Thursday, 31 January 2013

Harleey Plays: Music in Movies Part 1

Throughout film history, there's been a selection of songs you specifically know because of a film and it becomes your favourite film just because of this one song. The song you hear 11pm on Heart Radio and you turn to whoever is near you and exclaim: WHAT FILM IS THIS SONG FROM?!
I'm going to select only a few of the films that have the best songs/soundtracks.

1. Lost Boys
Cry Little Sister - Gerard McMann

This isn't one of those films though. I actually loved this film before I even paid any attention to any of the songs that were in it.
It was hard to select the best song off this masterpiece of a soundtrack. People Are Strange and We Still Believe came sooooo close! But this song takes the cake. Play this to anyone who has seen this film and they'll tell you - they will say those two words. Lost. Boys.
This film is what vampires are all about. This film made me, along with hundreds of thousands of other people utterly obsessed with the whole vampire scene. The typical old fashioned, rock and roll style, the motorbikes, the long hair, the whole scene is seductive.
If this film cannot convert anyone from their Twi-hard ways, I honestly haven't a clue what will.

2. Breakfast Club
Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds

Don't get me wrong, Fire in the Twilight and We Are Not Alone are heavy competitors but this song is the song, y'know? I sing along to this song so fucking loud whenever I hear it. One time, it was being played on repeat in Starbucks, I literally stayed there for ages, sipping on my cold Caramel Mocha and just singing to it. Best visit to Starbucks ever.
It's the typical film that makes you hooked from the start. The characters can relate to you in ways you never thought, the silent girl who actually has a lot to say, the princess who has a rough family life, the pressured sports star, the criminal who doesn't know any other alternative and the geek who suffers in silence.
This film is definitely up there in my top all time favourites.

3. Crow, The
Burn - The Cure

Hands down, the best gothic/vendetta film ever made. However teary it may be to watch when you realize Brandon Lee died making this masterpiece. The song didn't have any competition, everyone knows it, fans of the film know it's the theme and probably the most fitting than any of the other songs on the soundtrack.
The Cure are a popular rock band anyway and received a lot of praise for this track being featured on a box office hit like this one. However, if I'm a little honest, it's the only song I know from the band and probably the only one I'll ever listen to.

4. Gladiator
Now We Are Free - Hans Zimmer

Everyone knows Hans Zimmer produces the most meaningful, emotional and fantastic music ever known to film. In this movie, it's not the acting, the screenplay or the setting that breaks the waterworks at the end of this movie, it's this song. This goddamn song that makes me just break down into a fit of nothing but a blubbery mess. Russell Crowe is a damn good actor and this is arguably the best film he did. After Romper Stomper.

5. Hunger Games
Abrahams Daughter - Arcade Fire

This film got a lot of mixed reviews when it was released. Albeit, most of the negative opinions were die hard fans of the Japanese movie Battle Royale which is exactly this film only with American actors.
I am a big fan of Battle Royale and have to say this film lacked in many entertainment area's. An hour and forty five minutes into it they begin their fighting and the film drags on for another hour or so.
However, getting to why this song is in this list in the first place, it has such a great soundtrack. I listen to the soundtrack all the time and although this one isn't necessarily my favourite, it's the most famous and therefore belongs on this list.

6. Transformers
Set The World On Fire - Black Veil Brides

Everyone knows New Divide in the second Transformer movie, Black Veil Brides won in my opinion for the best song. I knew them before they appeared on this soundtrack and was so proud they'd finally gotten some recognition and appeared in a box office movie! Still, not many people know the song or the band still and it didn't boost their popularity but if you watch the film and listen carefully,you'll hear this great tune and won't be able to help yourself from bobbing your head.

So, that's the end of Part 1, there are so many more but I think this should suffice for now. I'll put a Part 2 later on.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Favourite Songs of January 2013

1. You Me At Six - This Is The First Thing

There's so many words that can explain this song and they're all good.
Sinners Never Sleep is their third album, it's not necessarily new but You Me At Six remain one of my all time favourite artists EVER. This song is just my favourite off the album and I cannot begin to explain how much I adore it or what I feel when I listen to it.
Josh Franceschi's voice in almost everything he sings is so flawless but this particular song just gets me every single time. I'm guessing like most of their songs its about a love that got away. I don't know about anyone else but I can definitely say if Josh was my boyfriend, I wouldn't be going anywhere.

