Laurie En

Laurie En

English account.

Avicii proves he has many strings to his bow with his first album 'True'

mercredi 18 septembre 2013      True (Amazon exclusive)

Tim Bergling, aka Tim Berg, Tom Hangs or more recently Avicii, was only 17 when he became remixer and producer (he is only 24 today), after his friends encourage him to release his music, which they found very good.
In nightlife, the young swedish DJ has been known for a while, but the general public had to wait 2010 and the release of the single
Seek Bromance (under the pseudonym of Tim Berg) to discover the artist.
Influenced by "majors" such as
Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Bob Sinclair or Daft Punk, his career is really going to launch after the release of his track Levels (which includes a sample inspired by Etta James, afterwards re-used by the rapper FloRida).

Until then, Avicii had never released any studio album: True is the very first, available since September 16th, 2013. The first track is the hit Wake Me Up, thundering opening of the album with a melody mixing dance and country, carried by the voice of the American singer Aloe Blacc. It is an undeniable success worldwide, one has to admit that this song is something unique, threatening to overpower David Guetta and his other superstar-DJ buddies.
There is still this cosy-country-folk background on the song Hey Brother, a much more melancholic sound on Hope There's Someone, soul music on Addicted to You (with the voice of the singer Audra Mae)...
Other tracks are closer to house music, with electro rhythms, without ever falling into the stereotypes of the "clubbing music". First of all is You Make Me to be noticed; it is even going to be the second single release of the album and which is already a hit on the dancefloors all around the world. The songs Liar Liar and Shame on Me, energetic and rousing, could well be broadcast over the air, while Lay Me Down and Dear Boy would correspond better to nightlife's sounds - just as the two last tracks of the album are related to each other, Heart Upon My Sleeve and Always on the Run, perfectly fitting to festivals.

At first listen, we can be astonished: True is not truly what we were expecting coming from one of the most renowned DJs on the world house stage. If one expected to hear tracks similar to Levels right through the album, it is obvious that one may be disappointed - and I have to admit that at the beginning, it was almost the case for me.
With hindsight, we realize that Avicii did not limit himself to the role of the DJ we could have assigned him: the young producer proves with True that he is able to investigate a much broader variety of repertoires, not letting his music earning a label. Best of all is that the tracks are following on from each other in a smoothly-flowing way. 

This first studio album is perfectly orchestrates, with just enough electronic sounds to remember that Avicii is above all a DJ, mais also many other sounds, proving that despite his young age, the artist masters an impressive range of various musical domains.
David Guetta, Bob Sinclar and all their mates clearly have to find inspiration - and fast - if they do not want to be overshadowed by Tim Bergling who, besides being creative, is also a very handsome and stunning young man: he will be seen in Ralph Lauren advertising campaigns all year long... what is quite convincing to listen more carefully to his music!

An enchanting horse-story written by Charlotte Bingham

dimanche 15 septembre 2013      The Enchanted

As I am fond of both horses and books, I couldn't resist while seeing the beautiful cover of this one in a book shop.

When Kathleen finds a mare in foal, despite the fact that she and her father can barely afford to feed her, they take her in. Tragically the mare dies, leaving an orphan that they name The Enchanted. As the young horse grows up among Ireland's lush pastures, Kathleen loses her heart to him...
But as Kathleen has always feared The Enchanted must be sold. Rory James and his father take a chance on the little horse in the hope of improving the fortune of their run-down racing yard. But luck does not run Rory's way when The Enchanted mysteriously sickens. It seems that only Kathleen can help. And it is only under her care that The Enchanted is able to live up to his name and astonishing things start to happen to all those around him.

Since I started reading this book, I just couldn't put it down for five minutes. The Enchanted was (sorry for this easy play-on-words) an enchanting story which seduced me from the beginning, when the heroine Kathleen finds a pregnant mare wandering on an Irish beach which is going to give birth to a lovely foal before dying...

Saddened by the death of the mare, Kathleen will take care of the orphaned foal, which will be called The Enchanted. His relation with the young girl is very touching – especially for animal lovers sure, but it is going to stir every reader up – and the horse himself seems to be very special... But Kathleen's parents have to sold him, because they can't afford keeping him in their little farm. This very moment, when the horse is taken away from the girl, is really heartbreaking, just as the following pages and chapters.
Away from Kathleen, the horse gets ill and doesn't seem strong enough to live on in his new home. As the girl seems to be the only one able to cure him, she has to go where The Enchanted is, to give him the chance to triumph on the racetracks.

Relations between humans and horses are so beautiful and so well described by Charlotte Bingham that it becomes obvious that she is also a great horse lover. The characters are loyal, devoted, truly endearing, and the story line is delightful: how can possibly an undersize and orphaned foal defeat all kinds of adversity, on the racecourses and elsewhere?

