Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
By Musarrat Rahman
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a classic rom-com with all the ingredients for an awesome movie - boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy has to defeat girl's seven evil ex boyfriends to win her heart.
Based on the comic series, Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley, written and directed for the big screen by Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright (of hilarious Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame), Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is about Canadian slacker/bassist Scott Pilgrim and his fight for his one true love, hipster-chick Ramona Flowers. As the movie begins, we find Scott Pilgrim nursing a broken heart by rebounding with a high-schooler Knives Chau while trying to get his band noticed. But all of this pales into the background when he encounters the girl of his dreams - literally in his dreams - before running into her at the library.
It was love at first sight for him when his eyes beheld her pink hair, rollerskating perfection. They start dating, and Scott gets a warning email from the 'League of the Evil Exes' who are determined to take down anyone after Ramona's heart. He disregards and deletes it only to have Matthew Patel, the first evil ex whom Ramona dated back in middle school for a couple of days before dumping, attack him at a club during his date with her. Six others follow and Scott must defeat them video-game style to win points, coins and Ramona's heart.
The movie has typical Wright fast paced comedy while looking like a live action manga movie/video game reminiscent of the good ol' retro days. In fact, the whole seven exes shebang is homage to video game level ups by defeating a level boss, an evil ex with a super power, who proceeds to explode in a shower of coins. There are video game references embedded in and integral to this movie from start to finish. The movie even uses sound effects from Zelda, Tekken, Sonic the Hedgehog, and many more beloved videogames. When Scott needs to pee, a yellow "Pee Bar" appears onscreen and then drains when he goes to the bathroom and on-screen stats, extra lives, and special weapons appear all throughout it's enough to make a geek explode with joy!
The best part of the movie is, however, the all-star quirky, hipster cast of Michael Cera who is cast as Scott Pilgrim, Anna Kendrick as his gabby sister Stacey Pilgrim, newcomer Ellen Wong as his high school girlfriend Knives Chau, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the infamous heartbreaker Ramona Flowers, Keiran Culkin as his awesome roommate, Alison Pill, Mark Webber and Johnny Simmons as Kim Pine, Stephen Stills and Young Neil (members of Scott's band) respectively. The seven exes are Satya Bhaba, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Mae Whitman, Shota Saito, Keito Saito and Jason Scwartzman.
It's very rare to find a movie that's as awesome as the book, but Scott Pilgrim vs. The World certainly is! So if you haven't already devoured the comics, watched and re-watched the movie, glued yourself to the actual videogame, might we suggest you do it immediately.
Must Watch TV: Sherlock
How do you think the TV shows should be? 30 or 45 minutes, 12-24 episodes in a season, that's how things are, right? Even the best shows around couldn't get out of this same old rule. The stories might be different, but it still is cast in the same mould. Then comes a show like Sherlock. Not only does it score very highly on the witty and engaging section, but not for a second will you think an hour and a half has passed after watching the show.
What pops to mind when you hear Sherlock? The cold, calculating detective with his trusty partner and more recently the Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law version of him. That was a pretty good movie that showed a fighting, butt-kicking Sherlock Holmes. This series trumps that. How? Well, by being revolutionary and bold. It takes courage to make a hundred year old icon into a modern day television character, but it takes more than that to actually stay true to the essence of it.
Complimentary adjectives aside, let's talk about how the show works. This is the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, but that is not the remarkable part. The twist is that they live in a modern day world, the London of 2010, which is every bit as dangerous as the London of the 19th century. Holmes and Watson also have gone through a bit of a makeover. Because in today's world, what can we expect other than a blogging Watson or a tech-savvy, nicotine patch wearing Sherlock?
The creators had taken on a huge mission. Steven Moffat (current head-writer of Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss (also a writer of Who) did their job very well in every area, but their success lies in casting the show. Benedict Cumberbatch, with his parchment-pale skin and liquid eyes took on a translucent quality that made him look mesmerisingly other-worldly, which made him an excellent Holmes. Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins, in the future Hobbit film), on the other hand, delivers superbly as the injured army doctor from Afghanistan who is in awe of Sherlock's brilliance.
The story: There are only three episodes and all three of them loosely follow the stories, while being as 21st century as possible.
The first episode is 'A Study in Pink', where the police investigate the deaths of a series of people who all appear to have committed suicide by taking a poisonous pill. They turn to their unofficial consultant, Sherlock Holmes. This is the episode where Watson and Holmes move in together into the Baker Street flat. This is based on; you guessed it, 'A Study in Scarlet'.
