Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 25, 2021

Arts & Entertainment



Jeneva Stiles/CC0
A Baltimore street lined with iconic row houses.

Charm City Kings explores the city of Baltimore, adolescence and dirt biking

Last week, HBO released the movie Charm City Kings, directed by Angel Manuel Soto, on their streaming service HBO Max. Based on the 2013 documentary 12 O’Clock Boys, the film deals with the experiences of young teenager Mouse (played by Jahi Di’Allo Winston) growing up around the dirt bike riding scene in Baltimore. Playing along the lines of a classic coming-of-age story, it follows how he deals with the loneliness, romance and familial clashes but with the nuance that comes with being an impoverished Black kid negotiating adulthood in one of the most segregated cities in America.


The Boys season two succeeds despite its faults

Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys doesn’t translate well to written text. The show, based on the graphic novel, relies heavily on spectacle. There are consciously obscene amounts of gore and nudity as a direct satire of the romanticized way that many modern superhero movies and shows portray violence, and the show doesn’t hesitate to use sex and blood to grab your attention. 


Film festival celebrates the city and people of Baltimore

Last weekend, Creative Alliance held its fourth Made in Baltimore Short Film Festival, a showcase of 11 outstanding movies that were made by, for or about Baltimoreans and the city they live in. The event, held online and hosted by drag queen Betty O’Hellno, was a great way of reminding us that there is more to watch than just Netflix, even if we’re stuck at home. 


COURTESY OF EUNICE PARK
Park paid a visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art, which reopened with new safety guidelines on Sept. 16.

BMA reopens with new COVID-19 guidelines

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has finally reopened. After long months of inactivity and being shut down due to COVID-19, a phased opening began on Sept. 16, which allowed for nearly every exhibit to be fully reopened by the end of that month. That’s right, the BMA is officially back. 


NATHAN / CC BY 2.0
American Legion Boys State is a summer leadership and citizenship program for high school juniors with a focus on American government.

A24 documentary Boys State accurately reflects my camp experience

Boys State, a week-long summer camp hosted in every American state by the American Legion, is a mock government with upwards of 1,000 17-year-old high school boys. At first glance Boys State looks like a mob of conservative white boys, which might make you think that the camp is nothing more than a failed attempt to organize adolescent chaos. But I can assure you — as a former participant myself — that it is something much more. 


GAGE SKIDMORE / CC BY-SA
Millie Bobby Brown stars in Enola Holmes, a Netflix film based on the book series of the same name.

Millie Bobby Brown outsmarts and outshines Sherlock Holmes in Netflix film

It’s 1884. Enola Holmes lives happily with her eccentric mother, far from society and its norms for women, but on the morning of her 16th birthday, she discovers that her mother is gone. The disappearance of her mother reunites Enola with her older brothers, Sherlock (yes, the detective) and Mycroft, who have both been long absent from her life. They barely recognize her.  


CC BY-SA 4.0
Chloé Zhao’s new film Nomadland has already won the TIFF People’s Choice Award and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland paves its way to the Oscars

The teaser trailer for Nomadland opens with its protagonist, Fern (Frances McDormand), walking languidly through a trailer park. The camera follows her, and we see diverse assortments of people gathered together in front of varying vehicular living set-ups. These are the nomads of our modern world. Fern continues on her path as it fades to black, and though we’re left wondering where she’s going, her slow stride could not be mistaken for aimlessness. She is going somewhere that only she knows, and effectively, the mood of the film has been set.


CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Baltimore native jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was honored via a live online concert.

This year's tribute concert to Billie Holiday moves online

The Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts (BHPLA) and Hopkins at Home hosted “Baltimore's Billie Holiday: A Musical Tribute to Lady Day” on Saturday, Sept. 19. The online concert honored the Baltimore native legendary jazz vocalist Billie Holiday. Though BHPLA hosted its inaugural tribute concert in West Baltimore’s Lafayette Square last year, this year’s concert was adapted to an online format as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.



