Pearl Jam has set May 2nd as the release date for its eighth studio album, a representative for the band’s label has told us. The disc does not yet have a title, but a single called “Worldwide Suicide” will make its way to radio stations in early March via digital download. The band has been working on the album for much of the past year, with singer Eddie Vedder saying in a 2005 interview that the record would be the band’s “hardest” musically.

No other details about the album were immediately available.

The group has yet to announce tour plans for 2006.

Fire + Water

Good ep of Lost this week, even if it was a little light on the mythology/story arc angle. Of course, I’m sure one can attach vast importance to Libby’s comment about the washer and dryer looking newer than everything else down in the hatch. Then there’s the religious symbolism inherent in Charlie’s dreams. However, I think the dream served to simply highlight that schizophrenic dove that came flying out of the dream, ready to attack anyone nearby. Vicious, those doves are. No new episode next week, so ABC blows.


One other show I’ve been watching this season is Invasion, which is on immediately after Lost. It’s in the same, general “mystery/drama” genre Lost is in, so fans of Lost should enjoy if they’re not already watching. Its’ pacing is much more plodding and deliberate than Lost, but it doesn’t suffer for it. Invasion’s not in a rush to reveal everything, and it manages to be entertaining without frustration (which Lost sometimes excels at) each week. Worth a look.

Oh, and Dancing with the Stars is worth tivo’ing on Thursday nights solely for rapper extraordinaire Master P. Yes, he’s a rapper trying to dance, and he’s just as awful as you’d imagine. He’s been the worst dancer each week, but he’s managed to stay on because he gets so many votes from viewers. To put it in perspective, he got a 14/30 last week and a 8/30 this week, from the judges. The next lowest score was a 21. High comedy, my friends. I take some delight in watching him exhibit a half-ass effort each week and manage to stay while a bunch of has-been C-listers give it their all in an effort to resuscitate their fading careers…and get voted out. HA!


The Island | C

director: Michael Bay
starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson

Bay’s noble attempt at a thought-provoking narrative still manages to fall flat, with its emphasis on MTV-style visuals over any real substance. The former music video director still seems to think throwing filters on the camera and shooting from odd angles while inducing seizures with the camera equates to a solid flick. While he can–at times–excel in the popcorn department, Bay’s movies will never have the emotional resonance you’ll find coming from flicks by more renowned directors. The Island is probably Bay’s first attempt at even trying to focus on any dramatic narrative and pacing, but there are times when you can tell he’s just bursting to launch into a ridiculously-sweeping crane shot of a sepia-toned shootout on a highway amidst flying jet bikes, giant semis and Volvos spontaneously exploding when impacted by giant train wheels. Oh wait, he did do that.

There’s not much that can be said for the acting, though McGregor and Johnasson seem to give it an effort. It’s difficult to convey any sort of authentic human interaction when they’re running as fast as they can from the “bad guys.” In fact, there’s so much running, this flick should’ve been retitled “The Running Man (& Woman) II.” Ha ha ha ha haa, that’s not funny. But yeah, they run. Here are pages 4 through 118 of the script:

EXT. Barren landscape and/or metropolitan area


They run.

At the very least, the movie is relatively interesting early on, but the childlike Bay can’t wait to blow the surprise and chief conceit of the film and get right to the action. So, in summary, check your brain at the door and be ready for explosions, jet bikes, and the fantastic overacting of Michael Clarke Duncan!

Mr. & Mrs. Smith | C+

director: Doug Liman
starring: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie

A “domestic spy thriller” that’s heavy on look and light in the realism department, but still manages to entertain. Pitt and Jolie are both good as the title characters, fighting against each other, and against a horde of masked men that apparently can’t aim a gun to save their life. Liman, the director of The Bourne Identity, is a good director, but he seems to have developed a slight case of ‘Michael Bay-itis’ in this flick, using sweeping camera moves and odd angles during relatively benign sequences (do we really need a crane shot to show Pitt walking?).

The action in the flick is good, if wildly implausible, but it’s enjoyable if you’re willing to substantially suspend your disbelief. Jolie’s smoking hot, so it’s probably worth seeing just for her as well. I’ll assume the ladies like Pitt as well.

The plot is pretty throwaway, moving from one big action sequence to the next, Jolie and Pitt bantering about the lies they’ve told each other over the years in the downtime between gunshots. Worth a look, at any rate, but a rental moreso than ownership of the movie now on DVD.

I'd like to see more of this…

LA KingsSabres

Buf vs LA

…in the coming months. The Sabres now embark on a tough January/February stretch where they play most of the Western and Eastern Conference powers. This should show us whether Buffalo’s truly belongs among the NHL’s elite. They outwork pretty much every team they play, despite a perceived talent deficiency compared with other clubs. They’re reminiscent of the ’99 team that went to the Finals, so I think their work ethic is a good omen. Time will tell. They’ve definitely won over the fans in Buffalo after a rather lacklaster start (attendance and support-wise) at the beginning of the season, even though they’d consistenly been one of the best teams in the league early on. HSBC Arena was packed with a raucous crowd on Saturday night; the old “1-2-3-4-5-6-we want seven” [goals] chant from the old days at Memorial Auditorium even made an appearance. Fans are starting to believe.

The Bourne Supremacy | B+

director: Paul Greengrass
starring: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Karl Urban

Supremacy continues the trend of “intelligent action” that the first Bourne movie started; though this time around it’s a much leaner movie: short on dialogue and long on action sequences, but no less entertaining on a psychological level than the first movie. Wow, that was a great run-on sentence. The action is great, and I think the movie has one of the best car chase sequences ever put on film. The realism factor here is what really sells the flick, too. You’re not gonna see that kung fu, flying through the air fights while firing at each other with a gun in each hand. You get right in close here, mano y mano, each landing body blows and struggling to hold their opponent off. The only issue some might have is getting headache during said fights because of the ultra-quick cuts and pans, but I love it. I’m really impressed with the Bourne movies thus far, and I hope The Bourne Ultimatum concludes the series with the same intelligence the first two have exhibited.

The Bourne Identity | A

director: Doug Liman
starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Brian Cox

There are very few “intelligent” movies nowadays, and even fewer that are also entertaining. The Bourne Identity succeed in both areas, managing to be a thinking man’s action flick. That is not to say there’s not a lot of popcorn action, but the characters, script and background are fleshed out enough to make it a worthwhile watching experience. You can categorize Identity along with popcorn movies like Face/Off, Die Another Day, and XXX, but it’s presented with a higher degree of realism and intelligence, and that elevates it over the action genre. It’s a taut, fast-paced movie, and a highly-enjoyable one at that.