Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PSA: A Movie Review Of The Worst Chick Flick In History

Last night was movie night, and I was quite looking forward to it. I had a few good movies on my list, and since I had nothing to do all evening I decided I would try to squeeze in two movies before hitting the bed.

I had already decided that my second movie was going to be the highly rated "Warrior", so I decided to go against my better judgement and watch a popcorn chick flick that had been sitting in my 'Movies' folder for months. Why? I don't mind some simple, cliched comedy once in a while to pass the time. Think of it as salad; I wouldn't go actively looking for it at the buffet, but I wouldn't say no if someone served it to me.

And so I began watching "Something Borrowed"; a rom-com starring Giniffer Goodwin (from "He' Just Not That Into You") and the ever blonde Kate Hudson. I wasn't expecting much, but boy was I in for a surprise.

Yes, between love, friendship and madness

Before I go any further, let me just warn you that I'm going to be laying out all the plot details in this post, so 'spoiler alert: code red' here. Secondly, this isn't really a 'spoiler'; think of it more as me saving you the horror of watching this abysmally awful movie.

Goodwin and Hudson play Rachel and Darcy, two best friends since childhood. Of course, Rachel is the studious, lawyer type while Darcy is a beautiful, partying, fun-loving, always drunk, not very bright-bordering-more-on-mentally-challenged blonde. Of course, she is played by Kate Hudson. Despite their differences they're close (God knows why) and the movie starts with a surprise party thrown by Darcy for Rachel. Blah blah, video of how they've been friends for years, along with their male best friend Ethan played by John Krasinski (of The Office fame). Sarcastic, rude but honest, Ethan is by far the only likable character in this disaster.


At the birthday, we find out that Darcy is about to get married to Dex, a very good looking, almost real-life photoshop guy who happens to be Rachel's law college classmate.

Now that we know all the characters, let me go through the plot really fast. Hold onto your hats.

After the party, drunk Darcy gets taken home, leaving Dex and Rachel to have "one last drink", where Rachel admits to having a crush on Dex in college. Cue flashback scene of awkward college scenes, followed by awkward present day silence. They share a cab home, she apologises, he kisses her, they sleep together to the tune of romantic music in the background. Because this shiz is romantic.

The next morning, there's panic; Dex is running out saying "we'll figure it out" while at the same time making puppy-dog eyes at Rachel trying to signify this "meant something". Cue guilt, cue awkward lies, and then everyone goes to the Hamptons for the weekend. Cue awkward moments, Dex having very vocal sex with his fiance while Rachel listens outside, Darcy trying to set up Rachel with Dex's neanderthalic best friend, and Ethan making wisecracks here and there.

Fast forward to lots of "what do we do, should we do this, what are we doing, what is this?" crap, then comes the 4th of July, and Dex proposes that he stay back in New York under false pretenses so that he can spend time alone with Rachel and "figure things out". Cue soppy romantic weekend together while Darcy is (of course) partying and getting hammered in the Hamptons. Whoops! They bump into Dex's parents by accident, have an awkward brunch with them where the father pulls his confused, cheating son aside and says "Yo, I know what's going down here, you best check yo'self before you wreck yo'self, and dump this broad else I'mma cut your white ass out". Of course, he said this in a very aristocratic accent and vocabulary, because Dex is rolling in the dollars.

Cue awkward confused face. Cue awkward goodbyes.

Months go by, Ethan finds out about the whole affair and is the voice of reason throughout all this madness, trying to convince Rachel to either go for the guy or quit.

Then things pick up! Darcy sleeps over at Rachels (because obviously, she's drunk again), and tells her what a great friend she is. Rachel is neck-deep in guilt. Darcy asks her if she's doing the right thing by marrying Dex. Rachel does the 'noble' thing and says of course she is, before Darcy admits to having cheated on him. INTRIGUE! WHO IS THIS MYSTERY MAN?

And then, the decision scene! Of course they're at a bar, Darcy is dry humping Dex on the floor while Rachel watches on, in anguish. (The lols). Heart-broken, she storms off into the rain. Yes, it's raining, she's walking in the rain. Dex calls after her! She makes a big speech (while standing in the rain) about not doing things to make anyone happy, that she wants to be happy herself! That he shouldn't marry her just because his parents said so and because it'll look bad to end it, but to do what's in his heart! Then she tell him she loves him! In the rain! He smiles!

He says "sorry, I can't do it".

End scene.

By this time the audience is raging against all the characters and wondering where this story is going. The wedding comes around, and Rachel seeks solace in Ethan's company. Ethan, the sole surviving intelligent and likable character in this movie, then commits character-suicide by saying he's secretly in love with Rachel. Rachel awws him and pats him sympathetically on the back. End scene.

