Obsessed with Pop Culture: Best of the Week



The Hype Cycle: Contenders Arrive in Theaters

Excuse the absence in this column for the last few weeks. I’ve been covering the Chicago International Film Festival, catching up with a few of the Foreign Language Oscar contenders while there. Now however, many of these movies are finally making their ways into theaters, providing an extra wrinkle into the race as both critics and fans weigh in on their quality… click here to read the full article.


31 Days of Horror: 200 Greatest Horror Films

The hardest part about choosing my favourite horror films of all time, is deciding what stays and what goes. I started with a list that featured over 200 titles, and I think it took more time to pick and choose between them, than to actually sit down and write each capsule review. In order to hold on to my sanity, I decided to not include short films, documentaries, television mini-series and animated films. I also had to draw the line at some point in deciding if certain movies should be considered horror or not. In such cases where I was split down the middle in deciding, I let IMDB be the judge for me and simply included them as a special mention. Long story short, I can’t include every movie I like. Below  you will find a list ranking the first 100 films on my list. I’ll be writing capsule reviews for each of these sometime next October. And further below, you will find the links to my top 100… click here to read the full article.


The Greatest Horror Anthology Film Segments of All Time

Popular in the 1960s and early 1970s with more rare appearances in the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s, the anthology-style horror film has made a solid resurgence in recent years with such portmanteau releases as The ABCs of Death films and the V/H/S series… click here to read the full article. 


Adieu au langage and Film Socialisme: Godard’s Latest, Among His Greatest

Jean-Luc Godard, and more specifically his 1965 film Pierrot le Fou, literally changed my life, and set me on a path toward intense and everlasting cinephilia. Since the first time I saw that film, it has remained my favorite movie of all time and Godard my favorite director. So when I finally had the chance to see Film socialisme in 2010, his first feature film in six years, I had high hopes that the old master was going to yet again bring something new to the table. Those hopes were assuredly met. I considered the film the best of that year and still believe it is an astonishing movie, rife with so much of what defines Godard in this is fourth(?), fifth(?), in any case, current, phase of his career…. click here to read the full article. 


Constantine, Ep. 1.01, “Non Est Asylum”: Exposition-heavy pilot has charismatic lead

The opening shot of Constantine is quite rich. It’s a medium shot, straight ahead, of the Ravenscar Secure Facility, the mental asylum that John Constantine (Matt Ryan) admits himself in to when he inadvertently damns the soul of his friend’s daughter, Astra, to Hell in the Hellblazer comic. Immediately, there is a nod to the source material, as well as establishing that our protagonist isn’t right in the head or the ethical department, but there’s a tiny chance he could change. “Non Est Asylum” is all about how Constantine isn’t at home in Heaven or Hell, but somewhere in between (Even though he is currently damned). He, his best friend and driver Chas (a laconic Charles Halford), and another friend’s daughter Liv (Lucy Griffiths) are constantly on the move, as they try to take on the demon Furcifer, who controls electricity and lightning, and wants to damn Liv because her father angered him a while back…. click here to read the full article. 


‘Big Hero 6′ a compelling futuristic adventure comedy with surprising deftness

Loosely inspired by an obscure series of Marvel comics, Disney’s Big Hero 6 is here to firmly shut the door on Let It Go’s last dying breath with an unlikely origin story that merges the emotional core we’ve come to expect from the House of Mouse, with a splashy, manga-like aesthetic and millenial sensibility. From the vibrant cosmopolitan mash-up San Fransokyo, where the story takes place, to the technologic conundrum of research development versus sale for immediate gain that protagonist Hiro (Ryan Potter) faces, Big Hero 6 weaves together a compelling futuristic adventure comedy with surprising deftness… click here to read the full article. 


The Walking Dead Podcast Episode 55: “Strangers”

After last week’s action extravaganza, “Strangers” is unsurprisingly a much quieter episode of The Walking Dead. Written by comic creator Robert Kirkman, “Strangers” follows the entire group traveling side by side, and introduces us to a new character (the mysterious Father Gabriel played by Seth Gilliam). Joining us this week to discuss the second episode of season five is guest Randy Dankievitch click here to listen to the show.


Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.01: “Northwest Passage” is brilliant world-building, wrapped in plastic

In the nearly 25 years since Twin Peaks debuted on ABC, the show has achieved an almost mythic status in the canon of television. Not only has it influenced a legion of other shows, but its various elements and images have become indelible parts of pop culture. Appreciation of cherry pie and damn good coffee. A lady with a log that she treats like a beloved friend. A dwarf dancing in a room with red curtains and a zig-zag carpet. When people think of Twin Peaks, they think of its oddities, and with good reason: the surreality is so distinct that it lingers, long after the details surrounding it have faded…. click here to read the full article. 


