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Love Angel Music Baby
Author: Who Weeky
Rating: B+
Everyone's so damn confident in the pop world. Their latest album is always the best thing they've ever done. They can't believe the number of great songs that effortlessly pour out of them. They thank God for blessing them with such bountiful talent. So it's refreshing to hear Gwen Stefani concede that she was basically paralysed into inaction at the prospect of recording her first solo album, after a lifetime with No Doubt. In fact, first single "What You Waiting For?" tells us about it. "You got your million-dollar contract and they're all waiting for your hot track," she chirps on a fizzy, bouncy track co-written with Linda Perry and produced by Nellee Hooper. "Tick tock, tick tock," she squeaks in the background, reminding herself she's up against the clock.
It's an appropriate introduction to Love. Angel. Music. Baby (Interscope, 52min), an album of hyper-caffeinated pop that just about leaps out of the CD player, grabs you by the hips and drags you onto the dancefloor. There's an assembly line of producers, but instead of sounding like a series of bad blind dates, they manage to create some fireworks. "Hollaback  Girl" (produced by the Neptunes) features a rattling backbeat and a cheerleader-style vocal; "Cool" (produced by Dallas Austin) is streamlined 1980s new wave; "Rich Girl" (produced by Dr Dre) riffs on "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof and includes a rap from Eve.
Two tracks co-written and produced by OutKast's Andre 3000 are a cheeky song that re-imagines Olivia Newton John and John Travolta as randy and R-rated ("Bubble Pop Electric"), and an inter-racial love duet that re-affirms Andre as the new Prince ("Long Way to Go"). Two hiccips occur, with "The Real Thing," which is just too close to New Order's: Bizarre Love Triangle" for comfort, and "Serious," a sterile number that reminds us how dated a couple of those 1980s Maddonna songs really are. Still, Stefani has come out swinging on LAMB, an album that snaps, crackles and pops.
Author: New Weekly
Rating: 3.5 stars
Cool, the fourth single lifted from Gwen Stefani's hit solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. returns to territory she is somewhat familiar with. It's a more low-key, mid-tempo number that most mirrors her work with No Doubt and also addresses her new-found friendship with former lover, No Doubt band member Tony Kanal. This is a beautiful ballad with more than a slight "Madonna circa '85 vibe". Without all the gadgetry, guest stars and gizmos that have accompanied Stefani's former single releases, we're left with the plaintive voice that won our hearts in the first place.
Rock Steady Live
Author: Andrew Murfett (The Age)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review: No Doubt have proved an endurable pop act eight years on from their commercial breakthrough, and Rock Steady Live documents their most consistent tour to date. After opening with the compelling, genre-hopping showpiece Hella Good, the stage is lit to reveal a more expansive setting than the no-frills production of their previous Australian tour.
The filming and editing of concert films, as a rule, determines the watchability of live DVD's.
Fortunately, No Doubt's producers have made the most of multiple cameras. This is evident in the cuts, shifting comfortably from glossy close-ups to grainy back shots, integrating a multitude of styles. Viewer's can watch proceedings from virtually every angle - the fan's, the band's, the roadies, even the camera crew. The sound quality - musically at least - is excellent, and while the extras hold some interest (the tour of Gwen Stefani's mansion is a neat personal touch), the greatest hits set-list of the show stands out.
Underneath It All
Author: David Franj
Review: No Doubt seem to cater to a lot of different audiences. They get the rock thing just right, with just enough edge to be punky, whilst still appealing to the mainstreamwith the poppiness holding it together. Having said that, every No Doubt album has a couple of reggae tracks and this is the stand out one. It's definately one of the stronger tracks. Personally, this is the only tracks i would actually buy as a single. The video will make sure this single will be well-received by their fans.
Hey Baby
Author: Cosmopolitan
Rating: 5 stars
Review: This is the new pop. It's simple, cute, strong, sassy, and dangerously infectious. It's a slightly skewed move for No Doubt - who were progressing along a very kitschy rock path - but it's a welcome one. There is no doubt (excuse the pun) this one will act as an audio reminder of you 2001/2002 summer.
The Aviator
Author: Me!!
Rating: 2.5 stars
Review: I think the day before this movie was released was better than the day it was released. I knew Gwen would only be in the film for about 2 minutes, but i was still excited about the movie nonetheless. Gwen appears about 20 minutes into the movie, in case you plan on sneaking into it (which i would recommend over paying $10 to fell like shit). The actual film wasn't bad, i just felt it needed a little more (or should i say, SOME) humour in it. Cate Blanchett played the bogan Katherine Hepburn (i may be a little biased though, because i can't stand Cate Blanchett), and there was also Kate Beckinsale who yelled "get that crazy bitch away from me!".
The statement of the movie is still clear though, that Howard Hughes was a man who never stopped dreaming, etc etc, and as Leonardo DiCaprio has said in interviews, he was a man who loved three things: making movies, aeroplanes, and women. While i'm at it, they didn't do a very good job of making him age 20 years in the movie. Oh well.
The ending of the movie pretty much ruined the entire thing - it was the kind of ending that isn't an ending. I won't give it away, but i can say that i left the cinema depressed and in a shit mood. It is still worth seeing for Gwen though, even if they did do her makeup to make her look like a drag queen.
