Friday, February 22

Reels, Notes and Takes: Week 5


(Courtesy of Coldplay)

(Courtesy of Coldplay)


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.

No room for India in Coldplay’s paradise

What do you get when you mix Coldplay, Beyonce and the Indian subcontinent’s street life and culture? A confusing mess of cliches and cultural appropriation that made me quite uncomfortable.

The British rock band released its music video last week for “A Hymn for the Weekend,” a track off its latest album “A Head Full of Dreams,” but the music video depicts a message totally off-tune from the party lyrics: Lead singer Chris Martin is stuck in the middle of a Holi celebration, and featured artist Beyonce is transformed into a glittery Bollywood actress.

The problem lies in the focus of the music video, which includes levitating saints, fire breathers and colored powder flying everywhere as children celebrate Holi. Of course, the one time Chris Martin is filmed walking through the streets of Mumbai, it’s time for Holi, one of the only Indian festivals to gain recognition by an international population. Where’s the attention for other Indian festivals that are just as beautiful?

Don’t even get me started on Beyonce, who is dressed in a gold outfit that doesn’t even resemble traditional Indian dress. Her hand gestures, which resemble “katakamukha” in classical Indian dance, seem thrown together without a thought for their deeper meaning or the thousands of years of history and culture behind the dance form. She should’ve either put in the effort to learn a traditional dance sequence or just left the gestures out.

There are cliches and generalizations everywhere, and it makes me sad. India is so much more than fire-breathing tricks and floating saints, and it’s time Martin fits a more accurate image of the country into his head full of dreams.

– Shreya Aiyar

Move over Daniel Radcliffe

I was pretty tired after eight Harry Potter movies, endless Horcrux hunting, overly dark storylines and Daniel Radcliffe’s wooden acting.

As I sat watching a soap opera camping trip in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and an overwrought battle scene in “Part 2,” I yearned for the more innocent, magical days of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang from “The Goblet of Fire.”

Fortunately, with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” it looks like the creators are aiming for something more playful.

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(Courtesy of Warner Brothers)

A new featurette for the upcoming Potter spin-off movie was released on the Harry Potter fan site Pottermore on Sunday. The video consists of interviews with the cast and creators, and short behind-the-scenes clips from the movie. The film’s producer David Heyman reveals in the video that “Fantastic Beasts” will most closely resemble the fourth Potter movie in terms of its humorous, lighter tone.

The charming Eddie Redmayne, who plays the lead role of Newt Scamander, discussed his first excursion in the magical world, and I am very excited to see what he does with the role. After stellar turns in “The Theory of Everything” and “The Danish Girl,” Redmayne provides the caliber of actor that the Harry Potter movies were lacking in their central role.

Frankly, Redmayne is in a different league to Radcliffe. His facial expressions are emotive and varied, and his vocal range will provide a blissful relief from Radcliffe’s snore-inducing, monotone mutterings.

– William Thorne

Zayn’s solo direction

Zayn Malik has finally become the first of the One Direction members to go in his own direction with a solo song.

Almost a year after his departure from the band, Malik released “PILLOWTALK” Friday under his evident stage name ZAYN. While the lyrics are only slightly more explicit than typical, cutesy One Direction songs, the LSD-like video is far from boy band material.

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(Courtesy of Vevo)

Featuring Malik’s girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid, the video is a kaleidoscopic mess of blooming flowers, holographic double vision and X-ray style footage. I love the slow rhythm of the song itself, but Malik tried way too hard to produce an artsy music video.

I assumed Malik, known by fans as the mysterious one, would pursue a more R&B artistic sound than the boys’ romance pop when he left the band in March. Though I expected a creative video from graffiti-loving Malik, I was still shocked by his unexpected turn toward strange visuals.

Despite the weird video, “PILLOWTALK” landed on the top of the iTunes chart Saturday. The audio alone is actually a solid transition into synthpop for Malik. He seems to follow the lead of Justin Bieber, a childhood pop singer attempting to earn a more sexual, mature and cool persona. Both Bieber and Malik’s new sounds belong on the same album, because “PILLOWTALK” matches the vibe of “Purpose.”

While I was taken aback by Malik’s unconventional music video, he demonstrated that he has the mystique and voice to launch a successful career. I can’t wait to see which Directioner will be up next.

– Lindsay Weinberg

Kanye vs. the Khalifas

Kanye’s very large ego and low self-esteem got the best of him, again.

Kanye “Yeezus” West announced Tuesday that he renamed his highly anticipated album from “Swish” to “Waves.” Shortly after, Wiz Khalifa accused Kanye of unoriginality, tweeting the “Waves” movement belongs to rapper Max B.

Wiz later tweeted “hit this kk and become yourself.” Thinking “kk” referred to Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, Kanye then came out with his #twitterfingers blazing. He tweeted over 15 consecutive messages aimed at Wiz.

A fraction of my respect for Kanye vanished.

Seeing fire ignite between artists is undoubtedly entertaining. But this feud was almost one-sided, with Kanye delivering petty and ugly blows.

As Kanye vehemently insisted, Wiz’s music is not in Kanye’s league one bit. But the shady hits toward Kanye’s former girlfriend and Wiz’s current partner, Amber Rose, and her former profession as a stripper is tragically old.

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(Creative Commons by thecomeupshow via Wikimedia)

Worst of all, how can Kanye drag Wiz’s very young son into the fight by claiming he “owns” the child, then self-righteously proclaim that “Waves” is a gospel album?

For goodness’ sake, Kanye, let your music speak for itself. Practice what you preach.

Kanye has since deleted his tweets and apologized for bringing Wiz’s son into the fight. But that bit was so ugly that it left a bitter taste in my mouth.

For his music, I am willing to give him the toasts he asks for, but not for his heartless and unkind attitude.

– Gail Acosta

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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.

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


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