Tagged: Hannah Landers

The Muse: Your guide to summer 2014

By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
@hannland

Summer is almost here, time to relax with good music, movies, and food./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Adam Baker

Summer is almost here, time to relax with good music, movies, and food./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Adam Baker

Sweet summer is almost here, which means it’s almost time for The Muse to take a vacation. But before we grab our flip-flops and short-shorts, we have a few final suggestions to make this summer the most Muse-tastic ever. Below is a list of movies to see, albums to listen to, food to nom on and lifestyle events to check out during the long, hot days. Enjoy your summer, Musies! And don’t forget the sunscreen!

Movies

Book adaptation: “The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6) — Sure, “The Giver” promises performances from the likes of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and, er, Taylor Swift. But “The Fault in Our Stars” has a beautifully tragic story and a fresh-faced cast. If the trailer alone doesn’t make you tear up, you are a monster.

Epic: “Godzilla” (May 16) — Walter White from “Breaking Bad” takes on one of film’s most infamous monsters. Need I say more?

Comedy: “22 Jump Street” (June 13) — If you liked Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as undercover cops in high school, you’re going to love them as undercover cops in college. Ja feel?

Superhero: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (August 1) — With a team of characters that includes a genetically engineering raccoon marksman and a “tree-like humanoid,” “Guardians” promises to be “The Avengers’” weird younger brother. The diverse cast is another draw, especially with a newly buff and mostly shirtless Chris Pratt leading the pack (am I right, ladies?).

Once in a lifetime: Boyhood” (July 11) — Director Richard Linklater tells the story of a young boy growing into adulthood, but because he shot the film over a period of 12 years, the audience is actually watching young actor Ellar Coltrane age from 7 years old to 18 years old in a span of three hours.

Music

Rock ‘n’ roll royalty: Jack White’s “Lazaretto” (June 10) — Jack White’s last solo venture was filled with a lot of good ol’ blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll. Here’s hoping that this album is more of the same.

Girl power: Lykke Li’s “I Never Learn” (May 6) — The ethereal Swedish songstress is back after three years, promising more subtle brilliance with her one-of-a-kind voice.

Indie comeback kid: Conor Oberst’s “Upside Down Mountain” (May 20) — Bright Eyes front-man Oberst usually injects a little more of his country-tinged Nebraska roots into his solo releases and vocal assists from folk duo First Aid Kit only sweetens the deal.

James Blake 2.0: Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” (June 17) — If you caught Smith’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” in March, you know the power of this Brit’s haunting and soulful melodies. At only 21 years old, Smith is slated for a meteoric rise.

Movie mix-tape: American Laundromat Records’ “I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson” (May 13) — This 23-track album features a diverse array of artists covering songs from Wes Anderson’s iconic films. Muted color schemes and Jason Schwartzman not included.

Food

Chocolate chip cookie milk shot: From the genius who brought you the “cronut,” the chocolate chip cookie milk shot is exactly what it sounds like: a chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a shot glass filled with milk. It’s a magical update on a childhood favorite.

Infused ice: Ice cubes no longer have to be the boring frozen treat of your summer. Restaurants are starting to see the potential of infusing them with herbs, fruit and other goodies in order to spice up cocktails and other drinks. Cheers!

A spot of tea: From tea leaves in entrees to tea-based cocktails, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy tea without having to sip a steaming hot cup in the middle of July.

Ice cream sandwich smorgasbord: After enduring years of the cupcake’s reign as most popular dessert, it looks as though we’ll all be screaming for ice cream sandwiches from roaming food trucks soon enough.

Adult popsicles: Booze-infused popsicles aren’t a relatively new idea, but the fun flavor possibilities and their simple prep make them a no-brainer for summer.

Lifestyle

Music festivals: For many, summer is equated with hanging outdoors and listening to their favorite bands. Muse did a blog post earlier in April with a list of the best music festivals across the country. All you have to do is pick one (or two … or five).

