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Articles AND Podcasts

The Look to the Cookie podcast!

includes Fearless Flap with Erin McKelle

Fearless Flap with Erin McKelle!

another amazing podcast from LTC

Big Movies


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Germar's Top 10 - Rappers

So #10 is a Squirrel-girl-esque joke kinda. But otherwise this is kinda my top 10 fav rhymers of all-time though this list is fluid. At one point I might have said Canibus, Wyclef, Lupe Fiasco, Xzhibit, Cube . . . but not todayyyyy. Oh annnnnd Germar actually worked with one of the artists on this list.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Once Upon a Time: season five review

by Melissa Parkin

ABC’s Once Upon a Time initially enticed audiences with its imaginative fairy-tale retellings, interlocking story arcs, immensely impressive green screen animation, and perfectly depicted cast of characters. The sheer magnitude of season one and its success proved its merit among critics and viewers alike. Now, some wonder if Storybrooke’s well of creativity has run dry.

Jack Rowand/ABC
Whether it be centered on difficult circumstances or a blatant villain, a story is only as good as its antagonist. In Once, the antagonist is almost always a physical being, and season five is no exception. But let’s face it; the villains aren’t particularly compelling this time around. Up until recently, Wicked Witch Zelena was locked away in prison and Rumpelstiltskin was trapped in a coma. As for King Arthur, calling him a villain seems like a stretch. He set out with a noble cause for the sake of his kingdom, but has since let that goal distort his sense of morality. All the more proof that the road to Hell sometimes really is paved with good intentions. It’s fair to label him as an anti-hero for the time being, as redemption seems highly possible.

And don’t forget the newest baddie in town. The Savior of Storybrooke just descended into becoming the dreaded Dark One in order to save the town from its sinister magic, and that stark contrast promised viewers a terrifying villain. Seeing how the once cowardly, crippled Rumpelstiltskin turned into the most menacing, cunning, and twisted individual in all of the Enchanted Forest, our minds ran rampant in guessing what this same black magic would do to the valiant Emma Swann. What we got in return doesn’t exactly live up to expectations.

Trying to fill the shoes of the series’ most iconic character is no mean feat, so showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz needed to hit a home-run right off the bat. Robert Carlyle’s depiction can easily be argued as one of the most captivating performances seen on both the small and silver screen in recent memory. His earthly persona of Mr. Gold possesses an otherworldly presence like that of Robert Knepper’s character, Samuel Sullivan, in NBC’s Heroes. His inimitable portrayal of Rumpelstiltskin’s The Dark One echoes essences to that of a twisted, sinister relative of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter, with a dash of the beastly attribute similar to Lord of the Rings’ Gollum. So how did co-creators think that simply having Emma waltz around town, coldly cooing her words while giving us her best Resting B*tch Face would compare? Rumpelstiltskin, in his heyday, carelessly turned an innocent cart driver into a snail and squashed him under his boot. The worst thing Emma’s actually done so far is make a thirteen-year-old boy cry. The scale doesn’t exactly weigh in her favor.

This last two-hour episode provided hope. Maybe we’ll get to see a proper villain at last, as we discover that dear ole Captain Hook is now possessed by the Dark One’s magic as well. The reformed pirate already suffered a mean streak, as he literally listed off to Emma in “Birth,” so we know he’s got the brass to do some pretty horrible things. But will this new development be enough to save OUAT from its recent slipshod storytelling?

It’s time to call out Storybrooke’s sinners. Since season two, the plot has strayed in too many directions, there are too many underdeveloped characters that come and go on a whim. The villains aren’t nearly as complex as the first season’s, and there are repeat offenses of regurgitated ploys. Yes, that’s right. I’m calling out the issue concerning…you guessed it: the continual memory loss. Honestly, the residents of Storybrooke have more amnesia issues than Guy Pearce in Memento.

