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Cradle 2 the Grave

What a surprise—another velocity-driven action-adventure feature that stars a slick muscle-toned black rapper, a no nonsense diminutive butt-kicking Asian karate machine, booty-shaking busty babes, an extremely boisterous hip hop soundtrack that’s enough to make your ears bleed to death and an insane and cockeyed plot that takes its foolishness to the ultimate extreme! Of course, this pretty much sums up director Andrzej Bartkowziak’s ridiculously over-hyped and twitchy crime caper Cradle 2 the Grave. Bartkowziak, who previously helmed carefree actions such as Exit Wounds and Romeo Must Die, tries to crank up the volume a bit in an effort to deliver a sizzling urban thriller that willingly flaunts its badass attitude. Despite the flashy fight sequences and the daring but all-too-familiar high-wire stunts that give this ultra-cool kitschy movie its kinetic kudos, Cradle 2 the Grave is an overbearing session of nonsense trying desperately to live up to its pseudo-stylized swagger.

There’s no question that the leads in Cradle 2 the Grave exude a charismatic energy that aids this otherwise contrived contraption that’s being passed off as a frothy vehicle of vengeance. DMX, who was probably the best element in Bartkowziak’s forgettable aforementioned Exit Wounds, reunites with his director to help bring a heavy dosage of inner city naughtiness to the pulsating proceedings. And Jet Li, also another former Bartkowziak leading crony from the passable martial arts romancer Romeo Must Die, brings to the table his usual fury of stoic chopsocky charm. Still, the twosome are bogged down in a series of flagrant and flamboyant plot devices that are excitable but have no genuine grit behind the meaningless mayhem. As an urbanized crime flick with a heavy-handed dose of cunning calisthenics and exuberant explosions to match, Cradle 2 the Grave doesn’t contribute anything worthwhile or imaginative to enlighten us beyond the rudimentary and rambunctious nature of this particular exploited genre. In essence, Bartkowziak’s brazen narrative is showy, shapeless, overwrought, senseless and arbitrary.

Following in the run-of-the-mill tradition of the mismatched and ethnically diverse buddy-buddy mode, we are introduced to an explosive tandem thrown together by their unusual circumstances. Jet Li plays Su, a dour-faced Taiwanese intelligence operative out to recover some precious diamonds and duke it out with the responsible riff raff behind the illegal operation. Eventually joining him in his quest to complete this mission is Tony Fait (DMX), a smooth tough-as-nails ringleader in charge of a band of skilled jewel robbers. Fait and his feisty followers manage to heist a cache of precious black diamonds under the watchful eye of the clueless Taiwanese government (in an implausible, ludicrous manner that is…) while penetrating a durable safe with a noticeable blast from a rocket launcher. But soon Fait and his felonious friends will get their comeuppance when an LA crime enforcer turns the tables on them and snatches the goods away from their possession.

The cat-and-mouse ploy continues to coast along as the tossed-about diamonds soon end up in the menacing hands of the dreaded Ling (Mark Dacascos). And to make matters worse, the ruthless Ling decided to put a bold stamp on his deception by taking hostage Fait’s impressionable young daughter (Paige Hurd) therefore creating an all-out declaration of an elaborate streetwise-war that is guaranteed to ruffle the GQ feathers of the perturbed Fait. This is where Agent Su comes in to help out with the cartoonish chaos; his teaming with the furious Fait will ensure the return of the valuable stash (and his working partner’s offspring). Su will stop it nothing to see this conflict through (with the convenience of using his flexible frame as a punishing fleshy weapon). The property of diamonds will be returned to the Taiwanese government and Su will complete this task by any means necessary.

Now many will detest the negative feedback of a notable segment of critics who’ll be predictably dismissed as “being an unfair and miserable bunch that have no appreciation, tolerance, understanding or sense of humor whatsoever for this kind of fun and stylish flick” or “naysayers who wouldn’t understand a good action movie if it jumped up and knocked them in their thick skulls''. Suffice to say, no one will deny that Bartkowziak’s rollicking entertainment is mainly appeasing (and solely directed) at the youth-oriented demographics or even to the older non-discriminating enthusiasts that crave the rhythmic raucousness of both the high-powered music (it helps that some of star DMX’s songs are scattered throughout the soundtrack, particularly the catchy pounding beat “X Gon’ Give it to Ya”) and the ballet of bullets and roundhouse kicks to the crotch that make up this faulty but convincingly throbbing thriller. But Bartkowziak fails to realize that his frenzied yet fruitless session of frantic flourishes that cater to the action-packed needs of his receptive audience is relentlessly redundant. Plus, it’s another faceless fast-paced yarn that will be digested quicker than yesterday’s junk food binge.

