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“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” introduces Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), the titular character, as the newest superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Released in theaters on Sept. 3, Shang-Chi is the first Marvel movie to feature a predominantly Asian cast, have characters with Chinese names and incorporate Mandarin dialogue. The movie weaves classic Marvel action scenes with themes of love and family to create a film that is simultaneously fun and exciting but has the depth of a well-written story.
Since the release of her critically acclaimed second studio album, “Punisher,” in June 2020, Phoebe Bridgers has had a busy year. From her four Grammy nominations to her controversial Saturday Night Live performance, Bridgers has generated more commercial success than your average quiet, melancholic indie folk singer-songwriter. To top it all off, Bridgers is ending 2021 by going on her first tour since the beginning of the pandemic. On Sept. 27, I had the privilege of attending the second night of her performance at Boston’s Leader Bank Pavilion. While her low-key musical style may not seem particularly well-suited for a venue that seats a few thousand, she gave a generally fantastic performance that captivated the audience.
As of this past Sunday, Lindsey Buckingham is seventy-two years old; however, audience members at any of his recent concerts would agree that he seems to be doing better than ever. On Sept. 3, Buckingham took a moment to address the audience, including me, gathered in Prior Lake, Minnesota for the second concert of his 2021 tour. Buckingham had not provided commentary between songs for most of the concert, allowing his chosen tunes to speak for themselves. Yet, he paused to preface one of the last songs of the set, “Time,” a cover of Michael Merchant’s mournful ballad, by recalling that the song was the first he recorded for his new album, “Lindsey Buckingham,” nearly three years ago. Buckingham stated that the song has “taken on a more visceral meaning” after the “twists and turns” that delayed the album’s release.
The CNN original series “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” follows actor, writer and producer Stanley Tucci across Italy as he explores the nation’s cuisine and culture. The six-part documentary series combines some of the very best things in life: travel, cooking and all things Italian. Tucci — a four-time Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee known for his roles in “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Big Night” and “Spotlight,” among others — travels to a different region of Italy for each episode. Both charismatic and down-to-earth, Tucci introduces each episode by telling the audience that his goal is to explore his Italian heritage and “discover how the food in each of this country’s 20 regions is as unique as the people and their past.”
As a Dartmouth student, there are times I need to flee from the stress of campus life and the monotony of Hanover. In these moments, I often find myself seeking refuge just over the Connecticut River in White River Junction. Most of us have been there at least once — quickly accessible on weekdays by Advance Transit, the town can provide a full day of outings with its many restaurants. These foodie stops vary greatly in both their cuisines and prices, from the chic Thyme bistro to the casual millennial fusion Trail Break taqueria to the flavor-filled Taj-E-India — which gives Jewel of India a run for its money. This week, however, my partner and I spent an evening in White River Junction at a bustling and warmly lit restaurant whose facade faces the confluence of the White River and the Connecticut: Tuckerbox.
It’s a brisk day. Students flit between classes, cutting through the college quad and ivy-covered buildings. Sound familiar? I thought so too. However, these images of a New England college campus are not of Dartmouth, but rather the opening scene of “The Chair.” This Netflix original, released on August 20, delves into the academy at the fictional Pembroke College. For me, “The Chair” is a winner. It captures the peculiarities of academia and balances tragic realities with satiric comedy.
Reading Sally Rooney is like finally being compensated for being a young woman. Her first two novels, “Conversations with Friends” and “Normal People,” catalog the romantic and intellectual obsessions of her college-aged subjects with rare tenderness and precision. She takes seriously the kind of stories that are often deemed frivolous merely because their subject matter (girls) is not seen as a viable cultural subset for which to make art, manifested in the phrase “chick lit.” Art which portrays female perspectives — especially young, contemporary female perspectives — is often viewed as separate and illegitimate. Rooney is the novelist I go to when I want to be seen and validated, so waiting for her highly anticipated third novel was like waiting for an old friend to return home.
This is the first edition of Green To Go, a fortnightly column that will review restaurants in the Upper Valley with a focus on vegetarian options, detailed accounts of the food and ambiance and accessibility to a variety of students, especially FGLI students.
The second season of the Disney+ backstage musical and mockumentary “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” ended a few weeks ago. This season saw the show depart from its title, as the students in the drama club of East High are no longer working on a production of “High School Musical: The Musical,” but rather of Alan Menken’s “Beauty and The Beast.” Though this season dives deeper into the different characters’ development, it lacks the charm of the first season overall.
