Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Presents: My Top Artists & Songs of 2015

As many of you already know, I am just as passionate about my music as I am about my movies. To keep track of my music, I use an amazing service called uses an app, called the scrobbler, to not only track the artists, songs, and albums you listen to the most, but it also creates your own social media page with your own radio station! If you have a song on your device that is in the library, when you scrobble it, it gets added to your own radio station. People can then go to your page and listen to the music you listen to! Additionally, they let you know when your artists are playing in your area, when they release new material, and they'll even recommend similar artists you might really like, really is a terrific service that is 100% free! You can check out my page and radio station by clicking the link in the links section.

Todd's Top 30 Songs of 2015:
1) Alice In Chains - Man In The Box
2) Alice In Chains - Again
 3) American Hi-Fi - Happy
4) Black Veil Brides - The Legacy
5) Trapt - Bring It
6) Emphatic - Bounce
7) Stone Temple Pilots - Sex Type Thing
8) Buckcherry - Lit Up
9) Buckcherry - Ridin' 
10) Local H - Deep Cut
11) Velvet Revolver - Slither
12) The Exies - F.S.O.S.
13) Seether - Remedy
14) Seether - Fake It
15) Lit - Beginning
16) Toadies - Possum Kingdom
17) Local H - All The Kids Are Right
18) The Exies - Hey You
19) Papa Roach - Alive (N' Out of Control)
20) Green Day - Hitchin' A Ride
21) Rage Against The Machine - Sleep Now In The Fire
22) Local H - Bound For The Floor
23) Oleander - Lost Cause
24) The Offspring - Spare Me The Details
25) Sum 41 - Fat Lip
26) Green Day - Nice Guys Finish Last
27) Pearl Jam - Spin The Black Circle
28) Everclear - Heroin Girl
29) Puddle of Mudd - Abrasive
30) The Offspring - Bad Habit
Todd's Top 100 Artists of 2015:

TOP 25: 
 1) Local H
 2) The Offspring
3) Green Day
4) Buckcherry
5) Foo Fighters
6) Live
7) Everclear
8) Seether
9) Papa Roach
10) Alice In Chains
11) The Living End
12) Oasis
13) Collective Soul
14) Red Hot Chili Peppers
15) American Hi-Fi
16) Goldfinger
17) The Exies
18) Danko Jones
19) Sum 41
20) Stone Temple Pilots
21) Eve 6
22) Unwritten Law
23) Puddle of Mudd
24) Bad Religion
25) Zebrahead

TOP 50: 
26) Lit 27) MxPx 28) Nickelback 29) Sugarcult 30) Nirvana 31) Marilyn Manson 32) Oleander 33) Pearl Jam 34) Marvelous 3 35) Shinedown 36) Lifehouse 37) AC/DC 38) Hoobastank 39) Bowling For Soup 40) Silverchair
41) Bon Jovi 42) Fuel 43) Rancid 44) Weezer 45) Anti-Flag 46) Goo Goo Dolls 47) Rob Zombie 48) Finger Eleven 49) Less Than Jake 50) Fountains of Wayne

TOP 75: 
51) The Smashing Pumpkins 52) Creed 53) Black Veil Brides 54) Godsmack 55) Thousand Foot Krutch 56) NOFX 57) Josh Todd 58) Bloodhound Gang 59) Rage Against The Machine 60) Fall Out Boy 61) GOB 62) Howard Stern 63) Falling In Reverse 64) Ozzy Osbourne 65) The Pink Spiders 66) Royal Republic 67) Hinder 68) Tom Petty 69) Incubus 70) Helmet 71) Allister 72) Billy Talent 73) Sound of Urchin 74) Saliva 75) My Chemical Romance

 TOP 100:
76) Three Days Grace 77) Nine Days 78) Bush 79) The Subways 80) The Donnas 81) Harvey Danger 82) Trapt 83) Velvet Revolver 84) Emphatic 85) Linkin Park 86) Disturbed 87) Cage9 88) New Politics 89) Sick Puppies 90) Nerf Herder 91) Cage The Elephant 92) Alien Ant Farm 93) Sugar Ray 94) The Bangkok Five 95) Korn 96) Limp Bizkit 97) Matchbox Twenty 98) Our Lady Peace 99) Blink 182 100) Theory of A Deadman

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Force Awakens

Starring: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, & John Boyega
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars


For the first time in thirty-two years, the cast of the original Star Wars has reunited, to tell billions of fans around the world, just what happens next. With the largest weekend opening in the history of film, and the merchandising off the charts, Does the Force Awakens live up to the hype? Yes and no.

