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Tuesday, December 16 2014

Joni Mitchell: Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced

Love Has Many Faces is a great box set, but make no mistake: while it does tell Joni Mitchell's story, it may not be the exact one you've been wanting to hear.


Rancid: Honor Is All We Know

...Honor is All We Know is a solid but ultimately inessential addition to the Rancid catalogue that finds Rancid back where they belong, crafting straightforward punk anthems without pretense.


Nerina Pallot: Small Things / Spirit Walks

EPs nine and 10 in Pallot’s 2014 song-writing project are polar opposites of each other; from the cheery to despondent.


Various Artists: The Rough Guide to African Blues

Yes, there's already been one Rough Guide to African Blues. But don't go thinking this is more of the same.


Monday, December 15 2014

‘Approaching the Elephant’ Lets the Students Speak for Themselves

Amanda Wilder's remarkable "free school" documentary shows all sorts of pleasures and tensions among the kids and adults as they figure out how to manage such an experiment.


A Calm Surface, an Inner Rawness: ‘World Film Locations: Florence’

Like the other entires in the World Film Locations series, this Florence installment acts as a great starting point for serious scholars of film.


‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’ Is White-Hot Storytelling by a Mind Possessed

These stories are as delightful and fizzy as Hilary Mantel's many awe-inspiring historical novels.


Potently Poetic Adaptation: “ODC-Y #1”

Fraction’s writing, which dips in and out of epic verse with a casual mastery, demands a close attention to rhythm and meter, but retains his unique voice.


Free Speech Came of Age in ‘The Great Dissent’

Thomas Healy offers up a masterful psychological portrait of one of America’s great thinkers, one whose legal opinion would eventually shape free speech in America.


‘The Marvelous Miss Take,’ a Red Headed Robin Hood

Very simply put, Miss Take is an exceptionally executed game, advancing a kind of minimalist, arcade-style form of stealth that never wears out its welcome.


‘Union Station’ Reminds Us of a Pre-Automobile America

Rudolf Maté's Union Station tells a noir story from a time when passenger rail travel was central to American life.


Old 97s: Hitchhike to Rhome

Twenty years on, the Old 97’s see their indie debut re-released in deluxe packaging by Omnivore. It’s worth the plunge.


The Story of Glyn Johns’ Life in ‘Sound Man’ Is Refreshingly Unpretentious

Sound Man gives you a look through 50 years behind the studio glass with the premier engineer/producer of the classic rock era, without any obsession over fame or status.


Cretin: Stranger

If you're looking for a pretty sick and twisted metal record, here you go.


Easy Star All-Stars: Dub Side of the Moon

Space-rock and dub reggae sound great together, man. Who knew?? 10th Anniversary reissue for the Pink Floyd reinterpretation.


Annette Peacock: I Belong to a World That’s Destroying Itself

Legendary music artist Annette Peacock fuses blues, rock, jazz and poetry on her once rare 1969 debut, finally reissued by Ironic Records.


Friday, December 12 2014

In ‘Top Five’, Chris Rock Does More Than Tell Jokes

While it shows Chris Rock is still a bit shaky when it comes to his cinematic skill set, Top Five is a triumph. It is easily his best movie, as well as one of the best comedies of 2014.


America’s Existential Crises in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Adaptation of ‘Inherent Vice’

As in The Master, the ocean haunts the protagonist in this film adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, but it’s a haunting of a different kind.


The Context of ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Is Out of Its Control

Just like Moses' task from God, the social and cultural context that surrounds Exodus: Gods and Kings shapes it in ways that these actors and filmmakers might not have wanted.


J. Cole: 2014 Forest Hills Drive

With 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J. Cole relies on on stimulating emotions by telling instead of evoking emotion by showing.


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