2. Bring Me The Horizon - Shadow Moses

Like every other seventeen year old girl, there was a time when I went through a screamo phase and more specifically, a BMTH phase. I saw them live, got severely injured, suffered humiliation at a signing of theirs and then... moved on. To be honest, after buying There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It etc album and getting it signed, I kinda moved on. And I was so adamant they were my favourite band. Ah well. They aren't anymore but I can't help but fall in love with this song and it's in my Playlist eight times for a better chance of repeat! The 'can you tell from the look in our eyes' and the opera/classical part at the end is just flawless. BMTH really bring a sense of variety on their songs now.

3. Lawson - Learn To Love Again

I remember my mum calling me downstairs at 9 in the morning and asking me who this gorgeous man was on our television.
On the popular ITV programme Daybreak was Lawson. A fairly new band that digresses from the pop image and instead creates a brand new indie rock sound which sounds like Maroon 5, The Wanted and Coldplay all mixed into one. Their 'Standing in the Dark' was a great song but this month, this song takes the cake. It's a brilliant rockish but poppy track that elevates all their talents, not to mention the fact they're stunning pieces of the male species.

4. Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble

Don't judge me. Don't you dare judge me.
This song is so goddamn catchy that you just cannot help but wanna sing it! As soon as someone mentions the title, don't lie, you sing in your head, 'when you walked in. SO SHAME ON ME NOW!'
Miss Swift has got to be the most hypocritical music artist I've ever come across. Who can make millions selling songs about love and romance and how cute and romantic it is and all lovey dovey it should be. When she first arrived on the scene, I loved her. I was like, 'YAY, finally a country singer who can sing about love without it ending in complete shit' and then she goes and dates dozens of boys and writes songs about them. Honey, Taylor, sweetie, please take a break and write about something other than how Jake is desperate to get back with you - and if Taylor Swift does release a song this year called 'I Went In The Wrong Direction' I will seriously stick needles in my ear drums. That aside, this song, is awesome and just really catchy this month.

5. Girls Generation (SNSD) - I Got A Boy

My inner KPop fangirl is coming out now!
I had to include this song, I just had to. This song was the much anticipated comeback for Girls Generation and although the song in English is an invitation for laughs and cringiness, it's a catchy track and the music video is awesome.
I can see all the fanboys squealing over Jessica's part. Sunny can't make up her mind on her hair colour and apparently 'oheeehhhohhheeehhohhh' is like the most addicting part of any song ever!
GG never fail to impress with their songs, apart from you know, the English version of 'The Boys' which was just a diabolical catastrophe and should never be spoken about ever again.
GG aren't my favourite KPop band, they aren't even in my top 5 but this song was good and I'm never one to ignore a good song.

The Resident Evil Franchise

This post contains spoilers to some of the Resident Evil games. Like usual, it insults and degrades many characters. If you're offended, don't read. Simple as.

When it comes to video games I'm generally drawn to the horror genre.
Books, tv programmes, movies, video games are no exception.
Resident Evil 1 is one of my favourite games.
So, I'm going to spoil some of the games, insult some characters and bring in some horror games I like to play and some I tend to stay away from. Here goes.
Resident Evil Remake was the first Resi game I'd played. I got it on Gamecube and for ages, I couldn't play it. I'd trigger the cut scene with the first zombie and
then just run around the dining hall unable to handle the rest.
After becoming more interested in horror films, I picked it back up again and managed to complete it in 9 hours. After that, I was hooked. Resident Evil 2 was
just as good, even if the graphics and voice acting is at the very least, entertaining.
Resident Evil 3 was again, a good game but a lot of epic fails take place in that one.

