Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Big N’ Tasty®

05.11.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Manufacturer: McDonald’s
Classification: Hamburger

They should’ve called it Big N’ Sloppy, or even Big N’ Nasty, because that was the case of what I was given in a box over the counter. The “special grill sauce” I was promised had a tendency to drip over my white shirt and messed up a lot of the table.

I didn’t taste as good as the other burgers they have on their menu, either. If you’re hungry, and have selected McDonald’s as your food choice, you’d be better off with the Quarter Pounder. That’s what I’ll pick the next time I drop by.

 

Service/cleanliness: ★★☆☆☆☆ 

Information: ★★★☆☆☆ 

Appetizing: ★★☆☆☆☆ 

Taste: ★★★☆☆☆ 

Price: ★★★★☆☆ 

 

Overall: ★★★☆☆☆ 

Die Hard 2 – Die Harder

03.09.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Action / Thriller
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website for the Die Hard Collection (no longer available)
Additional information: Second part of the “Die Hard” triology. Die Hard (review), Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entry

Bruce Willis is back in the role of John McClane in the sequel to the original Die Hard movie, still around Christmas time, this time one year later, at Dulles airport in Washington D.C. For what reason, no-one knows. The thrill is still there, as well as some of the excitement, but the filmmakers didn’t quite get the chemistry right for this follow-up. What could’ve been a good movie had become a mediocre movie.

John McClane has a bad feeling about a couple of guys at the airport and decides to follow them into the airport’s luggage room to see what they’re up to. It ends up in a gunfight where he kills one of them, and as it turns out, this guy is already dead. Two years ago. And he has the record of a mercenary. Following this, the air traffic control tower loses all control of the airport and all contact with the airplanes coming in. Terrorists have taken over, and a known terrorist is on his way from a small (and fictional) country in the Latin America, originally extradited to the USA. As usual in a movie involving terrorists, their demand is the cliché of liberating another terrorist.

I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as the original movie, and from what I remember about the third movie in the triology, this must be the unnecessary one of them all. The blame can be mainly put on the plot and the script writers. All the actors did a fantastic job, but that doesn’t help the movie much when the people who put together the story behind it all did a lousy job. This was confirmed when I had a look at IMDb’s goofs page for this movie, and there are a lot of technology that has been entirely ignored. There are many redundancy options for air traffic controllers and airports in general to avoid situations such as this, even at the time this movie was made. The only ones who’ll believe the situation presented to us, are the ones who also will believe that the gibberish spoken in even older movies truly is in those foreign languages. And I do mean gibberish, no matter what language we’re talking about.

I would only recommend this movie to die hard fans of the Die Hard movies and Bruce Willis.

As a side note, you’ll notice a few faces that has turned up in later well-known movies and TV series. It makes me think that these actors’ careers really must’ve gotten a boost by this movie. Among the terrorists, you’ll notice Robert Patrick (“Terminator 2” as T-1000, “The X-Files” as Agent John Doggett), Vondie Curtis-Hall (“Chicago Hope” as Dr. Dennis Hancock, “Broken Arrow” as Lt. Col. Sam Rhodes) and John Leguizamo (“Moulin Rouge!” as Toulouse Lautrec, “Ice Age” as the voice of Sid). Also recognizable are Dennis Franz (“NYPD Blue” as Andy Sipowicz), Art Evans (“Metro” as Lt. Sam Baffett), John Amos (“The District” as Mayor Ethan Backer) and Fred Dalton Thompson (U.S. Senator for Tennessee 1994-2002).

 

Story interest: ★★★★☆☆ 

Plot development: ★★★★★☆ 

Characters: ★★★★★☆ 

Credibility: ★★★★☆☆ 

Visual effects: ★★★★★☆ 

 

Overall: ★★★★☆☆ 

Die Hard

02.09.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Action / Thriller
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website for the Die Hard Collection (no longer available)
Additional information: First part of the “Die Hard” triology. Die Hard 2 – Die Harder (review), Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entry

This classic from 1988 can still compare to the action movies of today, with Bruce Willis as the unforgettable New York cop John McClane and Alan Rickman as the German terrorist Hans Gruber. Although the German “stereotype” shines through a tad too much, Rickman manages to tone down the aric, violent-prone tough guy image Hollywood has made the majority of the German population. For which I’m eternally grateful. We have enough stereotypes as it is.

We start off with John McClane coming to Los Angeles to visit his wife and kids for Christmas. His wife works in the skyskraper office building of Nakatomi Corporation, a Japanese firm that works with God-knows-what (we’re never told). All employees are present because of a Christmas party held in the 30th floor. Enter Hans Gruber and his gang, who kill the guards, locks down the building and takes everyone at the Christmas party hostage. McClane, however, isn’t caught because he was in his wife’s office at the time the first shots were fired, and manages to escape to an empty part of the building. The police is unaware of the situation, and this is where McClane has to fight back on his own.

