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If ‘Maxim’ Can Review Things Sight Unseen, So Can Vulture

Courtesy of Maxim

Once again, the trenchant, highly respected music criticism of Maxim magazine is under attack after it's been revealed the lad rag has reviewed yet another album without having heard it. Last week, we learned the Black Crowes' upcoming Warpaint was given two and a half stars even though Maxim's critic had only heard one song. Today, we find out Nas's forthcoming Nigger has been awarded the same score, despite the album's not actually being finished. Honestly, though, are either of these albums likely to deserve better than two and a half stars? (In the case of the Black Crowes, Maxim's probably being a little generous.) Is it even necessary to have heard or seen things to critique them? We don't think so! To prove it, we tried a few "educated guess" reviews ourselves.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Owing to a lack of close-ups and, possibly, CGI, Harrison Ford looks nowhere near as old as he is. Weaknesses in the screenplay and Shia LaBeouf's performance are overcome by repeated appearances of John Williams's "Indiana Jones Theme." Light years better than the Star Wars prequels. (Three stars)

Madonna, Hard Candy
Despite impressive efforts from Pharrell and Timbaland, Madonna still sounds way too old to be dancing at clubs. Even so, we expect the album's excellent lead single (which is about dancing at a club) to be inescapable for months, followed by dampened enthusiasm for all subsequent crappy ones (also about dancing at clubs). (Three stars)

U2's upcoming album (title TBA)
Not as good as Achtung Baby but considerably more accessible than Pop, U2's twelfth studio album is both a bitter disappointment and a powerful reminder of everything we loved about the band in the first place. As usual, the Edge's guitar playing is incendiary, but ultimately there are just too many songs about Africa. (Three stars)

The Coen brothers' film adaptation of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union (Note: We haven't read the book either)
With baffling ending and hilarious haircuts and mustaches intact, the Coens' quirky, stylized Yiddish Policemen's Union succeeds at bringing the Yiddishness and policemen of Chabon's original novel to the screen. George Clooney is terrific. (Three stars)

The Justice League movie
Much has been made about Justice League's crappy cast, and after seeing the film, we're not yet convinced of Armie Hammer's star potential. Still, the money saved on acting salaries has been spent well on the movie's special effects, which are as visually astonishing as Adam Brody is uncharismatic. (Three stars)

Keanu Reeves's remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still
Terrible. (Three stars)

Jumping the Gun [NYP]