Review: Katy Perry, “PRISM”

PRISM

Even though “Roar” is one of the biggest pop hits of the fall so far, and her new album seems ripe for potential follow-up smashes, Katy Perry’s PRISM hasn’t sparked much in the way of conversation. The record largely reflects the complacency of superstardom – Perry never transcends the power-pop brilliance of “Teenage Dream” or even the candy-coated delight of “California Gurls.” She seems content to insert herself into styles that mainstream radio currently favors (light hip-hop, disco, anthemic “inspiration”) without injecting the personality and flavor that made her last album Teenage Dream consistently entertaining despite its formulaic origins.

I reviewed PRISM for The Eagle‘s latest Album Reviews Brew. Perhaps Lady Gaga’s upcoming album will provide music that inspires discussion, rather than the passively inviting material here. Check out my review here.

The M&M Report, Episode 7: Injustices Unforgiven

Ejiofor

Click the link for this week’s episode.

This week on The M&M Report, Devin and I had lots to say about the remarkable new movie 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. We discussed the movie’s approach to historically tricky subject matter, the searing performances and McQueen’s impressive command of visual storytelling. We both think this movie is more than worth seeing – it just might be essential.

(Note: we discussed the movie in general terms before getting into spoilers. If you’re on the fence about seeing this movie, listen to the first few minutes for our verdict.)

At the end, we simply couldn’t resist making room for a new feature: Devin Doesn’t Like Things. This week, Devin explains his true feelings about Halloween. Beware: he’s not a fan.

We’ve got lots of exciting things on the way in the next few weeks, including a return to music and a parade of guest stars certain to keep things interesting. We hope you’ll stick around!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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The M&M Report, Episode 6: We’ve Got a Great Show, So Stick Around!

Mornin Miami

Here’s the link for Episode 6.

This week on The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I dug into the first three episodes of Saturday Night Live Season 39 (THIRTY-NINE!), musing on everything from the show’s diversity issues to its spot-on Weekend Update, great and not-so-great sketches and even a defense of Miley Cyrus! Along the way, Devin directed an epic rant at TV critic Ryan McGee, I professed my undying love for Cecily Strong and neither of us could distinguish between the six new cast members.

(SNL returns next Saturday night with host Edward Norton and Janelle Monae. Make sure to tune in the following week as well – Kerry Washington will host and Eminem will perform.)

We followed up our SNL talk with a check-in on the fall season. We offered praise to lots of shows with Wife in the title, Mark offered some reservations about this season of Parenthood, and we both agreed that 24 hours per day simply isn’t enough to catch up on all of the TV we want to watch.

Comments? Questions? Show ideas? Random thoughts on life? Comment and let us know! Enjoy this week’s show.

Click through for the time breakdown.

00:00 – 19:30 — Saturday Night Live
19:30 – 44:36 — Fall TV: The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Trophy Wife, New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, Parenthood

Three More Thoughts on Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz”

Miley

Miley Cyrus has been in the news quite a bit lately, but one of the least talked-about aspects of the Miley of it all is the music. I gave Miley’s new album “Bangerz” a mixed review in The Eagle’s latest Album Reviews Brew.

“In case anyone lived under a rock for the past few months, Miley Cyrus dominated the pop culture conversation with foam fingers, giant teddy bears, gratuitous nudity and problematic associations with hip-hop culture. “Bangerz,” her first album to fully abandon all traces of her Hannah Montana origins, is neither a game-changing triumph nor an outright disaster. Instead, it lands somewhere in the middle: several songs are excellent with strong vocal performances, but many of the raunchier hip-hop-flavored tracks fall flat.”

Read the rest of my review here. Click through for three more thoughts!

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“Gravity”: Untethered, Unbound, Unbelievable

Gravity

Some movies demand to be seen. Gravity demands to be experienced, in 3D, on the widest possible screen, surrounded by the most excitable people you can find. During its slim 88-minute running time, Gravity conjures the physical and emotional weight of space flight and zero-gravity navigation with more skill, grace and beauty than any movie I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the few movies in which George Clooney’s star magnetism gets outshined, not only by his co-star, the luminous Sandra Bullock, but by the sheer force of the spectacle surrounding the two leads. Gravity takes stunning advantage of the scope that the big screen affords and the small screen lacks – anyone who says that television is better at everything than movies need only be reminded that no one does outsized spectacle like Hollywood.

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The M&M Report, Episode 5: M&M at the Movies

Captain Phillips

What’s going on at the movies? Somali pirates, slave owners, folk singers, Wall Street tycoons and much more. Devin Mitchell and I stepped away from the small screen to go bigger this week. (Click the link to hear this week’s episode.)

First, we saw Captain Phillips together and talked about this movie’s uncompromising thrills and powerful performances. (Spoiler alert: we talk in detail about plot points and the ending in particular. Of course, the movie is based on real events, so nothing is really a spoiler, but if you prefer to know nothing going in, skip this segment.)

After that, I told Devin that he probably shouldn’t see The Fifth Estate, which comes out next Friday.

We closed with a Fall Movie Preview, in which we talked about upcoming movies, got really excited about great actors and found out that Devin doesn’t like fantasy and Mark doesn’t like excessive Oscar hype.

Enjoy the podcast!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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The M&M Report Episode 4: Pusher Love Podcast

JT

It’s time for another episode of The M&M Report, and this is a very special edition for several reasons.

First, we’re a little later than usual. Better late than never, as they say!

Second, we welcomed our first guest this week! My friend Matt Waskiewicz joined me to talk Breaking Bad while Devin plugged his ears and avoided spoilers like the plague. (Just kidding. He left the room.)

Third, we branched out from TV this week with a discussion of some great pop music. Next week: the movies! The week after that: the world!

Before Matt joined me, Devin and I talked about the new season of Parks and Recreation and debated the merits of this year’s barrage of Justin Timberlake action.

Thanks for listening! For further reading, check out my blog post on Justin Timberlake and this New York Times profile.

0:00 – 8:25 / Parks and Recreation
8:25 – 28:55 / Justin Timberlake
28:55 – 48:40 / Breaking Bad