Basement Medicine

George Saunders’ tortured Lincoln

George Saunders’ tortured Lincoln

Josh Lemay

April 27, 2017

While “Lincoln in the Bardo” is George Saunders’ seventh foray into the world of fiction, it is his first, and thus far only, journey into the land of novel writing. The author of the brilliant collections “Tenth of December” and “Pastoralia” rose to national attention with a dark and cutting...

Viewers beware: You’re in for a trip with this looney movie

Viewers beware: You’re in for a trip with this looney movie

Avery Bliss

April 27, 2017

I’ve never tried LSD. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the effects of the drug would be remarkably similar to watching the movie “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” because I don’t quite trust my eyes or mind anymore.   “Back in Action,” which came out in 2003, hasn’t aged quite...

Wooden acting and dumb beards in a sad “King Arthur” knock-off

Avery Bliss

April 14, 2017

I realize that, right now, Hollywood is currently in the phase where remaking movies is all the rage. Sometimes that works out and the audience gets a halfway decent movie, like the recent “Godzilla” movie. And then other times, the remake drifts into the territory of “lock it in the basement...

Original play offers unique look at mental illnesses

Cayla Fronhofer

April 14, 2017

The theater is dark and quiet until white lights suddenly sweep across the stage, accompanied by the sound of a car’s engine. It quiets, white lights shift to red, and the sound of a blinker is heard. After a moment, the sounds fade and the play begins. “The Cover of a Book” is an original play...

New book addresses farcical coverage of 2016 election

New book addresses farcical coverage of 2016 election

Lisa Kent

April 14, 2017

Matt Taibbi is a Rolling Stone correspondent and an author. During 2015-2016, he reports on the presidential campaign and the ensuing election, and then combines his dispatches into “Insane Clown President.” Before he starts his dispatches, he writes of his prior book “The Great Derangement,”...

Disney remake brings beauty and anachronism to the big screen

Disney remake brings beauty and anachronism to the big screen

Emily Mullaney

April 14, 2017

“Beauty and the Beast” was extravagantly gorgeous, well written and performed well. Director Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 1 and 2) struck a good balance between following the old story and adding new material. While most of the new material is nice, none of it is essential, and some...

Throwing back to hairspray and classic rock in “Adventureland”

Throwing back to hairspray and classic rock in “Adventureland”

Avery Bliss

March 23, 2017

Hey, do you like the ’80s? Teenage angst? Kristen Stewart trying her damnedest to make a normal human expression? Well then, “Adventureland,” featuring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, is the movie for you. Even though this movie came out only a few years ago, it has that definite feel...

Wolverine’s last ride

Wolverine’s last ride

Cayla Fronhofer

March 23, 2017

Three years after his second solo film, Wolverine has returned to the big screen with his claws out and his taciturn demeanor fully intact. Following the enormous success of last year’s “Deadpool,” 20th Century Fox has released its second attempt at an R-rated X-Men film: “Logan,” the 10th...

Pierce the Veil offers listeners red and orange hues of a West Coast sunset

Jacob Greenia

March 23, 2017

Few artists have parlayed their collective frustration and vision into rich songwriting quite like Pierce the Veil has with its fourth full-length album, “Misadventures.” After six years of nonstop touring around the world, the San Diego-bred post-hardcore quartet had a breakthrough moment in...

A behind-the-scenes look at “Beauty Queen of Leenane”

Caroline Loftus

March 23, 2017

In the dark, winding halls of the Dibden Center of Performing Arts, Emily Pike, special effects makeup specialist, frantically looks for the gelatin-based prosthetic molding compound she uses to make life-like burns and injuries. Finding the compound, Pike hurries back to where the crowd of four is. In...

Bad accents and other misses

Bad accents and other misses

Avery Bliss

March 9, 2017

Does anyone remember Val Kilmer at his prime, in movies like “Top Gun” or “Tombstone”? And then you watch him in his more recent works and he just looks tired and bloated? That’s what watching Nicolas Cage (“National Treasure”) in the American-Canadian-Chinese action film “Outcast”...

Steady as she goes

Steady as she goes

Emily Mullaney

March 9, 2017

I like to think of the Steady Betty concert from March 2 in Dibden as a two-layered cake. The icing was not smooth and well decorated, but both layers of cake were moist and satisfying, and the icing melted in the mouth. The bottom layer of the cake was a rich chocolate flavor and arguably the most important...

Batman in a Lego world

Batman in a Lego world

Cayla Fronhofer

March 9, 2017

On the surface, the idea of making a movie using Lego versions of other intellectual property is pretty ridiculous. As it turns out, the reality of such a movie is still ridiculous, but in more of an amusing and heartwarming way. As with the first Lego movie, “The Lego Batman Movie” proves that a...

Nazi bratwursts and other stupidity

Nazi bratwursts and other stupidity

Avery Bliss

February 16, 2017

I have seen the true face of the Devil, and it looks an awful lot like the poster for the movie “Yoga Hosers.” Coming from the mind of Kevin Smith, the director of “Clerks,” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” this movie stars Smith’s daughter as one of the leading roles. This movie...

Authentic food at Ocha Thai Smile

Steaming Dumplings

Emily Mullany

February 16, 2017

I wouldn’t have guessed that there’s a restaurant of extraordinary quality on this busy stretch of road near I89 in Waterbury. Ocha Thai Smile restaurant is nestled beside and beneath a smoke shop and a tattoo parlor respectively, and outward appearances don’t promise anything spectacular.   The...

