May 30, 2013

Iron Man 3 (2013) - Review

When: May 18th. Format: 3D Cinema. Genre: super-hero-movie. Trailer: here

The iron finally got emotions

Iron man 3 shows us that behind that suit there is a man, and that man is struggling to keep it together. After saving the world in Avengers, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has never been able to fully recover, mentally... He's begun to suffer from anxiety attacs and can't sleep. When a terrifying guy calling himself the Mandarin threatens both the president, Tony Stark and the people closest to him, it all becomes personal. Soon we see the fantastic Iron Man all alone, on the run, without his superpowers. Finally the brilliant mastermind that is Tony Stark resurfaces. He has to start compleatily from scratch with only a little boy and a garage at his disposal.

This could either be fantastic or an enormous disappointment. Iron Man's third installment is the first post-Avengers film released by Marvel, and with the inevitable comparison to the immensely popular movie that Avengers turned out to be, that could either be a blessing or a curse. I love super-hero-movies so I already knew I had to see this one as well, but the second movie about the metal-covered billionaire made me question if there was anything exciting and new to the story. Last time I missed the originality and the heart that was put into the first one. Luckily this one brought both. In spades.

Marvel has clearly learned a thing or two from its recent success. Heart, emotion, great characters, a brilliant nemesis to fight, the feeling that literally anything could happen, great action without being too much... and the constant stream of funny moments and one-liners to brighten the mood. So very many movies don't tick those boxes! They forget one or the other. Marvel's done it in the past, but this time they did their work right. The stakes are high, the threats are real, the losses are great and the characters and emotions are heartfelt.

To me, this probably marks the best Iron Man-film to date... It reminds me of The Dark Knight Rises (as a lot of other reviewers have mentioned) but it's so clearly not the same concept. Equally as good, but in a different way. And a lot of that has got to do with the ever-present humor surrounding Tony Stark. It lightens the gloomy and tense mood of the plot and action and makes the movie highly enjoyable and re-watchable. I loved it a whole lot more than I thought I would. Not everything is perfect, but while watching it there was nothing that particularly bothered me...

May 12, 2013

Make It Up (Sam Tsui) - Album Review

Details: "Make It Up" by Sam Tsui (prod. Kurt Hugo Schneider)
Released: May 11th 2013

Who Is This Guy?
Sam Tsui is a part of this next generation of pop-stars born and breaded on the internet. Together with his childhood-friend, Kurt Hugo Schneider, they have been making music videos on YouTube for over four years, and together they've really worked their way into the music industry from the bottom and up. Sam was the cute boy with the incredible voice and Kurt was the music-magician that breathed life into the music and knew how to actually piece all the different pieces together. I've already written a post about Kurt and his work, so I strongly suggest you head over here to read more about the man behind the music! 

Last year they announced that a full-length debut album was already under production, and this time around it contained all original music as opposed to the covers they usually do. Instead of signing with a record label they wanted to make this all by themselves, and to do that they certenly needed their fans' help. Several years of brilliant content had made both their YouTube channels very popular, and with Kurt's 2,3 million subscribers (KurtHugoSchneider) and Sam's 500 000 (TheSamTsui) they actually got their own fans to finance this album through a Kickstarter-project. They even got twice the money they needed!

Album Review
The album itself consists of fourteen songs, and surprisingly they are actually not as similar to each other as I feared! Since I am one of the contributors to their Kickstarter-project I actually got an early digital download of the album over a week ago, so I have been able to listen to it quite a couple of times... And this is actually one of those albums that grows on me and gets better and better each time. 

Ever since hearing his covers of songs like "Titanium", "Just A Dream" and "Don't You Worry Child" I knew he really could sing... But when I played this album loud in my headphones, without being "distracted" by some beautiful music video, his voice was so perfect it took my breath away! 

The greatest thing about this album though, except from his incredible voice, was the lyrics. I've only seen him do covers, so I was not fully prepared for the heart and emotion he had put down on the paper. Pop is not usually my genre since a lot of it sounds exactly the same and most of the lyrics are pretty shallow. Even though Sam's songs too are mostly about love I could actually feel the emotion... It was very easy to tell that he had put his heart and soul into this and was writing based on his own experiences. 