In addition, the writing frequently lacks the primary element that made this show the success it is. OUAT originally developed profound complexity with all its characters, making everyone from the heroes to the villain all relatable and sympathetic to one degree or another. When the script focuses on the trials of these woven relationships, it strikes gold, like the thrill of Emma and Hook’s first kiss or the heartbreak when Belle forces Rumple over the town’s line. Sadly, those moments are now far and few in comparison to earlier seasons. What happened to the magic in episodes like “Skin Deep” and “Hat Trick”? Most of the relationships have stunted, particularly the pairing of Snow White and Prince Charming. What started as a cute couple has now turned dreadfully dull.

To make matters worse, the showrunners’ meandering plot-lines become all the more apparent just by looking at the general management. Fans of the short-lived Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (OUAT’s spin-off) were thrilled in season four when it was announced that Wonderland’s own Will Scarlet (Michael Socha) would be joining the main cast of characters in Storybrooke. Then, despite being booked as a series regular, Socha rarely ever made an appearance onscreen before being booted all together from the cast come season five. What was the plan? Why tease us with the arrival of a great character, only to ultimately torture us with his quick departure? The show is being pulled in so many different directions, and it’s evident that even the creators aren’t sure what to do with it. Can Once recapture its long lost magic? Only time will tell.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Germar Talks About Germar Talking About Germar

Sssssooooo if you're a long time listener, or reader or friend of the Germar brand you may have noticed that he talks about the same things over and over and over--mostly himself. Yes, that's his favorite subject, but that's not the only reason.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Germar Saw Spectre

Germar recorded this awhile ago; we can only say that it's about the latest James Bond film--enjoy!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Master of None" season one review

by Kerri Harris, Writing Intern

The official description for the new Netflix comedy Master of None is, “Personal and professional life of a 30-year-old actor in New York who has trouble making decisions.” That sounds just like a show that's canceled every couple of years. But Master of None still manages to be groundbreaking. Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, the show draws heavily from Ansari’s stand-up. Like his jokes, it combines humor with sharp social commentary. It’s pretty fricken' great.

Ansari plays the show’s main character, Dev, a struggling actor with no real passion for acting. He’s navigating the world of modern dating along with his wonderfully diverse group of friends, Arnold (Eric Wareheim), Denise (Lena Waithe), and Brian (Kelvin Yu). Arnold is white, large, and a bit strange. Denise is a black lesbian, but much more than a token. Brian is a nice Taiwanese-American who we’re told is popular with the ladies. The whole cast does a fine job, but probably best of the bunch is Rachel (Noel Wells)—Dev’s love interest. The cute, sweet music publicist almost comes off as annoyingly perfect initially. But by the end of the season, she proves to be a well-fleshed-out character who, like Dev, isn’t a hundred percent sure of what she wants out of life.

Many critics have singled out the second and fourth episodes of the show, “Parents” and “Indians on TV” as the best. This is for good reason. “Parents” explores the relationship that Dev and Ryan each have with their immigrant parents. Through flashbacks, it contrasts the privileged lives they are living with the hardship each of their dads faced growing up in their respective countries. When they take their parents out for dinner, they realize from their parents’ stories just how lucky they are to have all the things they do. “Fun is a luxury only your generation really has,” Dev’s father, played charmingly by Ansari’s real-life father, tells him.

“Indians on TV” deals with the lack of good roles for Indian-American actors in Hollywood. Dev blows his chances of getting a part on a show by refusing to do an Indian accent. Then later, he auditions for a show about a group of friends. He finds out that he didn’t get cast because his friend, fellow Indian-American actor Ravi (Ravi Patel), did. Apparently, two people of Indian descent on one show would make it an “Indian show” . . . .

Other stand-outs from the season include: 1) “Ladies and Gentlemen,” which examines the way men and women continue to be treated differently, 2) “Mornings,” which brilliantly documents several months of mornings in Dev and Rachel’s relationship; and the finale, which uses Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar to look at the dissatisfaction that can come with having too many choices.

