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Best of 2023

By The Arts & Features Staff


‘My Hero Academia’ Season 6

By Raena Doty

Arts & Features Editor


Fans of “My Hero Academia” went through a lot in 2023, and while the ongoing manga can seem daunting to someone looking to get into the fandom, the anime offers a good entry point for newcomers.


Jumping straight into the action, the sixth season starts with a climactic battle against the Paranormal Liberation Army. Even for fans who are in the story for the drama less than the flashy Quirks, there are plenty of moments of exposition from already compelling plotlines.


The second half of the season is where the show really shines, though. The high-conflict stakes never give up even in the moments of rest, which makes it so any binge watcher won’t be able to hit “next episode” fast enough.


The worldbuilding and the relationships among characters keep getting deeper as the season progresses. Just when you think the conflict couldn’t be any more tense, a new bombshell is dropped and you’re presented with more decisions about what is right and wrong, good and bad - what it means to be a hero and a villain.


Ultimately, it’s a show for anyone who really wants to sink their teeth into and pull apart the high tensions of what it means to be a good person. Though it may be written under the aesthetics of superheroes, the story is about so much more, and has something for everyone.


As the conflict ramps up in “My Hero Academia,” there’s never been a better time to get in on the show - after all, there’s now fewer than 100 days until the premiere of the seventh season on May 4. But that means you only have to watch fewer than two episodes a day to catch up!


Marcus Falcão / THE GATEPOST

‘Saltburn’

By Jack McLaughlin

Arts & Features Editor


“Saltburn” got everyone who saw it talking about it when it was released in November. Critics were split on director Emerald Fennell’s latest film, but I think it was easily one of the best to come out all year.


Ollie (Barry Keoghan) is spending his summer with his wealthy friend Felix (Jacob Elordi) at his family’s estate. As Ollie’s stay continues, mysteries begin to unravel and increasingly disturbing things are happening in the home. 


What makes “Saltburn” so intriguing is seeing how far it will go in terms of trying to shock you. A handful of the scenes left my jaw hanging in disbelief, but as messed up as they were it all served a purpose that was so satisfying to see play out. 


Barry Keoghan absolutely delivers as the lead. Ollie’s development throughout took fantastic turns and by the end you’ll be so conflicted on whether he is a noble protagonist or the villain of the story. 


Felix and his family are so entertaining to watch act together - the obvious “fakeness” they display around each other is always a delight to see and its contrast to Ollie’s character makes for an interesting dynamic. 


I can safely say that “Saltburn” is not for the faint of heart. There are parts that I’m probably not even allowed to describe here, so tread carefully if that’s not your cup of tea. 


“Saltburn” packed its 127-minute runtime with fantastic performances, gorgeous visuals, and shocking sequences of debauchery.


Emily Monaco / THE GATEPOST

‘Extraction 2’

By Adam Levine

Editorial Staff


“Extraction 2” is a must-watch sequel to its original - “Extraction” - and shows why they are the seventh and eighth most-watched Netflix original movies, respectively, according to MovieWeb. 


Director Sam Hargrave incorporated the same intense, high-paced, well-crafted action sequences from the first movie and added a clear, concise backstory to Tyler Rake’s life.


Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of Rake, the main character of the series, highlights the character’s emotional dilemma between his job as a mercenary and his tendency to play the “hero” role.


Rake is a mercenary and the series follows the same mission - the extraction of an assigned target.


While the first movie displays Rake’s business-like nature of a mercenary on a mission, the sequel continues the emotionally-driven finale of the first movie.


When Rake’s ex-wife Mia (Olga Kurylenko) seeks his help to extract her sister and kids from an impossible position, Rake knows this is a mission he cannot pass up.


Rake stops at nothing to rescue his former sister-in-law Ketevan (Tinatin Dalakishvili) and her son and daughter from a Georgian prison in a seemingly never-ending, well-choreographed action sequence.


