Profile for J. Clarke > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by J. Clarke
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,252
Helpful Votes: 497

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
J. Clarke "Alright Sally" (England)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Let The Ocean Take Me
Let The Ocean Take Me
Price: £8.83

3.0 out of 5 stars Reluctantly Catchy, 4 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Let The Ocean Take Me (Audio CD)
Amity Afflictions 4th offering and my 3rd listen, sees the Australian 5 piece have another stab at mainstream fame with their brand of sea shanty shipmate screamo. The last 2 albums, energetic Youngbloods and improved Chasing Ghosts, both struck the same chords, growl, sing, interlude, making a alright formula, both showed little progression and reluctance to experiment. Does Let The Ocean Take Me go any further, does it even need to? Is anybody actually listening?

I've been searching for an exit, but I'm lost inside my head, where I spend every waking moment wishing I was dead.
An incredibly emo introduction in lyric only from vocalist Joel Birch, the instrumentation is far more powerful than any teenage journal doodling. Tinkly percussion (Ryan Burt) and focused guitar work (Troy Brady & Dan Brown) make the intro track Pittsburgh and first single released a hard hitting ballad with the usual sing along chorus sang with real vigour and gusto (Ahren Stringer). "It's like there's cancer in my blood, it's like there's water in my lungs and I can't take another step, please tell me I am not undone. It's like there's fire in my skin and I'm drowning from within - I can't take another breath, please tell me I am not undone." - A fairly well put together rhyme, echoed back in a feminine choir for the last hurrah, making a surprisingly quaint and effective impact - it's different at least. Lost & Fading however is quite bland and a mix up of the bands tropes - in effects, lyrics, formula - you name it.

Let The Ocean Take Me
Don't Lean On Me is in a similar vein to 'Pittsburgh', in melody and that it was another single (with an appallingly bad video!). A pleasant piano hook lures you into a false sense of security until the album title is screamed followed by some jarring, hard hitting drums and rhythm guitar. The verses are short and strong, but once again it boils down to the chorus stealing the limelight. "Well don't lean on me 'cause I am falling, please don't fall with me. I really need you here, yeah I need you so don't leave." - Not exactly shakespeare but fairly genuine and no mention hearts or the sea... "And don't count on me 'cause I am drowning, please don't drown with me. Just hold me in your heart, let the ocean take me." - Nevermind... Again, it's another crowd pleaser that'll get hands clapping. The Weigh Down is subdued at first, torn into with some screams as usual.. More punk drumming this time around and some more technical guitar work make it somewhat varied - until that chorus comes around again - He's not the worst singer, just a bit generic and doolally with his melodies. Only this time it has more momentum with the final round doubling the tempo.

Never Alone
is much more jiving and dancy. Echoed vocals in the verse, getting heavier, use a bridge into the chorus for once. "Never alone, never apart - We found each other in the dark. Shed our tears and fight our fears - We are one, the lonely hearts." ...there's the heart and tears rubbish again! Yet it is easily one of the catchiest tracks on the album, lord knows there are many to chose from. The Outro's a bit of a let down though with a miserable swear ridden suicidal, alcoholic phone call that packs very little punch and zero realism alongside a timid piano. Not much of a fan of 'Death's Head' - it's erratic in pace and whiny in vocal. Oh and let's not forget the pièce de résistance - "Hey Death, Get F***ed!" - bit pathetic lads.. onto the next song... *looks at iPod, reads FML*... really? This song is called 'F*** My Life'? So not only has the music and lyrical content not changed, the childish titles remain a poor constant also.. Which is a shame because it's a good song. Cliches and unoriginal themes abound, it's probably the best few lines on the record - ''I am a sinking ship, I am the anchors deep, set to the ocean floor in an eternal sleep. My heart is heavy stone, my body brittle bones, my mind an endless storm out in the cold unknown. Cause I've got to find my light again, my heart is beating fast when will this ever end? Can I find my way back home again? This road I travel on, it never seems to end.''

My Father's Son
Without doubt my favourite track on the album. Awesome guitar hooks, stuttering guitar rhythm and a beastly vocal performance from Birch. I don't claim to know much about the band or who wrote this one, but as you might be able to grasp from the title, it's about an estranged father, harsh realisations and mutual anger. "I am my father's son, I am my father's mistakes, I'm easily undone and I'm no stranger to rage!" opens and closes the song in some poetic fashion. The most real and (I'm reluctant to say) heartfelt song by the band to date. No mention of seas, skylines, hearts or tears - just cold hard truths. Forest Fires a bit weird initially. Strange lyrics and downplayed music behind some intense growls. It's at this point, the guitars have gotten a bit cloying as they seem to be doing the same sort of technique since track 1. Cue unwelcome 'Whoa uh oh's.

Give It All
Not much an outro song this one. Strange synths and the return of the female choir. A good minute of this song is spent fading out, seemingly filing up the short 10 track album, which you may be grateful for to be honest, I am a little. The chunkiest and possibly heaviest TAA album to date, it lacks the freshness of 2010's 'Youngbloods' and funky riffs, progression and poignancy 2012's 'Chasing Ghosts'. That being said, 'Let The Ocean Take Me' has more than enough carnal cries, head-banging and thinly veiled pretentious lyrics to appease a dedicated fan/young teen - same thing - not the worst, far from the best.


Portraits
Portraits

3.0 out of 5 stars Light breaks through, Years drag on, 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Portraits (Audio CD)
The gritty chug of a drop C guitar is the first thing smashed into your face for Bury Tomorrow's Debut album 'Portraits'. My first introduction to this band was the mighty beast of a track 'Lionheart' (which would later be released on 2nd album 'The Union of Crowns') so I felt it worth following up. The Hampshire 5 piece, (Locals to me!) have set themselves the task of taking on the largely American dominated genre of metalcore. The likes of Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive (Australian) and Atreyu seem to be the influences here, but has any British spirit shone through? 'Confessions' is first up to bat..

