Alita: Battle Angel Movie Review

More like Bad-tle Angel; the new Robert Rodriguez is a classic case of style over substance as the impressive visuals fail to overshadow an over-ambitious, messy attempt at adapting the source material.

Rosa Salazar stars as the titular Alita, and the supporting cast includes Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali, and for the most part they do the best with the script they have been given; Rosa is great as Alita under all those CG effects on her face (those eyes never get any less distracting) and Mahershala is suitably menacing as the evil Vector.

The plot of Alita is very, very predictable, with Alita being ‘the last of her kind’ and slowly begins to recover her memories after she is awoken from a long sleep. You get the drill. There are some really beautiful scenes and a few touching moments as well as soe gritty action scenes but none of it really gripped me.

Once you get past the visuals, which again it must be said are really spectacular at times, the movie comes across as a bit like a grown up, less funny Spy Kids with a bit of Wall-E and Real Steel thrown in for good measure. Disappointing.

40%

 

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Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next Review

This is Ariana’s second album in under 6 months. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this might mean the quality of the album wouldn’t be up to scratch compared to those she has spent more time on. She’s managed to make 2 albums in such a short space of time; her last was one of the best of 2018, this will probably be on year-end lists this time around.

The singles in the lead-up to this album were all up to her usual standard, with the title track being one of her most commercially successful to date, and it’s not hard to see why.

 

NASA and Bloodine are examples of what Ari does best; Confident, catchy pop tracks with great vocal performances & infectious hooks. ‘Thank U, Next’ has her strongest vocals to date throughout; keeping those breathy tones that make her voice distinctive but proving she has real vocal power. This is a more confident Ariana than we saw on Sweetener, with this being a completely solo effort with 0 features at all; quite apt for an album with self-love as one of its main themes.

‘Ghostin’ is one of the strongest cuts on the album; really showcasing Ariana’s voice with haunting, soft strings and spacious production. ‘Make Up’ is a bit of a forgettable track, and sounds like a left-over from her previous effort.

The album’s closer ‘Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored’ has the difficult task of following big singles ‘7 Rings’ and the title track, and it doesn’t quite fit in with the flow in the tracklisting,& would have been much better suited to the middle of the album if anywhere, it’s a rather generic trap-inspired song that doesn’t amount to much at all; ‘ Thank U, Next’ would have been the perfect closer.

Overall, ‘Thank U, Next’ is a very solid pop album that should ensure Ari’s place at the top of pop for the time being.

80%

The Lego Movie 2 Review

The sequel to the surprisingly good Lego Movie builds (haha) on the original in every way; it’s still charming, funny and beautiful and feels like a proper sequel with a real story to tell rather than a money grab (Looking at you, Ralph.)

In The Lego Movie 2, we are shown a post-apocalyptic version of the city from the first film, now fittingly dubbed ‘Apocalypseburg’, where everything is decidedly not awesome after it was viciously attacked by Duplo creatures from the Sis-tar system.  Batman, alongside Lucy & the gang, is abducted so he can be married to Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (brilliantly voiced by Tiffany Haddish), and it is up to Emmet to save him from the Sis-tar system. Along the way, Emmet meets Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Chris Pratt) who attempts to get Emmet to toughen up his act so he can take down the evil Queen.

The extended voice cast is brilliant again, with the likes of Richard Ayoade, Ralph Fiennes and Jason Momoa popping up throughout, and there are plenty of off-the-wall cameos too.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done it again with the story; the big twist in the plot actually got me, all of the new characters are great and likeable and the way they implement the real world into the narrative really works, and really plays with your emotions. This time the screen is not overloaded with pop-culture references but the ones that are here are genuinely, funny and have more impact.

80%

Venue Talk: Polo on Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I spoke to Leeds based trio Doe about their favourite live venue, which is Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club. They recently released catchy new single ‘On My End’; read why they like the Brudenell so much below!

Why do you like it so much?

Intimate, pretension free atmosphere with the best sound, the best selection of up and coming music and a great selection of beer.  Always has a friendly and engaged crowd, and its universally considered one of the best venues in the country. 

Have you ever played there?

Yes, we’ve played there a few times, always a treat. Leeds is our home town and we’ve had the chance to support some incredible bands there, plus host a few of our own shows. There is a new, second room there now too, which sounds just about as good. Although you can’t beat the Brudenell main room…
Who else have you seen there?
We have seen a great selection of bands there, a few of our favourites being Porches, Japanese Breakfast, Mitski and Big Thief.
 

