We Belong: A Review

We Belong: A Review

Introduction:

GAWVI was first introduced to me as the producer for many of the songs from Reach Records artists. When the label made the announcement that they were signing the producer as a dance artist, I was perplexed. His 2016 EPs Lost in Hue and Holding Hue didn’t impress me. Now comes his first feature album We Belong.

1. Rock N Roll (ft. ELHAE)

The critical look at Hollywood is actually really infectious with some really solid dance vocals. It has some paranoid illuminati themes in the song’s lyrics which make for an intense and interesting listen. Bringing on rapper ELHAE, the hip-hop infused dance groove is really solid. It took me by surprise and I’m intrigued to hear the rest of this project.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

2. God Speed (ft. Andy Mineo and KB)

Featuring two of Reach’s top rappers, this electronic track infused with hip-hop flavors is an absolute banger. Andy and KB murder the track and absolutely jam out. You can hear the smiles on their face. It’s a catchy track that’s super fun and infectious.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. Like We Belong

This track had some real Zedd vibes. With colorful pop sounds, the EDM song features GAWVI’s vocals and he has a really good voice for dance music. It’s a catchy tune that feels every exotic. It has some Earth, Wind, and Fire vibes vocally; very similarly to “September” vocally.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

4. Show Me

Utilizing Spanish guitars and brass instruments, this tune has an exotic style and soothing sensibility. The electro pop creates a really smooth and fun jam. GAWVI’s vocals are really stellar. The lyrics are solid too. GAWVI’s production is just incredible.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Never Fails

Using horns and a funky bass line, this song distinguishes itself by infusing an 80s glam rock vibe into a summer pop song a la Drake or Jason Derulo. The horns and bass really elevate the song’s really funky style. It’s reminiscent of “Uptown Funk” and “Want To Want Me”.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

6. Giana

This gentler, sweeter song starts very synthy, ultilizing trap beats. The love song for his wife is where his vocals shine the best on this project. This is the best written song on the album. It’s a really pretty and sweet song that grooves.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. The Sickness (ft. Jordan Powers)

This poetic song about mental illness, depression, and human imperfection is a really pretty song that takes full advantage of it’s electro pop feel. The production is incredible and the vocals are stellar.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. Closer (ft. Robbie Lee and Julissa Leilani)

The vocals are great and the synth pop style that feels like a nice nostalgic throwback to 2012, this track sounds great. The truly jamming dance beat is infectious with wonderful vocals.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

9. Steady (ft. Zach Norman)

A slower song that’s heavily backed by synthetic piano, Zach Norman shines vocally on this track. With the exotic samples thrown in, GAWVI succeeds with another electro pop gem. Where lyrically it’s flat, GAWVI redeems the track with exuberant production.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

10. En La Calle

Having previously dabbled in Latin Pop sounds in previous tracks of the album, GAWVI dives in fully. Infusing Latin Pop with reggae, the song features drops that remind me of the likes of Skrillex and Avicii. It’s a wonderful jam.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Feel It (ft. Jocelyn Bowman)

This track is perfect for the club scene. It’s a perfect marriage of infectious beats and dance vocals that are unprecedented. This is a club song if I’ve ever heard one.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Cumbia (ft. Wordsplayed)

Having already featuring one half of Magic & Bird with Andy Mineo, bringing in Wordsplayed makes sense. Bringing back the Latin Pop sound once again with the best use of it yet, it’s an infectious, rubbery Latin rap beat that is truly alive. Wordsplayed owns the track precision and a sense of fun that can be heared throughout the song. This is the best of the Latin Pop-style songs GAWVI has made.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. Something Bout U (ft. Ja-Wan)

Using his synth piano skills once again, GAWVI introduces snaps into the beat mix and works really well. With some really pretty dance vocals, the track is really gentle. Overall, this might be the weakest of the album, but that’s not an insult. This song is a perfect fit into the album.

Track Rating: 8/10

14. Hold On (ft. Sydney Wilson)

The finale of the album is one that is truly breathtaking. The vocals alone are the best of this album. The production is a slow build and truly, while not being the biggest flex of GAWVI’s album, but it serves its purpose well and the true meat of the song comes from the vocals.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

Where the album lacks in songwriting quality, it makes up for in exquisite production. GAWVI has handcrafted a secret masterpiece of dance music. GAWVI is the CCM equivalent of Zedd, a master producer with some vocal talent and an incredible ear for selecting features. It’s a truly masterfully produced album that deserves a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Album at the very least.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

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Perception: A Review

Perception: A Review

Introduction:

A rapper that many have started putting on the same level as Eminem, NF has been grinding and climbing the charts. His newest album hit #1 not just on the iTunes Rap Album Charts, but #1 on the iTunes Album Charts period. His level of acclaim from all audiences is something not often seen from Christian artists. NF started becoming a blip on the radar with his 2014 EP NF. It wasn’t until 2015 with his first feature album, Mansion, that he became a name in rap music. 2016’s Therapy Session elevated him up the charts and created a large fan-base for him. Satiating our appetites with his Warm Up single that same year, now he brings the main course with his third studio album: Perception.