Confessions
Right away you can get a sense of what the band are going for thanks to the formula of brutal screams in the verse, catchy melodic vocal in the chorus, close with a breakdown. Throw in some double bass and you've got a pretty solid mix of heavy metal goodness. Track one sets a fairly generic standard, but has a pleasant outro and holds a few good guitar licks. 'Evolution of Self' starts with the tired lads chanting about something or other before it turns into a Killswitch attempt. The vocals turn weepy and the song lacks direction.Its only until 2 minutes in you get something out of the ordinary after vocalist/guitarist Jason Cameron mutters "You won't like what you see" and you get some electro blast beats and palm muted buildup. It kind of ends up in the same vein as 'Confessions', just with less punch.

You & I
Doesn't do much for me with an uninteresting intro and its generic riffage that follows. Caught in two minds, the song goes from dual vocal and guitars in sync to low breakdowns with the odd high pitch twang in Cameron's voice. Nice plegmy screams near the end though... 'Her Bones in the Sand' is yet another duplicate song that does little to entertain initially, that is until you get a delightful sweep half a minute in from lead guitarist Mehdi Vismara. Now it seems Bury Tomorrow are taking on their own in Welsh rockers Bullet For My Valentine - it wouldn't be out of place from 'The Poison'. Thankfully the chorus gains a lease of life for the final time and the melodies ring true.

Repair the Lining
The 2nd song really worth a good listen, track 5 fires on all cylinders. Headbangingly Brilliant harmonized guitars erupt into well thought out lead and rhythm sections. The chorus stands proudly too - "I know its so hard to fight again, I know its so hard to love again". The mighty growls are the icing on the cake this time around. However the band must have thought this track to be too melodic as they close it with a demonic sound more evil than Lucifer's underpants. 'Casting Shapes' sounds like a rip straight from Avenged Sevenfold's 'Unholy Confessions' - yet another American influence creeping in. Unfortunately the main thing that stands out here is the odd chorus "Why is there only one side in your eyes". that said there is no doubting the bands whole instrumental prowess... oh and it closes with another breakdown..

Factory of Embers
Honestly, this track passed me by while I added to this reviews introduction. It had an alright breakdown somewhere in the middle, but that's the only part that got my attention.. that and it was long. 'Relief' is well named because it serves as somewhat a halfway milestone - a lone acoustic performance, highlighting Cameron's vocal talent. With this, he could easily show those talent-less hacks on the X-factor a thing or two. It's sprawling intro and first lines of "And I know you're thinking the worst, its in those eyes at first.. It's neither good or bad" all sang with a suave soulful tune. "So please show me, what I'm meant to believe". Cue an egg shaker thingy. With a song like this, you wonder if this is what this man is meant to be doing.

Anything with Teeth
is reason enough to dispute that last comment. Mental percussion, meaty screams and a fantastic guitar riff make this another stand out moment. The chorus is all over the place but still befitting the song. "Blood on the walls, there's blood on the walls and it seems so unreal" is worth screaming along to. "Stop running away. Turn back and see this pain. The truth, your fears will change. You'll know it's all here to stay". Such a shame its cheapened with the last lines of "resurrect the dead, redefine your life" - pass on the zombies. 'These woods aren't safe for us' has a beautiful vocal melody - as usual - plus there's some stronger growls in the background somewhere too. A funky interlude appears out of the blue too, capitalized on by some powerful drumming and desperate cries of "Where would I be- without you?".

Portraits
I really dig the beginning of this title track, despite for the umpteenth time that Avenged riff pops up.. "And as the light breaks through, with the hope that we had. Years drag on, age is lined by the frame. Light breaks through." is as good a line as any to name your album on. It's the longest track at well over 5 minutes, consequently, that chorus shows no signs of growing old- neither does the sweet solo to end things. Prepare yourself for 'Waxed Things' because its start is an insane tapping frenzy. Pity it dissolves into more of the same. 'The Western Front' offers something different - clean guitar. That and a generally pleasing rhythm section that doesn't insist on deafening with stop start melodies. Love that beat 2 and a half minutes in... but in honesty there is little else to write about as this album has dithered in and out of being listenable and is now running a tad long.

Breathe on Glass
The closer.. finally. A decent riff/vocal aside, it's at this time I believe that this band would have been better off relegating songs to B-sides and going for an EP rather than the full blown article - which this aint - because these guys can clearly do better. Although I've included the US bonus tracks (that follow portraits) you could still cut this album in half for the better.. So for now at least, judge it for what it is - a first attempt, find the following and hear for yourself, Bury Tomorrow's EP!

Confessions
Repair the Lining
Relief
Anything with Teeth
These woods aren't safe for us
Portraits


FIFA 14  [Online Game Code]
FIFA 14 [Online Game Code]
Price: £7.49

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The £55 Scourge, 23 Jun. 2014
"OK, so your team rosters and 13/14' kits are up to date! That'll be £55 please..

Oh and don't forget to pick up an online pass for £20 ;)"

Origin: Both kinds
Oh how I pity the parents guilted into buying this piece of yearly dross. Anyone savvy in gaming circles will be well aware of EA (Electronic Arts - FIFA 14's publisher) and their business practices. The yearly update of an indefinite franchise is something us mere peasant could only wish to think of. Alas, the mega-conglomerate got its mitts on the idea first and have churned out a mixed bag of casual, friday night gaming and lack-lustre, cashgrabs. Available on all consoles (PS4, Xbone, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Even PS2 (delicious Milk!)) and let's not forget EA's very own PC appstore 'Origin'. "How much is a digital copy of the game, without the case, manual, a disc, manufacturing, delivery charges?" THE SAME.

FIFA's audience? - Millions of frustrated football fans all wishing to suppress the withdrawal symptoms for the lack of Fußball.

