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House at the End of the Street

4 / 5

IT’S IMPORTANT TO note I saw House at the End of the Street at 10 a.m. on a Monday. I never watch movies earlier than 8 p.m., but I made an exception and headed on down to the advanced screening. This meant it was going to have to be one hell of a movie to win me over. And boy, was it ever.

Honestly, Jennifer Lawrence is perfect. Not only does she play a 17-year-old (only a year older than her famous Katniss Everdeen character from The Hunger Games), but she does so realistically, while showcasing a variety of expressions Kristen Stewart has probably never even heard of. Her co-stars in the film, however, are not so perfect. Too much single-parent drama, one-dimensional police officers, and hick-town boyfriends are my only gripes with this film, along with the fact that Lawrence’s character is using an iPhone 3G. Seriously? It isn’t 2008 anymore.

While the script is basic, the plot is stellar. I was legitimately impressed, and will make an effort to watch it again to catch some hidden clues I probably missed during my initial screening. Technically speaking, I also enjoyed the fast-paced imagery of the shots.

Since it’s classified as a horror film, there were some moments to make you jump in your seat and hold the hand of the person beside you, but the storyline of this film is scary enough. And that’s exactly where the film won me over. That, and Jennifer Lawrence.

—Michael Robinson

The Killers

Battle Born | The Island Def Jam Music Group

3.5 / 5

AFTER FOUR YEARS without an album, Las Vegas four-piece The Killers are back with Battle Born, a polished, twelve-track work that’s probably best defined as indie-rock-heartland-punk-pop. The music is distinct from previous albums, like the rawer gem that is Hot Fuss, or the more Springsteen-inspired Sam’s Town, but it is still distinctly Killers.

The one thing that really sets Battle Born apart from The Killers’ previous work is the unabashed romanticism (cheesiness?) that have always been contained in their lyrics, but that are even more present than ever before. This is evidenced on the opening track, “Flesh and Bone,” where frontman Brandon Flowers states, “I’m not sure how / This natural selection / Picked me out to be / A dark horse running in a fantasy.” As noted, no holding back here.

The band’s passion comes off best on “Runaways,” the album’s first single and stand-out track, which edges towards arena rock anthem. “The Way It Was” and the title track are two more songs that show the heartland rockers in a positive light; they’re the kind of romantic, catchy, electric-guitar heavy, slightly epic tunes that a music snob might scoff at…after they notice their head is bobbing.

Battle Born will absolutely live up to the expectations of Killers fans and alt-rock lovers in general, as the album is in the style of the heavily layered, glossy, and fully conceptualized works that brought The Killers their initial respect. Now, eight years removed from Hot Fuss, The Killers are back, and a few goofy lyrics withstanding, as strong as ever.

—Keeton Wilcock


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