Let's Use The Excitement Around The 2024 WNBA Draft To Give The League Its Deserved Investment

Even before the 2024 WNBA Draft, there was excitement about the league’s future. Preceding all of this, the Women’s NCAA Championship and Tournament broke ratings records. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert spoke of expansion and the goal of making this a 16-team league by 2028. Warner Bros Discovery expressed interest in acquiring the U.S. broadcast rights, as noted by The Atlantic. Not to mention that the WNBA was about to welcome one of their most talented draft classes, with the likes of Cait

Grimes's Coachella Difficulties Show That Tech Shouldn't Supplant Craft

Coachella is never without news or surprises. However, one particular moment is drawing eyes other than the great No Doubt reunion, Blur’s perplexed reaction to the crowd, and Lauryn Hill’s appearance during her son YG Marley’s set. Nope, the topic of discussion is centered around Grimes and the number of “technical mishaps” surrounding her DJ set. She repeatedly apologized to the packed Sahara tent crowd, rage screamed at points, and apologized after her set. Mistakes happen, and I’ve been to s

J. Cole's Skill Will Live On, But This Was The Time To Cement Legend Status

We all love to see our favorite rappers at the top of their game and enter the lyrical ring if the moment calls for it. The “battle” is the essence of what hip-hop is built upon, and it wasn’t like we were going to see the likes of J. Cole, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar take things beyond the realm of the studio. The investment came to see the top dogs go line-for-line to see who can ultimately call themselves number one. That’s why Cole’s verse on “First Person Shooter” was so exciting to hear. It

'Civil War' and the Cost of the Desensitization To Violence

“I’ve never been scared like that before, and I’ve never felt more alive.” I’ve been meditating on why audiences flock to see a film like Alex Garland’s Civil War—especially when the scales of our democracy feel more lopsided by the day. Perhaps it’s answers or trying to use art as a crystal ball. Garland gave scant answers about what was happening in his film, which turned off some of the audience. If you make a grand political film, you might as well clearly define what you’re trying to say. T

Everybody Suffers When The Greats Can't Make The Art They Want

CinemaCon is an exciting time because it’s where motion picture studios show off the projects they are most excited about to The National Association of Theatre Owners. Since 2020, it’s been more of a reference point for these studios to keep reiterating that they are invested in bringing their stories to the theatrical experience first and foremost. With the weird world of streaming, ticket prices, and the ever-evolving thoughts on theater etiquette, the public might have a different opinion. N

Luca Guadagnino's 'Challengers' Brand of Sports, Sexuality, and Motivations Is A Winner

It would be wrong to quantify Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers as just a film about tennis, a love triangle, or a neat combination of those two different things in a tidy package. The brilliance of what Challengers is exists within the messiness of unquenchable desire as it pertains to athletic achievement and relationships. You almost have to look at it through the lens of the film’s very first scenes. It’s 2019, and Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) is hitting the tail end of his tennis career. As he’s

'Arcadian's Bug Infested Sci-Fi Drama Does Much of What You Already Know

Ben Brewer’s Arcadian contains much of what you’d expect from a sci-fi apocalyptic story, taking a sample from plots in past forms like I Am Legend or A Quiet Place. Something has happened that quickened the fall of humanity involving humongous, almost humanoid bugs. There isn’t a clear consensus on how they arrived and the inflection point of their overrun, but Michael Nilon’s script uses the character in the story, which makes some creatives guesstimate how that happened. Some rules are simple

The Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show's Intimate and Thorny Portrait Is Still Curated

It’s okay to start watching a reality television series with a healthy skepticism about what scenarios are based on fact. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to a Truman Show-esque setting where the world can see them fully, warts and all? Even in the early days of MTV’s The Real World, cameras were present, and specific edits were made to elevate drama or perhaps infer romantic liaisons more than they were for storyline purposes. I almost want to ask if people would be enthralled t

'Sting's Dose of Arachnid Terror Is Not Going To Make You Want To Put A Nightlight On

