91st Academy Awards: Predictions and Hopes

This year’s Academy Awards, unfortunately, includes some of the worst nominees in recent memory. Some outright terrible films and performances were nominated this year, and some are even expected to win. Here are my predictions for the major eight categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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2018 in Review: Top 10 Films

The year 2018 gave us a few of the best superhero movies of all time, some truly audacious debuts and breakthroughs, and a couple of followups from directors whose prior breakthroughs went on to win Best Picture. Here are some honorable mentions:

Avengers: Infinity War
(dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo)

Black Panther
(dir. Ryan Coogler)

BlacKkKlansman
(dir. Spike Lee)

Eighth Grade
(dir. Bo Burnham)

Mandy
(dir. Panos Cosmatos)

The Old Man & the Gun
(dir. David Lowery)

Private Life
(dir. Tamara Jenkins)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
(dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman)

Sweet Country
(dir. Warwick Thornton)

You Were Never Really Here
(dir. Lynne Ramsay)

2018 in Review: Top 10 TV Episodes

(thumbnail image courtesy of The Wrap)

To kick off my 2018 in Review, I wanted to go over my ten favorite episodes of television to air last year, ranging from prestige dramas to experimental comedies to good old-fashioned sitcoms. But first, ten honorable mentions, arranged alphabetically:

Barry
“Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going”

Black-ish
“Purple Rain”

BoJack Horseman
“Free Churro”

The Deuce
“We’re All Beasts”

Homecoming
“Stop”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
“We’re Going to the Catskills!”

Saturday Night Live
“John Mulaney / Jack White”

South Park
“Tegridy Farms”

Trust
“Lone Star”

Westworld
“Akane no Mai”

Without further ado, here are my ten favorite episodes of television from 2018, starting on the next page.

Review: ‘The Thrill of It All’ by Sam Smith

The refrain of “Too Good at Goodbyes” pretty succinctly sums up Sam Smith’s recent career as a blue-eyed soul superstar: “I’m never gonna let you close to me / Even though you mean the most to me.” Smith is nothing if not a passionate soul singer, dynamic and talented enough to tackle a genre marked by some of the greatest singers in recorded music history. Too often, however, his music remains at arm’s length with its inspirations. His sophomore album, The Thrill of It All, never plays or experiments with soul or R&B formulae, and it’s all the more cold and distant because of it.

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Review: ‘Pacific Daydream’ by Weezer

In the late 1960s, Joan Crawford’s later years as an actress, she guest-starred on a CBS daytime soap opera called The Secret Storm, temporarily filling in for her daughter who had taken ill. At the time, Crawford was in her 60s, and her daughter Christina was 29. Yet still, for four episodes, Crawford portrayed the youthful Joan Borman Kane with not a hint of irony or self-awareness. Sometimes I think about that, and I wonder what it would have been like to follow that series during the ‘60s and witness Kane age 40 years over the course of a day without any sort of acknowledgement.

If Blue Album and Pinkerton are Crawford’s golden years as an actress, then Pacific Daydream, Weezer’s eleventh studio album, is Crawford in The Secret Storm. It’s been 25 years since Weezer first formed, and Pacific Daydream is perhaps their most unconvincing attempt to pretend they’re as young as they once were. Frontman and songwriter Rivers Cuomo can’t seem to occupy a space other than the kinetics of the band’s youth, and as they move further and further away from their golden years, their unique brand of geeky angst tends to sound more and more manufactured.

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Review: Mindhunter, Season One

FBI agent Holden Ford sits tensely at a table across from the looming Edmund Kemper—nearly seven feet tall and over 250 pounds.

“It’s not easy. Butchering people is hard work, physically and mentally,” laments Kemper, the infamous Co-Ed Killer. “I don’t think people realize. You need to vent.”

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