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On March 27, English pop artist Dua Lipa released her sophomore album “Future Nostalgia” one week early, in the midst of the global pandemic. With millions around the world quarantined in their homes and looking for a way to pass the hours, the timing couldn’t be better. The album’s upbeat sound is exactly what the world needs in this time of uncertainty and confusion.
“Tiger King'' is one of the wildest true-crime stories Netflix has given us so far — so much so that its larger-than-life characters eclipse the documentary series’ initial mission of shining light on animal rights issues. The show follows the eccentric Joe Exotic (whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage), a self-described “gay, gun-carrying-redneck with a mullet” who created one of the biggest wildlife preservation centers for exotic cats, along with his menagerie of exotic animal owner colleagues who prove even wilder than their pets. The directors of “Tiger King,” Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, untangle the complicated and at times surreal world of Exotic to deliver a must-see story of a zookeeper who lands himself in jail for a murder-for-hire plot targeting his long-time rival, big cat activist Carole Baskin, who is shrouded in her own felonious controversies. Despite its mild attempt to address ethical questions about animal rights, “Tiger King” is, at heart, a true crime documentary that spotlights outsized personalities.
At the behest of a friend, I recently watched the sequel to “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on Netflix. Titled “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” I found that even though I didn’t think the movie was particularly good, I still managed to find a kernel of satisfaction in watching it.
“The Sweet Science of Bruising” had its American premiere in Moore Theater last Friday. Written by Joy Wilkinson, the play is set in 1869 London. It tells the story of four women from a variety of backgrounds who find their way into the boxing ring to literally fight for their right to freedom and gender equality.
For Claire Boucher, the last few years have marked a massive change in popularity. Between the critical and commercial success of her 2015 album “Art Angels” and her high-profile relationship with billionaire Elon Musk, Boucher, better known as Grimes, has become a genuine celebrity. Her prodigious rise to stardom probably comes as a surprise to anyone familiar with her work since the beginning — which was full of obscured vocals and avant-garde goth-punk — especially since it took four albums for her to become a household name.
Over the last decade, Kevin Parker has used his solo project Tame Impala to create incredible anthems of loneliness and isolation. Ever since his 2010 single “Solitude is Bliss,” Parker has pushed himself further and further away from society, using his lyrics to present himself as an outsider looking in. Even the album cover of Tame Impala’s 2012 album “Lonerism” depicts people picnicking on the other side of a fence, just out of reach. During the production of his next album “Currents” in 2015, Parker withdrew even further, working meticulously on each track. And while these songs dealt more with interpersonal relationships than any of his previous works, the lyrics made it clear that Parker felt more alone than ever.
After taking center-stage in the 2016 film “Suicide Squad” as the charming ex-psychiatrist-turned-supervillain, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) returns fiercer than ever as she introduces a new version of herself — one separate from the diminutive label of “the Joker’s girlfriend.”
“One Child Nation,” directed by award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang, is one of the first documentaries to delve into China’s one-child policy. While it does so in an innovative way, the film lacks objectivity and coherence in telling the story.
Mac Miller’s posthumous album “Circles,” released on Jan. 17, is a fitting end to his respected rap career and eclectic body of music. Miller began his career at the age of 15 in Pittsburgh’s hip-hop scene, and over time became an almost entirely different artist. He evolved from his beginnings as a fratty pop-rap artist to boldly experimenting with his sound, all the while growing immensely as a rapper, producer and singer.
Thanks to surprise wins for Best Director and Best Motion Picture — Drama at the Golden Globes, Sam Mendes’ bold cinematic experience “1917” has been a buzzy film, garnering a spike in attention it hopes to carry into the Oscars in February. Set during World War I and focusing on two British soldiers in the trenches of France, “1917” is shot and edited to look like one take. This is much like Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s masterful 2015 Oscar winner for Best Motion Picture of the Year, “Birdman.” Unlike “Birdman,” though, “1917,” lacks a scintillating script or multifaceted characters, but it makes up for some of that loss with the sheer grandeur of its cinematic vision.
In many regards, the advent of the Internet has changed the landscape of music more than anything since the invention of the phonograph. From the explosion of microgenres such as vaporwave and cloud rap in the 2010s to streaming services allowing immediate access to just about every song ever recorded, the music industry is almost unrecognizable to what it was pre-Internet. One of the more significant aspects of the new music industry is the now meteoric pace at which stars can rise through the use of websites such as SoundCloud, Bandcamp and even YouTube — all of which allow anyone to find an audience much more easily than in the past.
Penn Badgley once again delivers as the serial killer that a part of you just doesn’t want to hate in Season 2 of Netflix’s “You.” The season’s 10 episodes follow Badgley as Joe Goldberg in his new life in Los Angeles. Fleeing from the mess he made in New York — murdering his ex-girlfriend and publishing her book posthumously — Joe falls right back into his old habits in Los Angeles, fixating on a woman and indulging his psychopathy. This includes periodically imprisoning people he views as potential threats in a glass cage and keeping them as his captives.
I always look forward to winter break for many reasons, an unexpected one of which is Oscar-bait. Oscar-bait season is the first three weeks in December, when movie production studios are racing to put out their “best” films of the year before the Oscar qualification deadline on the last day of the year. Typically, films that receive Oscar nominations are released between August and December.
From start to finish, 2019 has been a whirlwind year for music. It has been a year of innovation and excitement in nearly every genre, whether it be hip-hop, folk, pop or any other. While there were dozens of albums that could be recognized for their brilliance this year, I’ve had to narrow it down to only 10 for this list. These 10 albums have all introduced new ideas into their respective genres while still being an enjoyable listen from start to finish. In a way, all of them manage to reflect the issues of the time while still sounding distinctly human.
There is no one in the world who sounds like FKA twigs. Her music contains a multitude of recognizable influences, sure, but the way in which she seamlessly weaves together musical ideas from a broad range of genres and styles into her own music is unique to her and her alone in the modern landscape of popular music.
The first time I was exposed to Korean films was a glorious experience. I don’t remember how old I was, but it was probably in high school when a buddy and I watched “Oldboy” for the first time. I was blown away. I had forgotten just how wide the spectrum of emotions a movie can make you feel was, and it felt like I was falling in love with movies all over again.
I haven’t seen nearly as many films throughout 2019 as I might have liked, but what I have seen has left me largely uninspired — nothing awful, but also nothing to get me all that excited. The sole exception so far has been Lulu Wang’s phenomenal “The Farewell.” So color me both astonished and elated that “Doctor Sleep” has become only the second film this year that I really, truly love.
When I was 11 years old and first cracked open John Green’s novel “Looking for Alaska,” I immediately fell in love with the air of mystery that surrounded Alaska Young, the elusive girl of male protagonist Miles Halter’s dreams. Every emo tween wanted to be Alaska: free-spirited and enigmatic, as shown through the eyes of a helplessly enamored boy.
Wealth can create vicious cycles. The more money a person earns, the more scared they become of losing it, and, as such, they resort to extreme measures to protect their money. The scandal of the Panama Papers — the leaked documents exposing the offshore businesses of many wealthy individuals, of which some were shell companies used for the illegal purposes of fraud and tax evasion — details such extreme measures, making for an unbelievable chronicle that is the premise for “The Laundromat.”
“Watchmen” seems like HBO’s first attempt at a replacement TV show for “Game of Thrones.” Even before the disappointing finale of “Game of Thrones” which aired this May, it seems HBO has been clamoring to produce a new hit show to keep their subscribers. My verdict on whether or not “Watchmen” has the ability to do just that is — being only two episodes into the season — hard to say, but it’s at least off to a good start.