The M&M Report: “Win It All” and the State of the Movie Industry

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Win It All is the latest gripping drama from writer-director Joe Swanberg and writer-star Jake Johnson; you can stream it on Netflix now. It’s good.

Meanwhile, what does the recent explosion of content coming from streaming services mean for more traditional creators and distributors of pop culture? We don’t have all the answers, but we make a few guesses.

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“Her”: Future Awe

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In writer-director Spike Jonze’s Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays the man some of us might turn out to be in twenty or thirty years. Burdened by the constant bombardment of “connection” and “engagement,” Theodore Twombley is perpetually alone, at least in his own mind. Even though he knows his life is stuck in neutral, he feels too threatened by his own sorrows to make any meaningful strides in the right direction. But technology hasn’t hollowed him out. In fact, Theodore radiates empathy and compassion, even when he doesn’t know where or how to direct it.

That’s the contradiction at the heart of this marvelous film, a richly imagined exploration of the nature of relationships and a study in the futility of rejecting technological progress. Her offers a vision of the future that’s both radically different from our world and very much the same. Theodore’s central quandary – is my relationship with an artificially intelligent operating system “real”? – is just a logical extension of our own uncertainty about knowing and connecting with others. As we place our trust in manmade machines that take on lives of their own, we’re simply transferring the central questions of human existence into a more palatable outlet. In the not-so-distant future of Her, those central questions remain the same, even though they’ve evolved on the surface.

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Three More Thoughts on Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz”

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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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