BlacKkKlansman takes out Cannes Grand Prix, Grand Wizards to follow

Spike Lee’s forthcoming flick, BlacKkKlansman has taken out second place in its run at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Loosely based on the real life Ron Stallworth’s autobiography, the film blends the intense social upheaval of civil rights in the 70’s and the current volatile cultural landscape. Lee has applaudably woven the 70’s based film and subject matter, with footage from last year’s violent white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The 71st Cannes festival film jury, led by Cate Blanchett, selected the film for the Grand Prix prize. The highly coveted Palme d’Or prize was awarded to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film ‘Shoplifters’.

Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to join the Colorado Springs Police Department. Facing tension and hostility in the department, Stallworth sets about making a difference in the community. And, well, he goes straight to the klux of the issue.

Stallworth cunningly poses as a racist extremist and infiltrates the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. ‘How the fuck does he manage that?’, I hear your mind whirring. He enrols the help of his white (and Jewish) colleague Flip Zimmerman to meet with the klan face-to-face, and apparently Davey Duke and his equally rancid cronies are none-the-wiser.

As a white Aussie, it kind of goes without saying that I am pretty far removed from this particular subject matter. Regardless, it’s pretty simple to comprehend that a violation on an individual’s civil rights borne of misconceived notions of ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ race and ethnicity is absolutely abhorrent. I think Roy Trenneman put it best when he said, ‘People, what a bunch of bastards.’

And maybe I’m hella naive, but the amount of batshit, fire torch-wielding racists that came out of the woodwork during America’s race riots last year was astounding. If ever there was time for a film that touched on white supremacy, it’s fucking now – and that is a sentence I never expected to utter.

On a lighter note, maybe after BlacKkKlansman I’ll be able to see Adam Driver as a separate entity from the eccentric and erratic Adam in HBO’s Girls, ’cause Sith Lord knows his run as Kylo Ren hasn’t done the trick. Oh, and prep yourself for Topher Grace donning the robes of the KKK’s notorious Grand Wizard, David Duke. It’s going to be a wild ride on all fronts, folks.

In case you’ve missed it, check out the trailer for BlacKkKlansman below. The film is due for release on August 10th. 

Featured image credit: David Lee / Focus Features
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‘Queendom’ Come: AURORA’s ethereal music clip

Norwegian singer-songwriter AURORA has perfectly embodied the strength and momentum of 2018 female empowerment in the official clip for her latest bop, ‘Queendom’. And is it just me, or is it now the norm for music videos to be on par with full-scale, Oscar-worthy productions?

‘Queendom’ transforms what looks to be a derelict warehouse into an ethereal atmosphere that, at least for my tired eyes, is strongly reminiscent of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. But that far-reaching parallel could very well be a mirage borne of the way in which the sunshine streams warmly through the high windows, Aurora’s attending (and très chic) posse, or merely her keen eye for rich and eclectic fashion. Or, you know, it could just be my annual hibernation instinct telling me it’s time for a cake & Coppola sesh.

The lithe 20-year-old exudes playful eminence as she leaps and bounds between graceful twirls and determined, almost animalistic choreography – all the while donning myriad outfits, most notably a dreamy mohair crop.

AURORA Queendom
Image source: i-d Vice

Despite the title, the track itself is actually an ode to inclusivity,

“about celebrating all the differences in us. It’s about celebrating the women and the children and animals and the men also. The quiet ones and the introverts, where they can sing and be seen. It’s about the shy people and the lonely people and I hope it can be a place where we can come and be lonely together and then not be lonely anymore. Queendom is a place for all of us.”

The choral melody is equal parts uplifting and empowering, lilting over a fierce and punchy beat that drives AURORA’s frenetic choreography.

I’ve gotta be honest, the first few times I heard this track it kind of slipped past my aural sensors. But having watched the video clip more times than one hand can count, I’m picking up the good juju that AURORA’s laying down. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I danced around the kitchen waiting for my toast to cook, so what does that tell you?

Wrap your ears and eyes around AURORA’s ‘Queendom’, and drop us a line below. I’d love to hear if I’ve pulled this Marie Antoinette connection outta my ass or not!

Westworld S02E01: The blind leading the blind

In case you’ve somehow evaded social media for the past week, Westworld made it’s long-awaited return yesterday. As per usj, the cinematography was breathtaking, Evan Rachel Wood’s complexion was enviably dewy, and the episode left me with more questions than Bernard Black trying to do his taxes.

Alas, a sentient Delores, I am not; so I’ll leave the episode deciphering to the superfans without pickled dills for brains. Instead, I’m just going to quietly ruminate on a couple of choice quotes from the show I’ll soon be referring to as ‘West Mirror’.

