Critical Hits & Misses #264






For today's musical hit, we have P!nk and "What About Us"




Today's critical rolls: According to some people, the solar eclipse next Monday will bring about the end of the world, or maybe just plain ol' alien abduction. Whatever. If this is your last weekend on Earth, what would you do with it if you had the money to do anything you wanted to?


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Critical Hits & Misses #263





For today's musical hit, here's Kesha and her live performance of "Praying" on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.




Today's critical rolls: Whether you're Gen X or Millenial, have you ever watched an old tv show (American, British, whatever), and suddenly been struck by the blatant misogyny on display that was considered totally normal at the time? What kind of shows/moments?


Critical Writ has a super-duper strict comment policy that specifies a single rule above all others: we reserve the right to ban you for being a terribad citizen of the internet.

Critical Hits & Misses #262






For today's musical hit, we have Lindsey Stirling's "Brave Enough"




Today's critical rolls: Would it have been better for Diana/Wondie to not have a father? Why or why not?


Critical Writ has a super-duper strict comment policy that specifies a single rule above all others: we reserve the right to ban you for being a terribad citizen of the internet.

Critical Hits & Misses #261





For today's musical hit, we have Gorillaz and "Strobelight"



Today's critical rolls: Happy Monday! What went on this past weekend in your world?


Critical Writ has a super-duper strict comment policy that specifies a single rule above all others: we reserve the right to ban you for being a terribad citizen of the internet.

SNL Scraps: A Summer 'Update'


Starting this Thursday, Saturday Night Live will debut a limited edition summer run of Weekend Update, dubbed Weekend Update: Summer Edition. Similar to the Weekend Update Thursday specials that aired during the 2012 election, they will serve as bonus editions of the segment. This has been spurred on from the most recent season's above-average ratings and positive reviews.

Other cast members will most likely appear in guest segments, but it is currently unknown if the episodes will have cold openings. However, the episodes will still be live. To promote this special event, SNL's YouTube channel posted a promotional clip featuring jokes from the past season, along with handpicked Update segments from past decades.


Do you feel like watching classic bits from some of the first few seasons? Check out a surprisingly young Chevy Chase, along with the late Gilda Radner appearing as one of her most famous recurring characters, Ms. Emily Litella.



Alternately, a famous bit that has often been referenced in popular culture, Point/Counterpoint. A simple debate immediately turns ugly, perhaps providing the inspiration for almost anything from Fox News.


Finally, you could take a look at comedy legend Eddy Murphy in his television days or enjoy the comedy stylings of current senator Al Franken. I'm a fan of this, because it shows the different incarnations of SNL throughout history.




Weekend Update: Summer Edition airs live on Thursdays starting on August 10th, 2017. You can find it on NBC.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or Harry Potter books.

Critical Hits & Misses #260






For today's musical hit, we DJ Khaled and "Wild Thoughts"



Today's critical rolls: What books out there do you think seriously need the tv treatment?


Critical Writ has a super-duper strict comment policy that specifies a single rule above all others: we reserve the right to ban you for being a terribad citizen of the internet.

Critical Hits & Misses #259







For today's musical hit, we have Chastity Belt and "Different Now"



Today's critical rolls: What's your top movie of 2017 so far?


Critical Writ has a super-duper strict comment policy that specifies a single rule above all others: we reserve the right to ban you for being a terribad citizen of the internet.

Review: Dunkirk


Christopher Nolan is one of those directors I feel like a lot of people are looking for reasons to hate. Not that there aren't legitimate criticisms of both his art and his politics, but I feel like those get subsumed in some criticisms of his aesthetics. Yeah he tends to be a little emotionally distant and focused on fitting the pieces of his plot together, but that's what I like about him. If I want emotions, I have other places I can go. And honestly, I've been looking forward to his newest movie Dunkirk since the moment I first saw the trailer. That of course doesn't guarantee it's good; I was very much looking forward to Interstellar before I saw it and, well, the less said about that, the better. But Dunkirk looked very much like it would be right up Nolan's peculiar alley.

