The Defamation Of Strickland Banks Plan B
Plan B re-emerges with a second album that presents quite the drastic transformation. His rapping is sharp on The Defamation of Strickland Banks, but it is sparingly utilised for maximum impact. Instead, the 27-year-old British rapper is flexing a surprisingly strong singing voice and against all odds, it totally works. His crooning is legitimate and professional; tracks like She Said and Welcome To Hell feature a haunting falsetto. The album's concept – a British soul singer losing it all when he's convicted of a crime he didn't commit – doesn't quite translate the way Plan B may have hoped. But, like any great concept album, the storyline doesn't really matter either. There are some very strong songs here. Album opener Love Goes Down is a mesmerisingly smooth slice of classic soul, while Stay Too Long melds old school R&B with the energy of garage rock. But the standout track is Darkest Place, where over a bed of swirling strings Plan B executes the albums most compelling lyrical moment. While Plan B's take on a retro-soul sound is an accomplished one, he's definitely not adding anything new to the style.
Love You More
by Lisa Gardner
Detective D.D. Warren is once again partnered with Massachusetts state trooper Bobby Dodge to solve a murder. This time they're investigating one of their own, fellow state trooper Tessa Leoni. Trooper Leoni's husband is dead and she has confessed to shooting him in self-defense. Her battered face and other injuries back her story up. Sounds like an open and shut case, right? The thing is, Tessa's six-year-old daughter, Sophie, is missing and Tessa's story isn't quite adding up. So what happened to the child? Could Tessa have harmed her own daughter? Love You More alternates between the viewpoints of the two policewomen, Tessa and D.D., who are so much alike, yet forced to go head to head on this case. The book has really cemented Lisa Gardner; her stories are haunting and packed with so many unpredictable twists and turns that they are unforgettable.
by Stefan Petrucha and
In Twilight's unauthorised parody Breaking Down, Bella is Bleh-bleh, Edward is Fredward, and Jacob is now J-Bob. Breaking Down is just like Breaking Dawn, but with all the wackiness you'd expect from a novel where the Cullens are now the 'Sullens'. It's silly, it's a spoof, and it's a lot of fun. The ending is probably the best part of the story. The drawing is amazing and Rick Parker has managed to make every character look like their actor's counterparts, but with obvious over the top exaggerations. The book is a perfect parody. If you're done with sparkling vampires and wish it would just end already, or even if you're an avid Twi-hard with a sense of humour, Breaking Down is one to add to your comic book collection.
Though delayed, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood shines on the PC. Brotherhood adds a rich new chapter to the tale of the war between the Templars and the Assassins. Though the series carefully treads the line between a modern-tech narrative and an ancient setting, the bizarre conclusion that capped off the second instalment was perplexing and frustrating to a fault. Brotherhood doesn't provide enough of those answers to truly satisfy, but it still carries on the series' legacy with tremendous form. The continuation of Ezio's ascent to the head of the Assassin clan in the 16th century absolutely pops with polish throughout, and the new game mechanics are wonderful additions to the franchise. It's telling just how confusing and potentially convoluted the Assassin's Creed tale has become that Brotherhood begins with a five-minute recap of the series to date, but it also serves as a warning: do not start Brotherhood if you haven't at least played Assassin's Creed II, as Brotherhood immediately picks up from the title's conclusion. Numerous side missions spring from the narrative, including optional quests pertaining to other key members of the brotherhood, but the most interesting developments are tied to the new gameplay additions.
MAG's Movie Picks For This Week
American History X
Derek Vineyard is paroled after serving three years in prison for killing three thugs who tried to break into his truck. Through his brother's narration, we learn that before going to prison, Derek was a skinhead and the leader of a violent white supremacist gang that committed acts of racial crime throughout L.A. and his actions greatly influenced Danny. Reformed and fresh out of prison, Derek severs contact with the gang and becomes determined to keep Danny from going down the same violent path as he did.
Beauty And The Beast
Belle is a girl who is dissatisfied with life in a small provincial French town, constantly trying to fend off the misplaced 'affections' of conceited Gaston. The Beast is a prince who was placed under a spell because he could not love. A wrong turn taken by Maurice, Belle's father, causes the two to meet.
The daughter of last Russian czar, Anastasia, is found by two Russian men, Dimitri and Vladimir, who seek the reward that her grandmother, Marie, promised to the ones who'll find her. But the evil genius of the czar family, Rasputin, who for some reason survived in this film, still wants the Romanov family to be destroyed forever.
After his partner Tom Wynne and family are killed apparently by the infamous and elusive assassin Rogue, FBI agent Jack Crawford becomes obsessed with revenge as his world unravels into a vortex of guilt and betrayal. Rogue eventually resurfaces to settle a score of his own, setting off a bloody crime war between Asian mob rivals Chang of the Triad's and Yakuza boss Shiro. When Jack and Rogue finally come face to face, the ultimate truth of their pasts will be revealed.
A giant, irradiated lizard known as Godzilla has been created by some explosions, making its way north and landing at Manhattan to begin wreaking havoc in the big city! The combined forces of the US military are going to destroy Godzilla at all costs, but will it ever be enough to save the people of New York?
Top Five Releases This Week
Prince of Persia Classic Trilogy HD (PS3)
Pinball FX 2: MARS (Xbox 360)
Patapon 3 (PSP)
Assassin's Creed: UC (PC)
TrackMania Turbo (DS)
Taio Cruz – 'Telling The World'
Ke$ha – 'Blow'
Nicki Minaj – 'Girls Fall Like Dominoes'
Snoop Dogg Vs. David Guetta – 'Sweat'
The Streets – 'OMG'
The Sixth Man by David Baldacci
The Devil's Gold (Short Story) by Steve Berry
Eve by Iris Johansen
Eona by Alison Goodman
Guilt By Association by Marcia Clark