With its thoughtful exploration of hot-button issues and a social-media-obsessed Millennial culture, Master of None is about as modern a show as it gets. And unlike some other smart shows, it has an optimistic tone and a protagonist, who, while flawed, is fundamentally a good guy. Anyone who’s a fan of Aziz Ansari, or who just wants a good comedy to binge, should definitely check it out on Netflix.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Germar Talks Supergirl

In this episode of [fill in the blank] Germar finally gets back to what he does best--talking about adults in tights on TV. So far, is Supergirl good or bad? What's the demo? Feminist show? Does Superman show up? Should he? Ok, it's 10 minutes, so he doesn't say much.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Indie Music: Jas Patrick "Inky Ovine"

by Germar Derron

This is the type of music that you have to hear live. But don’t for a second believe that the recording is in anyway flawed. It’s just that type of music. You can’t capture this in ones and zeroes. You have to feel it. From the first few bars, I wanted to grab a cold domestic. Then, I could very vividly imagine crescent shaped pearly whites and worn leather tapping. To really appreciate these tracks, I have to see that obligatory vein protruding from Jas Patrick's neck every time he stretches into his upper range.

No, this isn’t something that I’d pick up at wherever they sell CDs now. Itunes? Spotify? Pandora? But it taught me that my ears obviously needed a reprieve from the static thump-thump-thump of today’s digital based artists that dominate the millennial soundscape.

And though this is one complete piece of art, I appreciate the subtle distinctions present in each track. It’s clearly the same dude, but on “Inky Ovine,” the vocals hit highs unheard on any of the other tracks—pitch and polish. Some parts of some songs dwell in sparsity. Others are complex stacks of standard instrumentation. Both work.

The backing vocals in “Harpy” make it a stand out. I’d hoped to hear that throughout the EP. This sound is perfect for that warm choir-like blend or stack, and vocal harmony. But for most of the project, we get just Jas. Also, sometimes the vocals ride a little high or separate from the instruments. And it sounds dry throughout—or maybe a bit cold. It’s not that the vocal is unprocessed, it’s just lacking a certain needed warm round Lexicon drip (ask any super sound engineer).

If I heard any of these tracks on any radio station, I’d call them “okay.” But I feel like if I heard them at any venue, after tossing back a few, I’d tap and nod so hard that I’d be sore for days. So, if you’re thinking about downloading a track: first, buy a couple sixers of Duff; then, call over friends—pretty ones; finally, blast it through those Bose speakers that you paid too much for.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Germar on Tinder and Unfunny Offensive Comics

In this episode of whatever this is Germar talks a lil mo about his Tinderxperience and finally addresses the overwhelming number of comedians who whine about their audiences whining. Well it wouldn't be too long before he upset everyone.

Indie Music: Andy Evans "Miracle"

By Germar Derron

Andy Evans’ “I Wish She Was Mine,” from Miracle, hit home in the sweetest and most painful way. “A sight to see.” “Unforgettable.” “Unpredictable.” “I let it slip away and it f#@ks me up most days.” But you should listen to the song.  And it’s not just the lyrics or content. The feel of the song hits me from the opening acapella. I heard the pain in the vocal and I knew that the song would be about my recent love life. And even though this song sounds very common for the guy and guitar genre, the same can’t be said for the rest of the project.

Of course, a beautiful vocal leads each track, but the instrumental arrangement is always distinct. It’s a blend of genres and periods. Sometimes soulful or bluesy, and sometimes local bar rock grungy. I feel like Evans did this the right way. And if I’m wrong, props to him for making it seem that way. Everyone wants to be original, but you have to master the rules before you can break them. Miracle is a unique mix that works because Evans did his homework and then he did his thang.

“Make It” sounds huge, but not processed. Again, the sound transports me to my favorite tiny dive bar, where I’m wholly submersed in the sound and smell and people. Generally, the album sounds “indie.” I hear noise; it’s not polished. But that’s good; it works. And each instrument maintains its own space; there’s no clutter.

