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This film’s release in 1997 was perfectly timed as it came shortly after one of the all time big earners ‘Independence Day’ and Will Smith was fresh from fighting aliens in that film. Here in ‘Men in Black’ he teams up with the marvellous Tommy Lee Jones. They go into battle with various aliens living secretly on earth, but in a far more comic fashion than the previous years alien extravaganza. I’m sure many or most have seen this film, not just because I rate it so highly, or the statistics showing it’s popularity, but because I feel those of you reading opinions in dooyoo’s films section are likely to be film buffs, and I think most film buffs would include ‘Men In Black’ in the important pile. Nevertheless, I will give some plot explanation for those who have been unlucky in missing out so far. ********************************************* The upshot is, humans are not the alone in the universe as intelligent life forms. There are at any one time around fifteen hundred visitors from other planets living among us, most of them in New York. Most of them are peaceful, just trying to make a decent living. The human race is completely unaware of this. All but a secret group of galaxy defenders, not government funded, not even government known-of. They work in secret and they dress in black. There dual role is to keep the secret a secret, and to evade any potentially earth-destroying occurrences. It’s members sever all human contacts. Their government files are erased. As are their finger prints. Will Smith plays a New York Police officer who is enlisted to the MIB by Tommy Lee Jones, a founding member. The scene is set, and the film is 90 minutes of action, adventure, science fiction, fantasy and above all, comedy. There are some real comic moments. One of the funniest things ever shown on film is the ‘Bug’ character played by Vincent D’On
ofrio and his walk and inability to control his limbs. From an early stage we know roughly why he has such difficulties in moving, because he is actually an alien wearing a man’s skin as a suit. But it isn’t until one of the last scenes of the film where we get the full picture and all becomes clear. It is quite ludicrous, but most will find it extremely funny, possibly more so on second (of 72nd) viewing of the film. As the plot unfolds, the earth comes very close to being destroyed. Yet this film never takes itself too seriously. It remains fun at all times. The comedy continues and it never becomes too corny. This really is one of those films which you really should see, and you will want to see over and over again. It’s magic. ************************************************** May I welcome back those who know the film well. I’m sure you will all agree it is a film which remains as good, or improves with the second, third and hundredth viewing. A bit like ‘The Godfather’ does. It is now five years since it was released, and it has kept it’s freshness, and people still talk about it, and buy it even. There is a very good special edition DVD which has been selling very well. It was the very first DVD I owned. The special features are some of the best I have seen on the format. I did intend to talk about the film rather than the disc. What is very interesting though is the DVD ‘deconstruction’ of the famous ‘super car’ scene where Will Smith and TLJ drive on upside down on the ceiling of a tunnel. This is a scene which provides many laughs, but also shows off state-of-the-art computer generated imagery (CGI) and the DVD shows in great detail how the effect was achieved. Often impressive special effects and CGI are shown-off in film, but rarely are they used to create comedy as they do several times in this film. The final scene where the two fight with the giant cockroach
actually cost around 4.5 million dollars, and I consider it to be a hugely comedic scene. This kind of lavishness for daft comedy I have never before seen. And who could ever forget Mikey? Such a funny thing. Mikey is the first alien we see and is a great source of laughter. “Put up your arms and all your flippers” He also makes an appearance in the video for the song “Men in Black” also included on the DVD version and the VHS version I have. Since cinema was invented, directors have tried to make the very best use of technology available and special effects to whatever extent available, have always been used and shown off. However, during the 1990s it seemed a new genre was born, the “special effects movie” which has brought us countless films which appear to have no other purpose than to demonstrate what the big studios can do with their CGI. It is sometimes as though the CGI is storyboarded, budgeted and implemented, millions of dollars spent, and then a couple of weeks before release they try and fit in a plot. “Men in Black” could be described as a “special Effects Movie” in many ways, but it is like no other in that the effects are simply used to assist in the unfolding of the story, and as mentioned before, to get a laugh. This is why I believe that this film is likely to be remembered fondly in 30 or more years time when its effects seem primitive, whereas films like “Independence Day” and “Armageddon” and “Spider Man” perhaps will not. “Star Wars: Episode II” also fits into that category in my opinion. These are all enjoyable, spectacular films, but I think in the future, technology can advance so far that films can become experiences which stimulate all of our senses and effectively transport us into stories like we can currently not imagine. I think the attraction of the average 90s special effects movie will n
ot be very significant at all. Films like ‘MIB’ do have a real chance of standing that test of time. My advice to you is, if you have not seen MIB, go and get it now! If you have seen it, see it again soon - refresh yourself for the up and coming “Men in Black 2” opinion by supamike to follow very soon. Watch this space………..
