Tuesday, September 9 2014
Reading heroine-driven young adult (YA) fiction, one can't help but wonder why stagnant views of women’s sexuality and societal roles prevail.
A slack conclusion can't totally detract from the twisty script, mannered performances, and uncommonly gorgeous direction that make Proxy, the must-see independent thriller of 2014 so far.
Somebody call 911! Ryan Adams is on fire!
Just when you thought hip-hop couldn't get weirder...
Exile proves that McGrath deserves something more: a rabid following of many devotees who sing along with every pointed word and buy his albums with no reservations.
Rustie continues his go big or go home mission statement, for better and worse.
Its similarities to 2011's Very Best differ only by three songs -- but excising his Rubin-produced songs for some '70s schmaltz will make you say "Play Me" to this comp.
Those that didn’t enjoy Skull Orchard before won’t be won over, but it doesn’t change the fact that those naysayers have conspicuously terrible taste.
Monday, September 8 2014
Knowledge of what might happen, a sense of limits and possibilities, make New York firefighters' lives simultaneously extraordinary and essential.
Death is a revolving door in comics so how does the upcoming death of Wolverine have meaning?
The most excruciating of breakup movies, "We Won't Grow Old Together" showcases a classic performance from Jean Yanne.
Kelli Deeth’s characters, at the end of their wits and their youth, take the long, last painful look into their abating past, only to see themselves staring back at a fated future.
Like Kierkegaard did more than a century-and-a-half ago, Arcade Fire has the courage to ask whether our experience of the world is really as spectral, thin, and shallow as it sometimes seems.
Almodóvar's shocking, NC-17 film makes us realize that pornography and love are only in the eye of the beholder.
Interpol return with confidence on El Pintor, a record that may satisfy even Turn on the Bright Lights devotees.
Composed entirely in correspondence, Dear Committee Members casts some light upon Professor Jason Fitger’s crumbling corner of academia.
With Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet), Loudon Wainwright III works to a singing observational comic, heavy on the observations, light on the comedy.
Once you’re finished with this round, you’ll definitely want seconds.
Re-recorded from old snippets, this new Ashrae Fax set is more self-assured than the band's debut, Static Crash!, though you might sometimes miss the nervous energy of that first album.
Soulja Boy's latest offering is a fairly vanilla addition to the trap genre, with few highlights to make it a worthwhile listen.
The main discriminant between a bluff and the worthwhile is quality, and smallgang have plenty of it.
Friday, September 5 2014
Gringo Trails doesn't explore the construction of travelers' desire for an "authentic" experience, but instead focuses on its effects: the global tourism industry.
For fans of everything from the truly buzz-worthy (Terry Gilliam) to that found footage trope yet again (Casey La Scala), this warm-up to the end of the year awards has you covered.
As art imitates life, there are parallels between the violence in Laura McBride's We Are Called to Rise and the most recent headlines of violence in America.
In The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs, Marcus's writing is as intoxicating as ever. The man is a poet.
The Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd talks with PopMatters about new group Electric Würms, his thoughts on progressive rock, and decades of musical exploration.
The controversial French director's best known films are collected into this handsome six-film BFI box set, full of impressive nouvelle vague innovation.
This re-release of M83's first three albums paint a fascinating story of the band's rise to masters of catharsis-oriented synth-pop.
Wire are arguably one of the most influential post-punk bands ever. But the (mostly) tuneless noise of this 1979/1980 live album is not the place to start.
The album feels like Paisley exerting his countryness, just three years after titling an album This is Country Music.
A reissue of a beautiful yet tragic album which, as now as on its original release, unites a nation and a world with its mixture of traditions, sounds and stories.
The Walkmen's bandleader becomes big-band bandleader.
Thursday, September 4 2014
Wetlands is both sweet if off-kilter love story and a movie full of stomach-churning material. Think of a substance you might find unpleasant, and you can probably find it here.
Southern Bastards is a true Alabama story as much as To Kill a Mockingbird is a true Alabama story.
The Past Is a Grotesque Animal takes a compelling, 20-year long story, and zips far too quickly through it.
Some say it's impossible to call one volume the definitive history on a topic, but it is possible to announce one as the seminal work. This book is both.
After three decades as a recording artist, David Bridie, Australia's best kept secret, releases his fourth solo album Wake, an album born on the outer reaches of a dream.
This adaptation of Rosemary's Baby misses out on a lot of the charms of Roman Polanski's original.
Overjoyed, Half Japanese's first record in over a decade, is all unapologetic, whole-hearted declarations of love that, oddly, make for some of the band's most confrontational material yet.
On his latest, deceptively quiet solo outing, legendary Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis wisely lets his guitar do the talking.
Chamber jazz that cries, whispers, and aches beyond standard harmony but with focus and clarity despite being wholly improvised.
In the Valley Below definitely recalls the synth pop of the ‘80s on this debut album, though without the sheer brightness or glossiness of that decade.
Blacc Hollywood is content to stay on the same eternally-stoned playing field as past Wiz Khalifa efforts.
Wednesday, September 3 2014
Curt Pires and Jason Copland delve into the mysterious origins of pop stars in their new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics.
Framing George Takei as part of a larger project that has as much to do with his civil rights activism as with his acting career, "to be Takei" is something of a job.
What could have been little more than a longform book about Gaiman's Sandman becomes a visual and engrossing biography on the prolific dream genius.
Reuniting Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore can't spark the magic long lost from the former comedian's flailing career.
Ira Sachs' moving new film boasts career-best work from his lead actors John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a partnered couple.
With years between albums, a lot of factors, including a "get here now so we can record" email from the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, was what got Matt Sharp's the Rentals back into gear.
