All posts by showntunes

Reputation by Taylor Swift (2017)

Taylor Swift is back with her sixth studio album Reputation. It’s been three years since her smash album 1989 (check out my review) and Taylor has a lot to say. Packed with 15 tracks, Reputation has Swift’s signature style of sound yet brings something different. Much like any Taylor Swift album, you expect songs about lovers and backstabbers—and this album is no different lyrically. This time, however, Taylor puts an electropop-synthesized sound to all her songs. She does a great job with this album, but if you are expecting something similar to her last album, you are in for a surprise.

As usual, I like to note my favorite songs from an album. Here are my top four songs from Reputation: “…Ready for It?,” “Call It What You Want,” “Dress,” and “I Did Something Bad.”

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) R

Mickey “Mick” Haller is a top defense lawyer in L A. He is slick and famous as an attorney who works out of his Lincoln Town Car. He takes on cases that might seem impossible or a long shot to win. The legal system is almost always stacked against his clients and you will get a look at how the system works. The wealthy young man he has agreed to defend is no prize and he sees his life and family threatened.

Fans of Michael Connelly will like that The Lincoln Lawyer is a good adaptation of his book and the cast is outstanding. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, and William H. Macy.

You’ll find The Lincoln Lawyer on our list of Lawyers in the Movies.

Wonder Woman (2017) PG-13

Superhero films are nothing new, but Wonder Woman brings more than a little something special to the table. Set in WWII, pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands on Themyscira, an island inhabited entirely by warrior women. Among them is Diana (Gal Gadot), who believes the world of men and its battles holds the key to defeating the war god Ares. She follows Trevor to England and later leads his men into battle in some of the most impressive fight scenes we’ve seen in a long time. Action-packed, but balanced with humor and tender moments, Wonder Woman is sure to become a favorite of viewers and inspire a new generation of strong female heroes.

In your 20s or 30s? Join us for our Popcorn & Pop Culture night on Friday, December 15 at 6:30pm. Register here.

Rick Steves’ European Christmas (2005)

Is there a better tour guide than the affable and erudite Rick Steves? I look forward to watching this PBS special every year, and I’m never disappointed with the vicarious tour of Christmas traditions across Europe. But you too can experience the history, music, and food of the season: there’s the Santa Lucia festival in Norway, traditional English carols sung in Bath Abbey, and in the French countryside, the Christmas Eve meal consists of foie gras, and waaaaait for it…filet of beef tenderloin in brioche with truffles. Need I say more? Check out Rick Steves’ European Christmas this holiday season!

Gifted (2017) PG-13

After the death of her mother, Mary (McKenna Grace), a young mathematics prodigy, is put in the custody of her uncle, Frank (Chris Evans). Seeing how his sister’s genius drove her to suicide, Frank wants to raise Mary as a regular child, but her grandmother wants her to embrace her gifts. The two adults engage into a custody battle—with Mary in the middle. Gifted proved to be a gentle, beautiful movie that will surely appeal to your heart.

1989 by Taylor Swift (2014)

It is almost impossible not to like Taylor Swift’s album 1989. This album is so well polished and well written with almost every song managing to sneak up in your head (“Shake it off” anyone?). I enjoyed Taylor’s previous albums, with Fearless being one of my secret pleasures. This album will be in the history books for her: 1989 finally categorizes what Taylor Swift has evolved into…pop (finally!). With almost the whole album being turned into singles, listing them would be silly. Instead, I’ll share my favorite tracks: “Style,” “Out of the Woods,” and “I Wish You Would” all earn spots in my playlists.

Her new album Reputation will be out November 10–place your hold now!

Lone Star (1996) R 

This is a powerful movie, and it is very relevant today. Texas law and immigration are two of the many themes played out by Matthew McConaughey and Kris Kristofferson in Lone Star. An unsolved murder in a Texas border town leads to a sheriff that once controlled a town and family secrets.

Writer and director John Sayles (Eight Men Out) gives us a story with flashbacks that are incredibly moving. Many will see a film noir movie with several plot twists that will haunt you.

Their Finest (2017) R

In the early part of World War II, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is hired as a scriptwriter to accurately portray women’s dialogue in propaganda films. The war office wants these films to strike the right balance of realism and optimism, boosting morale throughout Britain (oh, and inspiring the United States to join the war). In Their Finest, Catrin works closely with fellow writer Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) and aging film star Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) during the Blitz in London to contribute to the war effort.

Based on the novel of the same name by Lissa Evans. Discover other movies set on the home front during WWII.

Wonderful, Wonderful by The Killers (2017)

After a four-year break, The Killers are finally back with a new album. A good listener will be able to pick out some themes that build upon previous albums Battle Born (2012) and Direct Hits (2013). The upbeat single “The Man” being reminiscent of popular songs like “Spaceman” and “Mr. Brightside,” while slower, world-weary commentary similar to “All These Things I’ve Done” makes an appearance in the title song “Wonderful Wonderful.”

With a lot more bass and an ever-present synth overlay, Wonderful, Wonderful isn’t quite the breakout album Killers fans were hoping for—feeling more like a sophomore album than a fifth release—but it should not be ignored by fans old or new. As lead singer Brandon Flowers pleads in “Rut,” this is not the time to give up on him or The Killers. The new music shows a lot of growth from the band and sixteen years after their first release, they’re still capable of beautiful lyrics and catchy tunes, even as they find a new direction.

Fjallbacka Murders. Set 1 & 2 (2011)

Fjallbacka Murders is a Swedish mystery series based on the novels by Camilla Lackberg. The setting is a picturesque seaside village where Erica, a young mom and wife is drawn to her husband’s work as a police detective. Each episode centers on a current mystery in Fjallbacka that is connected to a mystery in the past. While the puzzles are satisfying, it’s the easy chemistry of this husband and wife team as they solve crimes while raising a family that’ll keep you watching.