Episodes
Still pushing the line that his previous brotherly duo, Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury album is the centuries best rap record, the decade solo Pusha continues one of Hip-hops hot streaks, after the instant classic Daytona. Reuniting with both that record's producer Kanye West and that previous masterpieces producer, Pharrell Williams, for another thrilling ride of apex coke-rap.
Published 05/09/22
Published 05/09/22
Jason Pierce's longstanding coda to his previous band, Spacemen 3, have been ploughing the maximalist space rock field for decades now, and their high point, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, is my second favorite album of all time. After the excellent and very underappreciated, And Nothing Hurt in 2018, Pierce has now opted for a full-on Phil Spector wall of sound assault, touching on most parts of the bands history, to mainly great effect.
Published 05/09/22
Arguably the world's most important band, after the still largely anonymous London collective have now put out six near fantastic albums in only three years. But this one is a shocker, after five albums steeped in "black" music, whether that be retro, contemporary or future - they decided a classical album was the way to go. Even more surprising is how white it is - as least in its wholehearted embrace of a very European classical tradition of choral, brass and orchestral traditions....
Published 05/09/22
Released to zero fanfare and tepid reviews - my most undervalued film so far this year, it's wonderful. Perhaps it is an ordinary spy thriller but that's just a framing device (like the beautifully shot and helmed dinner sequence) for what the film really is, a tragic love story. Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton are sublime, subsumed with passion and regret, it's beautifully shot, sound-tracked and story-boarded - so the delicate pace drip feeds a continually changing and compelling world. The...
Published 05/04/22
I honestly try to give Michael Bay the benefit of the doubt every time. I figure the further we get from the Transformers era, the more we will get films like Pain and Gain, 13 Hours or even the better half of 6 Underground but alas, despite some of best reviews of his later career, Ambulance is a steaming pile of crap and the worst film I've seen so far this year. All his worst is on continual display - the world's most annoying headache inducing over-editing, the nausea inducing camera that...
Published 05/04/22
We are living in the AGE OF CAGE and finally the world is waking up, surely we are close to a Keanufication of this living deity. This one is a real treat - arguably the most un-watched Martin Scorcese film since Goodfellas, his last with writer Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver/Raging Bull) and a link to the later man's recent First Reformed. It's also the only post 1980's art film Scorcese has made. Plus this heartbreaking look at the people who look after us, barely holding it together feels even...
Published 04/29/22
The relentless recasting and rebooting of this character continues unabated, now completely ignoring the failed DCU universe - though it's serious and dark tone (a high point) make it more relatable to the Snyder Cut and The Joker than those films. In fact it rivals the Snyder Cut of Justice League as one of the best looking superhero films ever - without Christopher Nolan's reliance on massive scope, the cinematography is unexpectedly art-house, even recalling hyper-stylized films like Mandy...
Published 04/29/22
I have been promoting the AGE OF CAGE for some years now and am pleased the Keanu-fication of the deity Nick Cage is nearly complete. Adding to his raft of actually great performances in actually great indie fair, is one of the most surprising films of recent years. Better to watch it thinking you are getting a John Wick rip off with a pig, than read up on just how far wrong that assertion is. Wonderful, in the truest sense of the word.
Published 04/25/22
I love that the UK music press has remembered it's past and has unrealistically amped up this duo to second coming of Christ levels. Despite the ear catching singles, the albums is a very patchy affair, and patches are almost all second hand, despite a fine and charismatic lead from Rhian Teasdale, a whiff of emperors new clothes permeates like moth balls.
Published 04/25/22
UK Drill is the most zeitgeist rap genre in the world right now and originator Digga D's third 'album' the current epicenter of it, despite the best efforts of the 1984 like London Metropolitan police. It's an album that had to be given to them to vet, shockingly on every level. It's also an album of two halves, a consistently good, if slightly staid ordinary album offset by the seven incendiary extra tracks of the extended version.
Published 04/25/22
The ex War on Drugs Alumni is undoubtedly one of my favorite artists but this Covid-distanced production is his least consequential or compelling album. Something got lost in translation as the band traded parts back and forth in the process of making it. Still lovely chilled out background music but with none of the zest of detail of almost any other album of his.
