Obsessed with Pop Culture: Best of the Week

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‘Starry Eyes’: The feel disturbed movie of the year

This film is at its very core a success story. A very demented, gory, horrifying and darkly comical success story – one with tinges of satanic cult horror wrapped in psychological terror. The plot follows a young aspiring actress, Sarah, as she is called back to audition for a horror film that is being produced by a mysterious production company that pushes her to her limits – a dark exchange for fame and fortune… click here to read the article. 

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‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I’ is all prologue

In a previous review of the second instalment of The Hunger Games series for this website, I expressed some dismay that Catching Fire didn’t really have a conclusion to speak of, with its cliffhanger ending reminding me less of The Empire Strikes Back and more of The Matrix Reloaded orPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The argument I made was that what makes the Star Wars film still satisfying is that it has an actual sense of narrative progression and character achievement despite abandoning its players in the midst of doom and gloom. Going back and revisiting Catching Fire, I admit I may have been a little harsh as quite a bit of substantial material in terms of world-building and character development is crammed in there before the game-changing reveal. The same cannot be said, however, for Mockingjay – Part I, which, in its eking out of just one half of Suzanne Collins’ final Hunger Games novel, is much more deserving of that complaint and is by far the least satisfying film of the series to date… click here to read the article. 

‘Nouvelle Vague’ is the history of cinema told as a biblical allegory

Nouvelle Vague (1990) is not a cinematic treatment of the Young Turks breaking new ground in the sixties but a film about the history of cinema told as a biblical allegory. Old and New Testament; Old and New Wave; the studio system and the post-studio era; Delon as Roger and Richard Lennox who fall in love with the Countess Elena Torlato-Favrini. I must admit that the thought of Godard making a film about the New Wave directors sounds fascinating and the film-geek in me would have ate it up. Like many cinephiles I love films about films like The States of Things (1982) by Wim Wenders which is one of the greatest films in this subgenre or even The Last Movie (1971) by Dennis Hopper which is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Alas this is not what Godard made. However, the Nouvelle Vague that Godard did make is immensely satisfying and a great entry into Godard’s oeuvre… click here to read the full article. 

The look of Godard’s ‘First Name: Carmen’ offsets the cruelty displayed on screen

Following Passion (1982) and Scenario du film passion (1982), Jean-Luc Godard directed First Name: Carmen(1983), starring Marushka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffe, and himself. Godard was inspired by Otto Preminger’sCarmen Jones (1954), a musical-comedy about a woman that seduces a soldier ordered to escort her to the authorities. Preminger’s film is an adaptation of a 1943 stage production by Oscar Hammerstein II, which is itself an adaptation of the 1845 novella Carmen by Prospere Merimee. Anne-Marie Mieville was very interested in writing a script that was similar to the spirit of Preminger’s film, and Godard loved that film as well but wanted to change the music. Exit Bizet’s music and enter Beethoven’s “Late Quartets”, which are integral for First Name: Carmenclick here to read the article. 

The look of Godard’s ‘First Name: Carmen’ offsets the cruelty displayed on screen

Following Passion (1982) and Scenario du film passion (1982), Jean-Luc Godard directed First Name: Carmen(1983), starring Marushka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffe, and himself. Godard was inspired by Otto Preminger’sCarmen Jones (1954), a musical-comedy about a woman that seduces a soldier ordered to escort her to the authorities. Preminger’s film is an adaptation of a 1943 stage production by Oscar Hammerstein II, which is itself an adaptation of the 1845 novella Carmen by Prospere Merimee. Anne-Marie Mieville was very interested in writing a script that was similar to the spirit of Preminger’s film, and Godard loved that film as well but wanted to change the music. Exit Bizet’s music and enter Beethoven’s “Late Quartets”, which are integral for First Name: Carmenclick here to read the article. 

‘Enter the Dragon’ – A Cultural Education

For most people, Enter the Dragon is a quintessential action film.  The first Chinese martial arts film co-produced in Hollywood, it launched the genre, not to mention its late leading man Bruce Lee, to Western audiences.  Not only does it compass elements of a thriller and an action film, but it is also culturally relevant… click here to read the full article. 