Why does it work? Who would have dared to found this TV institution? Somebody with a lot of guts. For many though, Big Brother has become the most eagerly anticipated TV event of the year. It is now an annual contest, but at the same time, a ?reality Soap? enjoyed consistently by millions. I was keen on writing an opinion on this series early on, but I thought I would let it unfold a little first, and also let some of the less interesting people filter out, although that has not exactly happened as planned. I do believe that this years ?Big Brother? is the best yet by far. The choice of housemates has been faultless. There are clashes and matches like never before seen. Just look at the romantic connections; Alex and Kate (early on looked like a good bet) then Adelle and Lee, then Sophie and Lee, Kate and Spencer, PJ and Jade, Adelle and Alex. It really has been a bit fruity in there. The simple friendships too have been full of energy and/or great to watch unfold; Allison and Kate, Alex and Sandy (this one less so full of energy) and Adelle and Jade. However, it hasn?t exactly been the Waltons by any stretch of the imaginations. The arguments and disagreements too have been most exciting. Adelle and Jade of course with their strange relationship, love and hate, chalk and cheese, have been a great source of entertainment. The whole group really has bonded, and also repelled in just the right proportions to set up for great TV. The critical of us have perhaps just grown tired of the whole concept. I think if this had been the first ?Big Brother? it would be one of the biggest TV phenomena of all time. Many people either have, or think they have just got fed up with the format. Yet there have been significant changes this year. ?Big Brother? him (or her) self has become tougher in the tough role, and softer in the soft role. Basically for those I have confused (myself) the trea ts are better, but so are the punishments. The ?
Three strikes? idea has provided a more real threat against bad behaviour. During evictions in the first series, the housemates would all step out of the door and wave at the outside world. This is no longer possible. It may seem petty, but with all respect to the producers they have been very firm on running a tight ship with regard to discipline. The housemates are not in any hurry to build up ?strikes? and face untimely eviction. The house divide has simultaneously created further temptation to break the rules, so it ups the ante somewhat. Speaking of the divide, it has been, especially early on, heavily criticised. I firmly believe it has significantly improved the show, making it far more interesting. The weekly live task has become a bit of a weekly high point for the viewers at least. It seems the divide is no more, but I do believe it was a very smart move from the producers. ?Big Brother 3? really is shaping up to be a great TV event, and I can see it being the final series. I won?t really commit to that, but I think the end could be near for the concept. It has really one all it can, and I would rather see it end on a high than slip into the same trap as ?Friends? which should by now have said goodnight. Still let?s hope the best is still to come in this series. I shall update this opinion in due course.