Why the mass conscription-like hype? - No other game, can legally, boast official player/team imagery. So it's safe to say that there is no real threat to their video gaming football crown - Sorry Pro Evolution Soccer.

Why so expensive? - The previous reason withheld, because they can charge what they like: Despite the fact that 1. there is minimal change/improvement to gameplay and 2... well that's it really... Plus, it would be far too easy for me to say that EA are evil...

New Additions
Co-op Seasons! That's right, you and your full RRP paying friends can now play the game mode that the majority didn't care about in the first place! Basically, this lets you play online seasons mode but with the choice to let your friend help out. It's basically a way to charge for online co-op.

13/14' Kits! Oh yeah, that colour you like is now looking sharper than ever with its new advertising sponsor adorned all over it! It's at this stage that I'd like to point out how easy and honest it would be to release a DLC of this sort of thing to gamers, rather than get them to dish out more and more for the same game wrapped up in this seasons fashion.
Up to date team rosters! Hoo boy, now you can save 10 minutes and let us assign the current players to your squad! Which ever player's had a good season will also get a boost to their stats as well as a slight enhancement to their appearance - instead of a half-assed default one.

Scouting! Sure the older games also had scouts for youth squads, but 14's scouts mean you can no longer search for players based on overall skill! So now you have to actually have some knowledge of up and coming players if you are to make a wise decision in the transfer market (that or make a wild guess as to whom EA deem to be a good player).

Gameplay
I'm slightly ashamed to say that I have played EA's football games since F.A Premier league stars 2001 so please don't assume I'm against the sport in any way. Without arrogance, I've played the games, I know what's changed - very little. Irrelevant news stories, unrealistic player emotions and demands. However, what is really jarring is the removal of what made the game fun to play. You can no longer tackle the referee, you can no longer dive, you can adjust 'sliders' to effectively cheat the game, you can create custom players with an overall score of 99. Regardless, the core of this game is as predictable and boring as ever. The opposition continue the same tactics they've always used. Hoof the ball into the box from every set piece. There is also a blatant 'momentum engine' which has been present for years (an official algorithm was published online), which means the computer 'forces' goals whenever it desires - be it via unavoidable handballs, loss of player control or down right cheating.

The Music
Oh dear God the music..

Multiplayer
The only time your can guarantee a fair game. When you play against a friend - locally that is, you can't trust EA's servers' network connections. Team up against the AI however and you'll get the same ol' BS happening all over again - despicable referee calls, blind linesmen, delusional handballs and 6 month injures, to your players only. The best aspect of this game can be mutilated into an insult. What's more, the online play is costly, with an online pass necessary for one years worth of gaming and 'coins' to fuel the addiction of 'ultimate team' the gimmick that essentially gets people to spend real money in order to acquire virtual players for their online teams.

Difference between Xbox 360/PS3 and Xbox One/PS4 Versions
The truth is, there is no difference, not really. Graphical capabilities aside, the games feature no more, no less content and bare the same achievements. It is for all the negatives mentioned, that I personally insist on waiting for a massive price drop before purchasing these games - £55 is unfathomable, at least, for this.

The honorable thing to do would be to release yearly digital content at half the price instead of dressing it up as a 'new' game... That or take an additional year out to make a game properly!


Koi No Yokan
Koi No Yokan
Price: £6.13

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entombed in Romantic Dreams, 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Koi No Yokan (Audio CD)
Deftones
The Californian 5-piece had never been of particular interest to me - since their breakthrough in the late 90's with Around the Fur hits - 'My Own Summer' & 'Be Quiet & Drive' - the former being a scream fueled cauldron of anger, constantly shouting "Shove it", the latter showing the opposite with blissfully clean harmonies. These 2 tracks would later revisit me via flicking through music stations, only this time, thanks to the dire quality of music at the time, made an impact. Late to the party? Absolutely, I'd missed out on 4 albums since then, with only one song grabbing my attention mid-way, 'Minerva' - what I believed at the time to be a desolate and drone-like grimace of a metal track. With an open mind, urged on by a need for new sound, (and keen on the super energetic/melodic force of 2010's Diamond Eyes) I acquired Koi No Yokan - which loosely translates along the lines of 'Feeling of Love' or 'Love at First Sight' - An apt reference for the first listen...

BOOM BOOM BOOM RIFFING BOOM BOOM BOOM
Swerve City is a prime example of being quick out the blocks. A thunderous riff that resonates throughout the song, acts as the cornerstone to a furiously brief bit of musicianship for just 2:45. "She breaks her horses" Vocalist, Chino Moreno's first line pays homage to the bands fan favorite early album, White Pony. "..With strange, distant voices - that travel through the air" ends the verses and forces the song onward until it gets to that oddly tranquil guitar interlude. like a ray of light shone onto a down and dirty song. Track no.2 would always struggle to top that, but Romantic Dreams offers a whole new experience. 2 minutes longer, the pace has slowed with a rolling guitar tab, trailing back and fourth. "So why wait to discover your dreams? Now here's your chance" breaks things up however the chorus of 'I- I'm hypnotized by your name/I- I wish this night would never end" is a third sumptuous part of a mixed up song.

Shedding your skin, showing your texture...
Before this album was released, the track Leathers was used to promote it with a striking image of a heart undergoing Angiography. Besides the hauntingly pretty visual for the single, the song goes one further with a drawn out intro of bristling guitar notes - eradicated by brute force at 39 seconds. Chino's visceral lyrics are amplified by his sheer deliverance - "You're cutting your ties, now and forever, time to let everything outside you". The verses purely build up constantly with massive slides and the odd chug, but it all comes down to that meaty chorus - probably the most energetic song on the album - it's one to check out - if you can tolerate it, you can manage the whole album. Poltergeist has an unusual introduction of oddly timed clapping - culminating to complete loudness. The song itself though is one of the slightly weaker ones.