The Convenience of Wives: On Goodfellas and Marriage

After the revolution: Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Pierre Gorin’s ‘Tout va bien’

Wong Kar-Wai’s Portrayal of Human Desire in “In the Mood For Love”

Hatchet for a Honeymoon: Marriage and the Screen

Marriage and Divorce, Rabbinical Style: ‘Fill the Void’ and ‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem’

 

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Why you should be watching: Attack on Titan

Anime, like comic books and video games, has often found itself on the absolute fringe of nerd culture. When someone isn’t into anime, it’s almost impossible to get them to give it a try with an open mind—and that’s really too bad, because they’re depriving themselves of some really spectacular stuff, like Attack on Titanclick here to read the article. 

Television that Home Video Forgot: Darkroom (1981)

The tone of the stories presented on the series were mostly frightful tales, with grim twist endings that were enhanced with dark humor. The series featured notable directors such as Rick Rosenthal (Halloween II), Paul Lynch (The new Twilight Zone ‘80’s), John McPherson (The Incredible Hulk TV series), Jeffrey Bloom (Flowers in the Attic), Peter Crane (Murder She Wrote) and Curtis Harrington (Dynasty), as well as stories written by or based on works of Robert Bloch (Psycho), Fredric Brown(Star Trek “Arena”), Peter Allan Fields (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and Cornell Woolrich (Original Sin). Some of the prominent cast that appear on segments include Helen Hunt, Billy Crystal, Claude Akins, Rue McClanahan, David Carradine and Brian Dennehy… click here to read the article. 

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.05, “The One-Armed Man” ties man and beast to the investigation

While Twin Peaks is easy to praise for both its alien-like atmosphere and the skill with which it constructed the Laura Palmer investigation, neither of these aspects would resonate to the degree they do if they weren’t built on the solid framework of the show’s world. The residents of Twin Peaks are all distinctly drawn characters with their own set of quirks, biases, and motivations; many of which are only tangentially related to Laura’s death. David Lynch said at the time, and in many interviews since, that he considered the murder the entry point to the rest of the town, and that in an ideal world, it would have turned into a perpetual motion machine of story as their lives progressed… click here to read the full article. 

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American Horror Story, Ep. 4.07: “Test of Strength” fails to make Dell interesting

Freak Show’s storytelling has frequently revolved around balancing character development between stories. Similar to Game of Thrones, the season has featured a variety of small plot arcs based on different characters and they’ve coalesced to make the mosaic that is the show. This week’s episode, “Test of Strength,” features Dell to a greater extent than the season has previously, and particularly his relationship with Jimmy. Unfortunately, his character is not nearly as interesting as others that the show has explored… click here to read the article. 

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Kingdom, Ep. 1.07, “Animator/Annihilator” finds everyone lacking a clear goal

At the very least, Kingdom uses the questionable decisions made last week to its benefit during “Animator/Annihilator”, leveraging the Keith cliffhanger and the Joanna situation into more believable character moments, which is what it does best. The episode still feels incredibly disjointed and aimless, but watching the characters struggle through issues that have been building throughout the season offers focus on an individual level if not a broader one… click here to read the article. 

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Jane the Virgin, Ep. 2.02 to 2.06 deftly balances plot and characterisation

Among the new offerings in the fall 2014 season has been the CW series Jane the Virgin, a show revolving around the titular Jane, a woman who finds herself accidentally artificially inseminated. While the premise provided a hurdle for the show, the pilot managed to effectively explain it, while also unabashedly showing off the series’ telenovela influences. As the season has continued, the show has continued maintaining the balance between emotional resonance and fun fantasy sequences. In addition, the series has shown a knack for being able to resolve storylines, rather than dragging them out, while still managing to give time to character development, all of which has resulted in a strong, confident series to date… click here to read the article. 

