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by Alex Suskind

26 Jan 2010

One is arguably the most iconic lyricist in rap history; the other is a reggae star and the son of a legendary musician/activist (Bob Marley). So when Nas and Damian Marley announced plans to collaborate back in February 2009, fans from both genres eagerly anticipated the result.

Originally, the idea was to release just an EP, but when the duo hit the studio to record last year, they decided to turn it into a full record, entitled Distant Relatives.

“Reggae is one of the roots of hip-hop. Hip-hop music has helped reggae in its transition periods. Together we kind of wanted to give people that. To find the roots of reggae and hip-hop,” Nas told the Omaha World Herald back in June 2009. In the same interview, the Queens rapper also discussed the meaning behind the album’s name: “We’re in a recession. It’s a hard time for America. People are killing themselves over jobs, but we take for granted what we do have here… In the world, we’re family. We’re all relatives in a way. So we named the album Distant Relatives because it talks to all people.”

by Bill Gibron

26 Jan 2010

It’s the future shock situation destined to doom mankind. We have been warned about it ever since reality was capable of being recreated, virtually. Everyone, from scientists to sociologists have told us that living life vicariously through avatars, digital selves, or other forms of computer generated alter egos will create a catastrophic downward spiral where everyday existence is substituted for a fictional world locked inside some computer mainframe. People will go from active participants in a community of their own making to drone easily manipulated by outside forces both beneficial and menacing - mostly menacing. From The Matrix to Gamer, Hollywood can’t get enough of this concept. It seems to be the go-to sci-fi theme for movies looking to trade on technology and terror while skimping on storyline and other elements of substance. 

At first glance, Jonathan Mastow’s take on the cult graphic novel Surrogates (new to DVD and Blu-ray) would seem like yet another example of this motion picture assembly line ideal. It stars an A-list superstar (Bruce Willis) as an FBI agent investigating the death of the son of a famous robot scientist (James Cromwell). Along with his no-nonsense partner (Radha Mitchell), the aging cop lives in a time not too far from now where everyone is plugged in to lifelike automatons. Humans don’t venture out of their homes. They no longer literally interact with each other. As these ‘surrogates’ replace actual people, crime has disappeared down while hedonism has skyrocketed. This spurs the ire of the ‘dread’ community - a rebel set of flesh and blood individuals lead by a messianic figure (Ving Rhames) who wants to end the domination of these metal and plastic personas once and for all - and they will do so by any means necessary.

by John Lindstedt

26 Jan 2010

For those of us who can’t make it to Utah this year, don’t feel bad: you can still experience a lot of the action on the Sundance Channel’s website. On top of red carpet photos, critical buzz, and high society party reports, 31 Days of Sundance streams some interesting behind-the-scenes video about the upcoming indies / possible future sleeper hits.

Among the films featured is The Freebie, a low budget dramedy about a seemingly content couple who, despite their superficial chemistry, are having little sex behind closed doors. To mix up their sex life, the two decide to grant each other a “freebie”, or a no strings-attached one night stand with another partner (shades of Curb Your Enthusiasm). The film is written, directed, and starring newcomer Katie Aselton (The Office, The League), who in this interview is joined by her costar, a increasingly mature Dax Shephard.

Aselton recounts how when she complained no one was calling her for work, her husband and League co-star Mark Duplass (referred to here as the “king of the do-it-yourself film movement”) just told her to stop complaining and make a movie. After coming up with an idea (an important part of the process), Aselton did just that, using her modest budget to film bedroom scenes with Shephard in her own home, with her husband present. All in all, it sounds pretty decent. If it doesn’t get picked up by a studio, I’m pretty sure I’ll catch it on Netflix’s instant stream queue in the near future.

by Sachyn Mital

26 Jan 2010

Back in December, there were reports that Eddie Vedder proposed to his girlfriend in D.C. He was in the nations capitol on December 2009 to pay his respects to the Boss as part of the Kennedy Center Honors Bruce Springsteen Tribute Performance where Vedder performed “My City of Ruins” from the 2002 album The Rising. Vedder starts solo on his guitar but is shortly joined by the soulful harmonies of a gospel choir. Even as he sees his city in ruins he stands undeterred by the sight and prays for the strength to rebuild aided by the congregation’s voice which stretches higher.

Springsteen formed his version in response to the events of September 11th, but one can’t avoid noticing hints of other recent tragedies in it’s context as the evocative song tinges with dark echoes of New Orleans after Katrina in 2005 and the anguish of Port Au Prince now. There is a lot of emotion in these words so give it a listen; it will be worth spending your dollar to support Haiti relief efforts. Buy this song now from the Pearl Jam store (MP3) or on iTunes. “Proceeds from the sale of the track benefit Artists for Peace and Justice Haiti Relief.”

Eddie Vedder Haiti Relief Single

by Conrad Hughes

26 Jan 2010

A new edition of the forthcoming Final Fantasy XIII has been detailed in a press release from Square Enix. It’s going to cost £59.99 and will contain a soundtrack CD by Masashi Hamauzu, a hardcover art book and weirdly, a fake tattoo transfer of the game’s logo.

It’s a bit of a shame that the music isn’t series staple Nobuo Uematsu this time round—the Final Fantasy piano collections by him are excellent. Hopefully, we can expect a similar level of quality from the CD this time. Take a listen to the battle theme and tell us what you think. Is it worth the extra £20?

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Moving Pixels Podcast: The Best Games of 2016

// Moving Pixels

"The Moving Pixels Podcast counts down our top five games of 2016.

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