Now Showing: Films released today – Trouble with the Curve, The Hunt, Rise Of The Guardians, Sightseers…

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Paul Whitington’s reviews of the films below feature in Day & Night Magazine out today. The films are in the cinema now. What do you think? What will you see?

Trouble with the Curve
Director: Robert Lorenz. Stars: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman.
“In 2008, Clint Eastwood let it be known that his appearance in Gran Torino would almost certainly be his last ever performance on screen. If so, it seemed an entirely appropriate swansong, because his portrayal of cheerfully racist curmudgeon Walt Kowalski seemed to sum up his entire career in a single character, and was a turn worthy of the Oscar nomination it never got. However it seems old Mr. Mount Rushmore was only having us on, because four years later here he is again in front of the cameras, playing his age and giving it socks.”


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Listen to the albums reviewed this week: Rage Against The Machine, Julia Holter, Scott Walker, The Scantharies..

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Every Friday, John Meagher reviews a selection of new release albums in Day And Night. Every Friday, we’ll publish a Spotify playlist of the albums (when available) so you can listen and judge for yourself. This week, there are three albums available for listening. Pick up the mag to read the reviews in full…

Julia Holter – Extasis (****)
“Technically speaking, Julia Holter is a singer-songwriter. But the term feels hopelessly inadequate when describing the music of the Los ngeles-based experimentalist.”

Rage Against The Machine -XX (****)
“Hearing this album again in its entirety after several years is a frequently thrilling experience.”

The Scantharies – The Scantharies (***)
“Those keen to hear an album quite unlike any other released this year could do a lot worse than this debut from Anglo-Greek musician and producer Andy Dragazis.”

Scott Walker – Bish Bosch (**)
“Bish Bosch is his 14th studio album and it’s arguably the most challenging album he’s yet made. Walker’s determination to follow his own calling may be admirable, but unlike other practitioners at the far reaches of avant-garde music, his efforts all too frequently veer on the unlistenable.”

The Zolas – Ancient Mars (***)
“Zach Gray and Tom Dobrzanski made small ripples in their native Canada with a prog-pop album called Tic Toc Tic back in 2009. This follow-up is a much more radio-friendly effort, even if their new-found brand of indie-pop fails to mark them out from the crowd in the way its predecessor did.”

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Watch the trailers of new film releases: Silver Linings Playbook, Gambit, Nativity 2, End of Watch…

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Paul Whitington’s reviews of the films below feature in Day & Night Magazine out today. The films are in the cinema now. What do you think? What will you see?

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell. Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver.

In one sense Silver Linings Playbook could be dismissed as a romantic comedy, but it’s so much smarter and more grounded than that description would imply…


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Listen to the albums reviewed this week: Windings, Little Mix, Pat Byrne & Tulisa

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Every Friday, John Meagher reviews a selection of new release albums in Day And Night. Every Friday, we’ll publish a Spotify playlist of the albums (when available) so you can listen and judge for yourself. This week, there are three albums available for listening. Pick up the mag to read the reviews in full…

Tulisa – The Female Boss(**)
“She trots out the sort of female empowerment clichés that the Spice Girls trademarked all those years ago.”

Windings – I Am Not The Crow (****)
“I Am Not The Crow is a late contender, surely, for the Choice Music Prize.”

Little Mix – DNA (**)
“DNA is not short of big-name helpers, including regular Rihanna tunesmith Ester Dean, and the album bounces along with the sort of uber-catchy élan that papers over the songs’ myriad cracks.”

Pat Byrne – All Or Nothing (***)
“Perhaps wisely, Casey focuses on what he does best – writing solid, keenly observed guitar-driven songs that showcase his ability to
deliver choruses to lodge in the memory.”

Paddy Casey – The Secret Life Of (***)
“This debut album is more accomplished than many might have expected, and in places the singer’s passionate delivery is redolent of Brian Adams in his mid-1980s pomp.”

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Facebook’s promoted posts fail

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When Facebook released a promotional video in October that, among other things compared their service to a chair, there was much derisory howling and naturally, lots of parody ads. Yet, perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing so hard. Facebook seems to think it’s as important as the basic functional thing you’re sitting on.

To that end, Facebook’s business model is to let you in, get you hooked and then slowly start to implement features that will make them money to justify their public offering. Their recent Promoted Posts feature is indicative of that. It offered all users the ability to promote their posts or pages for a small fee to the people inside or outside their network. By doing so, they could ensure everyone that liked their page or was a friend would see that status update.