Billie Eilish revolutionized pop through the institution of a dark, eclectic style in her debut studio album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Between the tantalizing whispers and her penchant for contrasting harsh instruments with soft vocals, Billie Eilish united reality and fantasy to tell the story of teenage trauma through lucid dreams. Winning a whopping six Grammys in 2020, Eilish skyrocketed to mainstream success and mass fame at just 18 years old.
“The Green Knight” by David Lowery has been one of my most anticipated films of this year ever since I first saw the trailer for it in February of 2020 — a lifetime ago, in other words. I was excited to see it for a few reasons, and not just because of the fact that I’m a film minor and, as such, I’m contractually obligated to fawn over any and all A24 movies. I was excited because of my love for fantasy, my love for dark takes on well-trodden genres and because I greatly enjoyed Lowery’s last film, “The Old Man and the Gun.”
When Tyler, the Creator released his album’s new single, “Lumberjack,” on June 16, it was unclear which version of him we would get on “Call Me If You Get Lost,” his sixth studio album. Tyler’s discography has seen a major swing from aggressive and alienating lyrics to exploring introspective, vulnerable themes. The album’s first single gave us the old, aggressive Tyler; it boasted of wealth over an abrasive sample from the pioneering horrorcore group Gravediggaz, but with humor and grace infusing the lyrics. Its sound is comparable to his earlier albums, but in a way that is more mature and secure, foreshadowing the feeling of the album that would follow.
When the Marvel Cinematic Universe announced a wave of new television shows, it was no surprise that the charismatic brother of Thor, Loki, secured a series all to himself. Played by the beloved actor Tom Hiddleston, Loki won over viewers with his debut in 2011’s “Thor.” Despite his introduction as a villain, MCU fans have watched him develop into a reformed hero. Disney Plus’ new show “Loki” follows this evolution and expands on Loki’s character development by exploring the meaning of free will, faith and identity.
Marvel’s “Black Widow” weaves a touching story about abuse, family and survival. The movie tackles the difficult theme of the dehumanization of young women through fantastic acting, writing and, of course, fighting. In the larger context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though, “Black Widow” still feels like too little, too late for the titular character. After a decade as a superhero sidekick, fans can’t help but feel that Black Widow deserved more.
Spotted: HBO Max’s new show. Will ‘Gossip Girl’ be successful? Or is this just another failed reboot waiting to happen? You know you love me. XOXO
Big Red Machine, a duo composed of The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, is releasing its second album “How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?” on Aug. 27. The album is the latest installment in a burst of creative energy and wide-ranging collaboration, sparked by the pandemic, from Dessner and Vernon. Leading up to the album drop, they have released three singles that offer a glimpse into the experimental compilation.
Since garnering mass attention with his music-based performances on YouTube at just 16, Bo Burnham has been an iconic presence in the comedy community. He has an impressive discography of surprisingly introspective songs, such as “Art is Dead” and “Lower Your Expectations,” which discuss the harrowing problems of comedic brilliance and leave the listener cackling while also questioning society. With his newest Netflix special “Inside,” Burnham builds on his catalogue of self-reflective songs as he struggles to understand his place in a convoluted world.
Machine Gun Kelly’s newest album transcends his former rap concentration and launches the artist into his newest exploration: pop-punk. Based heavily on popular music of the early 2000s, “Tickets to My Downfall” marks the genre’s return to popularity with a new edge that makes it stronger than before. With over 66 million streams, Kelly has seen more commercial success from this album than any of his previous work, proving his versatility by successfully making the difficult jump to a new genre.
Until recently, Annie Clark’s — who goes by the stage name St. Vincent — most personal album was “Marry Me,” her debut album, which came out in 2007. Since then, she’s leaned more and more into her St. Vincent persona. Even songs that explored her personal struggles, like “Marrow” or “Strange Mercy,” feel detached from the real Annie Clark, distorted through the filter of St. Vincent. For a long time, this strategy worked well, as much of her best work can be found on albums like “Actor,” “Strange Mercy'' and “St. Vincent.” However, the culmination of this style was 2017’s “Masseduction,” a deeply impersonal album that felt sanitized and cold, both lyrically and musically. However, St. Vincent reverses course with her most recent album “Daddy’s Home,” that features much more personal lyrics.
If every genre but romantic comedy suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, absolutely nothing about my media consumption would change. I scan book reviews waiting for a hint of romance in the narrative. My streaming service recommendation algorithms have given up on selling me anything without at least a secondary plot of romance. I am indiscriminate as to whom, where or how fictional characters profess their love for each other — I only insist that they do. I love indie rom-coms about people falling in love while wearing overalls and studying at liberal arts colleges. I love blockbuster movies starring celebs with shiny teeth and perfect hair. I love love, period.