Archive for June, 2010

Announcement: MV Links Are No-More!

Ok, so I’m a little slow on the tech sometimes, give me a break! I can (eventually) do anything with a computer!

What I’m announcing here is that instead of just boring text MV links, I am embedding the MV links directly into reviews, so now you can just watch the MV on here!

I hope you all watch the videos after reading the reviews, that is the fun part ^^

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Lupin- KARA

When this MV came out there was a lot of negative hype around it. Lupin and SNSD’s “Run Devil Run” came out around the same time, and fans of the two girl groups kept saying each group was copying the other. The members of the two groups are actually friends, but their fans have this legendary hatred of one another.

Lyrics: 4/5
I can’t quite follow what is going on in the song, but has this addictive beat. I really like it, but when I actually stop and try to understand the lyrics I’m kind of lost. I’m even watching it while I write this and I still can’t quite understand what is going on… But I still really love the tone and beat.

“As usual it’s mine/ it’s mine/ this is mine/ this is mine/ Go up high (ye ye ye)/ take it all (ye ye ye)/ never back it up, back it up/ never turn it up, turn it up/ Hallo, hallo, hallo hallo hallo/ catch hallo hallo, catch catch hallo hallo”

Dance: 5/5
The dance for this one is mainly in the legs with a lot of bouncing, which fits the faster pace of the song really well. The choreography is kind of simple in parts, but there is nothing wrong with that, in the group parts it looks great.

Story: NA
There isn’t a story clearly conveyed in the lyrics or MV.

Other Interesting Things
I really like the group costumes between the black outfits and the bright white. It works really well. I can kind of understand why fans though the MVs were playing off one another between “Lupin” and “Run Devil Run”, there are several similarities between the black and white costume colors and even the background in the dance shots.

A note to the editor and costume designer: While it may be sexy to put Nicole in a backless shirt, an invisible bra is made of plastic and therefore still reflects the light from your set, making it very not-invisible.

Overall this MV is extremely reminiscent of After School’s “Because of You”, the sets look identical in parts and a lot of the angles are the same, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was shot at the same studio with some of the same staff.

If you keep a sharp eye on the screen, the first shot of the MV and the last shot of the MV are identical.

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Dexter- Series 2

Plot: 5/5

In this season of the hit show Dexter must deal with two major problems: one is coming to terms with his murder of his brother the Ice Truck Killer, the other is a bit more serious: divers have found ALL  of his previous victims, and the FBI’s top Serial Killer Hunter has arrived to hunt down the killer. As evidence begins to point towards someone working at the police station, Dexter must find ways to point the cops in the opposite direction while continuing with his own pastime.

This season is my personal favorite, as it is a complete mind game between Dexter and the FBI hunter sent after him. If any of you have seen the film “Death Note” it is exactly like that. I love the cerebral nature of everything.

Dexter is also trying to get in touch with his kinder side in order to become closer to Rita. He tells her he has a “Dark Secret” and she of course assumes this means he is a crack head, so she forces him into Narcotics Anonymous where he meets Lila Tourney, a crazy British artist. Doakes is getting closer to figuring out who Dexter really is, and begins to harass him beyond measure.

Um.. This isn't what it looks like... I swear... *cough*

Acting: 5/5
This is my favorite season of the show. The story-the acting, everything is perfect. Jaime Murray (Lila) is brilliant as the crazy artist, who will do anything to get Dexter then keep him, even if that means murder. She knows exactly what Dexter is, and loves him for it. I think this season was really the peak of acting in Dexter. That doesn’t mean at all that the quality has gone down, not even slightly, but this is the season where everything clicks perfectly.

There is more sex this season, and it starts to look kind of like a regular Showtime production, but it still has a ways to go before it meets the light-porno status of Showtime’s other products. I completely recommend watching this, I can’t recommend any higher than I am now.

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Dexter- Series 1

I love this show ^^ If you haven’t seen it, I believe that CBS will start showing edited versions of the episodes, at least that was the plan last I heard. If not, it is on showtime and you can catch it on DVD for a pretty good price anywhere.

Plot: 5/5
I love shows that take more unusual angles. As long as it is something I haven’t seen over and over again I tend to like it, and there is a hint of humor, which makes it great ^^

Dexter is a forensic scientist working for the Miami Police department specializing in Blood Spatter analysis. He can tell you where the victims were stabbed, and with what. Oh, and Dexter is also a sociopathic serial killer who preys on other serial killers before they can claim more innocent victims. His rule is that he can’t kill anyone who has not killed another person. He was adopted at a young age from a crime scene and raised by his cop father. When Dexter started revealing his sociopathic tendencies, his father trained him in how not to get caught and how to make sure his victims really were evil.