1. Intro III

As with the last two albums, this one starts with another intro. The opening to this album is very theatrical and sounds like a conversation between himself and his head. It’s very intense and scary track that proves NF is the new Eminem. With call backs to Mansion and Therapy Session. The opening of this album takes the character of Fear from “Mansion” and brings him back to bury him. This song is an incredible performance from NF that sets the tone of Perception by wrapping up loose ends from the last albums. This is the darkest intro yet!

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

2. Outcast

With a theatrical opening that fits the theme, this  track works like Mansion and Therapy Session’s title tracks, setting the tone of the album. It’s a lyrical acrobatic song that works well. Talking about being the odd one out from the rest of the rappers, NF really establishes that he’s the best rapper of the decade. This is a more unhinged NF that makes for some very entertaining and real music. This track is a weak follow up to “Intro III,” but it makes sense why it’s placed second. It’s a serviceable song with expert lyricism and a good performance. The sounds of lock and keys open and close the film.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

3. 10 Feet Down (ft. Ruelle)

This sounds more like the NF we know and he comes out hard. He slays the track 100%. It’s a great showcase of his lyrical and rapping prowess. The vocals from Ruelle are great too. The production is right in NF’s wheelhouse.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

4. Green Lights

The second single off the record is a great exhibition of NF’s speed and lyrical agility. He absolutely destroys the track and it’s beautiful.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

5. Dreams

We switch up to a slower pace that’s really nice. His vocals are beautiful and the production is rich and toned; a wonderful song about his depression and a remorseful examination of his life.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

6. Let You Down

The pace picks up slightly from the last track in the third single from the album. It’s a beautiful song about letting down his parents and their opinions of him. The vocals are absolutely rich and his lyricism is tragically honest. It’s a wonderful song.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. Destiny

Starting a cappella with a rhythmic monologue from NF, he comes back with another insane performance that fits right into the theme of the album. Playing on the idea of destiny, NF talks about how he was destined for this. He truly differentiates himself from the rest of the rappers. While the previous albums drew comparisons to Eminem just for his lyricism, he embraces that fully in his performance, which evokes Slim Shady himself.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

8. My Life

The production is really solid already. It’s a more laid back NF than the last track, but he stills rides the beat with great vocals. It’s a very honest look at his private life with his friends and telling his critics that he doesn’t live for them. His hook is also extremely catchy.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. You’re Special

Slowing things down again, we get a love song for a special girl like we did on Therapy Session. This one isn’t quite as great, in fact it’s a little flat. The sentiment is sweet, but, while his attempts are admirable, this one falls a bit flat and, like the last one, he’s not great at love songs.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

10. If You Want Love

We get a display of NF’s vocals on a track that features electric guitars and drums to create a blues/alternative rock feel that is very beautiful. It’s a great track about giving love to everyone. He doesn’t really rap on this track, but it’s regardless a gorgeous song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Remember This

This track starts slow buts suddenly just the ground running. NF drops truth bombs everywhere and absolutely goes off. The hook features beautiful vocals and does a great job of addressing the idea of “you’ll understand when you’re older” and still not understanding when you’re old. This might be the best song on the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Know

Taking ques from “I Just Wanna Know,” he comes back with a lyrical ferocity unparalleled by any rapper since Eminem himself. With wordplay that his only matched by his “Motivated” record form Mansion. The hook of this song exemplifies his intensity as well.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. Lie

Another emotional track, NF really goes in on a breakup song that is really different from everything else on the album and in rap music in general. His vocals are spot on perfect. It’s a more reserved take on a breakup.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

14. 3 A.M.

Opening again with vocals, NF hits us with another breakup song. It’s an angrier, less reserved take on the song we just heard. It’s still a retread nonetheless, so it loses a few points for that. It’s a good song, however.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

15. One Hundred

This one is a slow build but NF gets pretty heated in this second to last track. He’s got some really good lyricism and puts out another nice performance. It’s the one flex song that he deserves and allows himself to have.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

16. Outro

The first single from the record is how we cap off the record. He goes in with some seriously powerful speed and lyricism that is just breathtaking. It’s reminiscent of Eminem, who he happens to take shots at this go around. It’s the perfect closer to end the album with.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

NF is a rapper that is unparalleled in this game. His lyricism and sheer skill is unstoppable and unmatched. This record is just the next step in his evolution. It’s a great record from start to finish and should most definitely get some Grammy nominations.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

Tell Me You Love Me: A Review

Tell Me You Love Me: A Review

Introduction

Demi Lovato is one of my favorite pop stars ever.  Starting out in the Disney bubble with Sonny With a Chance and Camp Rock, she released two teen pop albums while being a TV darling: 2008’s Don’t Forget (a solid debut) and Here We Go Again (a flat follow-up). Once she broke out on her own, she started producing some really strong efforts. 2011’s Unbroken is a strong album with some very strong singles. 2013’s Demi is an incredible powerhouse album is amazing songs. Her return with 2015’s Confident was underwhelming in comparison but still strong. She released her single Body Say in 2016, which signaled a new, more adult Demi. She followed that up with her 2017 single Sorry Not Sorry which appears on her sixth studio album.