The story starts with Leia (Carrie Fisher) still in charge of the resistance, looking for a missing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamil). The only clue to his location is inside a droid, that is discovered by a planetary scavenger and a former storm trooper, who together embark on a journey to return said droid to the resistance.

As far as special effects, make-up, sound effects, costumes, and 3D goes, this is easily the best Star Wars ever. Even if you're a person who has never seen a Star Wars film, you can't help but be impressed by the visual impact of the film. It's was also amazing to see the old cast back together again for another adventure, but even that somewhat failed to meet my expectation.

Maybe my hopes for this film were too high, but as I watched it, I couldn't help but think that I was just watching A New Hope again! The characters may be different, but throughout the film, certain situations are almost exactly the same. I am sensitive to spoilers, but I will give a small example, using just the description of the story.

A New Hope, Princess Leia sends a droid down to a desert planet with a hidden message, where it is discovered by a young worker, who takes it to Obi Wan and then on to the resistance. The Force Awakens, a droid is send down to a desert planet with a hidden message, where is is discovered by a young scavenger, who takes it to Han Solo and then on to the resistance.

Unfortunately the parallels don't end there, as they continue throughout the entire film. In reading other reviews, some people say it was intentional, to honor the original film, but with one of the largest budgets and audiences ever seen in the industry, why not instead go for originality? That's not the only thing that bothered me, as this film takes place thirty years after the original, the empire has fallen and a new villain has arrived, yet everyone still uses the same ships, blasters, and technology? Has this civilization not progressed at all in three decades?

Aside from the similarity to A New Hope, I did enjoy seeing the cast again, and every actor involved in the new story was outstanding in their own right. Star Wars continues to be the pinnacle of success at the box office that all films are measured by, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't tell you, the similarities to the first film are more than just perceived, and in my opinion, they take away a lot from the franchises third trilogy, right from it's very beginning.

Persons Unknown

Starring: Jason Wiles, Daisy Betts, Chadwich Boseman, Lola Glaudini, Tina Holmes, Kate Lang Johnson, Gerald Kyd, Sean O'Bryan, Alan Ruck, Andy Greenfield, & Kandyse McClure

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Persons Unknown is absolutely the worst type of television show there is. I say this, because over the course of 13 episodes, this show went from being one of the most clever and imaginative things I've seen to being complete and utter garbage. If that wasn't bad enough, this mini-series had high hopes, and even though they knew the show was a one shot deal, the producers actually had the nerve to end the whole thing on a cliffhanger, something that really bothers me to no end.

The show begins admirably, with seven strangers from all walks of life, waking up alone, in a brand new, but abandoned hotel. After coming together, they realize they are in a fully functional town, the only problem is, that they're the only ones there. As they explore, they find that they are confined to this town by an impenetrable barrier. At the same time, a reporter looking into the mysterious disappearance of one of the victims, uncovers a cover up, one that could cost him everything.

For the first four episodes, this show was incredible, the kind of show that had you on the edge of your seat, craving as much knowledge as you can find. If the show had continued on this mysterious path, following the strangers attempts at escape and distrust of one another, it would have been phenomenal, but that's not what happens. After the four initial episodes, the show starts to get weird, to the point of being absurd, and those mysterious story lines, became as obvious as the nose on your face.

