Friday, January 29, 2016

American Music Awards air to showcase the best artists of the year

Bernadette del Prado and Parker Miele
Staff Writers

One of the most watched music events of the year, The American Music Awards (AMAs), made Sunday night a whole lot better for the 11 million who tuned in. The award show featured some of the most talented artists of this generation, as well familiar faces from past music eras to showcase their outstanding expertise. It was a night full of exquisite comebacks and breathtaking performances.
 The night started off with a highlighted performance by the host, Jennifer Lopez, during which she showed off her flawless dance moves, featuring a medley of popular songs such as “Hotline Bling” by Drake and “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar.
 The show continued on with memorable performances by Nick Jonas and Selena Gomez, both performing a combination of their top hits. One Direction sang“Perfect”-ly, The Weeknd entertained the audience with his famous record, “The Hills,” and Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth shared the stage together, unexpectedly ending their performance with a lengthy kiss.  
 Coldplay took the audience on “An Adventure of a Lifetime” after having not performed on the AMAs stage in seven years with the performance of their new single. Justin Bieber was not “Sorry” about singing in the rain. Many other talented artists performed jaw dropping acts.
 The public was quite satisfied with all the winners. There were many talented nominees, but all the winners deserved their awards.
 The Artist of the Year award went to One Direction, yet the Song of the Year went to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” The Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist was Ariana Grande and the Male winner was Ed Sheeran. In the rap section of the awards, Nicki Minaj took both the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album awards home for her album “The Pinkprint.”
 The Favorite Pop Album award went to Taylor Swift’s 1989, the Favorite Country Album award went to “Anything Goes” by Florida Georgia Line, and the Favorite Soul/R&B Album was “Beauty Behind the Madness” by the Weekend.
 Half-way through the night, Alanis Morissette performed her hit record “You Oughta Know,” celebrating the 20th anniversary of her album, Jagged Little Pill. The performance that really stole the night was Celine Dion’s tribute to the tragic Paris attacks that occurred in November by singing the beautiful French composition “Hyme รก L’Amore.” This touched everyone’s hearts and made members of the audience drop a couple of tears.
 The music award show of the year accelerated even more when Star Wars: The Force Awakens released a preview of the extraordinary blockbuster, which would be released on December 18.
 Acapella group Pentatonix, accompanied by an orchestra, performed a medley of the recognizable compositions from Star Wars, leaving the audience excited for the seventh episode of the film.

Sisters funny but not extraordinary

Jonah Slominski
Staff Writer

A highly anticipated movie released on Dec. 18. People formed lines so long they wrapped around the theaters. The first show was sold out a month in advance. Star Wars was finally out. But there also was another movie released that same day. A movie starring two close friends, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who are so close you could say they were like... sisters.
 Sisters, a hilarious comedy starring two of the funniest women of all time, was a blast to see. But is this the movie that will define Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s careers? No, definitely not. The two of them have already done so much in TV that this movie doesn’t compare to their work on Saturday Night Live, or 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, respectively. Now, you may be getting the idea after reading all that the movie sucks and that people shouldn’t go see it. That is absolutely wrong. This movie is a must-see if you go to the theaters with the mindset that you will not be seeing the next Titanic. If you go into it looking to laugh for two hours, then you’ll love it.
 The movie is about two sisters, Mara (Poehler) and Kate (Fey), who find out that their childhood home in Florida has been put on the market to be sold. The two head down and begin to clean out their old rooms. As they go through all their old stuff, they decide to throw one last party at the house like they used to do when they were in high school. They invite their old high school class and get ready for the time of their lives.
 As you would expect, interesting events ensue. The highlight of the film is the chemistry between Poehler and Fey throughout. The years the two have spent working together is obvious and enhances the movie. The supporting cast is strong as well, as they have former and current SNL cast members Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, and Bobby Moynihan.

 If you and your friends are bored one weekend and have nothing to do, go see Sisters, as it will definitely be worth your time and cost of admission. If you are a fan of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, this is a must-see for you, as it is the two of them doing what they do best: making people laugh.

Oscar Predictions for the 88th Academy Awards

Elizabeth Both
Opinions Editor

On Thursday, January 14, the list was finally announced. After months and months of speculation, the nominees have been released. It seems that after much backlash from last year's Oscars, with the Academy nominating mostly caucasian actors, nothing much has changed this year.  As soon as the nominees were announced the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite dominated social media again. Right now, director Spike Lee has discussed the racial problems with the Academy, and Jada Pinkett Smith has joined him too. As a critic, viewer, and overall a person who loves movies, there is something obviously wrong in the industry.
The Oscars are a prestigious ceremony that should celebrate all types of films, and right now it definitely looks like they are set in stone that the nominations announced were the best of 2015--when there are so many more that could be nominated. For example, Sylvester Stallone received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Creed, while the lead, Michael B. Jordan, received no nomination whatsoever. It’s a tight competition but Stallone is the top contender when he was the only prevalent white character in the movie among a mostly black cast. Nevertheless, here are predictions for the 88th Academy Awards..

