Category Archives: Arts + Entertainment

Movie Review: “Us”

by Joshua Adoh

Jordan Peele has uncovered the meaning behind the twist end in his latest movie release, “Us!”

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The brilliant and terrifying film has already notched more than $100 million at the box offices. Horror is not the foundation of the film, but rather a means of execution. 

Lupita Nyong’o’s masterful acting in “Us” returns respect to the horror genre. The film is an too early favorite to be just the second film in the genre to win an Oscar for “Best Picture” along with 1992’s “Silence of the Lambs,” as the amazing soundtrack from Michael Abels only solidifies the film’s merits.

After Jordan Peele’s latest success, in the movie “Get Out,” he could have easily made another socio-political horror film, but instead he manufactured the odd yet intriguing film “Us.” 

It is quite different from “Get Out,” as it is a perplexing film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Warning, this movie may have you walking out of the theater with a skewed and twisted perspective on society.

This movie’s about – maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in the movie is the surrogate for the audience, so it felt like at the end of the day, I wasn’t doing my core theme any justice if I wasn’t revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie.  -Jordan Peele

How would you feel if you realised you weren’t as innocent as you believed?

How would you feel if the actions you’ve taken to save yourself meant harm to those around you?

These are the kind of questions that Jordan Peele indirectly asks his audience through his oddly relatable and multi-layered protagonist named Adelaide, played by Lupita Nyong’o. In the beginning of the film, the traumatic childhood that the character Adelaide experiences was indeed terrifying, yet incomplete.

[Jordan Peele] wanted to make a monster movie, and in the best monster movies, the Universal monster movies, they allow their villains to have these different layers and to be multidimensional,” said the Los Angeles Times.

In the first weekend release, “Us” destroyed box office records and almost doubled analysts’ opening weekend projections, according to the LA Times.

For all those who do not like scary movies, you are in luck. Although “Us” is advertised as a horror film, it is certainly not typical of the genre.

Jordan Peele wanted to change the perspective of his audience while telling his story in a unique way, and he believed horror was the best way to execute his vision. This does not mean there are no scary moments, however.

Jordan Peele’s “Us” brought respect back to the horror genre and may be the second film in it’s genre to win an Oscar for best picture. I think it is safe to say that Jordan Peele will not be leaving this genre for some time.

Movie Review: Triple Frontier

by Jalen Manson

On March 13th, 2019, Netflix released new gripping action movie “Triple Frontier” directed by J.C. Chandor.

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Starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck, the movie sports a special cast. It is an nonstop action-filled picture that brings new twists and turns in seemingly every minute.

Tom “Redfly” Davis (played by Affleck), Santiago “Pope” Garcia (played by Isaac), William “Iron Head” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal), and Ben Miller (Garret Hedlund) partner back up from their old military days and go on a money-driven adventure to steal the fortunes of a wanted drug kingpin.

“Redfly” is now a divorced and single dad, struggling with his relationship with his daughter and with money. “Pope” is a private military leader at the Triple Frontier in South America, and is the driving force.

“Catfish,” “Iron Head,” and Ben Miller all meet together back in their hometown with the motives of helping Pope and Redfly and the mission is set and discussed.

Their heist on the kingpin is successful, and the men then load the money to go home and strike rich, under the radar. However, this doesn’t all go as planned when the weight of their money and passengers causes them to crash their helicopter on the way home.

With no outside help or contact with anyone, the five have to fight their way home. The way to get home is troubling and tough, as they have to balance their morals and lives between the money they are taking with them.

This movie is action-packed, filled with shootouts, chase downs and the unfortunate deaths of “Redfly” and an innocent mule. Through all of this, it just becomes a fight to get home for the remaining men by the end of it.

By the very end, the men all seem to realize their desire for cold-hard cash has gone too far and they choose to give all their checks from the heist to Redfly’s family.

Overall, “Triple Frontier” was a solid movie, earning a 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.5/10 on IMDb. The cast was star-studded, raising expectations for director J.C. Chandor to put together a classic.

However, the movie sometimes lacked a distinct flow, and the heist may have been taken too early, dragging out some later parts.

But, if you’re looking for action, this movie is the one for you and although it’s out of theaters, is available to watch on Netflix now.

 

TV Series Review: “You”

by Samuel Rodriguez

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

The popular show “You,” premiered on Netflix on December 26th and, since then, has quickly caught the attention of many viewers.

The show was originally premiered in September on Lifetime but had almost no viewersmarket until it started showing on Netflix. The popularity of this American thriller is no surprise.

Last week, Netflix declared “You” had drawn the sort of audience to make it a ‘huge hit.’ The streaming service said that “You” was on track to be watched by 40 million households within its first four weeks on the service,” stated The New York Times.

