Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
January 16, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Netflix airs 18 animated short films in a NSFW series

For all the Black Mirror fans out there, Netflix has finally released its animated equivalent: Love, Death + Robots. This not-safe-for-work (NSFW) series of 18 short films is the stunning collaborative effort of filmmaking teams from across the world. These five to 15 minute long short films are shocking but beautifully animated commentaries on, you guessed it, love, death and occasionally robots. 

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Cole Sprouse stars in the new romantic drama film Five Feet Apart.

Five Feet Apart is sincere despite slight plot holes

Sometimes you watch a movie that makes you feel like you’ve entered a different dimension. Not in the sense that you’ve been transported to a fantastical location, but rather everything in the movie operates differently from how you would expect events to normally operate. I often feel that way when watching romance movies. Whenever I watch them, I feel caught between feeling everything in the movie is ridiculous and that, if someone were to truly attempt to portray love, then it would look somewhat ridiculous. After all, one person’s love will never be the same as another’s. 

The museum features “Sealyham Terrier Head Studies” by Lilian Cheviot.

AKC’s Museum of the Dog invokes thoughts of ethics

If my Instagram feed is any indication, most of you spent spring break soaking up the carcinogenic sun in Cancún, Mexico or Miami. Well I didn’t. An albeit metaphorical ray of sunshine of my vacation, however, was visiting the American Kennel Club (AKC) Museum of the Dog in Manhattan.

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SNL’s Aidy Bryant stars in the new show Shrill, based on a memoir by Lindy West.

Hulu’s Shrill fearlessly takes on some of TV’s biggest taboos

Shrill, Hulu’s latest original comedy, is as liberating as it is entertaining. The show, which aired on March 15, 2019 stars Saturday Night Live (SNL) actor Aidy Bryant as Annie and is based on Lindy West’s memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, in which West tackles taboos surrounding periods, abortions and the fat-shaming she faces as a plus-size woman. 

Joost Evers/Public Domain
Ingmar Bergman drew from his own life in directing Wild Strawberries.

Wild Strawberries still radiates truth 62 years later

I’d never heard of the film Wild Strawberries before The Charles Theatre put it as the most recent choice for their weekly Revival Series — a Swedish film from 1957 about a grumbling old man isn’t something I’d bet money on enjoying. But as with most Revival Series selections, I left the theater with a feeling of gratitude, an opinionated argument for going to random screenings and texting everyone in my contact list to “immediately go watch the most underrated movie of all time.”

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T-Pain returned to Baltimore after 17 years with old hits and newer songs.

T-Pain makes triumphant return to Baltimore stage

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: T-Pain is back and in a big way. After his victory on The Masked Singer and the release of 1UP, his latest project, T-Pain has ventured on a national tour. The very first show of the tour was held last Wednesday at Rams Head Live!, and I, an intrepid News-Letter reporter, was lucky enough to go.

Australian singer Dean Lewis performed at Union Stage on March 9.

Dean Lewis makes “Waves” on headlining tour

I came away from Dean Lewis’ concert having learnt three things. Firstly, that all the best artistic inspiration comes from spending time in London. Secondly, that diamonds are definitely made under pressure. And thirdly, that Dean Lewis’ voice is even more beautiful in real life than it is over Spotify, which is something I truly didn’t think was possible. 

Christopher Simon/ CC BY-SA 2.0
After six years apart, the Jonas Brothers recently released a new song.

The Jonas Brothers return after 6 years with new song “Sucker”

It first came to Instagram. Perhaps the three brothers were all sitting in the same room and pushed the “share” button all at the exact same time. Perhaps Nick wanted to reinforce the dominance he’s been slowly establishing since 2013, and he posted the first picture. Even more likely, perhaps Kevin wasn’t even told about their new song coming out until he saw the other posts. But no matter how it happened, what matters is that it did: The Jonas Brothers are reunited, and they’ve released a new single called “Sucker.” 

T-Pain’s latest comeback and why he’s succeeding

We’ve seen a lot of comebacks in the past few months. Lil Wayne was the first, and perhaps biggest, with the unlikely release (and even more unlikely success) of The Carter V album. Recently, we also saw Big Drako, AKA Big Soulja, AKA Soulja Boy push himself back into relevancy through sound-bite laden radio interviews, outrageous Instagram stories and the sale of illegal overpriced game consoles. 

