Casiah Cagan | Life
The 61st Annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday night, hosted by 15-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys.
With performances by Shawn Mendes, Post Malone, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Travis Scott, and Alicia Keys playing two pianos simultaneously, a Motown tribute featuring J-Lo, and an appearance by Michelle Obama, the 2019 Grammys was one to remember.
Childish Gambino’s song “This Is America” is the first rap song to ever win both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Gambino tied with country artist Kacey Musgraves for most awards won, each taking home four of the coveted Grammy Awards Sunday night.
Cardi B became the first solo female artist to win Best Rap Album with “Invasion of Privacy.”
Missed the show? Here’s a list of all of the awards and their winners.
Record Of The Year: “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Album Of The Year: “Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves
Song Of The Year: “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best New Artist: Dua Lipa
Best Pop Solo Performance: “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?),” Lady Gaga
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Best Country Album: “Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Pop Vocal Album: “Sweetener,” Ariana Grande
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “My Way,” Willie Nelson
Best Rap Performance: “King’s Dead,” Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake / “Bubblin,” Anderson .Paak
Best Rap/Sung Performance: “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Rap Song: “God’s Plan,” Drake
Best Rap Album: “Invasion Of Privacy,” Cardi B
Best Rock Performance: “When Bad Does Good,” Chris Cornell
Best Metal Performance: “Electric Messiah,” High On Fire
Best Rock Song: “Masseduction,” St. Vincent
Best Alternative Music Album: “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino,” Arctic Monkeys
Best Rock Album: “From The Fires,” Greta Van Fleet
Best R&B Performance: “Best Part,” H.E.R. featuring Daniel Caesar
Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand,” Leon Bridges
Best R&B Song: “Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai
Best Country Song: “Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: “Tequila,” Dan + Shay
Best Country Solo Performance: “Butterflies,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Urban Contemporary Album: “Everything Is Love,” The Carters
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: “Steve Gadd Band,” Steve Gadd Band
Best R&B Album: H.E.R.
Best Dance Recording: “Electricity,” Silk City & Dua Lipa featuring Diplo and Mark Ronson
Best Dance/Electronic Album: “Woman Worldwide,” Justice
Best New Age Album: “Opium Moon,” Opium Moon
Best Comedy Album: “Equanimity & The Bird Revelation,” Dave Chappelle
Best Remixed Recording: “Walking Away (Mura Masa Remix),” Haim
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: “The Greatest Showman,” Hugh Jackman and various artists
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media: “Black Panther,” Ludwig Göransson
Best Song Written For Visual Media: “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Best Recording Package: “Masseduction,” St. Vincent
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package: “Squeeze Box: The Complete Works Of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic,” Weird Al Yankovic
Best Album Notes: “Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris”
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical: Pharrell Williams
Best Music Video: “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Music Film: “Quincy,” Quincy Jones
Best Improvised Jazz Solo: “Don’t Fence Me In,” John Daversa
Best Jazz Vocal Album: “The Window,” Cécile Mclorin Salvant
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: “Emanon,” The Wayne Shorter Quartet
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom,” John Daversa Big Band featuring Daca Artists
Best Latin Jazz Album: “Back To The Sunset,” Dafnis Prieto Big Band
Best Gospel Performance/Song: “Never Alone,” Tori Kelly featuring Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “You Say,” Lauren Daigle
Best Gospel Album: “Hiding Place,” Tori Kelly
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: “Look Up Child,” Lauren Daigle
Best Roots Gospel Album: “Unexpected,” Jason Crabb
Best Latin Pop Album: “Sincera,” Claudia Brant
Best Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album: “Aztlán,” Zoé
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano): “¡México Por Siempre!,” Luis Miguel
Best Tropical Latin Album: “Anniversary,” Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Best American Roots Performance: “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
Best American Roots Song: “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile
Best Americana Album: “By The Way, I Forgive You,” Brandi Carlile
Best Bluegrass Album: “The Travelin’ Mccourys,” The Travelin’ Mccourys
Best Traditional Blues Album: “The Blues Is Alive And Well,” Buddy Guy
Best Contemporary Blues Album: “Please Don’t Be Dead,” Fantastic Negrito
Best Folk Album: “All Ashore,” Punch Brothers
Best Regional Roots Music Album: “No ‘Ane’I,” Kalani Pe’a
Best Reggae Album: “44/876,” Sting and Shaggy
Best World Music Album: “Freedom,” Soweto Gospel Choir
Best Children’s Album: “All The Sounds,” Lucy Kalantari and The Jazz Cats
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling): “Faith – A Journey For All,” Jimmy Carter
Best Musical Theater Album: “The Band’s Visit,” Original Broadway Cast
Best Instrumental Composition: “Blut Und Boden (Blood And Soil),” Terence Blanchard
Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella: “Stars And Stripes Forever,” John Daversa Big Band featuring Daca Artists
Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals: “Spiderman Theme,” Randy Waldman featuring Take 6 & Chris Potter
Best Historical Album: Voices Of Mississippi: “Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris”
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: “Colors,” Beck
Best Immersive Audio Album: “Eye In The Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition,” The Alan Parsons Project
Best Engineered Album, Classical: “Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11,” Andris Nelsons and Boston Symphony Orchestra
Producer Of The Year, Classical: Blanton Alspaugh
Best Orchestral Performance: “Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11,” Andris Nelsons
Best Opera Recording: “Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs,” Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edward Parks and Jessica E. Jones
Best Choral Performance: “Mcloskey: Zealot Canticles,” Donald Nally
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: “Anderson, Laurie: Landfall,” Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet
Best Classical Instrumental Solo: “Kernis: Violin Concerto,” James Ehnes
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: “Songs Of Orpheus” – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’india & Landi, Karim Sulayman
Best Classical Compendium: “Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush,” Joann Falletta
Best Contemporary Classical Composition: “Kernis: Violin Concerto,” James Ehnes, Ludovic Morlot and Seattle Symphony
Featured image from Time Magazine ■
Review: ‘El Camino’
Pinkman seeks to tie up loose ends.
