Category Archives: Arts + Entertainment

A+E: BatFleck No More

by Nick Hernandez

As of Wednesday January 30th, Ben Affleck tweeted and has seemingly alluded to his resignation as the role of Batman.

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This news was revealed when The Hollywood Reporter stated that “Matt Reeves, [upcoming film] ‘The Batman’ [will premiere] on June 25, 2021, following a recent interview with [Reeves] about the plot, the movie’s villains, and more.” When news sources got wind of this, many twitter accounts posted about the feature film and shortly after, current Batman actor, Ben Affleck had this to say:

Affleck’s tweet implied that he would not be featured, nor be reprising his role in the film and after making this statement, many fans were shocked to hear the information that came about.

Ben released this statement after director Matt Reeves announced his plans for a Batman movie starring the Caped Crusader in his earlier days, meaning that a new actor would need to be cast and seemingly had Affleck retire from the role.  

However, while it seems that Ben would not return to portray Batman again, fans and co-workers of him alike are remaining optimistic and hope to see Affleck return to the spotlight. Ray Fisher, the current actor portraying the Justice League’s Cyborg, had this to say about the whole situation.

“It’s my understanding that it’s going to be a younger take on Batman,” Fisher says. “So that’s not to say that our older version of Batman can’t show back up.”  

Many fans are both hopeful for Affleck’s return and anxious to hear about news following the casting decision on who will premiere in the solo film, but most importantly the man set to fill the role as The Dark Knight.

 

Album Review: Pi’erre and Cardo’s Wild Adventure

by Nnamdi Chugbo

On December 26th, 2018, producer and rapper Pi’erre Bourne joined vapor trap producer CardoGotWings to surprise fans with an upbeat, 14 track mixtape to end off an insane 2018 for the two artists.

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Pi’erre Bourne is most widely known for his production and work with Atlanta-based rappers Playboi Carti and Young Nudy, however many listeners are unaware of his lyrical and rapping talents. He decided to focus on rapping in this project and left the production to Texas-based producer, CardoGotWings.

Pi’erre Bourne stuck to his usual rapping style and topics, a mix of rapping and singing with a light autotune over happy, upbeat trap beats. While Pi’erre is widely regarded to be the best trap producer in the game as of now, he chose to use exclusively CardoGotWings’ beats for this project.

He rapped about love in songs such as “Quicksand,” and heartbreak in songs like “Kevin Durant.” This song name came about due to Kevin Durant commenting his praises on a preview of the song that Pi’erre Bourne posted to his Instagram account. Pi’erre even talks about the oppression and problems that African Americans face in the tracks “My Calendar” and “Civil Rights.”

The mixtape did a great job of keeping listeners engaged due to having a consistent vibe with each track, while also making sure every song has a new feel to it. This discouraged repetition, which is often seen with many rappers. It seems that Bourne is making a great case to prove to the general public that he is more than just a producer and can in fact be great behind the microphone, too.

The project also serves as a preview and teaser for Pi’erre Bourne’s well anticipated new project, TLOP4. The Life of Pi’erre 4 is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2019 and will continue to strengthen Pi’erre’s campaign as a studio rapper and not just a producer.

Overall, Pi’erre and Cardo’s Wild Adventure was a greatly timed project for Pi’erre Bourne to build hype for his next major project, The Life of Pierre 4. Pi’erre paired great, cheery beats with smooth vocals and clever lyrics to deliver a smooth project for his fans. This ends off a strong 2018 campaign as a producer and rapper.

The sky’s the limit for this young artist, who has often been compared to a young and fresh Kanye West in terms of talent and skill when it comes to production and rapping. Pi’erre’s fanbase should be excited to see what he has in store for 2019 and beyond.

 

Album Review: XXXTENTACION Presents: Members Only, Vol 4

by Joshua Lucero

Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy – also known as XXXTentacion – was born in Florida and became a worldwide-known musician in 2017.

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Tentacion has influenced many young people with his albums that are a true touching of the inner feelings of one’s heart. XXX – in the beginning of his career – was troubled with charges of domestic violence and facing prison time. In this part of his life, there were many fans who believed he was a lost cause, but in many ways XXX proved to the world that he was changing.

Look at me, which was released on Soundcloud in December 2015, was his rising start to the top. People fell in love with the energetic Broward County rapper and watched him evolve to take on several different aspects of music.

XXX would later die on June 18th, 2018 in Florida from a horrific shooting that would shock many. During his life, XXX released many well known albums, such as Revenge released in 2017, 17 released in 2017, and ? released in 2018. After his death, we were given two more albums, one titled Skins that was later released after his death.

