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Pop Culture Reviews

The Rough Guide to Highlife (Second Edition)

Greatest Albums, 2012

December 23rd, 2012

  1. The Rough Guide to Highlife (Second Edition)

  2. Azealia Banks: 1991

  3. Spoek Mathambo: Father Creeper

  4. Todd Snider: Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

  5. Loudon Wainwright III: Older than My Old Man Now

  6. Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Americana

  7. P!nk: The Truth about Love

  8. The Mountain Goats: Transcendental Youth

  9. Serengeti: CAR

  10. My Bloody Valentine: EPs 1988–1991

  11. Withered Hand: Heart, Heart

  12. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More, than Ropes Will Ever Do

  13. David Greenberger: Tell Me That Before

  14. Ani DiFranco: ¿Which Side Are You On?

  15. Iris DeMent: Sing the Delta

  16. Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet On Sky

  17. Travis Barker & Yelawolf: Psycho White EP

  18. PS Eliot: Sadie

  19. Corin Tucker Band: Kill My Blues

  20. Saint Etienne: Words and Music by Saint Etienne

  21. Carolyn Mark: The Queen of Vancouver Island

  22. The Rough Guide to the Music of Morocco (Second Edition)

  23. Bob Mould: Silver Age

  24. Himanshu: Nehru Jackets

  25. Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball

  26. Taylor Swift: Red

  27. Divine Fits: A Thing Called Divine Fits

  28. Madonna: MDNA

  29. A Place to Bury Strangers: Worship

  30. The Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the Sea

  31. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange

  32. Pet Shop Boys: Elysium

  33. Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory

  34. Big Baby Gandhi: No 1 2 Look Up 2

  35. Low Cut Connie: Call Me Sylvia

  36. Lee Ranaldo: Between the Times & the Tides

  37. Dabke: Sounds of the Syrian Houran

  38. Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas

  39. Heems: Wild Water Kingdom

  40. Elle Varner: Perfectly Imperfect

  41. The Coup: Sorry to Bother You

  42. Allo Darlin’: Europe

  43. Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city

  44. Homeboy Sandman: First of a Living Breed

  45. Homeboy Sandman: Subject: Matter

  46. Beach House: Bloom

  47. Sleigh Bells: Reign of Terror

  48. Thomas Anderson: The Moon in Transit

  49. Kid Koala: 12 Bit Blues

  50. The xx: Coexist

  51. Andre Williams & the Sadies: Night and Day

  52. Burial: Street Halo/Kindred

  53. Death Grips: The Money Store

  54. Plug: Back on Time

  55. Japandroids: Celebration Rock

  56. Ab-Soul: Control System

  57. Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread & Circuses

  58. David Greenberger with Jupiter Circle: Never Give Up Study

  59. Balkan Beat Box (BBB): Give

  60. The Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia

  61. s / s / s: Beak & Claw

  62. Big Boi: Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

  63. Big KRIT: 4eva ‘n’ a Day

  64. Jamey Johnson: Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran

  65. David Greenberger: How I Became Uncertain

  66. Amadou & Mariam: Folila

  67. Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos

  68. Jack White: Blunderbuss

  69. Songs for Desert Refugees

  70. Francis Bebey: African Electronic Music 1975–1982

  71. Bhi Bhiman: Bhiman

  72. Serengeti: Kenny Dennis EP

  73. David Greenberger & Ralph Carney: Oh, Pa

  74. Karantamba: Ndigal

  75. Linkoban: Super into on It

  76. Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

The Apartment

Greatest Christmas Films

December 23rd, 2012

  1. The Apartment

  2. It’s a Wonderful Life

  3. Fanny and Alexander

  4. A Christmas Story

  5. Mon Oncle Antoine

  6. Lethal Weapon

  7. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

  8. The Polar Express

  9. A Nightmare Before Christmas

  10. Disney’s A Christmas Carol

  11. A Christmas Tale

  12. Die Hard 2: Die Harder

  13. Trading Places

  14. Bad Santa

Transcendental Youth

It’s All in the Melody

November 13th, 2012

The Mountain Goats: Transcendental Youth A


Iris DeMent: Sing the Delta A−


Taylor Swift: Red A−


Donald Fagen: Suken Condos A−

Croc

Old-Skool Platformers

November 13th, 2012

Croc: Legend of the Gobbos A−


Hercules B+


Spyro: Year of the Dragon ✰✰

Smallville

Native Fodder

November 12th, 2012

Smallville

Who knew Superman could be so mainstream? ✰✰


The Inbetweeners

Funny bones are tickled—but rather poorly.


Hollyoaks

You know it’s a melodrama; what you’ll notice here is the lack of acting.

