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Oscar Film: Les Misérables

While the storyline was solid, the portrayal of the singing scenes broke the suspension of disbelief.

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Imagine, France 1815 in the stirrings of the French Revolution. The scene opens and we are thrust into the brutalities faced by slaves and men on parole. Just as you are drawn into their heartache, the cast breaks into song. The singing was expected, this being a musical drama; however, the uneasy shift from acting to singing was a bit of a shock. The change from lines to notes was far from smooth in many cases; in other words the singing became a huge disruption and distraction of the pain and depth depicted in the movie. On a few rare occasions the musical performance enhanced the production, such as when Ann Hathaway (Fantine) performed “I Dreamed a Dream”. Her exceptional voice and emotion in her singing, by far, added to her performance. Hathaway was able to capture the pain and despair and long ago hope into these beautifully crafted words ringing through the audience. Hathaway was not the only one with musical talent, Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) soared in her singing and was able to blend the musical aspect nicely into her character and keep it true to the situation. 

Unfortunately little more can be said positively about the musical drama. While the storyline was solid, the portrayal of the singing scenes broke the suspension of disbelief. That is, it ripped the audience from the dark depths and tragedy occurring during the scenes and rushed into an almost comical musical outburst. Granted, those few that were implemented well were outstanding in their ability to pull you deeper into the character’s world. However, for the rest, the acting was not long enough between songs for the audience to connect and get a sense of involvement into the lives of the characters.

There were a few scenes that worked incredibly for shock value, and more importantly brought attention not only to issues during the 19th century, but also those that still exist today. When Fantine has been forced to rock bottom, we see the true, unspeakable horrors of prostitution and how easily a mother will sell her soul to the devil himself to protect and care for her child. Religion is another major aspect of this film, though perhaps not in the traditional way we are accustomed to seeing it. Les Misérables will break your heart but leave you feeling like there was more to the story that was overshadowed by musical performances.

By Brittany Hicks

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Star Wars™ Pinball: Star Wars Rebels™

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Zen Studios has concocted a ruse of amusement, it’s a trap—of fun. Star Wars™ Pinball: Star Wars Rebels™, established by the critically acclaimed animated TV show on Disney XD, Star Wars Rebels™, releases endorphins chock full of nostalgia and bliss. With all of the Star Wars talk going on as of late, it’s nice to get in your daily need of pew pew! Stormtroopers assemble and try to take down the hero of Lothal, the whole mission thing is a bit nuts. This pinball table goes to a galaxy far far away by delving into an age that has yet to be traversed by the films. Zen studios gets the balance of the force just right, do not try to get this table, do it.

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Pinball FX-2 Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Zen Studios does it again with Pinball FX2 – Marvel Avenger’s: Age of Ultron. This table is available on PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. Avengers Assemble! Age of Ultron quenches a thirst for adventure you didn’t know you had. Players assist Iron Man in finishing his most aspiring venture to date. The profound and climactic soundtrack will rip you out of the comfort of your chair and into the Age of Ultron. Enjoy this audacious addition to the Avenger’s universe, Thor’s might is on your side. The Incredible Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow make a gargantuan attempt at arresting the nefarious Ultron. Pull yourself together and check out this game, you can’t afford more mistakes. The god of thunder favors you.

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Shaking the Habitual, The Knife | Album Review

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By The Knife

Shaking the Habitual is something every person needs more of in life. Stepping outside of boundaries and entering a new experience can have a confounding effect on the senses. Rhythm and movement resonate from the deepest depths of the soul and project outward in an array of vibrancy. 

What starts off like a indigenous ceremony quickly changes to a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland by the third track, “A Cherry on Top.” Then, finding semblance in a 19 minute interlude, “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized,” the brother-and-sister duo reemerge in ritualistic fashion with the deep bass line of “Raging Lung”. Ending with an unsettling aptitude, Fracking Fluid Injection precedes the final track, Ready to Lose; providing insight to a larger contextual effect this album has in a world seeming “Full of Fire.” 

Although difficult to fully embody the composition of electronic and aboriginal noise heard in The Knife’s new album, Shaking the Habitual, any movement to the music is sure to conjure emotion. At times, the May release represents a more archetypal sound in the art of music. 

Tying together components of old and new, the Swedish duo creates a spellbinding effect with the first track, A Tooth For an Eye. Amalgamating dominant instrumentations, subtle synth lines and underlying vocals, A Tooth For and Eye entices the listener with something seldom projected over the airwaves. 

Coming off a seven year hiatus, the duo can predominate with an electronic influence, but, ultimately the seamless transition across a spectrum of sound grasps the ear. Delivered in its entirety, the lasting impression might leave one feeling like a participant of a seance.

— Rob Donovan

 

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