1. Sorry Not Sorry

This is one of my favorite songs of the year. It’s a great revenge song with some excellent production and wonderful lyricism from Demi. Her vocal prowess is demonstrated so well. It’s a great song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

2. Tell Me You Love Me

The title track of the album is very synthy with some 80s pop vibes. It’s got some Adele vibes to it. It’s a pretty love song that has nice 80s groove to it some Gospel influences. It’s very catchy and pretty. The production is very solid.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

3. Sexy Dirty Love

The song opens with a boom bap feel. It had a great summer feel to it. Demi really proves she’s one of the top pop queens of all time. Her vocals are solid and the production is bombastic and fun. It’s a sleek song, production wise. Her vocals are great.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

4. You Don’t Do It For Me Anymore

It has a very strings-heavy, R&B vibe with some gorgeous vocals and an Adele feel. It’s a really tragically harsh song, but it’s brutally honest and it knows it. Lyrically, it’s lacking a bit. Vocally it’s one of her strongest songs yet. The production is really solid.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

5. Daddy Issues

Starting out with a synthetic woodwind section that’s really neat. The production is really good on this song. The lyrics are mediocre, but the vocals again are stellar. This is the weakest track on the album so far.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. Ruin The Friendship

The beat is really solid. As stated previously, the production and vocals are great. The lyricism is good on this track though. The horns are smooth and a beautiful touch that creates a very rich sound. It’s has a real gentle vibe to it.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

7. Only Forever

Distorted pianos open up this one. Enter the bass and the lyrics. Just from the opening tone, I get the sense that it’s a sad song. It’s a song about waiting that’s got some sweet production, but fails a bit in the lyrics department. Her vocals sound good. It’s alright, it’s not the worst Demi song, but it’s not the best.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B

8. Lonely (ft. Lil Wayne)

Opening with gentle piano and smooth vocal riffs, this one sounds like it’s going to be a sad song. It’s already a hit in the lyricism department. Her vocals are gorgeous. The production is very solid on this one. It’s a bittersweet song with some incredible vocals. It becomes an angry song once we get to the chorus, but the song is still morose and sad. It’s a very emotionally layered song with complexities not often seen in pop songs. It’s a great song, until Lil Wayne shows up. He drags the song down with his auto tune dribble and mumble “rap” that is pointless and really terrible. Lil Wayne needs to retire, and should’ve left this song alone. It’s perfect without him.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

9. Cry Baby

The guitars ring in an ominous tone, which is quelled by an R&B song with Smokey vocals and production. I’m already hooked. Her vocals are incredible and the production is incredible. The lyricism is pretty solid with some good rhymes.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

10. Games

The production is incredible and launches with some really great vocals right out the gate. The lyricism is strong this round too. It’s a really annoyed and cautionary song that lands strongly. The vocals are really the highlight of the song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Concentrate

With some really rich guitars, Demi showcases her vocal talents again with this song. The production is good and the lyricism is very adult and compelling. It’s a very provocative song that has some 70s elements to it.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

12. Hitchhiker

The bass and guitars paint a country/folk inspired song that has some pretty vocals and feels very tonality similar to “Concentrate” but without the very intense lyricism. It’s a sweet and pretty song that is genuinely romantic.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

13. Instruction (ft. Jax Jones and Stefflon Don)

The Latin Pop vibe is infectious. Demi’s vocals are amazing in the dance song that is 100% guaranteed to get you up and move. This is a wonderful party track.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

14. Sorry Not Sorry – Acoustic

The acoustic version just highlight Demi’s stellar vocals and serves a perfect reprise to bookend and her stellar album.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

15. No Promises – Acoustic (ft. Cheat Codes)

The acoustic version of the hit dance song of the summer is a beautiful recording that highlights both Demi’s vocals and Cheat Codes’. It’s a beautiful finale to an incredible album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion

Demi is still my favorite of her albums, but this is a powerhouse of pop vocals and sleek production and lyricism. This a very new, adult Demi and she’s a killer. It’s a bold collection of very good pop songs with great production. She really is the modern Queen of Pop.

