Archive for ‘Review’

May 24, 2012

I Heart “Pounou Hearts You”

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I have gone entirely too long without updating my blog, but life in the city has definitely taken a toll on my free time. Working in SoHo has proven to be a blessing and a curse. I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful fashion and design the city has to offer, but I spend entirely way too much time wondering what meals I can skip so that I can purchase them.

Regardless, the work I am in allows me to be exposed to a lot of different designers, many of which are based in New York City and stop in every once in awhile to see how things are going. This week I had the pleasure of meeting the illustrator behind the Pounou hearts you blog. Everyday she uploads a hand drawn illustration of Pounou and her chihuahua Em’Bo carrying out everyday situations. Each character has it’s own personality and the site provides some descriptions of the very relatable and comical characters that are used in her pieces (spoiler: Em’Bo is based off of her real life pup). The quirky and girly style is so adorable you will absolutely fall in love with it.

Pounou and her buddies are also featured on greeting cards, cosmetic cases and coin purses that you can purchase on Etsy or if you live in NYC you can find them at different markets listed on the blog. They are very unique and perfect for friends or significant others on special occasions.

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April 20, 2012

Another Post About the Whiteness of Girls

Even before the premiere of ‘Girls’ last Sunday, the show seemed to be hyped up by every media outlet.  Lena Dunham’s HBO comedy was even named “the ballsiest show on TV” on an April New York Magazine cover.  Although the show stayed true to the awkward and ironic style of her film Tiny Furniture, it sure disappointed a lot of people.

It is almost kicking a dead horse to keep posting about the whitewashed portrayal of Dunham’s group of friends and well, New York as whole, but of course I have to weigh-in. The first time I stumbled upon an article addressing the lack of racial diversity in the show, I was surprised I hadn’t noticed it myself. I spent hours writing a final paper in college about the lack of nonwhite characters in Sex and the City during my final semester in college.  I think it was necessary that people were criticizing what could potentially be a show of that stature for our generation.

Anyway, I guess the true controversy comes with the backlash that readers and writers have had defending the show. Things like “why does this have to be a representation of your life (nonwhite person)?” Lesley Arfin, one of the writers behind the show, was brilliant enough to tweet “What really bothered me about Precious was that there was no representation of me.” I love sarcasm.

I mean I don’t think that there needs to be one person of color to every white person, but is a group of all white friends and a cameo from an Asian that’s good at Photoshop really represent our generation? Definitely not mine. To be completely honest, most of my friends can’t even afford HBO to watch the show.

At least MTV’s ‘I Just Want My Pants Back’, which also revolves around 20-somethings in Brooklyn had an interracial couple.  Some people can’t understand why it is important to incorporate underrepresented groups in shows. They name all the other shows that have all white casts, only making the point more obvious. I think  with all the high expectations that people made surrounding ‘Girls’, the fact that is wasn’t more ballsy, when it came to going beyond an all white cast, is pretty disappointing.

March 27, 2012

Do The Hunger Games Critics Hate Women?

Okay, so maybe saying they hate women is a strong statement, but the reactions made public by critics and fans seems to hate on the women in the film. Yesterday, I shared the backlash that came from fans as they shared their disappointment that Rue was played by Amandla Stenberg due to the fact that she was black. The feedback shared on Twitter revealed very hostile comments about Rue, even mentioning that her death wasn’t as sad because she is black.

Well, critics seem to have it out for the leading lady too, claiming that she was not skinny enough to play the emaciated 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen in the film. The New York Mag article,quotes reviews pointing out Jennifer Lawrence’s “lingering baby fat.” What? Of course the physiques of the men in the film don’t happen to be pointed out.

With such an anticipated film, it seems almost unbelievable to me that these are the critiques that viewers have to offer. I personally have not seen the film or read the books, but I definitely think the experience will now be a bit tainted.  It seems that whenever a strong woman is present, Lawrence does kick-ass in the film, there are always others trying to bring her down.

May 13, 2011

Man Equals Man Doesn’t Quite Add Up

Ohio University’s  Theater Department’s performance of Bertolt Brecht’s Man Equals Man, doesn’t quite add up.  If there was not a large lighted sign with the words “Man = Man” hanging as the backdrop, the audience might immediately wonder if they have entered the right theater.  The setting of this play, which contains content that reveals the complex complications of war and identity ironically, takes place in a circus tent. But, fear not, you have not stepped into a demented circus.  Although puzzling at first, the visual appeal and outstanding acting during this performance cannot be denied.

