Concert Review – Justified & Stripped Tour

Dallas got one helluva show last nightWell, last night Michelle & I saw quite a show. I have to say Christina Aguilera did not disappoint and I can say without a doubt she’s not a “studio” singer. That girl has got mad vocal skillz. A number of things struck me about Christina’s performance, mainly the fact that she really seemed to be enjoying herself. A lot of pop performers present a certain persona on stage which carries through each tightly choreographed number (Think Janet’s attitude, Britney’s come-hither looks, Madonna’s sassy-bitch style). In-between songs said artist will scream “How are we doing in [insert city name here] tonight?” or something else to personalize the moment, but then the music kicks in and the game face is back on. In contrast, Christina rarely seemed to be “in character”. It reminded me of a scene in Rock Star where Mark Walberg’s character can’t keep from grinning during a band photo shoot. Even during those sultry moments, she offered a quick smile or wink reminding me more of the girl next door type then “X-tina”.

Choreography took a backseat to a strong vocal performance and while she managed to strut her stuff Christina’s dance troupe provided the visuals. Songs from her first album were offered up as remixed medleys and I was impressed by her covers of Etta James. The show closed with an energized version of “Fighter” followed “Beautiful” which Christina kicked off a cappella.

Now some of you are wondering “But Dude, I heard she’s fat now?” I can’t remember her quote from Rolling Stone (and it’s not in the online excerpt), but I don’t think she looked too plump or anything. It’s obvious she’s not the waif she was a few years back, but I’m not really concerned enough to delve into her personal eating habits. I will say kudos to her & Justin for having dancers that actually looked healthy (gotta have some meat on them bones). The female dancers had curves (and I don’t mean aftermarket breasts) while the guys weren’t all washboard abs and chests like Johnny Bravo.

Grade: A+ (Let me say again CHRISTINA CAN SING HER ASS OFF!)

So what about Justin?

Well, other than Punked and maybe a couple clips from some N`Sync video I can’t say I knew anything about him. Sure I’ve heard the hype and read the disses, but I can honestly say I had no expectations going to the show. That being said Justin’s performance, in contrast to Christina’s, was all about the choreography and putting on an energetic show. I can see why there would be Michael Jackson comparisons as the dance grooves were very frontman oriented unlike Madonna’s shows which play like musical theatre. The show was slick and by that I mean the production almost seemed too processed. I’d be more inclined to believe there were some vocal tracks covered by Justin’s backup singers as the sheer intensity of the dance moves would make it hard to commit an even stronger vocal performance. (As a former singer/dancer I have an informed opinion) There were pieces of the show that were very remnant of Britney’s performance on HBO and noticing the similarities in their music that doesn’t surprise me.

It’s clear that the former N`Sync guy has talent, but I’m just not a fan of his voice or vocal style. It’s not his use of falsettos which make him MJ-like, but whenever he sings in his full voice it just doesn’t convince me his weuvos<sp?> have dropped. Now I’m not saying he can’t sing because it’s obvious he can; I’m just saying he doesn’t do it for me.

Moving on the highlight of the evening was when Justin broke into his human beat box shtick. While not the most original it was fun to watch as he stepped on a platform which place him about 100ft above the main floor audience. Add a local Dallas DJ and a great percussive style drummer and you had yourself probably the hippest rave ever.

Grade: B (Justin will be the MJ for a new generation. Let’s hope he doesn’t follow ALL the King of Pop’s footsteps)

Movie Review – Finding Nemo

Dude, I’m the Big Kahuna!I know what you’re thinking, “How can you be reviewing Finding Nemo when The Hulk premiered this weekend?”

Frankly, the filmmakers couldn’t decide if The Hulk should be live action film or a cartoon so I’m not in a rush to check it out.

Finding Nemo was a fun film, if you find whiny, overly-cautious, pessimistic characters played by Albert Brooks funny. It followed that A+B+C formula, but I did enjoy myself. The story follows Marlin (voiced by Brooks) a clown fish who loses his son Nemo to a hobbyist fisherman because he’s over-protective and well kids need room to breath. What follows is Marlin’s quest across the ocean tackling obstacles he would never be inclined to face otherwise. Meanwhile, Nemo finds himself adjusting to being a “tank fish” on display in a dentist’s office. Tension mounts as Nemo learns from an eclectic gang of tropical fish that he’s a gift for the dentist’s niece the infamous “fish killer”.

The film offers many hilarious moments as Marlin battles sharks, jellyfish, scary-indescribable-no-reference-on-the-official-website-fish, rides under-sea currents, whales and generally struggles with his own pessimistic outlook. Nemo has many ”,coming of age” moments with the other tank fish and proves himself quite the hero towards the end of the film.

If you’re a Disney fan and admire the work of Pixar Entertainment then you can’t possibly be disappointed with this movie. The film entertains adults & kids alike and I would definitely recommend it on DVD.

Grade: B+ (For using plot formula and I’m not a fan of Albert Brooks)

Movie Review – Triple Feature

This many people didn’t like the film and where are they now?OK, I put this off, but I’m going to do my best 30 second review of each movie before I go pick up Mich3lle and get out of town for the weekend.

