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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Album Review:Alien Youth

Artist:Skillet

Songwriters:John Cooper, Korey Cooper

Genres:Rock, Christian rock

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:I got into a few of Skillet's later albums. So how good is their older stuff?

The aggressive shouting often failed for me. It didn't rile me up or get me pumped or really make me feel anything. What's worse is that there were lyrics that should have emotional, but the delivery killed it. The less aggressive songs I wish I could say were all better, but only a couple of them really are.

Overall, there are a few worthwhile songs, but the album as a whole was disappointing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Movie Review For The Lion King 2:Simba's Pride

Premise:Simba's daughter gets caught in the middle of a growing conflict between prides.

Cast:Neve Campbell as Kiara, Jason Marsden as Kovu, Matthew Broderick as Simba, Suzanne Pleshette as Zira, Andy Dick as Nuka, Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, Moira Kelly as Nala, Nathan Lane as Timon, Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Jennifer Lien as Vitani

Director:Darrell Rooney, Rob LaDuca

MPAA Rating:G

Genres:Animation, musical, romance

Notes:Direct-to-video release. Poster taken from IMDB and belongs to Disney.

Pros:Fair animation. A couple good songs.

Cons:Flat and annoying characters. Mediocre plot. Music isn't that great. Rushed romance. Voice acting.



Simba's a parent now. And his daughter is just like him, much to his worry. Particularly when she catches the attention of Scar's former pride.

This movie ended up being too similar to its predecessor. Several plot aspects, locations, scenes, and songs felt like cheap knock-offs of the better version. The story had potential, but wasted it on annoying characters and too-easily resolved conflicts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

If I Took Over The World...


Source
It's mine, all mine.


If I succeeded at world, then I would probably...

  • ...silence all those dogs in my neighborhood that won't shut up.
  • ...hire someone to give me superpowers like telepathy.

Album Review:Lifesong

Image credit:Official site
Artist:Casting Crowns

Songwriters:Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, Nichole Nordeman, Chad Cates, David Hunt, Bobby Huff

Genres:Worship, Christian rock

General thoughts:A little more spiritual music over here.

I liked only about half the songs here. The other half were either terrible or just average and generic. The good tracks tended to be sad or about pain. How typical of me.

Overall, I'd say give it one listen because there are some good songs here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

TV Review:Stalker

Premise:A task force investigates crimes dealing with stalkers.

Cast:Maggie Q as Beth Davis, Dylan McDermott as Jack Larsen, Victor Rasuk as Ben Caldwell, Mariana Klaveno as Janice Lawrence, Elisabeth Röhm as Amanda Taylor, Erik Stocklin as Perry Whitely

Genres:Crime, drama, thriller

Notes:Poster taken from IMDB.

Pros:Strong main characters. Intense situations. Interesting story arcs.

Cons:Background characters are pretty undeveloped. Some crime show clichés. Unnecessary twists.


By now, there have been several crime shows that have dealt with a specific offense rather than any that comes along (Bones has murder, Law & Order:SVU has rape). Why not a show about stalkers? For the main characters you've got Beth Davis, who has a mysterious past. Then there's Jack Larsen, himself stalking his ex and their son. And said ex just so happens to work in the same place.

Random Holiday Thoughts

It's late November, so I've got a couple of approaching holidays on my mind.


  • If I help cook Thanksgiving dinner, it means I won't have to make awkward small talk with guests.
  • I need to do more Christmas shopping.
  • The house could stand some cleaning before we decorate anything or let people come over.
  • I finally started on that holiday card project I wanted to do. It felt good to break out the craft stuff again.
  • Turns out we can go shopping this Black Friday. Cool.

So what are you thinking about the holidays?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Album Review:Apparitions Of Melody

Image credit:Amazon
Artist:Kids in the Way

Songwriters:Austin Cobb, Eric Carter, David Pelsue, Nathan Ehman, Roland Orzabal, Curt Smith

Genres:Rock, Christian rock

General thoughts:This is another Goodwill find after hearing one song of theirs that I liked. And another old Christian rock album.

