The Office, Season 7

What was once a solid, dependable, sharp comedy has become sappy, contrived, predictable and unfunny. Blame Jim and Pam for the shark-jumping, but the whole show now suffers from a serious case of the warm-n-fuzzies. Steve Carell’s exit SHOULD force euthanasia on this now unwatchable M*A*S*Hified mess.

Halloween II

Director Rob Zombie may be the new Tim Burton and that’s not a compliment. The hallucination sequences in this film are beautifully disturbing, but Halloween II again traffics in predictable slasher film tropes, offering nothing in the way of suspense (and Scout Taylor-Compton is instantly forgettable as Laurie).


A Serious Man

With a soupçon of self-loathing, the Coen Brothers’ blackest, most polarizing comedy yet offers a hearty helping of nihilistic advice: The corrupt thrive, good people suffer, and no matter how hard you try, you’re never prepared for the tornado that lies just ahead. You either laugh... or you don’t.

Frank Sinatra, The World We Knew

Frank Sinatra, THE WORLD WE KNEW reissue (Universal)
Ah, Sinatra in the late 60s… a mixed bag, to be sure. The seasoned voice perfectly envelops melancholy gems like “Drinking Again” and the leathery, cocksure “This Town,” and “Somethin’ Stupid” (duet with Nancy) is a classic. But the über-sappy “Born Free” and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” are wince-inducing.



Despite a deep dislike of the male & female leads, I loved this exciting, visually stunning mind-bender from my current favorite director. Christopher Nolan is a 21st century Hitchcock, crafting wickedly smart, massive pieces of entertainment that challenge without condescension or pretension. Spielberg, Bay, Snyder, Wachowskis, et al take note!

Hans Zimmer, Inception Soundtrack

Hans Zimmer, INCEPTION: Music From the Motion Picture  (WaterTower Music)
Chris Nolan is a filmmaker that’s adept at choosing perfectly complementary collaborators, as Zimmer’s score to INCEPTION attests. Like the film itself, this music burrows into your brain, soft, lulling strings suddenly bending in unexpected directions, giving way to noisy (but beautiful) blasts of brass and percussion. Play it LOUD!


Batman: Under the Red Hood

Another sleek adaptation of a complex storyline, this tale of the resurrection of the second Robin as a violent, vengeful vigilante features terrific action, solid characterization, a great score and a final shot that packs a real emotional wallop. Easily one of the best of the DC animated movies.

The Like, Release Me

The Like, RELEASE ME (Downtown Music)
If you liked the garagey retro sound of early Bangles, check out The (revamped) Like’s take on 60s girl groups. A tad contrived, sure (these cute and industry-connected girls scream Los Angeles Band), but the lyrics are smart and pissy and the songs are undeniably catchy and fun.

Dexter Season 4

DEXTER Season 4
Our lovable serial killer finally meets his match in the seemingly normal / chillingly disturbed Trinity (John Lithgow). Jennifer Carpenter is staggeringly great as Dexter’s sister Deb, and the heart-pounding finale is shattering. DEXTER continues to back itself into and out of seemingly inescapable corners in this best season yet.