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The LEGO Movie – Movie Review

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The LEGO Movie – Movie Review

Rating: A (Fantastic)

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Few toys support the notion of creativity more than the delights of LEGO, so making a feature film surrounding those Danish bricks has many possibilities and directions it could go in. By employing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the hilarious director/writer duo who made food fall from the sky in many clever ways in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this movie fulfills all of the dreams of many LEGO fans, young and old. There are so many layers and intelligent avenues explored in The LEGO Movie that it’s a film that will be greatly rewarded with multiple viewings. However, even with a whole lot of material thrown into the mix, they are able to produce a very coherent story that is not only extremely funny, but tackles some important themes, has a real heartfelt emotional core and presents some major stakes for these characters and their multiple worlds.

There are so many LEGO brands to choose from and Lord and Miller impressively throw a lot of them into the film. There are the expected cowboy, medieval, city and pirate LEGO sets that are still their most beloved universes and being a Warner Brothers production, their DC properties make appearances in LEGO form. For those who have a fondness for the company’s train sets and movie licenses, they will be pleased to see some of them featured. Even the likes of BIONICLE and the discontinued Fabuland show up in a brief flash. Part of the joy of this movie is seeing how many of their iconic toys appear, if only for a short time. The only LEGO products that appear to be missing are the movie licensed characters the studio didn’t want to pay the rights to use and the video games. Of course, considering all of the detail placed into the backgrounds, there is a possibility of Rocket Racer or the LEGO Island characters being hidden somewhere. However, that incredible attention to crafting this animated universe is what results in a wondrous sight for the eyes. The team at Animal Logic manage to seamlessly combine stop-motion with computer animation, with the latter perfectly replicating the way LEGO figurines move. The filmmakers do not take any shortcuts with how the characters and pieces move from frame to frame and they use their limitations to humourous effect. Even the sound effects manage to capture that LEGO feeling. Those who tried making stop-motion LEGO movies in their youth (and possibly their adulthood) will appreciate what has been put on screen.

While the bout of nostalgia from LEGO fans will be large upon seeing this world come alive, the screenplay is so cleverly written that the appeal will extend to more than just diehard fans of the toy lines. The resulting adventure is a commentary on how society tends to limit our creativity as we must follow the “instructions” that life selects for us. In addition to understanding exactly what the appeal of the toys are, this is a meaningful message that can be relatable to anybody who has either been to school or gone through the hardships of life. The way Lord and Miller even use the fact that there are multiple LEGO sets to effectively convey the satire is brilliant and the story is never predictable. The movie’s catchy theme song “Everything Is Awesome” is itself such an ear worm, that it is easy to forget the tune is meant to represent the carefully constructed world the LEGO people inhabit and how they are blissfully unaware of the dictatorial regime they live in. That is the brilliance of the screenplay that it manages to tackle all of this satire in a subtle way, thus working on multiple levels.

At the centre of the story is the main character Emmet, who is an excellent embodiment of the everyman and immediately relatable. There is a genuine innocence and good nature to this character and if he was not already likeable enough, Chris Pratt’s wonderful voice-work adds a lot to Emmet’s “aw-shucks” sweetness. He represents all of us who are merely a speck in this massive universe. Wyldstyle is not merely the token female that there is there to make sassy comments and fight the villains, but actually has a nicely complex character arc and even Batman is not simply used as a joke character. The Caped Crusader is quite an essential character and Will Arnett brings his own spark of comedic brilliance to him. The villain President Business is a rather spot-on take on political corruption and the nice smiling faces we see on television that certainly have something to hide. His evil plan and the way it unfolds is written to fantastic effect as Lord and Miller use our own experiences with LEGO to enhance the humour of the situation.

However, they don’t shy away from the real stakes inherent in The LEGO Movie as these characters are worth becoming emotionally invested in. It is a key to their skill as writers that the heart and humour mix so well in conveying the many ideas that run through the film. All of the themes are amazingly constructed into the screenplay and despite all of the LEGO mayhem thrown at us, the story retains a coherent structure. Character development is not thrown to the side and even the high-speed chase sequences are major pieces that move the story arcs forward. It never feels like watching toys on-screen because the characters are so well-rounded and organic parts of this universe they inhabit. While Lord and Miller dig deep into our childhoods to create this story, they do not aim it squarely at that crowd and this is definitely the sort of animated feature that will find a bigger admiration among older viewers for its delights than with younger audiences. The LEGO Movie is like a lesson in how to make a wide-reaching family movie as the filmmakers have basically done a film for themselves rather than worrying about demographics.

