This week in pop culture - December 4, 2018

Gianna Montesana
Staff Reporter

Photo credits: People Magazine cover

Photo credits: People Magazine cover

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra: Lovebugs

It’s official: former Jonas Brother Nick Jonas has tied the knot with Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra on December 1 in a Christian ceremony at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

The couple will be hosting two wedding parties to represent their two different religious upbringings: a Christian ceremony for Jonas on December 1 and a Hindu ceremony for Chopra on December 2.

Looks like Jonas won’t be singing the words, “I never thought that I’d catch this love bug again” given that they wed four months after their summer engagement.

Ariana Grande releases her “Thank U, Next” music video

Ariana Grande dropped her most highly anticipated video yet on Friday, November 30 for her single “Thank U, Next”. Grande teased her video on her social media accounts that left fans in a frenzy eager to see what the starlet had prepared for them.

The video paid homage to the female driven films “Mean Girls”, “Bring It On”, “Legally Blonde”, and “13 Going on 30”, recreating iconic scenes from each film to tell the story of the song. The video also featured cameos from Kris Jenner and some of her former “Victorious” cast members, including Liz Gillies, Matt Bennett, and Daniella Monet.

The video was, as Gretchen Weiners would say, “so fetch”. In addition to being fetch, the amount of views the music video received in 22 hours, 46 million, beat the previous record set by K-pop boyband BTS for their music video “Idol”, which received 45.9 million in 24 hours.  

Shawn Mendes vs Rolling Stone Magazine

On November 26, Rolling Stone Magazine released their December issue with singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes on the cover and an in-depth interview that sparked controversy once the article, written by Patrick Doyle, hit the public.

The interview begins highlighting the success that Mendes has accomplished in his career but then delves into his rumored relationship with Hailey Baldwin earlier in the year, partying, his sexuality, and how Mendes copes with the anxiety of being a pop star.

Mendes was quoted saying, “I love weed” and speaking about how he struggles with his sexuality being assumed as gay, even though he has stated he identifies as straight.

Once fans read this, they flocked to Twitter stating their dismay with the magazine for publishing that piece of information because media outlets would then begin to focus on it as a negative attribute about the singer, instead of his music and upcoming tour.

A few hours after the article was released Mendes tweeted a link to the article and said, “Sometimes the positive side of a story doesn’t always get fully told and I wish it had here.” This tweet led fans to speculation that his words were manipulated by Doyle to perceive him as a problematic pop star.

Mendes commenced the Jingle Ball tour on November 27 and has cancelled most of his promotional interviews after the release of the Rolling Stone article.

Best movies to stream during break

Andrew Cripe
Film Critic

As a student or teacher who loves movies, you are probably anticipating this upcoming winter break so you can finally get away from the stresses of studies and finals and catch up with all the cool new stuff in theaters. But what about those days when the snow crashes down, traffic to your favorite theater is heavy, and you just don’t feel like sharing your favorite pastime with a bunch of strangers when you could be home, curled up with microwave popcorn and all the booze you wouldn’t be able to sneak into theaters? I have just the batch of films for your couch-locked needs. Here are ten stream-able movies to watch during break (plus five honorable mentions).

  1. “Inherent Vice” (2014)

If you like: Lengthy, complex, bizarre movies.

The ultimate stoner-noir, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 masterpiece is an overwhelmingly faithful adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel about a private investigator who falls down a rabbit-hole of corruption, drug benders, and gonzo-shenanigans. This is a film-watching experience that’s comparable to being on a lazy-river: it carries you wherever it goes, and it’s best savored if you just go with it. It can be best summed up as Raymond Chandler smoking weed and watching Looney Toons.

Available on: HBO GO

2. “Fargo” (1996)

If you like: Pitch-dark films that are morbidly funny.

One of the greatest films of the 90s, “Fargo” is gut-twistingly funny, sad, beautiful, and occasionally horrifying. Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance.

Available on: HBO GO

3. “Children of Men” (2006)

If you like: Daring filmmaking and post-apocalyptic movies.

If you’re chomping at the bit for the “Gravity” director’s upcoming Netflix film “Roma”, take a look at his 2006 opus “Children of Men”, one of my all-time favorite films. Every scene is directed to perfection, and there are countless moments that will leave you in awe. A perfect example of the limitless possibilities of filmmaking.

Available on: Netflix

4. “Heat” (1995)

If you like: Crime films, heist films, noir, and “Grand Theft Auto”.

Michael Mann’s stylish cop-versus-criminal epic is one of the greatest crime films ever made. It is a tribute to two classic actors (Robert De Nero and Al Pacino), a swan song to old Hollywood cops vs. robbers narratives, and a remembrance of an era when movies could be butt-numbingly long and nobody would complain or constantly check their phones.

