Tag Archives: rock

Review: Metropolis (2001) Anime | My Reviews 17 JAN 2014

metropolis anime 1Metropolis: A future society, where humans and robots co-exist. A giant city-state, atop of which rests what could be termed a symbol of the advanced civilisation, the newly completed skyscraper Ziggurat, where an opening ceremony is underway…

During the middle of a florid speech by Duke Red, the prime mover and shaker of Metropolis, a disruptive party crasher is shot and killed by a young security guard. But after it turns out the gatecrasher was just a robot, the young guard goes nonchalantly on his way. Two of the bystanders at the scene watch with great interest. They are Private Detective Shunsaku Ban and his travelling companion, his young brilliant nephew, Kenichi, both of whom have just arrived in Metropolis on the trail of a case.

Their investigation leads them to a laboratory, where a fire breaks out after they break in. Escaping by the skin of his teeth, Kenichi has a fateful encounter with a girl, Tima, who is actually the robotic double of Duke Red’s deceased daughter. Tima has no idea that she is a robot, nor is she aware of the fact that she was secretly imbued with enough power to control the world.

In the midst of the madness surrouning them, the human Kenichi and the robot Tima open their hearts to each other, even as they’re stalked by a persistent killer.

Rock, the young leader of the vigilante Marduk party and adopted child of Duke Red, has no plans to allow Tima to become Duke Red’s successor. He instead plots to remove her as an obstacle. But Tima is eventually abducted and imprisoned by her ‘father’, Duke Red, who reveals her robotic origin to her and his plan to place her on the seat of world power. Though she doesn’t know it yet, the fate of Metropolis and all human-robot relations lies in Tima’s hands.

Metropolis is one of those awe-inspiring large-scale movies. Using classic Tezuka animation and writing style, Metropolis manages to instill a feeling that you are watching a classic in the making. The storyline is well plotted, building slowly until it erupts with a huge crescendo. The dark and gloomy locations and animation lends to the dark and brooding tale that unfolds, adding mystery and spice to the plot. The characters are well rounded and grounded in their world, making it easy to draw the viewer into the story.

As mentioned, the animation employs the classic Tezuka style, which means its cartoonish look may detract some viewers. Indeed, this style, although famous in its own right, is hardly ever associated with anime nowadays, especially to the younger generation of anime watchers. The backgrounds are lavish and the amount of cleverness and detail put into the design of the characters, robots and objects that interact with one another is a wonder to behold.

A film of this scale would be lost without a great soundtrack to match the story, and the sound of Metropolis does not disappoint. Employing the grand sound of the orchestra, the music and melody changes and flows to help boost the film to new and even greater heights.

But all this praise aside, I find myself hard-pressed to give this film a good rating. Perhaps I’m a jaded anime-watcher, but something about this film didn’t deliver all that it should. It is a highly polished production and a good story, but there is something lacking. At least that’s what I felt. Perhaps it was the pace at which the story would speed up and then slow down, I just don’t know. But it is this something I fear that will mean that this movie will not become the classic it was so meant to be.

metropolis anime 2

(Historical Note: This was written back in October 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_(2001_film)

The Bryan Adams Concert My Life | My Reviews 03 AUG 2010

Seeing as I’ve been so lax in terms of my blogging output as of late (sorry about that), I just realized that I still haven’t mentioned just how awesome and how much we enjoyed the recent Bryan Adams music concert we attended at Grandwest Casino, Cape Town a while back. Well, I found this half-finished post lying around my “In Progress” blog post folder and thought I’d better finish it off and post it – after all, I don’t want my fellow bloggers out there to think that I’m becoming a little lazy! ;)

So here goes: Tuesday evening’s Bryan Adam concert at GrandWest Casino turned out to be everything – and more – than what I could ever have imagined!

Despite the potential derailing prospect of not making the concert in time thanks to a huge accident involving an overturned taxi and a virtual armada of emergency response vehicles on the N2 just before the Vanguard offramp, I did eventually pitch up in the casino’s parking lot (only after turning around thanks to my missing the correct turn off of course!) with acres of time to spare, and surprisingly enough, just as I was about to enter the casino, Chantelle can sauntering along, having also just arrived.

