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“Alita: Battle Angel” is the latest in the line of big budget, young adult sci-fi films to not do well critically or commercially. Following in the footsteps of the “Divergent” and “Maze Runner” trilogies, I felt like “Alita” tried too hard to recreate the success of “The Hunger Games.” While it might have worked in 2012, I think that today’s audiences are bored of the generic “chosen one” teenaged protagonist who must fight to overthrow a dystopian government, all while having to deal with a ham-fisted romantic subplot that does nothing but drag the plot down. That being said, I did enjoy this movie.
Six of the 22 Dartmouth Idol semi-finalists have advanced to the Dartmouth Idol finals, which will be held on Friday, March 1 at 8 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. This unique opportunity allows students to compete and showcase their abilities. Additionally, the audience is responsible for voting on the winner, making the production even more entertaining.
From Feb. 22 to March 2, the exhibit “#MeToo: Intersectionality Hashtag Activism and Our Lives” will be up in Berry West in the hallway in front of King Arthur Flour Café. The exhibit is a compilation of poetry, artwork and academic information about the Me Too movement in the U.S. and abroad, created by Dartmouth students. The work included in the exhibit is a product of the 2018 fall women, gender and sexuality studies class, which shares the name of the exhibit.
The Oscars may have come and gone, but I’m still not quite ready to embrace the new cinematic year. So, as a final send-off, it seems fitting to reflect on the best and worst films that 2018 had to offer. A couple of caveats before I begin, though: 1) Rather than organizing these films into a meaningless ranking, I’ve arranged them alphabetically. However, I have bolded the titles of the best film and the worst film of 2018 (in my humble opinion). 2) There are plenty of films from 2018 that I would have loved to see but haven’t gotten a chance to, largely due to accessibility issues. If you don’t see one of your favorite films from last year on this list, assume that I wanted to see it, didn’t get the chance to and would have included it on this list if I had. That last part is total wishful thinking, but it will keep everyone marginally happy. As a disclaimer, I did see all the Best Picture nominees.
Just as contemporary crowds flock to the Louvre today to catch a glimpse of DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa,” during the 19th century, there was one painting that stood out amidst all the rest as the most captivating work of the “Grand Tour.” The artwork, falsely identified as Guido Reni’s 1599 portrait of Beatrice Cenci attracted visitors from all around the globe and spawned numerous copies. Writers such as Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville all documented their journey to Rome to see the painting. Hawthorne wrote in his travel journal that the painting’s “spell is indefinable, and the painter has wrought it in a way more like magic than anything else I have known.” The work appears in two of Edith Wharton’s novels and provided the inspiration for Percy Shelley’s 1819 drama “The Cenci.”
The Oscars held its 91st annual ceremony on Sunday, awarding Hollywood’s most prestigious filmmaking awards to the best films of the year ... or that’s the idea, anyways.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Whenever I find a poem or story I really love, I make my friends read it to me out loud. Poetry, which relies on the cleverest use of language, is an auditory experience as much as it is a written art. I am reminded of this when I listen to slam poetry. Hearing a piece out loud simply makes the writing more immediate and visceral. Slam poetry was started as a way “to breathe life” into poetry, both by re-invigorating the written word with performance and by functioning as a platform for marginalized voices beyond “social, cultural, political and economic barriers” according to Poetry Slam, Inc. Slam is a venue away from the traditional stuffiness of poetry, which is why it makes sense that the most fertile ground for slam is on the Internet. Both slam and YouTube are young, fresh and inviting to younger generations. The YouTube account “Button Poetry” compiles the most promising and innovative slam poets from the most respected competitions into one accessible platform.
After a two-decade career spent directing lighthearted comedy films with his brother Bobby, Peter Farrelly has struck out on his own to co-write and direct “Green Book,” a comedy-drama about the relationship between notable black pianist Dr. Don Shirley and his driver for a tour of the American South, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga. The film is set in the 1960s and based on true events, with Vallelonga’s son Nick helping write the Oscar-nominated script. The film has since also been nominated for awards in lead and supporting actor, film editing and best picture. “Green Book” is a movie that seeks to capitalize on the feel-good nature of its triumphant story: that of a white man driving a black piano player through a deeply segregated America and finding friendship and support along the way. Admittedly, the film succeeds in its efforts to enthrall with this trope of race transcended through humanity, and it makes for a highly enjoyable film that nonetheless feels like a glossy magazine print, airbrushed and edited to cater to generalized enjoyment. Ultimately, “Green Book” takes a heart-warming story and ties it up in a neat little bow, resulting in a film that makes you smile and nothing more — it doesn’t challenge conventions or leave a lasting, meaningful impact.
