Friday, October 24, 2014
Despite its silly outward appearances, John Wick offers a surprising blend of style and substance, with the latter coming through in spades during the first act. Color is effectively used throughout the movie, with brief moments of orange warmth offsetting the bleak, pale blue filters which dominate the initial 15 minutes. Later on, the dominant nighttime settings and abundant use of black play up the path John shoots and wrestles his way through. This isn't so much with regards to tone as it is to style; John Wick employs an admittedly odd direction, injecting a healthy dose of comedic moments in unsuspecting areas, ensuring that grins are delivered aplenty.
On that note, not everything that John Wick provides screams excellence. The film definitely has a for-the-sake-of-entertainment vibe to it, but the more heavy moments make the overall weight feel inconsistent. What's more is that some plot threads are resolved quite abruptly. This makes the retributional aspect feel less personal, which runs counter to what John says just before the bullets truly start to fly.
Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite return-to-form films?
Sunday, October 19, 2014
I initially forgot that these weren't the first mint-chocolate Milano variant, which makes me feel less curious about what Pepperidge Farm will alter outside of some food coloring.
Pepperidge Farm's Candy Cane Milano cookies are a pleasant if somewhat deceiving treat. Other than the smell, these don't exactly scream "hang me from a Christmas tree," but if all you care about is getting chocolate and peppermint in your Milano cookie, then I have no reason to discourage you. My main problem is that the formula, like the two layers of creams, feels thin and less adventurous than it could be.
Question of the Day: How often do you buy new Milano cookie flavors?
Saturday, October 18, 2014
To be fair, the abundance of preceding WWII movies haven't left a field ripe for creativity, so the responsibility then falls on the cast and crew to utilize what they can, hopefully to leave a strong, lasting impression. Fury makes the best case for itself during any scene depicting struggles or hardships of war, typically in the form of tank battles. Action scenes are shot without reservation or gratuity, but there are split-seconds of gruesome imagery so the bullets hit hard when they need to. However, for a considerable stretch, Fury doesn't seem nearly as concerned with war as it does with moments of deliberate, awkward silence. There's time for development here, but it ultimately equates to a mound of empty minutes. Compounding this issue is the majority of Fury's crew, who we become more acquainted with, as opposed to being attached to.
Question of the Day: What's the most uninteresting war movie you've seen?
Monday, October 13, 2014
As with many things in life, baking can yield some interesting results. And no, I'm not referring to the kind that be recreationally legalized. That's not to say the two forms are mutually exclusive, however, as Better Crocker seem balls-on-the-floor determined to prove with every subsequent product. Earlier this year I chanced their very limited edition Root Beer Float cookies, which were pleasant albeit strange. So, not to be outdone for the next season of American overindulgence, they've released a variety of bake-able products, including Maple Bacon cookies. As is customary, an accompanying frosting option is available to shoppers looking to obtain even more fattening oils and processed sugars.
Price: $1.98 (cookie mix), $2.48 (frosting)
Question of the Day: What experience(s) do you have with kitchen appliances breaking on you?
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
One song is all it takes to gauge Become's direction--take your pick of eight. At their core, Seventh Wonder are a progressive metal band, which shows more in song structure than track length. That said, power metal influences creep into their music as well, primarily extending to the over-the-top instrumental nature and, in the case of future endeavors, potent vocal performances (more on that later). One of the more curious players is bassist Andreas Blomqvist. An endearing quality of Seventh Wonder's music has been how they emphasize the thick-stringed guitar, which Blomqvist justifies with every performance. His work on Become is no exception, even if the rest of the band aren't quite prime for the ensuing course. Doubling the number of Andreas, Soderin's keyboards are a more enigmatic example of Seventh Wonder's musicianship. We do hear a Mercy Falls-esque foreshadowing during "The Secret," but a number of listeners will hear the pompously tuned instrument and see it as a staked boundary, which is easier to understand when accounting the bouncy notes with Become's limited production. The mixing feels all over the place, with "The Damned"'s bass and off-key opening being one of the more immediate examples. It also feels like the bass and electric guitars switch places for prominence at times. As I mentioned, this is hardly a detriment, but it does make for a peculiar listening.
Speaking of which, I've left the issue of pre-Karevik vocals unaddressed. Andi Kravjaca took over for a few years after a brief run by Ola Halen of Shadow's Past. And while Kravljaca's voice isn't a constant nuisance, he does feel like a caught anchor stubbornly holding the entire ship back. Unfortunately, the forgettable-when-not-worrisome vocals come to characterize the entire album; Become clumsily dances and simply struggles to leave a lasting impression, be it per track or as a whole. The comparison may be as tired as an episode of The Osbournes, but Seventh Wonder's debut feels like their own When Dream and Day Unite. To be clear, Become is a more enjoyable affair, but as is the case with Dream Theater, non-diehards have very little to gain from seeking it out.
Question of the Day: