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Review: ‘Deadpool’

Review: ‘Deadpool’

It is hard to imagine a superhero movie that does not cater to the largest possible audience, a movie that has something for everyone. Yet, on Valentine’s Day, “Deadpool” was released under an R-rating with large amounts of graphic violence, a lot of nudity and a sex montage.

For some background, Deadpool, Wade Wilson, is a Marvel Comics character created in the 1990s by Rob Liefeld. Deadpool is an anti-hero who does not shy away from killing people, not just bad guys because he is a mercenary for the most part. He does work closely with the X-Men when he decides to be more heroic. However, Deadpool is most famous for his ability to realize that he is a fictional character and to talk directly to the reader or viewer. Because of this, Deadpool tends to reference pop culture and crack jokes. He also tends to be very vulgar.

The film is an almost perfect replication of the comics that the character appears in. The filmmaker and writers do not pull any punches in fully utilizing the R-rating of the film to allow the character to accurately be translated from the comic to the big screen. The dialogue is full of sexual jokes and the F-word is thrown around from the very beginning of the movie. While the movie is less than two hours in run time, the movie does not let up at all, packing as many of the jokes, winks to the audience and well-choreographed fight scenes. The pacing of the movie is especially impressive considering that there are several flashbacks during a very long fight scene.

Ryan Reynolds, who plays Deadpool, plays the character perfectly. His comedic timing as the character is amazing throughout the entire movie. He captures the fourth wall-breaking (he talks directly to the audience), near-insanity of the character perfectly, which allows for him to commit murders and still have us root for him. His love for the character shines through his portrayal of the character, and he lights up every scene that he is in, even before he has the red suit on.

The other performances in the movie are okay, the only other performance of note was from Morena Baccarin, who will be a familiar face to the fans of “Firefly.” In the movie, she plays the love interest of Wade Wilson, Vanessa. But instead of being a damsel in distress, though she does get kidnapped, she puts up a fight for the record. The best thing about Baccarin in the film is the chemistry that she has with Reynolds. In fact, with a movie about a character who kills people and is completely insane, Baccarin’s presence in the film allows for an honestly touching love sub-plot.

Surprisingly, “Deadpool” is not only one the funniest movies to come out in a long time, but in an hour and forty minutes it became one of the best superhero movies that has been released. The comedy, action and even the romance make the movie completely enjoyable. Just don’t bring your kids.

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Review: ‘Jessica Jones’

Review: ‘Jessica Jones’

Photo via Creative Commons.

Photo via Creative Commons.

Since the superhero movie came into prominence with films such as “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man” there has been a push to make the heroes that were once godly, more human. Give them flaws, and make the movies more gritty and realistic. Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy did that, and Marvel for the most part still made their superhero movies light-hearted, at least when compared to the Batman movies.

As more movies were made, especially by Marvel, they started to combine genres. “The Winter Soldier” was part superhero and part political thriller, but it was still family friendly. Then, Netflix teamed up with Marvel and made “Daredevil.”

Similar to the comics about the character, the “Daredevil” show was dark, gritty and met with very high praise. However, “Daredevil” was the start of something bigger: a street level hero project similar to The Avengers. The second show was released one week before Thanksgiving, called “Jessica Jones.”

“Jessica Jones,” like “Daredevil,” is very dark. However, unlike “Daredevil,” it is even more adult. This tone is because the show is about a former superhero who decides to quit the hero business because of her dark and broken past.

Jones becomes a private investigator so that she can still help people. The fact that she is a private investigator lends the series (13 episodes in all) to being part superhero and part noir. Just like the private investigators in classic film noir stories, and even some modern ones. Jones is a hard-drinking loner, who makes wise-cracks at inappropriate moments. The story begins with her taking a case that soon begins to involve the person that broke her in the past. Jones not only hides a dark past from those around her, but also suffers from PTSD, a result of her traumatic past. This plays an important role in her journey to find answers.

Krysten Ritter plays Jones. She not only excels at showing Jones’ witty, hard-drinking side, but her broken side as well. As Jones deals with the case, and the reemergence of her enemy, her past comes back to haunt her and she is forced to deal with more than she can handle. Through it all, Ritter manages to balance the tough exterior that Jones has created to hide the very broken individual.

The supporting cast of the show is not as strong as it was with “Daredevil,” but the cast is still very great. Besides Ritter, the standout performance definitely comes from “Doctor Who” alumni David Tennant.

Tennant plays Kilgrave, the villain for the season who has ties to Jones’ past. Unlike his counterpart in the comics, known as “Purple Man” who is a complete sociopath with no redeeming qualities, Tennant’s character Kilgrave is not played as someone who is completely irredeemable and fleshed out more than he is in the Alias comic series that the show is loosely based on.

The other supporting characters are portrayed with varying degrees of success. Mike Colter’s performance as Luke Cage, the next hero of Hell’s Kitchen to get a show and an important person in the life of Jones, was a disappointment, especially when he was in a scene with Ritter.

All of these things considered, Marvel hit this one out of the park. The show is full of emotion, mystery and style. With more focus on the characters and the effects that tragic events can have on a person’s life, Marvel has created a superhero show that even people who don’t like superheroes can enjoy. People who do like superheroes will enjoy the unique tone that is offered by the show.

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‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Season 12 tour brings dancers to life

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The Top 10 dancers from Season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance” performed at the Wharton Center on Nov. 22.

Dance and SYTYCD fans alike were not disappointed with the high level of energy that each dancer brought to the stage with back-to-back routines.

This season was different because there were more group dances choreographed. There was a perfect balance between “stage” type dances and “street” type dances, and the tour really reflected this year’s competition with footage from each team’s mentor.

The dancers have been on tour long enough and know the routines so well that people who have not followed the show might not have even guessed which team each dancer was on. Although there weren’t costume changes for each and every dance, the audience was impressed by the stamina of the dancers.

Longtime fan of the show, dancer and Michigan State University senior Ashley Day said, “They have to change costumes frequently and in a very small amount of time and yet still deliver amazing performances without showing how tired they are.”

One of the biggest challenges the tour has to overcome coming from the competition is connecting the dances and creating a cohesive performance as a whole. That’s what is also great about being a fan of the show and seeing the tour; you see your favorite dances and new routines that are created specially for the tour.

For some fans, watching the dancers come together to perform live is just the cherry on top of a great season.

“I also love that the audience picks their favorite dancer rather than the ‘best’ dancer because dance is not something that can be perfected,” Day said, “There’s always room to grow, which is what the dancers do on the show.”

Every single number was either mesmerizing and emotional or pumped up. The group hip-hop routines were upbeat and engaging while the group contemporary dances drew the audience in. Although each solo dance was short, we were able to catch a glimpse of each dancer’s dance roots. The only tap number was performed by none other than season winner Gaby Diaz and the only ballet routine was performed by Darion Flores.

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Review: Dirty Dancing at the Wharton Center

Review: Dirty Dancing at the Wharton Center

A great balance between music and dance, this Broadway adaptation of “Dirty Dancing” captivates and keeps you on your toes with humorous anecdotes. Not straying very far from the original story line, there is an even bigger emotional connection to the characters of Baby and Johnny as their time on stage allows their chemistry to grow. Gillian Abbott (“Baby”) encompasses the true spirit of her character and flawlessly convinces that she had nothing in her repertoire at the start of the show. Full of quality, show-stopping dance numbers, this show does not disappoint both the dance and musical lover with two smaller cast members stealing the show. Doug Carpenter (“Billy Kostecki”) and Jennlee Shallow (“Ensemble”) with their duet and individual solos are what really sent audiences cheering through the roof.

The key factor that makes this musical so unique is the balance between the music and dance talent.

“I think it’s special like that,” Christopher Tierney said. “As leads of the show we have our parts, but it’s great that you get these other two singers who who get to be their own leads.”

Photo via Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University

Photo via Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University

The show basically gives you two tiers of people enjoying the show, and the characters for different reasons. The live music on set certainly helps, of course.

The diversity of this production’s cast shows on and off stage. Lead actor Christopher Tierney, who plays Johnny Castle, has the most experience with the show as this is his second tour of “Dirty Dancing” with the same director.

