Showing posts from September, 2016

FilmMuse: Justin Tipping's "Kicks"

With Straight Outta Compton being released in 2015 to blockbuster box office numbers and critical acclaim, perhaps there is a renewed interest in the "hood drama" genre that saw such sustained popularity in the 90s as films such as Menace II Society, Boyz n the Hood and Juice reached classic status amid cable and home video ubiquity. With a clever new west coast tale, Justin Tipping's directorial debut Kicks offers a few nuggets to instantly hook hip-hop die hards: a plot revolving around a stolen pair of Air Jordan I sneakers and a strong supporting role from the son of the Notorious BIG (Christopher Jordan Wallace).

Tipping screens quotes from a vintage rap verse as Kicks moves on from each chapter, as the Napoleon-complex suffering Brandon from "Eastbay" Richmond, California (Jahking Guillory) embarks on a journey to first obtain the coveted black and red Jordans, before being jumped by bullies and then having them stolen, and finally his reckless quest to g…

FilmMuse: Oliver Stone's "Snowden"

Tucked in the woods away from cyberspace and cell phone towers, Edward Snowden is hunting game with his CIA mentor O'Brian, as they aim and blast the birds into a bloody mess in the field. Back in the subterranean confines of the NSA, Snowden watches on a monitor as drones soar over a remote location in the middle east and blast away a jeep. As a prodigal programmer, the government has transformed Snowden's tech savvy into a deadly new weapon in the "war of terror." Unlike many of his peers, however, Snowden begins to question the authority and develop a sense of remorse.

Oliver Stone's latest film trapezes the line between biography and '70s paranoia thriller with one of his best efforts in years anchored by the stealth performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Currently exiled in Moscow, accused of espionage by the US government for his leaking of documents that blew the lid off the intelligence agencies unwarranted surveillance of American citizens, Snowden'…

SoundCheck: Frank Ocean's "Blond"

The big question surrounding the new Frank Ocean album was: "When?"

When would this album be released?

And eventually, with a hint of exclusivity, it "premiered" on Apple Music. If you didn't belong to that country club, you'd have to wait with the rest of the masses for it to be on Spotify. Not to peg Ocean, as Drake and other artists have also released their albums first on Apple Music, or in the case of Kanye West, TIDAL.

The supposed democratization of music brought upon by streaming services has also lead to shortages and surpluses in the market. We can't stream De La Soul is Dead and The Chronic is not available on Spotify.

Blond opens with the muffled tip-toe bass lines of "Nikes," which could be the alt response to "Jumpman."
At first I thought I had accessed some altered version of the album as Ocean's vocals are given the chipmunk effect, until three minutes into the song where Ocean breaks into his usual vulnerable hum.…