Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Roseanne (Season 10, Episode 1)

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Roseanne Barr’s sitcom was always about the blue-collar, working-class woes of the Rust Belt. With the announcement of another revamp, fans of the original series were apprehensive especially after Season 8-9 were such a grandiose failure of esoteric anticlimaxes. Happily though, Season 10 is a riotously funny success that sheds the bitter aftertaste of the Connor’s serendipitous lottery win and Dan’s heart attack.

At the center of this premiere episode is the debate between Roseanne and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) over the presidential election. Many of the jabs are politically pungent (when the family is about to “say grace” before dinner, Roseanne asks Jackie if she would like to take a knee) and from Roseanne’s bumpkin perspective, her support of Trump is aligned with her character since his rhetoric was about job stimuli.

After the initial inside-joke about Dan (John Goodman) being deceased and Goodman visibly scrolling the cue cards, the show kneads out the hiatus pangs for a smoother reintroduction to Roseanne’s rogues gallery. Sara Gilbert and Lecy Goranson effortlessly reprise the arsenic-and-nectar interplay between the dueling sisters. Ex-military DJ (Michael Fishman) is given short shrift but then again, he was always a minor character within the nuclear family.

Sarah Chalke as the surrogate benefactor to Becky is a shrewd way of a breaking-the-fourth-wall clashing between two eras on the show. Several of the punchlines elicit chortles including a droll exchange between Darlene’s effeminate son and Dan (“I like your nail polish.” “That’s not nail polish, son. That’s dry-wall.”).

The show hasn’t lost the zeitgeist pulse of the fly-over Red State mentality(Dan is apoplectic over Becky’s decision for her uterus to be the host of another woman’s child). They might be slower on the progression scale , but the Connors are an all-inclusive, amenable family regardless.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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Review: Barry (Season 1, Episode 1)

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Wandering aimlessly into an amateur acting course was the self-referential setup for Shane Black’s brilliant neo-noir Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. A hitman/gangster exorcising their crime-ridden ennui with therapy or another incongrous outlet was the setup for Analyze This, The Sopranos, Panic and several other properties from the early 2000’s. By my count, Barry is already a decade too late for its concept.

It’s always a premature slog when the main character is already despondent from the first frame which is the case for Barry, the vanity project/brainchild of Bill Hader. Barry is a moping killjoy immediately and the jokes are a resounding thud of poker-faced dialogue about how to execute a cuckolding target (one suggestion is a stabbing castration).

The sparkplug for the premiere episode is vulgarizing the normally wholesome Happy Days megastar Henry Winkler. When he berates a female thespian on-stage with a vicious tirade to motivate her, he must be channeling David Mamet. Hader’s tentative stagefright is heart-palpitating but unlike Crashing which derived much inspiration from the other stand-up comic shows, the show doesn’t transcend the material with any fresh observations.

I’d rather the show recalibrated and focused on Stephen Root’s liaison handler. He materializes wherever insomniac Barry is and despite his chipper kinship with Barry and encouraging musings about his “purpose” in life, he brandishes an element of combustible spontaneity. It’s tenable that he could metamorphose from Barry’s accomplice to his mortal nemesis if Barry botches any more contracts.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Podcast April 7 – A Quiet Place and Blockers

Cory and Tristan were firing on all cylinders this week – they saw the biggest new release: John Krasinski’s post-apocalyptic thriller A Quiet Place. Cory also took in perhaps the biggest comedy release of the year with the surprising Blockers.

They each saw a handful of older films, including Stephen King’s Misery, Famke Janssen’s 2008 VOD introduction 100 Feet, Eddie Murphy sequel Beverly Hills Cop 2, the original Clash of the Titans, Gene Hackman/Al Pacino drama Scarecrow, astronaut conspiracy thriller Capricorn One, ’90s romance remake Sabrina, Taiwanese existential drama Rebels of the Neon God and last year’s Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler casino comedy The House. Tristan also saw this week’s newest television show, The Last O.G. It stars Tracy Morgan, fresh from his brief hospital visit.

Take in all of this and more below, and remember to comment responsibly!

Also: don’t forget to turn your headphones up for the beginning…

Music to Your Ears – Kacey Musgraves, Kate Nash and Best of Winter 2018

We’re rounding up the best of the first few months of 2018 here this week at Music for Your Ears. Before that I have a handful of reviews of last week’s new music:

 

The Vaccines – Combat Sports

I was hotly anticipating this album after their incredible first single “I Can’t Quit”. You’ll even see that track later in this article heading up the Best of Winter playlist. I’ve been playing it nearly nonstop since its release in the first week of January. I’d love to give this album a better grade, but I fear that I may have made it too highly anticipated. I wouldn’t say it’s disappointing, but many of the songs simply sound the same. I’m perfectly happy with the danceable rock outs of “Surfing in the Sky” and “Nightclub” but there weren’t enough like the palpable brake pads in the slowed down “Young American”. I’m also very happy that this band has taken up the reins left behind by their predecessors like the Strokes, Libertines and Oasis. If they keep churning out stuff, I’m happy with this level of quality to even start. I think it’ll take a listen or two more to truly identify if this is one of the best of the year, though.