His dance experience started at the young age of 12. “I got that bug and I just kept making the next right choice,” he said. “I joined dance companies, met great choreographers who brought me to great movie directors, who also brought me to Broadway.”

A fun fact from Tierney: he never watched the original film to study his character. This may come as a surprising fact because the consensus reigns that Tierney actually looks very much, and even sounds like Patrick Swayze!

On the other end of the spectrum, this is Jenny Winton’s first Broadway production. Winton plays Penny in the show and although her character flows on the dance floor with ballroom dance, she is classically trained in ballet.

On her connection with her character, she said, “I’ve just drawn on certain things in my life and we both share the passion for dance.”

Winton commented that since her character has multiple layers, it really gives her the opportunity to express parts of her personality that not everyone sees. Dancing on “Dirty Dancing” has opened many new doors for Winton and she wants to continue to explore her options in theatre and dance.

“I think it’s a story, that no matter what generation you’re in, you can relate to,” Winton said. “The passion for dancing and music is so relatable because these songs are so iconic.”

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Movie Review: Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s not so terrifying tale

Movie Review: Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s not so terrifying tale

I don’t like to be scared, but when Guillermo del Toro released a new horror movie, it was hard to resist going to see it.

Del Toro’s movies, such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Pacific Rim”, are always beautiful to look at, fun to watch and usually very creative.

“Crimson Peak” looked like it might be a creepy look at horror films of the past, as the trailers did not show the modern tricks that cause jump scares. However, not having any expectations—other than the movie would be very pretty and well-designed—was good because the movie wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.

crimson_peak

The film follows up-and-coming writer Edith Cushing, who is played by Mia Wasikowska, of “Alice in Wonderland” fame. As viewers learn at the beginning of the film, which takes place in the early 1900s, Cushing can see ghosts. She tries to publish a manuscript containing a ghost story but is turned down by publishers because it is handwritten, and they can tell that it was written by a woman. The manuscript gets the attention of a man trying to get money to rebuild his clay mining operation: Sir Thomas Sharpe, played by Tom Hiddleston.

Eventually the two marry, despite Sharpe’s wicked-looking sister’s objections, and move to Sharpe’s decrepit English mansion, which lies on top of the scarlet clay mine. Once they move in, the ghosts start to appear and Cushing starts to feel sick; then the hunt for the truth begins.

From the very first frame of the film, del Toro’s skill as a set designer and visual director shine, as we see a coffin carried to the front of a giant and elaborate headstone. Throughout the movie, the designs of the ghosts—which look like opaque skeletons of varying colors, depending on where they were killed—and the house where the characters live are amazings spectacles. Many parts of the house have liquid clay running from the wall, and because the clay is red, it looks like blood. Everything about the house is unnerving yet alluring at the same time.

There is not a moment in the film where there isn’t something nice to look at in the scenery or sets. Del Toro does not shy away from the creepy visuals either, but that is just what the film is. It’s creepy, not scary.

The only point in the film that would be very scary comes in the first half of the movie, but once the characters move to the mansion, the ghosts turn into something very different than expected: messengers for what’s to come.

The characters in the film were very one dimensional. If viewers have seen a movie in the last 10 years, they could probably predict what each character was going to do next. Sharpe’s sister was onscreen for maybe four seconds before I felt I knew everything there was to know about her character. The same goes for many of the characters in the film. The two main characters, Cushing and Sharpe, go through minimal character development in the film, and it’s not enough to make them interesting beyond the fact that one of them is played by Hiddleston.

One of the big issues with this movie was outside the theatre. It was advertised as a horror movie, which misinformed the viewing public. “Crimson Peak” is a classic Gothic romance, which may be hard to swallow for the people who were influenced to buy a ticket because of the deceiving trailer.

The movie is creepy the entire run time, but there is not a big scare anywhere, which is something that the old Gothic romances do quite well. There is an excellent love story between Cushing and Sharpe. The film brought to mind several different stories and novels from the era of Edgar Allen Poe, though naming them could spoil the movie, so none will be named. Those looking for a straight-up horror movie will not be pleased with this one.

At the end of the day, “Crimson Peak” will probably be divisive if you go with a group of friends. Some of them will really like it, especially if they are fans of Gothic literature, some of them will hate it because they were expecting something scarier, and some will be left with mixed feelings.

If you want to catch this crimson tale, be sure you know what you want to get out of it. In the end, don’t go because you think it will be frightening—the visuals will thrill you, but the scares will not.

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Album Review: Mac Miller’s “GO:OD AM” and Lana Del Rey’s “Honeymoon”

Album Review: Mac Miller’s “GO:OD AM” and Lana Del Rey’s “Honeymoon”

“GO:OD AM” – Mac Miller

After dropping his singles “100 Grandkids,” “Break The Law” and “Clubhouse,” Mac Miller released his third studio album titled “GO:OD AM” on Sept. 18.

This Pittsburgh born and raised rapper is known for his many mixtapes including “K.I.D.S.” and “Faces.” The sound that listeners are used to hearing from Miller is usually sampled beats and carefree lyrics. “GO:OD AM” gives listeners a different, more mature sound through 17 tracks.

Mac Miller at NYC Governor's Ball in 2011.

Mac Miller at NYC Governor’s Ball in 2011.

Starting off the album slow with “Doors,” Miller follows that beat with “Break The Law” and “Rush Hour,” these songs open your ears to his lyrics against smooth rap beats.

His lyrics throughout “GO:OD AM” speak about the real world and what he has learned throughout life. He is telling listeners who he is as a rapper, and that “there ain’t nothing wrong with a little bit of fun.”

Some artists you would not expect to be featured on his album include Ab-Soul and Little Dragon. But, most surprisingly, Chief Keef  in “Cut The Check”, and Miguel in “Weekend.” Even though each artist has different styles, they managed to sound well together throughout the songs.

If you are looking to bump the bass in your car, “In The Bag” and “When In Rome” are the ideal songs for that. If you are looking for the softer side of Miller, “ROS” would be the perfect song.

Overall, this album shows the grown-up side of Miller, but still includes hints of the familiar sounds we are used to. “GO:OD AM” is the perfect album to listen to on those morning bus rides to ensure not only a good morning, but a good day.

 

 
“Honeymoon” – Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey has written many songs in her 30 years of life. Her more mainstream album with a hip-hop sound “Born To Die,” and her guitar filled album “Ultraviolence,” give you a good perception of Del Rey. But, “Honeymoon,” which was also released on Sept. 18, digs a little deeper into Del Rey’s true self.

Lana Del Rey performing at Irving Plaza in 2012.

Lana Del Rey performing at Irving Plaza in 2012.

The first of 14 songs is the title track “Honeymoon,” you hear the softer, more sad side of Del Rey. The familiar sound is also heard in “Terrace Loves You.”

From deep, sad sounds, you begin to hear more hip-hop, sultry tunes in the sixth and seventh tracks “Freak” and “Art Deco.” She also includes a more mainstream sound with “High By The Beach,” which was one of her singles for “Honeymoon.”

While showing off her more romantic side with this album through her own life experiences, Del Rey also expresses herself with a cover of Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” Also, Del Rey recites part of a poem by T. S. Eliot in “Burnt Norton (Interlude).

Her original sound definitely shows through “Honeymoon” with amazing range and soothing sirens. Del Rey also performs great harmonizing over orchestra tunes throughout the album.

Del Rey has not released “Honeymoon” tour dates yet. You can purchase this album on iTunes for $12.99 or on her website for $12.98. Her new album is also available to listen to on Spotify.

 

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Movie Review: The Martian

Movie Review: The Martian

It’s been a while since the theaters have shown something that didn’t involve superheroes, Sherlock Holmes or reanimated dinosaurs. “The Martian” qualifies as science fiction because it takes place in a world where we can put a team of people on Mars, but it tends to be realistic (or realistic enough that Neil deGrasse Tyson said on “CBS This Morning” that it’s pretty accurate). Going into the movie, I didn’t really have any expectations, and because of that I was blown away with how good it was.martian400

In the film, the astronauts are on Mars on a scientific mission. It is never really explained fully why they are on Mars, although we do see some of the characters collecting soil samples. There really is not any time wasted on the details of why they are there, because within 15 minutes of the movie starting, the astronauts are forced to abandon their mission due to a storm. After they start preparing to leave, the movie wastes no time in stranding Mark Watney, played impeccably by Matt Damon, on Mars by himself.