In a way, Bartkowziak cannot be blamed for giving in to the ambitious notion of exploring the pop culture craze that is the omnipresent force of rap artistry and martial arts mayhem. Together, these concepts make for an easy profitable partnership that will draw in the imagination of the excitable targeted moviegoers. With the previous proven formula generated by the cinematic success of the comically aggressive Chris Tucker-Jackie Chan Rush Hour movies, it’s clear to see why Bartkowziak would gamble on offering his straight-laced variation through the likes of prepped-up players DMX and Jet Li. The problem, however, is that the natural chemistry between Tucker and Chan was evident from the get go. Hence, their adventures and mishaps seemed effortless that made for their giddy, appetizing on-screen high jinks. With DMX and Li, they come off as a strained carbon copy duo simply roughing the edges of the overzealous material they’re asked to liven with their volatile, showboating presence.

Whereas Tucker and Chan carried their films with the goofy-minded personal appeal that epitomized them as enjoyable performers (Tucker’s annoyingly high-pitched voice and hilarious gestures; Chan’s impishness and self-deprecating persona), the personalities of DMX and Li are manufactured by the slaphappy goings-on of an overactive script that dictates their devilish facades courtesy of the merry-go-round madness that surrounds them. DMX does have an intrinsic angst to him that’s involved and the ladies will probably take to him like a duck does to water. But in this pumped-up motion picture, almost any solid rap artist with a cocky edge could have strutted through the shifty shoes of DMX’s alter ego Tony Fait. And poor Li still suffers from the limited English language barrier problem that constantly leaves him on the outside looking in. It doesn’t help that Li lacks the dynamic sparkle or “the approachable and playful common guy touch” that the clownish Chan is rightly noted for based on his hailed good-natured showbiz reputation.

Regrettably, Cradle 2 the Grave doesn’t take the constructive time to cater to its own surging identity. Instead, it’s nothing more than a strung-out series of random sensational vignettes that could easily be packaged under the videotape collection title of Homeboys, Hoochie Mamas and Kung Fu Cats Gone Wild! One wouldn’t mind if Bartkowziak was purposely going for the camp factor in a fired-up fable that’s shamelessly over-the-top in its initial state. What was meant as pure hip intensity and suspense with the hectic aspects of this super-sized spectacle (the vibrating background tunes, transportation vehicles flying from rooftop to rooftop if not simply smashing into other innocent objects in a numbing cry for attention, acrobatic human bodies flipping and flopping carelessly in mid air as if they were rejected specimens from an Olympic gymnastics tryout, selective items that explode into flames on cue for no apparent reason, etc.) merely comes off as an exhaustive and glorified music video with a generous hint of chest-thumping video game violence.

As if to sweeten the pot a bit, the movie ventures into a pointless arms dealers subplot that already puts an intolerable slant on these tediously conjured up proceedings. Oh yeah, and what’s a halfway jittery gangsta/martial arts heist-driven display without the proverbial interjection of the comic relief? In this case, the buffoonish Bopsey Twins of Anthony Anderson (Kangaroo Jack) and Tom Arnold add to the mix as the obligatory riotous distractions in an effort to contribute some chuckles to this rigged and rap-fueled roller-coaster ride.

Bartkowziak’s baby went rock-a-bye all right and the frantic wind did excessively blow—but this Cradle simply didn’t rock.

If you love watching action-packed movies or reading reviews about them, then check out Hollywood Insider for more in-depth reviews like this one.






Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

2009 brings us with Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the 3rd part of the series that shows us the origins of the war that ravaged through centuries. The movie starts 20 years after the war started between Vampires and Werewolves, the 2 factions are split and fierce enemies being the first of their kind each had their own special abilities. The werewolves were an infectious breed that once you got bitten you would transform and you could never change into human form again, while the vampires could not walk in the daylight.

Viktor, played by Bill Nighy, an elder in the vampire clan started to build up his army to counter this growing threat and during this war he encountered a boy being born from a werewolf and although every fiber of his body told him to kill the boy he could not do it, instead he enslaved the boy, trained him and thus a new breed was born, the lycans half werewolf half man they could change form when they desired. The boy was named Lucian and he was the first of his species, from his blood victor made more to use as his personal guard during daylight and enslave to do all the hard labor.

From here the movie brings you with different plots within and outside the Vampire family, Viktors daughter Sonja, played by the beautiful Rhona Mitra as she grows she gets fond of Lucian and thus a romance story evolves between them. Although it is being kept in the utmost secrecy their secret will be found out, a fact that will lead to Lucian attempting to escape with all his brothers from the domination of the vampires. The escape plan did not go according to plan and only a hand few escaped with Lucian, Sonja remaining behind. After finding out of Sonja's deception to her own kin the elders voted that she must be executed, the news reaching Lucian also. As you can imagine Lucian gathers troops to assault the vampire stronghold also he makes an alliance with the werewolf’s since it seems they were obedient to him, sensing that he is different from the others. What follows is a total war between the vampires and lycans, full of blood, gore, and action and all hell breaks loose when Sonja is executed in front of Lucian eyes. The action is depicted in the vampires stronghold and the sets are nicely made although sometimes you will get bored with the same background over and over. Thus the director tried to combine love also into the movie but still as a main feature the action part will always be present there and the gore element is always around the corner in this movie.