Get your drink on: You don’t have to be in traditional “wine country” to take a tour of a winery. Or, if beer is more your thing, check out a brewery. Sites such as Groupon offer great rates that include tours, food pairings and of course, tastings.

Stuff your face: Food festivals happen nearly everywhere, and they’re a great place to expand your palette and maybe even find your new favorite restaurant. Some of them are even tailored to a state’s signature dish, such as the Maine Lobster Festival.

Pay homage to your favorite author: Okay, this one is kind of a stretch, but if you happen to be in Florida this summer, why not remember a famous author who used to live there? Hemingway Days is a five-day festival in July that includes book signings, readings, a fishing tournament in honor of the author’s favorite sport and a look-alike contest (Google some pictures and thank me later).

The Muse: The Pizza Underground takes cover bands to a whole new level

By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
@hannland

Macaulay Culkin's band "The Pizza Underground" is sure to leave you hungry for more./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Samat Jain

Macaulay Culkin’s band Pizza Underground is sure to leave you hungry for more./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Samat Jain

A famous actor or actress who also performs in a band is hardly a rarity these days. When he’s not saving women from being hit by cars or handing out free boxes of Girl Scout cookies, Ryan Gosling performs in his ghost-centric band, Dead Man’s Bones. And silky-haired Oscar winner Jared Leto actually spends more time fronting his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, than he does acting.

But the most outrageous of these celebrity band incarnations is no doubt Macaulay Culkin’s The Pizza Underground, which takes Velvet Underground songs and makes them all about — you guessed it — pizza. So instead of “I’m Waiting for the Man” and “Femme Fatale,” The Pizza Underground serves up “I’m Waiting for Delivery Man” and “Pizza Gal.” The band also features an unusual set of instruments, like glockenspiel, kazoo and, appropriately, the pizza box (although how one goes about playing a pizza box is beyond me). All this talk about pizza cover bands has got us over at the Muse hungry for more food-themed cover bands, so here’s a list that we hope some brave (or perhaps just out-of-work) celebrity will one day form.

The Meatles — These guys would only perform in special shows at butcher shops wearing bloodstained aprons. Just don’t bring your vegetarian friends to a show. Hits might include “Strawberry Veal Forever” and “Sa-La-Mi, Bo-Log-Na.”

The Black Peas — Not to be mistaken for The Black EYED Peas, the Black Peas would be a veggie-themed rock ‘n’ roll cover band for those too faint-of-heart for the Meatles. Hits might include “Chard Row” and “Lonely Bok Choy.”

Bon-Bon Iver — You’ll be begging for seconds after hearing the sugary sweet crooning of this bearded dessert-loving songbird. Albums could be baked into cookies and then sold to sweet-toothed fans. Hits might include “Not So Skinny Love” and “Halloween (Candy).”

The Peach Boys — The ultimate feel-good band of the summer would only be improved with a fruity touch! Each band member could wear those tall hats with all the fruit stacked on top. Hits might include “Wild Honeydew” and “Banana Ann.”

Dungeness Crab for Cutie — This band would only play on ships, wearing traditional sailor garb. They would be a huge hit on cruises. Hits might include “Eel Follow You – Watch Out, A Shark!” and “Shoal Meets Cod-y.”

The Rolling Scones — This one would probably work best with British band members. They know their teatime, after all. Hits might include “You Butter Move On” and “Paint It Red (With Strawberry Jam, Please).

The Muse: music festivals happening this summer

By Olivia Shur and Hannah Landers, Staff Writers
@livsure @hannland

Electric Daisy Carnival Weekend./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Tony Nungaray

Which music festival will you choose?/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Tony Nungaray

Summertime means warm weather, no classes and — most importantly — the best music festivals of the year. Here’s a list of just a few of them, including where, when and, of course, who is going to be there. No matter what genre of music you like to jam to this summer, Muse has you covered.

