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» review

Nicole Scherzinger – Big Fat Lie [review]

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Music | Leave a comment

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Poor Nicole. Despite of all her efforts and promising promo deals, she never really evolved from ‘the ex-Pussycat Doll frontwoman’ into a full-fledged solo star. Her 2011’s debut LP (which wasn’t even released in the States) was very flamboyant and screamed ‘I’ve arrived’ on top of Nicole’s lungs but was a bit too Eurovisiony to really cement her status. And even though her best solo single so far was called ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’, I did hold my breath for a proper ‘Nicole The Solo Artist’ moment: she surely has the voice, the moves and the looks of a potential pop slayer. Well, not this time for sure: with ‘Big Fat Lie’ she’s going for more ‘mature’ sound which means that we’re getting tons of medtempo tunes which is the least thing we’d expect or want from a girl who made a name for herself as the voice behind ‘Don’t Cha’ and ‘Buttons’.

Perhaps the personal approach to the album would work better if it had a big power ballad or two, but it’s nowhere to be seen as well. ‘Run’ and ‘On The rocks’ are both strong and emotional songs but they lack the spark that made Nicole such a fantastic performer in the past. Overall it’s questionable if there really were a lot of people in Nicole’s fanbase who craved a moody (even if well-produced) record from her. There is a cute little ‘it’s tough being a popstar’ moment in the form of the album’s title track and stripping all the layers seems to be the ongoing theme on the record but let’s be honest: Nicole was way more fun when she stuck to the actual stripping.

The big fat truth here is that the album’s quite solid: the production is consistent and multi-layered and the 90s influences are spot. It’s just hard to believe it will find its audience as Nicole never developed a steady fanbase with all her scrapped releases, failed international strategies and horrible time management. And the idea that in some happier alternative universe we could’ve gotten 5 years’ worth of The Pussycat Dolls bangers instead of this depressed little collection certainly doesn’t help.

6/10

‘Her’

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Cinema | Leave a comment

A story about a man who falls in love with the voice inside his computer could’ve been told in a lot of ways. It could’ve been an absurd comedy. Or a psychological thriller. Or a satire about our gadget-obsessed times. Luckily, ‘Her’ is none of those things. It is an extremely poetic tale about our constant struggle to replace loneliness with happiness and our (usually failed) attempts to understand (and eventually love and accept) ourselves by trying to understand, love and accept another person. And much more than that.

Watching ‘Her’ is an incredibly satisfying journey from every perspective: it makes you feel, think and devour its mesmerizing imagery all at the same time. The movie sets off as a clever social commentary (the main character works at a website that provides ‘beautiful handwritten letters to your loved ones’ – a truly unsettling concept) but quickly moves into a much more ambiguous world of human emotions and relationships. The greatest thing about ‘Her’ is that behind the façade of the ironic premise, it really is a typical story of two mismatched lovers: Samantha could’ve easily been a young lady with a fatal disease. Or a blind person. Or a man. But while the idea of lovers struggling to stay together despite of the circumstances is hardly a new one, the main power of ‘Her’ lays in the way the story told. The writing is thoughtful yet accessible: from Amy’s observation that love is ‘a socially acceptable form of insanity’ to Theodor’s confession that being with someone who’s excited about the world does make you feel good. But it’s Samantha and her constant self-discovery that creates the movie’s unique vibe: her journey is fascinating and frightfully familiar. This is a truly remarkable cinematic experience based on one of the most complicated yet believable love stories we’ve seen in the last several years.

Quick review of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Cinema | Leave a comment

‘An Unexpected Journey’ is pretty awesome in its details, yet in whole it looks pretty pointless. On one hand we have spectacular cinematography, impressive villains and the return of our beloved characters (the Gollum scene is a real masterpiece). On the other – the plot is all about ‘let’s go from A to B’, the movie is too slow-paced and it seriously lacks pathos (which works for a novel, but disappoints in the Jackson universe). At some point I got the impression that I was watching either a movie based on a videogame (‘Now there are trolls, now there are orcs!’) or an unreasonably expensive fanfic (which is closer to the truth). But Jackson is too busy persuading us that ‘Hobbit’ is a blockbuster and not just a naïve fantasy. While basing it on the story of gnomes (!) fighting for their enormous castle. At least in the finale (it may be a SPOILER) we get an impressive shot of something that Russian hipsters will most likely describe as pure SWAG: the dragon is sleeping inside the mountain made of pure gold. Now that’s something you don’t see on the big screen often these days (if only Die Antwoord were playing during that scene…). The verdict: it’s a very smooth top-quality production which has huge commercial potential, yet I think it would make much more sense to just re-watch the original trilogy.