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REVIEW: ‘Hellfire’ burns fast and bright

When black midi first burst onto the music scene with their debut single “bmbmbm” in 2018, it was clear they were a band to watch. Their subsequent albums “Schlagenheim” and “Cavalcade,” released in 2019 and 2021 respectively, were met with universal critical acclaim, further cementing black midi’s place among some of the top bands working today. On July 15, 2022, black midi returned with “Hellfire,” an album that strangely feels like the best introduction to the band with its clear sense of identity and superb musicianship. While black midi typically gets grouped in with the other bands out of England making waves in the post-punk scene like Dry Cleaning and Black Country, New Road, they stand out from the crowd with a heavy progessive rock influence not present in other acts. It makes midi’s music incredibly unique, but also difficult to approach.


Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ ain’t nothing but a hound dog

Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” with its overwrought style beyond substance, is the cinematic equivalent of eating all of your leftover Halloween candy in one night and waking up sick the next morning. An enjoyable ride with sweet flavorings to boot, it’s too eager in its undertakings and leaves you staggered and slightly sick. With a hubristic two-hour, 39-minute runtime that challenges even the most ardent supporters of the hyper-stylistic director, “Elvis” fails to shine beyond spectacle in its portrayal of the relationship between the iconic rock-and-roller and his infamously manipulative manager. 

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REVIEW: Former UNM student’s ‘Natives Don’t Get Haircuts’ bursts with wry introspection

On June 28, Wry Press released “Natives Don’t Get Haircuts,” a chapbook by former University of New Mexico student Hataałiinez Wheeler containing 29 poems and one short story. Fans of Wheeler’s will recognize the disconcerting linework as analogous to what is often scrawled alongside his sketches and photographs, while those new to his work will be brought in by the tension and language — none will be disappointed with the outcome, printed and bound. Wheeler, the definition of an interdisciplinary artist, has already released three albums and an EP under his nickname Hataałii. A personal favorite is the song “Walking on Our Own,” co-written and produced by current UNM student Jakob Jaques. Wheeler is also a model and actor, recently working on the AMC television series “Dark Winds” as Joe Leaphorn Jr. In the past year, he’s even delved into painting and jewelry-making with vigor.

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REVIEW: ‘Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes’ is a visually appealing, ego-boosting slog

The film industry loves to make movies about the film industry and “Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes” from Austrian/Sri Lankan director Kevin Kopacka, is one of the newest films to join this long tradition after its release in the U.S. on June 24. The Guild Cinema luckily only had a one-night screening of the film so hopefully no one else — save for the poor unfortunate souls in the movie house on Saturday, July 9 — will have to subject themselves to this bore of a watch. “Dawn” starts out following a couple, Dieter (Fredrick von Lüttichau) and Margot (Luisa Taraz), as they explore a possibly abandoned castle inherited by Margot from some dead family member; I say possibly because, at most points, the film can’t decide if the castle is truly abandoned or not. It would seem so, based on its decrepit and dilapidated state, but the couple spends the night there in a bed with some suspiciously nice white sheets — however, this is only a minor annoyance in a film as annoying as a crying child in a restaurant, although far less forgivable.

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OPINION: Why I don’t want to get an MFA in creative writing

  In a letter to a friend written at the peak of Virgo season, Anton Chekhov wrote: “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress.” Wikipedia touts that he is “considered one of the greatest writers of all time,” Russian or otherwise. But he was never a student of the arts; he spent his days watching human beings fall apart and doing what he could to reverse the human condition, something that is temporary, painful, and disgusting to look at. I graduate this week and people are very curious about what I’m going to do with my dual degree in English and Russian. Most people assume graduate school is the immediate next step, but studying what, they ask? 

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‘We’re All Going to the World’s Fair’ is a creepypasta coming-of-age gem

  “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair,” directed by Jane Schoenbrun, is a dizzying, slow-paced horror that uses the language of internet urban legend as a springboard to showcase the supreme loneliness of adolescence. Released April 15, the film follows the reclusive Casey (Anna Cobb) after she embarks in an internet horror game called the “World’s Fair Challenge” and her subsequent mental decline. Clocking in just under 90 minutes, “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” completely defied my expectations of the formulaic and tried found-footage genre (although, to be fair, this film cannot be neatly classified as found-footage) and showcased the versatility of a genre I previously thought to be a one-trick pony.


Loboscopes: May general predictions

  The transit of several key planets into Aries this month — Jupiter, Venus and Mars — will precipitate a wealth of ideas and physical blessings. The sun remaining steadfast in Taurus until the end of the month should give flashes of inspiration some staying power, as Aries isn’t known for its follow-through. A Mercury retrograde will begin in Gemini on May 10, adding fuel to the Aries fire burning in the heavens. Beware of backwards movement, like reverting to old habits and communicating with those you’ve left behind. The reckless Ram running rampant across the sky will make this difficult. How will you manage? Read on for more specific advice.