While Warner Brothers may have greenlit The LEGO Movie for commercial reasons (it’s probably no coincidence that the screening was right next to a Toys ‘R’ Us), Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have taken the toy’s mission statement to heart. Whether you choose to follow the instructions or make your own creations with those colourful bricks, LEGO is appealing to every single person without condescending to them, their overly stereotypical “LEGO Friends” line aside. The LEGO Movie understands this perfectly and crafts a wonderful ode to creativity and imagination that will definitely bring to mind the many hours spent building and playing with LEGO on the living room rug. That they have made a very intelligent film that serves as a satire on conformity only adds to the hour and forty minutes of utter enjoyment and LEGO could not have picked a better set of directors to bring their beloved toys to the big screen.

Review By: Stefan Ellison

THE SCENE


Despised Icon Announce Temporary Reunion

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Despised Icon Announce Temporary Reunion

Despised Icon Reunion

Despised Icon Reunion

Three and a half years ago, fans of hardcore were saddened to find out that the Montreal band Despised Icon was breaking up. The decision was simply due to the fact that they had all reached different chapters in their lives, and needed to put Despised Icon to rest, to fulfill other plans, such as family.

From there, Alex Erian, frontman of Despised Icon, joined with members from Blind Witness, another Montreal band, to form the phenomenon that is Obey The Brave. They have been taking the world by storm. Other members of Despised Icon have been joining other bands, such as The Black Dahlia Murder. All in all, it seemed that there wouldn’t be any more Despised Icon.

On February 4th 2014, Despised Icon fans saw a YouTube video posted. Alex Erian and the rest of Despised Icon are seen and Erian explains that Despised Icon ultimately missed playing together and that they are getting back for a few festivals in Europe, the US, and Canada. He also quickly dispels any ideas that this might be a marketing stunt, that there will not be a new album. It is simply something that they are doing for fun.

So that raises the next question: Where will Despised Icon be playing in Canada? Will it be the Heavy MTL? Or will it be the recently on the rise Montebello Rockfest? Or maybe even the Festival d’Ete du Quebec, known for it’s eclectic style of music?

Only time will tell. But until then, hear the whole down-low from the guys themselves.

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THE SCENE


Juno Awards 2014 announce nominees and predictions

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Juno Awards 2014 announce nominees – see our predictions below

Montreal’s Arcade Fire leads the pact with six nominations followed by Serena Ryder and Michael Buble with five a piece.  Tegan and Sara, Celine Dion, Drake and Hedley each picked up four nominations.  Robin Thicke was nominated in three categories.

The Juno awards started off as a readers polls for RPM magazine in 1964.  In 1970 the first official ceremony known at the Gold Leaf Awards took place in Toronto.  Since then the Junos have grown to become synonymous with Canadian music and have helped create a benchmark that many recording artists strive for.

This year’s nationally televised event will take place March 30 in Winnipeg.

Here is the list of nominees and The Scene Magazine’s predictions.

JUNO FAN CHOICE AWARD (PRESENTED BY TD)
Arcade Fire
Avril Lavigne
Céline Dion
Drake
Hedley
Justin Bieber – PREDICTED WINNER
Michael Bublé
Robin Thicke
Serena Ryder
Walk Off the Earth

The nominees in this group are determined by sales.  The winner is chosen by fans via online voting. With three consecutive wins in 2011,2012,2013, we predict Canadian bad boy Justin Bieber is the favourite for a four-peat.

 


SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Reflektor – Arcade Fire
Inner Ninja – Classified ft. David Myles
It’s a Beautiful Day  – Michael Bublé
What I Wouldn’t Do  – Serena Ryder
Closer – Tegan and Sara – PREDICTED WINNER

This is a very close call.   However based on a slightly better chart position over Michael Buble we have to go with Tegan and Sara’s “Closer”.


INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars – PREDICTED WINNER
The Marshall Mathers LP 2  – Eminem
Night Visions -Imagine Dragons
Take Me Home – One Direction
The Truth About Love – P!nk

The album that beat out JT, Lordes and Robin Thicke at the Grammy’s this year is our favourite to win.  Sales for Bruno Mars and his delightful Unorthodox Jukebox jumped 164 percent after his flawless Superbowl performance last Sunday and we don’t predict it’ll slow down anytime soon.

 


ALBUM OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY MUSIC CANADA)
Reflektor Arcade Fire
Loved Me Back to Life – Céline Dion
Nothing Was the Same – Drake – PREDICTED WINNER
To Be Loved – Michael Bublé
Harmony – Serena Ryder

There’s some steep competition for Album Of The Year.  Both Buble and Dion are tied for the most wins ever in this category with three a piece.  However, we’ll toss a coin and say that Drake will walk away with the upset.

 


ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Céline Dion
Drake
Michael Bublé
Robin Thicke
Serena Ryder – PREDICTED WINNER

We really wish that Neil Young had been nominated for this category after all the awareness he brought to the oil sands in 2013.    However his 2011 win was still an achievement for the history books.    Seeing as most of the nominees can be considered ex-pats we’re really hoping CARAS members will vote for Serena Ryder for the much deserved win.


GROUP OF THE YEAR
Arcade Fire – PREDICTED WINNER
Blue Rodeo
Hedley
Tegan and Sara
Walk Off the Earth

This will be a close race between Tegan and Sara and Arcade Fire.    If the members take a good listen we’re sure they’ll choose the Fire for the win.


 

BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY FACTOR AND RADIO STARMAKER FUND)
Brett Kissel
Florence K
Tim Hicks – PREDICTED WINNER
Tyler Shaw
Wake Owl

St. Catherine’s native Tim Hicks has had a great year topping the Canadian country charts twice.   It’s going to be a close call between Hicks and his country colleague Brett Kissel.  But based on the numbers and with a little charm, Tim Hicks should win it.

 


BREAKTHROUGH GROUP OF THE YEAR (SPONSORED BY FACTOR AND RADIO STARMAKER FUND)
A Tribe Called Red
Autumn Hill
Born Ruffians
Courage My Love
July Talk – PREDICTED WINNER

It’s been a great year for all of the groups in this category.  A Tribe Call Red was short listed for the Polaris Music Prize with Nation II Nation and played some impressive festivals last summer.    Autumn Hill topped Canadian country music charts with their single “Anything At All”.   Born Ruffians who have constantly been touring since 2004 released their fourth album “Birthmarks” and finally got noticed by the Junos: “We’re coming! Here we come! joked bassist Mitch Derosier.   Courage My Love who sat down with us last summer at S.C.E.N.E Fest have recently signed to Warner Canada and are showing a ton of promise.

However it’s the awkward musical romance that forms July Talk whom we predict will take the crown.   Sharing lead vocals Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay formed in 2012 and quickly took the Toronto indie scene by storm.     In a very short time they managed to pull together a tight rhythm section featuring guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles and play some notable stages at NXNE and CMW.  In no time they were touring with the likes of Billy Talent, Matt Mays, Arkells, Sam Roberts and playing main stages from coast to coast. Their first successful video “Paper Girl” gathered 50,000 plays in 6mths and was quickly surpassed by their now popular “Guns and Ammunition” which has been on regular rotation on most radio stations across the country since it’s release last April and has amassed over 300,000 views.

 

WHO WILL GO HOME EMPTY HANDED?

As for who will get shut out? Well, Thicke qualifies for the Junos because he holds Canadian citizenship through his father.  While he’s not exactly known for hanging out at cafe’s in Kensington Market (Toronto) , partying on George Street (St.John’s), dining on St.Denis (Montreal) or busking on East Hastings (Vancouver), his over played blurry twerks last year were loud enough to get noticed by someone on the Juno committee.   Throw in the fact that he’s up against some stiff competition, we predict that this horse won’t make it out of the starting gate.

