See Me Perform at the Hudson Valley Comedy Festival from June 30th to July 2nd

27 Jun

Heather Marulli at the Hudson Valley Comedy Festival.jpg

This weekend I will be performing in Kingston and Saugerties, New York as a part of the Hudson Valley Comedy Festival.  Here is where I will be:
Thursday, June 30th at 7:00 PM
Festival Kickoff Early Show
BSP Lounge, 323 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401
Friday, July 1st at 6:00 PM
Odd Comics at Odd Fellows
Odd Fellows Temple – Art & Theater Space
220 Main Street, Saugerties, NY 12477
Saturday, July 2nd at 7:30 PM
Jokes and a Movie Late Show
Movie at 7:30 PM, Comedy at 9:30 PM
Seven21 Media Center
721 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401

 

The Neon Demon Is Not for Everyone, But It Was for Me

26 Jun

The Neon Demon

For anyone familiar with the work of Nicholas Winding Refn, The Neon Demon will certainly fit into his canon.  The film, which tells the story of a sixteen-year-old aspiring model fresh off a bus from the midwest in Los Angeles, is rife with symbolism.  The symbolism involved, however, is not for the faint of heart.  Jesse (Elle Fanning, in an amazing performance) is an orphan staying in a shady motel in Pasadena when she signs with a modeling agency.  As Jesse’s star begins to rise, something changes inside of her, and it begins to show outwardly.

On one of her first shoots, Jesse meets Ruby (Jena Malone), a makeup artist who invites her to a party.  Jesse then meets two of Ruby’s model friends, Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote), who immediately treat Jesse with anger and disdain.  The four women watch a strange performance at the party, which is perhaps simply an excuse for Refn to sync electronic music with flashing camera shots, but I think it held some larger significance.

Neon Demon Curtains

What later unfolds are scenes that are tinged with a strange undertone of humor and horror; the closing scenes are likely what caused audiences to boo the film at Canne.  Despite the controversy linked to this film, Refn is saying something very interesting about beauty and narcissism. Some critics believe that he is both celebrating and condemning beauty at the same time.  If he is, then why isn’t that possible?  Personally, I think such a contradictory message in the film works nicely.

What I found most profound about this film was the lack of restraint shown by every actor, even Keanu Reeves, who gets a chance at playing a creep for possibly the first time in his long career.  I think the film also references the occult more often than viewers may think.  There is one scene in which a mountain lion sneaks into Jesse’s motel room, wreaking havoc, but it was more than just a mountain lion.  The film also makes great use of referencing Elizabeth Bathory…but I do not want to give anything else away.  The Neon Demon will likely be favored by fans of Refn and panned by those unfamiliar with his work. There were moments in this film in which I audibly gasped and said things like “Oh my lord!” and it’s fun when a film in 2016 can still do that to you.

Like a fashion designer in the film says: “beauty is not everything; it’s the only thing,” and the beautiful cinematography and score, as well as the amazing performances, demonstrate this point fully.

Final rating: 7 out of 10, and not for the faint of heart.

 

I’m Making My Stand Up Comedy Debut in Colorado This Memorial Day Weekend

25 May

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We’re having dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe first.  Pray for me.

I’ve Listened to Views Several Times and I Still Don’t Know…

12 May

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…if Drake has lost his damn mind.  Drake, the Six God, as he calls himself, is having a moment. Views, the highly anticipated studio album from the hip-hop/R&B artist is long, with twenty tracks completing the work.  Usually, when I see an album with twenty tracks, I think that the artist had a crisis of conscience.  However, I am unsure as to what Drake tried to accomplish with this album.  The fact that it was released less than a week after Beyonce’s obvious masterpiece Lemonade makes it even more difficult to appreciate.

One of the problems I think Drake has with this album is the release of “Hotline Bling” as the lead single ultimately molded its expectations. “Hotline Bling,” obviously one of the biggest songs of 2015 and its accompanying video making Drake a sweater-wearing, goofy-dancing icon, set Drake’s fans up for disappointment.

