Reviews

Reviews of music, television, video, theatre and more from Canada and around the world

TV & Video Review: ‘The Runaways’ (Blu-ray)

It’s unfortunate the days of all-girl rock bands appears to have gone the way of vinyl records: out of style. But, for a cool rocker chick to admire, no young woman needed to go further than Joan Jett with her tough attitude, targeted determination and rocking tunes. With The Runaways, Jett was one of the […]

Album Review: The Ramzi Helewa Sound Experiment, ‘Borrowed Time’

Three years after the critically acclaimed Disjointed Songs, Ramzi Helewa is back with another set of challenging songs that are a little rough around the edges and all the more fun for it. Opening mind freak “Part 1” sounds like a long-lost Ween track, while “Go South” is pure Helewa featuring off-key harmonies, creaky guitar […]

Album Review: Marcus Vaughn, ‘Ceiling Noise’

It’s been well documented that singer/songwriter Marcus Vaughn recorded his debut album in his apartment bedroom. So, it’s a huge surprise that Ceiling Noise is such a polished acoustic album. Every song is thoughtfully crafted, focusing around Vaughn’s folks-y pop melodies while dense electronic sounds drift in and out of your auditory landscape. Really, this […]

TV & Video Review: ‘Hung’ (Season One) (Blu-ray)

Thomas Jane’s actor’s resume includes roles as a vigilante (The Punisher), gumshoe detective (Give ’em Hell, Malone), town sheriff (The Tripper), shark wrangler (Deep Blue Sea) and futuristic gunslinger (Mutant Chronicles), but last year he added the ultimately masculine male gigolo to his list of pretend occupations. Ray Drecker (Jane) is a down-on-his-luck high school […]
Popjournalism

Movie Review: ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’

Nicolas Cage is best known for his tortured looks and serious demeanour (excluding more recent pictures) and Jay Baruchel is well known for his deadpan deliveries in dark comedies. But in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, both actors appear to have decided to just have fun in the Disney live-action fantasy. Dave (Baruchel) is just an average […]

TV & Video Review: ‘Greenberg’ (DVD)

Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale was a smart and touching look at a family struggling to deal with separation and change in the 1980s. Greenberg is about one man’s efforts to reacquaint himself into a world he left about a decade earlier. Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), single, fortyish and at a crossroads in […]

TV & Video Review: ‘Chloe’ (DVD)

Chloe is sexy, mysterious and thrilling; but the conclusion is a disappointment. When Catherine (Julianne Moore), a successful doctor, begins to question her husband David’s (Liam Neeson) fidelity, she sets out to resolve her suspicions with the help of an alluring young woman, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried). Soon caught in a web of sexual desire, Catherine […]

TV & Video Review: ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (DVD)

The Swedish film industry is truly beginning to make waves; last year’s critical smash was Let the Right One In and this year they’ve gotten an early start with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Facing prison time for slander, discredited journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is hired by a reclusive industrialist for one last […]

Album Review: B.D. Gottfried, ‘The Warden’s Picnic’

B.D. Gottfried’s fifth release is still offering up the same kind of pretentious lyricism that littered 2008’s Element of The Left. The Warden’s Picnic is focused on “freedom” — as in what does it mean in our society and what we would do to attain our individual freedoms. Lyrics aside, what surprised me was how […]

Album Review: Sheli Stevens, ‘Come Home’

Pop music in 2010 is represented by seas of faceless personalities with loud heavy beats and layers of auto-tuned vocals. Thankfully, Sheli Stevens’ debut is a reminder of a time when pop music was created by hopeful strums on an acoustic guitar. Come Home is 11 tracks of precise, lush arrangements beautifully produced by Eric […]
Popjournalism

Movie Review: ‘Despicable Me’

The purpose of a trailer is to highlight the main selling point of a movie, hopefully without revealing too much of the plot. Those of you that have seen the trailer for Despicable Me probably recall a little girl screaming, “It’s so fluffy!” or asking, “Does this count as annoying?” You should note the star […]

Album Review: Celleste, ‘Ready to Fly’

The best description of Celleste’s debut is right on her bio page: “Modern Classic Rock.” Opening with the one-two punch of first single “Real Love,” you’ll get the gist of her sound — a safe mix of radio rock and light bar-blues with straight up verse-chorus arrangements. From here, Ready to Fly unfolds just as […]

Album Review: Melissa Etheridge, ‘Fearless Love’

Melissa Etheridge makes a return to her rock and roll roots with her tenth studio release Fearless Love. Producer John Shanks gives Melissa Etheridge an anthemic sound, full of big melodies, crashing drums and soaring guitar riffs. Fearless Love is a break-up album of sorts, as she split with long-time partner Tammy Lynn Michaels shortly […]
Popjournalism

Movie Review: ‘Love Ranch’

While the story of the first legal brothel in Nevada already sounds like an intriguing tale, Love Ranch is somewhat unnecessarily made more enticing by a fictional love triangle that ends in murder. Grace and Charlie Bontempo (Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci) are a husband/wife team who own and run one of Nevada’s first legalized […]

New on DVD: The Crazies

The Crazies marks the return of survivalist horror to the big screen in the vein of zombie and outbreak films such as Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Ogden Marsh is a small town with a law-abiding population of a little more than 1,200. Suddenly overnight, the residents of the once picture-perfect community […]

Ingrid Chavez, A Flutter and Some Words

Ingrid Chavez may not be a household name, but behind the scenes in the late 80’s she inspired two pop icons. Her career began as a spoken word artist in smoky open mic nightclubs where she caught the ear of Prince. So entranced by her poetry, he involved her on 1988’s Lovesexy, then again on […]