Vince Gilligan’s epilogue to one of the greatest shows of all time brings the story of Jesse Pinkman to a close.
It’s been over four years since the hit series Breaking Bad left television, and it would be accurate to say that very few shows have filled the gap for thrilling and tension-filled television.
Series creator, writer and producer, Vince Gilligan, teamed up with Peter Gould to produce the spin-off show Better Call Saul with Bob Odenkirk reprising his role, detailing the beginnings of the criminal lawyer leading up to his fateful encounter with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman.
While that show certainly kept fans content, the question remained: What happened to Jesse Pinkman? Freed from captivity by White in the series finale, Pinkman sped off in an El Camino with tears streaming down his face from joy, but what came after? This movie answers that question.
We pick up exactly where the series ended with Pinkman speeding away from Uncle Jack’s compound. From here, he seeks to gather enough money to buy his way out of New Mexico and towards a new life.
What really helps this movie along is Aaron Paul’s performance. By this point in the Gilligan universe, he is a broken, tortured man, and Paul is able to channel the character flawlessly even after the five year gap.
Returning characters include Badger (Matthew Lee Jones) and Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) who get a chance to bid their close friend farewell before cutting ties with him completely, and while the roles are short and minimal, both Jones and Baker bring the goofy, emotional support back from the main series to help ground Pinkman.
Vince Gilligan returns as writer/director for the film and it’s very apparent that he has grown as a creative force. His signature dark and gritty visual style helps to reinforce the desperation that Pinkman faces.
The score is provided by none other than Dave Porter, the man who provided the score to the main Breaking Bad series. While his iconic theme from the main series isn’t present, his minimalistic score does provide a reflective backdrop to the visuals.
The story itself may not provide a lot of action or guns-a-blazing moments, but it never sets out to do that. This is a world where Heisenberg’s reign has come to an end and this is the slow crawl to a halt for these characters. There is a tense shootout towards the end of the film that provides a classic Breaking Bad fake-out, but don’t expect the film to be a wall-to-wall action movie.
Despite the positives that this movie provides, both as a movie and an epilogue to the series, it is completely unnecessary. It doesn’t add much to the character of Jesse or anyone in the Breaking Bad world, and really only serves as a buffer to the true end of the story. That itself isn’t a bad thing, but one could leave Jesse’s story as is at the end of the finale.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie does well to close out the story of Pinkman, even if it wasn’t exactly needed. It gives fans a chance to live in that story and universe one more time with a character who has helped redefine dramatic television. ■
Review: The Addams Family
The kooky gothic family is back.
Starring a near perfect cast, The Addams Family tells the story about an unusual family in an unusual (for them) new town.
“They’re creepy and they’re kooky…” as the theme song goes. After a few years off of television and movie screens, The Addams Family, a gothic family with horror elements within their circle, are back in a new animated feature for a new age. With a cast that could not be more perfect, good animation and some decent jokes, the film is indeed enjoyable, although it has many flaws that pervade this edgy (but not edgy enough) movie
The film concerns the titular family Gomez, played by Oscar Isaac and Morticia (Charlize Theron) having just gotten married, before being chased out of their traditional home by an angry mob for being “weird” according to the locals. To escape from the torches and pitchforks of the “regular people,” they move to the most hideous place they can think of: a converted abandoned insane asylum in New Jersey. From there they live “peacefully” with their hand servant, Thing, and the asylum’s lone living resident turned butler, Lurch, played by co-director Conrad Vernon and later having their 2 children, their solemn and blunt daughter Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and their explosive loving son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).
