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TV Show Review | Atlanta: Season 1

Donald Glover (also known as rapper Childish Gambino) is known by most members of my current generation as being pretty much just the best at everything he does. From fan favorite on Community, to winning Grammys for This is America and for starring as Lando Calrissian. The show revolves around Glover’s character Earn as he attempts to make ends meet by helping to his rapper cousin succeed. While many have classified the show as a comedy, it often transcends a conventional genre, quite frequently offering sharp critique on Hip-hop and American culture as well as the institutional racism that plagues them both.

While Atlanta does follow somewhat of a narrative, it does not feel a need to cleave unnecessarily to the story, which actually liberates the show to explore its themes in greater detail than it otherwise may have been able to. As the characters navigate their world, their experiences vary from realistic to bizarre, blending together the shows primary goals. Thus with Atlanta, Donald Glover further solidifies himself as one of the primary entertainers and social commentators of our generation. Overall, Atlanta is just as often poignant and thought provoking as it is hilarious.

Written by: Parker Gehring

Documentary Review | Life: Part 4

The fourth, and final part, of the Life series (PN 1995.96 .N38 L53 2010 pt.4) is a beautiful finale to a breathtaking nature series. This part of the series includes the episodes about primates and about the making of the series. The episode about primates features amazing footage of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom. The cameramen managed to get shots of primates doing things such as using tools, that show a striking similarity between primates and humans. The effort put into filming this episode as well as all of the others in the series is highlighted in the episode on the making of the Life series. This last episode shows the journeys of the various videographers and the great lengths they went to in order to capture the footage shown throughout the series.

I loved the final part of this series. The episode on primates was wonderfully made and gives us a beautiful look into the lives of these magnificent creatures. The videographers did a wonderful job at capturing video that really allows the watcher to gain a greater, more connected appreciation for primates. The episode on the making of the Life series shows the side to nature documentaries that we often take for granted—the time and effort required by the cameramen and crew is incredible and helps viewers to gain an even greater appreciation for this nature series.

Written by: Jeff Stolk

Movie Review | Unbroken

Unbroken is the miraculous survival story of Louis Zamperini. The movie is based on his real life experiences in world war 2 and the Olympics. When his plane crashes into the ocean during world war 2,  he and two other crew mates survived the crash and are left stranded with a couple of life rafts and limited supplies. They fight to survive in the ocean until they are found by a Japanese ship. They are then taken to Japan and put in a prisoner camp where Louie endures cruelty and suffering with an iron will.

I thought this movie was great and very inspiring. He lived his life according to what his brother Pete told him, “One moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory”. I thought it was interesting that there were times in the movie where Louis showed human weakness. It was hard for him to be strong, but when he faltered he always got back up. Perhaps most inspiring were Louie’s efforts to forgive. Overall a great movie; I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Aaron Conrad

Movie Review | Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name)

Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) (PN 1995.97 .J3 J37kim 2017) is a popular animated Japanese film that covers a love story that follows two teenagers living in Japan. Mitsuha lives in the fictional town of Itomori and finds herself getting bored with the country life while Taki lives in the exciting city of Tokyo. They find themselves swapping bodies every once in a while and think that they are dreaming until they find messages written by the other on their arms or in their phones. This film takes you on a journey as you find out that it may not be just distance keeping these two apart.

Being the top-grossing anime film of all time, this movie has an extraordinary story that is unique and captivating to watch. Although it starts off slow and seems like any other romance movie, this film takes interesting turns that keep the viewer watching. It is both comical while heart-wrenching as you see the story of two teenagers getting to know each other and falling in love unfold throughout the film. This film covers all types of genres and so I would recommend everyone to give this critically acclaimed movie a shot.

Written by: Tiffany Chao

Documentary Review | The Police Tapes

The Police Tapes (PN 1995.96 .C66 P65 2006) is a realistic documentary film about the dangerous night life of cops in the Bronx in 1976. This film is created by Alan and Susan Raymond as they follow around police in the 44th precinct on foot. Being shot this way, the filmmakers take the audience into the action and display what crime life is really like in the South Bronx, New York.