The weakest songs, according to me, were Wherever You Are and Bring Me The Night. The funny thing is that they were the only ones that lacked that emotion I mentioned. Wherever You Are is probably a great party-hit but Bring Me The Night played too much on clich├ęs. They were ok, but also the reason this album does not get a topp rating from me.

However, the album was fantastic all in all! Let me show you why...

Make It Up
The leading single from this album is actually so perfect for me and the situation in my life right now that it's ridiculous! Uplifting, enjoyable and with great lyrics I know means a lot to him personally. And accompanied by a fantastic music video, this is a guaranteed hit!

Me Without You
Such a gripping song... I know firsthand how a single person can change your life for the better. 

Worth It
A very honest song that should be able to touch anyone's heart. Arguably the best song of the entire album. So raw and filled with emotion. He manages not to just sing the song, but actually preform it.

Next Best Thing
This is a subjective review, so I feel fully justified saying that this song touched me so hard I actually broke down in tears. A lot of people need to hear this message, even if they don't want to, because being a person's second choice is not a good place to stay. Way too many are fine with being under-appreciated and settle for less than they deserve...

May 1, 2013

April Update - A Neon Colored Life

Another month flew by way too quickly.
The fun has ended. From now on the studies and exams' got the upper hand...

Did you do anything exciting?
This month I've been home for a couple of days to visit friends and family. I even got to go to my good friend Sara's eighteenth birthday. I've also been to a christian youth-camp just outside Bergen together with Simon, Jonas, Ole and Benjamin. The camp was even better than I expected and I got to know lots of new people! I even got to know some girls... What? It might come as a shock for some of you, but I don't only ever talk to guys!

Funniest thing that happened?
This is always the hardest question! Too many great moments to choose from...
But one moment that made me laugh the most was probably during blind man's buff. Simon, Jonas, Benjamin and his brother Tom and myself was visiting a guy named Robert. After playing various childhood TV-games for a while we suddenly decided to be even more childish and play blind man's buff. We turned off all the lights in the entire apartment, removed anything that could easily get broken and turned on some scary "haunted house"-music. One person then got blindfolded and the fun could begin! Let's just say that screaming, laughing, pushing, running and falling quite a lot was all a part of the game. Throwing mattresses at people and turning on vacuum cleaners was perfectly within the rules too. Being the only girl, it was quite a challenge not to reveal my identity too easily, but all in all it was some of the best hours of fun I've had in a while! You aren't fully grown-up until you dare to be childish...

Best Movies you've seen?
Shockingly enough I've actually only seen two movies during all of April. Luckily they were awesome! The first one was The Amazing Spiderman and it was so much better than I expected. The second one was Casino from 1995 (reviewed here), and it was just like watching a masterclass in both acting and moviemaking...

Favorite edible thing?
Again the winner is Zupperia! It's starting to become a favorite restaurant of mine. This time I had deep fried scampi. Even for a person not too fan of seafood this tasted heavenly!

Which songs have you listened to the most?
This month it's definitely been all about punk-rock and other alternative sub-genres. I had a week of walking down memory lane with Panic! before the brilliant and fantastic thing that was FOB's Save Rock And Roll (reviewed here) was released. Now, however, I need some new bands and artist to listen to so I wouldn't go tired of the ones I already love. I also see myself drifting towards the more "quiet" genres of music... I guess it is required to keep up the musical balacne or something? Of Monsters And Men, Ben Howard and Birdy became my saviours...

"The Phoenix" - Fall Out Boy
"cute as a button" "avenue maintain" "mint candy apple"
"Young Volcanoes" - Fall Out Boy
"Life In Color" - OneRepublic
"Little Talks" - Of Monsters And Men
"Trade Mistakes" - Panic! At The Disco
"Miss Missing You" - Fall Out Boy
"Burning Bridges" - OneRepublic

Favorite material thing?
Bright and flashy colors is not usually something that can be connected with me. But this spring I decided to give it a try and bought sweaters in neon-orange and mint-green and bright blue. And nail-polish! (From Essie of course. Where else?)

Something that made you proud?
This blog actually... I've invested quite a few hours designing and improving both the layout and the content, and I actually feel like I've got it just how I wanted it to be in the first place. That's a great feeling!

