The Must List: 5-28-10 - 6-3-10

5/27/2010 Posted by Admin

The Must List: 5-28-10 to 6-3-10

By our guest blogger, Spencer Morton


“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”
- If you’re skeptical about this new adventure film, you have every right to be. “Prince of Persia” seems all too familiar in terms of plot and style. The film looks like a steady combination of “The Mummy” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead is mind-boggling, to say the least. The man doesn’t look Persian at all and he doesn’t have a heavy dose of action-adventure films on his resume.

Regardless, “Prince of Persia” is a typical summer popcorn-flick, which isn’t always a bad thing. They’re fun, mindless entertainment. For those wanting to think at the movies this summer, “Inception” is only a few weeks away. "Prince" is adapted from the popular video game, and the plot follows a prince (Gyllenhaal) and his fight to stop an evil ruler from unleashing a devastating sandstorm on all of mankind.

While the inclusion of Gyllenhaal as the lead is questionable, he is being praised in early reviews by critics. The rest of the cast is solid. Ben Kingsley plays the antagonist, Nizam. Alfred Molina and Gemma Arterton also co-star. Behind the camera is seasoned, often unheralded director, Mike Newell. Newell is responsible for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “Donnie Brasco” and “Pushing Tin.”

“Prince of Persia” has a chance to be enjoyable--and stupid. It’ll be interesting to see how the super-talented Gyllenhaal holds up in his first true action-adventure film. “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” opens Friday (5/28).

* Runner-up: “Sex and the City 2” – There is literally nothing else to recommend. If you’re into post-menopausal, obnoxious women acting like attention-hungry, sexually frustrated 20-somethings, then watch Hoda and Kathy Lee on the “Today Show.” You won’t have to waste $8 with that option. However, if there is a lady in your life, you can take her to this and try to score some extra points. Good luck.

View's preview of "Sex and the City 2" here:


Alice in Wonderland – If nothing else, Tim Burton’s vision for Alice and company is unique, twisted and visually creative. The film is dark and uneven. “Alice in Wonderland” is a visual spectacle and a narrative blunder. The magic and the mystique of the original cartoon and book are unfortunately lost in this adaptation. As visually stunning as it is, the story-telling is drab and droll.

“Alice in Wonderland” will look great on Blu-Ray. The colors are vibrant and the CGI is crisp. Johnny Depp as the mad-hatter is enjoyable for a while, but his over-the-top performance does lose its luster over the course of 110 minutes. The rest of the cast meanders along with typical Burton-inspired zest and craziness.

In the end, “Alice in Wonderland” had insanely high potential that it didn’t fully live up to. As far as family-friendly films go, though, you could do a lot worse. The kids will enjoy it, and parents should appreciate it enough. Burton’s vision hits stores on Tuesday (6/1).

*Runner-Up: “Life” – BBC released another nature documentary series last year. Though “Life” didn’t make as much of an impact as “Planet Earth,” it still gives an incredible look into the wildlife of our magnificent planet. It gives us a glimpse of creatures that most of us will never experience first-hand. Check out “Life” when it gets released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday (6/1).


NBA Playoffs 2010 - The NBA gets a bad rap out of the major four sports. The players are criticized for showboating and for not caring. That aside, the playoffs this year have been nothing short of enthralling. Four teams remain: Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.

The Lakers and Suns are in a battle for the Western Conference title. The Lakers were supposed to run over the Suns, but the Phoenix squad has been resilient. Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash have been able to answer Laker superstars, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

The Eastern Conference final between the Celtics and Magic looked to be over early. The Celtics took a quick 3-0 lead in the best of seven series, but the Magic have fought back and won the last two games. The winners of each series will face each other for the 2010 NBA Championship.

The Lakers and Suns play game five in their best of seven series tonight 9/8c on TNT. The Celtics get another chance to wrap up their series Friday (5/28) 8:30/7:30c on ESPN.

*Runner-Up: “True Beauty” (Season 2 Premiere) – This show features some of the most vain people in the world. Essentially the show takes beautiful people and pits them against each other to see who is the most beautiful. Little do they know, they are being judged based on their inner-beauty. At its core, it’s a really stupid show, as with most programs that Tyra Banks gets her hands on. It’s still pretty amusing, though, and has high entertainment value. See for yourself when the second season of “True Beauty” airs on Monday (5/31) at 10/9c on ABC. What a Memorial Day treat this show will be.


Jack Johnson - “To the Sea”
: Jack Johnson has been soothing listeners’ ears all decade with flowing, soulful tracks. From 2001’s “Brushfire Fairytales” to his latest release, “Sleep Through the Static,” Johnson’s melodies and array of lyrics have been impressive. On Tuesday (6/1), he’ll release fifth studio album, “To the Sea.”

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Johnson’s musicianship is his lyricism. His songs can range from heartbreaking tales of depression, to lost love, to care-free, uplifting tunes. They all have a unique flow, and even his darker tracks have a beautiful melody that the listener can sway to.

The first single of the album, “You and Your Heart,” sounds like a typical Johnson tune. The sing-a-long chorus combines with an upbeat, breezy guitar rhythm. “The Upsetter” contains some of the finest guitar work on the album. “No Good With Faces” features a somber accordion accompaniment, which works remarkably well with the songs dreary pace.

Look for “To the Sea” to be one of Johnson’s finest records. Many of his tracks do tend to run together, but it’s still hard to find a more sincere, talented musician than Johnson in the business today. The man makes completely listenable, enjoyable music.

Songs to download:
“No Good With Faces”
“You and Your Heart”
“Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology”

Hawthorne Heights – “Skeletons”: Hawthorne Heights is an interesting group. It’s easy to dismiss their songs as whiny, emo, trash, but they have a strange uniqueness about them. They have a diverse sound for the genre that they’re lumped in. They incorporate elements of pop, electro and dance into their music. The band has been through a lot, including the death of guitarist, Casey Calvert. They have a maturity about their music which does them a lot of favors. Check out their latest album, “Skeletons,” when it drops on Tuesday (6/1).

Music Video

Vampire Weekend – “Holiday”

Who knows if Vampire Weekend is famous for their music or just because their name has the word ‘vampire’ in it, because everyone and their mother seems obsessed with bloodsuckers lately. Vampire Weekend’s music is catchy, different, a little off-beat at times, but mostly good. Regardless of whether you like them or not, they’ve built a stronghold in the indie community.

Their latest album, “Contra,” absolutely tore up the charts. It reached #1 on the Billboard 200 and placed in the top five on many international charts. Most of the tracks on “Contra” are short and sweet. Such is the case with “Holiday,” the album’s third single.

The video for “Holiday,” released today, features the band members in 1700s get-up. It looks like they raided the wardrobes at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and ran-off to make a really weird, fun video. The band members run throughout town doing various activities in their historic garb. They golf, attend a pool party, tag buildings with graffiti, do cartwheels on a beach and lastly, they beat a dude up with a surfboard. Much like the band itself, the video is strange and doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s still enjoyable. Check out the video below:

Viral Video

Greyson Chance Singing “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga

This video is a few weeks old, but it remains completely impressive. Greyson Chance, the Justin Bieber look-a-like, completely re-does this Lady Gaga hit. His piano playing is energetic and fun, and his voice is remarkable for his age. The reaction from all the girls in the background is priceless. They look like they’ve just fallen in love. This kid is really talented. It’ll be interesting to see if and where he goes in the next couple of years. If Justin Bieber can make it, this kid can to. Check out the performance below:

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