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By Anna

In the Loop was unforeseeably funny. And it’s exactly what one should get from a dry British comedy: A foul-mouthed communications manager, a self-destructing innocent newbie, and hawks and doves fighting it out in Washington. OK that last part doesn’t quite fit, but In the Loop is an anti-war film about the United States and Britain coming together via a trope of misfit career politicians bumbling about over going to war (you see the satirical irony).

Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy), a modern day Janette Rankin and slight monster despite her dove status, wants for anything to stop the U.S. from going to war. Her nemesis, Linton Barwick (David Rasche), doesn’t hold back, but is a bit of a bore and all-around jackass. While her ally, Lt Gen Miller (James Gandolfini) spends more time defending his once-a-soldier-always-a-soldier status than truly fighting against engaging in war. This U.S. crew hooks up with a British invasion of ridiculous proportions.

The British minister for international development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander, Pirates of the Caribbean) can’t keep his own office wall from crumbling in on innocent neighbors, and his communications manager can’t use a sentence with a swear. The only one keeping them all together is Judy (Gina McGee), Foster’s fully engaged and severely underappreciated assistant who is only blamed for things and continually cussed at.

What the film does well, aside from comedy, is keep its dry wits about it throwing out one-liners without looking back, this film is hilarious from start to finish, even if it doesn’t end how you think it will. When the minister for international development draws on impromptu metaphors in front of the BBC and compares himself to a suicide bomber, though incorrectly, you’ll wonder why you’re rooting for him, but continue to all the same.

The film is full of f-bombs and c-words, and hilarious pop culture references: The White Stripes, Angela Lansbury, Wallace & Gromit, Simon Cowell, and a Nazi Julie Andrews if you can believe it, and worth a top spot on your Netflix queue right next to Dr. Strangelove.

As it was probably one of the best films from last year don’t continue to ignore it, especially if you’ve got an itch for a quirky Limmy satire much needed to put the career minded hawks and doves in their place.

Compiled by Ryan

The links:

NME reports that The Arcade Fire will stream their August 5 concert live from Madison Square Garden in New York via YouTube.

Gorillaz have announced a world tour with more North American dates expected.

Wolf Parade showed The New York Times their favorite foods at the Pitchfork festival.

-An interview with Louis C.K. resulted in “Fresh Air” being taken off the air in Mississippi.

New music spotlight:

Deerhunter Halcyon Digest

Deerhunter have steadily gained critical acclaim over the three full-lengths they’ve released thus far but have yet to make such inroads with listeners.  Even after 2008’s Microcastle was included on many best-of-the-decade lists, it feels like Deerhunter are less revered than their music should warrant.  If this song is any indicator, this fall’s Halcyon Digest could change that:

Deerhunter – “Revival,” from Halcyon Digest, out September 28 on 4AD

Compiled by Ryan

The links:

Paste runs down a list of suggestions for new state songs for all fifty states.

-Guided by Voices will head out on a full-blown reunion tour this fall.

The Hold Steady did a session for that includes some baseball talk in addition to live performances.

The Arcade Fire have pledged to match fan donations up to $1 million in support of continued aid for Haiti.

Betty White will guest star on the premier of the upcoming season of Community.

G.Q.’s annual comedy issue includes this conversation between Paul Rudd, Tracy Morgan, and Zach Galifianakis.

-Galifianakis appears in two upcoming films, both of which debuted their trailers this week: one is a Todd Phillips-directed comedy with Robert Downey, Jr. and the other a twist on a coming-of-age film set in a mental hospital.

The YouTube highlights:

M.I.A. had a pretty interesting performance on Letterman this week:

New music spotlight:

Panda Bear Tomboy

Person Pitch, Noah Lennox’s excellent 2007 album under the Panda Bear moniker was widely received as perhaps the best release from any Animal Collective-related outfit, and Panda Bear threatened to overshadow the band as a whole until 2009’s breakthrough Animal Collective album Merriweather Post Pavilion.  Now, with the band more popular than ever before, it’ll be interesting to see the direction Lennox takes on this fall’s Tomboy.  This song should give us some idea:

Panda Bear – “Slow Motion,” from Tomboy, out this September on Paw Tracks

Compiled by Ryan

The links:

The Hold Steady will release Heaven is Whenever this May.

Chuck Klosterman talking with Stephen Malkmus is perfect.

Pitchfork posted some details about Forgiveness Rock Record, the upcoming Broken Social Scene album, including cover art and an mp3 of the song “World Sick.”

-The city council of Madison, Wisconsin may vote the members of Wilco honorary citizens.

Stereogum has a brand-new design, and I’d say it is much improved.

-I’m still laughing at this RAAAAAAAANDY track from Aziz Ansari’s new mixtape with Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio).

-It’s hard to believe that Justin Theroux and Ben Stiller are still moving forward with a Zoolander sequel.

GQ profiles the talented Jeff Bridges.

-You’ve probably heard by now that Conan O’Brien is on Twitter, but here is word that he may be developing a traveling stage show in advance of his next television gig.

The YouTube highlights:

I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before, but I’m sure it’s making the rounds.  A new YouTube classic:

Tracy Morgan and Jimmy Kimmel made a video; it’s called IMPREGN8ED:

New music spotlight:

The New PornographersTogether

The New Pornographers released some of the most-celebrated indie-pop of the last decade, the latter half of which has seen a surge in the solo careers of members Neko Case, Dan Bejar (Destoryer), and leadman A.C. Neman.  The crew is back at it again, starting with the drum-heavy song featured below:

The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together),” from the upcoming Together, out May 4 on Matador

Compiled by Ryan

The links:

Paste keeps pumping out these “Best of the Decade” lists, and they keep being fun: here’s their list of American breweries, and here’s their favorite live television moments.

-Probably the best, fairest, most-balanced albums list I’ve read so far is that of the AV Club.

-It was only a matter of time until Vanity Fair got their hands on those prepsters Vampire Weekend.

-With digital Lifter Puller releases on the way, along with a book about the band, Craig Finn talks to Pitchfork about his Minneapolis crew before The Hold Steady.

-On the heals of an event at The Paley Center in LA, Parks and Recreation is finally getting some respect, along with speculation about what surprises this season holds.

-If you’re feeling nostalgic, NPR takes us back to the way music blogs were ten years ago.

The YouTube highlights:

One of my new favorite comics is Kumail Nanjiani; check him out on Letterman:

New music spotlight:

DestroyerLive on CBC Radio 3

I haven’t been listening to much new music this week, so I’ll highlight the one thing I did add to my collection: some solo Destroyer performances.  You can listen to the entire set here, or just check out this new track entitled “Chinatown”:

Destroyer – “Chinatown,” live on CBC Radio from the Ukrainian National Federation in Montreal