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Friday, Apr 18, 2008

Maybe you shouldn’t be amazed that the 2nd biggest Net provider in the U.S. ain’t necessarily nice people.  Even forgetting their crappy service record, Comcast is also fighting and biting about the issue of Net neutrality where they see fit to block any big P2P traffic that they don’t like as chronicled in an AP article and this Channel Web article.  In the former article, they admit to hiring ‘seat warmers’ at their public meetings where they usually get lambasted so that they have some friendly folks to applaud their efforts.  The later article notes CC’s ‘bill of rights,’ which is seen as a red herring to distract from their poor record of such.  Is Karl Rove consulting these guys are what…?


Just be glad that you’re not an indie band getting cut out of MySpace’s deal with the major labels for ad revenue sharing.  In an interview with Wired magazine, the MS folks admit that unless a band is hitched up with an aggregate service like The Orchard, IODA, Merlin and CD Baby, they’re cut out of any potential ad money.  But… note this quote at the end where they say that the aggregations are “all possible candidates for signing equity deals with MySpace Music.”  Note the word ‘possible.’  That means that if you’re an indie band and you sign up with one of these services, they MIGHT be able to cut a deal with MS, or they might not.  You sign up with them and then gamble and hope that things will work out peachy with MS.  Quite a racket, eh?


 


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Friday, Apr 18, 2008

This is really just an excuse to play a track from Estelle’s sophomore album, Shine, one of the year’s best pop soul records. Shine is as infectious as my worn through copy of Lauren Hill’s debut, before she picked up a guitar and decided to join the ranks of the tortured and sermonizing. It’s not the ideal track to pick (for that see the Cee-Lo collab “Pretty Please”), especially since Kanye’s flow consistently deflates his musical surroundings and his “moon/June” rhymes are fairly low hanging fruit. Actually that’s an overstatement, Kanye’s rhymes are, more often than not, of the “moon/moon” variety. As a video, it lacks coherent art direction and narrative, especially in the split-screen montages of various typical American boys, all of whom look like they’re doing ads for the Gap’s new edgy urban Ivy-leaguer line. Sure, black and white is always carries a certain entry-level morsel of cool cache, but for this song it’s cold and comparatively drab. The only part that captures some of this song’s buoyant Summer energy comes from the disconnected dance play between Estelle and her shadow, which provides sexy liquid movement in a video with static pictures of men backdropped with the kind of white void you’d expect from a near death experience. She’s too vibrant to be framed by such McArty deserted space that could just as easily sell a parka, a cheeseburger or Windsong perfume. And, if you can get John Legend in the video, why not have him pick up Kanye’s half of the duet.  Just saying.


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Friday, Apr 18, 2008
by PopMatters Staff

Kate Walsh
Documentary [Video]


A short documentary of Kate talking about her songwriting and the album Tim’s House, over a two-week tour of the US.


Architecture in Helsinki
Like It or Not (El Guincho Remix) [MP3]
     


Like It or Not [Video]


Okay
My [MP3] (from Huggable Dust releasing 20 May)
     


Compass [MP3]
     


Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Think I Wanna Die [Video]


Video for the first single “Think I Wanna Die” off of the new SSLYBY album Pershing, released 8 April on Polyvinyl.


Big Boi feat. Andre 3000 and Raekwon
Royal Flush [Streaming]


The CoCo B’s
Give Up The Money (1982) [MP3]


The Futureheads
Radio Heart [Video]



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Friday, Apr 18, 2008
by PopMatters Staff
UK solo artist, Frank Turner, formerly of hardcore band Million Dead answers PopMatters' 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
A book of poetry by Philip Larkin. I’m a latecomer to his work, and I don’t usually do this, but a combination of his awesomeness and a hangover made me cry. On the train. Everyone thought I was weird.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Hmm, maybe Sal Paradise from On the Road. That’s what I’d like to think anyways. A recordist for the madmen of this world.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Almost impossible question. Possibly Springsteen’s Nebraska.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars, but no way the new episodes.


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Thursday, Apr 17, 2008


For the weekend beginning 18 April, here are the films in focus:


Forgetting Sarah Marshall [rating: 8]


Written with a sensationally smutty Woody Allen expertise and loaded with big fat bawdy barrel laughs, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is another wacked out winner


Apparently, Drillbit Taylor was just a fluke. After a year which saw comedy giant Judd Apatow score with Knocked Up, Superbad, and the highly underrated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, 2008 sure started off with a stumble. Though the former Freaks and Geeks creator who literally resuscitated the dying big screen laughfest played a small role in the Owen Wilson flop, some saw the underperforming picture as an indicator of a fleeting 15 minutes. Apparently the funny business funeral was scheduled a little early. Instantly becoming one of this year’s best films—humorous or not—the hilarious Forgetting Sarah Marshall shows that this satire sage and his gang of comic compatriots are not going anywhere anytime soon. read full review…


Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? [rating: 7]


While premised on a search for the infamous terrorist kingpin, this is really more of a Lonely Planet for the limited attention span.


The information is eerily the same. A lack of education, unemployment, limited opportunities, rampant poverty, and future prospects that seem dim at best drive the problem. These young men, lives marginalized by a majority that doesn’t care, have no other outlet for their aggression. As a result, they become easy targets for gangs, groups that prey on such a disenfranchised feeling, using the rage to wage war on society. No, this is not some overview of the urban crime scene circa 1988. We’re not dealing with South Central Los Angeles or downtown Detroit. Instead, this is what Morgan Spurlock, famed documentarian (Super Size Me) learns when talking to people in the Arab world. He wants to figure out why Al-Qaeda is so seductive to supposedly sensible individuals. The answer, sadly, shocks no one. read full review…


88 Minutes [rating: 3]


While the actual ending does give audiences a reason to cheer, it’s the final fade out that will make viewers the happiest. It means this tepid terror is finally over.


Sometimes, the creative writing is splashed all over the workprint walls. Anyone seeing John Avnet’s name on the directing credits should take a moment to contemplate asking for their money back. After all, he’s been responsible for mindless dreck like Fried Green Tomatoes, The War, Up Close and Personal, and Red Corner. Not the greatest big screen resume. To make matters worse, he has teamed up with screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson, whose poisoned pen scribbled slop like K-911, K9-PI, Hollow Man, and The Fast and the Furious. What made either man think they could take on the by now stale serial killer thriller begs the question of their individual sanity. How they conned one of our greatest actors to lower himself to such a paycheck cashing conceit borderlines on the criminal. read full review…
 
Other Releases—In Brief


The Forbidden Kingdom [rating: 6]


One of the glorious things about Hong Kong action films is their unusual cultural conceits. Aside from all the butt kicking, the ability to see another tradition’s myths and legends brings a necessary surreal suspension of cinematic disbelief. So when West meets—and then mimics—East, the result is typically an awkward mishmash of misinterpretations. This is exactly what happens in Rob Minkoff’s routine rip-off of every Chinese folktale ever told, The Forbidden Kingdom. Representing the only time that martial arts icons Jackie Chan and Jet Li have appeared together in a film, the sloppy set up has the Monkey King frozen in time, waiting for a prophesied pawn to bring him his magic staff. Naturally, the immortal Jade Warlord wants to prevent his resurrection, so he sends out his many minions, including a white-haired witch, to battle our heroes. Chan and Li are magnificent, their big confront one of the most amazing fight scenes of all time. But it’s the American presence—Minkoff behind the lens, lame male lead Michael Angarano in front of it—that constantly countermands the action. We expect nothing but brilliance from our kung fu gods. Sadly, they are surrounded by entertainment-sapping stooges.


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