Available on: Netflix

5. “The Shining” (1980)

If you like: Horror, Stanley Kubrick, and amazing acting.

Audacious, chilling, and totally exhilarating, Stanley Kubrick’s film is the ultimate movie to watch when you’re home alone and snowed in on a cold, bleak day. It still has the power to drive you crazy, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

Available on: Netflix

6. “Night Moves” (1975)

If you like: Films that pull no punches and make no apologies.

A mystery film that is ruthless because it isn’t so much about the need for answers as it is about the inevitability of consequences. Its highest priorities are tone, character, and feeling. Arthur Penn (director of the all-time classic “Bonnie and Clyde”) gets to the core of his characters gorgeously, filming every scene with a breathtaking confidence that keeps it a fresh viewing experience decades later.

Available on: Amazon Prime

7. “The Handmaiden” (2016)

If you like: Foreign films.

Chan-wook Park’s slow-burning erotic thriller is unpredictable, reckless, and masterfully crafted. It is sometimes frustrating and the last thing on Earth you should watch with a parent (there is a record-breaking amount of sex in this film), but the director hasn’t exhibited this kind of fearlessness, patience, control, and artistic bravado since “Oldboy” (2013), which makes it a must-watch.

Available on: Amazon Prime

8. “Hostiles” (2017)

If you like: Western films or are currently obsessed with “Red Dead Redemption 2”.

A relatively forgotten and severely underrated western from last year, “Hostiles” is an extremely violent and gorgeously shot meditation on death, the genocide of Native Americans, and the harrowing effect of warfare on the human soul. This is as far from pleasant as a major motion picture can get and is absolutely not a film for everyone, but its stellar cast (including Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike) and patient yet tense atmosphere make it Scott Cooper’s most memorable film.

Available on: Netflix

9. “The Hateful Eight” (2015)

If you like: Quentin Taratino.

The perfect film to sink into during a blizzard, Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” gives you everything you’d expect from him: a ton of swearing, a ton of gore, and a ton of memorable moments. Featuring an Oscar-winning score from Ennio Morricone (“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”), this is essential viewing for fans of America’s most popular weirdo-filmmaker.

Available on: Netflix

10. “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (2010)

If you like: Romance for nerds.

A relentlessly entertaining visual spectacle, Edgar Wright’s film is a celebration of love, video games, and escapism. A tornado of color and innovative editing, “Pilgrim” also boasts a stellar cast that includes Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, and Brie Larson.

Available on: Netflix

Five extras, if you (like me) really hate going outside:

“Certain Women” (2016)

If you like: Meditative, tender, quiet films.

Available on: Netflix

“The Third Man” (1949)

If you like: Film history, black-and-white films, and an amazing score.

Available on: Netflix

“Best of Enemies” (2015)

If you like: Documentaries, literature, and the art of throwing shade.

Available on: Netflix

“I Love You, Man” (2009)

If you like: Straight-up, feel-good comedies.

Available on: Netflix

“The Witch” (2016)

If you like: Art-house horror and the recent ‘Hereditary’.

Available on: Netflix

This week in pop culture - November 20, 2018

Gianna Montesano
Staff Reporter

Bohemian Rhapsody Rocks Opening Weekend

Bohemian Rhapsody. Photos by 20th Century Fox.

Bohemian Rhapsody. Photos by 20th Century Fox.

Bohemian Rhapsody grossed $50 million in the United States in its opening weekend. Overseas, the film earned $72.5 million, which accumulated a total of $122.5 million in the film’s opening weekend worldwide.

The highly anticipated biopic for 1980s rock band Queen was released in theaters on November 2. The film tells the story of how the band came to be, and it shares an insider look on the life of the late frontman Freddie Mercury.

The film was filled with hit songs from the iconic band such as “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen”, and “We Will Rock You”. The music and the energy portrayed by the actors made the movie goers feel like they were experiencing first hand the rise of Queen, leaving the audience asking, “is this the real life, is this just fantasy?”

Thank U, Next

On November 3, singer Ariana Grande surprised fans when she tweeted that she would be releasing a new album, titled “Thank U, Next”, and released the title track as her first single off her fifth studio album.

The single has amassed a lot of positive attention from the charts. “Thank U, Next” is Grande’s first number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 since she entered the list in 2013.

In the song, Grande recounts her past relationships with rapper Big Sean, dancer Ricky Alvarez, the late rapper Mac Miller, and comedian Pete Davidson. The song came shortly after her public split from her ex-fiancé Davidson on October 14.

