Tag Archives: Review

My thoughts on Netflix’s summer surprise, ‘Stranger Things’

Well that completely came out of nowhere.

Every now and then, a show comes along that reaches out and grips you with its claws and never lets go. Enter STRANGER THINGS, a new Netflix sci-fi drama. After scrubbing through a trailer last month, I quickly dismissed it and I wouldn’t have given it a chance if it weren’t for two of my friends reaching out and demanding I tune in. Word of mouth can be a powerful thing.

STRANGER THINGS is a true amalgamation of every genre I love. When people ask me to describe it, I gush like this: It’s an adrenaline rush of pure adventure, a tale told from the innocent, wide-eyed perspective of a ragtag team of kids. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller with nuanced scares that make your imagination do most of the work. There’s conspiracy theories and weird science to wrap your brain around. And it’s all set in an eerie town where nothing is exactly what it seems.

In a nutshell: THE GOONIES + THE X-FILES/FRINGE + TWIN PEAKS = STRANGER THINGS

And let’s throw CLOVERFIELD in the mix for good measure; there’s a Monster here that would make J.J. Abrams and even Guillermo del Toro proud.

Holding this all together is a thick coat of nostalgia. From the neon bright opening credits to an original electronic soundtrack pulsing with 80s flair, STRANGER THINGS is intrinsically a warm, inviting series that draws you in with its recognizable throwbacks. (I mean, look at this poster!) What’ll hook you, though, is the utterly unexpected places it will take you. Well, that and the unbelievably talented cast of unknown kids. They will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they will leave you begging for more.

Now go enjoy this eight hour movie. Happy binging!

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE TODAY

Since “The Avenger Initiative” was hinted at in 2008’s Iron Man, moviegoers have been anticipating the epic superhero movie that would bring together Marvel’s finest. Under the guidance of geek god Joss Whedon, the Avengers assemble today. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow unite in the ultimate superhero movie, The Avengers, out today.

I just came out of a midnight screening, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. The Avengers is this: phenomenal eye candy, perfect pacing, balanced tone, comedic as it is epic in scale, and most of all extremely entertaining. No spoilers, see? Just make sure you sit through all the credits; there is not one but two tags to look out for!

Now… May the Fourth be with you.

Review: Kanye West premieres short film ‘Runaway’, previews songs from upcoming album

Kanye West travelled to Prague not so long ago to film a 35 minute short film called Runaway.  The film, directed by West & written by music video collaborator Hype Williams, plays like an extended and highly perfected music video.  Nine songs from West’s upcoming fifth studio album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are interspersed throughout the film that premiered Saturday night simultaneously on MTV, MTV 2, MTV.com, BET, BET.com, and VH1.com.  Watch it uncensored after the break.

The film tells a short story about a beautiful phoenix (played by model Selita Ebanks) falling to Earth and falling in love with a man played by Kanye.  It opens up with a short introductory quip by Nicki Minaj (in her overzealous British accent) as she invites the viewer to “gather ’round children, zip it, listen!”  Then the first beat drops.  As Kanye drives his luxury car through a wooded area populated by grazing deer (who appear to be CGI), ‘Ye raps the title track “Dark Fantasy.”  In the distance up in the sky a plume of fire quickly descends to the ground, crashing into Kanye’s car and forcing ‘Ye to come to the rescue.  As the track goes “Can we get much higher?  Oh, oh, oh oh…” we catch our first glimpse of the Phoenix injured on the pavement.  Kanye picks her up and carries her away from the wreck, walking slowly towards the camera as the fire blazes in the background and “Dark Fantasy” winds down.  The title card “Runaway” appears, the track ends, and the story resumes at Kanye’s home.

The Phoenix wakes up and finds herself disoriented in our markedly different world.  Ebanks does a fantastic job throughout the film portraying this sense of feeling out of place in a foreign land–the ruffling of her feathers, the way she moves her claws and darts her head.  All of these small but very distinct qualities add to her stranger in a strange land mentality that brings the film’s overall theme into focus when the conclusion rolls around.  She is startled by a breaking news story shouting from the TV; Kanye appears and informs her, “First rule in this world baby: Don’t pay attention to anything you see in the news.”  Take note: the film does not contain much dialogue (not including the songs, obviously), so listen carefully to what Kanye and Ebanks’ characters have to say.  Kanye’s message is not hiding–it lives in the songs, the visuals, and also in what he (and the Phoenix) have to say.

Next up is “Gorgeous” — Kid Cudi sings the chorus and Kanye raps a verse as we watch the Phoenix interact with nature and animals.  While she’s frolicking in the backyard and getting acclimated to our world, Kanye looks on from inside the house.  He’s in love with the mysterious bird that fell into his lap.  Quite abruptly the track ends and a distinctly new version of “Power” begins.  Kanye plays with the beat on his sampler and the Phoenix twitches along with it.  A wave of comfortability hits the Phoenix and so she fearlessly begins to seductively dance to the heavily sampled “Power.”  Then as abruptly as it started “Power” ends and the signature horns of “All of the Lights” are introduced. READ MORE Review: Kanye West premieres short film ‘Runaway’, previews songs from upcoming album