BOSTON CALLING

When: May 2325
Where: Boston
Lineup highlights: Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, Bastille, The Neighbourhood
Why you should go: Why venture far when there’s a great music festival right in Boston University’s own backyard? Boston Calling also offers the chance for concertgoers to get their fix twice a year — once in May and once in September. So if you’re leaving Boston for the summer, look out for that September lineup come move-in weekend.

SASQUATCH

When: May 23-25
Where: George, Wash.
Lineup highlights: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, HAIM, M.I.A., Kid Cudi
Why you should go: Although Sasquatch! usually sticks to indie bands and singer-songwriters, it still has a rather varied lineup. It also boasts a pretty great view: The Gorge Amphitheater, carved right into the cliffs above the Columbia River Gorge, was voted “Top Amphitheater” in the 2013 Billboard Touring Awards.

ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL

When: May 24-25 (New York City), June 20-22 (Las Vegas)
Where: New York City and Las Vegas
Lineup highlights: Tiësto, Bassnectar and Afrojack are included in New York; the Las Vegas lineup has yet to be announced
Why you should go: For the electronic music fan, this one’s a no brainer: EDC Las Vegas is the biggest electronic music festival in the world. Last year’s festival certainly seemed to promise more good things to come too, and year’s EDC in Las Vegas has sold out before even releasing a lineup.

FIREFLY

When: June 19-22
Where: Dover, Del.
Lineup highlights: Outkast (again), Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer
Why you should go: One of the smallest states is packing some major festival game. Firefly is a relative newcomer to the world of music fests, but has gotten everything right so far with its killer lineups and pleasant, woodland setting.

SUMMERFEST

When: June 25-29, July 1-6
Where: Milwaukee
Lineup highlights: Neon Trees, B.o.B., A Great Big World and Pentatonix are all performing on the general admission stages; Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga are among those performing in the Marcus Amphitheater
Why you should go: Though those from the coasts may never have heard of Summerfest, it holds the title for world’s largest music festival. Last year, attendees could buy a pass for all 11 days of the festival for just $60. The pass offered admission to any concert on any day, excluding the performers in the headliner arena, the Marcus Amphitheater.

LOLLAPALOOZA

When: Aug. 1-3
Where: Chicago
Lineup highlights: Eminem, Lorde, Foster the People, The Kooks, Chvrches, Jacob Plant
Why you should go: Lollapalooza is one of the biggest music festivals in the country — and notorious for selling out before half of concertgoers even get a chance to look at the lineup. With those kinds of stats, they must be doing something right.

BONNAROO

When: June 12-15
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
Lineup highlights: Kanye West, The Avett Brothers, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Elton John, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lionel Richie
Why you should go: Bonnaroo is the holy pinnacle that all music festivals strive toward. An extravaganza that can attract indie royalty like Vampire Weekend, hip-hop messiahs like Kanye West and kings of music in general like Elton John really needs no further explanation.

WARPED TOUR

When: June 14 to Aug. 3
Where: Various cities throughout the U.S.
Lineup highlights: Less Than Jake, K.Flay, Bayside, Yellowcard, Anberlin, The Devil Wears Prada (lineup varies from city to city)
Why you should go: This year let the festival come to you! Warped may have strayed from its punky roots in recent years, but a diversified lineup has only made it stronger as it approaches its 20th birthday.

The Muse: Our favorite playlists — Hannah Landers

By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
@hannland

I could say that it was hard to narrow my life down to just 20 songs, that I struggled and debated and agonized over every track. But when I really sat down and thought, when I really contemplated which songs have had real impact and given my life real substance, it was easy to knock off the ones I simply replayed for weeks on end and then forgot about.

In the end, my playlist is surprisingly centered about my family. I have vivid memories of singing Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” with my father, erroneously insisting that Morrison said “Casper” at one point in the song, in reference to my favorite children’s movie featuring a friendly ghost. And I was first introduced to the weird mind of David Byrne through my mother. Whenever “Psycho Killer” comes on the radio, we take turns yelling the “fa fa fa’s” and “aye-aye-aye-aye’s” at one another.

