Pop Culture Week In Review 4/20 – 4/27
Have you ever read one of our Pop Culture Week In Reviews and thought, “Hey, that wasn’t a review. Where’s the criticism and acclaim? The judging and gauging? The hoopla and hollering?” Well, I have, dear reader. Late last night, whilst perusing the dark corners of the internet for my secret pop culture sources, I realized you probably finish these articles with an air of contempt. “This is garbage, I wasn’t told what to think!” you say, contemptibly.
Lucky for you, I care, and while we usually pepper in our opinions with implicative subtext, today is not that day. So here’s me, actually reviewing the most notable pop culture news and happenings of the week.
Michael Shannon Reading An Insane Sorority Girl’s E-Mail (Warning: Language)
“If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair your sitting in, cuz this e-mail’s going to be a rough f#(king ride.”
That’s the opening line to Michael Shannon’s amazing monologue, scripted entirely from an e-mail sorority leader Rebecca Martinson sent to her fellow University of Maryland Delta Gamma sisters. The full e-mail is an insanely offensive rant, but when Funny or Die got Michael Shannon (General Zod in the upcoming Man of Steel movie) to read it, her words become art in its rawest form. I mean it. Try watching this video without either laughing hysterically, retracting with shock or cowering in fear. If nothing else, it serves as the most creative example of hardcore swearing since one of Ari Gold’s rants on Entourage. Review: A+, vulgar perfection.
The World’s End is Coming Soon, The Bling Ring is Coming Sooner
This week, the folks behind The World’s End finally announced a release date: August 23, 2013. For those who don’t know, this is the final film of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of my films ever, making The World’s End the only movie in my Top 25 Films of All Time that I haven’t seen yet. Review: A-, minus because we still don’t have a trailer.
On the artsy side of the spectrum, academy award winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s next film, The Bling Ring, dropped a new trailer this week, once again demonstrating Coppola’s unique style and storytelling. Coming out this June, don’t mistake The Bling Ring as L.A.’s answer to Spring Breakers. Sofia Coppola has proven herself to academies and audiences alike, so expect this true story to reflect more on consumerist culture than Emma Watson’s incredible…features. Review: S, for StyleStyleStyleStyleStyle.
Hemlock Grove Begins, Futurama Ends
Netflix’s foray into original programming sprinted out the gate with the excellent David Fincher/Kevin Spacey series, House of Cards. The show was met with overwhelming success and critical acclaim, setting the stage for Netflix’s next attempt, Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove. Unfortunately, Hemlock Grove isn’t nearly as good as House of Cards.
Hemlock Grove is American Horror Story meets Skins meets Twin Peaks, and yes, it’s as strange a combination as it sounds. At it’s best, this sexy-scary-bizzaro thriller blends truly impressive visuals with an intriguing mystery. At it’s worst, Hemlock Grove becomes extremely muddled, juggling confounding writing and some truly awful acting. Or is it the other way around? Review: C-, because it fails to be greater than the sum of it’s parts.
Oh, Futurama. You’ve had a chaotic lifespan. From erratic scheduling on Fox, to a stunning return to television four years after being cancelled (on a different network at that), you’ve been up and down and all around. But your time has come. Once again, Futurama has been cancelled, but who knows. As producers currently explore their options, only time will tell if we see Fry et al. bounding across the universe, one way or another. Review: B, because it’s road has been rocky, but it’s been as tasty as rocky road. Ice cream. Shut up, it works.
Microsoft’s Announcement, Nintendo’s Denouncement
With the next generation of video games finally starting to show its beautiful face, Microsoft has announced it will reveal the next Xbox on May 21. There have recently been rumors floating around proclaiming this ‘next-box’ will require a constant internet connection, always be on and will ship with a focus on an improved Kinect voice/motion sensor, but in a months time we’ll know if these were just hogwash planted by nervous Sony spies. Review: B-, because Sony revealed the PS4’s awesomeness months ago, and Microsoft has been silent as the grave.
Nintendo, on the other hand, deserves a much lower grade due to their recent decision to forsake their traditional press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). E3 is the single largest event in the video game history, headlined by “The Big 3,” which are Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. For years, the three have put together extravagant shows to wow industry insiders and journalists with demonstrations of the future of gaming. However, Nintendo has succeeded its place at E3 this year in order to focus on smaller, software based demonstrations. In other words, putting the Wii U up against the PS4 and Xbox 720 is like pitting Michael Cera against Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson in their prime. Instead of ramping up their guns and stepping up to the competition, Nintendo is backing away for the first time in over a decade. Review: D, because their down and out, but not out cold.
The God of Thunder Rumbles Again
It seems like I say this every other article: superhero movies are going nowhere but up. We’re being treated with better and better representations of Marvel and DC’s best, and the spoiling has only begun. While Man of Steel will be the cream of the crop, it looks like Thor: The Dark World is shaping up quite nicely. To contextualize that opinion, you should know that I hated the first Thor. I thought it was the epitome of mediocrity, cashing in on a Marvel property the same way the atrocious Green Lantern did with DC. Nevertheless, my comic-book heart still rumbles on, and the trailer released this week for Thor‘s sequel looks like it might actually be something worth watching. Rating: B+, because Joss Whedon raised the bar so obviously high, it looks like the rest are being forced to follow suit.
Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon Levitt Wanted for Guys and Dolls
Guys and Dolls is a musical made famous by Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando in the 50’s, and with the Hollywood musical obsession of late, 20th Century Fox is looking to bring it back. Perhaps too caught up in their own excitement, they announced this week that their dreams leads are Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon Levitt. I’ve got nothing against either, but I cannot figure out how these two actors got to the top of the list for a musical like Guys and Dolls. Although it’s strange, if both actors agree it would definitely ramp up the excitement of every heterosexual woman on the planet. After all, Tatum is a talented, contemporary
stripper dancer, and Levitt is a charming, old-school prancer. I honestly don’t know what to make of this beyond that, so you’re welcome, ladies. Review: …B?
OKAY, fine, Joseph Gordon Levitt strips too…