The song hones an innocent message about self love and finding the most important relationship in life: with yourself. However, the song includes a few jabs at ex-fiancé Davidson saying, “even almost got married”, showing it is possible to be petty and respectful.

Demi Lovato Post Rehab

Singer-songwriter Demi Lovato was hospitalized on July 24 due to an overdose. After a ten-day hospital stay, Lovato was immediately checked into rehab and stayed on the low until November 6, 90 days after completing rehab, when she posted a photo on her Instagram at a voting poll urging her followers to vote in the 2018 Midterm election.

Game of Thrones announces its final season

The HBO hit series“Game of Thrones” announced to fans on November 13 that the highly anticipated final season will be set to air in April 2019. The final season will have six episodes, and, to build anticipation for the season, they shared “#ForTheThrone” to let viewers share their opinions, predictions, and sadness that the show is coming to an end.

However, “Game of Thrones” fans should not worry about saying goodbye to their favorite characters. Over the summer, HBO approved a pilot order for a prequel series for “Game of Thrones”. All that is confirmed is that Naomi Watts was announced to be the star of the show.

Stan Lee Passes Away at 95 years old

Stan Lee passed away on November 12 at 95 years old, leaving behind a legacy of over 70 years in the world of writing, comics, and film. Lee was rushed to the hospital due to becoming ill in his Los Angeles home.

As a young man in the late 1930s and 40s, Lee worked for Timely Comics. Timely was a small family-owned company that he helped grow into the household name we know today as Marvel Comics.

In the mid 20th century, Lee came up with the superheroes that we know as Spiderman, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man that have transcended through the 20th century into the present day.

As the curator of Marvel’s most popular superheroes, Lee wanted to be involved in any way possible with his creations. In 1989, Lee began showing up in Marvel films in small cameo roles. The last cameo role seen by audiences was in the blockbuster film “Venom” released this year.

Fans of the films and cameos of Lee can experience Lee on the big screen a few more times, as he filmed his final cameos before his death. Two of the confirmed cameos will be in the upcoming “Avengers 4” and “Captain Marvel” films.

While Lee may no longer be with us in the present, his creative legacy will continue to live on in the hearts and the minds of everyone as they watch “Spiderman” or “The Avengers”.

"Overlord" a reflection of humanity's darkest moments

Andrew Cripes
Film Critic

“Overlord” wants to be a cheesy, old-school good vs. evil tale combined with body-horror craziness, but its cockiness causes it to step on a landmine. It isn’t a worthless viewing experience, as it boasts some of the coolest special effects you’ll see all year, but altogether, this is an ill-advised creation, one that isn’t intentionally insulting but rather cringe-inducingly unaware of its irresponsibility.

It starts out as a standard WWII action movie, with American soldiers marooned in an occupied French town after being blown out of the sky by German turrets. The platoon, led by the damnably gorgeous Ford (Wyatt Russell), is on a “Call of Duty”-type mission to destroy a Nazi tower so the town can be liberated.

Also in his squad is the perpetually bewildered Boyce (Jovan Adepo), the hard-shelled-yet-sensitive-on-the-inside Tibbet (John Magaro), the plucky Rosenfeld (Dominic Applewhite), and the personality-starved Chase (Iain De Caestecker). None of them contain depth and seem intentionally written to seem this way so they can fit the mold of the faceless war-machines you play as in an FPS video game.

During their quest they stumble upon a potion that the Nazis use to turn their prisoners into hulking, invincible beasts. The villain of the film, the sadistic Wafner (Pilou Asbæk), explains the purpose of the abominations in a ridiculous bit of B-movie dialogue: “A thousand year Reich needs a thousand year army.”

The best part about the film is the look of the beasts. The effects are astonishing. The unrelenting grossness of the creatures is genuinely hair-raising. Every movement of the demons, down to their twitches and squirms, makes you shrink into your seat as they charge towards the screen.

What immediately puts a halt on the film, however, is the disturbing fact that the Nazis did perform unspeakable experiments on countless individuals during WWII. They didn’t turn anybody into super-monsters (they did much, much worse), but the film’s acknowledgement of how the Nazis abducted people and gave insane scientists carte blanche to treat them like guinea pigs puts the plot in an uncomfortable proximity to what actually happened. Simply put: the experimentations are cruel piece of history that the makers of “Overlord” mined for fantasy, and if that sounds disconcerting, that’s because it is.

On top of that, “Overlord” can never find a tone to hold onto, constantly bouncing between suspense, horror, and action. Julius Avery’s direction seems to be firmly rooted in video game sensibilities, especially those of the aforementioned “Call of Duty” franchise and the most recent “Wolfenstein” shoot-em-ups, but his embrace of gory-glitz-and-glamour eventually becomes numbing and obnoxious.

