Movie and Music Reviews

The Catastrophist by Tortoise

By Fate - AV   |  March 31, 2017

I've always had a liking for the underdog, the artist who produces something noteworthy but doesn't get much exposure or recognition. I was looking through new music items and came across this CD by Tortoise. Many years ago, there was a relatively unknown group, Rhinoceros, that I liked, so I decided to give another animal a listen. I liked it. It was primarily instrumental, smooth, and easy, but definitely not run-of-the-mill. Take a stroll off the main path and give The Catastrophist by Tortoise a try. Don't let the album cover scare you off. Overall Rating: B+

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Doctor Strange

By Amy - AV   |  March 25, 2017

The fourteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Doctor Strange, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as world-renowned neurosurgeon Stephen Strange. Early in the movie, Dr. Strange loses the use of his hands in a car accident and becomes desperate to be restored. He abandons his life and his love, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), and he sets out on a journey in search of healing. This journey takes him to Nepal and a mysterious compound called Kamar-Taj. There he becomes the student of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and quickly learns the mystic arts. As a powerful sorcerer, he must decide whether to return to his life or use his powers to protect the Earth from Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One who has stolen powerful ancient texts. What follows are some riveting action scenes and a wild adventure into the astral realm. As a fan of the original comic book, I was impressed with Cumberbatch’s striking likeness to the character. The film also had stunning visual effects and subtle humor throughout. This wasn’t your typical superhero movie, and I look forward to the future of the franchise! Overall rating: A+

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Divide by Ed Sheeran

By Ellie - AV   |  March 17, 2017

In my opinion, Divide is Ed Sheeran’s best release yet. In the latest album from the singer/songwriter, he experiments with different song and sound styles in a way that is fun and musically entertaining. Sheeran incorporates a lot of personal storytelling motifs with songs like “Nancy Mulligan” (written about Sheeran’s grandparents) and “Supermarket Flowers” (an emotional lament for his grandmother’s death narrated from his mother’s point of view). The CD packs a serious emotional punch while also delivering an engaging and enjoyable listening experience. Tracks like “Barcelona” and “Bibia Be Ye Ye” use international cultural motifs and rhythms that result in extremely catchy, danceable songs. Included in this CD are also the radio smash hits “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” which have become instant favorites. This newest album shows that his sound has really matured since his first, Plus, released in 2011. The deeper, more complicated narration exemplifies how Sheeran has grown as both a person and an artist in the past 6 years. Overall Rating: A+

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Kevin Hart: What Now?

By Melinda - AV   |  March 15, 2017

I have to admit that I am a die-hard Kevin Hart fan, and I was not disappointed in his 2016 “What Now?” stand-up comedy concert film. The film features two main parts, a spy story and a stand-up performance. In the beginning of the film for a brief moment, Kevin Hart portrays a James Bond-type Agent 0054 attending a poker game with his lady side kick, Money Berry (played by Halle Berry), which goes terribly wrong. As a result, the clock is ticking for him to get to his live stand-up comedy performance. As the film leads up to him hitting his stage performance, the viewers get to be a part of all the excitement and hear the support of 50,000+ fans cheering Kevin on as they enter the sold-out, record-breaking show at Lincoln Financial Field Football Stadium in Philadelphia. Kevin Hart is the first comedian to sell out an entire football stadium in history! I do not want to spoil all the fun, but Kevin provides a very humorous insight into parenting, family issues, people on the edge, current events, and his hardships in everyday life. If you have had a long hard week and want to sit back and have a bunch of laughs, I recommend this film. You will not be disappointed! Overall Rating: A-

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Arrival

By Darla - AV   |  March 3, 2017

Linguistic professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a mysterious figure who is called by the government to solve a puzzle involving a mysterious aircraft. Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) and scientist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) accompany Banks on her mission. The story's timelines move rapidly between the future and the present, accompanied by Banks’s increasingly eerie, erratic visions. Circumstances surrounding the unnatural aircraft and principal characters are not what they seem. Soon, dangerous events pressure the central characters to crack the mystery of the aircraft before disaster occurs. Overall Rating: A+

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