TV

J.J. Abrams’s overlooked gem explores parallel universes

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Have you ever wondered where your life might have gone if you’d made some different choices along the way? What if I’d taken that job that I always regretted turning down? What if I’d gotten up the nerve to talk to the cute guy or girl I saw at that bar? Ever contemplated what the world would be like if certain key moments in our evolution and history had turned out differently or just not happened at all?

Thoughts like these are bound to spring up in our lives when we’re forced to make only one decision or another, as is usually the case. Certain choices lead us down particular paths, paths which may deviate quite dramatically if we had made another choice. Might we feel better about some of our decisions if we could get a glimpse of a world in which we made an alternate decision? …


The Prophetic Power of Gil Scott-Heron

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Every once in a while, you discover the work of a writer or musician whose words speak directly to you as if they were pulled right from your mind. Other times, their work sheds a revealing light on situations and realities of which you were aware but never really gave much thought. Once your eyes have been opened to these hidden realities, it’s impossible to close them again. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover several artists whose work has left this impression upon me. One of the most profound and relevant to our current times is the late Gil Scott-Heron. It’s a good bet that his name is either unknown to you or known to you because of his most enduring poem/song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, which sounds just as frustratingly relevant today even though it was released fifty years ago. Despite the song’s enduring popularity, Gil Scott-Heron’s legacy can’t be easily boiled down to just one rallying cry. …


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It’s a good bet that if you ask most people where they get their moral values, the answer will have something to do with how they were raised and the values with which they were brought up. In the world that we deal with everyday, it can often be hard to determine what the right thing to do is in a given situation. Perhaps this is why many people find comfort in turning to a ready made code of moral conduct such as those belonging to most major religions around the world. Here in America, it’s a good bet that the ten commandments form the backbone of most people’s ideas about morality and values. Even so, a casual glance at the list will reveal to objective and open minded people that most of the commandments don’t deal with moral values, at least not those most would consider crucial in a progressive world striving for true equal rights and increased wellbeing for all people. Furthermore, those few (and I mean few) commandments which do deal with moral precepts, i.e. …


MUSIC

The impossible task of picking up an all-time favorite

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When it comes to asking Beatles fans to pick their all-time favorite Beatles album you’d probably have better luck asking them to pick a favorite child. In the barely eight years that those four Liverpool lads were together, they churned out one incredible album after another at rapid-fire speed, albums which continue to inspire and enthrall music fans of all ages. In moments of quiet introspection, I’ve often wondered which Beatles album is my favorite and as I imagine to be true with other Beatles fans, the answer usually involves the same three albums stuck in constant rotation for top billing. …


MUSIC

Their songs are immortal because they speak directly to universal human passions

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I vividly remember the moment when I really listened to a band called the Beatles for the first time. I was twelve and like any kid growing up in a post-Beatles world, I had heard their songs here and there before, but I’d never truly listened. When I finally gave them a serious listen, my little world was changed forever. What I heard in those songs sparked something in me that I couldn’t fully comprehend or articulate at the time. All I knew was that is sounded radically different than any music I’d heard prior to that and immediately I decided to let my hair grow and thought seriously about playing drums. This reaction wouldn’t have been uncommon back in 1964 when the Beatles first arrived in America, but my reaction happened more than forty years after their unforgettable arrival. …


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Daenerys finally faces the man who murdered her father in Episode 2 of Game of Thrones final season.

After tonight’s tense, edge of your seat cliffhanger ending to the second episode of Game of Thrones final season, I’ve already seen an avalanche of complaints that the episode was nothing more than a boring filler with the long anticipated battle being teased and then cruelly saved for next week’s episode. …


FILM

A less intense superhero adventure filled with a lot of laughs

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This past spring the tidal flood of comic book films finally reached critical pressure when we had four, count them four, superhero films playing in theaters at the same time. First, we saw the long-anticipated Captain Marvel finally arrive in theaters on March 8th. DC’s Shazam! flew into theaters on April 5th, followed closely by the Hellboy reboot and then on April 26th the world finally got the feverishly anticipated Avengers: Endgame. What’s more, in a perfect (or perfectly planned) twist of fate, two of these films, Captain Marvel and Shazam!


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“It seemed to me that to every creature several other lives were due.” -Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell.

Warning: Serious spoilers for Orphan Black ahead.

Imagine you came face to face with someone who looked just like you. I don’t mean a mere passing resemblance, I mean imagine coming face to face with your own face staring back at you, your very own eyes gazing back into yours. Until that very moment, you would’ve assumed that your face was completely unique to you. From an early age, we’re instilled with the core belief in our unique self. You are uniquely and thoroughly “you”; a singular, coherent and indivisible island of individuality. But what if you discovered that the aspects which make you distinctly you were not totally distinct to you? Furthermore, what if the singular and indivisible “self” that you so strongly identify with was in fact nothing more than an illusive construct, a messy assemblage of diverse and contradictory parts slapped with the vague and misleading label of “I”. What if the all powerful “I” we refer to is not truly who we are? …


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Diana Christensen (Tatiana Maslany) watching Howard Beale (Bryan Cranston) in Network.

There are those individuals among us who, despite looking similar to us and speaking in languages known to us, they nevertheless seem to occupy a different realm of existence. There are many who can be said to fit this description, but perhaps none seem more suited to this perception than film and television actors. For the majority of us, these exalted individuals only appear to us within the frame of the tv and movie screen or the cover of some glossy entertainment magazine and therefore they tend to take on a glorified and almost superhuman air. If we’re ever so lucky as to see one of our favorite stars in the flesh, it’s usually met with shock and disbelief, primarily at the juxtaposition of seeing such an illustrious figure out in the real world, walking the streets, talking to people, breathing the same air as the rest of us. …


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A Table with a view in The Durrells in Corfu

When it comes to great television, a show’s setting can be just as important and significant as the characters and stories depicted therein; in fact, many times the setting can itself become a character of sorts, a unique and multi-faceted entity which contributes greatly to a show’s overall tone and the atmosphere of the story. …

Matt Frati

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