Man Equals Man was written by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht in the early 1920s.  The modernist play set in the British Colonial India incorporates intricate themes reflecting on the loss of individualism as well as Brecht’s interpretation of the forces of imperialism, fascism and capitalism in the twenty-first century.  The plays main character, Galy Gay starts off as an impressionable porter who is eventually brainwashed by the Machine Gun Section Eight, a platoon of the British Army.

As OU’s Theater Department presents Man Equals Man, directed by Brian Evans, the ironic setting is only one of challenges the audience has to deal with.  Fortunately, the acting by Eb Madson as Galy Gay as well as the rest of the cast was enjoyable.  Specifically, the character of Widow Begbick (Heather Petersen), who is introduced as the sexual deviant in the story, provides an entertaining and enjoyable performance.  Most importantly, Madson is able to capture the pitiful Gay as he begins his downfall to destruction. Sadly, it may have been the complexity of the storyline that was lost in translation.  For an audience that may not be familiar with the theories of Karl Marx, or comedy of Charlie Chaplin or has asthma (there is a lot of fog used throughout the show) this may not be the best choice.

The beginning of the play is rather confusing as it takes the audience in between scenes of the members of the Machine Gun Section Eight at the Pagoda of the Yellow God and Galy Gay on his journey to buy fish.  As the first act continued, it became apparent that the audience struggled to determine when it was appropriate to laugh, as only a few laughs were uttered throughout the theatre. When the story finally began to pick up momentum, it was suddenly time for an intermission, but there was hope restored that the second act would be more pleasing.  Unfortunately, this did not prove to be true.  Although the actors continued to provide a great performance, the humor and ability to hold the audience’s attention fell short.

The costumes, clearly inspired by the circus motif, were an aspect of the performance worthy of praise.  The visual compilation of the setting and wardrobe, reminiscent of a Tim Burton film, meshed together to create a scary but attractive take on the changing environment.  In addition to the illuminated sign hung in the background there hung a large gong, manned by a disturbing looking clown that provided all of the sound effects throughout the performance.  The theatre was also occupied by an Asian pagoda and dilapidated carriage that worked well to create a visually interesting atmosphere.

Although the complex themes of Brecht’s societal critique may not have translated as well as desired to the audience, they are still relevant and relatable today.  As Gay says, “All that matters is that you be the way people want you to be, that’s the easiest.”  OU’s adaptation of Man Equals Man may be a little lackluster in its storytelling, but it is worth seeing, even if it’s just for two hours of eye entertainment.

April 16, 2011

“Rio” is a Riot

Don’t let the animation fool you “Rio”is a movie even adults can enjoy. Although the film may target the younger audience, the older crowd can definitely have more than just a few laughs.

The movie opens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a band of colorful, exotic singing birds setting the mood for a beautiful visual experience with the bright colors of South American jungle. The blissful scene is quickly interrupted by a group of bird smugglers with burlap sacks, and it becomes evident this not just a happy-go-lucky musical.

The storyline is based around the cleverly named Blu, a blue macaw voiced by Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), who is snatched from Rio the moment he steps out of his nest. After falling out of the poachers’ truck he ends up in the small town of Moose Lake, Minn. . In a twist of fate, Blu is rescued by a red-headed girl named Linda (Leslie Mann), and they become inseparable.  The adventure truly begins 15years later when the duo is visited by Tulio, an awkward, bird-loving Brazilian scientist, who reveals to Linda that Blu is the last male blue macaw.  Blu must then leave the comfort of his domestication and return to the wild Rio to carry on the species with Jewel (Anne Hathaway), a female blue macaw.  The film turns to the developing love between Jewel  and Blu as they try to escape their nappers  and Blu finally learns to spread his wings while meeting an entertaining group of friends along the way.

The hour and a half computer-animated movie, which is offered in 2D and 3D, is directed by Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age).The majority of the film takes place in Rio during Carnival, which allows for an exciting array of colors, scantily clad characters and a soundtrack full of samba.  Most of the comedy comes from the character of Luiz, the drooling English Bulldog, who is voiced by Tracy Morgan, and the rest of the Brazilian Gang.   Other famous voices behind the animated characters include George Lopez, Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes, and Jane Lynch.

Some characters such as  Nigel, a bitter cockatoo, burst into a song at moments that seem inopportune for a solo, and it seems that Saldanha should have focused less on the music and more on the comedy.For an audience with high expectations, this film is definitely not the new “Lion King,” but worth the money.

Overall, a lot of the funniest parts can be seen in the trailer; however, staying for the end definitely makes the movie worthwhile.  The storyline, typical of many children’s movies is nothing too exciting, but the visual aspects of the movie will keep even a whiney baby’s interest.