CHVRCHES Pitchfork Music Festival 2015

Everyone loves Lauren Mayberry, especially the HAIM sisters. They didn’t perform at the festival but they hung out backstage with Lauren and other musicians all weekend.

The 10th annual Pitchfork Music Festival took place in Union Park, Chicago, the past weekend of July 17th – 19th. Three separate stages hosted over 40 bands during the three day period and a minor rainstorm did little to dampen the mood. Much like Treasure Island, the two main stages didn’t overlap with performances. However, with Pitchfork, a far off stage hosted smaller phenoms including A$AP Ferg, Ariel Pink, The Julie Ruin throughout the long weekend. Friday kicked off with far fewer bands and CHVRCHES basically stole the show along with the hearts and mind of the crowd.

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Rogue Nation keeps the pedal to the metal to deliver exhilarating action, while losing some of its franchise identity.

Basically a much better version of Mission:Impossible 2.

Basically a much better version of Mission:Impossible 2.

‘Ready or not, here I come.’ No, I’m not just quoting the classic song by The Fugees remixed for the M:I5 trailer. I’m saying this because its how the near 20 year old franchise is approaching audiences today, July 31st 2015. With so many action films coming out these days (many of which are quite sub-par), it’s hard to get super excited for another one, nevermind a fifth entry in a franchise. But here’s the thing—the folks behind Mission:Impossible-Rogue Nation know they’re delivering something better than the rest (or most of the rest). After the first ten minutes of Rogue Nation, you’ll realize how much the marketing of the movie has duped you, but in the best way possible. Director Christopher McQuarrie has created a smart action flick so loud and ridiculous that it’s hard to catch your breath. But although Rogue Nation delivers the smarts and the thrills, it doesn’t stick to the formula that has separated (and benefited) the Mission:Impossible franchise from the rest of the spy pack. While no one was saying that the Mission:Impossible franchise was dead, especially after a $209 mil domestic box office take with 2011’s Ghost Protocol, each new installment is met with speculation whether this will be the final outing or not. Rogue Nation all but directly acknowledges this speculation when Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt says, “This may very well be our last mission. Let’s make it count…” Ha! We all know you’ll be back! I’ll put all the speculation to rest—it’s not the final outing. Rogue Nation is as energetic and exhilarating as the franchise has ever been while at the top of its game.

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Appearing tonight at The Warfield

Appearing tonight at The Warfield

Summer is past its halfway point. It’s getting really hot, so if you are looking for a reason to spend your evening indoors, here are a few good ones: [read the whole post]

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Aggy Sonora of Magnetix

Aggy Sonora of Magnetix

When I visited Gonpachi, the restaurant that inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1, I watched as a teenage bus boy, carrying a tub of dirty dishes, tripped on the second floor landing, sending a cascade of water on two well-suited Japanese business men at the bar below. Resulting in a flash and flury of apologies, towels, and more apologies, I waited for something to happen.

In all honesty, I hoped this was the open action sequence to a movie – the bus boy, who would *really* be an bus GIRL would be a high-stakes arms dealer attempting to get far undercover into mob headquarters to take out the mob boss who’d killed her father. Amid the building tension and suspicion, Mr. Mob, realizing his restaurant would now be the scene for said revenge, The 5, 6, 7, 8’s would loudly tear into: “I’m Blue.” Brilliantly choreographed knife and fist fights (imagine Kill Bill meets The Raid) between our starring underdog crime fighter lady and the mob’s henchmen would ensue.  And above the nash of fists, faces, and katana swords and the interlude of “Bomb the Twist”, John Waters would quietly take the open seat next to me:  “Soooo, hmm, yakitori?” he would ask calmly, coyly peeking at me through delighted eyes.

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Irrational movie goer: Watch Woody Allen contemplate the meaning of life. Again.

Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) and Jill (Emma Stone) overhear a conversation that will change both their lives.

Your interest in seeing Irrational Man, Woody Allen’s newest film, will largely depend on your level of interest in existential philosophy. Allen does give us fair warning as to what he’s up to, though; his chosen title shares the same name as William Barrett’s seminal 1958 book Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy, an introduction to the philosophy’s basic concepts and major thinkers. So if you were on the edge of your seat during your Philosophy 101 days, then this film’s for you; if not, then you might want to skip this class – er, film.

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Film Review: Southpaw

by Chad Liffmann on July 24, 2015

Southpaw throws a flurry of clichéd punches

Melodrama make Jake —ANGRY!

Melodrama make Jake —ANGRY!

Southpaw was not what I expected. I believed and hoped that I was walking into a Rocky type fable, or maybe a modern day Raging Bull. There have been a few strong entries into the sport fighting genre in recent years, including Rocky Balboa (2006), Warrior (2011), and hopefully the upcoming Creed (2015). Sure, there are twice as many sub-par entries between the aforementioned titles, but with a superb cast headlined by limitless Jake Gyllenhaal and under the consistently solid (if not above average) direction of Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), Southpaw seemed destined to be the strong sports drama entry that comes along every handful of years. Alas, it is not. The sure bets going into the final product still shine—Gyllenhaal is superb and Fuqua’s direction is effective—but the story is formulaic and surprisingly, subtly, unnervingly, kinda racist.

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Show Review: ‘Star Trek’ Live in Concert with the SF Symphony

July 18, 2015

No less than 10 bursts of applause, the loudest for the opening title and the reveal of the late Leonard Nimoy. That was the atmosphere at last night’s Star Trek in concert event at the San Francisco Symphony, where the live orchestra provided the score to a screening of J.J. Abrams’ 2009 feature film reboot of the nearly 50 […]

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Film Review: Trainwreck

July 17, 2015
www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_KP9x80Z9Q

Schumer/Apatow collaboration delivers lots of laughs Amy Schumer, who in the past year has become comedy’s reigning it girl, breaks on to the big screen today with Trainwreck, the Judd Apatow-directed film that she both wrote and stars in. The Apatow-Schumer combination is as powerful as comedy fans would hope; the film is filled with […]

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Film Review: Boulevard

July 17, 2015
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCdUubr70i8

Williams makes unimaginative picture worth seeing Boulevard is a tough movie to review, and an even tougher movie to watch, and not because it’s exceptionally good or exceptionally bad; it’s neither of those, but is a decent, if somewhat unoriginal, follow up by director Dito Montiel to his much lauded 2006 picture A Guide To […]

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Preview: Pitchfork Music Festival, 2015

July 15, 2015

This Friday, July 17th, through Sunday, the 19th, 45+ bands will descend upon Chicago’s Union Park to perform at the 10th annual Pitchfork Music Festival. Tickets are officially sold out and that’s hardly a surprise. The stellar line-up consisting of the most iconic underground acts includes Wilco, Run the Jewels, Sleater-Kinney, Jamie XX, Future Islands, […]

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