Key Tracks: I Can’t Quit / Take It Easy / Out on the Street

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Kacey Musgraves, Kate Nash and Best of Winter 2018

Podcast March 31 – Ready Player One, Love Simon and Game Over, Man!

There was a challenge sent out last week by one of our regular contributors to the Interjections podcast, Jeff Seesselberg. He offered to throw down against one of the teams’ oldest friends, Mike Duquette, over the stigma against new Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One. Jeff had once thought Mike would love the book and subsequent film, but it has appeared otherwise.

Cory and Tristan decided to invite the pair to hold a debate on the Interjections podcast to settle once and for all if the book and movie have any artistic merit. The nostalgia factor is looming large this Easter weekend, and you won’t want to pass this over.

Before we settle into the conversation, Cory and Tristan reviewed a handful of other films and shows that debuted in the past week or so:

Love, Simon – Greg Berlanti’s coming-of-age coming-out story starring Nick Robinson as the titular Simon

Game Over, Man! – A new Netflix original starring the gang from Workaholics in a weak Die Hard spoof

A Wrinkle in Time – Cory gives his take on the second Disney adaptation of the beloved children’s book

Unsane – Claire Foy loses her mind in Steven Soderbergh’s iPhone experiment

Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson’s latest charming animated venture follows a group of mangy canines as they help a young boy find his lost pet

The Villainess – Tristan reports on the South Korean action/melodrama that mimics Hardcore Henry and Neighbours

The Golden Child – Cory finishes off some of his Eddie Murphy checklist

Tristan also brings us reviews of pilot episodes for new shows BarryRise, and Alex, Inc.

Here’s that podcast, chock full of plenty of reviews:

 

Now it’s on to part two, and the main event:

 

Remember to plug in and comment responsibly!

Podcast March 23 – Tomb Raider, Final Portrait and Pacific Rim: Uprising

We just have to keep reminding ourselves that the summer blockbuster season is just around the corner….spring will have sprung by next week, and we can get past all these derivative late-winter duds.

For Cory and Tristan this week, it was about catching up and moving past some instantly forgettable releases, including the Alicia Vikander-led reboot of Tomb Raider.

Cory also suffered his way through the questionable sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, but chased it with an artistic indie, Final Portrait, a biopic directed by Stanley Tucci.

Tristan saw some older female-driven films, including actioner Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson as a limitless drug mule, and Amy Heckerling’s teenage rom-com Clueless, the flick that launched Alicia Silverstone’s career into orbit.

Join us as we discuss all those and more below:

Never forget to comment responsibly!

Music to Your Ears – Vance Joy, The Decemberists and Panic! at the Disco

I’m going to be honest, February was a bit of a rough month for me. Between work and apathy, there was a personal issue that came up. Suffice it to say, I just wasn’t really feeling any of the music that was coming out and I was having deep writer’s block – particularly when it came to this article. A weekly music update is one thing, but when you feel forced to do it, there’s no more joy to be derived from it. Around this time last year I had a similar doldrums, and I said then that this would be an article whenever the spark hit me. So, I apologize for disappearing for a while, but in that time there were two incredibly moving records we got. Let’s dive in below:

Vance Joy – Nation of Two

An early contender for album of the year, Nation of Two is one of the main things I’ve been listening to in the time between now and the last MTYE articles. I was already a fan of Vance Joy from his hit single “Riptide” back on 2014’s Dream Your Life Away, and in December the first track from this, “Lay It On Me”, managed to sneak into my honorable mentions for best songs of 2017. It only got better from there, as the above video will relate. Joy’s sentimentality surges forth from the start, balancing his trembling tenor with a plucky guitar. Something so simple shouldn’t be as effective as this, but I’m still marveling a month later at how much each subsequent song swells certain emotions within me. My favorite lyrical music is typically hypocritical – a bitter ballad of regret or lovelorn loss. Such unabashedly joyful sounds like each song on this album is surprising for me, but it lifts me up each listen. Take a chance on this and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Key Tracks – Lay It On Me / Crashing Into You / Take Your Time

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Vance Joy, The Decemberists and Panic! at the Disco