All in Arts & Entertainment

What is the purpose of a movie? Is it meant to be a visual novel, opening the minds of it's viewers through interesting plot progression and deep characters, or can it merely be a sound and light show entertaining its viewers with innovative score and art direction? This was the question I kept asking myself while watching Tron: Legacy. Can style be so good that it trumps substance?

The king of racing sims is back and is well worth the wait. Gran Turismo 5, which was first announced at 2007's E3, Electronic Entertainment Expo, has been long awaited since the showing of PS3 and Vision Gran Turismo at E3 2005.  This Gran Turismo game has a large collection of cars and tracks. The game comes shipped with 72 racing tracks and a collection of over 1000 playable cars, and this edition comes with licenses from professional racing circuits, like Nascar, for the first time in the series.

The songs of Pink Floyd, commonly characterized as psychedelic or progressive rock, have captivated the senses and opened the minds of music enthusiasts all over the world for decades.  Band member Roger Waters wrote a screenplay based off of the lyrics of their album "The Wall," which was turned into the 1982 film, "Pink Floyd The Wall."  Merging together live action and animation, this musical film, directed by Alan Parker and illustrated by Gerald Scarfe, uses mixed media to portray the fictional life of Floyd. The film revolves around his character, a rock star who struggles to break down the metaphorical wall he has built up around himself, alienating himself from everyone in his life.  Both the film and Pink Floyds music profoundly inspired Hofstra student Paul Tiesler, so much so that it inspired his senior practicum.

Rock operas have become a lost art in the musical era of Gagas and Weezys. Ask anyone under the age of 25 what a rock opera is, and their response will most likely be "That thing that the dude from ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall' did with the puppets." A better example would be Pink Floyd's The Wall, one of the top five best selling albums of all time in the U.S., and Roger Waters reminded us all of just why that is when he performed the entire album at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on November 3rd.

The second episode of Thursday Night Live, directed by Alex Baxter, aired last Thursday in an hour that made it glaringly obvious that the cast and crew would do themselves a favor if they focused their energy more on sharper timing, than on creating ridiculous characters and beating every joke until it is dead and buried. TNL does not suffer from a lack of funny material, but from a lack of knowing when to let it go. Jokes that invoke a giggle when first made became utterly boring upon third and fourth mention. It's no wonder why the five gentlemen behind me felt the need to smuggle wine in their soda cans to sit through the live broadcast.

The cast and the writers of "Psych" prove what they do best after coming back from hiatus: they make you laugh and feel at the same time.

The case was easy to solve, but as its the fifth season, it's probably not the main reason why fans stick around. Fans stick around for the relationships, whether it be Shawn's infatuation with past art thief Despereaux or Shawn's relationship with Juliet moving from friends to something more.

From director, Todd Phillips, who brought you such hits as ,Road Trip, Old School, and last years' critically acclaimed, The Hangover, Due Date is guaranteed to bring laughs. The film tells of Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) and Ethan (Zach Galifianakis), both of whom venture from Atlanta to Los Angeles by car; Peter strives to appear home in time for his wife to give birth to their first child, hence the title of the film, and Ethan is in hopes of becoming an actor, out in Hollywood. The actors work very well with one another as well as the script. The short tempered Peter is a successful architect who has very little patience. Ethan is none other than the typical character which Zach Galifianakis is famous for playing. In fact, throughout the movie, the character of Ethan is very reminiscent of Alan in The Hangover. With that said, Galifianakis is also able to defy his boundaries as an actor, in this film, and at times showcases a far more serious, very in tune with himself, actor.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is another great addition to the gaming behemoth even if it feels familiar. Unlike previous installments in the top selling First Person Shooter series, Call of Duty: Black Ops doesn't take place during World War 2 or in the modern era; this game takes place during the Cold War. In this game, by Treyarch, you play as either Special Forces Captain Alex Mason or CIA Agent Jason Hudson as you battle from 1961 to 1973.  In this game you have to battle around the world from Latin America to Russia and finally in Southeast Asia you and your team have to find a deadly nerve toxin called "Nova 6." You will also have access to many new weapons  the series such as ballistic knives, dragon breath shotguns and a crossbow with exploding arrows.

UnderOATH shouldn't be a band. The pop-screamo wave of 2006 is over and most of their peers went with it. The rest of genre now is glorified hair metal for angry tweens, irrelevant butt-rock or some horrible mix of the two. On the band's newest album they take their last real step away from the sing/screamo/electronics-go-clickity-clack formula they made popular in the mid-2000s.

South Park is showing its age in very strange ways lately. Matt Stone and Trey Parker's latest foray in continuity, a three-part episode following Cartman's super team Coon and Friends and their battle against Cthulhu, an immortal monster originally created by horror author H.P. Lovecraft who in recent years has become something of an in-joke on the Internet, devolves into gibberish.

                  The predictability factor of Greg Berlanti's "Life as We Know It," starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, is reminiscent of the film's title. It's not quite a brain teaser to ponder how the lives of Holly Berenson and Eric Messer will play out. It's the classic tale of the laid back, free-spirited boy who meets the sweet, yet uptight, girl, who both fall perfectly into the cliché "hate turned to love" relationship paradigm we see in romantic comedies time and time again.

Chances are you are not the kind of person who, at somepoint in your life, has clamored for a heavy metal rendition of the History Channel. Apparently though, some people are, and Hail of Bullets was happy to provide. Their debut, "…Of Frost and War," set the scene with a decidedly poetic retelling of the second World War, specifically the struggles between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.  This time, with "On Divine Winds," they've flipped the pages of their textbooks to the Eastern stage of history, chronicling the Pacific front of World War II as well as the Second Sino-Japanese War.

 

Every album that Kings of Leon release has a five syllable title.  The music, however, does not have the same consistency. 2008's "Only by the Night" was a transition period for the band, moving from basic alt rock to a more complex bigger sound. "Come Around Sundown" is the band's recently released fifth album and, according to singer Caleb Follow, is a step towards the earlier "Because of the Times" and "Aha Shake Heartbreak"-era sound.  The result of the Tennesee-based band's work, however, is a bit of an identity crisis.

I recently met up with Bomb the Music Industry singer Jeff Rosenstock outside Silent Barn- a well-kept secret of the punk scene in Queens; part oversized apartment, part art installation and part venue- to discuss their Weezer covers shows that took place this past weekend. The show consisted of the entirety of The Blue Album and "Pinkerton," broken up into two sets, with a second band sandwiched in between. After helping a band mate work out a xylophone part to soon-to-be-played ‘Across the Sea,' Jeff answered my questions while walking to a nearby bodega for a popsicle.