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by PopMatters Staff

8 Jul 2008

PopMatters trekked out to Fitzgerald’s annual American Music Festival to catch legendary Texas singer-songwriter Joe Ely play a smoking set with accordionist Joel Guzman. While waiting to soak up the sonic, soulful talent of Joe and Joel live—what a privilege and a pleasure—we caught a bit of traditional New Orleans jazz from the Salty Dogs and NOLA brass band music from the BS Brass Band, too. Eager to hear Ely and Guzman, we only caught part of Rosie Flores and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, but Rosie joined Joe and Joel to perform the second encore. The stomping, shouting crowd just didn’t want to let them go.

We highly recommend this annual event held at one of Chicago area’s best music venues.

Click on image thumbnails below to view the rest of the photos.

by Christel Loar

8 Jul 2008

Sundance Channel’s Live from Abbey Road has returned for a second season. The popular original series once again features rehearsals, interviews and performances set inside the legendary London studios. One of the biggest strengths of the show is that it features such an eclectic mix of artists from many genres, and at all points of what is considered a successful career. Mid-career bands mingle with up-and-comers, and lesser-knowns are alongside legends.

Episode four, airing this week (Thursday, July 10 at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific), showcases Stereophonics, Colbie Caillat and Joan Armatrading. Diversity like this is not easily found at a summer music festival, let alone on your television schedule! It’s interesting to see how these artists react to being in the hallowed Studio 1, and although they are being followed about by what must be an enormous production crew, the entire affair feels very intimate. The best thing about this show, for me anyway, is that the joy in the performances is quite evident, as is the fact that the interviews are freely candid—no rehearsed and rehashed sound bites here! Personally, I loved episode four because I grew up on my mother’s Joan Armatrading albums (and it’s great to hear her discussing guitars in detail!), and I’m a massive Stereophonics fan, but I also enjoyed the exposure to the soulful, singer/songwriter stylings of Colbie Caillat, with whom I was previously unfamiliar.

Live from Abbey Road has a little something for everyone, it seems. Casual viewers, music lovers and even the featured artists themselves (in episode three Panic at the Disco were obviously pleased to be able to perform a stellar cover of the Band’s “The Weight”, while this week, Caillat warms up with a brief, impromptu version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” that clearly thrills her.). If each episode is as consistently as good as this one, Sundance Channel may have to expand the series beyond its 12-part format.

by Bill Gibron

7 Jul 2008

Ferrell, Baron Cohen, Apatow take on Sherlock Holmes From the Official Press Release:
Comedy superstars Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrell will team together for a Columbia Pictures comedy based on the renowned characters Sherlock Holmes and Watson, with Baron Cohen taking the role of the master detective and Ferrell as his partner in solving crime, Watson, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. The screenplay will be written by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder). Judd Apatow and Jimmy Miller will produce.

The film will re-team Baron Cohen and Ferrell after their collaboration on the 2006 box office hit Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  The Sherlock Holmes characters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will inspire the screenplay, which will use the works as a starting point for the comedy.

This is either inspired, or insipid. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Mamma Mia Gets Website Upgrade Just in time for the opening of the new musical, Universal launches a new online “experience” featuring games, widgets, and quizzes. While buzz is definitely building for this theatrical smash (the members of ABBA even reunited on the red carpet at the recent Swedish premiere), there’s still time before the 18 July opening to click through and enjoy.




Watchmen Get a New Video Blog For many, Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the Alan Moore comic is a true test of fanboy endurance. While the movie isn’t scheduled to open for another nine months (March 2009), the information coming out regarding the production is beyond enticing. It’s sizing up to be a major motion picture event. For those who can’t get enough moviemaking minutia, UGO has access to the latest video blog entry. You can check it out here. (UGO)



Seth Rogen Talks Green Hornet, Pineapple Express and More With his latest comedy about to open, Moviehole tracked down the Superbad/Knocked Up star and got him to spill the beans on several upcoming projects, including his take on the superhero genre and a possible sequel to one of his biggest hits. (Moviehole)





Friends Movie a Go…and then Gone? You can thank - or curse - the ladies of Sex and the City for this bit of studio back and forth. With the amazing success of the TV show turned big screen blockbuster, it’s only natural that other favored series would get the greenlight. After a couple of the cast members suggested they would be open to a reunion of the popular sitcom for a Cineplex spin, Warner Brothers was quick to quash such speculation. Maybe the negative response from fans fueled their decision…or the lack of signed contracts among an already cash-flush company. Who knows, but it’s apparently off…for now. (IGN)



Bend It Like Beckham Director Has New Brit Teen Comedy After the big screen version of Dallas fell apart, filmmaker Gurinder Chadha has gone and adapted Louise Rennison’s novel Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging for her next project. The Scotsman had a chance to speak with the 48 year old Indian auteur, and her insights into Hollywood and cinema are interesting indeed. (The Scotsman)