Rachel returns home to prepare for the wedding to find Dex on her doorstep, stalker style. He says he's called off the wedding! He wants to be with her! The rain speech actually worked! (Duh)

But wait! Darcy comes knocking on the door, so naturally Dex goes into hiding. Darcy barges in, saying she's glad the wedding is over because she wasn't sure about it. Now, as if the writers hadn't made Darcy's character repulsive enough, Darcy admits to not just cheating on Dex once, but several times over with his best friend. How coincidental! Oh but wait, she's also pregnant!

I shit you not.

And so she's about to leave the apartment, and the audience is left thinking Oh God, is this how it ends, is this the 'happy ever after', until she sees Dex's jacket on the floor. Somehow, despite being drunk, in anguish and, well, an utter idiot up to this point, Darcy pulls off some quick deduction and realises that Rachel has been sleeping with Dex all the time and storms back into the room to confront him. Cue Dex and Darcy accusing each other of being the worse criminal, Darcy telling Rachel she hates her, end scene.

Final scene; it's two months later. Rachel happily walking down the street, bumps into a pregnant Darcy. Tells her she's sorry. Darcy says I'm happy you're happy. Rubs her baby bump, Beyonce style. They part, still not friends but 'happy for each other'. Rachel rounds the corner, jumps into Dex's arms, and they live happily ever after.

Okay, let's just pause to breathe here, while I summarise what this piece of trash is trying to tell us.

  1. The first thing we learn here is that the stereotypes are true; blondes really are dumb, drunk, materialistic, selfish, party animals who pursue men only to validate their looks.
  2. Apparently, sleeping with your best friend's fiance is romantic and, according to the writers, even admirable since after all, it's "true love". Cue violins.
  3. Friendship is not the most important bond; in fact, if friendship gets in the way of what you want, screw that!
  4. Being strung along by the guy of your dreams is acceptable, if only because he's conflicted and confused. Putting up with him having very wild sex with his fiance or dry humping her on the dance floor in front of you (while making sad faces at you) is just his way of showing how conflicted and confused he is.
  5. When you do something so despicably wrong (like sleeping with your best friend's fiance!), just hang on a second before apologising. The chances are, the person you wronged has probably done something worse towards you, and you just didn't know it. Besides, if it feels right, you're probably justified. Oh look! She's pregnant with his best friend; carry on, adulterers.

Seriously Hollywood, what is this garbage that you're trying to sell us? It's amazing just how childishly immature your writers come across as after watching this steaming pile of excrement. First you write a story about someone who does something pretty damn awful, and then somehow spin it so that no one pays for the consequences of their actions, because none of your characters seem to have any morals, and then try to justify it by painting the victim as some villainous, petty and unrealistic character that is somehow still best friends with your lead character! I cannot believe that the writers actually expected the audience to actually root for this adulterous couple, despite what anyone's moral compass (no matter how skewed) would be telling them.

Imdb.com gave this a 5.6, which is probably enough for me to never consider their ratings ever again. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a much more realistic 14%.

Bottom line: I have no issues with rom-coms and their sometimes silly premise. One of my favourite movies is actually a rom-com ("Wedding Crashers"), and I don't believe all movies have to stick to my standards of what is intelligent and entertaining. But marketing movies like this makes me wonder who I should feel more sorry for; the writers, the cast, or the audience that helped it rake in $39 million and actually make a profit of over $4 million.

Note: Apparently, this movie is based on a book. I feel like this is Twilight all over again..

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Melomanic Sessions: A Brief Recap

So the Melomanic Sessions last Sunday at the Warehouse Project was fun! It was just a little over a couple of weeks back that Asela asked me to perform, so picking out a 3 song set was a bit more stressful than I would have liked. Still, after practising after work for a week, I felt somewhat confident turning up on Sunday.

The Warehouse Project is seriously the perfect location for a stripped down, acoustic show - especially considering that the warehouse itself has sections that are in various stages of being stripped down as well. The large open hall, the warm lighting and echo-filled acoustics are begging for nice, clean and precise music. We started a little late but not nearly as late as the earlier show, and by some luck of the draw I had been pencilled in to open the proceedings.

It was definitely a fun experience! Opening can be a bit of a curse however; I'm sure a majority of the audience completely forgot my performance after hearing the serious talent of our other guests. From original compositions to The Beatles to Live to Adele to The Cranberries, from pianos to guitars to flutes to cellos, there was no shortage of variety. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I say this not just because I was playing! In fact, once the pressure of performing was removed, I was able to sit back and really appreciate some great local talent.

I've yet to upload the videos for my performance but they should be up by the weekend. Unlike past videos, you'll (finally) be able to see me while I sing instead of my animated fingers and torso. Enjoy it while it lasts! Until then though I've attached the Soundcloud recording of the set, I hope you like it!

A couple of pictures from the show; all except the first picture courtesy of T.

Edit: Finally uploaded the videos, so linking them here.



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guess Who's Playing For The Melomanic Sessions This Weekend?

