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Underrated / Overrated

August 28, 2011

UNDERRATED

'Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals': With the NBA locked out and seemingly destined to disappear for a while, now's the time to revisit this 2010 HBO documentary that's still part of the network's on-air rotation. Exploring the irresistible forces driving many classic Lakers and Celtics match-ups, the candid interviews are intriguing but so is the examination of the not-too-subtle play of racial politics that helped sell basketball in the 1980s.

White Hills' 'H-p1': Recently released on the Chicago indie label Thrill Jockey, this album is for every rock-minded malcontent who recognizes that some of the music's most wide-open spaces can still be found between your ears. A darkly hypnotic mix of churning guitar, distant vocals and swirling synth drones, this record conjures a riff-heavy psychedelic vibe that picks up where the Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3 left off. Far out.

OVERRATED

'Rise of the Planet of the Apes': Though this film earned many critical raves, there's definitely some grade inflation here courtesy of standards that dipped far below sea level after a relentless onslaught of cynical summer dreck. Sure, it was fun to root for Andy Serkis' amazing CG Caesar threading the cinematic needle to Charlton Heston, but that's partly because the human element (except John Lithgow) was such a blank slate. Is it fall yet?

Odd Future: With its scheduled appearance Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards, the polarizing local hip-hop collective is ripe for another wave of publicity. And while there's plenty of talent to this 10-piece crew, its taste for courting controversy with violent, misogynistic lyrics overshadows all it does. As unique as Odd Future might be, didn't we see these moves before with Eminem and (shudder) Limp Bizkit?

— Chris Barton

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