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Beirut, The Rip Tide
Zach Condon’s Beirut have always been on the move. They found success with the incredible Balkan-flavoured Gulag Orkestar in 2006 and the Gallic-tinged Flying Cup Club in 2007, and their last release was a double EP that cited Mexican funeral music as its main inspiration. But The Rip Tide sees these inveterate travellers return home to America for an album that pulls together their wide-ranging inspirations into a mature, consistent whole. Oh, and it’s still got loads of trumpets in it, which is always a good thing.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You
It’s a well established fact that The Red Hot Chilli Peppers haven’t made interesting music since, well, since they were having fun with illegal substances. And with John Frusciante having departed for what must be the 17th time, they find themselves shorn of their most consistently creative member. So if there’s any hope for I’m With You, it’s that the long gap and new line-up since Stadium Arcadium have completely rejuvenated them. Will it sell millions of copies? Probably. Will it be as good as Blood Sugar Sex Magic? Probably not.
Cowboys & Aliens
In a year saturated with genre-crunching film, Cowboys vs. Aliens is offering much less excitement across the pond than was hoped. I’m sure director Jon Favreau will have made sure the film is as fast-paced as possible, but reports are saying that the James Bond / Indiana Jones mash up of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford has proved underwhelming. But if you’re a fan of lassos and little green men then it won’t hurt to give it a try.
The Inbetweeners Movie
If, like me, you were disappointed by the last season of The Inbetweeners, you may want to approach the cinema with caution to see Will, Jay, Neil and Simon go off on holiday on the big screen. It will have all the lewd and crude antics of the popular Channel Four TV series, but I can only hope it maintains the sharp character-comedy that the first two seasons were bursting with.
Final Destination 5
Some franchises just won’t die: Final Destination 5 hits our screens this August and death will come a-knocking again for a band of bridge-collapse survivors. If you liked the first four there is no reason why this outing should prove any different, but judging by US box office results audiences are slowly growing weary of this series. For seekers of light thrills this is an entertaining, if unoriginal, cinema trip.
The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodóvar is back on form with The Skin I Live In, a dark tale of a plastic surgeon and his obsessive relationship with a woman he uses for medical experiments. Word is that Antonio Banderas and co-star Elena Anaya give stunning performances and although this film is being described as a ‘drama’ I would suggest you steer clear if you’re not keen on a few chills along the way.
David Nichols bestselling romantic drama One Day gets the Hollywood treatment this August, but despite the popularity of the novel the film adaptation is receiving mixed reviews. I expect this production won’t be a disaster, with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess apparently giving heartfelt performances with the script they were given. This tearjerker won’t be ground breaking, but you still might want to take your tissues with you just in case.
With a growing horde of sub-par Left 4 Dead knock-offs on the shelves, it now takes a lot to get excited about a zombie-based FPS. However, Dead Island has made an extraordinary impression, mainly on the basis of its incredible trailer. Whilst pre-rendered footage isn’t the best way to judge something that is fundamentally interactive, it suggests that there might be a bit more emotional nuance and narrative depth to the game, which is refreshing in a genre where plots largely revolve entirely around ‘acquire shotgun, explode heads.’
Minecraft 1.8 (release August/September)
It’s made its developer a multi-millionaire, it’s one of the most critically acclaimed games in recent memory, and it has a player base the size of Wales; Minecraft’s success is unprecedented in the realms of indie gaming. Version 1.8 will be the biggest release to date and will provide a few key insights into where the game might be going upon its first non-beta release in November, with improved combat and an extensive Adventure Mode threatening to ruin many a degree.
Put down the paper and turn your ear towards the internet. “POTTERMORE! POTTERMORE! POTTERMORE!”. You can hear it, right? The screams are understandable. Pottermore is the latest part of the Harry Potter franchise and promises to flesh out Rowling’s creation to an almost Tolkien extent. Some say it’s just a hastily put together cash in, others believe it’ll put an entirely new spin on storytelling. Personally, I think it’s a necessary shot of literary morphine to keep those Harry Potter withdrawal symptoms at bay.