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BEST MOVIE TO SEE OVER THE WEEKEND The ‘Real’ in Danby Phillip ValysCarell saves otherwise sitcom-y heartwrencher Dan in Real Life

The gray, dreary environs of Rhode Island best mirrors the sheepish train wreck that is Dan in Real Life‘s namesake character. This Steve Carell-helmed vehicle won’t atone for the Evan Almighty dreck last summer, but it does furnish the versatile Office alum with enough gristle for a meaty character study.

Dan Burns (Carell) is a single hyper-protective father and op-ed family advice columnist who’s poised to become syndicated. Bitter irony alert: Dan can’t balance his own familial woes. Like a mother eagle fastidiously protecting her young, his 17-year-old daughter can’t so much as steer the family car, while middle child Cara can’t pursue her smitten boy-crush with a classmate. His reason for stymieing autonomy isn’t a foible – it’s a half-panicked dash to save his offspring from joining their recently-deceased mother. While browsing a quaint used bookstore, Dan strikes up a more-than-plutonic relationship with earthbound soul Marie (the timeless Juliette Binoche). It tugs his lifeless heartstrings and jolts some much-need verve into his hangdog temperament. That is, until an annual family reunion reveals Dan’s brother Mitch’s (Dane Cook) betrothed in near-soap operatic fashion: that ol’ charmer, Marie. Awwwwwwkward!

Romantic comedy Dan sometimes verges on the sentimental, but a powerhouse ensemble cast (Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney, Emily Blunt) injects heaps of genuine pathos. Dan’s a savant’s savant, a nimble slinger of the printed word, but even wit can’t wheedle him out of a brotherly clash. The three daughters are sprightly characters, not annoying whiners.

Other moments also pierce the town’s heavy overcast blanket, such as a, ahem, titillating lawn calisthenics scene with Dan’s jumbo fam, and a tear-jerking karaoke session with Dan and Mitch grooving out to Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door.”

BEST TV SHOWS TO CATCH UP ONBy Amanda Leth, Web Editor

Grey’s Anatomy I officially take back everything I said about last week’s disappointing Grey’s experiment. This week it goes straight to the top of my list. The high school click/forever young theme delivered as promised with a cliché everyone could relate too. The drama is bet but there is still something missing from the show this season. Oh right… Christina, Izzy, Meredith and Torres still aren’t hooking up with anyone new… or old for that matter. Neither is McSteamy or McDreamy. At this point their nicknames are just disappointing and depressing. There’s only so much interest you can fake for new characters like Meredith’s little sister, and their sex lives.

Pushing Daisies A show that still lives up to its hype has yet to screw up. For a show about death, it remains one of the more up-beat and colorful shows on television. That alone makes it worth while, but the show also delivers on comedy and drama. For a cast of unknowns the acting is also great. This week the pie-maker discovered feelings for another woman and his main squeeze might be fine with it. The episode focused around polygamy and dogs, I guess they wanted to hit all of their target audiences. Either way, it kept me interested and wondering what will happen next.

BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR MUSIC FIXBy Karsten Anderson, Staff Writer

The Culture RoomEveryone’s favorite twin sister indie rock duo, Tegan and Sara, return to Fort Lauderdale.

Tuesday night proved to be the perfect date night at the Culture Room to see the sisters Quin do their thing. The female-to-male ratio was staggering, but I wasn’t alone in the fact that many of the guys in attendance scored major brownie points with their better halves having to endure this estrogen fest. However, truth be told: Tegan and Sara rocked it (and, yes, I bought a shirt to prove it).

New York City locals, Northern State, opened the show with their infectious all girl hip-hop onslaught. From start to finish these ladies kept it fresh and funky with catchy-as-hell beats and lyrics. If you’re into the Beastie Boys, or better yet, even if you’re not, you need to check this band out.

Tegan and Sara followed suit and completely blew me away. They kicked off their set playing songs off their new album The Con. This was fine by me, because it’s already on my top ten list of best albums of 2007. The chemistry the sisters create while playing is truly awe-inspiring as they weave their dual vocal melodies effortlessly as they switched off playing either guitar or piano. Midway through the show, they started incorporating older songs off of 2004’s So Jealous and 2002’s If It Was You. Stand-out tracks from the night included “Walking with a Ghost” and their new single “Back in Your Head,” which I still can’t get out my head! For the encore, the sisters treated their fans to three songs including a creative cover of the little known song “Umbrella” by Rhianna.

No plans this weekend? Alternative rockers Cartel will be performing this Friday at the Culture Room with Holiday Parade and Between the Trees. For those looking for something more aggressive, Drop Dead Gorgeous will be performing the following Saturday with Alesana and one of my new faves, The Number Twelve Looks Like You. Doors open for both shows at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $14.99 for both shows as well.

BEST VIDEO GAME TO LIVE OUT CHILDHOOD ROCK-N-ROLL FANTASIES By John Stipek, Contributor

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock Review Whether you’re into playing a musical instrument, dancing to the beat of Dance Revolution games, or just love rock music, Guitar Hero 3 will rock your world.

Admittedly, this is my first outing with any Guitar Hero game but I caught on fast, due largely to having experience Dance Dance Revolution games which follow similar patterned-response-type play.

Strumming while hitting the notes took a little getting used to and the whammy bar took a little longer to perfect.

The 42 songs included are the best compilation by a Guitar Hero game judging by past music lists and many of the songs are not covers but the actual band this time around. The soundtrack features hit rock songs including Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Night,” Alice Metallica’s “One,” and Guns and Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”

Single-player is not too challenging on easy mode, where even the boss battles are easily won. The only level that was truly difficult on easy mode was playing against the Devil in the end. Medium level is still tricky for me having just started out the game – 4 frets add a bit too much difficulty for me, but I’ll overcome it. Multiplayer, on the other hand, is great with battle mode or cooperative play it adds a lot of depth to the life of this game.

Guitar Hero 3 brings hope to the masses – including the new ahem rock stars like me – becoming a Rock God is not too difficult on easy, but amp up the difficulty and the Devil will play you in hell until your fingers fall off.

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of RockWii, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 2, PC, MacReleased October 28, 2007$60 – $110