Rings of Saturn is a Deathcore band that formed in 2009 and didn’t gain too much popularity until the 2010 album, “Ultu Ulla.” I enjoy Rings of Saturn, but in most Deathcore or Heavy Metal, I don’t like it when electronic music is added. I like straight forward drums, guitar, and vocals. But this band has managed to combine the two and make it sound great. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite bands and I highly recommend giving them a listen.
Truth or Dare came out on April 13, 2018, and is about a very vicious game of truth or dare. The director is Jeff Waldow, who has directed many movies in this genre. The company that produced the film is Blumhouse Productions, who also produced Get Out (2017) and Insidious: The Last Key (2018). The producers are Couper Samuelson and Jason Blum. The screenplay was written by Michael Reisz, Jillian Jacobs, and Jeff Waldow. It had a budget of $3.5 million.
Perhaps movie fans would’ve thought that a film with a budget of $3.5 million, and produced by people who have expertise in making horror movies, could produce another good movie. However, they struck out with this one. This was not a horror movie, it was just labeled as a “horror movie”. It was not in any way original, like Happy Death Day (also produced by Blumhouse, 2017). The film follows a group of friends going to Mexico for spring break. While they are there, they play a game of truth or dare. Unfortunately, this releases a demon who turns this game into a deadly one.
That is incredibly unrealistic. Horror movies must play on psychological fears in order to scare people. They have to be based off realistic or logical reasoning. The game of truth or dare in Mexico is realistic and could happen. Sure, they characters could play a game of truth or dare in Mexico. Strangely, they played it in an abandoned church, where the demon was trapped. The first part is not as realistic. Why would they be playing truth or dare in an abandoned church? How did they get in, why did they want to, and isn’t that breaking and entering?
The story goes on, and the man, Carter, who brought the main characters into the church explains the rules to a main character, Olivia. Once a player are asked “truth or dare”, she’s in the game. If the player choses dare and then refuses to do the dare, she dies. If the two people before her choose truth, you she must choose a dare. If the player doesn’t choose either truth or dare, the consequence is still the same- death. These death scenes involved no gore, no jump scares, and barely any blood.
In scene one of the movie, it shows a girl who is dared to burn another person in a store. It would’ve been much more scary if they focused in on the body burning, but instead they dropped the subject really quickly. The writers could’ve played some ominous music, or let the viewers watch the body burn. They really could’ve used this scene to their advantage. I don’t think that the writers handled suspense as well as they could have. Another example of the misuse of suspense is when the characters did not complete dares, they died on the spot. I think that the writers could’ve made the characters die slowly instead of killing them on the spot.
I also did not like when the characters were asked ‘truth or dare?’ They were asked when they were either all alone or when they were in a vulnerable position. It was interesting at first, but eventually I found a pattern. The movie only showed them alone and vulnerable when they were being asked, but not at any other time. If the movie showed the characters vulnerable at other points besides when they were being asked, I think it would have made a pattern less visible.
I think that the idea of truth or dare as the basis for a horror movie is interesting, but too broad. I think that the directors could’ve played with this idea a lot more than they did and would’ve made it the film more entertaining.
8-bit is a measure of computer information during the 1980s generally used to refer to hardware and software in an era where computers were only able to store and process a maximum of 8 bits per data block. This limitation was mainly due to the existing processor technology at the time, which with which software had to conform. This resulted in blocky graphics and slow compute times.
At present, when 8-bit is mentioned, it is generally associated with slow computers, low-resolution graphics, and simplistic sound. I’m pretty sure most people who grew up in the 80s and 90s have heard of 8-bit video game which include classics like Mega Man, Super Mario Bros 3, Popeye, Pacman, Sonic, Ms. Pacman, Pokemon. The 8-bit gaming universe is my personal favorite because it is filled with fun puzzles and real challenges.
People are way too spoiled with the games they have today and they forget about the old days of 8-bit gaming. But if it wasn’t for 8-bit, we wouldn’t have these realistic games today. Everyone remembers the old 8-bit Mario tune- who hasn’t heard it? A lot of these games have been played on an old gaming system called the Nintendo Entertainment System and when you hear the name, “Sega,” – that’s old! The Nintendo Entertainment System is pretty much one of the basic gaming system for 8-bit games back then.
Today, it’s called a ‘third generation console.’ Even if it did just have a joystick, it was still entertaining with all the puzzles and activities in the games. I say we should still remember the old video games that kept us entertained as children and might still keep us entertained as adults.
Kendrick Lamar, an 11- time Grammy winner is one of the most influential artists of 2018. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is a rapper and singer with 4 studio albums and has gained popularity and success since the 2012 release of his album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” which peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.
