Catching Up and What to Catch Up On: Summer 2k17

Catching Up and What to Catch Up On: Summer 2k17

Film: “Blade Runner 2049”

“Blade Runner” and our conception of neo-noir go hand-in-hand — it was definitional for the genre. Now, after 25 years and seven re-releases of the original sci-fi masterpiece, we’re finally getting a sequel this autumn: “Blade Runner 2049.” The trailers feature an unsmiling Ryan Gosling navigating an even more dilapidated Los Angeles cityscape and the lonely ruins of the Tyrell penthouse. It’s been a long time. When Harrison Ford pops onscreen, grizzled and scowling, he’s the decrepitude of the world made manifest. Whatever’s going on, it doesn’t bode well for our two heroes. “2049” looks to be the science-fiction film of the year, and director Denis Villeneuve, of “Arrival” fame, is a perfect pick for a franchise just itching for exploitation.

— Alicia Lepler, A&E Associate Editor

Film: “The Beguiled”

Every summer, amid the vast sea of pessimistic sequels and Roland Emmerich copycats, a few sappy prestige pictures pop up to satisfy the cravings of famished Oscar junkies. “The Beguiled,” however, is none of the above. In spite of being a bonafide Cannes favorite and the newest Coppola venture — Sofia won Best Director at the French festival — the film isn’t positioning itself to get much love this awards season. Akin to 2016’s “The Lobster,” this adaptation is too strange and offbeat for the usual batch of overly sentimental and desperately political Academy voters. Instead, the genre-period-drama, which depicts the violent conflict between a sloppy soldier and the vengeful women he manipulates, will likely appeal to a more niche and disturbed crowd. And for those viewers, it’s promising to provide a thrillingly wicked ride.

— Jacky To, Senior Staff Writer

Film: “Dunkirk”

It is rare to see films with Christopher Nolan’s (“Inception” and “The Dark Knight”) level of visual spectacle, cerebral themes and complex narratives. With “Dunkirk,” the writer/director isn’t visiting the mind-bending world of dreams or black holes, but rather a historical event, the Dunkirk evacuation. Starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Oscar-winner Mark Rylance, “Dunkirk” is a WWII thriller that centers on the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk after being surrounded by German forces. The film is structured as a triptych, telling the story from three unique perspectives: land, sea and air. Christopher Nolan, known for his perfectionism and attention to detail, allegedly spent $5 million to crash a WWII Luftwaffe jet. With Nolan’s passion and precision, “Dunkirk” is a lock to be thrilling survival story, but it is anyone’s guess as to how it will unfold.

— Naftali Burakovsky, Senior Staff Writer

Film: “Cars 3”

Pixar’s “Cars” franchise is somewhat of an oddity. It’s a world of sentient cars, sentient planes and other talking vehicles. How do they eat? How do they reproduce? These are all questions that probably don’t need to be answered.

After the critical flop that was “Cars 2,” “Cars 3” seems to be Pixar’s attempt at redemption. In the trailers, our beloved Lightning McQueen suffers career-threatening injuries after an unfair race against high-tech supercars. This raises many questions, such as: Why aren’t there different divisions for supercars and classic racecars? Are supercars “genetically” engineered? How old is Lightning McQueen, and why is he still racing?

In any case, “Cars 3” seems to be going the route of a traditional sports movie. Which means Lightning McQueen will likely go through grueling training montages and inspirational pep talks, ultimately regaining his reputation in a tense final race where winning doesn’t matter, because it’s all about the journey and not the destination. Expect lots of comedic shenanigans along the way.

Is it going to be any good? Time will tell. But if you’re a “Cars” fan or looking for a feel-good animated movie to watch over the summer, it’s probably worth checking out.

— Derek Deng, Senior Staff Writer

TV: “Snowfall” (Season 1)

In order to address the lack of representation of Mexican-Americans as both wrestlers and crime lords on television, “Snowfall” will be arriving July 5 on FX. The series revolves around the birth of the crack cocaine epidemic in 1980s Los Angeles, courtesy of a misguided, imperialistic CIA, and how a structural indifference to people’s humanity has endangered marginalized peoples. We’ll be following both Franklin Saint, a local entrepreneur whose aspirations move him from relative freedom as an independent dealer to a cog in the machine, and Gustavo “El Oso” Zapata, our toned Mexican wrestler caught between crime families. Straight out of the gate, the show will premiere with a pilot directed by “Boyz n the Hood’s” John Singleton — whose penchant for color and action have bled through to the trailers’ saturated color palette. Los Angeles may not always be a hoot, but it can be a riot.

— Sam Velazquez, A&E Editor

TV: “Anne with an ‘E'” (Season 1)

One of Netflix’s new series, “Anne With an ‘E’” is a comforting, wholesome show to binge-watch this summer. Inspired by the classic children’s novel “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, each episode centers around a different aspect or moment of the book. The first introduces Matthew (R.H. Thomson) and Marilla Cuthbert (Geraldine James), an older brother and sister looking to take in a young boy to assist them with strenuous household chores. Instead of the expected boy, Anne (Amybeth McNulty) is sent to them. As suggested by an early flashback, Anne had a difficult and traumatizing childhood, often treated more as an indentured servant than as a daughter. Despite this upbringing, however, Anne has an astonishing amount of hope and imagination that wins over the hearts of the Cuthberts and viewers alike.

