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Showing posts from January, 2015

"Togetherness": The Happiest Family on Cable TV

Awful people are fun to watch. Look at the most popular TV shows today and you'll find casts full of awful, awful people doing terrible, terrible things to each other. “Orange is the New Black” centers on a stuck-up WASP who cheats on her husband in prison. “Breaking Bad” chronicles a chemistry teacher's descent into dealing meth as he destroys his entire family. “Girls” mocks its own cast, the most cartoonish twentysomethings-of-privilege ever conceived. These shows allow us to laugh at, judge, and secretly wish to emulate those we would, in reality, despise. While that's all fun, it's nice to see a respite from suffocating meanness. That's exactly what “Togetherness” , HBO's new comedy from the Duplass brothers (well known for “Safety Not Guaranteed”, “The Skeleton Twins”, and “ Jeff, Who Lives at Home”) , offers: nice, realistic people with nice, realistic problems. Somehow, it's totally engrossing. The first episode, “Family Day,” s

What You/I/We Missed in Film: 2014

What you missed Nightcrawler .  Some people have compared this film to Taxi Driver, and when watching it you'll see why.  Jake Gyllenhaal is both compelling in terrifying in this unique and eerie thriller.  I thought this was wonderful and I'm sad to see that Gyllenhaal is not in the Oscar race. What you didn't miss Gone Girl .  I got excited because I love 'The Social Network', another Fincher film.  However, I just flat out did not like anything about it.  The standout performance was Carrie Coon as Margo.  I didn't like either of the main characters and found the story ridiculous and disgusting. The Giver .  The world portrayed is bleak, emotionless and soulless.  Granted, this is intentional, but the whole thing to me played out like mannequins going through the motions.  I didn't care about the characters or the stakes. What I missed Boyhood .  Shot over the course of 12 years to capture a boy growing up?  That sounds cool.   Kill the

My belated list of the top 10 albums of 2014

Banks, Goddess LA siren Jillian Banks is much more than a product of the recent crop of minimal, futuristic "alt-R&B." Paired with her dusky vocals, Banks' entrancing debut album employs woozy beats, pulsating bass shudders, and distorted electronic effects to create a soundscape that is dark, moody, sultry, enigmatic, and brooding. The raw, confessional tales of seduction, scorned love, and heartbreak showcase Banks as both empowering ("Fucking with a goddess and you get a little colder," on the shadowy title track ) and vulnerable ("Please, give me something to convince me that I am not a monster," on album opener " Alibi "), but there's also room for playfully sinister lyricism ("My words can come out as a pistol / And I'm no good at aiming / But I can aim it at you," on the menacing "Beggin for Thread"). Top tracks: "Beggin for Thread" • " This Is What It Feels Like " •