‘Journey into Night’

The irony of S02E01’s title should have been abundantly clear from the get-go. Westworld is basically a metaphor for the blind leading the blind: we all know it, and the show runners sure as heck know it. Does anyone know where this show is leading? Probably not. But it’s fast becoming one of life’s biggest mysteries, and I’m just glad I’m tall enough to ride.

Westworld
Image source: Screen Rant

Host collector cards and the Bernard/Arnold conundrum

Okay, I lied. I gotta don my detective hat here. It’s impossible not to!

At the beginning of the episode, Bernard wakes up on a beach and is about to be interrogated by some intense S.W.A.T-looking agents who are under the assumption he is a host. My brain immediately kicked into hyperdrive, clutching at any and all obscure details in the hopes they’ll be revisited later down the track:

  1. Why – when we’ve already seen wafer-thin handheld devices used left, right and centre – is this security officer carrying around a deck of what looks like host collector cards?
  2. How are security able to obtain a printout of Bernard’s host status and the rest of the park technicians/employees are none-the-wiser?

Security must have realised Bernard’s low damage and traded his card though, because next minute they’re all hunky dory joy-riding through the park together… Let us flag the latter q’s for future ref.

Delos, droids and double helixes

‘Are we logging records of guests experiences and their DNA?’

If you didn’t erupt with earth-shattering chills when Bernard/Arnold uttered this question, then you’ve clearly been living under a rock for the past month and/or you’re a host living in plain sight. I’ve been following the Cambridge Analytica debacle/Facebook hearings like a buzzard, so admittedly my recent technological anxiety could just be a side effect of Zuckerberg’s shifty Lizard gaze… but doesn’t Bernard’s question stir a little real-life paranoia in you, too?

Sure, Facebook haven’t stolen our DNA just yet (only our contacts, phone records, every waking minute of our existence – chill) but you don’t have to be a hyper-sentient Maeve to see how this whole ‘online presence’ thing is going to pan out…

One minute we’re proffering our fingerprints over pass-codes, the next we’re volunteering facial maps for recognition software. What’s next, logging into our email with a blood sample? It’s only a matter of time before smartphones become equipped with a handy needle-prick dongle for ‘no muss, no fuss’ DNA-confirmation for all online purchases over $100. Spend less than $100 and use your VISA BioPay chip! (Surgically inserted into your wrist for convenience, or rectum for cosmetic purposes).

Back to Westworld, however, I’m still scratching my brain over the fact that Bernard was able to waltz on in to Charlotte Hale’s top secret, underground lair. The dude was visibly perturbed every time his DNA was presented for scanning… My question is, do the faceless droids register him as Bernard (park employee), or since he was modelled on Ford’s infamous partner does Bernard’s host body contain Arnold’s DNA? And if so, do the droids then register him as Arnold? HOW DOES HOST DNA WORK?

Revisiting the whole ‘stealing guests’ DNA samples off the hosts they screw/marry/kill’ operation, let us then ask – for what are these samples being used? Either a) it’s all an insanely elaborate blackmail scheme, and/or b) Delos are cloning the pubes off their guests.

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You can probably bet your bottom dollar though that Ford knew about this sinister lair. Not a lot got by old Bobby, so surely he had the foresight to ensure Bernard had access to all areas of the park. That, or Charlotte already knows he’s a host. Which would make sense in her grand scheme to track down Peter Abernathy (Delores’ dad, he’s carrying all her precious DNA data like some kind of human-sized Seagate) since Bernard and Delores were pretty tight.

William Is #WokeToo

‘The stakes are real in this place now, real consequences.’

I wonder, does a certain president watch Westworld? Probably a little above his IQ’s pay grade, and way too in-depth for a 140-character recap/rant… nevertheless, it’s an enlightening quote to live ones life by in this hair-triggered world.

I digress: William/The Man in Black copped a bit of a nasty boo-boo in the scuffle that closed out season one, and it’s reignited his thirst to find the deeper meaning of the park/ centre of the maze/ life. Or something? I don’t know? I thought he had already figured out the maze? I really gotta watch season one again.

Oh, but isn’t the irony exquisite? A little bullet wound and suddenly the violent ol’ codger realises that his actions inside the park have consequences. I guess raping Delores every time you visited the park over the past thirty odd years mustn’t have registered on your trusty consequence meter then, Willy?

MOOD/10, William. MOOD OUT OF FREAKING TEN.

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‘Folly of my kind, there’s always a yearning for more.’

For a petty son of a so-and-so, William sure dished up some philosophical truths in the first ep. If the above quote doesn’t sum up humankind in a pesticide-coated, steroid-injected nutshell then come back to me when this mind-maze of a show is over.

That juicy little nugget, plus Delores’ unshakeable determination to experience life outside of the park leads me to speculate that the Delos folk won’t learn their lesson, and try introduce sentient hosts outside of the park. BUT! This is Westworld after all, and you can be damn sure these violent delights will have violent ends in a completely unforeseen, and equally mind-boggling turn of events.