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The Flash, Ep. 1.06, “The Flash Is Born” introduces the man of steel

This week in “The Flash Is Born,” the sixth episode of the shows first season, Flash must face one of his toughest foes thus far: Tony “Girder” Woodward, another one of Central City’s meta-humans that was affected by the same accident that turned Barry into the speed demon. Tony is able to turn himself into girded steel, making it nearly impossible for the Scarlett Speedster to stop him. Cisco becomes instrumental as the team struggles to find a way to help Barry stop the super-villain with incredible strength. Meanwhile, Iris calls much attention to her blog, landing her in hot water; Eddie witnesses Tony’s abilities but naively shakes it off, assuming what he saw wasn’t real; and Joe asks Dr. Wells if he can help him solve Nora Allen’s murder… click here to read the article. 

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Gotham, Ep. 1.09, “Harvey Dent” shows a lighter side of Gotham

The new story arc of Gotham continues to build steam by breaking up one major couple, creating curious alliances between heroes and villains, and introducing new players to the game. So far the series has focused on the darker side of Gotham City, with its citizens bringing justice through criminal means, but with “Harvey Dent”, we are shown the other side, with an episode that is a little brighter and a little more fun but that doesn’t lose the edge of the gritty reality Gotham has already established… click here to read the article. 

‘SNL’s’ ‘The Dudleys’ is sharp and hilarious industry commentary

Childhood Memories and The End of Saturday Morning Cartoons

New Google Survey reveals how people go to the movies

Watch an incredible live staging of ‘Back to the Future’

VOTD: Watch the funniest soccer shootout ever

Read Christopher Nolan’s prequel comic about ‘Interstellar’

Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains the End of ‘Interstellar’

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The Walking Dead Podcast Episode 59: “Consumed”

“Consumed” is a welcome return to two of the show’s most compelling characters; and an episode that gives two of our least talkative survivors a chance to express themselves and some much-needed breathing room to examine how much they’ve both changed in five seasons. This week we discuss the fate of Carol, speculate on how the mid-season will end, and provide feedback on everything from visual motifs to the score to the action set piece and so much more… click here to listen to the podcast. 

The Walking Dead, Ep. 5.06, “Consumed” a welcome return to the show’s most compelling characters

“Consumed” follows Carol and Daryl in pursuit of the mysterious vehicle that belongs to Beth’s kidnappers. The dynamic duo make good progress into the city eventually arriving at a safe house while running into the occasional zombie along the way. The hour proves harmless enough for the pair of seasoned veterans, and while at times exciting, “Consumed” is a predictable, voyage into the heart of Atlanta. But despite a lack of suspense and horror, “Consumed” is a welcome return to two of the show’s most compelling characters; and an episode that gives two of our least talkative survivors a chance to express themselves and some much-needed breathing room to examine how much they’ve both changed in five seasons… click here to read the article. 

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The Televerse Podcast #168- 2014 Freshman Comedies with Ryan McGee

With so many eventful episodes of TV airing, it’s another long podcast this week. First we start with the comedies, including the still fantastic Jane the Virgin. Then we talk genre, including Supernatural’s musical 200th episode, and we round out our week in TV with the dramas, including a twisty The Affair, revealing The Good Wife, and series-best The Newsroom. Afterward, Ryan McGee from ScreenCrushHitFixTalking TV with Ryan and Ryan, and The Not Ready for Primetime Podcast returns to the DVD Shelf to break down what has been a fantastic year for freshman comedies… click here to listen to the show. 

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Hell Hath No Fury Like ‘Batman’ #36

Have you ever been in love? Head-over-heels, pop-songs-on-blast-turnt-down-for-what love? Sure, most have. You’ve probably even had that love turn sour. The bright light of joy that once warmed your heart turned black as coal and threatens every fibre of your being. Hopefully. most of you have never felt that. Though it isn’t as rare as we’d like. But what happens when that newfound hatred manifests itself in your spouse? If you’re the Joker, you plan your endgame and show the world that a lunatic scorned is nothing to be trifled with… click here to read the article. 




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