The combination of spiders and the horror genre is usually a slam dunk of assured creepiness. I have seldom encountered anybody who doesn’t get spooked by the thought or sight of those eight-legged arachnids. It’s precisely what writer/director Kiah Roache-Turner is counting on with ‘Sting,’ a film that takes place entirely within a Brooklyn apartment building held together by prayer and scotch tape. A massive snowstorm within Sting’s particular time frame confines all the residents to their res

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Packs A Punch, But Languishes In Not Knowing How To Make Them Matter

2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong understood what audiences were coming for and gave them that in heavy doses, along with the human aspect to tie it all together. Director Adam Wingard made sure the legendary monsters fought enough to justify the premise while a world subplot put humankind in danger. Eventually, the two put their differences aside to destroy a mechanical abomination created by the same humans they want to save. The job is completed! With sequels, they almost ask you to be bigger, badder,

Euphoria Ending With Season Two Wouldn't Be The Worst Thing In The World

It is March 25th, and to say that most of the main cast of HBO’s hit show Euphoria is busy would be an understatement. Zendaya is coming off the first big hit of 2024, Dune Part II, Sydney Sweeney is riding high from the successes of Anyone But You and Immaculate, Hunter Schaffer had a supporting role in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and her first starring role in Cuckoo comes out in little over a month. Then there are Jacob Elordi’s roles in last year’s Saltburn and Pris

'Azrael's Silent Post-Apocalyptic Bloodbath Leaves Too Much Up To Blurred Interpretation

There’s been a recent influx of films like John Woo’s Silent Night, Brian Duffield’s No One Will Save You, and A Quiet Place stories that elect either no or a very scant usage of dialogue. The thought process with this process is portraying emotions and plot developments through body language and facial expressions. That, paired with an elevated sense of secondary parameters, can make the experience effective without speaking. That is easy to do when sounds are the decider of life and death (lik

'Road House' and It's Many Tonal Shifts Can't Make It To Last Call

One man with a checkered past and considerable hand-to-hand combat expertise saves a run-down bar. It was a good enough premise for the 1989 original Road House, released during the over-the-top 80s action boom of Stallone, Van-Damme, and Schwarzenegger. The late great Patrick Swayze’s commitment to the James Dalton character was enough for the price of admission. That’s part of the reason why shows like Family Guy have referenced the film in its furious use of pop culture references. director D

'Late Night With The Devil' and its AI Usage Issue Hints At Needed Debates To Follow

At last year’s South By Southwest, I saw a 70s retro-styled horror film called Late Night With The Devil, and I enjoyed it. The late-night talk show premise provided a fresh take on the often-used possession theme, and David Dastmalchian finally got his just due to show he could be in a leading role. As with many of these festivals, a long time may pass until these films are distributed to a broad audience. Thus, I was singing it’s praises to people who had no idea what I was talking about. Seei

Beyoncé, Country Music, and the Weight of the American Flag

My first vivid memory of discovering country music was with my grandmother and discovering that she liked Randy Travis. This was a woman who was devoutly devoted to listening to gospel music, so it was a shock to me. It was also at the beginning of finding music outside of hip-hop and R&B. In those moments, there’s something pure about having something different permeate your senses. It’s because there’s a protective encasement around that sense of wonder that does not apply to gatekeeping — bec

Writer/Director Shannon Triplett Talks 'Desert Road' and Grounding Her Sci-Fi Odyssey With Emotional Stakes

What first things come to mind when you think about the desert? I bet it’s the extreme heat and endless amounts of sand (and you wouldn’t be wrong). What would be next is that it’s the wrong place to get stranded because the infinite horizon doesn’t seem like it will reward you with reprieve — instead, uncertainty is often the most unsettling thing to experience. Shannon Triplett’s directorial debut, Desert Road, is born out of a personal story where her boyfriend went for a run, got lost, and h

