All posts tagged: Performance

Beyoncé & Kendrick Lamar: Politicizing Popular Art

American popular culture, specifically from the mid-60s to mid-70s, was highly politicized, critical, and urgent. Calls to action and societal critiques were common in forms of expression created and disseminated within mainstream youth culture. The sheer abundance and popularity of politicized art meant that both creators and consumers were interested in engaging with immediate problems. The imperative for change was palpable. But this sense of American political urgency seemed to diminish in the 1980s, with the election of President Reagan and the establishment of an overpowering neo-conservative ideology. From the 1980s – 2010s, political expression was still a part of mainstream American pop culture, and is exemplified in the work of N.W.A, Shepard Fairey, Michael Moore, and countless others. My intention is not to discount these works, but to say that I am hopeful that America’s youth will collectively become more political again, with the same urgency that characterized the 60s & 70s. Which brings me to Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. Already this year, we have experienced two particularly powerful political moments in music: Beyoncé’s release of her music video for “Formation,” and Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy’s performance. …

My 5 Favorite De Niro Performances

If you asked me who my favorite actor is I’d proudly proclaim ROBERT DE NIRO, along with thousands upon thousands of other fans across the world. In each role he fills, De Niro engages, scares, surprises, and connects. He is a bonafide legend, and the depth, tone, subtlety, and intensity he is able to create within each of his characters is nothing short of awe-inspiring. In honor of his 72nd birthday, here are my five favorite Robert De Niro performances, in no particular order. What are yours? Jake La Motta – Raging Bull (1980) Raging Bull is one of my favorite films for numerous reasons, including Robert De Niro’s mesmerizing performance (for which he won the Academy Award), the stunning cinematography, and the truly moving soundtrack. In Raging Bull we see the destruction of a man’s world, as his anger and jealousy corrodes the relationships in his life. It’s one of those films and performances that one can never do justice to when discussing – it simply must be watched and enjoyed. Michael – The Deer Hunter (1978) The Deer Hunter provides an examination of the Vietnam war and its impact on American …

Charming and Thoughtful, “Young Like Us” Explores Female Friendships Amidst the Complications of Post-College Life

Oh the trials and tribulations of post-college life. We’re led to believe that once we graduate everything will fall perfectly into place, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Life becomes exponentially more complicated, and the friends who were like family during college are now drifting in opposite directions. At times, it’s a struggle even knowing who you are or where you’re going. How do you continue on your own down the path you’ve foraged? And how do you keep your friendships together in the process? “Young Like Us” – a charming and thoughtful eight-episode web series on YouTube – asks these questions and more. The series features three ex-roommates, Mia, Ava, and Charlie, who start a fake band in order to sustain their bond after they’ve graduated and moved out of their Brooklyn apartment. Their band-practice room becomes a place of refuge, where they can escape together and share the tales of their daily struggles and triumphs. Through their music, the characters are able to explore feelings about relationships, sexuality, identity, and what the future may hold. In each …

Standout Performances of the Year

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite performances of the year based on what films and television shows I watched in 2014. What performances stood out to you this year? Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up) → Although Get on Up had its flaws, Chadwick Boseman’s performance as James Brown was practically flawless. I believe he deserves an Oscar nomination, but unfortunately that’s not likely to happen. Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) → Ralph Fiennes is delightful as Mr. Gustave H. I could watch The Grand Budapest Hotel an infinite amount of times and never get tired of his dapper and charming character. Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) → Kevin Spacey is Kevin Spacey, so he’s basically amazing in anything and everything, but there’s something special about his role as Frank Underwood. When he breaks the fourth wall and talks to you in that smooth southern accent, it’s awfully scary and spectacular. Reese Witherspoon (Wild) → Reese Witherspoon is a great actress and truly takes the audience somewhere deep and personal in Wild. Matthew McConaughey (“True Detective”) → Rust Cohle is possibly the most dark …

My Top 5 Favorite Ryan Gosling Performances

5. Crazy, Stupid, Love Though Ryan Gosling is most well-known for his dramatic roles, he proves to be a great comedic actor in Crazy, Stupid, Love. As Jacob Palmer, Gosling perfectly portrays a shallow hunk who re-discovers his heart after falling in love with someone other than himself. His razor sharp attitude and quick-witted remarks make for a hilarious performance. And have you seen how good he looks in dress clothes? Wow. 4. Lars and the Real Girl Lars and the Real Girl is about a shy and depressed young man who develops an emotional relationship with a blow up doll. As Lars, Gosling is gentle and serene, keenly playing a hurt soul who finds acceptance in a doll who can neither judge nor desert him. Lars and the Real Girl is both heart warming and distinctly unique. 3. Half Nelson In Half Nelson Gosling plays Dan Dunne, a school teacher who’s hiding his crack addiction. Though he lights up in front of his class, behind closed doors Dan is troubled and lonely. Through a relationship he forms with one of his students (Drey played by Shareeka Epps) we …