Most recently, we were given XXXTENTACION Presents: Members Only, Vol 4 released on January 23rd, 2019, which would have been XXX’s 21st birthday.

Members Only, Vol. 4 is filled with lesser-known talent. The project has Tentacion working with a collaboration of artists, such as Ski Mask the Slump God, Rawhool Mane, Cooliecut, Craig Xen, Kin$soul, Bass Santana and more.

This album consists of 24 songs that last for an hour and five minutes. Out of 24 songs, XXX has one solo song titled Sauce! which reminds us of who he was with the line “Huh, do not be alarmed, this is just for fun.”

XXX has four other songs that he has collaborated with other artist. We are given a reminder of who Tentacion was, rather than remembering the negative aspects surrounding his name. Our remembrance of him is of an uplifting and happy person, which is implied within these songs.

The final song in Members Only, Vol 4 is titled Rebirth (2016) which is a snippet from XXX’s many words speaking on what life is to him.

Speaking on what people do in their life, there is always a reason behind the actions that create your life story. Tentacion goes on to say “the people who struggle the most or get it the hardest will succeed in the end, I promise you.”

People like X have came from a hard beginning, but the barriers that he had encountered are obstacles that are possible to overcome. This interpretation can go further into saying to never give up no matter the situation, because life will take care of you as long as you don’t give up on yourself.

Lastly, XXX unfortunately predicts his own death with the line “And if I end up getting shot and killed for what the f**k I’m doing, it’s ’cause I deserve it” in the album. This is one part of XXX that is known for being a touching artist who did more than make music, but connected to his fans on a personal level.

Movie Review: Glass

by Nick Hernandez

Glass, released on January 19th, concluded the 19-year-long trilogy created by actor and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.

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The movie was received very poorly and many critics went as far as saying that the finale was disappointing. Their overall consensus on Rotten Tomatoes showed a rating of 36 percent, while audience approval was much higher, receiving a 76 percent instead.

Shyamalan’s three-part series follows characters who on the outside look like the average man, but are revealed to possess superhuman abilities. From his first film ‘Unbreakable’ in 2000, Shyamalan attempted to create a narrative that relied on comic history and the looming possibility of heightened powers far surpassing man.

He went even further 17 years later when ‘Split’ debuted, showcasing a man with 24 personalities, where among them a Beast lies. This film’s ending presented the first glimpse at the Beast, a creature that is part animal and part man, all of which defy nature. Finally, ‘Glass’ unveils a mastermind with a superior intellect, and a plot, pitting the two strong men against each other.

Glass begins with a introduction into the main characters lives’ in the present day. ‘Unbreakable’ protagonist David Dunn works as a vigilante of sorts, providing justice for those would never receive it from the Law. He and his son are tasked with figuring out who has been kidnapping and murdering female high school students.

At this point, the audience is introduced to Kevin Crumb, the multi-personality star of 2017’s ‘Split.’ He has captured another group of students and awaits the Beast’s arrival for their sacrifice.

After some time, David Dunn locates the warehouse where the girls are being kept and sets them free, however this is after the Beast has emerged from Kevin and the two battle for the first time. Both use brute strength and try to overpower the other, but before a clear winner can be determined proper authorities arrive on the scene and stop the two from causing any more damage.

David and Kevin are taken to a mental institution where they are greeted by Dr. Ellie Staple. Her purpose in this movie is to convince these men that they do not have super powers, and that all they believe in is a hoax. Dr. Staple also has a third patient who she must treat, Elijah Glass who is arguably the smartest man alive. Elijah’s plan within the movie revolves around allowing the world to witness the truth about superheroes and their existence. Glass, being as smart as he is, is constantly monitored by the staff along with a multitude of cameras both within and surrounding the building. In essence it should be impossible for Elijah to carry out his plan but he still manages to do so. After two days of being in the facility, Dr. Staple hosts a meeting between all three men where she is able to bring about heavy doubt in the minds of Kevin and David as they start to believe their powers are anything but real.

That night, Elijah’s plan gears into motion when he meets with Kevin to discuss the possibility of having the Beast fight David Dunn once again. Kevin agrees and they carry on to the next day where Elijah frees Kevin from his room, and they begin to break out of the institution. Before leaving, Mr. Glass talks to David through an intercom and tells of his plan to blow up a building with thousands of people inside it. The only way for David to stop this is by breaking out of his cell, defeating the Beast and ultimately proving the existence of superheros.