Centered around the Dunkirk evacuation (quick version: In World War 2, after a defeat in France, the British and French armies were pinned against the ocean by the Nazis, until the British sent a bunch of civilian ships across the channel to help evacuate them), Dunkirk tells three parallel stories. On the beach, a group of British soldiers try desperately to get their way off the beach and back home. On the ocean, a civilian boat crosses the channel to try and help with the evacuation. And finally, in the air, three British planes try to cover and protect the evacuating boats.

Dunkirk is a movie which I can imagine a lot of people disliking. It's loud, it's bleak and it's a brutally intense experience. It's also an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I can see how some people might not like or appreciate it, but I loved it to pieces and odds are it will be on my best of 2017 list. So if you want my quickest possible opinion, you should absolutely see it. Even if you don't like it, you should experience it.

"So uh...I don't think it's going well."
Honestly, the thing that recommends it the most is the beautiful direction. Or, maybe beautiful is the wrong word. Striking, like the rest of the movie. Dunkirk contains some of the most striking images of Christopher Nolan's career, and he finds incredible images in even the smallest moment. Anyone can find brilliant imagery in falling bombs or sinking ships, but one of the most striking images is just watching a group of soldiers turn all in unison as they realize they hear an approaching plane. Every frame of this movie embedded itself in my brain after the first viewing, much less after the second.

It's helped by a quietly intense score, one that sometimes pulses underneath the action, almost a part of the sound design and other times breaks out to sound more like a proper score. It's all very well utilized though, and combines with the incredible actual sound design to create a movie that literally keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire runtime. I know a lot of movies promise that, or something like it, but Dunkirk did it for me, keeping me tense enough from start to finish that I was fairly certain I was going to have a heart attack.

"Guys? Guys! GUYS!"
Of course, one of the more contentious things in this movie is the decision to strip the movie's story, characters and dialogue as far down as they can possible go while still being a movie. It's a bold decision, one that worked very well for me, but that might alienate some viewers. It feels authentic to put anything resembling a larger story on the back burner to let the simple scrabbling for survival take the front seat. I'm mixing my metaphors, aren't I?

Not to say that the actors aren't putting in their work too. Fionn Whitehead and Aneurin Banard are good in mostly silent roles, who manages to emphasize their desperation and fear as they scramble to get off the mole. Mark Rylance is the obvious emotional heart of the movie, while Cillian Murphy is a great human face to the horrors that are going on. Even Kenneth Brannagh and Ralph Finnes do fantastic, understated work. And yes, it must be said; Tom Hardy can act more with the upper half of his face than most people can with their whole body.

Still, I'm not going to claim that the movie is perfect, and it even has flaws outside of things I file under "Things I like, but some people might not." While from paying close attention I understood the timeline of all the events, the movie could make things clearer. It's also a very oddly paced movie. Its purposeful bucking of character arcs can make it hard to tell where you are in the narrative and that can make it feel longer than it is.

"Is that Harry Styles?"
I saw this movie the same day I finally caught Baby Driver, which yes, was a major emotional whiplash, but I think the two movies are more similar than you might think from their trailers. Both of them are far more concerned with action and sound, rather than with story or character. But while Baby Driver has a story and characters, which are underdeveloped and thus make the film weaker, Dunkirk eschews all of that, creating a stark, pared down film, and one of the best films of the summer.
  
Elessar is a 27 year old Alaskan-born, Connecticut-based, cinephile with an obsession with The Room and a god complex. 

Critical Hits & Misses #258

Shaft 2001 Samuel L Jackson's bad mother stare



For today's musical hit, we have Lorde and "The Louvre"



Today's critical rolls: Randomly, I've got war movies on my mind today. Are you a fan? Why or why not? What's your favorite if you are a fan? (movies about actual historical wars, even if the characters may have been fictionalized, like Dunkirk, Apocalypse Now, heck even Forrest Gump, etc).


Critical Writ has a super-duper strict comment policy that specifies a single rule above all others: we reserve the right to ban you for being a terribad citizen of the internet.