I found the story original and exciting and loved the fact there were those funny replies everywhere, The Enchanted is definitely a must-read for all the horse lovers. But don't forget to have the tissues handy, you cannot remain unmoved by this book!
The only negative thing that could be said about this book is that the story is quite predictable, we can guess what is going to happen and not many things remain unexpected. But actually, I did not really mind about it because I found the story too touching to regret this lack of suspense.

The Enchanted will certainly make you find your heart of child back. If you love horses and don't mind to read more than 500 pages, don't hesitate any longer, you are obviously going to be enchanted by this beautiful story...

Hail to the King: A7X takes us back to the Golden Age of metal

mercredi 11 septembre 2013      Hail to the King

Released by the end of August, 2013, Hail to the King is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold, and also the first one without the musical participation of the former drummer « The Rev » Sullivan, who passed away in 2009. All the songs were written by the band members. St James, which is a bonus track, is a tribute to their lost friend The Rev, now replaced by Arin Ilejay.

Avenged Sevenfold had promised that Hail to the King would be different from the band's previous releases : they wanted to slow the tempos, to simple the song structures and to write catchy choruses. A7X always sounded a bit old school, and this album just amplifies it, but we still recognize the band's touch, especially through Synyster Gates' awesome guitar solos (which never go out of style) and Mr. Shadows' rough and raspy voice – whatever they do and just because of these two things, Avenged Sevenfold is always going to sound just like Avenged Sevenfold.

Personnaly, I particularly enjoyed the songs This Means War, with a catchy chorus perfect for the future live shows, Requiem, which remembers the evil side of the band, but also Coming Home with great energy and guitar and drums playing. But on all the ten songs of this new album, we recognize the band of its previous works, and Hail to the King is a great following of Nightmare (released in 2010).
The album is full of good riffs and powerful songs, no time or excuse to get tired while listening. The band wanted to take their fans back to the “Golden Age” of metal, and that seems to be mission accomplished since this album is simple but heavy, the musicians are talented and didn't try to experience things they hadn't done before.
Elements that made their previous works successful are here once again, but we do not find these epic high moments we had on City of Evil. But we have to admit that A7X warned us what they were up to do, and that they also did it. So no one should be disappointed or outraged by Hail of the King.

This album was a commercial and critical success, reaching N°1 on the US Billboard 200 and on the UK Albums Chart. But one of the recurring point that shows up in negative reviews is that the band didn't just take inspiration from other bands (Metallica, Iron Maiden or Guns'n'Roses), but try to mimick them so much that they lost their own identity.
But this type of critics also seems to be recurring for many bands and artists : WHY do people always expect them to sound exactly like on their previous releases? They can also evolve, come up with mature sounds and try new things. Because if one band only releases the same type of album again and again, people are also going to grow tired of it.

What could be difficult is to decide whether this album is a good one or a bad one. I obviously consider it isn't bad at all, but I still don't believe we could consider it as an A7X masterpiece. But I am kind of happy to have something new of this band to listen to, and to make my own mind about this so controverted record.

City of Bones: one of the best book-to-movie adaptation ever!

jeudi 05 septembre 2013      The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones [DVD]

As a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments books series, I was looking forward for months to finally see this movie adaptation of City of Bones, but couldn't help being wary. I expected so much from this movie that I was really afraid to be disappointed by anything. Thankfully, I found The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones truly faithful to the book written by Cassandra Clare.

Just as in the book, the movie begins with a setting up of the main characters : we meet the heroine Clary Fray, her mother Jocelyn and her best friend Simon in a Brooklyn appartment. They all live what seems to a normal life, until that day when Simon and Clary decide to go in a nightclub, the Pandemonium, where Clary sees some young people wearing black clothes kill another man. She screams, but nobody did notice this dreadful scene: even Simon thinks she has imagined it.
But the day after, she sees the blonde haired guy who murdered the other man and directly realized it couldn't be a coincidence: running after him, she learns that Jace is a Shadowhunter, and that the boy he killed last night was a demon. When her mother is kidnapped by others Shadowhunters, Clary has no other choice but to follow these young people she is the only one able to see.

Transforming more than 500 pages of a book into a movie isn't an easy thing to do, but the director Harald Zwart managed it brilliantly. First of all, the big deal was to find actors who could well embody the complex characters of Clare's book and then satisfy the whole « TMI fanbase » already existing. And the actors fit their characters so perfectly that any disappointment will soon vanish.

