A Girl Walks Around In The Desert: A Review of “The Bad Batch”

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One of my absolute favorite indie films of the past five years is Ana Lily Amirpour’s stylish vampire-noir, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. It tells a subdued, atmospheric tale of romance and horror while approaching genre conventions with a feminist take, all the while treating its viewers with striking visuals and an unforgettable soundtrack. It’s a film I love, and a debut that presented Amirpour as a visionary in the indie filmmaking scene; the film garnering an almost exclusively positive reaction from the larger film community including critics and fans alike.

Although Girl is her debut film, Amirpour’s expert work on the film gives the impression that she’s a veteran filmmaker; the film is just that impressively well-realized and notable. Which is why it’s surprising that her new film, The Bad Batch, comes off as amateurish by comparison. Amirpour serves as both the film’s writer and director (as she did on her first feature), and while her incredible aural and visual sensibilities translate over from Girl, it’s her writing that stumbles, lacking meaningful character development or a storyline worth investing in.

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Jet Fuel Jukebox: Late Night Edition

We’ve got just a little over an hour before it’s no longer Tuesday, so let’s get this Jukebox out into the world!

This week’s Jukebox is similar to last week’s, but the roles are reversed. Jake’s half is the throwback, with 10 tracks that all came out in 2007, while my picks revolve around a number of brand new tracks from some of my favorite artists.

If you listen this week, you’ll find new songs from Phoenix, Gorillaz, and Foster The People, as well as Top-40 hits from a decade ago, featuring Rihanna, Akon, and T-Pain.

I also want to give a shout out to the new HAIM track, that’s only on Youtube as of now. Listen to their new track, “Right Now.”

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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Jet Fuel Jukebox for 4/25/17

The day you’ve waited for eagerly has finally come! It’s Tuesday, and with that comes a brand new entry in our Jet Fuel Jukebox series.

I didn’t find a single new song this past week to share, unfortunately, but I did have the pleasure of seeing Donnie Darko in theaters for its 15th anniversary this past weekend! Being set in the 80’s and featuring an incredible, decade-appropriate soundtrack, the film has inspired me to reach into the time period for my picks this week.

Jake didn’t seem to run into the same problem as me, as he’s included several brand new singles, including the 80’s-inspired Paramore hit “Hard Times,” and the new song from Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd. Rounding out the playlist are tracks from Tears For Fears, Sonic Youth, and Katy Perry.

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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Family Still Comes First: A Review of “The Fate of the Furious”

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Over the past several weeks, I embarked on a cinematic journey through the Fast and Furious franchise, watching them in order, each for the very first time. It’s not a perfect series by any means, but I fell deeply in love, especially as the series progressed and switched from being prominently about street racing to being big-budget action capers, becoming all the more ridiculous and over-the-top in all the best ways. Despite what you might expect from an eighth entry in a franchise, with The Fate of the Furious, Vin Diesel and his family of street-racers-turned-government-agents still manage to up the ante and deliver one of the absolute best movies in the series.

F8 picks up with an opening scene that calls back to the good ol’ days of Fast & Furious (circa 2001-2006), complete with trash talking, street racing and a tropical pop hit setting the scene. Dom (Vin Diesel) has settled down in Havana with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), but it isn’t long before he’s dragged back into the increasingly explosive life he’s lived for the past 16 years. What sets this entry apart from its seven predecessors, is that this time Dom’s playing for the wrong team, and betraying the family he loves. Gasp!

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Jet Fuel Jukebox for 4/18/17

Imagine: it’s Tuesday, and you’re desperately searching for new music to listen to. If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place, as the Jet Fuel Jukebox has has all your music needs.

We were finally blessed this past weekend with Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN., and it’s damn good. So good, in fact, that both Jake and I have highlighted a track from the record. Other than Kendrick, we have highlights from the new Little Dragon full-length release, and tracks from Michael Jackson, The Cure, and Metric.

I also had the pleasure of seeing one of the final performances of pop duo Chairlift this past weekend, so I’ve concluded my half of the playlist with one of my favorite songs by them. R.I.P. Chairlift, you will be missed.

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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Jet Fuel Jukebox for 4/11/17

You know what day it is? It’s Tuesday, and that means Jake and I have yet another incredible playlist of 20 songs for your listening pleasure.

Unfortunately, Kendrick Lamar’s new album Damn was not released this past Friday as it was rumored, but it was officially announced for release this Friday, April 14!

Good news, however, is that Joey Bada$$’ latest record, ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ did see its release this past Friday, and it’s damn good. For the Jukebox opener, I’ve highlighted my favorite track from the record, “Temptation.”

Along with this, I’ve featured Gorillaz’ latest release and Jake has featured Harry Styles’ new solo single, “Sign of the Times.”

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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Bring Your Weapons to Work Day: A Review of “The Belko Experiment”

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James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither) is one of the premiere screenwriters working in Hollywood today, but his near-spotless track record doesn’t save the latest film credited with his writing, The Belko Experiment, from disappointing mediocrity. It’s too bad, as the premise alone should have made for an exciting moviegoing experience, but the self-seriousness, uninspired filmmaking, and extremely underwhelming ending results in a messy, unrewarding watch.

The poster for the The Belko Experiment cites it as a sort of “Office Space meets Battle Royale,” but the comparison to Office Space starts and ends with the fact that it’s set inside an office building, and it’s only like Battle Royale in that it’s central idea revolves around a group of people who are forced to murder each other. Unfortunately, The Belko Experiment isn’t nearly as hilarious as Office Space, nor as exciting as Battle Royale.

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