Album Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

All Things Work Together: A Review

All Things Work Together: A Review

Introduction

Lecrae is one of the most talented rappers in the industry. It makes sense why Atlantic Records wanted to sign him. Lecrae debuted his first mixtape Real Talk in 2006, prior to starting his label and releasing his first album After The Music Stops the same year. He returned in 2008 with Rebel, followed in 2010 by RehabRehab: The Overdose came in 2011, followed by Gravity in 2012, his Church Clothes mixtape in 2013, Church Clothes Vol. 2 in early 2014, Grammy-winning Anomaly in 2014, and Church Clothes 3 in 2016. His label features some of the most versatile talent in the game including Andy Mineo, KB, Trip Lee, Tedashii, GAWVI, and Aha Gazelle. After spending eleven years climbing the ranks and managing his own label, Reach Records, he finally hit the big time. Will his music continue to have the same impact and appeal that it did the past 11 years? His latest release, All Things Work Together, will tell.

1. Always Knew

The opener song features a more shiny sound, despite getting into grimy details. The first song features some auto tune on the hook, but that doesn’t hurt the song. It’s really a check up song that brings up to speed on his life and on topics that are important to him. It’s a solid track, but it seems a little empty compared to the tracks from Anomaly.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

2. Facts

This second song hits very hard. This song launches very theatrically and ominous. It’s a great song that fires back at the people who criticized his more political tone on Church Clothes 3. This sounds more like classic Lecrae than his singles released to promote the album did. This song tackles some huge themes and topics and does a great job of leveling the playing field. The beat is straight forward until we hit the last fourth and then it changes and totally kills it. He dismisses every criticism or doubt that changing labels had changed him. While “Already Knew” was supposed to calm fears, it’s “Facts” that does the job.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. Broke

The last single released before the album was already great and sounded like classic Lecrae. The song talks about being rich in Christ rather than cash. It’s a very sleek song that totally kills it and works on multiple levels. His flow pattern is solid with a fire hook.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

4. Blessings (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)

I did not like this single when it was first released. I am not a Ty Dolla $ign fan. I still don’t like it. It’s too mainstream rap, complete with wail-rapping, mumble rapping and auto-tune drenched hooks. It’s such a sweet beat wasted on mediocre lyricism and substance.

Track Rating: 6/10

Grade: B

5. Whatchu Mean (ft. Aha Gazelle)

The only 116 member to appear on Lecrae’s newest album is their newest recruit and he’s got some talent. The track starts off with a swan lake tinkle feel, but they come in hard. This is the “Say I Won’t” of this album. The hook is fine, but the verse kind of a sping style. It’s very high energy, yet laid back. The vocals are fun. Aha is fine, but he has that wail-rap style. While he tones it down on this track, he’s solid anyway. Lecrae really brings it home with his final verse. It’s a solid jam.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

6. Hammer Time (ft. 1K Phew)

The most mainstream song on the album is one that I detested upon hearing it originally. However, upon revisiting, it’s really fun with some fun hip hop vocals. It’s one that’s perfect for working out or just jamming. It’s a fast-paced solid jam, there’s not much substance, but it’s fun.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

7. Come and Get Me

Again starting mischievously ominous, it breaks down into a groove. It’s classic Lecrae from the outset. He comes out hard and absolutely crushes it. It has a vibe that’s reminiscent of Will Smith meets Hamilton. Featuring some of Lecrae’s best lyricism yet it’s easily the best song on the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. Lucked Up (ft. Nija)

This track picks up with some very nice vocals from Nija. From the outset, it feels like a mix of “All I Need is You” and “Good, Bad, Ugly” with some original elements that elevate the track. It’s a solid track that displays some of Lecrae’s top notch lyricism.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

9. Wish You the Best (ft. Verse Simmonds)

This track is funky jam about growing up and reconnecting with old friends and lost love. It’s Lecrae’s “Hear My Heart”. Verse’s vocals are a perfect fit for the track. It’s reminiscent of “Special” off of his Church Clothes mixtape. T

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

10. Can’t Stop Me Now (Destination)

The first single was released over a year before this album released. I always liked this one. It’s very real and a great confessional about life on the road and religion vs politics. The vocals are very dreamy and features a great brass section. I enjoy this track a lot.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

11. I’ll Find You (ft. Tori Kelly)

The first single for the album released this year features incredible vocals from the underrated Tori Kelly and some wonderful lyricism of Lecrae. The song is a beautiful song that deserves a Grammy.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

12. 8:28

This song has a Sunday morning feel to it. Featuring some great vocals and messages, this track is perfectly in Lecrae’s vain. The song is hopeful and inspirational and really harkens back to the classic Lecrae.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. Cry For You (ft. Taylor Hill)

This is a beautiful song featuring some of the best vocals on Lecrae song. This is a really honest song that truly brought tears. This song features the best lyricism of the album. It’s a beautiful song that addresses some real issues involving popularity, religion, piety, and suicidal thoughts and depression. It’s a wonderful and important song.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