In 2017, Lamar dropped his most successful and influential album yet: “DAMN.” “DAMN” has 14 songs that all charted on the Billboard 100s. In this album, Lamar raps about important issues and problems, and often seems to be telling a story. The album features major artists like Rihanna, U2, and James Blake. Many songs in this album discuss his struggles with who he is and what he went through as a kid growing up. This includes how people told him he wouldn’t make it, the racism he felt and still feels, his political views, and his success.
In songs like “XXX,” Lamar talks about white privilege in America and his views on Trump and what it means to be “American.” Towards the end of the song, Lamar says, “It’s nasty when you set us up then roll the dice, then bet us up you overnight the big rifles, then tell Fox to be scared of us.” In the song, the “you” is meant to address white people who automatically assume that “us” (black people) are the root and cause of every problem. The song tackles aspects of racism, and police brutality.
In Lamar’s 2018 Grammy performance he plays “XXX,” finishing off the song by saying, “I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America,” as the background dancers all dropped to the floor, following the sound of gunshots. Many believe that this album was one of the most influential and brutally honest albums written in the rap industry and 2017. This album and his future albums will forever leave an impact and continue to spread important messages.
There was just so much hype for this movie, and in the end, all fans got was disappointment. Following the massive success of 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” which was directed by J.J Abrams, “The Last Jedi,” which was directed and written by Rian Johnson created a lot of hype for Star Wars fans. Many characters who returned in this sequel from the other movies were extremely out of character, such as classics like Luke Skywalker and even Leia Organa. It’s unfortunate, because this movie could have been so much, and instead delivered so little.
The movie’s plot is very muddled and it isn’t until almost an hour an half to actually get going (thanks to Rey’s unnecessarily long “Jedi training scenes.”) The First Order knocked out the Resistance’s hyperspace drive (which is what would have let them get away) which meant that all their ship could do is go forward and direct all the remaining energy of their main cruiser to the back shields. So far no problem– in fact, this sort of thing is not foreign to the Star Wars series at all. It all starts to go sour when the control room got blown up, causing Leia to get flung into space. And she survived by using the Force to get her back into the ship. Alright. Characters usually die within milliseconds the moment they’ve gotten into space without any air and heat support, and Leia was out there for at least a minute and twenty seconds. This is forgivable though– not a big deal, right? Well, this isn’t the only time that characters in this movie seem to accomplish some extremely miraculous feat that nobody in the entire Star Wars series has ever accomplished before up to that point.
Luke Skywalker seems to have the ability to ‘astral project’ by using the Force, meaning he can be on multiple planets at once. It is an extremely strong power, and to add it now within the movie franchise completely makes certain scenes from previous movies feel foolish in nature. And finally, there is the problem of Rose’s character. A lot of fans can agree on the fact that Rose’s character was dull and that she added almost nothing to the plot. Then there was the line where she says, “war is about saving those you care about.” On the contrary. That is not what war is about at all!
In so many ways, this movie failed to deliver. I’m hoping that with the next, a lot of these issues are remedied. Otherwise, the franchise will suffer a heavy blow.
Why do people choose to dye their hair colors such as bright red, vibrant purple, or attention-grabbing pink? Where does this desire to have unnatural colored hair come from? What is the reason behind a yearning for a shocking mint color? Is there science behind such a desire? Dying one’s hair a different color – especially rainbow hair – has slowly become a trend, with celebrities like Rihanna, Kesha, Kylie Jenner, and Hilary Duff dyeing their hair. But using bleach and harsh coloring can leave nasty affects to hair, so why are people willing to make this sacrifice just to join in on a trend?
MTV News conducted an interview with a psychologist and celebrity colorist to find out some reasons. As it turns out, those who dye their hair latch onto a simple concept of wanting to stand out in order to fit in. Crazy dye jobs are becoming more and more normal – worn by celebrities and everyday people – and with the human urge to conform, we dye our hair.
Daniel Moon, a celebrity stylist, said, “A color explosion has happened and now is being molded to our lifestyle….” So, this new trend is spreading like wildfire and is becoming part of the way people live, the way people express themselves, and shows, with a bang, how they feel about themselves and the world.
On social media outlets such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, individuals post pictures with interesting and creatively-colored hair, further popularizing the interest in the trend. Individuals may create trends in our society, but technology helps to push these trends into the mainstream– we spread pictures of ourselves and images of what we are doing through hashtags, and when enough people do the same thing, a trend hits its ‘tipping point’ and becomes less ‘alternative’ and more accepted or expected.
