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Tag Archives: review

Forget Disney’s “Frozen”; Watch “Foodfight!”

29 Apr

It doesn’t take a whole lot of searching to see that college-aged students love children’s animated films. Scroll down your Facebook newsfeed on a given day, and you’re bound to stumble upon some turkey posting the results from his/her insipid “Which Character From Disney’s Frozen Are You?” Buzzfeed quiz. (Hint: You are none of them, because they aren’t real.)

The cross-generational appeal and monster success of a film like Frozen is actually pretty easy to parse out when you think about it: The movie tells a simple story, with a message devoid of the cynicism or irony that plagues so much of pop culture today; the visuals are crisp and look great on your new HD TV; some of the songs are actually kind of catchy, to the point of being grating.

Strange, then, that all of these qualities are noticeably absent from the far superior film Foodfight!, which stands as one of the greatest children’s entertainments ever spawned by the Hollywood-Industrial Complex. Ignore the movie’s 2.5 out of 10 rating on IMDB, because IMDB is run by a bunch of knuckle-dragging dinguses who wouldn’t know true art if it took a hot, meaty dump on their front porch.

Reportedly made on a budget of forty-five million US dollars, Foodfight! stars Continue reading

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A Loud, Incoherent Review of The Raid 2 (Spring’s Manliest Movie)

18 Apr

THE RAID 2 BY GARETH EVANS IS THE BEST MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN SINCE I FOUND THE SEX TAPES THAT MY MOM MADE WITH PEOPLE THAT AREN’T MY DAD.   WATCHING THE RAID 2 IS LIKE SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS, CONSTANTLY, IN AN EMPTY ROOM, UNTIL YOU DIE. AT TIMES, WATCHING THE RAID 2 IS LIKE DRIVING A NEW MERCEDES BENZ STRAIGHT AT A BRICK WALL AT 120 MILES PER HOUR, SURVIVING, AND DOING IT AGAIN AS SOON AS YOU GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. MOST OF THE TIME HOWEVER, WATCHING THE RAID 2 IS LIKE Continue reading

2013: Net Gain or Net Loss? A Quantitative Review

31 Dec

These days, everything seems to have some sort of measurement system. We have heights and weights, salaries and rankings, Klout scores, GPAs, BACs — it seems like everything must be put into numeric terms. Accordingly, we’ve put together a comprehensive review of 2013, scored with our proprietary scoring system. Every significant event of 2013 will be judged on a scale of -5 to +5. A score of -5 means the event made the world a much worse place, and a score of +5 means the event made the world a much better place. Let’s take a look back at 2013 and see where our world lies after the year’s events. Continue reading

Album Review: Brown Sugar’s “Zamaane”

22 May

Zamaane

Some say that a cappella at Northwestern is like the TV show Glee. But that can’t be, because the kids on Glee bagged football players and couldn’t drink for shit, which we all know doesn’t hold true for acca-biddies and acca-bros at Northwestern.

Others posit that a cappella at Northwestern is more like Community. Marginally popular–but not enough to get people to care enough to watch every performance–and irrationally beloved among the theater community.

While all these theories and more may be true, it’s clear after the first listen that Brown Sugar‘s latest album Zamaane situates Brown Sugar as the Mad Men of a cappella at NU: Genre-defining, poignant, sexy in all the right places, and best after a glass of scotch or five.  Just so long as you ignore the fact that the Mad Men cast is more white-washed than Mitt Romney’s book group and Brown Sugar is, well, the nation’s premiere co-ed South Asian collegiate a cappella group.

Continue reading

A Review of Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 3 “The Walk of Punishment” (by Guest Author Timmy Jenkinson, 6th Grade)

15 Apr

(Note: As part of our new student writer heinous-reach program, Sherman Ave has decided to partner with Evanston Township Middle Schools to give you content created by younger minds, and thus foster a healthy and positive interest in writing. Education is a vital part of a child’s life, and we at Sherman Ave understand that and yadda yadda yadda Michelle Obama.  If you know a talented student who would like to participate in our program, keep it to yourself.)

