ROUND-UP March 20-26, 2019

Two movie reviews and a music review! Enjoy.
"While it’s not explicitly addressed as such in Woman at War, there’s a keen subtextual element of how Halla’s stature in Icelandic society as a completely average single middle-aged woman aids her cause, even as it means she’s been overlooked in other ways that may have caused her to become cynical. Halla had given up on being able to adopt a child because she was considered too old to be proper mother; apparently Ukraine has different age requirements, and she’s now no longer excluded from adopting a child with nothing simply because she’s middle-aged. Woman at War tends, instead, towards more blunt social commentary, rightfully assuming that we are on Halla’s side, and Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir commands the screen with her steely resolve and expressive eyes."
"Resist does start off on the wrong foot both musically and thematically, and it ends up coloring the experience of the album in its entirety. Perhaps it's a case of "resistance fatigue", but for a band to call an album Resist, and to have generic lyrics about tears and blood and fighting the war for freedom, rings incredibly hollow—almost on the level of creative inertia displayed by the last few Muse albums. If you're going to write a political album, you can't do it in half-measures, which is why there isn't an infinite number of good political concept albums. Green Day's American Idiot is now a bit dated, but also incredibly specific in its political targets, meaning that it's a product of its time and a valuable cultural artifact, reflecting how musicians were responding to the Bush administration and the War on Terror."
"In The Invisibles, the focus is on the suspense that is naturally derived from narratives where people must live in secret—peering around corners for leather-clad Gestapo, surveilling a cafe before entering to make sure no one recognizes your face—but the pace of the film doesn’t really pick up until about halfway through. A brief subplot where Arndt and another friend in hiding are recognized by Stella Goldschlag, a known Jewish informant for the Nazis, flirts with danger, but is insufficiently resolved. The hapless Schönhaus goes on a date with Goldschlag, and foolishly tries to bring her back to where he is in hiding, only for her to mysteriously decline and let him go, unharmed. On the other hand, perhaps there is just too much fascinating material for one feature film: with a little more room to breathe (in, say, a mini-series), we could have learned more about the people who risked their lives to help Jews go into hiding. Beyond their immediate interactions with the subjects of the film, they aren’t given much attention—certainly, their deeper motives and uncommon bravery go unexamined in a way that is unsatisfying."