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A&E

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Emory Wheel

Awaited Remake is Sad, Relies on Tried Old Quirks Continued from Page 6 Julia Goldani Telles, known for playing Sasha on Bunheads, playing a new character, Sandee. Stylistically, the show’s writing is impeccable. Our favorite fast talkers have plenty of words to spit out and a plethora of new media occurrences to reference, such as Marvel movies, Wild (both the book and the movie) and Uber. Graham, Bledel and Bishop certainly retain their ability to speak a mile a minute, and Sherman-Palladino still has a knack for fitting an unbelievable amount of words into tiny time frames. While the writing is as fast and funny as it was originally, the tone of the episodes is different, but not in a good way. Sherman-Palladino wrote the first and the last, with her husband Dan taking the reins for episodes two and three. There is a significant drop in happiness during Dan’s episodes, and while Amy’s were more lighthearted, the entire show seemed weighed down with overarching sadness and a sense

of failure for our characters. In particular, the decisions Rory makes when Dan was writing her seemed to be more out of character than when Amy was in control, making the audience feel disconnected from the her. Storylines took turns for the worst, with Rory taking the biggest hits. As somebody who looks up to Rory and squeals with delight every time I find even the smallest similarities between her and myself, I was devastated with Rory and her decisions during the show. She lost direction, respect and herself through her professional choices and personal relationships. The Rory I used to know would look at this Rory as if she were a Martian, or an evil twin sent to destroy her life. The Rory storyline is disappointing to say the least. While the sadder parts of the show humanize the characters and truly reflect the whole “life isn’t fair” saying, I don’t watch TV for depressingly realistic failures. I wanted the whole revival to be full of ridiculous jokes and junk food like it used to be. I

didn’t want to watch my fictional family crash and burn. However, not everyone did. Emily’s storyline was funny and cute, and elicited many “aw!”s.

Alcohol is one thing that the original series adamantly shied away from ... Now, however, there is far more liquor than there are lattes. She finally managed to keep a maid! Her storyline was beautifully done, and I am satisfied with the direction they took her. We were tossed some bones every now and then. Whether it was Troubadours fighting, Lorelai smelling snow, Kirk’s (Sean Gunn) ridiculous “oober” business or Lorelai’s Jeep, the revival bursts with our old Gilmore Girls’ staples. While junk food and coffee make

their obligatory appearances, the girls seem to have unnecessarily substituted coffee with alcohol. Alcohol is one thing that the original series adamantly shied away from, and when alcohol was used, it was used sparingly. Now, however, there is far more liquor than there are lattes. All in all, it was Gilmore Girls — but with the sadness levels of act two of Into the Woods, maybe with some Woody Allen sprinkled in. I wish the storyline had treated the Gilmore girls better. While it was fun to see all three boyfriends return, I walked away upset, almost wishing the revival didn’t exist at all. In the show’s defense, we were never promised happy, and we were never promised closure (those last four words though!). Even though it fulfilled what it promised, it didn’t fulfill what we wanted. They’re still the Gilmore girls, and I will always love Gilmore Girls, but this was a little too sad for my taste. — Contact Annie Cohen at annie.cohen@emory.edu

Wizarding World Continues to Amaze Continued from Page 6 side of Hogwarts. Of the huge $180 million budget, a lot seems to have gone to CGI — beasts move smoothly and act like real animals would. In fact, they resemble real animals with a bit of extra personality rather than completely made-up creatures. Whether it be the cute, wideeyed beasts reminiscent of llamas or the shy Bowtruckles that look like stick bugs with facial expressions, they are all just one step away from reality. The Nifler, a puggle-like creature that fancies valuable items, elicited a high-pitched “aww!” from the audience when introduced, and the Erumpent, a hybrid of a rhinoceros and elephant, evoked endless laughter when it chased Kowalski through Central Park in an attempt to make love to him. Rather than unrealistic features, such as blob-like body structures or protruding nostrils (or something else we might see in Star Wars), the creatures have character, and that’s what makes them so magical. Despite the allure of the magnificent beasts, the film’s plot is intermittent. The first half is spent following Scamander and Kowalski on their task to recapture the creatures while the second half spasmodically squeezes in problems that are almost irrelevant to those beasts, such as defeating the Obscurus and stopping a No-Maj, antimagic extremist, Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton). The film could have benefited from tying the creatures’ unique abilities into each issue, helping the protagonists on their journey. Instead, it felt as if a majority of the beasts are introduced just to provoke awe from the audience before the plot becomes darker and more sporadic. Granted, Kowalski is the film’s answer to the question many of us have: what would happen if a No-Maj were thrown into the magical universe? After punching a mean, guido house elf to save Scamander, Kowalski triumphantly takes a shot