Published 04/25/22
I've never rated thespian icon Kenneth Branagh as either an actor or a director - the only time I have really liked anything he's done was in a Harry Potter movie. So after his turgid Murder on the Orient Express hit every bum note I expected from him, and completely ignored the electric Agatha Christie rebirth of Knives Out, I nearly avoided this one entirely, bad reviews and all. I'm glad I didn't, after a first hour that resembles the previous film as well as other vacuous, overly glossy...
Published 04/20/22
Commanding work on debut from writer director Graham Moore and writer John McClain (seriously John McClain) and an expectedly brilliant lead from Mark Rylance (where was that Oscar nom for Don't Look Up?) playing a tailor tangled up with the Chicago mob post WW2. A one room film (doesn't feel it) shot on a low budget (doesn't look it) and apart from its sumptuously visual and sound presentation, reliant solely on a cracking scrip and set of performances. The low key gem of the year so far for...
Published 04/20/22
All this talk of how age has wearied them, made me expect a far more circumspect offering from the boys, but in reality it's far closer to the original films than I imagined it would be. Like those three, you are rarely more than two minutes away from a belly laugh - of which they remain the most consistent provider of, of any film series this century. A perfectly executed groin shot will never not be funny, it's art, look it up.
Published 04/20/22
Being the kind of hardcore fan that dips into acts like of Deafheaven every year or so an act crosses over, I'm not the most trusted voice here. However, I can tell when a great and rising band is firing at their peak - as here with one of the debut albums of the year. The politicized Philadelphia collective posit themselves in a logical trajectory from the MC5, through At The Drive In, landing somewhere near Death Grips.
Published 04/17/22
This London based collective have the level of cultural and ethnic pull to drive critics wild, but sadly little of the music that makes seemingly fellow band Sault one of the most important acts in the world. Too often the wildly potent offering of the opening track makes way for far blander and more middle of the road material, and too little in the song writing department.
Published 04/17/22
As I suspect, being a fairly common fair weather Chili Peppers fan - who revolves almost solely around John Frusciante and Rick Rubin albums - this is a time to dip back in and see how this now almost peerless dinosaur navigates a world bereft of stadium rock acts. Mostly very well, with a consistently strong album that makes a political point of playing it very straight (no musical experimentation here) and resting on the bands best strengths - low key melodic rock with intricate and...
Published 04/17/22
Exactly what it says on the tin. My yearly round-up of the Oscars is nearly Will Smith free - a look at actually the poorest selection of awards contenders from the poorest pool of talent for any year in Oscar's history.
Published 04/04/22
Director Sean Ellis seems to have taken a long meander to his first (I think) big English language film - but it's time very well spent, as he arrives with seemingly full mastery of the medium. The direction, pacing, screenplay, casting and luxurious, thickly atmospheric sound and visual design are all perfectly realised and denote a far more expensive film. This underappreciated gem takes its fairly standard premise and turns in a near A24 adjacent horror.
Published 04/04/22
Now everyone is reversing like the French army back from criticism of Bruce Willis, Liam Neeson better watch out. His latest in a never ending run of apparent duds has a new low of 7% on Rotten Tomatoes. As a connoisseur of post-Taken Neeson movies, most of these films haven't been bad (not you Ice Road) or felt that cheap (not you Ice Road). With a sizable budget and nearly everything done reasonably well, this VERY stock standard Neeson actioner may not reignite the great Cold Pursuit era,...
Published 04/04/22
It's easy to see why this Belgian duo's debut is one of the best reviewed albums of the year - throw in their racial diaspora make up and focus on social, gender, sexual and immigration issues, critics will likely lose their minds. For me however, this often enjoyable, light, bouncy, aerated post electro house too often lacks any sense of narrative or meaning in the lyrics. It's often painfully like a well meaning but cringe inducing school counselor relaying platitudinous sentences.
Published 04/04/22
The North of England lads were an absolute blast with 2020's most fun and ebullient debut album, Full Whack No Brakes, but there was always a worry their shtick could grate - sadly realised by a second album that's twice as serious and half as fun. Though there are occasional brakes (sic) in their tried and tested post Robin S - Show Me Love bassline house, its more often than not like being hit over the head with varieties of the same mallet.
Published 04/04/22