Hargrave uses many of the main characters from the first movie, such as the brother-sister duo of Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yaz Khan (Adam Bessa), while delving into Rake’s former life.


Although Hargrave incorporates many clichés from this action-style movie, his originality shows and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.


Sit down and binge the first two movies before Hargrave’s third movie of the trilogy is released in the next year.


Ben Hurney / THE GATEPOST

‘Bomb Rush Cyberfunk’

By Paul Harrington

Staff Writer


Out of the various releases of video games in 2023, I believe one indie game held its own amongst long awaited triple A launches with bigger fan bases and lucrative marketing campaigns. 


Team Reptile’s “Bomb Rush Cyberfunk” is an adventure platformer that can be defined as a spiritual successor to SEGA’s “Jet Set Radio” franchise that meshes the themes of rebellion and graffiti art into an adventure that anyone can enjoy.


It offers new players a refreshing platforming experience centered around using skateboards, BMX bikes, and rollerblades, and spraying graffiti signs as you go “All City” with your crew. 

 

Accessibility is a big factor in why I think “Bomb Rush Cyberfunk” is one of the best games of 2023. The game can be bought on the major home consoles and can be played on PC. 


“Bomb Rush Cyberfunk” also is priced at a very affordable rate of $39.99. Nowadays, gamers are used to paying over $60 for a new launch on a video game.


“Bomb Rush Cyberfunk” features music and graffiti from independent musicians and artists, and the choice to have “Jet Set Radio’s” legendary music composer Hideki Naganuma music on the track adds to the feeling of authenticity of the game's experience.


One might think they need to play “Jet Set Radio” before diving into “Bomb Rush Cyberfunk,” but that is more than wrong. “Bomb Rush Cyberfunk” is welcoming to any gamer looking for a fun adventure platformer to sink their time into. 


I just cannot get enough of “Bomb Rush Cyberfunk.”


David Abe / THE GATEPOST

‘Monster’

By Owen Glancy 

Asst. Arts & Features Editor 


“Monster” is the latest film from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, and it is by far the most underrated movie from last year. This is easily the director’s most approachable work, since it moves much faster than his last few films, and is more refined than his early work. 


The performances are what really stand out here, and they are electrifying. Even if most of the film is just talking in rooms, these performances combined with Kore-eda’s brilliant direction makes every scene riveting. 


The level of the child acting is especially impressive, given how emotional and devastating the story is toward these characters. They honestly give such moving and powerful performances that it wouldn’t be absurd to call them Oscar worthy.  


On the writing front, this is one of the director’s strongest films. While not as great as some of the other films from last year - “Oppenheimer” and “May December” come to mind - it still holds its own against its competitors and succeeds in being the most emotionally resonant script of the year. 


The choice to have this story play out in a style similar to films like “Rashomon,” where one event is told from multiple different perspectives, is fascinating. Having something as intimate and personal as adolescence be broken down like this is both devastating and intriguing. We see the dark side of every character, and in the end, who was in the right and how that situation ended is ultimately left up to the audience. 


“Monster” is a truly emotional film that both warms and breaks hearts with its delicate performances, masterful direction, and brilliant writing. If there’s any film from 2023 that deserves more attention, “Monster” is undoubtedly it. 


‘RUSH! (ARE U COMING?)’

By Heather Nuttall

Staff Writer


Since their 2021 Eurovision win, viral rock sensation Måneskin have captured the attention of fans worldwide with their unique blend of Italian and English songwriting. They released their highly anticipated third studio album - “RUSH!” - in January 2023.


Their deluxe November record - “RUSH! (ARE U COMING?)” - invites listeners further into their world of powerful vocals, fast-paced rock, and thumping bass that echoes down the spine.


The album features four additional songs, including “VALENTINE” - a rock ballad which interweaves guitar and crashing symbols with a tale of suffocating love. As Damiano David sings “All this love,” over and over in the final chorus, we feel his breathlessness fade away into Thomas Raggi’s unstoppable guitar solo.