Larry Kramer’s blistering cri de coeur about the early days of the AIDS plague gets a solidly respectful but flawed treatment from Ryan Murphy
It's worth crediting Maroon 5 for having spawned a guilty-pleasure earworm, containing just enough traces of actual instruments to remind listeners that digital synthesizers haven't completely cannibalized rock 'n' roll.
Pink City is a real winner, and listeners will be swayed by its gentle beauty.
San Francisco avant garde black metal group opts for accessibility while maintaining its novel instrumental lineup on stellar VI: Flora.
The Baltimore psych-indie band, championed by TV on the Radio, have a new label and a new album that often is "out there" in a less-than-flattering way.
Two very noisy bands try out kinds of noise.
A mature, powerful collection of songs from the Arkansas singer-songwriter, equal parts darkness and light.
Tuesday, September 2 2014
The game earns a trust that allows you to let go of your worries and to just let the mood wash over you, vagaries and all.
What was billed as the biggest fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth to date ends up being a total rip-off.
Most people know Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia; few people, regrettably, know the superior work from which it is adapted.
There are brains here, interesting tidbits that make you think. They're scattered all over the place, like matter without thought, without movement, without electricity.
"It’s just like exploration really, and just jumping off certain types of cliffs and trying to open up sonic parachutes that’ll get you floating down to your destination and landing on two feet."
The Captain America movies are well-suited to mix and match time periods with a comic-book-y flair.
Game of Thrones trades in everything good and bad about nations and realms for everything good and bad about pure individualism.
Swimmin' Time is the product of our generation's June Carter and Johnny Cash after the messy past has been laid to rest.
Barragán is aimless and directionless, and it’s hard to see what the group is trying to really do here other than make music that somehow pleases itself.
Put a thousand monkeys in front of a thousand Google searches, and eventually...
There is a dark, dark humor that bubbles up on occasion, but its dry wit can't keep the record from being a depressing listen.
The M-Base trombonist returns with a slippery, funky mix of rock tunes and originals.
Somewhere between remixes and a live album, this brief collection would be less of a let down if the band weren't about to end.
Friday, August 29 2014
Eric Merola's documentary shows us what happens when our everyday language must be turned inside out.
Ironically, this film also takes pains to point out the obvious pratfalls of making yet another serial killer film in the first place.
Thursday, August 28 2014
The film reminds us of just how difficult it can be to find one's own tempo amidst radical changes caused by unjust circumstances.
Video Revolutions is a brief, brilliant inquiry into the history of a complex, contested medium.
The troubling implicit moral at the end of The Love Punch encapsulates the film's insubstantial construction.
In his book It Never Happened Again, Sam Alden uses two short comicbook stories to offer a slight twist on the old journey-vs.-destination philosophy.
Surely even Dirty Harry needs a break from cinematic violence, some time off at Walden Pond. Though I doubt its tranquility would deter him from picking off the sparrows.
September's slate of releases features numerous living legends and big names, but "Listening Ahead" is focusing its attention on artists whose time has come, like Hiss Golden Messenger and Perfume Genius.
Abbas Kiarostami's film subverts viewer expectations of what makes a film satisfying, or even enjoyable.
Pale Communion is both the culmination of Opeth's journey toward classic progressive rock and its best work since Ghost Reveries.
The often quick-working Segall took 14 months to make Manipulator, but it's not so much a wild departure sonically as it is a return to and refinement of tangents we've heard from him in the past.
Werner Sollors' memories formed the basis for this book, but his research caused him to re-evaluate and re-imagine what he thought he knew about the time and the era.
Tinnarose is a singer-songwriter showcase of the highest order, and there’s plenty of material to keep coming back to.
After taking a year off to celebrate the label's 20th anniversary, Kompakt's annual Total compilation is back.
This third volume of reissues from the Cleaners From Venus gives us another set of complications to consider in Martin Newell's work.
Take Pride in Your Long Odds adds further talking points to Centro-matic’s esteemed canon.
Wednesday, August 27 2014
How an innocent camping trip can be ruined by a reasonable misunderstanding
These stories, to borrow Carrie Fisher’s title, are postcards from the edge, a place McCracken’s creative heart has taken up residence.
However modest in scope, comiXology's new downloads signals the beginning of the end for strict DRM in digital comics -- and it will change how we view comics.
Several years sober, KISS' Ace Frehley comes fresh off some time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to release his first solo album in over five years -- and definitely knows how to write a sexy song better than Robin Thicke.
The movie wastes its impressive cast, choosing instead to drown itself in sentimentalism.
Brill Bruisers, with its blaring, neon keyboards and deep hooks, is both a prototypical New Pornographers record and another variation on the band's established themes.
The third and final installment in Lev Grossman's 'Magicians' trilogy, The Magician's Land, is also its best.
Snider covers Kent Finlay on Cheatham Street Warehouse to raise funds for Finlay’s medical care.
Matt Sharp's side project-turned-band is back, and they sound just like most of you remember them. But is that really such a good thing?
When May rants about a "Wild Woman", we know that it's the woman that lives inside her. She ferociously attacks the lyrics, growling and stuttering as needed.
Soulful duo Kindred the Family Soul retain the refined persona of R&B on latest album A Couple Friends.
Tuesday, August 26 2014
With episode 4 of its second season, I feel as if the well is running dry on Telltale's ability to wring new meaning out of The Walking Dead franchise.
In this story of multiple worlds, fiction is fact and comicbooks are true.
The Dylanologists doesn't give up any answers about Dylan, but it does ask the right questions of people, on the trail through Dylan's America.
The value of violence in the hardcore punk movement is not what it fought against, but rather the new ground it forged.