It’s amazing to see that a movie this “old” is still able to stand up to movies in the same genre of today. Both cinematic quality and special effects are good. It’s quite a start of this triology (which is about to become a quadrupology, just like the Alien “triology”).

The copy I had in my hands for review was a “Special Edition” DVD. Despite the fact that it included deleted scenes, I chose to watch it without them because I hadn’t seen the movie for quite a while. I took a closer look on the second disc afterwards, and was a bit disappointed when there was very little behind-the-scenes footage and a huge amount of deleted/alternate scenes and footage. No documentaries, just the unused footage. It sure is a good thing that ever since DVD was introduced, the studios have been making sure there’s a behind-the-scenes documentary of some kind for most movies made (at least with a certain budget). To put it short, I was disappointed with the lack of a documentary with this release.

All in all, a movie worth keeping in your DVD collection, and a must if you like action movies.

 

Story interest: ★★★★★☆ 

Plot development: ★★★★★★ 

Characters: ★★★★★★ 

Credibility: ★★★★★☆ 

Visual effects: ★★★★★☆ 

 

Overall: ★★★★★☆ 

Air: 10,000Hz Legend

26.08.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Record company: Astralwerks / Source
Genre: Experimental / Electronic Pop
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website, VH1.com : Air : news and more information

This album starts off real nice and slow, and changes the pace in a good rhythm as it progresses through the entire album. All in all, a good album to sit down and listen to if you have an hour for yourself, or just want to relax (but not too much). I actually listened to this album when I had been going with about 3 hours of sleep over a period of 24 hours. Even though it’s mainly slow-paced, it really kept me awake with soothing electronic rhythms.

You’re better off listening to this CD in one sitting, but the songs are also good on their own. It’s so well put together that you get a good music experience from listening to the album from beginning to end, or even a single song for the times when you have less time to yourself.

This is more the type of music you’d want to put headphones on, crank up the volume and sit back and enjoy. You don’t really want to share, you just want the experience to yourself, if you know what I mean.

Air is a band from France, and you can clearly hear their French accents piercing through the spoken and sung words is a wonderful and strangely poetic way. The computer speech engine style heard on “How Does This Make You Feel?” is also fitting. I don’t know if they actually ran those words through a speech engine (such as Microsoft Speech), or if they ran their own voices through a whole lot of filters to make it sound that way. In any case, it’s amazing what spoken words in that way can do to the poetry of a song.

Truly an album worth having in your CD collection.

 

Sound quality: ★★★★★★ 

Genre conformity: ★★★☆☆☆ 

Playability: ★★★★★☆ 

Engaging: ★★★★★☆ 

Availability: ★★★★★★ 

 

Overall: ★★★★★☆ 

 

Freddy vs. Jason

26.08.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Guest reviewer HeavyJay from Deep 13 – The Web Comic. (Contact information and links no longer available.)

Distributor: New Line Cinema
Genre: Horror
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website
Additional information: Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entry

As a horror fan, I found myself believing that Freddy vs. Jason would be a huge disappointment. The long-awaited film, which had been in planning for ten years, couldn’t possibly live up to the name of its predecessors. Most horror films made past 1995 have proven to be excruciating to watch, filled with annoying characters and thin plots. After the pure torture of Jason X, I was almost frightened to go see this newest installment. This wasn’t necessary, as I soon found out.

The picture opens with a rare glimpse at Robert Englund without make-up, giving a history of Freddy Krueger’s crimes, and eventually his afterlife. He explains that he’s been forgotten by the people of Springwood, thus rendering him out of the picture. In Hell, he found someone to do the killing for him, to bring back the fear that enabled his return: Jason. Cut to opening credits, and then a classic Voorhees murder at Crystal Lake. A minute and a half into the film, and already a pair of breasts on the screen.

From there, Jason kills enough to bring Freddy back to full power… but he’s tasted murder again, and he likes it. When Jason starts stealing his kills, Freddy’s pissed and everyone knows it. Lots of slaughter ensues on both ends.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie takes place in a corn field. The high school kids of Springwood hold a rave in a giant field, out of which Jason eventually emerges. Two stoned teens set him ablaze with a torch, only angering him. He walks through the rows, burning a nice trail, and into the main party circle in which he slices every teenager who didn’t get away quick enough. As one smashed party-goer put it, “That goalie’s pissed about something…”

The final battle, roughly twenty-five minutes long, is worth the price of the movie ticket alone. It’s filled with action, laughs, gore, and girls and almost makes you excuse the ten-year wait.

In the end, Freddy vs Jason measures up. It’s got everything you could want in a horror and a little bit more. Go give it a look-see; any horror fan will like it.

 

Story interest: ★★★★★☆ 

Plot development: ★★★★★☆ 

Characters: ★★★★☆☆ 

Credibility: ★★★★★☆ 

Visual effects: ★★★★★★ 

 

Overall: ★★★★★☆ 

Depeche Mode: Violator

12.08.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Guest reviewer HeavyJay from Deep 13 – The Web Comic. (Contact information and links no longer available.)

