Obsessed with Pop Culture: Best of the Week

 

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Awesome Mix Tape Volume 5: Best Soundtracks & Scores of 2014

Back in August, I released a mix tape consisting of the best tracks, from the best movie soundtracks and best scores of the first half of 2014. This here, is the entire mix consisting of the best songs heard in movies all year long… click here to listen to the mix. 

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Childhood Memories: Revisiting The Wonder Years

For a series that rooted in the trappings of the American suburbs, with all the classic sitcom tropes present, The Wonder Years is a benediction. It showed us what television could (and would) be, and far more importantly, what life actually is. Set in and around a cookie-cutter neighbourhood where nothing spectacular ever happens,The Wonder Years extracts truths out of what appear to be life’s most random moments. The series is unique in that it is all from Kevin’s point of view, told through young Kevin’s naive view of life and a more reflective view in his wistful recollections. In one notable episode, “The Unnatural,” Kevin is persuaded by the baseball coach to try out for the team. Although he’s not playing well, the episode ends with Kevin hitting a home run… read the full article. 

The Hype Cycle – Anyone’s Race

This column is a few days late this week, but then this was a particularly busy few days. The first three of the actual awards precursors finally arrived this week, including the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the Gotham Independent Film Awards… read the full article. 

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Best Video Games of 2014 (Pt. 1)

We asked some of our writers what their top 5 games of 2014 were, and have since compiled them into five parts. They will be released every two days, starting today, with each writers top 5 counting down through successive entries… read the full article. 

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Best Movie Posters of 2014 Part Two

In my opinion a great movie poster has to grab my attention without the presence of a major hollywood star or other credits that appear on the sheet. The best movie posters of all time, feature an iconic image that has been burned onto the public consciousness so that any film fan who sees the image can instantly recognize the movie without the need to read the film’s title. Than there is the other kind of great movie poster – the poster that features a design by an artist which is actually better than the poorly made film it represents… read the full article. 

The 50 Definitive Relationship Dramas: 50-41

Before I met my wife, my longest relationship lasted a span of only three months. I wasn’t afraid of commitment; I was too committed too early. I fell fast and hard. Every time. But that doesn’t mean I never went through the typical relationship bumps in the road. I fought with plenty of exes about normal things – jealousy, dishonesty, etc. And now my wife and I fight about plenty of the same things, but we handle it, just like every other successful couple. In the spirit of tumultuous relationships, this list looks at the definitive relationship dramas. These are films that focus on one or more romantic relationships. These aren’t just “falling in love” movies. These are movies that dissect some side of a relationship that helps to drive the plot. So, without further ado, let’s join hands on this journey together… read the full article. 

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Arrow Ep. 3.08 “The Brave and the Bold” a fun departure from an uneven season

Maybe “The Brave and the Bold” is exactly the episode Arrow needed; certainly stepping away from the still-vague larger story of the season (which still involves the League of Assassins… right?) held benefit’s on this week’s episode, the most fun episode Arrow‘s had all season. But the lack of focus on larger, overarching stories also allows Arrow to focus in on its main character – and in so, turns “The Brave and the Bold” into the single most satisfying episode of Arrow this season… read the full article. 

The Flash, Ep. 1.08, “Flash vs. Arrow” immensely entertaining and frequently hilarious

We’ve already seen plenty of exchanges between The Flash and Arrow since Barry Allen first debuted in “The Scientist”, but this episode marked the first major crossover between the two shows. The writers focused a great deal on the sheer entertainment in seeing these two heroes square off, and the end result is a fun, lighthearted, action packed adventure that knows exactly what it wants to be and executes it well. As DC and Warner Bros. prep Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice to kick-start their interconnected big-screen universe, “The Flash vs. Arrow” proves their small screen worlds are miles ahead of the game… read the full article. 

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.06, “Cooper’s Dreams” sees alliances shifting and control slipping

In the first scene of “Cooper’s Dreams,” Agent Cooper complains to Diane, via tape recorder, that the sense of peace he found in Twin Peaks has been shattered, proving one of his oldest maxims: “Once a traveler leaves his home he loses almost 100% of his ability to control his environment.” And indeed, control is something that’s slipping away from Cooper at every turn this episode. When a rowdy gang of businessmen wake him up at 4 am, it leaves him looking worn down during a key part of the investigation. His normal sense of equipoise fails him in the presence of the Log Lady, who slaps his hand for inopportune timing. And at the end of the day, he returns to his room hoping for peace, only to find Audrey Horne naked in his bed, begging him not to send her away. So often the smartest man in the room, this episode shows Cooper being pushed by circumstances, rather than the other way around… read the full article. 

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‘Never Alone’ brings folklore into the new millennium

Never Alone (Kisima  Inŋitchuŋa), a game created in collaboration with the Iñupiaq, a Native American tribe in Alaska, is a rare example of a video game consciously bridging cultures together. Based on Iñupiaq folklore, Never Alone  weaves the tale of a young girl named Nuna, an accomplished hunter, and an arctic fox, a spiritual medium, as they journey through the arctic tundra in order to discover the source of a series of devastating blizzards… read the full article. 