Dark wit and shocking twists in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”

Dark wit and shocking twists in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”

Cayla Fronhofer

February 16, 2017

Walking into the Dibden auditorium, it seems as if no one is there. All of the seats are empty and the heavy blue curtains are drawn across the stage. Tentatively, I step onto the stage and am ushered behind the curtain by the two people waiting on the platform. “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” was...

New book explores secrets of trees

New book explores secrets of trees

Lisa Kent

February 2, 2017

When I browsed the new book section in Willey Library for a book to read and review, “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate” by Peter Wohlleben caught my eye. The cover popped out at me, with its cream-colored paper, colonial red letters, and images of trees and their greenery....

A look back at Coheed and Cambria’s first album

A look back at Coheed and Cambria’s first album

Emily Mullaney

February 2, 2017

It begins with a rustling and a soft twang. The anticipation builds in those few seconds, just before the soft, eerie strings enter. Then the percussion clashes, and the piano player plucks out a melody which will become a motif as the album dives into its rock-metal hybrid epic. This is how “The Second...

“Maximum Ride” tramples childhoods

“Maximum Ride” tramples childhoods

Avery Bliss

February 2, 2017

In the world of book-to-movie adaptations, there are only two possible ways that these movies can be made. They can either be mostly true to the source material, with only a few alterations or missing things, or they can absolutely butcher the source material. Unfortunately, the film “Maximum Ride,”...

A new kind of Disney princess

A new kind of Disney princess

Cayla Fronhofer

February 2, 2017

Disney princess movies have followed a fairly standard formula for nearly 80 years, usually based on a fairy tale and including a prince in some capacity. November’s “Moana” broke that pattern with style, delivering stunning visuals and a riveting plot.  Directed by Ron Clements and John...

2016’s top 6 albums: diverse new music from veteran artists

2016’s top 6 albums: diverse new music from veteran artists

Jacob Greenia

December 8, 2016

The year 2016 will be remembered more for its political discord than it will be for a diverse selection of new music. Through all of the static, the unnecessary noise of political punditry and the derision elicited from those in high office, newsrooms and living rooms, 2016 managed to produce a rich...

Sanctimonious Sanctum Sacking in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange”

Sanctimonious Sanctum Sacking in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange”

Cayla Fronhofer

December 8, 2016

There might be something Strange in the neighborhood, but no one is calling the Ghostbusters this time. The newest Marvel superhero film brings us the origin story of Doctor Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands to a terrible car accident (don’t drive distracted, kids!)...

Valhalla Rising: A new addition to reject fridge art

Avery Bliss

December 8, 2016

When you sit down to watch a movie, you do so thinking that what you are about to watch has some semblance of plot or good character development. Not so with “Valhalla Rising,” a film from Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. This English-language Dutch film is an affront to the idea of a proper...

“Raising Hope” raises your spirits

“Raising Hope” raises your spirits

Avery Bliss

December 8, 2016

It’s not every day that you find a show that will make you laugh uncontrollably. I have been searching for such a show since I gained access to a Netflix account, and I believe I have finally found it.   “Raising Hope” chronicles the life and adventures of Jimmy Chance, a broke 20-something...

A call to action

Christa David, “Make Me Wanna Holler The Way They Do My Life”

Hunter Mallette

December 8, 2016

Local sculptor Sabrina Leonard approached Johnson State College at the beginning of fall with an immensely powerful and timely art idea: a performance piece that would highlight racial inequality, with heavy emphasis on Black Lives Matter. The show ran from Nov. 14-20, and students and staff helped...

Film adaptation brings doom, gloom and dark humor

Film adaptation brings doom, gloom and dark humor

Agathe Fredette

November 10, 2016

Cheery, high pitched music begins as you soar through a canopy of clay trees to settle into a bright and pastel-colored forest of claymation. A jingly tune singing of the joys of spring begins and a large-headed elf-child bursts from a wooden door in the trunk of tree and starts frolicking manically...

Intermingled lies and blurred trust

Intermingled lies and blurred trust

Hunter Mallette

November 10, 2016

Just in time for Halloween came the movie rendition of the popular novel “The Girl on The Train,” by Paula Hawkins. The cover exclaims, “What you see can hurt you,” which undoubtedly comes true. Similar to the psychological thriller, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, there is the aspect of unfaithful...

A history of political division

Richard Ahlgrim

November 10, 2016

The presidential race that finally ended on Tuesday descended into a repetitive mess of insults and false accusations on both sides. How did our two major political parties become so divided? It all began with the Buckley vs. Vidal debates in 1968.   As a Creative Audience event, Tuesday, Oct....

Photographer highlights debt burdens

courtesy of Brittany Powell

Jacob Greenia

November 10, 2016

Debt is something that affects students, professors, lawyers and countless others in the workforce. From a monetary perspective, debt is something that can stifle one’s economic growth and occupational aspirations. From an emotional perspective, debt can alter one’s welfare and stability. Photographer...

Hitler, vikings and laser-raptors

Hitler, vikings and laser-raptors

Avery Bliss

November 10, 2016

Step aside train wrecks, there is a new thing in town that I just cannot tear my eyes away from. I am talking of the most baffling cinematic experience known to modern man. I am talking of “Kung Fury.” The premise of this short film is that a Miami cop in 1980 was both struck by a lightning bolt...

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