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Dream Theater: On The Backs Of Angels

On the backs of Angels, released on 29th June on youtube, is Dream Theater’s first ever release without founding member Mike Portnoy. It is also their first ever release with new drummer Mike Mangini and the first single from their upcoming album, A Dramatic Turn of Events. The single was released as a high-quality digital download on August 14th.

On the backs of Angels is a return to classic form for Dream Theater. It sounds like it could be a track from The Images & words era or Metropolis 2 era. Unlike their last few offerings which were more in the metal direction and less in the prog direction.

The entire band is beautifully showcased. The drummer is finally grooving with the band and not trying to forcefully take the spotlight. John Myung’s bass can finally be heard again. The song is carried by Jordan Rudess. He has tastefully integrated his patches with a grand acoustic piano sound.  This is all topped off by a solo John Petrucci. Everything in this song goes and fits so well. This could be the start of something epic.

Dream Theater
James LaBrie – lead vocals
John Petrucci – guitars, backing vocals and lyrics
Jordan Rudess – keyboards, continuum
John Myung – bass
Mike Mangini – drums, percussion

Production
John Petrucci – production
Paul Northfield – engineering
Andy Wallace – mixing

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Highly Recommended: Kick-Ass

Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass.
Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready/Big Daddy.
Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl.
Mark Strong as Frank D’Amico.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D’Amico/Red Mist.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Released on  16 April 2010

 

Kick-Ass is your everyday average comic book nerd. He has a mundane existence with a very normal family. The only difference being he wishes to emulate superheroes he reads about. He has two buddies who are more hindrances than help. Deciding to take matters of crime fighting into his own hands, he starts off by ordering a costume from ebay. He has no powers but he does want the girl. Just like every other hero.

Matthew Vaughan is clearly becoming a bonafide director/producer/writer. He managed the financing of the film by himself after being given orders to “tone down parts” and “change ages” by major studios. Matthew Vaughn proves that he can produce and direct standout films in the way he chooses, without backing down to studio pressure. Something you don’t much at all.

Nicolas Cage is on a role of late, and continues his fine form. A psychotic man with good intentions, Big Daddy is a role custom made for Nicolas Cage. He shows how and why.

Hit Girl is the one who steals the show. Chole Grace Moretz acts much more mature than any 11 year old and far better than most actresses around. She swears and she shoots. She is purely more kick-ass than kick-ass.

A lot of controversy has been generated by the use of foul language by Chole Grace Moretz as Hit Girl. The fact that a character portrayed by a 11 year old uses swear words seems to piss of people more than the fact of how many people she kills. Not that the later didn’t piss of people, but only less. Some people seem to forget that there are things called ratings and getting approved by the film board. This is a movie about superheroes. Anyone get the hint that nothing here is meant to be taken as being real?

The action scenes in the movie are brilliantly filmed. They are not toned down one bit and leave nothing to the imagination. That means there is quite a body and blood count. Hit Girl has a great FPS (First Person Shooter) style fight scene which is just kick ass.

Using quite a few energy pumped tracks from The Prodigy, the soundtrack is good and fits totally with the scenes they are synced with. It is not an orchestral type of score but rather a single based one, which fits the movie well.

Whether you want to see this or not, depends on whether you have the balls to see it or not.
This is something of a sort you have never seen before.

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Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.

A DC Universe animated original movie.

Directed by Lauren Montgomery & Sam Liu.

Written by Dwayne McDuffie.

Starring the voice talents of:-

Mark Harmon as Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El.
Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman/Princess Diana.
James Woods as Owlman.
Chris Noth as Lex Luthor.
William Baldwin as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Released on February 23, 2010.

Running time 75 minutes.
This animated feature is based in some ways on the grand Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline from DC. As is the case with any animated feature, it always takes liberty from the source work.  The main protagonist here is a heroic Lex Luthor from an alternate universe where the Justice League are evil.

As is earth is about to be overrun by evil, Lex Luthor comes to our earth’s Justice League for help.
Thus begins an epic battle of good version evil. The mouth-watering prospect is that we get to see an evil version of the Justice League, known as the Crime Syndicate.
The primary roster of the Justice League includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter and the Green Lantern. Their Crime Syndicate counterparts,or simply put evil versions are Owlman, Ultraman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, J’edd J’arkus and Power Ring. Both sides also have a supporting cast of lesser known DC heroes and villains.

The battle is between the good versus evil versions of all our favourite heroes.  We have always at some point asked ourselves what would happen if Superman used his unlimited power for  evil, the Dark Knight become one with the darkness and helped spread it. This is where we get to find out. Plus we get to see how our heroes would fare against themselves.

The first thing you will notice with the film is that the voice casting is bad. Kevin Conroy isn’t the Batman. Now that is a very big crime. Anyone who has ever watched a single Batman animated feature (cartoons or even the awesome game from last year, Arkham Asylum) knows that Batman voiced by anyone other than Conroy is unacceptable. They have boosted star power by adding Mark Harmon from NCIS as Superman, a move completely unnecessary but very common in direct to viedo animated features from DC. Using the core voice actors from the animated series would have been way better.

