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Almost 50 years ago to this day — April 2, 1968 — “2001: A Space Odyssey” was released in theaters across the U.S. and Europe. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written by Kubrick and sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke, the sci-fi epic is now widely considered to be one of the best movies of all time, even designated as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” work of art by the Library of Congress in 1991.
To cut to the chase, “Mute”, Netflix’s latest original film, is very very bad. But unlike “Bright” or “The Ridiculous 6” or most of the other original productions that have come out of Netflix Studios in recent years, “Mute” is bad in a way that makes absolutely no sense.
As a film, “Bright” is many things — none of them good. It’s a cliché-ridden buddy cop dramedy. It’s a hacky, thinly written sci-fi/fantasy genre flick. It’s a ham-fisted racial allegory attempting to address the tense relationship between the police force and working class minorities in Los Angeles.
After almost a decade-long hiatus, N.E.R.D — the ground-breaking early 2000s hip-hop group and star-making vehicle for Pharrell Williams — has finally made its eagerly awaited return with full length studio album “NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES.” However, calling this latest work a N.E.R.D album might be a slight misnomer, given that this project embodies the Pharrell Williams solo oeuvre much more so than any of the group’s previous releases. After all, Pharrell’s vocals are front and center in most of the songs, Pharrell spearheaded the production of the project and it is as a direct result of Pharrell’s continued cultural relevance that a panoply of well-known names in current popular music are features on the album’s track list.
In broad strokes, the music video for “Dat Stick” looks and sounds like many others in the rap and hip hop genres. Bottles of Hennessey are emptied. Handguns are brandished. The surroundings are rife with mansions, expensive cars and other assorted iconography of conspicuous consumption. A brassy-voiced rapper spits rapid-fire bars about drugs, “broads” and, most importantly, “not giving a f—k” as a woozily pulsating beat throbs in the background. All are details which wouldn’t seem out of place in a video for a song done by Travis Scott, Migos, Rick Ross or many other popular MCs. But there are some key differences that distinguish the video for “Dat Stick” from its more conventional compatriots in the rap community.
There is something distinctly urban about King Krule’s music. Not “urban” in the pejorative context the word is sometimes used in to describe black culture. Rather, the oeuvre of King Krule is urban in the sense that it often seems to embody the specific sensory experience of city life. On some level, it all comes down to his voice. He sings in a coarse but sonorous growl, which poignantly evokes the simultaneous savagery and majesty of the human tapestry that is the metropolis.
The boys of Netflix’s dramedy “Flaked” are a pretty flakey bunch. Chip (Will Arnett) is a detached and manipulative undercover alcoholic. Chip’s neighbor Dennis (David Sullivan) seems generally confused most of the time and yet proves equally manipulative in his own clumsy way. Cooler (George Basil) is a 40-year-old man-child stoner with the facial hair of a homeless Civil War general who was recently kicked out of an apartment where he had been squatting for the last eight months.
Sometimes subtlety is the enemy of success. If the trailer is any indication, the Edgar Wright-directed film “Baby Driver” clearly understands this concept. Through its veritable A-team of Hollywood superstars, the movie seems intent on using the shock-and-awe strategy to separate American moviegoers from their precious box-office dollars.
A song with Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean and two of the three Migos is a strikingly absurd concept, at least on paper. Calvin Harris, an EDM DJ known primarily for his unrivaled ability to produce anemic dance-pop anthems — although the Chainsmokers might have something to say about that — would seem to be a less than ideal candidate to collaborate with a Southern hip-hop group and the foremost R&B act of the 2010s.
Terrence Malick’s movie “Song to Song” dropped its first trailer Feb. 17. The movie should be delightfully weird at the very least and a 2018 Oscar contender at best thanks to both its ridiculously stacked cast — Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling, Ryan Gosling’s wannabe New York accent and its timely premise — and people singing in a quirky city. If the trailer — a micro-cinematic masterpiece — is any indication, the movie will be fantastic.
Best Actor is not an award given to the best actor in the best film of the year. Objectively speaking, this award is for the best male actor who gives the best performance period, regardless of the quality of the movie.