Not only is the writing of Damon’s character enjoyable, but how Damon plays him as a snarky character who seems to keep his sanity by quipping to a computer monitor. Damon manages to keep the interest of the audience even when he is alone on the planet for a majority of the run time of the film.

When we are not with Watney on Mars, we get to spend time with the people who are trying to get him home. The cast of the movie as a whole is amazing and packed with familiar faces. Watney’s crew alone has three people who have been in recent superhero movies (Sebastian Stan, Michael Peña and Kate Mara), and the team at NASA has Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and Sean Bean. Each member of this all-star cast is giving their best performance, and no one feels out of place. But it is indisputable that Damon gives the stand-out performance.

The special effects used in the film are top notch. All of the shots of the landscape of Mars look very real and are extremely beautiful. Everything in the film looks very familiar, and even realistic when you consider the technology that we have now. This helped the movie feel much more dramatic—because we, as a viewing public, know all too well that everything can go wrong with space travel. With this in mind, the filmmakers play on our emotions.

“The Martian” was a very intense movie. Even when Damon’s character is snarking in a video diary, there is always the feeling that something could go wrong at any moment. That feeling just keeps growing throughout the movie. As a whole, the tense vibe aids the movie in creating a literal edge-of-your-seat thriller.

To be completely honest, it was difficult to find anything wrong with “The Martian.” The pacing was perfect, the acting was top notch and the music was perfect in capturing the mood. The jokes in the film work because they tend to be on the dark humor side of the comedy spectrum, and this does not take anything away from the movie.
The only complaint most viewers will have is a minor one: the run time. While the movie does not drag during its two and a half hour run time, it’s still very long. However, if the that is the only issue, then maybe there isn’t really anything to complain about at all.

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Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

In the wake of The Avengers, the X-Men franchise needed to release a movie that showed there was still some life in the team—besides the usual focus on Wolverine.

X-Men First Class, the franchise’s last effort was enjoyable. However, X-Men movies were few and far between since the wildly successful Avengers franchise was introduced in 2011. The only X-Men-related film released during that time was The Wolverine, which didn’t breathe new life into any role except Hugh Jackman’s character.

Thankfully, the newest X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, proves not only does the lasting life of the franchise still have life, but that Marvel films besides The Avengers can still be quality and enjoyable.

In the film, future, mutant hunting robots called Sentinels have taken over the world, and the last surviving X-Men need to send someone back in time to stop the event that caused the rise of the robots.

Before you say that you’ve seen the robots taking over the future plot over and over, it should be brought up that the movie is based on a comic book of the same name that came out before both the Matrix and Terminator. Also, a bulk of the movie takes place in 1973, so the war in the future is not main focus of the story, but provides a sense of urgency for the past X-Men to succeed in their mission.

The X-Men from the First Class were not overshadowed by the attention-grabbing charisma that is Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. That was something that was never achieved in the original X-Men trilogy—even though the movies were called “X-Men,” all of the movies were really about Wolverine. All the X-Men from the First Class manage to stand out, and show that the future of the franchise might not rest solely on everyone’s favorite razor-clawed mutant.

Because of this, we get an X-Men movie that is, in fact, about the X-Men!

While on the topic of overshadowing mutants, there is one mutant who outshines everyone else, even though he is only in the film for 20 minutes, tops. This would be Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters.

The character is introduced to help the X-Men (a time-traveling Wolverine, Beast, and Professor X) rescue Magneto. Peters plays the character as a fast-talking, kleptomaniacal teen, and in the short time he is on screen manages to steal the entire show.