14. Worth It (ft. Kierra Sheard and Jawan Harris)

This Gospel-inspired song is inspirational and comforting. The closer of the album inspires and provides hope for the listener as we depart for the album. It’s a great display of Lecrae’s powerhouse lyricism and songwriting. Our Southern Gospel artists own the vocals on this chorus and really calms the listener and creates a sense of hope and safety.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion

The fears the fans had that Lecrae would change with the label were completely ungrounded. Of course, the style changes slightly moving from indie rap to mainstream rap, but the fact of the matter is that this is the Lecrae we all know and love. It’s the Lecrae from Anomaly and Gravity, from Rehab and After the Music Stops. Lecrae creates a powerhouse album that stirs the heart and stimulates the mind, while also southing the soul. The vocalists and features, for the most part, are incredibly chosen and work perfectly. Overall, this album is a display of his lyricism and sheer talent. This is one that will go down into the books as a high ranking album. In fact…

 

  1. Anomaly
  2. All Things Work Together
  3. Gravity
  4. Church Clothes 3
  5. Rehab
  6. Church Clothes Vol. 2
  7. Church Clothes
  8. Rebel
  9. After The Music Stops
  10. Real Talk
  11. Rehab: The Overdose

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

 

Fall Preview: 20 Movies I Can’t Wait to See

20. American Madeamerican-made-movie-poster-2017-20003055-1280x0

Following the adventures of a CIA drug runner, American Made intrigues me. This film seems like it’s the Tom Cruise movie we’ve needed to see for a while from him.

  • Release Date: September 29th
  • Director: Doug Liman
  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhall Gleeson, & Sarah Wright
  • Written By: Greg Spinelli

19. Battle of the Sexesomyvigfmyc082ay8fv6-o

Battle of the Sexes tells the story of Billie Jean King and her infamous Tennis match with former champ and hustler Bobby Riggs.

  • Release Date: September 22nd
  • Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
  • Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carrell, & Elizabeth Shue
  • Written By: Simon Beaufoy

18. Blade Runner 2049zz4f1c300d

Set 30 years after the original, a new younger blade runner is set on the trail of a long buried secret that leads him straight to the missing Rick Deckard.

  • Release Date: October 6th
  • Director: Denis Villenueve
  • Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, and Jared Leto
  • Written By: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green

17. Geostormgeostorm-trailer-700x300

This movie sounds so bad that I have to see it. Global warming versus the world? Wow.

  • Release Date: October 20th
  • Director: Dean Devlin
  • Starring: Gerard Butler, Talitha Eliana Bateman, and Abbie Cormish
  • Written By: Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot

16. Leatherface

Following a group of youngsters who have escaped from a mental institution, they begin being picked off by the young boy who will become Leatherface.

  • Release Date: October 20th
  • Directors: Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury
  • Starring: Finn Jones, Stephen Dorff, and Lili Taylor
  • Written By: Seth M. Sherwood

15. Flatlinersflatliners-remake-release-date-summer-2017

After an experiment goes wrong, a group of college students are haunted by the side effects of their attempts to play with death.

  • Release Date: September 29th
  • Director: Niels Arden Oplev
  • Starring: Nina Robrev, Ellen Page, and Diego Luna
  • Written By: Ben Ripley and Peter Filardi

14. The Snowmanmaxresdefault

A detective hunts for an elusive serial killer who’s MO is decapitating bodies and leaving a snow head in their place.

  • Release Date: October 20th
  • Director: Tomas Alfredson
  • Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, and Val Kilmer
  • Written By: Hossein Amini, Peter Straughan, and Søren Sveistrup

13. Marshallmarshall

Thurgood Marshall’s life is an interesting one. As a history nerd and film lover, biopics are my favorites and it doesn’t hurt that there is Oscar buzz surrounding the film.

  • Release Date: October 13th
  • Director: Reginald Hudlin
  • Starring: Dan Stevens, Chadwick Boseman, and Josh Gad
  • Written By: Jacob and Michael Koskoff

12. Happy Death Daymaxresdefault1

A woman awakes every day after being murdered and must prevent her death to break the cycle.

  • Release DateOctober 13th
  • Director: Christopher Landon
  • Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, and Ruby Modine
  • Written By: Scott Lobdell

11. Darkest Hourdarkest_hour_gary_oldman_images

Darkest Hour tells the story of Winston Churchill and his ascension during World War II.

  • Release Date: November 22nd
  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Starring: Gary Oldman, Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn
  • Written By: Anthony McCarten

10. Daddy’s Home 2daddys-home-2-slice-600x200

The sequel to 2015’s surprise comedy hit, the film follows Ferrell and Whalberg’s characters as they must deal with their fathers going through what they did.