Featured image source: Refinery29

‘Awake’ in Wonderland: A Review

Alison Wonderland’s sophomore album Awake dropped into our hot little laps last Friday, and I’ve been chomping at the mother-flying bit to review this record! And so, now that I’m (temporarily) free of my hospitality shackles – let’s press play, shall we?

Awake kicks off with an EDM-enhanced cello solo (played by Wonderland, herself); the passionate strings paving a path for a spectacular trap crescendo. But, is it ‘Good Enough’? You can bet your bountiful butt clams it is.

Sweeping declaration: this opening track is the new ‘Get Ready’ set-opener. And I’m not just saying that because my inebriated brain has faint memories of A.W opening her Sydney ‘Scarehouse’ with this baby. The off-kilter drop literally gives me gravity-pangs in my gut, and I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off this self-described musical diary/ rollercoaster of emotion.

earmilk
Image source: Earmilk

From downright dirty beats to the pop-influenced ‘No’, we really catch a glimpse of Wonderland’s range in the second track. Already hailed as the ‘next big Summer hit’ in far corners of the web, this track was stuck in my head for a good few days after its initial release (just ask my partner). It isn’t my favourite on the record; nevertheless, it’s got a seriously contagious beat, and it’s certainly inspiring to see A.W’s vocal confidence grow.

To be perfectly candid, I wasn’t a fan of ‘Okay’ on first rotation. I’m putting it down to the fact that my first listen to the new record was on my shoddy iPhone 7 Plus. Word to the wise: this record has a pre-req for bassy speakers. Let’s just say, the stereo in my Mazda teeters on the edge of ‘completely blown’ after a weeks’ worth of whipping AwakeI’ve since come to conclude that the third track on this album is a grower not a shower, and at risk of perpetuating this overtly sexual adage – came to be a bit of an ear worm. It’s a real different sound for Alison, and yet another unexpected jolt on this aural rollercoaster.

Next track ‘Easy’ is the new ‘down-spiralling in love and depression’ anthem. It’s catchy – tick. It’s upbeat – tick. It’s relatable AF – TICK.

‘Walked into the bathroom / Just so I could cry / Wish I knew why / Oh baby, why don’t you find someone easy?’

For anyone that has suffered/suffers from depression and anxiety – this track will undoubtedly ring true on a deeper level. Wonderland admits that ‘Easy’ raps on those unexplained bouts of tears and depression, even when life around you seems outwardly fine.

These moments of insecurity are magnified tenfold in a relationship – uncontrollable emotions evoke compounded thoughts of, ‘what’s wrong with me, that I can’t even be happy when nothing is overtly wrong’, to ‘my S.O doesn’t deserve to deal with this’ – which inevitably leads to ‘baby, why don’t you find someone easy?’.

It’s raw, and yet the juxtaposition of the somewhat summery melody instils hope that love can eke out the nasty thoughts and emotions of down-spiralling in depression. Sappy, I know.

PHWOAR. Okay, ‘High feat. Trippie Redd’ is, just, the epitome of a pearler track. Trippie’s vocals stoke some kind of chanting animal from within, and GOD HELP anyone that’s within the vicinity of my car when I’m belting this cracker out along with him. And for the record, if I’m ever in a car accident: it’s highly likely that it’ll be as a result of me twerking down to this ditty behind the wheel. Insert 10 x ‘Italian kissy fingers’ emojis.

Alison Wonderland Feat. Trippie Redd 'High'
Image source: EDM Sauce

Same goes for ‘Here 4 U feat. BLESSUS’. YIKES! Fire on fire on fire for all of eternity. This track and ‘High’ have probably already slipped into the annals of my Spotify Most Played… the record has been out for a week; so, just let that sink in. I am so excited to hear what else this RnB enigma has in the works, and I’ll happily endorse a future BLESSUS x A.W. collab.

I’m not going to bother writing about Church and Happy Place – they’re bloody spectacular, but they’ve been out for a while. Feel free to read what I’ve had to say about them elsewhere on the internet.

Next up, ‘Cry’  – and yep, you guessed it! Another catchy tune that I’ve been singing (and grinding to) relentlessly – much to the distaste of my partner. Not because it’s a bad track, but because I am horrendously tone-deaf, and let’s face it – embarrassingly white. It’s a frightening combo, but if Alison can get rhythmically uncoordinated people down to clown then props to her. Once again, my sincerest apologies to anyone that catches a glimpse of me sitting in traffic, popping my shoulders to this bad boy.

Also, calling it now: ‘I just want to make a grown man cry’ will be THE mantra of the post-Weinstein/#MeToo 2018.

