Wyatt Cenac in Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas
Photo: Eric Liebowitz (HBO)

The album to listen to

Rival Consoles, Persona

“Like Bergman’s film, Persona [makes] masterful use of tension and juxtaposition: the huge, pulsating synth echoes that keep intruding on opener ‘Unfolding’; the way the muted techno beats on the title track are repeatedly overtaken by frantic arpeggiation and washes of staticky dissonance; the shimmery, synthesized female voices of ‘Sun’s Abandon’ bleeding into a martial drumbeat and just slightly out-of-tune brass tones. Persona is uneasy listening, with heavier rhythms and more fragmented melodies than [Ryan Lee] West deployed on previous works like Howl and Night Melody, yet it’s equally engrossing.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The movie to watch

Zama

“Nearly a decade has elapsed since Argentine writer-director Lucrecia Martel made a film—the bewildering thriller-cum-character-study The Headless Woman—and she spent much of the interim just trying to get this offbeat period piece off the ground; 16 production companies from all over the world ended up chipping in, resulting in a roll call of producers that includes Pedro Almodóvar, Danny Glover, and Gael García Bernal. The effort shows, in the right way: Why shouldn’t a film about thwarted goals possess the phantom impression of its own setbacks and delays? [...] In its own befuddling, bone-dry way, this is a comedy—one that takes fiendish pleasure in puncturing the pomp and circumstance of a cog in the empire-building machine.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The show to watch

Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas

“[It has] an almost solemn mission, but Problem Areas is full of the self-possessed humor Wyatt Cenac’s honed in his stand-up act and time in front of a Comedy Central green screen… Watching the show can feel like you’re sitting down for a chat with your informed and similarly left-leaning friend—that is, if your charismatic friend had a camera crew, a 10-episode order from HBO, and three Emmys for outstanding writing on a variety show. But Cenac’s not interested in preaching to the choir or rehashing liberal talking points. The loose structure of the show—there’s no real monologue, but there are distinct segments and cheeky, animated asides—mirrors Cenac’s desire to map out a blueprint for change. He knows this means there will be a few, if not many, wrong turns and dead ends, but he’s not afraid to admit he doesn’t have all the answers.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The comic to read

Deathstroke #30

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This newest issue leans hard into continuity. It’s not necessary to have read the previous issues to dive in to Deathstroke #30, which is a good thing, since it’s kicking off a six issue miniseries within a series starring the titular main character and one of his most famous adversaries. “Deathstroke Vs. Batman” is poised to offer major changes both to Slade Wilson and his family, but also to Batman and his. Fatherhood and identity have always played majors role in both characters’ stories, and Priest is pushing those themes to new lengths. Not only are Batman and Deathstroke set opposite one another, but their sons are, too. There’s some not-so-serious meta-commentary about the difference between the two men, and why it is that they end up at loggerheads so frequently.
Read the rest of our review here.