Clapping demons, seriously?

the conjuringPerhaps the meme says it all.

The thing is, I didn’t find The Conjuring as scary as friends and netizens have led me to believe.

Granted, the stage was set for horror when I watched this latest James Wan screamer on my netbook. It was a rainy Sunday night, the wind was howling outside, rattling the windows and making the house creak and groan as if in pain. Still, poof! I didn’t have trouble sleeping or going to the bathroom alone afterward.

My friend Lot pointed out that maybe I’d have a different opinion if I saw the film on a big screen complete with Dolby and all. Arguable, at least. I saw the Woman in Black on my netbook last year, on a fair-weather night, I must say, and that shit still freaked me out.

The Conjuring is not a bad movie per se. It has its moments. Wan is good at building up suspense even if he tends to overdo it sometimes. It’s just that, having spent my younger years gorging serial killer biographies, Stephen King, and sick heavy metal, very few things outside of true day-to-day evil shock me anymore.

To conclude, it’s not the movie, it’s me. And thousands of overexcited netizens who think mysterious unseen entities clapping in the dark are freaky.

Drugged

Work Drugs - Tropic of Capricorn coverCopy-pasting this review of Work Drug’s Tropic of Capricorn because I’m too lazy/tired to write my own. Also, because it tells exactly what I feel about the band (one my awesome music finds in 2012), particularly that part about how each track in the album is like “waves lapping the shore” or like the “sun setting over the ocean as you reflect on your day.”

“I live a cram-packed life. With the day job, school at night, writing (The Owl’s my fav, duh!), I’m always on the lookout for tuneage to lower my blood pressure and calm me down after a stress-filled day. I’m not talking about elevator music (Muzak, BLAH!), but something with a tight groove, mellow melodies, and soothing vocals. My newest find, Work Drugs hits the spot and then some.

This duo (sometimes trio) from Philly really knows how to lay the grooves, and their new album, Tropic of Capricorn is evidence of that. The album title alone lends a sense to what the music is geared for as each track feels like waves lapping ashore. Each is different, with natural crescendos that climax to a point where they gently whisk into the next. It’s hard to pin-point tracks in particular, but some of my favs are ‘Rad Racer’, ‘Third Wave’, and ‘Dog Daze’, which sounds like the sun setting over the ocean as you reflect on your day. Exactly what the doctor ordered.”

Ah, yes. Isn’t it nice when the reviewer tells us how the album really affects him/her rather than resorting to verbal masturbation?

The piece was written by Christopher Allen for The Owl Mag. Mentioning it here because unlike that one nasty comedian of a senator, I don’t plagiarize stuff.

The awesome, the okay, the awful

The awesome: Bro movies aren’t really my cup of tea. I couldn’t care less if I haven’t seen a single Vin Diesel or Jason Statham film. I figure there’s only so much entertainment one can get out of exploding cars and armed macho men running around being, well, macho. But that’s the artsy fartsy freak in me talking. After seeing The Losers (2010) last week, I realized the error of my ways. Man, this movie has so much testosterone I think my body developed ovaries watching it. That part where Chris Evans blows away an office to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”? Hollywood can’t get any more bad-ass than that, methinks. An A-Team knockoff, you say? I watched The A-Team after this to compare and thought the only thing it has over The Losers is star power. But fuck that. Truth is, I find The Losers’ simple-mindedness and wham-bam action refreshing. No lessons and messages and all that corny shit.  Just bros having fun blowing things up and shooting bad guys. Hot!

The okay: Here’s another violent whodunit thriller set in paradise. You know the type: backpackers take a road trip to a pretty but isolated place, one or two turn up dead, and then they find out the killer is not the Charles Manson-obsessed weirdo but is actually Taylor Swift. Something like that. (For a hilarious take on this, check out the 2010 splatter comedy Tucker & Dale vs Evil.) The trick for these movies to work is to keep the guessing game going for as long as needed, and then sucker punch the audience with the big reveal. In that sense, A Perfect Getaway (2009) works. But not much. Though it’s pregnant with interesting twists and turns, things took a nosedive once the big secret was revealed, and the surprise became short-lived. Still, it’s refreshing to see Milla Jovovich, as one-half of the couple on an adventure trek here, take a break from chasing post-apocalyptic zombies in those bloody Resident Evil flicks. Also Timothy Olymphant, my favorite onscreen asshole.

The awful: Just Go With It is a romcom movie with a bad com. And my heart bleeds because it stars Adam Sandler, who I like in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates (both with Drew Barrymore, incidentally). Is it me or is he really losing his mojo? I mean, Don’t Mess With the Zohan is mildly funny, Grown Ups is execrable and beyond saving even with the help of Rob Schneider, Chris Rock and Steve Buscemi (can’t believe there’s going to be a sequel!), and this one’s a total lame-o, man. Too bad because Sandler and Jennifer Aniston seem to have a good, unforced chemistry (but then again, Jennifer can have good chemistry with a slug, she’s that cool). Sandler, with all his preoccupation with poops and boobs, is creatively bankrupt here. Having Nick Swardson as his sidekick only makes things worse. Man, that dude has the charm and humor of a dead frog. The only surprising thing here is Nicole Kidman. Why she allowed herself to be dragged into this mess is anybody’s guess.

Eargasm: This lion doesn’t bite

British Lion by Steve Harris. When you pick an album called British Lion by the bassist and primary songwriter of legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden, you expect — and rightfully so — to hear, in whatever amount, that distinct, old-school NWOBH sound. Not exactly Maiden-esque, but perhaps by way of Saxon or Diamond Head or even Motorhead. But when the album sounds like a collection of Journey outtakes when the band was still in need of a decent singer, then you begin to agree with those Christian nutjobs that God hates heavy metal and is doing everything to destroy it.

My one and only — but very major — beef with this album is with the singer. (Okay, I also have an issue with the sound quality, but I got this album through illegal means so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about that.) As a vocalist, Richard Taylor can hardly sing as much as he can mumble. Perhaps he’s an electric performer onstage, but in the album he sounds weak and uninspired — and that weighs the whole thing down. I’m saying tracks like “This is My God” and “Karma Killer” would have been memorable songs if only they were sung by a singer who has more conviction and passion in his voice. Arnel Pineda or that dude from Tyketto could’ve made “The Chosen Ones” and “These are the Hands” sound awesome. And for a song titled “Judas,” it doesn’t have any punch in it. In short, thanks to Taylor, full lift off is not accomplished in any of the cuts despite undeniable potential, and the result is a  British lion that bares more gums than fang. (Verdict: One star)

More reviews to follow, if I can find time to write ’em. Terribly busy these days…