VlogReviews: 3C2C

This week, VlogDH peeked into the rehearsals for 3C2C (3 Chairs, 2 Cubes), Brown’s undergraduate playwriting festival. Featuring five student-written and student-directed short plays, 3C2C presents the viewer with a healthy combination of absurd, moving, and hilarious moments that demonstrate the creative passion of all involved. 

To see the festival, swing by Production Workshop (7 Young Orchard Ave.) at any of these times: 

October 24th – 5pm

October 25th – 8pm

October 26th – 8pm

*Runtime is approximately 70 minutes.


What a Time To Be Alive: A BlogDH review

On his second mixtape release this year, Drake teams up with Future for What a Time to Be Alive. Of course, Drake is basically a hip-hop demigod whereas Future is better known for his features on songs like “Love Me” and “PNF,”  both of which happen to feature Drake as well. So why hook up with Future? The dude has hits but does he really have bars?

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While What a Time took just seven days to complete with most of the production supervised by from Atlanta producer Metro Boomin (Honest, Skyfall, Tuesday) it’s a polished, cohesive body of work. But even though Metro and Future – also from Atlanta – have a long history of working together, this is still through and through a Drake album; he dominates every song with superior lyricism, style, and overall prowess.

Many of the enjoyable songs on What a Time to Be Alive tap the same vein that made songs like “Hotline Bling” and “Legend” radio hits. Drake’s rhyming is subdued; he appears less interested in rhymes and wordplay than he is in vocally evoking his emotions. On “Diamonds Dancing,” Drake takes the spotlight with a two-minute long outro. With synths swirling in the background, he croons: “How can you live with yourself / Ungrateful, ungrateful / Your momma be ashamed of you / I haven’t even heard from you, not a single word from you.” It’s an instant jam. I’m brought back to 11th grade, standing out in the pouring rain waiting for the love of my life to come outside. She never came.

Listening to Drake like: how could you do this to me

Listening to Drake like: how could you do this to me…

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A real Martian reviews “The Martian”

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Above: not a Martian

I mean, where do I even begin? You all have been pretty nosy this week, what with the finding water last Monday. And NASA releasing all those pictures! I mean some solitude would be nice, really. Just because you all like looking your house up on Google Earth doesn’t mean you get to involve other planets in your sick voyeurism. We didn’t ask to be number one at the box office this weekend. We are a species which values privacy, and if you can’t give us that, at the very least, accuracy please.

First of all, Matt Damon is not a Martian. He just isn’t. Being on Mars does not make you a Martian any more than visiting China makes you Chinese. And if you want to call Mars a, “hostile environment”, maybe stop trying to sell planetary colonization efforts to the public (cough cough NASA/SpaceX/MarsOne). No one is making you come. No one is making you stay.

That said, the performances were pretty good. I would listen to Jessica Chastain tell me to do anything. Donald Glover and Kristen Wiig actually killed the high budget drama. Although, I’m not entirely sure I count this as a drama. Matt Damon did say the words, “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this”, so let’s take the category of drama with a grain of salt. Who wrote this thing? He also talks to his plants a lot.

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“Slow West” brings the Wild West to Ivy Film Festival

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I walked into the Avon expecting to see indie-er version of True Grit. Instead, I was taken along an absurd 84-minute adventure through director John Maclean’s surreal vision of the American West.

Slow West follows the hapless journey of Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a young Scotsman making his way across the frontier in pursuit of unrequited love. In the opening scene, Silas (Michael Fassbender), a rugged and mysterious outlaw, saves Jay from bandits and offers to chaperone him for the rest of his journey in exchange for money. As they ride on, they are pursued by a hodgepodge group of bounty-hunters, and Silas’s true motive for accompanying Jay is revealed.

The film is a parody of a western movie with an interesting twist, since the main character is European. Some scenes are cliché to the point of hilarity, while others are punctuated by dark humor that leaves the audience chuckling in the wake of extreme misfortune.

However, it would be wrong to label Slow West as a comedy. Death and violence in the movie come out of desperation. In one scene, Silas shoots an immigrant mother who attempts to rob a general store with her husband. As Silas leaves, two young freshly-orphaned children are seen waiting outside, utterly helpless.

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Album Review: Sufjan Stevens’ “Carrie and Lowell”

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It’s been four and a half years since Sufjan Stevens last released a studio album, and the folk singer’s latest offering is worth the wait. Carrie and Lowell, Stevens’ seventh album, named for his mother and step-father, is a return to more familiar sounds for Stevens.

Stevens’ 2010 album The Age of Adz was a radical departure from his previous works, blending electronic sounds with his more traditional instrumentation to create a booming and, at times, disquieting experience. While I thoroughly enjoyed the new direction, it seems that Stevens has decided to put that style on hold for Carrie and Lowell, instead favoring a more subtle acoustic approach to the music. The moniker of “folk music” certainly fits this album more than the last. Yet, Carrie and Lowell does not feel similar to Stevens’ 2005 smash hit Illinois, either, which prominently featured layered orchestration and a bombastic, energetic sound on many of its tracks. Carrie and Lowell feels most similar to his 2003 album Michigan to me. Stevens’ voice is central in most of the tracks, and the combination of it and his acoustic guitar provide a soothing atmosphere throughout the album.

Stevens’ talent for lyrics has not left him, and his curious talent for mixing his religious experiences into his songs without making “Christian music” still serves him well. Carrie and Lowell, as the name suggests, was prominently inspired by Stevens’ experiences with his family. His mother passed away in 2012, and this provides context for one of the album’s standout tracks, “The Fourth of July.” The theme of reminiscing on childhood, and about wondering if one has made the correct choices since then, is another important aspect of the album.

With eleven tracks, the longest of which just surpasses five minutes in length, Carrie and Lowell is a faster listen than other of his albums, but rewards repeated listens. Standout tracks include “Should Have Known Better,” “Fourth of July,” “The Only Thing,” and “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross.” I can’t recommend cherry-picking songs, though; Carrie and Lowell is best experienced as a whole.

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Skewers opened (… and it’s not great)

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Let me premise this post by saying I really, really wanted to  like Skewers. First of all, I am a fan of cheap, to-go, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine. I was excited to return from break to find this obnoxious, kind of ugly sign above the old Thayer Street Cleansers location promising kabob wraps–kabob wraps that would be about three blocks closer to my house than East Side Pockets! Then, a week later, we at BlogDH discovered their Facebook page:

 

 

And so my excitement about Skewers only grew. Seriously, falafels and typos are two of my favorite things. A typo as awkward as that can make me laugh for a week or two. Also considering the fact that sharing their Facebook page from Blog’s got them a solid 20 likes, I thought Kaboobs and I could be good friends. (They still haven’t added anything to their Facebook page or corrected the typo. Their website also looks like this, so it seemed like they would fit in perfectly with the many odd and dysfunctional Thayer establishments we love).

Unfortunately, Skewers is just not very good. It’s actually kinda bad. My first tip-off was when a fellow blogger, who’d actually fought me for this joy of reviewing Kaboobs Skewers, sent me this screenshot of his newsfeed:

sucks

 

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