Best Picture: This one could go either way; between The Revenant, or Mad Max: Fury Road, (proving that a summer blockbuster can hold potential for an award). Mad Max, in my opinion, is the movie of the year; an action packed, epic apocalyptic movie that holds a solid (and actually amazing) 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. But while The Revenant holds the most nominations out of all the films and delivers, is it fair that Alejandro Inarritu’s film wins again? The movie is up front and personal; one man’s brutal motivation to stay alive. Spotlight, another contender, has a journalistic storyline that bears a lot of resemblance to All the President’s Men (but how many of you have seen that?, so I guess it’s okay to repeat the similar screenplay after all these years…). The Big Short, won big at the Producer Guild Awards, is one of the three big studio “talking heads” films put out this year (Spotlight and Steve Jobs being the other two). My hope vote is that fantasy, Sci-Fi action will win out over talking heads and realistic action (Alejandro).
Best Actor: After five, long nominations it's going to be Leo’s year.
Best Actress: The questionable nomination was Jennifer Lawrence in Joy. Is whatever Jennifer in going to be automatically nominated? Joy was not given such high marks by critics and they didn’t like the fact that Lawrence was too young for the role--almost twenty years younger than the woman she is portraying.Theron was a longshot but I hoped she would make the cut for Mad Max. The biggest contenders are Brie Larson for Room, (she’s rather new to larger audiences, yet she had a part in 21 Jump Street and Scott Pilgrim vs the World). Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn is the only one to give Larson a run for her money. But maybe those voting (Academy life long members) are mostly over 50, putting a real possibility that Charlotte Rampling will get the  “respect and sympathy” winning votes.
Best Supporting Actor: My heart wants to say Christian Bale for The Big Short, but my brain wants to say Tom Hardy in The Revenant. The supporting categories are so much more fun to look at since there seems to be more competition and mystery to who could win. This one is an extremely tough call. Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight (save the children) could snag it. Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies, or even Sylvester Stallone (respect and sympathy votes)  But Tom Hardy could just as easily been nominated for Mad Max too.
Best Supporting Actress: This year's nominations were a bit strange, since some of these roles could’ve been in the “Best Actress” category. Rooney Mara could have easily switched with Cate Blanchett for Carol, and Jennifer Jason Leigh was the only prevalent female in The Hateful Eight. Kate Winslet picked up the Golden Globe earlier this month, and everyone was shocked. Again, the Hollywood Foreign Press is not the Academy, so it could swing either way. I would love to see Rachel McAdams up there, Leigh, or Alicia Vikander come Feb 28th. Mara is the critic favorite, but my vote is on Winslet.
Best Director: If Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu wins for the consecutive time this year for The Revenant this will be the first time this has happened since the 1950’s. George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road will most likely take home the statue, unless Inarritu picks up the same pace from the Director's Guild Awards. I think a potential spoiler might be Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, but Miller is the favorite among the Academy.
Best Original Screenplay: Inside Out with excellent clever, creative direction that appealed to both children and adults, will definitely win on Oscar night. Personally, I just would love for the film to win two awards--Best Animated Feature as well.
Best Cinematography: This is one of my favorites. Between Mad Max, The Hateful Eight, and The Revenant, all so beautifully done it's extremely hard to choose. A surprise might be Mad Max, but Emmanuel Lubezki will get his three-peat for The Revenant ultimately.
Best Adapted Screenplay: My inner nerd wants Drew Goddard to win for The Martian only for the fact that he was the showrunner for Netflix’s series Daredevil, if I’m being completely honest. BUT the predicted winner goes to The Big Short.
Best Film Editing:Previously skimming over this category, but last year all the hype over Whiplash’s editing was so crazy, so this is an extremely important category. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is nominated and well, again I secretly hope that wins, but The Big Short was so well done with getting the 2008 recession right is definitely something that any voter cannot pass up.
Best Original Score/Song: I think any Star Wars fan wants the excuse just to see John Williams on stage, but The Hateful Eight is such an epic soundtrack that it might just kick it to the curb. For Best Song, Lady Gaga’s song “Til It Happens to You” from the sexual assault documentary, The Hunting Ground is the top contender.
I am missing out on a couple categories, but these are the ones that will make the most influence come Feb.28th. Place your bets now! A lot can happen in just a couple weeks, especially with the boycott, and the Academy changing its rules for more diverse branches of artists. This might make this Oscars the one to watch since a lot of change needs to happen in Hollywood for the upcoming years.