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Friday
May222015

GERARD WAY @ Vic Theatre

Gerard Way
Where: Vic Theatre
When: May 16th, 2015
Grade: 3.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

If you’re reading this because you’re a My Chemical Romance fan, know that Gerard Way has effectively placed a wedge between himself and his former band.  He doesn’t perform a single MCR song in his solo set, as was evidenced by his sold out show at the Vic Theatre on Saturday night, and it makes perfect sense.  This is his first venture as a solo artist and who can blame him for wanting the focus to be placed on his new material?  And Hesitant Alien, Gerard’s debut album, sounds really far off the beaten path from his MCR days.  The album revels in Bowie-esque glam rock, 80s alternative rock, and pristine production thanks to Doug McKean (who previously had a hand in MCR material), all of it translating into a live show that connects deeply with his still massive fanbase.

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Sunday
May102015

Gyo || Junji Ito

Gyo (2-in-1 Deluxe Edition)
Written and Illustrated by: Junji Ito
Published by: VIZ Media
Released on: April 21st, 2015
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Although this seinen manga has been released stateside in various editions, VIZ Media has taken great attention to detail in their assembly of the new deluxe edition of Junji Ito’s horrifying Gyo.  Having just read Ito’s Uzumaki recently (also be sure to check out VIZ Media’s deluxe edition release of that), I knew it was imperative that I check out Gyo.  Although not as eerie and haunting as Uzumaki turned out to be, Gyo finds Ito evoking a different brand of horror – one that is so aggressively in your face, it’s almost impossible to put the book down because you’re anxious for an end to all the madness coursing through the story.  Your attachment to the characters is tangible by the last page and although there are some questions left unanswered, all of these things lend themselves positively to Gyo, making it one of the most memorable stories you’ll ever read.

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Friday
May082015

Faith No More w/Le Butcherettes @ Concord Music Hall

Faith No More w/Le Butcherettes
Where: Concord Music Hall
When: May 7th, 2015
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed & Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

In case if you didn’t get the memo, Faith No More have returned.  Not only are they back, but they’re back in a big way.  They have a new album, Sol Invictus, due out on May 19th and they’re currently blowing minds of audiences nationwide on their current tour.  It’s been over 15 years since we were last treated to a new FNM album and last night at the Concord Music Hall, the guys made sure we got a heaping taste of the new material as well some good old fashioned fan favorites.

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Friday
May082015

Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X | PS4/PS3 & Xbox 360 (soon)/Xbox One
Released: April 14th, 2015
Developer/Publisher: NetherRealm/Warner Brothers
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

It's hard to believe that many years ago this franchise actually survived a bloodless release on Super Nintendo. Simply view the screenshots for the slap happy level of carnage that Mortal Kombat X serves up. Medical students wouldn't be wrong to call a night with this game “studying musculature,” with all of the beautifully rendered X-ray moves.

If you have ever been addicted to a video game (and as a gamer reading this article, I assume that has happened to you, the same way any reader has experienced that crack-like "page turning effect" when reading a good book), you will be severely addicted to this game. It is as simple as that.

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Monday
May042015

Madeon @ House of Blues

Madeon
Where: House of Blues
When: May 1st, 2015
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Electronic music in the live environment has become a tricky beast.  You’re either going to be in store for one of two things: either you’ll see the ‘DJ’ who pushes play, is backed by a fancy light show and tries harder to hype the crowd rather than turn out a well performed set.  If you’re lucky, you’ll see an actual performance - sounds being represented by visible human interactions with technology, maybe you’ll even see the artist playing synths live and if you’re really lucky, this will all still be backed by a great visual performance.  That latter scenario is what Madeon has set out to accomplish with his current Adventure tour and it couldn’t have possibly be executed any better.  Having seen his stop in Chicago at the House of Blues this past weekend, I don’t think I could’ve been more impressed with how explosive this show turned out to be.