That’s it for our predictions at this time.  For a complete list of nominees please visit junoawards.ca

THE SCENE

 

 

 


The Canadian Shield at The Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto Live Review

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The Canadian Shield Header

Review/Photos – Feargal Daly (@FeargalDaly)

Who: The Canadian Shield

From: Toronto, ON

Where: The Horseshoe Tavern, TO

When: Friday, January 31st 2014

 

Score: 8

 

COMMENTS:

Local Music night at The Horseshoe Tavern is one of the key places downtown to witness an emerging selection of Toronto’s upcoming bands. Hit or miss you’re guaranteed to catch some act on the bill that will stick. Having already hit up some of Toronto’s best rock clubs in the wake of Songs For The Dead In Love, the rock duo The Canadian Shield returned to the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to deliver another late night of rock goodness.

 

The Canadian Shield Mike

STYLE:

Nothing too flashy to see here – It’s all about plug in, play and beat the eardrums into submission with raw rock and roll. It’s equal
parts blues rock and garage with driving riffs complimented by kinetic and surprisingly technical at times drumming. Doug (guitar/vox) and Mike (drums) know their instruments but abstain from musical wankery and allow the energetic performance to take centre stage. Think The Black Keys but with charisma.

 

CROWD:

You would have to be a really terrible act to dampen the typical good spirits of a Friday night Horseshoe crowd but you would also have to be damn good too if you wanted people to keep attention. The crowd were spared the act of creating their own fun as all eyes were focused on stage as two locals graced the eager patrons in need of that extra adrenaline to kick off the weekend. Doug and Mike are natural conversationalists when trading banter between themselves and the crowd while never outstaying its welcome.

 

IMAGE:

The Canadian Shield DougSometimes keeping it simple and straight up the middle is just what’s needed. Plaid shirts, jeans, boots (or lack thereof — Mike played sans shoes tonight for some reason) and you’ve got what some might call the typical look of the modern twenty something rockers of today. That’s a positive thing by the way. The last thing an emerging rock scene needs is a shovel full of makeup to bury its credibility. Keeping it simple adds credence to the music which was strong enough not to warrant any distractions.

 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

‘Bones On The Ground’ from Songs For The Dead In Love was a natural crowd pleaser as was ‘Oh My Soul’ and ‘HMS Erebus’. ‘Backwoods’ was announced as a new tune in the works for a future release. It showed a solid progression in song-writing on the back of an already impressive mix of hard rock riffage, anthemic vocals and high energy performance. Add all this to the aforementioned band/crowd chemistry and you have a nice collection of highlights to take home.

 

Overall:

It’s agreed upon by rock club goers in Toronto that there’s a great revival of sorts brewing across this city’s stages. The Canadian Shield is a band Toronto can be proud to call their own. They may not be the sole solution to help usher a new wave of talented bands into the spotlight but they are undoubtedly part of the equation. With a new record tentatively in the works for a summer release now is the time to keep an ear out for The Canadian Shield.

 


Montreal’s MIRE Announce Release of Inward/Outward

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Montreal’s MIRE Announce Release of Inward/Outward; Offer Free Download; Music Video ‘Limitless Pt. 2’

L-R -  Dave Massicotte: Guitar & Vocals | Stephane Boileau: Drums | J.P. LaChapelle: Lead Vocals | Bruno Chouinard: Guitar & Keys | Robbie O'Brien : Bass (Photo Credit: Carl Lessard)

L-R – Dave Massicotte: Guitar & Vocals | Stephane Boileau: Drums | J.P. LaChapelle: Lead Vocals | Bruno Chouinard: Guitar & Keys | Robbie O’Brien : Bass (Photo Credit: Carl Lessard)

Rising out of Montreal, QC’s vibrant music scene, progressive rock / metal band MIRE are proud to announce the official release of their debut album Inward/Outward on March 18th to follow up their 2010 self titled EP.

Two years in the making, Inward/Outward is a 10 track reflection of ideas flying every which way around the recording studio, ranging from cognitive science to a military stint in Afghanistan by guitarist Dave Massicotte.