Almost two years ago, I wrote an elated review of Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning juggernaut “Moonlight,” extolling it as one of the century’s very best films. Looking back on that review, I wince a little at its naïveté and ignorance — an ignorance which I know can only be born out of the immensely privileged position I occupy. Nevertheless, my fundamental feelings about the film have not changed in the intervening time. Indeed, I’ve watched the film at least half-a-dozen times since I first saw it in theaters; it remains a masterful work, a revelation of astonishing filmmaking fused to a perfectly crafted narrative. As we enter the final year of the 2010s, I’m hard-pressed to imagine that there will be a better film released before this decade officially closes out.
Every theater production involves a great amount of behind-the-scenes work. Will Maresco ’19 is a theater major with minors in digital arts and engineering, who finds his passion in lighting, sound and stage design. He designs for many student productions with his skilled and wide-ranging talents.
Last Saturday, I went to watch the Hopkins Center’s screening of the collection of Oscar-nominated live-action short films without a clue of what I was getting into. I hadn’t looked up any of the films before my viewing, and in my innocence, I assumed that the brevity of the shorts meant they would toe the line between light-hearted and meaningful. They would not be too dark or bleak, I assured myself, before the lights went dim and the title card for the first short appeared on the screen.
We are so concerned with what is new and exciting in music that we often forget the artists we’ve lost, the artists that even from the grave figure prominently in our collective imagination. Big names have died in the last few years — Tom Petty, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin — and it feels like time is running out for the musicians who inspired popular music today. Leonard Cohen is one such artist. Cohen passed away in November 2016 at 83, but still inspires people with his not-quite-music-not-quite-spoken-word pieces years later.
As a film-goer, I watch movies to escape reality — to dive into a fantasy and feel immersed in a new environment. All of this is accomplished by the trademarks of a film: action, dialogue and acting. It’s clear from the movies that often win at the box office that most audiences also appreciate similarly exciting, enthralling films. Yet among the films most critically lauded this year is Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical film “Roma.”
As we find ourselves hurtling toward the already contentious 91st Academy Awards ceremony, I think it might be time to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming and tackle a seemingly unrelated question: Why do we like cult films?
I grew up in the south, and some of my most vivid childhood memories took place on the sandy shores of the Atlantic or in the pristine saltwater marshes on the Carolina coast. I was always captivated by the raw beauty in these environments: sunlight bending through Spanish moss, the great arc of a blue heron in flight, hundreds of fiddler crabs scuttling across the mud flats and the gentle lapping of waves at low tide. The sheer abundance of life clustered within the marshes always astounded me. They were their own little sanctuary, sheltered from concrete high-rises and boisterous tourists, having just the right conditions to foster an entire ecosystem.
“Tangerine” by Christine Mangan transported me beyond my world. I felt like I knew how the ghostliness, both the good and bad tangles of history, feels in Tangier. The book brought the feeling of standing on top of Phoenician tombs, gleaming white against the azure of the intersection of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans alive; I felt like I could feel the layered history beneath my feet and the physical manifestations of syncretic culture present before my eyes.
Art is a medium that contains within it the passage of time. It is something that remains. A piece of art is how it was, how it has been since its creation. It is the same object seen by innumerable different sets of eyes, through myriad ages, and yet still the lift of the artist’s brush flicked up a peak of paint that rose above the canvas. The paint dried in its miniature topography and the action of an instant was preserved through time. Do you remember standing in a museum to view for the first time a famous piece of art that has been reproduced in countless photographs, on postcards, t-shirts and posters? Did you look closer and imagine the artist painting it, stroke by stroke? Did you retrace the line of their brush with your eyes and follow it up to a peak of dried paint?
Monik Walters ’19 wears many hats. As Student Assembly president, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Dartmouth, leader of the Dartmouth Alliance for Children of Color, Hopkins Center curatorial fellow, a member of Ujima and choreographer for D-Step, Walters has made an impact on various spaces on campus, especially in the arts.