What did you learn?
That strangers are just friends you haven't gotten to know yet.

What are you looking forward to?
Well... First I have three exams... But after those I get to go to London with my amazing best friend!

Copyright: Bente (

April 30, 2013

Casino (1995) - Review

When: April 30th. Format: DVD 2-disc collectors edition Genre: Gangster-drama

Why don't they make movies like this anymore?

I literary had no idea what I was up for when I borrowed this old DVD from a friend. I just spotted the title in his bookshelf, and with my newfound love for poker I just figured I'd give it a try. Looking a little more closely the names Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro looked right back at me. Just about then I understood that this was no crappy poker-film...

It started at the end of the story. That's always a risky move in my book. Because how are you then going to keep the excitement and mystery up when people know what's coming? From that point on, however, the voice-over began. And surprisingly enough it did not go away either. That's a very risky move! It took some getting used to, but after getting to know the different characters more, and more voices were added to the voice-over, I quickly learned to recognize them. 

Only minutes into the movie I found myself unwillingly lured into this compelling and mysterious world of casinos, mob lords, gangsters, corruption and money. Loads and loads of money. The mood was so authentic and the entire vibe of an 80's Las Vegas that now only exist in memory was so believable I all but forgot I was watching a movie. But the key to it all? The characters. They were all so layered and different and complex and human and... real. Not a single one felt superfluous, unimportant or underdeveloped. And the actors were equally brilliant. It felt like watching a masterclass in acting seeing all of these legends walking about, not acting, but being their character.

Despite being on-screen for almost the entire runtime of the breathtaking 178 minutes, De Niro here proves to be one of the best actors of all time. Playing a guy constantly balancing his life between the brilliant, merciless and stone-cold casino-boss, and the loving, caring and vulnerable husband and father. He's simply believable. And the continued voice-over actually gave an exiting inside-look to the main character's thoughts and intentions, sort of breaking the fourth wall leaving you with the feeling that you watched the movie together with the characters constantly hearing their blabbering and comments. That was what made the movie for me. Movies simply don't do that. Usually.

The swearing. I'm not usually the one to complain about swearing in movies, but this one was actually the long-time record-holder for using the word "fuck" 428 times. That is a lot of swearing, even for me. And a certain scene in a corn-field was so graphic and violent that even I cringed...

Why you should watch it
I could go on for another thousand words trying to explain why I found it as thrilling and captivating as I did, but that would do no good due to the fact that you'd never bother reading it... All I have to say is that this is moviemaking at it's best. Bold, risky, realistic, different and perfect. It's a movie named Casino that is not at all about the games and cards and chips, but about the betting that constantly has to be done in real-life. Marriage, family, work, business, friends... it's all about placing the right bets with the right people at the right time. 


April 17, 2013

Save Rock And Roll (Fall Out Boy) - Album Review

Details: "Save Rock And Roll" by Fall Out Boy
Released: April 15th 2013

Review: Since I've already written a quite long blog post about Fall Out Boy I'll actually dig right into what I thought about this album... (click here to read the other post, though!) After a hiatus lasting more than three years they suddenly surprised the world when they announced that they had finally come together again and made their fourth studio album. I'f you like their facebook-page you probably know that they actually made their entire album available for free streaming through SoundCloud last week already? Due to this joyous surprise I've been able to listen through the entire thing a lot of times already, and I can't stress enough how truly great it is!

If you've been reading my monthly updates for the past couple of months you've probably figured that I've been obsessed with the first two singles from the album, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for when I was finally getting to listen to the rest of the tracks. A lot of it was just as awesome as I expected, but there were also some surprises in there like the song Young Volcanoes. Someone mentioned that it sounded like Fun. and that's not someone you'd normally associate with FOB. But both that one and some of the other ones were standouts both despite and because of the new and different vibe they'd put into it.

Some have argued that despite the album title not all of these songs are actually rock... But that doesn't really seem to be FOB's intention either. To me this album feels like their statement to the world that they want to bring back the rebellious and groundbreaking form of music that once changed and defined generations, but that to accomplish that they also had to make it new and current. Both they and the music world has changed over the past couple of years, and that's the way it has to be. Change is always for the better. To me Save Rock And Roll proved what can happen when a punk-band grows older, braver, wiser and better.