Oddly, I think the title track “Miracle” is the weakest of the bunch, even though it’s probably the most 2015 pop friendly. If you're a fan of the genre, go ahead and put “I Wish She Was Mine” on repeat now. If I still gave star ratings, I’d have to give this one a 3.5 out of 5. But I don’t do that anymore.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"The Gift" reviewed

by Melissa Parkin 

With a new job lined up, married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) relocate from Chicago to Los Angeles with the hopes of finding a fresh start. The pair returns to Simon’s hometown and settles in with the purchase of a swanky house in the Hollywood Hills to start a family. A chance encounter with Simon’s old and rather peculiar high school classmate, Gordo (Joel Edgerton), threatens to spoil their idyllic lifestyle however after he goes out of his way to welcome the happy couple to their new home. Robyn sees past Gordo’s awkwardness and finds a kindred spirit in him. Gordo begins leaving the couple numerous presents and even visits Robyn to lend her a helping hand while Simon’s away at work. Things take an unsettling turn though after Simon voices his concerns, insisting that he and Robyn need to sever ties with the oddball.

Having been introduced to the slew of run-of-the-mill thrillers this year, including The Perfect Guy and The Boy Next Door, it’s impossible not to go into The Gift thinking that it’ll be another regurgitated slop of clichés. Modern-day cinema thrives on gratuitous content, and this genre is no exception with its exploits of sex, nudity, violence, and gore. So imagine my surprise of finding out that The Gift is rated R…only for language. Even in the gilded age of top-notch thrillers like Cape Fear and Fatal Attraction, drastic age-sensitive content was required to effectively tell the story. So how does a film like this one hold up without any of the obvious flash and slash?

Remarkably well.

Joel Edgerton proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with, having written, produced, and starred in his full-length directorial debut. The Gift expertly takes its time peeling away its many layers with brilliant subtlety, unnerving its audiences and urging them to the edge of their seats before leading into a stunning, tailspin climax. Subverting from the clichés and conventions we all know too well from the genre, The Gift is essentially a character-driven chamber piece thriller that relies only on its masterfully crafted storytelling and superb cast.

And what a cast it is.

With antagonists commonly portrayed in thrillers nowadays as always being hyper aggressive and in-your-face, it’s a breath of fresh air to see Edgerton dial down and play the role with perfectly devised restraint and sensitivity, making his character someone that audiences can oddly empathize with. Even in spite of his subtle demeanor, he’s still the film’s scene-stealer, and that’s not an easy feat by any means. Best known for his comedic chops in projects like Horrible Bosses and Arrested Development, Jason Bateman steps outside of his comfort zone and delivers his most versatile and effective performance since 2007’s Juno, proving he’s more than a one-trick pony. And as far as Rebecca Hall is concerned, it continues to amaze me why she isn’t on Hollywood’s A-list. She hasn’t worked with acclaimed directors like Christopher Nolan, Woody Allen, and Ben Affleck just because she’s another pretty face. The character of Robyn, with her struggles of past demons, personal loss, and social insecurities, is undoubtedly complex. It takes a true talent to portray these depths, and with the service of Edgerton’s writing and direction, Hall’s performance appears so natural and effortless. 

The Gift teases us with the conventions of the thriller genre and flips it all on its head at just the right moments. As soon as the audience feels they know where the story is going, it lurches in the other direction. The characters’ personas strip away as the story arc progresses, overturning the stereotypical roles of protective husband, tentative housewife, and creepy outsider into something truly authentic. The cinematography is beautiful, the direction perfectly executed, and the foreboding atmosphere never ceases with slow-burning tension from start to finish. It’s a polished piece that knows exactly what it’s doing and never falters or goes astray from its objective. The storyline resonates within the viewer, leaving a lasting impression that will inarguably make us all reflect on past experiences. Joel Edgerton delivers a poignant psychological thriller unlike anything put to film in recent history, proving that The Gift is indeed a gift that will keep on giving.

The Gift: 4 ½ out of 5 Stars

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