Also added are “OFF MY FACE,” “THE DRIVER,” and “TRASTEVERE.”


“THE DRIVER” perfectly captures the essence of Måneskin’s discography to date. “Don’t do it slow,” David sings at the end of the pre-chorus. The band promises throughout to be a catalyst for the listener - “the driver” - that propels them to new heights of experience.


And they deliver. The rest of the album features some of my personal favorites. From the bassline of “GASOLINE” to the determined lyrics of “IL DONO DELLA VITA,” each song cements the band’s lively and unapologetic style.


With the addition of “THE LONELIEST” as its final song - a ballad that acts as a farewell to life and a conclusion to the love story that inspired previous tracks - Måneskin have delivered an album entirely their own, soaked in glitter, champagne, and heartache.


Liv Dunleavy / THE GATEPOST

‘D-DAY’

By Liv Dunleavy

Staff Writer


In 2023, I was told the “future’s gonna be OK.” What got me through was the promise of the much anticipated release of Agust D’s (also known as Suga/Yoongi from BTS) third album “D-DAY.” 


With the success of his previous mixtapes “Agust D” and “D2,” fans were buzzing for the opportunity to relish in more of Yoongi’s lyrical prowess. “D-DAY” as an album continues the story of Yoongi’s passions, touches on his personal growth and experiences, and dives deep into his own emotional hell.


What sets him apart from other musicians is his ability to be emotionally vulnerable with his fans. He can confide in, share his trauma with, and brag to us, because we eat up his accomplishments as if they were our own.


Songs like “Amygdala” have a special place in our hearts, with lyrics that bring the listener through a journey of trials and tribulations he has faced, and his wish for his amygdala (a part of the brain responsible for processing threatening incidents and responding emotionally) to aid and help him feel something after enduring trauma. 


The greatest part of this album release is the world tour. His visits to multiple countries around the world and performances of his album changed lives, if not just mine. The energy he exuded whilst being sick was top tier, as BTS always delivers. 


He even performed multiple of his classic hits such as “Tony Montana,” “AGUST D,” and BTS’ rap line track “UGH!” 


Agust D once again proves his goals remain the same from day one - he will make history, and he will carve himself into it.


‘Priscilla’

By Bella Omar

Asst. Arts & Features Editor


Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla” whisks viewers through years of stardom-adjacent excitement, isolation and most importantly growing up, all through the director’s signature beautiful visuals. 


Glamorous costuming by Stacey Battat and saturated shots of excess and romance make the relationship between Elvis Presley (played by man-of-the-hour Jacob Elordi) and Priscilla Presley (played by Cailee Spaeny) almost feel fantastical and bring the audience to a place of uncomfortable naivety. 


Scenes featuring her high school graduation and frustrated math homework montages emphasize just how groomed Priscilla was and how rushed her childhood really was by a whirlwind romance with the much older king of rock-and-roll.


Priscilla is placed within a sad white and blue shag-rug-adorned interior as a hopeful new ornament to Elvis’ life. She waits patiently for the fairytale romance he promised - politely posing herself on spotless furniture and teasing her new jet black hair as high as he wills it. 


Coppola paints Priscilla in Elvis’ doll-like light in the sterile dollhouse of Graceland. He dresses her to his taste, doesn’t expect her to speak or think, and abandons Priscilla whenever he is finished playing with her.


Shiney cars, parties and Elvis's posse of almost equally fabulous friends quickly go from exciting to imprisonment for our heroine as the rockstar's patience and affection dwindle.


Only after years of neglect, grooming, and abuse does she realize she spent the better part of her teen years chasing a relationship that would never exist. 


Coming out only a mere year after the significantly less impactful Elvis feature by Baz Luhrmann, Coppola tactfully created a phenomenal story that had viewers grieving Priscilla’s young adult life all while in awe of her growing up.

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