’30 Days of Night’ has soft bite, AK inaccuracies

With the very cool idea behind the graphic novel "30 Days of Night" - vampires tramping up to Barrow, Alaska, for a monthlong feeding frenzy during winter's prolonged darkness - it was virtually assured that Hollywood would turn it into a movie. Yet while the flick is a huge cut above most of the gorefests passing themselves off as scary movies today, the premise and its repetitive gimmicks gradually grow as monotonous as, well, 30 days of night.

A Cappella Festivella hits a high note

Sounds of drums, trumpet, tuba, cowbell and electric guitar resonated throughout the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, but none of it was performed with instruments. Sponsored by Student Activities, a cappella groups from Anchorage and California performed during the 14th annual A Cappella Festivella on Oct.

A&E Briefs

'Cost of War to Alaska' exhibit opens eyes to human loss More than 100 pairs of combat boots were displayed in Town Square Park on Oct. 13. The traveling exhibit "Eyes Wide Open: The Cost of War to Alaska" memorialized Alaska residents and Alaska-based servicemen and women who died in war.

Two brothers divided by crime in ‘We Own the Night’

While some people might think that this film isn't worth watching from the previews because they've already seen this plot before, "We Own the Night" has plenty of surprises to offer those viewers who are willing to give it a chance. Not only are the story line and acting so great they need to be seen to be believed and appreciated, but the artistry of the film itself is also well worth the cost of admission.

‘Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions’

When "Final Fantasy Tactics" was released for the original PlayStation about 10 years ago, it brought to life a subgenre that most American gamers had little knowledge of: the tactical role-playing game. Also called strategy RPGs, tactical RPGs appeal to the thinking gamers rather than the action and thrill-seeking crowd; a basic way to think of it is like a cross between chess and the board game Risk, only with lots of changing variables and customization.

Iron & Wine’s new album revives listeners with new sound

Iron & Wine sucks. Anyone who has purchased an Iron & Wine album was fooled into doing so by sole member Sam Beam. The best bit of trickery Beam has is to make the music interesting enough to buy during the first half-listen. See, Iron & Wine doesn't suck because the music is bad.

‘The Diviners’ struggle with speaking and relationships in the South

The production of James Leonard Jr.'s "The Diviners" begins in blackness while "Amazing Grace" is played on a rundown saw. The lights focus on the young musician, dressed in worn rural clothing. Four young women in flapper-style dresses join in with pleasant voices as two characters foreshadow a death to the audience.

A&E Briefs

Oktoberfest proves to be more than a celebration of beer Although the celebration originates from a royal wedding in Germany, Oktoberfest is widely known as a two-week celebration held in Munich, Germany, with parades of musicians and dancers in traditional costume.

‘The Jane Austen Book Club’ captures romance through literature

Love makes fools of us all. And yet each and every single person on this planet longs to find it and has felt the stirring of the heart in some form or capacity. It is a powerful magic that has been written about time and time again by musicians, poets and screenwriters because it is a fascinating and mysterious subject.

Video game review: Heavenly Sword

While gamers everywhere frag each other on "Halo 3" this week (which needs no review), Sony's recently released "Heavenly Sword" for PlayStation 3 provides its own brand of fast-paced action - but with far less staying power. The game definitely has an epic feel, with hundreds of enemies on-screen at once and near-cinema-quality computer animation scenes.

‘Eastern Promises’ doesn’t keep its word

There are no vows or proclamations in "Eastern Promises" that can be kept. Director David Cronenberg ("A History of Violence," "Crash") presents yet another odd storyline with plenty of moments that leave the audience questioning why they had to see them. Just like Cronenberg's first pairing with Viggo Mortensen ("A History of Violence," "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King") in "A History of Violence," the film opens up with a scene and characters that are unrelated to the main character at first glance.

‘Balls of Fury’ loses its bounce

The subject of sports spoofs has been done to death, but apparently Hollywood hasn't gotten the message yet. This time, "Balls of Fury" attempts to lampoon the world of competitive pingpong, but it fails miserably.

Video game review: Jeanne d’Arc

So far, the recent crop of stories out of Japan based on French historical fiction has been of outstanding quality, with anime like "Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo," "Le Chevalier D'Eon" and now the PSP strategy role-playing game, "Jeanne D'Arc."

“The Last Legion” fails as epic, succeeds as absurdity

With such a stellar cast involved in "The Last Legion," one might think this film should be the next successful epic to hit the big screen, but it isn't. There's a reason the studios did not advertise this film as much as others: They knew it was going to tank at the box office because it's a stinker.

“Stardust” a funny but dark fairy tale for adults

"Stardust" sits at the crossroads where "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Princess Bride" meet. It's funny, original and entertaining, to be sure, but there are some dark themes in this film that might not be suitable for a younger audience. Indeed, this film was not written with children in mind but adults.

