CD Review: Order of Nine “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror”

Order of Nine
“Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror”
Nightmare Records
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Originally formed under the name Templar, the Pennsylvania based band Order of Nine are back with “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror”. The album is the follow up to the bands 2008 release “A Means to Know End” and could be described as 2 parts Type O Negative and 2 parts Dream Theater. Each of the 11 songs contained on the album cover immense ground both musically and lyrically. From virtuous guitar shredding to booming base lines, and haunting vocals that reach down into the very core of one’s soul Order of Nine give their all. The albums opening/title track “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror” sets the tone for the album and lets you know right off the bat just what you are in for. While tracks such as the thickly layered “Dreamspeak” feature elegant piano passages combined with classic guitar shredding. The song “Reign Down” which is featured towards the end of the album was another personal favorite as it had an early Queensryche vibe while still sounding fresh.

Though the band could easily be classified as a progressive metal band their songs don’t follow the often standard 12 minute plus time frame. With most of the albums tracks clocking in at just under 6 mins. Order of Nine does a great job of getting in and out. You won’t have to worry about lengthy solos or overdubbed intros wasting your listening time as “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror” cuts right to the chase. If you are looking for something to bolster the prog-metal section of your music collection pick up a copy of Order of Nines latest album “Seventh Year of the Broke Mirror”.

Track Listing:
1.) Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror
2.) Words that were Said
3.) Dreamspeak
4.) Spiral Staircase
5.) Changing of the Guard
6.) Innocence
7.) Third Wish
8.) Eye of the Enemy
9.) Twelfth Talisman
10.) Reign Down
11.) Winter’s Call

Blu-ray Review “Mirror Mirror”

Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Lily Collins, Sean Bean, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane
MPAA Rating: PG
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Running Time: 106 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

I am a big proprietor of re-telling of classic fairy tale films, I absolutely love Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” but I felt the urge to turn off “Mirror Mirror” after only 20 minutes. Lily Collins’ was very cute in her first leading performance, which I enjoyed. The film looks very perfect and visual also thanks to Eiko Ishioka’s costume work and Tarsem Singh’s creative and visual style.  The story though was lame and dragged a lot, it was also not funny at all, when aimed as a comedy.  Overall, unless you need to see anything relating to the character Snow White, I would avoid this film.

The film follow an evil enchantress queen (Roberts) who schemes to marry a handsome, wealthy prince (Hammer), after spending all of the kingdom’s money. Although there is a small problem – he’s in love with a princess, Snow White (Collins).  So, the queen sets out to remove Snow White from her own kingdom.  While hiding out she meets and joins up with seven rebellious dwarves.  With there help, Snow White wages war on the queen in order to restore the power and save her kingdom.

When it comes to the Blu-ray presentation though, unlike the film it looks very pretty but also very “shot-on-a-set” feel. The 1080p transfers shines for sure and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The audio is also impressive with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which works well with the score.  The release also comes with a DVD of the film, as well as a digital copy.  I wish Fox would get on the bandwagon and start using Ultraviolet digital streaming.  Lastly, it is sad but I think the part I liked most about this release was the lenticular cover.

So bad movie, great Blu-ray presentation and now back to bad.  The special features are a let down as well.  There are a five short deleted scenes including an alternate opening.  “Looking Through The Mirror” is a behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast and crew chatting about the production.  “I Believe I Can Dance” is a feature with choreographer, Paul Becker, on the film’s final dance number. “Mirror, Mirror Storybook” is storybook version of the film, which runs 28 pages and is remote-controlled. “Prince and Puppies” is the stupiest feature on this disc, with a group of puppies that watch the “puppy love” scene and give their thoughts on Armie Hammer…seriously? Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.

Film Review “Mirror Mirror”

Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean
Distributed by: Relativity Media
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 106 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Director Tarsem Singh has made a family film that is just charming. Which is fitting for a retelling of Snow White. Children will love it and adults will definitely enjoy it if a slightly offbeat, if not ground breaking, storybook tale is what they’re up for.

Julia Roberts playing the evil queen sets up the story, narrating a beautifully animated opening sequence where we learn her step daughter Snow White’s (Lily Collins) father was lost in the dark forrest and now she must raise the princess, who she keeps locked away in the castle under the pretense that she’s too naive or crazy to be out in the world. Let alone to rule the kingdom that’s rightfully hers.

At eighteen years old, Snow decides to test her stepmother’s image of her and ventures outside the castle to learn the toll the wicked Queen’s vanity is taking on her subjects. And luckily she also bumps into a charming Prince.

Roberts mostly steals the show in her villainous role with the writers lending a motivation to her quest for youth and beauty in the form of Armie Hammer’s rich and handsome Prince Alcott, whom she aims to wed despite his affection for Snow. Never before had I seen Roberts’ trademark booming laughter used for evil purposes, but she should do it more often. Adding to her impact are the gasp inducing gowns she wears by the late designer Eiko Ishioka (Bram Stoker’s Dracula).

New-comer Lily Collins definitely looks the part of Snow White, though she’s given less to work with than her co-stars. After Roberts, Hammer in particular gives a wonderfully committed performance to his princely role which calls for him to be charming but also very silly at times which many young actors might not have been able to do with the same degree of sincerely that he brings here.

After the Queen tries and fails to have Snow White killed by her servant (Nathan Lane), the young princess of course is left in the care of a troop of seven dwarves. Here they’re bandits instead of miners, but going with the Disney method, the dwarves are mostly identified by a simple character trait (Grub eats, Chuckles…chuckles, etc). Again, this all works, even if it’s not very original.

If there’s an overall flaw with Snow’s story it’s that Collins isn’t exactly fit to sell the transition she’s meant to make from meek palace dweller to strong bandit-trained fighter. Nor are the stakes very high. A tiny village serves as the whole kingdom the princess is meant to be fighting for. Though perhaps I’ll be grateful for this when Snow White and the Huntsman releases its armies on audiences this summer. We’ll see.

Still the gentle humor, dazzling costumes and sweet nature of this film are enough to recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well crafted fairy tale.