Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why So Serious?

Why So Serious? You are now the proud owner of the number 1 movie in the nation! You just made 155 million dollars in the first weekend! And yes...you are BATMAN!

After waiting in line to purchase my tickets for the next available showing(2 hours later), then waiting in another line to hand a guy my tickets, then one more line to get into the theater, and waiting through 30 minutes of previews for other superhero movies, it was time to see the new Batman movie: The Dark Night! The whole waiting in lines felt like I was going on The Batman rollercoaster and not going to see a movie.

Now I didn't see the first Christopher Nolan Batman, but I didn't need to. After seeing the movie trucks move into the city of Chicago and turn it into Gotham, I felt I was ready to see whatever the new movie had to offer.

Here are my thoughts!

The movie is incredible and deserving of the 155 million dollars it took in! The performances by Bale, Eckhart, and Oldman are impressive. Bale plays billionaire Bruce Wayne by day and vigilante Batman by night. Along with the title change, Bale changes his voice and transforms Batman into one badass hero!

The movie mainly plays off the concept of control and choas. Batman tries to control the evil that is taking over Gotham, while the mob tries to create choas.

To further the choas, the mob brings in The Joker. If you have been living under a rock the passed 6 months, The Joker is played by Heath Ledger, who mysteriously left this world in late January this year. Heath's take on the joker is deserving of every honor out there. He makes Jack Nicholson's version look simply like a clown. From his eerie smile made up of lots of red makeup to his creepy voice, Ledger took The Joker to the next level and stole the show. The Joker told the Batman that he needed him to be worth anything in Gotham, but I think that the movie and Batman needed The Joker and all his crazy plots to unravel Gotham City!

Hollywood did a pretty good job of transforming Chicago into Gotham. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) was turned into GTA (Gotham Transit Authority). Lower Wacker became the setting for a crazy car chase! Navy Pier was used for The Joker's social experiement.

I did notice a few things that were a little out of place. At one point they panned to the hospital and it say Lutheran General Hospital(which it really is), but then in the next frame the sign says Gotham General Hospital. Another thing I noticed was that when they were on their journey through downtown, their was a sign that read "Sweet Home Chicago". That seemed a little out of place.

Overall, I give the movie the ultimate rating of 2 Pallen Hands! I would recommend everyone over the age of 16 to see it(pretty graphic for kids). I can't wait for the third installment!

Monday, July 21, 2008

No Such Thing Live by John Mayer

Check out part of No Such Thing live by John Mayer at the Tinley Park show!

John Mayer at Tinley Park

So besides chilling with my new gf Jen Aniston, I did get a chance to catch Brett Dennen, Colbie Caillat, and John Mayer live!

We came in late due to horrible traffic headed toward Tinley Park. I think everyone and their mother was driving to see John Mayer that night, so we missed most of Brett's performance. I did catch "Realize" and "Bubbly" by Colbie, but I saw her last year and wasn't too interested in seeing her that night.

Then John came on. I have to mention that in the past, I have left a few Mayer shows due to the fact that when he sings, it is out of the side of his mouth and he makes the most awkward facial expressions I have ever seen. So I was a little nervous that this would happen again. Surprisingly, John looked very comfortable up on stage and really rocked it out. He did his hits, his new stuff, and ended on "Say". The man is an amazing artist, but what is really impressive is his guitar skillz. I add the "z" because with his vintage Nikes and his full sleeve of tattoos, he is deserving of the gangstar z! He shredded on the guitar and captivated 20,000 fans; mostly 15 year old screaming girls, but I was one of those!

As they finished "Say", the band came off the stage consoling their bassist. Apparently his grandma was in the hospital and not doing well, so the lyrics of the song were too much for him. I did slap John on his sweaty back and told him great job and he said thanks.

Overall, he really put on a great show!

Check out the pics above. (me and John on his trailer, me in between 2 of John's 7 buses, John from behind the soundboard, and John on stage)

Jennifer Aniston, her dog, and me!

So after an adventure of holding my bladder back from exploding in the limo, we finally made it to Tinley Park to see Brett Dennen, Colbie Caillat, and John Mayer perform. Immediately after arriving and making a pit stop in a random field, we grabbed a nice cold 24 once brew and headed back stage.