Bizarrely, screenwriters Mark L. Smith and Billy Ray seem to have taken most of their plot-guidance from the mediocre 2008 film “30 Days of Night” (with one action scene in particular standing out as an unmistakable tribute).

“Overlord” doesn’t want its viewers troubled by history. It wants to be cathartic and grotesque in the harmless way most horror films are, but that’s exactly why it is so misguided: it is not like those other films because its plot stands too closely to the fires of cruelty that blaze around things that actually happened. Even though the good guys win by the time the credits roll, one wishes that their MacGuffin didn’t so closely resemble humanity’s darkest moments.

Album REVIEW: As Nina Cried Power, We Cried Too

Christina Matthias
Multimedia Editor

Irish singer Hozier releases new album “Nina Cried Power”. Image from Glitter Magazine

Irish singer Hozier releases new album “Nina Cried Power”. Image from Glitter Magazine

Four years after platinum success with the somber “Take Me To Church”, Hozier has sprung out of the woods and back to the charts. The “Nina Cried Power” EP was freed on September 6 after anxious fans got hints of new music through the musican’s Twitter.

The Irishman may only have one full length album to his name, but his past work has charted in his home country and beyond waters. He is planning to take his 2018 release on the road this fall, leading up to his sophomore album debut concluding his North American tour.

Chicago-born gospel diva, Mavis Staples, lends her echoing talents to the title track of the EP, which along with referencing Nina Simone namedrops some of Hozier’s other music heros such as James Brown, Patti Labelle, and Billie Holiday. The song encompasses overwhelming inspiration and hope found through art of many mediums and also contains undertones of social and political activism behind the chilling lyric “Power has been cried by those stronger than me, straight into the face that tells you to rattle your chains”.

Juxtaposing “Nina Cried Power”, “NFWMB” takes a softer yet darker tone that demonstrates Hoizer’s folky falsetto, very reminiscent of the verses in “Work Song” from 2014. The bassline looms threateningly as the phrase “Nothing fucks with my baby” is crooned out continuously, haunting whoever could think about hurting the subject of the song.

“Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” again cleanses the palate of the EP, previewing all possibilities for the upcoming album. The main highlights are a steady rhythmic guitar riff and percussion that fills the ears with campfire memories. While the most upbeat song off the EP and implicating the meaning to be about a physical connection with a partner, “Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)” has the most religious allusions by mentions of God, sins, and rosaries. Definitely food for thought.

The final song is “Shrike”—a bittersweet melody about a lost love that remains even after being reborn. Hozier’s more soulful vocals are on display, similar to the title track, however conveying a much quieter and lullabye-esque disposition. It serves as a nice finale to wind the EP down, and it leaves listeners wondering what’s to come.

Hozier’s beloved scenic imagery remains in this EP, with lyrics remarking a bird’s singing and blackthorn trees for audiences to feel closer to nature. The vibes from his work have been compared to the dreamy compositions of Fleetwood Mac and Florence + The Machine, which will hopefully continue to shine through his full second album towards the end of 2018. For now, “Nina Cried Power” has surpassed expectations for Hozier’s highly anticipated resurface.

Remembering Aretha

Najera Milijevic
Staff Reporter

Illustration by Ian Stong

Illustration by Ian Stong

Aretha Franklin breathed jazz.

The legendary Queen of Soul ignited every stage with her radiating mezzo-soprano voice and youthful energy, so when news of the 76-year-old's death broke on August 16, many people felt an integral piece of history had vanished.

It did not matter if she was singing gospel music at church or performing with a jazz ensemble at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, Franklin always embodied soul.

She explained her philosophy simply: “If a song’s about something I’ve experienced or that could’ve happened to me, it’s good. But if it’s alien to me, I couldn’t lend anything to it. Because that’s what soul is all about.”

But Franklin wasn’t just a singer—she was a poet. Her music moved people to love, to laugh, and to feel the light of God.

“Franklin had the ability to elevate pretty much anything she sang,” said senior English major Emily Freville.

Whether she was singing an original piece or covering another artist’s music, Franklin brought it to life by pouring soul into it.

She performed at the White House, on church stages and in colossal music venues and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But despite record success and international popularity, Franklin never lost sight of her simple love for music.

“I’ve always loved the movement of Aretha’s voice,” said EC senior Sandy Sanchez. She remembers listening to Franklin’s classic tracks in elementary music classes. “Jazz was never my favorite style of music, but something about her presentation was really unique and timeless.”

Franklin’s enduring legacy influenced decades of collegiate music ensembles. The Elmhurst College Jazz Band was formed in 1968 at the height of Franklin’s fame and a deeply experimental time when rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and folk music gained prominence in mainstream culture.