Juno Team Reitman/Cody Prepare Their Next Project Talk about unreasonable expectations! Jennifer’s Body is the latest collaboration between Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, the pair responsible for last year’s sleeper hit about teen pregnancy. With Reitman only producing this time (Girlfight’s Karyn Kusama will direct), the dark horror comedy with a rock and roll edge will have a lot to live up to. It will be interesting to see if it can. The Globe has more. (The Globe)




DVD releases of Note for 8 July

Batman Begins: Limited Edition Gift Set
The Future is Unwritten: Joe Strummer
Hard Times at Douglas High
Little Girls: Read the SE&L Review HERE
The Ruins: Unrated: Read the SE&L Review HERE
Stop-Loss
Superhero Movie: Read the SE&L Review HERE
The Tracey Fragments



Box Office Figures for Weekend of 4 July

#1 - Hancock: $107.6 million
#2 - WALL*E: $33.9 million
#3 - Wanted: $20.8 million
#4 - Get Smart: $11.2 million
#5 - Kung Fu Panda: $7.5 million
#6 - The Incredible Hulk: $4.9 million
#7 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: $3.9 million
#7 - Kit Kittredge: An American Girl: $3.2 million
#9 - Sex and the City: $2.4 million
#10 - You Don’t Mess with the Zohan: $1.9 million



Films Opening This Week:

General Release:
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army - Guillermo Del Toro is back with his second installment of a planned trilogy revolving around everyone’s favorite demon turned paranormal warrior. Expect a bigger budget, bigger vision, and bigger box office this time around. Rated PG-13

Meet Dave - Eddie Murphy is an alien spacecraft piloted by…Eddie Murphy, and a crew of diminutive extraterrestrials. Could be good, considering it was co-written by Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame. It could also be garbage, considering Murphy’s recent big screen comedy record. Rated PG

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D - Brendan Fraser takes on the Jules Verne classic, that has been, per Hollywood SOP, “reimagined” for modern audiences. There’s also the 3D angle, for those not interested in another kid-oriented action adventure. Rated PG

Limited:
August - Josh Hartnett stars in this indie effort about two brothers desperate to keep their company afloat. The title refers to the month before 9/11. From thre director of XX/XY. Rated R

Garden Party - An attempt at an Altman like portrait of disaffected individuals floating through an LA landscape of drugs and depression. Sounds like perfect Summer movie fare, huh? Rated R

by tjmHolden

7 Jul 2008

First there was the bag . . .



Sitting unobtrusively; tucked behind a pillar, beneath a schematic of the airport. 

Then there was the consultation;



Next came the tape . . . threading through signs and around the backs of amassing security personnel . . . 


And soon everyone passing through the terminal knew a game was afoot.

by Mike Schiller

7 Jul 2008

If you stare at this week’s release list long enough, you can hear crickets chirping.  Try it.

...

See?  We’re into the sparse weeks of summer, where the games that are going to keep indoors for the season have pretty much all been released, and the winter holiday season is but a breath of anticipation, months away from beginning.  So what’s on tap for this week?

This is Civilization Revolution.  Good times.

This is Civilization Revolution.  Good times.

Civilization: Revolution: looks like a winner, and so far, it’s been pretty well-received, so we’ll go with that.  The problems with translating PC-style strategy games to consoles is well-documented, particularly given most consoles’ lack of a mouse.  There are lots of PC-to-console strategy attempts, but most of them do one particular thing wrong: namely, they try to exist as straight-up ports of the originals.  So far, it seems that Civilization Revolution has avoided this pitfall, making it a must-buy for console owning sim-whatever fans.

Of course, as Joystiq points out, any game that features the physical presence of Napoleon hovering over everyone else is a little bit suspect.

Antonio Fango, one of the suspects in Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice

Antonio Fango, one of the suspects in Nancy
Drew: The Phantom of Venice

As for the rest of the offerings, the Wii offers lots of kids’ stuff, most notably a little bit of easy entry into the Final Fantasy series in the form of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon, which could be a fun way to scratch the RPG itch with my kids around.  Sega has the officially licensed version of the 2008 Olympics on the way (though I suspect I’ll stick with Mario and Sonic, thank you), Unreal Tournament 3 is another PC-to-console port which might be worth looking at if the whole multiplayer FPS thing is cool for you, and hey! Nancy Drew!  Adventure fans who are sleeping on Her Interactive’s Nancy Drew series of computer games are actually seriously missing out.  Yes, even if you’re not a teenage girl.

Seriously, though, I’m off to give Civilization Revolution a look.  I’ve gotta knock that Napoleon down a few pegs, after all.  The full release list is after the break, with a Civilization Revolution trailer to get you as excited about the thing as we are.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

St. Vincent, Beck, and More Heat Up Boston Calling on Memorial Day Weekend

// Notes from the Road

"With vibrant performances by artists including St. Vincent and TV on the Radio, the first half of the bi-annual Boston Calling Festival brought additional excitement to Memorial Day weekend.

READ the article