The Month In Pop Entertainment: January 2014

Ring in the New Year with new music, TV series, and a surprising amount of horror movies.

The holidays are officially over. So as we (hopefully) start a brand new year with an abundant assortment of giftcards, here’s a top ten list of entertaining ways to pass these long, cold winter nights.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones -- 03 January

In this fifth installment of the horror series, the malevolent demon moves on to prey on another family. Critics are saying that it has to be terrible because its trailer barely shows anything. But how else do you make a trailer for a movie that’s mostly about staring at dark rooms, waiting for something for move by itself?

CBS’ Intelligence -- 07 January

A cocky, confident soldier (Josh Holloway) becomes a top-secret spy after an implanted chip upgrades his brain. It’s kind of like The Six Million Dollar Man. It’s a lot like Jake 2.O, if you actually remember that show.

FOX’s Enlisted -- 10 January

A sergeant finds himself in charge of his two brothers and other lackluster military recruits. It’s being described as a “workplace comedy set in the Army”, but this sitcom, similar to McHale’s Navy or Gomer Pyle, USMC, is full of goofy antics and silly personalities.

Jennifer Nettle’s That Girl -- 14 January

There are only two members of Sugarland. So lead singer Jennifer Nettle’s first solo album has to be like one of their albums, right? Actually, it seems to continue the trend towards more pop-based country music.

FOX’s American Idol -- 15 January

The most successful singing competition on TV returns with Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. on the judges panel, Randy Jackson as “mentor”, Ryan Seacrest as host, and at least five currently unknown people who can really sing.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit -- 17 January

Chris Pine stars as a newbie secret agent in this origin story based on the popular Tom Clancy character. If you are looking for a break from all those potential Oscar contenders, this is your popcorny pick.

The Nut Job -- 17 January

A squirrel plots out a nut store heist in this animated comedy featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, and Liam Neeson. Talking squirrels planning a robbery doesn’t surprise me. They can be very crafty creatures. But has anyone ever heard of a shop that only sells nuts?

PBS’ Sherlock -- 19 January

Season 3 of the BBC import will introduce us to a new villain (Lars Mikkelsen), show us how Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) faked his own death, and how Watson (Martin Freeman) dealt with it all.

FOX’s Sleepy Hollow Season Finalé, -- 20 January

The biggest hit of the fall 2013 season comes to an early end in a big two-hour finalé. The good news: it’ll be back for another season. The bad news: you’ll have to wait until fall 2014 to see it.

I, Frankenstein -- 24 January

In this very loosely adapted version of the classic monster story, Aaron Eckhart stars as the creature and Bill Nighy co-stars as the leader of a clan of demons. If there is a sequel, the Bride of Frankenstein will probably be a mercenary employed by a coven of witches. But seriously, this movie does look interesting.





Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" Calls Out from the Past

Laura Nyro, a witchy, queer, ethnic Russian Jew, died young, but her non-conformist anthem, "Save the Country", carries forth to these troubled times.


Journalist Jonathan Cott's Interviews, Captured

With his wide-ranging interviews, Jonathan Cott explores "the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination."

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Coronavirus and the Culture Wars

Infodemics, conspiracies -- fault lines beneath the Fractured States of America tremble in this time of global pandemic, amplify splinters, fractures, and fissures past and present.


'Switched-On Seeker' Is an Imaginative Electronic Reimagining of Mikal Cronin's Latest LP

Listeners who prefer dense rock/pop timbres will no doubt prefer Mikal Cronin's 'Seeker'. However, 'Switched-On Seeker' will surely delight fans of smaller-scale electronic filters.


IYEARA Heighten the Tension on Remix of Mark Lanegan's "Playing Nero" (premiere)

Britsh trio IYEARA offer the first taste of a forthcoming reworking of Mark Lanegan's Somebody's Knocking with a remix of "Playing Nero".


Pottery Take Us Deep Into the Funky and Absurd on 'Welcome to Bobby's Motel'

With Welcome to Bobby's Motel, Pottery have crafted songs to cleanse your musical pallet and keep you firmly on the tips of your toes.


Counterbalance 23: Bob Dylan - 'Blood on the Tracks'

Bob Dylan makes his third appearance on the Acclaimed Music list with his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks. Counterbalance’s Eric Klinger and Jason Mendelsohn are planting their stories in the press.


Luke Cissell Creates Dreamy, Electronic Soundscapes on the Eclectic 'Nightside'

Nightside, the new album from composer and multi-instrumentalist Luke Cissell, is largely synthetic and electronic but contains a great deal of warmth and melody.


Bibio Discusses 'Sleep on the Wing' and Why His Dreams Are of the Countryside

"I think even if I lived in the heart of Tokyo, I'd still make music that reminds people of the countryside because it's where my dreams often take me," says Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) of his music and his new rustic EP.

Reading Pandemics

Pandemic, Hope, Defiance, and Protest in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Shakespeare's well known romantic tale Romeo and Juliet, written during a pandemic, has a surprisingly hopeful message about defiance and protest.


A Family Visit Turns to Guerrilla Warfare in 'The Truth'

Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.


The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.

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