Eclectic Pop

where "pop" culture gets "eclectic"

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Movie Review: 'Enemy' (2014)

A rambling Rorschach, “Enemy” is a surprisingly involving ride that takes viewers down the winding road of a puzzle that does its best to keep its pieces hidden. Tinged in dark yellow lighting, the movie provides viewers with an array of options. As it infuses as much overwrought emotion and countless explanations into itself as possible.

Best New Movie Bets: July 25 | 'Lucy' & more

Best New Bet: "Lucy" Luc Besson’s latest is not exactly the movie one would expect given the advertising campaign which seemed to indicate a female powered action flick with sci-fi elements. In actuality it is more of a meditative analysis of evolutionary theory and Darwinism. Lucy (Scarl…

Let's Discuss: 'Fifty Shades' of Success?

This week the internet was shaken with the hotly anticipated trailer and first glimpse of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the film adaptation of the first book in E.L. James’ best-selling series. So many questions continue to surround the film.  Whether it will stay true to the nature of the book and how much, if any, explicit material will actually make it to the silver screen.

Let's Talk About: TV's Revolution & the Primetime Emmys

The Emmy nominations were recently announced and reaction to the snubs was on track with outrage in years past. The drama ballot included the usual suspects, veteran nominees “Breaking Bad”, "Downton Abbey" and “Mad Men” along with the star studded freshman series “True Detective” and ch…

TV Report Card | 'Bates Motel' Season 2 Review

Overview: Norma attempted to hold together the fragile life-force of her family and business, Norman continued his descent into madness, Dylan became more engrossed in the local drug cartel, as Emma felt on the periphery of all of the excitement. Meanwhile, Sheriff Romero tried to keep the peace in White Pine Bay.

TV Rundown: July 13 - 18: 'Witches of East End', 'Liars', 'Tyrant' & more!

Witches of East End: After the premiere’s “oh my” moment where Ingrid hooked up with a blue entity that bared a striking resemblance to Dr. Manhattan, the series went for another sight shocker. This time it concerned recently returned prodigal son, Frederick, as he charmed his Aunt Wendy’s earring by reciting some things in a foreign tongue (Latin?), swallowing the item and then bringing it back up.

After Wendy got her jewelry back, it was hard to determine which lack of knowledge was more upsetting and detrimental to her health. Her nephew bewitching her adornment or the way he went about it.

Best New Movie Bet: July 18 | 'I Origins'

Best New Bet: "I Origins"

A trippy mindbender that attempts to unravel the scientific reasoning behind the old adage “the eyes are the windows to the soul”. Written and directed by “Another Earth” helmer Mike Cahill, this film appears to be similarly tackling sci-fi drama in a modernized fashion. Indie film mega-talent Brit Marling, who starred in Cahill’s remarkable breakthrough (she also co-wrote the script), stars in a supporting role as a molecular biologist and the colleague of Michael Pitt’s character.

TV Report Card | 'Glee' Season 5 Review

Overview: Glee Club was disbanded as viewers bid farewell to Lima. Recent graduates Blaine, Artie and Sam joined Rachel, Kurt and Santana in New York and Mercedes made a much needed return to the series.

Storyline Direction Pros: The goodbye to Lima, while painful, was done with remarkable class. As was the loss at National’s which also served as a follow-up tribute to Finn. Talking about his loss felt a lot better and more natural than the previous tactic of radio silence. It was also extremely cathartic.

Movie Review: 'Endless Love' (2014)

Director Shana Feste’s remake of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film adaptation of “Endless Love” shares little in common with its predecessor, which is both a good and bad thing. On the positive side, Feste works hard to make sense of the first film's outlandish characterizations by incorporating every plausible plot twist into the scenario to make the characters and their actions sympathetic. Whereas Zeffirelli never even bothered to acknowledge the ludicrous nature of the characters or their behavior.

Movie Review: 'Neighbors' (2014)

In the universe of “Neighbors” you will find the familiar faces of recent adult comedies, that of grown adults who wish to be children and young people who are just children. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star as the parents of an adorable baby daughter, who are forced to fight their new next door neighbors for peace and quiet

TV Rundown: July 6 - 11: 'Pretty Little Liars' Celebrates 100 Episodes

Pretty Little Liars: Liar’s hit the 100 episode mark and it delivered, mainly with two fierce confrontations between Ali and the survivors of her bullying. For the first time since she returned from the “dead”; Ali stood face to face with Paige offering an olive branch. Lindsey Shaw’s magnificent performance conveyed Paige’s intimidation, frustration and pent up hurt. It was a powerful scene and Sasha Pieterse’s reactionary turn as Ali served to anchor its emotion.

Best New Movie Bets: July 11 | 'Affluenza'

Best New Bet: "Affluenza"

It’s the buzzword and portmanteau (affluence + influenza) which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.”

Despite the bastion of films that center on the young and wealthy, there seems to be no limit to people’s fascination for the secretive world of the 1 percent. “Affluenza” comes from Kevin Asch, the director of the affecting “Holy Rollers”. His latest revolves around a group of teens in 2008 as their lives collide and entangle over the course of a stormy summer.

