How to Talk to Girls at Parties Review (Film, 2018)

After watching How to Talk to Girls at Parties, I feel safe saying John Cameron Mitchell is an underrated film director. His creativity is respected, but only when applied to other areas. The focus of his adaptation of his own musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch was on his performance, not how he translated a stage musical that takes place in the course of a single night on a single dive bar stage into something beautifully cinematic and believable. The focus on Rabbit Hole was, again, not on how a director helped shape a difficult stage play into compelling cinema, but Nicole Kidman's wonderful performance. Shortbus was treated as more interesting for concept than execution, again focused in on the bravery of the cast. It just seems that if a director can consistently get awards attention for different actors with every film he directs, he might be a very good director.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is, in many ways, a cinematic successor to Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's a very specific narrative driven by underground music, sexual frustration, and a belief that the narrative of the titans eating their young is historical fact, not fiction. 

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On Integrity, Plagiarism, and Online Media

I've worked in arts education for over a decade year round teaching music and theater courses. I also spent the better part of three years hustling hard to get an English teacher position at the high school level. I'm still teaching music and theater, but my Bye Bye Birdie LARP adventure is suspended. The biggest lesson I try to teach any of my students is to act with integrity and compassion in everything they do.

English classes make that easy. If you plagiarize your paper--steal someone else's work directly, borrow ideas without attribution, or do the dreaded Ctrl-F and thesaurus combination, you fail and risk significant punishment. There is no gray area. You are expected to write and defend your own ideas. If you use someone else's work, you cite your source and make sure you get the last word in. Very rarely, you come across a student who does this and shows no remorse. They are the ones who wind up with major disciplinary records. 

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The Academy Awards Break Film Twitter with New Category and Broadcast Changes

or something I've heard referred to as irrelevant and out of touch with society for years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, aka AMPAS, aka the organization that runs the Academy Awards, sure did blow up film Twitter yesterday. The Academy announced three new changes that will impact how the Oscars work starting next year.

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Dead by Daylight: Scorching Summer BBQ Event

I mentioned this in the review of the Curtain Call DLC, but I'm really impressed with how well Behavior Interactive have taken control of their game after buying the rights back from Starbreeze. They're fully invested in their new cosmetic store, coming up with fun and clever designs for all the unlicensed characters that add variety to the look of the game. The "wear the darkest clothing to hide" meta is losing out to the sheer joy of dressing Claudette in a tie-dye broom skirt or Ace in a bright pink sweater. You can still hide and look stylish.

More importantly, they are committed to constantly adding in new content to the game. The mid-season patch was only two weeks ago and we're already at a new seasonal event. This new event also patches the broken Tinkerer II bug and a few other major issues from the mid-season patch.

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Clinical Review (Film, 2017)

In Clinical, a psychiatrist shifts her focus from trauma patients to more everyday concerns after a traumatic incident with a former patient. A young woman attacked her in her office after her treatments did not go as planned. The psychiatrist is making great progress until a trauma patient begs her for help. Giving her time to the new patient is enough to send her own life spiraling into a nightmare of anxiety and hallucinations.

Clinical has the bones of something good. This kind of psychological thriller can either be really effective or really dull. The plot, though predictable, is well-written and does add up to a cohesive whole. It's just not executed well.

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Veronica Review (Film, 2018)

On paper, Veronica has no right to be as good as it is. The plot description is riddled with horror cliches, including the dreaded "based on a true story" text. There's even a marketing campaign for its Netflix release about how people are turning it off because it's too scary to finish (at least a dozen of those articles popped up shortly after the release, and more followed--it's purely advertising, and it’s good).

It's a horror film about a teenage girl, immature for her age, attending a Catholic school and caring for her siblings while her single working mother runs a bar to keep everyone afloat. The girl decides to use a Ouija board to summon the spirit of her dead father and unleashes a living hell on her family instead. Complete with creepy stern nuns, rampant hormones, mysterious cuts and bruises, and not one, not two, but three significantly younger children who are equally creepy as they are cute, and you should have, in 2018, a mess.

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