<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Picks 2/15/15


TV: 'Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways'

This HBO series follows the rock band led by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as they created their most recent album through a unique process: recording it in eight different cities across the nation. And along the way in each city’s episode, Grohl – who directed the show – explores the musical culture of each locale and how it influenced popular music overall. The Foo Fighters frontman has already shown his chops beyond just music with his documentary film about a pivotal Los Angeles recording studio, “Sound City.” And as I first sampled the “Sonic Highways” episodes about the city where I now live (Austin, TX) and used to reside (New York City), I was duly impressed at how he did capture some of the musical significance of those places, and the other segments about Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Nashville and New Orleans. It would have been nice if more of the regional styles had made their way into the band’s music, but Grohl’s earnest quest to explore the roots and movements in each place does result in a worthy and enjoyable journey.

Book: 'The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency'

A while back I enthused here about the enchanting HBO series based on the books by author Alexander McCall Smith about a female private investigator in the African nation of Botswana, sadly canceled after one season. After now reading the first book of the same title that is followed by 14 more, I can happily report that both series are wonderful. And markedly different in ways that are in fact complimentary, with the books (I’m now onto another) offering even deeper and richer veins of character and anthropological sensibility.

Movie: 'St. Vincent'

Sure, it’s the kind of tale we’ve seen before: Crusty old fellow whose humanity is brought out by a youngster. But this take has its many charms even if its also has some soapy moments. Bill Murray shines as the cynical and somewhat soused Brooklynite who ends up minding the 12-year-old son of a struggling single mother that move in next door to him. It also shows a different and appealing side to Melissa McCarthy, who plays the mom in an acting turn that takes her away from her usually obnoxious screen presence. And Naomi Watts breaks form as well playing a Russian whore with a heart of gold. Best of all is young actor Jaeden Lieberher’s engaging portrayal of the kid in this perhaps small film with a big heart at its core.

From The Progressive Populist, February 15, 2015


Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652