The singer's voice is made for shouting and screaming lyrics, which can make it a little strange when things slow down and turn to pleading for help. But once you get used to it, it isn't so bad.

Overall, it's not bad. If you find it for cheap, I'd recommend getting it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Album Review:Innocence & Instinct

Image credit:Official site
Artist:RED

Songwriters:Bernie Herms, Rob Graves, Jason McArthur, Jasen Rauch, Anthony Armstrong, Todd Nielsen, Mike Seminari, Ben Bumley, Nick Rhodes, Warren Cuccurullo, John Taylor, Simon Lebon

Genres:Rock, metal

General thoughts:After a good-but-not-great beginning, RED brings a little more to the table. What have we here? More angst (both general and self-loathing) that tends to be encompassed in hard rock, more relationships (the great and the unhealthy) which are both the rock-y and the more mellow, a little screaming here and there (some good, other bits not that much), plus some vague references to God.

Whether you decide to get the deluxe version or not, I would still say it's a good album.

Introvert Rage

About three quarters of the population is extroverted. Three quarters, people. And where does that leave us introverts? In my case, frustrated with my friends and family.

When it comes to socializing, I prefer to go out for an activity (like Bible study or self-defense class) and slowly get to know the other people there. I can focus on the task at hand, and we can occasionally talk and learn things about each other. That works for me. Overall, I am not the kind of person who can dive right into any social kind of situation.
Image credit:Anders Sandberg's Flickr
I've got to slowly wade my way through the shallow end until I get used to it. And apparently, there's something wrong with that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TV Review:The Walking Dead, Season 1

Photo credit:Amazon
General thoughts:Ah, season 1. When the whole zombie apocalypse thing was brand new. When the Shane/Lori/Rick love triangle grew its roots. When several later annoying characters were tolerable. When others I just didn't like much.

Like much of the rest of the show, it bounces between being hopeful about the future and being pessimistic with all the death and the loss of the world we had before. And you will find characters you just wish would shut up.

It's surprisingly short as far as TV seasons go (only 6 episodes), so unless you watch it only once in a great while, you'll get through it pretty fast. If you're buying it, you may want to get it in a bundle pack with another season.

Overall, if you don't get into the show while watching this season, then don't bother with the rest because the tone doesn't change.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Look At Loki

I don't have a Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia post for this week. So instead, I'll show you this thing I wrote about Marvel's movie Loki.

Image credit:Rotten Tomatoes

The time I felt most sorry for him was during Thor. Seriously, watch him during his argument with Odin and tell me you don't want to cheer him up. And from what we're told, his father favored Thor over him (though exactly how much is uncertain. It's possible Loki is exaggerating how much favor Odin showed Thor. During their "discussion" in Avengers, Loki says he remembers Thor throwing him into an abyss. That was not the case.) But also note he let the frost giants into Asgard before he found out he was adopted. That indicates he was already on his way down the dark path. And near the end, was he trying to commit suicide, or did he know he would survive?

Movie Review:Fantastic Four

Premise:A scientist, his best friend, his ex and her brother have adjustments to go through when their space expedition gives them superpowers.

Cast:Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm, Jessica Alba as Susan Storm, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, Julian McMahon as Victor von Doom, Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters, Hamish Linklater as Leonard, Laurie Holden as Debbie

Director:Tim Story

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sequences of intense action, and some suggestive content

Genres:Sci-fi/fantasy, action

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to 20th Century Fox.

Pros:Banter between friends. A few funny moments.

Cons:Flat characters. Underwhelming villain. Mediocre acting. The romantic subplot. Nonsensical "science".


You know the drill. Science experiment gone wrong results in people getting powers. Conflict arises when they can't figure things out.