This documentary is a little hard to follow because the crime stories constantly change without following up on the arrests. However, this film is very unique in the way that the audience feels as though they are a part of the action and are present in the various crimes. I think this film would be very interesting to anyone who is interested in becoming a cop or enjoys crime shows.

Written by: Mallory Meng

Movie Review | Just Let Go

Just Let Go (PN 1995.98 .D65 J87 2015) is a film based on the true story of Chris Williams, a devoted husband and father of 5 children who lost all but two of his sons in a car accident.  The accident itself was caused by a drunk 17-year old boy who was coming home from a party late that evening.  This movie follows the heart-wrenching story of how Chris overcame the grief and sorrow of losing his loved ones, in order to move on in life, and forgive the young boy who did so much harm to his family.

I have to say that I cried quite a bit during this film.  It is so powerful and inspiring!  Forgiving can be extremely difficult, and Chris Williams is certainly an incredible example of forgiving others and letting go of hate, anger, or bitterness.  I give this film a 5/5 because it was a very impactful movie, with great life lessons and morals.

Written by: Jared McGrail

Streaming Documentary Review | Amy: The Tragic Story of Amy Winehouse

A wonderful insight to the life of a superstar taken too soon. Amy documents the late jazz singer’s meteoric rise to fame through home videos, concerts, and personal interviews with close friends, family, and record producers. The interviews narrate the film while trying to navigate through the many struggles and issues Amy herself tried to overcome.

I gave this film a 3 out of 5 stars because of the content. The story of Amy Winehouse is one full of tragedy and sorrow. As you watch you begin to see her life unravel more and more until it is completely unbearable. Her friends and family offer little to no support to Amy which ultimately resulted in her death. The film just does such a good job of showing that, that it really makes you sad and not want to watch anymore.

Written by: Tommy Barriga

Documentary Review | The O.J Verdict

The O.J. Verdict, a Frontline documentary, details the public’s reaction to the verdict reached in the controversial O.J. Simpson case. It provides background details leading up to the case, key points of evidence and argumentation, and discusses the role that race played in the trial and media coverage of the event. Commentary is provided from differing points of view.

I really enjoyed this documentary as it was very informative and takes a balanced approach to the trial. For those who are uninformed on the case, it provides good details on why this was such a big case and the role it played in the development of criminal justice. Overall, the commentary was great and provided insight into the many facets of this case that made it so controversial.

Written by: Brandon Orullian

Movie Review | The Fugitive

The Fugitive (PN 1995.9 .A3 F84 2001) is a thrilling action movie about Richard Kimble, a prison escapee on the run, determined to solve his wife’s murder without getting caught. Kimble was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife, but is determined to clear his name and find the real person behind it all, a one-armed man. It’s almost impossible for him to stay hidden with Chicago police and the U.S. Marshall on his tail, but Kimble is a smart man and will stop at nothing to find the truth.

Every minute of this film is exciting and intense, following Kimble’s risky escapade. Richard Kimble is played by Harrison Ford, who is absolutely outstanding in this role. I really enjoyed this movie, it was an action-filled film with an exciting plot, and the cinematography was excellent. This is why I would definitely recommend this movie, and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by: Hannah McBride

Documentary Review | The Devil’s Miner

The Devil’s Miner (PN 1995.97 .S6 U55dev 2005) is a heart wrenching documentary about Basilio, a 15-year old boy from Bolivia whose father passed away when he was very young.  With his mother unable to find work to support their family, Basilio takes it upon himself to work in the silver mines of Potosi, Bolivia.  This film shows his daily life, and the back-breaking work that he must perform every day to support his family and stay in school.  The documentary also shows the reader the culture of the Bolivian miners, as they believe in “El Tio” (The Uncle, or “devil”) who they must worship to ensure their safe passage through the mines.

This film provides the audience with an up-close and personal experience of young Basilio’s trials in life, and left me speechless.  Hopefully, this film will instill in the viewer a greater “attitude of gratitude” regarding their own circumstances in life.  As well, Basilio personally gave me a greater desire to work harder.  This young boy had the great responsibility of working 8 hours in a coal mine to support his family, and going to school part-time to pursue an education and escape from poverty.  I give this documentary 5 out of 5 stars.

Written by : Jared McGrail

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