The now well-known “Time in a Bottle” scene that shows us what it’s like to move as fast as Quicksilver and is easily the best scene in the entire movie. It’s worth the price of a ticket or DVD on its own. Hopefully Quicksilver will return in future movies and have a larger role, because when he leaves the film it feels like he wasn’t there long enough.

As good as some parts of the movie were, there were still some problems. The biggest issue was that in the future, Magneto said that Wolverine would need his help on his mission in the past, but once they get Magneto, he almost immediately proceeds to screw everything up.

Was this because Future Magneto is still evil? Because it doesn’t look like it at the end. There was no explanation for this, but I think that Jennifer Lawrence’s star power might be the reason for the lack of focus on Magneto and the new focus on Mystique.

Another issue was the introduction of four entirely new mutants in the future, who have no character development at all. The mutants have several well-executed fight sequences, but we know nothing about these characters besides that they are the last of the X-Men.

Hopefully some of the mutants will return in future movies, because they all deserve at least a little character development. However, at least they are named in this movie, which is better than what happened to most of the mutants introduced in the other films, especially in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The way Beast is treated in the film is also an issue. He still looks human, with the help of a serum he created in the last movie to hide his powers, but when he gets mad he turns into a monster with super strength. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? At least he doesn’t say he’s going to smash anything.

There are a few other nitpicky things—like Kitty’s surprising new power to send people back in time that no one bothers to explain how she got or why she has, and a severe underuse of Peter Dinklage—but these are just minor problems with a movie that is in general of very high quality.

I really enjoyed the movie, and I appreciated the fact that it went back and fixed the mistakes that the franchise made in the past without rebooting the entire thing. And even though I still love some Wolverine, it was nice to see an X-Men movie that focused on the other mutants in the X-Men universe.

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Album Review: Deer Tick’s “Negativity”

Album Review: Deer Tick’s “Negativity”

Deer Tick, the alt-country rock outfit hailing from Providence, R.I., has turned over a new leaf since the self-destructive, drug-soaked hymns found in 2011’s album “Divine Providence”. The party is over and the aspirin won’t help. Deer Tick’s latest album, “Negativity,” is the caustic morning light to lead singer John McCauley’s, opaque late night tales of unappeasable partying and forsaken self-loathing.

Deer Tick

The opening track, ‘The Rock,” paints a picture of McCauley’s failed relationship with ex fiancé, Nikki Darlin, displaying that his wounds are still wide open. Starting off with bells that sound like a music box losing speed the song swells into a symphony of percussive bass and swinging horns to complement McCauley’s coarse howl. Right off the bat, listeners will have a strong indication of the album’s dark lyrical content.

Despite the album’s somber subject matter, the band slips in a few melodic tunes to keep fans singing along. “The Dreams in the Ditch,” written by guitarist Ian O’Neil, is a memorable number about the frustrations of being a traveling musician and the unyielding demands of the music business.

The best song on the album is the bouncy country tune, “In Our Time”—a duet featuring McCauley’s new girlfriend, Vanessa Carlton. Yes, the same Vanessa Carlton whom once flooded the airwaves in the early 2000’s with the suburban tween anthem, “A Thousand Miles.” One of the lyrically stronger songs the record, “In Our Time” tells the story of a stale relationship held together by the nostalgia of their younger days.

Musically, the band has cleaned up around the edges and become tighter as a group. It is clear that “Negativity” strays away from Deer Tick’s past four albums, showcasing their musicianship more than ever.

Tampering with R&B and psychedelic elements throughout the album, Deer Tick toys with broadening their horizons towards a fresh sound. Lyrically, for the first time McCauley writes of facing his vices instead of falling back on them.

If you’re expecting this album to be the soundtrack to future weekends of excessive drinking, however, prepare to be disappointed. “Negativity” is a retrospective look the self-indulgent sins that failed to rectify any of McCauley’s personal problems. Long time Deer Tick fans will recognize that this is not their best album, nor is it their worst by any means. After a handful of listens, the musicianship remains much appreciated and the lyrics remain impressive. Negativity is a nice addition to the rest of the Deer Tick discography.