Ed Brubaker Reinvents Catwoman as an Anti-Hero and Champion of the Oppressed

In “Anodyne”, the opening storyline of the long running third volume ofCatwoman, Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke put a fresh new spin on the assumed dead Selina Kyle/Catwoman with the help of inker Mike Allred and colorist Matt Hollingsworth. The first issue of the series examines Catwoman’s inner life and demons and is quite introspective. Brubaker uses captions to examine her motivation for putting on the Catwoman costume on again as well as her dialogue with Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a close friend to Bruce Wayne. Darwyn Cooke’s pencils go wild as he draws a variety of scenes from a dark dream sequence filled with symbolism, like blood, a cross, and of course, cats to chase scenes across the rooftops with a sunset and an homage to Batman: The Animated Series with some superhero action… click here to read the full article. 


‘John Wick’ kicks butt

John Wick is a beautiful ballet of death and destruction.  It combines the brutal hand-to-hand combat of Jason Bourne with Ridley Scott’s visual sensibilities to create the perfect vehicle for Keanu Reeves.  Here, Reeves struts his physicality and underrated comic timing to ratchet up the fun while he amasses a huge body count.  It’s an ultra-slick, violence-worshipping extravaganza that will have you eating from the palm of its bloodstained hand…. click here to read the full article. 


American Horror Story, Ep. 4.03, “Edward Mordrake (Part One)” movingly explores character emotions

Despite having a premise that would appear to push the high camp of this season even further, “Edward Mordrake (Part 1)” features some of the most touching and genuinely emotional moments seen in the season thus far. The titular character (Wes Bentley) is an English nobleman and talented composer. While these biographical details would appear to put him on the path to success, the second face on the back of his head lands him a stint in an insane asylum, followed by a gig as a freak show performer, which ends abruptly when he kills his fellow cast members and hangs himself (a tale creepily recounted by Ethel). His ghost is rumored to haunt freak shows that perform on Halloween, which is when the episode takes place… click here to read the full review. 


The Televerse #164- Transparent, Outlander, and New Representations of Sexuality on TV with Mo Ryan

There’s a lot of interesting new TV kicking around, but this week we roll back our regular podcast coverage a bit to make room for a special segment. First we look at a few reality offerings, including the pilot of the new documentary series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, and some comedy, including an at least partially pantheon-level Key & Peele. Then we look at some genre, particularly American Horror Story: Freak Show, and we round out our week with a few drama offerings, including the finale of The Knick. Afterward, the fabulous Maureen Ryan of the Huffington Post and Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan returns to the podcast to discuss Transparentseason one, the first half-season of Outlander, and several other series as we look at new representations of sexuality that are finally popping up on television… click here to listen to the show. 


Destiny’: One Month Later

It has been over a month since the release of Destiny and much has changed since Bungie’s latest released. Several events have come and gone, particular weapons have risen to fame and faded into oblivion, and the Crucible has been tailored and balanced several times over. Now seems as ideal a time as ever to reevaluate the new title from the developers of Halo… click here to read the full article. 


Sound On Sight Podcast, Episode 395: ‘Frank’ and ‘We Are The Best’ + The Leftovers, The Knick, Bojack Horseman, American Horror Story, The Flash, Gotham

This week on Sound On Sight, Simon and Ricky discuss Lenny Abrahamson’sFrank, a film with a striking performance from Michael Fassbender, who has to generate emotion without using the actor’s most visible asset: his face. But first we review We Are The Best, directed by Lukas Moodysson and adapted from a semi-autobiographical, Daniel Clowes-style graphic novel by Moodysson’s wife, Coco. In between we discuss various television shows including The Leftovers, The Knick, Bojack Horseman, American Horror Story, The Flash, Gotham and the art of making mix-tapes… click here to listen to the show. 


Boardwalk Empire, Ep. 5.07: “Friendless Child” laments its losses and rhymes like poetry

Three seasons ago Enoch “Nucky” Thompson met his former protege, Jimmy Darmody, in a dusty field and told him that he wasn’t seeking redemption. And then he shot him in the head. Twice.

Things have changed… read the full article. 

Video of the Day: The Simpsons Halloween Tribute To Stanley Kubrick

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