From the Archive: Carlito’s Way

I’m overjoyed that I’m presenting a review in which I use the word “downright” twice. As the Gone Girl think pieces begin to pile up, let’s revisit the last decent work of a director who has genuine threads of misogyny running through his work, shall we? This was written for the Reel Thing Reports that ran a couple times a day on WWSP-90FM after my graduation necessitated retiring the weekly program of the same (or same-ish, to be accurate) name. Almost all of director Brian De Palma’s films include at least one passage that is put together with such impressive … Continue reading From the Archive: Carlito’s Way

Spectrum Check

This was one of those wholly manageable weeks for me at Spectrum Culture: one album review, one film review. The album review was the tricker of the two, largely because it was another instance of a record that didn’t inspire strong feelings one way or the other. And “It’s pretty good” simply isn’t enough. In my malaise, I completely missed my opportunity to invoke a long dreamed of touring contingent. Since I spent the first part of the review musing on how many different groups shared some variation of the band’s name, I should have suggested that all of the … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Spectrum Check

I spent much of this week in recovery, in a sort of spiritual and mental hangover over the insanely busy stretch of work that preceded it. So I’m a little worried that my contributions to Spectrum Culture were a touch discombobulated. On the music side, I wrote a piece on the new album from Montreal’s No Joy. It sounded pretty good to me, but I did struggle in the writing process to find the hook of the review. It’s definitely one of those times when I wanted to write, “It’s pretty good,” and be done with it. The chatting-with-buddies version … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Spectrum Check

I had a lot of stuff go up at Spectrum Culture this week, so let’s just tick them off: –It’s fairly rare that I write for the book section, but it occurred to me late last fall that I just might be able to get myself a review copy of the massive, intimidating and universally adored new outing from Chris Ware, Building Stories. Evidently, I made my request right before our editor-in-chief, inspiring at least a bit of envy. That’s the proper reaction on his part, by the way. This thing is spectacular. In my many reviews for Spectrum, this … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Spectrum Check

I usually lay these links out in roughly chronological order, but I’m instead going to start with my favorite piece of the week for Spectrum Culture. Part of the household agreement made when I took on this fairly time-consuming side gig dictated that I would routinely, though not indiscriminately, request horror films to review. This led to the acquisition of The ABCs of Death, a gimmicky anthology film that never escapes its gimmick. I decided to adopt a modified version of the film’s conceit for my review starting each sentence with each successive letter of the alphabet, from A to … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Spectrum Check

As is usually the case, a light week for me at Spectrum Culture begets one that is especially busy. First, I contributed a review of a new documentary about men who use flight simulators and online multi-player gaming technology to engage in digitized reenactments of World War II battles. There’s plenty of material there for an interesting, even enlightening film, but it’s too jumbled to bring those ideas cogently together, a problem which is evident from very early on. Thankfully, it was also quite short. On the music side, I reviewed the new release from Black Moth Super Rainbow, which … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Spectrum Check

As I noted last week, I had several more pieces go up at Spectrum Culture in my second full week back, in part because of some backlogged music releases. That effectively describes the first thing I had go up this week, a review of the sophomore effort from the U.K. band the Vaccines. My unimpressed assessment proved to be the appropriate kick-off to a week of bad reviews. On the film side, I offered an evaluation of the new documentary about the late Graham Chapman of Monty Python fame. Especially given the life being drawn upon, the film is shockingly … Continue reading Spectrum Check

Outside it’s a bright night, there’s an opera at Lincoln Center, movie stars arrive by limousine

Blow Out (Brian De Palma, 1981). De Palma is a fascinating figure to me. He emerged with the film school generation of the seventies, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Scorsese, Coppola and Spielberg, indeed earning the most rapturous reviews bestowed upon any of them by the grand doyenne film critic of the era. To this day, there are a fleet of people who will proudly stand up and talk about every scrap of his output as if it were the needs to be studied with the unwavering attention usually reserved for the peak offerings of Welles or … Continue reading Outside it’s a bright night, there’s an opera at Lincoln Center, movie stars arrive by limousine