Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Best Bets for August 17

M.I.A. – Kala (Interscope)by Anthony A. Choman

In a world where the only norm seems to be that there is none, it should come as no surprise to find out that one of the freshest sounding albums of 2007 comes from an artist who was born in Sri Lanka, lives in England and whose parents were freedom-fighters. Of course, I’m talking about none other than everyone’s favorite beat-boxing British femme-fatale, M.I.A.

After the surprisingly-stellar success of 2005’s Arular, M.I.A. has decided to mix it up again (literally) on her latest effort entitled Kala. Kala is a land in which Third World beats are interwoven into a tapestry of street singers, dancehall rhythms and reggae choruses, topped off with perversely-unique vocal stylings from the Sri Lankan herself.

As a whole, this album is far more complex and more broadly expansive than Arular, but has intermittent moments of sounding like equal parts Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado. Lyrically, this album is not reason enough to supplant…well…anyone, but it does, however, showcase M.I.A.’s painfully unique writing style. Comparisons aside, Kala is at its best as a dancehall wunderkind filled with grimy-baile-funk that is sure to find its way into the capable hands of DJs everywhere.

Kala’s killer tracks include the smash-single “Boyz” (already #1 on Rolling Stone’s Hot List), the Bollywood-inspired “Jimmy,” and “Come Around,” the last track on the album that pairs this Brit-bopping Sri Lankan with Timbaland.

Release Date: August 21, 2007

Getting Medieval on Special EffectsEpic swashbuckler The Last Legion goes CGI-lite for its narrative by Phillip Valys Entertainment Writer

There is something oddly comforting about Sir Ben Kingsley dangling fifty feet above a precipice without a stunt double.

Perhaps it’s because the rope bounding his wrist is genuine, or that he’s actually thrashing about fifty feet in midair. Or, perhaps the battle sequences waged before and after this scene aren’t plagued by razzle-dazzle explosions, computer-generated weaponry or digitally-cloned actors.

It’s refreshing that palpable risk was involved in staging such perilous scenes, and for that reason, The Last Legion smartly throws a nostalgic nod toward gritty epics Spartacus and Ben-Hur.

The plot concerns a nebbish boy whose heritage during the Roman civilization’s decline snags him the prestigious Caesar emperorship. When a bloodthirsty battalion of Goths storm the city walls hell-bent on overthrowing Rome’s dying monarchy, Commander Aurelius (Colin Firth) and his brigade unite to safeguard the last of the royal bloodline.

After the villains ransack the villages, the surviving warriors must trek to Brittania to find the last Caesar-loyal Ninth Legion – and to wage a comeback using the legendary Excalibur sword snatched up along the way.

Director Doug Lefler harmonizes all those low-tech swordfights and smooth character development with veteran ease.

But the real question is why Legion doesn’t bank on the same cutting-edge computer wizardry as its modern CGI-laden counterparts (300, Lord of the Rings).

And that’s the appeal, really. It was a deliberate choice to recognize fine-spun storytelling realism over glitz, and proves just as entertaining. It’s a rarity the film industry hasn’t seen for decades.


Preview: Project Gotham Racing 4

By Daniel Alexander Nigro

One game that I’m really looking forward to is Project Gotham Racing 4 for Xbox 360. Much like the previous games in the series, PGR4 puts an emphasis on racing with style. Along with standard racing with eight cars on the track at once, and time trial races, there are style events where you have to perform power slides, drafting, jumping and clean racing to score “Kudos” points. The more Kudos points scored, the more tracks and vehicles will be unlocked.

There are two major additions with PGR4 that deserve to be noted. The first one is weather. It can now rain or snow during a race, and it can change from rainy to sunny, for example, during the course of a race. This opens up a new strategy, as inclement weather can change the handling characteristics of a track. The second one is that motorcycles will be introduced for the first time into the franchise. Bikes from manufacturers like Ducati, Suzuki, Honda and MV Agusta can share the track with cars from Ferrari, Toyota, Lamborghini, Chevrolet and more. The bikes can do stunts that cars can’t, such as wheelies, and gestures and taunts from the rider. Over 120 cars and bikes will be included in the game. All of those features and more result in a racing game that should be on your watch list. PGR4 hits store shelves this September.

Project Gotham Racing 4$60, Xbox 360, Due out in September 2007

Thou Shalt Not BooUproarious comedyThe Ten riffs on that stone-carved never-do list: the Commandmentsby Phillip Valys Entertainment Writer

In The Ten, director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) dishes out a droll anthology of SNL/-esque slapstick comedy – that is, by blaspheming against every mortal sin from the sacred Decalogue.

Those infamous stone tablets are knocked topsy-turvy as a troupe consisting of (almost) A-listers (Jessica Alba, Liev Schrieber, Paul Rudd, Gretchen Mol, et al) pull a nothing-is-sacred approach to 10 semi-interwoven vignettes that spoof those wacky biblical edicts.

Although there’s a few clunker episodes here and there, the funniest seethe with erratic wit: In the “thou shalt not murder” category, Wain channels Farrelly Brothers-style as an inept surgeon (Ken Marino) who drops scissors into a patient then tries to explain his medical malfeasance to a hardboiled detective (Liev Schriber) as “just a goof!”

Other side-splitting vignettes just barely match the commandments they parody, such as Daily Show alum Rob Corddry’s soap operatic prison romance with the aforementioned surgeon (“No one should be allowed to rape you but me!”). Strangely, that one riffs “Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wife.”

Best in show belongs to Winona Ryder, whose performance trades dignity for laughs as a newlywed who has wild, passionate motel room sex with a ventriloquist’s dummy. Watch out for splinters.

After the credits roll, you’ll wonder if Moses is rolling in his grave. The Ten screens all week at Sunrise Cinemas Gateway (1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale).

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