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by Alex Suskind

22 Jun 2010


For almost five decades, Herbie Hancock has provided listeners with a wide variety of traditional and experimental jazz records. With 46 studio albums, 12 Grammy Awards (including the award for Best Album for 2008’s River: The Joni Letters) and one Oscar under his belt, there is very little the iconic pianist and composer has left to accomplish.

Therefore, it is always interesting to see what route Hancock plans on taking with each project. Since his 1962 debut, Takin’ Off, he has written and recorded everything from jazz standards to electronic and hip-hop based instrumentals.

For his newest record, The Imagine Project, Hancock decided to go a route similar to that of his last two albums. For 2005’s Possibilities, he recruited John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon and Trey Anastasio, among others, to cover a range of popular R&B and rock hits. In 2008, he invited singers like Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner and Norah Jones to cover songs by singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell on River: The Joni Letters.

On 22 June, Hancock’s Imagine sees him collaborating with more contemporary artists, including John Legend, Pink and Dave Matthews. On the record’s opening track, a cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, Pink, India.Arie, Jeff Beck and Seal join Hancock for a jazzed up version of the 1971 tune. Matthews shows up later to help out on another Lennon-penned tune, 1966’s “Tomorrow Never Knows”, off the Beatles’ Revolver.

The album is currently streaming on NPR.

by Alistair Dickinson

21 Jun 2010


Kazuo Ishiguro’s devastating novel Never Let Me Go is making its way to the big screen. The film adaptation stars the dead-on cast of Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley, and comes with a script by The Beach/28 Days Later/Sunshine scribe Alex Garland. Check out the trailer for this warped coming-of-age tale below and—if you’ve read the book—try and decide how spoilery the “sometime after your third donation…” line might be to the uninitiated.

by Jessy Krupa

18 Jun 2010


The last big animated hit at the box office was DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, which has taken in over $400 million worldwide since it opened last March. A mixture of great reviews, happy early audiences, and a relentless merchandising campaign spearheaded by Wal-Mart turned the movie into a big success. However, this week, a new animated movie is seeking ticket sales, the highly anticipated Toy Story 3. Not surprisingly, its makers seem to be using the same strategy as Dragon’s backers did, in featuring the film in a couple of high-profile commercials. Whereas recent flop Shrek Forever After used the same cliched trailers and McDonalds promotions in order to spread the word, Toy Story 3 is serving up interesting commercials that manage to boost two different products/services to consumers.

Somehow, this commercial for the Visa debit card introduces you to the movie’s central characters, makes you want to see more of them, and makes you want to use your Visa debit card to buy official merchandise at a local toy store. I adore the attention to detail put into this. At the very beginning, the toys are standing on top of a display for the probably fictional “Red Herring” board game, which advertises itself as “a game of skills and scales”.

by John Lindstedt

18 Jun 2010


In an age where movies about board games are being green-lighted faster than the speed of reason, it’s refreshing that someone would actually try to see if a property could, y’know, work before it was produced.

That’s the case with director Kevin Tancharoen’s Mortal Kombat: Rebirth, which is not a trailer for a movie that exists (yet), but a pitch to see what said movie would be like. And what it would be like is a darker, more realistic,  and overall more legitimate interpretation of the fighting game franchise than 1994’s Mortal Kombat (which is not without its charms).

The promotional film takes place in an alternate version of the Mortal Kombat universe, with Michael Jai White’s Jackson “Jaxx” Briggs going over case files of other beloved characters in order to get to the bottom of the murder of movie star Johnny Cage. The characters have different origins than we have seen in the past, but it serves to give the story a touch of realism,  not disrespect the source material.

If the “trailer” is any indication of the future product, this project is more than welcome. The Mortal Kombat universe has always had an interesting mythology that’s never realized its full potential in the story department. Who wouldn’t want to see all these characters in respectful story arc. I say get started on this project ASAP and “FINISH IT”.

by John Lindstedt

18 Jun 2010


Well, here it is. The anticipated (in the “ripping of a band-aid” sense) film adaptation of another ‘80s property is crapping its way to a theater near you. Does it help that its updated with CGI and a rap remix of the only endearing element of the franchise? No, no it doesn’t. Does it help that it features the talented Neil Patrick Harris and John Oliver? Yes… it does, kinda! Is the previous positive aspect totally negated by the fact that they had to include an apostrophe in the verb-ification of the movie’s title? Is anyone else sad? That would help.

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Call For Papers: Celebrating Star Trek's 50th Anniversary

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"To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hit franchise, PopMatters seeks submissions about Star Trek, including: the TV series, from The Original Series (TOS) to the highly anticipated 2017 new installment; the films, both the originals and the J.J. Abrams reboot; and ancillary materials such as novelizations, comic books, videogames, etc.

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