Monday, January 19 2015
How writers Civil Rights Movement Icon Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell's March: Book One push us to one, inescapable conclusion -- everybody needs to go to Selma. Now, more than ever.
The two lead actors of The Wedding Ringer make the film tolerable, saving it from the so-so work of the man behind the camera.
The third and latest edition of Shigeru Mizuki’s acclaimed history of Japan chronicles the pivotal period of 1944-1953, in which a shattered Japan began its rebirth into the form we know today.
Universal Pictures, distributors of the eight-film Steven Spielberg Collection on Blu-ray, is uniquely positioned to offer a long view of Spielberg's career.
Grammy nominations in jazz are rarely adventurous and usually confusing. Yet this year's slate is intriguing.
Lesbians are willing to answer some of your questions, but their patience is wearing thin and it’s more enjoyable to mock the “ignorant shit” than to get angry about it.
Contrary to their twee reputation, Belle and Sebastian prove they don't shy away from taking risks with a techno-pop heavy new album.
Confronting Contagion tries to capture the 3,000-year history behind a modern scientific breakthrough: the discovery that tiny organisms invade our bodies and make us sick.
King of the Sun and King of the Midnight Sun are both fine records, but not quite the Saints at their finest.
Putting the lie to the idea that all underground rap is good (or about something).
The Story is a strong collection from a classic British '80s pop band. New subscribers could sign up here, but anyone with a passing acquaintance will find nothing new.
The avant-metal band's latest album: traveling in one big loop.
Friday, January 16 2015
The insights of the late, great Roger Ebert shed light on how documentaries fit in the film world, as well as the myopic processes of Oscar voting.
With one paw in the cinematic strategies of the past and the other in pure post-modern magic, Paddington is no run-of-the-mill kid's flick.
In this global thriller about digital terrorism, the visuals do not shape the story but rather are the story.
Gangs of Wasseypur is tumultuous, five hour gangster saga, stuffed with humor as bleak as the story is bloody.
My Muppet Show is the Orpheus myth. You just have to swap out Orpheus for me; Eurydice for a frog; a lyre for a cartoon banjo; and Hades for the iTunes store.
To presume to review works of this level is farcical; we can only be overjoyed by their continued existence.
It’s never about confidence, it’s about doubt, Lasko-Gross, the transgressively intelligent creator of Henni, reminds me.
What legal and ethical restrictions exist, and should exist, in today’s privacy-interested yet over-exposure society?
The fully realized five hour version of Lars Von Trier's Nymph()maniac feels as worthy of revisits as your copy of Crime and Punishment or Ulysses.
Although this isn’t the Decemberists’ best album, it’s a breathtaking effort that maintains everything that makes them so one-of-a-kind and vital.
Live in Memphis is ultimately unassuming but effective, an honest account of Big Star's mid-'90s chapter and a reminder of the group's considerable talent and charms.
Shady Records compilation celebrating 15 years of the label; one disc of new material plus one "greatest hits" CD.
With prudent messaging, excellent delivery, and slick production, there are plenty of reasons to smile while listening to Rise.
Thursday, January 15 2015
Creative chaos may be the mother of Internet invention. But inventiveness is a threat to the Powers-that-be. Is crime-fighting just another handy euphemism for Orwellian consolidation?
Fresh off his Golden Globe win for Best Foreign Film, director Andrey Zvyaginstev clears up a lot confusion about the political and sometimes religious undertones of his sweeping, grand new film Leviathan.
The closure of several DIY music venues on Williamsburg's Kent Avenue pose critical questions about the identity of independent music in the present day.
From cult leader Jim Jones to scientist Richard Dawkins, once in a rare while, Hollywood gets a religious idea, or an idea about religion, right.
Pride is the rare crowdpleaser that gives audience members more to think about once they’ve wiped away their tears and stopped smiling after it's over.
It doesn't matter who played or who produced. It doesn't matter if it's "classical" or "ambient". And it certainly doesn't matter that it was released in 1980. Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics is still an album unlike any other.
These characters navigate a constellation of theological ruins and failed rationalizations, wherein existential nausea must do battle with the hunger of the werewolf Curse.
