Aug 23, 2016

Review: Frank Ocean - "Blonde"

There are few artists currently working that are as exciting as Frank Ocean. True, every Beyonce release (especially Lemonade) comes with acclaim and curious dissection, but Ocean is a bit of a reclusive genius whose very appearance comes as some quality endorsement. Having made it big four years ago with "Channel Orange," it's been strange to feel his absence on the music scene in that time. With success around the album, including several Grammy's, the notion of what next seemed to be an unanswerable question as each potential release date kept proving to be a false start. Then this past Saturday, it happened. On the backs of a visual album called Endless, he released his sophomore studio album "Blonde." Having been quiet for some time now, it's interesting to see what he has to say, and it is honestly more evidence of his brilliance.

In Defense of "Halt and Catch Fire"

Scene from Halt and Catch Fire
*NOTE: Originally published on Readwave

The series is a welcomed change of pace for the prestige of AMC

One of the most fascinating stories of a TV network right now is AMC. The channel that hosts The Walking Dead and Mad Men has evolved into the prestige gap between HBO and basic cable. However, they have simultaneously entered a crisis with their acclaimed shows gone. They have tried to find "The next Breaking Bad/Mad Men." It explains Low Winter Sun and its poor intent to mix gritty without charisma. However, that's not nearly as baffling as their other repertoire that includes Freak Show, Owner's Manual, Small Town Security, and Comic Book Men. At best, these suggest their intent to be Comedy Central. 

Aug 19, 2016

Alternative to What: "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013)

Scene from The Wolf of Wall Street
Welcome to Alternative to What: a weekly column that tries to find a great alternative to driving to the multiplexes. Based on releases of that week, the selections will either be thematically related or feature recurring cast and crew. The goal is to help you better understand the diversity of cinema and hopefully find you some favorites while saving a few bucks. At worse, this column will save you money. Expect each installment to come out on Fridays, unless specified. 

Aug 15, 2016

A Look at Todd Phillips and the Frat Boy World View

Scene from War Dogs
As the summer movie season winds down, it's interesting to see what lies in August; or what is commonly referred to as the lesser of summer months. For decades now, August has been a dumping ground for the B-Level of Hollywood's blockbuster output and - with limited exceptions - never does as well as June or July. Sure, this is more of a stereotype than the truth, but it does make every release have a certain curiosity to it. In the case of director Todd Phillips' latest Ward Dogs, it looks to be a comedy filmmaker tackling political satire in ways reminiscent of director Adam McKay's The Big Short last year. Of course, that did pretty well for McKay. However, one must wonder why we should care about Phillips' work, especially since his most recent resume has three movies in The Hangover series. I'm not saying that you have to like him, but he may be one of our mainstream comedy auteurs that doesn't get enough credit for his vision.

Aug 13, 2016

Channel Surfing: The Get Down - "Where There is Ruin, There is Hope for a Treasure"

Scene from The Get Down
Welcome to a new column called Channel Surfing, in which I sporadically look at current TV shows and talk about them. These are not ones that I care to write weekly recaps for and are instead reflections either on the episode, the series, or particular moments. This will hopefully help to share personal opinions as well as discover entertainment on the outer pantheon that I feel is well worth checking out, or in some cases, shows that are weird enough to talk about, but should never be seen.