In an effort to avoid spoilers, the ending and all that is revealed will be kept out, but it should be noted that what takes place at the end of film is quite interesting and deserves a visit to the theaters to see what is unveiled. In terms of the overall quality and performance of the movie, it fairs quite well. In this aspect it should have been rated much higher, however what should be taken into account is the storytelling and the plot which slowly is revealed as the movie goes on.

Looking at this from a critical perspective, there are instances in which the film might seem confusing or lackluster and without prior knowledge or having seen the other movies of the franchise it may be difficult for the viewer to understand what is taking place.

 

A+E: Top Five Albums of 2018

by Elijah Ramos

If you came looking to find someone talking about your favorite “Lil” rapper, well you’re out of luck.maxresdefault

5. Whack World – Tierra Whack

If you haven’t heard this entire album or even gave it a chance – oh man – you’re missing out. There’s something really special about this album – it’s artsy, weird, and cute. Whack can spit bar after bar. Whack World is unique in so many ways, and if you haven’t listened there are so many unique aspects to this album. For example, it’s an album that consists of 15 songs that are all one minute long and each song is different in it’s own way.

It’s hard to really dig deep Whack’s songs because of how short they are, which is why it comes in at number five on this list. I would love for it to be higher on my list but this year is packed with so many great albums that I fell in love with. I would have to say my favorite song on this album is Bug Life, because she gets down to it and shows us her rapping ability on this song with a trap beat to go along with it. This album is a must listen, in my opinion it’s the most unique album of the year and there’s nothing like it that I have heard. Big props to Tierra Whack, and I hope to hear more from her in the future.

4. My Dear Melancholy – The Weeknd

Going into this album – at first – I was worried thinking that The Weeknd would drop something like Starboy, which for me I didn’t like at all. But, a couple days before the drop, I saw Travis Scott tweet “This is giving me trilogy vibes,” and I knew I had to give the project a listen.

This album is The Weeknd that we fell in love with. He came out with an instant classic that I listen to on repeat in Call Out My Name. When I heard this song, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed in the rest of the album. In this album, we go back to hearing The Weeknd talk about not really caring about feelings and is here for one night but he will “come back if it’s good enough,” basically back to baby-making music. Gesaffelstein makes an appearance on two tracks and really brings back that Starboy feel, but I like this more then anything. This album is one of my favorites of all time, mainly because I am a big fan of The Weekend and this album is a classic of his.

3. ASTROWORLD – Travis Scott

I had to have this album on my list, and it even makes a real case for the top album of the year spot. This album took over this year with so much anticipation and hype, as not only did it reach its potential, but surpassed it. Travis Scott and his spectacular feature list are something that you read out of the bible. This album has reached top-notch status for me, from songs like CAROUSEL that feature my favorite artist of all-time in Frank Ocean, who really makes the song. Sicko Mode is basically three different songs in one, featureing Drake who is spectacular on all aspects. This album will be on repeat forever. I am absolutely obsessed with Astroworld and want to say thank you to Travis Scott for this legendary project.

2.  YE – Kanye West

The year of 2018 was a very busy one for from a musical and social media standpoint from Kanye. Mr. West dropped two albums and produced several others. We are still waiting on Yhandi, but this takes the plate for Kanye. Every one of the seven songs on YE the world sang at one point. This album is Kanye at his finest, and there’s real debate over this potentially being Kanye’s best album.

Kid Cudi also came out of the shadows to help work on a lot of Kanye’s work this year. Cudi and Kanye together on a track is something to witness. This duo dropped an album together and Kid Cudi was on many of the songs on YE. Each of these seven songs are amazing and each one beats the other in different aspects, but the one that takes home the gold medal is Ghost Town in my opinion. I absolutely adore this album and hope Yhandi drops soon. Kanye single handedly took this year over, so props to Kanye for all the amazing projects and songs he worked on this year.   

1. Kids See Ghosts – Kid Cudi

This duo project with Kanye West and Kid Cudi is pure greatness. Two creative minds collided to make this masterpiece. Coming into this album, I was very excited because we got a taste of these two on YE. The production and time that Kanye put into this album is what made it so great. Every beat is better than the next. Kanye really out did himself on this album. Kid Cudi held his end up as well, with great rap verses and intoxicating hooks.

