Reasons To NOT See ‘Paranormal Activity 3’

I went into Paranormal Activity 3 with reasonable expectations, or maybe a fraction high since the preview actually made the third movie in the low-budget cult ghost/demon franchise look better than the second. However, PA3 is significantly worse than than the sequel.

After 2007’s Paranormal Activity first hit theaters, the ingenious indie thriller which cost $11,000 to to make, we all wondered how a sequel was even a possibility after the unlucky demon-magnet Katie killed her camera-toting husband and was “never seen again.”

The second movie, which is prequel, same as PA3, followed Katie’s sister Kristi  (Sprague Grayden) just two months before the suspenseful events of the first. It ended with Katie killing her sister and stealing her baby…

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The Awkwardness Of ‘Drive,’ Starring Ryan Gosling

Drive is the latest misconstrued “action” film. It stars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, who should win awards for starring in the best movie with basically no emotions or dialogue. The storyline is well-described by the one-liner spoken by Gosling in the ad, after being asked what he does for a living: “I drive.” Though in some ways, this is really about so much more, and so much less (you’d know if you saw it).

It’s true, Gosling does play a driver, an unnamed character with absolutely no backstory. The most we figure about the guy is that he’s exceedingly excellent at his “job” – all things automobile, and that he showed up seeking employment at a mechanic’s shop “a few years back.” This information is revealed to us by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) who is one of only two characters that manage to show true human emotions. (The other is Carey Mulligan’s character’s son, played by Kaden Leos, and maybe her baby daddy too.)

If you want to rate this movie for its potential as a cult classic and/or “iconic” film, I’d actually place it somewhere between Pulp Fiction and Blue Velvet. Nowhere near the entertainment value of Pulp Fiction, though certainly better than Blue Velvet, and less weird at least than that. Drive is heavily stylized, driven (no pun intended) by melodic synthy faux 80’s music with a contrast of the usual moody cinema-orchestra instrumentals…

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‘2 Broke Girls’ Season Premiere Review

There’s always something comforting about the two bare essentials of sitcoms, tried and true – a good old fashioned opposites-attract style friendship, and a waitressing gig.

The coffee shop/diner thing is essential to most every memorable show, 90210‘s Peach Pit, Cheers, Central Perk on Friends, Monk’s Cafe on Seinfeld.

How unsurprising that it also triggered some pleasant memories on 2 Broke Girls.

The show is the brainchild of Michael Patrick King (key writer for Sex And The City) and Whitney Cummings. Yes you heard it right, the woman who has her own starring role on a separate brand-new sitcom on NBC titled Whitney.

2 Broke Girls’ first episode premiered yesterday on CBS after a record-breaking episode of Two And A Half Men, starring Ashton Kutcher in a buzzed-about role, after Charlie Sheen’s insanity departure…

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Reasons To NOT See Shark Night 3D

I’ve been seeing ads for this “sharks in a lake” concept movie for months now, one that sparked my interest as a fun yet unrelated follow-up to 2010’s Piranha 3D, which featured piranha’s in a lake.

Sadly Shark Night is nothing like Piranha, besides the first 20 minutes it is perhaps the weirdest shark movie I’ve ever seen. It lacks that complete ability to make fun of itself that I’m used to seeing with these movies…

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Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter IV Album Review

Lil’ Wayne‘s been at it since the late 90’s when he was 15 and in the rap group The Hot Boys. He a classic example of a musical workaholic, he needs the spotlight like Lindsay needs a fifth. It comes as no surprise that his latest Tha Carter IV was announced for release out of nowhere, when fans had not been expecting it for months.

The album was meant to come out at midnight, tonight after the MTV Video Music Awards, but was leaked onto various torrent websites a few days ago. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Weezy is no stranger to leaks, he’s been a favorite target for internet pirates since Tha Carter III, and everything in between…

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Reasons To See ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark is the  newest horror movie to open in theaters, written and produced by Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage) and directed by feature film virgin Troy Nixey.