One of my favorite tracks on Views include “Child’s Play,” which narrates a lopsided relationship in which a woman continues sleeping with Drake in order to get him to continue buying her clothes.  Drake, of course, is using her for sex.  He references a fight taking place at Cheesecake Factory (a place that I could never imagine someone like Drake eating) and making up with luxury gifts: “I give out Chanel like a hug”.  Drake also expresses fear that his apparently high sex number will be exposed: “How many girls have slept in this bed – say a different number than the one in my head.” Drake also samples the New Orleans bounce hit “She Rode Dat Dick Like a Soldier”.  Drake sings, “She rode it like a soldier, She rode it like a jungle soldier” in the refrain, in an effort to bring some edge to the album.

Another great song is “Controlla,” a song with an island vibe and that sees Drake adopting Jamaican slang: “My last girl would tear me apart, but she’d never wanna split a ting with me”.  In the hook to the song, Drake decries the power this woman has over him: “I think I’d lie for you / I think I’d die for you / Jodeci “Cry For You” / Do things when you want me to /  Like controlla, controlla”.

“Controlla” is immediately followed by one of the album’s singles, “OneDance,” which maintains a fast-paced Afrobeat.   In the hook, Drake paints a scene of his infamous dancing, but in this case, he has a glass of Hennessy in his hand: “That’s why I need a one dance / Got a Hennessy in my hand / One more time ‘fore I go / Higher powers taking a hold on me”.  Another single from the album, “Pop Style,” contains more humblebrags: “Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum”.

In the next track, “Grammys,” featuring everyone’s favorite mumbling rapper Future, Drake sends a clear message to his haters, who he reminds have not won Grammys like he has: “Tell me how you really feel, tell me how you really feel / I would ask you what’s the deal but y’all don’t even got a deal / Most niggas with a deal couldn’t make a greatest hits / Y’all a whole lot of things but you still ain’t this”.

There’s also a collaboration with Rihanna, Drake’s rumored girlfriend, called “Too Good,” which also has some Caribbean influence.  This song pales in comparison to Rihanna’s “Work,” on which Drake also appears.  To be honest, “Too Good” is pretty boring.  “Last night, I lost my patience,” sings Drake. “I’m too good to you,” he continues, perhaps singing to Rihanna, who chimes in with “I don’t know how to talk to you.”  These people seem really confused for more than one reason.

Throughout the album, Drake certainly seems pleased with himself.  Overall, the album is growing on me, but I truly think that twenty tracks is simply out of hand, and that perhaps some of the songs that appeared on Drake’s 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late should have been on Views to make a more sensible album. But is this as good as it will get for Drake creatively? He’s only 29 so I think there’s still some room for him to grow. I’m still waiting for Drake’s equivalent of Lemonade. 

What’s the Deal with Thomas Yates on House of Cards?

10 Apr

Thomas Yates is a writer.  He’s supposedly a profound writer.  He’s written a bestselling novel called Scorpio.  (The book was based on Tom’s experiences selling sex and company to older men for money.)  He’s lauded by millions as the novelist of the twenty-first century.  He’s the writer of a generation.  He’s also a fictional character on the Netflix original series, House of Cards.  He’s also boring as hell.  Yet, people keep schtupping him on the show.  First it was Kate Baldwin, a Pulitzer-winning journalist for the fictional Wall Street Telegraph.  Next, it seems like it was Frank Underwood (looking back at season 3 when the two held hands).  Then, it was Clair Underwood herself. What’s the deal with Tom Yates?  Why does everyone succumb to his seduction?

Tom is kind of boring.  Here he is, looking very bored and sad at a book signing.

Boring Tom yates

Here he is drinking a very boring whiskey with the President.

yates and underwood

Tom is apparently a very deep thinker…

Tom Staring Off.jpg

He’s a low talker also.  What’s you deal, Tom?

I’m sorry…what was that again?

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But how does Frank feel about Tom?  What is the deal with Tom?

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Tom can give Claire what Frank cannot.  That D tho…that D.

 

88th Annual Academy Award Predictions

28 Feb

Wow, it’s that time of year again.  Another year that neither you nor I will not be winning a gold statue and the recognition of our peers.  Another year that Hollywood will praise each other for making it into a small circle of elitism.  Another year of dresses and jewelry more expensive than what most Americans could ever own or dream of.  Another year of gift bags worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!!!

