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PubDate: 07-06-2010

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Drama delivers chilling intensity



 As Husbands Go, Susan Isaacs: The novelist creates another strong female protagonist, who investigates the murder of her husband.  Other notable releases: fiction — Betrayed, Robert K. Tanenbaum; The Island, Elin Hilderbrand; The Search, Nora Roberts; Still Missing, Chevy Stevens; nonfiction — Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity, Drew Brees with Chris Fabry; Sliding Into Home, Kendra Wilkinson with Jon Warech

DVDS  A Single Man (R): A college professor (Oscar nominee Colin Firth) mourns the death of his longtime partner (Matthew Goode). The cast includes Julianne Moore. (See review, far right.)  Other notable releases: Brooklyn’s Finest, ER: The Complete Thirteenth Season, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

GAMES  Crackdown 2 (Xbox 360): The open-world sequel allows players to leap rooftops and climb skyscrapers in the futuristic Pacific City.

MOVIES  Despicable Me (PG, opening Friday): In the computeranimated movie, a villain (voiced by Steve Carell) plans to steal the moon — until three orphans change his plans.  Other Friday openings: Cyrus (R), Micmacs (R), Predators (R), Trash Humpers (not rated)

‘A Single Man’ R, $27.96

Brutality is among additions That story line picks up two years after Double Agent. Fisher has quit the black ops unit Third Echelon, embittered and obsessed with determining Splinter Cell: Conviction might diswhether the car that ran down his may fans who are attached to certain daughter Sarah at the beginning of long-standing elements of the series. Double Agent really did so by accident. Gone is the old light meter that Conviction reveals that it showed how brightly series didn’t, and the early part of hero Sam Fisher was illumiSplinter Cell: the game is spent in pursuit nated. of the man behind the Gone are many of his Conviction wheel. After he’s found, the high-tech toys. story takes a turn — suffice And gone are the compet Systems: perto say that Third Echelon itive online modes that have sonal computer, isn’t about to leave Fisher characterized the series Xbox 360 be. since the second install Price: $59.99 Fisher is more aggressive ment.  Rating: M for and less acrobatic in this There’s now a binary mature game than in previous stealth system and a new ones. He still hides in the emphasis on cover, a shadows, but his signature streamlined set of tools and trick of wedging himself high up in a slate of cooperative modes, among narrow corners and hallways is gone, them several objective-based game and his interrogations and hand-totypes and a mini-campaign that takes hand moves are more brutal. Gunplay place before the single-player portion’s has a greater emphasis. story line.

By Justin Hoeger



 Custom Built, Bret Michaels: After surviving a brain hemorrhage, the Poison rocker unveils an album featuring a Miley Cyrus duet, a country remake of Every Rose Has Its Thorn and a cover of the Sublime tune What I Got.  Other notable releases: Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Big Boi; Euphoria, Enrique Iglesias; Flesh Tone, Kelis; Aphrodite, Kylie Minogue; Moses on a Snail, Robert Pollard; Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites, Jimmie Vaughan — From staff reports

 The Last Airbender, rated PG, is showing in central Ohio theaters.


WASHINGTON — England might be singersongwriter Joan Armatrading’s home, but she says she’s most at home performing before American audiences. “America is my favorite place to perform — I’ll say that no matter what country I’m in; I’m not scared,” she said. “Audiences around the world respond really, really well to what I do, but there’s that extra thing for me in America. I hesitate to say it’s the cherry on the cake, but, if you have a cake and put the cherry on top, there’s something that zings it.” Armatrading will come “home” to North America this week when she begins the U.S. leg of a tour to promote her latest album, This Charming Life, a disc that showcases her eclectic blend of rock, pop, rhythmand-blues and reggae. The tour has one Ohio date: July 24 at the House of Blues in Cleveland. That mix of genres has earned Armatrading accolades — the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth in 2001 — and a heavy following in Europe, where fans readily sing along to her 1970s and

1. Red Dead Redemption (PlayStation 3) 2. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) 3. Final Fantasy XIV: Collector’s Edition (due Sept. 22, personal computer) 4. Crackdown 2 (today, Xbox) 5. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo Wii) 6. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) 7. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (July 27, PC) 8. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Wii) 9. Just Dance (Wii) 10. Metroid: Other M (Aug. 31, Wii)

M. Night Shyamalan built his directing career on thrillers. But with The Last Airbender — his justreleased adaptation of the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender — he’s not seeing dead people or crop-circle signs. Shyamalan recently spoke about the film, which stars newcomer Noah Ringer and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel.

Q: The media have been getting a lot of e-mails from the Racebending group, an online community of Last Airbender fans who have expressed their concerns about the lack of Asian actors in the film. What is your response to that?

clusive of all races, and you can see yourself in all these characters.

