Today, the Internet is alive with The Sound of Music — for it is the beloved film’s 50th anniversary. “Beloved” seems an obvious adjective to apply to the 174 minutes of pastoral perfection. But actually, as The Daily Beast points out, when it was first released, critics saw it more as 174 minutes of a plasticly bucolic, saccharinely tender nightmare. The website notes that Pauline Kael was so revolted as to write: “We have been turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs.” … Read More
At age 20, Adam Torres, then of the band Southeast Engine, wrote and recorded his first and only proper album, Nostra Nova. He released it in the most DIY of manners in 2006, while living in a college town in Ohio’s Appalachian foothills. This is not a remarkable tale. Many young singer-songwriters record albums and release them with so much hope in their hearts, only to have their songs go mostly unheard outside of their scene. It’s not a tragedy, it’s just the reality of the music world.
Luckily, Adam Torres will not end up one of those people. … Read More
If DirecTV’s Audience Network is trying to make a name for itself, Billy and Billie is probably not the right show for it to bet on. From reliably controversial filmmaker and playwright Neil LaBute, the original half-hour series is marketed as yet another romantic comedy — with a twist. Billy and Billie, which premieres Tuesday, follows two similarly named young adults as they stumble through the beginnings of a relationship and slowly, somewhat reluctantly, fall in love. The big obstacle? They are step-siblings. … Read More
With the release poet Noah Eli Gordon’s The Word Kingdom in the Word Kingdom, Brooklyn Arts Press is attempting something rare in small publishing — they are trying to change the way books are sold. Specifically, BAP, run by managing editor and publisher Joe Pan, is selling Gordon’s books via a “pay what you want” model, in the vein of Radiohead and Louis CK, albeit with some significant differences. To begin with (and perhaps surprisingly) BAP is selling physical and not digital copies of the book — you pay only a five dollar S&H fee along with whatever price you choose. And the obvious thing: Radiohead and Louis CK were able to implement such a model because they are famous. Although Gordon is not famous, Brooklyn Arts Press is hoping that word-of-mouth, the model itself, and the quality of the book, which is excellent, will help drive sales. And it already seems to be working. … Read More
Spoiler alert: this post contains vague references to occurrences at the end of Maps to the Stars.
Maps to the Stars begins in a mode of straightforward, Hollywood-brutalizing satire. We’re introduced, via Cronenberg’s bloodlessly still lens, to the players in the tritest of Hollywood nightmares. Each character reflects a Hollywood type so dominant as to seem, when rendered fictionally, hugely self-evident. … Read More
March means only one thing: the frozen sea inside the heart of publishing is thawing. We will see books — first a trickle, then a flood. This deluge is so enormous, in fact, that we’ve decided to collect some of it in a bucket that we will call “10 Must-Read Books for March 2015.” Inside this bucket you will find Kazuo Ishiguro’s long-awaited follow-up to Never Let Me Go, great nonfiction, a non-diary diary, the “greatest Mexican novelist,” and more. Let the anticipation wash over you. … Read More
March is an odd month for studio movies — not quite summer yet, a little too early for blockbusters, but not the early-in-the-year burn-off period either. In other words, you’re sort of taking your chances at the multiplex, and the independent distributors seem to know it; this month’s indie slate is even more crowded than usual. Here are a few you won’t want to miss. … Read More
When last we met The Good Wife, nearly two months ago, 2015 was still young and full of promise. Before taking a seven week hiatus, one imagines that the show hoped to go out strong, leaving the audience wanting more. Sadly, The Good Wife’s last episode was much more akin to an “ill-advised one-night stand you can’t get out of your apartment the next morning” than a “love at first sight, when can I see you again” encounter. … Read More
Confession: I found this episode very difficult to watch. In Girls-land, a Hannah Horvath meet cute is the equivalent of the Jaws theme, a surefire sign that things are about to get (emotionally) gory and fast. So from the moment Fran the “17th century notions of utopia” teacher, played with familiar sweetness by Obvious Child leading man Jake Lacy, asks Hannah out in the faculty lounge of their fancy schmancy Brooklyn private school, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it sure as hell did. … Read More
When French author Michel Houellebecq was promoting his 2010 novel The Map and the Territory, winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, and failed to show for several appearances, the media flew into a frenzy. Some even speculated that he was kidnapped. This rumor inspired Guillaume Nicloux’s The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq, starring the writer as a version of himself. The film’s official US trailer debuted this week, reminding us of the many rumors that have plagued some of literature’s finest. Here are just a… Read More