Moreover, Joffrey is a total jerkface

Moreover, Joffrey is a total jerkface

Hello!

My name is Timmy Jenkinson and this is my report about episode 3 of Game of Thrones this season.  A bunch of really cool stuff happened, Greyjoy escaped and also Robb Stark and a bunch of old people talked to each other about the war.  His wife is kind off ugly.

In another important scene, the fat guy saw a girl give birth tooo a person, it was gross. My dad told me that they have to kill the baby because it’s a man.  Ther’s a rule that those people have that they kill every baby that’s a man.  My dad likes Game of Thrones almost as much as he likes Captain Morgan.  He didn’t say that, but that was my “observation.”

Continue reading

Review: The Welcome, “Bicentennial”

4 Mar

Bringing hidden tracks back like it's 1993.

Bringing hidden tracks back like it’s 1993.

Perennial Friends of the Ave The Welcome have released a new EP, and we cannot stop listening to it.

“Bicentennial” is the latest in a long line of The Welcome’s EPs, including 2012’s “Honey, Honey” and a series of seven EPs released once-a-month in 2011. Bicentennial comprises a collection of songs that represent the logical progression of the band’s prior work, managing to sound smart, hip, rocking, and undeniably cool without coming off as overtly trying to embody any of those attributes.

Continue reading

Anna Karenina: The Movie, The Review

11 Nov

Also: Russian Cleavage

Yes, I saw Anna Karenina for free a day in advance of the US release. Shit was awesome and it was all thanks to some poor marketing intern that probably thought we were a serious publication. LOLZ AMIRITE? We waited in line (skipped by some bitches that recognized each other, but whatevs) and grabbed our seats after paying an enormous amount of money for a pittance of popcorn. Some rows were “reserved” for some “real critics” or some other bullshit, so we sat way in the back.

Continue reading

Review: Joe Pug at Lincoln Hall

21 May

Joe Pug. In a vest.

Few men can silence a room by simply playing their guitar and harmonica. But that’s just what Joe Pug pulled off repeatedly last Friday night at Lincoln Hall, extinguishing the conversations of drunk teenagers and fathers by dropping his music down to the barest possible finger-picking — reducing a rowdy weekend crowd to absolute calm as every member strained to catch Pug’s lyrics.

Much has been said about Pug, and many have fallen for the singer-songwriter harder than a Chicago Bulls starter crashes to the floor in the playoffs. This phenomenon probably has something to do with Joe Pug being one of the best new songwriters in America, and the fact that the man does everything right with his music, from the recording and distribution of his songs to his stellar live performances of them.

Joe’s second full-length album, The Great Despiser, is barely a month old, and it is already the embodiment of all that is good in music. And Pug, the man who used to cover the postage to mail burned copy of his EPs to fans who requested them, knows that the best way to publicize an album as amazing as this one is to tour the living shit out of it. Which brought Pug and his touring band to the confines of Lincoln Hall at the same time summer weather and unwashed protestors were flooding into Chicago. Coincidence? Probably, but all three made my life much more interesting.

Plenty of singer-songwriters know how to poorly fingerpick, play harmonica, and come off as “Dylanesque,” but Pug knows how to do all of these things well. These are the qualities that are laid bare in Pug’s live performances, backed up by a killer touring band transformed into a force to be reckoned with thanks to oodles of talent and the conviction that comes with touring behind music of this magnitude. Together, Pug and his band transform the boundaries of folk, country, and rock n roll all in one blistering rendition of “Speak Plainly Diana.”

They brought the Lincoln Hall crowd of hipsters, empty nesters, radio DJs, and college students covertly sipping on Keystone Light to the edge with killer versions of songs like “The Great Despiser” or “Nation of Heat,” but had the capacity to bring immediate peace to the audience with a performance of one of Pug’s numerous hymns. I swear, that man has written more hymns than most Methodists can even conceive of.

It’s next to the place where Dillinger was shot.