This is a semi-familiar tale, of a girl (Bailee Madison) who is sent to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in the historic mansion that they are renovating together. The great thing about this movie is it is not chock-full of deaths, pointless gore or over the top rock music that fees like advertising.

It is suspenseful, and thrilling though not necessarily scary, not that it doesn’t provide a few jolts in your seat. As soon as Sally (Madison, of Just Go With It, and Brothers) moves in, the house’s deadly past begins surfacing, at first to only Sally, making it all the more frusterating.

An evil presence, we’ll call it, though it is not ghosts or devils, think something more typical of Del Toro, seen in Hellboy II and Pan’s Labyrinth, is prevalent here…

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Game – The R.E.D. Album Review

Notable West Coast-revival rapper Game (formerly The Game) is the proud father of a fourth CD, his first since 2008’s LAX. With his tattoo-body advertising (Converse, Hurricane Shoes, Dodgers) multiple arrests and Grammy nominations, Game is looking to regain the spotlight, though perhaps it is a spotlight he never really had.

While he may have been certified platinum for his well-respected debut The Documentary, his level of recognition has not spiked since. He looks to do just that with The R.E.D Album, his first album to be released when he himself is not surrounded by controversy – whether it be assault charges, lawsuits or beefs with other artists. The question is, does he have “the game,” to be successful without all the non-musical hype?

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Hard-Fi – Killer Sounds Album Review

British rockers Hard-Fi are hardly known for originality, but then again neither are Kaiser Chiefs or The Bravery. It only means that they are easy to listen to, the word “fun” comes to mind. UK house parties, lager, whatever. Hard-Fi stepped foot onto the indie scene modestly with their 2005 debut Stars Of CCTV. (after the popular English news source)

They held attention spans firmly with songs like “Cash Machine” and “Living For The Weekend.” Lack of funds and everyday-man woes became a popular lyrical theme in their cymbal-happy post-punk revival. They’re now back with a versatile third album, Killer Sounds, which dropped in their native hierarchical land on August 19, 2011.

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Reasons to NOT See ‘Fright Night’

Guess what? I just got back from spectating the new Fright Night remake in 3D, starring Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin, and guess what else? (This is an easy one) It wasn’t very good!

Here are the most crucial reasons to NOT see Fright Night:

  • The original is better.
  • Some key elements were left out from the original  (like Jerry’s “guardian”/slave who shares him home)
  • Charley’s character doesn’t spend nearly enough time spying and gathering info on his neighbor (a large part of 1985’s Fright Night)
  • It’s only funny like, three times max
  • The 3D is barely used except for a few vampire ashes that do little more than give you vertigo
  • Terrible vampire effects and editing (there’s a scene where Yelchin is in the front seat of a moving car, then magically appears in the back seat, then the front again)
  • Doesn’t deserve an R rating (more like PG-13)
  • Patronizing use of indie music (Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”+ Hugo’s “99 Problems”)
  • It’s WAY too long, 120 minutes total
  • Unoriginal, no unique market for today’s audience

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The Sheepdogs – Learn & Burn Album Review

Subscribers of Rolling Stone magazine may have noticed an overwhelming amount of promos for their “choose the cover” contest that went on for several months. Out of 16 unsigned bands, The Sheepdogs, with their long hair and soulful guitar driven-folk came out on top. Over one and a half million votes were cast online and this Canuck foursome landed not only the cover of RS issue number 1137 on August 5th, but an even more significant prize, a contract with Atlantic Records.

Before their good fortune and talent won them this amazing opportunity, Sheepdogs were typical struggling artists. Lead singer Ewan Currie told Rolling Stone in their recent interview simply that, “Shit was bleak.” Fortunately their demo was submitted in consideration for the contest, and voila, here there are. The Saskatoon natives have already achieved what many bands could only dream of, appearing on late night shows like Jimmy Fallon and performing at Bonnaroo music festival.