First Demo proves what fans have long known, that Fugazi was brashly confident and fully formed from day one.
Rick Ross' second album of 2014 might've better served his fans as a mixtape but if you wanted more of exactly what you'd expect from him, here it is.
Tenth anniversary re-release for Ray Charles’ last album Genius Loves Company; glossy AOR and superstar duets.
Playground is a happy reminder that now remains the time, as always, to hear our world from a fresh perspective.
Wednesday, January 14 2015
9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster examines the tremulous memory effects of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, what I want more than anything is for art to be redemptive for any who view it, and for comics to be transformative.
In the face of mounting allegations against the beloved comedian, we are left to reconsider his artistic legacy.
PopMatters meets the founder of the occult-influenced UK project to talk about its fascinating new album/aural mausoleum The Underworld Service.
Even though the actors are given parts that suit their usual skills, they all bring extra self awareness to their work.
Guster takes a leap forward while remembering what makes them a strong band, working the best of then and now into Evermotion.
Sun Kil Moon closed 2014 with a quiet and unassuming reissue.
While industry gatekeepers were invested in a specific image of black performance, black performers themselves had different ideas.
In the hands of Adrian Legg, the guitar's limitations melt away, and in his mind, the music flourishes.
As one would expect, the best stories make the best songs. There’s the lovely “Elvis Presley Calls His Mother After the Ed Sullivan Show”, where the King’s legendary love for his Mama shows itself in all its sweetness.
A compilation that highlights all things Legendary Pink Dots. It’s dark and filled with esoteric mystique, it’s loud, it’s psychedelic, it’s synthy, it’s gothy, and it’s still more thrilling today than many of the most hotly praised albums of the year.
Tuesday, January 13 2015
The death of Wolverine is not quite the same as the death of Kurt Cobain or Brett Favre’s retirement, but he’s a character that casts the biggest shadow in all of X-men.
Cairo's youth find meaning and identity in a genre that can't get any respect.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band may be the most overanalysed, overexposed album in history. In light of the Flaming Lips' affectionate reimagining, can the inescapable masterpiece ever be surpassed?
Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive reimagines the vampire myth in the context of intellectual philistinism.
Even though it lacks the novelty of its predecessor, The Trip to Italy is nonetheless just as hilarious.
Pushing into a more electronic realm, the prolific Animal Collective member rips through his own conventions on his latest solo effort.
With the enthusiasm of a celebrity journalist and the deep reading of an academic, James Essinger presents a flawed portrait of the flawed life of Lord Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace.
The legendary English post-punk band's live and rare tracks fill out their legacy and unravel bits of their mystery. They're also raw, wild and challenging.
Entertaining '90s geek-rock throwback features off-kilter but catchy guitar riffs and songs about Wile E. Coyote and Absinthe-fueled trips to outer space.
Second four-track EP from Le Common Diamond hits the beach for the summer.
Monday, January 12 2015
As the titular Marvel heroine, the smart and one-liner ready Hayley Atwell towers over Iron Man and his ilk in this contemporary take on post-WWII politics.
Frank uses Twitter and Tumblr without ever striking a false note in its depiction of an erratic indie rock band struggling through the artistic process.
Things are funnier when they go terribly wrong.
What's most remarkable about Harris' freewheeling bio, Choose Your Own Autobiography, is that even with all its tricks and jokes, there's actual substance to be found here.
An event comes to a solid end, but is too lacking to be anything more.
Acoustic finger-picker left the archival folk behind to arrive at a psychedelic 1960s-influenced style on his 10th album, Way Out Weather. The trick, he says, it not to overthink things.
Mark Strand's death in December 2014 casts a different light on his newest poetry volume, as it now carries the weight of summarizing a life in writing.
Get an early glimpse of the best and most eagerly anticipated albums of the new year, including new efforts from Sleater-Kinney, Father John Misty, Belle and Sebastian, and Viet Cong.
Almost 30 years after its conclusion, putting The Facts of Life on the TV feels like hanging out with an old friend.
