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25 Feb - 02 Mar , 2012
Born To Die
Lana Del Rey
Born To Die's strings usher listeners mournfully into the palace of Del Rey's sadness, her voice curling like smoke-plumes – "sometimes love is not enough," she sighs with the slightly unhinged-sounding 'Off To The Races'. Next up are the 'Blue Jeans'/'Video Games' both have lilting piano chords suggesting the perfect hopelessness of a cherished old photograph. She follows that with 'Diet Mountain Dew', a breathless, mid-tempo R&B number. Next, 'Born To Die' comes a cropper with 'National Anthem', which features some unfortunate rapping. 'Dark Paradise' and 'Radio' fare better, but still sound like 'Born To Die' which has splashy drums and string accompaniments. Recovering momentum, 'Carmen', a dark tale of pretty-girl psychosis, is a winner, with richly suggestive tones. Meanwhile, 'Summertime Sadness', a pop number with that patented feel and lyrics, underline the self-fulfilling nature of the song's lyrics. Although it's not quite the perfect pop record 'Video Games' might have led us to wish for, 'Born To Die' still marks the arrival of a fresh – and refreshingly self-aware – sensibility in pop.

On The Shelf
Defending JacobOur pick of the NOT-TO-BE-MISSED books

Defending Jacob
by William Landay
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must, he's his father, but as damning facts and shocking revelations surface and as a marriage threatens to crumble, the trial intensifies and the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son. Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he's tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

The Vampire KingThe Vampire King
by Heather Killough-Walden
It was immediate for Roman, in three thousand years, he'd never lost control of his emotions, or his heart, but the moment he laid eyes on Evelynne Farrow, he knew she was the woman who haunted his dreams. Evelynne Farrow has always loved a good vampire romance, in fact, she makes a living writing them. While sitting in a coffee shop and working on her next mega-hot book, Evie is approached by a tall, dark, and handsome man who could have been pulled directly from one of her novels. Unknown to her, Roman D'Angelo is exactly what he appears to be – a vampire, and not just any vampire, but the king of vampires. Unfortunately, while Roman is both ancient and invulnerable, Evie is flesh and blood. Just as Roman decides that he and Evie have a date with destiny, for reasons of their own, an ancient homicidal vampire takes an equally strong interest in her. To make things more complicated, there's something very special about Evie, something not quite human. Can Roman fight off the incredible forces that would have Evie as their own, long enough to win her heart, or will destiny betray him, and destroy everything he has ever dreamed of?

Twisted Metal PS3GAMING ZONE
Twisted Metal PS3
Like its predecessor from more than 15 years ago, Twisted Metal celebrates an eccentric kind of action that shoves fun down the collective throat of the gaming masses. It includes an enjoyable, challenging single-player campaign and incredible multiplayer support for both on and offline. Twisted Metal only falters when it comes to its storytelling and an occasionally stubborn lock-on system. Like the past instalments in the series, Twisted Metal revolves around a deadly competition by the same name. Run by the enigmatic Calypso, this competition plays out in a series of battles across the world that use cars fitted with weapons. Unlike past games, only three main competitors enrol in Calypso's content: Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Doll Face. Each of the demented drivers bring along henchmen to compete with, forming three gangs that wage war across suburbs and cities alike. All three groups (and a fourth group in the multiplayer modes) have access to every vehicle. Each chapter comes filled with increasingly difficult, interesting challenges, and ends with a different encounter – all of which rock with increasing degree of hardness.

MAG's Trilogy Pick of the Week
Season of the WitchSeason of the Witch
A 14th century Crusader returns to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights to transport an accused witch to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence. A priest, a grieving knight, a disgraced itinerant and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight join a mission troubled by mythically hostile wilderness and fierce contention over the fate of the girl. When the embattled party arrives at the abbey, a horrific discovery jeopardises the knight's pledge to ensure the girl fair treatment, and pits them Country Strongagainst an inexplicably powerful and destructive force.

Country Strong
A romantic drama centred on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow) and together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager The Dilemma(McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer (Meester).

The Dilemma
Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (Vaughn) and happily married Nick (James) have been through thick and thin. Now partners in an auto design firm, the two pals are vying to land a dream project that would launch their company. Ronny's girlfriend, Beth (Connelly), and Nick's wife, Geneva (Ryder), are by their sides. But Ronny's world is turned upside down when he inadvertently sees Geneva out with another man and makes it his The Green Hornetmission to get answers.

The Green Hornet
Playboy Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) becomes the new publisher of Los Angeles' "The Daily Sentinel" after the sudden death of his father. Britt's party life is about to change when he and his driver and kung fu expert, Kato (Jay Chou), stop a robbery. With the help of Kato, Britt starts a new career of fighting crime as the masked The Way Backsuperhero 'The Green Hornet'.

The Way Back
In 1941, three men reach India from Tibet, having walked 4000 miles after escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group's natural leader is Janusz, a Pole condemned by accusations secured by torturing his wife; he knows how to live in the wilds. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comic accountant, a pastry chef who draws, a priest, and a Pole with night blindness. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, and moral questions of when to leave someone behind.

Top Five Releases This Week
Grand Slam Tennis 2 (PS3)
Warp (Xbox 360)
Mario Sonic London 2012 (3DS)
Dear Esther (PC)
iFighter 2 : World War II (iOS)

Blink-182 – 'After Midnight'
Daley – 'Alone Together'
Emeli Sande – 'Next To Me'
Goldfrapp – 'Melancholy Sky'
Snow Patrol – 'In The End'

The Vow by Kim Carpenter
The Vampire King by Heather Killough-Walden
Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
Home Front by Kristin Hannah

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