I think Stephen Colbert said it best on The Late Show on Jan. 23, the night after the 90th annual Oscar nominations were announced: “There are no controversies over lack of diversity. …With no big Oscar snubs, who are we mad at?” While I don’t believe diversity is an indicator of quality, there are very few exceptions to this year’s nominees that I take issue with. It happens to be that the Oscars got most everything right this year. This growing inclusion is more a commentary on the industry than on the quality of the films released in 2017.
Anyone who has seen theater at Brandeis knows the hard work that theater students put into their performances, with several hours of rehearsal culminating in an elaborate performance. At the beginning of the spring semester, however, students perform plays that have only been rehearsed two or three times — and while they are very impressive, they have the unique element of being performed in under 10 minutes.
The speaker for the event was journalist and filmmaker Hamilton Morris, who shared season two, episode six of his show, “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia on Vice.” The episode was titled, “A Clandestine Chemist’s Tale.” In his show he explores the history and process of making various psychedelic drugs, from mushrooms to hallucinogenic frog venom.
The biopic is a Hollywood hallmark, and like all hallmarks, it is rife with clichés: the lovable protagonist with whom you side, the uplifting ending and the agreeable supporting characters. A biopic lacking these elements is hard to find, and those without them are rarely successful. But “I, Tonya,” Craig Gillespie’s unorthodox portrayal of the life of American figure skater Tonya Harding, is a biopic that leaves all the typical boxes unchecked, making for a deliciously dark comedy.
“Hostiles” is a film about prejudice and honor. The film opens in the late 1890s with the razing and mass murder of a suburban household. All but the mother, Rosalee (Rosamund Pike), are killed by passing Comanche warriors who wish to steal Americans’ horses for themselves. The film then cuts to Captain Blocker (Christian Bale), a high-ranking soldier who knows the land the best and hates Native Americans the most.
“Wonder,” based on the book by R.J. Palacio, is about a 10-year-old boy named August “Auggie” Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) who lives with his mother Isabel (Julia Roberts), his father Nate (Owen Wilson) and his sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) in upper Manhattan. While it is a story that revolves around children, the trailers attracted me to this film due to the well-known actors, the themes it deals with — which many children’s movies do not — and the values of family, love and the hardships of life that the film embodies.
There was a full house at Cholmondeley’s Coffee House last Wednesday night for WBRS’ Fresh Comedy Night. The host — Josh Day, a man with more hair than head — opened with a painfully unoriginal joke about not having a joke and followed it with a lowbrow pun.
January is that time of the year when we reflect on the good that has happened in the past 12 months and anticipate the good that is on the horizon. Sure, this is a healthy attitude to approach in terms of life choices, but I’m here in the Arts section to talk about movies. So, as I always do, I’ve completed my top 10 list of 2017.
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.