2015 was a strange year for film, one that Bret Easton Ellis calls “the worst year for American film ever”.  Tell us how you really feel!  Did you see the films?  I saw most of this year’s films, and the only Best Picture nominee I skipped is Bridge of Spies.  Quite honestly, it looked like a snoozefest and we get it, Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg are important entities.

Here are my predictions of winners, along with who I believe SHOULD WIN!!!

Best Picture

  • “The Big Short”
  • “Bridge of Spies”
  • “Brooklyn”
  • “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • “The Martian”
  • “The Revenant”
  • “Room”
  • “Spotlight”

WILL WIN:

Spotlight.jpg

“Spotlight”.  The Best Picture category seems to swing away from the films that win for acting and directing.  For some reason, I feel like this will win Best Picture.  However, I have some criticisms of this film.  I think they were trying to make a contemporary “All the President’s Men,” and the subject matter and era simply do not fit.  How many times did we see Mark Ruffalo frantically running?  Did we need that? Why was Liev Schreiber’s character so boring?  Why was he there?

SHOULD WIN:

“The Revenant”.  This was the best film of the year.  I was captivated.  Linda Holmes of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast called it a “theater of pain”.  Honestly, if that’s what this film is, I love theaters of pain.

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston for “Trumbo”
  • Matt Damon for “The Martian”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”
  • Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs”
  • Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl”

WILL WIN:

Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant.jpg

Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”.  What a performance.  Leo has been nominated many times and he’s never won.  He’s played many roles and nailed all of them.  He is, quite honestly, the greatest living actor of his generation.  This was a simple performance, but it highlighted his strengths.

SHOULD WIN:

Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant”.  There is no other choice for me.

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett for “Carol”
  • Brie Larson for “Room”
  • Jennifer Lawrence for “Joy”
  • Charlotte Rampling for “45 Years”
  • Saoirse Ronan for “Brooklyn”

WILL WIN:

Brie Larson Room.jpg

Brie Larson for “Room”.  Larson’s performance was simply astonishing.  This film had me captivated the entire time.  Larson was calm and complex in this role.  She deserves this.

SHOULD WIN:

Brie Larson for “Room”.  See Above.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale for “The Big Short”
  • Tom Hardy for “The Revenant”
  • Mark Ruffalo for “Spotlight”
  • Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies”
  • Sylvester Stallone for “Creed”

WILL WIN:

Creed.jpg

Sylvester Stallone for “Creed”.  I think Stallone will get this award as a default achievement award.  They tend to give Best Supporting Actor to older guys.  He also won the Golden Globe.

SHOULD WIN:

Tom Hardy Revenant

Tom Hardy for “The Revenant”.  Tom Hardy is a superior actor and he impresses me very time he is onscreen.  Did you see Locke?  What about Legend, where he played two very different twin brothers?  This guy is a powerhouse who deserves an award soon.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh for “The Hateful Eight”
  • Rooney Mara for “Carol”
  • Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight”
  • Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl”
  • Kate Winslet for “Steve Jobs”

WILL WIN:

Alicia Vikander The Danish Girl

Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl.”  Alicia has a lot of heat in her career right now, and I see her picking up this award.  She won the SAG Award as well.  I actually think her performance in Ex Machina is more worthy, but The Danish Girl was an obvious prestige film that was released during awards season on purpose.

SHOULD WIN:

Jennifer Jason Leigh for “The Hateful Eight.” If you haven’t seen her in this film, just get ready to be shocked by the transformation.  She is a little powerhouse.

Best Director

  • Adam McKay for “The Big Short”
  • George Miller for “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant”
  • Lenny Abrahamson for “Room”
  • Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight”

WILL WIN:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant”.  I have a feeling that the single shot that opens this film is Best Director-worthy.  I also feel somehow that The Revenant might not win Best Picture, which means they will give Best Director to Inarrritu.