Now, Code Veronica is one of my favourite games. In the Resident Evil genre not of all time. (Maybe I'll do a post dedicated to my favourite games)
Anyway, then Resident Evil 4 came alone. I had to say, considering Leon Scott Kennedy is one of my favourite Resi male characters, the game was different.
It wasn't the old school survival horror, it was more of an action. So if you're a fan of the old school games, don't play it. If you have an open mind, you'll enjoy it.
It's more fun rather than scary and challenging. Some parts are quite nerve wracking though, those regenerators had me in fits with the way they'd open doors and be
all up in your face!
Against my better judgement and dismissing everyone's advice I bought Resident Evil 5.
I played it alone and then played it on Co-Op and I had to admit, it was much more fun playing with someone else.
Don't get this game if you're looking for scares. Buy this game if you're throwing a sleepover and want some cheap thrills.
Like 4, it's more of a first person shooter action game.
Okay, on to the characters.
Since the remake was the first game I'd played, I was immediately drawn into Jill Valentine. I didn't find her annoying until I played the third game. Now, my female lead

To Claire Redfield.
Claire Redfield is, in my opinion, probably one of the prettiest, down to Earth and courageous Resi character. She's my favourite character. She doesn't disappoint me in any shape
or form.
She's got a reason to be where she is, she is a tomboy, she's just a typical teenaged girl searching for her brother and gets thrust into this fucked up world that she instantly adjusts to
and turns all badass.
Now, a female character who has me in the middle. Ada Wong.
Ada was such a distraction in the second and fourth game. Probably because she's the love interest of my favourite male character but she's in the middle of a goddamn zombie apocalypse
and she's wearing black pumps and an elegant tea party red gown.
Okay, so she's an undercover agent. So she looks subtle in a maroon whore dress in the middle of a zombie infested city? Well done Capcom.
But, her outfit and bad attitude aside, she's still kinda cool and knows how to hold her own. She's a backstabbing little bitch in both games but she's played quite well, I might say.
So, now on to the female characters I cannot stand. All I need to say is Sheva Alomar and Ashley.

Fuckin' Ashley.

Now, Sheva in no way belongs in the same hate category as Ashley. In the fourth game, the amount of times I killed her little blonde ass just for being annoying and her goddamn whinging just
made me want to hang myself.
She would bitch when you wouldn't catch her from a ledge and then when you'd supervise her down the ladder, she'd complain we were horny jerks and looking up her skirt which I felt Leon
should have just retorted, 'you're a fucking naive little bitch and you aren't that impressive in that department, baby.'
Sheva isn't bad.
She just gets jealous obviously over Chris' infatuation and close relationship with Jill. But needless to say, she's badass as hell and actually kinda pretty.
Not to mention her accent is lovely.
Now, onto the men.
Chris Redfield was previously second after Leon until he developed some kind of addiction to steroids and ended up blocking my camera with his damn arms in the fifth game.
He just wasn't the Chris I'd come to like in the first game. He was just some police officer who pissed me off because he could only hold six things. And then he was like Superman
and it was offputting.
So now, second after Leon is Steve. In Code Veronica.
He's just lovely. Okay, so he pissed me off in the first couple of minutes because he tried to shoot me and then left me for dead in this room but then he turns into this monster
thing and then he dies when he tells Claire he liked her?!
Damn Capcom for finally putting some romance in their games and then they just take it away like that. D
Damn them to hell.

I have to say, Resident Evil 1, 2, 3 and Code Veronica became the best horror video games and it kinda stirred the whole zombie phenomenon thing. Then Outbreak and Survivior
was released and it was finally time for a horror video game, old school, to be as popular as Spyro or Super Mario.
Capcom did an excellent job and then it found popularity and money in the action genre and made Resident Evil 4 and the atrocity that is Resident Evil 5. Before anyone comments
to ask - NO, I am not buying Resident Evil 6. Nor am I ever.

Don't even get me started on the movies either. That's a separate post all on it's own.

What I Thought Of Final Fantasy XIII-2

This post will contain spoilers - if you've not played the game and do not wish to read, then don't.
This post will also contain tips for the end boss and a brief walkthrough along with ALOT of opinion. Mine to be specific.

Confusing as fuck for starters.
I completed it in about four three-five hour sessions so it's not a long game. But it takes a lot of frequent playing to stay on top of the storyline as you're expected to remember a lot about where you've already been and what artefacts and fragments you've already collected.
As much as I kinda liked Serah's character in the first one (good idea to keep her out of most of FFXIII) she came across as really selfish in this one. She's determined, I'll give her that and the ending made me feel a little sorry for her. Which I'll get to in a minute.

