Plenty of our favorite artists released instantly iconic albums in 2017. From Jay-Z’s “44:44” to Taylor Swift’s “Reputation,” we were blessed with new music. Most “Best of 2017” pieces released from music websites and blogs across the internet praise the big and obvious choices: Kendrick Lamar, Sza and Tyler the Creator. While those albums were certainly defining sounds of the past year, here are three underrated albums released in 2017 which deserve some attention and hype as well.
Every year, with the arrival of the fall and winter months, we are blessed with a surplus of fantastic films which showcase directors, actors, cinematographers and composers at the height of their respective crafts. Last year gave us Guillermo del Toro’s monster masterpiece, “The Shape of Water,” Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” which features three-time Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis in what may very well be his final role; just a few months ago, the veteran thespian announced his retirement.
The saying “history repeats itself” has never been more prevalent than in the year 2017. I am not talking about how our current government slightly resembles 1939 (except we have the blessing of checks and balances — thanks, Founding Fathers). This year has been filled with the revival of television shows, sequels, remakes of movies and the comeback of various popular artists.
There is an effervescent joy that arises in the body when one witnesses a masterpiece of cinema unfold before their very eyes. It is an almost overwhelming sensation. Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” an adaptation of André Aciman’s debut novel of the same title, is a rare gem that evokes such emotions.
The best way I can label my overall enjoyment is “amused.” I was amused by the odd mise-en-scenes, I was pleased with the jokes, I was charmed by the wacky props; but I didn’t find anything laugh-out-loud funny. It was an above-average experience that still could not live up to the high expectations Boris’ Kitchen and set with its previous shows.
Gabe Walker ’19, the director, clearly saw that there was potential in the story with different perspectives to explore. This may be why he chose to feature music in his adaptation. When I say adaptation, I do mean an adaptation in the loosest sense. The plot points and characters were present, but a myriad of scenes were cut to produce this abridged version.
The show took place in Levin Ballroom and consisted of 25 performances with more than 60 dancers. Some members performed in multiple pieces, showing off their ability to transition between dance styles and suggesting a plethora of behind-the-scenes costume changes. Many routines were blends of modern and hip-hop, with a few more distinctive styles from the Ballet Club, Hooked on Tap and B’yachad, Brandeis’ Israeli folk dance group. Adagio is an all-inclusive group which holds placements rather than tryouts, so the performers ranged in skill from beginner to more experienced.
On Saturday night, the South Asian Students Association (SASA) hosted MELA, its annual culture and charity show, in Levin Ballroom. The curtains opened to reveal a beautiful, sparkling backdrop which revealed the theme of the night: “Masakali: Dare to Fly.” Masakali is a Hindi word that means to soar and fly without limitations. This overarching theme successfully encompassed the show; the performers dared to fly and they soared.
Rather Be Giraffes hosted “Turkapalooza,” a Thanksgiving-themed a cappella show, last Thursday night. This was the third in a series of “Acapalooza” events at Brandeis, beginning with Acapalooza this past spring and continuing with Spookapalooza in October. Mandel G03, where Turkapalooza was held, was not only decked out in festive Thanksgiving decoration, but also completely packed with excited attendees eager to support their friends and classmates. RBG performed last, preceded by Starving Artists, Voices of Soul, Up the Octave and Company B.
The biggest stumbling block in this production was that it failed to elevate its source material in any way. Now, not all shows must elevate their source material. However, in the case of “Once Upon a Mattress,” a show with an incredibly juvenile premise, one might have hoped that a university production team would have attempted to inject some relevance into the show for its target audience to respond to.
Last Friday evening, the Southeast Asian Club staged a karaoke night in the Intercultural Center. As I made my way into the building, I immediately heard laughter and loud singing radiating throughout the building.
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is not unlike heart surgery. It’s slow. It’s careful. It’s layered. Yorgos Lanthimos’ new film takes a deep look into the peaceful home life of a heart surgeon (Colin Farrell) and his ophthalmologist wife (Nicole Kidman) together with their older daughter and younger son.
The editors of Blacklist Magazine hosted a coffee house at Cholmondeley's on Saturday to celebrate the publication of their first issue of the semester. Blacklist, formerly Where the Children Play, is the University's longest-running literary and arts magazine.
On Saturday evening, the Brandeis African Students Organization hosted the 7th Annual Night for Africa in Levin Ballroom. The show was a part the University’s I Am Global Week and students invited friends, family and faculty alike to come share in culture from Africa and the African diaspora.
There should be no question that “Three Billboards” will be a major awards contender. The movie has already received praise in the form of the Venice International Film Festival’s “Best Screenplay” award and multiple audience-choice picks at multiple festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival.
David Gordon-Green’s “Stronger,” encompasses the recovery of Boston bombing survivor Jeff Bauman, who became a reluctant hero in the aftermath of the tragedy. It is neither masterful nor mediocre, and is most certainly not formulaic. It is, simply, a true story told well and told differently than its biopic brethren.
If there is one thing I can say about “The Sparrow,” it’s that it has a creative and unique vision credited to its director Leah Sherin ’19.