Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (2017)
Mastodon is an American Heavy Metal band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia who just released their seventh album, Emperor of Sand and its one of the best Metal albums I’ve heard in years. The way Mastodon composes both heavy and melodic masterpieces track after track is impressive. Emperor of Sand is a definitely a shining moment in this bands career, not to say they haven’t had a good run of impressive albums but this one hits all the right notes.
The songs on this album are definitely rich with depth both lyrically and musically, touching on common themes for the genre but done in a mature way. Emperor of Sand is a concept album based on the concept of time, dealing with matters like, the darkness, hard times and eventually death that we all face. The members have all stated that they each put their own struggles into each of these songs, making this album is a very personal one. Emperor of Sand is a dark album that you would think would be hard to listen to over and over but it proves to be the opposite, coming across more positive than negative. In my opinion the message I received from the album was to cherish the moments and make the most of the time you are given as you never know when it will be your time to go.
I would like to pick a few standout tracks from the release but in this case, every song is interesting to listen to and it’s like going on a musical adventure as you go through the album. I don’t say this lightly, this album just might be the Metal album of the year. I haven’t been blown away by a Metal album in a very long time but Emperor of Sand is perfection. I bought this album the week of release and I’m still listening to it several times a week. This is one of those albums that seems to get better with every listen, and it is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Go and pick this album up, you will not be disappointed.
We Own The Night (2008) Written and Directed By: James Gray
We Own The Night is a Crime-Drama film, written and directed by James Gray, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall. This film has an amazing cast that deliver good performances for the most part but for me the film falls flat with no shocking plot twists, something we have come to expect from most crime films. The story is pretty straight forward and has absolutely no surprises, everything that happens in this film you saw coming minutes before it does. The film moves at a pretty good pace but the predictability of the story really hurts this film. We Own The Night has an amazing cast and that did their best to deliver but the script is just too simple and weak, sometimes having simplicity is a good thing, however, that is just not the case here. You watch Crime-Dramas from the twists and turns and this film has none.
James really delivered as a director though,capturing the look and the feel of New York in the 80s.The film truly shines with its production design and the recreation of 1980’s Brooklyn. The music and costume design is spot on, as well as some pretty good cinematography. The films score is composed by Wojceigh Kilar and it’s an excellent score that fits the film perfectly. Its one of those scores that just sits in the background and never tries to hijack the film and I appreciate that very much.
The film features an exceptional car chase scene that is the shining moment for this one and honestly the only memorable scene in the film. The predictable ending was not a good payoff for me, it was a generic ending for a very generic film. Generic, That is a good way to explain We Own The Night, nothing really exciting happens besides the car chase, group that with an extremely predictable script and you get a less then stellar film. If you love the genre then by all means check it out and judge for yourself, if not, I would pass. I recommend viewing The Departed instead.
Metallica- Hardwired To Self-Destruct (2016)
What happens when you combine 1988s “…And Justice for All” with the “Load” and “ReLoad” era of Metallica? You get their long awaited follow up to 2008s “Death Magnetic”, ” Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” and it delivers. Hetfield and company brought the riffs this time around, opening up with the pummeling that is “Hardwired”, aggressive lyrics like ” We’re so fucked, shit out of luck” that drive the chorus forward and beat you relentlessly for three minutes. Hardwired offers twelve tracks across two discs, the second disc being much more nineties and groove oriented while the first disc has the feel of the late eighties and early nineties Metallica.
Hetfield channels his old vocal style, seeming to release his inner demons again through his dark and twisted lyrics, while Lars carries his iconic “in the pocket” drum style. Kirk Hammett brings a wide variety of solos to the album, some sounding right off of the “Load” and “Reload” albums, while others show his progression as a player. I would love to hear Rob turned up the mix, he is an extremely talented bass player and would love to hear more of him.
“Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” has the makings of a great Metallica record, with standout tracks like “Halo On Fire”, “Moth Into Flame”, “Am I Savage?” and my personal favorite, The thrash masterpiece that is “Spit Out The Bone”, that song sounds like it should have been on “…And Justice For All” . So how does Metallicas tenth studio album rank in their impressive, yet divisive discography? I would say it is a great addition to your collection, considering it came out in November, 2016 and It’s now May, 2017 and I’m still listening to it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this album will be replacing any of the classic albums as their best work,but I do believe this is an album for every fan, no matter which era of Metallica you enjoy, there is something here for everyone.
Photo from beardedgentlemenmusic.com
La La Land (2016) Directed by: Damien Chazelle Score 10/10
La La Land is a Romantic-Dramedy Musical that is written and directed by Damien Chazelle, A name you may recognize, he was also the mastermind behind Whiplash,which is an excellent film that we will get to later. La La Land stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who were a match made in heaven. Ryan and Emma truly deliver some of the best, and all around performances I have ever seen, their ability to deliver the laughs and the drama all while performing some truly amazing choreography, was a sight to behold. This films has some of the best original songs I have heard since Rent. A few of my favorite tracks are “City of Stars”, “A Lovely Night” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream) all written by the talented, Justin Hurwitz.
The movie itself is pure cinematic gold. It is extremely well written and directed, never losing sight of its heritage and its purpose. The plot moves at a great pace and the songs only happen when they need to, thankfully no one just randomly bursts into song. The jazz inspired music is used to perfection and has also turned me into a jazz music fan. The dialogue is touching and inspiring at the same time, in fact this whole film is inspiring and beautiful, I left the theater ready to take my dreams head on. I recommend this movie to everyone, even though most will dismiss it because it’s a musical, but I have never seen a musical done in the fashion that Damien did it. In closing, this film is pure movie magic and I think everyone should see it at least once.
BLUE VALENTINE (2010) Directed By : Derek Cianfrance SCORE- 9/10
Blue Valentine is a Romantic Drama film starring Ryan Gosling(La La Land, Drive) and Michelle Williams(Manchester by the Sea). While the film is beautifully shot, it is a very depressing one to watch. Ryan and Michelle’s performances are so good it almost feels like you are watching a documentary. They have some incredible scenes here, that will hit you right in the feels over and over again.
Blue Valentine is a very touching and emotional film from the very first frame to the last. This film has some scenes that will make you uncomfortable and some that will have you laughing out loud. Derek wrote the story in such an intelligent way, going back and forth from the past to the present, it was such an engaging way to see the characters fall in love and then seeing what became of their relationship in the end.
I will say I didn’t feel the story was really done when the film ended, it kind of caught me off guard. I wanted to know more but ultimately, it is what it is. I highly recommend viewing this when you are in a good place mentally as there are very few happy moments in this film…but when they happen, they are beautiful. Derek wrote and directed a tragic, depressing love story but it’s one of the most honest and real stories I have seen in a long time. I have viewed it several times and it still has the same emotional effect every time, to me that is the sign of a great film.
I will keep this nice and simple. Do you like Entertainment? Movies? Tv? Music? I do and that is all we will be talking about here! I love great stories and awesome music. I am rather open minded to new art and will not judge anyone based on their preferences. I will be posting 2-3 reviews a week. I will be reviewing old and new movies,shows and music, No rules here! I am still catching up on movies and shows I’ve missed over the last twenty-eight years on this rotating rock! If this sounds interesting to you, Join the conversation!
This blog will keep most reviews short and spoiler free! I hate when I read reviews that tell me everything about the films or shows. I will try my best to remain unbiased and give honest reviews of all things entertainment.The reviews will be on a scale of ten, ten meaning “masterpiece” and zero meaning “garbage”. Hope you enjoy the coming reviews! I am completely new to this, so constructive criticism is appreciated.