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Underrated/overrated

July 26, 2009

UNDERRATED

'Brick': Now that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become one of the season's stars for his turn in "(500) Days of Summer," fans need to track down this oddly compelling indie from 2005. Essentially a noirish crime drama set in high school, the movie can be a tough sell given its rapid-fire and at times inscrutable update of hard-boiled patter, but if you can break through and go along for the ride, it's well worth the journey.

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Sunny Day Real Estate: Before emo became synonymous with asymmetrical haircuts and guy-liner, there was this anthemic, ambitious and, yes, melancholy band out of Seattle. Torn apart by internal strife before the sound they helped forge started taking off, SDRE recently announced a reunion tour, its first with original (and current Foo Fighters) bassist Nate Mendel since the mid-'90s.

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OVERRATED

'Battle of the sexes' comedies: We get it -- it's summer and not every movie can involve aliens and exploding robots, yet how many variations of the "women and men are so doggone different" rom-com do we need? It's possible this year's "The Ugly Truth" has unearthed a few fresh laughs in the formula, but we're suspicious. Do you think that for all their differences those crazy kids might end up together in the end?

Mix-tape fetishism: It may be just us, but lately we've noticed a resurgence in nostalgia for homemade cassette recordings made for that special someone. Yes, CD burning and iTunes playlists have rendered these obsolete, and this is a good thing. Not only did tapes sound like rubbish, but obsessing for hours on the perfect love-tape probably isn't the healthiest way to spend a day. Burn a mix, go outside. Everyone's happier.

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