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REVIEW: The Last Song April 29, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth in "The Last Song"

Love her or hate her, Miley Cyrus looks like she’s here to stay. The teen star who shot to fame in her role as Hannah Montana has finally escaped from the bindings of her blonde alter ego by headlining this ‘serious’ attempt as an actress.

The Last Song is a film that doesn’t ask too much from the viewer. Considering the fact that it’s been conceived in the head of romance novelist Nicholas Sparks, there are certain expectations here. Two people from different ‘sides of the tracks’ will meet, probably one summer, fall in love, hit a few speed bumps along the way, and of course someone will have kicked the bucket by the time the credits roll.

This is fine by me. I accept the Nicholas Sparks tried and tested formula and even enjoy it a little bit sometimes. This could either be a reflection on my own pathetic love life, or perhaps I just enjoy seeing people fall in love and have terrible things happen to them.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth in "The Last Song"The real question being posed by every critic, and indeed viewer, is whether Miley Cyrus can cut the mustard as a quote/unquote ‘serious’ actress. I’m inclined not to go too hard on the girl. Firstly, as I’ve said countless times, I like the girl. Secondly, she’s not actually too bad in Hannah Montana. Of course, the programme is a frothy teenage sitcom, but Miley has achieved fame all over the world not for her amazing acting chops, but for her likeability.

In The Last Song, there’s no question that she has some serious potential. Perhaps it’s not pure acting, and there really is a moping teen inside Miley just dying to get out, but she takes anything thrown at her in the film and plays it to the best of her ability. For her role as child prodigy Ronnie, Miley even learned classical piano. Although I was at times a bit dubious as to whether it was her hands that were actually playing the notes, if it was her, then she gets my praise.

Initially, there’s not much to like about her character Ronnie. She traipses into the island town of Tybee, Savannah, where she has been condemned to live with her father for the summer, wearing some ridiculous semi-emo gittup and giant black boots on a beach full of beautiful blondes and ripped hunks. From the moment Miley steps on the screen, it’s as if we’re being told THIS IS NOT HANNAH MONTANA. She’s edgy now, don’tcha know.

After a predictable run-in with her love-to-be, Will, played by her real life boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, the two fall in love, bonding over…turtle eggs. What could have been a ridiculous plot device (and it is, as Nicholas Sparks unashamedly admits, a plot device) actually becomes something semi-believable and will leave a few tears in the eyes of many.

Miley Cyrus and Greg Kinnear in "The Last Song"As the two fall in love, it becomes clear that all is not well with Ronnie’s father, played by the amiable and funny Greg Kinnear, and things start to get complicated. Unlike the other big Sparks adaptation of the year, Dear John, things actually build to a nice  conclusion that packs an emotional, if somewhat predictable punch.

Any guy who is dragged along with a girlfriend to see this is not going to have many positive things to say about it, but it’s undeniably an agreeable film. You’ll smile when the sea turtle eggs hatch, you’ll laugh at the antics of Ronnie’s father and brother, and you may even shed a tear towards the end.

If you hate yourself for it, that’s your problem, not Miley’s.

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Sue Sylvester, We Love You April 14, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Muzak, Televisual.
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Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you do one thing today, make sure it’s watching the hilarious Jane Lynch as Glee‘s Sue Sylvester doing her best Madonna impression (above) in her shot-for-shot remake of Madonna’s Vogue, which aired last night in the US. Next week’s Madonna-themed episode of Glee airs here next Wednesday on TV3 at 8pm, and will likely include a hefty chunk of this music video. Also featured are Amber Riley and Chris Colfer, Glee‘s Mercedes and Kurt, playing the role of Sue’s backing singers.

My personal highlight has to be Sue’s take on Madonna’s ‘rap’ near the end of the song, inserting her own name and a jibe at her nemesis from the show, Mr. Schuester.

What mood is my stereo in today? April 10, 2010

Posted by Paula in Muzak, Webshite.
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Every time I’ve used the Shuffle setting on my iPod lately, every third song has either been a) awful or b) a track from the Leaving Cert French Oral CD that I stupidly added to my iTunes in sixth year. An iTunes library spring clean will commence shortly but until then, I will be letting Stereomood choose my songs for me.

Stereomood is a free online radio site with hundreds of playlists, categorised by emotions and activities.  The playlist titles range from broad categories like ‘Optimistic’, ‘Sexy’  and ‘Melancholy’, to more specific ones like ‘Traffic Jam’, ‘Dinner With Friends’, ‘Driving Route 66’, ‘Foreplay’, and even ‘Feel Like Crying’. Hopefully you won’t be needing those last two playlists in quick succession, but  you never know.

The playlists are regularly updated (the songs are  taken from a large list of music blogs and tagged by mood), so that today’s ‘It’s Raining’ songs won’t be the same as tomorrow’s. The list of blogs checked is much smaller than on Hype Machine or similar, meaning some songs do crop up on more than one playlist (Sade seems to feature a bit more than is normal), but it’s still a great way of finding something new to listen to.