  • Release Date: November 10th
  • Director: Sean Anders
  • Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Whalberg, and Mel Gibson
  • Written By: Sean Anders and Brian Burns

9. Kingsman: The Golden Circlekingsman-the-golden-circle-logo

The sequel to 2015’s breakout spy hit, Kingsman: The Golden Circle looks to expand the universe by introducing an international plot and bringing the Kingsman into direct contact with their American counterparts: the Statesman.

  • Release Date: September 22nd
  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Channing Tatum
  • Written By: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman

8. Itit-movie-2017-pennywise-bill-skarsgard

The second adaption of Steven King’s most popular novel, It follows the Losers’ Club as they are terrorized by their greatest fear: Pennywise.

  • Release Date: September 8th
  • Director: Andy Muschietti
  • Starring:  Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, and Finn Wolfhard
  • Written By: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman

7. Suburbiconsuburbicon

Set in the 1950s, a quite suburban community is rocked by a violent home invasion. I’m mainly excited for this film based on the story and the writers involved. I love the Coen Brothers.

  • Release Date: October 27th
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Issac
  • Written By: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, George Clooney, and Grant Heslov

6. Wonderwonder-cur

Based on the bestselling book, the film tells the story of a socially anxious kid who deals with bullying and characterized by the helmet he wears.

  • Release Date: November 17th
  • Director: Stephen Chbosky
  • Starring: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay
  • Written By: Stephen Chbosky, Steven Conrad, and Jack Thorne

5. Brad’s Statusmv5bn2e2yjaxymytyzjhys00owu2ltkwntetm2u0mgfhymzmyjawxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjm4oti2mtu-_v1_

The latest film from Amazon Studios, the studio that made Manchester By the Sea and The Big SickBrad’s Status sees a father and son travel to tour colleges, which leads the father to reflect on his life and what he’s done with it.

  • Release Date: September 15th
  • Director: Mike White
  • Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, and Jenna Fischer
  • Written By: Mike White

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri239293_146_news_hub_198282_677x251

After the disappearance and probable murder of a young girl, the police investigation slows, leading to her mother to take action, attracting the attention of another sheriff.

  • Release Date: November 10th
  • Director: Martin McDonaugh
  • Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Peter Dinklage
  • Written By: Martin McDonaugh

3. Thor: Ragnarokgallery-1469440016-logo-thor-ragnarok

When Hela arrives to start the apocalypse of the gods, Thor is thrust from Asgard without his hammer and must battle his old friend The Hulk, before enlisting him, Loki, and Valkyrie in their quest to save Asgard and find the only person who can stop Ragnarok: Odin.

  • Release Date: November 3rd
  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Ruffalo
  • Written By: Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost

2. Justice Leaguebg

Following the death of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman begin assembling a team of superpowered metahumans to defend the Earth from an incoming invasion of the forces of Apokolips, lead by Steppenwolf.

  • Release Date: November 17th
  • Directors: Zack Snyder and Joss Wheadon
  • Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Ezra Miller
  • Written By: Chris Terrio and Joss Wheadon

1. Murder on the Orient Expressew_website_2700x1800-murderexpress

Based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie, a man is murdered on a train stuck in the snow and it’s up to the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot, to solve the mystery before the train reaches Istanbul.

  • Release Date: November 10th
  • Director: Kenneth Branagh
  • Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe
  • Written By: Michael Green

 

Kaleb Koho’s Corner: Ranking the Summer Movies (May-August 2017)

Kaleb Koho’s Corner: Ranking the Summer Movies (May-August 2017)

Summer is the time for swimming, going to mall, and, of course, blockbusters. This summer has been full popcorn flicks, some better than others. Before I begin my rankings, I must say I didn’t see every movie this summer. Some notable omissions include DunkirkDetroitThe Dark Tower, The Emoji Movie, & The Hitman’s Bodyguard. 

17. Alien: Covenantalien-covenant-wallpaper-10

The Alien franchise has felt played out since the third film. After the awful “vs Predator” movies and the Prometheus prequel, Ridley Scott returned to the director’s chair to set the franchise back on track, even going so far as to pull the plug on Neill Blomkamp’s Alien sequel to make this film. The inbetweenquel is boring and confusing and follows Scott’s tired methods of Alien scares. The birth of the Xenomorphs should be fun, and this is just dreary and boring, with awful performances by everyone, save for Fassbender, who shines as always.

16. The Mummythe-mummy-2017-movie

The Mummy is a terrible summer action flick and an even worse remake. Tom Cruise is utterly unbearable and the cast is passable at best. Russell Crowe is the only redeeming thing about this film. His Jekyll & Hyde are stellar and keep any excitement for the Dark Universe.

15. Transformers: The Last Knighttransformers-last-knight-poster-optimus-prime

The Transformers franchise should have ended years ago. The cast is passable and the action is okay. It’s better than the previous installment, but it’s still really bad. Optimus Prime’s subplot is weird and hard to follow. The editing is atrocious, the aspect ratio changes constantly and is very jarring. A terrible film.