“Bourne Ultimatum” action-packed but hard to see

While "Bourne Ultimatum" is a nice conclusion to the series, it isn't quite what fans might expect. This film picks up exactly where the last one left off. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon, "Ocean's Eleven," "The Brothers Grimm") is in Russia and he's wounded.

‘I Love You’ an imperfect phrase in musical about relationships

The off-Broadway musical "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," brought to Cyrano's Off-Center Playhouse by the Brown-Eyed Girls Theatre Company, has already had more than 4,000 performances across the country - more than any successful mainstream Broadway musical.

Upbeat musical packs a plus-sized punch of fun

Fans of musicals will not be disappointed with "Hairspray." This is a delightful romp with a soundtrack that will linger long after the movie is over.

UNKLE describes their ‘War Stories’ from albums past

James Lavelle is nuts. But maybe that's UNKLE's defining factor: James Lavelle is nuts. The man who started the band insists on full cardboard packaging on all of his CDs, possibly having some grudge against plastic. His albums, which started out creepy and cinematic, only get more so with every release. And his band roster is most similar to that of The Gorillaz, but without the successful gimmick of a cartoon front.

‘Ninja Gaiden Sigma’

In most video games and movies, the average thugs have no chance of defeating the hero, even when they attack in a group. Although Ryu Hayabusa, the heroic ninja of the "Ninja Gaiden" series, can defeat dozens of enemies in a row, the game is challenging enough that a normal group of thugs will take Ryu down quickly if players aren't on their toes.

Dark ‘Phoenix’ most magical Harry Potter film yet

It's virtually impossible to review a Harry Potter movie without comparing it to previous films in the series or to the books on which they were based. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" manages to satisfy on both counts, proving director David Yates' ability to contend with his predecessors and giving casual and dedicated fans alike something to enjoy.

‘Hairspray’ packs a plus-sized fun punch

Fans of musicals will not be disappointed with "Hairspray." This is a delightful romp with a soundtrack that will linger long after the movie is over. From the first moment the movie starts, so does the music. There is no preamble; the actors burst into song from the very first frame.

Pharoahe Monch creates newfound ‘Desire’ in hip-hop with latest album

When Pharoahe Monch's sophomore album, "Desire," was released with a picture of Pharoahe bandaged up like a mummy on the cover, it was hard to figure out if he was joking or not. "OK, we get it. You're a mummy, like a pharaoh. Hey, look at that - as the CD booklet progresses, you're unraveling your bandages..."

“Transformers” delivers action but fails at momentum

"Transformers" is full of action and fantastic special effects. Unfortunately, the filming is so chaotic at times that it's hard to tell what's happening on the screen. While the plot is well-developed, there are periods of time where the story gets too bogged down by military information or technical data.

Laughs in ‘Evan Almighty’ not much beyond what’s seen in previews

"Evan Almighty" is a fun movie that is surprisingly wholesome. Although it's promoted as a sequel to "Bruce Almighty," the movie stands on its own. Morgan Freeman ("Shawshank Redemption," "The Power of One") still plays God, but Steve Carell's ("Little Miss Sunshine," "The Office") character, Evan Baxter, has a complete overhaul.

Pixar’s “Ratatouille” turns animation into a fine art

Pixar's "Ratatouille" is not your average kiddie fare. Instead, it's a beautiful tapestry of artwork that enchants the viewer with fine dining and will probably create a culinary desire in young ones. Writer and director Brad Bird succeeds yet again in telling a story that is sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy, while entertaining the children in the audience at the same time.

Old sounds resurface in Bj?rk’s new album, ‘Volta’

Bj?rk serves as a rite of passage for young music hounds' professional opinions. It's only when they hear the Icelandic wonder that aural aficionados realize that what someone thinks of a piece doesn't matter. Bj?rk is so strange and obscure that every opinion somehow manages to be objective fact.

‘At World’s End’ perfect ending to oddball trilogy

Fans of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, "Finding Neverland," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and his cohorts will not be disappointed. While "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" has a different tone than its predecessors, it is still the perfect conclusion to the trilogy.

“Shrek the Third” still funny but lacks luster

How many times can a movie with the same characters spoofing the same subject be funny? Apparently two-and-a-half times. There were certainly funny tidbits to be found and enjoyed throughout "Shrek the Third," but this third incarnation of the characters lacked the same sparkle.

‘Knocked Up’ proves crude in romance department

The packed theater could mislead anyone into thinking that "Knocked Up" is a good movie for a date. It's not. Rather than the typical romantic comedy, this movie was nothing like the previews led audiences to believe. The humor was extremely crass, and the outlook on love in the 21st century was bleak.