Although EC’s jazz ensemble doesn’t focus exclusively on Franklin’s music, her contribution to the field is widely recognized.

Brandon De Jesus, news director at WRSE Elmhurst College Radio, feels a deep reverence for the legendary songstress.

“One of the first songs I ever heard in my life was R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I'm definitely going to miss her,” De Jesus said. “Her voice will be heard for generations to come.”

WEEKEND PLANS: Things to do till our next issue - September 11, 2018

Christina Matthias
Multimedia Editor

What Is My Birthstone?

Take a peek at your horoscope and then stop by Lizzadro! Whether you love looking to the cosmos for purpose, retweeting astrology memes, or just think jewels are neat, this is the event for you. Gemeologist, Sakina Bharani, will be breaking down what your birthstone means cross culturally, and in terms of traits you may have based on what month you were born in. Edu-tainment at it’s finest, and it’s free for EC students!

September 22, Lizzadro Museum, Regular Museum Admission

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Pre-Halloween month is in full swing, and one of the few non-horror spooky films of 2018 is being released right on time. “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” boasts Jack Black and Cate Blanchett as leads, telling the tale of an orphan who discovers his magical family line and a clock that has the ability to end the world. Based on the 1973 John Bellairs novel, this movie seems satisfying for creepy yet non-jumpscaring entertainment... Looking at you, “The Nun”.

September 21

Riot Fest

Although headliner Blink-182 recently stepped out of the lineup due to Travis Barker’s health, these highly anticipated three days of rock are still on. Weezer, Run the Jewels, and Taking Back Sunday will be playing in Blink’s place for Riot Fest, along with already announced bands such as The Front Bottoms, Beck, Bleachers, Alkaline Trio, and Blondie to name a few. Spend a weekend screaming and crowd surfing with 40,000 of your closest friends.

September 14-16, Douglas Park, $130+

World Music Festival Chicago

If Riot Fest is a bit out of budget, have no fear! The 20th Annual World Music Festival has already begun and continues for a couple more weeks. Artists from all over the globe will be performing in the Windy City, so even if you don’t recognize many acts you can plan which days to go based on country or genre that is associated with each performer. Plus, music echoing alongside the Cultural Center’s winding stairwells and Tiffany domes is reason enough to go.

September 7-23, Chicago Cultural Center, Free

PRESS REWIND: Pop culture news from the week - September 11 2018

Ariana Grande at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral

Out of a star-studded list of performers who musically eulogized the Queen of Soul, Ariana Grande got the most buzz for a couple different reasons. Her cover of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at Aretha Franklin’s funeral would’ve made the singer proud since Franklin was actually a big fan of Grande’s. However, tabloids and internet trolls could hardly focus on the performance because of Grande’s outfit. Was the dress too short for church? Or, as long as it was black, was it appropriate to mourn in? Regardless, Grande’s outfit choice was taken into consideration (though it didn’t have to be) when the funeral’s pastor inappropriately groped the side of her breast while at the podium. Grande’s visibly panicked reaction resonated with many women who had been in similar situations, and even though the pastor apologized, he is still in hot water with Franklin’s family after he made insensitive remarks toward Black Lives Matter during the service. Someone needs to learn a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan Breakup

Britney Spears and Jason Alexander's 55 hour marriage along with countless other flops have paved the way for short lived celebrity couples, and a face-tatted SoundCloud rapper’s love for Hannah Montana’s little sister has carried on the torch. On August 20, Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan made their red carpet couple debut at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York, and through PDA they assured paps that they were together. The two originally met through Instagram DMs and collaborated on songs for both of their musical endeavors. But right when the world was getting used to Noah and Xan, it was over, ending on Instagram where the pair hit it off. Xan had seen a photo of Noah too close for comfort to another guy and accused her of cheating, then Noah posted screenshots of a Charlie Puth nude meme she sent Xan saying that was why he was worried about her cheating. The split turned into he-said-she-said and dragged everyone from Columbia Records to the Cyrus family down with it. Oh well, onto the next inevitable betrayal.

