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Feral: Season 1

Feral offers a queer coming-of-age drama stripped of stereotypes.

Desirae Embree
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Dekkoo

Books

If You're Suspicious of the Pitch, Read 'Mad Men, Death, and the American Dream'

If Mad Men’s slickness allow us to enjoy the existential emptiness at the heart of American identity without implicating us, Bronfen’s volume works to close that distance.

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diaphanes

Film

New Additions to Netflix Worth Watching in July

This month’s additions to Netflix’s roster are precisely the kind of fare one expects for summer: nostalgic fan favorites, Classic Hollywood romcoms, and easy '80s action flicks.

Desirae Embree
Film

'Gilda' Is an Invitation to Look Deeper Into Pop Culture

Beautiful, classic, important, and thoroughly complex, Gilda is a real “aficionado” film, and yet it has an undeniable popular appeal.

Television

Empire: Season 2, Part 2

If Empirestretches audience goodwill a little too far, perhaps it can be forgiven; whatever its flaws, it never fails to entertain.

Desirae Embree
Books

'Fantastic Planets, Forbidden Zones, and Lost Continents' Ranks 100 Greatest Sci-Fi Films

Not only does this collect all the film ephemera into one place for easy reference, it also serves as a springboard for the kinds of conversations that energize sci-fi fans.

Film

Silent Film Speaks Up: This Newly Restored Chaplin Comedies Elicit New Laughs

Flicker Alley’s recent release of 15 newly restored comedies from Chaplin’s time at Essanay Studios is another priceless intervention in the decay of Hollywood history.

Reviews

'Cruising the Movies' Is as Entertaining as the Movies That It Looks At

Cruising the Movies is film writing that delivers that magic with verve, wit, and self-deprecation.

Television

Empire: Season 2, Episode 10 - "Et tu, Brute?"

Given this episode's recycling of season one's plot, it seems as though we’ve maybe seen most of what Empire has to offer.

Desirae Embree
Reviews

Library of America Rethinks Women and the Hard Boiled Tradition in New Set of Women's Crime Writing

This box set represents a nuanced perspective not only of the crime fiction genre, but of women's contributions to mid-century American culture.

Television

Empire: Season 2, Episode 9 - "Sinned Against"

This week's episode "Sinned Against" was aptly titled, as it seemed a blatant transgression against believability and audience investment in the show.

Desirae Embree
Television

Empire: Season 2, Episode 8 - "My Bad Parts"

At only halfway through the show’s second season, there is still a lot of space for Empire's writers to surprise us, but the further the show strays into melodramatic cliche, the less likely it seems they will.

Desirae Embree
Television

Empire: Season 2, Episodes 5-6 - "A High Hope for a Low Heaven" / "True Love Never"

By introducing new plot lines and dramatic twists and turns without ever really capitalizing on the ones already set up, Empire's offering too many loose ends and half-developed characters about whom it's incredibly difficult to care.

Desirae Embree
Television

Empire: Season 2, Episode 5 - "Be True"

This week’s episode was full of the kinds of antics expected in the Empire universe; however, Lee Daniels and company showed with this week’s episode that there are any number of relationship dynamics still left to be explored.

Desirae Embree
Television

Empire: Season 2, Episode 4 - "Poor Yorick"

As Lucious' legal troubles are put to bed, things within the family get even more complicated.

Desirae Embree
Television

SyFy Miniseries 'Ascension' Is a Promising Thought Experiment Canceled Too Soon

Ascension plays with the range of pleasures associated with the detective story, but framing it within the claustrophobic environment of a spaceship puts quite a spin on the old formulas.

Reviews

Brian de Palma's 'Dressed to Kill' Is Still Sexy, Still Shocking, Still Classic

Dressed to Kill doesn't address itself to every viewer, but for those who love horror and the tradition of suspense that de Palma so expertly participates in, it will always deliver.

Television

Empire: Season 2, Episode 3 - "Fires of Heaven"

Empire, has always been chess match played in a flamboyant, Machiavellian style, but this episode’s moves were so clearly telegraphed that it’s hard to admire them.

Desirae Embree
Reviews

Don't Believe the Hype: 'Magic Mike XXL' Is No Big Deal

Magic Mike XXL could have ratcheted up the expectations one has for the rom-com, but ultimately it does very little with the space that it ekes out for itself among the genre’s norms.

Film

A Practically Impossible Friendship: The 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition of 'The Bear'

Jean-Jacques Annaud's classic naturalist dramatization of a "practically impossible friendship" between two bears gets a visual update but retains all its original emotion.

Television

Empire's Latest Episode Promises More than Just Gags

The second episode of Empire's second season gives audiences more of what they came for: narrative, character development, and strained relationships.

Desirae Embree
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