The radar: April’s cream of the crop

Film: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Peter Quill is back and badder than ever. Alongside his crew of our favorite mercenaries, they go forth on a mission to save the entire universe—albeit begrudgingly. Though you might see a lot more unfamiliar faces for the second volume, the dynamic charm of the original GOTG still never fails to make you feel like you’re friends being reunited.

Jam-packed with action, charm, and an overwhelming amount of heart, the film reinvents the meaning of “space comedy,” proving that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can only get better—and whole lot more complicated—through the years. So grab your popcorn, or laser gun, and set out on a new journey with Peter Quill because after all, adventure only gets better the second time around.


Film: Nerve (2016)

Labeling ourselves as adrenaline-junkies may sound exciting as millennials, but the film Nerve might make us think twice if we truly deserve to have such entitlement.

Nerve showcases the youth’s lifestyle: from friendly hangouts to participating in underground activities—it’s got it all. But things start getting sketchy with an online game where “watchers pay to witness” and “players play to win cash and glory.” Dares are given by the watchers with corresponding amounts of cash that make the players go out to complete the tasks, but instances can make them back out of the game by either bailing or failing the savage challenges.

Fascinating yet nerve-wracking, the movie conveys a hidden message that we are all brave in disguise and truly cowards in revealing our identity. Overall, the high-strung storyline gives a vivid reflection of a kind of badassery we’ve been looking for—applying the aid of the virtual world to champion our own battlefields in reality.


Book: A Separate Peace by John Knowles (1959)

It’s a hello to the darkest days of a World War II summer from John Knowles’ A Separate Peace; and perhaps, we’ll be glad that this hello is not a strange one despite being a coming-of-age book published 58 years ago. After all, dilemmas of sixteen-year-olds in 1940’s are still dilemmas of sixteen-year-olds whenever (excluding the Spotify subscriptions today).

The novel revolves around the pure friendship of Phineas (or “Finny”) and Gene told in the perspective of the latter character. They are both brilliant boys, bathing in the limelight of two different fields in Devon, their school. Finny is a charismatic extra-curricular stunner while Gene is an introverted top-of-the class darling. Hand in hand, along with a group they named “Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session,” they wander through the hoops of innocence and its abrupt loss. Undoubtedly, they are too close friends to suddenly be perfect rivals—just as how the story is too balmy to unexpectedly be deplorable.

By the weight of its deep impression, it’s a 1959 novel that can’t afford to be a forgotten masterpiece. John Knowles surely had his way of implanting significant and growing roots, even at the furthest separate peace.


TV Show: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2017)

No this isn’t some sort of Sherlock spin-off with its sheer investigative core, nor does it force mind-blowing mystery (well, kind of) in any manner. In this case, it’s purely holistic, and if you’re wondering how a detective agency can be holistic, this BBC series will explain why—or will either completely mess with your mind.

It’s quite intersecting yet amazing, with the jolt of different emotions in widely perplexing scenes. Elijah Wood gives light into a new character facing a cruel world and unprecedented circumstances. Weird as it may be, the characters and clusters in the series are not ordinary but classic and unexpectedly phenomenal. The series itself establishes a new shade of cool—not too dark and not too cold, just enough to freeze time as far as eight 1-hour episodes are concerned.

Produced by Max Landis, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a profound brick in the diverse wall made of TV series, painting a new shade of shared philosophy so cruel yet mirrors reality, nailing the frames of prospects in life, and establishing a bridge of connection among the paradigm of reality and beyond.


Music: A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat album by Train (2017)

Train’s eighth studio album entitled A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat fills up the same multi-genre sound of the renowned pop-rock band. We’ve been hooked with the band’s popular albums that deliver deep emotional impact to our musical souls. But this time around, the band tries to take a shot at producing fun, feel-good music for their younger audience. The opening track, Drink Up, is an upbeat bar anthem perfect for your summer parties. Following the bouncy beat is the album’s big hit, Play That Song, resonating a nostalgic melody that blends both old and new sounds.

Indulging in Train’s music still proves that the band never really goes out of style. While popping tunes will always be ear candy for us, this underrated album definitely deserves a play.


Music: DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar (2017)

For his latest album, your favorite Compton-based rapper Kendrick Lamar delivers yet again a masterpiece with epic storytelling—his ever powerful forte. DAMN. starts off hot with its first track BLOOD., a tale of helping an old blind woman, and instead of a thank you, he gets a bullet in return. The lyrics introduce the duality of wickedness and weakness—two opposing attitudes that K-Dot seems to be shifting to and from as the album progresses, something you’ll most likely catch onto while listening.  

Together with other iconic artists like U2 and Rihanna, Kung Fu Kenny continues to make statement after statement with every song. From tackling his utmost concern about the rampant police brutality to taking shots at Fox News and of course, even the 45th President of the United States isn’t an exception to his lyrical jabs.

Having compiled and expressed his innermost thoughts about the ugly side of today’s society (and doing it with utmost swagger to boot) is an extraordinary feat as expected of someone dubbed as the King of the West Coast Rap. Give it a listen, and you’ll see for yourself why the album was named that way.