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Stories by Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer. He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years. Currently he lives in Vienna, VA. He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.

‘Batman v Superman’: Visuals, editing just part of epic fail

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2016 – “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is ostensibly the sequel to Zach Snyder’s 2013 Superman reboot, “Man of Steel.” Meant to help remedy Warner Brothers’ disastrous 2006 Brian Singer-directed Superman revival, entitled “Superman Returns,” “Man of Steel” was Snyder’s and screenwriter David Goyer’s updating and/or retconning of the Superman mythos—one ...

Color Palette at DC9: It’s all about the music and the mood

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2016 – Color Palette is all about creating atmosphere within the prism of a power pop exterior. Just as the band’s name references visual indicators that create a specific mood, the band layers their sound to do the same. Mood is a key factor in their music in and of itself as ...

‘Zootopia’: Disney animated film uniquely delights… and instructs

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2016 – Welcome to Zootopia, a city where every animal has its place. Regardless of species, animals can be whatever they want to be here and pursue the path they decide is most right for them, rather than being forced to follow the dictates and prejudices of others. In short, all young ...

‘Race’ muddles Jesse Owens’ complex, heroic narrative

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2016 – Jesse Owens is one of the most important athletes in American history. He’s on the short list as one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century. Even more interesting, Owens arrived on the scene at a time when his talents challenged the social and political atmosphere in both America ...

‘Deadpool’: Surprise box-office hit mocks superhero clichés

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2016 – Prior to its recent release, the biggest news swirling about the surprisingly successful new superhero film “Deadpool” was its rumored R-rating—a rating that’s now a reality. Filmmakers generally shy away from this rating, to the point of reluctantly editing a film enough to gain a pre-release, somewhat more family-friendly PG ...

The Coens’ ‘Hail, Caesar!’: A nostalgia trip to nowhere

WASHINGTON, February 17, 2016 – Nostalgia is always a strange thing— strange in the way people filter through actual memories; strange in how they create moments better than they were and make threats bigger than they ever were; and strange in the way they indulge in an overall misremembering of events. The trick when creating ...

Greg Holden creates something special at the Black Cat

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2016 – When Greg Holden is up on stage—as he was here recently at the Black Cat—all eyes are focused on him and him alone, even though he’s in the midst of the band that’s backing him up. True, he brings attention to the rest of the band. But they are behind ...

“The Danish Girl:” A transgender story that misses the story

WASHINGTON, January 24, 2016 – In film, when people derisively refer to “Oscar bait,” a movie like “The Danish Girl” is just the kind of flick they’d be offering as an example. Set in the mid-1920s, the movie is based on the eponymous novel by David Ebershoff, it’s a pseudo-historical biopic based on the lives ...

CDN Movie Review: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ Does it?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2015 – One of the best-known images in the “Star Wars” franchise is the backstory text that rolls up the screen at the beginning of each film as John Williams’ stirring martial theme unfurls in the soundtrack. Reminiscent of plot summaries that began each chapter of 1930s and 1940s movie serials like ...

‘The Force Awakens’: A prequel to our CDN movie review

WASHINGTON, January 3, 2015 – “Star Wars: the Force Awakens” was destined to be a success, if not critically, at least financially. True, there was handwringing early on. Some worried that the new film would fail to meet audience expectations, particularly if this latest installment remained mired at the dismal level charted by the “prequel” ...

‘Creed’: The latest ‘Rocky’ sequel takes a compelling new direction

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2015 – History is one of the biggest driving forces behind “Creed,” the latest in a long stream of Rocky sequels—No. 7, to be exact. Not only does history factor strongly into this film’s narrative; it also drives our understanding of just how organic both Rocky and the franchise still are. The ...

Bass notes: Space Jesus DJ action at DC’s U Street Music Hall

WASHINGTON, December 7, 2015 – When it comes to shows revolving around DJs, there’s always a lot of anticipation One usually encounters a combination of hanging around waiting for the set and then perking up as something seems about break as the buzz filters through the room. This was exactly the kind of atmospherics the ...

Turning on the LIGHTS at DC’s 9:30 Club

WASHINGTON, December 04, 2015 – It’s been three years since the Canadian pop star LIGHTS last played at Washington DC’s 9:30 Club. Those three plus years have been somewhat tumultuous for this singer. Not only did she release a new album, Little Machines, in 2014. She’s given birth to her first child. Life-changing events like ...

Loved by critics, ‘Steve Jobs’ film fades at box office

WASHINGTON, November 28, 2015 – Trying to paint a picture of just who Steve Jobs was and how he changed the face of technology – or at least how people use it – seems like an impossible task. When taking on a controversial persona like Steve Jobs, the tendency of a filmmaker is to simply ...

Warner’s messy ‘Pan’ continues to tank at the box office

WASHINGTON, November 24, 2015 – For anyone going to see “Pan” – Joe Wright’s reboot of Peter Pan’s origin, which effectively re-invents the character – it’s best to completely disassociate this film from the original J.M. Barrie story/play and its various iterations since. Yet that’s a difficult task, since the film’s promo efforts so obviously ...

Film review: ‘The Intern’ and the dilemma of having it all

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2015 – When it comes to discussing the working woman, 2015 edition, there is one trope in television and film that pops up time again. That’s the question of whether a woman can actually have it all, “all” being the catchall term for career, family, social life, whatever any normal person juggles ...

‘Fantastic Four’: Why Fox’s latest franchise reboot failed

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2015 – The ever-present question revolving around Marvel’s Fantastic Four is whether anyone can actually make a movie about it. That was the question even before Fox’s first venture into a feature length ‘Fantastic Four’ movie in 2005. (And the less that’s said about the never-released ‘90s ‘Fantastic Four’ film, the better.) ...

‘Straight Outta Compton’: Rewriting history, but not very well

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2015 – When it comes to the film “Straight Outta Compton,” you have to ask: How exactly does someone go about rewriting history? The original story of the pioneering hip-hop group N.W.A. played out in real time, most prominently between the years 1989 and 1991. Its influence is arguably still happening, with ...