The Suggestion Box #77: Combating Cartels, and Demonic Oirans, and Urban Legends, Oh My!

Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.

Lauren’s Anime Pick: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Entertainment District Arc I know I just wrote about this anime in the last “Suggestion Box” post for its Mugen Train Arc, but I can’t help but once again sing Demon Slayer’s praises because it: 1) continues to be my favorite anime thanks to its kind hearted protagonist, his mutually protective relationship with his sister, and the dynamic and ever evolving fight sequences, and 2) I have nothing else to write about this week. And though I really enjoyed the Mugen Train Arc, the Entertainment District Arc reminded me that one of the show’s best storytelling elements is how Tanjiro’s sympathetic nature allows the audience to mourn for the often tragic life lost when someone was turned into a demon. This never forgives the grotesquely horrible lives led post transformation, but Tanjiro expressing sympathy for these monsters is something I truly appreciate. And you know what else I appreciate about our time infiltrating the Entertainment District? Our resident, extremely obnoxious sexual predator Zenitsu being a calm badass as he sleeps through most of the arc, getting to spend time with the flashiest Hashira in the Demon Slayer Corp as he brings out new sides to Zenitsu and Inosuke, and Nezuko going full beast mode to both a cheerworthy and terrifying / potentially worrisome degree. I may not know how to feel about what I can only describe as some of the most upsetting mice I’ve ever seen, but the rest was everything I’ve come to expect from this anime.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Candyman (2021) – Nia DaCosta’s Candyman sequelboot is a worthy successor to Bernard Rose’s original. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays Anthony, an artist who learns of the events from the first film while looking for a new subject for his work, and becomes increasingly obsessed/afraid of the eponymous boogieman who kills anyone that dares to challenge his existence. It’s a damn fine horror flick that expands upon the lore and scope of the Candyman mythos, along with the – still tragically relevant – social commentary that surrounds his origins. The cinematography is top notch, the score is wonderful (although a step down from Philip Glass’ top-tier work in the first) and DaCosta builds tension from multiple directions at once, which kept me on the edge of my seat almost constantly. Finally, shocking absolutely no one, Abdul-Mateen is brilliant in the lead role. I’m still not sure if I like this more than the first movie, but it’s close.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Sicario Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario is one of the most unforgettable movies I’ll probably ever see. After a genuinely shocking opening, the film’s lead, by-the-book FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), is asked to join a task force led by a high-ranking officer, Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), whose moral compass can be… flexible… if he believes the ends justify the means. Their goal is to meaningfully combat the Mexican drug cartels. Also working with Macer and Graver is Alejandro Gillick, a mysterious individual that we and Kate learn more about as their mission progresses. It’s a film with a brilliant cast, top-tier tension throughout, action sequences that redefine the word “harrowing,” and stunning cinematography. All of that makes Sicario an amazing experience, but pushing it to its “all-time great” status is how far Villeneuve goes to ensure that everything we see is as believable as it is bleak. And oh boy, it is bleak. It may not be for the faint of heart (or stomach), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cinematic gold.

So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!

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