Dexter is close to his sister Deb, a vice cop who has been working under cover as a hooker. Deb wants to get out of vice by helping on a case involving a mysterious string of bodes found precisely cut into small pieces with absolutely no blood in or around the corpse. Dexter is transfixed by this neat murder, and begins to obsess himself over the killer’s identity. When they realize he is using a refrigerated van to transport the bodies, the man becomes known as the Ice Truck Killer.

As the bodies continue to pile up (both from Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer), Dexter comes to realize that the Ice Truck Killer is following him, and is calling out to him with the murders. Dexter and Deb must find the Killer, Deb to arrest him, and Dexter to learn who this mysterious man is and why he has taken such an interest in Dexter’s past. All along Dexter must work with the police and his friends in the department- Detective Angel Batista and his arch-enemy Seargent Doakes who knows something is off about the analyst. Also helping Dexter is his friend and co-scientist Masuka, who is perverted and in love with Deb.

L-R: Rita, Angel, Doakes, Dexter, Deb, Dexter's father, and Chief of Detectives Batista

The voice of Dexter’s dead father is always with him, guiding him and giving advice, even when Dexter doesn’t want to hear it.

Acting: 5/5
The cast is brilliant to say the least. Michael C. Hall is brilliant in the leading role. He brings power to each performance, and makes you question your own opinions as to whether what he is doing is really wrong. Deb is played by Michal C. Hall’s real-life wife Jennifer Carpenter. Her fowl-mouthed but well meaning character is perfect and fits perfectly with Dexter. Also in the series is Julie Benz, who plays Rita- Dexter’s girlfriend who is recovering from an abusive marriage with a crack-head sleeze. Her kids are a way to ground Dexter, who absolutely loves them and comes to realize he might just love her (something he thought he was incapable of).

I really love this show. It’s kind of amazing- Showtime produced this show, but there isn’t much sex. There is some nudity, boobs and butts, but not much, the story is more focused on Dexter and his internal struggle. I really like it. The pace is good, and it isn’t just another cop drama, it has an actual back story threaded through the series: the search for the identity of the Ice Truck Killer, and the answer is as shocking as the crimes.

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Toy Story 3

I’m from that generation of people who grew up with this series. Sure, I was 4 when it came out, but I don’t really remember a time before the Toy Story movies. A former relative has been close friends with one of the creators since they were kids, and so we were encouraged to watch the movie and follow the trilogy closely. Now that it’s all over I can only say I was surprised.

Plot: 5/5
Fifteen years, that is how long it has been between the first and last Toy Story movie. But I’m not reviewing the whole series, just Toy Story 3, so I’ll try to keep it focused on that one. So much has changed since the first movie that when Pixar got out the original files for the first movie, they had nothing that could read them, technology has advanced so far since they first came out.

Whatever they managed to do to get it working, the new Toy Story looks identical to the original. The characters haven’t changed at all, and the entire story just feels like the original, as though nothing has changed, you are just forgot to continue the DVD.

In Toy Story 3 Andy is finally grown up and heading off to college. It has been YEARS since he last played with Woody, Buzz, and the gang, and they keep resorting to tricks to try and get him to see them again. When nothing they do seems to be working, everyone looses resolve and hope. Andy must sort through everything in his room, choosing what goes to college, what gets donated, and what gets thrown in the trash. He chooses only Woody to take to college, but the others (who he meant to take into the attic to preserve) accidentally get thrown into the donation bin. Woody tries to save them, and is donated along with them.

The whole group ends up at Sunnydale Child Care, where they are taken from the luxurious “Butterfly Room”, where kids play happily with the toys, to the “Caterpillar Room”, where 4 year-olds batter the toys beyond belief. Woody is desperate to get back to Andy, and the others are desperate just to be loved again.

The movie is about their fight to escape the evil of the Child Care center, and to either get back to Andy or go somewhere they will be treated like toys and not left forgotten.

A warning to you: The ending is sad- I know my mom cried, and a few of my friends have admitted to it too. The ending is nothing short of perfect, and I hope they never make another Toy Story movie again, it would just ruin everything.

Only a few of the Toys have made it through all 3 movies, but Woody, Buzz, Slink, Rex, and the Bank are all back.

Acting: 5/5
I never know how to rate voice acting, but I guess it is good? Everyone sounds the same at least. There are some funny moments in the movie, but they never pause for laughs and keep going. It is a very well-paced and acted film.

I recommend seeing this movie. I grew up with Toy Story and this felt like a good end to a good tale. At first I was disappointed in the ending, but it works. There is a feeling to it that you could never stop the story, that even with the movies gone it will continue. I liked it. It was sad without being tragic, and just ended everything perfectly.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the man running the dump truck in the end- that’s Sid from the first movie (he is wearing the same shirt) ^^

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Princess Mononoke

M~i~y~a~z~a~k~i~

Any of you who know me knows this is my FAVORITE director. Any movie he touches turns to gold! I love his style and animation, Studio Ghibli is my favorite of all.