G|-2h3-t10p2h3-t12p2h3-t14p2h3-t17p2h3-t19p
Entombed's divine introduction needed a title, and there it is, played on G, full of simplistic tapping and pull-offs. This is the kind of song that proves that even guitar driven, metalcore music hidden away from public radio, can be genuinely romantic. "From the day you arrived, I've remained by your side - in chains, entombed." Poetry. Ultra funky drum fillers, bridge the gaps between verse and chorus, along with an irresistible synth effect I can only describe as some sort of Paris-eloping-electro. The hard-hitting lyrics are reason enough to recommend new listeners - "Shades of colors are all I see.. Shapes of colors are all I feel". Graphic Nature returns the sound back to the norm, similar to 'Poltergeist', it boasts strong chords and sinister sounding vocals, "I'm aware of the demons, that you've tucked away. I like to watch you release them". It's the kind of song you'd raise an eyebrow to - if you're feeling it.

Tempest
This one took time to grow on me, partially because it's one of the longest songs at over 6 minutes. The vocals have always been impressive up to this point, but now they take on a new level intensity that doesn't require screaming or the odd 'WOO'. "Turning in circles, been caught in a stasis" demands you close your eyes and nod along. "I'd like to be taken apart from the inside, then spit through the cycle right to the end". It has bits of everything Deftones are all about; moody vocals, grinding guitars and harsh truth lyrics. Gets better the more you listen, as does its climax. Gauze is harsh in both guitar and vocal, but the delicious bass shines through for its first real stand out moment. Some of the vocal harmonies may grate at first, but if you've got this far already, it wont be a deterrent.

Rosemary
The longest of all the songs due to both build up and fantastical outro, this is Deftones at the pinnacle. Grungey guitar interrupting a sweep melody that returns in flutters throughout. The dreamy lyrics are written like a poem, in layout and content - "Our minds bend and our fingers fold. Entwined, we dream" hallucinogenic in word and sound. "We slow down as the engines stall. Our eyes catch sea. Explode" vivid imagery propelled by purposeful noise. Goon Squad is the albums final heavy track. At this point its worth mentioning that although the technical aspects of the songs - especially the guitars - aren't ground breaking, they are well put together, befitting the mood as they tend to swirl and repeat into a solid platform for the real star, Chino, to do his thing. What Happened To You? closes the album in style - experimental percussion and amplifier feedback gracefully play behind a falsetto vocal. "We’re alive somewhere else. Still asleep someplace new. We’re ahead of our time. Floating through" is the first round of a daydreaming chorus, gaining more momentum for a second go - "The sky is falling down. The night is calling you. A star is burning out. The sky belongs to you." an ultimate finale to what rapidly became my personal, album of the year (2012).

There aren't many times in life when you can sit down and take time to listen to something you initially thought was rubbish, even less so when you are proven wrong in the most spectacular of fashion - it's not very easy either. So I shall close by saying that this is one worth breaking away from the usual mainstream sound and giving a genuine chance, because its impact is significant, it's sound, phenomenal.


Chobits - The Chobits Collection [DVD]
Chobits - The Chobits Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Morio Asaka
Offered by mvm_entertainment
Price: £24.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Chi!, 23 Jun. 2014
Chobits
A popular magazine-manga, 'Chobits' is one of many that gained enough attention to be made into an animation series - in this case one of 26 episodes. Released in 2002, Chobits still gets around, thanks to its premise and heart warming cuteness. While it's not particularly my area of interest in an anime, it did manage to hold me to watch all episodes, perhaps not fully focused but hey, when there's a robot girl who can only manage to say "Chi!" every couple of seconds, you're allowed a break now and again

Plot
Hideki Motosuwa (voiced by seasoned actor, Crispin Freeman) is a bumbling farm boy who's flunked at college and has to repeat the year he just failed for any chance to get into a university - only this time thinks he'll fare better by going to Tokyo. All sorts of problematic situations occur, such is the way when people who've grown up in rural areas are introduced to a chaotic urban environment. He gets a small apartment and meets a guy buddy in Hiromu Shinbo, who sheds some light on something he's never seen before Persocoms. These are computers made to look like human beings (except have weird ear antenna things) and come in various sizes (human to pocket). In the Chobits lore, they're used for literally everything, making phone calls, playing games, alarm clocks, keeping company, cooking, desk jobs etc and something Hideki is keen on - surfing the web for porn.
Don't get it wrong, while Mr. Motosuwa sounds like a stereotypical teenage perv, even worse when you see how many 'specialist' magazines he has popping up now and again, however as the anime goes on he gives out a pretty clueless vibe, but an honest one - he's a good guy - as so many of the cast keep saying. Anyway, he finds a persocom in the trash (after wandering through town and realising how expensive they are when he can barely afford the rent with his life savings). A naked blonde, wrapped up in only bandages, he nabs her and tries to fix her up. With the help of Shinbo, he succeeds - Hideki knows NOTHING about ANYTHING. Unfortunately all it can say is "Chi!" - what a find. He sets out to teach her to be like a normal persocom whilst juggling a job and studying hard in college - so it's kind of true to life - but instead of a girlfriend to make this an ordinary drama, he has a robot...

Characters
Hideki Motosuwa - is a fairly confident guy who ends up working at a restaurant/bar called 'My Pleasure'. He tends to get nosebleeds whenever an erotic situation arises - this could be anything from a glimpse of underwear to the sight of a shoulder... He's voiced really well in the english dub though, which always helps in watching a series.

Chi - One of the cutest characters you'll come across, her appearance twinned with her learning attitude make her rather adorable and childish as she tends to copy Hideki and embarrassing by pointing out erections and so fourth. She is not an ordinary persocom though...