In attempting to distance Springsteen from his sainted reputation by humanizing him, Ryan White only manages to sanctify him all the more.
A U R O R A has a little step-sister named V A R I A N T. And just like that, Ben Frost's discography is saddled with an attractive piece of filler.
One can’t help but being drawn in by the output, rather than the method, by the pure creative act, instead of the artistic potency
Sleaford Mods deliver a burly compilation, filled with complaints and rabid rants.
An undiscovered duet concert between the two jazz musicians whose 2014 passing hurts the most.
Friday, January 9 2015
P.T. Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel is an atypical noir, where narrative freely flows in and out of the mind of Doc (Joaquin Phoenix).
Back in 2012 we wrote Alex Segura an open letter. In the closing days of 2014, Alex wrote one of his own.
Julianne Moore's evocative performance aside, Safe often feels designed specifically for film-studies interpretation, without its own soul.
The truth may be stranger than fiction, but as the numerous nonfiction books of 2014 also attest, it's often the truest stories that are the most gripping.
Frank Capra's Oscar-dominating film is still funny, still romantic, and still quite beautiful to look at 80 years later.
Thursday, January 8 2015
From postmodern latticework narratives to Booker prize winning epics, 2014 offers numerous fictional tales worthy of adding to your bookshelf.
Broad City is funny, but it's also heartfelt in unexpected and strange ways.
Wednesday, January 7 2015
Hans Eijkelboom’s approach to street style photography is effective because it parodies the unique-individual-who-stands-out-in-a-crowd trope.
Boyhood returns to the view that originated with Italian Neorealism: documenting everyday life is the biggest spectacle one could capture on film.
The guitarist/composer behind Cocteau Twins talks about his return to film soundtracks and the effects that technology has had on his own unique songwriting process.
The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie will have longtime Turtle fans shouting “No, ninja, no, ninja, no!”, for this reboot is a mindless mess.
This record shuns cynicism. It is, rather, an honest, romantic exploration of heartbreak wherein, despite his many accompanists, Hinson lies exposed and raw.
Outwardly, Marta and Hector Bjornstad’s long marriage appears tranquil, harmonious, happy. So why is Marta having visions nobody else sees?
Despite attempts to disguise his voice behind a series of too-obvious influences, Matthew Ryan reveals in a whisper here and there his true, and worthy, vocal character.
If the term "punk rock cabaret" doesn't grab you, maybe the strong storytelling and creative musical arrangements will.
Tuesday, January 6 2015
Robert B. Weide's British period comedy Mr. Sloane was cancelled after just one season, depriving viewers of an engaging, wise and beautifully-made character study.
Patrick O'Donnell's survey of David Mitchell's six novels dives into the labyrinthine, "screaming Russian doll" structures they all share.
Music journalist and author of Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain Alan Light talks with PopMatters about Prince's one-of-a-kind perfect album.
In 2014, we let Russian spies, biker gangs, Silicon Valley techies, and existentially frustrated detectives into our living rooms. As these 25 picks reveal, we had good reasons for doing so.
For all the major moves she made this time around on her second album, K. Michelle still can't break away from the shackles of her contemporaries.
Githead were never ones to put a great deal of passion into their pop. But even by their standards, this album feels a bit cold.
The way in which serial killer Paul Ogorzow turned his victims into his own playthings of wickedness is a small allegory of the corruption that seeped the entire Nazi system.
Queen's Forever, ostensibly a greatest hits album, feels more like an album made up of its greatest misses.
Yes, this is another Queen compilation, but it's not hard to make a good case for Forever.
Monday, January 5 2015
The O5 X-men think their future is bad, but a trip to the decaying world of Ultimate adds some needed perspective.
This melancholic Norwegian masterpiece is a beautiful, albeit acquired taste, now finally available in an English translation.
Life-spanning biopics are still the ultimate Oscar bait in 2014. Here’s hoping that no one will be biting in the future.
Utrecht's experimental music festival takes over the college town for a weekend in November.
This vibrant gang of musicians is approaching 2015 from all different angles. Some are still quite new to the music game, while others take the new year on after rising from a breakup.