So as soon as I was able to, I swapped leaders. I chose the very good looking (so what if he's a graphic design?) Noel Kreiss who actually gave a good first impression and only made me like him more as the story progressed. It was obvious he had a past, but he didn't blab it to just anyone all the time and didn't want pity or sympathy for it at all.
You don't actually discover the full extent of Noel's story until Episode 5 and the Final Episode although you get snippets here and there throughout the game.

So, lets talk a little about Noel.
Well, when I'm interested in playing a video game I usually check out the soundtrack on YouTube first. I have to say, Noels Theme is hands down the best song
on there.
Second of all, who can resist his gorgeous hair?
The voice actor sounds hot. Matches Noels attitude well.
And lastly, he's intriguing. His love for Yeul and his inner hatred that he couldn't protect her and then the underlying torment about whether he will ultimately end his friends life.
Noel is a protector at heart. Or that's what I got from playing the game. He seems to have no vulnerabilities and instead chooses to protect people, seen when he hardly knows Serah
and yet agrees to travel through time, risking his life and his future to help her find her sister, Lightning.
Lets digress now.
Lightning was one of the bad ass female characters ever to be in a Final Fantasy Game. I've played all the main FF games and that mostly, I tend to hate on the female characters.

Final Fantasy 7 - Tifa was tollerable. Barely. Yuffie was my favourite female and of course, Vincent, the Turks and Cloud was my favourite male characters.
Final Fantasy 8 - Squall is my bias in EVERY SINGLE FF game. Rinoa is annoying, don't get me started on Selphie. Edea was the only female I could stand. Quistis looked like she belonged
in a library not in a battle to save the world. Just saying.
Final Fantasy X - alright. So this game is my kryptonite. It made me cry for days. Which is partly why I have to like Yuna although she did nothing but get captured and ultimately
kill my party every single fucking battle we had to rescue her. Lulu was my favourite. Everything about Lulu just screamed sex appeal, danger and power. Tidus is pretty close to my favourite male
Final Fantasy XII is weird. I'll get back to you.
Alright, so back to FFXIII, Lightning grew on me. She was described by the developers that she'd meant to be a female version of Squall; distant, not talkative, driven by the mission and not afraid
to die.

Now, Squall Leonhart is my all time favourite FF character. When my dad played it when I was a kid, I fell in love with the man, since then, I've been a goner for him. Anyway, a very close second is
Vincent Valentine who reminds me of Lightning as well. So therefore, although not my favourite character in the game, she was my favourite female character in the game.
My favourite character in FFXIII was probably... erm... well, they all annoyed me at one point or another. If I had to choose one it would probably be Maqui or Yuj. Play the game again if you don't
know who they are.
Back to FFXIII-2.

For like, the first time ever you can choose a difficulty.
Easy or normal. I played on both and can't say there was much of a difference except the imminent struggle at the boss fights but where's the challenge if they're too easy?
My worst battle would've probably been the proto-Behemoth at the end of the labrynth in the final episode. Just before you go in to stop Caius. I died more than three times on that one so you
can tell how pretty straight forward the battles are.
The end battle, as always in every FF game, is a multi one where you don't have time to switch paradigms or level up in the crystarium unless you die therefore, come prepared.
I mostly had COM/RAV/RAV for my offense which is Relentless Assault, ladies and gentleman. I kept attacking but of course, before every single battle, always have an evened odds paradigm
which contains SYN/MED/SAB just to level up. The monsters you've captured by now should be strong enough to assist you significantly in the final boss battles so don't just have them for the mediocre
tasks like debuffing enemies, although useful, it's helpful to have a Med and make the paradigm Combat Clinic JUST IN CASE.
For my defence, it was the SEN/MED/SYN which wasn't used often and then for healing, because Serah was a maxed out medic, I really only used Diversity. Which is COM/RAV/MED.
Alright, for those who want some tips. Your health on both Noel and Serah needs to be between 4000 and 5000. Strength for your Commando (preferably Noel) needs to be 400+
and Serah who should be your Ravager and Medic needs her magic to be also 400+
The monster who is helping you, I had a RAV, a SAB and a COM. I didn't use the COM at all. Their hit points needs to be in the 1000's realm. You are going to struggle in this battle if your
HP and strength and magic isn't up.