The movie is way too short in length, clocking at just 75 minutes. This makes the story line very forced and there is no character development. Prime characters like Batman are given way little time to exert themselves. Owlman also suffers the same fate as being one of the prime antagonists, he could have used some more screen time.

There is also a side storyline about The Martian Manhunter which I felt was not needed at all, having little to do with the main storyline. Had that story line been exclude, then that time could have been put to better use in story and character development.

Crisis on Two Earths is by far the best storyline with the Justice League in any animated feature. It is the closest we have come to getting an onscreen representation of Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline from the comics. This project has been in development hell for quite a while, being slated to come out during the Justice League Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited Animated Series.

This is a must for any DC comics fan.

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Highly Recommended : Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Cast

George Clooney as Mr. Fox
Meryl Streep as Mrs. Felicity Fox
Bill Murray as Clive Badger
Willem Dafoe as Rat
Owen Wilson as Coach Skip

Directed by Wes Anderson.

Music by Alexandre Desplat.

Released on 13th November 2009 .

Roald Dahl was a man with a heck of an imagination. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , James and the Giant Peach, to name a few, are all his creations. Only recent technology has allowed us to capture the essence of his work. Fantastic Mr. Fox is animated using stop-motion. That provides for a refreshing break from all the animated technology that you see everyday.

The interaction between the animals and humans is the core of the story. The wild nature of the animals and their dilemma of weather to suppress their instincts or to give in is the main theme of the film. It shows great interaction between different kinds of animals. Foxes, Badgers,

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Highly Recommended : The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day.

Everybody’s favourite Irish Saints from Boston are back. This time around, they are out for revenge.
Written and directed by The Boondock Saints creator Troy Duffy, starring Sean Patrick Flanery as Connor MacManus and Norman Reedus as Murphy MacManus, hence reprising their roles. Almost all the cast members return, giving it an authenticity and feeling of the original, even thou 10 years have gone by since the original.

Thou based in Boston, it was actually shot in Toronto. There seems to be some sort of delay issue with Boondock Saints. That was the issue with part one and the same with this. Supposed to be out before 2009, even now it has not got a wide release. But this is a cult film we are talking about. The movie has great dialogue and has classic Boondock Saints cinematic.

Boondock Saints 2 is just like the first movie. In fact, do not watch this if you by some chance have not seen the original. A lot of continuity is present. Just like the first one, this is all about the brothers and their killings of evil men. Like the first, it too is based in Boston. This time around thou, everyone is scared of them and their legend.  You see, they have been out of action, and were rusting away in their homeland of Ireland. But someone wants them back. We get a glimpse as how to Noah MacManus a.k.a. Il Deuce, the father MacManus, gets into/starts the family business of killing evils.

There are a few notable additions to the cast. Julie Benz as a Special Agent totally steals the show at some parts. She has so many great lines. Literally everything she says is gold. Romeo the Mexican, the new buddy of the MacManus brothers, is the constant comic relief of the film.  He takes over Rocco’s role from the first film, and does a great job. The movie has an ending that is simply unbelievable and leaves you waiting for more. Who knows how long it will be before Part 3?

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Windows 7 GodMode

Windows 7 is a piece of art. A classic. An OS like no other. I finally got around to installing my copy of Windows 7 Professional 64 bit yesterday.
Today I discovered something far far magnificant than imaginable.
GodMode.

Recently discovered by Windows 7 users, GodMode allows you to view the ultimate control panel of all your settings.
Setting up GodMode is very easy. All you have to do is create a new folder and rename it to
GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
That’s it. The icon of the folder will change and opening the folder you will see all your settings and customizable options.

How cool is that?

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Highly Recommended : Avatar

Cast
Sam Worthington as Corporal Jake Sully.
Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine.
Zoë Saldaña as Neytiri.

Directed/Produced/Written by James Cameron

Music by James Horner

Released on 18th December 2009.

This is James Cameron’s Avatar. That makes expectations unrealistically high and untouchable. Avatar has been in the making for 15 years. For all you need to know, it lives up to the hype. The movie is an experience like no other. Made to be viewed in 3D and IMAX, it makes perfect use of this groundbreaking technology. This is the evolution of film.

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Highly Recommended : Sherlock Holmes

Cast
Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.
Jude Law as Dr. John Watson.
Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler.
Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade.
Mark Strong as Lord Henry Blackwood.

Directed by Guy Ritchie.

Music by Hans Zimmer.

Released on 25th December 2009.
Released on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo pack on March 30, 2010.

Watching a movie on its world premiere is always an event to remember. More so if it happens to be about something you grew up reading. Badass, detective, a man on the verge of insanity, a loner, a man losing his best and probably only friend. Sherlock Holmes is all of the mentioned.