The second episode is named 'The Blind Banker', based on 'The Dancing Man' where Holmes is hired by a bank to investigate a break-in. Finally 'The Great Game' is the series finale where the detective is hired by his brother to investigate the suspicious death of a government employee who was working on a top-secret defence project. And don't worry guys, Moriarty is there.
Most mystery shows get boring. This never does. Over-dramatisation might seem like one of its very few faults, but you'll get the point of seeing that it's wrapped in awesomeness. The clever mix of drama, crime and whimsy in the series holds a strong resemblance to Doctor Who, having two Who writers as creators. Even Sherlock couldn't predict something this unpredictable and unforgettable.
Come Around Sundown
By Alvi Ahmed
With their fifth album Come Around Sundown, Kings of Leon have cemented themselves as one of the biggest rock groups in the world today. The album is a deeper exploration of the sound that has become their signature. While the songs in the album may pale in comparison to the extreme catchiness of Use Somebody, it still stands out as a pretty good rock album. In an era where the Jonas Brothers are considered to be a rock group, Come Around Sundown is possibly one of the best rock albums of the year. The album is definitely more exciting than "Only By the Night", but nothing eclipses Use Somebody.
The End - The album opens up nicely with superb drum grooves and an anchoring bass line. The song evolves with great guitar works, both rhythm and lead, and the soulful vocals from the frontman Caleb. The synthesiser adds a mysterious edge to the song and the chorus does a fine job of captivating the listeners. The End is an amazing introduction to the album and is also one of the best songs of Come Around Sundown.
Radioactive - The valedictory cut of the album also proved to be a great first single of Come around Sundown. The song makes clever allusion to a church hymn as the vocalist sings "When the roll is called up yonder, I hope to see you there". However, the best thing about this song is undoubtedly the chorus where Caleb breaks out singing "it's in the water, it's where you came from...". The use of choir at the end also proved to be a superb touch to a superb song.
Pyro - A solid song and keeps alive the minimalist ideas that provide the band's sound, but a tad bit less enticing than the first two singles. Good lyrics with an equally satisfying chorus, average music and disappointing vocals. If you are just getting to know this band you may fall in love with this song, but hard core Kings Of Leon fans will find Pyro disappointing.
Mary - With Mary the band get in touch with their bluesy side again. The song sounds like classic blues driven rock and roll that fit bands like Kings Of Leon perfectly. Although some may say the track is old fashioned, but this is exactly the type of soulful music that made Kings Of Leon everything they are today and they should stick to doing things they like doing rather than experiment to get a few worthless Grammy awards.
The Face - With precise instrumental works and Nathan's ever present rasp, the band proves to us that they have evolved into a more polished sound. Although the track seems boring at some places, it is still a very good song.
The Immortals - This song finds the band moving forward into an uptempo direction with insane drumming from Nathan and Caleb's unique vocals. The track is a bit fuzzy and it is difficult to decipher some of the vocals at a few stages of the song. But in this song the band does not compromise the sound that made them famous, so hard-core Kings Of Leon fans will find The Immortals very satisfying.
Back Down South - The song has kind of a country/southern rock feel to it. Which is sad because that is not how the band sounds at all. The song does have good lyrics but sounds like a Kings Of Leon cover band played it at some British pub.
Beach Side - A beautifully produced track, with nice production techniques and very good music. The song falls the slightest bit short of the best song of the album, but it is still a solid above par cut.
"No Money" and "Pony Up" - These two tracks are arguably the worst tracks of the album. The only good thing about them is the thick, groovy bass line. The songs are second rate to say the least. But fear not the last three tracks of the album are strong enough for repeated listens.
"Birthday" and " Mi Amigo" - Birthday is a brilliant track, and comes close to being in the top echelon. "Mi Amigo" is an even better track and also deserves valedictorian status with Radioactive. The song is surprisingly innovative and the music is extremely refreshing. Easily a five star track.
Pickup Truck - The album ends on a high note with Pickup Truck. Here the band returns to the clichéd rock formula where the track builds up gradually. Not a very strong cut, but you may get addicted after repeated listens.
The album is not a perfect one and definitely not their best. The album has enough innovation and firepower to lure in new listeners and keep the hard-core fans satisfied. This is a must have if you are a Kings Of Leon fan. If you are not, even then you can give this album a try just to get a taste of the "new generation" of rock.