Q: The Last Airbender is a departure from your previous thrillers. Why A: They’re misguided. They’re aware was it the right project to move your work in a new direction? I’m Asian, right? A: It’s been always bubbling, this Q: I would think so. idea of doing some kind of epic — a larger-scale story that’s not contemA: And that Dev’s porary and doesn’t stay in the thriller Asian, and (actor) genre. Aasif (Mandvi)’s Asian. It’s incredible M. Night Q: You found Noah Ringer — who to think that there’s a Shyamalan plays Aang, the Last Airbender — correct Asian here. via a casting call. What spoke to They don’t own this you about him? series. They don’t own all these culA: My secret to all casting, and tures. Avatar is a Sanskrit word. So it’s all cultures that are put together. specifically kids, is: Cast good human beings. I’m not casting a chaAnime is based on ambiguous meleon who can become a million facial features. It’s meant to be different things. interpretive. It’s meant to be in-

Influential performer embraces U.S. MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

The top-selling video games on, as of noon yesterday:

‘Airbender’ director sought ambiguity


By William Douglas



By Jen Chaney



A screen shot of a dicey moment from Splinter Cell: Conviction

WHAT WE PLAY The top songs downloaded from iTunes, as of noon yesterday: 1. California Gurls, Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg (pop) 2. Love the Way You Lie, Eminem featuring Rihanna (hip-hop/rap) 3. Dynamite, Taio Cruz (pop) 4. Cooler Than Me, Mike Posner (pop)

’80s hits such as Willow, Love and Affection, Me Myself I and Drop the Pilot. Her U.S. audience is just as dedicated but not quite as large as across the pond. Armatrading’s wide-ranging musical style, emotionally probing lyrics and deep voice have made her difficult to peg for American radio airplay. “She’s not so easily classified because she has all these shades of blues, folk and rock,” said Ellie Hisama, a Columbia University music professor who wrote a section on Armatrading for the 1999 book Audible Traces: Gender, Identity, and Music. “But there are people who listened to her and modeled themselves after her.” Some music critics consider her the musical godmother of a corps of current female performers: Tracy

5. OMG, Usher featuring (R&B/soul) 6. Airplanes, B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore (hip-hop/rap) 7. Ridin’ Solo, Jason Derulo (pop) 8. Billionaire, Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars (pop) 9. Not Afraid, Eminem (hiphop/rap) 10. Power, Kanye West (hiphop/rap)

Chapman, India.Arie and others. “She was a songwriting influence, for sure,” singersongwriter Me’Shell Ndegeocello said in an e-mail


interview. “She was a beacon of possibility among black female songwriters for me. She also blazed an unusual trail; to see a woman who looked like me singing music that wasn’t R&B was a huge deal to me.” Armatrading, who will turn 60 in December, says today’s music delivery systems — MP3 players, music downloads, online videos and satellite radio — have released her somewhat from the shackles of programmed radio, which never was friendly to her, and enabled her to reach out to audiences that otherwise might not have had the chance to listen to her.

DIFFICULTY: 3 OF 5  How to play: Each row must contain the numbers 1 to 9; each column must contain the numbers 1 to 9; and each set of 3-by-3 boxes must contain the numbers 1 to 9.  Today’s solution D2




How fitting that Colin Firth should carry this movie of quiet but potent emotional power, perfectly suited to his singular gifts. In the script by Tom Ford adapted from a Christopher Isherwood novel, Firth plays George Falconer, a college professor living in Los Angeles in 1962. As the film opens, George is waking up to another day, haunted by the memory of his departed lover. The movie could be described as a relationship drama, with George impassively going through the motions of random encounters with friends, colleagues and strangers. (Julianne Moore delivers a woozy turn as George’s best pal, Charley, and Nicholas Hoult plays one of his students.) As the film works its magic, it takes on the momentum and narrative tension of a thriller, especially during its final moments. The film contains nudity and sexual content.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo UNRATED, $29.95 At its simplest, the Swedish thriller based on the Stieg Larsson novel is the story of a 40-year-old missing-person investigation. Wealthy businessman Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) hires investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) to find out what happened to Vanger’s favorite niece, Harriet (Ewa Froeling), who is presumed to have been murdered. No sooner does Mikael start to poke around than he is joined by computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the tattooed girl of the title. Much of the film’s critical detective work involves high-tech twists to the shoeleather approach to private investigation, and, for once, it really works. So many movies today use computers as a modern deus ex machina; in this one, anyone with a laptop can believe it. It’s also a lot of fun. The film contains obscenity, violence, grisly crimescene photos, nudity, sex, rape and smoking.

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Drama delivers chilling intensity  

This is my headline for a DVD review of "A Single Man."

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