Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
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The movie to see

Isle Of Dogs

Isle Of Dogs may strand mangy, sickly pooches on a floating garbage dump, even putting their furry hides in danger for the sake of a dark joke or two, but the apparent cruelty masks a deeper affection—a belief in the pure, undying loyalty of the species, around which this deceptively dog-averse filmmaker builds a fable about the disenfranchised. (Read the title faster if you doubt his true feelings.) But no stance on man’s best friend is necessary to get wrapped up in the endless wizardry of Isle Of Dogs, a gag machine with a characteristic tinge of melancholy that may well usurp [Wes] Anderson’s last movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, as his greatest visual and technical marvel—a movie whose every image is a miniature triumph of imagination and execution.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The podcast to listen to

The Boring Talks, “Book Pricing Algorithms

“The new BBC podcast The Boring Talks gets over the gimmick of its title pretty quickly—just a light Jedi mind trick to make you look—and jumps immediately into the minutiae. The premise is simple: One person explains something that they find interesting, but which might seem boring on the surface. The format was honed at an annual Boring Conference, and though the podcast only dropped its first episode this January, it feels fully developed and energetically yet succinctly produced. In episode two, “Book Pricing Algorithms,” Tracy King… talks about working on that project and finding copies of their book in the mysterious ‘new and used’ section of Amazon for several times the selling price.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

The video game to play

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

“Just as the first game did with its undertones of loss, depression, and acceptance, the sequel spins a lighthearted tale about unity and the worthwhile struggle for peace, while also finding room for elemental sprites and a googly-eyed, Welsh-accented deity who flings boogers to solve problems. And while it most certainly has a simplistic way of looking at the world, when there’s so much cynicism surrounding us in our everyday, it makes entertainment this boldly, earnestly optimistic all the more revitalizing.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The show to watch


“The ex-Marine turned hired gun turned aspiring actor that Hader plays could also have sprung from a pitch session at his old Saturday Night Live gig. In the lead-up to the premiere, the Documentary Now! co-creator has been very forthcoming about how the tremendous anxiety he experienced in his sketch-show days informed the new series, which he co-created with Alec Berg. His stewardship of the project—he stars in Barry in addition to sharing writing, producing, and directing duties—also suggests that the killer second act he’s cooked up for his stand-in has been on Hader’s mind for some time. That investment is key to the success of the show. Barry has an outstanding supporting cast, including Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, and Paula Newsome, but the show hinges on its lead actor’s performance. After years of honing his dramatic chops, Hader adroitly leads a talented ensemble through the series’ daunting mix of tones and genres.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The book to read


Gregory Alan Thornbury, Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

“[Larry Norman] was ‘the Forrest Gump of evangelical Christianity’ and is the subject of Gregory Alan Thornbury’s fantastic new biography, Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music? The book, titled after one of Norman’s best-known songs, draws extensively on Norman’s personal archives, where he was thoughtful and introspective about his beliefs, work, and doubts, giving Thornbury’s work a level of insight and intimacy that’s all too rare among recently published artist biographies. Why Should The Devil also serves as a primer on Christian rock, a critical analysis of the genre, and a compact history of Christianity in the latter half of last century, a period where Jesus went from a counterculture hero to all outcasts to a cynically deployed tool of the religious right.”
Read the rest of our review here.


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