All in all Underworlds: Rise of the Lycans is a nice movie to enjoy in your spare time if you have 92 min to indulge in a fantasy action movie but don’t expect to be amazed by it.

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 min 33 secs
Genre: Horror/Suspense
Theatrical Release: Jan 23, 2009 Wide
Box Office: $45,802,315
Starring: Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Rhona Mitra, Steven Mackintosh, Kevin Grevioux, Danny McBride
Director: Patrick Tatopoulos
Story: Len Wiseman, Robert Orr, Danny McBride
Screenwriter: Danny McBride, Dirk Blackman, Howard McCain
Composer: Paul Haslinger
Producer: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Len Wiseman, Richard Wright
Studio: Screen Gems

If you love watching horror or fiction movies and reading reviews about them, then check out Hollywood Insider for more in-depth reviews like this one.






Film Review: Bobby

At first thought, an actor with a resume such as Emilio Estevez’s seemed under-qualified to create and carry a movie such as Bobby. Surely a movie about the assassination of Senator Robert F Kennedy during his presidential campaign would have such political and social awareness, that Estevez would be out of his league. He’s the jock in The Breakfast Club, the lovesick student in St. Elmo’s Fire. Need I even bring up The Mighty Ducks?

He should have remembered his famous pedigree, though. His father, Martin Sheen, has played numerous presidents, including both RFK and JFK. It seems some of that ideology has rubbed off on Estevez, as he wrote, directed, and starred in this movie that reflects the ideology of an entire era. The hypothetical lives of everyone at the Ambassador Hotel when Senator Kennedy was shot are explored, from campaign workers, to food service, to a young couple getting married.

Estevez casts family, friends, and even an ex, and despite the nepotism, the casting is exact, if not even being stretched to be typecasting. The most humorous of the cast is Demi Moore, Estevez’s ex-fiance, as Las Vegas has-been, and himself as her long-suffering husband. Freud would’ve loved that one. And it doesn’t end there. In addition, Moore ’s present husband, Ashton Kutcher, is cast as a drug dealer selling some young campaign workers their first acid trip, then getting busted.

More interesting still, is not just that these people were cast, but that they did it for next to nothing. All the big name actors in this movie, Sharon Stone, William H Macy, Christian Slater, Anthony Hopkins, worked for scale, and for good reason. Estevez did a lot to develop these characters. While we meet so many different characters in the first ten minutes of the movie without any history attached to them, it looked to be confusing. Yet they all became very distinct personalities, with a huge role in what went on in that hotel that evening.

Everyone is looking for hope, and entwined by their idealistic views of the future. Macy’s character comes off so self-righteous, firing Slater for being a racist and not letting the mostly Latino kitchen staff leave to go vote. Yet, it’s also the same Macy character that is having an affair with Heather Graham, a hotel operator, behind the back of his wife, salon owner, Stone. Even worse, despite the fact that it’s 1968, Macy fires off a list to Stone on who and what she should vote for, as if she can’t think for herself.

Lindsay Lohan’s character is getting married to a male friend from school. She tells Stone over a manicure, she’s not marrying for love or money, just to save a life, as her groom, Elijah Wood, is about to enter the service, and she wants to save him from going to the front lines of the war. Martin Sheen and Helen Hunt appear in the film as a couple that aren’t sure of themselves as people, but very sure of themselves as a couple. In the beginning of the day she thinks the worst thing of the trip has happened when she forgets to pack her black shoes, but by the end of the evening, she certainly has a different view.

Perhaps the character with the most ideology is that of the food service worker, Freddy Rodriguez, who still believes there’s a good life waiting for him, despite the fact Slater keeps scheduling him for double shifts, Jacob Vargas telling him that because they‘re “Mexicans” they’ll always get the short end of the stick, and Laurence Fishburne assuring him some day he’ll have his due.

I don’t have to worry about blowing the ending for anyone here, as everyone that passed eighth grade history knows what happened on the night of June 4, 1968. Yet, it seems to me the message Estevez is trying to impart is that while Bobby Kennedy died that night, all those supporters survived. The symbol of their hope may have died, but their hope lived on.

For more on pop, culture, and entertainment, visit Hollywood Inisder.






