Category Archives: Arts

Flat characters deflate Woody Allen’s latest

By Angel Santana
Pennsauken, NJ

Woody Allen’s new film, “Café Society,” features some of the most flawless actors in Hollywood today: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell. Allen is a highly respected director and is one of the most experienced directors alive. While the film has a lot of potential, it falls short.

Taking place in the 1930s, Eisenberg plays an awkward, ambitious young man named Bobby Dorfman who leaves his bickering parents, gangster brother and loving sister in New York to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. His uncle, Phil, played by Carell, is a major talent agent who hires Bobby to do odd jobs. Bobby meets Phil’s secretary, Vonnie, played by Kristen Stewart, and falls in love with her. However, Vonnie has a boyfriend. Continue reading

“Café Society”: Stunning visuals, lackluster plot

By Katie Okumu
Berea, KY

In the twilight of Woody Allen’s career, he has created a substantial array of movies that have struggled to match the originality and depth of his earlier works.

In “Café Society,” his most recent endeavor at storytelling, Allen tells a familiar narrative through another awkwardly bumbling lead actor in a different period (1930s America).

Jesse Eisenberg plays Bobby, a down on his luck, Jewish, New York-native who moves to Hollywood in order to work for his celebrity agent Uncle Phil (Steve Carell).  Continue reading

“Jenkins” hits the right notes

By Kay-Ann Henry
Miami Gardens, FL

Just in: Meryl Streep is an unbelievable actress. OK, that isn’t anything new. After all, she has been nominated for 19 Academy Awards. She is the solute, and her roles are solvents; she always blends together outstanding solutions. Her performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins” is no different.

Streep plays the title character, a wealthy American socialite who seems to have everything —except the one thing she really wants. Set in 1944, the movie tells the true story of a woman whose love for music drives her to a memorable —and completely awful—concert in Carnegie Hall. Streep’s performance is both hilarious and poignant. She successfully portrays someone who is grounded enough to function in society, but detached enough that she can’t recognize her lack of musical ability.  Continue reading

Streep shines in “Florence Foster Jenkins”

By Meherina Khan
Katy, TX

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a biographical comedy that follows the eponymous New York socialite and philanthropist, played by Meryl Streep, as she strives to establish herself as a passionate—though not very talented—opera singer. Although enthusiastic, every yelp and moan was so awful; it was hard to suppress the tears and winces that came along with hearing such an unpleasant voice.

As a rich patron of the arts, it wasn’t hard for Jenkins to buy out Carnegie Hall and live out her deeply vested dream to perform. Her concert became legendary—more for her ability to be tone deaf rather than her skill to carry a botched tune.  Continue reading

Play fails to live up to the myth

By Jasmin Lee
Oakland Gardens, N.Y.

When Orpheus looked back, Eurydice disappeared — so did the audience.

Directed by Wesley Cornwell and written by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, Eurydice retells the myth of Orpheus and his wife in a modernized setting from Eurydice’s perspective.

The play was not memorable. The production did have some clever aspects and notable scenes supported by a strong cast. However, the modernization didn’t capture the essence of the original. The humor didn’t correlate with the narrative and some of the concepts were too abstract. Continue reading

‘Eurydice’ confounds, entices audiences

By Sharon Bayantemur
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Whether it’s a creative use of string to serve as a makeshift wedding ring or unnatural sounding dialogue at the beginning of the play, “Eurydice” has its ups and downs. Its theme of ambiguity is established early in the play when Orpheus describes a song he wrote as “interesting or not interesting. It just is.”

The Princeton Summer Theatre’s production, written by Sarah Ruhl, is running from Aug. 6-16 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. It’s a modern take on an ancient Greek myth in which a half-mortal, Orpheus, enters the underworld to save the woman he loves. This version was centered on Eurydice instead of Orpheus and how he is able to charm people around him with his music. Continue reading

Rihanna challenges white feminism in controversial new video

By Misbah Awan
Queens, N.Y.

I am not an avid viewer of celebrity videos, partially because they don’t interest me but mostly because I know if I were to invest in watching them, I would feel as if my brain cells were slowly dying because of how these stars are represented.

Rihanna is different. She co-directed her most recently released video, “Bitch Better Have My Money.” While some white, female critics demonstrated discomfort with Rihanna’s video, I was not shocked by what I saw. I was amused. Continue reading

McKellen makes ‘Holmes’ worth watching

By Katherine Powell
Chicago, Ill.

In Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes, Ian McKellen plays Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictitious detective. Holmes has retired to the countryside, to tend to bees and try to remember his last case, which led him to retire from his detective work. Holmes knows that the popular novel written by Watson has incorrectly made him the hero, but he has lost the threads of his memory. He lives in his home with a housekeeper, the widowed Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her son Roger. Holmes is his typical gruff self, untangling the facts and investigating his own memory, while he grapples with his failing mind and feelings of loneliness.

One theme of the film is how much people need other people. Holmes spends his time trying to reconstruct the facts of his final investigation. He discovers that his fundamental mistake was not offering comfort to the woman, just cold facts. He realizes that logic is not the only thing that matters, and he becomes close to his housekeeper and her son, establishing a very sweet connection with the two. Continue reading

McKellen can’t save disappointing ‘Holmes’

By Jasmin Lee
Oakland Gardens, N.Y.

When you hear the name Sherlock Holmes, an image of a lanky man wearing a deerstalker and smoking a pipe in the shadows of a dark alleyway comes to mind. Mr. Holmes, directed by Bill Condon and based on Mitch Cullin’s novel, “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” offers a very different Holmes.

The film features an elderly Holmes (Ian McKellen) residing in a Sussex village with a widowed housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her 14-year-old son Roger (Milo Parker). Set in 1947, the film centers on a tormented Holmes, who is haunted by fading memories of a 30-year-old case that caused him to go into retirement. Continue reading

Hoffman shines in dull spy feature

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

By Catherina Gioino
Queens, N.Y.

In a society where fears of terrorism are often racially and religiously-charged, there comes a point at which people must rethink their prejudices. Such is the message of “A Most Wanted Man,” a film set in a post-September 11th era when governments are on the lookout for terrorists.

A darkening title card sets the tone for the film, by detailing the German government’s failure to detect Mohammad Atta, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks. Some time later, Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) — a man sought after by counterterrorism officials — mysteriously appears in Hamburg. Karpov, a suspected Chechen terrorist, is the initial subject of investigation by Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a troubled and brilliant spy. Continue reading