New Releases Round-up 2/20 – 2/24
Title: Get Out
Director: Jordan Peele
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Jordan Peele, of the comedic duo that ended its smash-hit sketch series on Comedy Central (Key and Peele) in 2015, has pivoted his efforts in an unexpected new direction two-fold: directing a feature-length horror film. However, keen fans of the comic’s past work may find that Get Out will be much more in his wheelhouse than one might expect, given that Peele’s sketch show frequently turned its eye towards racial and social dynamics within the framework of various film genres, including horror. The story follows a young white college student named Rose as she introduces her black boyfriend Chris to her parents. The film reportedly wrings satirically-tinged horror out of the (presumed) breakdown of the situation, as Chris comes to learn that black men have been disappearing in Rose’s parents’ neighborhood. It’s safe to say the film will be must-see based on the pedigree of talent involved as well as early reviews from its surprise premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. With the subject of race-relations taking center-stage in our national discourse, a new horror film from a black director (a rarity in the genre) that personally examines the challenges of interracial relationships could be a very enticing prospect. Get Out is led by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams playing the central couple, with Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener playing the aforementioned parents. Opens February 24th.
The Jazz fusion/R&B bassist attempts to continue his hot streak with his fourth studio album, following up The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam, released in 2015, a fruitful year for him between that project and his major production contributions to Kendrick Lamar’s grammy-winning opus To Pimp a Butterfly. The duo of singles released so far, “Show You the Way” and “Friend Zone” suggest the singer/producer is staying in his established (and currently very hot) lane of Jazz/funk pastiche, courting 70s/80s soft rock stars like Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald as features for an extra kick of smooth credibility. “Friend Zone” also suggests a welcome degree of lyrical playfulness, with an extended riff from Thundercat on how dealing with an elusive lover is getting in the way of his video-game time (“I’d rather play Mortal Kombat anyway”). Releases February 24th.
Title: No Plan
Artist: David Bowie
Released digitally on January 8th, the multihyphenate star’s 70th birthday, this EP of leftovers from the Blackstar sessions is seeing a physical release on CD this Friday, with three tracks performed by Bowie and band that were originally written for the Broadway musical Lazarus that premiered last winter, in addition to a performance of the title song from the aforementioned musical performed by the cast. These tracks were originally included in the cast recording album for that show, but a standalone release of these on-death’s-door recordings from the rock legend is welcome to those who want the songs straight from the source, instead of performed (admirably) by cast members Michael C. Hall, Cristin Milioti, etc. They fall in line with most of the songs that made it onto Bowie’s last full-length, brimming with free-jazz fury and featuring even more overt explorations of mortality. They should be essential listening for fans of Blackstar as well as Bowie completionists. Releases on CD February 24th.