Paul Rudd, Zak Orth, Mark Feuerstein, and Marisa Ryan in Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

The show to watch

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later

“Seeing what kind of people the counselors have blossomed into is a poignant subtext that was also present, just not as pronounced (or chronologically accurate), in First Day Of Camp. But it’s also the emotional firmament from which [Michael] Showalter, [David] Wain, and the writers (who include Showalter’s Search Party collaborators, Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers) rain down their torrent of jokes. The people change, but Wet Hot American Summer remains “can’t look away for a second” funny. Zak Orth gives a facial expression in episode two that would be another show’s biggest laugh (if said show had precedent for such surreal, vaudevillian gags), but is probably only the third- or fourth-funniest moment in that particular episode. The secret’s already out about how Ten Years Later worked around its toughest scheduling conflict, but that joke is too intricate to be fully blown by a bunch of internet headlines.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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Comedy Bang! Bang! “The 500th Episode

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“Already having enjoyed a storied history as the live Comedy Death-Ray stage and local radio show before the podcast’s creation in 2010, Comedy Bang! Bang! has evolved to become an influential who’s who of who’s funny, an ever-growing network of daring and whip-smart comics who never stop racking their brains for new ways to make each other laugh. And by god, in this victory lap of an episode, they really do. For comedy nerds who geek out about the craft of improv, this anniversary show in particular displays the different giddy, macabre, authentic, high-brow/low-brow bits of brilliant alchemy that make up CBB’s magic. Is there a cooler couch in comedy?”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.


The movie to watch

Columbus

Columbus is the first feature by Kogonada, a video essayist and film critic with a deep well of influences (including [Richard] Linklater—he made a tribute to the director that ended up on the recent Criterion Before-trilogy boxset.) A lot of promising debuts wear their inspirations on their sleeve, but Kogonada has refined tastes. Adopting a style more reminiscent of contemporary Asian film than the average American indie, cinematographer Elisha Christian captures Columbus and its residents in static, carefully framed wide shots, sometimes shrinking the actors in proximity to striking structures, other times just leaving them out of the frame entirely. It makes for some of the most tranquilly gorgeous imagery of the year: a smitten sightseer’s view of the city.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The video game to play

Tacoma

“While Gone Home performed a singular feint, drawing you in as a ghost story but revealing itself to be something deeply human, Tacoma’s drama is all propulsive, against-the-odds space action, meted out by carefully drawn interpersonal relationships. Its twists are carefully planted and developed within that flood of information, subverting expectations based on Fullbright’s previous game, as well as those that have spawned in its wake. Its innovations are likely to be quietly imitated and refined for years to come, but, like its predecessor, it is most remarkable for doing something simpler and much rarer: It tells a damn good story.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The comic to read

Becky Cloonan, By Chance Or Providence

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“With Gotham Academy, Southern Cross, and Punisher under her belt, Becky Cloonan has proven as adept at playing in someone else’s sandbox as she is working on her own stories. Each of those books is remarkably different in tone and subject matter, though they do share the link of Cloonan’s love of things that go bump in the night. But back in 2011, she self-published a collection of three comics that showed just how skilled she is at twisting familiar tales of fear into something unique and entirely new, using fear and desire to pull readers along with her. The new reprint of By Chance Or Providence includes not only those three stories colored by Lee Loughridge, but also a sketchbook with works in progress and character designs as Cloonan worked through the book. True to form, these are all horror stories, built not out of violence and gore but fear. Cloonan often addresses the terrible things that human beings do to one another, and By Chance Or Providence is steeped deeply in that habit.”

Read the rest of our review here.


The album to listen to

Dead Cross, Dead Cross

Dave Lombardo’s AK-47 drumming, Mike Patton’s Mad Hatter yowls, Mike Crain’s car-crash guitar riffs, and Justin Pearson’s punk brilliance—each member of Dead Cross has developed an inimitable style over the years, and they fit together like puzzle pieces. Crackling with raw verve, the band’s self-titled debut is a rarity among supergroup albums. Opener ‘Seizure And Desist’ begins with electronic pulsing then cuts through those sounds with razorblades of snotty, grind-infused punk. As Lombardo launches a blast-beat offensive, Patton’s weirdo vocals ride Crain’s and Pearson’s violently bucking riffs. Throughout the record, Patton revives the syncopated Jekyll-and-Hyde approach he used on The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Irony Is A Dead Scene, which fits Dead Cross like a custom-made leotard.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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