Hiromu Shinbo - a tech guy friend, attending the same college and lives in the same building. He owns a small, energetic persocom called Sumomo. He tends to educate Hideki throughout.

Sumomo - a small persocom thats extremely pro active and upbeat - often shouts. She is the comic relief most of the time and acts as a guide for Chi and covers the basics with Hideki.

Minoru Kokubunji - Some short know-it-all who has several persocoms cater to him in frilly lingerie. A rich kid, he owns a boat and has almost no redeeming personality traits - he's the guy who searches the web for answers in forums.

There are several others but most only make brief appearances, not being that integral to the plot. They are Hideki's manager, his teacher, the landlord, the baker and his boss's daughter.

Why it's worth watching
The intro song and graphic is awesome! The song called 'Let me be with you' is sugary funk pop with a brilliant bass line and sweet girly vocals. One of the credit songs is also decent in 'Nigyo Hime' - this ones more alternative rock and down, but it's a good sound and makes appropriate outro music. The soundtrack even gets some intense rave music when things pick up! If you need something to restore your faith in humanity a little, this could prove helpful as its full of caring and pleasantries whilst retaining realism. If you're interested in the whole 'bridging the gap between man and machine' theory, it's also worth a go (it's covered a fair bit). Plus, it's generally quite amusing, the situations the characters put themselves in - very lighthearted anime.

Why it's not
It's not hugely interesting. There isn't much to the story. There are filler episodes. There are 3 episodes that contain, literally 2 minutes of unseen animation - the rest is a slide reel of stuff you've already seen - what a waste. A bit too cheesy/cute - I struggled to sit and watch it without feeling a tad immature. I ended up blitzing the series in a few days - not because I loved it but - I kind of wanted it over - so I didn't space it out properly either. To sum it up, there is production quality on show, but most of the content is devoted to fan service :S


Tekken - The Motion Picture [DVD] [NTSC]
Tekken - The Motion Picture [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Edi Patterson

2.0 out of 5 stars 'If you're truly my son, then you'll climb back up!', 23 Jun. 2014
Intro
Since the beginning of history, people have fought in the name of God, bending to the invented demands of their fickle deity, and screaming for righteousness, they wantonly spill the blood of their enemies, as well as their own. The purpose behind this bloodshed, however, goes beyond simple explanations of religion or notions of justice. The truth is buried deep within those who wage the wars. Since the birth of this planet, a memory has become deeply engraved onto the genes of all living things. A memory of aggression as a means of survival, a memory of fighting. Humans seek to defend their actions in the name of truth. The act of fighting is itself a true act. Without this truth, the fighter will perish. To learn the way, ask your own flesh and blood, because one's flesh is the door to the truth. To master the way, ask your own ken, or fist, because complete knowledge of one's flesh, blood and fist is what creates one's Tekken. And Tekken is the key to life! - Rubbish!

1998
Way back when I was 8, I had a sleepover at my friends house, at the time we loved the video game Tekken, especially the third one release in 97' - so we thought it be best to watch the motion picture. It's bad enough when kids watch a film rated a 15' but you know you have a problem when even a child of that age can tell how dire said film is. Even then, we felt it was a missed opportunity, because not only did the film generally suck, but it was only 'an hours worth of suck' so we didn't even get to see some of our favourite Tekken characters doing their thing - Yoshimitsu, King, Paul Phoenix, Law, and Eddy make minimal appearances, if any.

Plot
Like most films based on video games, this one's plot is thin but tries to pack in so many subplots from a small group of characters found in game. The origins of Tekken are that of Kazuya (protagonist 1) and his father Heihachi (antagonist 1) - A father throwing his own child off a cliff to demonstrate his credibility as a son. The second protagonist being Jun, who frankly, just wont stop with the over the top speeches about hatred and forgiveness and blah blah blah, not that Kazuya is innocent of this and poor phrases/one liners either. To gain his revenge, Kazuya must enter a competition held on a remote island, hosted by a rich and powerful, mysterious company (headed by Heihachi) - where multiple combatants compete against each other until the last standing gets an audience with the big boss man. oh and gunjack needs to see Dr.B to save a little girl, Nina & Anna continue their sisterly feud, Michelle Chang wants revenge for her family oh and the corporation brings dinosaurs back to life... wait, what?

Pros
Without a doubt, the moment of the hour is just over 10 minutes in - and even then, it's a carbon copy of a scene from the 'Street Fighter' movie. After we witness Nina fail to assassinate Kazuya, we are treated to Anna and her bazookas. In the shower. For no reason... All to the good ol 90's grunge soundtrack of Stabbing Westward's 'Save Yourself'. Oh and later on she shows up when Nina (again) botches her plot and literally fires a bazooka in her direction, Nice! There's also a kangaroo called Roger, who wears boxing gloves, enough said.

Cons
Of all the fighters available, with the current crop of stories they concocted, they couldn't have come up with one for King - a mexican wrestler with a jaguar head? Eddy - a millionaire capoeira specialist. Yoshimitsu a.. I have no idea. The voice acting is appalling with such phrases like "Tell my father to keep his neck clean" being commonplace. The plot is somehow worse than the games by picking the most uninteresting characters and inventing a new one about Heihachi's adopted son...

There's a lot of bad film adaptions of video games out there, a vast chasm of poor anime, there's no reason a franchise as big as this should fit in both of those categories.


Another Collection [DVD]
Another Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tsutomu Mizushima
Price: £20.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Another Final Destination, 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Another Collection [DVD] (DVD)
Another
A 12 episode anime from 2012, based on a novel of the same name, is a mystery horror set in a sleepy town of Yomiyama, where a troubled 15 year old (tries to) settle into a slower pace of life outside the city. Only things are problematic from the beginning, suffering from ill health the first few months of the school year, then finding school life a slowly deteriorating grind. When classmates act increasingly shady, the true nature of harrowing rumors become reality.