Facts About The Brudenell:

  • The Social club was established December 8th, 1913
  • Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, The Cribs, Four Tet and The Fall have all played at the Social Club.
  • It is a community ‘non profitmaking’ venue, that holds charitable status.
  • Photography, Film and even Origami groups meet up at the Brudenell.

The Social Club have upcoming shows from Andy Burrows, Queen Zee, Doe, She Drew The Gun and The Orielles. Visit http://www.brudenellsocialclub.co.uk/whats-on to see all of their upcoming events!

Nina Nesbitt – The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change Review

This is Nina’s second album, and it’s been a long time in the making. With a myriad of record label troubles and other issues plaguing her path so far, it must take someone tough to come through and eventually put out an album, especially one like this.

‘The Sun Will Come Up..’ is a focused, brilliantly produced pop album with Nina’s crisp, controlled voice and new found confidence cutting through each and every song.

‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing’ is an honest, open point on the album that shows off Nina’s Voice with minimalist production and a soft piano backing, and the title track which closes the album is another example of great storytelling by Nina.

The run of tracks from ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ through to ‘Somebody Special’ show the quality of the songwriting on show here; most of the tracks here feel like they could be singles but the album still flows very well as a whole.

A great album that shows real promise for the future from Nina.

85%

New Release Roundup – 1st Feb 2019

Jaws – Do You Remember?: On this new single, Connor and co. have really stepped up the production value to a much grander, epic scale and it pays off massively, with the quality of the songwriting still being there; this sounds like Jaws on the scale of a band like Foals or Doves, and it bloody works. 92%

Billie Eilish – Bury a Friend: The beat on this song reminds me of a very, very low-key version of Kanye’s Black Skinhead. Pair this with some matching low-key spoken/sung verses by Billie and this makes for an interesting track, and it shows that Billie still has more variety up her sleeve. 85%

Wev – Find Yourself: A great piece of growing, developing dance music here from Wev; ‘Find Yourself’ has rings of early Disclosure and Jax Jones, but also it’s own, clear personality. 80%

Haiku Hands – Dare You Not To Dance: This new Haiku Hands track sounds like Warpaint, M.I.A. and Kero Kero Bonito all at the same time, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Slaps. 90%

Interpol – Fine Mess: I’m not sure what Paul Banks and the other two were going for here, but the production on the vocals is just TOO fuzzy and glitchy, making it a jarring, annoying listen, and underneath this is an underwhelming Interpol track. 20%

The Chemical Brothers – Got To Keep On: Can they make a bad track ever?? Standard Chem Bros stuff, but again it seems as fresh and relevant as ever. How do they do it? 90%

Circa Waves – Me, Myself and Hollywood: A lot more understated than their previous releases, this new single is my favourite they have ever released. Catchy, with great lyrics and a really controlled, focused performance. 80%

Sports Team -M5: The new Sports Team single ‘M5’ is Advert-Ready in the best possible way. Insanely catchy ‘ooh-oohs’ throughout the tracks and an incredibly powerful, blasting chorus make this one of the most exciting new singles I’ve heard from anyone in a long time. Sick. 95%

Ady Suleiman – Strange Roses: A really pretty ballad from Ady here, with ‘Strange Roses’ showcasing his really smooth, focused and controlled vocals that really make this track just.. lovely. 80%

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie: Sounding like a mix between Bowie’s ‘Jean Genie’ and Daft Punk, this new King Gizzard track is a lot of fun, and very catchy, and of course with it being King Gizzard it’s well over the 6 minute mark in length. 75%

 

Green Book – Movie Review

Green Book is a movie about master pianist Don Shirley and how he negotiated a tour of the deep south of the U.S.A in 1962. Don is played by Mahershala Ali, and his newly recruited driver/road manager Viggo Mortensen. The two of them are simply brilliant on-screen together.

Green Book is nominated for several Oscars, and it’s clear to see why. It manages to be funny, charming and tackle the issue of segregation in the deep south without the movie ever becoming too preachy or patronising to the viewer. The titular Green Book is

Both Viggo and Mahershala shine in their respective roles and are fully believable as their characters. The surrounding cast are also brilliant, with none of the characters seeming one-dimensional or shoehorned in; you can believe everybody shown has their own story.

Throughout the film, you witness Tony Lip’s character development while seeing Dr Shirley slowly warm up to his ways, and this slow-burn friendship is genuinely heartwarming, and seeing the chemistry between the two characters grow is the real heart of Green Book.

A truly great movie.

95%