— Daisy Scott, Staff Writer

TV: “Girlboss” (Season 1)

Looking for a spicy new series to binge watch over summer break? Then look no further to Netflix’s “Girlboss,” a new show based on Sophia Amoruso’s book of the same name. The show is a loose retelling of how NastyGal founder Amoruso rose from rags to riches. Sophia, the series’ star, is portrayed by actress Britt Robertson who has previously been in productions like “The Secret Circle” and “Scream 4.” If you like badass, self-made gals, “Girlboss” might just be up your alley. Sophia is struggling between jobs, quitting one after another, in the hopes of “figuring out life.” With no more than an Ebay account to her name, she begins reselling vintage clothing that she finds at thrift stores and soon realizes that she could earn enough money through her online store to sustain herself from the comfort of her home. As life throws one problem after another her way, Sophia continues to find ways to take care of herself, for herself and by herself.

— Lorena Espinoza, Contributing Writer

TV: “Orange is the New Black” (Season 5)

After four critically acclaimed seasons of drama, tension and baggy colored uniforms, be sure to catch the next installment of Netflix’s most-watched original show, “Orange is the New Black.” Its fifth season will premiere June 9 on Netflix, picking up with 13 new episodes. This partially biographical (an epithet that becomes more and more of a stretch with each passing season) women’s prison dramedy follows Piper Chapman, a seemingly clean-cut woman whose past in the drug world sends her to prison for a year, as well as a varied cast of characters from a number of different backgrounds, exploring the different paths that lead people to prison. It has been known for some of its more ridiculous characters and witty humor, as well as darker storylines, not hesitating to tackle some of the heavier issues inherent in the prison system. This season will immediately follow last season’s cliffhanger, detailing the course of only three days in Litchfield Prison with immense detail. This structural change is something a bit different for the show, but this new take only contributes to the excitement of where it left off as the new season enters with the promise of something fresh.

— Chloe Esser, Contributing Writer

TV: “Game of Thrones” (Season 7)

Six years after Ned Stark made his promise, winter has finally arrived, and with it comes the White Walkers, the greatest threat to Westeros amid the war for the Iron Throne. With Daenerys Targaryen taking her army, and her dragons, across the Narrow Sea, “Game of Thrones” is hightailing toward its bloody, epic conclusion. By the sixth season, the show had surpassed the events of George R.R. Martin’s book series, free to forge its own narrative. Now, with Arya back in Westeros as a trained assassin, Jon Snow learning his true identity and Sansa reclaiming her home at Winterfell, the future of the Stark children is in the hands of masterminds David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. On July 17, prepare to once again get lost within the weaving narratives of this thrilling fantasy epic.

— Naftali Burakovsky, Senior Staff Writer

Album: “El Dorado”

After decades of honest hips, pan pipes and yodeling, Shakira is still making everybody wish that they were Colombian. This year, she’s turned us onto the very real possibility that the EDM-themed pop dominating the radio waves is simply superior in Spanish. The superstar has hit us one more time with “Chantaje,” a pop song so addicting that it will switch your YouTube ads to Spanish within a week of its discovery. Her pop is still pristine — “Me Enamoré,” and “La Bicicleta” are as good as anything off of “Laundry Service.” Shakira really knows what she’s doing these days, and she’s having as much fun as she always does. Her understanding of the dancer’s ear displayed in “El Dorado” can only be described as mastery, with Mozart-esque employment of squeaks, bops and clicks. Here are the fatal siren songs of a glittering Latina robot, outshining humans and robots alike.

— Susie Davidson, Senior Staff Writer

Album: “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1”

It’s the year 2014, and DJ Calvin Harris is the name behind every overplayed summer anthem on your convertible’s radio. However, his current forthcoming album “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1” is catching the attention from foes of Top 40 radio. The album snags appearances from an ensemble of superstars like Frank Ocean, Ariana Grande and newcomer Khalid. “Slide” and “Heatstroke” were the first singles to set the groovy sneak-peek of Harris’ newfound musical path, and most recent release “Rollin” is another summer bop with an ‘80s twist. The album looks to be a concoction of modern synthesizers and soothing piano chords, which will surely be blasted at pool parties nationwide this summer. No more one-hit wonders for Mr. Harris.

— Melissa Palafox, Senior Staff Writer

Album: “Something to Tell You”

In the four years since the release of their debut album, “Days Are Gone,” the HAIM sisters have traveled the world, befriended Taylor Swift and her many boats, and avoided releasing any music since. Besides an occasional vocal contribution for famous friends, their eerie silence has built up an appetite among fans old and new. It wasn’t until earlier this month that the sisters broke their own break from music by releasing a music video for “Right Now,” directed by premiere California auteur Paul Thomas Anderson. Framed in the dark of a studio, the sisters are surrounded by no more than flickering red lights and instruments clearly not meant for the stubby-fingered. “Right Now” is a natural evolution of the glossy folk pop of their earlier tracks, but a little more sparse and less reliance to an immediate, catchy hook. The last four years may not have been a break, but a necessary period of gestation.

— Sam Velazquez, A&E Editor

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