Murder, He Wrote
Movie review: The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino creates a self-conscious cartoon that puts a bullet through the brain of western myth
From the frying pan to the panhandle
Mob Rule: Part 38
Jack learns that brokering political deals in Florida means biting into fat slabs of bad meat
By John Armstrong
So that’s what we did. When we got to Florida Bobby called Wallace and arranged a conference in Albany, Georgia for the following day, the closest reasonably sized city to both camps. I didn’t go along with them and I confess I didn’t argue hard for the privilege. I’d seen enough of Wallace, Conner, and the "superior white race” and so far as I was concerned, I’d be just as pleased if the next time I saw them it was to identify the bodies. Our two diplomats left with a driver around 10 a.m. and expected to be back for supper. While they were gone I thought I’d take Vanessa to the beach and let the sun bake the stress away. It was already over 80 degrees. I found Sydney drinking coffee and asked if he knew how to get to the beach and he looked at me like I’d already been in the sun too long. I was in my shorts and sandals, a towel ...
Star Wars goes back to the future
Movie review: Star Wars - The Force Awakens
The long-awaited new movie reclaims the universe of Star Wars, makes it fresh again, and still finds room for old favorites like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher
Pointless and broken
Movie review: Point Break
The remake of Kathryn Bigelow's cult classic about two dudes on opposite sides of the law is a murky bore
Rod Mickleburgh’s Cool Yule Top Ten
Music: Christmas Carols
A devout atheist reveals an unrepentant penchant for Christmas carols, and offers a list of top yule tunes, as well as a few nasty disasters from the past
By Rod Mickleburgh
A confirmed atheist from birth, I nevertheless fell under the spell of Christmas carols early on in my twisted, hippie life. I well remember a time when, in the days leading to Christmas, CBC Radio would broadcast the singing of carols every morning from the Timothy Eaton’s Store in Toronto. And this was no professional choir. The singers were the shoppers, and whoever else showed up to carol at 8.30 a.m., when the half-hour live broadcast began. Complete with coughing, the grave, echo-y announcements of the next carol, the audible rustling of the carol sheets and finally, the glorious sound of all those voices raised on high, it was an indelible part of my “child’s Christmas in Newmarket”. I can tell you they never did Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty the ...
The Big Short goes long on greed
Movie review: The Big Short
Capitalizing on his comedy savvy talent, director-writer Adam McKay turns Wall Street's crooked ways into a fragmented farce that makes us laugh at our own funeral
Bolshoi Babylon breaks ballet’s legs
Movie review: Bolshoi Babylon
Documentary filmmakers Nick Read and Mark Franchetti go behind the red velvet and once iron curtain to unveil the ugly beauty that is Russia's legendary ballet company
Does Mad Men Make Women Angry?
Podcast: Pop This!
The digital divas take on the tale of two Mrs. Drapers, television's serial rape culture, and whether the chair-spinning moment in The Voice is a thrill or flat contrivance
Featuring Lisa Christiansen and Andrea Warner. Produced by Andrea Gin.
A sampling of what you might hear in this week's episode: "I did not care for the end of Mad Men, I hated the final episode." "At what point am I complicit in the rape culture by tuning in?" "I celebrate shows that have lots of sex." "Girls is over..." "I highly recommend Casablanca, the original, not the Pamela Anderson remake." ...and so, so much more.
For past episodes, click here. Or subscribe to Pop This! on iTunes.
THE EX-PRESS, December 20, 2015
Romancing the Swine
Mob Rule: Part 37
Jack and Lyndon come face to face with the devil called politics and those who wear their mother's laundry in the Deep South
By John Armstrong
We convened a nervous war council in the station’s coffee shop, with three hours before our train to Tallahassee. The only other departure between then and now would have taken us back through Alabama to Memphis and that didn’t seem like any real improvement over where we were, so we sat tight and waited. I repented of our decision to trim the touring party down for the Deep South campaign. We’d left the bulk of the staff and most of the guns behind us in Texas, the brain trust reasoning a larger party could seem confrontational, particular one with a dozen or so hired gunsels in it. There’s an old theory that in a dangerous situation, you’re sometimes better off to be unarmed, because it makes you tread carefully where you might not with a gun in your hand. That may be so, but I had two guns under my ...
Look away, look away, Dixieland
Mob Rule: Part 36
Jack lands in the heart of Klan land where the air smells of smoke and cordite, and the Civil War apparently never ended
By John Armstrong
It had been a long, hot muggy ride from Baton Rouge to Montgomery and by the time we arrived I felt like I might as well have swum. I could have wrung my shirt out like a bathing suit. Redcaps at the station loaded us into cabs and I climbed into one with Otis and Vanessa. When I gave the driver the name of our hotel he looked at me with saucer-sized eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “All y’all staying at the Hampton?” “That’s right. Why?” “’Cause your friend going to be the first colored to spend the night there.” “Shit,” Otis said. “I wondered when Jim Crow was going to show up.” He said to the driver, “Thanks for telling us. Where would you suggest as an alternative?” The driver pulled us out into traffic and said, “I favor the Hotel Sapphire. My sister works the desk and ...