If that sounds uninteresting, it's because so is the movie. First off, the characters have little depth. They get one or two defining traits and it's left at that. You have given me no reason to truly care about these people. The acting doesn't help much either.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Album Review:Devotion

Image credit:Official site
Artist:Anberlin

Songwriters:Anberlin, Aaron Sprinkle, JT Daly

Genres:Rock, alternative

General thoughts:This is a bundle pack. Buy it and you get a special edition of an earlier album, plus a live album.

I found out later that there's a deluxe edition that comes with remixes from Vital and a live DVD. Had I known before, I might have gotten that. Just the live album by itself isn't great. But then, I'm not big on live albums in general. It adds a few bonus tracks to Vital, and I would say they're worth it. If nothing else, buy it for them.

Overall, it's a lot of music for a decent price. If you've been eyeing this band for a while, get this.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Album Review:Nu Thang

Image credit:Wikipedia
Artist:dc Talk

Songwriters:Toby McKeehan, Mark Heimermann, Jeff Silvey, Joe Hogue, Jackie Gore, Joel Dobbins, Michael Tait

Genres:Rap/hip hop, gospel

General thoughts:For a band that came out with some great music in its lifetime, dc Talk sure had some pretty bad stuff to start with.

Often, to me, it came off as trying too hard to be cool. That often equals sounding pretty dorky (be it when it was released or in 25 years). It got a little cringeworthy.

On the vocals, I'm not into the rapping much. But I do like Kevin Max's voice. And soundwise, it still sounds like something you'd hear at an 80's themed party (thought it came out in 1990).

Overall, it's a lot like their first album. It's okay, but not anything more than that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TV Review:NCIS

Premise:A team of cops and forensic experts solve crimes involving navy personnel.

Cast:Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs, Michael Weatherly as Anthony "Tony" DiNozzo, Pauley Perrette as Abby Sciuto, David McCallum as Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, Sean Murray as Timothy McGee, Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, Sasha Alexander as Caitlin "Kate" Todd

Genres:Crime, drama

Notes:Image is from IMDB.

Pros:Interesting characters. Good dialogue.

Cons:Heroes do illegal stuff. Sometimes annoying characters.


So what do you expect from a TV about crimes involving navel officers? If you said feisty characters, patriotism, and scandalous/suspicious situations, you'd be right.

If I Had A Dollar...


Image credit:Clipart
If I had a dollar for every time one of these things happened, I'd get rich before long.

  • ...someone made an ironic joke about how loud I am (not).
  • ...my next door neighbors' dog barked.
  • ...I went a day without using Facebook.
  • ...I got irritated at my younger brother.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review:Mockingjay

Premise:Hunger Games victor Katniss Everdeen is pushed to her limit during the revolution where she is used for rebel propaganda.

Author:Suzanne Collins

Genres:Sci-fi, war, action

Notes:The final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Cover taken from the official website and belongs to Scholastic.

Pros:Addresses the characters' post-traumatic stress. Some of the characters like Finnick. The ending.

Cons:The rebellion is hard to sympathize with. The love triangle.


She won the first Hunger Games, and managed to keep her lover alive during it. She escaped the Capitol when they forced her to return to the arena. She is a symbol of hope for everyone sick of this tyranny. But that doesn't mean she's fine.

When a person has been through two events that forced her to kill or die, she's going to be a little messed up. And that's not even getting into everything that happened on the victory tour. Katniss is definitely feeling guilty about all the death and suffering that she directly or indirectly caused. And she's tired of the cruelty of those around her, of being lied to and manipulated by everyone. So there is lots of angst, but it's the kind of angst that needs to be there. So to everyone giving Katniss crap for that, cut her some slack.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

This is for the book and both of its movie adaptions.


Class undismissed.
-Awww.

  • There's another reason Wonka needed a large candy bar to transmit to television. If he makes a commercial for his chocolate that lets you actually take a candy bar, he'll need to make a lot of it to reach audiences.

