While flicking through the Netflix catalogue for the past few months I’ve always had a little look at Sin Nombre and thought, should definitely watch that at some point, but not right now. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the reason for wanting to watch it was because the cover looked pretty similar to City of God, the themes too. But maybe that goes some way to explaining why Sin Nombre hasn’t been made as much of a big deal out of, because it’s so similar to one of the greatest films of all time. But that’s an unfair judgement because Sin has an entire story to tell of it’s own.
Focussing on two sets of people from Mexico, one a father with his brother and daughter trying to break into America and start a new, better life in New Jersey, the other two brothers who are part of a brutal street gang. The paths of these lives meet somewhere in the middle and some sparks fly. The story itself is perhaps not a whole world away from the aforementioned City of God but it’s in it’s characters that Sin Nombre finds it’s own feet. Each character good or bad we see their human side and feel as though we know what they’re thinking – excluding the vile second-in-command of the gang, El Sol. But we feel for everyone involved and it’s to the writers merit that they are so fleshed out in a running time that only just sneaks over 90 minutes. Said running time, I found, is another strength, it means it’s concise to just the right level, so you’re never bored yet never overloaded.
Furthermore, the split of focus on the two groups of people shows the vast contrast of characters that can be found in these poverty-stricken areas, whereas most other films based on them tend to not look any further than within the gangs. It provides more of insight into the fact that not everyone in these areas has to be in a gang to survive, but at the same time shows how hard it is to live without people watching your back. When it comes down it I end up wishing the film wasn’t quite so similar to City of God because if it wasn’t for that film this film would be so much more of a culturally defining film, but it won’t ever get what it deserved, unfortunately. Still, go watch it.
If you’re reading this post wanting to find something about getting married in a castle that means you have fallen into my deadly trap of title trickery, what the title actually refers to is my three posts from this week, as always. First of all was my review of the new Brit rom-com The Wedding Video, for a sum-up of the experience head over to the film reviews section and please comment and let me know your opinions too. Secondly we have my third game review, as promised I am building my game section since it seemed pitifully small so here we have my review of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, let me know your views on the new emphasis games have on online multiplayer. And finally due to there not being any big album releases this week head to the band plug section for my personal appraisal of Crystal Castles in the build up to the release of their third studio album. Hope you enjoy.
About a year or so ago I wasn’t enjoying life a whole lot, I’d been working a dull part-time job at Argos for months on end, didn’t feel like I had any real friends and was just waiting for the year to end so I could get out of this shitty town that I’m now residing in during my uni summer holidays. During that dreadful year I needed to find something that would keep me sane, I needed something that would help know that there was something more to me than the majority of people I was associating with at the time who had no ambition or concept of what was going on in the outside world. Crystal Castles became a band that somehow provided me that knowledge that I had something more than them. I could pick up real, genuine emotion from this electronic, distorted-vocal misfit act and I took pride in the fact that I knew none of the dead end personalities that I hung round with would ever understand.
While I fell in love with the band then it wasn’t until just this afternoon that I decided to listen to them again, in anticipation of their forthcoming third album, and it was just today I realised Crystal Castles genuinely are one of the greatest bands around at the moment, and for the first time realised what their music had done for me personally. I know all that’s going to sound like soppy adolescent gabbling to you and that’s why I want to encourage you to take a listen for yourself if you haven’t before or if you previously discarded them as being just too weird, so you can see for yourself if it is just adolescent gabbling or if actually this band are pretty fucking sick.
Their experimentation is spread neatly throughout tried and tested techniques which provides an all round pleasurable experience that has elements of mental partying colliding face first into deeply thoughtful vibes. All this and the ability to write tunes that will stick in your head for a good few days puts them on the map as one of the most uniquely diverse bands around, whilst never really straying from their signature style. Their second album provides a more refined and overall better listen than the first but that’s not to discount the fact that their debut has an air of true greatness about it. The band recently released the first single from their upcoming album on youtube, the track is called ‘Plague’ if you want to check it out and keep your eyes on the blog for a review of the record when it’s released, but definitely give these guys a taste and let me know what you think of them.
I know this game isn’t really new any more but after Max Payne and SSX its the next newest game I have and as promised I’m attempting to build up my game section, with a more respectable catalogue. I’m a relative newcomer to the Marvel vs Capcom series the original 3 being the first I’ve ever played. I wasn’t expecting quite what I got and I decided after not too long that I had to have it for myself, but with the offer of new characters including one of my favourite Marvel characters, Ghost Rider, the lure of the newer Ultimate edition was far too strong to resist.
Before I first played MVC3 my understanding was that it was a rival to the DC Universe/Mortal Kombat games, the same as every other platform fighter around at the moment but what I got was something with a complete style of its own. Here we have the closest thing you’re going to get to Super Smash Bros. on PS3 or XBox. It’s tag team insanity that becomes so addictive you can play it all night and not realise how long you’ve been going. It’s the only game, bar FIFA, that I’ve played on a latest gen console that has a versus mode more addictive than it’s campaign. As I mentioned in my SSX review these days there’s far too much emphasis on online multiplayer, that most titles seem to forget about multiplayer in person. Although it’s basic, playing with a couple of mates round is what makes this game great.
Playing versus online, though, I found is different kettle of fish. I can’t grasp the combo’s, fighters have never really been a strong point of mine but here I can’t seem to grasp any of the skills no matter how much I practice, so I tend to steer clear of multiplayer online. The arcade mode I also find pretty difficult but still provides some good entertainment if you’re a bit lonely. The Ultimate edition comes with the new Heroes and Heralds campaign which basically just adds another aspect to the game and I find is more fun to play through than the standard arcade mode. I must add though that it seems a bit unfair on fans who paid the same price for the original release to then just release the Ultimate edition where everything is better, seems like a shameless cash coup to me. But still this is a great game that reminds me of the days when I used to stay up all night at a sleepover bettering people in smash bros. and what fond memories they are.
So a couple of days ago I went to see Brit rom-com, The Wedding Video. I didn’t really know what to expect but my expectations weren’t particularly high. What ensued was a mildly humorous if somewhat silly wedding comedy.
With an ensemble cast led by Rufus Hound the laughs are consistent, but consistently mediocre. There’s no laugh out loud moments there’s no failed jokes, it just all feels very safe. It teasingly runs up to the edges of anything offensive, obscene or outrageous pokes the line and then runs back safely to the middle ground, making it frustratingly unrealised potential. Robert Webb plays the normal guy getting married but you feel there is so much more comedy we could get from him and we know Webb would be able to deliver but it never materialises, we see a glimpse of what could have been in the films funniest moment during the stag night. Plot-wise it’s all fairly run of the mill stuff although the ending is rather ridiculous there’s no surprises to be found here.
Ultimately the film is not a failure it chugs happily along and it’s hard not to just sit back and enjoy it but in the end you feel cheated with a film that has a fresh idea to add to the over-subscribed wedding comedy genre but unfortunately can never quite find it’s own feet and become a stand out. Very middle-of-the-road.
Good morrow, this week I have managed to add another three reviews to my back catalogue the most exciting of which being that of Bloc Party’s new album, Four that can be found on the album reviews tab. Then due to not having a whole lot to review I turned back to the re-boot of SSX, as I mention in the review I’m gonna be working on building up the games section a bit more in the coming weeks so if that’s what you’re interested in watch this space. And then finally we have Music, Movies, General Life and Such’s first ever rant, I’m sure it will not be the last, in said rant Kirsten Dunst-starring Bring it On gets an almighty slating, so enjoy that and if you’ve got any requests on something you’d like me to review just leave me a comment below.