Plot: 4/5
Overall the plot is kind of confusing, you really have to pay attention to the story. It holds your attention easily, as all Miyazaki films do, but there are parts where you have to mentally back track and say “Wait, what?”. Plus some of the monsters in this movie are just gross, and I would be afraid that they would scare kids.

Here is the DVD description of the film:
Inflicted with a deadly curse, a young warrior named Ashitaka (Ah-she-tah-ka) sets out to the forests of the west in search of the cure that will save his life. Once there, he becomes inextricably entangled in a bitter battle that matches Lady Eboshi (Eh-boh-she) and a proud clan of humans against the forest’s animal gods… who are led by the brave Princess Mononoke (Moh-no-no-kay), a young woman raised by wolves!

That desribes the movie pretty well. There is one thing: You hear the name “Mononoke” once, and it is never actually assigned to the Princess in the woods at all, it is part of a story ABOUT a Princess raised by  tigers. You get that they are talking about her, but for the entire movie she is called San. I don’t think the name of the movie was a good choice, since you don’t hear the name more than once, in passing, early on.

Acting: 5/5
I guess I am rating voice acting here? The vocal cast is brilliant. There are a few big names in the movie (Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton), but you don’t know it is them unless you look up the cast list. The voices aren’t made to stand out too much, they fit in seamlessly with the movie. I really love the voice casting in Miyazaki movies when they are brought to the US, the cast gives it their best, and they are always brilliant.

So my review for this movie is positive. It certainly isn’t to me the most memorable of Miyazaki movies,  but it is still good. Remember my warning though: while almost every Miyazaki movie can be watched by kids, some of the monsters in this are kind of gross, and you see several fight scenes that could scare small kids. In the animated violence you see peoples limbs get chopped off, or heads knocked off by arrows. It is really surprising for a Miyazaki movie to be so dark.

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Artist Profile: F(x)

L-R: Luna, Amber, Sulli, Krystal, Victoria

F(x) is the latest group released by SM Entertainment, home of such groups as Super Junior and SNSD. F(x) is the direct sister group to SHINee. They debuted September 5, 2009 and already have high popularity in Korea and overseas.

F(x) is also considered to be SM Entertainment’s most international band, and they are indeed marketed as an International Girl Group. Members come from China, the United States, and Korea. F(x) was invited to perform at the Cannes Film Festival, they performed english versions of their hit songs Chocolate Love and Chu~<3.

The name F(x) has two meanings. It’s direct meaning promoted by the members is that of the mathematical function, where X has different values based off of the equation it is put in. This is supposed to mean that the X is each member, and the result of their work will all be different. The other meaning, initially promoted by SM Entertainment, is a bit more abstract. F stands for “Flower” and “X” represents the female chromosome, so there F(x) means  Flower Girls (the Korean term for beautiful girls).

F(x) appears with brother group SHINee on many programs, and the two groups are known to be close as they have trained together for much of their careers.

Albums

NuABO [First Mini Album]
F(x) is currently promoting this album
1) NuABO
~~F(x) is currently promoting this song, and it has gained immense popularity. It has the meaning of being a new kind of person, or new blood. The “Nu” is an alternate spelling of the english word “New” and ABO represents the three main blood types.
2) Mr. Boogie
3) Ice Cream
4) ME+U
5) Surprise Party
6) Sorry (Dear Daddy)
~~This song is sung by members Luna and Krystal. It is thought by fans to be a sister song to SNSD’s “Dear Mom”, though that song was released a couple of years ago.

Singles

La Cha Ta
1) La Cha Ta
~~This was F(x) debut song which also gained them immense popularity.

Chu~<3
1) Chu~<3
~~The song title is meant to reflect the sound of kissing. It is a far cuter image from F(x)’s La Cha Ta, which has a stronger beat.

Thrill Love
1) Thrill Love
~~F(x) did not actually promote this song as far as I am aware, and there is no MV for it.

NuABO
1) Nu ABO
~~This song was released as a single the same day the full mini-album was released

PROMOTIONAL SONGS

Chocolate Love (Electro-pop Version)
~~This song was a promotion for the LG Cyon “Chocolate” phone. It is a direct sister song to SNSD’s song of the same name. While SNSD recorded a cuter version, F(x) adapted a more sexy style.

Hard But Easy
~~This is sung by Luna and Krystal and was for the show “Invincible Lee Pyung Kang”

Spread It’s Wings
~~This is performed by Luna and Krystal with Amber. It was for the drama “God of Study”

Lollipop
~~This was a collaboration of F(x) and Chinese group M.I.C. for the LG Cyon phone. It is performed in Chinese.