SHOULD WIN:

Adam McKay for “The Big Short.”  This was an amazing film from someone who normally does lowbrow comedy.  I was truly impressed.  I cannot wait to see more heavy subject matter from McKay.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen for “Bridge of Spies”
  • Alex Garland for “Ex Machina”
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley for “Inside Out”
  • Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight”
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff for “Straight Outta Compton”

WILL WIN:

Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight”.  This is a tough call for me since the Golden Globe winner, Aaron Sorkin, was not nominated for Jobs.  Was that a snub from the Academy?  I suppose Spotlight will win here.

SHOULD WIN:

Alex Garland for “Ex Machina”.  The fact that Ex Machina was an original story blows my mind.  Ex Machina is not being talked about enough at all.  Oscar Isaac deserves a nomination for his role, and I see this film as worthy of being a Best Picture nominee.  I think it’s early 2015 release date hurt those chances.

Best Adapted Sceenplay

  • Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for “The Big Short”
  • Nick Hornby for “Brooklyn”
  • Phyllis Nagy for “Carol”
  • Drew Goddard for “The Martian”
  • Emma Donoghue for “Room”

WILL WIN:

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for “The Big Short”.  I loved this film and since McKay won the BAFTA for Best Adapted, he’s my pick.  The script did a good job of explaining a complicated problem to normal people.

SHOULD WIN:

Drew Goddard for “The Martian”.  This film was hilarious, dramatic, gripping, and honestly, one of the most entertaining of the year.  Goddard should win for making a story about getting abandoned on Mars actually quite hilarious.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • “Anomalisa”
  • “Boy & the World”
  • “Inside Out”
  • “Shaun the Sheep Movie”
  • “When Marnie Was There”

WILL WIN:

Inside Out

“Inside Out.”  This is the clearly superior film of the year as far as animation.  There was something about Anomalisa that I kind of hated, even though I love Charlie Kaufman and consider him to be a god.

SHOULD WIN:

“Inside Out.”

I’m mostly looking forward to Chris Rock.  Enjoy tonight!

News Alert: Beyonce Was Always Black; Women Have Bodies

14 Feb

Last night, Saturday Night Live nailed a parody film trailer for The Day Beyonce Turned Black, poking fun at some of the ridiculous reactions to Beyonce’s SuperBowl 50 halftime performance last Sunday.  Here is the sketch:

What is ultimately so amazing about this parody is that it is hardly a parody at all.  If you were on Facebook or Twitter last Sunday, you know that people were pissed.  Not just any people – white people.  It’s astonishing to me that a woman who has always been black is receiving backlash for releasing a song and video that embraces her heritage.  People are outraged over a good pop song with the video that goes with it.  These are the times we live in, and I am terrified.

The video for “Formation” is not something that should terrify people in 2016.  I’m not sure exactly of how to explain this, but I feel that as time goes on, our culture is becoming more afraid of otherness, and less welcoming to diversity.  Look at the types of shows that are popular now.  Shows like Undateable, anything in the Chuck Lorre canon, or my personal non-favorite, 2 Broke Girls, the last of which that many could deem racist.  These shows are meant to be fluffy and filled with inoffensive humor, but compared to the shows that were popular almost forty years ago – All in the Family, Sanford & Son, The Jeffersons – they are weak in subject matter.  The mastermind behind the shows of the 1970s that attacked issues of race, class, gender, and more was Norman Lear.  Judging from the content of today’s television and entertainment, the next Norman Lear is not yet here.

Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance was exactly what one would expect from the superstar – it featured high-powered dance moves and the queen herself flanked by dozens of black-beret-wearing dancers.  Beyonce wore a black and gold military jacket in tribute to Michael Jackson, who made the look famous on his Dangerous tour.  Many who decried this performance accused Beyonce of imitating the Black Panthers.  However, anyone with half a brain would know that this was a work of art – a performance crafted by Beyonce and her choreographers, in perfect pop style.

Beyonce also came under fire for having a female body – with, god forbid – thighs that move when she dances.  I even saw one girl make a comment on Facebook saying that “Beyonce looked fat as hell”.  Let’s dissect that for a moment.  BeyonceLooked. Fat. As. Hell.  If Beyonce is fat, then I am the marshmallow Stay Puft man from Ghostbusters II in woman form.  Beyonce is not fat.  She is an other-worldly creature who has a body that women envy and a figure about which men fantasize.  She is almost not human.