Having been a massive fan of Oasis since the release of ‘Definitely Maybe’ in 1994 right up to the present day, few would or even could argue against the view that they have failed to match the magic of the first two albums in the last few years. However, I and many others agree this is a return to form for the lads. By the lads I mean Noel and Liam, because for most of the rest of the band it is not a return to form, it is the first album they have recorded. The first point I would really like to make is that Gem Archer and Andy Bell have really settled and blended into the band very well, remembering that the old line up recorded the last album, but the new line up took on the challenge of the subsequent tour, and after attending the Friday night Wembley gig back in July 2000, I can say they made a great job of all the old stuff and new alike. Now this is their first work in the studio as the new line up, and although there has been change, maybe for the better, that famous feel-good Oasis sound is still fresh as ever. We have already had two singles released before the album, and they had great chart success, a number one hit then a number two. They both provided memorable and singable tunes, and were both popular choices of music for many occasions, both songs were hard to avoid. ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ for example was played on BBC1 at the end of England’s world cup demise over footage of some of the highs and low. This album has many of the eagerly awaited Noel Gallagher compositions, but he has not insisted on being the sole songwriter. Liam, who had previously had one solitary writing credit, has three to his name on this album, and new boys Gem and Andy each have one of their own compositions. Only six out of eleven tracks are penned by Noel, so that is a big change. Luckily Liam has improved his writing since his last effort ‘Little James’ which wasn’t TOO awful
, but his latest efforts are surprisingly good, or at least 'Better Man' is, 'Songbird' leaves a lot to be desired. One of the songs, ‘Hung in a Bad Place’ does actually take us back to the old oasis sound, the rock of Definitely Maybe’ which many of us have missed. Oasis have always been prime targets for public and media criticism. It’s just so easy to put them down. But they still have the power to build up hype, and that’s why when rumours of new work come along, everyone begins to talk. Praise or grumble, all publicity is good publicity, and the brothers are very good at generating it. That is why their first single from every new album but their first debuts in the UK at number one. ‘Some Might Say’ in 1995 from ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory’, ‘D’you Know What I Mean’ in 1997 from ‘Be Here now’,’ Go Let it Out’ in 2000 from ‘Standing On the Shoulders of Giants’ and recently ‘Hindu Times’ from this album. The large gaps between the albums add to this effect, and in 1997 Be Here Now, although it has been heavily criticised, made it’s way into the record books as fastest selling album of all time. I love the music and admire their work, but Oasis certainly are still a great marketing machine. 50,000 ticket gigs sell out in 90 minutes, albums sell by the truck load. Hats off to the boys, because soon when they inevitably get sick (or sicker) of it all and retire, they will be able to buy a nice couple of islands to set up colony on. Keep it up while you can lads!
This is a thoroughly enjoyable roller-coaster ride of a movie, and I am a big fan of film in general, and also of De Niro, but being a movie buff who due to a busy lifestyle and not agoraphobia, I do most of my film viewing at home on DVD or VHS, and hardly ever at the cinema, or at least for the last couple of years anyway. So somehow, while shopping in the sales immediately after Christmas 2001, I spotted 15 minutes on DVD in W.H.Smiths without ever having heard of it. I was amazed to find out it was a recent production, and stared not only Robert De Niro and Edward Burns, but also the fantastic Kelsey Grammer. I found the film totally engaging. I was drawn straight into the plot instantly. To cut it down to basics, it’s about a famous, high profile New York Detective ‘Eddie Flemming’ (De Niro) who has a partnership with a ‘Tabloid TV’ news reporter (Grammer) who covers his every case, when tipped off by the Detective. Edward Burns is an Arson investigator who believes he is entitled to do “everything cops do.” He carries a gun, and a short is less than rational, and after a double homicide come arson attack becomes interested in the Detective. When two Eastern European gentlemen arrive in Ney York they become very interesting in the way which the media controls the country, and the idea that “Nobody is responsible for what they do” if Television says so, leads them to participate in some very suspect activities. (Not to give away too much) This film certainly has a point or too to make about the American media, and the special features on the DVD go into more detail than the film. There is a great documentary on Tabloid TV featuring Jerry Springer, and the disc also includes detailed filmographies of the key people involved. It’s an action thriller in almost every sense but there is no Die Hard style heroic victory and happy ending. It takes a couple of dar
ker-than-the-norm turns, but has a couple of laughs too. The cast is wonderful and the film is definitely a must see.
