Overrated/Underrated: When will the superhero storm pass?

There’s a lot of pop culture to sort through week after week. Times staff writer Chris Barton offers his take on what’s up and what’s down in music, movies, television and just about anything else out there that’s worth considering.


'The Good Dinosaur' (2015): A difficult movie to peg based on production delays and a trailer that occasionally resembled a far more beautiful take on "The Flintstones," this Pixar film deserves a second look as it comes to video. Centered on imagining a weird hiccup in the world's turbulent history that led to dinosaurs developing agrarian skills while humans were raised by wolves, the movie's surprisingly dark and unforgiving natural world is leavened by some beautiful animated backdrops and a warm heart that stays in the right place.

Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith's 'A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke': Album titles don't get much deeper than this, and the music lives up to it with the sound of two longtime collaborators in Iyer — one of the most boundary-pushing jazz pianists working today — and Smith, who in addition to his restless, searching career as a trumpeter was also a longtime instructor at CalArts. Together the results are haunting, meditative and transportive in a work that draws from abstract Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi and reaches for the stars.

Overrated/Underrated: Pop culture’s best and worst >>


Escaping our superhero invasion: Sure, talk about how terrible the new "Batman v Superman" looks outside the familiar weight of its Christopher Nolan past, or question Ben Affleck's costume cred and that Hollywood basically names a new Superman every week — you'll still go, and if you don't it'll still earn a small country's GDP in ticket sales. Superhero franchises are our new normal, and not unlike the rise (and eventual fall) of "American Idol," we're a few overreaches away from this storm passing. When's that "Howard the Duck" reboot?

Twitter: Celebrating its 10th birthday last week to much self-induced fanfare, the 140-character news, self-promotion and validation-from-strangers service has experienced great highs (the Arab Spring) and reprehensible lows (any moment a troll harasses someone with zero consequences). But with only theoretical profits and a stubbornly flat rate of user growth to go along with a steady evolution into what's largely space for celebrities and brands to talk among themselves, one has to wonder if the service has another 10 years in its future.


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A version of this article appeared in print on March 27, 2016, in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "UNDERRATED OVERRATED" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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