The Oberlin Review

Successful King Adaptation “It” Combines Horror, Heart

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

September 15, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

It’s the great cinematic whodunit of the past few years: who killed mainstream horror? Despite critical darlings from breakout directors like David Eggers (The Witch), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) — all independent films that scored modest, unimpressive box office returns — the world of big-budget filmmaking has lately seen few horror movies worth their salt. Most of what has been on offer, such as Lights Out, Ouija, and Unfriended, rely on gimmicky premises designed to lure audiences into theaters without much caring if they enjoy the ensuing bloodbath. Gone are the Halloweens and Nightmare on Elm Streets of the world. The best recent mainstream horror has played with t...

Peanut Sauce Film Project Explores Thai Education System

Peanut Sauce Film Project Explores Thai Education System

September 8, 2017

The Peanut Sauce Project 2560, a documentary project with an eye toward the education system in Thailand and the marginalized groups within it, presented three documentaries in the Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space Friday night. The project was organized by double-degree fifth-year Thanisa Durongkaveroj, who was joined by Matt Blankinship, OC ’17, Anna Treidler, OC ’17, and collaborator Bitong Suchritt. Durongkaveroj, Blankinship, and Treidler were all in attendance at Friday night’s ...

Nanjiani’s Big Sick Defies Genre Conventions

Jordan Joseph, Contributing Writer

September 1, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

The Big Sick, which trailers present as a sickly-sweet romantic comedy with a Pakistani-American protagonist, is currently one of the highest grossing independent films of the year — and for good reason. While the trailer might draw viewers into the theater, beneath its tightly-packaged exterior, The Big Sick is so much more. The film, a mostly autobiographical narrative written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, follows Kumail (played by Nanjiani) as he reconciles budding comedic fame with getting older. Kumail comes from a traditional Pakistani family that expects him to marry a Pakistani woman, so Kumail’s mother sets off to find a wife for her son in her own way. Much to Kumail’s chagrin, this inv...

On the Record: Heather Marlowe, Playwright

On the Record: Heather Marlowe, Playwright

May 5, 2017

Editor’s note: This article discusses sexual assault. Playwright, actor and activist Heather Marlowe graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2009 with a degree in art history before moving to San Francisco, where she dedicated much of her time to theater classes. Motivated by her own experiences with the criminal justice system after being raped, Marlowe has worked with the survivor-advocacy organization People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws and produced a solo show, The...

Black and White “Fury Road” Re-Release Highlights Action, Scenery

Christian Bolles, Columnist

May 5, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

When beloved director George Miller first released the much-awaited follow-up to his cult classic Mad Max series, he teased that he had watched the new film in black and white and found it a superior experience. Now, after much fan buzz, the “Black and Chrome” edition of Mad Max: Fury Road has hit the big screen for a single day, as part of an ad campaign for its inclusion in the movie’s Blu-ray set. After all of the hype Miller generated around the remaster, one might question whether the film could possibly be that much better with a change as seemingly minimal as a rebalanced colour palette. Yet, when rendered in such contrast, the aesthetic brilliance of Miller’s mayhem-ridden masterpiece shines all the ...

OMTA’s “Assassins” Balances Levity, Seriousness

OMTA’s “Assassins” Balances Levity, Seriousness

April 28, 2017

When the legendary Stephen Sondheim and librettist John Weidman first debuted Assassins in 1990, it was one of the most controversial musicals in recent history. The musical compiles its character list from the select community of historical figures connected to the assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents. Several easily recognizable characters include Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963; Samuel Joseph Byck, who attempted to hijack a 747 and ...

Oberlin Alums Pen Enchanting New Musical

Oberlin Alums Pen Enchanting New Musical

April 28, 2017

A staged reading of The Enchanted, a new musical comedy in progress by John Kander, OC ’51 — who previously wrote music for Cabaret and Chicago — and prolific playwright and fiction writer Greg Pierce, OC ’00, was performed by a cast of student actors last weekend in the Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space, marking the first theatrical production in the venue. The musical, based on a French play of the same name by Jean Giraudoux, is set in the provincial French town of Aubergine wh...

Chan-Wook’s “Handmaiden” Unpacks Sexual Power Dynamics

Christian Bolles, Columnist

April 21, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

“Of all the things I’ve washed and dressed, have any been so pretty?” This is the first question Korean handmaiden Sookee asks herself upon meeting her new mistress, a soft-spoken Japanese noblewoman named Lady Hideko. Sookee’s immediate attraction to Hideko is objectifying — even clinical — mirroring the aesthetic fascination that revered Korean director Park Chan-Wook maintains for the decadent imagery that defines his most recent work, The Handmaiden. The film is clearly about sex, but it’s also about the broader philosophical implications of the myriad power dynamics inherent in a sexual relationship. The film takes place during Japan’s annexation of Korea in the early 20th century and at its most...

“for colored girls…” Celebrates, Honors Black Women

“for colored girls…” Celebrates, Honors Black Women

April 14, 2017

Editor’s note: This article contains references to topics including suicide and sexual assault. Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, which opened yesterday night in Hall Auditorium, is an evocative production spotlighting the experiences of Black women and femmes in the U.S. The piece is comprised of poetic monologues brought to life and woven together through dance and music. The different modes of performance in the piece make it difficult...

“Raw” Offers Potent Commentary on Sexuality, Sisterhood

Christian Bolles, Columnist

April 14, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers and mentions of violence, sexual assault, nausea and trauma inflicted on both humans and animals. When French writer-director Julia Ducournau’s feature-length debut Raw made rounds at film festivals worldwide, paramedics became an occasional fixture of the proceedings as audience members either fainted or left the theater — some without returning, others to empty their stomachs in the nearest bathroom. Despite being produced on a tight budget and given limited theatrical distribution, these incidents have brought the film a grotesquely alluring reputation since its release a few weeks ago. Historically, other films have garnered similar reactions — The Exorcist is...

OSTA’s “Bright Half Life” Explores Intersectional Identities

OSTA’s “Bright Half Life” Explores Intersectional Identities

April 7, 2017

Cascading baubles of multicolored lights and hanging photographs of the cast and crew border the walls of a cozy South Hall studio, creating an intimate setting for Bright Half Life, an Oberlin Student Theater Association production exploring the trials of love. The non-linear narrative is centered around an interracial lesbian couple’s nearly 50-year relationship, jumping between milestones like their first breakup, first child and first date as well as smaller, quiet moments that capture th...

Drag Ball Goes to Hell and Back with New Theme, RuPaul Performances

Julia Peterson, Production editor

March 31, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Dance, Features, Theater & Film

Drag Ball has been one of Oberlin’s most iconic annual events since the 1980s. A celebration of the queer community and drag performance and culture, Drag Ball will take over the basement of Wilder Hall — encompassing the ’Sco, the Rathskellar and DeCafé — on April 22. This year, Drag Ball will feature a lineup of nationally recognized musicians and drag performers, along with local talent. Latrice Royale, of RuPaul’s Drag Race season four and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, will be performing. Rapper and drag queen Big Momma will be performing, as will M. Lamar, who, according to College senior and Drag Ball organizing committee Head Em Westheimer, is a “radical queer Black afrofuturist neo-goth singer, pia...

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