The Walking Dead

Head Bashing

November 1st, 2012

The Walking Dead A−


Dead Island

What makes this game so enjoyable is the lifelike environment and gameplay. Whether it be how you interact with the world and its inhabitants (although wooden mission-givers), or the way your and the zombies’ health points seem to add up, the whole scenario seems plausible. Yes, this game steals a lot, quite shamelessly, from Fallout 3 amongst others, but it works for this plot, so why shouldn’t it? The graphics, while not state-of-the-art, are on par, and the map, while not large enough for extended game time, is right for the location. The problems I have with the game are: The quests seem inconsequential, and don't tie in with the overall plot, and the gameplay is essentially button-mashing. B+


Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

This game has some of the worst controls and camera angles I can remember. Let me put this into context: I was playing co-op with a friend, and it took us an hour do half of one level, ‘Flame Core’—the one with all the lava. Now, some of you may say I am blaming the game, for my inability to play it, but the game is extensive in its poor design. Invisible objects block your path, you’re unable to hit certain boost pads by default; you can boost so far, and it is extremely hard to turn back on yourself. Add onto that the overbearing amount of monster fodder you have to chew your way through, and you have one horrible game. You need only compare this to the latest edition, Sonic Generations, (which I gave an A–) and you’ll feel sick at the thought of having purchased this. The graphics are nice, sure, but you are so closed in you hardly get to see them. No wonder Sonic fans are notoriously love-hate with the franchise. C+

Cloud Atlas

Greatest Films, 2012

October 12th, 2012

  1. Cloud Atlas

  2. The Impossible

  3. Argo

  4. Prometheus

  5. Samsara

  6. End of Watch

  7. Chicken with Plums

  8. Looper

  9. Oslo, August 31st

  10. The Well-Digger’s Daughter

  11. A Simple Life

  12. Arbitrage

  13. Searching for Sugar Man

The Walking Dead

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Silence

October 9th, 2012

Silent Hill 2

Excuse the shoddy voice-overs and the clunky controls; this game is all about the atmospheric horror. Silent Hill 2 is a genuinely scary game—a mixture of slow spookiness and direct horror. For 2001, the graphics are up to par; I especially like the colour scheme, as it adds a layer of realism to the game. The grittiness, wide-sweeping camera angles, indistinct monsters and mysterious plot that ground this, and, while the game is far less scary than it would have you believe, its superb design gives it its subtle edge. There are characters you meet throughout the game who range from helpful to completely useless (one obnoxious, overweight man-child is found eating a pizza in a bowling alley; how he cooked it is unknown); one thing ties them all together: The lack of reasoning to why they are all there. Maybe that’s meant to add to the spookiness. A

Smallville

Driving Fast

October 7th, 2012

Dirt 3

Earns points for realism; looses points for being overly complicated and stuffy—like all car games. ✰✰✰


Cars 2: The Video Game

Surprisingly good graphics but the juxtaposition of difficulty—the driving is too easy and the effects of weapons too severe—ruins the overall enjoyability. ✰✰

Smallville

Why Do Hunters Hunt?

October 7th, 2012

Hunted

You know those dramas, that aren’t based heavily off corny dialogue and one-liners? No? This is one of those. Expertly crafted camera angles add to the spooky plot, and allow the characters to be—rather than a plethora of other shows which are are full of clichéd moments. The acting may not be great, but it’s very close. I think, the only thing holding this back is it’s simplicity. That being said, this is the best thing on British television at the moment.games. A−

Smallville

The Funnies

October 7th, 2012

Beaver Falls

Cursing adolescents are humorous—and the zany characters are pulled off—but episodes should be condensed, and plots honed.games. ✰✰✰


How I Met Your Mother

Their reminiscing gets tiring fast, but mild funnies and the acting hold it all together.ility. ✰✰✰


Franklin & Bash

Two funnymen wasted.

Smallville

Closing the Loop

October 4th, 2012

Looper

This film is almost brilliant in so many ways: The cinematography is well-shot, the costume and set design is inspired, the casting intelligent and the plot incendiary. The key word here is ‘almost.’ There were certain moments where I thought a slightly more focused technical output could have propelled this to excellence. Imagine this film, with the sweeping camera angles of The Dark Knight, for example. Now, don’t get me wrong, this Blade Runner-esque film has the best sci-fi writing since Inception; I hope I have not been to contradictory. What really takes you here are the set pieces—2044 seems so realistic and fantastic—the acting is more than above par—I heard Gordon-Levitt (one of the most underrated and underused actors now) studied all of Willis’ films, to get his persona matched (which is evident)—and a plot which, I’m sure, will go down in history as a cult classic. But, boy, do I wish it went that extra mile—I know the ending makes logical sense in the arc of the film, but it seems flat, and the city-based part of the story is far more involving and interesting.games. A

Smallville

How Many Make a Conglomerate?

September 3rd, 2012

The Left: Gas Mask (Deluxe Edition)

The true, 21st century, American standard. Beats, rhymes and flow: standard. (‘The Melody’ & ‘Desperation’) ✰✰✰


Real Life Gangsters’ Soundtrack

Too many rappers rapping about the same thing. Maybe, that’s why it’s under-focused. (‘Hustlers’ Anthem,’ ‘Show Me Some Respect’ & ‘I’m On’) ✰✰