'Birdeater' Asks For You Give Every First Impression A Second Look

Bachelor parties (or stag parties, as they are known in the United Kingdom or in this case, Australia) are the supposed debaucherous sendoff as one male ventures off on the momentous journey of marriage and says goodbye to the single life for good (hopefully). It’s a self-contained amount of time where the groom’s closest friends will recall the early days and maybe lament about how things will never be the same again. There have been enough depictions of media that show you what is believed to

Alex Garland's 'Civil War' Is Harrowing For What It Shows and Chooses Not To Say

In writer-director Alex Garland’s Civil War, the United States is eating itself into war through political division. Although this conflict has many factions, Garland’s story is locked into one specific view of the contentious, bloody contest of ideologies. In the world Civil War exists, these entities might as well have interchangeable faces. That might be a hard sell because each carries noticeable differences and ideals in our current two-party platform. Rather than speak to that and further

'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire's Fun Nostalgia Gets Held Back By The Many Elements It Has To Present

2021’s Ghostbusters Afterlife was a formal handoff to the next generation of paranormal adventurers while addressing the heaviness of not having the late Harold Ramis return with the classic cast and a tribute to his Egon Spengler character. So, it makes sense that the 2024 follow-up Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire moves into a more business-as-usual; let’s get down to busting out the proton pack track. Director Gil Kenan and co-writer Jason Reitman demonstrate they know what audiences love about th

'You'll Never Find Me' Is An Electric Dance Between Two Characters and Shady Stories

We use alone time to recalibrate and reset. It’s when we can parse our thoughts and memories into their proper places and make actual sense of things. But there are times when solitude feels like a straight jacket—especially when it’s used to escape from something awful. Even if you outrun the hammer of consequences, guilt will always be nipping at your heels. Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen’s You’ll Never Find Me has a relatively simple setting with a particular expertise in the story to keep th

'The Greatest Hits' Power of Music Can't Push Through Conventional Plotting

The healing power of music is undeniable, but there’s another element to that. While a particular song can trigger vivid memories of bliss that feel like they just happened yesterday, the medium can also remind us of things we’ve lost. Writer-director Ned Benson’s The Greatest Hits prominently centers on that premise within a fantastical, romantic exploration of cutting through grief and the place of art in that process. Moving on is easier said than done, but it can be even more complex when yo

More WNBA-NBA integration will be an asset to both leagues

Sabrina Ionescu’s 3-point battle vs. Steph Curry makes us wonder what the future could hold.

Almost a week has passed, and we still haven’t quite nailed down how to cure the lethargy around the NBA All-Star weekend. But that’s not to say that there hasn’t been a wide variety of assessments about why we got here.

If you ask Stephen A. Smith, he lays the blame for the fall of the slam dunk contest squarely at the feet of Lebron James. It would have been great for one of the greatest players to c

The Endings: 'The Zone of Interest' and How the Karmic Heaviness of Darkened Hallways Lead Into Warnings of the Future

The Endings is a new column chronicling some of the biggest films in the 2024 Oscar race and how their powerful endings are essential and long-lasting to the success of their narratives. These accounts are based on the notes of the first viewings of the film and the bigger context of how they feel over time.

I wanted karma. I desired it. After seeing Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest in October of 2023, it’s a natural emotion to desire. Even as if the New York theater walked out steeped in

'Stopmotion' Combines Fable With Animation Into An Entertaining Nightmare

There’s something symbiotically macabre when the animation style of stop-motion and the horror genre come together. It’s a match made in heaven, really. Scenes in horror films are predicated on setup and the eventual payoff (sometimes on numerous occasions). With stop-motion, there’s a meticulous nature that comes with it. In a highly detailed process, you are making figurines feel like they have a life of their own — much like the characters who have starred in our nightmares, like Freddy Krueg
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About Me

Journalist, Self-published author of five books, podcast host, and photographer since 2014, Murjani Rawls has been stretching the capabilities of his creativity and passions. Rawls has as a portfolio spanning through many mediums including music, television, movies, and more. Operating out of the New York area, Rawls has photographed over 200+ artists spanning many genres, written over 800 articles, and a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. His career aspirations continue to develop as his years in media continue.