If you’ve been eagerly waiting for a Will Ferrell comedy to be well, funny again, here it is: The Other Guys, a buddy cop flick starring Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as yin-and-yang New York detectives, actually delivers on the laughs that this summer’s box office has largely been missing. Ferrell plays Detective Allen Gamble, a forensic accountant who is averse to being out in the field. Wahlberg is Terry Hoitz, a detective stuck with Gamble after a humiliating shooting gaffe while out on patrol. They can’t stand each other, and...you know where this is going. Straight to hijinksland. But it works. As one critic wrote, “What seems like another desperate adventure in stunt casting turns out to be a combustible comic bounty.” Go and get your fill.
Cul De Sac Rock
If there is one band that has defined the sound and potential of “indie rock” over the last decade, it is Arcade Fire. When the Montreal-based band released their debut, Funeral, in 2004, it immediately became a must-listen, its sweeping anthems replacing those of U2 and Springsteen for a new generation. This week, the band is back with its third record, The Suburbs, a majestic—and we may even say, epic—look inside small town American and Canadian life. The band has grown into worldwide stars (they broadcast their August 5 concert from Madison Square Garden live on YouTube), but the sound of the record is still as intimate and resonant as when they first hit. Entertainment Weekly dubs the album “a work of impressively fervent majesty,” while Spin offers this high praise: “Radiant with apocalyptic tension and grasping to sustain real bonds.” Urban sprawl never sounded so good.
Touching the Void
We’ve all dreamed of launching into space at one moment or another, but writer Mary Roach is perhaps the first science journalist to explore the psychological impact of getting there, and the human desire to leap into the stars. In her new book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, the author of other notable pop-science books like Stiff and Bonk brings us tales of astronauts, both raunchy and enlightening. She explores the stories that don’t get told about space travel: Spacecraft smell, crafting chimp spacesuits, and early exploits in disgusting zero-gravity cuisine. Packing for Mars will make you think twice about your Buzz Aldrin dreams, but it also gives a more realistic view of life in space than we have ever gotten from a NASA broadcast.