Music to Your Ears – Dido, Amanda Palmer and Maren Morris

I didn’t notice until I’d already finished the four reviews this week that it was all female singers – appropriate that they all had releases on International Women’s Day last Friday! Let’s see what each woman brings to your turntable:

Dido – Still on My Mind

1999’s No Angel remains one of my favorite all-time albums, one I can put on during a rainy Sunday afternoon and feel like I’m home again. So Dido’s career has been built on that sort of feeling – whether she attempted to be more commercial (Life for Rent) or dancier (Girl Who Got Away). She’s on top when she’s bitterly romantic and sardonically lyrical. Her latest starts off soft enough, implicating a return to form. There’s a brief moment early on  – “Hell After This” – where Dido seems to be attempting 0304 era Jewel beeps, but luckily it’s just a mirage. The true flow starts when she says “You Don’t Need a God”. From there on, her melancholy style serves her best. The true talent has always resided in the upper register of her vocal range, and she uses it like a dagger to the heart on somber mood pieces like “Friends” where she calls back “When my eyes started to burn/And you turned your back on me”. Tenderness abounds in many of the tracks, the best of which have ‘love’ in the title. She reaches new heights of sentimentality on the best songs – “Some Kind of Love” where she plucks a guitar and hums “All those words, those melodies/Like better days past and gone, leaving her behind”. 2019 brought us good Dido yet again, that’s for sure – it seems odd-number Dido albums are tops. The best late-career albums are ones that combine everything the artist has learned so far, and this is an ultimate example of that effect.

Key Tracks: Some Kind of Love / Mad Love / Give You Up / Walking By

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Podcast March 9 – Greta and Captain Marvel

So I guess the summer movie season starts in March now? Someone tell the snow on my lawn, am I right? Eh, you get it – there’s no real blockbuster template anymore for the average studio, so putting a film like Captain Marvel in theatres makes sense any time. Why not March?

Cory and Tristan discuss the merits and pitfalls of this particular entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the company name gets passed on to Brie Larson and her alter ego Carol Danvers. Joining in her ’90s origin story are Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening and Djimon Hounsou, plus a scene-stealing tabby.

Another one-time Marvel leading lady has a star vehicle of her own that came and went towards the beginning of awards season: Natalie Portman is a troubled pop star in Vox LuxContinuing with his trend of mentor roles, Jude Law plays her gruff manager.

The day before viewing one pop star’s rise to the top, Tristan caught up with the rest of the world and watched the fourth version of A Star Is Bornwhich has Lady Gaga doing her best to pretend she was never naturally talented. Bradley Cooper directs and stars in a film that deserved all its Oscar nominations.

New last week, Fighting With My Family tells the origin story of famed WWE wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh) and features appearances from The Rock and a bevy of other popular grapplers.

Jean Claude Van Damme continues his string of late-career dramatic turns in We Die Youngwhere he mentors a young drug dealer and attempts to rescue him from the dangerous lifestyle he leads.

Tristan takes a sad trip down memory lane to the debacle that was called both Nailed and Accidental Lovea strange, terrible film that was at one point directed by David O. Russell and stars Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal.

On the other hand, he also watched ABC’s newest procedural, the globe-trotting Whiskey CavalierStarring Scott Foley (Scandal) and Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) as an FBI and CIA agent, the pair must reluctantly work together on some of the world’s toughest assignments.

Cory and Tristan share one last film together: the strange obsessive thriller Gretaa showcase for French actress Isabelle Huppert’s talents, alongside Chloe Grace Moretz and Maika Monroe.

All this and some trailer discussions, when you click below. Remember to comment responsibly!

Music to Your Ears – Kehlani, In Flames and Solange

This week was a bit tough – all five entries aren’t exactly known entities to me, or at least favorites. Kehlani had a great debut two years ago; I like Bryan Adams’ famous hit song; The Japanese House is a new band for you to listen to; Solange has only really been that one superstar’s sister in my eyes. So take a brief journey with me as we discover five acts together:

Kehlani – While We Wait

After 2017’s stellar SweetSexySavage, I was ready for some incisive lyrical brilliance from Kehlani on her follow-up. This is a little more laid-back than I expected, but you can still appreciate her mellifluous vocals mixing well with some deep beats. There’s nothing too clever here lyrically, though she shows the ferocity of her debut in tracks like “Too Deep” and “Butterfly” where she claps back “You tell on yourself between every word / And leave all this room for me”. At first, I didn’t realize this was a mixtape, so perhaps it’s a taste of something bigger to come for 2019?

