Each week we gather to provide you with recommendations of things to watch, read, listen to, and otherwise consume. They won’t always be new things, though sometimes they will be. Timeliness doesn’t matter so much as what is worth your time. This week, Lor is playing Coromon, Christopher watched Cube (1997), Teddy is plugging Scene Queen, and Don is hyped for Cinedigm’s Classic Films for Kids series.
Music Recommendation: Scene Queen
Teddy Webb: I’m not normally one for outrage marketing, particularly when it comes to music. A song with a message that someone’s clearly passionate about is one thing, but the strategy of manufacturing controversy in real life or online feels like an increasingly dated tactic. It’s reminiscent of those “dermatologists HATE her!!!” third-party adverts. Trying to evoke the scare-your-parents artists that courted division back in the early 2000s can be disastrous if you can’t do it right, giving supposedly cool artists the persistent air of desperation. Besides, why put energy into manufactured outrage when you can just make music that isn’t quite metal but is badass nonetheless, and let the gatekeepers hate-watch you into viral success.
This is the exact reason Scene Queen is the name on so many alternative music fans’ lips right now. Her specific brand of alternative rock, self-defined as bimbocore, blends the reclaimed hyperfeminine aesthetics and vocal distortions of genres like hyperpop with metalcore-inspired breakdowns that are an absolute treat to headbang along with. ‘Pretty In Pink’, the first single to draw the eyes of the internet to Scene Queen, boasts genuinely powerful screamed vocals in the chorus inspired by the “screamo” vocals of scene culture she named herself for. The nursery rhyme style of the spoken word verses can be a little abrasive, but they create a unique contrast with the choruses that sums up her aims to bring unapologetic femininity to the often hypermasculine genre of metalcore. As unhappy as some metal fans commenting on her now-viral TikToks are about her being described as metal or even metalcore, the love she has for the genres she’s using as scrap metal with which to craft her distinctive sound is pretty obvious. This isn’t sacrilege; it’s collage.
It’s Scene Queen’s latest single, though, that’s really brought her supporters to the forefront over the voices of her detractors. Fans of ‘Pink Rover’ aren’t just fans of the range in Scene Queen’s voice as she drifts effortlessly between genres; no, her lyrics are what really elevate this track to her best yet. An indictment of the street harassment and catcalling that’s been so normalised in our culture, the song is a cathartic statement of autonomy regardless of how you dress or act. Scene Queen’s genre-blending approach does wonders for this message, as her righteous anger is as ever-present across musical styles as harassment can feel for victims. In verses I can only describe as a vengeful trap, a minimalist beat allows the barely concealed contempt in lines like “covered in blood, just girly things” to shine as they deserve to. When the choruses pull the pitch of her voice up for a section of sarcastically cheery pop, the Stepford smile on her face starts to sound more like gritted teeth before the singer lets loose and demands revenge with a simple bitter line: “cut him.”
Film Recommendation: Cube
Christopher Pilbeam: This independent sci-fi horror film is like Saw meets Sartre’s No Exit, but somehow better than both of those things. For me, this is the Goldilocks zone of horror movies: it has the right amount of gore to be terrifying without splurging on the fake blood; the runtime is pleasingly compact, with not a minute of screen time wasted, and it knows exactly how much information to give the audience, and what to withhold. The premise of a group of strangers with conflicting personalities trapped in a confined space is one you will have seen before. In fact, the movie seems to know that you already know the tropes and doesn’t waste any time trying to disguise them. Nonetheless, these particular characters are uniquely intriguing and it is exciting to see which of them will break and which will turn out to be heroes. Some aspects of Cube may be of-its-time, but for the most part, this intensely paranoid and Kafkaesque story is just as pertinent now as it was in 1997.
Game Recommendation: Coromon
Lor Gislason: I was lucky enough to get an early key for this game and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time! I’m a huge fan of the Monster Collecting genre and I really believe Coromon has perfected the formula. Not only is it more difficult than other games off the bat, but it also has several options to make it even more intense. You can change this at any time too!
After being given your starting Coromon and capturing tools, you’re sent off to collect essences from the Titans, huge legendary Coromon that control the elements. On the way you’ll travel through towns, caves, and forests, completing quests for NPCs, and solving puzzles–which have also been given a difficult boost compared to other games. They’re not impossible, but did actually make me pause and think!
Design-wise there’s a lot of variety between Coromon, and “shinies” have been worked into the gameplay; Potent and Perfect Coromon each have a different colour, with Perfects having the best stats. The encounter rate for these isn’t as impossible as you would think, and it’s really fun to see one pop up! Sprite art is very detailed, with weather effects and cute emoticons when characters are talking. Your player character isn’t silent either and will be a more active participant in the story. The music from Davi Vasc is also incredible, with action-packed battle themes that will have you bobbing your head to the beat. Overall it’s a top-tier game, and I can’t wait to also play it on the Switch when the port drops because it has cross-saves and I’ll be able to bring my critters with me. If you’re wondering, I started with Toruga, the fire turtle!
Cinedigm’s Classic Films for Kids
Don Shanahan: As the school teacher in the room, I cannot resist good news like this from Cinedigm and their Film Detective streaming service. With two pre-teen kids of my own, I’m all about showing solid classic films to children. The “oldies” are rich in content, language, and are creative sometimes to a greater degree than the modern offerings today with all of their bells, whistles, and advanced technology.
Cinedigm, the leading independent streaming company super-serving enthusiast fan bases, announced today that The Film Detective, the classic film restoration and streaming company, will premiere the original film series, Classic Films for Kids, on Saturday, April 2.
Classic Films for Kids will be hosted by Jennifer Churchill, classic film enthusiast and author of Movies are Magic, the children’s book dedicated to an engaging and educational look at the history of film, which features an introduction from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) primetime host Ben Mankiewicz. She is joined by co-host, son Weston, age 7, exploring family-friendly programming with Golden Age stars from Abbott and Costello to Shirley Temple.
The first season of Classic Films for Kids will feature full-length, classic films, contextualized with insight and commentary. Initial films include: Jack and the Beanstalk (1952), starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello; The Little Princess (1939), starring Shirley Temple; Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928), starring Buster Keaton; and the Fleischer Brothers’ classic animation, Gulliver’s Travels (1939).
Those selections are excellent choices. Each of those films has a legacy to discuss and grand themes worth exploring. I greatly look forward to sharing them with my own children and elementary/middle-school students at the day job.
New episodes will premiere every Saturday morning at 11 AM Eastern time on The Film Detective channel, followed by SVOD releases on TFD’s classic film and television app, beginning with Jack and the Beanstalk on April 2.
TFD’s classic film and television app is available to stream on the web, iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. For more information on TFD, visit www.thefilmdetective.com. Find that app and enjoy some of the good stuff from back in the day!
What are you excited about this week? Let us know in the comments!