Dooyoo is great. I love it. I have only written fifteen or so opinions, but this is my second time around. I had an account last year when it was a brand new concept, but due to unforeseen circumstances, my account got locked. The idea of the site is that you can write a review or opinion of something, which itself earns you 100 dooyoo miles (10p) and each time a dooyoo member reads it, you earn another 50 dooyoo miles (5p) and although these figures sound insignificant, imagine if you write 100 opinions in a year, and each is read 100 times in that year, which is quite possible, your minimum earnings will be 510,000 dooyoo miles, that’s £510! I believe with a little hard work, and I stress little, that 510 quid is easily achievable, and don’t think you have to spend it with vouchers and buy specific thing, you can have that in cash, pounds sterling! In addition to that, if you find you are good at writing useful opinions, then members can nominate your opinions for crowns, which earns you an additional 1000 dooyoo miles (£1) which is what you earn for writing 10 opinions. When I first joined over a year ago, the membership was relatively small, so opinions may not even get read at all, but as it grows, and today the membership is huge, opinions get read in huge numbers. I wrote n opinion last week which has now been read 70 times last time I checked. If an opinion is new, or good, it can have pride of place. All new opinions go on the site homepage where everyone sees it and many read it, until someone else writes a new one. That is where you can score lots of reads. Each product also displays the latest opinion written, and also the one of the best opinions on the product. Also, the better your opinion and it’s rating, the higher it will appear on the list of opinions for the product, and the more it gets read and rated, earning you more and more dooyoo miles You can offer the benefit of your own personal e
xperience to write an opinion on just about any product, service or concept imaginable. If you can’t find the particular article you want to write about, you can suggest it is added to the site. For example I recently had Barnsley’s ‘Hedonism’ night-club added to the clubbing directory of the site, and wrote an opinion which is now rated very useful and has earned me lots of dooyoo miles. The biggest problem I have with dooyoo is that it’s very difficult to get very useful ratings unless you write great amounts. Personally I find very long opinions often aren’t as useful and informative as short ones. I recently used dooyoo to find out if a particular Internet service provider was worth joining. I didn’t have the time or energy to read a very long opinion, and I scanned through a few opinions, dismissing the ones where the main points weren’t obvious. My own opinions are usually written from a specific angle, and I don’t believe you have to mention everything possible about a product. For example, In this opinion my angle and main discussion point is that opinions which are slightly shorter can often be very useful, and that care should be taken to understand and register what is actually being said in the opinion rather than the amount of words. I often find myself writing irrelevant points just in the hope people will rate me well. I will no longer do this. Supamike’s opinion writing tip: ************************************** Write an introductory paragraph, write everything which influences your own opinion on the product in question, summarise and then STOP!! Supamike’s request ************************* PLEASE could you in future NOT rate opinions very useful simply because they are very long. Read every word (or scan through if you are like me and can’t face reading what is sometimes boring nonsense), consider
if they have informed you about the product and have any evidence of personal experiences, and then decide honestly how useful the opinion is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for taking short cuts. If I have a lot to say and I believe it is all relevant to my opinion, I will write it, and some of my opinions are quite long, but I believe dooyoo can be extremely useful and only helpful opinions should be written, waffling and babbling is no use to anyone. (My opinion up until this sentence is 755 words long. Does that influence the rating you give it? If it does, shame on you!)