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REVIEW: ‘The Northman’ takes viewers to Valhalla and back

  As I took my seat in a dimly lit theater on Friday, April 22, I thought my anticipation for acclaimed writer and director Robert Eggers’ latest work couldn’t be any higher. After having to sit through a series of previews that was almost entirely made up of sequels, though, an unflinching, brutal and thoroughly original $90 million Viking spectacle sounded like just the right type of medicine for my blockbuster blues. Of course, that isn’t to say that the only thing going for this film was its refreshing originality; given my utter adoration for Eggers’ past work with “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse” in tandem with an absolute beast of a cast (most of which have appeared in Eggers’ previous work)

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LETTER: New Mexico’s postpartum Medicaid expansion supports parents and newborns

  On top of the extraordinary mental and physical changes one faces after having a baby, one thing that shouldn’t have to change is one’s health care coverage. Fortunately, new mothers who qualify now have a full year of postpartum Medicaid coverage in New Mexico so they can focus on what really matters: taking care of their babies and their own health concerns. After all, nothing is more foundational for our next generation than the well-being of mothers and infants. Before this past legislative session, people who enrolled in Medicaid for pregnancy- and birth-related care received just two months of postpartum Medicaid coverage.   

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REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ is worth a few sickles

  This review contains spoilers “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” exceeded my very low expectations but only marginally. The film was enjoyable but could have been a lot better, especially in comparison to its predecessors. While I could never really dislike a movie that dives back into the Wizarding World (I’ve adored the Harry Potter franchise since I was little), author J.K. Rowling is less than likeable and has opinions on matters outside her series are starkly different from mine.  The first five minutes of the movie surprisingly hooked me and managed to leave me teary-eyed. It began with the assembly of a team in a fashion akin to that of a heist movie.  

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REVIEW: Poetry collection ‘The Loneliest Girl’ confronts sexist mythology

  Kate Gale’s “The Loneliest Girl,” published earlier this year by the University of New Mexico Press, is a book of poems that address sexual violence and the interactions that enforce and encourage it. Gale adds softness and depth to the well-known myth of Medusa — the Gorgon who was transformed into a monster through a rape by Poseidon — rendering her as a vulnerable woman seeking healing. The best works in this collection are the short and sensory pieces, like “Medusa’s Cookbook,” which includes lines such as “cloves — an unopened flower bud/cinnamon — a spiraled brown quill.” These poems flesh out Medusa’s physical world, removing the mythic and aligning us with her as an individual.

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LETTER: UNM must fulfill its promise to New Mexicans: Bargain with the graduate union now

  I am a graduate student teacher. My name is Penelope, but the University of New Mexico seems to prefer my deadname. I transitioned early in 2021. I began teaching in the fall and it was important to me that I teach with my true name because teaching is deeply important to my self-understanding. It was so important, in fact, that I accelerated my transition to that end: I came out to my department and the school before my parents or many of my close friends. I think it can be hard for others to imagine how alienating it is for strangers to know your name before your loved ones. 

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REVIEW: Amanda Seyfried skillfully humanizes a monster in ‘The Dropout’

  This review contains spoilers Hulu’s critically acclaimed miniseries “The Dropout,” which chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, is a scathing adaptation of the eponymous podcast. An incredibly gripping take on a true story and top tier performances from Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews make “The Dropout” one of the best shows of the year thus far. Theranos was founded by Holmes in 2003 after she dropped out of Stanford University. By 2013, the company — which claimed to run hundreds of blood tests on only a few drops of blood — was valued at $9 billion. 

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REVIEW: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ is a hit in every universe

  While Marvel might be the predominant figure in the Hollywood sphere in terms of multiversal moviemaking, the concept doesn’t belong solely to them. Enter A24 and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the latest effort from directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, credited and more commonly referred to as Daniels, that’s just as large-scale and multidimensional as it is small-scale and heartfelt. I must admit that the trailers for the film made me skeptical. The googly eye jokes, people having hot dogs for fingers and a whole slew of other millennial-askew jokes made me more than doubtful of Daniels’ ability to follow up their charming and unique feature film debut “Swiss Army Man.”

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REVIEW: ‘Our Flag Means Death’ charts new course for positive representation

  This review contains spoilers After scrounging up crumbs for positive representation, David Jenkins’ new series “Our Flag Means Death” on HBO Max shows what a queer rom-com set on the high seas during the golden age of piracy would look like. The 10-episode series dropped the first three 30-minute episodes on March 3, but it wasn’t until after the finale aired on March 24 that I even heard about the show due to HBO’s obscene lack of marketing. After being bombarded with people on my social media singing the sea shanty praises of the show, I queued it up and couldn’t help but consume it all within a day. 

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