Clary Fray is a brave and quite stubborn heroine played by Lily Collins (Phil's daughter, already seen in Abduction with Taylor Lautner or Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts) who meets the sarcastic and arrogant Shadowhunter Jace Wayland, played by Jamie Campbell Bower (seen in Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter, Twilight). For those who had some doubts about these two main characters, just go see the movie: they couldn't have found better actors to play these roles. They are both impressive and really seem to have been made for this.
I was just as convinced by the others : Simon, the good and faithful friend embodied by Robert Sheehan, Isabelle, the badass girl played by Jemima West or Alec, distant and cheerless, played by Kevin Zegers. The only surprise was the blonde-haired and scary Valentine, embodied by the dark-haired Jonathan Rhys-Meyers... but he managed to be so frightening and heartless just as in the book that the hair-color was no longer a problem anymore.

The book purists are going to be surprised to see that some parts had to be cut, but the main scenes and dialogues are there, and well adaptated to the big screen. Plus, the fight scenes are particularly realistic and thrilling, all the actors invested a lot so that they would be able to do as many stunts as possible themselves, as Jamie Campbell Bower explained in an interview : « I’ve wanted to do a hundred percent of the stunts and everything like that […] And I’ve pushed myself further than I’ve ever push myself before. »
Another thing that jumps out at first sight is the chemistry between the actors, the same than the one between the book's characters, which can be felt even through the screen.

Whether you have read the book or not, City of Bones is going to transport you in another world and you won't be lost at all : everything is well transcribed, relationships between the characters are obvious... This movie is undeniably one of the best book adaptation ever with the Harry Potter saga.
Exciting, funny, even a bit romantic without being smarmy at all... The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones is not only going to please the fans of the books' series, but also all the people who liked Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the Twilight saga or other fantasy and sci-fi movies.

The last good thing to know about this movie is that the filming of the adaptation of the second book is planned for end 2013... story continues, Shadowhunters!

New adaptation of Red Riding Hood, embodied by Amanda Seyfried

vendredi 19 juillet 2013      Red Riding Hood [DVD] [2011]

Based on Perrault and Grimm's classic tale Little Red Riding Hood, this full-lenght movie directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight) and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2010 is a remake of the story in which the main character is a bit older (the riding hood is a young woman wanting to empower), but in which we still get to know the grandmother and the mystery of the wolf hiding in the woods.
In the movie, a whole village is watchful and on its guard: a dreadful wolf already caused the deaths of several inhabitants. Committed to extarminate it, the villagers call the specialist Father Salomon (played by Gary Oldman, Sirius Black in the Harry Potter saga) who discloses that the wolf is in fact one of them...

The young Valerie (Amanda Seyfried, doing here a shimmering performance) hides a fiery temperament under her fragile and innocent face. It seems that the wolf is particularly attracted by her, what makes her beware all the people surrounding her. Deprived of the reassuring presence of Peter, the one she loves (the handsome Shiloh Fernandez, who previously made an appearance in the Gossip Girl TV-show), her parents tell her they already arranged a wedding with Henry, the son of the wealthy blacksmith (Max Irons, who played a small role in the fourth part of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga and who was later seen in The Host).
Everybody starts chasing the wolf while Valerie tries by all possible means to escape the future she has been promised to in order to live the life she dreams of...

The scenery is litterally breath-taking from the movie's first seconds. Light is perfectly dosed in order to create some magical atmosphere, as if to give the impression of an eerie mist. The snowy forests panoramas are stunning and the village where is set the bulk of the movie is very realistic: visual aspects of a very high level then.
The actors all perfectly fit to their characters, which made the movie looks even more realistic and get us caught in the action. Amanda Seyfried is perfect in the role of the sensitive but brave heroine, Shiloh Fernandez is a real revelation, flawlessly adopting his role of the wild and rebel lover, while Max Irons excellently fits to the ideal son-in-law he embodies. We find by their sides other prominent and very convincing actors, such as Gary Oldman as said previously, but also Billy Burke (who played Bella's father in Twilight) and Julie Christie (the grandmother, who became famous with the movie Doctor Zhivago in 1965). They all portray their roles with talent, we can then assure that, just as the scenery does, the casting also deserves five stars.

Red Riding Hood is the fantasy version of a children tale, opening Perrault's (and Grimm's) work to a broader and older audience and in a clearly more appealing form. There are inevitably some things that remind us of Twilight (which had not merely been produced by Catherine Hardwicke, but also starred characters of the same age... and werewolves), but the adaptation to the big screen is still faithful to the original tale, referring to many quotes and facts (the red riding hood visiting her grandmother, the replies from one to the other, the speech about the big teeth and big ears...).

Hooked by the wonderful landscapes, the excellent casting and the perfect soundtrack, I was also surprised by the end of the movie, unexpected even if it seems quite logical now... The action is well-dosed all along, juggling between the wolf-hunting scenes and the love and heart's affairs of our heroine and her two suitors.
I don't hesitate to recommend strongly this movie to the fantasy fans of course, but also to a broader audience, because despite of all the links we can establish between both, Red Riding Hood's universe is clearly different from the Twilight honeyed one...