First Impressions
Finding my way back into the anime scene and it's vast depths of entertainment, 'Another' seemed a fairly basic and safe choice (I hadn't properly watched anime for years - even then it was largely well known films from Studio Ghibli). It sets up a little plot via a tape recording, but little is understood other than its about a school where the most beautiful and popular student died - yet the people in her class pretended she still existed. Straight away it was similar to all anime series - a terrible introduction theme song bangs on for a couple of minutes with scenes not really found in the series - then you get to stare at some 'artwork' for a couple of seconds while the song repeats itself - largely unnecessary. However, when the anime actually gets going, it gives of a very lonely and cold vibe, thanks to its location, ominous score and lead character traits. The subtitles didn't get off to a good start though, with the main character clearly indicating he is in pain"Hi" with subs saying "No" - which kind of throws the credibility of the translation, up in the air..

Plot
I should mention that it's incredibly difficult to summarize the plot without giving too much away as each of the 12 episodes hold a puzzling 'spoiler' moment where a secret is revealed or rumor confirmed where the viewer (similar to Sakikabara's situation) are finally in the know. It's this aspect that makes the series rather addictive, the feeling of unknowing and intrigue. That and the fact the episodes are just under 25 minutes each - so you could easily plow through several a day (usually still clueless about various goings on). Here are some potential spoilers (that are integral to describing this anime) - Class 3-3 (or 3-C as it was renamed) holds a terrible burden. That of a deadly phenomenon that occurs every year to the same class. People start dying. Students, teachers and relatives of those involved are all at risk of impending death, from accident or ill health (this is where the whole thing gets a 'Final Destination' vibe - only without the cheesy 'reaper's coming for you next' idea).

Already this series has gained some mentions about it's increasing violent scenes, the further the story progresses. Although they aren't particularly vivid or brutally gruesome, some are tragic and even a little bit shocking - despite a lack of visual stimuli (with the exception of a kitchen knife catastrophe).

Characters
Koichi Sakakibara - is the main character - a 15 year old student attending Yomiyama school, class 3-3. Recently transferred from Tokyo, he starts his new school with the misfortune of suffering a collapsed lung, missing the beginning of the school year. His father working in India and his mother deceased, he stays with grandparents and Auntie.. and annoying bird. A quiet guy, but inquisitive.

Mei Misaki - A highly mysterious girl in class 3-3. She lives with her mother in a mannequin shop and has a distinctive eye patch. She is hesitant when speaking to Koichi at first, but eventually the 2 become friends. It is unknown whether she is being completely ignored by her classmates and teachers, or if she really is a ghost. Hates being questioned.

Izumi Akazawa - Another fellow student, she is in charge of 'countermeasures' against the rumor. Bossy and loud, she takes her responsibilities very seriously and is suspicious of Sakakibara from the start - believing they have met before.

Naoya Teshigawara - is the macho guy who loves sports and is generally poor at school. He has been tasked to show Sakakibara around school and explain its various rules and situations.

Tatsuji Chibiki - some creepy looking librarian...

Verdict
It passed the time for me, and wasn't a chore either. The visuals are kind of generic for anime, the movements are limited and the environment mostly darkened (although some scenes are well made). It's main holding points are that of the mystery of the rumors and the methods in which the characters die. At times, the way the story progresses can get cloying as you are constantly left in the dark about how things are happening and why as the students very slowly reveal information. My Favourite moment happens to be the only time humor is used (seaside antics aside) and could have easily been a plot twist... however it turned out to be a daydream :( I;d recommend this animation for teenagers around the 15 mark (mostly because that's the rating) but also for the relating school link and taste for shock and awe (blood).

I wouldn't mind watching it again (I'm currently watching bits here and there to refresh my memory as I only watched it when I was off ill from work a few months back) but I'd probably only do so if someone else wanted to see it and I could act like a know-it-all smartarse :D


Damage
Damage
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.88

3.0 out of 5 stars Aging Arizonans, 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Damage (Audio CD)
You'd have to go back a fair while...
...to 2010 to recall Jimmy Eat World's last album, the slow burning grower Invented (4/5). Back then then they had just come off the fresh and poppy tour of Chase This Light which saw the band go down a more catchy and tuneful, soft-pop-rock route. With 'Invented' being a bit more down to earth, opting for a more real outlook and mixed emotion, past albums ranging from arthouse classics, college punk partying and insidiously emotional trauma, this time around would prove difficult to show how they can keep ticking on...

Damage
The 10 track album kicks off with 'Appreciation' - a jolly hook laden, 3 minute sing along. It's all about that guitar rocking back and fourth through the chords until the chorus slows it down to a steady rocking ballad "We build, we box, we carry on.. as people we forgot. Strange we come to find ourselves, not knowing we're lost." cue laid back but gritty guitar interlude. It's an idyllic start to the album with the lyrics being relevant to the bands situation. The Albums title track 'Damage' is even more sugary sweet due to it's xylophone like guitar track through the chorus. 'Are we only damaging, the little we have left?' vocalist & guitarist Jim Adkins' swoons. It's definite proof that the band has calmed down a tad - losing that rebellious nature perhaps (not that they had much of that to begin with) - still a pleasant listen though.

Lean
This one starts in a vaguely same fashion as the first track, that jarring guitar twangling back and fourth. That is, until a classy guitar squeals away in the background, enhancing the cleaner melodies. "I’m not asking for a fix, I just need you close to reach. When I can’t stop myself at all, when I can’t lean on you I fall" are some more part-gushy but heartfelt and honest lyrics. 'Book of Love' sounds right out of a late 90's teenage drama film. Some chirpy acoustic similar to 'Kiss Me' by Sixpence None The Richer means I'm not exactly fond of this song. Diary-esque lyrics and popping bass, a dodgey interlude full of vocal noise is an attempt to sound like anything from Clarity - that ultimately fails, making this one dull, uninspired number.

