Life Itself

Life Itself (2014)

Dir. Steve James

  Over a year ago, the world lost one of its greatest most avid voices. From his reviews in the Chicago Sun Times to his television series, Roger Ebert popularized film criticism and was one of its greatest advocates. Some time before his death in April 2013, Steve James, acclaimed director of Hoop Dreams, was working on a documentary chronicling Ebert’s life that has just been hitting on demand sites and theaters everywhere.

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TV Review: The Bridge

The Bridge Season 2

Crea. Meredith Stiehm & Elwood Reid

There has been a sudden flux of Swedish/Danish remakes over the last few summers of television. Some, like the recent Welcome to Sweden, have their moments, but don’t quite hit the beats they should. Others, like The Killing, feel cold and detached like the countryside they come from. One show that has avoided that pitfall is FX’s The Bridge, which had a pretty good first season by really taking the premise and making it more accessible to an American/Mexican audience. Now the show has returned for a second season.

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TV Review: The Leftovers

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The Leftovers Season 1

Crea. Damon Lindleof & Tom Perrotta

   As Under the Dome keeps showing us, taking a single novel and stretching it out into the long form narrative of television can be a tricky thing. The themes and characters can face the danger of becoming stretched too thin and the whole story begins to crumple under its own weight. The latest summer adaptation series is The Leftovers headed by former Lost show-runner Damon Lindleof and Tom Perrotta, the author of the novel of the same name.

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Music Review: Mandatory Fun

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Mandatory Fun (2014)

Art. Weird Al Yankovic

  He has managed to remain relevant after nearly 30 years in the music industry. He is a God in the eyes of middle schoolers at heart. When Chamillionaire, Nelly, and Coolio have all faded into obscurity, one man has risen from their ashes like an accordion-wielding phoenix: Weird Al Yankovic. With the onset of YouTube, staying relevant in the digital age could have killed Weird Al, but his last few albums have shown he hasn’t lost his touch. So in what may be his last conventional album, Weird Al has unleashed Mandatory Fun on the world.

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TV Review: Drunk History

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Drunk History Season 2 

Crea. Derek Waters

Viral videos belong on the Internet for a reason: they are short, sweet, and amusing. However if they were transferred to another medium like television, it faces the troubles of having those sweet, amusing parts work over a greater length. Some can rise to the challenge and some do not. Thankfully, Derek Water’s Drunk History did not share the problem of overstaying its welcome with its debut season last summer. Now the show has returned for its second season with more high strung and drunken hilarity.

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TV Review: Under the Dome

Under the Dome Season 2

Crea. Brian K. Vaughn

The work of Stephen King has been adapted quite a lot throughout all of media. From television, to film, to comic books, people cannot get enough of the author’s stories. The latest hit from those adaptations, Under the Dome, became a surprise hit of the summer. Now, the second season has premiered to see if the hit can maintain its status.

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Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer (2014)

Dir. Joon-ho Bong

   South Korea is one of the best sources of foreign film today. Oldboy, I Saw the Devil, and Memories of Murder are three of the most well known pieces from this country all helmed by visionary directors and actors (usually Kang-ho Song). With stylized violence and enthralling stories, these films became instant cult classics here in the US. Some of these directors have come across the Pacific to try their luck in the US market. The latest director, Joon-ho Bong has thrown his hat into the ring with Snowpiercer, which opens in certain theaters Friday.

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Book Review: The Silkworm

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The Silkworm (2014)

Auth. Robert Galbraith

  A year ago, a mysterious new voice to fiction appeared to the name of Robert Galbraith. A supposed man with “background in the army and civilian security industry,” he released a novel introducing the world’s newest British detective: Cormoran Strike. However the Internet revealed a different reality: that Robert Galbraith was in fact the pen name of JK Rowling, someone whose voice was not mysterious. The novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, skyrocketed in sales and Rowling was thrust back into the spotlight. However, she has thankfully decided to keep up the ruse and the latest Galbraith novel has hit the stands.

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TV Review: Rectify

Rectify Season 2

Crea. Ray McKinnon

   With so much tremendous television, many good shows will be hidden away under the Breaking Bads and Sons of Anarchys. Sundance appears to be a veritable treasure trove for such shows with The Returned, Top of the Lake, and Rectify, which returned for a second season a couple of weeks ago. A slow burn of a drama, the first season quickly became one of television’s best-kept secrets.

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Music Review: Memory Palace

Memory Palace (2014)

Art. Stone Cold Fox

  With summer officially in full swing, a litany of new albums to take with you to the beach and road trips have swarmed the markets. Some rise to prominence like Jack White’s latest album, while others remain dormant waiting to be discovered. One of those discoveries is Memory Palace, the debut LP from the Brooklyn-based band Stone Cold Fox. Since listening to their excellent 2012 EP The Young, many have been waiting for their full-length foray.

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