My younger brother, a rich wellspring of music with an iTunes library that would take a couple months to get through, has expanded my music tastes more than anyone. He took the sunny indie music preferences of my teenage years and gave me a healthy dose of grunge in the form of noisy surf punk like Wavves and the kings of grunge themselves, Nirvana.

My younger sister, a staunch Directioner, has been far less influential. Still, I couldn’t help smiling to myself hearing her sing along to the Arctic Monkeys’ “R U Mine?” over winter break. It’s nice to know I have some kind of effect on the person she’s becoming, regardless of how inconsequential it may be.

Bright Eyes’ “Lua” belongs to my cousin and I, who spent so many of my early years with me that people used to mistake us for twins. As we grow apart, physically and figuratively, Bright Eyes will be one of the things that will always link us together.

“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” reminds me of my hometown friends, who aren’t technically my family but may as well be. Take it from me, there’s no better soundtrack than Aaron Carter for cruising around suburban Pennsylvania on a humid, cloudless night with the people you’ve known since kindergarten. The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” and Discovery’s “Swing Tree” were tracks on Sharpie-covered blank CDs given to me by crushes and ex-boyfriends — need I say more?

But most important are the songs that I discovered for myself. Band of Horses’ “Dilly,” Tokyo Police Club’s “Your English Is Good” and Andrew Bird’s “Fake Palindromes” are songs I can play on repeat endlessly from artists or bands that I happened to stumble upon for one reason or another. And it’s these songs, the ones that start out as a sort of special secret between the artist and you, which are most important to cherish.

Muse: 2014 Oscar Predictions

By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
@hannland

Awards season is the shining beacon of glamour and celebrity in an otherwise dismally dull late winter. With the pinnacle of the season – the 86th Academy Awards – happening Sunday, it’s getting harder to keep the excitement and ardor over who will win (and, equally important, what that winner will be wearing) in check. Keeping in mind that that excitement often turns to disappointment as the Academy inevitably chooses to bestow their honor on someone who (in your humble opinion) just isn’t up to snuff. Here are the official Muse Oscars predictions:

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

Who Should Win: John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave
Who Will Win: John Ridley for “12 Years a Slave”

Ridley’s heartbreakingly compelling adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir blows all other competition out of the water. Plus, Ridley just bagged the USC Scripter award, which has predicted the Oscar sceenplay winner for five of the past six years (Sorry, “Up in the Air”).

Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Who Should Win: Bob Nelson for “Nebraska
Who Will Win: Spike Jonze for “Her

With all of the powerhouses competing for Best Picture, Bob Nelson’s quiet little black-and-white story of the tumultuous but loving relationship between an aging alcoholic father and his adrift middle-aged son will, unfortunately, be lost in the shuffle—all the more reason it warrants the Oscar for its screenplay. Jonze will likely take home the prize, however, after wins at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”
Who Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave”

There is so much misery and suffering in Steve McQueen’s slavery drama – and rightly so – but the most captivatingly tragic figure is the young slave Patsey, played by Lupita Nyong’o with achingly terrific force.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club
Who Will Win: Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club”

Leto has swept the other awards in this category and most of the other contenders – with Fassy being the only possible exception – don’t hold a candle to his groundbreaking role and electric performance.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Amy Adams for “American Hustle
Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine

Adams’ fiercely desperate performance was a highlight of over-hyped “Hustle,” but Blanchett has taken home pretty much every award she’s been nominated for, so an Oscar win for her is almost a certainty.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave”
Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”

Alright, alright, alright – There’s no stopping Hollywood’s favorite surfer from dominating the award shows this season, although veteran actor Ejiofor certainly deserves some kind of recognition for his heart-wrenching breakout performance.

Best Director

Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity
Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity”

“Gravity” was a stunning feat of technical brilliance and Cuarón earned his right to recognition for the film that required months of preparation, consultations with space experts and a shooting process that basically involved a more high-tech version of Photoshop-ing the actors’ faces and movements into a pre-animated sequence.