13 years later however, as the family is planning for a family celebration that would see Pugsly become a man in the eyes of the whole family, they discover a small town called “Assimilation” built by HGTV-esque reality show host Margaux Needler for her next big project right at the foot of the hill their house is. And when the town meets the reclusive “creepy” family, tensions begin to boil, both from within and without both sides.
Impeccably animated, the films style mimics that of the original New Yorker cartoons. Despite being cgi, the animation is given similar rules to 2d, such as the utilizations of squash and stretch for certain comedic moments. Whatever plastic look objects within are deliberate, as the town of Assimilation feels creepy in its own way, with vibes of artificiality and conformity that makes the Addams Family, despite their (sometimes literal) creature comforts, seem natural by comparison.
The cast is probably the best part of the film. It’s good to the point where they could have easily played these characters in live action and be non the worse. This especially goes to Issacs and Theron in their roles, convincingly portraying a couple who very much care for each other (in their own way). Nick Kroll also deserves some spotlight as Uncle Fester, the adorably naive uncle, who has his own lovable but odd quirkiness.
The comedy also works very well, although not 100% of the time. Certain jokes involving Thing were definite causes of laughter, as well as some very funny sight gags throughout. Thankfully the film doesn’t loose all of its edgy morbid humour, though it has noticeably dulled, possibly to accommodate a more family oriented audience that the film appears to be targeting.
The dullness of The Addams Family does come across in its story. The film is rather warm hearted, at times contradicting the tone the family displays across other media. Certain characters will do something wrong or reprehensible, but will receive a proper happy end to it regardless.
The message of the film, while it may be more personal for some than others, is not exactly subtle and can be easily seen coming if you are above the age of a teenager. This also means the story is predictable, following similar beats and motions to some other animated movies, even if the style and timing is different.
Some of the reactions of the characters can be a bit out of touch with who they are, such as the certain times the family will get hurt and they will either act with glee/nonchalance, or react negatively. And in some cases moments where they shouldn’t react negatively.
The Addams Family might not have a complete grasp of the tone that these characters are usually associated with, and may need to polish its script and characters a bit more, but for an animated family film involving slapstick, light morbid humour and colourful designs and animation, you could definitely see a lot worse, especially with a property like The Addams Family.
It just perhaps needs to be more creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky. ■
Review: ‘Gemini Man’
Will Smith vs. Will Smith.
Ang Lee brings us the next step in de-aging technology through Gemini Man, but does the rest of the film reach that high bar?
As filmmaking technology advances, the ability to re-create actors and de-age them crawls further and further out of the uncanny valley and into a more believable reality.
While the technology itself is breaking barriers and bringing us closer to a completely digital form of filmmaking, it’s being used to mask over lazy screenwriting.
Gemini Man opens with a prologue that serves well to set up our main character, Henry Brogan (Will Smith), as the trained killer that he is. The movie then continues to try and build on this world where Brogan is a renowned soldier and how he’s gone through all of these events that led to him being as good as he is, yet it fails to resonate with the audience because it’s all talk and never seen.
The story is nothing new. At all. It’s your typical sci-fi, military story that has a corrupt military bad guy who claims to be in service of the United States and their beliefs of freedom in the most backwards way.
There’s very little suspense or surprise in the story as everything they try to spring on you can all be seen coming from a mile away, and it’s made even worse by the fact that the biggest twist in the movie is given away from the marketing.
What does keep the movie engaging in some capacity, however, are the performances. Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong are all very enjoyable to watch. This is a movie that Smith could have very easily phoned in for the sake of a paycheque, but he does bring some emotional weight to the role – I’d even go so far to say that he does better in this movie than as Deadshot in Suicide Squad.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong play Danny and Baron, respectively, and are able to riff off of Smith effortlessly and it makes the interactions between the three characters very enjoyable.
Lorne Balfe composed the score for the film, and it’s incredibly forgettable or completely unnoticeable, which is disappointing because I found his score to Mission: Impossible – Fallout absolutely incredible, so it’s a step down for him.
Ang Lee manages to make the movie look nice despite the lacklustre script. I saw the film in 3D/HFR (high frame rate). If you’re unfamiliar with HFR, it means the movie is shown in 48fps which gives it a ‘sped up’ look. I don’t think it added much to anything outside of a select few action scenes which I find disappointing as I greatly enjoyed HFR when I saw it used on The Hobbit trilogy in theatres.
In the end – Gemini Man is a very “middle-of-the-road” movie. It’s not the worst movie in the world, but there are far better movies you can see in theatres this weekend. Good performances and an interesting look at the advancement of technology don’t make up for a boring and over-used story that doesn’t try anything new. ■
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