“We created this with our guts and have dared to explore a less common style of metal where the music is less obvious and sometimes requires the individual to have more than one listen before being able to grasp and really appreciate every musical element,” says guitarist Massicotte of the album. “From big chunky guitar to light piano melody, every song will take you on a different journey and set of emotions.”

The band has released the first music video ‘Limitless Pt. 2’ in support of the album, which can be viewed at the following link:

[youtube id=”kQnqLxFv5oM” width=”620″ height=”360″]

FREE Download – Soundcloud stream: http://soundcloud.com/mireband/04-limitless-pt-2 

FREE Download – Bandcamp stream: https://mire.bandcamp.com/track/limitless-pt-2

“Limitless Pt. 2 is about waking up from your daily grind to acknowledge the mysticism of your existence. The potential of what mankind is capable of, starts in the hands of its individual subjects – it starts with you. As the title implies, Limitless is an expression of how far you should push your ambitions in all directions to fulfill your own ideal based on your individual experience.’ says vocalist JP LaChapelle. “MIRE celebrates diversity, because slaving to fit the mold serves another. Enough of us have been sacrificed for a semblance of freedom, and to perfect it takes mad balls. Courage to confront fear every single morning, day and night, live on the edge of your seat at all times and lean forward – goad life to ‘come at you bro’. Developing your conscience allows you to stretch out the fiber of the NOW and analyse it. Establish objectives; try 10 times in different ways until you succeed. OWN YOUR DESTINY. That’s the passion we felt when we created Limitless together.”

Track Listing: Inward/Outward

1. Complex (7:18)
2. Tyrannicide (5:33)
3. Limitless (Pt. 1) (3:47)
4. Limitless (Pt. 2) (3:22)
5. Convolution (1:23)
6. Beast and The Machine (5:53)
7. Catalan Atlas (5:05)
8. Mantra Cymatic (1:51)
9. Open Circle (5:42)
10. Upheaval (1:19)

Total Length: 41:17

Upcoming Show Dates:

Feb 15, 2014 – Montreal, QC – Club Soda - Show Details

Feb 28, 2014 – Montreal, QC – Live Interview & Performance at MusiquePlus 

March 20, 2014 – Montreal, QC – Underworld

For more info, please visit the following links:

http://www.MireMusic.com

http://www.facebook.com/miremusic

https://twitter.com/MireMusicCan

Album Pre-Order - http://mire.bandcamp.com/

EPK - http://ashermediarelations.com/epks/epk-mire-inward-outward-2014-release-date-march-4-2014/

– 30 –

“Their sound is hypnotizing and the lyrics are thought provoking.” – Collectively Beautiful

“Euphoria and excitation; the path chosen by these five musicians is exceptional. Very positive and down to earth” — Journal L’Exemplaire

“They certainly leave their mark. They are a diamond in the rough. The perfect place to be. They certainly bring Prog Rock back and then push it forward to another dimension. Lead singer, J.P. has what it takes to rip your heart or leave a tear hanging desperately on the edge of your eyelash. MIRE’s album « Inward:Outward » is a damn good start.” — Curtains Up

Mire - Inward Outward - Album Cover

Track Listing: Inward/Outward

1. Complex (7:18)
2. Tyrannicide (5:33)
3. Limitless (Pt. 1) (3:47)
4. Limitless (Pt. 2) (3:22)
5. Convolution (1:23)
6. Beast and The Machine (5:53)
7. Catalan Atlas (5:05)
8. Mantra Cymatic (1:51)
9. Open Circle (5:42)
10. Upheaval (1:19)

Total Length: 41:17

Album Credits:
– All songs performed by: Mire
– All songs written by: Mire
– Produced by: Mire & J.P. Nault
– Mixed by: J.P. Nault
– Mastered by: Ryan Morey
– CD Cover, Album Artwork: Diego Leal

Discography
2014 — Inward / Outward — LP
2010 — MIRE (Self-Titled) — EP

Shared Stage w/
Radio Radio, Courage My Love, Frozen Death, Shatters, Dogbus, Mordicus, Mak, Tiny Danza, Dead Citizen, Volume Collective, Far From Reality, Steinbock, Another Fallen Hero, Dance Over All


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