Students here at Village have dyed their hair wild colors, affirming that the trend is alive and well. Nicole, a senior, first dyed her hair pink when she was sixteen years old. It then faded to an orangish color when she purposely didn’t touch it up. When asked why she wanted to dye her hair, she said she simply didn’t like her hair in its natural brunette state. She has dyed her hair nine different colors since and now does all of her dye jobs herself; she hasn’t gone to a hair salon in a very long time.
I recently bleached my naturally dark brown hair a total of three times to prep for purple hair dye. I’ve wanted to dye my hair purple (and later ½ black, ½ white, etc.) for a long time as I just like to change up my style sometimes, and hair color is a great way to do that. I get tired of the same old thing, and I’m not someone who needs every day to be so routine, so experimenting with hair color is a way to change things up. I’ve been particularly inspired to attempt to rock colors different colors by my favorite YouTuber, Taylor Terminate.
So, while dyeing one’s hair comes from a paradoxical urge to both stand out and fit in, I hope it’s a cultural trend that sticks around for a while.
If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
You’d initially think the answer is yes, but what if I asked you to search for a deeper meaning? What if the tree represented a person? Does it matter whether it makes a sound or not if no one’s there to hear it?
That’s the premise of the new Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, it tells the story of Evan Hansen, a high school senior with social anxiety disorder who gets himself involved in a tragedy that he has no right to be part of. When his classmate, Connor Murphy, kills himself, Evan lies to Connor’s family about having been his friend. His lie leads him to develop a close relationship with the Murphys (especially their daughter, Zoe, who he has a crush on), achieve popularity, and feel loved and self-confident for the first time in his life… until everything comes crashing down before him, forcing him to fix the mess he’s made.
The songs are remarkable. The orchestra consists of guitar, strings, drums, and piano, giving the soundtrack a contemporary feel. The heartwarming ballad “If I Could Tell Her” seems like it is just that, but it’s actually pretty manipulative–Evan essentially uses Connor’s death to admit his feelings for Zoe. He tells her all the things he loves about her, but claims that Connor was the one who said them. Still, it’s a sweet song, and it gives us insight on both who Zoe is as a person and just how infatuated Evan is with her. The Act 1 finale “You Will Be Found” is a soaring anthem for anyone who has ever felt alone or unloved. It tells us that there is always a way to find light if you are stuck in darkness. All you need to do is ask for help, and someone will hear you and reach out. Then there’s “Good for You,” in which Evan finally gets admonished for everything that has happened, primarily by his mother, Heidi. Heidi lashes out at Evan for rejecting her to spend time with the Murphys. As a single mother, she has worked so hard to support herself and her son, and she deserves more than for him to make her feel like she’s not good enough. Meanwhile, Evan starts to realize that his lie has spiraled out of control, and he wonders frantically how he can fix the situation, fearing there is no solution. Other great songs include “For Forever,” in which Evan tells a false account of a day he and Connor spent together; “Requiem,” in which we see each of the Murphys individually react to Connor’s death; “Only Us,” a love song between Evan and Zoe; and “Words Fail,” in which Evan finally confesses the truth.
But the true standout of the album is “Waving Through a Window,” which takes place at the beginning of the show. In it, Evan reflects on how he’s spent his life watching from the background, always observing and never experiencing. He never speaks up lest he get noticed and judged by others. But now, he starts to realize that because he never gets noticed, very few people know he even exists. Evan broke his arm by falling out of a tree before the events of the show (hence its logo of an arm in a cast), but what we don’t know yet is that the fall was actually a suicide attempt. The fact that no one want to sign his cast only worsens his loneliness. “When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around, do you ever really crash or even make a sound?” he sings, and repeats, until he escalates to, “Did I even make a sound? It’s like I never made a sound, will I ever make a sound?” To question whether you matter to people is one of the most depressing things one can experience, and this is a question that has been circling around in Evan’s mind for months at least. It’s heartbreaking and honest, but also hopeful. The musical truly understands what it’s like inside the minds of people who feel lost and unseen, and so it reaches out to them and reminds them that they are not alone and that they matter.
The amazing thing about the show’s soundtrack is how much you can empathize with the characters. What Evan does is definitely wrong, but he isn’t portrayed as a completely bad person; rather, he’s shown as a teen who longs for understanding and connection and who finds himself in a situation he feels he can’t get out of. He still isn’t excused from what he’s done, but one can understand why he does it: he doesn’t want Connor’s family to know how isolated their son was, and he’s never gotten this kind of attention and affection from anyone before. Ben Platt, who plays Evan, perfectly captures the character’s inner turmoil and yearning for being heard. His performance feels authentic; oftentimes it seems like he’s not playing Evan, but he’s being Evan. And Rachel Bay Jones, who plays his mother, has incredible range. She displays so much strength in her performance that it’s a pity she’s not in more songs. The entire cast is superbly talented; though it only consists of eight people, everyone fits their role perfectly and together they make a great ensemble.
