Category Archives: Entertainment

The Best of 2017

By: Wesley Reno, Entertainment Writer

2017 has been a pretty awesome year in terms of the music that has come out. Incredible artists have released incredible projects across many different genres. Without this year’s music, important political conversations would not be taking place in Washington D.C. and around the globe, depression would be more isolating, relating to other human beings would be more difficult, and, simply put, life would have been worse because of a multitude of other reasons. In this article I would love to highlight my 3 favorite albums of the year (not ranked, because that would be impossible).

The first project that I encourage everyone to check out is Sorority Noise’s You’re Not As _____ As You Think. The Midwest-emo, post-hardcore group explores themes of experiencing grief after the passing of a friend in this release, and without a doubt, they deliver one of the most emotional performances in musical history. Upon first listening to this album, I bawled at “Second Letter From St. Julien,” and immediately posted about it on Facebook. The lyricism, musicianship, and feel of Cameron Boucher and the rest of the band beautifully collaborate to compile an album that I would consider perfect. Continue reading

‘Lady Bird’ Review

By: Mark Farmer, Entertainment Writer

Source: impawards.com

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird released in theaters this past month, starring Saoirse Ronan in the film’s titular role. A senior in high school, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson struggles in coming to terms with her changing life and personality as she prepares to graduate from high school and move on to college.

Gerwig’s latest film has been gaining major traction, as reviews have begun showering the movie with praise. Lady Bird has not only earned a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but has also beat 1999’s Toy Story 2 for being the site’s most-reviewed film sitting at a perfect score; Out of 185 aggregated film scores, every single one of them positively reviewed Lady Bird. This is most impressive, given that it’s Gerwig’s first solo directing and writing effort. In her ten-year-tenure within Hollywood, Gerwig has co-written and co-directed a number of critically acclaimed films, but certainly nothing towards Lady Bird’s veracity. Is the flick worthy of such unadulterated praise? Continue reading

Murder on the Orient Express

By: Mark Farmer, Entertainment Writer

Source: anygoodfilms.com

Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express released in theaters this past weekend, starring Branagh himself. The story, based on Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel of the same name, follows Detective Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective who must help solve a murder that takes place while traveling on the Orient Express.

Agatha Christie’s works have been adapted and re-adapted time and time again, and Murder on the Orient Express is no exception- In film, television, radio, and even video games, Christie’s famous murder-mystery has been depicted in many forms by many people. It’s no surprise, too- Christie’s writing is timeless, and as such, Murder on the Orient Express is truly a classic. It’d be unfair (and dull) for me to write a critique on a work that has been rehashed so many times, so I want to instead focus this piece towards how Branagh adapts the work for the screen, rather than any piece of the story or its plot. Continue reading

Review of Musas by Natalia Lafourcade

By: Wesley Reno, Entertainment Writer

Source: lafourcade.com

Natalia Lafourcade is a Mexican pop idol, and has been for the majority of the 21st Century. Since the release of her self-titled debut in 2003, she has adapted with the changing artistic climate in the Latin rock community. Her debut project is filled with stereotypical, turn-of-the-century Latin pop tropes that don’t seem to resonate well with changing times. As her career developed, however, she built on her Latin pop roots; this process culminated in her winning a Grammy in 2016 for her album Hasta la Raíz. In May of 2017, she released a trend-breaking record, Musas, which draws heavily from traditional Mexican folk music. Continue reading

Review of Losing by Bully

By: Matt Clemetsen, Entertainment Writer

Source: bandcamp.com

Bully is a grunge/punk 3-piece hailing for Nashville Tennessee. They’ve released two full length albums and an EP, all of which have made a big splash in the underground music world. Their Lead singer, Alicia Bognanno, is their primary song writer and producer. While she was in college so interned at Electric Audio in Chicago, Illinois, a studio famous for being run by the influential producer Steve Albini.

Their latest full-length release, Losing, maintains a lot of the aspects of their first release, Feels Like, so great but still shows that the band has matured a lot since 2015. The album is comparatively darker and heavier, but still just as raw and catchy as the Feels Like. Alicia uses her knack for writing catchy hooks and melodies to craft songs that are feel relatable and deeply personal at the same time.

The first single that was released leading up to the album, Feels the Same, is a perfect example of how Bully’s sound has matured from their first album. The vocals and instrumental are more visceral and tense but they don’t overpower the lyrics and message of the song. The song is about becoming numb and always feeling the same. The next two singles, Running and Kills to be Resistant, are more reminiscent of their old sound and song writing style. Continue reading

The Emoji Movie

By: Mark Farmer, Entertainment Writer

Source: imdb.com

Tony Leondis’s The Emoji Movie released to home video this past weekend, starring T. J. Miller as Gene, a “meh” emoji who wants to express more emotion than his typical responsibilities would allow. After showing a myriad of expressions at the wrong time, he finds himself on the run after being slated for deletion.

