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Archive for Monday, October 27, 2008

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The Edge

October 27, 2008

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'Lucky Old Sun' by Kenny Chesney (music)

This is the one Kenny Chesney watchers have been waiting for ever since the cuddle-bunny country superstar's 2005 marriage to actress Renee Zellweger flamed out.

"Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates" in 2007 sidestepped that issue with an album full of songs and sentiments written by others. Now he's written or co-written five of the 11 songs on this latest collection, "Lucky Old Sun," allowing the first glimpse of what's been going on in his head and his heart.

A deluxe version of the album, including bonus live tracks, video content and other extras, came out earlier this month; the regular edition was released Tuesday.

Chesney's concentrating here on the aftermath of heartbreak and broken dreams and what it takes to move forward after loss.

There's no country-rock bravado, just gentle acoustic guitars, reassuring piano accents and occasional steel drums to add the requisite soothing island flavor. He counts his blessings and leans on friends, with guest spots from Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson and the Wailers.

'The Archangel Project' (book)

Government conspiracies and military cover-ups are thriller cliches. The trick is putting a spin on these plot warhorses as C.S. Graham does in the action-packed "The Archangel Project."

What sets "The Archangel Project" apart from the run-of-the-mill thriller is how Graham weaves in remote viewing, the ability to experience objects, events and people from a distance. While this paranormal aspect could threaten the novel's realistic story, Graham injects the fact that U.S. government, including the Army, Navy, CIA, NASA and NSA, have funded remote-viewing programs.

October "Tobie" Guinness, a wounded Navy veteran of the Iraq invasion, believes her remote-viewing skills are a curse. Now in New Orleans, she is working with a professor on remote viewing when she apparently sees a conspiracy involving the defense industry. When the professor is killed by a former special-ops, Tobie is on the run, aided by Jax Alexander, a CIA agent. There's no short of suspense as Jax and Tobie try to uncover the plot.

'Journey to the Center of the Earth' (DVD)

While backpacking, a science professor and his nephew find a cave that leads them far down the Earth's bowels. The adventure story, based on a novel by Jules Verne and a remake of a 1959 film by the same name, comes out Tuesday on DVD.

This adaptation stars Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson, but the real star might be the special effects, which include an attacking T-Rex dinosaur.

The film is terrific family entertainment, on a par with "Night at the Museum" and "National Treasure." There are scenes of frightening peril, but any fear is quickly dispelled by the film's light sense of humor, abetted by Fraser's warm, easygoing style.

In addition to the movie, the DVD includes audio commentary by Fraser and director Eric Brevig, as well as a scientific look at what lies beneath the Earth's crust.

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