Who knew social networking would actually help me network, socially?

Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, this blog, some Youtube videos and a newspaper article (not to mention shameless plugging by T), I've had the privilege of being asked to play at a couple of occasions of late. I blogged about the fashion show "En Vous" which I played at a few months ago, and my next 'gig' is for the "Melomanic Sessions" happening this Sunday.

(Click here for the promo video.)

The Melomanic Sessions already had one, well, 'session' last November, and it was a great success, with the proceeds going to a worthy cause. This time, instead of charging a fixed entrance fee, you can come listen to some great acoustic music by donating whatever you feel is appropriate, as these funds will go towards the Warehouse Project's "EAT" program and utilized for a payment of appreciation to participating performers of the evening.

Asela and co. are a lot more experienced bunch when it comes to these things, so I'm hoping I don't let the side down! I worked frantically to come up with three songs that I could pull off live without re-edits and re-recording, and I hope it turns out well. Do come if you're free, it'll be at the Warehouse Project, Maradana at 6:30pm this coming Sunday, the 8th of January. The FB event page can be found here if you need more details, as well as a list of the other performers.

Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Conan The Librarian: A Movie Review

It had to happen eventually: after having "Conan The Barbarian (2011)" in my movie folder for almost a month and a half, I knew I would have to sit down and watch it sooner or later. Why did I get it in the first place? Because despite poor reviews, I always like to give movies a chance, especially if I feel the material could be used to make something surprising.

However, "Conan" was not such a movie. When the best scenes are in the first ten minutes of the movie and don't involve the main character, you have a problem on your hands. Jason Momoa plays adult Conan, a barbarian, born on the battlefield. However, despite a lot of blood being spilled and some intriguing ways of killing off people, I found his Conan to be slightly - tame.

Let's compare, shall we?

You see, when I heard that Momoa was playing Conan, I naturally assumed it would be somewhat along the lines of his depiction of Khal Drogo in the show "Game of Thrones". That's him, on the left, and as you can tell, he's a real bad-ass. For real.

Now, with a name like "Conan The Barbarian" it kinda goes without saying that you expect to see a little barbaric activity. The first ten minutes of the movie definitely lived up to those expectations. Without giving too much away, let me just say it shows a young Conan, displaying some very nasty skills. Honestly, that kid was crazy, and totally believable.

Fast forward to the adult Conan, and things just didn't hold up. Jason Momoa, while showing flashes of barbarianism (word?) did not live up to the hype generated in the trailer. While I understand how they wanted to portray Rachel Nichols character Tamara (the love interest/damsel in distress) as being tough as nails, they carried it a bit too far in my opinion. I'm okay with an 'ass-kicking babe', but talking back to one of the fiercest warriors of lore? Yeah, Conan, you got punk'd. Now go wash the dishes.

As for the rest of the movie, it was almost a joke. The movie moves through so many different cities and locations in an attempt (I assume) to portray the vastness of the landscape, but these little 5 second cut scenes with some building or temple in the background and "Mushemillah" or whatever written below were just pointless; all the places looked pretty much the same. In the end I was wondering why they even bothered.

Of course, when you have a Barbarian hero, you need an equally bad-ass villain. Enter Khalar-Zym, a dude who wants to resurrect some ancient evil so that he can a) be king over the whole world and b) bring his dead wife back to life. He is aided by his sorceress daughter, played by a very creepy/sexy (depending on your taste) goth Rose McGowan. Honestly, she was the most convincing of the cast; clearly all those years on "Charmed" paid off.

In the end of course, after establishing that Conan is a bad-ass with a good heart (and a sense of humour, unfortunately), and that Rachel Nichols is a tough but dainty princess, handy with a knife but quick to scream "CONAN!!" in terror, we have the unnecessary R-rated sex scene (yawn), the typical damsel-in-distress situation, followed by Conan to the rescue, then cue end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario, people hanging off ledges about to die, walls collapsing all over the place, skulls falling down from the skies (I kid you not), and the eventual victory of our hero.

In a word, it was awful. Rachel Nichols must be wondering what she's got to do to get a good gig around here; G.I. Joe didn't do her any favours, and now this. Oh she was in "Dumb and Dumberer"? Never mind then.

Best line from the movie: Conan (to Tamara): "You look like a harlot."

Worst line from the movie: Conan: "I live, I love, I slay; I am content." - (pretty cool on paper, right? But just wait till Momoa actually says it in the movie. I've heard more emotion from Stephen Hawkins' voice box.

PS: Just a thought; why does everything have to blow up or collapse after the 'big evil' is defeated? It's always the case, the hero kills the bad guy, and as a result the big elaborate castle/structure/weapon of death just starts collapsing on itself and dying. Here, Conan rides off into the sunset and the skull shaped cave he was fighting in (again, I kid you not) just crumbles in the distance. Why, just.. why?
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