Maybe they didn't exactly save rock and roll? But they totally made something fresh and exciting by giving an old feeling a new sound. Even though some tracks were just a tiny bit weaker than the rest of them it's not even worth mentioning, because for me this is actually one out of a very few albums where I honestly love and enjoy the entire thing from beginning to end. Fall Out Boy and Save Rock And Roll has saved a place on my all time favorites from now on...

Favorite tracks: My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark,
The Phoenix, Young Volcanoes, Alone Together,

Rating: 9/10 - AWESOME

April 9, 2013

Fall Out Boy Is Back!

Joe Trohman, Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley
I found a "new" band!
You know that when you open Spotify you're presented with a page containing new music specifically recommended for you? One day it told me that since I love Panic! At The Disco I'd probably like this new single by a band named Fall Out Boy. I clicked on it to check it out... and I've never regretted that decision! 

I've discovered that I really like original and experimenting music. From Kaizers Orchestra to Florence & The Machine to Panic! At The Disco, Muse, Linkin Park, Hoobastank and Imagine Dragons... They were all very original and wired when they first started. Now they're all kind of mainstream, but that's because the world has finally discovered what good music is. Fall Out Boy included.

A little background-research
Fall Out Boy is said to be a pop-punk or pop-rock band with both hardcore and emo influences. Over the years they've kind of made their own genre and have experienced a lot of success as a result. When they first formed in Chicago in 2001 they were heavily influenced by their interest for hardcore punk as most of them had been playing in various other hardcore bands prior to forming Fall Ot Boy. 

From their debut in 2003 to their latest studio album from 2008, they've been massively successful and have sold millions of records all over the world. However, at the end of 2009 the band announced that they'd take an indefinite hiatus. No problems, no breakup, no explanation at all... just a break. A break that lasted more than three years. 

When 2012 was coming to an end the rumors had started to pass about Fall Out Boy's reunion. On February 4th 2013 the band officially announced that their hiatus had come to an end and that a new studio album was to be released along with a brand new tour. They were back!

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark
The song I found on Spotify that day was their new single with the ridiculously long name My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up). It's become a radio-hit all across the world, and it's simply a stunning piece of music! One could argue that this is some kind of agressive rock that pulls you right in from its first beat to its last, which wouldn't be too far off as their new album is titeled Save Rock And Roll.

The music video was kind of a let-down at first... But it turned out that it would be explained further by the video for their next single. Regardless, the song in itself is so majestic and original that you don't need any visuals at all to love it. Like most of their songs the lyrics aren't too easy to decipher and make sense of, but I somehow find the entire track both quite rebellious and uplifting. Combined with the music video I feel like it has to do with letting go of the past and start all over with blank pages to figure out who you really are and how you want to be. (Exactly what Fall Out Boy just did themselves...)

Favorite part: 2:13 - 2:38
Rating: 10/10 - AMAZING

The Phoenix
Their second single was released worldwide on March 26st along with another music video. This video  proved to be the prequel to the first one, as this takes place a few days earlier. Here a group of masked girls are kidnapping one after one of the bands members. For what reason it does not say... but that somehow doesn't seem to be too important. Again I feel the song is way better than the music video and should be blasted at ear-shattering volume in your car. It's just got a fantastic energy that comes every single time I play it!

Favorite part: 3:29 - 3:32
Rating: 10/10 - AMAZING

Giving both the singles top rating is not something I usually do... But these two have been on constant repeat on my iPod and MAC for weeks now and I love them more now than ever! I simply can't wait to get my hands on their new album and will tell you what I think about it as soon as I have it. April 12th can not come fast enough...

April 5, 2013

Jack Reacher (2012) - Review

When: April 5th
What format did I watch: Digital download

Review: This is a smart one. I thought I was in for a typical action movie with one bad guy and one hero and a lot of shooting and car chases. Instead I find a hero who's not really a hero at all, the villain's (or villains') identity is questionable or unknown... The shooting and car chase did occur, but not as I had expected. So basically I started to realice that this was a movie where the anti-hero and the suspect's lawyer tries to prove that the guy appearing to be the guilty one actually is innocent. Mix Inception and the Bourne Legacy with The Usual Suspects and Batman Begins and you'll get an idea of what you're up for...

