I haven't updated in a while. Much to share.
One year after hitting our fundraising goal, I was able to present the first annual Kavi Shekhar Pandey Arts Writer Scholarship on April 23, at the Michigan Daily's annual commencement ceremony in Ann Arbor. Shekhar's family was there with me, and I gave a brief speech.
You can read more about the event and scholarship efforts here. And, if you are feeling generous, you can donate here.
Happy 2017 to the world. In the final month of last year I continued to churn out stories at a furious rate. Though I didn't complete a Top Ten list for any outlet, I've compiled a Letterboxd ranking of the films that mattered most to me this year. There is only a granular difference in the rankings of any of my top 15 films; I will be equally delighted no matter which you make the time to see.
Here's to a new year of continued writing opportunities.
For Vulture, I reviewed every episode of the odd, fascinating, and wildly inconsistent surprise Netflix show The OA. They can all be found on the site's series page here.
Reviews to close out the year
The year is winding down, and the wheels keep turning. I've been working nonstop on one thing or another.
audio hears itself out
For Current, I filed dispatches from the 2016 Third Coast conference in Chicago, which gathered together audio producers of every stripe. Because it happened to fall immediately after the election, the atmosphere was a nonstop strain of what-now.
bleed for whatever
At Vulture (and later reblogged at Slate, so choose your favorite), I argue the sports-recovery narrative of boxing movie Bleed For This cheats its audience by concluding that serious medical injury is just another problem that can be solved by "believing in yourself."
This piece prompted an interesting Twitter debate with someone in the public TV/documentary system. I have Storified the exchange.
My weekly reviews for NPR, from mid-October to now.
I've been busy for the last three months. In addition to my work with the Chicago International Film Festival, I've been churning out stories for several places: some old haunts of mine, some brand-new. Consider this my most up-to-date work portfolio.
Chicagoans: I hope you're all making plans to attend the Chicago International Film Festival (and that you've all picked up one of my fabulous schedule guides being distributed all over town). If you don't know what you want to see, why not take the chance to watch me interview a director onstage?
This is an important step for any film critic, but a first for me: conducting live, one-on-one Q&As for a crowd, and moderating a post-screening audience discussion. Stop by and ask good questions. (And the movies we'll be talking about are excellent, anyway.) Here's my schedule, which strangely includes a lot of films from the Middle East. Descriptions come from the schedule book.
You can follow the links or call 312.683.0121 to purchase tickets, or avoid the surcharge and get them at the door. See you at the movies!
My latest NPR reviews: Finding Dory and Taika Waititi's Hunt For The Wilderpeople.
This is not my first Pixar joint for NPR -- I also reviewed their past two efforts, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. (I'd put Dory somewhere in the middle of those two. They haven't lost their magic completely yet, but there are some warning signs.)
Three new reviews to share.
For NPR, I bemoan the utter lack of Lewis Carroll illogic in the brand-deposited Alice Through The Looking Glass. But things pick up significantly as I rave about Anna Rose Holmer's stunning directorial debut The Fits. Truly audacious American indies are a rare find these days.
Then for Uproxx, I tackle the romantic tearjerker Me Before You. This is my fourth Uproxx review; the others are:
I recently updated my website to make the whole thing less cluttered. You won't find links to everything I've ever written here anymore, but some highlights are still here. And I will use this space to post about my latest activities.
My weekly film reviews for NPR.org continue. Today I dig into the gender-flipped raunch of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. If you're catching up, you can also find my recent takes on:
Let me know what you think of movies, or website redesigns, or freelance writers.