As we turned toward the tour buses, a black Ford Explorer comes barreling at us and a security guard jumps out and commands we GET OUT OF HIS WAY. He runs passed us carrying a yellow lab with a yellow balloon strapped to its neck with the word "surprise" on it. Right behind the crazy man is none other than...JENNIFER ANISTON. She is there to surprise her honey (John Mayer), for she lives in Chicago and missed her new squeeze.

During the show(which I will get to in a later blog)I was standing backstage behind the soundboard and guess who is sitting right next to me...JENNIFER ANISTON. After a few glances over my shoulder and a few more liquid encouragements, I got enough guts to go up to her. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: Hey! So I have got to ask you. What is the story with the dog? I mean your driver almost killed us. Haha!

Jennifer: Oh I am sorry about that. It is my dog and John loves the dog a ton. I wanted to stop out here and surprise him!

Me: Gotcha.

Jennifer: So what's your name?

Me: I am Mike!

Jennifer: I am Jen!

Me: I know! (like a little 5 year old girl)

The conversation continued on for a few more minutes and then I wished her and John the best of luck, and we parted ways.

She is a beautiful person. She had on a cute little sun dress and a huge smile as her boy played shirtless for 20,000 fans. I was very impressed she was so friendly and didn't once send the bodyguards after me!

Jennifer Aniston...my new celebrity crush!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Interview with Brett Dennen

On Tuesday July 18th, I got the chance to sit down with Brett Dennen, one of today's hottest emerging artists before he performed in the our office. Brett is currently on tour with John Mayer and Colbie Caillat and finishing up his lastest album.

Here is the interview!

Me: You are currently working on your next album. Can you tell me about that?

Brett: It will be coming out October 21st. Expect bigger sound and bigger production. It will focus more on a World Music sound and less on American Folk. The first single will be "Enough To Make You Go Crazy".

Me: Can we expect any collaborations?

Brett: I worked with Missy Higgins and Femi Kuti on this album.

Me: If you could write or record with someone(past or present) who would that be?

Brett: Van Morrison. Neil Young. Bjork. Paul Simon. Billie Holiday. Growing up I inspired to be like Morrison, Young, and Simon. I get a lot of my singing ideas from Billie Holiday.

Me: You are about to play the first ever Mile High Festival. What is your favorite fest?

Brett: I really enjoy playing the High Sierra Music Festival. It is located in Quincy California set in the mountains. It is great because it is near my hometown and its always good to play in front of my family and friends.

Me: I will say some band names. Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind.

Me: Guster

Brett: Funny!

Me: Rodrigo y Gabriela

Brett: Shredders!

Me: Bob Dylan

Brett: Legend

Me: Radiohead

Brett: Innovative

Me: John Mayer

Brett: Pop Star (laughs)

Me: Colbie Caillat

Brett: Prom Queen Pop Star (laughs more)

Me: What is on your iPod?

Brett: I am listening to the two latest cds i purchased: Beck-Modern Guilt and the new Neil Young.

Me: Brett Dennen. 2009. What can we expect?

Brett: A lot of touring. Over seas. In the states. A lot of touring.

Brett was a great guy. His voice is soft and sweet, but you never would have guessed that just by looking at him. Brett's 6 foot 4 frame and fiery red hair lead you to think he will have a deep Irish voice. His lyrics and guitar play are definitely worth seeing!

See more of Brett at htt://www.brettdennen.net

Check out a few pics!

Miranda Lambert @ Country Thunder

Tis the season when struggling farmers open up their vacant farm fields and cash in on hosting a summer music fest. Last night I made the trek up to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin for Country Thunder; a music haven for all that is country music. Acts like Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, and even Jessica Simpson made the voyage to middle America Wisco to perform. I went up to see Miranda Lambert, recent winner of Album of the Year!

I have been following Miranda since she became runner up on Nashville Star(country's version of American Idol). Her cute smile mixed with her country sass grabbed my attention, and I have been a fan ever since.

Country Thunder was great. It was nice to be back home! Seeing girls in cowboy boots and hat, guys wearing Wrangler jeans that were a little too tight, and HUGE 4 by 4 trucks filling the parking lot quickly reminded me that I was in Wisconsin and not Illinois.

Miranda put on a great show! She had enough energy to supply a Red Bull factory. Her head banging and guitar throwing made you get up out of your patriotic fold-up lawn chair and dance with her. She is from Texas, and you can tell! The little girl has an incredible twang and a deep passion to party and drink beer! Her hour and a half set was peppered with songs off both of her albums and was a perfect way to spend a muggy July night!

Check out some of the pictures up at the top!