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Music review: ‘Shades of Grey’ is the perfect track for any setting

(09/22/17 4:00am)

As a fan of discovering new artists early and often, I always get excited when I find albums or tracks that hit all of my ideal music criteria: catchy, complex and really, really easy to replay incessantly. “Shades of Grey” by up-and-coming electronic DJs Oliver Heldens and Shaun Frank and featuring Delaney Jane is exactly that. 

Guillermo Del Toro's 'The Shape of Water' touches greatness

(09/19/17 4:06am)

If you were to hold a gun to my head and demand that I produce a list of my all-time favorite films, “Pan’s Labyrinth” would make it into the top five one way or another. I mention this because when early reviews for Guillermo Del Toro’s newest film, “The Shape of Water,” declared it the director’s best work since “Pan’s Labyrinth,” I was both optimistic and skeptical. To be clear, I make the comparison to “Pan’s Labyrinth” not because I wish to put “The Shape of Water” at an unreasonable disadvantage, but because the two films have so much in common. 

Childhood nostalgia makes “It” a satisfying end-of-summer flick

(09/12/17 4:00am)

A jam-packed movie theater at an evening showing of a horror movie on its opening weekend is not an atypical sight in a suburban Pennsylvania town. Total silence in that theater, however, is an atypical sound. This incongruity illustrated the success of the latest film adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.”

Film Review: ‘The Big Sick’ is a robust rom-com, but not much else

(07/21/17 3:05am)

As a film, “The Big Sick” is an unconventional addition to a long tradition of romantic comedies with memorable protagonists that include the likes of “When Harry Met Sally,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Notting Hill.” Kumail Nanjiani stars as Kumail, a character based on his early life as a standup comic who falls in love with psychology graduate student and quintessential girl next door, Emily, a somewhat underutilized Zoe Kazan, who is based on Nanjiani’s wife in real life, Emily Gordon. He battles family expectations, career mishaps and a cultural misunderstanding — as well as the fact that Emily falls into a coma halfway through the film. 

Film Review: ‘The Vietnam War’ recognizes distinct perspectives

(07/21/17 12:00am)

The Vietnam War doesn’t fit neatly into American folklore. Unlike other American wars, it is not easily glorified. It cannot be summarized as “the good guys won, and the bad guys lost.” As a result, the war is one of the most emotionally charged and complex episodes in American history. Even though the last American soldiers left Saigon decades ago, one crucial fact was impressed on the audience in Spaulding Auditorium last Thursday night: the Vietnam War is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. 

Despite rainy weather, Boston Calling 2017 did not disappoint

(05/30/17 5:45am)

Through long lines and rain, we, Kourtney and Madeline, successfully survived our first music festival. Saying we had a blast would be an understatement. Nearly every performer we watched exceeded our expectations by giving audiences a mix of tracks for new and die-hard fans. Despite the rain on Friday and the subsequent muddy patches throughout Harvard University’s Athletic Complex, the artists and attendees — numbering more than 30,000 thanks to the venue’s relocation from Boston’s City Hall Plaza — embraced the weather to enjoy a weekend celebrating music, comedy and art.

‘T2 Trainspotting’ mixes the new and nostalgic

(05/30/17 4:00am)

In this era of sequels, reboots and remakes, who would have thought that “Trainspotting” would get a second chance to shine. To be sure, the original is a cult classic and generally considered one of the greatest British films ever made, but it has a fairly self-contained story that doesn’t invite further continuation. Yet through some miracle that I will not pretend to understand, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge have managed to return over 20 years later to make a sequel that happens to be one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year.

Tonal issues and twist ending of ‘Table 19’ fall flat

(05/17/17 4:00am)

Honestly, I should have known how much I would dislike “Table 19” just by looking at its film poster, which is designed to look like an Instagram post. And, like most people who are internally 80 years old and gigantic curmudgeons, I have never once in my life used Instagram, nor do I ever plan to. Simply stated, “Table 19” is made for a crowd of which I am not a member. While I will try to keep that in mind for this review, I’d also counterargue that art shouldn’t just resonate with a very limited intended audience.

Charlie Hunnam shines as explorer in 'The Lost City of Z'

(05/09/17 5:15am)

“The Lost City of Z” is one of the most confounding cinematic experiences I’ve had in some time. I was never bored by it, but I was also never really enthralled. I was awed by the gorgeous cinematography yet simultaneously frustrated by the odd filmmaking choices. I was frequently intrigued but never fully invested. In these respects, “The Lost City of Z” is rather like a Russian nesting doll — intricately crafted but hollow at its center.

Documentary Review: ‘Tickling Giants’

(05/02/17 4:10am)

In 2011, shortly after the resignation of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian surgeon Bassem Youssef created a satirical web series in an attempt to heal his country through comedy. Shortly thereafter he transitioned to TV and hosted “Al-Bernameg,” a news satire show that was modeled after “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and ran for three seasons. The Egyptian government, led by then-recently elected Mohamed Morsi, issued a warrant for Youssef’s arrest in 2013, accusing him of mocking Morsi and Islam.

‘I Am Where I Come From’ shares Native students’ experiences

(04/28/17 4:00am)

“I Am Where I Come From: Native American College Students and Graduates Tell Their Life Stories,” edited by education professor emeritus Andrew Garrod, Native American studies professor Melanie Benson Taylor and Robert Kilkenny, executive director of the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention, details the stories of 13 Native American students who currently attend or recently graduated from Dartmouth. Although the College was founded to educate Native Americans, Dartmouth took over two centuries to truly embrace this mission as an institution. The preface of “I Am Where I Come From” details how the administration recommitted to the College’s mission to educate the Native American community in 1970, creating the Native American program and building what today is a vibrant community of Native American scholars, especially through the creation of the Native American studies department in 1972. A few of these students agreed to share their experiences and life stories in “I Am Where I Come From,” which was published this month.