of giggle juice, letting out an uncontrolled, piercing chuckle before being transported away from the scene. Kowalski’s ignorance of magic arouses a silly, childlike humor that leaves the audience howling with laughter. He is single-handedly the film’s comedic relief and, in many instances, takes us away from the seriousness that underlies much of the plot. Even more entertaining is Kowalski’s relationship with Porpentina’s mindreading sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). It gives the film that classic love story, lightening the mood of its darker moments. At one point, it is made clear that, in America, No-Majes cannot marry witches and wizards. And the way Kowalski’s face freezes in awe when he sees Queenie reciprocate feelings for him makes us wish they could get married, in turn teaching us a valuable lesson about the principles of marriage equality. James Newton Howard’s soundtrack shines. He shifts from John Williams’ Harry Potter score with much more fast-paced, lively music that perfectly fits with the film’s New York attitude: brisk, loud and classy. There are hints of Williams in the soundtrack, though — halfway through “The Demiguise and the Occamy,” violins mysteriously glissando up and down, creating the same enigmatic sense that characterizes Harry’s encounter with spiders in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. “Newt Says Goodbye to Tina/Jacob’s Bakery” is Polar Expressesque, igniting wonder and amazement and reminding us of that tinge of childhood that comes with true magic. Fantastic Beasts consistently stimulates the audience’s inner child, evoking the same wonderment we once felt when we first read Harry Potter. What the film lacks in seamless plot it makes up for in stunning visuals, doltish comedy and an astonishing score. Fantastic Beasts truly casts a charm spell on its audience. — Contact Brian Savino at brian.savino@emory.edu

Courtesy of 1833

Jamie Bulled (Left), Sarah Midori Perry (Middle) and Gus Lobban (R ight) of Kero Kero Bonito pose for the release of ‘Bonito Generation.’

Album Offers Lighthearted Fun

Continued from Page 6 chorus accompanied by some incredibly sugary sweet bell synths. Ultimately, the horns come back and the song ends in the boisterous way it started. Keep in mind that this song is entirely about the universal struggle of having to get up in the morning. It contains some lines about showing “up in the place” and “looking great” to match the swagger of its instrumentals, but that doesn’t cut into the inherent lightheartedness of the song. “Heard a Song” operates in the same manner, centered around that feeling you get when you hear a catchy song on the radio but can’t recall its name. An overwhelming majority of these songs are focused on everyday, universal experiences. The album doesn’t try to provide any answers or cast any judgement. Rather, the album is a picture of life, a show about nothing that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is still surprisingly sober and well-thought-out. It’s far from a philosophical work, but it’s not devoid of any substance either. Musically, the album falls into two very rough camps between which

Film Relies On Cheesy Humor Continued from Page 6 Marcus’ other partner in the heist is Willie’s estranged mother Sunny (Kathy Bates). With only days until Christmas, Willie dons a Santa suit to pull off his last big robbery. The few positives the film has are in the acting department. Thornton is perfect for this role, embodying a crotchety nihilist view of the holiday season but playing it completely straight and without any sense of fourth-wall-breaking self awareness. Thornton’s deadpan delivery and natural talent at playing the straight man to Cox, and Bates’ wildcards work wonders for an otherwise by-the-numbers film. Bates is also great as Willie’s even more unscrupulous and deviant mother, showcasing an unexpected knack for comedy given her role in Misery. Unfortunately, that’s where my good will toward Bad Santa 2 ends. Despite boasting a cast that clearly has fun with their roles, the writing itself is so woefully uneven that it can’t be saved by sheer actor charisma alone. For every joke that lands, there are about three that miss — hard. Screenwriters Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross are overly keen to return to running gags, such as Marcus’ small stature or Willie’s hapless sidekick Thurman (Brett Kelly), which results in a monotonous flow for long stretches of the film. Punctuate the run-into-theground gags with some raunchy sex scenes straight out of a Santa-themed porno and you have Bad Santa 2’s idea of comedy.

... [‘Bad Santa 2’ is] about as exciting as finding a cold lump of coal in your stocking Christmas morning.

it bounces at will. Some songs, like “Waking Up,” are more hip-hop oriented. “Graduation” is powered by its fat 808-sounding bass line and its spaced-out, melodic components. Songs like “Big City,” “Fish Bowl” and “Picture This,” on the other hand, are saccharine, synth-pop delicacies in which Perry’s adorable singing voice takes center stage. The rest of the album falls somewhere in between, with a tendency toward the poppier end of things. Make no mistake, though. Kero Kero Bonito set out to produce something truly unique within the contours of pop, and their efforts have paid off. Both the expert yet goofy production and Perry’s genuine vocal ability of switching between rapping in laidback flows and singing in the most meltingly charming inflections, make this album shine through. But beyond any cerebral analyses, this album is just plain fun. It’s catchy and has the right amount of quirk to make it appealing. There are no illusions of grandeur here — it’s a party, and that’s all it needs to be.

There’s also a strange disconnect between Willie as a character and the rest of the film, mainly in the clash between styles of comedy. Thornton’s dry wit and subdued slacker approach to his jokes don’t jive with Cox and Bates, who are constantly shooting out one-liners and innuendos. That’s not to say disparate comedic styles can’t coalesce to make something great (cf. Caddyshack), but they need to be joined together by a script that gives each of them off something to work. The littering of subplots throughout the film, such as Willie’s fling with the charity owner or Sunny’s declining health, prevents the jokes from feeding into a cohesive narrative and it comes off as very scattershot. For all you anti-holiday curmudgeons out there, Bad Santa 2 won’t satisfy that itch you feel this time of year. It’s just as milquetoast as the more standard Christmas fare currently in theaters, made worse by the lack of sleaze or comedic edge to make it truly memorable. To indulge in an apt seasonal metaphor, it’s about as exciting as finding a cold lump of coal in your stocking Christmas morning.

— Contact Devin Bog at devin.bog@emory.edu

— Contact Vikrant Nallaparaju at vnallap@emory.edu

11.30.16  
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