-REVIEWS AT A GLANCE: AUGUST, 2014-
Check out what I’ve been watching and listening to this month. Five films. Five records. All for you’re reading pleasure.
What have YOU been watching and/or listening to?
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: VOL. 2
Hey people, I’ve got the second addition of INSTANT GRATIFICATION over here. It’s loaded to the gills with flicks currently streaming on Netflix Instant. No particular year or genre. Just movies I like. Movies, movies, movies!
Check out Instant picks here!
Guardians of the Galaxy
2.5 stars out of 4
Throughout James Gunn’s giddily entertaining, but not quite good enough, space opera adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, comedic actor Chris Pratt does his best Han Solo by way of Andy from TV’s Parks and Recreations, and provides us all with a reason to hold onto our beloved childhood mixtapes. How one responds to Pratt’s goofy charisma (or lack thereof) will likely determine how much one loves the film, even though he’s only theoretically the central protagonist.
-MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK-
Melbourne five piece Total Control go full-on synth-punk on Typical System, their brilliant followup to 2011′s crackerjack debut Hengebeat. This time, the keyboard-based influences hanging around the edges of that record are fully embraced, culminating in a bonafide game changer for the band.
-FILM PICK OF THE WEEK-
The Cold Lands
Writer-director Tom Gilroy’s second feature is a lovingly realized, naturalistic coming-of-age drama that focuses on the plight of a teenage boy named Atticus (Silas Yelich, suitably blank), who retreats into the Catskills wilderness after the sudden death of his mother (a wonderful Lili Taylor). The film, which moves at a leisurely pace and is gorgeously shot by cinematographer Wyatt Garfield, is more experiential than plot-driven, more prone to encapsulating the confusion of a young life thrown into disarray by a tragic event than highlighting what we should be feeling at every given moment.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
3 stars out of 4
2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was more fully realized and emotionally complex that it had any right to be; the kind of film that should have been a lame reappropriation of a series long relegated to the dusty cult film shelf, but instead emerged as a successful Hollywood blockbuster that didn’t insult the intelligence. Tim Burton’s ill-advised reboot notwithstanding, there’s a lot of affection for the seminal franchise, especially the 1968 Charleston Heston-starring original. With Rise, director Rupert Wyatt took something that no one really wanted to see and gave it a level of class that took moviegoers and critics by surprise.
2.5 stars out of 4
Snowpiercer, the latest film from South Korean director Bong Joon Ho (The Host, Mother) is an allegorical myth wrapped in a dystopian overcoat, the kind of needlessly glum film about the ruthless haves and the beaten down have-nots that never quite reaches it’s destination. This destination, ironically, really doesn’t exist, as the speeding train protecting what’s left of humanity from sub-zero temperatures in a future world ravaged by global warming (which we hear in artless newsreel voiceovers), keeps on chugging along, irregardless of police brutality and gross protein blocks.