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Brie Larson plays MCU’s first female protagonist in Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel doesn’t meet high expectations

As the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to center on a female superhero/protagonist, Captain Marvel has been placed in the unfortunate predicament of having to justify its existence. Prior to its release, the film was subjected to a fairly significant smear campaign online, to the point that review website Rotten Tomatoes was forced to block users from leaving negative reviews before they even had the chance to see the film. Having actually watched the movie, I can confidently say that Captain Marvel is a perfectly average superhero flick. It might not rise to the heights of Black Panther or Thor: Ragnarok, but Captain Marvel is an enjoyable, if somewhat shallow, film and a fine addition to the MCU canon.

Chitwetel Ejiofor directed and starred in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Chiwetel Ejiofor makes a strong directorial debut

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, who also directed the film himself, is a story about resilience, family and the power of knowledge. But above anything, it is also a real life story that deserves to be shared with the world. This is exactly the reason Ejiofor, upon reading William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s novel, immediately decided to claim its film rights, as he explained in an interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 

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A much younger Martin Sheen stars in Malick’s Badlands.

Badlands screens at the SNF Parkway

A quintessential part of the American dream is our unyielding belief that with enough determination, we can make something out of nothing. It was the dogma behind con men, investors, entrepreneurs and pilgrims. Even though that fantasy is no longer true for most people, the possibility that someday our lives will change for the better has never left us. 

Blythe Roberson entertains with essays

How To Date Men When You Hate Men. No, that’s not an advice column. That is the title of humorist Blythe Roberson’s first book, a collection of comedic essays about the dilemmas of dating men in a modern world. I went to Bird in Hand on Saturday, March 9 to ask Roberson this question in person at her reading of the book, where the urgency for the answer increased exponentially when I, ironically, found myself sitting next to an old, white man with boundary issues. 

Courtesy of Rudy Malcom
Junior Karter Burnett performed poetry at Shriver Hall’s re-opening ceremony.

Shriver Hall reopening ceremony features Hopkins arts groups

After Daniels’ address, the Beta Zeta Chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Incorporada (SIA), the sole Latina-based sorority at Hopkins, gave energizing performances of various songs and dances. The Lan Yun Blue Orchids, a traditional Chinese dance group, followed SIA and swayed across stage to more soothing music, adroitly wielding multicolored parasols with unyielding smiles. 

Hozier’s new album Wasteland, Baby! exceeds all expectations

As we wait in anguish for the latest Pitchfork article to tell us how to feel, we’ll have to simply listen through Hozier’s newly-released and long-awaited album Wasteland, Baby! without the influence of music’s great minds. Instead you can get my humble opinions. As a disclaimer, I have been excited to hear this album since Hozier dropped the Nina Cried Power EP in September 2018, named after what would be the resounding first song on his album.


Why Wong Fu Production’s Yappie matters for Asian representation

“I haven’t seen this many Asians in one room other than a computer science class,” a friend next to me said as we awaited the kickoff of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. To be honest, I hadn’t ever even heard of it nor Wong Fu Productions until I went to the opening ceremony. 

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Blood Orange brought a combination of melancholy and dance on latest tour.

Blood Orange brings Negro Swan tour to Rams Head

I first heard Blood Orange in high school when 2016’s Freetown Sound had just come out and the single “Best To You” was circulating around as a critical darling. It was like nothing I’d heard before: a tightly composed R&B ballad over a background of lush dance electronics — a melody that stuck in your head. It was, for lack of a better term, the sexiest song I’d ever heard. I immediately fell in love with the song and then with its composer, Blood Orange’s front-man Dev Hynes. 

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Solange released her latest album When I Get Home as a tribute to Houston.

Solange’s When I Get Home celebrates Houston

The music video that will never fail to leave me visually stunned is that of Solange Knowles’ “Cranes in the Sky,” directed by Alan Ferguson and Knowles herself. I recall watching it as a senior in high school, replaying it over and over to take in the energy of the incredibly subtle but loud images. 

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