Taking Aim: Is The Avengers A Chick Flick?

Published on May 3rd, 2012 in: Action Movies, Comics, Feminism, Movies, Over the Gadfly's Nest |

By Lisa Anderson

hawkeye bow
Jeremy Renner in The Avengers

As fan of comic book movies and of Joss Whedon, this is a great summer for me. I’m thoroughly enjoying all the buzz over The Avengers, which opens in the US at midnight tonight. Every once in a while though, I’ll come across something that I can’t get on board with, even though it’s essentially positive. A recent piece by Bill Gibron at Pop Matters is a good example.

Ian Hunter Band Featuring Mick Ronson, Live At Rockpalast

Published on April 26th, 2012 in: Current Faves, DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Music, Reviews, TV |

By Hanna

ian hunter rockpalast DVD

While lately the BBC and specialized music channels have finally been repeating and showing their collected musical material, German TV has been far ahead of them, broadcasting their music shows such as ZDF’s disco and comprehensive DVDs of shows like Musikladen, while the BBC still fails to release anything like a Top of The Pops DVD, and its Old Grey Whistle Test issues are limited and, annoyingly, themed.

Top Ten Movies To Look For In 2011: Follow Up

Published on January 12th, 2012 in: Action Movies, Cartoons, Comedy, Comics, Horror, Listicles, Movies, Science Fiction, Top Ten Lists |

By Lisa Anderson

In late 2010, I made a list of the 2011 films that I was most interested in. With many year-end retrospectives going on, I thought I’d go back over the list and report on how these movies compared to my expectations.

red riding hood poster

1. Red Riding Hood

Of all the movies on my list, this one probably disappointed me the most. The story was muddled and didn’t make use of folklore and symbolism in the way it could have. The love triangle was not as interesting as it could have been, and there were disappointing performances all around from otherwise amazing people. Last but not least, the script missed the perfect opportunity to have the wolf throw back its head and howl at the moon. Red Riding Hood had its good moments and there were things I liked about it, but overall, you’re better off watching Hanna (reviewed here) for an innovative, feminist take on fairy tales.

A Sci-Fi Fairy Tale: Hanna

Published on May 30th, 2011 in: Action Movies, Climb Onto The Nearest Star, Current Faves, Feminism, Issues, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews, Science Fiction |

By Lisa Anderson

One of the best movies of the year has already arrived, without much fanfare. If you’ve gone to see a movie rated PG-13 or higher in the past few months, then you’ve seen the trailer for Hanna, where the thrumming score by the Chemical Brothers provides the background for a teenage girl’s acts of derring-do. What you can’t tell from the trailer is that Hanna is one of the most innovative science fiction movies to come along in a while.

Sister Smile (Suor Sorriso): The Tragic Tale Of The Singing Nun DVD

Published on January 18th, 2011 in: DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Feminism, LGBTQ, Movie Reviews, Movies, Music, Reviews, Teh Sex |

By Hanna

suor sorriso

Suor Sorriso, also known as Sister Smile, is a cult classic in a lot of ways; it has also served to revive interest in the real-life “Singing Nun,” also known as Jeannine Deckers. There has been a demand for Sister Smile on DVD for some time; many viewers will be watching this film for its position in cinema history. Whatever its cinematic merits, though, I found the almost entire lack of factual accuracy or congruency difficult to surmount.

The Legendary Pink Dots, Seconds Late For The Brighton Line

Published on October 12th, 2010 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Hanna

seconds late cover

Seconds Late For The Brighton Line is called the Legendary Pink Dots‘ 30th anniversary album, and while I can’t find anything specifically 30th anniversary about it, it does fit that title to some extent.

The album is not an overview of all their styles; in fact, it has a rather specific style, especially for an LPD album, but in other ways, it is extremely typical and in some ways, familiar. This is helped by the the fact that several of the songs were premiered during the band’s 30th anniversary tour. “Hauptbahnhof 20:10” and “Russian Roulette” were both very impressive live, and do not sound much different on the album.

Kristian Hoffman, Fop

Published on October 5th, 2010 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Hanna and Matt Keeley


Kristian Hoffman is perhaps best known for working with the brilliant Klaus Nomi; he was Nomi’s musical director and the wordsmith behind Nomi’s original songs. If you’ve sat down with the records, you know how good those songs were and still are, both in performance (there’s a reason Nomi’s one of Rush Limbaugh’s favorites) and in songwriting. Nomi should have conquered the world; instead, he died too early.

Hoffman, on the other hand, didn’t sleep, and has been working with loads of cool people, including James White and the Contortions, Rufus Wainwright, Sparks, Lydia Lunch and. . . look, this’ll just be a laundry list of who’s who in good music, so just rest assured: if they’re talented, he’s probably worked with ’em. He’s also done solo records, of which Fop is the newest. It’s such an event that Popshifter enlisted TWO, count ’em TWO, reviewers to cover it.

Black Sabbath: The Secret History Of Black-Jewish Relations

Published on September 14th, 2010 in: Culture Shock, Current Faves, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Music, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Hanna

black sabbath cover

The goal of Black Sabbath: The Secret History of Black-Jewish Relations, a compilation released by the Idelsohn Society For Musical Preservation, was to “gather the US history of Black-Jewish relations into a selective pop musical guide.” While a lot has been published about black and Jewish musical influences, there hasn’t been an actual musical guide to Jewish music by black artists, and this is what the Society set out to accomplish.

Of course, it’s slightly less universalist in its approach than that; Black Sabbath focuses on the ’30s through the ’60s, a time of enormous racial oppression for both groups, and also a time when the cultural exchange between the two was especially great. This really shines through in this compilation; for all that it’s only one CD. It is an amazing effort and even more amazing in that it succeeds.

Japanese Gum, Hey Folks! Nevermind, We Are All Falling Down!

Published on July 30th, 2010 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Hanna

Japanese Gum are an Italian experimental music duo (based in Genova). Hey Folks! Nevermind, We Are All Falling Down! is their first full-length album, consisting of songs previously released on EPs and some new songs.

An Appeal To Fans Of Mick Karn

Published on June 11th, 2010 in: Music |

By Hanna

Mick Karn, previously of the band Japan, was diagnosed last week with cancer, and has made an appeal for donations and support on his website. There has, thankfully, been a flurry of activity among fans, and it seems to have had some practical effect. We must believe that it will help and that it will get better for him, and for his family.

What has happened to Mick Karn can do nothing but sadden, maybe more than it would if it had happened to someone else. It’s not like Mick Karn has had an unlucky or sad life, after all, but it’s impossible to look at his life and feel that he hasn’t been consistently shortchanged.