My one complaint about the soundtrack is that there’s a lot of information that it leaves out. If someone listens to the musical but can’t afford Broadway tickets, there’s a lot that they will miss out on. Nowhere in the album does it mention that Evan tried to kill himself, and it leaves out several other important plot points as well. While the soundtrack is 57 minutes in total, the full show lasts two and a half hours, so we miss out on more than half of the show’s content, which is unfortunate. But the content that we do get to listen to via the album is quite memorable and there’s no doubt it’ll get stuck in your head.
Dear Evan Hansen is a perfect starting point for people who are interested in listening to Broadway soundtracks but don’t know where to start. It doesn’t have as many songs as most other musicals, the music is catchy, and it’s incredibly relatable. If you’ve ever felt like an outsider longing to fit in, this is a great musical for you.
Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan, who played Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the Broadway hit Hamilton, is set to replace Josh Groban in the new musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.
Onaodowan will play Pierre, a wealthy aristocrat going through an existential crisis. Groban will depart the show on July 2, and Onaodowan will replace him the day afterward and stay until September 4. This will be his fourth Broadway show after Cyrano de Bergerac, Rocky, and Hamilton.
The musical, often called simply Great Comet, is an electropop adaptation of a seventy-page portion of War and Peace. Onaodowan, the son of Nigerian immigrants, will play opposite Denée Benton as Natasha, so the two leads will be played by black actors despite the show taking place in nineteenth-century Russia.
“Having the opportunity to have two black actors star is, to me, irrefutably huge,” Benton said to the New York Times about the casting choice. “Actors of color definitely feel the limitation to have to tell the stories the world has decided are your own, when if you look at the breadth of characters handsome white males can play, they’re given access to the whole range. It’s exciting to have that same opportunity.”
Onaodowan, who is known for his range and versatility as an actor, will have to learn to play the accordion and focus more on singing than rapping, giving audiences a chance to see more of his skills. “It’s very different from what I’ve done before–there’s a lot to dig into,” he said.
[Note: This was posted after the Oscars but was written beforehand.]
2016 has been a great year for movies. We’ve gotten another Star Wars movie; a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book; two new films added to the Disney animated canon; a bunch of great superhero movies; and a fantastic Harry Potter spinoff, to name a few. One would expect the 89th Academy Awards to be very exciting, considering the vast number of wonderful movies that came out this year. However, they have been almost entirely dominated by the colorful, jubilant movie musical, La La Land, which received fourteen nominations, tying the record set by All About Eve and Titanic. It is poised to win Best Picture, the Academy’s highest honor, as well as Best Director, Best Actress for Emma Stone, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, and a number of others.
But is La La Land really the best movie of the year? Although it wowed critics and those in the movie industry, it also has its share of detractors. Many have criticized it for its lack of diversity, especially since it centers around a white man trying preserve traditional jazz, which was created by black people. Additionally, the screenplay is fairly weak; if you take away the happy tunes and bright colors, it’s just another straight white romance. At times, it feels a bit like it’s trying too hard to be a masterpiece. And Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film’s two leads, are just mediocre singers. Still, all this is unlikely to stop La La Land from winning several awards. It provides an escape from reality, something people especially long for during the current political climate. The music is catchy, and the film looks utterly beautiful. Plus, the Academy loves movies about Hollywood. If La La Land wins Best Picture, it would be quite unfortunate that the award would be so predictable and unexciting. It is highly unlikely that it won’t get the honor, but not entirely impossible.
Moonlight, which has eight nominations, is the only film likely to block La La Land’s path to victory. It is the transcendent coming-of-age story of Chiron, a gay black man growing up in poverty in Miami. When he is bullied by his peers and abused by his mother, he learns to shield his true self away from everyone for his own protection. It’s a reminder of the repercussions we face when we persecute others and when we refuse to open up to people. In a time when everyone tells you to love yourself and be yourself (statements that feel more empty the more we hear them), writer-director Barry Jenkins gave us a beautiful, poignant film showing what could happen if we don’t. Rarely has there ever been a movie more deserving of the Best Picture Oscar.
