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Movie Review

By Orin

There aren't many people who won't find themselves gushing about how Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie was so magnificent and how it instantly became their favourite movie of all time. Yours truly is a huge fan of Amelie, and there aren't many people who are not. Amelie was, to say it plainly, a masterpiece. Everything was done to perfection. The acting, the plot, and the score - everything had made that movie a success. This also had created a huge foreign fan base of Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

In 2009, Micmacs was released and the fans had huge expectations.

Was it as good? We'd need to know more about the movie for that.

The Plot: Bazil (Danny Boon) is an avid film-viewer and video store clerk, who has had his life all but ruined by weapons of war. His father was killed by a landmine in Morocco when he was only a kid and one fateful night a stray bullet from a nearby shootout embeds itself in his skull, leaving him on the verge of instantaneous death. Whether the bullet in his head should be kept or not is decided by a coin toss and the surgeons decide to keep it in his head.

Losing his job and his home, Bazil wanders the streets until he meets Slammer, a convict who introduces him to a band of eccentric junkyard dealers including Calculator, a math genius and statistician, Buster, a record-holder in human cannonball feats, Tiny Pete, an artistic craftsman, and Elastic Girl, a contortionist, characters like which could hardly be ever found in other movies. With a bullet in his head, Bazil might die any moment and it is when he decides to punish the two manufacturers responsible for his ill-fate. His new family is only too happy to help and the story progresses from there.

The Good: Jean-Pierre Jeunet's style makes him one of the most creative directors of our time, and it shows in the movie.

Visually this is astounding, having brilliant camerawork; the musical score is also very good. The characters are quirky and whimsical and it tries to be a charming little film.

The Bad: But it tries too hard to be charming. Sometimes it seems like there is whimsy for whimsy's sake. A lot of things don't fit together like it did in his earlier works. Then there are scenes which look like they are there only to please the crowd. Basically, trying too hard is the main thing wrong with this movie.

Overall: 7.5/10.

This might not be as good as his previous works, but this still is a good Jeunet movie for the fans. Probably not the best one to introduce you to French cinema but there is another benefit of watching movies like this. You can brag amongst your friends about how you are now a connoisseur of foreign and exotic films and easily be the 'movie-geek' of the bunch. I know, thanking me later is your only option here.

Album Review

Battle Studies

I think it is safe to say that John Mayer has been releasing mature, blues based, guitar featured music with amazing results in almost all of his albums. Mayer's latest album Battle Studies is no exception. Although the album lacks the punch of John Mayer's previous album Continuum, I still think Battle Studies is more sophisticated and mature than any of his other works.

Heartbreak Warfare: It's bluesy, rocking, fun, beautiful, you name it, this song has got it. Heartbreak Warfare is filled with U2 like guitar work and the song establishes the underlying theme of this album, which is love and war. The lyrics are decorated with brilliant war metaphors: "Clouds of sulphur in the air/ Bombs are falling everywhere". Easily the best song of the album and arguably the best song of the year. (10/10)

All we ever do is say goodbye: Filled with folksy acoustic guitar works and beautiful lyrics, this is the type of song Eric Clapton would do if he was John Mayer's age now. In this song Mayer shows off his vocal talent, which is a good thing, but somehow effectively splits the audiences. You won't fall instantly in love with this song, you have to let the song grow on you. It's completely the opposite of pop rip-offs like Lady Gaga's Alejandro, so if you are into stuff like that this song is not for you. This is mature music and it also features the best guitar solo of the album and one of the most soothing guitar solos I have heard in a LONG time. (8/10)

Half of my heart: The song features pop/country drama queen Taylor Swift and is the only collaboration of the album. Even though you can barely feel Taylor Swift's presence, she almost destroys the whole song. Even that punk chick from Paramore would have done a better job, but John Mayer eventually saves the song with his clean vocals. (6.5/10)

Who says: "Who says" is a soft, honest, confession of a dope smoking dude, with light acoustic guitars at the background. Here John Mayer lyrically wonders, who says he can't do the things he wants to do. To give you a little taste of the bizarre but brilliant lyrics here's a little example "I don't remember you looking any better/ But then again, I don't remember you". (8.5/10)

Perfectly lonely: An upbeat, feel good song with signature John Mayer bluesy guitar work. This song puts me in a good mood every time I listen to it. Through this song John Mayer reveals his contentment with the single life. And why wouldn't he be, he's rich, funny, extremely talented and handsome. If I was a girl, he would be my biggest crush. After Justin Beiber of course. (7.5/10)

Assassin: John Mayer has done it again. Its one of the most unique tracks Mayer has ever done and apart from Heartbreak Warfare this song shows you what a creative mastermind this man really is. The tempo of this song is constantly fluctuating and it's something you just have to hear for yourself. (9/10)

Crossroads: Mayer's cover of the legendary blues song by Cream. The song is pretty cool but nothing extraordinary. I personally like the original version better, but I am just an old fashioned guy. However, the guitar and drum work are very impressive. (6/10)

War of my life: After listening to the other songs of the album, War of my life is pretty disappointing. The song does have a melodic tone but you will loose interest after the first half. A boring track to say the least and lacks the magical John Mayer fire power. (5/10)

Edge of desire: A slow ballad type song with an extremely infectious chorus. In this song John Mayer paints a beautiful picture of romance through his lyrics and shows us why the ladies go gaga over him (no pun intended). The perfect song to listen to when you are lying in bed thinking about that special someone. (7.5/10)

Do you know me: This song is bare, slow and doesn't stand out at all. It clearly seems that Mayer has ran out of ideas at this stage of the album, so he puts a string of words together with acoustic plucking and soft piano works. (4.5/10)

Friends, Lovers or Nothing: Considerable damage control after Edge of Desire, the album ends nicely with Friends, Lovers or Nothing. The simple guitar riffs blend perfectly with sweet piano and soft drum works. Good lyrics, nice chorus and melody and it is the perfect song for a passionate slow dance. (7/10)

By Alvi Ahmed

Anime Review

Black Cat
By Professor Spork

The Chronos Numbers, thirteen elite assassins, are assigned to protect and work for Chronos, an organisation devoted to achieving world peace, and therefore an asset which cannot be jeopardised. Trained to follow without question, when the thirteenth assassin, the infamous Black Cat, comes across sweeper (bounty hunter) Saya, his morals are changed along with his take on life, leading to his defection from Chronos and beginning (somewhat) a battle for good. He joins forces with Sven Vollfied, another sweeper, and together they release the ultimate bioweapon Eve. Thief Rinslet adds to the group soon after, and the four begin their travels working as sweepers. But Black Cat gathered many enemies during his time as an assassin, and his ex-colleagues from Chronos are not the only ones looking to take down the best of the best.

So how did it fare?

The storyline is cliched enough, so the introduction of the main character in the first episode bordered on disastrous. The super-cool, totally hot, top-ranked assassin Number XIII, or Black Cat's, name is... Train Heartnet. Pun intended.

The five introductory episodes are overly rushed, and suddenly someone you thought would be an important sub-character is dead. Unfortunately, it'll be necessary to suffer through them in order to understand the remainder of the anime, which, to be frank, is not all bad. It combines serious action with comedy well enough, blurring the line yet refusing to cross it. The battle scenes are awesome too, given the extensive use of supernatural powers and smooth animation, not to mention the fine character of Sven Vollfied. In Rinslet you'll find that one rare girl who can take care of herself even WITHOUT supernatural powers. Eve, on the other hand, is as predictable as any other experimental child, and while Black Cat is pretty cool, Train is not. Weapons: simple yet classy, giving you a different take from the fancy firearms many animes make the most of.



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