Film Review: La La Land

La La Land

La La Land written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Black Label Media, Gilbert Films, Impostor Pictures, PG-13, 128 min) Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Make Hollywood Great Again We live in an era of nostalgia. The largest television phenomenon of 2016 focused on 1980s synths, hairstyles, and sci-fi horror. Beyond cultural nostalgia, we saw an election where a clear motivation at the polls focused on policies pushing America toward the past, toward a time where the nation was considered “great,” at least for a certain kind of American. Trends ebb and flow. Beliefs move in and out of season as if they are fashion chic. While many rightly criticize much of the policies bringing fear to certain groups of… Read More →

Film Review: Green Room

Green Room

Green Room written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (A24, Broad Green Pictures, Film Science, R, 95 min) Starring Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart. A Tough Genre to Master When it comes to uncomfortable viewing, the horror/suspense genre takes the cake. The viewer knows most of the characters aren’t going to make it; the question becomes the “why” and the “how” of the demise. The difficulty of the genre lies in replicating realism. Most days, killers aren’t stalking groups of friends a la I Know What You Did Last Summer. The writer and director must think carefully about the best possible way to conjure a scenario… Read More →

Television Show Review: Vinyl: Season 1

Vinyl Season 1

Vinyl: Season 1 created by Rich Cohen, Mick Jagger, and Martin Scorsese (Paramount Television, Sikelia Productions, Jagged Films) Starring Bobby Cannavale, Paul Ben-Victor, P. J. Byrne, Max Casella, Ato Essandoh, James Jagger, J. C. MacKenzie, Jack Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, and Ray Ramano. Design Failure In my line of work, we like to discuss the weight of organizational identity. In particular, the visual mark of a company cannot carry the entire strategic sensibility of the business. If a logo represents every last detail of the organization, it will crumble under the pressure. The design will fail. For this reason, I think of logos when I consider the effectiveness of HBO’s Vinyl. At its core, Vinyl depicts the shifting music… Read More →

Book Review: Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems

Pictures from Brueghel by William Carlos Williams

Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems: Collected Poems 1950-1962 by William Carlos Williams (New York: New Directions, 1962. 184 pp) Born in Rutherford, New Jersey, William Carlos Williams studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. While his primary occupation was a family doctor, William Carlos Williams had a successful secondary career as a poet. Williams won the first National Book Award for Poetry and was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He died in 1963. All that Jazz Even though I’ve critically consumed copious amounts of music over the years, I don’t know what to do with Jazz. The very thing I enjoy about critical reflection surrounds the narrative and structure of any given piece. Jazz, by definition, represents the very… Read More →

Film Review: Whiplash

Whiplash

Whiplash written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Bold Films, Blumhouse Productions, Right of Way Films, R, 107 min) Starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, and Paul Reiser. LEAD What does it take to be an effective leader? Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You’ll need followers. If you’re leading thin air, I feel bad for you son. But supposing you are in a position of leadership, no matter how large or small, there’s an opportunity to mold the people underneath you, to encourage them and maximize their potential. Some leaders offer the quiet calm in a storm. Others are fiery and charismatic. Some micro-manage; others break the chains and let their people run free. Truthfully, much of your leadership… Read More →

Film Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (CBS Films, StudioCanal, Anton Capital Entertainment, R, 104 min) Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman. Quit If I could offer a piece of advice to aspiring musicians, it would one, simple terse statement: “Quit.” I don’t mean to be brutally negative, but the music business is not a place for anyone hoping toward a sustainable a career. When I was younger, I had dreams of being in a touring band. Many of the CDs I bought were from underground punk, hardcore, and ska acts. Life on the road seemed glamorous, a pretty awesome career. But truthfully, most of the bands I followed broke up because… Read More →

Film Review: Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man written and directed by Malik Bendjelloul (Red Box Films, Passion Pictures, Canfield Pictures, PG-13, 86 minutes) Starring Sixto Rodriguez and Stephen “Sugar” Segerman. Global Globalization With the advent of the internet, globalization has become truly global. Everyone has the ability to connect with anyone. In business, you can accept a client from half way across the world. In relationships, you can fall in love and date on Skype. There’s no hiding in the modern world. But before the internet, humanity encountered a unique era, connected but far apart. In the 40 years after World War II, the commercial jet became a staple of travel. With some money saved, the world becomes your oyster. Yet at the… Read More →

Book Review: How Soccer Explains the World

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer (New York: Harper Collins, 2004. 288 pp) Franklin Foer is an American journalist and editor of The New Republic. He is the older brother of Jonathan Safran Foer. Franklin graduated from Columbia University and lives in Washington D.C. A Term Paper During my freshman year in college, I regrettably stumbled into a few classes I had no intention of taking. You see, freshmen are last in line to sign up for classes and you pretty much just need to take whatever is left. For me, that class was “Globalization.” In all honesty, I enjoyed the class despite my earlier protest; it allowed me to view the world… Read More →