Best Picture

What Should Win: “12 Years a Slave”
What Will Win: “12 Years a Slave”

There’s been some buzz about “Gravity” for this category, but McQueen’s excruciating tale of free man-turned-slave Solomon Northup packs the kind of filmic impact that only makes an appearance every few decades.

MUSE: Year of the Muse

By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer
@hannland

Cheers to a new year!/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Paul Wilkinson

Cheers to a new year!/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Paul Wilkinson

Dear Musies and Freepers alike,

Welcome to 2014: Year of the Muse (if you want to get technical, 2014 is the Year of the Horse). A new year always brings to mind the phrase “out with the old, in with the new” and, though it does apply here in a superficial staff sense, that’s not really what this semester of Muse is about. In fact, Muse is turning instead to the old, in a way, and we’re excited to do so.

One of the biggest changes of 2014 for Muse is that we’re only publishing one day a week now, on Thursdays. Diehard Musies jonesing for their arts and entertainment fix need not fret, however, because now Muse will be publishing one story online every day from Monday to Friday. This ultimately means more Muse. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

The Muse staff is also working on developing beat contacts within the BU and larger Boston community. This will allow writers to form a stronger bond with that which they’re covering, giving the Muse more of a personal touch and strengthening local coverage. The Daily Free Press is a college newspaper, after all, and its arts and entertainment section should be covering the exciting things that students and student groups are doing nearly every day on campus.

Ultimately, more of this in-depth coverage will build a stronger foundation for the Muse within Boston University and Boston. Sure, it’s fun to read a review of the latest Sandra Bullock movie or coverage of that electronic concert you went to last night, but that’s the kind of content you could find on just about any news site. Muse is special because it’s an integral part of BU, responsible for making the arts a prominent part of this university’s culture. In 2014, we want to get back to our roots by celebrating what the hard-working and multi-talented students of BU have to offer.

Cheers to a new year of Muse!

Your Muse Editor,

Hannah Landers

MUSE: Fall Movie Review

With a star-studded cast like that, who wouldn’t be in for some gore?/PHOTO VIA Grizzly Bomb

Here are some fall movie reviews from MUSE for the cinema buffs:

1. Machete Kills

By Max Cohen, Staff Writer

“If I don’t shoot you in the face I’d be violating a contractual obligation,” explains face-swapping assassin La Chameleon to her target. But maybe it’s actually Robert Rodriguez, the director of “Machete Kills”, speaking to his audience. Rather than relying on covert excitement and tension, Rodriguez shows up to the theater with tanks, helicopters and heat-seeking missiles. That is the kind of movie you’re getting yourself into.

The second of Rodriguez’s hyper-violent exploitation parodies, Danny Trejo stars as the eponymous ex-federale who must save the world from a madman with a surgically attached missile (just go with it).

This sequel trades the original’s gleeful gore and satirical solemnity for contrived action and formulaic jokes. However, “Machete Kills” has some terrific one-liners and one of the funniest 3D jokes I’ve ever heard. Regardless, the movie is far too fast-paced for any meaningful characterization to emerge and the plot is strung along half-heartedly.

But you aren’t seeing “Machete Kills” for the emotional depth. You’re watching in the hopes that you get to see the most ridiculous things you’ve ever seen in a movie. Don’t worry: “Machete” delivers, handsomely. If you enjoy people getting mutilated by propellers – multiple times – then you’re going to have fun. That said, there are far too many times when the gore is monotonous; explosion-filled gunfights are quaint compared to guns that turn people inside out.

But everything else aside, the main draw of the movie is Mel Gibson. Let me repeat: Mel Gibson is in this movie and he is as gleefully deranged and psychotic and you’d expect from a man who starred in The Beaver.  His clairvoyant super-genius was endearingly hilarious and his over-the-top scenes were the movie’s best.