RIP Mac Miller

Last Friday, thousands were heartbroken over the death of rapper Mac Miller due to a fatal drug overdose. A friend found him unresponsive at his Studio City house, and by the time emergency services arrived, he had passed. Miller expressed a day prior that he was looking forward to touring his fifth studio album, “Swimming”, which was released a month before his death. Many musicians who had met Miller tweeted out condolences: Shawn Mendes, Soulja Boy, Solange Knowles, J Cole, Alessia Cara, and Khalid were amongst a sea of “RIP”s. Chance the Rapper wrote “...beyond helping me launch my career he was one of the sweetest guys I ever knew. Great man. I loved him for real. Im completely broken.” Le’Veon Bell of Miller’s hometown Pittsburgh Steelers devastatingly commented “NOOO! I do not wanna believe my brother is dead!” Even though he had much more life to live at the age of 26, Mac Miller had his share of milestones in the industry. At the time of his debut, “Blue Slide Park”, it was the first independently distributed album to reach No. 1 in 16 years, and his mixtapes before that release created an unswerving fanbase that has followed him since 2007.

PRESS REWIND: Pop culture from the week - May 1 2018

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter


Kanye goes cray cray once again

Kanye West, or as he calls himself, Yeezus, has once again made headlines for his crazy stunts and borderline chaotic rants with a new episode: he’s a newfound Trump supporter. Being seen wearing his “Make America Great Again” gear and Twitter-vomiting to the world his political standpoints, Yeezy has certainly made a statement. Celebrity gossip magazine, TMZ, has reported that Kanye, in response to a visit he had previously had with POTUS, saying that “the mob can’t make me not love [Trump].” Whether or not this “mob” he is referring to is all of his buddies in hollywood or the “mob” of the country, he is being his true self by going against the predetermined view of celebrities as democrats. Whether or not this change is the beginning of another one of his meltdowns or a true hope for change, I know the world will be watching for the Twitter convos between POTUS and Yeezy with barely contained anticipation. 


Amy Schumer rushed to hospital with kidney issues

Resident funny girl, Amy Schumer is rushed to the hospital on account of a kidney infection. After almost completing her press tour for the highly anticipated and Oprah Winfrey certified movie, ‘I Feel Pretty,’ Schumer has spent the last week in the hospital halting her plans of going overseas for the premiere in London. The newly married, Chris Fischer, has been seen as the doting husband from pictures posted to Schumer’s Instagram. She jokingly refers to him as, “my husband, who’s name is, I want to say, Chris?” upholding her funny girl persona as she recovers. With her health being the main focus right now, maybe the Instagram-verse can get a break from the incessant posts about how well her movie is doing. Feel better soon, Amy! We’re all hoping for a “pretty” fast recovery.

‘You Were Never Really Here’ achieves a successful blend of beauty and brutality

Internet Photo   Joaquin Pheonix turns in a career defining performance as the main character in the psychological thriller ‘You Were Never Really Here.’

Internet Photo

Joaquin Pheonix turns in a career defining performance as the main character in the psychological thriller ‘You Were Never Really Here.’

By Andrew Cripe, Movie Critic

Top to bottom, scene-to-scene, Lynne Ramsay’s psychological revenge thriller ‘You Were Never Really Here’ is astonishing, brutal, heartbreaking, terrifying, and completely unforgettable. It demands more than one viewing not because it is obtuse or elusive, but because it is an emotional trip unlike any other cinematic offering so far this year. 

We meet Joe (a masterful Joaquin Phoenix, who won an award at Cannes for his performance), a man who gets paid to find missing girls and kill their abductors. We learn through nightmarish, blink-and-you’ll-miss flashbacks that Joe is suffering from extreme PTSD, stemming from his service in the military, FBI, and personal experiences with childhood trauma. He still lives with his slowly declining mother (a scene-stealing Judith Roberts) out of guilt for not being able to protect her from his abusive father when he was a child. Joe gets a job to find the daughter of a politician, and from this point he is propelled into one of the darkest, most emotionally stirring narratives in recent memory.

What’s fascinating about the film, and a testament to the powers of both Lynne Ramsay and editor Joe Bini, is how much it achieves in such a short runtime. The film is 89 minutes and conveys everything it needs to and more in that space. A lesser director would try to cram a plethora of unnecessary scenes that explain, to the syllable, what is happening instead of having confidence in what a single, expressive moment can contain.

Ramsay wastes nothing, and several key shots tell entire stories in seconds, these ranking as the film’s most hypnotic moments. Ramsay knows that the best filmmaking should never be typical or regular, so she throws caution to the wind with her direction. There is an intimacy and thrilling discomfort to her shots, the finest ones surgically ripping into the viewer’s hearts with dreamlike artistry. The cinematography by Thomas Townend and the score by Jonny Greenwood work in tandem in creating and sustaining a mood that is oppressively grim yet also languid to unsettling degrees, constantly keeping the viewer feeling as though they’ve wandered into the most disturbing regions of the human condition, where evil and the possibility for chaos lie dormant like vipers, waiting to strike.