Jason Wiles stars and will always have my admiration for portraying Bosco on the long running cop drama, Third Watch. Here he plays the un-elected, mysterious leader of the group, who no one is really sure of. Wiles manages to do a terrific job of keeping the audiences attention focused on him, in what is now an obvious attempt to take the focus off the holes in the story. Wiles is joined by Daisey Betts, who out of the entire cast, was really the only person one could relate to and feel an attachment for. Aside from them, the rest of the cast seems to just be props in this sorted game, that just never makes a whole lot of sense.

Persons Unknown started off with a bang and crossed the finish line with a whimper, as the story just completely falls apart and descends into chaos. By the end of the series, I couldn't tell what was going on anymore, nor did I really care all that much. This show had such potential, but as it progressed, it just continually failed to live up to the hype.

For A Good Time, Call...

Starring: Ari Graynor, Lauren Anne Miller, & Justin Long
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

In recent years, the direction of female comedies has taken a turn for the better. It was always believed that a comedy, featuring a mostly female cast, would only work as a buddy comedy. No one ever thought that women would ever be able to successful pull off a raunchy comedy, until Bridesmaids came along and changed all that. For A Good Time, Call... is from the same writers and producers as Bridesmaids and may even be funnier. The story begins with Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) being dumped by her long time fiancee. On her own, Lauren can't afford the upscale apartment she's been living in, and is forced to move in with Katie, a promiscuous, pill popping OCD, who she'd only met once before, at a party, where Katie threw up on her. At first, the hostility is off the charts, but when Lauren loses her dream job, she is forced to help Katie run her business, a phone sex line. This film is not for the faint of heart, as it is very raunchy, to the point of shocking even me, someone who thinks they've seen it all. While this may seem like a great thing, the truth is, as with most single themed comedies, the longer it goes, the less funny it gets. At first, seeing the things these girls were saying and the people they were talking to was hilarious, but after an hour of  this film, it just really wasn't all the funny anymore. Both the female leads are terrific and they are the reason this film works. For A Good Time, Call... is very raunchy and very funny, but it has one centralized theme and doesn't deviate from it much at all. If not for the amazing young ladies who star in it, this film would have got tiresome a lot more quickly then it did. For a good time watch this movie, it's way out there, but some parts are truly hysterical.

Cross (2011)

Starring: Brian Austin Green, Michael Clarke Duncan, & Vinnie Jones
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Allow me to preface this review, by saying that I'm not entirely sure if this movie was supposed to be taken seriously. Nowhere in any online description have I found Cross, listed under comedy, and if that is truly the case, then the filmmakers must think people are all very simple minded. Full of 80s teen hearthrobs, cliche lines, and really awful special effects, I was sure that this was going to be a farce of the Avengers, the only problem is, it never did get funny. Callan Cross (Brian Austin Green) is an ordinary man, who is given superhero powers from an ancient cross he wears around his neck. When the cross is stolen, Callan and his band of aerobatic, kung fu, gadget wearing friends, go to retrieve the cross and discover a much larger conspiracy. Brian Austin Green stars and at one time, he was a great actor, he was good looking too, but that's all changed. Depressed and lazy, Green delivers absolutely some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard, over the course of ninety minutes. He was clearly in it for the paycheck, as Cross is streaming, featured, and complete garbage. I even suspect that the whole 80s teen heartthrob aspect wasn't intentional, but rather the only actors desperate enough for work, that they agreed to be cast in this thing. Don't let looks deceive you, this is no farce, and it is far from being the Avengers, the only thing Cross is, is a complete waste of time.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, & Kieran Culkin
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a film adaptation of one of the most successful teen novels of all time. The story and film have gained an almost cult like following, and I had to see what all the fuse was about. The truth is, that this particular film represents everything that is wrong with our society and youth culture in general. Scott Pilgrim is the kind of guy who likes to label everyone and everything, but worse than that, he rants in circles, using constant innuendos, that only a fourteen year old would understand. The story isn't even that unique or special, as the film moves at lightning speed, which is slightly slower than the speed at which it's star, Michael Cera, delivers his lines. I really felt as though my head was spinning, with a mix of slang and new terminology, that simply didn't make any sense to me. As far as the story goes, it's just another modern love story, featuring a lovable loser in love, which was completely unbelievable. The reason is Michael Cera, who seemingly plays the exact same role in every film. He's this nerdy, uncomfortable guy, trying all these awkward ways to get girls to fall for him, and it never works, possibly because he is one of the most feminine and closeted actors out there today. I generously gave this film 1 star, because I actually did enjoy Scott Pilgrim's band, but aside from that, this film is a complete waste of time. It's star is unbelievable, it's story is overly complicated, and the dialogue is arguably the worst I have ever heard. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World may be your teenage daughters favorite movie, but if you're older than sixteen, you're going to want to skip this one.

