FILM & TV

The 5 films in theaters you really, really need to see right now

Here are our picks in order to be ready for this year's Oscars season

I, Tonya (2017)

It's that time of the year again - the Academy Awards are on this Sunday, March 4th on ABC, and you are nowhere near caught up on your list.

This year's most critically acclaimed films reflect the political and social climate that's been making our heads spin. Hollywood has been caught up in a revealing time with the #MeToo moment shedding light on public revelations of sexual assault by more than a hundred actors, producers, and directors. There has been no other time with a greater need for a woman's voice. The films nominated by the Academy this year reflect that need to understand, to cause a conversation, to inflict change. Director and actress Greta Gerwig is only the fifth female director ever nominated, with the 100% Rotten Tomato-approved Lady Bird.

We decided to highlight some of the most important works nominated at the Oscars still showing at theaters around the nation. Read on to find out our favorites.

I, Tonya

I, Tonya tells the tragic real life tale of figure skater Tonya Harding (stunningly portrayed by Margot Robbie), who was banned from the sport after the 1994 incident with Nancy Kerrigan. The film flows through interviews and testimony by those closest in Harding's life, like Harding's abusive husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), her mother LaVona Fay Golden (Allison Janney), and Julianne Nicholson, Caitlin Carver, and Bobby Cannavale also star.

Annihilation

This Alex Garland-directed film is based on a novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer and stars an impressive cast - Natalie Portman, Gina Gonzalez, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac all play scientists who volunteer to enter "the Shimmer", a quarantined zone where nothing has ever been able to come out. The film was only just released this past week, but it's already breaking box office records and nobody can seem to stop buzzing about it.

Call Me By Your Name

This coming-of-age Luca Guadagnino-directed drama has been mentioned absolutely everywhere for it's stunning portrayal of a 17-year-old boy Ellio (Timothee Chalamet) who falls in love with his father's assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Northern Italy in 1983. It has been critically praised for it's raw intensity, fueled by the actors chemistry as well as the soundtrack created by Sufjan Stevens (who always manages to make us cry when we least expect it).

Lady Bird

Lady Bird (as told and directed by Greta Gerwig) tells a tale that's all too familiar with rebellious teenagers across the world. Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) refuses to go by any other name and longs to escape the confinements of Sacramento. Her family struggles financially, with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) often reminding her that she is not grateful for what she has. The film is a touching and universal story of love between daughters and mothers that transcends time and a lingering sentiment that what we have is worth appreciating before it's gone.

The Shape of Water

This Guillermo del Toro fantasy was bound to be one of the year's biggest films, especially with a name like that. Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) works as a janitor at a secret government lab in Baltimore during the Cold War in 1962. What she discovers in the lab is a half-amphibian, half-human creature that develops a real emotional connection with her. What follows is a story not unlike Toro's Pan Labyrinth, yet just as full to the brim with true love.

Keep Reading Show less
CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

MUSIC

Five of our most anticipated releases of 2018

From Cardi B to Arctic Monkeys, we're eagerly on the edges of our seat for these upcoming efforts

It's 2018. It's a new year of blank slates, blank canvases, and eagerly awaiting the next round of fresh new sounds from artists who have been MIA, somewhere in recording studios.

That's not to say 2017 didn't bring us some serious artistry (and now overplayed loops), though. With a year that was made up of powerful political punches (DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar), understanding the times and trials of young women of color (CTRL by SZA), and getting to know the difference between being alone and being lonely (Flower Boy by Tyler the Creator), there was a lot of moving self-discovery, personal realizations, and the growing pains of growing another year wiser. That's why, despite the troubled times, we're looking into this year with hope and optimism, knowing that the music that is created out of a deeply political time is all what we need to keep moving forward.

We've compiled a list of some of our most anticipated releases, all due out sometime this year.

Arctic Monkeys - 'TBA'

After years of anticipation, Arctic Monkeys just announced their first live gig in more than four years at this year's Firefly Music Festival. The English band has been MIA, working on album no. 6, with resounding confirmations from varying sources (including the band's own Nick O'Malley, with an article from For The Ride stating "Nick found time for the track day before recording began on the eagerly anticipated sixth album, started at a secret location in September. The new album will be out next year because 'if it isn't, we've got problems'"). Besides their confirmed appearance this June, it seems like we don't know much else, but it also seems like it won't stay that way for long.

MGMT - 'Little Dark Age'

When psych duo MGMT released their first confirmed single "Little Dark Age" earlier this year, we were seriously impressed by it's new direction - the goth grittiness, which features vocalist Andrew VanWynGarden lamenting "I grieve in stereo / the stereo sounds strange / I know that if you hide it doesn't go away", sounds just as new and refreshing with each loop. Since then, the band has released supporting singles "When You Die" and "Hand It Over", with confirmations that the record will feature collaborations with Ariel Pink and Connan Mockasin. "We felt like we had reached a flow, it was the sort of chemistry, the kind of magic feeling we had when we started the band," said Ben Goldwasser. Release date is still TBA, but the New Yorker suggests it will drop sometime in February.

Cardi B - 'TBA'

Ever since the booming summer success of "Bodak Yellow", Cardi B has become a household name. What everyone's been wanting to know? What she'll do next. Her upcoming debut LP has been topic of much conversation, with many questioning if it can live up to it's own hype. However, with the recent release of "Bartier Cardi", you can rest assured that Cardi still has a lot of bars to spit and just as much money to flex. In her cover story with Rolling Stone, she discussed in-depth what the process has been like. "I got six, seven solid songs that I like, but I wonder if a month from now, I'm going to change my mind. It's not as fun to do music," she says. "My mind doesn't flow as free 'cause I have so much on my mind."

My Bloody Valentine - 'TBA'

My Bloody Valentine, having only three albums under their belt since 1988, still know how to keep us on our toes. While no exact details are confirmed, the band has been hard at work in the studio, having said that their next effort will likely be seven or eight tracks and expected to clock in around 40 minutes. "In some respects, some of it is a bit straightforward. The MBV album that we did in 2013 feels more meandery and not as concise. This one is like if somebody took that and dropped some acid on it or created a dimensional clash or something. It's more all over the place… The record I am making now is not so much about death and change as freedom of the soul," Kevin Shields told Rolling Stone.

Interpol - 'TBA'

You've seen Interpol tour their debut album Turn On The Bright Lights for it's 15th anniversary extensively. So what gives? While the release date is yet to be confirmed, it's safe to say that a new record is underway, as they've been performing a new and shiny track by the name of "Real Life." Interpol last delivered one of the most exciting albums of 2014 with El Pintor, so we're eagerly awaiting what comes next.

Keep Reading Show less