Mulan remake misrepresents original Chinese story

After rounds of delays due to the pandemic, the grand release of the live-action movie Mulan had gained a lot of hype and excitement. However, this only made it extra disappointing when I finally watched it. After its release in Chinese cinema on Sept. 11, the rating dropped sharply to 4.9/10 on Douban within two days.  



COURTESY OF NICK MORAN
On August 14, the Bloomberg School of Public Health advised college students via Instagram to avoid large parties.

Bloomberg School of Public Health becomes Instagram famous

The Bloomberg School of Public Health has been attracting major national attention since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the United States. According to Bloomberg’s Audience Development team, the Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center got hundreds of millions of views daily at its peak and is still cited daily as the main source of COVID-19 data for media outlets, schools and other institutions. Experts from the school have been featured in media coverage and consulted by people across the globe in these truly unsettling times. 


SnapMeUp / CC BY-SA
The lush landscapes in A Suitable Boy offer an authentic depiction of India in the 1950s.

BBC adapts a modern Indian classic, with mixed results

Over the summer, like most people trying to deal with the anxiety-inducing, consistently weird times we’ve been going through, I succumbed to rewatching my favorite comfort shows ad nauseam. However, one new show managed to pull me out of binge-watching and return to the good old days of watching something new on a one-episode-per-week basis as it came out — the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) adaptation of A Suitable Boy. 


THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY / PUBLIC DOMAIN
Love, Victor offers a representation of the experiences of people of color in the LGBTQ community.  

Love, Victor speaks to a rocky reality

Providing a renovation of the queer teen love story Love, Simon from 2018, the newly released TV series Love, Victor takes place in the same setting of Creekwood High School, with new characters and a different story. Victor Salazar, the protagonist of the new show, is a Puerto Rican with a “beautiful cinnamon complexion” from Texas who, despite financial shortcomings, has moved with his family to the more affluent school district of Creekwood High. 


Jay Chou’s "Mojito" suggests that sometimes, it’s okay to be happy

International pop star Jay Chou dropped his newest single, “Mojito,” on June 12. Released alongside a vibrant music video in which he wanders through Cuban streets with his band, it was a much-anticipated release for ardent fans of Chou, whose last album Jay Chou’s Bedtime Stories came out in 2016. He has only released four singles since, including “Mojito.” 


PUBLIC DOMAIN

Tie considers the potential effects of COVID-19 on future movie-going.

Hit hard by pandemic, the cinema industry may change forever

While the obvious public health, social and economic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are well known, this period may also change, perhaps permanently, the way we see movies. During Lunar New Year 2019, the Chinese box office totaled $360 million in the first weekend alone. But this year, as over 70,000 theaters closed and major movies were postponed, that same box office grossed only $2 million over the holiday weekend, even though it was previously expected to generate $1 billion globally.


Sachyn/CC BY-SA 3.0
Fiona Apple released her fifth album on April 17.

Exploring Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Intense percussion, frank and breathy lyrics, dog barks. Wispy lyrics spoken into silence with no soundtrack to support them. Hoarse growls full of energy and instruments that fall into hysteria, then pick up a new beat and begin once again. This is how Fiona Apple clangs into view on her fifth album Fetch the Bolt Cutters, a powerhouse of intricate rhythm, rising anger and joy. 


Center for Visual Arts adjusts to virtual classes

When Hopkins announced that classes were moving online for the rest of the semester, professors in all departments were forced to think of ways to keep students engaged while still being able to effectively teach material. Perhaps this transition was most difficult for instructors in the Hopkins Center for Visual Arts (CVA). Students, some used to working with a variety of mediums from oil painting to charcoal, suddenly had to leave many of their art supplies behind. 


Jeremy Zucker releases debut album, love is not dying

Amid the storm of delayed releases to movies and albums, I found myself quite lucky that my most anticipated release of the spring was still on time. On April 17, 24-year-old artist, Jeremy Zucker, released his debut album, love is not dying. 


News-Letter Special Editions