Rock of Ages Review

Every once and a while a movie comes along, and most people hate it, but there are those few that find it within themselves to label it a guilty pleasure. They may know that it doesn’t not burn as the brightest cinematic candle, but it’s a fun feature, and that’s all that matters. Southland Tales, Australia, and now, Rock of Ages. 

I saw Rock of Ages twice in theaters. Once because I wanted to, and once because I had a friend who had wanted to see and I love him dearly. That’s right, I didn’t see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter because I was in another theater singing along to Classic Rock songs from the days of old.

FEATURE:

If you’re looking for a fantastic plot here, you’re not going to find one. The plot is paper thin and simply exists to get from one song to another. Rarely do the songs hold any REAL merit for the story (save for “Any Way You Want It” which was used excellently), but that doesn’t stop the movie from being fun. It’s a “leave your brain at the door movie.” Sit back, sing along, and enjoy the ride. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand provide some good comedy moments and Tom Cruise shines as the Rock Star wash-out. It’s worth a watch.

SOUNDTRACK:

See, I have the Original Broadway Cast soundtrack and it simply has a lot more tracks than the movie does, and that’s unfair for comparison. For the tracks that do co-exist, the movie makes some great competition. Every track that Mary J. Blige sings on is completely unfair to everyone else on the track, or in the scene. She’s Mary J. Blige. Everyone else stems from meh (Alec Baldwin) to hmmm (Brand) to pretty good (Boneta and Hough). Tom Cruise is actually pretty good as well, which isn’t that surprising seeing as how everything the man touches turns to gold nowadays.

VERDICT:

If you don’t like Classic Rock there isn’t really a reason for you to see this. If you DO like classic rock, then you’ll probably find some enjoyment. If you like the broadway play you’ll notice some distinct plot changes throughout, but there is rumored to be an extended cut coming to the  DVD/Blu-Ray later on this year. That might be worth the rental.

2/5 for normal folks. 4/5 for Classic Rock and Musical lovers.

The Web of Fate

Because of many things beyond my control, I don’t know where I’ll be this coming Fall. The options are pretty cut and dry. Virginia, Ireland, or Texas. Those are my 3 options. Option 2 is my favorite, only because it’s IRELAND. The other two are good as well, but I don’t really want to stay in Texas. Being a broke recent graduate without a car manages to stem the tides of dreaming pretty quickly. I do hope things get resolved because I refuse to be one of those people that works in a dead-end job for the duration of their lives because it pays the bills.

If I’m not doing something constructive that is somehow related to me accomplishing my dreams then I don’t want to do it.

Living Things Review

Album Cover for Living Things

“Living Things” is the newest album from Linkin Park. It was released early this morning in America, and a couple of days ago overseas. This is Linkin Park’s 5th studio album, and is very reminiscent of their earlier music with a good infusion of their newer style.

Here’s how I’ve ranked Linkin Park albums:

1. A Thousand Suns

2. Living Things

3. Hybrid Theory

4. Meteora

5. Minutes to Midnight

Their earlier albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, have a really hard feel to them. They’re just heavier rock than the newer ones. This is perfectly cool and those albums have some of Linkin Park’s greatest tracks on them. With A Thousand Suns Linkin Park tried something new and went into a sort of Pop-rock/Synth phase, and it really divided their fan-base. Some people, like me, loved the new sound and concept album. Others didn’t. Linkin Park understood this and made Living Things more balanced for the new and old fans. “Burn It Down,” “In My Remains,” and “Powerless” are tracks more similar to their newer style. Those tracks are for the fans who fell in love with A Thousand Suns. “Lost in the Echo,” “Lies Greed Misery,” and “Victimized” are for the fans who want that harder rock feel from their earlier stuff.

I think Living Things has the potential to bring old fans back into the mix as well as keep the new ones. One thing everyone can agree on though, is that we’re glad their are no more Transformers themes on these albums. 😀

Arkham City and the Art of Completion

I own the “Game of the Year” edition of Batman: Arkham City. This game is one of the many games to offer a percentage for completion of goals, secrets, and story. Games like Kingdom Hearts and Red Dead Redemption have done the same thing.

I adore it when developers put stuff like this into their games.

Call it what you will, but anytime I see this element in a game I feel compelled to delve into the game and not give much attention to any other titles I have until I’ve reached that fated 100% mark. I’ve currently poured 31 hours into Arkham City and I have 41 of 70 achievements unlocked. I will eventually have the game completed at 100% and then I’ll take a break. It’s so alluring to strive for that goal though.

How often in life do we strive for perfection? Games like these make it a reachable goal. It’s like the developers are leaning over and whispering in your ear, “You can do it. You can perfect this game. Go for it.” And we, as consumers, happily accept.

I wish more games would do this. Maybe it’s because I’m selfish, and kind of an achievement whore, but c’est la vie.

*runs off to play more Arkham City*

“God Says: A Lesson in Grace”

I’ve never really had to deal with the problem of whether or not God is real. This is a blessing.

When I was little, maybe 5 years old or so, I was pushing a door back and forth with one of my sisters. This was in our old home in Illinois. The door was the door for the restroom upstairs and my father was in there cleaning out a fish tank. When he was finished and ready to leave, my sister pushed the door to me and left, so my father could get out. I, being behind a door and all, didn’t know this and I shoved the door back on my father who was walking out. In frustration he kicked the door, crushing my arm between the door and the wall, and I ran.

My parents chased me around the home and eventually got me to the hospital where it was confirmed; my arm had been broken. They slapped a cast on that sucker and we went on our way.

About 3 weeks later my little sisters and brother were at home with my mother on a Wednesday or Sunday night. I don’t remember which it was, I just remember my father and I heading to church by ourselves. When we got there, I was placed under the pew (children played quietly under the pews whilst the adults paid attention to the sermon) and all I really remember from that moment is this: God told me I didn’t have to wear the cast anymore. I stopped playing with the LEGOs I had and put both of my feet on either side of the bottom of the cast and shoved it off. When it was off I got out from under the pew, handed the cast to my dad, looked up at him and said, “God says I don’t have to wear this anymore.”

He immediately looked shocked, took the cast, and began feeling my arm before he walked up to the pulpit (mid-sermon) and spoke briefly with the pastor before telling him what happened. The pastor let him speak and he told the congregation what had transpired.

The next day we went to the hospital and saw the same doctors who put the cast on. They x-rayed and examined my arm only to tell us that there was no sign at all that it had ever been broken. It was as if the break had never happened.

This is why I’ll never really have trouble knowing God exists. He does. He spoke to me when I had childlike faith, just to believe what I heard Him say, no questions asked. Complete trust. No matter what God and I go through nowadays. No matter the troubles I deal with and send to Him, I never have to worry that He isn’t real; that He’s not listening. That’s grace folks. Plain and simple.