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Articles by JetSetJen

Movies: Post Grad

You won’t need an advanced degree in cinema to recognize that “Post Grad” mostly flunks out right from the get-go. Star Alexis Bledel opens the sophomoric hijinks with a computer video designed to emphasize her strengths and readiness to conquer the business world, as a soon-to-be graduate of a California university. Trouble is, the pretty, if timid Bledel owns neither the acting chops, nor the character chutzpah to convince anyone that her pretentiously named Ryden Malby is as bouncy and capable as she claims. Come to think of it, despite her seven-year run on TV’s “Gilmore Girls,” blue-eyed Bledel does not seem ready to headline a movie comedy, either, even one debuting in the rabid dog days of August. [...]

DVD: thirtysomething: The Complete First Season

While John Hughes was defining the 1980’s for teenagers in the movies, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz were doing the same thing for yuppie boomers on television with “thirtysomething,” which is finally receiving the deluxe boxed-set treatment. A lovingly packaged six-disc collection boasts all 21 original episodes from the first season as well as a 40-page book and hours of extras. [...]

CD: Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project

Country music pioneer Charlie Poole might have died in 1931 at the age of 39, but Loudon Wainwright III’s self-proclaimed “sonic bio-pic” of the troubadour is anything but tragic. Blending original songs about Poole with covers of his most famous numbers (“Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down Blues,” “If I Lose, I Don’t Care,” “Take a Drink on Me”), Wainwright has come up with a two-CD, 30-track set that mines a rich seam of roots magic. [...]

Movies: My One and Only

It’s no surprise that one of the most ironic and clever lines in “My One and Only” has to do with California sunshine. After all, the nimbly nostalgic tale is based on the teenage years of ever-tanned actor George Hamilton (played with restrained youthful relish by Logan Lerman of “3:10 to Yuma” fame) about how he and his half-brother (Mark Rendall) wound up in Hollywood. [...]

Movies: In the Loop

So, ya wanna get “In the Loop,” at least in terms of mostly smart comedy? Then run – don’t walk – to the movie of the same name. Otherwise, you might miss some of the wondrous one-liners in the finest political satire since “Wag the Dog” punctured the pompous well more than a decade ago. [...]

DVD: Flight of the Conchords: The Complete Second Season

“Flight of the Conchords” follows the goofy tale of two real guys who are shepherds in New Zealand, who decide they want to take their music on the road, so they head out to the Big Apple. The quirky TV series from the land of the Kiwis features the real-life singers playing fictional versions of themselves (and hopefully exaggerated), but it does translate to American audiences. [...]

Movies: Paper Heart

“Paper Heart” is simply too small a film to ever to be great, but an imaginative premise and quirky actress/creator could turn it into a late-summer box-office surprise. Charlyne Yi, a comic performance artist who briefly appeared in “Knocked Up,” plays herself as someone trying to document the presence of true love since she doesn’t believe it really exists. [...]

CD: Elvis Presley: From Elvis In Memphis: Legacy Edition

Invigorated by a 1968 TV special and the notion of returning to a Memphis studio for the first time since leaving Sun Records for RCA in 1955, Elvis Presley decided to pull out all the stops for his first non-soundtrack album in six years. The songs were well selected (“Suspicious Minds,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “True Love Travels On a Gravel Road,” “Kentucky Rain”), the production stripped-down, and the musicians Memphis-funky. [...]

CD: Portugal. The Man: The Satanic Satanist

Portugal. The Man’s bizarrely titled fourth album kicks off with a groove so fat and swampy, you’ll swear it was recorded in Memphis, circa 1967. “The Satanic Satanist” opens with the anti-war anthem “People Say” that builds on that funky riff to become a full-fledged barnburner. “What a lovely day, yeah we won the war,” sings vocalist John Baldwin Gourley. “May have lost a million men but we’ve got a million more.” The rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to that awesome opener but it comes pretty damned close. [...]

Movies: Ponyo

If “Ponyo” isn’t the best animated film of the year, it certainly becomes the sweetest in the wise old hands of legendary Hayao Miyazaki. An Oscar winner for the infinitely darker “Spirited Away,” Miyazaki released his lovely little “Ponyo” a year ago in his native Japan where it became a huge hit. [...]
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