The show has received a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.9/10 on IMDB. The sudden outburst of attention has built up a much bigger fanbase that are begging for the second season to come sooner.

The show focuses on the relationship between Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a brilliant manager of a simple bookstore, and Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), an aspiring writer whose limitations are set by the people she surrounds herself with. Joe immediately falls in love with Beck and becomes obsessed with her life and eliminates the obstacles that are keeping her from blossoming into a better writer. The justification for Joe’s actions is based throughout the season from the constant question, ‘What would you do for love?’

To Joe, he would do anything for love, even if that means killing to make his partners life prosper. Upon meeting Beck, Joe becomes her silent stalker as he watches her and follows her around town. He analyzes her life and sees the truth of it that Beck fails to see: that she surrounds herself with people she hopes to be but all they do is hold her back.

Joe takes it upon himself to eliminate those people for the betterment of Becks life. He fakes the deaths of the people he has killed for Beck by using their phones to access their social media to make it seem as if they disappeared.

Beck and Joe begin a relationship, only for it to end in a couple of months. During this off period, Joe dates another girl in which he repeatedly reminds himself that “she’s good for me,” but in his heart he knows he isn’t satisfied without Beck.

He stalks Beck on social media during this period and states that he’s only happy as long as he knows that she is too. Beck and Joe dramatically get back together and everything is as good as it has even been, until it isn’t. 

And you’ll have to watch the show to see what happens…

 

Album Review: Drip Or Drown 2

by Nnamdi Chugbo

On February 22nd, 2019, Atlanta-based rapper Gunna released his debut album and first project of 2019, “Drip or Drown 2.”

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Gunna had a very strong 2018, to say the least. In February of 2018, Gunna gave fans arguably his best piece of work of all time in “Drip Season 3.” He then continued to collaborate with big-time artists such as Lil Baby, Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Tory Lanez, and even with Mariah Carey. His collaborative mixtape “Drip Harder” with Lil Baby was certified as RIAA gold (500,000 units sold), and it featured the 2018 hit single “Drip Too Hard, which was certified RIAA platinum (1,000,000 units sold).

Looking to further his success in the past year, Gunna delivered a 16-track album to his fans with the two lead singles “One Call” and “Speed It Up.” The album is executively produced by Wheezy and Turbo the Great, and brings in the likes of Playboi Carti, Young Thug, and Lil Baby for featuring verses on “Same Yung N*gga,” “3 Headed Snake,” and “Derrick Fisher.”

Throughout the album, Gunna smoothly sails over calming, melodic beats while rapping about expensive clothing, new cars, and the high life. Gunna holds a high reputation for consistently bringing out the best of soothing acoustic guitar beats, and he truly delivered once again on songs such as “Richie Millie Plan” and “Out The Hood.” Gunna even floats on a beat with a Chinese sample from Tong-Li on “Who You Foolin,” where he speaks about keeping his faith in God and staying focused on his work to avoid all the fake people and evil facades in his life.

While it boasts some impressive qualities, “Drip or Drown 2″ is not a perfect project, however. The album is consumed by slow paced songs, which Gunna excels in. The album completely dismisses the amazing melodic value that Gunna can bring to fast paced beats.

Overall, the album delivers a solid 16-track soundtrack of relaxed beats that Gunna complements well with his unique style of sing-rapping. “Drip or Drown 2″ brings in the firepower of some solid features while not over-saturating it with too many. As always, Gunna’s production from Wheezy and Turbo the Great is top tier, arguably the best in the game right now.

The album lacks the powerful fast paced charm of his 2018 project “Drip Season 3,” but still puts his incomparable melodic talents to display. Listeners should definitely be excited for the rest of Gunna’s work in 2019, as the young artist has much space for improvement and experimenting.

Album Review: Father Of 4

by Christian James

We see another side to Migos member Offset with his newly released album, Father Of 4.”

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Offset is a memeber of the famous rap group “Migos,” which includes fellow superstars Quavo and Takeoff. The trio mostly raps together, but in the past year all three have dropped their own solo album. With recently new solo albums “Quavo Huncho” by Quavo and “The Last Rocket” by Takeoff, Offset was up to the plate. Both of these albums had great reviews, but Offset’s new album “Father of 4” blows them out in comparison.

Offset usually raps about money, women, and his hometown of Atlanta, but in this album he does more then that. This project is a lot more personal, which makes it more meaningful for his listeners. There has been a whole lot of news – good and bad – regarding his personal life with his wife, Cardi B, and his four children. Offset reflects all of this into this album for all of his listeners to hear. Seeing this side of him, many listeners – fan or not – have been drawn to his album.

