Monthly Archives

July 2015

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation | Christopher McQuarrie

July 30, 2015
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, the fifth installment in this franchise, finds hero superspy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, but you knew that) battling a sinister organization of ex-operatives called The Syndicate in a relentlessly convoluted plot of double-agents and double-crosses so cloudy that the villains’ goal is only vaguely articulated at the very end. And yet that doesn’t matter one bit, because the spectacle on hand is at once classical and modern, complicated and totally simple…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Mighty Diamonds | Right Time

July 17, 2015
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The 1976 debut album from reggae trio Mighty Diamonds doesn’t usually get lumped in with other roughly contemporary works of Jamaican revolutionary agit-prop, and the reasons why aren’t difficult to comprehend. Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey, the Abyssinians’ Satta Massagana, and Culture’s Two Sevens Clash all spelled out their apocalyptic intentions — even the album titles promised deep dives into sufferation. While Burning Spear’s dense tribute to Jamaica’s Pan-Africanist visionary featured the dignified visage of Garvey himself as artwork, the Diamonds took to Right Time’s cover as a bare-chested trio…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | John Wesley Harding

July 17, 2015
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Perhaps sensing that he couldn’t push his electric mayhem any further, Bob Dylan retreated from his wild, boozy rock and roll with John Wesley Harding, returning to largely acoustic arrangements but — crucially — not to the sound of The Times They Are a-Changin’ or The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. For one thing, these are full-band recordings, albeit sparsely arranged ones, and for another, he’s traded open-hearted folk and blues for a twangier, more country-influenced sound.…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Inside Out | Pete Docter, Renaldo Del Carmen

July 17, 2015
Inside Out (2015)

Like a lot of the best, or at least most well-regarded films for children, Pixar’s Inside Out is more for grown-ups than for kids. It’s got an ingenious premise: Riley, a preadolescent girl, is in emotional turmoil after her parents move her from Minnesota to San Francisco, and we follow the story from inside her head, where her adorably anthropomorphized emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust) govern her actions and feelings from a control booth in her brain.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Daniel Gorman Film

Days of Being Wild | Wong Kar-wai

July 16, 2015
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Though Days of Being Wild is Wong Kar-Wai’s second feature, in many ways it’s a film of firsts. It’s his first collaboration with Christopher Doyle (arguably the most important director/cinematographer partnership in modern cinema), his first brush with building a stock company of performers, and perhaps most importantly, his first film to deal with a personal obsession: the mercurial, abstract quality of time itself. Critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has referred to…

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#KickingtheCanon by Tom Elrod Film

The Age of Innocence | Martin Scorsese

July 16, 2015
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There is a remarkable shot late in The Age of Innocence when the narrator (Joanne Woodward) describes a room in Newland Archer’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) New York City home as “the room in which most of the real things in his life had happened.” As the camera moves around the space, it quickly becomes clear why this sentence switches suddenly to the past tense…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

The Roots | Things Fall Apart

July 15, 2015
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They could have called it Young, Gifted and Black, were the name not otherwise in use. Not until Robert Glasper convened his Black Radio sessions in 2012 would there be such a significant summit meeting of black American bohemians: Things Fall Apart finds The Roots’ roster swelling to include Erykah Badu, Common, J Dilla, Mos Def, Jazzy Jeff, Beanie Sigel, and, though you won’t know it unless you consult the liner notes, D’Angelo. Recorded during the same sessions that…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Ant-Man | Peyton Reed

July 15, 2015
Ant-Man (2015)

After menacing the world with inter-dimensional aliens, robots bent on mankind’s extermination, and cities plummeting from the sky, maybe it’s time Marvel did something a little more grounded, even lighthearted. That appears to be the intent with Ant-Man, a relatively earthbound story compared to the rest of the studio’s canon. Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a reformed thief freshly released from the pokey, hoping to go straight and reunite with his young daughter.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Ryo Miyauchi Music

Outkast | ATLiens

July 14, 2015
Outkast

For an idea of where Andre 3000 and Big Boi’s heads were at after their first album, look no further than the infamous 1995 Source Awards. The massive New York crowd booed Outkast as the duo took home the Best New Rap Group award. But they didn’t go down without a fight, with Andre giving one historical address: “The South got something to say.”…

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Conference of the Birds | Dave Holland Quartet

July 13, 2015
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Fairly or not, Manfred Eicher’s ECM Records has long been saddled with a reputation for producing airy and cavernous Euro-jazz, best exemplified by Keith Jarrett’s mid-70s solo piano excursions and the Scandinavian folk / Gregorian chant mashups of tenor/soprano saxist Jan Garbarek. Certainly one needn’t dig deep into the label’s lesser releases from the 1980s and 1990s to support such a slightly dismissive report. And yet much like Blue Note’s brief championing of Cecil Taylor…

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#KickingtheCanon by Tom Elrod Film

Miller’s Crossing | Joel & Ethan Coen

July 13, 2015
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The Coen Brothers have a habit of using an innocuous object as a catalyst for many of their convoluted plots. This is slightly different from Hitchcock’s favored “MacGuffin,” the thing everybody in the story wants though nobody really cares what it is. Think of the stolen car in Fargo, the Dude’s rug in The Big Lebowski, or the cat from Inside Llewyn Davis. …

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Jurassic World | Colin Trevorrow

July 12, 2015
Jurassic World (2015)

Slick, loud, violent, merchandized to death, politically retrograde, largely scrubbed of idiosyncrasy, and also pretty exciting, Jurassic World is, like the original 1993 Jurassic Park, simultaneously we-tampered-in-God’s-domain overreacher sci-fi and an amusement park ride about being an amusement park ride. The characters constantly point out that their corporate overlords demanded moral, technological, and ethical compromises and bigger, sexier products…

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