Tuesday, February 28, 2012

review: Young the Giant (music)

Young the Giant is a alternative rock band that hit the scene early 2011 with their massively popular hit (at least on Portland alt rock stations) "My Body".

Originally called The Jakes, Young the Giant went through numerous line up changes before it settled on their final members.

Their music is considered to be alternative despite the fact that it has become mainstream enough to appear on a lot of the pop/rock stations.

Although "My Body" is an excellent song, Young the Giant has only one other hit out: "Cough Syrup". Those are by far the best songs on their album. Unfortunately the rest of their songs really aren't worth mentioning at all.

I was also lucky to see Young the Giant perform April 2011 before they were super popular. I found that they were overshadowed by their opening acts, including one of my favorite bands - Mother Mother.

All in all, I give Young the Giant 3 out of 5 stars. They have two great hits (with good music videos), but are lacking with the remainder of their album and their stage performance.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

review: The Fantastic Mr. Fox (movie)

I had serious reservations about seeing this movie. Not that I have anything against stop-motion animation - I love "Wallace & Grommet" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas". But those were movies from the good old days of my youth and the 90's. Thus the appeal of watching a new stop-motion animation movie without being driven by one's youthful unconditional love was absolutely non-inspiring.

Not only was the stop-motion animation really well done - you could see the detail on the fur!!! - but the plot was well thought out with wonderful little bright moments liberally peppered in with lots of comedy. One of my favorite repeating moments are between Ash and Kristofferson. Ash is the Fantastic Mr. Fox's son and Kristofferson is a distant relation (I believe a son of a cousin... don't quote me on that). Anyways, Ash hates Kristofferson with a passion because Kristofferson comes so naturally to things that Ash struggles with. The best example is seen with this ridiculously complicated game that Mr. Fox has won medals in but Ash is a dismal player. Kristofferson also gets the girl that Ash likes. And has a great personality while Ash is.... difficult in the best of situations..

The story begins with Mr. Fox and a then Ms. Fox breaking into a secure facility to steal some chickens (i believe - again don't quote me) either - Boggis, Bunce, and Bean however after stealing the chickens (maybe?), Mr. Fox triggers a trap. He and Ms. Fox dig their way out after Ms. Fox revealing that she's pregnant.

Years pass and Mr. Fox has given up his nighttime break-ins as promised to the now Mrs. Fox. Instead he works as a columnist. His hum-drum life begins to wear on him so one night he decides to break into one of the three farmer's (
Boggis, Bunce, and Bean) storage facilities. He goes on two more raids to the remaining farmer's storage facilities and raids them too. Boggis, Bunce, and Bean then get together and decide to go after Mr. Fox. The farmers surround the Fox home and wait until Mr. Fox leaves. When they try to kill him all they succeed in doing is shooting off his tail.

To find out the fate of the Fox family and see is Mr. Fox deserves that title of "fantastic", you'll just have to watch the rest of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox". I give this new stop-motion animation classic 4.5 out of 5 stars for great acting, stop-motion animation, and soundtrack.

Check out the trailer here!