‘You Were Never Really Here’ is brutal, but it is also one of the most nakedly emotional films out there. The vulnerability of Phoenix’s performance has the film on eggshells, always on the verge of collapsing into despair. He is an unhinged, wounded hybrid of Travis Bickle from ‘Taxi Driver’ and Ryan Gosling’s unnamed loner in ‘Drive.’ The loneliness and isolation of Joe is tangible, and when he resorts to acts of extreme violence, it seems as though the fabric of his reality is being torched. 

Another strength of the movie is that it does not indulge in mindless violence, instead exploring the ramifications and irreversibility of it. Ramsay depicts cruelty and harm as something that tears the world asunder rather than treating it as a cool visual device. 

‘You Were Never Really Here’ has potential to stay with the viewer for a long time after they’ve seen it. It defies dismissal by constantly conjuring up feelings of exhilaration from the sheer daring of it all. It takes plot threads that are not original and wraps them around a visual style and artistic control that subverts them into being special and unique again. Find a theater that is showing this and hold on for dear life.

FAST FORWARD: Things to do till our next issue - May 1 2018

By Christina Matthias, Press Play Reporter
Follow her @sleepiestpisces

File Photo

File Photo

Hayley Kiyoko Expectations Tour

In promotion of her first full-length album, pop princess Hayley Kiyoko will be performing at House of Blues with opener, Allie X. Kiyoko has accumulated singles and fans over the years whilst transitioning from projects for Disney Channel and Cartoon Network to more mature and honest music. Tracks such as ‘Girls Like Girls’ and ‘Curious’ have proved the singer’s mainstream success, and Kiyoko has continued to write about her unique perspective as a gay WOC in her new album, Expectations. 

May 3, House of Blues, 5:30 p.m., $47+


Internet Photo

Internet Photo

Elmhurst’s 22nd Annual Art in Wilder Park

Presented by Brewpoint Coffee, the Elmhurst Park District, and RGL Marketing for the Arts, 130 artists from all over the Midwest will be selling their works across the street from campus at the Annual Art in Wilder Park. There will also be plenty of food vendors, live entertainment, a kid’s court, and this event will probably be a prime spot to pet all of the Elmhurst locals’ dogs being walked, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

May 5 - 6, Wilder Park, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Internet Photo

Internet Photo

Friday Fresh Market at Roosevelt Collection Shops

Mark your calendars for every first Friday of the summer months, because from May-August Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks will be hosting a fresh market at the Roosevelt Collection Shops. Support local farmers while browsing a variety of healthy and organic ingredients from grass-fed meat to produce. Admission is free and strolling around the market can serve as part of a fun summer night out in the city.

Beginning May 4, Roosevelt Collection Shops, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.


Internet Photo

Internet Photo

Cinco De Mayo

With finals approaching, why not crack open a cold one to relieve some stress? The holiday Cinco De Mayo, commemorating the Mexican Army’s 1862 Battle of Puebla victory, has given an excuse for partying, Mexican food, and alcoholic beverages for generations, and there are many ways to celebrate in Chicagoland. If you’re staying by EC, check out Mexican restaurants like Guac N Tacos, Cilantro Taco Grill, and Los Fernadez Rosticeria for a meal in spirit of the 5th. 

LEADER REVIEW: Despite strong cast and director, ‘Isle of Dogs’ fails to live up to Wes Anderson’s past successes

Internet Photo Young protagonist Atari (voiced by Koyu Rankin) finds himself on an island where all dogs have been banished to in ‘Isle of Dogs.’

Internet PhotoYoung protagonist Atari (voiced by Koyu Rankin) finds himself on an island where all dogs have been banished to in ‘Isle of Dogs.’

By Andrew Cripe, Movie Critic

Of all the films this critic has had to report on that don’t live up to expectations, Wes Anderson’s latest is the most grueling. It is a spectacular feat in animation, music, and voice acting, but the story as a whole is distracted and hollow. 

In its quest to be sprawling, the most interesting parts about it never get a chance to reach their full potential. Just when the viewer thinks they’ll get to spend some time with a beautifully realized plot thread, Anderson tears their attention away to scenes that are so achingly pointless, unfunny, and criminally uninteresting that they sabotage the film. 

This stop-motion animated film is set in Japan, where there has been an outbreak of dog-flu so severe that all four-legged-friends are quarantined to a trash-polluted island. 

Not wanting to be separated from his beloved dog Spots (voiced by Liev Schreiber), 12-year-old Atari (Koyu Rankin) steals a plane and flies to the island to rescue him. He gets injured, so a pack of alpha dogs, led by Chief (Bryan Cranston), make it their duty to guide the little pilot back to his dog. 

