I am not sure what is more surprising, that there have been 6 Fast & Furious movies or that the last one, Fast Five, was really good. In fact, I’m pretty sure this next installment will be pretty great too.

Returning to the caper are cast members Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez (whose character, Letty, was presumed dead), joined by newbies Gina Carano and singer Rita Ora (ugh).

Fast & Furious 6 sees fugitive Dominic Toretta (Diesel) team up with security agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) to take down a mercenary organization.

Fast 6 opens in the United States May 24th and in Australia June 6th.

 

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12 years after the release of Monsters Inc., the film’s much anticipated follow-up (a prequel in this case) is set to hit cinemas later this year. Monsters University sets the audience back before Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) become professional scarers to the time they first met; at Monsters University. Pixar hijinks ensue.

The original was a box office smash, earning in excess of $550million, and time will tell if this fun-looking prequel has the fur and the scare to do the same. Monsters University is set for release June 21st.

 

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The first trailer for the upcoming Thor sequel The Dark World has now hit the web. Following on the events of The Avengers, the mighty locks of Thor battles an evil older than the universe, in hopes of saving the Nine Realms.

The film stars Chris Hemsworth in the title role alongside Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Stellen Skarsgard and Idris Elba.  The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor (taking over from Kenneth Branagh) and is set for release this November.

 

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The final trailer for JJ Abrams‘ much anticipated sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness has hit the web. The trailer continues the themes of peril the crew faces in light of a new evil, played by Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch.

Shall we begin? Looks a little like the end. Star Trek Into Darkness hits cinemas in May.

 

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Pop rockers the Goo Goo Dolls have unveiled the video for the single “Rebel Beat“. The song is the first from their upcoming album Magnetic, now due in June after being postponed from the original April release date.

Not enough Goo on the radio these days.

 

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Jimmy Eat World have debuted the first track from their upcoming new album Damage. The track, “I Will Steal You Back”, is the first taste of new music from the band since 2010’s Invented.

The band will embark on a home state tour of Arizona in May before heading to Europe for select dates in June.

Damage is the band’s first album for new label RCA and will be out June 11th. “I Will Steal You Back” will be available digitally April 16th. You can pre-order the new album on vinyl here.

 

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Album Reviews, Music

Review: Face to Face – Three Chords And a Half Truth

It’s been a pretty fascinating ride for Victorville punk rockers Face to Face. The band’s trademark melodic punk rock took them from the small California town to the then heights of endless KROQ rotation and MTV’s Jon Stewart Show. They rode their ability to turn melodic punk into a near art form, and unlike their predecessors Bad Religion and their kind, Trever Keith’s song writing leaned more on his emotive lyricism than say political anarchy. His heart was firmly on his sleeve and through songs like “I Want”, “Don’t Turn Away” and “Disconnected”, Face to Face became the preeminent force behind emotionally charged melodic punk that managed to sway clear of the trappings of what eventuated into “emo”. Yet, while they remained on the forefront of this genre, they’ve never really had the stability that comes with finding a long term recording home. Face to Face has been through more record labels than the number of albums they’ve released. They’ve had the goods to break into the mainstream (1996’s Face to Face was as big of a rock album as you were ever going to get without them sounding like Green Day) but have never really quite reached the levels they seemingly wanted to achieve. But through it all, the one thing that has remained consistent is the band’s ability to write great songs in whatever variation of punk/rock they’ve conceived.

Their latest, Three Chords and a Half Truth, finds the band on Rise Records (their 9th), deviating away from the breakneck melodic punk rock their pedigree was built on for a more rockabilly, rock n’ roll twist. And while their post-hiatus album (2011’s Laugh Now, Laugh Later) was a more by-the-numbers affair, Three Chords… breaks away from them into Social Distortion territory with touches of The Clash. It’s clear then, that Keith and company aren’t interested in writing another Don’t Turn Away and instead, ease into an album that could have easily been the follow up to How To Ruin Everything. There are more mid tempo pieces, more blues influences, and more foot-tapping melodies than anything they’ve written before. From the stomping opening of “123 Drop” to the horn-section (yes) infused “Welcome Back to Nothing”, Three Chords… will surely polarize fans expecting something familiar.

They have of course, done something like this before. After releasing their A&M Records debut in 1996, they went and released Ignorance is Bliss, a polarizing record if there were ever one. Three Chords probably isn’t as divisive as Ignorance, but songs like the 50’s swing influenced “Marked Man” and the rockabilly tinged “First Step, Misstep” are actually more contrasting (musically) to “Disconnected” than, say, “Burden” or “Everyone Hates a Know-it-all”. They do delve back into the old playbook once or twice, “Smokestacks and Skyscrapers  is a fantastic melody-driven song that could easily fit next to anything on Big Choice. While singles “Right As Rain” and “Bright Lights Go Down” owe more to their earlier material or at the very least, music from their Vagrant-era.

The most telling aspect of Three Chords is how comfortable they sound with their new material. There was a certain awkwardness to Ignorance Is Bliss (for the record, I do really like that album), and their please-the-fans follow-up Reactionary was even worse. But here, they sound complete; like natural progression. So perhaps the band, having long mastered the style in which they became synonymous for, have found the next logical evolution of their craft. It isn’t as raw as a Social Distortion record, not so whiskey-soaked and down trodden, but there is a real belief here. And while older fans will probably be a little disappointed by its lack of pace, the album is a definite step forward. (Rise Records)

 

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