His first song on this project is “Father of 4” where he mainly addresses his struggles raising his children and his gratitude towards them individually. Offset describes the hard life he went through when he was poor and didn’t have a stable job when his daughters were initially born. He was trying anything to provide for his family, whether that meant breaking the law or not.

Being consumed by all this worry, Offset was not always there for his daughter at special times like her birthday, and he apologized for that in this song. He wanted to tell his daughters his story to show them that he really cared for them. In this song he also shows his love for his son and recently newborn daughter, Kulture. He raps about how much his son acts similar towards him and how he promises to protect Kulture from the world. He wants to redeem himself for everything he couldn’t do when he was poor.

In “Don’t Lose Me” – another track on the album – Offset explains his downfall with Cardi B and how he is truly sorry for allegedly cheating on her. He calls himself selfish for breaking their promise and that he is trying his best to be a better person. He wants another chance to treat her like a queen and shower her with diamonds like she deserves. Looking at the song “Clout” featuring no other than Cardi B herself, it seems as if she forgives him. Cardi – in this song – tells all her adversaries to stop using her and Offset’s name for fame and to back off. 

The album contains many popular features such as J.Cole, Gunna, CeeLo Green, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, and Quavo. With this album selling 77k-82k copies in the first week, Offset is gaining a reputation from his audience that his talent level has now made him the best rapper out of the “Migos.”

Album Review: Harverd Dropout

by Nick Hernandez

On February 22nd at 12:00 AM, Miami rapper Lil Pump finally released his long awaited Harverd Dropout.

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Harverd Dropout is the second album Lil Pump has dropped in his 3 years of being in the rap game. His debut album Lil Pump was released in October of 2017, eventually being certified Gold, having sold 500,000 copies. His newest project, Harverd Dropout, much like his first has an assortment of features from highly acclaimed rappers – including Kanye West, Smokepurpp, Offset, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert, YG and 2 Chainz – and his tracks sponsor the boastful lifestyle of the 18-year old rapper.

The album’s titled Harverd Dropout intentionally spelled incorrectly, paying homage to the time Pump incorrectly spelled Harvard University. Even more so, it is derived from the rapper’s fanbase and the ongoing joke that Pump attended Harvard University only to drop out of school to pursue his rap career. He has addressed this multiple times in tracks outside of this album, but the song on this project that offers a glimpse into how Pump views it is “Drop Out.”

As Lil Pump puts it, “[I] dropped out, then I got rich … [I] dropped out, knowing I was going be a star.” He says this in a nonchalant manner, implying that his rise to fame was fairly simple and his career so far has been very successful.

Throughout the album, each track follows Lil Pump’s generic style involving sex, money and drugs; in his circumstance this seems to be a subject which he will not break from any time soon as – in a sense – it is what sells his music.

In addition to him continuing to talk about these profanities, it should be taken into account that Pump can still be defined by the stereotype of being very repetitive. The most popular culprit in this case is Lil Pump’s 2017 platinum record, “Gucci Gang” and in Harverd Dropout, his repetitive nature seems to be nowhere near ending. In total, of the 16 songs on Harverd Dropout, 11 feature an absurdly monotonous chorus.

The 11 songs which contain a repeating chorus are “Drop Out”, “Nu Uh”, “I Love It”, “Racks on Racks”, “Off White”, “Too Much Ice”, “Multi Millionaire”, “Vroom Vroom Vroom”, “Be Like Me”, “Stripper Name” and “Drug Addicts”, wherein the tracks replay the chorus at maximum, three times. Another detail to take note of is that from his 16 track album, seven of the songs were singles – that is – they were released prior to Harverd Dropout yet Pump still included them in the project.

One of the singles that was included in Harverd Dropout received a lot of controversy over a racial slur that Pump wrote into the song. The offender, “Butterfly Doors” released on January 4th of this year, and many of his fans noticed the blatant racial connotation when Pump in the song was quoted as saying the following, “Smoking on dope, they call me Yao Ming cause my eyes real low (Ching Chong).”

Pump is notorious for his drug-related lyrics and way of life; this verse is a nod to Pump’s love for marijuana but he didn’t consider the negative repercussions that would follow the song’s release. “Butterfly Doors” received a lot of backlash from multiple racial and ethnic communities and their reception to the song forced him to censor the line that contained the offense. Pump made a public statement through an Instagram post where he apologized for what was said and everything seemed to settle down for the rapper.

Reception of the album was particularly mixed, in that most reviews came to the consensus that although the album was not particularly good substance-wise, it is a successful “crowd pleaser.” Despite Lil Pump’s efforts to produce content with high grade lyrical quality, the album does serve its purpose with respect to who the composer is and his fanbase. Pump often creates music that entertains the younger generation’s partying lifestyle and the album he constructed fits perfectly into this class.  

 

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.

 

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