TV Report Card: The Complete List: 2013/2014 Season

Another season of television has flown by and with that, the reflection process can begin. Eclectic Pop has deconstructed and graded a multitude of television series that aired in the 2013-2014 season. The grading process was broken into five categories.
Those five categories are measured with equa…

Sonic Assembly: Dirty Cakes Band, High/Low, Tom Mitchell & Dead Sea Navigators

Dirty Cakes Band | Out of Los Angeles, California comes the Dirty Cakes Band, a group that’s self-described “psychedelic desert grunge” composes the nostalgic sounds of their EP ‘Never Alone’. A throaty vocalization breathes life into the titular single, a tune that starts timidly before indulging …

Sonic Assembly: Singles Edition: Nina Baker, The Fireflys, Stage Republic & Wullae Wright

Nina Baker

From the charming album ‘Quite Frankly’ comes Baker’s latest single, “Bruising”. Its inventive music video showcases the day in the life of an ordinary person whose life takes an unexpected turn. Shot in black and white, it follows its subject with intimate proximity.

Accompanying the action is the pop verve of “Bruising”, which envelops the torn emotion of a love rife with conflict and rooted in sentiment and hurt. The lyrics “Every fight we end up hating/Those three words we end up breaking” nicely summing it up. Baker, making her point with a biting sting that hits its mark. To watch the video, click here and follow Nina Baker on Twitter @NinaBakerMusic

TV Rundown: June 29 - July 4: 'True Blood' Fills Up

Sucking: True Blood: Hopefully that was the last bad episode of the series. Sunday’s installment was filler; complete with a gratuitous diary reading by Sookie that brought about zero plot development whatsoever. One of the series struggles has been writing the characters (especially the townsfolk) with much depth and this week that problem came back full tilt.

Plus, wasn’t the uprising dealt with last week? Why wouldn't Sam appoint an interim Mayor or authority to act on his behalf and quell citizen distress? It makes no sense.

Movie Review: 'Begin Again' (2014)

A tale about pressing the resume button on life, "Begin Again" is about taking those first steps back into a shattered existence and trying to put the pieces of it back together. After getting hit with one setback after another, it is about making the choice to continue instead of starting from scratch that serves as the centerpiece for this musically inclined dramedy.

Best New Movie Bet: July 4 | Melissa McCarthy's 'Tammy'

Best New Bet: "Tammy" The critics may be ravaging Melissa McCarthy’s but one should never count out Hollywood’s leading funny lady. Her latest film centers on the eponymous Tammy, having suffered several personal setbacks, heading on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Righ…

TV Report Card | 'Game of Thrones' Season 4 Review

Overview: An adaptation of the second half of George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords”; the season found the Lannister’s pitted against each other more than ever, the surviving Stark girls coming into their own, Daenarys continuing her rule as a queen and the lone surviving Baratheon continuing his fight for the throne. All of this as the battle at The Wall came to a head.

Storyline Pros: Everything involving Tyrion was phenomenal. His trial diatribe against his accusers and detractors was sheer brilliance. He is a fascinating character and when he is not on-screen, the series doesn’t boast the same intrinsic glow that it does when he is on. It’s like watching color drain from a painting. His relationship with Tywin remains one of the most fascinating father/son dynamics that television has recently explored.

TV Report Card | 'The Blacklist' Season 1 Review

Storyline Pros: Seldom can a series sustain a core mystery that provides few payoffs and never appear to be dragging out its storyline. "The Blacklist" is breaking the mold. It's all about enjoying the ride. While a question bigger than the “who” and “what” looms. It’s the “why”. Why does Red care about Elizabeth Keen? The answer seems obvious and yet in the next moment a subtle remark seems to belie another possibility. Whatever the reason, their father/daughter, criminal/detective, love/hate relationship is fascinating to watch unfold.

Red is by far the most compelling new character of the 2013/14 season. Rich with monologues, bitter with anger, woeful with sad regrets and stunning with a sincere confidence and bravado. He is the epitome of slippery. The writing for this character is simply masterful. Contrasting him is Liz, his complete opposite, except when it comes to their shared display of ferocity. In which case, a possible family resemblance of traits shines through. Among the memorable storylines this season, Liz vs. Tom ranked the highest. From a tenderly loving duo to a full blown rage-fest, the decline of the Keen marriage made for entertainingly bittersweet drama.

TV Report Card | 'The Tomorrow People' Season 1 Review

Overview: In the second half of the series’ first and only season, The Tomorrow People’s leader returned. There was a revolt and eventually peacemaking.

Storyline Pros: Action and story resolutions plowed through the remaining episodes of the series. The character development found most on a full circle journey. There was real purpose that drove the second act of the season. Stephen’s father being thawed from his deep freeze and his reconciliation with his family was dealt with interestingly. Addressing the difference between what being a Tomorrow Person and a “normal” human meant was explored with depth. At the beginning of the series it had always been irksome that there was an implied variance between the two and it was cleared up nicely.

TV Report Card | 'Revenge' Season 3 Review

Overview: Emily won a battle but not the war, against the Graysons. Conrad schemed and sparred with Victoria, who finally learned Emily’s big secret. Daniel lost more IQ points and Charlotte, well, she was Charlotte.

Storyline Direction Pros: The infighting and bickering in the Grayson household continued to play with ferocious excitement. In the second half of the season the show seemed to be hurtling towards a definitive resolution. The introduction of Stevie offered a refreshing angle to the Grayson dysfunction and an unanswered paternity question was left to linger. Stevie’s battle with alcoholism and her addiction to the Hamptons served as a possible omen to Emily’s and other characters’ future. 

The Stevie/Victoria/Conrad exchanges were lively although the timeline and previously established connections between the characters underwent a retcon whiplash. In the first season, it was known that Conrad had a son with his first wife and that son was in full knowledge of his parents.