Now, if the story were just about this adventure, the film would be a monumental success. The scenes between Atari and the dogs are just wonderful. Cranston, along with the other voice actors for the main pack (Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, and Jeff Goldblum), are hilarious and moving in their dedication. 

The direction of line-readings in this film shows Anderson at his finest, as he won’t allow anyone to phone-in or drone through a single sentence. Everyone’s voice is invested, and everything that is said by the animals has gravity. 

Liev Schreiber’s performance as Spots steals the movie in a scene where we see how he met Atari. It is tear-jerkingly beautiful and amongst the best scenes Anderson has ever crafted.

But the movie distracts itself and the viewers instead of focusing on what it does well. There is a subplot involving a group of student activists, led by American foreign exchange student Tracy Walker (Greta Gerwig), trying to uncover a conspiracy about Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), the man who set the quarantine in motion. 

Since the film is ultimately trying to tell the story of all the dogs being saved, it makes sense that Anderson would write an angle where the main villain is challenged, but it steals way too much of the screen time away from the real stars of the show: Atari and his dog-friends. 

Even worse, the political-intrigue scenes are offensive and disrespectful; Walker, an American, is courageous and daring while the other activists, all Japanese, are cowardly and eager to surrender.

 She is the only one determined enough to take down the oppressive, chaotic government officials, while the rest of the citizens are afraid of their own shadow. See the issue? That this film about a boy and his dog turns into a crass white-savior narrative is more than just a flaw: it is a destructive problem. 

Also troubling is the film’s dependence on action and violence. This is not a movie that should have action sequences, and yet it does, and they do not work at all. There are points when the story grinds to a halt so the dogs can fight something. 

When the film does this it looks visually bad, as the stop-motion, which in subdued moments is amongst the best ever crafted, cannot keep up with all the commotion.

The only thing that is consistently successful about the flow of the film is Alexandre Desplat’s score. The music he has gifted to this film is hair-raising. The last time he worked with Anderson was on ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ and for that he won a much deserved Oscar. His work here is arguably even better.  

‘Isle of Dogs’ doesn’t diminish Wes Anderson’s status as one of America’s most unique filmmakers, but it is still a disappointment. It is visually unlike anything else out there, but it echoes his two biggest flops, ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ (2007) and ‘The Life Aquatic’ (2004), in its tone-deafness, meandering story, and lazy wrap-up. If you are a viewer who is devoted to Anderson’s oeuvre, ‘Isle of Dogs’ will likely be another gem for you, but this critic implores you to ask yourself after walking out: was this really the best he could do?

PRESS REWIND: Pop culture from the week - April 17 2018

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter

Tristan Thompson caught stepping out on his baby momma


Tristan Thompson: basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and 21st century Casanova wannabe. Other than his celebrity status as a basketball player, Thompson entered the vicious, tell-all world of pop culture when verifying his relationship status with everyone’s favorite Kardashian, Khloe. Their “love” went viral when it was released that Kardashian was pregnant from now baby-daddy, Thompson. Now, at the last few weeks of her pregnancy, videos and pictures were released of Thompson, back in October 2017, cheating on his pregnant girlfriend. Now the only thing that is going viral is STD’s he’s probably contracted along the way.  Not only is he caught entering and leaving a hotel with a woman who is not a Kardashian, though she kind of looks like one, but there is a very detailed and uncomfortable video displaying him “getting it on” with not one but two different women in a hookah lounge in Washington D.C. Whether this is the cause of the Plight of Kris Jenner and her need to keep her children relevant, or a truly heartbreaking act of betrayal, hearts are hurting for Khloe Kardashian all around the nation. 

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Mason Ramsey yodels his way into America’s heart


For the last few weeks, the Twitter-verse has been completely obsessed with the Walmart Yodeling Kid, 11-year-old Mason Ramsey from Golconda, Illinois. He posted a video of himself displaying his unique vocal skills as he performed in what seems to be the checkout line at a small-town Walmart in Harrisburg, IL. He sky-rocketed to fame and has even appeared on Ellen Degeneres’ day-time talk show ‘Ellen,’ in addition to making Hank Williams’ song ‘Lovesick Blues,’ the song in which we are first introduced to the talents of young Ramsey, back at the top of the charts. Whether you hate to love him or you love to hate on him, someone in the production of Coachella, one of the biggest music festivals in California, has seen the waves Ramsey is making in the social media sphere and has just released a memo stating that Ramsey will be performing alongside none other than singer/rapper Post Malone. So you’re telling me, some kid from small-town America put on some cowboy boots, found a walmart, just started yodelling, and now is performing with Post “Posty” Malone at coachella? BRB while I go buy some boots and checkout a ‘Yodelling for Dummies’ book from the library. YEE-HAW!