Key Tracks: Too Deep / Nights Like This / Butterfly

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Kehlani, In Flames and Solange

Podcast March 2 – High Flying Bird, At Eternity’s Gate and What Men Want

Another week where we could catch up….didn’t go terribly well, but Cory and Tristan do have three films to highlight:

Steven Soderbergh took his skills to Netflix with High Flying Birda drama focusing on a fictional NBA lockout. Shot entirely on an iPhone, he brings the talented Andre Holland, Zazie Beetz and Bill Duke along for the ride.

Willem Dafoe earned his fourth Oscar nomination (and first for Best Actor) as Vincent Van Gogh in the biopic At Eternity’s Gatewhich focuses on the final troubling months of the infamous artist’s life. Tristan discusses his viewing of the Julian Schnabel helmed piece.

Finally, Cory sacrifices his time so he can warn us all to avoid What Men Want at all costs. The remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson-Helen Hunt romantic comedy stars Taraji P. Henson in a gender-swapped position, where a successful sports agent finds that she can hear all the thoughts of the men around her.

Listen to reviews of these three newer films, as well as a conversation about this year’s Oscars ceremony and winners – and what direction the awards season as a whole should head down.

All this and more, when you click below:

Remember to comment responsibly!

Corellian Rhapsody

With Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony gratefully in the rear view mirror, it’s time to deflate from the awards season. I have one last observation that’s been stirring within me since the season began, and one of the most divisive films of 2018 came under heavy scrutiny. I’m talking, of course, about Bohemian Rhapsodythe oft-maligned but somehow simultaneously beloved biopic of Freddie Mercury and his band Queen.

While I certainly liked the film, I’m not just here to argue why it was a better movie than you’ve considered it to be. There’s a through line I’ve noticed with it and another critically panned film from last summer: Solo: A Star Wars StoryThat’s right! I’m going to compare two of the least popular films of 2018 and tell you why you should like them nonetheless. Let’s dive in:

Continue reading Corellian Rhapsody

The 2019 Edgar Awards Winners!

It’s been a long crazy road to the end of this awards season. As you sit back and relax in front of what could be a disastrous Oscars ceremony, share with me in the schadenfreude. I’ll give you a list to read as well, one that you might agree with more than the one being read on your television.

I present to you here, below, the winners of the 18th Annual Edgar Awards:

The Favourite was the big winner, taking home Best Picture, Best Director (Yorgos Lanthimos), Actress (Olivia Colman) and Supporting Actress (Emma Stone) in a Comedy. It couldn’t be beaten in the Biographical/Historical category, however, as it went to BlacKkKlansman (also nabbing Supporting Actor for Adam Driver). Sorry to Bother You rounds out the Comedy categories with a win for Lakeith Stanfield in Actor, as well as an Original Screenplay award for Boots Riley.

On the drama side, A Star is Born was the clear winner, as they got Best Supporting Actor for Sam Elliott and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, who gets his third win (Guardians of the Galaxy and Silver Linings Playbook). The Cooper-helmed film also won Best Trailer. Toni Collette gets her first Edgar for the horror film Hereditarywhich naturally got Best Horror. Emily Blunt rounds out the categories with Best Supporting Actress for A Quiet Place, while the Russo brothers surprised by taking home Best Director for Avengers: Infinity War.

The Coen Brothers had their ninth and tenth nominations this year, winning their fourth Edgar for editing on The Ballad of Buster ScruggsThe Netflix success also took home Best Western and Best Song. Even though they were all over the indie categories, the winners there included You Were Never Really Here (Best Indie and Best Director for Lynne Ramsay), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Best Actress for Melissa McCarthy) and First Reformed (Best Actor for Ethan Hawke, as well as a win for Best Cinematography).

The big surprise of the night goes to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Versewhich wins three awards – Best Animated Film, Best Sound and Best Original Screenplay – which makes me think, it should have snuck its way into the Best Picture conversation.

Fun facts time: Wade Eastwood finally wins Best Stunts for Mission: Impossible – Falloutarguably the best edition of the franchise; Shoplifters wins Japan its first Best Foreign Film award on the seventh try; and Johann Johannsson wins a posthumous award for Best Soundtrack for the trippy thriller Mandy.