The first song on this album is Feel The Love, and right off the jump you hear Pusha T come in with his aggressive rap style and make sure he is heard. However, Pusha T’s verse doesn’t make the song great to me. Kanye mimicking the drums towards the end of the song is what makes this song hit. In the majority of Kid Cudi’s verses he talks about his mental health and the things he’s been through. He makes you feel what he is rapping about. In “Fire” Kid Cudi says, “It’s so many days I prayed to God, All this pain I couldn’t seem to find a way… On this road I find these scars I left behind” showing his pain and asking God for help.

In “Ghost Town 2,” – Kanye and Cudi are yelling free – making you want to join in and yell with them and rage. It’s a thing of beauty. This entire album is full of passion and pain, it’s hard not to love. Cudi and Kanye are two of my favorite artists and to watch them put together my favorite album of the year and maybe even All-Time was special. 2018 was a special year in music.

Movie Review: Aquaman

by Joshua Lucero

Aquaman is a film about more than just waterlogged voice echos and continuous hair movement.105660734-1546632883595screen-shot-2019-01-04-at-3.14.18-pm.530x298

Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) was brought into the world through two people from completely separate worlds. Atlanta (Nicole Kidman) and Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) were brought together when Atlanta, the most recent Queen of Atlantis at the time, ran away from an arranged marriage and washed up on the shores to Curry, a lighthouse man.

These two people from separate worlds would soon fall in love and give life to a child named Arthur Curry, otherwise known as Aquaman. He would live his life with his father, as Atlanta would be away in Atlantis serving as queen. Later, she would be sacrificed to the “Trench,” which is one of seven tribes in Atlantis, and was assumed to be dead. Arthur Curry – as a young boy – felt a call not only to the sea but to all of its inhabitants.

This film knocks all other DC Universe movies out of the ballpark. Aquaman is conflicted between two worlds that are soon to collide. His half brother – King Orm (Patrick Wilson) – has his sights locked in on the surface dwellers. King Orm believes it is time to take over the surface world, because if they don’t the surface will attack first.

In order to defeat his half brother, Aquaman must battle and defeat his younger brother in combat to take the throne of Atlantis and stop this war from happening. In this process, he is helped by Mera (Amber Heard), who is the soon to be wife of Orm, and Vulko a caretaker of both Orm and Aquaman ever since they were young boys (Willem Dafoe).

When watching this movie, it is more than just a screen in front of you but rather a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. When watching, you see the conflicted pain eating away at Aquaman, as he believes he is unworthy to be called king and blames Atlantis for the death of his mother. This pain inside him is one of the many reasons why this movie is a must-watch.

The viewer is drawn in not only to the many action scenes, but can seen the appeal emotionally to the character.

The movie capitalizes on introducing other characters, including one widely known as Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Black Manties can be seen in all types of DC movies and shows. He is mainly known to be one of Aquaman’s enemies, and when introduced to him we see him with his team pirating a submarine. Aquaman intervenes and lets his father Jesse (Michael Beach) die, starting this vendetta against Aquaman.

Overall, Aquaman hits many stand points as a great film. Bringing the life of the underwater civilization with massive buildings of light that many couldn’t dream of is breathtaking. Their technological advancements makes the viewer wonder what life could be like if we had the same opportunities. This movie is a must-watch and is highly recommended for all viewers.

 

How To Make The Most Of The Christmas Season

by Michael Beltran

Living in the great city of Los Angeles, you are open to a variety of activities to do with your family during this Christmas season. With the amazing weather, it’s not too cold to go out and walk around, opening up many options.

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Naples Lights on Second Street

A great experience is going to Disneyland during the Christmas theme. With the decorations and the huge Christmas Tree, it makes it feel as if you are living in a Christmas fairytale.

The down side to doing this is the price, which makes it more of a once in awhile experience.

A cheaper thing to do is going to see Christmas light-seeing, and with places all over LA there might be one in your city. Christmas light-seeing is very kid friendly and overall a great way to hop into the Christmas spirit.

In the city of downtown Los Angeles, you can go ice skating right in the center of LA live. The enjoyment this brings is amazing. It’s also a great place for a date or to spend time with the family.

If you are big into the snow and want to take a little getaway vacation, you can always visit Big Bear Mountain, where you can go snowboarding, skiing, sliding and so much more.

Big Bear is outside the Los Angeles area – but it is not far – it’s roughly two hours and 30 minutes away. If you like the snow and want to get away for the weekend, this is a great idea to think about.

If this is not already enough, or you just want to stay home, go to your local grocery store and pick up a movie from Redbox. Grab some hot cocoa and enjoy some time with your loved ones.

With so many options to get you into the Christmas spirit, here are some ideas you can consider doing this year to make the most of the Christmas season.

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