Though Westerns are generally not my thing (I consider the genre’s zenith to be 1988’s Young Guns, which is effectively an issue of Tiger Beat in Stetson hats), I was drawn to Martin Koolhoven’s Brimstone on the strength of the cast and early buzz that its extreme content would fit appropriately in TIFF’s audacious Midnight Madness programme, if not for its sprawling running time. In both cases, I wasn’t disappointed. Koolhoven’s script is as heartbreaking and well-acted as it is uncompromisingly brutal and terrifying, and his cast, led by Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce, execute the difficult material perfectly.
I like the idea of collecting the musing and essays from individual Arrow releases into a single bound book. In theory, that is. In reality, if I’m interested in reading analysis on a specific film, like Dressed to Kill, wouldn’t I already have that Blu-ray in my collection?
There’s a chance the answer to that tug of war will color the amount of value you’re able to find in Cult Cinema: An Arrow Video Companion. I flip-flopped on this as I meandered through its pages. When faced with a piece on Zombie Flesh Eaters I struggled to muddle through. Perhaps a mix of topic and writing style, I just couldn’t commit to paragraph after paragraph on a movie I didn’t have much interest in, and that was my reaction to the majority of this book.
Happy Mother’s Day! Wondering how to pay homage to your mother, pop culturally speaking? Why not enjoy one of these films or TV shows featuring the Top Ten Best Moms in Pop Culture! If you want to feel better about your problematic family dynamic, you could always try the alternative: Here’s a list of the Top Ten Worst Moms in Pop Culture. (Thank Laury Scarbro for the lists, while you’re at it!)
Is Alicia Florrick a good mom in addition to being The Good Wife? The Hairpin pays tribute to this soon-to-be-over TV show with a series of fantastic and funny articles.
One thing a good mother shouldn’t do is leave her kids with a babysitter like Emelie. Tim Murr takes a look at the perils of childcare in the film of the same name, out now on home video.
For another kind of mother, you might be interested in this list of The Best Witch Cinema You Haven’t Seen from Alison Nastasi on Flavorwire. I haven’t seen or even heard of any of these films, so naturally I’m totally excited to watch all of them.
I might not be a part of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, but I can assure you that film journalism is definitely, as Women and Hollywood puts it, a “dudeocracy.” What can be done about it? Read the article for some ideas on how we can smash the patriarchy of film criticism.
Although critics complain that the roles of women in horror movies are often meaningless or exploitive, I take a different approach in my review of the 1976 flick The Premonition over at Everything Is Scary, called “Mother Of Fears.” Diabolique Magazine has an excellent, feminist analysis of Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession in which the filmmaker seems to ask “Do you liberate in order to destroy?”
What if you had a bong that allowed you to travel through time? Sort of like an updated Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but with more incisive sociopolitical commentary (sort of), three-part miniseries Time Traveling Bong is worth watching, according to Sachin Hingoo. For something that poses less of a problem to quantum physics, but is perhaps even more bizarre, you could check out the newest episode of the TV OR GTFO Podcast that tackles Stephen Bochco’s infamous Cop Rock. The latest episode of Outsiders, the approrpriately titled “All Hell,” is a short but fitting first season finale, says Laury.
Is the sequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre truly superior to the original? That’s the compelling argument made by Justin LaLiberty at Paracinema. And how do you feel about Jared Leto as Lestat in the proposed remake of Interview with the Vampire or a sequel to The Craft?
Saturday was Free Comic Book Day! Frankenstein fans should check out ExMortis, while those who were disappointed by Hawkeye’s secret life reveal in Age Of Ultron, will enjoy this article from the newest addition to the Popshifter staff, Christine Makepeace, called “The Trouble With Hawkeye.”
Musicially speaking, Melissa Bratcher asks if there’s anything Jimbo Mathus can’t do and then decides there isn’t, in her review of his latest EP, Band Of Storms.
But seriously: let’s talk about the difference between dependence and addiction and what they have to do with chronic pain.
“The Rat Pack! With Fred Sinatra! And they’d sing acapella and watch each other fuck!”–Ilana
A rat infestation in your apartment is certainly both a common and disgusting problem to have, but Broad City treats this as a catastrophic event that upends Ilana’s entire life and serves as the catalyst for a medium-sized and hilariously low-rent party. Though we see our titular rodent stealing weed, ruining Lincoln’s masterpiece of a sandwich, and chewing through Jaime’s clothes, ultimately Ilana learns that she has more in common with her unwanted visitor than she realizes.