A trio of 70s stars grace the honorary awards, as Jack Nicholson receives the Richard Harris Lifetime Achievement Award; Burt Reynolds narrowly wins the Robin Williams Memorial Award, and for the first time ever – Roy Scheider gets the Albert Finney Appreciation Award. This last prize is one I’ve felt is a sort of a Hall of Fame for actors or directors I’ve adored from the past that I never got a chance to reward, whether it be because they passed away before the awards even existed, or I never really appreciated them in their time. The award is named after Albert Finney, one such actor whose resume was seemingly filled with unlimited success.

Thank you all for voting, and we’ll see you next year! Here’s the full list:

Best Film: The Favourite

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Best Drama: If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Director for Drama/Fantasy: Anthony and Joe Russo, Avengers: Infinity War
Best Actor in Drama/Fantasy: Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Best Actress in Drama/Fantasy: Toni Collette, Hereditary
Best Supporting Actor in Drama/Fantasy: Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
Best Supporting Actress in Drama/Fantasy: Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place

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Best Comedy: Game Night
Best Director for Comedy/Animated: Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Best Actor in Comedy: Lakeith Stanfield, Sorry to Bother You
Best Actress in Comedy: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Best Supporting Actor in Comedy: Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Best Supporting Actress in Comedy: Emma Stone, The Favourite

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Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Voice Acting: Jim Cummings, Christopher Robin
Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Horror Film: Hereditary
Best Crime/Thriller: Widows
Best Biographical/Historical Film: BlacKkKlansman
Best Action/Adventure: Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Best Western: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Best Romance: Love, Simon

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Best Indie: You Were Never Really Here
Best Indie Director: Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here
Best Indie Actor: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Best Indie Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Indie Supporting Actor: Paul Rudd, Mute
Best Indie Supporting Actress: Rachel McAdams, Disobedience

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Worst Film: Holmes and Watson
Best Foreign Film: Shoplifters, Japan
Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Best Streaming Film: Roma

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Best Adapted Screenplay: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Original Screenplay: Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You
Best Soundtrack: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Mandy
Best Song: When an Angel Trades His Spurs for Wings from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Best Cinematography: Alexander Dynan, First Reformed
Best Visual Effects: Richard Clarke, Andrew Whitehurst and Hayley J. Williams, Annihilation

Best Art Direction: Niall Moroney, John Myrhe and Gordon Sim, Mary Poppins Returns
Best Editing: Ethan and Joel Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Best Sound: John Pospisil, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Best Stunts: Wade Eastwood, Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Best Costumes: Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther
Best Makeup: Kate Biscoe, Greg Cannom and Patricia Dehaney, Vice

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Best Trailer: A Star is Born
Best Poster: Mandy
Best Cameo: Alan Tudyk and Matt Damon, Untitled Deadpool Sequel
Lorenzo Music Award: Shoplifters
Richard Harris Lifetime Achievement Award: Jack Nicholson
Robin Williams Memorial Award: Burt Reynolds
Albert Finney Appreciation Award: Roy Scheider

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Podcast Feb 24 – Happy Death Day 2U, The Umbrella Academy and I Am the Night

Seems like February has slowed down a bit, hasn’t it? Well, with the Oscars tonight, kill some time this afternoon by listening in on what Cory and Tristan thought of these films and shows:

1) The Umbrella Academy – Gerard Way’s take on the superhero genre finds its way to Netflix, with Ellen Page and Tom Holland leading a strange group of six pseudo-siblings as they struggle to find their purpose on Earth.

2) Velvet Buzzsaw – Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to the incredible Nightcrawler sees him team up with Jake Gyllenhaal and wife Rene Russo again in an attempt to satirize the fashionable art community.

3) Paddleton – New this week is the latest mumblecore piece starring Mark Duplass as a man with terminal cancer who must face down his emotions in regards to the end of his life alongside his friend and neighbor, played by Ray Romano.

4) I Am the Night – Chris Pine stars as a tabloid photographer in an LA noir from Patty Jenkins; sort of based on the Black Dahlia case

5) Colette A missed period piece from November finds Keira Knightley struggling to have her efforts as a serious novelist heard when she is browbeaten into hiding her truth by husband and publisher Dominic West.

6) Happy Death Day 2U The follow-up to what some consider the greatest horror comedy ever told has star Jessica Rothe forced back into the time loop she once escaped, only to find an alternate dimension where she gets her mother back but loses her new boyfriend.

All this and more, as long as you remember to comment responsibly!

Knowing the right time to talk about movies, music and television