Most of the cameo appearances are built the same way as Gibson’s: Some big-name actor shows up to spit out one-liners and inanely move the plot along. This was especially true for the movie’s supposed number-two star, Sofia Vergara, whose character is just a raunchy parody of “Modern Family’”s Gloria. She spends her meager screen time shouting lines in unintelligible Spanglish and making repeated and contrived boob jokes. No shocks there.

But the actors and gratuitous violence can’t stop me from being slightly disappointed. The film wasn’t very funny and while the gore was satisfying, the originality of the level of carnage was disappointing. Watch it when it comes out on Netflix instead.

2. A.C.O.D.

By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer

There’s a lot about divorce that can be traumatic, which first time director Stu Zicherman sets out to explore in “A.C.O.D.,” which stands for “Adult Children of Divorce.” Unfortunately, Zicherman tries to cover just about all of those traumas and, despite a stellar cast, the film sags with too many competing story-lines and a waver between genres that leaves much of the comedy falling flat and most of the drama shallow and clichéd.

One assumes that “A.C.O.D.” is supposed to be about middle-aged restaurateur Carter (Adam Scott) dealing with the gradual dissolution of his parent’s divorce as they begin to reconnect, but it’s hard to discern. The movie opens with Carter’s quest to get his vitriolic, long-divorced parents, Hugh (Richard Jenkins) and Melissa (Catherine O’Hara) to be civil for his younger brother’s (Clark Duke) wedding. Yet that’s seemingly abandoned when Carter realizes he unknowingly participated in a published, best-selling study on the effects of divorce on children while talking to a woman he thought was his therapist, Dr. Judith (Jane Lynch). But as his parents begin to reconnect, Carter struggles to keep them apart as the story shifts again. This dizzying back-and-forth is not just confusing but exhausting and offers no pay-off in the absurd, sitcom ending.

“A.C.O.D.” struggles with an identity crisis genre-wise as well as plot-wise, starting out enjoyably as a wacky, offbeat comedy before steering into a sickly sweet, preachy family drama about two-thirds of the way through. This is punctuated by moments like Hugh’s latest wife Sondra telling Carter that he might have liked her, but he “didn’t get to know her.” Gag.

Fortunately, the prolific cast keeps this mess from entering complete disaster territory. Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins are both hilariously twisted and nightmarishly pugnacious, launching into a terrifying screaming match in the film’s opening scene with such tenacity that it makes the viewer feel truly sorry for the young Carter pictured trying to enjoy his ninth birthday against the shrill volume. Jane Lynch is similarly delightful as the eccentric Dr. Judith, playing a bluntly honest weirdo as only she knows how to do. “The homeless are getting so aggressive these days,” remarks the hostess in Carter’s restaurant when Dr. Judith pounds on the window and waves a cheerful hello.

Zicherman, who co-wrote the semi-autobiographical screenplay, had a lot of great ideas. Muddled all together in one film, however, and the viewer is left just as helpless and confused as a child of divorce – adult or otherwise.

3. Captain Phillips

By Joe Incollingo, Staff Writer

If all movies from now on were built solely on Tom Hanks and xenophobia, worse things would have happened. Captain Phillips – in theory a story so enthralling of a spirit so strong that every audience need only wait for the tears to flow and the cheers to roar – has to work.

Forgive the movie, then, the slow start. Rich Phillips (Hanks), folksy and underwhelming, a quiet and harmless denizen of quiet and harmless Vermont, goes to work. On the other side of the planet, on the sticky, sunny sands of Somalia, the pirates head to sea. This is an important contrast, mind you, albeit a little too blatant, but the movie does its best to stick with it. Each scene is lousy with polarized color, peppered in to call back blue mountains and yellow dunes. Phillips’s crew wears blue polos; the pirates don yellow rags. The captain’s blue beard quivers; a pirate snarls with yellow teeth.

