Best Of March 2019

Every month we collect highlights in film and music, all in one place. Read full reviews by clicking the images or links below.

Sunflower/ Big Blue - Vampire Weekend

The second batch of singles from Vampire Weekend’s hotly anticipated Father of the Bride are silly, heartwarming, and light. “Sunflower” lives on a collaboration with The Internet’s Steve Lacy, resembling golden-age Ween, while “Big Blue” tugs at the heartstrings, if only for a second.

Listen to “Sunflower” and “Big Blue”

Gloria Bell

Our favorite film of the month, Gloria Bell is a liberating exploration of womanhood, flipping expectations with indie tropes that serve as red herrings and emotive lighting that often reflects the opposite of what Gloria is feeling. From the review, “Classic solutions such as love, family, and drugs are all in play, but what Gloria needs most is to be free.”

King James - Anderson .Paak

For his second album in so many months, Anderson .Paak provides a rollicking single: “King James” is smooth, funky, and catchy as .Paak’s best tracks. After the squeaky-clean Oxnard, it’s refreshing to hear such effortless cool.

Listen to “King James”

Us

Jordan Peele’s second feature is twisting, genre-bending fun. What it lacks in genuine fright it makes up for in style, form, and fantastic cinematography from Mike Gioulakis (It Follows, Split), and is one of few recent thrillers that needs to be seen twice.

Downhill Lullaby - Sky Ferreira

After a six-year absence, Sky Ferreira returns with a swooning ballad based around strings and a thick bassline. Her singing remains deep, but the music around her has matured into something darker and more sensitive, ideally signaling a fresh concept for whatever she has in store for us this year.

Listen to “Downhill Lullaby”

When I Get Home - Solange

Surprise-released on March 1st, Solange’s instantly enjoyable follow-up to A Seat at the Table dabbles more in jazz and less in pop than Solo ever has. In its clutter of collaborators, Solange finds herself more confident, more determined, and more entitled to a victory lap.

Climax

Gaspar Noé’s latest foray into his brain-bending style is a dance party gone horribly, horribly wrong. The cuts are jarring, characters are irredeemable, and title sequences appear out of place: no surprise there, but Noé does enough to shift his formula into a modern thriller to make Climax his most interesting film since Enter the Void. With a soundtrack including Daft Punk, Aphex Twin and Cerrone, it would have been hard to make a bad film.  

Apollo 11

A stunning look at the moon landing through the eyes of those who made it happen, Apollo 11 is a film over 50 years in the making. Using 70mm footage of the launch, and with synched audio and video from the various control rooms, it’s as whole a picture of the mission as ever put to screen.

Live in London - Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords’ Live in London is exactly as its title suggests: Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement perform classics such as “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)” alongside “Stana” and “Father and Son,” each a hilarious and expansive addition to the Conchords catalogue. While it hurts not to have these two back in visual form, Live in London provides the necessary kick of dry wit the band have spread across entertainment since their show premiered.

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The Beach Bum

Harmony Korine’s pseudo-sequel to 2012’s Spring Breakers is his most feel-good film in years. Due in large part to the legitimacy Matthew McConaughey lends the blissed-out narrative, The Beach Bum is a rewarding and inspiring lense with which to view life.