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Friday
Nov212014

Little Hope Was Arson

Little Hope Was Arson
Director: Theo Love
Released on: November 18th, 2014 [Limited/VOD]
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

For East Texas and the rest of the Bible Belt, God is an important part of people’s lives. Some churches have stood over a century and have served as a meeting place for families going back many generations. People have been baptized, married and eulogized within the walls of these buildings.

And just as the people of East Texas believe in a powerful, righteous God, so too is their belief in an evil, malevolent Devil. In 2010, ten churches were set ablaze across three East Texas counties. Families and congregations in the area became fearful — some even believing Satan himself was destroying the churches. The crimes and the ensuing investigation are the subject of Little Hope Was Arson, an engaging, true-life crime story that shows that community bonds strengthen in the face of sinister transgressions.

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Thursday
Nov202014

Three Hundred Million

Three Hundred Million
Author/Publisher: Blake Butler/Harper Perennial
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Grade: 5 out of 5 Meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

Three Hundred Million blasts off like an LSD pipe bomb from page one, beginning in a messy big bang of vague, sociopathic declarations and aphasia-level word-salad that washes over and through the rest of the book like static on a TV, always struggling against the solid footing given to the reader by the interspersed monologues of "normal people," Gravey's "boys," and how they were drawn to our disoriented narrator, the thing inside Gravey.

“The World occurs because of god,” the book starts. “In our year here god is not a being but a system, composed in dehydrated fugue. Under terror-sleep alive we hear it heaving in and out from the long bruises on our communal eternal corpse, consuming memory. The wrecking flesh of Him surrounds, holds us laced together every hour, overflowing and wide open, permeable to inverse, which no identity survives.”

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Thursday
Nov202014

Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Released on: November 14th, 2014
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: John Esther

In 1996 recluse millionaire madman John du Pont assassinated a man who was arguably the greatest American wrestler ever. It was not supposed to happen. After all, du Pont invited the wrestling extraordinaire brothers Dave and Mark Schultz to come to du Point’s Foxcatcher estate to create a great American wrestling team. Great things were supposed to be accomplished, and sometimes they were. But wrestling on the mat and wrestling with one’s own and another’s psyche are two different phenomena — yet not necessarily distinct.

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Thursday
Nov202014

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything
Directed by: James Marsh
Released on: November 14th, 2014
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Behind every great man there’s a great woman, so says the outdated cliché. In this case, that woman would be Jane Hawking, portrayed by Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), in the delightful The Theory of Everything. Adapted from Jane’s memoir Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, the film tells the story of her relationship with her husband, physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) from their time as students at the University of Cambridge until the publication of A Brief History of Time, Stephen’s bestselling book that explained black holes to the masses.

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Wednesday
Nov192014

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler
Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Released on: October 31st, 2014
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Jake Gyllenhaal gives a creepy, demented and oddly comic performance as Louis Bloom in the sleek thriller Nightcrawler. When we first meet the character, he is down-on-his-luck and eeks out a living stealing from construction sites. After witnessing a car accident and the immediate media response to the wreck, he decides to do better for himself—as an entrepreneur by any means necessary. He’s decides to go into business as a freelance cameraman for the news. He acquires a camera and police scanner, and begins to film the carnage and crime of Los Angeles at night. Paying for his footage is Nina (a marvelous Rene Russo), a seasoned news director who badly needs ratings for her ailing broadcast.

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Saturday
Nov082014

KNIFE PARTY || Abandon Ship

Knife Party
Abandon Ship

Released on: November 7th, 2014 (iTunes)
Label: Earstorm Records/Big Beat
Grade: All of the meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

It’s been a long time coming but now the first full length album from Knife Party is finally here and yes, it was well worth the wait.  If you’re a rabid fan, you’ve already heard some select cuts off of Abandon Ship over the past months.  If you’ve been a fan of Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen since their days in Pendulum, you’ve most likely been pleasantly surprised by the multitude of directions these guys have taken their production.  Especially with “Begin Again,” the duo harken back to their heyday through a Rob Swire vocal – something we haven’t heard since Pendulum’s last record, Immersion.  The cut itself is almost metaphorical for Abandon Ship: contrasting the album with Knife Party’s debut No More Modern Talking EP, this is most certainly a reboot of the duo’s sound which indefinitely cements their place atop the hierarchy of electronic dance music.

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Friday
Oct242014

THE GLITCH MOB @ Aragon Ballroom

The Glitch Mob w/The M Machine
Where: Aragon Ballroom
When: October 17th, 2014
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Forget what you’ve heard – The Glitch Mob are a rock band.  Yes, their music is created within the confines of mostly electronics and you’ll find their music on electronic music ‘best of’ lists before anywhere else.  But if one listen to Love Death Immortality doesn’t sell you on their inherent rock aesthetic, go see them live and prepare for a change of perception.  Their live performance rig, The Blade, helps the trio channel their massive masterpieces of big beat through massive drums and an arsenal of samplers which are completely visible to the audience.  Outshining their contemporaries, The Glitch Mob have found a way to remove the skepticism about if they’re just ‘pressing play’ or actually making the music happen onstage.  One thing is certain, the audience at the Aragon were all in for a treat as they performed nearly all of Love Death Immortality along with a few other gems and simultaneously blew all of our minds with a serious rock show.

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Monday
Oct132014

Destiny

Destiny | PS4/PS3 Xbox 360/Xbox One
Released: Sept 9th, 2014
Developer/Publisher: Bungie/Activision & Sony
Grade: 2.75 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

Frankly, I’m pissed. After ten minutes of research online, I have determined that I have, in fact, beaten the highly anticipated video game known as Destiny. I downloaded it five days ago, and it’s already over. Epic? More like a gorgeous two-pump-chump as it stands now.

It was all roses and puppy dogs back at level ten. I had my four or five planets open as locations to travel to in order to do missions, and I never saw anyone over level 25 (this was early into the release). “Oh,” I think to myself, “another area must open up after level 25” because, if I was already at level 10 after a good solid sitting of play, 25 couldn’t be the end.

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Monday
Oct132014

Left Behind

Left Behind
Directed by: Vic Armstrong
Released on: October 3rd, 2014
Grade: 1 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

Yep, it’s been 14 years since the incredibly awful, low-budget, end-times thriller Left Behind: The Movie starring Kirk Cameron hit video shelves. As per usual, idea-strapped Hollywood thinks it’s due for a remake. Producer Paul Lalonde returns to familiar Revelation-inspired territory with a bigger budget, more sophisticated productions values and a recognizable cast to retell the story of those left over after the Rapture, the event where the godly are taken instantly to Heaven before Christ returns to Earth, as some Christians believed is prophesied in the Bible. Based on Rev. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ wildly popular series of novels, this Left Behind remake, despite its Hollywood polish, is just as bad and laughable as the original.

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Monday
Sep222014

Fight Church

Fight Church
Directed by: Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel
Released on iTunes/VOD: September 16th, 2014
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Justin Tucker

If you remember Sunday school, there’s a story in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with God until the break of day. Jacob is then renamed Israel because he fought with God, prevailed, and is blessed. It is this story from the Book of Genesis that pastor and mixed martial artist Paul Burress takes inspiration for his fight ministry at Victory Church in Rochester, New York.

Preaching from the pulpit in a t-shirt and jeans, he’ll admit he doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional minister. He also recognizes that people may have difficulty understanding how someone can reconcile Christian beliefs with fiercely beating another human for sport. Blessed are the peacemakers and love thy neighbor, right? To him, and many other pastors across the country, MMA is a means to serve God and spread the gospel of Jesus.

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