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What makes us fall in love? In Past Lives, the quietly stunning debut from Korean-Canadian filmmaker Celine Song, the response is a deceptive one. There is in-yun, a Korean concept of fate intimating that thousands of years of past life interactions bring two people together. But there are also the childhood memories shared, the books coincidentally read and the glances that linger too long. Are these so different? Or are they precisely the same?
I’m always oddly heartened when the simplest beginnings can yield the greatest stories. It’s almost like a sign that our lives really can go anywhere, and the bounds of reality, no matter what the cynics say, just aren’t that realistic. In Netflix’s Beef, the latest revelation from creator Lee Sung Jin, these all make for sorry understatements.
Welcome back to classes! As we enter spring, arts releases are picking up again, finally breaking the bit of winter hiatus we’ve seen this year. If you’re looking to take a much-needed breather from the whirlwind of exams and papers, we’ve got good news — there’s a lot to dive into.
We’re upon that precarious last week before spring break. There’s almost always lots of work to get through before we can finally have a moment of respite, but, if you can spare any time, here’s what to check out this week. And, if not, you’ve always got the week after!
The breakneck advancement of technology is bound to become one of the defining phenomena of this century. Thinkers across fields from medicine to philosophy have deliberated the implications of technology, yet it remains distinctly fruitful and enlightening to investigate the ways in which artists consider the unprecedented predicament before us.
It’s a quieter week here in the arts world. Big-budget releases and superstar artists have taken the week off — but all the better for it perhaps. It makes for a fantastic chance to dive into the indies, the debut artists and the up-and-comers.
As we leave January behind, releases are picking up in the art world. Beginning with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Marvel Studios’ latest entry marks the first blockbuster of the year. For fans of crime, neo-noir Marlowe and Chinese espionage thriller Hidden Blade are both out this week too. If those dark and twisted alleys aren’t up your alley, take a look at the indie biopic Emily.
Welcome back! As we settle into the semester, I always enjoy finding some time to hit the theaters and check out a new title on the shelves. It’s one of the few sweet spots before classes turn busy, and you won’t regret making the most of it while you still can.
Welcome to December! This time of year boasts an excellent line-up in the art world, with holiday-themed releases close on the horizon. The last week of classes is finally upon us, so be sure to take this time to curl up with a little something before final exams hit.
For some welcome distractions from the busyness of midterms, look no further than diverse range of releases slated for this week!
As the semester chugs along, don’t forget to take out some pockets of time to sit back, unwind and relax. Ushering us from October to November is a diverse assortment of releases, ranging from personal dramas to compelling horror.
Believe it or not, fall break is upon us — though only after we’ve finished three more days of classes. But then we’ll all finally have a moment to breathe, sleep and really sleep. Thankfully it’s an exciting week for releases across the board, especially with a much-anticipated album from a certain singer-songwriter who needs no introduction.
Dimmed lights, hushed chatter, a spirited ambiance. Last Friday this was precisely what surrounded me as I settled in for Witness Theater’s 2022 Fall Showcase. Taking place in the Arellano Theater, the showcase would be featuring four student-written, produced and directed plays. I knew I’d be in for a ride.
It began with a bang. From its very first words, the opening play, directed by Rafael Stamillo and written by Timothy McShea, reeled me right in. A man, calling himself Poe (Jack Webster), yells with a very specific brand of insanity as a woman, Sophie (Cassidy Wauben), stumbles upon him. Soon she meets the man in charge, Eliot (Siddharth Ananth), and the situation begins to unveil itself. These men are not who we think they are, nor are they exactly who they think they are.
With a title like Eliot’s Madhouse of Poets, I thought I knew what I was getting into — but what ended up playing out rose spectacularly above those expectations. A brilliant British accent from the character Will (Aidan Alme) won’t soon be forgotten, and gags with props varying from a skull to a blue jay plushie added a delightful touch. Laughs sounded from all around as the play made light of the dangers of method acting — or perhaps, method writing.
