Review Archive

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The Get Down is on a Frustrating Yet Rewarding Musical Mission:

Hip Hop is one of the weirdest cultural movements once you sit down to think about it. An eclectic mix of funk, spoken word, comic books, political rebellion and martial […]

Hip Hop is one of the weirdest cultural movements once you sit down to think about it. An eclectic mix of funk, spoken word, comic books, political rebellion and martial arts imagery that just downright embodies African American culture. It feels almost impossible and once you know how much of it was fueled by sheer happenstance and randomness (hip hop wouldn’t be what it is today without the ’77 blackout, let’s be honest) it really makes sense why it stands apart from other musical movements.

Hip Hop in its current form is not really like that, of course. As every art form, it has evolved into a different beast entirely, one that is quite hard to pinpoint these days. This isn’t a dig, of course, but simply an observation: current hip hop doesn’t feel as driven by a community so much as individual artists and their vision. You have Kanye trying to create gospel rap and Desiigner taking trap in a more gangsta, flow-heavy form. The Get Down definitely believes in the understanding of Hip Hop being exclusively a product of Harlem and the Bronx as a community that was being oppressed by real estate moguls and the City’s neglect. And it makes a very convincing case for that understanding and that vision in the first six hours and a half of its first season.

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Off the Grid and Into the Cut: The Impossible Kid

Aesop Rock has probably been one of our best rappers working and churning music out today. And now with both Skelethon and The Impossible Kid, he has become one of […]

Aesop Rock has probably been one of our best rappers working and churning music out today. And now with both Skelethon and The Impossible Kid, he has become one of our best producers working today, introducing heavily industrial sound and outright math-rock-like time signatures to hip hop. Much has been made about his vocabulary, his heavily intricate lyricism and his amazing flow. But his musical compositions are just as delightfully driving and out of the world as his lyrics.

The Impossible Kid is that rare album that manages to break away from an artist’s general style while still being tangibly and uniquely his. Aes’ previous work was often outright cryptic at times. Not unlike Death Grips’ MC Ride, Aesop delighted in dropping hints about his life and articulating his own pain. There were occasions when he was willing to bare it out (One Of Four, which, should be pointed out, is a secret track) but once Skelethon arrived and Aesop was producing his own beats, something clicked and Aes decided to be outright open about his life as a depressed and reclusive rapper.

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Superman #39 Loses The Powers But Brings In The Heart

I’d been excited for the collaboration between Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. since it was announced. While I’ve been routinely impressed with the comic they’ve been putting out thanks […]

I’d been excited for the collaboration between Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. since it was announced. While I’ve been routinely impressed with the comic they’ve been putting out thanks to both Johns’ understanding of the character as well as JR JR’s gorgeous art, it was what I was expecting. Nothing about it reached a level of character-defining that some of Johns’ superior work has done.

Until Superman #39. This comic is maybe the best Superman story since the New 52 began with only Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #13 standing as its rival. This may sound like damning it with faint praise since this has been a rough few years for Superman. It hasn’t all been terrible. As stated, Grant Morrison’s comic had some spectacular highs and Greg Pak’s run on Action Comics has been a lot of fun. What makes this comic incredible is how it changes up the dynamic of Superman while still enforcing the things that make him such an amazing hero.

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The Nightly Show Has A Strong Start But A Long Way To Go.

Larry Wilmore has a tough act to follow. Taking over a spinoff show from a massively successful show is already a daunting enough task. However it isn’t just Jon Stewart […]

Larry Wilmore has a tough act to follow. Taking over a spinoff show from a massively successful show is already a daunting enough task. However it isn’t just Jon Stewart he’s having to follow up. Larry Wilmore also has to succeed the nine-year pop culture icon Stephen Colbert by occupying his former time slot. There are a lot of pitfalls he has to avoid, not the least of which is avoiding simply becoming ‘The Black Daily Show’ or ‘The Black Colbert Report’ . Fortunately, Larry Wilmore has shown himself to be one of the sharpest comedians in the Daily Show’s roster. He’s managed to still be incredibly funny while discussing difficult issues and without losing the edge to what he’s discussing. It’s also hard to argue with the pedigree.

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Long Live The Queen Is The Pretty Princess Simulator You’ve Always Wanted

Princesses aren’t uncommon in video games. It’s pretty safe to say that princesses have been in video games for only slightly less time than video games themselves have existed. Most […]

Princesses aren’t uncommon in video games. It’s pretty safe to say that princesses have been in video games for only slightly less time than video games themselves have existed. Most of the time you are saving them. Games like Mario and The Legend of Zelda feature this all-too common story hook. Everyone agrees these games are great but it doesn’t give the princess much to do (though I guess Zelda got to be a ninja and a pirate so maybe she doesn’t count) Sometimes you’ll get to actually play as the princess. She’ll join our heroes, go on adventures, and maybe even bust a few heads. These games, however, are not about what it’s like to be a princess. Princesses don’t lie around all day waiting for someone to rescue them and very rarely do the go charge into battle against armies of orcs. Being a princess holds responsibilities, duties, and the fate of an entire nation depends on you.