14. Atomic Blondeatomicblonde-2

Atomic Blonde is a kind of generic spy movie. The plot has a generic motivation and ultimately overcomplicates its story for the sake of being a spy movie. I can honestly say that James McAvoy was solid and that the action was incredible. Outside of that, the film fell flat for me as being incredibly boring.

13. Wind Riverwind-river-movie-poster

Wind River is an important film but it isn’t one that I’ll be watching again. I found the story weak and the performances as a whole lacking. The cinematography was the highlight of the film for me, but overall, it wasn’t what I was hoping to get from the film.

12. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Talespirates-caribbean-5-movie-posters

The Pirates franchise is a great one. The fourth film is terrible, but the original trilogy is great. This film connected wonderfully to the original trilogy and, while not the best of the franchise, served as a great slate cleaner and sets up another swashbuckling adventure. The supporting cast is fantastic.

11. Despicable Me 3despicable-me-3-2017-after-credits-hq

This is a fun animated film. It’s really entertaining and features a great villain in Trey Parker’s Belthezar Bratt. The minions play a minuscule role, which works, and the main plot is simple. It’s entertaining and surpasses the snooze fest that was Despicable Me 2 or the cynical cash grab of Minions.

10. Cars 3au_rich_large_cars3_nr_b9e5af7c

This is the best Pixar film of the decade. A tribute to racing itself, Cars 3 beautifully constructs a story about growing old and legacy. It perfectly couples thematically with the original Cars‘s message of slowing down and enjoying life. It’s a great film.

9. War for the Planet of the Apeswarofplanetofapes

The conclusion to one of the greatest trilogies of all time is good. It may be the weakest of the three, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a huge accomplishment in film. Matt Reeves is a visionary director who has done a great job crafting this world. It’s a great film.

8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planetsmaxresdefault

This film was very mis-marketed in the fact that they presented it as an action film. In reality, it’s a sci-fi mystery thriller. Visually it’s very stunning and incredible, while performance-wise, it’s pretty lacking. It’s a great film and a thrill ride.

7. Death Notedeathnote

Death Note was a manga and then an anime. I have never read or seen it. So to me, this movie had a wonderful premise, some good performances, and excellent visuals. I enjoyed every minute of watching this film.

6. Spider-Man: Homecomingat6khn8b

The 16th film in the MCU is great. It offers a personal, smaller story for the franchise that accurately depicts modern day high school. The film has a great cast and features one of the best villains in the franchise in Michael Keaton’s Vulture.

5. Logan Luckymaxresdefault1

Logan Lucky was a thrill ride with a wonderful cast, fantastic story, and every minute of this film had me laughing and engaged. It’s a wonderful film and a fun time.

4. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-wallpaper

The original Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie to date. Volume 2 does a fantastic job of further developing the characters and storylines. The film also includes one of the best villains of the franchise in Kurt Russell’s Ego. Michael Rooker & Dave Bautista turn in incredible performances that are very understated. The soundtrack is also fantastic.

3. Baby Driverbaby-driver-et00040794-14-03-2017-09-05-24

Baby Driver is an amazing, original film. Edgar Wright is a great director and writer who has crafted fantastic films in the past with Shaun of the DeadHot FuzzScott Pilgrim vs The World, and The World’s End; his latest film is no exception. The cast is stellar with amazing performances from Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, C.J. Jones, and Elis González.

2. The Big Sickbigsick

This indie movie was fantastic and real. It’s by far the best romantic comedy I’ve ever seen because it’s so real and fun. Kumail expertly writes the story and performs with such real emotion. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are fantastic, as well as Zoe Kazan. It’s a must-see for the year.

1. Wonder Woman1491990205555-1

This is the best film of the summer and one of the best superhero movies of the century. Gal Gadot is the definitive Diana Prince with great performances from Chris Pine and the ensemble. Patty Jenkins does a masterful job of directing the best film in the DCEU.

The First Annual KohOscars Summer Awards

Now that summer has officially ended, we decided to present a preview of this year’s very interesting KohOscars award race by hosting a summer awards show to celebrate the wonderful films released this summer.

Best Picture:bigsick

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Baby Driver
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • The Big Sick
  • Logan Lucky
  • Death Note

Best Actor:warofplanetofapes

  • Chris Pine, Wonder Woman
  • Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
  • Tom Holland, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Channing Tatum, Logan Lucky
  • Nat Wolff, Death Note
  • Andy Serkis, War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Actress:baby-driver-et00040794-14-03-2017-09-05-24

  • Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
  • Lily James, Baby Driver
  • Zoe Kazan, The Big Sick
  • Margaret Qualley, Death Note
  • Elizabeth Olsen, Wind River
  • Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde

Best Supporting Actor:guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-wallpaper

