Lisa See Explores the Concept of Love in Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy

Hello, everyone! In summer you can usually find me curled up on the weekends, re-reading a book for the fourth or fifth time. This summer is no different and I’ve returned to one of my favorite authors, Lisa See, a Chinese-American author whose novels Peony in Love and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan reveal the lives of Chinese women during the 17th and 19th centuries, when they were cloistered in compounds, isolated and uneducated, and restricted by the morals of a strict, repressive Confucian society. See’s Shanghai Girls series jumps forward into the 20th century, yet still focuses on the lives and relationships of Chinese women as they move from China to the United States and back again. Although the protagonists Pearl, May and Joy may live in a more modern world than their peers in See’s other novels, See’s key theme remains the same: in a culture in which women are restricted in thought, behavior, and expression, the most important link between women can be faith in a shared secret life.

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The Second Guardians of the Galaxy Is A Muddled Sequel

Hello, everyone! I’ve written before in my posts about how I think Marvel movies have all become formulaic, heartless, soul-sucking cash grabs, so I guess it’s no surprise that the Guardians franchise has succumbed to that paint-by-numbers scheme too. The first film was surprisingly witty and heartfelt, and managed to make the origin story of a group of unfamiliar, oddball assholes endearing. Not to mention, the soundtrack was fantastic. Vol.2 also has a killer soundtrack, but the wit and heart are harder to find. There’s a great movie in here somewhere, but it’s lost amidst $200 million worth of special effects and a plot so familiar that even the journey isn’t very fun.

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We Can’t Stop Limiting Female Pop Stars

Hello, everyone! My first year of college is over. I’m so excited to be back in my house where no one can bother me. But enough about my antisocial tendencies. If you’ve been on Youtube lately, you might have noticed that Miley Cyrus’ newest song “Malibu” is among one of the most trending videos. The music video showcases an entirely “new” side to Miley, one that embraces the softness, delicate femininity, and pure wholesomeness that Cyrus, and all women, have been supposedly hiding beneath their overly-sexualized exteriors.

To get a taste of the average person’s opinion of the new Miley, just read the comments on her “Malibu” video or even on older videos like “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball,” which once incited a firestorm of media ire for being too provocative, too sexed-up, too unlike the Miley Cyrus the world had grown accustomed to through Hannah Montana.  One commenter writes that “it looks like Miley has finally found herself” and another who says that she’s “the old Miley again.” Another common comment refers to an alleged personality switch between Miley and Katy Perry, whose new song “Bon Appetit” has gained notice for its controversial, overtly sexual video. These comments beg the question: since when has a pop star only been allowed one “acceptable” public image, and why,  WHY does it have to be a pure one?

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Colossal Is Weird, But Worth The Watch

Hello, everyone! Sorry for the extra long gap between posts. I hate to leave you hanging with a strange ode/critique to Taylor Swift. After writing that article I listened to Swift’s entire discography. Whether you find that to be sweet or alarming is really up to your opinion on the singer, but I gotta say, she  makes sad bus rides go a lot faster.  On a completely unrelated topic, tonight I watched Colossal for the last screening of my film analysis class. It’s such a bizarre, unique film that I’m not sure whether it deserves praise or ridicule. Perhaps that’s why it succeeds. It doesn’t play it safe or even try to be normal. Colossal wears its heart on its sleeve, with endearing and annoying results. In a marketplace filled with lukewarm comedies and robotic  blockbusters, Colossal is more than sincere enough to make up for its flaws.

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Who The Hell Is Taylor Swift?

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is a concept I’ve been pondering for quite some time now, namely, who the fuck is Taylor Swift? She’s an artist whose songs I find so melodically satisfying that I listen to them on repeat, yet whose lyrics I find obnoxiously melodramatic. She’s a public figure who I both admire for her success and detest for its excess. Most importantly, she’s the quintessential American pop star, pure, sweet, and innocent like apple pie, yet also catty, vicious, and vengeful as an evil queen. There are many masks Swift wears as an artist and as a celebrity; I’d like to examine them through the lens of her lyrics, which like her, are a mixture of sincerity and artifice.

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Rings Is A Movie Without An Identity

Hello, everyone! Sorry for the month long delay between posts. If you couldn’t guess, it’s because my spring semester has been as chaotic as Donald Trump’s presidency and I’ve only just found my footing. Last Friday I saw Rings, the third installment in the American adaptation of the Japanese Ringu. A completely mediocre movie through and through, Rings adds nothing to the franchise but derivative storytelling, lousy acting, and a serving of warmed-over creepiness. By updating the premise for the digital age, the film draws attention to its own fading relevance.

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Screw the Critics #3: Passengers

A continuing segment in which Lily, intrepid blogger, goes head to head with the most dastardly of foes: Rotten Tomatoes. Group-think be damned! In this segment, we look at the panned Morten Tyldum movie Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.  Who will win? Hint: it’s Lily. 

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Passengers proves Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence work well together — and that even their chemistry isn’t enough to overcome a fatally flawed story.

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The Dressmaker Is Haute, But Messy

Hello, everyone! A few days ago I watched The Dressmaker, which is a perfect example of a movie ruined by a single scene. Apart from that single scene, the movie is eccentric and unwieldy, but still a jaunty story to follow. A story of fashion and fiery revenge, Jocelyn Moorhouse’s film is beautiful, but marred by mistakes.

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La La Land Brings The Music, But No Musical

Hello, everyone! Today the somber task falls upon me to write a review about a movie that I wanted to love, but couldn’t. That movie is La La Land, a musical drama that is neither wholly musical nor wholly drama. Damien Chazelle’s sophomore feature is not a bad movie in any way, but it doesn’t have the passion or originality of its predecessor Whiplash. Its homages to iconic musicals like Singin’ in the Rain and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg show the film’s adoration for the magic of Old Hollywood, but they also prove that loving references can show how a movie like La La Land pales in comparison to the fantastic originals. The film is beautiful, fun, and witty, with powerful performances from both leads, but unlike other musical classics, it doesn’t transcend.

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