Bruce Almighty
For anyone teetering on the fence with their own personal dogma you just might have a profound spiritual connection with this film. Jim Carrey plays down & out Bruce Nolan who after a string of bad days tells God to piss off. In return God grants him unlimited power and from there the comedy ensues. Amidst the film’s comedic moments I felt relieved to watch somebody else have a crappy day, yelling the same things I would typically yell. Sure the story was predictable and Jennifer Anniston played yet another Jennifer Anniston-like role, but it was campy good fun. Had Jim’s girlfriend been cast as a Mexican I’m sure Mich3lle would have fit the role very well. If you’re an atheist or hate it when movies make assumptions about Heaven or portray God as something not out of the King James edition then this film may not appeal to you.

Grade: A-, will probably buy the DVD.

2 Fast, 2 Furious
Sorry, but you won’t see Devon Aoki or Eva Mendes in the July issue of PlayboyWhatever your opinion was of the first movie the sequel stands on its own. Not because it’s any better or any worse, but seeing the original isn’t a prerequisite to watching the sequel. As action movies go 2F2F follows the same buddy-buddy action formula. While it doesn’t have the chemistry of 48 Hours or Lethal Weapon, it was decent matinee entertainment. The movie drags in a few places, but there’s plenty of eye candy for both sexes. Not as many fight scenes as the first movie, but plenty of car chases. If you’re looking for mindless entertainment MTV style then it’s worth your $5.

Grade: B-, what can I say I dig cars & bikes.

The Italian Job
I’ll take Roland’s word that this doesn’t compare to the original. I have to say Hollywood needs to come up with better marketing. Frankly there are no surprises in this film as the previews give everything away. You know some thieves pull a big heist. You know they get double-crossed. You know an elaborate scheme of vengeance ensues. Whether you like Mark Walberg or not, his performance is not pinnacle to liking this film. Another action picture simply for those that love action pictures. Throw in some witty banter, and this one may be worth a Blockbuster movie rental, but I wouldn’t waste money on the theatre or DVD.Survey says, not as good as the original

Grade: C+

Spurs 96, Lakers 94… whew…

Not this time!“One game after overcoming a 16-point deficit, the Lakers nearly erased a 25-point hole before falling 96-94 when Robert Horry’s 3-pointer with 3 seconds left went in and out Tuesday night.”

Sometimes you dominate the game, sometimes luck is smiling upon you. The Spurs edged passed the Lakers tonight after dominating the first half. (I didn’t know until this evening that the majority of playoff series between the Spurs & Lakers have followed this pattern) You have to give it to Phil Jackson if the Lakers win it’s all in the coaching. His ability to make the most minute adjustments during a game almost got the Lakers a win going back to LA.

Michelle & I will be crossing our fingers & toes in hopes that the Spurs will close out the series on Thursday.

On a personal note, I received a pleasant e-mail from Aidan who happened to click over from Katie’s blog. I have to thank him once more for his compliments about this site and Michelle. Aidan has a remarkable site of his own and I’m humbled to think he liked my design as I’ve barely tapped the limits of Flash & other advanced techniques.

Will you look at the time… Happy Hump Day Everyone!!!

Substitute Blogger

gory picture
Don’t know about you, but a lot of the bloggers I visit are suddenly taking breaks from their computers, their writing or just turning off the Internet due to sheer boredom and disdain. Dawn announced her hiatus and shortly after seems to be experiencing technical difficulties with SQL preventing her immediate return. The Goose chimed in the following day, but left us with a “Countdown Clock” to entrance us much like the flashing “12:00AM” on our VCRs. Then Moxie followed suit by announcing she would be posting less frequently and I actually experienced the first ever “re-run” online yesterday. One of the Mad Pony girls has run off to Paris and Sarah has way too many things going on right now.

In the universe that is the blogosphere it appears I have big shoes to fill. By no means do I have the talent, vocabulary, let alone the editorial skills to pickup where these fine folks left off, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Kevin has an idea why he blogs and perhaps I know why I do, but the question is what draws YOU the reader to these various websites? (More importantly who do I have to sleep with to get more reader comments?)

Pardon me while I ponder what to write next…

Let’s start with this report that cell phones ARE NOT the leading cause of car accidents, in fact they are ranked sixth. I’ve ranted on repeatedly for a couple of years now ever since the idea of a cell phone ban in cars was put on the table. Of course, I don’t expect this bit of information to dissuade the folks that want to regulate my ability to drive.

You know what’s worse than having your credit cards stolen and used without your knowledge? Being arrested again & again because somebody stole your identity. As I am still recovering from a credit card theft that happened months ago, this particular article hit very close to home. There have been a rising number of large scale credit thefts including the 30,000 records stolen last November and most recently the 50,000 records that were recently lifted from the University of Texas. I can attest that reestablishing your credit after fraud is difficult, but from what I read fixing errors in a criminal report sounds almost impossible. Now more than ever people need to be aware of how their personal information is used and why privacy rights ARE a big deal.

Let me close this afternoon’s entry with a recent pet peeve. I’m perfectly willing to pay for online content, but not if said content is going to expire. I am slowly restoring entries from the previous version of this website (back when a blog entry was simply an individual HTML page) and I noticed many of the news story links I used are dead now. I haven’t decided whether to go back through those entries and attach updated links, but the point is I shouldn’t have to.

OK, that’s the best I could muster without an elaborate spell check. If that wasn’t quite the reader workout you expected you can go here for a survey asking why bloggers blog. (Link grabbed from the Rabbit Blog)