The song Beyonce performed – her new single “Formation,” is nothing more than a celebration of black culture and heritage.  This apparently shocked many people who forgot that Beyonce, in fact, has always been black.  The video, featuring references to socio-political issues such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the killings of Trayvon Martin and other young black men – is not offensive at all.

Beyonce sings in tribute to the things that make her Beyonce: “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana / You mix that negro with that creole make a Texas bama / I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros / I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils”.  Here. Beyonce refers to her heritage as the daughter of a man from Alabama and the daughter of a woman descended from French creoles in Louisiana.  The last part of the lyric references rumors that Beyonce had undergone a nose job in order to look less black.  Beyonce also asserts her undeniable swagger: “I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it / I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it” is an obvious affront to her haters, and another lyric that slams the idea that she was bleaching her skin. (Yellow-bone is a slang term for being light-skinned).  Some may believe that because Beyonce is light-skinned and marketed to the masses, that she is not black.  Guess what?  Beyonce has always been black.  She’s always been a woman.  She’s always had a body.

It is often said that we fear the things that we do not understand.  It is clear to me now that too many white Americans are afraid of what is unlike them.  Beyonce, as an empowered, feminist, black, hugely successful, and talented woman, is simply too much for people to handle.

All hail Queen Bey.

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Dance Shot - Pool

Beyonce Southern Ladies

Beyonce - Formation

Beyonce on Police Car

Donald Trump is Not Qualified to be President; Vote for Bernie Sanders

24 Jan

Donald Trump

Just when you thought things could not get any more strange in American politics, Donald Trump noted while speaking at a Christian college in Iowa.  Trump, while holding his hand in the shape of a gun, said the following: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

In this moment, Trump ironically and unintentionally pointed out the problem with those supporting him.  These people do not understand the issues at stake in this election.  We are at an impasse that may only be divided between the rich and the poor, the old and the young.  The rich continue to take what we’ve earned through blood sweat and tears, forcing us into labor that does not lead to a comfortable life and retirement, but rather, people working until their dying days.

This election is most critical for women and minorities.  Women now outnumber men in the United States, and minorities now comprise over 36% of the population.  There are 83.1 million members of the Millennial generation, the vast majority of whom support minimum wage increases, pro-choice agendas, and reforming the student loan industry.  The feminist movement is in the midst of a fourth wave.  This is a time ripe for revolution.

With that being said, if anyone votes for Donald Trump for President of the United States, they have no idea of the damage they are doing.  He is a lunatic and many Americans are eating it up.  We are corporate drones.  We are the drinkers of sponsored Kool Aid.  We love cheap TVs.

Do not vote for Donald Trump.

The author of this blog proudly endorses Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

I LOVE LEONARDO DICAPRIO

10 Jan

LEO AND GAGA #1

UH-HUH.

LEO AND GAGA #2

GAH!!!!

LEO AND GAGA #3

BLURGH!!

Was Leo throwing shade or checking out Gaga?  No matter.  He’s clearly a human!

 

Send in Your “Hate” to Jake Cannon by January 3rd, 2016

29 Dec

What I Hate About You

Have you ever hated something about me?  Do you perhaps strongly dislike something about me?

Maybe you hate my ultra-liberal politics.  Maybe you hate my abrasive honesty. Maybe you hate my last name.  I know I do.  Maybe you hate the fact that I’m always on my laptop (stacking paper, natch).  Maybe you hate my personality and you left an anonymous comment saying why on this same blog back in 2012 (that really happened and I still don’t know who it was).

Now is your chance to air your grievances in the style of Festivus – I will be appearing on the What I Hate About You Podcast!!!  We are recording on Sunday, January 3rd, so please get your hate in soon  You cannot submit anonymously.

You can find Jake Cannon on Twitter: @cannon_jake

The link to the Tumblr for the podcast is here.

I’m really looking forward to this!!! *Fake smiles!!!*