Source: Herald Sun
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review: Martin Scorcese's new film navigates a most unusual flight pattern, buzzing over three exotic destinations without ever seeming to land at any of them. At different points during its near-three-hour journey, the film looks to be heading towards a portrait of the early life of eccentric tycoon Howard Hughes.
Suddenly, Scorcese switches to autopilot for a glide across the early years of Hollywood's fabled golden era. Then the director grabs the controls again, with the ride getting a little bumpy as it passes over the early days of commercial aviation. This is the biopic as doomed joy flight, a bitsy thrill ride that stays in the air long enough for all aboard to enjoy the views, but ultimately runs out of fuel before a decent runway can be finished below.
However, this is not to say that The Aviator either crashes or burns as a motion picture, as the select elements extracted from Hughe's ripping life story are highly entertaining. What's not to like about a guy who produced and directed movies, built a studio and designed and tested planes while trying to keep a lid on a crippling fear of germs?
On first impressions, Leonardo DiCaprio looks a little wet behind the ears to be playing Hughes, but he certainly grows into the role as the film wears on. In fact, this is the first time since the baby-faced pin-up's rise to fame that DiCaprio has truly committed to (and arguably, disappeared inside) a character.
His Hughes remains a wide-eyed dreamer to the end, even after the nightmare of what his life is to become - a mad, sad recluse - has been locked firmly into place. As great a fit as DiCaprio makes in the part - and the same goes for a surprisingly vampy Kate Beckinsale as screen siren Ava Gardner and Jude Law as that dashing rogue Errol Flynn - the leading man's command on out attention is comprehensively blown away by a spectacular turn by Cate Blanchett as legendary actress Katherine Hepburn.
Though Blanchett's dead-on chanelling of Hughes' one-time lover only graces The Aviator for a handful of scenes, this otherwise measured movie comes alive with an infectious, dizzying verve whenever we see her.
There is more magic afoot here than just mere mimicry, enough to leave you wishing there will one day be a Hepburn biopic with Blanchett hectoring, hugging and stomping all over everyone in her path.
Author: The Age
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review: Ever since Wilbur and Orville Wright took flight in the world's first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft at Kittyhawk in 1903, American's have claimed dominion over the skies. Their fixation with air supremacy is much more than an expression of mere technological daring, though. It's in the air where America loves to dream, using money and industrial power to show off it's vision to an awestruck world.
So when Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) declare's in Martin Scorcese's stirring biopic The Aviator that the head rival of airline Pan Am "doesn't own the sky", he's not merely mouthing off about the tactics of a business competitor. He is brazenly defying someone who dared deny his right as a Big American to dream.
If all the propelled Scorcese's lavishly produced, visually vibrant, big-budget portrait of Hughes was a fetish for aircraft design and a desire for power, The Aviator would have been the Alexander of aeroplane pictures. Thankfully, Scorcese gives us alot more than the Charles Foster Kane of the clouds. He keeps focus on Hughes, the dreamer who continually reached out, grabbed the future, and pulled it toward him.
The film is much a gloriously cinematic psychological map of Hughes as it is about impressive aerial sequences and the drama of his personal life. Though Hughes' legendary decline into obsessive, self-imposed isolation in a Las Vegas penthouse is only hinted at, Scorcese charts the beginnings of his mental decent as we watch Hughes alternate between articulate, passionate reveries and bouts of obsessive behaviour regarding his fear of dirt and germs. Much attention is paid to the historic particulars of his biography and Scorcese, working from a screenplay by John Logan, does a superb job of bringing them to life.
Scorcese, who leaves nearly no narrative flab in the three hours, has clearly learnt from his textbook-worthy roster of mistakes in the dull Gangs Of New York. Here he demonstrates that, yes, he is capable of bringing to an epic film in a similar sense of character integrity, psychological force and sheer narrative drive as he has on many of his smaller, by no means lesser, films.
Hughes stands so tall in the iconography of 20th century America it may be difficult for some to accept such a Big American being played by an actor as elfin as Leonardo DiCaprio. He may not have the chameleon-like ability to disappear into roles the way Johnny Depp does yet manages an acceptable Texan accent and a degree gravitas that is sustained well enough to steer you away from the nagging suspicion that this might just be a borderline case of miscasting.
Beyond doubt though, the impressive cast of impressive supporting actors, including Cate Blanchett, as a smart-mouthed Katherine Hepburn, John C Reilly as Hughes' long-suffering accountant, and the redoubtable Alan Alda, as the senator who wants Hughes' juggernaut stopped and who, incidentally, dubbed Hughes' giant seaplane Hercules the "Spruce Goose".
Visually, Scorcese orchestrates his army of digital effects people with a surprisingly deft hand, considering this is technically his first film with a notable amount of special effects. The many aerial sequences involve beautifully conceived camera moves that would have been physically impossible had the film been made in analog, and The Aviator has the most realistic crashing of a light aircraft in a fiction film.
Author: Girlfriend magazine
Rating: 3 stars
Review: Howard Hughes (Leonardo) is the dashing son of an inventor. He is left with a small fortune when his father dies and sets upon Hollywood with grand ideas of becoming a film producer. He turns his modest fortune into millions and has the power to transform and seduce his onscreen startlets too. Award winning!
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