New this week on Popshifter: Brad was less than impressed with Paradise, but excited about Streets Of Fire; I explore the unexpected gravitas of The Wolverine and pay my respects to the new Melvins album Tres Cabrones; LabSplice shows how Arrow fights crime the Bill Gates way through product placement; Jeff waxes nostalgic about holiday tunes; and we’ve got Best Of 2013 lists for you from David Barras (Electric Man), singer/songwriter Willie Nile, our own Danny R. Phillips and Jeffery X Martin.
New this week on Popshifter: I am somewhat confounded by The English Teacher (now out on DVD), rather addicted to Thick Snow Magic, the new EP from After The Ice, caught in the throes of Mustang, Electric Six’s latest, and delighted by The Walking Dead Season 3 on DVD; Melissa is on a roll with reviews of a Joe Tex reissue, the latest album from Seasick Steve, and a much-loved Alex Chilton bootleg; Chelsea loves Rookie Yearbook Two, the print counterpart to Tavi Gevinson’s popular website; Jeff is terrified of Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” but urges everyone not to miss Goblin on their current tour; and Julie brings us a hysterically funny recap of 15 laughably horrible videos.
New this week on Popshifter: Brad reviews yet another Scream Factory reissue, this time it’s The Burning; Jeff finishes up this month’s Waxing Nostalgic Cover Albums series with Replicants’ eponymous album; Paul informs critics that being average is not worse than being bad; John pays tribute to The Olivia Tremor Control’s Bill Doss; I embrace the post-punk transvestite stylings of The Garden on their new album The Life And Times Of A Paperclip; and enjoy a lot of good movies new on home video and in theaters: Trance, Kiss of the Damned, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, and Berberian Sound Studio.
By Paul Casey
If you have been reading music publications for any length of time, you will be familiar with the following:
“Much like the worst direction you can go in is no direction, so is inoffensiveness worse than taking a stand, and thus the boring album is in a way worse than even a terrible album. An album that is full-on awful will always get minimal scores, but an album that is accomplished but boring is going to attract the dreaded three-star review—so often the calling card of the most inessential music of all (if your album is best described as “pleasant” then you’re in serious trouble). A one-star album can’t be boring, because even if the music is godawful, it’s WHY it’s awful that is itself entertaining—a one-star review is inherently entertainment, which is why you’ll always read one when you’re skimming the reviews column. But who the hell wants to read the three-star reviews, particularly as they’re all identical (“IT’S NOT TERRIBLE, BUT IT’S LACKING. IT FALLS SHORT, BUT IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”). And boring as fuck.
The opposite of enjoyment is not disgust; it’s tedium, because in a life so cruelly short, there’s nothing worse than being forgettable. The most disgusting pizza I’ve ever had was the one that accidentally had dish soap in it (SECRET FAMILY RECIPE), yet of all the ones I’ve eaten, it alone has survived the years as an amusing anecdote. It’s the middling three-star stuff you won’t remember. The albums from artists you respect that you’ve had forever but played once (REM are like your parents—you know they’re good, but you never listen to them). A reworking of ratings systems might help, but if we’ve gone this far without rating entertainment based on how entertaining it is, then why start now? The accepted method of rating albums isn’t terrible, of course, it’s just lacking. It falls short, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’d give it . . . 3 stars out of 5, let’s say.”
—”The 5 Worst Kinds of Album Every Music Fan Has Bought,” Cracked
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff presents the last days of Metal Mayhem with Iron Maiden and Spinal Tap; Chelsea describes the “smart, talented trio” known as Hot Club of Cowtown in her review of their new Rendezvous in Rhythm album; Lisa praises Elementary as “the abomination that wasn’t”; I share 15 hilarious minutes with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick of The Venture Bros., have a dance party with King Tuff’s reissued Was Dead album, and fall in love with Charles Bradley: Soul of America.
Velvet Goldmine, 1998
Screencap from Screenmusings
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff explains what Billy Squier and Ratt have in common in this week’s installments of Metal Mayhem; Melissa describes the “strange mix” on the reissued The Legend/Come Back To Me disc from Marty Robbins and is brought to tears by Davell Crawford’s My Gift To You; I review the “dark, disquieting” film Comforting Skin, now out on DVD and the anything-but-boring Ready To Die from Iggy and the Stooges, and attempt to unpack David Bowie’s new video for “The Next Day.”