Although not packed yet, we hit a bit of a snag while trying to locate the Spur for a quick bit to eat (basically we couldn’t find it particularly quickly), and so worried that we might be delayed for the concert should we eventually sit down and order a meal from a proper restaurant, I convinced Chantelle that we should rather just park our backsides at the bustling KFC, taking in some lekker fried chicken to serve as the evening’s main meal.

Of course, impatient as ever, I got us into our seats pretty early on, meaning we sat and admired how late everyone else was streaming in for quite some time. On that note, despite the fact that we thought we had purchased highly over-priced tickets for some crappy seats, it turned out that in fact we had a pretty awesome spot, pretty close to the stage, low down and with an excellent view of the night’s proceedings – so kudos to C for organising those! :)

The opening act for the evening was local boy Justin Bergh, a man whose music I have heard every now and then being played on local radio, and a man with certainly the right voice and style of music to match that of the main act for the evening. However, Mr. Justin really did try to hard to get the crowd involved, even though it was clear that a) they really weren’t paying much attention to him and b) he suffers from a nasty habit of saying thank you for the audience applause even before people have started applauding for him! Still, his music was enjoyable and a decent start to the evening, even if he failed at getting the crowd fired up for the main event.

Though when Bryan did eventually hit the stage it wasn’t like they needed warming up anyway. What a music legend. This likeable man burst onto the stage and went straight for the jugular, churning our energy-infused hit after hit, getting the entire audience on their feet, singing along and just sharing in the noise and energy of the even. The whole performance was just fantastic, with Bryan smoothly switching through all his material, hitting all the big rock hits and sliding in the multitude of big ballads that have made him the success that he is. His guitar skills were sublime and simply put, that persona and voice filled up the whole arena. This was one of the music rock legends alright, with a stage personality required to capture everyone’s attention and more importantly, the voice and skills needed to match!

The rest of his crew were just as fantastic, with his main guitar front-man proving to be as energetic as any of his current younger counterparts could be! The night was electrifying, the music was spellbinding (as it was deafening!) and as a whole, this was an experience that I am so glad to have partaken in. One of my favourite artists proving that he is even bigger and better in real life than what you what he was. Oh, and I must just mention that the crowd participation was absolutely fantastic! Man, I felt like a kid again :)

What a show, what a man, what a legend!

(Oh, and while I’m on the topic of awesome shows, I must just say that the Le Grand Cirque Fantazie circus show that we caught on the Friday night prior to the Bryan Adams concert was just as entertaining. An absolute gem of a visual masterpiece, delighting you with a host of colours, sights and sounds as the cast dazzled you with some out of this world displays of acrobatics, balance, flexibility and strength. Heck, even the clown was funny for a change! :D)

Screenshot Saturday: Black Lagoon (Episode 2) Anime 20 FEB 2010

A torpedo boat. An attack helicopter. What more could you possible need? Possibly one of the most insane but most enjoyable action sequences (for a real world anime series) for quite some time now, this little chunk of animated glory told you exactly just how great the rest of Black Lagoon was going to be!

Yes. That is a boat versus a chopper. So what about it?

You’ve got to love this crazy sequence to the middle of episode 2 straight out of the hit first season of Black Lagoon, easily one of my most favourite anime series to emerge from the 2000’s. What better way to beat a heavily armed attack chopper with a torpedo boat than to ramp it up off the side of a sunken ship, and then in midair launch your torpedoes so that they take down the helpless chopper? Sheer brilliance. I can just imagine the storyboard writers all laughing and giving each other high-fives all around after coming up with this one.

And saving Revy, Benny and Dutch’s ass? That was all Rock’s idea thank you very much – as proven by the second screen grab below! ;)

Oh yeah, suck on that... well you know what Rock means.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_lagoon

Counting Crows Live! General Nonsense 11 JUN 2008

Counting CrowsMan, what a concert. Now neither Chantelle nor I are big Counting Crows fans, but about a month ago Chantelle got wind that they would be playing and decided it might be a great way to spend an evening. As it turned out, yesterday was also Chantelle’s last day of her three week long holiday, making it the perfect way to end off with a bang.

