By The Arts & Features Staff
By Ryan O’Connell
Arts & Features Editor
In a year of great murder mysteries, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” takes the cake - and it isn’t just because of Daniel Craig’s fantastic Southern drawl.
As a sequel to 2019’s “Knives Out,” “Glass Onion” spends almost no time muddying the waters by acknowledging the first film. Craig is back as Benoit Blanc, and that’s where the overlap ends.
This separation from the first film not only allows the time it needs to introduce and characterize an array of suspects, but also helps ease viewers who haven’t seen the first film into its world.
Like its name, “Glass Onion” is layered in its mysteries - beginning with the reason for Benoit’s invitation, progressing to the questionable state of the casts’ relationships, and ending with a scramble for hidden evidence of a murder and theft.
There is rarely a dull moment while tracing the intertwining paths, motives, and alibis of the eight main characters - plus our favorite detective - which allow a few twists to surprise the viewer while they’re focused.
As the evil billionaire Miles Bron would say - this is one film you’re going to want to fully inbreathiate!
By Sophia Harris, Editorial Staff
The release of SZA’s new album “SOS” in December 2022 brings back memories of her nostalgic songs that every teenager growing up in 2015 remembers.
Every song is beautifully written, and the songs flow together perfectly in the album.
I wholeheartedly rate the album a 10 out of 10.
I would like to include that the contributors to this album such as Phoebe Bridgers and Don Toliver make this album stand out compared to her other albums. Bridgers and Toliver add layers to this album that are unparalleled to her other albums.
Their contributions perfectly reimagine her mission with this album which is to reinvent how a relationship can affect two people completely differently.
From everything to her cover, representing a famous picture of Princess Diana to her title track “SOS” which is representative of how even though during the break up you can feel helpless, the only one that can save you is yourself.
It perfectly captures the feeling of being in a one-sided relationship, and not knowing how to escape it.
Her songs portray stages of grief that a woman goes through when experiencing a breakup from anger in her first song in the album “Kill Bill” to bargaining in the song “Nobody Gets Me” and acceptance in the song “Seek & Destroy.”
She touches on the delicacy of female rage, and how even if you are going through a breakup, it can still be beautiful to find yourself again.
‘Reacher’ - Alan Ritchson
By Adam Levine
Years after Tom Cruise’s performance of the titular character of the “Jack Reacher” movie series, Amazon Prime released the first season of their television series adaptation of Lee Child’s book, “Killing Floor,” on Feb. 3, 2022.
The eight-episode series follows a new adaptation of Jack Reacher, played by Alan Ritchson, as he untangles himself from a conspiracy in the town of Margrave, Georgia.
Reacher is a retired military police officer who relies on his training and experience to clear his name of the mess.
The viewer follows Reacher as he makes new friends, creates more enemies, and ultimately uncovers more about the conspiracy consuming Margrave.
As the light shines the truth on everyone’s secrets, Reacher finds himself closer to danger.
The intensity of Reacher’s character captivated me and thrilled my mind.
The season one mystery comes to a climax with an incredible display of action. “Reacher” finds the perfect balance between drama, action, thriller, and a sprinkle of comedy to create a riveting series.
I am anticipating the eventual release of season two, and any lover of the drama, action, or mystery genres should watch “Reacher” before the next season is released.
By Jack McLaughlin, Staff Writer
After “Nope,” it’s clear that writer/director Jordan Peele has yet to miss when making a film.
This film is Peele’s own spin on a summer blockbuster, inspired by elements from iconic films of the past which all culminate in the best watch of the year.
OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) discover an extraterrestrial force wreaks havoc on their home and devise a plan to catch evidence of it.
Tension is where the horror aspect works best. One of the most terrifying moments in the film was the entire sequence featuring the character Gordy, which will leave you breathless when watching.
Michael Abel’s score is fantastic, taking a lot of western film inspiration. The scene attached to the track “The Run (Urban Legend)” is one of the best moments and is elevated so much by the musical piece.
The cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema helps make the disturbing moments never leave your brain. The most striking image is the scene where blood is raining down on the ranch during an encounter with the alien.
“Nope” will give you everything you want in an exciting blockbuster with resonating elements of horror sprinkled in.
‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’
By Leighah Beausoleil, Editor-in-Chief
Everyone knows celebrity memoirs are either a hit or a major miss.
I think it is safe to say former “iCarly” and “Sam & Cat” star Jennette McCurdy knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote her 2022 bestseller, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” which details her experiences as a child actor, a Mormon, and living with an abusive mother.
Under the guidance of her mother, McCurdy entered the world of acting and disordered eating. Wanting to preserve her youth for acting, McCurdy’s mother introduced her to “calorie restriction” in order to delay the onset of puberty.
McMcurdy demonstrated to her readers the difficulty in navigating a life under these circumstances, the complex nature of mother-daughter relationships, and discovering one's own purpose and joy.
McCurdy also provides insight into the reality of working for Nickelodeon and who she refers to as “The Creator.” This memoir was refreshing, funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully written.
By Raena Doty, Asst. Arts & Features Editor
Dodie’s new EP “Hot Mess,” released on Sept. 30, 2022, is one of the artist’s most cohesive and impressive projects yet. The EP consists of four songs.
“Hot Mess,” the first song and namesake of the EP, is about waiting to grow up and pass a threshold where things suddenly change, even when there’s no end in sight.
The second song, “Got Weird,” is about messy emotions leading to unusual reactions - for example, making out with someone and crying immediately after, even if they enjoyed it.
“Lonely Bones,” the third track, is definitely the most obscure song of the EP, but also beautiful and gentle and haunting - it sounds and tells of reflection and building a better future.
The final track, called “No Big Deal (I Love You),” perfectly ties up the EP. It’s a classic love song about how hard it is to say “I love you” even when it’s very easy to show it in a million different ways.
Each song stands on its own, beautiful and self-contained. But altogether it tells the story of a relationship that started with hardship, but through messy work and hard emotions, eventually steadies into something sweeter.
‘The White Lotus: Season 2’
By Emily Rosenberg, Associate Editor
This HBO Max Mini Series explores in depth the vices of three eccentric rich families at the venue of a luxurious Italian hotel resort - The White Lotus.
The series opens with a prologue in which one of the season’s stars is swimming and discovers a dead body on the crystal blue shore. Viewers spend the rest of the season learning the quirks of each horrible person at The White Lotus and speculating how the dead body came to be.
However, easily stealing the show is Jennifer Coolidge’s Golden Globe-winning performance as Tanya. Tanya’s overt nonsense is perfection from her constantly pursed lips and squinted eyes to her choking on a fly while riding the back of a Vespa.
Simona Tabasco as Lucia, an Italian native and prostitute who lures lust from several characters, is another electrifying addition to this season. Her big dreams are a breath of fresh air in a series that brings a lot of pessimism to the world.
“The White Lotus” is one of the most well-written shows of the year. It is filled with enthralling dialogue that forces average viewers to connect to millionaires and billionaires whom we often see as evil in an attempt to expose the wretched flaws of all petty white people.
If you love to hate the rich, “The White Lotus” is your show.
‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
By Owen Glancy
Most films, especially in the sci-fi or action genres, feature larger-than-life protagonists. “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” breaks from this norm by daring to focus on a relatively unremarkable woman.
Despite her unremarkable nature, Evelyn Quan Kang quickly becomes one of cinema’s best protagonists in recent memory. Her down-to-earth nature lets the audience ease into what quickly becomes the most creative and fun action film in recent memory. Michelle Yeoh’s incredible performance was even recently nominated for Best Actress in the 2023 Academy Awards!
The movie’s wacky tone and insane action scenes are easily the highlights of the film. No two sequences are the same, and it creates a unique atmosphere full of endless surprises.
The story is another major strength of the film. The emotional core is so powerful, it left my girlfriend and me in tears! The conflict between Evelyn and her daughter Joy is incredibly powerful and moving. It makes a scene showing nothing but two motionless rocks become one of the best of the entire year.
“Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” is a massive win for everyone. Fans of foreign films, action films, science-fiction films, dramatic films, comedic films, and even horror films will find something to like about this movie. It is the definition of a crowd-pleaser movie yet remains weird enough to be something entirely original. This film is a must see for anyone looking for a great time.