Apart from a quick second's glimpse of Alan Rickman in a clip from the first Die Hard movie, there is only one actor/character who has appeared in the other two movies who appear in this one. Luckily its Bruce Willis, back in his most famous role as super cop John McClane. He’s down on his luck. Back in New York, separated from wife ‘Holly’, still in the police force but serving a suspension. He’s two steps shy of becoming a full blown alcoholic. To avoid the whole thing going stale, this film is totally different to the first two. There is no slow suspense filled build up. No hints or clues. In the first minute of the film and before any dialogue there’s a huge explosion, slap bang in the middle of New York City, and there is a threat of another violent outburst if John McClane (Willis) doesn’t perform a dangerous task. The ‘terrorist’ leading these operations; Simon (Jeremy Irons) is the brother of Hans Gruber, the terrorist leader from the first film, and has come to get his revenge on McClane for killing his brother, or so it would seem. There are more bombs throughout the city, and McClane and an unlikely shopkeeper hero (Samuel L. Jackson) frantically solve Grubers riddle and find the bombs. However, McClane knows the family. He doesn’t believe this is simply revenge, and not everything quite adds up. “This is Wall Street, lotta money here…” There are some great action scenes with lots of suspense. There’s a bomb on a train, and there’s a frantic race to intercept it before it blows up half of Wall Street. Does the bomb blow up or do they get to it in time? This takes the trilogy back to the thriller genre and is very exciting. It doesn’t just rely on explosions and carnage. There is a similar battle of wits between McClane and Gruber like in the original Die Hard. However, all that’s not to say it isn’t exp
losive. There are some good special effects and set piece action scenes. I also appreciated two or three thrilling car chases. It’s a non stop rollercoaster ride from start to finish, and it’s a great end to the trilogy.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back again, joined by his wife, Al his new best-buddy cop, the intrusive TV journalist Dick Thornbourg and the general well known ‘Die Hard’ structure of good guy in strange environment and bad stuff happening, triumphant victory over evil. These are all features just recycled from the first film straight into the second, but that is not the end of it. Contrary to popular opinion I believe this film is not just a lame copy of Die Hard. I’m glad to say this sequel isn’t a tedious repeat structure like James Bond movies or even Jaws. In a sense it follows the same conventions, but it’s very deliberate and makes mock of its ludicrousy as McClane mutters to himself “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” It’s a new Director, Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger) and unfortunately there is no effort to recreate the battle of wits which went on with ‘McClane’ and the baddie in the first movie (Alan Rickman), and also in the second sequel: ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ (Jeremy Irons). This is possibly the films only real downfall. Instead it relies on big gun battles and explosions only, which are more dramatic and exciting than in ‘Die hard’. There is a significant difference also in that (correct me if I am wrong) only one hostage dies in ‘Die Hard’. In this film five times all of the hostages from the first film die in one deliberately orchestrated plane crash. It is generally far more violent. Much more death and destruction, and the bad guys nearly all come to very grizzly ends. Anyway, McClane is in an airport, waiting for his wife Holly to land. Unfortunately, the whole Washington DC airport gets Hijacked and although the police who are on duty and in their own jurisdiction do their best, there’s only one man for a job like this. He takes out lot’s of terrorists and it’s anothe
r fast moving exhilarating suspense filled race to the bare knuckle fighting finale, which takes place on the wing of a plane. Now what’s attached to the wings of planes which can be used to aid in the killing of big bad terrorists… This film relies more on big explosions and multiple deaths, a little more like an action movie than a thriller, but it is certainly well worth watching.
In this the third and final instalment of the Back To The Future trilogy, Mary Steenburgen stars alongside Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd star in another wonderful and funny adventure. Stranded once again in 1955 after a freak burst of lightening caused the Doc and the DeLorean to vanish at the end of the previous movie, Marty must travel back to 1885 to rescue the Doc from death. He survives attack from bears, Indians and unfriendly 1885 Hill Valley inhabitants, he finds the Doc happily working as a blacksmith, until he discovers he is to die on Monday! The DeLorean, (out of gas) is immobilised, and this time, instead of electricity, they need to find means of getting the time machine up to 88 mph. What could produce this kind of speed? Well, they find something to get them back on track. But what to do about the Doc’s new found love? Is it feasible to take her back to the future? All falls into place and the story ends complete. But the door is not totally closed. Maybe we will see more from the Back to the Future team. Apparently there is a film already in production. Action, laughs and romance through and through and as anticipated, the costume and general reproduction of the different cultures of the points in history are on form, and the parallels between the counterpart characters make this fantastic watch. All falls into place and the story ends complete. But the door is not totally closed. Maybe we will see more from the Back to the Future team. Apparently there is a film already in production.