Record company: Mute / Warner Brothers
Genre: Techno-Pop
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website

The 80’s brought us some wonderful things. The Rubix Cube, MTV, and the Safety Dance, just to name a few. Most signifigantly out of all of these, however, is Depeche Mode, a glorious British techno group. Their 1990 album, Violator, is not only a great LP, but a relaxation method as well.

With songs like “Sweetest Perfection” and “Policy of Truth”, it’s no wonder Violator soon became a hit. Considered by many to be their best album, Violator tickles the fancy of many a listener. The melodic beats and soothing words please the very soul.

Track Listing:

1) World in My Eyes
2) Sweetest Perfection
3) Personal Jesus
4) Halo
5) Waiting for the Night
6) Enjoy the Silence
7) Policy of Truth
8) Blue Dress
9) Clean

Advised to buy the album buy my dear friend meatie (ErrorFM), I skeptically took a chance and came out on top.

 

Sound quality: ★★★★★★ 

Genre conformity: ★★★☆☆☆ 

Playability: ★★★★★★ 

Engaging: ★★★★☆☆ 

Availability: ★★★★★☆ 

 

Overall: ★★★★★☆ 

 

Stride: Let It Go

12.08.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Record company: Unsigned
Genre: Alternative Pop

A relaxing alternative pop tune I expect to see soon on any chart. I couldn’t call it rock, or even pop (and there’s a lot of music that falls into that genre). I’d call it alternative pop, or something on the half-way to pop. Another one of those songs you like, but you can’t really put a genre to it.

With good and meaningful lyrics, paired with a good sound production, good balance of instruments and all in all, a great arrangment, it’s also a tune I expect to be a part of the soundtrack of any major teen movie in the very near future. It has great potential for popularity, even if the band was unsigned at the time (actually, I have a feeling that will happen at any moment).

Based in Dallas, Texas, Stride consists of Shane Hebert (drums, piano, guitar, vocals), Chad Whitestevens (lead vocals), Mike Cockerham (bass), Tyler Sehnert (lead/rhythm guitar) and Blake Helpert (lead/rhythm guitar). This song in particular was written by Shane Hebert.

Personally, I now look forward to hearing this band’s debut CD.

 

Sound quality: ★★★★★★ 

Genre conformity: ★★★★★☆ 

Playability: ★★★★★☆ 

Engaging: ★★★★★☆ 

Availability: ★★★★☆☆ 

 

Overall: ★★★★★☆ 

Jennifer Goverment

16.06.2003 00:00

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Author: Max Barry
Genre: Fiction/Action/Futuristic
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website, NationStates

We’re off to an exciting action adventure, seeing the story from all sides. The government agent, the innocent bystander, the evil contractor, the poor guy that got in the way, and that poor guy’s girlfriend. Even though there are a few characters to relate to, and you’re introduced and will be a part of each character’s stand in the “game”.

  Hack first heard about Jennifer Government at the water cooler. He was only there because the one on his floor was out; Legal was going to come down on Nature’s Springs like a ton of shit, you could bet on that. Hack was a Merchandise Distribution Officer. This meant when Nike made up a bunch of posters, or caps, or beach towels, Hack had to send them to the right place. Also, if someone called up complaining about missing posters, or caps, or beach towels, Hack had to take the call. It wasn’t as exciting as it used to be.

This is how it all begins. Hack has been hoping for a little more cash, and one of the guys at the water cooler is about to give him an offer he can’t refuse. We’re in a futuristic world where marketing and commercialism is the drive of the American society. And in this society, people show their loyalty by taking their employer’s company name as their last name. The United States of America now includes the Australian territory, and murder is still illegal. Someone at Nike wants Hack to kill a random customer over one of their shoe brands to market the exclusiveness of the shoe. He doesn’t want to do it, but he needs the money the job will pay. He outsources the job to someone else, the job is done, and now the government is on the case. More specifically, Jennifer Government, the most feared government agent of them all.

The view is changed between chapters, and I sometimes had to go back a page or two to catch all of the story, but I truly enjoyed this book. Every step of the way, I could imagine exactly how a movie based on this book would look like, and it looked good. It was much more action than I expected, including a little required romance (I won’t say who), but not enough futurism as I hoped for; the technology appeared to be much like what it is today, the major changes were mostly in the ways people think. Once I managed to keep up with the story, the subject interested me more and more. What if the existing society is in great danger? How will our children think? Will big-time companies have such a great say in how the society is run? Even though Max Barry had me convinced about one of the ways our world might turn out, I surely hope this will not be the way we’ll live our lives in the future.

I just hope George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s production company, Section Eight Films, don’t screw too much up with the experience in the upcoming movie based on the book. (Yes, they bought the movie rights.)

Thank you, Max Barry.

 

Genre conformity: ★★★★☆☆ 

Subject interest: ★★★★★☆ 

Readability: ★★★★★☆ 

Visualization: ★★★★★★ 

Credibility: ★★★★★☆ 

 

Overall: ★★★★★☆