Category: New Discoveries

0

Two Approaches to Jazz Drumming

For two consecutive weeks, we’ve been treated to compulsively listenable new albums by two excellent jazz drummers, Raphael Pannier (“Faune”) and Matt Wilson (“Hug!”). In many ways, the recordings couldn’t be more different. Pannier is a next generation virtuoso surrounded by other jazz killers — Miguel Zenon, Francois Moutin, Aaron Goldberg — whose spectacular modernist...

Last Moment of Clarity

The cinematic thriller “Last Moment of Clarity,” written and directed by James and Colin Krisel in their major film debut, is a melange of Hitchcockian plot devices — “Vertigo,” particularly — assembled with assured artfulness and narrative control. We’re given what seems like a set of facts — a hapless fellow (Zach Avery, nicely understated)...

Leah Lewis in “The Half of It”

Alice Wu’s autobiographical romantic comedy “The Half of It” is worth watching for many reasons, including its original and modern take on the Cyrano de Bergerac theme of love letters written by a surrogate. Perhaps the movie’s biggest revelation is the performance of Leah Lewis, a singer-songwriter whose utter naturalness on screen suggests she’ll soon...

Mercy

Exploring the fascinating (and disturbing) connection between an obsession with “true crime” television and one chronically ill woman’s serial surgeries and medical emergencies, Marcia Trahan’s bravely honest memoir Mercy compels readers to consider the omnipresent violence — both literal and figurative — visited upon women’s bodies. Not a jolly subject, right? Surprisingly, Trahan’s telling of her...

Accelerate Every Voice

Aficionados of the weird and wonderful, rejoice! Pianist-arranger Cory Smythe’s “Accelerate Every Voice,” gives new meaning to term “original music.” The recording offers strange and alluring sounds emanating from electronic keyboards and loopers, but the main sonic source is a quintet of human voices orchestrated into a collage of aural splendor that’s hard to describe...

Hand in Hand

The photographer Meg Boscov makes macro pictures; the writer Randall Brown makes micro stories. Teaming their extravagant talents, they’ve produced one of the loveliest — and most useful — coffee table books we’ve encountered. “Hand in Hand” contains a ravishing photo (many of them from nature) and an accompanying page of text in each chapter,...

I Lost My Body

When a movie’s plot is almost impossible to describe with a straight face — “Um, it’s an animated film about an amputated hand searching for its body, a motorcycle pizza delivery boy. . .in Paris” — you know you’re dealing with a singular creation. The French director Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body” is one...

Tim Urban’s The Story of Us

The popular blogger and stick-figure cartoonist Tim Urban posts educational and intellectually provocative articles on his Website, WaitButWhy.com. Everything there is worth reading. But during these plague times, his magnum opus, his masterpiece of expository and explanatory writing, a multi-part series called “The Story of Us,” is indispensable, not to be missed. In it, Urban attempts to...

D’ Rok THE Menace

Psychonauts rejoice! Instead of bragging about his money and hos — indeed, he announces his intention to “embrace imperfections” and view life through his Third Eye — the rapper D’ Rok THE Menace applies his mad skills to the ethereal charms of LSD, DMT, and magic mushrooms. He’s a stone cold killer, murdering his ego....

Amy Schumer in “I Feel Pretty”

Although we can understand it’s appeal to connoissuers of vulgarity, we’re not a big fan of Amy Schumer’s saucy stand-up comedy. Which is why her performance in “I Feel Pretty” knocked us out. Yes, she’s funny. But in this movie about one woman’s journey of self-acceptance (of her body, of herself), Schumer is vulnerable, brave,...