Friday, February 27, 2015

Boyhood shines light on reality

Arian Behpour
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Sometimes we don’t realize that life is full of good and bad moments that are more important than we originally perceived. The goal Boyhood sets out to accomplish is to show us these moments and their immense impact on life. Boyhood chronicles a boy as he grows up and becomes an adult. This film doesn’t have much of a plot. Instead, it tries to simulate real life as close as possible. For a film that has been in the making for about twelve years, its amazing nothing went wrong.
  The film is very simple. The acting feels real and nothing seems staged. Patricia Arquette gives the best performance in the whole film. The viewers feel for her as she does anything to help make her children’s life easier. Ethan Hawke is good, but his character isn’t given a lot to work with. Ellar Coltrane definitely had a grand breakout role with this film. He started at age six and kept acting until nineteen. The more he grows up the better his acting ability becomes. Even as a child he acted better than most child actors.
   The direction does not have any glit or glammer. Its straight forward, but not for lack of attention or boredom. Richard Linklater directed this film in a way not to take away from the film or the reality the film portrays. There are many instances of beautiful imagery that reflects how life, nature, and the emotions are explored in the film.
   Boyhood covers so much ground that many viewers might find a little bit of themselves in there. There are some moments that hit hard on the heart strings and that make the viewer ponder worldly themes.
  It is no wonder the film is nominated for an Oscar for best picture. We all were children, and we all will grow up. This film reflects on those infinite moments experienced by billions of human beings all around the world.

Into the Woods We Go

Lexi Anderson
Staff Writer

  Over this past winter break, my sister and I took our usual trip to the Regal Barn to see the highly anticipated musical-comedy, Into the Woods.
  Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall, is a twist on the classic fairytale characters we all know and love. It features iconic characters such as Little Red Riding-Hood, the Wolf, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and others along with the newly introduced baker and his wife.
  The Witch, played by the simply amazing Meryl Streep, sends the baker and his wife on a quest through the woods to find specific objects for her. In return ,she’ll make the baker’s wife (played by Emily Blunt) fertile.
  The other characters happen to all have their own reasons to go into the woods as well. Little Jack has to go to a different town to sell his goat, Cinderella is  going to the ball, and Little Red Riding Hood is bringing bakery goods back to her grandmother. Their storylines begin to intertwine as the story unfolds.
  As my sister and I sat down in our seats we waited excitedly for the movie the start.
  Into the Woods opens with a montage of the different fairytale characters singing the charming, but extraordinarily long, song “Into the Woods.” What starts out as a sweet tune turns into an intense, almost headache-inducing noise. Nonetheless, I still had hope as the movie began.
  The biggest fault in this movie is that there was a distinct point where it could’ve ended, and you felt like it was going to end.
  With about 45 minutes of the movie left all seems to be resolved: Cinderella is marrying her prince after being indecisive about him throughout the whole film, the baker and his wife have a child, Jack’s mom is wealthy, Rapunzel and her prince are happy and in love, Red and her Grandma are happy, and the Witch has regained her beauty. Right when you think the movie is going to close, another conflict arises that lasts another 45 minutes of the movie.
  Although the ending of the movie was heartwarming, I really just wanted it to end.
  I saw Interstellar with my sister as well, which was a whopping three hours long. Honestly, I felt like the two hour long Into the Woods lasted much longer.
  Although the movie itself wasn’t amazing, the acting and singing of the cast was quite good, with Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt doing a particularly good job. The fairytale-like costume design was also great, and the film has even been nominated for an Academy Award for this category.
  Overall, I would give Into the Woods three stars out of five. It lacked depth and didn’t really wow me, but it was still an enjoyable watch. The cast was great, and the musical numbers were fun and catchy. Surely, it’s not something I’d watch again, but I don’t regret having gone to see it.

The Interview provides comic relief

Dylan Waterman
Staff Writer

Dave Skylark, played by James Franco, and Aaron Rapoport, played by Seth Rogan, run a popular celebrity talk show, “Skylark Tonight”. Dave Skylark is the host while Aaron is the show’s producer. In the beginning of the movie, Aaron starts to believe that their show is a joke, and feels that they need to do more than just talk to celebrities about their new, unusual news. They later find out that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a huge fan of the show and in an attempt to legitimize the show, and themselves as journalists, they are granted access to interview him. While preparing themselves for this big event, they experience an unheralded twist. The CIA recruits Dave and Aaron to assassinate Kim Jong-un while in the process of interviewing him. This appears to be a tough task for Dave and Aaron, as they are two of the least qualified individuals to implement this action.
  Coming from one that has seen the film, I enjoyed it a lot. After the Sony hacking scandal that reportedly involved North Korean hackers, this movie was available in only a limited number of theaters, but it was also released on Google Play, is available on OnDemand, and a few other sources. It is now most notably available on Netflix. Throughout the whole movie there is great comedic chemistry displayed between Rogen and Franco, but it does not distract the viewer from an actual plot. Dave and Aaron meet an ally while in North Korea, who helps the guys ready themselves for what they must do. Things like this make the movie very unpredictable and exciting, as there are many of them throughout the film. Overall, this is a funny and exciting story that will certainly please those who enjoy contemporary screwball comedy.

D’Angelo’s Black Messiah Addresses Race and Society

Tyler Brennan
Staff Writer

After a fifteen year hiatus from any formal music release, singer, producer, and songwriter D’Angelo bestowed unexpected music fans his latest album, Black Messiah, at the turn of the new year.
  On Dec. 12, 2014 producer Kevin Liles released a 15-second teaser for the new album on YouTube. Three days later on December 15, 2014 the album was released to traditional online outlets such as iTunes, Google Play Music, and Spotify.
  This is the third release from the critically acclaimed R&B artist, whose previous records, Brown Sugar and Voodoo pioneered the rhythm and blues genre. D’Angelo’s style has often been compared to Prince and Marvin Gaye for his unique and soulful singing voice. His latest album draws influence from more traditional R&B acts such as Funkadelic and Sly & The Family Stone because of its focus on live instrumentation.
  D’Angelo is accompanied with full live band called the Vanguard, whose big names include The Root’s Questlove, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip,  Pino Palladino, James Gadson and Kendra Foster. The band provides profound and chaotic instrumentation for the soulful range of D’Angelo’s infamous voice. The album often feels experimental and nuanced for utilizing a hectic sound to emphasize the soulful and spiritual element of the piece.
  Q-Tip and Kendra Foster collaborated with D’Angelo on lyrics which glide upon subjects of politics, religion, and sex. Kendra Foster’s lyrical prowess can be heard on “The Charade”, the third track into the album which reflects upon a history of social and political racism and injustice experienced by African-Americans.
 Some of the albums songs such as “1000 deaths,” “The Charade,” and “Till it’s done (Tutu),” seem to be inspired by the recent racial incidents in Ferguson and Staten Island. According to D’Angelo the album’s lyrics have been in production for the past fifteen years and they coincidentally have relevance in today’s political climate. He pushed for the albums release to be sooner than the originally scheduled 2015 date, stating: “The one way I speak out is through music. I want to speak out.”
  While the United States public still grieves and reflects on the racial violence that has been reported by the media, writers and musicians have stayed silent. D’Angelo boldly addresses the issue through music with his ambiguous comeback album. In an era of turmoil and confusion, listeners can gain a sense of calm and righteousness through the Black Messiah.