I’m not the only arrogant douchefeather who holds this opinion, but the only artist currently working on Joe Pug’s level is Justin Townes Earle. The two are impeccable song-writers, crafting their music that gives due deference to the canon they harken to while simultaneously pushing new boundaries, kicking ass, and taking names like their Woody Motherfucking Guthrie III. It doesn’t hurt that the two can finger-pick like Merle Travis if he had grown up listening to Bruce Springsteen and both men are about as American as PBR and Republican primaries. But far more palatable.

Lyrically, Pug remains ambiguous enough to maintain an elusive quality that heightens each song’s value, but tangible enough to feel like a line directly referencing your individual situation. To be honest, I still can’t tell if the lyrics to “Nation of Heat” are about America’s abuse of the lowest rungs of society, his mother, or Sylvia Plath.

Across from the prison and beside the great lake
Below the rooftops and above the highways
The spirits pay rental on the basements they haunt
And the pages just draw pictures of the things that they want
I cook my dinner on the blacktop street
I come from the nation of heat

Maybe all three. Who cares? It’s a great song, and I love it, and Pug and his band killed it last night. Also, the bassist looked like he was having an orgasm the whole night every time he played a long tone, and the drummer sometimes looked like a pissed-off Zach Galifianakis. These are all good things.

But the best part of the night came after the show, when Pug shook hands and chatted with every last audience member next to the merch table. It’s how Pug does business — give your fans an amazing musical performance, then spread the good word through personal connections. And sell a lot of vinyl LPs while you’re at it.

We will have no more of your sorcery, Train: A review of Train’s album California 37

11 May

We will have no more of your sorcery, Train.

It seems unfair that this album will probably net more in profits than the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I’m not sure that Pat Monahan is quite all there anymore. And by “not sure,” I mean he’s completely lost it. And by “anymore,” I mean have you heard the song “Meet Virginia?” (“Smokes a pack a day, but wait, that’s me, but anyways”…what exactly are you smoking a pack of, Pat?) He’s never been completely “with it,” as much as his rapping self would like you to believe. Droppin’ some beats and having a slightly societally acceptable voice does not mean that you are a songster, sir. Lyrics are a big part of the package, and lyrics that make sense usually increase your fan base. BUT WAIT. WHAT’S THAT, INTERNET!? TRAIN IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR BANDS OF OUR DAY?! AND THEY HAVE 3 GRAMMYS!?

WTF guys. We did this. We have no right to complain about musicians and kids these days when we made Pattycakes rich. We have been swayed by the upbeat pop melodies and use of the ever popular ukelele, but no more I say. Have you ever actually sat down and listened to a Train song? And actually thought about the lyrics? Well, probably not because you have midterms and friendships and sleep. But I am not human and so I did it for you. This is my review of the newest Train album, California 37, which should actually be called Pulling Random Words Out of a Bag to Make Sentences Now Here Comes the Ukelele!

WARNING: These are actual Train lyrics. I shit you not, friends. Do not be alarmed.

This’ll Be My Year
This is the new “We Didn’t Start the Fire!” JK! But don’t tell Pat that! He pretty much lists all of the 10 famous historical events that he remembers from school, oh did I say historical because he mentions Nintendo along with 9/11. Then he acts depressed. Don’t know how he could be, as he lives in a money house.

“I stopped believin’, although Journey told me ‘don’t”
Never disrespect Journey like that again. Sit down like a good boy and do as Journey says!

Drive By
This one starts out promising. Got a good beat, seems like it will be a sweet song about a boy meets girl. And it is…sort of. Then we get to the chorus…

“This is not a drive by,
Just a shy guy looking for a two ply hefty bag to hold my love”

Will single ply just not suffice to hold your metaphysical representation of love?

“There’s nothing up my sleeve but love for you”
Whoa, whoa, so the two ply STILL isn’t enough to hold all of your love? Shit, dude, you got an extreme case of the LUV.

Feels Good at First
This is where Pat tells us about his anterograde amnesia. Drew Barrymore is all like, “yeah I feel you, maybe move to Hawaii so you don’t feel so bad YOLO!”