What more can be said about this film that hasn’t been said already? After watching the much-maligned film, I have no wild revelations or hidden gems to exclaim. The movie is absolutely terrible, even after giving it the benefit of the doubt and considering its context. It is a movie made for kids, and kids definitely don’t care about the intricacies of “the cloud” like any critical young adult might. That said, even ignoring all of those details, the film is still not funny, nonsensical, and downright bad.

The filmmakers’ greatest (and most obvious) error is basing a whole movie around something they absolutely do not understand. The movie is 86 minutes of watching the writers struggle to wrap their heads around what it is that kids like about or do with emojis. While some emotions may be obvious to anyone, other ones- especially symbols -are enigmas to adults outside of the loop. In one scene, the main characters visit with a group of what are considered the least popular emojis, among them being the eggplant, an emoji more popular than probably any of the other characters shown in the film. I know that the writers aren’t going to tout around the eggplant as this widespread euphemism that kids love to use, but the fact that it’s included at all (unlike the equally inappropriate middle finger emoji) shows that the writers simply don’t have any idea what they’re writing about. There are hundreds of these scenes that are not worth detailing, but continue to ram into the audience’s mind that the filmmakers are wading into unknown waters. Continue reading

Review of The Saga Continues by Wu-Tang Clan

By: Wesley Reno, Entertainment Writer

Source: xxlmag.com

Hip hop legends Wu-Tang Clan are regarded by many fans to have released some of the best music in the genre’s history. The 1993 release, Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, finds itself in my top 5 hip hop albums of all time, and it is without a doubt one of the most influential rap projects ever released. Alongside A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang founded the essential New York hip hop sound.

It has been 24 years since the release of their magnum opus, and the projects that followed it have not delivered the same punch. On October 13, 2017, the group released their latest studio album, The Saga Continues.

This project is definitely far from excellent. There are a few tracks on it that are hard hitting and interesting, but most of the record feels mellow and is not enthralling.

My favorite track of the record is “People Say.” This song includes most of the original members of the group and draws heavily from their famous sound. The production by Mathematics complements the chaotic, “everyone jump in and spit a verse,” layout of the track. Method Man, Raekwon, Redman, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killa all deliver verses like they did on Enter The Wu-Tang, and it is the largest burst of nostalgia on the record. Continue reading

‘Happy Death Day’ Movie Review

By: Mark Farmer, Entertainment Writer

Source: flickreel.com

Christopher B. Landon’s Happy Death Day arrived in theaters this past Friday the 13th, starring Jessica Rothe as a college student who finds herself reliving the same day over and over again, each time being murdered by the same mysterious figure.

Audiences may recognize Christopher B. Landon’s name from the myriad of other films he’s written over the years- In particular, Paranormal Activity 2 through 4, as well as the spin-off film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. This should really set the stage for the kind of film to be expected from Landon’s Happy Death Day. That is to say, Happy Death Day is a vapid, predictable movie whose sheer premise is enough to make it a box-office hit. Continue reading

A Ghost Story Review

By: Mark Farmer, Entertainment Writer

Source: IMDb.com

David Lowery’s A Ghost Story released on home video earlier this month, starring Casey Affleck as a man who dies and returns to his home as a ghost, witnessing the events that transpire within his old house.

Lowery is a new face in Hollywood- His films have garnered festival awards here and there for the past eight years, until making his first wide-release directorial-debut in 2013 with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (which, incidentally, also starred Affleck and Rooney Mara). While a complete flop at the box office, it ultimately earned high praises from critics, and nabbed Lowery his next big project- adapting Pete’s Dragon for Disney in a live action setting. His writing and directing for the 2016 flick paid off, earning high marks in both reviews and the box office.

It was with the profits of Pete’s Dragon that Lowery set out to make A Ghost Story. Sporting a measly $100,000 budget and a 30-page-script, Lowery hoped to assuage his “existential crisis” that, as he told The Guardian, was brought on by an article he read detailing the possibility of a catastrophic earthquake. Filmed in secret with Affleck and Mara during the summer of 2016, the film released earlier this year at Sundance and later with a limited theatrical release. How did Lowery do? Continue reading

Drive it Like it’s Stolen Review

By: Wesley Reno, Entertainment Writer

Source: illroots.com

Injury Reserve is a 3-piece hip hop group based out of Phoenix, Arizona that pushes the boundaries of blending electronic music and hip hop. Following a commercially successful sophomore album, Drive It Like It’s Stolen proves that the trio still has something to say to the music world.

Floss, Injury Reserve’s previous release was filled with heavy, aggressive bangers that had infectious hooks and incited thrashing in many listeners (myself included). The highest point of Floss was the intense, energetic production that drew heavily from classic underground electronic music. Drum patterns, dirty synths, and pulsating rhythms built an instrumental that continuously drove the progression of the album.

Drive it Like It’s Stolen is a very large directional change for the group. While some of the same ideas come across in this project, the stylistic decisions made by Injury Reserve removed a lot of the “banger” energy that was on their previous album. Continue reading