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Monthly Movie Review: The Princess Bride

Monthly Movie Review: The Princess Bride

Director: Rob Reiner 

Starring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, and Robin Wright

All right folks, this month we are taking a step back from the intense thrillers I have been throwing at you month after month. You can now rest easy, sit back in your seat and wipe your clammy hands on your blanket, because this month you will not be sleeping with your lights on when the film gets done.

The Princess Bride may have a few intense moments, but considering the year this film was made most of us will probably be able to handle the outrageous special effects the 80’s were dishing out.

The Princess Bride is a story of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles…to steal a line straight from the film, but hey, at least that means it’s true, right? With a description like that this is a movie that everyone can hopefully enjoy.

When the film begins we see a young boy at home, sick in bed. This boy happens to be Fred Savage who in my mind will never age and will always be the kid from The Wonder Years, which is ridiculous because that show aired before I was even born, but these are the facts as strange as they may seem. Anyway, little Fred Savage is home sick and his grandpa comes to read to him to make him feel better and what do you know? He brings along a book called The Princess Bride. Coincidence? I think not.

So on a side note this film is essentially a story within a story, and that gets even trickier when you learn that the film is based on a book. So essentially it is a film about a book about a story about a book. Yeah that was a mouthful, or rather a brainful.

Now let’s get back to business. We have the grandpa, who by the way never gets a real name nor does Fred in case you were wondering, reading the boy this book. We are then fully immersed in the story and life of the characters in the book. There are brief breaks in the storyline when we cut back to the child and his grandpa, or when we can hear the grandpa’s voice narrating the story. For the most part however we are seeing the book as the main focus and attraction of this film.

  Once we get into the plotline of The Princess Bride segment of the movie, we can see that it is largely a story of finding true love, with many obstacles and battles in the way. Buttercup (Wright), is a young beautiful girl who falls in love with a farm boy Westley (Elwes). The two are madly in love, but are torn apart when Westley leaves to seek fortune at sea. Sometime after that Buttercup gets word of Westley’s death by the dread pirate Roberts and goes into deep despair vowing never to love again, or in laymen’s terms “shit gets real.” All jokes aside she is very upset, but eventually somewhat, and by somewhat I mean she doesn’t at all want to, against her will she agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (who by the way was probably relentlessly teased because of his name poor chap, thank goodness he isn’t really a nice guy).

Shortly after the announcement of Buttercup and Humperdinck’s engagement Princess Buttercup is kidnapped by a band of three misfit men that normally wouldn’t go together even if you Gorilla Glued them to one another. These men are complete opposites in every way, but somehow came together to execute this scheme. The group consists of a giant; Andre the Giant is playing this character in the film so yeah like a literal giant, a Spaniard who is a master swordsman hell-bent on revenge (Mandy Patinkin), and Vizzini (Wallace Shawn, better known as the voice of Rex in the Toy Story movies) the mastermind behind the skillfully crafted plan.

What these men don’t count on however is that they are being followed. The elusive “man in black” that is following the men proceeds to encounter and then conquer each of the kidnappers, eventually getting the princess for himself. While all this is taking place Prince Humperdinck has been hot on their trail.

We later find out that this “man in black” is Westley, who obviously is not dead, sorry to drop that twist on you. The long-lost lovers are now reunited and are heading into the ominous fire swamp to get away from Humperdinck. Now you should be aware that the fire swamp poses great danger with its fire spurts, quick and the ROUS’s (rodent of unusual size), yes you heard right these huge rats are some pretty vicious creatures, you best be on the lookout for them.

They are eventually and predictably caught after facing the treacherous swamp. Buttercup and Westley are torn apart yet again. Buttercup goes back with Humperdinck to be married and Westley is shipped off to be tortured.

I know that this is getting to be a lengthy yet very interesting review, but nonetheless I will quickly throw the main highlights of the rest of the film at you.

Westley is rescued by the Giant and the Spaniard and they set of to storm the castle to rescue Buttercup from Humperdinck, and for the Spaniard to get his revenge on the six-fingered man who killed his father. Obviously there are a lot more details involved in getting to this point in the film, but you catch my drift. Now that the men are in the castle, you will just have to watch and see what adventures will ensue.

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