SLASH GUITAR PAGE
 

        Hi, welcome to Slash Guitar Page! This page is dedicated to Slash, one of the biggest guitar players off all time!
        I hope you'll find here all you ever wanted to know about the technical aspects of Slash's guitar playing!

        This is an unofficial site and Slash isn't involved with this page.
        My name is Rui and all the sound files you'll hear here are played by me or by Slash Guitar Page collaborators.
 
           What you won't find here:
     -  News on Slash
     -  Exact transcriptions of songs. I'm no pro so there might be some mistakes ...
     -  Elaborated pages with the latest technology and graphics (this is my first page!)

            What you'll find here:
     - Here you'll find tablatures, small tabs with their respective recordings (in mp3 format), articles, tips, ...
       All sounds contained on this page are played by me and by Slash Guitar Page collaborators who send in their own guitar recordings relevant to learn Slash's
       guitar techniques. All the texts contained on this site were written by me except some articles on the Articles section which are identified with their source.
       Anyway, this is my way to show him my grateful for all that great music that he as created through all this years!

           IMPORTANT NOTES:
      - In order to play the mp3 sound files, you'll need a mp3 player. I suggest you the Winamp mp3 player that can be
        download for free at http://www.winamp.com/. Because of the limited space I've got all the sound files are compressed in .zip format so you'll
        need to extract them before you can play them.

 
Since this page is exclusively focussed on the technical aspects of Slash's playing it can't be updated very often.
This page is updated monthly.
 
The recommended resolution to view this page is 1024 x 768
 
Slash Guitar Page email has changed!!!
Please update it on your contact slashguitarpage@yahoo.com
Don't send emails to the old email address as I won't be able to open them.

 
     Quick update - 21/04/03                                           - The Snakepit 2000 bootleg is online, download and listen to it,  it'll worth ;)
                                                                                          By the way, keep posting and checking the Slash Guitar Forum, see you there!
 

     Slash Guitar Page was last updated in 26/03/03     - We're back! Sorry for making you wait for 3 months (!!) but we're experiencing some big
                                                                                          problems to keep this page online, our own 50MB server is full. Although we've been looking
                                                                                          for free servers to host new files (mp3's, videos,...) they all seem very limited and they
                                                                                          don't allow people to host there files only. Being that way, we'll keep doing our best to make
                                                                                          the page grow but it's getting harder every time.

                                                                                          In the meanwhile we're proud to bring you the Slash Guitar Page Forum! Make sure to
                                                                                          register yourself there to discuss everything about Slash's guitar techniques with other fans!
                                                                                          The Slash Guitar Page Forum has also exclusive downloads for it's members, every 4 days
                                                                                          new mp3's from bootlegs are added so make sure to check it out!!!
 
                                                                                          During the next days / week with the big help of a friend, we're expecting to put the Snakepit
                                                                                          2000 Live in Osaka bootleg up  again so keep checking this page or the forum for news
                                                                                          about it. It'll sure worth downloading, that bootleg sounds like a live record!
                                                                                          
 
 
                   The updates for this month are:  

                  - From now on Slash Guitar page has it's own forum at www.slashforum.tk! Check it out
                    for discussing everything about Slash's techniques with other fans and for
                    exclusive downloads!
 
                  - Added the info of Eloy Bahamondes (from Chile), Haluk Levent (from Turkey),
                    Karan (from India), Stipe Ursic (from Croatia) and João Nunes (from Portugal) on the
                    Fans! section!

                 - Added the Paradise City, My Michelle and the Think About You scanned tabs of the
                   Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction tab book and the Sweet Child O'Mine solo
                   on the Tablatures section!

                 - Added the last video from the Mike Wolf instructional video on the Videos section!
                   Also uploaded the video of "The Project" performance of Paradise City at the ABC
                   channel from 26/03/03 on Videos section!

                                                                                          - Added amazing pics of the Gibson Les Paul Slash Signature model guitar on the
                                                                                            Articles section! 
 
 
 

 
     Slash Guitar Page previous updated - 7/12/02         - Added the info of Mark Ooi (from Singapore) on the Fans! section!
 
                                                                                          - Added the Nightrain, Out Ta Get Me and Mr. Brownstone scans of the Guns N' Roses
                                                                                            Appetite For Destruction tab book on the Tablatures section!
 
                                                                                         - Added more two Mike Wolf instructional videos on the Videos section!

                                                                                         -  Added the Sweet Child O'Mine demo and Slash's Snakepit Rusted Heroes (Live) songs
                                                                                              on the Rare / Unreleased Songs section!
 

 


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        I would love to read what you think about this page! Maybe you can help me make this a better page with your comments, corrections, tabs, links, articles,
           pics, ... !  Email me at Slashguitarpage@yahoo.com.      ICQ #131532760