Girls: Darling (live)

I have been listening to a lot of Girls lately and I really do miss this band. Their first album simply titled “Album” was quite amazing with its acoustic and laid-back feel. One of the best songs on the album is “Darling” which has a surf rock feel to it. In this video the band plays the song with acoustic guitars with Christopher Owens singing in his whispery voice.

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Prisoners

Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” is a dark and gripping thriller about the lengths that a parent would go to find their child. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover a man whose child goes missing on Thanksgiving. His neighbors’ daughter goes missing as well and Dover enlists the help of Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) in getting information out of suspect Alex Jones (Paul Dano) by kidnapping him and imprisoning him in a contraption. He tortures the man who he believes knows exactly where his daughter is.

Meanwhile, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned to the case and tries everything to track down the missing girls while butting heads with Dover.

I really enjoyed this movie due to several factors. The cinematography is amazing with its dark view of the small Pennsylvania town. It is constantly rainy and cloudy which adds to the film’s gloomy atmosphere. Another factor is Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as a dark detective who seems to have issues of his own that he has buried deep within himself. He is constantly working and doesn’t seem to even rest. He is a one-man team trying to find these girls that he has promised to find to the mothers.

After watching this movie I am very intrigued to watch Villeneuve’s “Enemy” which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal.

Nas: The Don

I finally had the chance to check out Nas’ Life is Good album and like I expected, it is a great album. As usual Nas brings his lyrical astuteness and social consciousness to the record. There are many great tracks on the album but the one that hits the hardest is “The Don”. The song is aggressive and Nas’s delivery over the beat is exceptional. Check it out.

The Belle Game: Wait Up For You

I recently discovered Canadian band The Belle Game and I can’t get enough of their atmospheric sound. The band’s music has been described as dark pop and it suits due to their somber songs. The band released their debut album “Ritual Tradition Habit” last year and one of the songs from that album is ‘Wait Up For You”. Check it out.

Trust

David Schwimmer’s “Trust” is a movie that shows both the lost of innocence and the vulnerability of children. “Trust” stars Liana Liberato as Annie a 14 year old girl who has an online relationship with a boy her age in California named Charlie. She slowly begins to fall for Charlie as she gets to know him during their daily chats online.

One day Charlie tells her that he is in fact 20 years old and this causes a moment’s pause for Annie but she continues the friendship anyway. A few days later Charlie tells her that he is 25 years old and is in grad school, this upsets Annie which leads to Charlie calling her and trying to smooth things by telling her that he wants to meet her. They set up a date to meet when Annie’s parents take her older brother to college.

When Annie meets Charlie she finds out that he is in fact a middle-aged man. Charlie is able to convince Annie to stay and spend the day with him. She does and when Charlie presents her with lingerie they head back to his hotel room. Charlie coaxes Annie into having sex with him which she does not want to do. Afterwards Annie heads home and tries to get in contact with Charlie who doesn’t answer any of her messages. Annie’s friend notifies their guidance counselor about Annie’s meeting with Charlie which causes her unaware parents to enlist the help of an FBI agent to track down Charlie.

“Trust” does a great job of showing the lost of control and helplessness of the parents’ of Annie. They are both trying their best in their own ways of protecting their daughter. The father wants to track down Charlie and kill him and goes on a escapade to find him. Annie’s mother tries to keep the family together by understanding what her daughter is going through.

What stands out most of all in this movie is Liana Liberato’s performance as Annie. Annie is very trusting and even after her meeting with Charlie she still believes that he loves her and wants to be together. She fights her parents and everyone else who tells her differently. When the realization that she was tricked hits her its a very emotionally moving moment for the viewer as they watch her breakdown.

“Trust” is one of the best films I have seen in a while. David Schwimmer does a terrific job of showing the fragility of children and the demons that prey upon them.

True Detective

I just completed watching HBO’s True Detective and I have to say that is one if not the best TV show ever created. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey deliver the best performances of their careers as Detectives Marty Hart and Rustin Cohle respectively. Initially they are trying to solve the murder of a girl found in the Louisiana woods but the show moves into the direction of the characters’ lives over the span of a few decades.

Detectives Hart and Cohle are complete opposites in every way. They don’t see eye to eye and have different outlooks on life. Hart is interested in having a good time and things being in control whereas Cohle is nihilistic and views life as a chore to get through. The two detectives butt heads as they try to make sense of the grisly murder they are assigned to as well as trying to come to terms with the choices they have made in their own personal lives.

From the very first episode of this show I was hooked. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s slow tracking shots and views of a stark Louisiana is quite something to see. There are many scenes where the color black is striking in comparison to the surroundings. There are also many scenes where Cohle senses are heightened specifically in episode four when he is in a firefight. Everything slows down and he tries to regain control over a very deteriorating situation.

Last year Matthew McConaughey’s career really took off with a series of roles in critically acclaimed films including “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyer’s Club”. I hope that next year he wins a much deserved Golden Globe for his performance on True Detective.

The National: Graceless (SNL live)

The National are rapidly becoming more well-known after their many performances on several TV shows including The Mindy Project and The Simpsons. Their music is being played everywhere which is furthering their reach of grabbing listeners who probably wouldn’t listen to them.

I have been a fan of this band for a few years now and just like Interpol their music provided a cathartic experience to my life. I spent many days listening to “Boxer” and “High Violet” in their entirety and never became bored from it.

The National recently had a music guest spot on Saturday Night Live with host Lena Dunham. Their performance of their song “Graceless” is quite amazing especially with Matt Berninger shouting at the end. Check it out.

Hamilton Leithauser: Alexandra

I just found out a few days ago that The Walkmen’s lead singer Hamilton Leithauser is releasing a solo album in May. The record is titled “Black Hours” and the lead single from the album is “Alexandra”.

The video shows Leithauser dressed in his trademark suit in the backroom of a burlesque show. Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij joins him on this song by playing the guitar and harmonica. Check it out.

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