“Every fire gets too close”
Not how that works. YOU get to close to the fire. Not the other way around.

“Every autumn colors come, that you’ve forgotten”
Red, yellow, orange, brown. Did I get them all? And it’s not even fall! Amazing that I could remember them.

50 Ways to Say Goodbye
This is the best song in the entire world. If the entire world consisted of Rebecca Black songs. I have been listening to it on repeat for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out what it is about (a true artist commits to her work), and from what I can tell it’s a wet dream of Pat’s where he imagines different ways in which his ex can suffer horrible deaths. But it’s not his fault! He’s just no good at goodbyes.

“She went down in an airplane, fried getting suntanned, fell in a cement mixer full of quick sand…she was caught in a mudslide, eaten by a lion (etc etc)”
These thoughts should be restricted to your therapist’s office and not played on the radio, for the love of humanity.

“How could you leave on Yom Kippur?”
Extensive research of Pat Monahan provides no evidence that he is actually, in fact, Jewish. But damn her just the same! He loved her as much as a garbage bag would hold!

“Got run over by a crappy purple Scion”
Don’t drag Scion into your heinousness, man. They don’t need this kind of publicity.

Did I mention that on Pat Monahan’s solo record he has a song called “Two Ways to Say Goodbye?” Guess he’s done more thinking since then.

You Can Finally Meet My Mom
This sounds sweet, right? Taking a girl home to meet his mother? Wrong. It’s about death. And all of the dead people he knows. And how he will be too busy to hang out with them in heaven because he will be hanging out with you. And his mom. Menage a what?

“Don’t cry when I die, when it’s my time I probably won’t die”
Who wants to explain this one to him?

“Life is good, but love it’s better, even Bieber ain’t forever”
Well let’s fucking hope not. But we were wrong about Train, so…

Now it’s time to list all the dead people I know! Better pick the most important ones! OMG here we go, Pat, make it count!

“Jimi Hendrix, Jesus, Chris Farley, Mr. Rodgers, Gilda Radner, Buddha, the dude who had pop rocks and soda at the same time, oh and I almost forgot my mom”
I think he nailed it.

Train: Making lonely wives and adolescent girls cream their pants since 1994.

Mermaid
Every man’s dream. Pat seems to think it actually happened. WHERE ARE HIS CALM DOWN PI PHI PILLS!?

“Can’t swim so I took a boat, to an island so remote, only Johnny Depp has ever been to it before”
Subtext: I’m as rich as fucking Johnny Depp

“Shocks, scream with envy, they wonder what you see in me”
$$$$$$$$$$$$

“Beauty in the water, angel on the beach, ocean’s daughter”
Ariel! It’s you! Unless he is fucking a fish. Which may not be too unlikely as this dude is cracked out as hell right now.

California 37
Rapping. He is rapping. He says bitch. He is Kanye Jr. He is wonderful. I love to hate it.

“Knock knock, who’s there? 2012 is a brand new year”
Awwww shit, Train is back yall. Did anyone miss them? No?

“Ding dong, the witch ain’t dead. She’s still tryin’ to take my bread
Four more years ‘til my girls are grown, then the bitch gonna have to leave me alone”

Clever! His ex-wife will never know this is about the alimony and child support he owes her!

The rest of the songs are too depressing to even poke fun at. You shouldn’t poke a sleeping bear, but you also shouldn’t poke a dying bear. Also, I’m realizing now that this article would probably cause a lot of people to google these ridiculous songs, so thanks for supporting me! Luh my fans like a baby loves a ball of yarn!
– Pat Monahan

Oscar Buzzed

24 Jan

In case anyone hasn’t gone on the internet today, the Oscar nominees were announced this morning! A few surprises, some snubs (where was Jack and Jill?!), but mostly just confusion. “What are all these movies about?” you’re thinking, “I have never even heard of them! Whine whine whine, me me me!” Well calm down, Pi Phi! Don’t worry, I’m a film major, I’ll simplify it for you:

The Artist
A haunting look at the life of Van Gogh. Think bright, colorful, and loud.

