2010 Summer Movie Preview - August

We round out our summer preview with the August releases, a rather dim bunch unfortunately. Will Edgar Wright save us from summer movie hell with the new Michael Cera vehicle?

Director: Adam McKay

Film: The Other Guys

Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/t/theotherguysposter.jpg

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6 August
The Other Guys

Adam McKay is a pretty consistent comedy mind. After the one-two punch of Anchorman: The Legend of Rod Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, he had a slight stumble with the hit or miss Step Brothers. Now he's got favorite funnyman Will Ferrell teaming up with Mark Wahlberg as a pair of ineffectual cops who must take over for a couple of NYC's Finest (played by Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson). While the premise has promise -- as does the casting -- it will be up to McKay to lend the proceedings a farcical focus that a vehicle like this often lacks.

Director: Jon Chu

Film: Step Up 3D

Cast: Rick Malambri, Adam Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/s/stepup3dposter.jpg

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6 August
Step Up 3D

More dance dreariness (this time, amplified by Tinseltown's latest money grab gimmick) as the gang from that high profile Maryland School of the Arts find themselves in the City of Light. A missed flight and a stolen routine gets hunky hoffer Moose immersed in the seedy world of Paris underground dance competitions. Aside from the backdrop, sounds like every other installment in this "movement is misunderstood -- and amazing" genre. Expect a big opening weekend (especially among tweens to 25-year-olds) and some added firepower from the 3D. After that, it's a lifetime of reruns on MTV2.

Director: George Gallo

Film: Middle Men

Cast: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Macht, James Caan

MPAA rating: PG-13

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/m/middlemenposter.jpg

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6 August
Middle Men

Luke Wilson stars in, what several reviews have hinted at, is one of 2009's most ingenious and shocking comedies. Why haven't we heard of it until now? Well, just like The Human Centipede (or perhaps, more directly, the gay-themed Jim Carrey vehicle I Love You, Philip Morris), it's had a near impossible time finding someone who would champion its release. Apparently, the Internet-themed narrative has mobsters, mayhem, and some miscreant behavior that's bound to make audiences blush. The poster makes it look like a sexier update of Mad Men. Based on what we have read, it seems closer like a smut spiked take on the world behind the World Wide Web.

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The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

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From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

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It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

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