‘Bioshock’: Rapture has an atmosphere that remains unmatched

As science fiction has popularly shown, the best dystopias always began as utopias. The idea of a fallen utopia is something that humanity seems to take an inherent comfort in. Much like our unflappable interest in seeing our heroes and idols fall from grace, a destroyed wonderland, or one that hides a myriad of horrors beneath its carefully constructed facade, is a reassuring proposition, one that works to assuage any guilt we might have for not trying to be better, or affecting any real change in our own society or circumstances… read the full article. 

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Red Band Society’s Fall Finale ends the year on a high note

Red Band Society‘s first season has been suffering from tonal problems and narrative inconsistency throughout most of its run, but with this final episode of the year, the show was able to find a way to unify the story, as well as develop the characters in a way that felt genuine, with promise for interesting growth. After a string of episodes that have felt disjointed from one another, emotionally contrived, and at times completely ridiculous and unremarkable, the fall finale shines. The episode effectively gives the kids an emotional story, having them react to the departure of two fellow red band-ers from the hospital, with the adults handling their own plot about interoffice dating. This episode not only offers a compelling story, but also ties in plot points from previous episodes that seemed random or unearned, and makes them almost feel like part of a cohesive season narrative… read the full article. 

American Horror Story, Ep. 4.08: “Blood Bath” picks up the pace

After the somewhat languid pacing of American Horror Story: Freak Show in the season’s first half, this week’s aptly titled episode “Blood Bath” kicks things into another gear. Though Twisty’s death felt unexpected and climactic (despite occurring only five episodes into the season), the clown’s untimely departure now appears relatively inconsequential compared to this week’s events… read the full article. 

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‘Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs’ is the ultimate in Gothic disturbia

Much like the first Amnesia title, A Machine for Pigs is engrossing from the very outset. While dropping you into a world with absolutely zero memory of how you got there has become something of a cliche for both gaming and storytelling purposes, the Amnesia series is proof positive that even the oldest of hats can be a fit for our cynical post-modern heads… read the full article. 

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #88: ‘The Guest’ and ‘Predestination’ **Spoilers**

Australian brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, working off a short story (All You Zombies) by American science-fiction writer Robert A Heinlein, adapt a tale of self-destruction that hops back and forth across decades. This week we review their latest feature titled Predestination. But first we sit down to discuss The Guest, a pretty crafty genre pastiche written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard of You’re Next fame. Joining us is Sound On Sight’s managing editor, Deepayan Sengupta…. listen to the podcast. 

Sordid Cinema #87: ‘The Babadook’ and ‘Starry Eyes’

Writer-director Jennifer Kent makes an important contribution to the horror genre with her feature debut, The Babadook. This week we discuss the psychological horror film about depression, motherhood, grief, and madness as well as the genius of Starry Eyes, the latest film from directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch that melds the abstract Lynchian nightmare with the body horror of David Cronenberg. Joining us this week is Sound On Sight contributor Dylan Griffinlisten to the podcast. 

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The Walking Dead, Ep. 5.08: “Coda” shows the ramifications of willful ignorance

While the beginning of The Walking Dead’s fifth season saw the Terminus threat dispatched with extreme prejudice by the group, another foe soon emerged in the form of a competing group in Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, who insisted on an underhanded debt system and an old-fashioned power hierarchy to maintain their version of structure. With Rick and his group capturing three of their police officers and getting ready to square off with Dawn and her force, this week’s midseason finale focuses on the results of that encounter, as well as Father Gabriel’s attempts to make sense of the world outside the church. This results in a strong episode that brings certain character actions to a head in a way that is bound to have long-term consequences for the show… read the full article. 

The Televerse #170- Fans and Fandom on TV with Paul Booth

The Walking Dead Podcast Episode 61: “Coda” with guest Todd VanDerWerff

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‘Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice’ marks an engaging, if underwhelming, first chapter

Since its introduction in 2011, HBO’s Game of Thrones has soared in popularity, even usurping the might Sopranos as the networks most successful and popular show ever created. Of course, one of the shows best joys has been discussing its various plot twists and shocking revelations with fellow watchers. Now, however, for the first time, players can actually have a direct effect on this world, and instead of examining and criticizing the choices of others, fans will have the chance to make their own… read the full article. 

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Stalking the Night: The Legacy of TV’s First Monster Hunter

In the contemporary landscape of supernatural investigators on television—high school cheerleaders adept at martial arts and chiseled GQ hunks offering quips with every shot of a silver bullet—Carl Kolchak would appear to be an anomaly. The name itself is likely unknown to the younger generation, lest they faintly recall handsome Stuart Townsend briefly playing the role on ABC in 2005 before disintegrating into the televisual ether… read the full article. 

 

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