OK…so now I have officially given in to the temptation – I have to write what I feel about the Deathly Hallows! If any of you haven’t read the book – then I suggest you stop right here…there be spoilers ahead!
The last two months have seen two high profile mobile phone launches – one of them over-hyped and the other – to Apple’s peril – quite under-hyped. I am talking about the iPhone and the Ocean from Helio. While the iPhone has started what could be described as media induced mass hysteria – lots of buyers are falling for the “love at first sight” factor that the iPhone comes bundled with. (Obviously Jobs and his designers read Malcom Gladwell’s “blink”) The iPhone is beautiful – there is no doubt about it. Large screen, minimalistic sensibilities. It is the phone that does not look like a phone…and I think that’s where Apple hit bullseye. So crazed masses walked into stores like hypnotized zombies and paid a lot of money to acquire this futuristic object of their dreams – and decided to ignore the following facts:
The second album by the Grammy winning (Best new artist 2005) California quintet – Maroon 5 – debuted #1 on the Billboard charts – hitting platinum in the US in just 3 weeks. It has the highest first week sales in history and it’s first single “Makes me wonder” broke the iTunes store record for sales. Did they deserve all this?
Their catchy blend of 80’s pop (Prince/Police/Talking Heads) meets new age alternative – is instant music to the ears. Frontman Adam Levine is greatly influenced by soul/hip-hop and every song is foot tapping starting from the album opener “If I never see your face again”, going on to the heavily played “Makes me wonder” and the soon to be classic “Wake up call”. The lyrics are all about love and relationships and though less misogynistic than their first multi-platinum “Songs about Jane” album, they do promote a male point of view of the cheating /disgruntled woman.
“Won’t go home without you” is a direct tribute to “Every Breath you take” – with the famous bass hook forming the background. It also is a beautiful love song. “Can’t Stop” is pure dance-floor energy with a chorus reminscent of the The Rolling Stones. Which then brings the best song of the album. “Goodnight Goodnight” is the kind of song that sets Maroon 5 ahead of the pack. Beautiful lyrics, gentle singing, soulful rhythm and a passionate chorus – paint a picture of heartbreak and acceptance. This is Levine accepting that relationships can break – and no one really is at fault.
The album moves on with a couple of excellent ballads “Not Falling Apart” & “Better that we break” and more foot tappers “Kiwi” & “Back at your door”.
It is a great album – which improves with every listening…perfect for long drives when you pop the CD in, tap your fingers on the wheel and think about nothing but the sweet sounds of soulful pop delivered in what is now “Maroon 5” style.
4 stars out of 5.
In India, the 4th installment of Bruce Willis’ career defining movie franchise “Die Hard” was released with the highly original and imaginative title “Die Hard 4”. Just makes good marketing sense I guess – as Live free or Die Hard (the US name) wouldn’t really resonate with the fan club. And in this case the fan club is huge…with me as the Club Secretary. There are a few scenes in cinematic history which burn a lasting image in one’s memory…and for me atleast 5 of those are from Die Hard 1 and 2. Remember the elevator scene in the first one – where he kills the first baddie and sends him down in an elevator with a note “Now I have a gun.” Awesome. And John McLaine’s celebration of the final insane show of guts which kills the main baddie – “Yippie-Ka-Yay M*****F*****!”.
Yes, the baddie in this movie too ends with the above…and if I tell you how – I will be spoiling your fun. And this is what the movie (and the franchise) is all about. Mind-numbing explosions and gut-wrenching action. And the in-destructible and cynical Bruce Willis as unlucky NY cop – John Mclaine. He usually has a sidekick (the venerable Samuel L Jackson doing the honours in Die Hard 3) – and this time around it is a super-hacker-nerd (Justin Long) who inadvertently co-develops a program which was being used to bring all the major systems of America down. The post 9/11 computer terrorism works well – juxtaposing the totally un-Matrix-esque” McLaine trying to figure out what the bad guy was trying to do with all the computer wizardry. This also helps develop the camaraderie between the 50+ war torn veteran and the chip eating Keanu Reaves look alike.
The baddie (Tim Olyphant) is not as menacing as Jeremy Irons in the last installment – but gives enough reason for the Audience to wish for his demise. And the journey to his demise includes McLaine destroying a Helicoptor with a police car, bringing down an entire section of a Freeway and singlehandedly destoying a F-38 fighter jet. Phew.
This is what Summer movies are all about – and as one critic said, “Complaining about its mindless action is like complaining about the sound of the audience chomping popcorn…” Kudos to Willis – who proves that he still has it in him to save the world…