Aug 01, 2014

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Summer of Movies

by Stephen F. Sullivan

The box office had huge hits during the summer filled with sequels, reboots, and finales. Arguably, the most anticipated movie of the year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II was released mid-July to critical acclaim. The film is the grand finale of the series’ movie adaptations, grossing over $1 billion and ending the pop culture phenomenon on a high. Potter was visually stunning, powerfully acted, and beautifully orchestrated. Two other films crossed this box office milestone, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, though neither of those films had quite the hot reception by critics.

Comic book fans were treated to three major adaptions this summer including X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America: The First Avenger. The X-Men and Captain America movies opened to positive critical reception, while the Green Lantern movie was generally poorly received. The X-Men prequel introduced a new cast and succeeded in telling the origin story of some of the main series’ most recognizable characters.

Those looking for a laugh were not shortchanged this summer, with Bridesmaids being the ultimate funny movie of the year thus far. Kristen Wiig, a current Saturday Night Live cast member, gives a great theatrical performance that will have viewers laughing. Crazy, Stupid, Love also performed well, though The Hangover: Part II was unable to live up to the original’s critical success, plagued by similar story structure and less surprises.

Family friendly movies included Kung Fu Panda 2, Cars 2, Winnie the Pooh, and The Smurfs. After years of unprecedented success, Cars ended Pixar’s streak of smashes, receiving mediocre reviews. Winnie the Pooh, however, received amazing reviews and proved to be both nostalgic and charming.

August closes out with more strong blockbusters hits such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Help, and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. The latter has received mixed reviews thus far and underperformed at the box office during its recent opening weekend. Apes, a reboot of the series starring James Franco, was a surprise hit and is expected to spawn a new series. The Help, a film adapted from the novel of the same name, explores a white woman’s struggles during the Civil Rights era and her journey to writing a book that brings to light the perspective of black maids. Emotionally gripping and beautifully told, the film solidifies Emma Stone as a star, especially given her string of recent hits.

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Music of the Summer

by Stephen F. Sullivan

Top 40 music never ceases to be interesting, with singles and albums from huge names dropping this past summer. Arguably, the most anticipated album of the year in pop culture, Lady Gaga released her new EP, Born This Way after months of anticipation. The record proved to be a bold move from the recently titled “Queen of Pop,” moving away from the club bangers of The Fame in favor of anthemic songs inspired by her fans. Bad Meets Evil, a collaborative effort between rappers Royce da 5’9” and Eminem, released their first EP after reuniting, Hell: The Sequel. The album comes on the heels of Eminem’s recent comeback effort, Recovery, which was a huge success. The third major album release was 4 by Beyoncé, taking a different approach than her previous catalog in favor of more R&B vibes and mid-tempo style. While her singles have not performed extremely well on the charts, the album proves that Beyoncé can release an album that she wants to release, not necessarily what the Top 40 crowd wants and still stay strong as an artist.

In terms of singles, Rolling in the Deep by singer-songwriter Adele, dominated the Billboard Top 100 charts. The song maintained the #1 spot for 7 consecutive weeks, proving that 2011 was the breakthrough year for Adele. Party Rock Anthem, a song from group LMFAO, tied Born This Way as singles maintaining the #1 spot for 6 consecutive weeks. Anthem was dethroned recently by Katy Perry, with her song Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).

Katy’s most recent single, released in early June, solidified a milestone for the singer that has only been achieved by Michael Jackson. Last Friday Night scored Katy her fifth #1 single off her second EP, Teenage Dream, which ties the record held only by Jackson’s album Bad. The singer was able to reach this milestone after releasing a remix of the song featuring Missy Elliott and discounting the price of the single.

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Comic Book Review: I Killed Adolf Hitler by Jason

by Mark Breckles

If the title does not get you interested, everything else about the comic will. I Killed Adolf Hitler is the type of comic that will not only grab and hold your attention, but it will also open you up to other comics as well. Why? Because it’s unique. And awesome.

I Killed Adolph Hitler is a graphic novel about a hit man hired to go back in time to kill Hitler before his rise to power. Of course something goes wrong, and Hitler winds up in the 21st century free to do whatever he pleases. The hit man scrambles to locate the dictator, while at the same time he juggles a relationship on the rocks.

I Killed Adolf Hitler is written and drawn by the Norwegian comic book writer and artist, Jason – and yes, he only goes by one name. For those unaware with Jason, he has produced some of the most unique comics of the modern period. His sense of humor is beyond dry. In fact , it is so dry that it is quite possible readers might misinterpret extremely serious or strange scenes as jokes. Who knows? All of his characters are emaciated crows, dogs, and other animals sporting weird facial expressions. His simple artwork and bone dry humor mirrors the stripped-down approach of his storytelling: six panels, no cut scenes, no fancy layouts.

Do yourself a favor and read this. Now!

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