I Love You, I Love You
~~This is the OST for a drama

Sing/Calling Out
~~Luna gained great popularity for this OST for Cinderella’s Sister

MEMBERS

Song Qian/ Victoria

Song Qian/Victoria
“Mom”
Victoria is the oldest member of F(x) at the age of 23. She also serves as the groups leader. She was scouted from the Beijing Dance Academy, where she caught the eye of a talent scout for SM Entertainment. She was brought to South Korea as a model for SM Entertainment and later trained as a dancer. She has appeared in two SM Entertainment music videos before her debut, being the featured girl in SHINee’s “Noona Is So Pretty (Replay)” and Super Junior M’s debut MV “U”. She has also been in commercials with Lee Jun Ki and Bi(Rain). In F(x) she has the image of being the overly cute leader who is always bright and smiling. She is also known for her amazing flexibility. Members revealed she can fall asleep doing splits and on one show she even bent over with straight legs to touch her toes. The impressive thing about this is that she did not bend over forwards, but backwards to do this. Her nickname within the group is “Mom” due to the large age gap between her and Amber, the next oldest. She is currently a member of the show “We Got Married”, having been partnered with 2PM member Nichkhun.

Amber

Amber
At the age of 18, Amber is the second oldest in F(x). She is also extremely unique in her performance image- having maintained a tom-boy style since debut. Indeed, Amber acts and dresses so boyish that initially many fans though she *was* a boy. Even as a trainee Amber did not favor short skirts or tight shirts, and so SM Entertainment had her keep her tom-boy style through performances. She is the only girl in the Korean entertainment industry to have a complete tom-boy image and style (they do not try to make the clothes tight and revealing, or as I call it “Fake Tomboy). Amber has the image of being playful and shy. Her love of junk food is also well known. Before every performance F(x) shouts “Let’s go!” in Korean. The word for this (Kaja) sounds very similar to the Korean word for “cookie” and F(x) members claim this confused Amber on numerous occasions, as she would often then look for the rumored cookies. She is a member of the “SM Dinosaur Trio”- a group of three artists in SM Entertainment who are close friends and resemble one another (and cartoon dinosaurs) so closely many thought they were related. The other members of the Trio are SHINee’s Jonghyun and Super Junior’s Donghae. Super Junior member Heechul referred to her jokingly on his twitter as “The girl who makes you want to punch her because she looks just like Donghae”. Amber was scouted at an SM Entertainment audition in the United States. She speaks English as well as Chinese, and acts as interpreter for leader Victoria when needed. Amber is also close friends with Super Junior- M member Henry.

Sun Young/ Luna

Sun Young/ Luna
Luna is one of the lead singers and dancers in F(x). She is also one of the groups two Korean members. Luna is from a family who all specialize in music in some way, and so she has always wanted to be a singer. She is the speaker for F(x), always having perfect and proper answers to questions, while being friendly all the while. She is good friends with Super Junior’s Eunhyuk. When his birthday was to go un-celebrated due to Super Junior practicing for their new album, Luna brought him a birthday cake and card. When member Ryeowook’s birthday came around, she also celebrated with Super Junior and the other members of F(x) at a rest stop along the high way. She has the image of taking care of the other members and being one of the funny ones.

Jin Ri/ Sulli

Jin Ri/ Sulli
Sulli is the second Korean member of F(x). She began training at 12 in SM Entertainment, and immediately became close friends with Super Junior’s Heechul. He was avoided by many SM Trainees who thought he would be unfriendly, but he claims Sulli ran up to him immediately and wanted to be friends. The two remain close, with Heechul even appearing at a recording F(x) was doing to support them and tease Sulli on air (he was filming another program with Super Junior in another studio of the building). She also revealed that he made her promise to tell him when someone hit on her, so he could “protect her from them”. This is not a romantic arrangement by any means, Sulli says they are brother and sister and Heechul says the arrangement is his way of apologizing for bullying her when she was younger. Sulli has the image of being the cute and sweet young member. She is known for her “eye smile”, and it has gained her great popularity among male idol stars and actors.

Soo Jung/ Krystal

Soo Jung/ Krystal
Krystal is the second member of F(x) from the United States. She is the maknae of F(x) and is credited with influencing much of the groups early popularity. Her presence in the group built up much pre-debut hype, as she is real-life little sister to the popular SNSD member Jessica. When Jessica was unable to attend F(x)’s debut stage due to schedules she expressed great regret. Her fanclub sent many flowers to Krystal and the other members after debut. Krystal has the image of being playful and mature. Initially fans thought Sulli, not Krystal, was the maknae (youngest) of the group because of her mothering nature. She is close with her sister, and has said she would like to record a song with Jessica in the future.

AWARDS
2009- Rookie of the Month (September) [La Cha Ta] (Cyworld Digital Music Awards)
2009- Newcomer Award (Republic of Korea Cultural Entertainment Awards)
2009- Best Newcomer Award (Korean Entertainment Awards)

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