I Will Steal You Back
Is one of the songs released before the album, that gave me hope for a solid Jimmy record. Somehow, it's classic J.E.W, yet nothing like anything else they've written. "Funny how the smallest lie might live a million times" ponders Adkins before being cut off by a badass guitar solo. "How slowly we built the walls, in years they pile on - I will steal you back" - another decent one in similar vein to the title track. The longest song at just under 5 minutes is 'Please Say No' - a breathy, dreary snooze. The words are rife with repetition and not for catchiness but rather sheer lazy song writing - "Please Say No", "I Go I Go" & "With You" all being muttered various times with less and less conviction, Boring!

How'd You Have Me
I desperately needed this track after the previous bit of rubbish. I properly like this one and say it's worth recommending - as it's the best on this album. A haggard and raw introduction of background talking and drum click track, awesome shaking hi-hat and a stomping chorus that demands you dance. "Only one thing left I wish I knew. How did you have me, and I only got you?" always brings a smile to my face, as does the second part "If it's all bad timing, and there's no control. You'll do anything, you'll do everything I want from now on". Unfortunately it's back to mediocre filler with 'No, never'. More repetition and standard muted verses, lacking a clear melody make it rather unmemorable. Best of the worst really.

ByeByeLove
Whether it's a reference to The Cars song or that 90's film, is irrelevant - this is what Jimmy Eat World sound like. It's as if they've stepped into a time machine, headed to 1999 and wrote down just one more song. Slow and swaying, 'Byebyelove' reeks of feeling and is perhaps a genuine goodbye to the fans or the old sound they hold so dear. The chorus merely consists of the title and the 2 verses offer a little insight to something personal "I wanna feel that golden light, watch summer dancing through your hair. There's so much I wish I could hold, Instead of carrying memories". It has some classy J.E.W vocal work, but unlike 'Book of Love' doesn't seem eager to convince you. It's real simple and slow, but it grows on you.. Unlike The closing track 'You Were Good'. Ever since 99', this band has made a point of ending their CD's with real belters, serious ballads that take your breath away. Clarity had 'Goodbye Sky Harbor', Bleed American had 'My Sundown', Futures had '23' and Chase This Light had 'Dizzy'. Maybe Invented ended that tradition with a wishy-washy-walk-away-now 'Mixtape'. Still, that's no excuse to forego bass & percussion entirely and use vocals that sound like they were recorded on a TalkBoy.
It's right at the good end of 3 stars.

There are some really top drawer songs on here, kind of spoiled by others as they remind you that this album is far from perfect, let alone the band at their best. Reasons could range from a switch in record label (or more likely the use of one), It being a tricky 8th album where anyone lesser would've ran out of inspiration, or just maybe they've grown up to a point where they can no longer solely focus on music? Who knows, but I'd still like to hear just one more, an album worthy of being the (milky) twilight of one of the most original band's I've ever known.


GoPro Camera HD Hero2 Outdoor Edition
GoPro Camera HD Hero2 Outdoor Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 200 Bob 2 Button Hero 2, 23 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's hard not to be swayed by Gopro's enticing advertisements..

Sure the people in the videos surf daily, have all the gear sold separately and have a massive ramp at the end of their garden which leads to a canal where they water-ski off the back of their friends speedboat, 24/7, 365 days of the year... ahhh where was I... BUT us normals can utilize these teensy weensy little cameras too, right??

9-5
I can imagine a lot of people would view these cameras as a niche product for a specific audience and occasion - I'm one of those people, yet I still ended up with one of these things... go figure... Still, I have an excuse of being somewhat in need as my job often requires various excursions into the woods and such to film various vehicles. Outside of the workplace, I'll admit to not putting this to much use (until recently). It has been plunked onto my dash in my car for filming a night drive home with all the lights of Guildford shimmering away (despite my shoddy camera placement). It's filmed unwitting family members play 'Just Dance' on the WIi and dance away like no ones watching, inside a Christmas tree. It's been strapped to the back of my Staffy's harness as he gets let loose over a massive common, encountering mass foliage, monstrous puddles and of course, other curious canines.

Specs
This little beast requires a decent SD card to be of any use (to be capable of handling a high frame rate) so a mark 10 card is recommended - the more the storage the better really (I stick with 32gb). There's a tiny screen about 2cm in height, 1.5cm in width, for you to get a vague image as to what the machine thinks you are trying to ascertain:
A chunky old school looking video camera/picnic table - video
an SLR camera - photos
many frames - continuous shots
SLR and clock- Time lapse
Timer - ...no idea...
spanner - options.
Video capability - VGA, 720, 960, 1080 - both at varying frame rate, the higher the quality, the more space taken and strain on SD card.
Video format - medium, wide, narrow.
Megapixels - 5,8 or 11.
Timer settings - length of intervals
Change of direction - rotation
LCD - turn off the annoying flashing red light.
More

There's a lot of useless stuff here but here's the basics: You get to turn off even more frustrating features like the beeps when taking shots, PAL vs. NTSC, LED brightness, Auto shutdown and..... a calendar.... for really anal people who MUST know the exact date and time a photo/video was taken - surely if you've got one of these carefree cameras...never mind.

Hardware
On the outside the Gopro hero 2 has an audio jack for headphones and one for a mic, plus the standard micro USB and even a HDMI port. An external microphone... on the bottom of all places... The outdoor version comes with various mounts (lumps of plastic with quickly degrading sticky pads) 2 plastic waterproof cages (one for when you inevitable give in and buy the wireless add on), a head-mount that makes you look a bit of a gimp/voyeur. Luckily when I'm working with these things, I've got a handful of grease monkeys who can easily apply an adhesive to the one use pads, as well as remove them from a surface if it really sticks..I left it on the vehicle on the drive home! I've tested the effectiveness of the cage by placing it in a wheel-arch of a prototype, whilst it plows through several massive puddles on pot holes. The resulting splash, may look cool on video but every now and then, the water doesn't bead off as it probably should. Battery could last longer - usually squeezing out around 3 hours at full chat.

