Saturday, February 16

Reels, Notes and Takes: Week 3

(Courtesy of Jennifer Williams, Creative Commons by Materialscientist via Wikipedia, Interscope Records, Disney)

(Courtesy of Jennifer Williams, Creative Commons by Materialscientist via Wikipedia, Interscope Records, Disney)

There’s no better place to keep a finger on the pulse of arts and entertainment happenings than Los Angeles. The A&E world is alive – it’s always buzzing, sometimes ready to implode with a hint of a surprise album or a celebrity’s controversial statement. Each week, the Daily Bruin A&E editors will discuss their views on recent topics and trends in pop culture.

The importance of family and covers

Covers have taken my world by storm.

Last week, it was Childish Gambino’s cover of “So Into You.” This week, Chance the Rapper’s take on Kanye West’s “Family Business” is all that matters.

On Tuesday, Chance released a music video to accompany the cover, renamed “Family Matters.” In the video, Chance softly sings lyrics about familial love like “All of this is for you / You are all that matters,” narrating candid scenes of his life at home and on tour.

The cover doesn’t stray too much from Kanye’s original. It is shorter and equally sweet and genuine, building up to a trumpet-rich, choir-like climax that is all too glorious. The female voice enhances the message of love as she earnestly sings “They don’t mean a thing – all these fancy things.”

After the climax, Chance says “In this part of my life, I’m growing up and I wanna do this the right way – go out of it, grow out of it in the best way possible.”

At 22 years old, he has grown up in the best way possible: Have a remarkable career without forgetting where he came from.

– Gail Acosta

Selena Gomez, all grown up

Gone are the days of strange Bollywood beats and inane lyrics about “(loving) you like a love song, baby” – Selena Gomez is back and more grown-up than ever.

The “Wizards of Waverly Place” actress-turned-singer has been making waves with her most recent release, “Revival,” but what’s most striking about the album is how mature it is.

I can tell Gomez is trying very hard to let go of her past and accept who she is now, especially after she announced her lupus diagnosis about a week ago. She’s ignoring the haters, particularly those eager to discuss ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber, and embracing herself.

The single “Good For You” is probably the most indicative of her maturation. Gomez is moving away from the saccharine, bubblegum image dumped on her by ex-employer Disney and settling comfortably into more woozy, ambient pop. The shift works, and it sounds amazing.

When asked by Billboard if she takes any inspiration from Bieber: “No. This is my time. I’ve deserved this. I earned it. This is all me.”

– Shreya Aiyar

Will “Star Wars” get the Disney treatment?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, great movies weren’t re-made and no pointless prequels and sequels were added on.

On Dec. 18, the seventh installment of the beloved “Star Wars” franchise, “The Force Awakens” will come out for all to judge and I really don’t know how to feel about it.

Part of me thinks the film has great potential: It is directed by J.J. Abrams, a self-confessed sci-fi nut who successfully resurrected the “Star Trek” franchise with two solid interpretations. There’s no way he would allow anything like the terror of Jar Jar Binks, one of the most hated film characters of all time, in his movie.

However, the rest of me can’t help but feel like it’s going to disappoint. Even though the integrity of episodes IV, V and VI was besmirched by the first three, episode VII will have to stand up to the classic trilogy that has sparked the imagination of generations.

Abrams tried to allay another of my main concerns this week when he insisted his film hasn’t been “Disney-fied.” He maintained the higher powers in Disney have been extremely respectful of the franchise ever since they acquired it in 2012. However, it remains to be seen whether he’s actually been able to manage the pressure of helming such a large studio-funded production.

Hopefully, Abrams has used the force to bring character and plot to the forefront, rather than studio and monetary concerns.

– William Thorne

Hollywood’s sweetheart from adorable to admirable

I’m a Jennifer Lawrence addict and I’m not in denial.

I could rave about her talent, wit, humility and beauty for days, but now I can add feminism to that list. This week, Lawrence spoke up about the gender wage gap in Hollywood in Lena Dunham’s feminist newsletter Lenny, sharing an empowering yet disheartening message of how she sacrificed her paycheck to be liked.

The story begins during the Sony hack, when the salaries of the “American Hustle” cast were exposed, revealing Lawrence’s stingy deal compared to her male co-stars – or as she calls them, “the lucky people with dicks.”

Unfortunately, she blamed herself for not negotiating hard enough for her deal because she didn’t want to appear spoiled or bratty, as she heard a Hollywood producer reference women but not men.

While I love Lawrence’s sweet, charming image, I’m ecstatic that she is shattering ideas of her as gullible or malleable, which are often associated with stereotypical good girls.

“I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable,” she said.

She’s risking her reputation to criticize Hollywood’s double standard in wages. Instead of lowering her likeability, Lawrence’s justified complaints will have an inverse effect, as I think more people will respect her.

– Lindsay Weinberg

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Thorne is the prime director. He was previously the assistant A&E editor for the Theater | Film | Television beat.

prime content editor

Weinberg is the prime content editor. She was previously the A&E editor and the assistant A&E editor for the lifestyle beat.

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