This year had countless movies with strong performances from leading actresses, so it’s a shame that Emma Stone will be the one to come out on top (and that Meryl Streep was nominated for the 20th time over the likes of Amy Adams, Annette Bening, and Taraji P. Henson). Sure, Stone was great in La La Land, so great that it’s almost easy to forget how underdeveloped her character is. However, it’s not hard to act as an aspiring actress when you were once an aspiring actress yourself. Natalie Portman, on the other hand, deals with much harder work in Jackie, playing Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following her husband’s assassination. Yet somehow, she does it perfectly. With the help of Mica Levi’s eerie score, Portman devastatingly illustrates the grief and sorrow that haunts Jackie each day while at the same time maintaining a smiling facade for the public.
Casey Affleck seemed like a shoo-in for Best Actor at first, after having won the Golden Globe and the Critic’s Choice awards, among many others, for his performance as a janitor haunted by his troubled past. But Denzel Washington’s surprise win at the SAG Awards shook things up, and Affleck’s sexual assault allegations from 2010 have also clouded his path. Affleck is still the frontrunner, but it is certainly possible that Washington could beat him and win his third Oscar. Both actors give astonishing performances. Affleck subtly and devastatingly shatters on the inside, while Washington explodes with fiery passion. Either one would be a worthy winner in the category, but if Washington wins, he would ignite far less controversy than Affleck would.
Viola Davis might as well already have her Oscar. She does amazing work in Fences, matching and even outshining the talent of Denzel Washington. It feels wrong to call it a performance, because it feels like she isn’t acting the part, but effortlessly being the part. That being said, fellow nominee Naomie Harris filmed her role in Moonlight in a total of three days with no rehearsals, and she stuns audiences with her harsh, heartbreaking portrayal of Chiron’s crack-addicted, abusive mother. Davis fully deserves her Oscar, but Harris’s work is brilliant as well and should not get overlooked.
Supporting Actor frontrunner Mahershala Ali plays Juan, a warm-hearted drug dealer who becomes Chiron’s father figure in Moonlight. Many were moved by his character, who does not have much screen time but uses the time he has to bring inspiration, support, and encouragement to both Chiron and audiences. He will most likely and deservedly win the Oscar come Sunday.
The Best Animated Feature category should be a tighter race than it is. This year was a great year for animated movies, and all of the contenders are beautifully animated and highly original. Perhaps the most inventive of the five nominees is Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings. Set in Japan, it tells the story of a boy who can magically influence origami with a three-stringed guitar. Aided by a monkey and a beetle, he sets out on a quest to save his family from the evil Moon King and find out what happened to his samurai father. It’s unfair that Kubo will lose to Zootopia, which is a great movie but nowhere near as breathtaking as Kubo’s visuals, stop motion animation, and innovative, dark story.
The 89th Academy Awards take place on Sunday, February 26th and are hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Metalcore band Asking Alexandria recently released their highly anticipated fourth full-length album, The Black. It’s their first album with new vocalist Denis Shaforostov (AKA, Denis Stoff), who replaced Danny Worsnop when Worsnop departed in January 2015. On May 26, 2015, Stoff was officially announced as the lead vocalist.
When asked if he had considered anyone else for the role, lead guitarist Ben Bruce stated “it has to be Denis.” He then went on topraise Stoff’s vocal range, which is much better than Worsnop’s. Stoff also had been a fan of the band and so was familiar with the earlier material. However, when Stoff himself was asked about how he would distinguish himself from Worsnop, he said that he wouldn’t make any comparisons, since they are two completely different people.
Asking Alexandria opens up their album with a pure banger, “Let it Sleep”. The song kicks off with some distorted guitars and when the whole song kicks in, it pummels its listeners with fast guitars, double kick drums, and screamed vocals. Some other highlights of this album are the heavy songs, which is what the band is mainly known for. Some of those songs are ‘The Lost Souls”, “Undivided”, and really cool and unique songs like, “The Black.”
The band also recorded some major throwback songs, which happen to be my personal favorites, such as “Circled By The Wolves” and “Just A Slave To Rock ‘n Roll.” While a great album in all, there two “eh” moments. Some of the lyrics were kind of cheesy and overdone. Although the songs show off Stoff’s vocal range (which is immense and really beautiful), the song “Send Me Home” was just so over done. It comes off as an attempt at an anthem or a radio-friendly song, but doesn’t quite work. They definitely pulled off the other softer songs like, “Here I Am”, and “We’ll Be OK.” Overall, this album is a definite 9.5/10.
Click below for links to the album stream, the band’s website, and their label’s site and channel:
Asking Alexandria website
Asking Alexandria official twitter
Asking Alexandria Facebook page
Sumerian Records You Tube channel