Dave Chappelle’s ‘Sticks & Stones’ Won’t Break Bones, Or Any New Ground Either

Few comedians are as enduring or headline-worthy as Dave Chappelle. Many can nab themselves TV or movie deals thus prolonging their shelf-life i.e. Kevin Hart, Kumail Nanjiani, Michelle Wolf, Bo Burnham. But the return to the mic isn’t always seamless i.e. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Daniel Tosh (and, depending on who you ask, Ricky Gervais). Dave Chappelle is the rare comedian who came back with a renewed comic lens and a welcome socio-political incisiveness that made his return such a sigh of relief. But if his last two standups Age of Spin and Equanimity suggested a pseudo-renaissance, then Sticks & Stones is an unfortunate stumbling block that otherwise slows the breakneck pace of his resurgence. Continue reading

I Love Fleabag

Hello, my name is Adrian Manuel and I am addicted to Fleabag.

After weeks of seeing Phoebe Waller-Bridge pop up in a rolling stream of gifs, hearing endlessly about “that menopause scene,” and reading thirsty reactions concerning a “Hot Priest,” all with zero context whatsoever, I finally decided to see what the fuss was about— if only for context.

I was sold by the first cold open. (And, as of writing this, I have ordered a copy of Fleabag: The Play and am looking up various ways I can get “Phoebe Waller-Bridge” tattooed on my person. HELP) Continue reading

Avengers: Endgame — The Perfect Ending to Marvel’s 10-Year Odyssey

“Did you know the MCU would end up here?” a friend asked as we walked (or stumbled) out of Avengers: Endgame, mind blown, our hearts full and souls in tatters. The question is essentially a humble brag for Marvel Studios. Every year it seems like the MCU outdoes itself, and every year my friends and I think back to Iron Man – the one that started this whole thing, the little movie that could. “Not in the slightest,” we’d all agree, and our shared sentiments only affirm just how much this universe has grown beyond our wildest comic book dreams. Continue reading

Ant-Man: The Little Superhero That Could

There’s a never-ending charm to Ant-Man’s shrinking powers. In the summer blockbuster game, it’s go big or go home. The world’s ending. Shit’s blowing up. The good guy’s gotta stop the bad guy. Cue half-hour finale. 2015’s Ant-Man is all of the above except refreshingly, cheekily scaled back. Peyton Reed’s film has no other ambition than to charm and entertain the hell out of you. I didn’t admire it then. I respect the hell out of it now.  Continue reading

Infinity War – Destiny Has Arrived

Infinity War is a film that should have cups of water waiting for you by the exit. Throw in some orange slices too. Marvel’s superhero marathon is the die-hard fan’s wet dream – a mammoth show-stopper featuring the MCU’s all-stars in a crossover for the ages. But a marathon is still a marathon. Infinity War isn’t the best Marvel movie, but it’s certainly the MOST Marvel movie where characters crowd the frame to the point that the frame can hardly contain them. It makes previous crossovers look tame, and there is no going back. This is what these films have been nudging toward, a fusion into the very medium that inspired them.  Continue reading