Facebook updates don’t get seen by everyone, they never really have. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm supposedly deals with the problem of giving you news from your friends not noise. Facebook say that by default only 15% of users will see a status. But unrest is growing that Facebook have been reducing the reach of pages for some time.

The general consensus is that it’s a squeeze and it hurts people who don’t have huge revenues to play with: bloggers, internet personalities, writers, musicians and artists. DangerousMinds.net calculated that to reach 100% of their 50k page audience, they’d have to pay $672,000 per year.

As The Rubberbandits tweeted last week: “270,000 Facebook fans and unless we pay a grand each time we post, only 10% can see it. Bad form Facebook. Crushing the independent artist.”

While there’s some dispute about how calculated this reach reduction is and whether it’s always been in place, the fact remains that if a large proportion of people who are using Facebook believe it is, then that’s adding to the number of disgruntled users.

It’s a reminder that Zuckerberg and co. are in charge at Facebook, so you, your friends, your family, brands, artists and businesses are playing by their rules.

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Watch the trailers of the movies released & reviewed today

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Paul Whitington’s reviews of the films below feature in Day & Night Magazine out today. The films are in the cinema today. What do you think? What will you see?

Amour

Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested.
Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert

Paul Whitington’s first five-star review in quite a while.

The Master:
A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix.

Mental
A charismatic, crazy hothead transforms a family’s life when she becomes the nanny of five girls whose mother has cracked from her husband’s political ambitions and his infidelity.

Director: P.J. Hogan
Stars: Liev Schreiber, Toni Colette.

Jason Becker Not Dead Yet
When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they said he would never make music again. 22 years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes.
Director: Jesse Ville
Stars: Jason Becker, Ehren Becker and Gary Becker

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Listen to the albums reviewed this week: The Staves, Julie Feeney & Mogwai

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Every Friday, John Meagher reviews a selection of new release albums in Day And Night. Every Friday, we’ll publish a Spotify playlist of the albums (when available) so you can listen and judge for yourself. This week, there are three albums available for listening. Pick up the mag to read the reviews in full…

Julie Feeney – Clocks (***)
“Julie Feeney likes to challenge herself. Most musicians would baulk at the prospect of using 10 different choirs in 10 different towns, but not the 34-year-old Galwegian who has promised to tour this, her third album, with a large cast of backing singers culled from each of the places she visits.”

Mogwai – A Wrenched Virile Lore (****)
“A host of Mogwai associates take the songs from one of their best albums, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, and reworks them thoroughly. And, for the most part, the emphasis is on nuance and texture.”

The Staves – Dead & Born & Grown (****)
“The material mixes sincerity with a beguiling catchiness, but what truly makes the material stand tall are the girls’ marvellous harmonies which breathe life into practically all the songs here.Think Fleet Foxes by way of First Aid Kit and you’re somewhere close…”

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Grooveshark aim to Flattr, Death Grips get dropped

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Whether Death Grips‘ leaking their album No Love Deep Web for free onto the web was a marketing stunt or a brazen move done without the consent of their record company Epic Records was answered last Friday in a statement issued by the label.

“Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists,” a statement read. “Unfortunately, when marketing and publicity stunts trump the actual music, we must remind ourselves of our core values.”

Yes Epic have dropped the noise-rap punk band from their roster. It was never going to work out.

The website Grooveshark has agitated the music industry for much longer than Death Grips. For five years, it has pitched itself as an online streaming music service a la Spotify. Except very few of the songs featured are authorised by labels or artists meaning that musicians don’t make any money from people listening to their music on the site.

After going through a series of label lawsuits to that end from retroactively trying to get the labels on board, Grooveshark has turned its attention to the artists direct by implementing the micro-payment system Flattr on the site. The idea that you can throw a small amount of money in the artist’s tip jar directly for streaming their music for free is a worthy one.

There’s so much music available for listening on the web these days that there’s really not an onus for people to actually own the music. When music is available like water, how do you make money from it so more can be made? Spotify’s answer is primarily subscription revenue Youtube’s answer is pay the labels and artists per stream while Soundcloud or Bandcamp streams don’t make money for artists per play.

At least Grooveshark’s Flattr model pays artists direct (as long as they sign up to Flattr) for streaming their album. It’s still not be as good as buying directly from Bandcamp or digitally purchasing from iTunes but it is an extra revenue pot for musicians.

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