The next play, intriguingly titled Bizarre Love Quadrangle, was written by Madison Epner and co-directed by Brianna Groch and Nyore Onovae. Set during finals season, the gist goes like this: Jasper (Ander Diez) tries to convince his girlfriend Natalie (Lily Wilson) to go on a double date. With some tongue-in-cheek bribery, he eventually succeeds. And so, across the quad come Jasper’s friend Morgan (Helene Apollon) and her girlfriend Miranda (Andrea Guillén).
As the two pairs meet, pandemonium immediately breaks out. They have their wires crossed — and in many more ways than one. Simply said, awkward has never been such an understatement. The breaking of the fourth wall was particularly enjoyable, and the horrors of interpersonal conflicts could not have been better illustrated. Interspersed moments of physical comedy added dynamism, while the grounded campus environment made it extra relatable.
On the flip side, the third play took quite a departure from reality. Co-directed by Angala Rajasegaran and Varen Talwar and written by John Liu, Scream Slay Replay opens on a much darker note. A psychopathic killer (Jeremiah Hadwin) roams a summer camp as two campers, Jennifer (Kirsten Choi) and Billy (Yona Levine), work out their next move. Trapped in a cabin together, they're evidently at odds, with the seemingly kind-hearted Jennifer facing scathing cruelties from Billy. Gradually the reasons behind this become clear, as does the exact nature of the said camp.
Initially what appears to be a horror concept takes a turn when mind-bending elements of science fiction come into play as the story progresses. There were moments of genuine shock, such as when the killer reveals himself, armed with a knife and an artfully created mask. The somewhat ambiguous ending, involving two kids (Daniel Wen and Harley Tran), twists everything on its head.
Before long we had arrived at the last play, In Midair. Directed by Guillén and written by Cassandra Mitsinikos, it takes place amid the world of a traveling circus troupe. Making an escape with a bag slung over her shoulder, Erin (Annie Radin) is caught by Thalia (Hannah Kosak). Thalia makes quick work of the situation, deducing that Erin is running away — again. We soon learn that both girls are trapeze artists, with Erin relatively new to the circus. She suffers from an imposter syndrome of sorts that Thalia helps put to rest in a candid, heartfelt conversation.
The performances were especially captivating, hitting the hardest when Erin reveals her vulnerabilities and the true reason she originally left home. Notably there was an impressive duality to Thalia’s character — she conveys an indomitable inner strength as a mentor to Erin, while concurrently managing to share her own insecurities truthfully and disarmingly. It was an unbelievable joy to watch these nuances play out.
With the first round of midterms seemingly sneaking up already, it’s certainly around the time when we’re all pressed for time. But, in a little twist of counterintuition, this week might actually be perfect to squeeze in a trip to the theater, read the first chapter of a book or switch up your playlist. I’ve always found those pockets of time to be a brilliant way to unwind. All the noise quiets down for a minute and you can simply — wonderfully — escape.
As the parade of tent pole summer blockbusters leave the cinema, the throes of September are known to offer slim pickings when it comes to arts and entertainment. But who’s to say this is bad news? Instead, I find it can double as a fruitful time to try something new.
Ivy-covered walls, arched entryways, spirited football games — it’s impossible not to come to college with some of these preconceived notions. But having these imagined visions of college to look forward to isn’t the problem. It’s a matter of how tightly you hold onto them once you get here.
There’s a certain mystique that follows a Bond film, one that holds a timelessness and universality of frankly uncommon proportions. Any attempts to characterize it often point to the flair, the gadgetry or, most likely, the untouchable coolness exuded by its titular character. Whatever it is, though, there’s no doubt — the newly released No Time to Die has it, and then some.
“A good movie starts when you walk out of the theater.” Those are the words of legendary writer-director Paul Schrader, the man behind the screenplays of American greats such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. His latest directorial effort, completed in collaboration with Martin Scorsese, embraces that very idea — and amplifies it to a magnitude you cannot ignore.
As the start of a new school year comes around, much seems to be shifting and evolving. A hesitant positivity is brimming in the air, with in-person classes, group gatherings and the like fueling progress back towards normalcy.
After a winding road of pandemic awards shows, the end of the 2021 film awards season is at last upon us. On April 25, the highly anticipated 93rd Academy Awards — also known as the Oscars — took place live and in-person at Union Station in Los Angeles.