To the credit of director Paul Greengrass and his Green Zone-cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, this is done without seeming too gimmicky. It adds a needed dreaminess to Greengrass’s trademark realism, a style that works in an odd way. Shaking a hand-held camera on a boat is, after all, a terrible idea. However, Greengrass discovers a masterful marriage of suspense and disorientation in the process. For lack of better words, the movie induces seasickness, making it that much tenser towards the expected resolution.

All this makes the characters dragging Captain Phillips that much more disappointing. It’s not so much Phillips himself; though one of the blandest heroes in recent memory, he’s done plenty justice by Hanks. The performance is understated and perfectly boring while Hanks traps just enough fear in his eyes to keep his captors awake before crumbling into the final act’s desperation. Nobody wants this man to die, which makes the tissue paper bad guys so easy to look past. Given the “us versus them” nature of the story before an American audience, the limp attempts to humanize the pirates seem unfortunately futile in the first place. Newcomer Barkhad Abdi delivers the only morsel of pathos: Phillips asks if he can’t just be a fisherman, to which he somberly replies “Maybe in America.” That’s it, though. Miss it, and he sticks in your head as another grinning monster threatening an honest American.

This is the biggest letdown of Phillips, as if writer Billy Ray had no faith in the humans behind his villains. There needs to be drive outside of some mysterious “Boss” pulling strings. If it’s the desolation of desert life Abdi refers to that Americans can’t comprehend, then show it. Show us desolation. Show us humans in need. Show us why violence is the only option. To stop just past Tom Hanks washing feet and taking beatings gives only a biased half of what Ray (and Greengrass) claim is a whole sculpture. Despite what you’ve read, some stories need more than that.

MUSE: Breaking Bad Approaching Final Moments

By Hannah Landers, Staff Writer

The show is approaching its final moments./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Pop Culture Geek

Violence. Drugs. Family values. No, this is not a game of “one of these things is not like the other.” This is Breaking Bad. For about five years now, Breaking Bad has given us some of the most earth-shattering moments in television history, and come Sunday, it will all come to an end. And though this is a voluntary departure initiated by BreBad creator and principle writer Vince Gilligan, viewers are – quite understandably – heartbroken.

“I’m really upset that it’s all ending,” said Ashley Cooper, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Aren’t we all? A lot can happen in five years, especially in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the show takes place. Since chemistry teacher Walter White left the education game and became one of the greatest drug lords since Scarface, we’ve seen severed heads attached to turtles, bodies dissolved in vats of acid, pizzas thrown and subsequently abandoned on rooftops and a whole lot of rocks – er, minerals (sorry, Hank!) And even in its final season, BreBad is still surprising fans.

“Honestly, this show has been good from the start, but this last season is definitely going to be what makes it memorable,” said Kiera Blessing, a junior in the College of Communication. “The events of this last season have just been mind-boggling.”

But there’s so much more to BreBad than the insane plot twists.

“The writing, acting, production and editing are all so on-point,” Blessing said. “People are calling it the best show on television for a reason.”

Beyond this, viewers who have watched certain characters evolve and struggle for five years have come to love them with the kind of affection once reserved for family members and significant others.

Similarly, other characters have garnered a deep personal hatred from the BreBad fan base (Poor Skyler White!), especially the show’s underdog-turned-mad-dog Walter White. Gilligan has repeatedly described BreBad’s premise as “Mr. Chips turned Scarface,” and viewers seem to be following that template in their feelings toward America’s most infamous chemistry teacher.

“At the beginning Walt still seemed like a good guy while everyone else seemed bad,” Cooper said, “But that has all changed.”

As for predictions on how it’s all going to go down?

“I’m just expecting really awful outcomes for everyone involved,” said Blessing, “and then Walt to either keel over and die or commit suicide. Sunshine and rainbows and stuff.”

There’s really no telling where Vince Gilligan will decide to lead us all in those precious final 75 minutes of Breaking Bad, but like a blue-meth addict, I can’t wait to get my fix.