Time for a Best of 2012 list, here we go!

Movie: Les Miserablesles miserables

I wasn’t sure what to expect when going into this movie, but after seeing it twice now I can honestly say it is the most emotionally moving movie I may have ever seen.  I say this because I’ve known the music and have seen it live on stage before but not until the movie have I been as moved.  At first I was disappointed when songs were cut and some were shortened, but once I watched the movie I didn’t feel like anything was missing (though, why was Eponine not in the last song like she’s supposed to be?).  I fear that alone may have given away too much for anyone who has not watched the movie, so I will simply say to see this movie, even if you don’t like musicals you should give this a chance.  Also, Russell Crowe isn’t nearly as bad as people say he is and Hugh Jackman arguably has the lowest point when he has to try to tackle “Bring Him Home” (true, it’s not an easy song to sing, but I find it best just to go with it, which I did the second time and it was less noticeable, which is good advice for anyone who knows Les Miserables, don’t go into this movie trying to compare it with the stage version or you will miss out on some of the emotional impact).  And Samantha Barks as Eponine, simply amazing.

So, brace yourself for one of the most emotional yet brilliant movies of the year.

Trailer, possible spoilers for Eponine and Marius:

Television Show: Doctor Who

Why Doctor Who would be  a good question, after all the first five episodes of the latest series have been average to bad.  However, the Christmas Special overshadowed all the nonsense threads that were never resolved throughout the last two and a half seasons.  I’ll just pretend like the unsolved arcs never happened, and that’s mainly due to Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion, Clara _____ _____ (I fear saying her full name will create a good amount of spoilers).  Unlike pretty much every companion since the reboot (except Donna), she has a personality (really, how many more times could show runner Steven Moffat copy and past Amy slapping the Doctor and River saying the same lines over and over?).  She’s fun and a lot flirty, but more importantly she’s smart and not afraid to challenge or be challenged by the Doctor.  Speaking of the Doctor, I hope he continues to be more serious throughout the season, as he started to become far too goofy and was more of a bumbling fool than he should ever be.  I say bring on the rest of series 7, after just one episode the show may as well now be considered a reboot of the reboot.  The show feels alive again, and I’m glad Moffat was able to look past prior mistakes and hopefully start with something fresh and new.

Album: Silverthorn

Bombastic, epic, and emotional, that is Silverthorn.  After the departure of lead singer Roy Khan it was going to be interesting to see how Tommy Karevik would be as Kamelot’s new singer (for those who do not know, Kamelot is a power metal band from Florida).  The album marks the band’s tenth, and first with their third singer, Karevik.  Formerly of progressive metal band Seventh Wonder, it was no secret how diverse his voice is, and with it he brings a new dimension to Kamelot.  With what seems to be common with new singers, the album tends to play it safe with him, but after listening to the ballad, “Song For Jolee” it is clear there is a lot of potential for their next album.  Silverthorn is a concept album that admittedly is a bit difficult to follow, but luckily there is a short story book provided with the special edition that helps clarify the songs. Musically, it is their best album since The Black Halo, which was three albums ago.  Rather than just being another album, Silverthorn feels more like a rebirth of the band.  They have clearly started on a new path and have shown a continuing growth and maturation in their music.  To call it a metal album is unfair, because when one says metal it is easy for people to assume Metallica or Black Sabbath, but this is more, for as the band has grown so has the difficulty of categorizing them, so I’ll leave it by saying if you are a fan of film scores or Tran-Siberian Orchestra then you too should be interested in this album.

Notable guest singers include Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist), who have both appeared with Kamelot on tour.

Kamelot Live with Elize Ryd performing “Veritas” from Silverthorn:

Pop Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen

While this year had Taylor Swift whining about some boyfriend again, Katy Perry going on and on about being divorced, Rhianna pretending to sing, Nicki Minaj continuing to try and stay in everyone’s mind, and Lady Gaga… well I don’t know what she was doing, which is probably a good thing as it means she was being productive and working on a new album.  However, in the mix of all of this there was Carly Rae Jepsen came out of nowhere with “Call Me Maybe.”  She’s not sparking any controversies, isn’t riding the same old gimmick, she’s just releasing fun singles from an almost solid album, Kiss (the second half falters some, and Justin Bieber should not have been on the album).  Her newest single, “This Kiss” has a stronger dance feel and continues her fun image.  It is refreshing to have a pop star who is not involved in a scandal or some sort or switching boyfriends every other week.  I for one am glad none of her slow songs have yet to become a single, as her upbeat songs are always fun to hear on the radio.  Here’s to hoping she continues to have success in 2013.

Video Game: Far Cry 3

This was a tough choice, as there really weren’t many standout games of 2012.  Sure, there were big titles like Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3, and while I highly enjoyed both of them, neither captured me as much as I had hoped.  Far Cry 3 (FC3) really does feel like the advertisements say, and that is a modern era set Skyrim.  Hear me out, Skyrim is very light on RPG elements and basically just lets you update a few skills here and there, which is essentially the same as FC3.  What really impresses me about FC3 is how much better it is than FC2, not to mention the gorgeous looking tropical island setting (and I’m only playing it on the 360, I can only imagine how nice the PC version looks).  Having hunting serve a purpose is also nice, as Assassin’s Creed 3 has it there for really no reason and so does Red Dead Redemption.  If you want a world with a surprisingly good amount of lore, solid voice acting (well, the main character whines a lot but the rest are very good), a nice collection of guns, and the best sand box since last year’s Skyrim, FC3 is the game for you.  Also, the last battle sequence has the most over-the-top music, you’ll know when you hear it.

Trailer, note there is a good amount of language and gun play involved here, but it is a mature rated game:

 

Well, for the sake of being short I will wrap up my 2012 review here.  Yes, a lot of other things have happened, but chances are they’re somewhere throughout the rest of the blog or aren’t worth mentioning (i.e. why are there three Hobbit movies or the Eagles season which should have been 1-15, but I’ll ignore that).

So here’s to 2013, let’s see what awaits us this year, which having a 2013 should be enough as the world was supposed to end not too long ago.

 

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