Child’s Play 3 (1991)

Although released shortly after 1990’s “Child’s Play 2,” this second sequel to the original smash has a different feel than its predecessors, which works in favor of the narrative as it’s set many years following the events of the first sequel. Here we find a teenaged Andy (this time played by Justin Whalin instead of…

Family Guy (Season 10) (2011-12)

It’s only fair to admit that, after watching several seasons of Seth MacFarlane’s go-for-broke, nothing-off-limits sitcom, all the seasons (other than the original three) are starting to blend together. My opinion of the show’s revival remains the same, which is that it’s a mixed bag, with more hits than misses. The show does its best…

Jain – Zanaka (2015)

The French / African singer’s debut album is unlike anything you’ve heard before. From the opening songs of “Come” to “Mr. Johnson” to the addictive “Makeba,” Jain has crafted a debut album not at all dissimilar to Nelly Furtado’s 2000 debut “Whoa Nelly.” It’s a thrilling blend of many genres primarily organized around African tribal…

Nelly Furtado – Whoa, Nelly! (2000)

After a series of eclectic studio albums that go anywhere from distinctive (2003’s Folklore”) to mainstream (2006’s “Loose”), it’s peculiar to return to Nelly Furtado’s debut album. Here, Furtado is clearly relishing the opportunity to record a studio album and has a variety of inspiration to draw upon, all of twhich are featured here: Hip-hop,…

Lorde – Melodrama (2017)

I hate to say it but I was disappointed by Lorde’s follow-up to 2013’s “Pure Heroine.” The then-seventeen-year-old New Zealander delivered an arresting debut album with the aforementioned work, which captures the thoughts of a precocious, preternaturally mature teenager with a clear focus. Here however, the transition from adolescence to womanhood is the theme, and…

3001: The Final Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke (1997)

Although Arthur C. Clarke’s final entry in the Odyssey series starts off incredibly strong – with genuinely suprising plot points and a disorienting but fascinating updating of technology – it doesn’t take long for it to slowly deflate and end on a whimper. Very little of the awe and inspiration that defined the classic original…

Perfume Genius – Too Bright (2014)

A strange, hypnotic combination of lush melodies and surreal atmosphere, this glorious album by Perfume Genius is as unique as the compelling performer himself. It’s like putting the aggressive, defiant flamboyance of Jobriath, the tragic pining of Antony and the Johnsons and the surrealistic, emotion-driven music of This Mortal Coil into a blender, and the…

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Where to start with Luc Besson’s hallucinatory, adolescent, sci-fi soap opera? First, the good: The special effects and alien designs are mind-blowing, the kind of cornucopia of inventiveness that inevitably lead to comparisons to similar sci-fi epics like “Avatar” and “Star Wars,” not to mention Besson’s own “The Fifth Element” (which, retroactively, seems to have…

Child’s Play 2 (1990)

A surprisingly effective sequel, “Child’s Play 2” succeeds primarily by focusing on the continuing story of Andy (Alex Vincent), now in a foster home as Chucky (voiced by the always-frightening Brad Dourif) continues to terrorize him. Despite his young age, Vincent handles his returning role with aplomb, registering Andy’s resignation to Chucky’s ongoing quest, which…

Child’s Play (1988)

One of the most effective, inventive and well-crafted slasher movies of the 1980s, the first of the “Child’s Play” series is a solid little shocker. With a crisp 87-minute running time and tight editing, not to mention remarkably committed lead performances by Alex Vincent, Catherine Hicks and Chris Sarandon, Tom Holland delivered an unlikely pop…

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

This early 1990s mainstream comedy has a reputation as something of a crowd pleaser, and to be honest it leaves me a bit mystified. It’s got a plot straight out of a 1980s comedy and an unnecessary 120 minute running length, and most peculiarly it also doesn’t seem to have a musical score, making for…

Family Guy (Season 9) (2010-11)

Another strong season for the ongoing sitcom, which has, at this point, become shocking for its own sake. It doesn’t necessarily distract from a string of strong plotlines and jokes throughout the season, from the terrific two-part opening take on Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” to the finale, an additonal take on the…