Taylor Swift, ‘1989’
With 1989, we learned to never underestimate Taylor Swift’s artistic vision and star power. 1989’s ‘80’s pop sound was effortless especially considering Swift’s previous country sound. Taylor Swift shook off her boy-crazy drama queen image for a cooler, peppier sound. Despite the more traditional release of 1989 and her removal of music from Spotify, Swift managed to keep her stronghold on the Top 40.
Annie Clark has always been a sharp lyricist and a talented guitar player, but with 2014’s self-titled album, St.Vincent has reached a higher plane. Throughout her album, Clark deftly combines ‘80s synths with modern technology, blending space-age sheen with heartfelt and sentimental lyrics. If St.Vincent hasn’t grabbed your notice by now, her stunning album will.
‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’
When John Oliver landed his own show, we wondered how he would distinguish himself from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Oliver did so by offering longer-form journalism and features on topics that American headlines miss like LGBT rights in Uganda and elections in India. Oliver’s show proved that journalism can be informative and funny.
“True Detective” was one among many murder mystery series in 2014 about murder mysteries. “True Detective” is an incredibly tight eight-hour crime story with a compelling mythology and tone of dread. The performances by both Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey were tour de forces, demonstrating once again the A-list talent found on TV. “True Detective” was especially notable for its technical excellence and time shifting structure.
Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s Broad City started as a online web show before it was picked up by Comedy Central. Although the pair had already found their comedic voice, “Broad City” is incredible because of the amazing friendship between its two main characters. Although the pair suffer the various indignities New York throws at them, above all their relationship stays strong and funny.
‘The Imitation Game’
By taking on the life of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game had the insurmountable task of telling both a tale of tragedy and triumph. While Turing was a brilliant mathematician who helped the Allies win World War II, he was also socially awkward and difficult to work with. In addition, Turing’s sexual orientation ultimately led to his arrest and eventual suicide. However, Cumberbatch’s Turing is compelling and Kiera Knightley brings an incredible warmth and optimism to otherwise bleak subject matter.
What’s tricky about mystery novels is that the intrigue is gone after the plot twist is revealed. David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” had the problem of creating a movie where half the audience knew the end while others were in the dark. Fincher’s gorgeous movie takes Gillian Flynn’s diary-style book and turns into stark scenes couples with dreamy flashbacks. Fincher’s direction, coupled with an excellent cast, with Rosamund Pike at the helm, creates a movie which is worth seeing even after the initial shock.
Christopher Nolan’s attempt at a space movie shows his true passion: aesthetic. “Interstellar” is visually gorgeous and weaves through plot lines swiftly. The spirit of science fiction gives way to Nolan’s attempt to tell the truly emotional story of its characters. The movie has some truly gorgeous film editing — the best of Nolan’s career. Matthew McConaughey gives a great performance, earning the respect he deserves.
What you missed over Winter Break
Internet: ‘Friends’ on Netflix
Every episode of “Friends” was uploaded to Netflix on January 1st, letting fans of the show relive all their favorite moments of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Pheobe and Joey in Central Perk. Enjoy all the ‘90s fashion and guest stars. But most importantly, find your answer to the most important question: Were Ross and Rachel on a break?
Music: Sleater Kinney
After an eight-year hiatus, indie rock group Sleater Kinney has reunited for an incredibly subtle and well-thought-out album. Despite the long break, members of Sleater Kinney seem happy to reunite and are committed to their craft. “No Cities to Love” is a compelling album and Sleater Kinney challenges the typical ”girl group” reputation.
Most anticipated releases of 2015
TV: ‘Better Call Saul’ – Feb 8
AMC’s “Breaking Bad” spin-off starring Bob Odenkirk’s sketchy Lawyer Saul Goodman was met with some skepticism. After all, how could anything top Breaking Bad? However, critics who received early previews called the mix of Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks’s no-nonsense Mike and Breaking Bad’s writing team “genius.”
Movies: ‘Sisters’ – December 12
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler star as sisters who decide to throw a last house party in their childhood home. Not only does “Sisters” include the amazing comedy duo of Poehler-Fey, but it also stars SNL alumni Maya Rudolph and Kate McKinnon. With the combined talents of SNL comediennes and a hilarious script, we might have another “Mean Girls” on our hands