Well it’s 2015, and Marty (Michael J Fox), the Doc (Christopher Lloyd) and his girlfriend Jennifer are cruising down the skyway To Hill Valley in the now flying DeLorean on a mission to stop Marty and Jennifer’s future son from going to prison. They do, but Marty’s plan to take a book of historic sports statistics back with him to make some fast money at gambling goes horribly wrong, Biff (now aged 77), the saga’s villainous bully steals the time machine and the book and gives it to his younger self back in 1955. Old Biff returns the DeLorean to 2015 and Marty, the Doc and Jennifer go back to 1985. However, Hill Valley is very different to the way they left it… A Plan to resolve the situation leads them back to the fifties and to a scene with Marty observing a parallel of himself who is trying to get back to 1985 using a lightning bolt (remember the first part?) After the success of 'Back To The Future' this was a sure fire hit. In fact, Universal Pictures were so sure it would be a success, they green lit the simultaneous shooting of parts II and III to cut the overall production costs, and also I’m sure to prevent Michael J. Fox going grey, after all, his character was still supposed to be 17, and four years had already passed in real time. This does not often happen in Hollywood. It is a big risk to take, as nobody is ever sure if a film will actually make a profit. Only four in ten made do. The result of this double sequel is in the first place a second entertaining 'Back To The Future' and if I didn’t have a definite rule about sequels not being able to match originals, then I might say that this is the better film. However, I consider it one film in three parts which means I never answer the question “Which is the best Back To The Future film?” The future scenes are impressive, although one gets the feeling that 3015 is being represented rather
than 2015! Today we are closer to this ‘future’ than we are to the film’s ‘present’ of 1985, but you wouldn’t believe it. Will cars fly in thirteen years time? Will café staff be replaced by hovering television screens? And will there be establishments which celebrate and pay homage to the 1980s or would we all rather forget they ever happened? Still, this is a truly exhilarating film and a must see, as long as it is watched along with the preceding and subsequent chapters.
It’s difficult to be to critical of such a complex album when I have only purchased a couple of days ago, and which has not been around in itself for very long, but it is already evident that the album represents something of a high point in R.E.M.'s career. It has everything from Classic REM sounds like "Imitation of Life" "She Just Wants To Be" and "Disappear"; Radiohead flirtations with "I've Been High", stark western landscapes in "All The Way to Reno", Brian Wilson tribute melodies in "Summer Turns to High" and "Beachball" and, solemn soliloquy with "I'll Take the Rain" - the saddest, most beautiful song REM has ever done. It is unlikely that you will rock out to this album like you might with "Green" or "Monster"; or, engage in a happy sing along like "Out of Time." Nor are you going to be put to sleep like in "Up", waking up to wonder, "Why?". These songs are engaging and stark - each standing on its own as separate works, but coming together in classic REM form. Does it take a couple listens? Perhaps - after all, REM continue to take so many non-commercial directions that one may expect different things from different songs. Take a country drive and find yourself repeating song after song because of a hook or a feeling you can't explain. Of course, Michael Stipe is fine form here lyrically and vocally - moving from signature mumbles to Wilson-like falsetto effortlessly. Overall, a great work from one of the best bands of all time to come out of America
Time travel is an exciting prospect isn’t it? What would you do? The possibilities are endless. This film is marvellous. So well scripted and executed. The Story is simple: The Doc (mad scientist Christopher Lloyd) has spent thirty years developing a time machine from a car – a DeLorean. When the time comes to test it he conscripts his young school kid friend Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) to help. It is powered by plutonium the Doc has stolen from Libyan terrorists who come to steal revenge. The Doc is shot and killed, and in a mad dash for escape, Marty jumps into the time machine, speeds away and just as the terrorists are about to fire a rocket launcher at him, the car reaches 88 Mph, which is the speed which activates the time machine. He is transported instantly back to November 5th 1955. He bumps into his Dad, and manages to intervene in his mother and fathers’ meeting, and Mary’s Mum fancies Marty. He doesn’t have any more plutonium to get back to 1985 (home) so has to find the Doc (who is thirty years younger and has no idea who Marty is). As it happens, that was the very day he had the first ideas about time travel, and it is also the very day that the town clock got struck by lightening and destroyed at exactly 10:04pm. They plan to harness this lightening to provide the electricity to power the time machine and get Marty back to the future. First, he has to get his Mother and Father together so he doesn’t cease to exist, and he has to inform the Doc that in 1985 he gets killed, but he is insistent that he shouldn’t know anything about his own future. See, simple story. He makes it. The parallels between the Past, present and future in this trilogy are very entertaining. Marty’s Dad and his friend/bully/tormentor/boss have basically the same conversations in both 1955 and 1985, with work ‘swapped’ for ‘school’ and so forth. The cultural clashe
s are shown well, and Marty unleashes many then modern technologies on the unsuspecting 1950s. I love the scene where he’s in a 50’s café, and his watch starts bleeping. It is a really solid start for a great trilogy and one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s jam packed with cleverness from the script writers. When you see the films for the 50th time, you will pick up on all of the cross references between parts I, II and III. I have heard there is a forth production in the making and a script for a fifth, so fingers crossed!