The smallest man Sean Penn has held in his hands

The Descendants
Surprisingly not about balls.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
A compilation of home movies depicting your grandfather spurting off racist insults and confusing you with your sister.

The Help
A team of psychiatrists check themselves into a mental hospital for help. Meta!

Hugo
He was probably one of the characters from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. See how Hugo lives his day to day life!

Midnight in Paris
It’s got Owen Wilson, so you can safely assume it also has Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson. Hilarity will ensue!

Moneyball
Also surprisingly not about testicles.

The Tree of Life
Spin off of Pocahontas.

War Horse
Today I found out it’s War Horse, not Warm Whores. My review stands: It’s about a pathetic creature trying to redeem itself, who probably dies in the end.

Kung Fu Panda 2
Surprisingly, this is about balls!

Even his dog is hot

Drive
Out of the 26 films Ryan Gosling was in last year, this was definitely in the top 30. Watch as Ryan Gosling drives a car around a city! What could be better?! (Nothing. Nothing will ever be better than Ryan Gosling doing anything. I would watch the shit out of a movie about Ryan Gosling trimming his nose hairs.)

Bridesmaids
If you’re stupid enough to be reading this, I know that you saw at least 3 movies this year, and this is one of them. You know the plot: Kristen Wiig is the unconvincing ugly and pathetic friend, and Melissa McCarthy shits in a sink. Someone gets married.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Like Toy Story, but with Tinker Toys!

Just kidding, I didn’t see any of these films. I’m just an asshole. Here is my actually helpful guide to the Oscars:

The Artist
Should have been called: Look at This Fucking Hipster Film
I would have seen it if it was called: Adorable Dog and Sort of Good Looking Man Make Out

The horror of a desperate Oscar grab

The Descendants
Should have been called: George Clooney Cries and Runs in Hawaii
I would have seen it if it was called: The Descendants Starring Ryan Gosling

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Should have been called: 9/11 Movie That Has Very Little to Do With 9/11
I would have seen it if it was called: Let’s be real, there was no chance I was seeing this

The Help
Should have been called: Sassy Black Maids Kick Some Sass Sassily
I would have seen it if it was called: Emma Stone Looks Ugly, Don’t You Feel Better About Yourself?

Hugo
Should have been called: Look at Scorsese’s Range!
I would have seen it if it was called: The Adventures of Tintin

Midnight in Paris
Should have been called: Woody Allen Strolls Around Paris in an Owen Wilson Costume
I would have seen it if it was called: Midnight in Amsterdam

Moneyball
Should have been called: Brad Pitt Might Finally Win an Oscar
I would have seen it if it was called: Get Jonah Hill to the Oscars

The Tree of Life
Should have been called: Brad Pitt Might Finally Win an Oscar Pt 2
I would have seen it if it was called: Literally anything else more descriptive would have been great

War Horse
Should have been called: Actually War Horse pretty much sums it up
I would have seen it if it was called: Don’t Worry, He Doesn’t Die

Kung Fu Panda 2
Should have been called: Jack Black is as Fat and Funny as a Panda 2
I would have seen it if it was called: Kung Fu Panda 2 Produced By Pixar

Let's be honest: You just wanted to look at more pictures of Ryan Gosling

Drive
Should have been called: Holy Shit Ryan Gosling Looks So Good Driving Around and Curb Stomping People Please Take Your Shirt Off More That’s All I Ask
I would have seen it if it was called: Holy Shit Ryan Gosling Looks So Good Driving Around and Curb Stomping People Please Take Your Shirt Off More That’s All I Ask

Bridesmaids
Should have been called: Girls Can Make the Funnys, Too
I would have seen it if it was called: Kristen Wiig Dies in the End

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Should have been called: This Movie is Well Over Two Hours Long
I would have seen it if it was called: Jonathan Tinker Taylor Thomas

Just kidding, that was still unhelpful! I’m still an asshole! Thanks for reading!

Ali Parr