The M&M Report: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “The Post”

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West Coast correspondent Erin Vail returns to nerd out with me and Devin over Star Wars: The Last Jedi (0:00-23:20). Then they poke gentle fun at The Post for being, well, not unsubtle (23:20-38:50). Before she leaves, Erin drops a few pop culture recommendations of her own (38:50-end).

For more Erin content, check out her podcast, writing for The Prompt and consistently delightful Twitter feed.

Listen here and subscribe on iTunes and Spotify.

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“Star Wars”: The Franchise Awakens

BB-8I’m not the right age to have Star Wars imprinted on my DNA. I’m too young to have seen the original movies when they stormed theaters from 1977 to 1983, and too old to look past the tonal and narrative flaws of the prequels. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a movie I wasn’t particularly clamoring for and didn’t really need. I like the originals just fine and found the prequels interesting as a fill-in-the-blanks exercise, but the cultlike devotion to the franchise has always eluded my grasp.

That’s not to say I wasn’t swept up in the multimillion dollar hype machine for this decade-in-the-making sequel, the first Star Wars movie produced without the guiding hand of creator George Lucas. I’d have to be made of stone not to feel some enthusiasm the sight of the movie’s young stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega parading across the late-night talk shows or the typically taciturn Harrison Ford grinning from ear to ear at the climax of the teaser trailer. But I watched approvingly from the margins, regarding the entire spectacle as another uncomfortable mix of creativity and commerce. I never fully engaged with the excitement, even as I recognize, respect and appreciate that others did.

(Avoid reading the rest of this review until you’ve seen the movie. I spoil some things.)

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Emmy Nominations 2015: A List with Good and Bad Qualities

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

It’s impossible to have a unified “take” (hot or otherwise) on the Emmy nominations. Anyone who says differently is lying or deluded. This year’s nominations are not only good or only bad, only surprising or only disappointing. Some of the biggest “disappointments” can be read as disappointments only if you expected the Academy would radically alter its modus operandi this year. Some of the biggest pleasant surprises are probably more accidental than intentional. As with every year, the Emmy nominations are a list to be plundered, commented upon, regarded from a safe distance and with a reasonable proportion of salt grains.

With that perspective in mind, here’s a list of my thoughts on the Emmy nominations, in no particular order and with varying degrees of sophistication and seriousness. (And here’s my list from yesterday of wish-list nominees. A few made it to the actual list!)

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The M&M Report, Episode 19: She

Girls

Listen to Episode 19 of The M&M Report here.

This week on The M&M Report, Devin Mitchell and I talked about two pieces of entertainment with female-centric titles: HBO’s Girls and Spike Jonze’s Her. It’s only fitting that we also brought in two women to talk with us!

First, The Eagle news assistant Lindsay Sandoval joined us to discuss the new season of Girls, the strange appeal of Adam Driver and the validity of the controversies surrounding the show.

After that, we welcomed The Eagle student life editor Chloe Johnson to discuss the romantic drama Her, the first film both written and directed by Spike Jonze. All three of us like the movie and recommend you see it instead of choosing from the January trash heap (That Awkward Moment and Labor Day, just to name two).

Next week, we’re happy to finally welcome The Eagle sports editor Eric Saltzman to talk about the Super Bowl, the Olympics and whatever else is on our minds.

In the meantime, make sure to listen to Chloe’s first appearance on Episode 8 of the podcast. Until next week…thanks for listening!

Click through for the time breakdown.

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“Inside Llewyn Davis”: Folk Magic

Inside

Art is all about timing. It’s not enough to be talented or creative or passionate or hungry. As much as art is an expression of an individual, it’s produced to be appreciated by others, and others have fickle tastes. The most successful artists apply their talents to some sort of hunger for the work they’re creating. When the timing isn’t just right, though, artists struggle.

Llewyn Davis struggles. The title character in the Coen Brothers’ beautifully crafted, quietly hopeless Inside Llewyn Davis chases after cats, slums for hitmakers, treks across the country, incurs the wrath of his female companions, and sings, softly and loudly, forcefully and listlessly, energetically and exhaustedly, in the hopes that someone, anyone, will see what he sees in himself: a man with a voice that freezes time. But again and again, he runs up against one of life’s most frustrating truisms: sometimes, you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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