Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

Sleep No More: A Review

Sleep No More

That shit’s fucked up…

Advertisements

Moneyball: The Art of Filming an Unfair Game

Brad Pitt as Billy Beane

Three names go conspicuously unmentioned in the new film adaptation of Moneyball: Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder. There are two ways to react to this omission.

The first is to think that their exclusion is unacceptable for a film that purports to tell the story of the 2002 Oakland A’s. After all, the trio combined to win 57 games and pitch 675 innings to a combined 3.05 ERA that year. Zito in particular led the league in wins, en route to a Cy Young Award. Without those three, a team that won 103 games would have almost certainly missed the playoffs.

The other way to react to their absence, though, is to realize that it is entirely appropriate. Moneyball is not really a movie about the 2002 Oakland A’s—it’s a movie about Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) and his radical reinvention of the game. And it doesn’t take much reinvention to stick with a trio that was coming off a 2001 season in which they won 56 games and pitched 678 innings to a 3.43 ERA.

Continue reading

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Eight Review

About midway through Season Eight of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I was worrying that the show was in the twilight of its run. There wasn’t anything major wrong with the season, but it seemed like every episode had enough minor flaws—it was too long, one story was weaker than the rest, a crucial plot development didn’t make sense, etc.—to prevent the humor from really clicking like it does in the best episodes of the show.

More generally, I wondered if airing at the same time as Louie was hurting my perception of the show. Both are shows about middle-aged, bald, single, misanthropic comedians who often have trouble relating to other people—and they both aired during the summer, when there are only a few comedies airing—so it was inevitable that I would be comparing the two. And the comparison was not working in Curb’s favor. In weeks where Louie was airing such memorable episodes as “Oh Louie/Tickets” and “Come on, God,” Curb was airing uninspired efforts like “Vow of Silence” and “The Hero.” I even started to wonder if Louie was making Curb redundant.

But then Season Eight ended on a run of four straight stellar episodes, and my worries mostly dissipated. Continue reading

This Is Happening: Review

In some ways, it feels kind of pointless to add to the reviews of LCD Soundsystem’s new album. This Is Happening only officially came out two weeks ago, but we live in an age of Internet leaks, so two weeks after an album’s release date is practically an eternity—it’s more than enough time for the world to reach a consensus. The consensus for this album seems to be: It’s great. The Wikipedia entry for the album already says that it received “universal acclaim,” so I guess any further words are irrelevant.

It’s not like I disagree—This Is Happening is a great album that should satisfy the many LCD Soundsystem fans who anxiously awaited it. And if, as James Murphy has said, this is the last LCD Soundsystem album we ever get, then fans don’t have any right to complain: Few acts would have had a more successful career.

The worst thing I can really say about This Is Happening is that it peaks too early: The first track, “Dance Yrself Clean,” is the best one on the album. Continue reading

Mad Men’s Back

mad-men-season3-full-543x800

Mad Men, which premiered its third season last night, is a cool show to like. Stuff White People Like (which, let’s face it, should really be called “Stuff White Hipsters Like”) sums it up pretty well: “Mad Men is a TV show on cable with low ratings, multiple awards, critical praise, and full seasons available on DVD. It’s no surprise white people love it.”

But it’s not just white people who like the show; everyone loves Mad Men: black people like it (though not the way it deals with race), women like it, the Emmys love it, Banana Republic loves it.

There are a lot of reasons Mad Men is so well-liked (the most important probably being that it is a very good show). One reason is that it manages to balance prurient, intellectual and emotional appeals all at once; it is simultaneously inclusive and esoteric.

Last night’s Season Three premiere, for example, uses the pregnancy of Don Draper’s wife (Betty, played by January Jones) to examine his own birth, how he feels about his oncoming child, the nature of wishes and wish-fulfillment, which dovetails nicely with a secondary plot in which Peter (Vincent Kartheiser) and Kenny (Aaron Staton) receive the same job. But it also had Don and Sal flying to Baltimore, where Don (Jon Hamm) takes a flight attendant to bed while Sal gets hit on by the bell-boy, only for them both to be interrupted by a fire alarm. Continue reading