Drawbacks: The only thing that was a tiny disappointment was actually the ending. Don't get me wrong, it was good! It just wasn't as original and brilliant as the rest of the movie... I kind of felt that some of the loose ends didn't get collected and explained as well as I'd like. But I honestly can't think of another way to end it either... At least I still felt like I'd seen a really good movie when the end credits came on. That's what counts.

Why you should watch it: The beginning sais it all. It's actually amazing. Secrecy, brilliant camerawork,  perfect pacing, clever close-ups... And not a single word is being said until we're over seven minutes into the movie! The pictures, sounds and shots speak for themselves. That's artistry. Watch the first eleven minutes and you know this is going to be good... Trust me. 

Rating: 8/10 - GREAT

April 4, 2013

I Give It A Year (2013) - Review

When: March 27th
What format did I Watch: Cinema

Review: My best friend and I suddenly decided to go and watch this at our local movie theater even though we knew nothing about it. That's always risky... Luckily it could have gone a whole lot worse, as we discovered it was actually really funny. The whole idea of looking into what happens to a couple during their first year of marriage is actually quite good, and the four main characters played their part as best as they could. However, even though I had a good time at the movie theater I don't consider this to be a memorable movie, as I actually have trouble remembering more of it that some key moments. It was good fun there and then, but I don't think I'll watch it again...

Drawbacks: The grooms best friend was the single most awkward character to ever appear on film! Some find that funny, but personally I just find it annoying and quite disturbing... I kind of feel bad for them and get embarrassed as if I was really there. Generally there were a lot of dry and wired humor, but some of it was truly funny. BUT... I must warn you about the extensive amount of "adult jokes" and such in here, so mind who you take with you so you don't end up wanting to dig yourself into a black hole!

Why you should watch it: Like I said, it was good fun for a night out if you want to watch something easy and silly and just laugh for a while. And sometimes that's exactly the kind of movie one wants. And despite the plot in itself not being particularly complicated or memorable, it actually wasn't as predictable as I'd expected. That's a huge plus! So go and watch it if you're in need of a laugh :)

Rating: 6/10 - GOOD

April 3, 2013

March Update - Spring Time!

I know it's technically April already, but since I had my best friend visiting me here in Bergen for the end of March I decided it was no crime to finish this post a little late. 
Easter is over, but it's finally spring <3

Did you do anything exciting?
It seems like the answer to this particular question is always YES!
And as I've mentioned before, my best friend, Maria, visited me during the Easter-holiday. We had a thon of fun! However, I've actually quite forgotten to document much of it, so there aren't really that many pictures to show you... I'll try to do better next month :)
However, most of February was spent with my little gang of boys. We've truly had a great time doing all sorts of things... Basically staying up all night and sleeping most of the day :D I'm so grateful that I got to know these guys!

Funniest thing that happened?
Ow... thats hard! There has been so many fantastic moments...
But one I remember was when I decided to visit one of my best friends here in Bergen, Ken Martin, when he was at work. I actually got to know him through Facebook... which I usually never do! Anyway, since I got to know him through messages and such I've actually never met his girlfriend. So when I walked into the kiosk where he works and saw that a girl was sitting next to him behind the counter, I can't be blaimed for thinking it was her... However, she acted really wired as I said hello to him, and did not seem to want to notice me at all? After the longest and most tense silence I've experienced in a while he finally presented us for each other. It turned out that she was just a friend of him waiting to catch a train, and that she thought I was his girlfriend! We all had a good laugh about it... especially Ken Martin himself!

Best movies you've seen?
As you can probably see in the sidebar to the right, I've been watching a lot of movies recently. The best one was probably Argo (rewieved here) which surprised me by being far better than I'd anticipated. Others worth mentioning are Pitch Perfect, basically Glee made into a movie... The Croods, an animation I loved more than I thought I would... And the two "older" movies Monsters, Inc. and X-men Origins: Wolverine.

Favorite edible thing?
Tapas at Zupperia with Maria <3
When Maria visited we ate so many fantastic and exciting things I honestly don't know which was best!  Standout moments were when we tried tapas, sushi and a fantastic noodle-dish with beef. Zupperia and Namo, we are coming back :)

I must also mention the black pasta I got served at a dinnerparty at Simon's house! Cool, right?

