Latest Blog Posts

by Crispin Kott

20 Apr 2010


After slipping into a heart attack-induced coma late last February, hip-hop artist Guru succumbed to cancer yesterday. The legendary MC, whose real name was Keith Elam, somehow managed to sound both rough and smooth at the same time. In addition to his partnership with DJ Premier in Gang Starr, Guru spearheaded the 4-volume Jazzmatazz releases, which saw him collaborate with jazz musicians, other MC’s and artists from across a broad spectrum.

Guru’s alleged final handwritten message, released by producer Solar, included harsh words for DJ Premier.

“I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events tributes etc. I had nothing to do with him in life for over seven years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ.” (NME)

But rather than speculate on what led to that tension, let’s instead celebrate the musical life of the legendary Guru.

by John Lindstedt

20 Apr 2010


Here’s the latest from the AV Club’s “Undercover” series, which prompted 25 bands to choose from a list of songs to cover in their Chicago office. This week it’s Retribution Gospel Choir covering the Beach Boy’s “Kokomo”. The original was prominently featured in the 1988 Tom Cruise movie Cocktail and is notable for being the first number one Beach Boys single since “Good Vibrations”, a 22-year span. It is generally more of a guilty pleasure than a critical favorite, but Retribution Gospel Choir embraces the song unironically.

by Jessy Krupa

20 Apr 2010


When the family film How to Train Your Dragon debuted about a month ago, Hollywood insiders were surprised that it didn’t do much better. Back then, the only thing the movie had going for it was its 3-D screenings and critical acclaim. Now, those same experts are surprised that the much-hyped Kick-Ass failed to meet its expectations, because it was narrowly outperformed by Dragon.

The reason why this happened is obvious. While most adults don’t want to see an R rated movie about crime fighting adolescents, all adolescents aren’t allowed to see it alone. This leaves families, a huge part of the movie-viewing audience, looking for something else to see.

Recently, Wal-Mart launched a slew of print ads and TV commercials touting their in-store displays of Dragon themed clothing, toys, and food, making it seem as if the movie was the latest, biggest trend among today’s kids. So there you have it, Wal-mart slayed the box office.

by Michael Underwood

20 Apr 2010


This powerful short film by Shawn Morrison and produced by Garrett Murray shows two people who connect during the final hours before a meteor annihilates New York. In just a few short hours, they move from strangers to acquaintances to lovers.

Forever’s Not So Long is the kind of science fiction which I find most moving. Make one supposition about a situation and see how people react. Here, the situation is a vehicle for examining the two individuals. These two people would have likely never met without the impending disaster. Rather than sink into despair alone, they make one last desperate connection, clinging to each other and facing the end together. 

The pair condenses at months of a relationship into a few hours, and give the audience an indication that this may have been the only way for these two people to connect, and that out of a pointless and random doom, some happiness was found, however fleeting.

by Daniel Roberts

20 Apr 2010


Every week it seems like there’s a new hip-hop mixtape out, creating buzz all over the blogosphere and Twitter. The past few weeks have been good to Fabolous; his mixtape The Funeral Service can be heard blasting from cars all over NYC and elsewhere.

But now there’s a new mixtape from young guy Wiz Khalifa (who first blew up with the single “Say Yeah” in 2008). All the heads are talking about it. An hour after it went up online, the hashtag #kushandorangejuice was one of Twitter’s top trending topics.

Some hip-hop fans weren’t impressed with Khalifa’s full-length album back in January, “Deal Or No Deal” (including our own PopMatters reviewer David Amidon), but maybe the laid-back, free form of a mixtape has allowed him to chill out.

Kush and Orange Juice is a great listen. Khalifa has a funky, lazy flow that, combined with easy beats, might remind you of MF Doom and Danger Mouse’s collaborations. “This little stoner makes some dope ass music,” jokes one online commenter. [via NahRight.]

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Double Take: The African Queen (1951)

// Short Ends and Leader

"What a time they had, Charlie and Rosie. They'll never lack for stories to tell their grandchildren. And what a time we had at Double Take discussing the spiritual and romantic journey of the African Queen.

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