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Doug Paisley - Starter Home Music Album Review

Gracefully navigating the intersection of folk-rock and country, the gentle-voiced songwriter turns detailed images of domestic tranquility and promise into reflections on disappointment.
For a decade, Canadian singer/songwriter Doug Paisley has turned quiet, specific moments into inquiries on life’s larger struggles. On his 2010 breakthrough, Constant Companion, Paisley used the inevitability of endings to explore understanding oneself, the only possible “constant companion.” For 2014’s Strong Feelings, he mulled death and its uneasy relationship with life, or how their juxtaposition ripples into every wave of existence. And now, on his fourth album, Starter Home, Paisley details the chasm that separates what poet Seamus Heaney described as “getting started” and “getting started again.” These songs examine how the person you are never truly aligns with the person you want to be, especially when you stumble upon a sticking point that’s hard to move past.



Mandy Movie Review

Poor Mandy

Nicolas Cage's career as an actor is one weird timeline. He has appeared in really good flicks like "Birdy," "Raising Arizona," "Moonstruck," "Red Rock West," "The Rock," "Adaptation," and "Leaving Las Vegas". One not quite as respected is "Mom and Dad," which I thought was great fun, even though my colleague had quite the different reaction to it.

Cage has also appeared in some films that I found to be boring, and in some cases, utter trash. Why there is such a wide range in the quality of his work? I have a theory based on a few rumors floating around and on my meeting him in person, but I will pass on presenting anything else in this vein.

If you crave almost endless violence and not being able to see it clearly, "Mandy" is the movie for you. Director Panos Cosmatos has fashioned a nearly incoherent and difficult to look at exploration of a cult in the middle of nowhere that is in possession of a type of LSD far more bizarre than any other known strain.

He uses this new LSD to cloud everything about "Mandy," including the story line and the movie's actual physical look. The strategy sometimes works, but other times it serves mostly as an annoying distraction.

In 1983, Red Miller (Cage) is a lumberjack living with his lover, Mandy Bloom (Andrea Risebrough, "Birdman"). She is a bit of a space cadet. One day, while Mandy strolls through the wilderness, she is spotted by a group of men that turn out to be a cultish clan that loves a new form of LSD.

The group tortures and kills Mandy. This sets up Red as the crusading hero who must take out the evil ones. The cult members also have at their disposal three seven-foot tall creatures that have physical powers far greater than normal men. Red will have to crush them all or die trying.

Cosmatos films it all in near-darkness with color-riddled backgrounds, most of which are red, so be prepared to squint a lot. One particularly absurd thing is that there is a scene where Red drives his truck into one of the creatures. The truck bounces off the creature and flips over. Yet, in another scene Red fares pretty well against the creature in hand-to-hand combat. Despite all of its many negatives, it managed to hold my interest, even if I'm not sure why. Oh, Mandy.


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