Presented by Big Concert Productions and KFM, you knew at least that the production should run pretty smoothly as opposed to the disastrous Celine Dion concerts that happened a little while ago in Stellenbosch. That said, somehow something did go a little wrong, because the tickets for last night’s show all reflected the concert starting at 20:00 while the radio was touting it as beginning at 19:30!

Just as well we made a conscious effort to arrive well, well before the time, because believe it or not, the bloody thing did start at 19:30 already, catching a lot of people unawares and leaving those of us already in the arena wondering if this truly WAS a sold out concert, as the place was as empty as Loftus during a bad Bulls season! However, I can assure you by that the end of the 2 hour (or so) long show, the arena was as jam-packed as what it ever will be!

The venue for the concert was Grand West Casino’s newly completed Grand Arena which has just come fresh off hosting the phenomenally successful Chris Rock tour (which in hindsight I am a little spiteful that I missed out on because according to everyone that actually saw it, it was flipping fantastic!). This was the first time that Chantelle and I would be visiting the arena, and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at the space that they’ve come up with. It makes for a solid entertainment venue, offering ample space for both sitting and standing and the acoustics of the hall isn’t too horrible either. Couple everything up with a fantastic lights, big screen and equipment setup, and you’ve got a world class indoor venue on your hands.

Opening act for the show was the popular local band, Flat Stanley, a group which although I wasn’t that familiar with their music, did at least have a name that I actually recognised off the radio. Admittedly, they weren’t all that bad and the lead singer, Andy Mac has a good voice, but this mahusive (combination of massive and humongous in case you’re lost) fellow can’t perform more than a couple of songs before seemingly in desperate need of a rest break, meaning that he did a lot of incessant and unnecessary talking in between, messing up whatever little flow they were trying to build. Honestly, the crowd didn’t really warm up to Flat Stanley all that much, but that might also partly have been because at that stage the arena was still busy filling up – obviously because of the starting time mix-up that I mentioned earlier in this post.

(I must just mention that they did start off with a very cool gimmick though. An indoor drumline started things off, leading us into an energetic Flat Stanley break in when they suddenly appeared on stage. Very cool stuff.)

In any event, the crowd wasn’t there to see any old local band, and when Adam Duritz and the rest of the Counting Crows band members broke onto stage, the arena went wild. The Counting Crows has been around since the early 90’s and although some of the members are starting to look their age (Adam, a very receding hairline just doesn’t work with dreadlocks), it certainly hasn’t affected their music. They put in what can only be described as an electrifying, adrenaline pumping performance, throwing 110% effort behind everything that they put out on stage.

Adam Duritz himself was spectacular, literally losing himself in his music as he poured his heart and soul out into each and every song he belted out. The band literally pushed out hit after hit, and despite the fact that I am not all that familiar with their music, I was amazed at just how much of their music I do in fact recognise! All the hits were of course there, and when they finally got to the one everyone had anxiously been waiting for, Mr. Jones, the arena simply went wild.

It is not often that you see a band put so much energy, effort and heart into a performance, and I can now understand just why the Counting Crows are so well known for their live performances. Funnily enough, we had come to the concert with a mixed view of what to expect, after Ryan let me know of a rather disparaging article that had appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper following the Johannesburg leg of the tour. Basically, the rather ignorant writer had accused Adam from totally screwing up the performance by being either high or completely drunk on stage at the time. As it was, I can see how this uninformed writer could have got this that horribly wrong, because at a glance, Adam with his unique, slightly slurred voice and onstage antics could be mistaken for being not quite with us, but on closer inspection I can’t believe how on earth she missed out that this is a man that literally pours his entire being into each and every song that he performs, quite literally just losing himself in the music.

As it is, Adam himself addressed this issue halfway through the concert, and I am glad that he went to the trouble of doing so, because it is important for people to know that just because something appears in print, it is seldom exactly the case in real life. In any event, I’m going to be surprised if anyone has something negative to say about last night’s concert anyway – it was just that awesome!