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Monday
Apr272015

Gemma Bovery

Gemma Bovery
Director: Anne Fontaine
Screening: April 2015 at COLCOA Film Festival
Grade: 3 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: John Esther

Rather than another adaptation of Madame Bovary, co-writer and director Anne Fontaine's Gemma Bovery is a light lit-crit cinematic reinterpretation of Gustave Flaubert's great novel. 

After years in the publishing business, Martin Joubert (Fabrice Lucchini) has returned to the Northern France town of Normandy (the name of which works better as a play on words in English than in French). Martin may still be a voracious reader, but he now runs his deceased father's bakery. Martin is a natural at baking and seems happiest at work. At home, he has a nice wife, Valérie (Isabelle Candelier), plus a teenage son, Julien (Kacey Mottet Klein) who does not share his father's love of reading.

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Monday
Apr272015

True Story

True Story
Director: Rupert Gold
Released on: April 17th, 2015
Grade: 3 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: John Esther

Micheal Finkel (Jonah Hill) is in a bad way. He has just embellished and contrived a story for the New York Times and NYT has found out. Now a journalistic pariah (whose lack of integrity nowhere reaches the lows of Bill O'Reilly), Finkel has retreated to Montana with his girlfriend, Jill Barker (Felicity Jones), where he suffers rejection after rejection to write another piece. 
 
If things were not bad enough for Finkel — at his own fingers, mind you — an accused killer out an Oregon has been using his name as an alias. Who needs publicity like that? Well, Finkel might. 

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Tuesday
Apr212015

Halestorm || Into The Wild Life

Halestorm
Into The Wild Life

Released on: April 14th, 2015
Released by: Atlantic Records
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

It’s probably unfair to expect a new album so intensely from a band who practically lives on tour, but when we’re talking about Halestorm, there’s no such thing as ‘too soon’ or ‘too much music’.  So after salivating for a new record from them all this time, Into the Wild Life is finally meeting our earholes.  It seems they spent a good amount of time on this album because the scope of how much is here blows fan expectations out of the water.  We have 13 new songs (15 if we’re talking about the deluxe version) and there’s very little filler here.  Into the Wild Life is a streamlined record that finds the band sounding as close to their live shows as we’ve heard yet.  Trust me when I say, that’s a very, very good thing.

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Wednesday
Apr082015

ELECTRIC WIZARD @ Metro

Electric Wizard
Where: Metro
When: April 7th, 2015
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed & Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

It's been some time since I’ve been to a quality metal show.  Sure, Marilyn Manson earlier this year was awesome, but I personally don’t consider him to be metal (especially if we’re talking about his new album). So I knew that if I was going to do a live metal show the right way, I would have to go see Electric Wizard at my favorite Chicago venue, the Metro. The results? I made the best decision ever. I’m still putting my melted face back together and my ears are still ringing — when it hurts this good, you know you’ve been to a kickass show. I’ve never been afforded the chance to see Electric Wizard, so this show blew my mind apart. From the opening bass strums of openers Satan’s Satyrs to the closing dissonance of Electric Wizard’s “Funeralopolis,” this show was a relentless torrent of the most evil sounding psychedelic doom metal, and it hardly could’ve been better.

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Monday
Apr062015

An Honest Liar

An Honest Liar
Directors: Tyler Measom & Justin Weinstein
Released: March 6th, 2015 [LIMITED]/DVD TBA
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: John Esther

Last year writer-director Woody Allen released the feature film, Magic in the Moonlight. The film tells the story of Stanley (Colin Firth), a master illusionist who sets out to debunk the psychic powers of Sophie (Emma Stone), only to become duped himself in the process — yet fall in love with the considerably younger woman (typical), and presumably live happily ever after.

While the film has its moments, Magic in the Moonlight is ultimately predictable, reactionary and incredulous. And, like every single Allen film since his 1992 Husbands and Wives (one of his five masterpieces — along with Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, and Crimes and Misdemeanors), does not merit a second viewing. (Some of the recent films by Allen — once one of America's greatest "auteurs" — do not even merit a first viewing.)

Considerably more liberating, engaging, entertaining and less predictable (unless you already know the film's subject well), yet similar in content, comes Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein's documentary, An Honest Liar.

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