Episodes
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
Alongside the review of Ghostbusters (2016), catching up on a couple of films I deliberately missed through sheer lack of interest but recently caught up on and had surprisingly strong reactions to. After not falling for the first IT film at all - especially the portrayal of the clown - I couldn't be bothered with the sequel, yet it's long, meandering, episodic nature felt far closer to the novel. Unexpectedly satisfying.
Published 04/04/22
Alongside the review of IT: Chapter 2, catching up on a couple of films I deliberately missed through sheer lack of interest but recently caught up on and had surprisingly strong reactions to. I assumed this first reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise would be a fairly decent film, shot down by the egregious toxic masculinity that preceded it. I was wrong, its an abomination.
Published 04/04/22
Ryan Reynolds feels a bit jaded this time around, like Netflix is really flogging his persona to death in this unbelievably rote and derivative sci-fi. Some pretty pictures and a mainly likable cast, that are occasionally moving but a paper thin plot and zero imagination.
Published 03/23/22
One of the years "IT" horrors with strong reviews, ends up being very "meh". Throws a lot of interesting and contemporary ideas up in the air but doesn't really land any of them and after a promising (Young Woman) start, peters out a bit into nothing - plus its lightness of tone makes it difficult to imbue any sense of seriousness to, on paper, very dark themes.
Published 03/23/22
The Catalan superstar builds on the stunning success of her minimalist breakthrough, El Mal Querer, with a maximalist follow up that sums up the entirety of the near dominant urban Latino music world, again, without ditching her traditional Spanish roots entirely and never pandering to mainstream success. A triumph of experimental contemporary music. Thank god it's a lot closer to that second album than I dared hope and not awash with Drake and Travis Scott features.
Published 03/23/22
The fifth studio album from the Adrianne Lenker's indie darlings - worshiped like saints by the likes of Pitchfork - follows the huge critical acclaim of U.F.O.F. If I thought that album was half brilliant but a bit overrated, I've moved the dial along to mostly brilliant but still a bit overrated. Certainly the final third contains some inessential tracks.
Published 03/23/22
If some acts like Bowie change and reinvent with every album, others (like Japanese sushi chefs or The War on Drugs) refine one perfect thing, over and over. The meticulous Baltimore dream pop duo, Beach House certainly do the latter but the 4 EP presentation of their 8th studio album, is itself the most fascinating change this time around for an always great album's band.
Published 03/16/22
After the British director (who I'm still up in the air about) Matthew Vaughn, breathed fresh air into the genre/franchise market with the sometimes near obscene and always wild and free, first installment of the Kingsman, he followed it by trashing everything great about the first film with an obscenely bad second installment. Given the poor reviews and reception of this third films, I prepared for the worst. Don't believe the hype, this is vastly superior than reviews suggest and has...
Published 03/16/22
A belated - strong - review of this near excellent sensory horror sequel. Like Alien/Aliens or Terminator/T2 it replaces the creeping low key dread of the original with more a more bombastic action film, but to near equal effect. And who knew the always getting better, Cillian Murphy would make such a great Appalachian woodsman.
Published 03/16/22
I'm now including the odd album review - not everything but anything I think is worth talking about. This second release from the British indie band, in an era where British indie guitar music has risen out of nowhere. Even among the slew of great releases from likes of Squid, Black Midi, Dry Cleaning and Working Mens Club, this album stands tall. Like its totemic biggest inspiration, Arcade Fire's Funeral, it ranks as one of the finest indie or alt-rock albums this century.
Published 03/06/22
A belated review of one of the only TV series I've consistently followed this last decade, the always excellent Narcos Franchise. One of the most dramatically exciting, dynamic and rock n roll shows since Breaking Bad. This, the 3rd iterations of Narcos: Mexico and the sixth and final series (for now) overall, doesn't reach the incredible heights of the brilliant Diego Luna starring first two installments, but is very very close.
Published 03/06/22
Underappreciated and definitely hamstrung by the streaming release - as far as box office and the likely sequels go. It's not great but certainly decent and Keanu gives a much stronger performance than he was capable of when the iconic original was released. Flawed but still worth your while.
Published 02/20/22