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Nightcrawler tips his hat to cinematic history while still carving its own place.

At the core of Nightcrawler, its clear to see the forefathers that Dan Gilroy studied for his impressive debut as a director. Its central idea of portraying the inherent power […]

At the core of Nightcrawler, its clear to see the forefathers that Dan Gilroy studied for his impressive debut as a director. Its central idea of portraying the inherent power of film and how it could be abused is easily linked to Network and Peeping Tom, movies that put forth the question of whether our entertainment with murder and suffering has any limits both by questioning the audience itself and pushing the characters over Ethical Street and way past Mental Breakdown lane. Whereas its character-centered structure and main character’s disregard for social rules/narrow focus on transformation are both reminiscent of Taxi Driver. However, much like with Tarantino’s films, Nightcrawler is still joyously unique without being bogged down by its references and ancestry.

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The Last Colbert Report Says Good Bye To Stephen Colbert And One Of The Most Unique Voices In Comedy.

This Thursday night saw the ending of The Colbert Report. Having gone for nine years and over fourteen hundred episodes, Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central to take over for […]

This Thursday night saw the ending of The Colbert Report. Having gone for nine years and over fourteen hundred episodes, Stephen Colbert has left Comedy Central to take over for David Letterman, which made me wonder if the people behind the ‘Cancel Colbert’ movement had made a wish upon a monkey paw since it required him to retire the character with the same name. While I wish Stephen Colbert well on his new endeavor and will watch his show the night it airs, I feel something of a sorrow to see the character of Stephen Colbert go. There was a unique magic to Colbert, a dedicated parody that ended up growing into a mad, beautiful character with a life of his own.

Stephen Colbert started out as a clear-cut parody of Bill O’Reilly. His first episode featured ‘truthiness’ which was a word mocking the gut-based emotional responses that typified O’Reilly. One of my favorite moments of the show came when Colbert managed to get O’Reilly to come on his show’ ‘Don’t you see!’ O’Reilly cried. ‘This is all an act.’ This prompted a dumbfounded Colbert to reply ‘If you’re an act, then what am I?” Of course Colbert couldn’t have lasted nearly a decade without evolving. Colbert grasped the ideas of a comical blowhard and grew him out into an auteur egotist, having had his own superpac, talking about a series of novels where his self-insert was the most heroic womanizer in space, holding a years-long grudge with K-pop artist Rain that culminated in a dance-off, and much more.

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Heavy Weight Champions of 2014: True Detective

The season-anthology format pioneered by American Horror Story is probably one of the most refreshing injections of energy into Television in the last few years. Sadly, while Murphy decided to […]

The season-anthology format pioneered by American Horror Story is probably one of the most refreshing injections of energy into Television in the last few years. Sadly, while Murphy decided to turn AHS into a playground for his extremely unique talent for disjointed storytelling filled with over the top “Oh shit, that happened on a TV show?”-ness not many other options flourished after its immediate announcement. Of course, it could just be because producers everywhere were holding their breath to see if Asylum turned out to be economically unsuccessful. And even if I’m not his biggest fan, I will say, major kudos to Murphy in crafting what is easily the most insane, utterly out of control TV show in recent memory. It’s a shame that that anarchic energy does not translate into entertainment for me, for reasons not worth getting into.

However, what did entertain me during 2014 was seeing how many other shows took the idea of “One season, one story” and ran with it. Especially January’s first big surprise: Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective. Told as a sequence of flashbacks framed by a police interrogation of two former police detectives, True Detective is the story of Rustin “Rust” Cohle and Martin “Marty” Hart, the detectives in charge of the “King In Yellow” case, as their case is being revised by the Missouri police because they believe they have found a new victim and a new lead.

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Foxcatcher; A hunt for the Gold.

Walking into the theater, I hadn’t known what to expect of this film other than that it was about two brothers and wrestling. From the trailers and brief glimpses of […]

Walking into the theater, I hadn’t known what to expect of this film other than that it was about two brothers and wrestling. From the trailers and brief glimpses of hype I perused before seeing the film, I had come to expect a movie about triumph, about two brothers pushing themselves harder and winning gold for their nation. The haunting tale of depression, failing families, and utter mental lapse was not what I expected to find.

Feeling jaded at the way his country has spurned him, at the shadow hanging over him Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) falls easy prey to the wise words from John E Du Pont (portrayed by Steve Carell) . He’s quick to find a kindred soul in Du Pont over the fact that he echoes the same thoughts. Their nation is in trouble and they need to save it, a very brave statement from an Olympic wrestler and one of the wealthiest men in America.  The hunt is on but instead of hunting for the fox, Du Pont is setting the hounds for the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.

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