Slow Burn, “There There”
“Slate’s breakout political history podcast is back for a second season, this time tackling the Clinton impeachment saga blow by blow. The sexual relationship between Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky came to light a generation after Watergate assumed an air of mythology, forcing Americans to again confront the prospect of ousting a sitting president. But while Bill’s shameless libido encapsulates his impeachment, fellatio is but a single charge upon which his adversaries tried to nail him, as this episode demonstrates.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.
“Dead Cells isn’t the first game to soften some of this extremely specific subgenre’s harder strictures, but it is the most eager to please out of any of them. Although it was just released for most systems, the game has been a phenomenon since last year, when it first came out in early access on PC. It proves again the glories of a good color palette in a game, drawing its sewers in turgid browns and booger-greens and its ramparts in purple, orange, and white. Its action, too, is a tactile thrill, inviting you to bash through doors and kick through the floor like Iron Man on a bender.”
Read the rest of our thoughts on Dead Cells here.
“[Regina] Hall’s superb, deeply felt performance keeps the movie grounded, allowing the supporting cast to provide hilarious liftoff at regular intervals. Haley Lu Richardson, as the eternally optimistic, almost psychotically irrepressible Maci, and Shayna McHayle (a.k.a. the rapper Junglepussy), as bluntly blasé Danyelle, are standouts. But everyone gets an opportunity to shine. Even minor characters like Lisa’s deeply depressed husband (Lawrence Varnado), who can barely acknowledge the impending end of their marriage, and harmless horndog Jay (John Elvis), who works at nearby Sounds Town and desperately wants to use his in-store demo setup as a smooth seduction tool, make strong impressions with minimal screen time.”
Read the rest of our review here.
Midori Takada & Lafawndah, Le Renard Bleu
“‘Le Renard Bleu’ is based on a Japanese and Senegalese folk creature, and [percussionist Midori] Takada gamefully matches rhythmic patterns from the two countries. They keep their distance at first, swirling around one another like twin eddies, but then their phases begin to match and eventually flow together, and the complexity of their babbling is made serene by the tone of Takada’s mallets. Lafawndah, who composed the piece with Takada, clips and stretches her syllables to match the pulse, making this tightly conceived and elegantly performed piece of music the easiest avant-garde listening you’re likely to encounter this year.”
Read our reviews of the week’s other notable releases here.
Castle Rock, “The Queen”
“‘The Queen’ is the most affecting, effective episode of Castle Rock’s first season so far, and a potent antidote to the missteps of the previous episode, ‘Filter.’ Where ‘Filter’ plunges into exposition and a would-be harrowing sequence of previously unimagined terror, ‘The Queen’ does something simpler, and far more complex. It walks us through scenes and conversations we’ve already seen, but shows them as Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek) experiences them, not as they unfold for everyone else.”
Get caught up on our Castle Rock recaps here.