Okay, you have to fight Caius three times. Some dragon being, his human form and then his mutated form again. There aren't any drastic attacks that can kill you instantly as long as your health remains
in the upper green.
His Inferno and Gigi attack can put your whole party in the red zone and may kill your monster summon so pack a few Pheonix Downs and the Grimoire Hat should be given to your leader
so that when potions are used, they heal considerably more.
Buff your teammates but don't waste too much time healing and buffing and debuffing, Caius is capable (in his last two forms) to heal himself and he can go all the way back to full health if
you haven't taken his HP down enough. Another frustrating move he knows is the Chain Break which removes his stagger bar when it's almost enough.
With the Tri Disaster paradigm (RAV/RAV/RAV) you can stagger him a whole lot of times but keep an eye on your health.
When he's dead, all three times, you're faced with an annoying and kinda confusing battle that don't really make much sense in the story. The only conclusion I could come up with was
that they are 'Chaos' in Caius' heart.
Anyway, you need to keep your health in GREEN at all times in this battle. Don't panic. The two bahamuts can be taken down easily, get a gauge up, then ravage the hell out of him and then
switch to Diversity to heal and then when you're okay, switch back to relentless assault and finish them. If you struggled on these, quit the game and replay a few worlds and levels to get
your HP up. Because they reappear again and are supposed to be a distraction, not a boss fight all by themselves.
Now, Jet Bahamut delivers devastating attacks. His blade can put your whole party in the red zone so buff and attack. Buff, heal, attack is the only stragety. Someone told me to switch to SEN
when I knew it was coming but all I could ever get out of it was the Provoke ability and subsequently it didn't help me much.
Just keep your party in the green and you should be fine.

Now, when its done, relax, take a deep breath and enjoy the ending cutscenes.
Or you can read on to find my opinion of the game ending.

I had to say, I didn't enjoy the characters Fang, Vanille or Hope in the first game, I didn't enjoy Snow all that much either and yet when they showed up, my heart kinda constricted.
It was so nostalgic. I can't say it was the same for Sazh. His story was heartbreaking in the first game but I expected him so it wasn't the same.
So, everyone knows not to expect a happy or sad ending with Final Fantasy. 7 and 8 ended really well with me tearing up a little at both, X had me full on crying for days and 12 was
in the middle.
Final Fantasy XIII's ending was weird. It was sad to see Fang and Vanille go but they both became such repetitive characters, I wasn't that sad. However, like all of the games, it had me
tearing just a little bit.
So, the ending for XIII-2 was different.
Serah dies.
Noel and Serah were told that she would die but she kept saying she felt fine. I suspected her to be another Yeul early on in the game so I wasn't surprised to be right but when she actually
died, Noel's reaction made it so much worse!

Throughout the game, Noel had been set on his love and duty to protect Yeul and vengeance to reprieve her. When he told us she was fifteen, I had to say I was a little off put. In Noel's
bio, it says he's eighteen. And in the game, he's way too mature to be any younger than that.
I'd like to clarify for those who haven't played it and are just interested which I'm guessing is why you're reading this that Noel and Yeul do not kiss. They do not admit ever having feelings
for the other so I'm guessing we are just to assume that Noel loves her like a little sister and because he wasn't able to protect her, he feels he owes her or something.
Then, if you didn't know anything about Snow, with the way Noel reacted to Serah's death, you could assume they were both in love but again, Serah is engaged. Noel has no love
interest whatsoever which is good for me but bad when I actually want him to have one.
When Serah dies, we're told that she saw it beforehand but still continued. This made me feel a little sorry for her and I respect her a lot more than I did. It wasn't a sad ending much but
it was a more of slap in your face when you get an image of Lightning in crystal form sitting on Goddess Etro's throne.
With a 'TO BE CONTINUED' at the end. Apparently, there's another in the making but it won't directly link from the ending like XIII-2 did.
I'm excited but wont be buying it on the same day it comes out like I did, the others. Until FFXV comes out, that won't be for a while.