Robot Chicken (Season 1) (2005)

Consisting of 10-minute episodes that parody pop culture, this is a great time for any entertainment fans who also happen to be smart-asses, and I mean that as a compliment. It’s snarky without being off-putting or cruel, and its visual style is lovingly detailed and beautiful to look at. The voice work is a veritable…

Curse of Chucky (2013)

A stunningly atmospheric addition to the long-running slasher series, this fixth sequel to the 1988 classic original is a consistently surprising and effective entry. Combining elements of the current horror trend of reboots and sequels, the movie cleverly walks the line between expectations of both subgenres, while also including shout-outs to each of its predecessors…

The Office (Season 1) (2005)

A fantastic debut for NBC’s American adaptation of the British Ricky Gervais classic sitcom, this first season is only six episodes long, but each episode quickly and masterfully establishes dynamics and personalities. It makes for a smooth ride from beginning to end, with sharp writing and hilarious acting reaching heights early and consistently. None of…

Piranha (1978)

Ostensibly a semi-serious satire of 1975’s “Jaws,” Joe Dante’s “Piranha” is a movie that I want to enjoy more than I actually do. I love its infamous artwork and its disreputable cinema vibe, but the actual movie is, well, rather boring. There’s some entertaining banter between leads Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies, and a nifty…

Family Guy (Season 11) (2012-13)

This eleventh (!) season of Seth MacFarlane’s confrontational sitcom is more understated than the previous ones, and it’s a welcome respite from some of the show’s more sharp edges. The pettiness and cruelty that’s defined many of the previous seasons is muted and there’s more for Meg to do than usual, which is a nice…

Beyonce – BEYONCE (2013)

Appearing overnight on iTunes with no advance notice or advertisement, this surprise studio album by the superstar performer is the kind of reinvigorating departure that can redefine a career. From beginning to end, Beyonce experiments with different vocal and musical styles that show a new, exciting side to the performer, and while the album has…

21 Jump Street (2012)

An unexpected delight. “21 Jump Street” is far better than it has any right to be. While on the one hand it’s clearly a crass cash grab, it nevertheless has more in common with 1996’s “Scream” than it does any reboots that have arrived in the last decade or so: Like “Scream,” “21 Jump Street”…

Jen Gloeckner – VINE (2017)

Somehow both intense and relaxed, Jen Gloeckner’s first album in seven years is a trippy kaleidoscope of styles and influences: Like something out of Twin Peaks by way of This Mortal Coil (along with early-2000s Bjork-ish minimalism, Indigenous traditionalism and retro-80s synths), “VINE” weaves a tapestry of lush, sensuous and thrillingly impenetrable sounds that interact…

Perfume Genius – No Shape (2017)

A staggering, satisfying foray into the singular universe of Perfume Genius, this latest album is even better than its predecessor, 2014’s “Too Bright.” Here, the performer embraces progress and rejects ambiguity, revelling in moving forward both with his lyrics and the composition of his music. A particular highlight is the hypnotic “Die 4 You,” which…

Power Rangers (2017)

Who could have imagined that this big-budget reboot of the beloved 1993 Saban television show would be such a terrific cinematic experience from beginning to end? The casting is pitch-perfect, made up of diverse actors sharing notable online chemistry, while the structure of the movie is thrillingly more akin to “The Breakfast Club” than, say,…

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, by James Finn Garner (1994) (2016 edition)

An absolutely hilarious pleasure from beginning to end, this short anthology (made up of short versions of fairy tales deliberately morphed into overly politically correct, non-discriminatory language) is somehow both an indictment of aggressive language policing and a tribute to the power of fairy tales, all at once. The 2016 edition adds an extra tale…

22 Jump Street (2014)

An entirely worthy sequel to the 2012 surprise sblockbuster, “22 Jump Street” manages to deconstruct the financial motivations behind big-budget sequels while also being hilarious and entirely worthy in its own right. It’s a delicate balancing act, but the entire production is on point: From the acting to the writing to the direction, this is…