HERE and NOW
We realise that this might be a little late, but we really couldn't find too many words to describe this latest attempt of an album. Let's just say that they've handed over the bazooka to the haters, and now they're standing right smack in the middle of the firing range. But then again, not many things can live up to the legacy that was Dark Horse. Let's dissect, shall we?
We start off with the pre-released single - 'When We Stand Together'. It's got the same tune throughout the song, with a drum solo thrown in somewhere in between. Despite that, it comes off as a nice, feel-good-y track, albeit one that fades into background music after the first thirty seconds or so.
The rest of the album balances harder rock with the slower ballads, and just about pulls it off. Some of the rock numbers reminds you of 'Burn it to the Ground' as you quietly shake your head. Even then, 'This Means War' manages a good scream-along chorus, and 'Midnight Queen' might also provide a small measure of redemption. The slower songs are much better, and this is when you actually feel that you're listening to Nickelback. 'Don't Ever Let It End' and 'Lullaby' are both lyrically sound, and are beautifully emotional without becoming too sappy. This reviewer would call them the highlights of the album, not because they're that awesome, but because the rest of it is, well, not that awesome.
Nickelback seems to be trying really hard not to sound like their previous selves on this one, and unfortunately, a lot of it shows. They sound self-conscious about repeating themselves; so what we eventually get is over-complicated versions of songs that would have otherwise sounded just like their older ones. Case in point: 'Gotta Get Me Some'.
And just like any other collection of songs, 'Here and Now' has its own share of meh numbers. We'll be good to you and tell you in advance to skip tracks two, four and ten. That's at least nine minutes of your life that we've saved.
But despite everything, Nickelback's done it again. When even mediocre songs like 'Trying Not To Love You' become hits, you know that this is one band that's not going anywhere soon. They've survived well over a decade in a world that has Justin Bieber as a heartthrob, and they've done it by staying true to their own unique style. This is definitely not their best work, and given a bigger word limit, we'd definitely rant about it some more. Comparisons are inevitable, and for a band like Nickelback, the standards get higher each time they hit the studios. This time round though, they leave us hardcore fans with more than just a few fits of nostalgic melancholia.
MUST WATCH TV
When you think about it, a six person relationship comedy doesn't seem all that appealing anymore. After seventeen seasons of Friends and How I met Your Mother (combined), you'd think the audience got tired relationship comedies and it is a good idea to abandon the area altogether. Then again, there is a severe lack of good television shows, and the permanent hiatus of Community and HIMYM's terrible seventh season isn't helping. So, a TV show could shine in that scenario after all, and Happy Endings doesn't do all that bad.
Set in Chicago, Happy Endings is the comedy about the lives of six people who have been friends since college. Of the six main characters, Brad and Jane is married, Max lives in his own sarcastic world; Penny is a very female version of Barney Stinson, sort of, and Dave and Alex were supposed to get married before Alex decided to run away from the altar, leaving their friends to choose between them. Although the series starts with the dilemma of choosing between Dave and Alex, the show doesn't go beyond a couple of episodes with the subject and eventually they learn not to kick each other in public every time they come across.
Happy Endings doesn't give the audience a taste of something new, and frankly it's a lot like other comedies about friends in their thirties who hangout all the time. But since you wouldn't be expecting a lot, you'd be pleasantly surprised, because the show is in fact quite funny. Full of quirky dialogues and pop culture references, it shows a lot more intelligence in writing than its competitors. The acting is good and overall the show grows on you after a couple of episodes.
Honestly, you'd not want Happy Endings to be forever saved in your hard disk. Chances are low that it will be your favourite show. But it's still a decent way to pass the time watching television and definitely better than watching glee in star world.
Blast from the past
Philosophically speaking, the classic game of Snakes imposes the terrifying reality of everything being devoured by the overgrown, expanding them further with every apple they bite.
From the perspective of the owner of a really old Nokia phone-set, it invokes the rage associated with seeing his record broken by 4 year old kids. And the happy feeling of spending hours on this game, crawling to the tiny pixel dot and avoiding the elongating body as well as the border.
The sound when you touched any of the unwanted surroundings was too humiliating. And those 'poit poit' sounds as motivating as the sound from the Horn of Helm Hammerhand.
'Snakes' has been a brilliant way to pass time for some 15 years or so, ever since it became a standard game in the Nokia phones. It has amused billions of people; helped them pass uneventful hours in the conference room. You can hardly find someone who hasn't played it.
But the relaxing view of seeing those pixels following each other and growing in length after each success is no more. There are newer versions of this classic game. Snakes III, the one that is available in the newer Nokia models, have an ACTUAL looking snake chasing the apple. The snake is colourful and grins a lot, probably more than you when you find out how unnatural this feels. It also looks stupid. I suppose, that makes it funny.
The graphics have certainly improved, but there was a special kind of joy in playing the game on a gray platform. There are several new 'modes' of playing. Like adventure and multiplayer and stuff.
The music is way too annoying. But once you turn it off, you may find the drive to chase those fruits to progress to level 2 in adventure mode. And WHY FRUITS? There are mushrooms growing, why can't the snake eat those? Mushrooms are perfect food for the snakes, are they not?
I used to... nah, forget it. I am bad with 'arrow in the knee' jokes. It is overused anyway.
By Munawar Mobin
Hugh Jackman put away his claws and the latex for 'Real Steel', the movie which revolves around boxing…with robots. This movie has a real 'rocky' feeling to it, tinged with a little father-son element in quite a new perspective. Father Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) was a low-profile boxer about to hit it big after repeated failures when the whole world stops caring about human boxing and moves on to robot boxing. Apparently, it's more intense and involves much more money; you know how the mob works. So the 'in-thing' evolves to robot boxing and Charlie takes a bite out of the cake and starts fighting with his own robots, making small money and barely living. Estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) comes into the picture and the father-son part of the movie kicks in, with Charlie initially reluctantly partnering up with son. They come across a junkyard robot (literally) and put it together, have some fun, spend some quality time and kick metal butt.
That is basically the gist of the movie. Like the streets of Dhaka with traffic, Real Steal is packed up to the brim full of clichés, so much so that it overflows a little. Yet, this movie seems to pull itself up and cross the finish line to make the cut. Why? The characters are well played, Hugh Jackman dishes out acting which, in this writer's opinion, could be said to be more than decent. The boxing scenes are pretty damn epic as one can imagine; if you are having trouble imagining, then think about Megatron versus Optimus Prime scaled down to 8 feet, without the guns and ability to talk, but being controlled by humans and just kicking the inanimate bolts(and nuts) out of each other. CGI plays a good role and the soundtrack gets the viewer pumped, if at least a little. The most surprising thing about the movie is that it comes from the director who brought us Night at the Museum. This makes the movie quite great.
All in all, no matter how clichéd, the film proves enjoyable and entertaining. If you're looking for a fun one and a half hours get Real Steel.