Luke Atkins

Film, Television, and Music Critic

Rapid Reviews

Original photo is from the film Her (2013)

Beginning in 2021, I will review 5 films and 5 albums each month—each in 2 sentences or less. These are works, most of which I’ve been familiar with for many years, that stood out to me again recently. I’m doing this to cover more historic content than I can on my feed. Enjoy!

January 2021 Films:

Gladiator (2000)

I have regained a love for Gladiator due to the epic nature of the plot and, of course, Joaquin Phoenix’s powerful and cunning and devilish and genius performance. Rating: 7.5/10

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Following a girl in Fascist Spain, this is a chilling testament to both the horrors and the beauty of life on Earth. Rating: 10/10

American Beauty (1999)

This is a snarky film that truly captures modern American suburbia. Its profound themes are tucked within layers of deliberately superficial facets. Rating: 8.5/10

Black Swan (2010)

Directed by the mercurial Darren Aronofsky and starring the impressive Natalie Portman (both of whom are Harvard grads), Black Swan is a psychological trip. It is twisted and yet so, so, so elegant as well. Rating: 8/10

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now is like a legendary Greek play; it has everything you want in a work of art. This film showcases the brilliance of Francis Ford Coppola. Rating: 10/10

January 2021 Albums:

Tame Impala – Currents (2015)

Currents is an interesting follow-up to Tame Impala’s iconic album Lonerism. This is a dense, challenging rollercoaster that thrives throughout each song. Rating: 8.5/10

Madvillain – Madvillainy (2004)

I’ve been listening to Madvillainy a lot lately due to MF Doom’s tragic death—and it reminded me how brilliant this artsy, novel underground hip-hop album is. The songs Accordion, All Caps, Figaro, Meat Grinder, and Raid are insanely well-done. Rating: 9/10

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Wish You Were Here is one of the most bold, groundbreaking, and artistically organic works I’ve heard. Shine on You Crazy Diamond Pts. 1-5 is an epic journey that begins modestly and slowly becomes one of the greatest songs ever. Rating: 10/10

Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)

Songs like The Scientist and Clocks are Coldplay in its most authentic colors. This album is no masterpiece per se, but it is still a triumph of pop music. Rating: 7.5/10

Kanye West – Yeezus (2013)

Yeezus followed Kanye’s 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (considered one of the best albums ever), by starting over from scratch and daring to try something new. Kanye’s most polarizing LP, it ventures into genres like house, industrial, ambient, EDM, and experimental. Rating: 9.5/10