PLEASANT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH
Writer/director Kris Rey's I Used To Go Here, produced by the Lonely Island crew, could have been a great film, lifted by its lead performance courtesy of Gillian Jacobs as a scuffling 35-year-old novelist who returns to her small college town at the behest of her favorite professor (Jemaine Clement). Instead, the movie (available on demand on various services) is merely a pleasant trifle, with some fun in seeing Jacobs' character relive her college days with students living in her old house, but few hard laughs or poignant truths delivered. Considering the talent involved, it's a disappointment. (DAN NAILEN)
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Since 2014, Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott have hosted an extremely intermittent podcast delving into their favorite bands, including U2 (U Talkin' U2 2 Me?) and R.E.M. (R U Talkin' R.E.M. Re: Me?). The Scotts have a new season-of-sorts, which began as a look at the Red Hot Chili Peppers but has, one episode in, switched to Talking Heads. So now we've got U Talkin' Talking Heads 2 My Talking Head?, a predictably silly deep dive into the work of the art-rock legends that should please anyone who loves supremely goofy comedy and surprisingly adept musical analysis. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)
A SENSE OF DUTY
The world is in dire need of more games set in feudal Japan. Luckily, Ghost of Tsushima scratches my omnipresent itch of wanting to become a samurai. This open-world game from Sucker Punch Productions has you trying to fend off the historical Mongol invasion. One thing that ultimately sticks out is that there are no waypoints. You explore the world how you wish, traveling through an uncannily beautiful landscape to do as you will. There's nothing holding you back from abandoning the current mission and running off on your own to explore to your heart's content. Available on PS4. (JEREMEY RANDRUP)
"Out, out, brief candle!" Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth. "Reform, stalwart candle! — twice-birth'd, but nobler still!" Shakespeare did not write, because Macbeth was not about the Melting Remnant faction of Monster Train. But if the bard ever played the Slay the Spire-style deckbuilder computer game, he would have revised a soliloquy or two. Your goal: Protect the Monster Train from angelic attackers until it restarts the fires of hell. Your candle-like Melting Remnant troops seem to have a big weakness — they extinguish themselves after a few turns. But play your cards right and you can resurrect them from their waxy grave, more powerful than ever. (DANIEL WALTERS)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
Some noteworthy new music hits online and in stores Aug. 21. To wit:
BRIGHT EYES, Down the Weeds Where the World Once Was. Their first album in nearly a decade, and a show Spokane lost to the pandemic.
FRUIT BATS, Siamese Dream. Yup, it's a complete-album cover of the Smashing Pumpkins' work.
THE KILLERS, Imploding the Mirage. Why yes, I did do a double take when I saw Lindsey Buckingham listed as a guest. (DAN NAILEN)