Revolver, was the beginning of a revolution. It lead all the way to Sgt Peppers months later, but continued through the sixties and seventies and effected the whole pop world. Revolver starts off with a true piece of Rock and Roll. 'Taxman' starts off with some great guitar work, and follows it through all the way to the end. The second song is another classic. 'Eleanor Rigby' has to be one of the most atmospheric songs ever. The album only gets better with the dreamy 'I'm Only Sleeping' and the hits just keep on coming. The Beatles also mix in some Eastern-influences with 'Love You To' and 'Tomorrow Never Knows'. The rest of the album is equally as impressive with it's mix of catchy tunes ('And Your Bird Can Sing'), feel-good songs ('Good Day Sunshine') and great rock songs ('She Said She Said'). Overall, Revolver is an inspirational album. There are many traces of this album in recent music. What impresses me so much is how versatile it is. The Beatles put out a song like 'Got To Get You Into My Life', and then throw in something like 'Yellow Submarine'. Unlike some of the stuff that's coming out these days, no two songs on this album sound the same. Just when you think you've heard what The Beatles are about, they twist things around, take you by surprise, and play the last song you would expect. And that's all this album basically is... surprise after wonderful surprise... Musical Genius! Now that's what I call Rock and Roll!
With this, their eighth release, The Beatles continue on their musical journey. A conceptually brilliant recording, as well as highly creative for its time, it is a much more musically cohesive work than its predecessor, "Revolver". Yet, I believe "Revolver" had better songs, overall, even though it can't touch the production values inherent in this recording, nor the social impact of Pepper. Quite simply, it summed up an era. This album was on the cutting edge for its time, and it was a very definite, new direction for the Fab Four, as they seemed to want to shed there original mop headed image with all due speed. It was a psychedelic precursor of the youth revolution that was to come. Flower power was just around the corner, as was the so called psychedelic drug craze. Lovely Rita is a “feel-good” song. It features some fun piano playing from Paul McCarteney, and if anyone has read my opinion on “Sheer Heart Attack” by Queen, I have just realised this song is what the piano part at the end of “In the Lap Of the Gods” reminds me of. I don’t know why, but the reprise of “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” always makes me laugh. It is quicker than the original and it is slightly cheesier, but brilliant all the same. Some of the songs on this recording heralded the new era. The whimsical "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was the mantra for this movement, while the mournful refrains of "She's Leaving Home" illustrated the general disaffection of youth which was so prevalent at the time. "A Little Help From My Friends" was certainly the blueprint for getting along for many baby boomers during that era which this recording heralded. For many reasons, this remains one of the most important and seminal recordings ever made, and no music collection should be without it.
If as a film critic the words action movie have negative connotations, and thriller is more positive, then fear not. This is a thriller through and through. It is a superbly scripted, directed and edited suspense thriller. If, However, you like action movies, you will not be disappointed. It’s bursting with high quality action which is not too far fetched. The main character, John McClane, a role tailor made for Bruce Willis, is an off duty New York police officer, in LA. His job is three thousand miles away, so what’s he doing? Rescuing at least thirty hostages, including his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) from about twelve terrorists including bad boss Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in a thirty-plus storey building in Century City. I would hate to spoil the film by elaborating any further, but I can say the film is extremely exciting and there is no shortage of thrills and spills. Some of the special effects are stunning, especially considering the advances in technology we have seen since 1988 when Die Hard was made. It is an absolute must for all film fans.