Which songs have you listened to the most?
Actually my playlists have mostly been quite similar to the ones I listeden to during February... For me, who's not that good at keeping track of all the new and good music out there, finding new music can take hours! But I kind of "rediscovered" Vices & Virtues by Panic! At The Disco... it's awesome!

"My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" - Fall Out Boy
"Try" - Pink
"Sara Smiles" - Panic! At The Disco
"Trade Mistakes" - Panic! At The Disco
"Tokyo Ice Til Clementine" - Kaizers Orchestra
"Let's Kill Tonight" - Panic! At The Disco

Favorite material things?
Here I'm gonna be really girly actually! You see, I walked by Kicks one day and suddenly spotted a new parfume from the brand Escada. I love all their scents so I decided to smell this one as it was the limited edition spring fragrance named Cherry In The Air... Needles to say it smelled so good I actually bought it on the spot. Love it.

Something that made you proud?
I actually went jogging! Once... But still, better that none! It's been so freaking cold here that it's not been very tempting to go outside more than absolutely needed, but as I can finally feel the spring heat creeping upon us I'm going to try my best to get at least a bare minimum of exercise. I need it!

What did you learn?
During the past couple of months I've met so many new people I couldn't count them all even if I wanted to. Meeting new people is always both exciting and frightning at the same time... And I've always been one of those people who has to constantly make a choice to put myself out there and be social and talk to new people. It just doesn't come naturally to me... But the thing I've learned is to just be myself and be open about me and my life and ask a lot of questions... In doing that I'm always nice to the people I meet, but I also know that not everybody will like me or like the way I am. That's life. But in accepting that I also discovered that I had nothing to loose. Those who do not like me wouldn't have been great friends anyway, and those who take me for the person I am can become true friends :)

What are you looking forward to?
I'm actually going home again in two weeks, so that'll be this month's thing to look forward to <3

March 20, 2013

We'll Finally Get Scott Lynch's "Republic of Thieves"

We've waited. And waited. And waited some more.... 
And no, the day is not here... yet.
But finally we know when it's coming! 

The most brilliant author in the world at the moment, Scott Lynch, finally brought us the release date for the third book about the Gentlemen Bastards. The Republic of Thieves had been eagerly awaited for years... And due to a lot of different reasons the rumors surrounding the book and its release has been both many, inconsistent and false. But finally Lynch himself declared that the book would be published October 8th 2013, and that the only thing that could prevent that would be obliteration of the planet Earth. And since we all survived 2012 I see no future apocalypse coming any time soon...

If you've got no idea why this is such a big deal for me and a whole lot of others across the world, I should probably mention that the books about the Gentlemen Bastards are probably my favorite books in the entire world, at least so far... And that says a lot actually, as I've read a quite substancial amount of books considering the fact that I'm only nineteen years old.

Amazon about: The Lies of Locke Lamora
In a distant world, orphan Locke Lamora is sold into a crew of thieves and con artists. Soon his natural gifts make him an underworld celebrity, leader of the flamboyantly larcenous Gentleman Bastards. But there is someone who covets Locke's talents, his success, his very life, forcing him to put everything on the line to protect himself. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part Robin Hood, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling.…
(full description here...)
Amazon about: Red Seas Under Red Skies
Like its roguish protagonists, Lynch's colorful sequel to 2006's The Lies of Locke Lamora is charming, unpredictable and fast on its feet and stands surprisingly well on its own given its convoluted plot. Initially poised to rob the Sinspire, the notoriously thief-proof casino where the penalty for cheating is death, Locke and his partner, Jean, are unwillingly sidetracked into joining and then leading a pirate crew, swindling their way across the sea as they had previously done on land. 
(full description here...)
If you haven't read them I strongly suggest you do. If you'r into fantasy or not it won't matter, as this is just a really good story that anyone (of any age or gender) can find something to love about it. Locke Lamora is probably one of the most interesting and original characters ever to appear in a book... Hurry to get to know him so that we can wait for the next book together!

The Republic of Thieves - release date October 8th

Lynch Industries
The Little Red Rewiever
Science Fiction and Fantasy