Album Review: Document

Document by R.E.M. (I.R.S. Records, 1987. 40 minutes) Formed in 1980 in Athens, Georgia, R.E.M. is one of the first alternative rock bands. The band has released 15 full-length studio albums and is well known for campaigning for political and humanitarian causes. R.E.M. disbanded in 2011. Chasing the Tree Recently, the Seattle Mariners traded Mike Carp. This occurrence has nothing to do with R.E.M. other than it serves a point I am about to make. This AAAA First Baseman/Left Fielder is the latest player in a long line of acquisitions that can be traced back to the Mark Langston trade in 1989. More specifically, Langston became Randy Johnson became Freddy Garcia became Jeremy Reed became Mike Carp. Something about tracing… Read More →

Film Review: Argo

Argo directed by Ben Affleck, written by Chris Terrio and Tony Mendez (Warner Bros. Pictures, GK Films, Smoke House, R, 120 minutes) Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman. Transformers I’m not sure why some movies receive high praise. I remember the year when everyone couldn’t get enough of Transformers. It seemed to be the ultimate movie; it satisfied action aficionados; it had enough narrative quality to hold the attention of critics. But when I saw Transformers, I was severely disappointed. With bad acting, unimpressive graphics, and a poor script, I found nothing redeemable from the film. Transformers seems to offer an intriguing analog to another film receiving high praise from this current award season, Argo. When… Read More →

Book Review: Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver (New York: Harper Collins, 2012. 448 pp) Born in 1955 in rural Kentucky, Barbara Kingsolver earned biology degrees from DePauw University and the University of Arizona. Beginning in 1985, Kingsolver began writing as a freelancer and author. Starting with The Bean Trees in 1988 and Lacuna functioning as the most recent bookend in 2009, Kingsolver’s works have been translated into more than two dozen languages and adopted into high school curriculum. Kingsolver contributes essays and reviews in many renowned newspapers and magazines. She has received numerous awards including, the national book award of South Africa, the James Beard Award, and the National Humanities Medal. Kingsolver lives on a farm in Southern Appalachia with her husband, Steven Hopp. Blunt Doesn’t Always Work… Read More →

Film Review: To Rome with Love

To Rome With Love directed and written by Woody Allen (Medusa Film, Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions, R, 112 minutes) Starring Woody Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page. The Woody Allen Equivalent I haven’t seen New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day for that matter, but to me, To Rome with Love feels like the Woody Allen equivalent. Much like his recent work, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris, it seems as if Woody Allen has settled on Europe for his semi-retirement years, making movies for whatever city he happens to inhabit at any given time. Unlike the critically acclaimed Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris, To Tome with Love… Read More →

Book Review: Unceasing Worship

Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts by Harold M. Best (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003. 226 pp) With a D.S.M. from Union Theological Seminary, Harold M. Best was the dean of the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College for more than twenty-five years. As an organist and composer, Best has mentored musicians, artists, and church leaders alike. He has served as president of the National Association of Schools of Music and has written extensively on matters of curriculum, culture, and educational policy issues. Do You Hear What I Hear? It all comes down to the music, seemingly. A bad voice, inexperience on the drums, a bloated worship team—they all influence attendance greatly. You’ve probably heard the complaints…. Read More →

Television Show Review: 30 Rock: Season 7

30 Rock: Season 7 created by Tina Fey (Broadway Video, Little Stranger, NBC Studios) Starring Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer. The Next Home Improvement I can’t help but consider Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, while thinking about Season 7 of 30 Rock. In her memoir, Fey admits the goal of her critically acclaimed NBC series was not to become an indie hit—or critically acclaimed for that matter. Instead, Fey hoped for the next Home Improvement, a ratings smash that was funny, but first and foremost, a money maker viewed by the canaille. By its standards, 30 Rock failed. It never reached the highest ratings pantheon, constantly losing to the flavor-of-the-month from CBS. But to assess… Read More →

Book Review: Execution

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (New York: Crown Publishing, 2009 Revised Edition. 320 pp) Larry Bossidy earned a B.A. in Economics from Colgate University. He began working at General Electric in 1957 and worked his way up the corporate ladder finally securing Vice Chairman in 1984. He has also served as Chairman and CEO of AlliedSignal and Honeywell Corporation. An author, consultant, and scholar, Ram Charan has consulted with companies such as GE, KLM, and Bank of America. He has taught at Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management, and Boston University. The Academy and the Company Having experienced this phenomenon over the last year or so, I can safely attest… Read More →

Book Review: Lost Everything

Lost Everything by Brian Francis Slattery (New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2012. 304 pp) Brian Francis Slattery was born and raised in upstate New York. He is an editor for the U.S. Institute of Peace and the New Haven Review. He is the author of Spaceman Blues and Liberation, and is also a musician. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut. No One Should Be Mother Teresa I vaguely remember a provocative paper assigned in ethics during my undergraduate years. Since I forget specifics, it’s probably not the best analogy, but I find it particularly fits with Brian Francis Slattery’s Lost Everything. The author of this paper argued that nobody should aim to act like Mother Teresa. First off, the baseline… Read More →

Film Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild directed by Benh Zeitlin, written by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Journeyman Pictures, Cinereach, Court 13 Pictures, and Fox Searchlight Pictures, PG-13, 93 minutes) Starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry. Tunnel Vision Sometimes, pain provides tunnel vision. Nothing else matters, whatever the circumstances. Like a burrowing mole, a sufferer wants nothing more than solitude. When trauma occurs, how do you face it? Do you ignore it? Do you subconsciously let it dictate your life, leading you to avoid facing pain face-on? Exceedingly metaphorical, Beasts of the Southern Wild provides a wildly stylistic account of suffering. Hushpuppy and Wink Beasts of the Southern Wild portrays a fantastical story of a daughter, Hushpuppy (impressively played by then… Read More →

Film Review: Django Unchained

Django Unchained directed and written by Quentin Tarantino (The Weinstein Company, Columbia Pictures, and Brown 26 Productions, R, 165 minutes) Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Revisionist History Don’t we all have the desire to rewrite history? To take back something said? Something done? Something that hurt others? What steps would you tack to right the wrongs either personally or globally? With Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino certainly enjoys using the medium of film to fulfill these grand retribution schemes, but I contend that his stylistic tendencies will keep this film from winning Best Picture. Bounty Hunting The film’s eponymous character, Django (Jamie Foxx,) is a bounty hunter. He earned his freedom working with… Read More →