Must List: February 5 – February 11, 2010

2/04/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Spencer Morton

Editor's Note: Each week, guest blogger Spencer Morton will offer his new column, "The Must List," which will prime readers for all things worth viewing and hearing in the coming week. Look for it each Thursday.


“From Paris With Love” – John Travolta hasn’t been the same since he strapped on that fat suit and played Edna Turnblad in the musical “Hairspray” in 2007. It looks as if he’s fallen off the deep end, quite frankly. He’s acted idiotic in movies that should’ve never been made (“Wild Hogs,” “Old Dogs”) and was crazier than sack of rabid weasels in “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.” It looks as if his insane antics will continue with the action-packed, terrorist thriller, “From Paris With Love.”

Here, he's Charlie Wax, a Mr. Clean lookalike American spy with a goatee, an unlimited arsenal of weapons, and a lunatic’s logic. He travels to Paris to thwart an impending terrorist attack on the French capital. While there, he hooks up with the young and innocent aide to the French Ambassador, James [Jonathan Rhys Meyers]. Their personalities clash and their techniques differ as they tear through Paris in hopes of saving the day. Directed by Pierre Morel (“Taken”), look for “From Paris With Love” to be entertaining, brainless fun. Check it out when it hits theaters tomorrow (2/5).

*Runner-up: “Dear John” - This melodramatic tearjerker will be one for the ladies. Wonder how many times Channing Tatum will find it necessary to take his shirt off in this flick?


“A Serious Man” – The latest Coen brother’s gem was adored by critics, but didn’t seem to resonate much with the average moviegoer. “A Serious Man” is the darkest a comedy can get. It follows Larry Gopnik [Michael Stuhlbarg], a university professor with a failing marriage, an inept brother who won’t move out, and friends who are shallower than a kiddy pool.

This is one of the tightest scripts to come from the Coens. Every line, every shot serves a purpose. While it's hard to follow and difficult to watch at times, the film does resonate with viewers long after its dubious finale. Richard Kind and Fred Melamed turn in great supporting roles as Larry’s brother and nemesis, respectively. Will Larry hurdle the obstacles in front of him, or crumble under the pressure? Pick up “A Serious Man” when it hits shelves on Tuesday (2/9).

*Runner-up: “Bronson” – This is the disturbing tale of prisoner Michael Peterson and the development of his alter-ego, Charles Bronson. Originally sentenced to seven years in prison, Peterson is still there 30 years later. What is his alter-ego doing that’s keeping him in jail? Watch the gruesomeness unfold when “Bronson” hits stores on Tuesday (2/9).


*Fear Factory – “Mechanize” – Fear Factory are pioneers in the American metal industry. Formed in the early '90s, they seamlessly incorporate elements of multiple kinds of metal music onto all their albums. Critics say they’ve lost steam over the past few years, but they’re back with their seventh studio album, “Mechanize.”

Since 2002, Fear Factory has gone through line-up changes, public disputes, and a few short-lived hiatuses. Burton Bell remains the bands vocalist and Dino Cazares, the founding guitarist, is back after leaving the group in 2002. Gene Hoglan is one of the best drummers out there, and he lends his talents on Fear Factory’s latest effort. His skills are put on full display in songs like “Powershifter” and “Fear Campaign.” See if these modern American metal gods can regroup properly when “Mechanize” drops on Tuesday (2/9).

Songs to Download:
“Fear Campaign”

*Runner-up: HIM – “Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice”: These Finnish rockers have an aggressive, philosophical style of rock which has won over a cult following here in the U.S. They release their seventh studio album on Tuesday [2/9].


*“Super Bowl XLIV” – Pretty much a no brainer here. Anybody who even remotely likes sports watches the Super Bowl. It’s a great excuse to eat unholy amounts of pizza, drink copious amounts of adult beverages, and have good times. Many people tune in for the often hilarious commercials more than anything. This year, it will be necessary to watch the game though.

The New Orleans Saints have become America’s team. In their over 40-year history, this marks the first time they’ve reached the Super Bowl. Drew Brees leads the NFL’s highest scoring offense against the always menacing Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. This game features the two best quarterbacks in the league. It is sure to be an offensive assault. The pre-game show has probably already started (those things last forever!), but kickoff is this Sunday (2/7) at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

*Runner-up: “American Idol” – For better or for worse, the auditions are over. All those receiving the sought after golden tickets head to Hollywood to begin the next stage of the competition. Hollywood week begins on Tuesday (2/9) at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Music Video

*AFI – “Beautiful Thieves”

I always like a good music video that depicts something more than a band on a stage, or a rapper surrounding by a bunch of booty-shaking ladies. Bands such as AFI or 30 Seconds to Mars, regardless of the quality of their music, do a great job of making their music videos interesting and engaging.

In the music video for “Beautiful Thieves,” the second single from the band’s latest album “Crash Love,” the band members are clearly up to no good. Lead singer Davey Havoc spikes the punchbowl at a formal party with fluid from a flask labeled venenum, the Latin word for poison. Death falls on those who drink it. It’s an interesting video concept and it goes well with the lyrics of the song. The “Beautiful Thieves” video is shot very well is a good diversion from most of the videos mainstream groups give us these days.

AFI “Beautiful Thieves”

Viral Video

*Hitler Responds to the iPad

This is pretty clever. The clip comes from the 2004 German film “Downfall,” which coincidently was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Some ingenious folks have made up new subtitles for this scene; new subtitles that emphasize Hitler’s disdain for the recently released iPad. All of it plays out perfectly, like a really good parody film.

Check it out! Apple execs, take note.

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