One of Queen’s lesser-renowned works, ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ is in my opinion their finest studio release. It was painstakingly produced way back in the technological dark ages of 1974. Brian May was suffering from a number of health problems around this time, as the band wanted to progress as fast as possible. This setback was in the form of a duodenal ulcer. A successful operation led to a lengthy recovery. Queen was not yet fully established even after two albums. Although the other three didn’t even consider replacing May, but they did continue to record the third album, leaving gaps for his guitar parts and vocals. This would be of little or no difficulty today, but back then it was a tall order. Miracles were worked, and the album was released. 1. Brighton Rock (Brian May) Although I don’t like the beginning of this song; the opening of the album, it incorporates a 3 minute Brian may special solo with some virtuosic guitar playing. It is a classic rock moment. Not the best song ever, but overall it is a good beginning to an album and the musical talent of the band shines through. 2. Killer Queen (Freddie Mercury) An impressive composition from Mercury. The lyrics, about a high-class call girl are quite ingenious. The harmonies are very effective and there is contrast between Freddie’s solo voice and the rich harmonies which were what went on to be a defining queen characteristic. Some lovely moments. 3. Tenement Funster (Roger Taylor) A great song. A simple song. Just rock, pure and simple. It is slow and definite and there is some more great guitar playing. It is very 70’s, and if you didn’t know it, and you weren’t aquatinted with Brian May’s trademark sound, you would never guess it was Queen. 4. Flick of The Wrist (Freddie Mercury) Some more original lyrics, and a great piano intro. This is quite an unusual song and is w
ell worth a listen. I’m not sure what to compare it with really. It’s fairly unique, but brilliant. 5. Lily of the Valley (Freddie Mercury) A more delicate, touching and beautiful song. It is tailor made for Freddie’s voice and uses his range superbly. Lyrically wonderful again. This is a short song and is followed by a huge contrast. 6. Now I’m Here (Brian May) Rock on. Written, or at least largely written while May was in hospital, this is one of those instantly recognisably-queen songs. There are large contrasts between the distant and echoed ‘Now I’m Here’ sections to the pure rock verses. A more famous Queen classic. 7. In the Lap of the Gods (Freddie Mercury) Beautiful. The strangest song on the disc is possibly the most beautiful. The into is very odd with high pitched wailing, and a verse accompanied only by a gong and cymbals, a piano and a touch of Bass, but the main body of the song is rich with beautiful vocal and guitar touches. Tere is a piano figure at the end which is very ‘Beatles.’ I can’t put my finger on it but I’m sure it sounds like something from Sgt Peppers??? 8. Stone Cold Crazy (Composed by Queen) Kitchen Sink Rock. It’s packed full. Everything gets hit by Taylor, and the guitar tracks are jam packed. The Vocal lines are also full to the brim. I’m sure if you hear it you’ll know what I mean. 9. Dear Friends (Brian May) He’s written a hymn. That’s all there is to say. A gently piano/voice hymn, with nice harmonies in second verse. Not very rock, but it’s a great contrast. 10. Misfire (John Deacon) So John Deacon does exist! This is quite a poppy number. Based around a good guitar riff, a great song is born. 11. Bring Back That Leroy Brown (Freddie Mercury) Very tongue-in-cheek, this always brings a smile. Brian plays the banjo! Y
ou have to love this. You have to hear it. I’m sure it was very difficult to record. 12. She Makes Me (Freddie May) Although I love the album, and this is part of it, and it’s very interesting, there is a feeling that it isn’t heading anywhere. It’s slightly tedious I’m afraid, but it doesn’t detract too much from the brilliance f the album as a whole. 13. In the Lap of the Gods…Revisited (Freddie Mercury) This tops it all off a treat. Although this is in a major key, and We are the Champions is mostly in a minor, find the songs quite similar. They are both in 6/8 time (for the musicians among us) but they are texturally similar too; at the beginning at least. This song ends up in a large scale anthem type form with many voice parts in unison. Very Powerful. This album is in my opinion a masterpiece, and is best consumed as a whole album. It probably came too early in Queen’s career to be a huge success. Quite diverse, but definitely worth a listen to all.