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Thanks to surprise wins for Best Director and Best Motion Picture — Drama at the Golden Globes, Sam Mendes’ bold cinematic experience “1917” has been a buzzy film, garnering a spike in attention it hopes to carry into the Oscars in February. Set during World War I and focusing on two British soldiers in the trenches of France, “1917” is shot and edited to look like one take. This is much like Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s masterful 2015 Oscar winner for Best Motion Picture of the Year, “Birdman.” Unlike “Birdman,” though, “1917,” lacks a scintillating script or multifaceted characters, but it makes up for some of that loss with the sheer grandeur of its cinematic vision.
In many regards, the advent of the Internet has changed the landscape of music more than anything since the invention of the phonograph. From the explosion of microgenres such as vaporwave and cloud rap in the 2010s to streaming services allowing immediate access to just about every song ever recorded, the music industry is almost unrecognizable to what it was pre-Internet. One of the more significant aspects of the new music industry is the now meteoric pace at which stars can rise through the use of websites such as SoundCloud, Bandcamp and even YouTube — all of which allow anyone to find an audience much more easily than in the past.
Penn Badgley once again delivers as the serial killer that a part of you just doesn’t want to hate in Season 2 of Netflix’s “You.” The season’s 10 episodes follow Badgley as Joe Goldberg in his new life in Los Angeles. Fleeing from the mess he made in New York — murdering his ex-girlfriend and publishing her book posthumously — Joe falls right back into his old habits in Los Angeles, fixating on a woman and indulging his psychopathy. This includes periodically imprisoning people he views as potential threats in a glass cage and keeping them as his captives.
I always look forward to winter break for many reasons, an unexpected one of which is Oscar-bait. Oscar-bait season is the first three weeks in December, when movie production studios are racing to put out their “best” films of the year before the Oscar qualification deadline on the last day of the year. Typically, films that receive Oscar nominations are released between August and December.
From start to finish, 2019 has been a whirlwind year for music. It has been a year of innovation and excitement in nearly every genre, whether it be hip-hop, folk, pop or any other. While there were dozens of albums that could be recognized for their brilliance this year, I’ve had to narrow it down to only 10 for this list. These 10 albums have all introduced new ideas into their respective genres while still being an enjoyable listen from start to finish. In a way, all of them manage to reflect the issues of the time while still sounding distinctly human.
There is no one in the world who sounds like FKA twigs. Her music contains a multitude of recognizable influences, sure, but the way in which she seamlessly weaves together musical ideas from a broad range of genres and styles into her own music is unique to her and her alone in the modern landscape of popular music.
The first time I was exposed to Korean films was a glorious experience. I don’t remember how old I was, but it was probably in high school when a buddy and I watched “Oldboy” for the first time. I was blown away. I had forgotten just how wide the spectrum of emotions a movie can make you feel was, and it felt like I was falling in love with movies all over again.
I haven’t seen nearly as many films throughout 2019 as I might have liked, but what I have seen has left me largely uninspired — nothing awful, but also nothing to get me all that excited. The sole exception so far has been Lulu Wang’s phenomenal “The Farewell.” So color me both astonished and elated that “Doctor Sleep” has become only the second film this year that I really, truly love.
When I was 11 years old and first cracked open John Green’s novel “Looking for Alaska,” I immediately fell in love with the air of mystery that surrounded Alaska Young, the elusive girl of male protagonist Miles Halter’s dreams. Every emo tween wanted to be Alaska: free-spirited and enigmatic, as shown through the eyes of a helplessly enamored boy.
Wealth can create vicious cycles. The more money a person earns, the more scared they become of losing it, and, as such, they resort to extreme measures to protect their money. The scandal of the Panama Papers — the leaked documents exposing the offshore businesses of many wealthy individuals, of which some were shell companies used for the illegal purposes of fraud and tax evasion — details such extreme measures, making for an unbelievable chronicle that is the premise for “The Laundromat.”
“Watchmen” seems like HBO’s first attempt at a replacement TV show for “Game of Thrones.” Even before the disappointing finale of “Game of Thrones” which aired this May, it seems HBO has been clamoring to produce a new hit show to keep their subscribers. My verdict on whether or not “Watchmen” has the ability to do just that is — being only two episodes into the season — hard to say, but it’s at least off to a good start.
For fans of Kanye West, there is nothing in the world more stressful than when he announces a new album. Kanye’s album rollouts are never anything less than a full-blown spectacle, often containing controversial statements, ill-conceived actions, pushed-back release dates and even major changes made to both the album’s title and content. After scandals like the “Imma let you finish” fiasco with Taylor Swift leading up to 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” the numerous name changes to 2016’s “The Life of Pablo” and Kanye’s public embrace of Donald Trump before 2018’s “Ye,” veteran Kanye fans thought that nothing else he could do would surprise them.
Set after World War I, “Peaky Blinders,” the fifth season of which came out this month, is centered around the Shelbys, a Romani family who have made their name as gangsters in the streets of Birmingham, England. At the head of the family is Thomas (Tommy) Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, a ruthless and overly logical patriarch who, at the end of season four, becomes a newly minted member of Parliament to fulfill his longtime goal of becoming a legitimate business owner and politician who speaks for the people. While the show maintains its focus on the Shelbys’ endeavors to cultivate power and protect their own, the fifth season adds depth to the show in its discussion of mental health and morality.
Everyone can enjoy watching a teenager who’s struggling with an identity crisis on TV. What’s not so fun to watch is a show that itself is struggling with an identity crisis. “The Politician” is striving for the former, but has ended up with the latter. The result is a show having an identity crisis about a gaggle of teens who are similarly confused.
Fall is the season of change. Musically, Post Malone has changed from a hardcore rap/pop mogul to a gentle sad boy with his new album “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” released earlier this fall. His third album reflects complex emotions of melancholia and regret, differing profoundly from the aggressive, angry lyrics of his past two albums.
“Norman F—ing Rockwell!” is easily Lana Del Rey’s best work to date. Upon its reveal, the cover art of “NFR!” created a considerable amount of controversy within Lana Del Rey’s fanbase. While her previous covers all use similar bold fonts for the title of the album and feature cinematic images of Del Rey alone with a car and wearing white, conservative outfits, “NFR!” goes in a different direction.
I’ve followed Netflix’s animated series “Big Mouth” since it debuted in 2017. I’ve loved every minute of it since, including its third season, which was released on Oct. 4. But I know that it rubs some people the wrong way, and I can see why it does. The sexual jokes are blatant and graphic — which can feel especially inappropriate considering that the characters are middle schoolers — and visually, the show is a tad more grotesque than your typical animation.
It’s strange to say, but I did not notice the narrator had no name the entire time I was reading Nico Walker’s novel “Cherry.” It was only when I sat down to write this review that I realized the person whose deepest thoughts I had been reading was unnamed to me, however fictional or autobiographical he may be.
“Joker” is not the most boring film I’ve seen all year. Nor is it the most poorly made. Nevertheless, “Joker” is probably the worst film I’ve seen in 2019, or at least the one I despised the most.
Welcome to 1969 Hollywood. Retro buildings, vintage cars and neon signs line Hollywood Boulevard. Men dress in bell bottoms, patterned shirts and turtlenecks with blazers. Women wear miniskirts and vinyl, knee-high boots. Flower children don bohemian outfits of the counterculture movement. The Quentin Tarantino-directed movie “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” pictures these vintage scenes through rose-colored glasses.