Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

5 things to watch, listen to, and read this weekend

Photo: Marvel/Disney

The movie to watch

Black Panther

“It’s taken a decade and 18 films, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally produced a superhero movie that feels like it was ripped from the pages of a comic book. Ditching the MCU’s familiar roster of heroes (they don’t get as much as a mention) along with many of the basics of the Marvel film formula, Ryan Coogler has turned Black Panther into a highly personal crowd-pleaser in the vein of his last film, the Rocky sequel Creed, but with all the idiosyncrasies and intrigues afforded by its main setting, the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. There are hiccups in its ambition, but it’s hard not to get swept up in all the technologies, characters, and politics crammed into the movie’s compelling dramatic conflict, which casts the charismatic Michael B. Jordan—the star of Creed and Coogler’s debut, Fruitvale Station—as the most complex villain in the post-Dark Knight cycle of superhero blockbusters.”


Read the rest of our review here.

The album to listen to

Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy

“On his latest, [Will] Toledo recreates his intimate Bandcamp classic Twin Fantasy on his broader canvas. What was merely implied on the 2011 release is now exuberant; the shaky drum machine of ‘Bodys’ is now a relentless pulse, the dirty organ on ‘Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)’ is now crystal-clear but no less heartbreaking. Car Seat Headrest is nothing without rough edges, and there are still plenty of those; Toledo’s fiery energy—especially on epic centerpiece ‘Beach Life-In-Death,’ still a jaw-dropping series of gear shifts—remains intact. With the new Twin Fantasy, Toledo has done the unimaginable: created a reboot that matches its original in tone, passion, and excitement.”
Read the rest of our review here.

The comedy special to watch

Chris Rock: Tamborine

“[Chris] Rock is right that his new set isn’t the sort of material to knock stadium crowds back on their heels, especially in Tamborine’s more personal second half. Not that Rock, still indisputably one of the best stand-ups ever, couldn’t fill an arena at this point, or that an arena crowd wouldn’t come away from Tamborine feeling more or less satisfied. He is still possessed of a finely honed and unerringly potent stage presence, where his material, vocal affect, and physicality enhance each other to irresistible effect.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The book to read

Jonathan Abrams, All The Pieces Matter: The Inside Story Of The Wire


“This is a book written for serious fans of The Wire who will keep up with [Jonathan] Abrams’ constantly shifting topics and huge cast of characters the same way they did with the show. It’s highly unlikely that new episodes of The Wire will ever be made, so All The Pieces Matter is the closest fans can come to learning more about their favorite characters. Many of the actors came up with elaborate backstories and motivations and shared their ideas with Abrams. Other times, the writers give insights into things that were merely implied on the show. […] Like The Wire itself, All The Pieces Matter doesn’t provide much in the way of answers. But the stories Abrams tells deliver the same mix of humor and despair that made The Wire worth writing so much about.”
Read the rest of our review here.

Switchblade Sisters, “Raw


“Hosted by film critic April Wolfe, Switchblade Sisters provides ‘deep cuts on genre flicks from a female perspective,’ inviting female filmmakers and actors to ‘slice and dice’ some of the most beloved horror, exploitation, and sci-fi films. On this episode, celebrated horror actor Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, Body Double, From Beyond) joins Wolfe to look at last year’s coming-of-age horror film Raw. Written and directed by Julia Ducournau, the film garnered critical acclaim and was praised for being ‘distinctive and refreshingly female in its gaze.’ This in turn sets up a distinctive conversation that doesn’t require the presence of a man in the same way a discussion about Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (which Switchblade Sisters has also covered) would. The podcast is filled out nicely with Crampton’s personal anecdotes and thoughts on the use of sex and nudity in horror films.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

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