Movie review: “It Follows” (2015)


“It’s been suggested that, when confronted with the inevitable – like a building collapsing on top of you to kill you – most people are strangely content to sit back…and just let it happen.”

Unlike other horror films dealing with the overt supernatural – and most seem to at least dabble in it anymore, whatever their pretenses to brutal reality might be otherwise – the lean, effective indie thriller It Follows has the good sense to stick strictly to the narrow parameters it has established rather than using them as a jumping off point for increasingly bizarre and frenetic action. The movie is piano wire taut, clinical, and devoid of filler, with an uncluttered story and uncomplicated twin character motivations: friendship and survival. There are also tinges of sexual lust present amongst the interpersonal relationships and the standard pleas for calm in the face of the terrifying unknown, but neither detracts whatsoever from the story’s straight line momentum, or even proves much of a speed bump. Continue reading “Movie review: “It Follows” (2015)”

DVR Hindsight #10 (3/26/15): Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Late Late Show with James Corden


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – “Kimmy’s in a Love Triangle!” – Season 1, Ep. 10 (Netflix)

When the history of this admittedly trivial matter is finally written, it might actually turn out that the death knell for NBC’s storied multi-decade tradition of critically (and often audience) acclaimed situation comedy – think Cheers, Friends, The Office, The Cosby Show, et. al – was sounded not with the recent Parks and Recreation finale, or the foregone conclusion that the Peacock Network would not subsidize a sixth season of Community*, but rather the decision to pass on a fun, unassuming underdog sitcom called Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, letting it pass instead to Netflix, where, unburdened by any semblance of backseat driving, it has, predictably, flourished. I streamed Kimmy’s entire 13-episode first season over little more than the course of a week, with hardly any impact on my normal viewing habits or capacity, and can say that while I understand somewhat why NBC initially said no, that still doesn’t mean the choice was wise. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #10 (3/26/15): Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Late Late Show with James Corden”

Concert review: Torche


Skully’s Music Diner, Columbus, OH – March 16, 2015

When the first salamander or whatever clawed its way up out of the primordial ooze, millions upon millions of years ago, I wonder, was it humming a little tune, or did that necessarily come later? I am so ignorant of experiencing a waking state without at least the subconscious presence of music that on some level I stubbornly refuse to imagine that life on this planet was ever forced to make do similarly. It both excites and amuses me to think that, while the dull majority was first learning to craft and use rudimentary tools, my ancient apelike ancestors were probably the ones slipping away unseen, grabbing tiger bones and beating them against rocks, entranced by the odd sounds they made, and stirred by the aural possibilities of those sounds made in rapid succession. Continue reading “Concert review: Torche”

Movie review: “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)


“I came to this country for love. Some people freak out a bit about the age difference. They think, ‘what is this 96-year-old lady doing with a man four times her age?’ They can call me Cradle-snatcher. Who cares?”

Vampires used to command a requisite level of respect and dread from those who read of their exploits, though ultra-popular pieces of mainstream Hollywood schlock (The Twilight “saga”) and campy pay cable bacchanalia (HBO’s True Blood), among other slings and silver-tipped arrows, have in recent years done an impressive lot to rob them of their mystique*. If the sly, silly, incredibly slight New Zealand mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows accomplishes anything, and that’s an open question, it may be in how it skillfully balances the absurdity of its premise – four ancient Kiwi vampires navigate the modern world as bickering flatmates – with its refusal to dismiss its protagonists themselves as inherently ridiculous. These are blasé narcissists and immature neurotics who also happen to be vampires, very much, it must be said, in the vein (sorry) of departed, beloved HBO comedy series Flight of the Conchords, with which Shadows shares endorsement from the incredibly official and impressive-sounding New Zealand Documentary Board. Continue reading “Movie review: “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)”

The New 1-2: Boxing looks poised for breakout 2015


Boxing is in the hyperbole business. The raison d’etre of the boxing promoter is to attract spectator eyeballs to an event, whether or not the former is separated from the latter by a television screen. Boxing commentators also benefit from having something of a hypeman element present in their genetic makeup. Once the viewer is on the couch, subtle encouragement or reinforcement can be necessary to prevent his/her mind from wandering. Sometimes, the in-ring combat practically oozes with explosive potential – animosity, history, complementary styles, unique skillsets – beyond the baseline interest inherent in watching two determined pugilists each attempt to separate the other from his senses. Corrales-Castillo II didn’t need hype when it had Corrales-Castillo I as a precedent, nor did Gatti-Ward II, or III, or Pacquiao-Marquez II-IV. Continue reading “The New 1-2: Boxing looks poised for breakout 2015”