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Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006

SingStar Rocks (Playstation 2) [Sony Computer Entertainment - $49.99]


For those wanting to explore their, um, artistic side, Sony has released SingStar Rocks for the Playstation 2.  Sure, the Karaoke Revolution series of games has been around for quite a while at this point, but where SingStar trumps those games is in its tracklist and its ability to feature the original artists on their songs.  I guess it helps to have one foot in the music biz and one in video games.  To that end, the variety in this edition of the SingStar series is unprecedented, careening wildly from Coldplay to Skynard to Hole(?!) to the man himself, yes, it’s the Fresh Prince on “Summertime”.  Seriously, there’s music here for all tastes, making this the perfect 2AM New Year’s party game for you and your talented-in-their-own-mind friends. [Amazon]


 


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Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006

The Book of Cool [Bookofcool.com - $39.99]


British filmmakers Fred and Clive Rees had an innovative concept for “The Book of Cool”: travel the world, find the coolest things to do and find and film the best people doing them and showing us how to do them.  This isn’t a guide to “being cool.”  Rather, it’s about teaching you to do cool things.  You know, the stuff you see on TV and say, “Wow, cool… how did they do that?”  Learn from the master how to take trick shots in a pool game, impress your friends with the fanciest golf shots, amaze the kids of all ages with magic and card tricks.  The set includes three DVDs where the experts show off and then walk you through how to attempt these feats.  A handy, full-color book reinforces the lessons. (Available at Bookofcool.com and Urban Outfitters)


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Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006

Film fans who are passionate about their compassion will appreciate this collection of 12 Academy Award® and nominated documentaries from Docurama.  I Am a Promise follows a year in the life of children in an inner-city neighborhood; Balseros documents the stories of seven Cuban refugees who leave their homeland by raft; In the Shadow of the Stars shows the lives of opera singers who stand at the edge of the spotlight; Who are the Debolts? tells of a household full of disadvantaged children and the couple that made a home for them; Doing Time: Life Inside the Big House takes viewers into a maximum security federal penitentiary and gives voice to those who live and work there; Colors Straight Up follows the lives of inner-city children who are finding their way through music, acting and dancing; A Time for Burning is the tale of a civil rights-era Lutheran pastor who reaches out to his white congregation, in hopes that they’ll reach out to their black bretheren; Unfinished Business is the story of three Japanese-American resistors who refused to go to World War II internment camps; Legacy, follows a family over five years as they pull themselves out of an impoverished life in a housing project in Chicago; Broken Rainbow narrated by Martin Sheen, tells of 12,000 Navajos forced to leave their ancestral homeland; Marjoe/Thoth is the story child thought to be an evangelist prodigy only to later expose himself as a fraud; and Sister Rose’s Passion‘s story of a nun who is determined to change her piece of the world for the better.


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Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006

This beautiful, gold-trimmed set, only secures for Best American its spot as the classiest omnibus factory about. This set includes sports articles for all tastes (even non-sporty ones) from a piece about an eight-year-old dunker to an investigation into fish poaching on golf courses, while the fiction component shows off the best of Alice Munro and Thomas McGuane, and some nail-biters courtesy of the usual crime suspects, including Jeffrey Deaver, Elmore Leonard, and Andrew Klavan.


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Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006

Clerks II [The Weinstein Company - $29.95]


What makes Clerks II one of the best movies of 2006? Is it the focus on interspecies erotica? The discussions centering on body parts that aren’t necessarily supposed to be combined? Maybe it’s the mindless debate over which is better—Star Wars or Lord of the Rings—or the pop culture poetry of hearing the Go-Bots referred to as the “K-Mart of Transformers”. Whatever the rationale, writer/director Kevin Smith has done the impossible: he stayed true to his original black and white opus from 1991, while successfully arguing for the value of sequels. Surprisingly moving and emotional at times, the DVD version offers Smith’s usually cornucopia of added content, while proving that what could have been bothersome somehow magically mutated into motion picture magic.


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