The Digital Product
The videos themselves are of good quality when you retrieve them. There is a limit as to how much they can record in segments - usually around the half hour mark - making a file size of roughly 1.5GB. The wide angle lens means you can get away with various re-scaling and stretching if you're into editing the footage - so if you accidentally shot in portrait as opposed to landscape (no doubt because of those BLOODY MOUNTS!) then fear not, there is enough realistic 'give' to maintain realistic film. Sound isn't great though, unless its stationary and indoors. Outdoors, everything is inaudible even with the cages, due to wind which seems to amplify as it seeps into every orifice of the device. MP4 format, safe for 1080 & 720, fairly compatible format.

Negatives
My biggest gripe - it only has 2 buttons. One to scroll through the menu (one way) and no.2 for selecting/recording/shooting. It can be a laborious task to cycle through all the options until you find what you're looking for, although, it is all in there, as simplistic as it may be... Picture/Film quality, auto off, LCD choices, time lapse etc.
No screen - you can view live video and photos via an iPhone app but... that would require a wireless back pack... an optional extra which increases the chunkosity of the device by about 5mm. In fact, ANY optional extra available is a negative for me when it comes to this thing, seems like they are extremely useful bits of equipment left out deliberately for another purchase.. crafty. Another issue I have is the mounts - they can be a bitch to properly get a decent angle and can build up if into an awkward stand of about 3 mounts if you struggle to get the view you want. It's also very frustrating that the mounts don't really offer a standard 'stuck on the bottom bit' option, it has to be some stupidly over the top, Pythagoras dimension of morose proportions, much like these adjectives.

Ok so there is some serious exaggeration going on as to what people actually do with their cameras but the point is you should be able to do whatever you want with them, as they are lightweight and durable, whilst offering an unbeatable quality for a fairly low costing bit of kit - so a great idea! Delivered scrupulously by a bastard company!


Death Note Complete [DVD]
Death Note Complete [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tetsuro Araki
Price: £35.34

4.0 out of 5 stars "Do you know Gods of death love apples?", 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Death Note Complete [DVD] (DVD)
Continuing the theme of nostalgic teenage interests...

The next anime up for review is a big one - Death Note. So giant that it has its humble roots in print (manga), rise to popularity in this anime and went further by having a video game and 3 live action films plus light novels. My only warning about the following is of possible spoilers as this series is 37 episodes long and has an equally large and intwining stories.

Story
Light Yagami, your average no.1 high school genius, popular with all the girls with his brains and brawn, youth tennis champion 2 years running... yeah not sounding like your average plot... Well this guy spots a lone diary sitting on the grass whilst attending school. Curious, he picks it up to find that it is called a 'Death Note' - a book with the power to kill anyone by merely writing the name of a person and knowing their face as it is written. It can also determine the circumstances in which a person dies - the standard being of a heart attack, but elaborate suicides and symbolic deaths are bound to occur.. However, there are rules to this process... Regardless, Light sees this as his opportunity to rid the world of evil and usher in a new dawn of kindness, in a world where he will be a God... Grand plan.... Anyway, his goal is one fraught with obstacles and soon, his reputation for disposing of wrong doers gets noticed by the police, media and eccentric individuals and is soon dubbed 'Kira'. This alias is both praised and revered - some see him as a man of justice, others a delusional killer.

Ryuk - a tall winged creature with jagged teeth, make up and a gimp like outfit. A 'Shinigami' aka a God of death (whom the diary belongs to). If anyone touches the notebook, they are instantly greeted with the sight of him. Harmless in nature, he tends to offer comic relief, stating that "Humans are interesting!" after hearing Light's ideas. From another world, he came to earth because he was bored - plus he promised to take Light's life when it reaches its climax. He can also offer him a deal that would see Light's life get halved but offer him a far greater power...

L - the eccentric individual I was referring to, he remains pretty much anonymous by name, a real prodigy who has solved some of the worlds most puzzling of cases. This is a tad grating for me as he often puts together illogical theories that just couldn't be comprehended by any means. He meets Light, making an unlikely friendship after an intense tennis match. Massive eyes, a slumped demeanour and about 6 sugars in his coffee, well you get the idea...

Misa Amane - A model who owns a second diary, 'dropped' by another Shinigami, has traded half her life for a most valuable ability - one which Light finds crucial in his plans. A bit of an airhead, she tends to only care about meeting 'Kira' (as she has reasons to worship him) and ends up dating... sorta. More comic relief really. Bit of a stereotypical girl role though.

Pros
It's refreshingly original for one, so it's fairly addictive throughout when it offers up possible twists and turns. The cast are also quite charming despite the death-inspired storyline and it engages your brain every now and then, making you think back to remember everything said and done as well as ponder the future of the anime. I'd take this over any other detective style series - CSI and all those other crummy american shows can suck it.

Cons
From the very beginning I have HATED the intro theme to this show. Like most anime, this song is a terrible unknown Japanese band that has zero sense of timing, rhythm or song writing - thank Shinigami they changed it halfway through to a hilariously loud hardcore-banzai-whats-up-people TUNE. Some of the decisions made by the characters are also questionable (they way they go about hiding details of themselves or attempting not to give away and clues that would reveal an identity - by bluffing or being ballsy enough not to etc). I also felt it was far too long at 37 episodes - I believe it would be better suited to around 25-30 - as there is a major change towards the later episodes that doesn't really deserve as much airtime as the earlier ones. Finally, the ending just pissed me off really. It could have been hugely original and/or gone against the norm. But no, it went with the cliche', in a quick and obvious way, yawn.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20