Now whether it’s a case of undiagnosed ADHD and/or my tendency to relentlessly flog my favourite tracks, I must admit that the remainder of Awake fell a little flat on my ears. That certainly isn’t saying that the rest of the tracks are shite – not in any way. ‘Good Girls Bad Boys’ and ‘Sometimes Love’ are fucking outstanding, and get my juices flowing akin to some of the other certified bangers that appear earlier in the record.

Vid credit: YouTube user Jessica C

Admittedly, ‘Dreamy Dragon’ doesn’t particularly do it for me. But, I have noticed that the ‘poppier’ sounding tracks on the record haven’t excited me as much as the devastatingly filthy trap and bass offerings – so, that could just be my fickle musical preferences at play.

Having said that, titular track ‘Awake’ wraps this musical gift up perfectly – giving us one last taste of Wonderland’s improving vocal range. The uplifting track instils imagery of a BIC lighter-waving crowd swaying along to this rousing ode… not sure if I’m pulling this mental imagery from my hazy memory of Scarehouse or not. If someone could confirm, that would be great.

All in all, Alison Wonderland has kicked out yet another dope record. This fire producer is ahead of her game, and seeing her dominate on the world stage stirs an intense patriotism in me. As for Awake? I certainly can’t see myself turning this album off any time in the foreseeable future.

Hop in ya vehicle of choice and bust out this bad boy, ASAP. Listen on Spotify, here. 

Cusack cures our Rick & Morty withdrawals with Ciggy Butt Brain-flavoured ‘Bushworld Adventures’

Alert the inter-dimensional authorities, Rick and Morty are back! In what appears to be an elaborate April Fools prank, Adult Swim have joined forces with Aussie animator Michael Cusack to bring thirsty Rickmo fans a slice of their fave animation… albeit, with the distinct flava-flav of stubbies and menthols.

Michael Cusack, the Aussie battler behind YouTube series Damo & Darren has teamed up with Adult Swim to produce a peak ‘Strayan sub for our favourite inter-dimensional duo. And, well, it’s everything you would expect from the confirmed Ciggy Butt Brain.

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All the key characters make an appearance as their respective bogan alter-egos. Picture Beth as your garden variety Shazza, and Summer as ‘Straya’s answer to Danielle Bregoli.

I couldn’t help but notice that the perpetual-butt-of-every-joke, Jerry, appears uncharacteristically very un-Jerry-like – adopting the much cooler alias of a bush wizard named Dougie (cough, represent). It’s an unexpected arc; and sure, his bush wizard methods debatably toe the universal Jerry threshold but it’s nice to see the guy not wallowing in grief for once. So sue me, I’m a Jerry-sympathiser.

Apparently Adult Swim are streaming Bushworld Adventures until midnight in the US. So, best get in quick and catch this ripper ep in its entirety before you hit the sack tonight for a little Morty sleep.

Image(s) source: Adult Swim

Donald Glover gets the last laugh, delivers hilarious Deadpool script slamming industry racism over series canning

Absolute wildcard of a human being, Donald Glover, has taken to Twitter to share his disappointment in the mid-production cancellation of his Deadpool animated series.

The animated series was yet another lucrative bag on the arm of the seriously talented rapper/ actor/ comedian/ director/ writer/ every-occupation-under-the-sun-you-name-it-Donald’s-probably-done-it. The highly anticipated series was kicked to the curb by Marvel Television, citing the ever-vague, and painfully curious, pretence (read: cop-out) of ‘creative differences’.

However, Glover felt he owed his fans a little more crumb – instead, taking to Twitter to upload a mock script for the canned series, titled ‘Finale’. And oh boy, it’s a doozy.

For the record: I wasn’t too busy to work on Deadpool.

-Donald Glover (@donaldglover)

At risk of renouncing all journalistic capabilities to the reader… I really don’t want to spoil the script. Really, you’ve gotta read this thing for yourself. The 12-page treatment follows the irreverent Deadpool on a trip to the African Savannah to act as a security detail to Sudan (the last remaining male white rhino, may he rest in peace).

The script vaguely ponders the cancellation of the Deadpool series, whilst in the same breath hurling somewhat veiled (but nevertheless, pointed) accusations of industry racism. You can also expect Glover to throw a hat into the ‘who bit Beyoncé?’ scandal, a slew of pop culture references, and a spicy quip aimed at a certain human-merkin residing in the White House.

It’s hilarious. It’s the epitome of pop culture. And it’s Deadpool to a god-damn tee. First of all, Marvel Television – what on earth were you thinking? And more importantly, is there anything Glover can’t do?

The original tweets have since gone walkabout, but I was fortunate to screenshot the puppies before their unfortunate interweb demise. Witness them in all their glory below:

What do you think of the script, would you have watched the Deadpool animated series? Do you think the ‘creative differences’ excuse is a tired cop-out? Strike up a chat, below.

Image source: Huffington Post