Archive for April, 2011

Scream 4: Probably Not Your Favorite Scary Movie

Fifteen years ago, the first Scream film struck a chord with the public with its ability to knowingly comment on the very genre it occupied. When it’s done correctly, this balancing act makes a very successful movie—altogether the original Scream trilogy grossed over $500 million—but it’s very hard to do correctly. When you don’t do it correctly, you get something like Scream 4.

Scream 4 begins with a new version of the iconic phone call scene, in which a new young actress (Lucy Hale replacing Drew Barrymore*) is stalked by Ghostface over the phone. When she finally gets killed in the new film, though, the murder is laughably fake, at which point it is revealed that what we’re actually watching is the opening scene of one of the Stab sequels—the movie-franchise-within-a-movie-franchise of the Scream universe. The film then cuts to two NEW young girls watching that scene on the couch. When one of THEM dies we are revealed to be watching YET ANOTHER Stab sequel. At this point the plot of Scream 4 actually begins, but by then the reality of the film has been so undercut that there is no investment at all when the “real” characters die.  Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while wondering what the original Holy Saturday was like…

Monday Medley

What we read while they were walking with their feet ten feet off of Beale…

Nine Types of Light: Review

Here’s a question I hadn’t really considered until just now: Does TV on the Radio constitute a supergroup? There’s some obvious evidence to the contrary, specifically that none of its members were famous before the band. And the term “supergroup” is so loaded that it shouldn’t be applied liberally. But all of its members have robust solo careers—since 2008’s Dear Science, Kyp Malone and Dave Sitek each released solo albums. Even more illustrative, though, is how each member seems to refer to the band in interviews: Malone, Sitek, and Tunde Adebimpe seem continuously shocked that they are still together, as if TV on the Radio were a side project that kept growing.

This week’s release of Nine Types of Light should make fans very happy that the band is still together. Despite the broad tastes and styles of the band’s members, TVOTR has developed a coherent sound that is uniquely its own, which its members would be unable to match without one another. Indeed, the band’s different sounds have blended together so well that I often can’t even tell who is singing on a particular song.

On past albums, the multitude of styles that TVOTR comprises has led to songs that tend to change on a dime—like “King Eternal”—or that tend to sound frenetic, like a lot of songs being played at once—like “Dancing Choose.” Nine Types of Light, on the other hand, has a more relaxed, deliberate sound. The differences are clear from the very beginning. “Second Song,” the first song on the album,* begins slowly, with just Adebimpe’s voice over a lone note, before adding a crisp, simple drumbeat. Of course, the song gets more complex than that, but it is essentially built around the vocal interplay between Adebimpe and Malone, creating a rather straightforward song. Continue reading

NPI Comes Alive!: Introducing….TV on the Radio!

With the end of the college basketball season, NPI Comes Alive! is back in a new form. Today, Tim and John S are breaking down Survivor in their first TV-oriented podcast. They’re discussing Boston Rob, Redemption Island, Russell, Former Federal Agent Phillip, and the presence or absence of Survivor Gods. Click here to listen to the first edition of a new podcast series, TV on the Radio!

Monday Medley

What we read while narrowly avoiding an NPI shutdown…

The Double Bonus: NCAA Championship Review

You’ve heard the podcasts; you’ve read the liveblogs (if you haven’t read the liveblogs, do so now). Now listen as John S and Tim break down the final game of the 2011 college basketball season. Today they’re discussing the atrocious title game, the disappointments of 2011, the permanence of parity, and the gradual effects of early entry. Click here to listen to the final Double Bonus podcast of the 2011 season!

The Double Bonus: Championship Monday

To join the live chat that kicks off at 9 p.m. Monday night, just click here!

This is it, folks: the culmination of five thrilling months that began way back in November with Tim’s interminable 2011 College Basketball Preview Palooza. Even though Tim and John’s beloved Blue Devils aren’t involved in the action tonight, this is still a very intriguing title game with a serious rooting interest (they can join the masses in cheering for Butler this year!). Plus, for like the first time all Tournament, the two disagree on who is going to win, from their award-winning podcast:

JOHN S: “I am picking UConn. I thought really hard about picking Butler. I think they match up well with UConn and will give them a hell of a game. I think it’ll probably be close in the same way Duke and Butler was last year. But for the same reasons we picked UConn over Kentucky, in a close game with two teams back and forth, who has the best player, who do you trust the most with the ball in his hands to get the big shot? And that’s Kemba Walker. I think UConn wins, 63-61.”

TIM [after analyzing Butler’s contests with Cleveland State and Norris Cole]: “I think it’s gonna be a close game. Part of this is the novelty of the pick, but I am going to pick Butler to beat UConn and win the national championship. I trust Butler more to get a defensive stop late than I trust even Kemba Walker to score a bucket late against their defense. They’re so good in terms of help defense, I think Stevens will have a good strategy for neutralizing Walker. I’m sure Nored will play a part in that. And I can imagine the tenor of that game being Kemba Walker hasn’t had that good a game, maybe Jeremy Lamb carries them and keeps them close, and it’s late and they’re looking for Walker to hit the big shot and it doesn’t fall. That’s how I see that game going, and I pick Butler to win, 65-62.”

And remember, the live chat that kicks off at 9 p.m. Monday night. Just click here!

MLB Preview: American League

We’re a full weekend into the baseball season, and NPI still hasn’t previewed the most important league! Don’t fret, though, John S is here to break it all down for you, and to make sure you don’t get fooled by Baltimore’s 3-0 start.

AL West

1. Oakland Athletics

2. Texas Rangers

3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

4. Seattle Mariners

So you’re on the A’s bandwagon? Yeah, and I’m not even going to pretend like I got on it particularly early. I was really just looking for someone to pick over the Rangers.

Why do you feel the need to mess with Texas? Well, I was early on the Rangers bandwagon, picking them to win the West at the beginning of 2010, so it’s not like I’m anti-Texas. This year, though, the defending AL champs are both overrated and underrated. They are underrated because people have inevitably focused on the loss of Cliff Lee this off-season; but while losing Lee is obviously big, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the Rangers were in first before trading for Lee last season, and that they likely would have won the division even without his acquisition (Lee was actually pretty mediocre for Texas in the regular season). Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while the Indians were mathematically eliminated…