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BEATS, DONUTS, AND LIFE

Twenty years from now, if Detroit still exists and Chrysler continues to sell us cars built nearby, it’s possible that the company’s Super Bowl ad (assuming parents still let their kids play football) won’t feature Motown singers or a rasping Bob Dylan but beats by J. Dilla, the late producer whose soulful notes constitute, for many hip-hop fans, the sound of the city. For the eighth year in a row, Brooklyn celebrates both the beats and the man behind them with the roving “Donuts Are Forever” party, named for Dilla’s final album of instrumentals. This year’s roster of DJs appearing at Brooklyn Bowl includes Good Reverend Dr. J, DJ Prince, DJ Still Life, 6th Sense, DJ Parler, and headliner DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Sun., Feb. 16, 8 p.m., 2014

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Flash of Genius Unbearably Dull

The big-screen version of inventor Robert Kearns’s legal battles with Ford and Chrysler—both of whom nicked his intermittent windshield wiper without giving him credit, much less paying a cent—is about as exciting as Kearns’s Wikipedia entry. Greg Kinnear, usually kinetic, is unusually (and unbearably) dull in producer turned director Marc Abraham’s telling of Kearns’s years-long fight to regain his good name, even as Ford finally offers millions to get him to scram. Is Kearns mad or just angry? Hard to say, as the filmmaker and actor can’t get a handle on a man obsessed with windshield wipers and the attendant credit that’s rightfully his. The movie’s so even-keeled that even the cast—including Lauren Graham as the tolerant wife who suddenly snaps and then just vanishes altogether—seems to be getting sleepy, sleepy, sleepy as it winds its way toward a courtroom showdown that’s more slowdown. You know how it’ll all end—Hollywood doesn’t make movies in which Goliath trounces David, especially when he’s Greg Kinnear—so all you’re left with are windshield wipers, going back and forth . . . and back and forth . . . and back and forth . . .

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For Aussie Garage-Pop Tarts, Life Begins at 30

Leanne Kingwell demonstrates how a (barely) 30-year-old indie Australian can slip into American hearts and charts: with bite-size phrasing of issues that both actual teens and aspiring adolescents of all ages (especially students of Garage Glam Boogie) can understand, or think they do. (She also sold “T. Rex,” her faithful ’79 Chrysler Regal, and invested in good promotion.) Even “You Stink” rocks, despite being pro-hygiene; in fact, it’s especially urgent, because her mom’s coming over to meet you! Nevertheless, her Aussie accent resolutely sands and sauces the (frequently four-letter) truth, braving love’s battlefield with a vibrant “Hero” in her pocket. The rockers here are righteous, like “Can’t Get Enough,” where she rams her mid-’60s Troggs-trot right into early-’70s headbang. But the ballads are my fave raves: “More” and “Blind” keep a flashlight flickering between the venetian blinds, way past dawn.