, go!!

 

U2 at Qwest Field, Seattle – Today’s Guest Reviewer!

U2 at QWEST Field - Photo: Seattle Times

 

Guest Reviewer, Heather--at QWEST Field for U2

My anticipation for this concert has been building for some time, since the tickets were purchased over a year and a half ago, and due to an emergency back surgery for Bono, rescheduled for June 6th, 2011. I had questions, would Bono still have it? Are they getting too old? Would U2 live up to all their past performances. All my questions were answered with a  (“12th Man“) resounding YES! He’s got it, and more! Better than ever!

Arriving at the show venue, Qwest Field, Seattle, home of the famous “12th Man“… I was awestruck by the sheer NUMBER of people, all ages, all colors and styles, gathering in ONE grand place. All hoping to get a glimpse of one of the worlds greatest rock bands, U2. Over 63,000 people in attendance ( much more than a packed out sporting event on a good day) . The stage, one of the grandest things I have ever seen in my life.  A giant robo-claw of sorts, adorned with massive lighting, 360º giant video monitors, and a 360º stage, so they could be seen by all in attendance.

Opening act was not to disappoint. Lenny Kravitz, a big name in his own right, doing all his greatest hits. I will admit,  I have a new appreciation for Lenny after seeing him and his band live. Not only is he decent to look at, but talented, and a bit of a diva too. Being the first act onstage, there were some technical difficulties (not that in the crowd could really hear or notice), but he made it well known it was not to his standards. In the middle of singing, he’d throw in, ” I’ve only got two notes” , or “sorry, just a little technical $#!#” .

Intermission was with great Seattle flare. I don’t know that any crowd can get into it like us Seattle folk, but I’ve never seen the “WAVE” so enthusiastic in all my life. Anticipation building, fans trying to come up with things to pass the time, volley beach ball on peoples heads… and THEN… THEY entered the stadium, and the roar of the some 63,000 fans screaming and cheering and whistling became deafening. It was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

GASP!

Taking the stage, the lights died down, and U2 started tearing up the night Seattle skyline with “Even Better Than the Real Thing” And, yes–It wasU2 is SO amazing live. The sound, energy the charisma … electric.

The  setlist for this tour was their best ever ( this being my 3rd U2 concert to date) Here’s the rundown.

Main SetEven Better Than The Real Thing, I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Elevation, It’s the End of the World as We Know It – Until the End of the World – Where Have All the Flowers Gone, All I Want Is You, Stay, Beautiful Day – Space Oddity, Pride, Miss Sarajevo, Zooropa, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I’ll Go Crazy (remix) – Discotheque – Life During Wartime – Psycho Killer, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Encore(s)One, Will You Love Me Tomorrow – Where the Streets Have No Name – All You Need is Love, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, With or Without You, Moment of Surrender

When the band did come back out for the encore… I was SO STOKED, Bono came out swinging on a hanging microphone, singing to “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” – one of my favorites.  I can say his back is not holding him back one bit! He was jumping and swiveling and walking ALL over that massive stage. He, is truly, the most amazing performer, in his element on that stage, and at 51 years young–cooler than ever. Not only is U2 impeccable as musicians and artists, but they are amazing people, great humanitarians, with huge hearts, and put their money where their mouth is.

Upon leaving the stage, the last thing that is so vivid in my memory, is seeing fans lining the exit corridor, and there was a young lady holding a sign that said “On my bucket list… Meet Bono” and as Bono walked by, he saw the sign, and reach out and gave her a high five.   The lucky fan went airborne, jumping and screaming and shaking because she, could cross off that item from her “bucket list”.  A second in time for him, a lifetime of memories for her.

 

Lovely Heather...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[FANTASTIC review, Heather! AGAIN, I might add! Please check out Heather’s Guest Review of Depeche Mode! What would I do without all these wonderful folks who are generous enough to write reviews for Dipped in Cream??]