School For Scoundrels (2006)

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder, & Michael Clark Duncan
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Following his Old School Road Trip, and long before his epic Hangover, Todd Phillips went back in time to remake the classic School For Scoundrels, with disappointing results. The story follows an insecure loser in love, who takes a class on how to become more appealing to women. His teacher is a total player, who teaches the class to the best of his abilities, but in the end, he has the same goal as the others, and ultimately falls for the same girl as the loser. When seeing a Todd Phillips comedy, that is unrated, and features Billy Bob Thornton, you should expect to see a raunchy good time, but that's not what happens here. To Phillips, keeping as close to the original story was more important than modernizing it for today's audiences, and the result was a film that fails to live up to expectations. This film needed a major injection of raunch, the kind Thornton became known for in films like Bad Santa. Instead you get what amounts to an average, mediocre, comedy. In this film, Thornton is paired with Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite himself, but as with that film, his monotone lovable loser act, gets old very quickly. This film has all the makings of a wild ride and a terrific comedy, but instead it falls flat on it's face, as just another ordinary, run of the mill, romantic comedy.

The Outsider (2014)

Starring: Craig Fairbrass, James Caan, & Jason Patric
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Some Writer/Directors prefer to use the same actors in their films. You can't blame them for wanting to work with people they're comfortable with, but not many Writer/Directors, remake the exact same movie with a slightly different twist. Brian A. Miller came out of relative obscurity to produce the hit action thriller, The Prince, starring Bruce Willis. Less than a year later, he followed it up with The Outsider, which is basically the exact same film! The Prince featured a former mafia turncoat, going to the city he once owned, in order to find his missing daughter. The Outsider features a former member of British Special Ops, coming to America, to find his missing daughter. Both films have similar endings, mafia bosses that are played by legendary action stars, and oddly enough, both films have a cameo by 50 cent. These two films are literally so similar to one another, that aside from the British accent, and Jason Patric in the role of the cop, nothing has really changed. As a fan of action film, I realize there aren't many different directions these films can go in, but to release what amounts to the exact same film, a year later, with several of the same actors, is just bizarre. The Outsider wasn't a bad film, and I did enjoy Craig Fairbrass, he was a beast, who I was previously unfamilar with, but aside from that, this is the exact same story as seen in The Prince. Wheather you chose to sit through this one or that one, really depends on who you like better, James Caan or Bruce Willis.

And Soon The Darkness (2010)

Starring: Amber Heard, Odette Annable, & Karl Urban
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Human trafficking is one of the most scary and abhorrent realities of our society. While it happens in many places, for many reasons, and in many different ways, filmmakers only seem to see the obvious. Once again we have a film about two girls traveling abroad, when one is abducted for the purposes of being sold as a sex slave. And Soon The Darkness is simply the same story as Taken and Hostle, with several small difference. In this film, only one girl goes missing, while the other teams up with a good samaritan, to try and find her. As always American girls are at a premium and the trail leads her to a vile underground of deceit and deception in a third world country. As far as abduction films go, this one was pretty unrealistic. How many young American girls, travel alone, to remote locations in third world countries, rather than staying at the resort or with some tour group. Second, there are a ton of American's in this supposedly secluded area, that doesn't have anything close to what could be considered a tourist attraction. And Soon The Darkness features an adequate cast, and of course, two very good looking girls, wearing as little as possible, but as far as substance and originality go, this film was severly lacking in both.