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Kaiser Chiefs – The Future Is Medieval Album Review

Kaiser Chiefs burst onto the scene around the same time as heavyweights like The Killers, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. Their hit single “I Predict A Riot” infiltrated alternative stations nationwide, they were one of the major bands that brought us that super popular punk-influenced-drunken-indie-party-music. Loud and immersive yet simple. Their next CD after their 2005 debut Employment, 2007’s Yours Truly, Angry Mob was equally excellent and less recognized by the masses. In fact, by the time their third effort, the slightly inferior Off With Their Heads dropped, people had practically forgotten about these UK natives with their sharp-wit, and steady passive-aggression.

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Hesher Is THE Underrated Indie Dramedy Of 2011

The opening scene of Hesher immediately has you asking questions, a kid on his bicycle, chasing a car that is being towed away. Is that a young Hesher? Why is he chasing the car? Is this movie even about what I think it is? Well, yes and no, it’s not about what you think, in fact the brilliance in Hesher lies in that it is not necessarily “about” anything. This is a reality, with a slight filter of misfortune or anguish. Why Hesher earned only limited release in the U.S. and a mere 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond me. I instantly feel that this is a misunderstood movie, and want to jump to it’s defense much like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character does for T.J., the young boy in the film, a classic victim of bullying played by Devin Brochu. (In The Valley Of Elah, Rubber)

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Liam Finn – FOMO Album Review

Liam Finn hasn’t quite achieved the respect or fame that he might deserve, though something tells me that might not bother him as much as other artists. He is the son of one of the best pop singers of all time (Neil Finn of Crowded House) but more importantly, he is a sturdy songwriter and studio perfectionist. Finn hails from New Zealand, has toured internationally for his first solo album, I’ll Be Lightning, and has just unleashed upon us his second shiny LP entitled FOMO.

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Cults – Cults Album Review

Remember these two names, firstly, Madeline Follin, second, Brian Oblivion. These are the sole members of a shy NY group called Cults, a group with a “cult” following sure to grow into a full-fledged mania of devout hipsters in no time. You can hardly throw a discarded walkman into the music world without hitting some new band who are adorably capable of recreating sensory 60′s euphoria. Among them are notables such as She & Him, Best Coast and The Raveonettes.

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The Japanese Popstars – Controlling Your Allegiance Album Review

Want to hear Robert Smith lending his vocals to a flawless electronic haze? Do you want an opening track that leaves an impression that is not only a memory but a physical dent in your brain? Do you want to forget about your mortgage, your kids, your sweaty overweight girlfriend, your college loans, your every vice and obstruction and lack of motivation? Fret not, sweet things, The Japanese Popstars have a cure for you.

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Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See Album Review

Alex Turner and his band of miscreant monkeys of the Arctic have shown over the years their varied shades of fun, whether it be full force (“I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor”) thoughtful (“Fluorescent Adolescent”) or filled with James Bond twang (“Crying Lightning”) Arctic Monkeys have little left to prove to anyone. Their fourth effort, Suck It And See may cry out for attention in title but the songs beg to differ. This is actually their least flashy album to date.

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Cut Off Your Hands – Hollow Album Review

Auckland, New Zealand, City of Sails, home of the Sky Tower, various volcanoes and rugby. Not to mention the band Cut Off Your Hands, which I used to confuse with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and in turn Does it Offend You, Yeah? Both great indie bands in their own right, though out of the three, Cut Off Your Hands is the most relatable.

Singer Nick Johnston has more than just brooding good looks on his side, he’s got the versatile vocals to match. The soothing side of Robert Smith and the lighter side of Ian McCulloch, with that familiar but never tiring indie kick to it. Cut Off Your Hands are now on their second album, and first since 2008′s You and I. The sophomoric effort from this kiwi quartet, Hollow, is a step down in pace from You and I, though never a step down in quality.

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