Gargoyle guide to the week in entertainment, Jan. 7-13
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 - 6:09pm
Movies opening in C-U
“First Sunday” (Rated PG-13, dir. David E. Talbert)
Rapper Ice Cube and "30 Rock" star Tracy Morgan play bumbling criminals who find themselves locked in their neighborhood church after trying to rob it. Regina Hall and Katt Williams co-star.
“The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie” (Rated G, dir. Mike Nawrocki)
The popular series of vegetable-themed Christian cartoon films continues with the further adventures of Larry the Cucumber, Pa Grape, and Mr. Lunt. This time, the three characters are busboys at a pirate-themed eatery until they are whisked back to the 17th century for a swashbuckling adventure.
“The Bucket List” (Rated PG-13, dir. Rob Reiner)
Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson take center stage in this whimsical story about two terminally ill men who set out to thoroughly enjoy the rest of their lives, however much of it may be left.
“In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” (Rated PG-13, dir. Uwe Boll)
Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Matthew Lillard, and John Rhys Davies star in this fantasy epic about the war between an evil army and the peaceful Kingdom of Ehb, which it seeks to destroy.
Kumars’ Pick: And the absurdly stagnant January-April period of nothing but utter crap kicks off in forgettable style …
CD releases this week
Kate Nash, “Made Of Bricks”
Often compared with Lily Allen and other dry humorists with heavy accents, the Irish/English singer/songwriter and VH1 “artist on the rise” drops her highly anticipated release “Made of Bricks.” Nash is also known for her “piano pop” keyboarding skills.
Marah, “Angels of Destruction!”
Self-described as “Bob Dylan leading AC/DC,” Philadelphia natives Marah bring their classic rock fusion to their latest release.
Sia, “Some People Have Real Problems”
Described by the New York Daily News as “early Kate Bush as channeled through Portishead's Beth Gibbons" (whatever that means), the always eccentric Britpop artist Sia releases her album in North America.
The Shondes, “The Red Sea”
Brooklyn-based rock quintet The Shondes (Yiddish for “shame” or “disgrace”) continue their politically aware indie crooning. Listed influences include Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill, Bach, and Nirvana.
Laura’s Pick: Kate Nash. Classic rock is for old people. The Shondes look like they have potential, so I would check them out as well.
DVD releases this week
“3:10 to Yuma” (Rated R, dir. James Mangold)
Russell Crowe plays Wild West outlaw Ben Wade in this James Mangold remake of the 1957 classic, which some critics (such as Roger Ebert) prefer to the even more famous "High Noon," another great Western made in the 1950s. In the new version of "3:10," Christian Bale co-stars as rancher Dan Evans, who agrees to escort the captured Wade to the 3:10 train to Yuma, where he will stand trial for his crimes. But getting there is easier said than done.
“Sunshine” (Rated R, dir. Danny Boyle)
Wunderkind Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting," "28 Days Later ...") directs Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh in this science-fiction thriller about a space expedition to save the dying sun.
“D-War” (Rated PG-13, dir. Hyung-rae Shim)
Amanda Brooks stars as a young woman gifted with the mysterious power to summon mythical creatures and faced with the task of saving Los Angeles, and by extension the world, from the reawakened forces of evil. (This movie is also known as "Dragon Wars: D-War.")
Kumars' Pick: "3:10 to Yuma" looks like a safe bet for solid adventure, but I'm more intrigued by "Sunshine." The film is purported to be quite frightening despite showing no signs of being such in advertisements and trailers. Likewise, the mixed reviews it received suggest that the film is quite polarizing (it would not be the first time for a Danny Boyle picture), and priority-wise, divisive art trumps well-made entertainment in my book.
Video game releases this week
“Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity” (Sega)
In this sequel to the 2006 “Sonic Riders,” Sonic the Hedgehog takes up hover-board racing with his friends Knuckles and Tails to save Molecurpea, a city of the future, from destruction. The player can play as 18 different characters and use tricks combined with gravity to help pass obstacles in every level. “Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity” costs $49.99 for the Wii and $39.99 for the PS2.
“Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom” (Phantagram)
Resembling the Dynasty Warriors games, this is the fourth game in the “Kingdom Under Fire” series. “Circle of Doom” follows the previous game-play formulas, combining third-person action, real-time strategy, and role-playing elements. Like the previous games in the series, “Circle of Doom” takes place during medieval times but is focused more on role-playing elements than real-time strategy. The game costs $59.99 for the Xbox360.
“Luxor: Pharoah’s Challenge” (MumboJumbo)
An Egyptian-themed action-shooter puzzle game, “Luxor: Pharoah’s Challenge” tests a player’s ability to complete its 124 levels by matching spheres up before they reach a pyramid. The game costs $29.99 for the DS.
Gordon’s Pick: So far no spectacular games for 2008. If you want to buy a high-quality puzzle game, check out "Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords," which came out March 20 last year. And anyone who wants to buy a good game from 2007 should look at GameSpot’s recent holiday gift guide.
Local shows this week
Friday, Jan. 11, Duke of Uke; Kid, You'll Move Mountains; White, Wrench, Conservatory, 8 p.m., Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway Ave., Urbana, $5.
The indispensable IMC in downtown Urbana offers a night of indie rock open to all ages. Milwaukee's White, Wrench, Conservatory label themselves practitioners of "experimental shoegaze pop," while Urbana's Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra manage the noteworthy feat of producing ukulele-based power pop, psychedelia, and folk rock. Kid, You'll Move Mountains from northern Illinois use the dual vocals of Jim Hanke and Nina Jones to create a dance-pop harmony that, according to the Chicago Daily Herald, "causes chills to run along the audience’s collective neck. The lyrics are poetically vague, but endlessly singable. This clearly is the work of people who know exactly what they are doing." You can listen to each of these performers on their MySpace pages by clicking the links above.