  • Kurt Russell, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Michael Rooker, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Brenton Thiwates, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Jamie Foxx, Baby Driver
  • Jon Hamm, Baby Driver
  • C.J. Jones, Baby Driver
  • Michael Keaton, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Ray Romano, The Big Sick
  • Daniel Craig, Logan Lucky
  • Lakeith Stanfield, Death Note
  • Jacob Batalon, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Steve Zahn, War for the Planet of the Apes
  • James McAvoy, Atomic Blonde

Best Supporting Actress:pirates-caribbean-5-movie-posters

  • Pom Klementieff, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Elizabeth Debicki, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Karen Gillan, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Kaya Scodelario, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Elis González, Baby Driver
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Riley Keough, Logan Lucky
  • Zendaya, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Marissa Tomei, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Amiah Miller, War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Director:1491990205555-1

  • Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman
  • Edgar Wright, Baby Driver
  • Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Steven Soderbergh, Logan Lucky
  • Adam Wingard, Death Note
  • Matt Reeves, War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Cameo:at6khn8b

  • Stan Lee, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Sean Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Seth Green, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Orlando Bloom, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Russell Crowe, The Mummy
  • Stanley Tucci, Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Jon Bernthal, Baby Driver
  • Brogan Hall, Baby Driver
  • Jon Favreau, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Chris Evans, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Bo Burnham, The Big Sick
  • Seth MacFarlane, Logan Lucky
  • Jon Bernthal, Wind River

Best Comic Book Movie:maxresdefault

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Best Sequel:au_rich_large_cars3_nr_b9e5af7c

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Cars 3

Best Reboot/Remake:the-mummy-2017-movie

  • Death Note
  • The Mummy

Best Animated Feature:despicable-me-3-2017-after-credits-hq

  • Cars 3
  • Despicable Me 3
  • Batman and Harley Quinn

Best Adapted Screenplay:deathnote

  • Allan Heinberg, Wonder Woman
  • Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, and Mike Rich, Cars 3
  • Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Day, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chis McKenna, and Erik Sommers, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Luc Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback, War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Charley Parlapanides, Vlad Parlapanides, and Jeremy Slater, Death Note

Best Original Screenplay:maxresdefault1

  • Rebecca Blunt, Logan Lucky
  • Tyler Sheridan, Wind River
  • Edgar Wright, Baby Driver
  • Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick

Best Cinematography:wind-river-movie-poster

  • Paul Cameron, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Matthew Jensen, Wonder Woman
  • Bill Pope, Baby Driver
  • Salvatore Totino, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Steven Soderbergh, Logan Lucky
  • Ben Richardson, Wind River
  • David Tattersall, Death Note

Best Film Editing:guardians-of-the-galaxy-wallpaper-roster-nebula

  • Fred Raskin and Craig Wood, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Martin Walsh, Wonder Woman
  • Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss, Baby Driver
  • Debbie Berman and Dan Lebental, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Julien Rey, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Robert Nassau, The Big Sick

Best Production Design:valerian-2017

  • Scott Chambliss, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Nigel Phelps, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Aline Bonetto, Wonder Woman
  • Marcus Rowland, Baby Driver
  • Oliver Scholl, Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Hugues Tissandier, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Best Original Score:

  • Tyler Bates, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Geoff Zanelli, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Rupert Gregson-Williams, Wonder Woman
  • Brian Tyler, The Mummy
  • Randy Newman, Cars 3
  • Alexandre Desplat, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Best Original Song:bhq044751_5955a77a221211-21547377

  • “Run That Race,” Cars 3
  • “Yellow Light,” Despicable Me 3
  • “Was He Slow?” Baby Driver
  • “A Million on My Soul,” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • “Don’t Pull Your Love,” Batman and Harley Quinn

Best Costume Design:spiderman-homecoming-759

  • Judianna Makovsky, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Penny Rose, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Lindy Hemming, Wonder Woman
  • Courtney Hoffman, Baby Driver
  • Louise Frogley, Spider-Man: Homecoming

Best Hair & Makeup:Death Note

  • Camille Friend, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Kerrin Jackson, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Christine Blundell, Wonder Woman
  • Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, The Mummy
  • Fionagh Cush, Baby Driver
  • Thi Thanh Tu Nguyen, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Anne Carroll, Death Note

Best Sound Editing:transformers-last-knight-poster-optimus-prime

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Baby Driver
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Sound Mixing:warofplanetofapes

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Baby Driver
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

Best Visual Effects:piratesofthecaribbean-deadmentellnotales-1494963463382_1280w

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Wonder Woman
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Death Note

Best Stunts:maxresdefault2

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Wonder Woman
  • The Mummy
  • Baby Driver
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Atomic Blonde

Best Ensemble:img_0365

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Wonder Woman
  • Baby Driver
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

Best Soundtrack:1-17

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Baby Driver
  • Despicable Me 3
  • Logan Lucky

Best Post-Credits Scene:spider-man-homecoming

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming