Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Review: Timbaland Presents: Shock Value II

Timbaland is probably one of the biggest names in music industry right now (no, not that clothing line brand, that's called Timberland), he produced song for Pussycat Dolls, Nelly Furtado, OneRepublic, Justin Timberlake and many many more artists of today. He even has his own album in 2007, called Timbaland Presents Shock Value, now he made a sequel of the original album, called Shock Value II (even album has sequel these days)

For me, the original Shock Value is just okay, but not great. Several songs by some artists work well with Timbaland's distintive music style, but some of them really fall short compared to others. This version of Shock Value also suffered the same consequences, songs like Carryout (Justin Timberlake), Marchin On (OneRepublic) and If We Ever Meet Again (Katy Perry) really works well. But songs of Chad Kroeger (from Nickelback) or Chris Daughtry are really bland when mixed with Timbaland style.

In the end, Timbaland Shock Value II is a very good album, able to create several radio hits. But, there are some songs still poorly execute the style of the artists and feels awkward.

Must hear from album: Carryout (ft. Justin Timberlake), If We Ever Meet Again (ft. Katy Perry), Lose Control (ft. JoJo), We Belong to the Music (ft. Miley Cyrus), Morning After Dark (ft. SoShy and Nelly Furtado), Marchin' On (Remix from OneRepublic's album).

Verdict: 3/5

Monday, 29 March 2010

Recommendation: Ars Technica

So, wanted to buy gadgets or tech stuff and you can't find a tech geek like Chuck? Fear no more, I now recommend you to this new site (I visited frequently), Ars Technica.

Ars Technica is so far the best site for information about technology and computers. The website is unbiased and treated everyone equally, unlike some site that favours their advertisers over their rival.

Before I bought my iPod, PSP and even my PS3, I always refer to this website for information and search all the technical details.

Highly recommend you to visit if you want tech!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Review: How To Train Your Dragon

I saw the trailer of the movie twice, once at The Princess and the Frog and once at Avatar, I instantly said I want to watch it on 3-D because it is cool and it's funny. I know nothing about the release date of the movie until Atles called me on MSN asked whether I wanna watch, I just say hell yeah, let's go!!!

I am genuinely impressed by the movie after I watched it. For the past decade or more, animation genre has been dominated by one company, that is Pixar, who brought us Up, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and many more other great animations that are loved by gazillions of people worldwide. Now, Dreamworks Animation has a gem to put their place as one of them, that is How to Train Your Dragon.

When the movie title started to come it, even the logo itself has a lot of 3-D effects into it. The 3-D effects of the movie is just astonishing (No... No, no... Please don't think of Avatar, Please). With the animation of the action sequence and dragon's models and the 3-D effects. The visual is just a pleasant to watch, as simple as that.

The story is pretty simple really. It's in a world about a war between the Vikings and the Dragon, the lead character Hiccup, is a vikings who wants to be a warrior to fight with the dragons but failed to do so. He is also an intelligent person among the Vikings and the tribes consider him an outsider. I love the way that the story was told, it was like the way Up told the story, explains stuff at the beginning, except this is much more simpler and much more action packed than Up. You can easily follow the characters' developments and the story development itself.

I also see this as a successful attempt of Dreamworks to get over it's identity crisis. For many many years already, Dreamworks target young audiences, just like Pixar do, but their animation suggest that they are targeting for adults, the biggest offender is Shark Tale, which for my book the worst animation ever made. Same goes for Monsters vs. Aliens and Madagascar, while it is hilarious, the jokes and those funny moments are meant for adults. How to Train Your Dragon is simple, will please kids (boys and girls alike) and family will enjoy watching together.

Summary: How to Train Your Dragon is might be the reason why you watch animation at the first place. Short and clear explaination of characters, cute moments and great animation effects... Even I know Pixar got the talent to beat any animation movies, this one will give a tough fight to Toy Story 3.

Verdict: 5/5

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

My Top 5 Video Game Theme Songs

Music has been existed since the dawn of mankind and still existed until today. Nowadays, music is not only found in albums, slide shows, movies, they also been put into video games. With video game budgets soaring high, developer waste no time making better music and theme song for their video games to increase their production value. Here are some of my favourite video game theme songs (if your game is not in the list, is either I don't like it or I haven't played them):

No. 5 Killzone 2
I remember the first time I popped in the disc of this ambitious Sony exclusive, I was greeted by its wonderful main menu soundtrack specially composed for the game itself. It even attracted my sister's attention, who is always busy in the living room play Bejeweled 2, saying to me that she found the music very interesting, she even wonder whether the music is composed by some big name Hollywood composer. With the development cost of the game is $60 million, it remained as one of the finest and most expensive game ever made, not to mention the music itself.

No. 4 GTA IV
Love it or hate it, GTA IV has become a phenomenon (critically, comercially or controversially) worldwide with a total unit of 15 million copies sold and a record of 1.8 million copies sold in United States on its first week of releases. The game also received accolades from all over the world, including Crasher's Life very own Game of the Decade. The game has it's theme called Soviet Connection, to relate to the East European protagonist, Niko Bellic. The theme song it's even in my iPod!!!

No. 3 Crash Team Racing
I considered as one of the best game ever made (it is also being my sisters' favourite game too). Even though the game is simple and made under low budget, the game has very good soundtrack and very perfectly designed game play system that got me hooked for many many months. You ask my sister if you don't believe it... Haha... I can't find the original soundtrack, but I got the song from the intro for you...

No. 2 Command & Conquer Red Alert (series)
In the gaming community, many people agreed with me that this is one of the most memorable game theme song in the gaming history. I have to thank my sister (who was at the university at that time) came back bringing back a copy of Red Alert she bought. After looked at my sister playing the game, I asked whether I can play it and I am hooked to the series ever since. The game theme song, Hell March has been through many revisions for the subsequent sequels, but it's still remains as one of the gaming finest theme song. The song is first played in the first Red Alert where Soviets invades European countries as the real WW II never happened, when the song is played, it was EPIC!!! The video is Hell March 2 from Red Alert 2, the best of all Hell Marches.

No. 1 Battlefield (Series)
Who can deny the epic theme of this series, particularly the first, Battlefield 1942. I think no one actually can. This game was actually being introduced by my cousins and we all love the intro of the game and it's wonderful theme song. It doesn't felt like a game song, it felt like something came out of Steven Spielberg's epic war movies. The theme song are even performed by many renowned philharmonic orchestras out there. Even there are many war games out there, Battlefield theme song and it's game alike are still the favourites of the gaming community. With the latest installment, Bad Company 2 being one of the biggest seller yet (2.3 million copies in first month), the game is still in everyone's gaming library...

So, that's all for my Top 5 gaming theme songs... Enjoy

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I love Firefox 3.6

Simply put, because they added themes feature!!!
And if you don't really realize my new theme... It's the Death Star from Star Wars... LOL

Friday, 12 March 2010

Do American Got It Right?

Well, the semi-final is over for good, now American Idol moves on to the Top 12... Let's see whether the four contestants eliminated are worth to be kicked:

Katelyn Epperly
A decent contestant yet inconsistant, Katelyn at least showed once she deserved in the Top 12. Yet, she is kicked when placed alongside Paige Miles. When she stood alongside Paige Miles, I said to myself Katelyn is so lucky, she would be going through... I was shocked when she is voted of instead of Paige. Paige Miles, who judges think has a very good voice, consistently lacking behind the whole competition. In singing competition, singing songs that are true to your voice is the key, or change the tune to match your voice, not choose some of your favourite song that you can't relate to. Her rendition of 'Smile' is not on the verge of terrible, it is terrible... Big sympathy for Katelyn, seriously.

Lilly Scott
A very solid front runner but got voted off. It was actually very weird to see her and Katie Stevens standing together, but when they are standing together, I think Katie is going to get through. Katie got advantages because she is a good singer (but haven't got that potential yet), good looks and really young. But why I would pick Lilly Scott instead of her? Because she is much more experience than Katie. Katie for me, she would be like any other 17 years old in the competition, lacking experiences and guts to take on the competition.

Todrick Hall
A overly confident and risky contestant. Todrick changed too much on his first two performances and alienated the audience and his 3rd last performance was unable to save him from elimination.

Alex Lambert

I like his voice, seriously good. Style and voice like James Morrison is very unique in the competition and among all the boys, he deserve to be in the Top 12. Unlike Tim Urban, who has been save by his last performance and his good looks, he could be this year Jason Castro.

Monday, 8 March 2010

GranTurismo 5 Leaked Trailer

This delay and wait is killing me... I've been waiting for the game release this March, but Sony have pushed back the title again and again and again...

In the mean time, I can enjoy this shiny new leaked trailer showing racing at night in GT and new damage modeling... Unbelievable.

Friday, 5 March 2010

American Idol: My Own Top 12

Well, 4 more contestants will leave the show next week and we will have finalist singing together... Here's my top 12 and why:

Michael Lynche
When I first saw him at the audition round, I say 'Dude doesn't look like a singing type'. But he surprise me, his singing is very good. His first week on semi final singing This Love by Maroon 5 is not so good, but good enough to put him trough. This week with James Brown's It's A Man's Man's Man's World (WHAT KIND OF SONG TITLE IS THAT), he is one of the best of the week... So, he's in my list.

Casey James
I always like rocker on the finals, like David Cook and Chris Daughtry. This year is no exception, Casey James is another rocker I want him to be in. After his decent audition impressed the judges (particular the females), he went to Hollywood week singing Colbie Cailliet's Bubbly, which was amazing. He is one of the contestants that can really perform consistent on the show.

Alex Lambert

No, not Adam Lambert and he doesn't have any relationship whatsoever with Adam. The boy might not be good, but his singing is decent enough in the boys group to qualify for the finals

Andrew Garcia

Since his interpretation of Paula Abdul's Straight Up, he is being going downhill, maybe because since that performance is so good, everybody expect him to be even better for the coming performances. But he is still one of the best contestants in the competition.

Aaron Kelly
A young boy who have big stage presence. He is a good singer, but he still unable to control his nerves to perform in front of millions of viewers.

Lee Dewyze
The last man to be in the 6 main male finalist. This man is pretty much under my radar for sometime now, but his performance of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars has caught my eyes. Even Simon Cowell commented it was one of the best performance in the competition. But, he still shaky while on stage.

Crystal Bowersox

A main competitor for the Idol crown started a long long time ago. She has a very strong voice and knows her song selections for her performances. However, she need to change her looks a bit, she still lacking star quality and stage presence, which are important for finals.

Lacey Brown
Finally entered the semis after the failed first attempt previous seasons. She is not as strong as other female contestants, but she deserved to be in the finals.

Katie Stevens
A 17 year-old who has a very strong start at idol with a deserving good auditions, but she seems to be diminished at the Hollywood Week (maybe I didn't see her). During the semi finals, she wowed the audiences and viewers with her strong performances and vocals. I agree with the judges, particularly Ellen and Simon, where she needs to perform songs that are more younger and much more suitable to her age. Strong contender for finals though...

Lilly Scott
She is a great singer, with good vocal and knows how to play her instruments. She usually sings songs that others usually won't pick for their performances, that's really given her the advantages than others already.

Katelyn Epperly

I don't remember her for most of the season, but last week's performance of The Scientist by Coldplay has really put her back into the spotlight. If she continues a strong performances like this, she can be a dark horse.

Siobhan Magnus

I don't remember either but her last two performances are amazing, especially last week's performance, where she sang Aretha Franklin's Think. Her vocals is like, "WOAH!!!"

Monday, 1 March 2010

Lego Imperial March

Found this on YouTube this morning... Featuring cute cute Lego version of Darth Vader conducting his own theme song with his stormtroopers... So Cute!