Class redimissed!
-Changed his mind.


  • Wonka intended the Golden Tickets for children. What would he have done if an adult had gotten one?

Friday, November 07, 2014

Album Review:Vital

Image credit:Official site
Artist:Anberlin

Songwriters:Anberlin, Aaron Sprinkle

Genres:Rock, alternative

General thoughts:I forget, when is the final tour again?

From what I'm told, this is one of Anberlin's most aggressive albums. But even with that in mind, there are a number of more mellow songs here. A lot of them will get stuck in your head. Lyrically, there's a bit of angst, love, and regret.

This entire album, plus some bonus songs, are featured on the release Devotion. I'd suggest just buying that.

Stuff I Can't Live Without

Sorry this took so long.
Writing
Image credit:Clipart
Fiction, non-fiction, personal, doesn't matter. If you forbade me from writing, I'd lose it. This is how I express my crazy emotions.


Alone time
Out of all the things here, this one may be the most vital. Even if I have everything else, if I can't get any time to myself, there will be consequences.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Album Review:Learning To Breathe

Image credit:Christian Music
Artist:Switchfoot

Songwriters:Jonathan and Tim Foreman

Genres:Alternative, rock

General thoughts:And so, Switchfoot returns with commentary on pain, love, and God.

While we've got some pretty cool songs, there are a lot of mediocre tracks here too. Their last two albums had some songs I would refer to as beautiful, but I can't think of anything here I would describe using that word.

Overall, it isn't their best, but it's still worthwhile if you like the band.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

IWSG:Dreadlines


Because Wednesdays are my busiest day and because I'm lazy, I probably won't get around to visiting a lot of other blogs until tomorrow.

Deadlines just keep creeping up on me.

It happened with this very post. It happened with my Bible study lesson. Happened with another post I'm planning for next week. With my Christmas shopping. It will probably keep on happening. And when I think of getting right on it, I get distracted and forget. I've been cursed with my mother's memory. What is my issue? Procrastination? Forgetfulness? Laziness? All of the above?

I just need to get to work already. Focus. Get busy. Push myself to do stuff.

So how's your week going?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Album Review:Mmhmm

Artist:Relient K

Songwriters:Matthew Thiessen

Genres:Christian rock, punk, pop

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:Having put out several albums already, Relient K starts to move away from the more teenage and college-age songs and moves into more serious and mature territory.

Many songs are about fixing or avoiding mistakes and how they've affected relationships (platonic and romantic). Soundwise, most of it is upbeat or hard-hitting, with only a couple of more mellow songs on the album. Though interestingly, some of the harsher tracks end more quietly. It makes it hard not to feel at least a little something when you're listening.

Overall, it's pretty good and worth picking up for fans of Christian rock and the band.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:Despicable Me

Image credit:Martin Lewison's Flickr

The review's here. Also note I haven't seen the sequel.


Curse you, tiny toilet!
-This is something my brother would say.


  • I have doubts that the girls are biological siblings. They probably would have bonded early on and become inseparable.

Movie Review:Despicable Me

Premise:Trying to be the world's most cunning criminal, a would-be villain adopts three little girls to help him in his plot.

Cast:Steve Carell as Gru, Miranda Cosgrove as Margo, Dana Gaier as Edith, Elsie Fisher as Agnes, Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, Jason Segel as Vector, Will Arnett as Mr. Perkins, Kristen Wiig as Miss Hattie, Julie Andrew's as Gru's mom

Directors:Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin

MPAA Rating:PG for rude humor and mild action

Genres:Comedy, animation, fantasy

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Universal.

Pros:It's funny. The main character.

Cons:Over-the-top antagonist. Bad secondary characters. Thin plot. Its portrayal of how adoption works.



Now what's a would-be-supervillain to do when someone pulls off the crime of the century and makes every other villain look pathetic? You top him of course. But expect a few complications along the way.