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Take 5: Farewell to Tom Clancy and “Breaking Bad”

(10/07/13 8:59am)

“Breaking Bad” ended on a high note (depending on who you talk to). One of the most acclaimed dramas in the history of television ended last week, igniting ferocious Twitter buzz. Critichttp are still debating the finale and some viewers have expressed disappointment with the resolution. But AMC has no reason to be disappointed: the finale drew a massive 10.3 million viewers compared to the previous episode’s 6.6 million and 1.4 million for the series premiere in January 2008. AMC executives will be eagerly anticipating the premiere of the “Breaking Bad” spin off centered around Saul Goodman. Perhaps lightning will strike twice.

Album Reviews Brew 3.0

(10/03/13 7:36pm)

Lorde- Pure Heroine Lord, oh Lorde! There’s something amazing happening in New Zealand, and I’m determined to find out exactly what it is. Lorde, the moniker for 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, had me worked up all summer long, but this album was totally worth the wait. “Pure Heroine” shimmers in infectiously catchy pop music galore, but it’s also dark and edgy at the same time. It’s the kind of album that will have everyone dancing around in circles for hours, and then crying as soon as they’re alone in their bedrooms. The album dives in with the synthesized single “Tennis Court,” followed by “400 Lux” and the beloved breakout ballad, “Royals.” Though the tone of Lorde’s voice drags on the drearier side, it rings with sweet conviction. And while the lyrics are simple, they convey the complexities of the average teenager struggling to transition into adulthood. Lorde cries out about violence in the media on “Glory And Gore” and whines about her “all work and no play” lifestyle on “Still Sane.” The closing track “A World Alone” seals the album with a gentle pulse accompanied by a profound message about dealing with judgements from two-faced friends, haters on the Internet and the critical world at large. “Let ‘em talk, ‘cause we’re dancing in this world alone,” she sings with optimism. Lorde is the definition of alt, and that’s why I like her so much. For a teenager, she seems more mature than most of her competitors in the music industry. “Pure Heroine” beats the odds. RIYL: Kimbra, London Grammar, Lana Del Rey, Yuna – Sydney Gore

The Rewind: Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation and Elementary

(10/02/13 11:05pm)

Breaking Bad – Ep. 5.16 “Felina” Vince Gilligan tricked loyal “Breaking Bad” viewers one last time Sunday night. Instead of detonating a series of narrative bombs on the last hour of this remarkable show, the creator wrote and directed an episode that quietly and deliberately clicked the final pieces of the puzzle into place. Walter White (Bryan Cranston) got the comeuppance he deserved even as he demonstrated a surprising capacity for self-awareness. Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) escaped into an uncertain world that might not be ready to welcome him back. Todd, the sociopath with a romantic streak, met his end with a well-placed chain. The White family will live out their days permanently scarred by the events of the last five seasons.

Breaking Bad: The five best episodes

(09/30/13 9:08pm)

“Breaking Bad” came to an end this Sunday at 9 p.m., leaving a trail of brutal, fascinating excellence in its wake. Choosing the five most impressive of the show’s 61 episodes proved to be a task worthy of Walter White’s $80 million haul. While every episode of the show features qualities worth recommending, the five hours below represent the show at its most formally, visually, narratively, thematically and emotionally audacious.

Weekly Scene album reviews brew

(09/26/13 6:05pm)

Keith Urban- Fuse Country star and “American Idol” judge Keith Urban treads a fine line between traditional country and modern pop on his eighth studio album “Fuse.” The album’s eclectic sound reflects contributions from producers as diverse as pop prince Max Martin, country stalwart Dan Huff and rocker Butch Walker. “Fuse” is somewhat disorganized but largely enjoyable, with Urban particularly excelling on the sentimental songs that bigger country stars like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan regularly struggle with. In fact, Urban is very much an antidote to the faux-rough aesthetic of the genre’s dominant male stars. As duds like “Love’s Poster Child” and “Good Thing” demonstrate, he’s more believable as a heartthrob than a horndog. Perhaps Urban works best with a foil: duets with Eric Church and Miranda Lambert represent album highlights. RIYL: Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton – Mark Lieberman

Take 5

(09/23/13 5:02pm)

AMC will air the final season of “Mad Men” in two seven-episode arcs, one in 2014 and one in 2015. AMC will commission spinoff series tied to its established hits “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” rankling viewers who are craving new originals rather than tired retreads. Now, AMC has announced that it will split the seventh and last season of “Mad Men” into two years to capitalize on ratings, buzz and Emmy awards before the show can finally ride off into the sunset. This same strategy worked like gangbusters for “Breaking Bad,” but “Mad Men” may be approaching its expiration date faster.

The Emmy Awards: The good, the bad and the ugly

(09/23/13 5:54am)

“Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” took home the top prizes for Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards last night. It was a night of surprise winners, technical difficulties and awkwardly integrated musical performances. Neil Patrick Harris hosted as well as he could, under the circumstances, but even the magical NPH couldn’t atone for the many sins of this year’s Emmys telecast.

Take 5

(09/15/13 4:05am)

The Boy Who Lived lives again. J.K. Rowling announced Sept. 12 that she will be writing the script for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” an adaptation of the Hogwarts textbook the author published as a companion to the novels in 2009. The movie, potentially the first in a series, will follow Hogwarts headmaster Newt Scamander, an expert on magical creatures. However, fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Harry on the big screen will be disappointed: the movie is set 70 years before the events of the beloved septology. Nonetheless, Rowling’s first movie script should be a draw.

Rude Mechanicals gear up for fall season

(09/05/13 4:34pm)

The Rude Mechanicals, one of AU’s two student-run theatre organizations, has assembled a healthy slate of shows for its fall schedule, including a classic tragedy with a modernized twist and a celebration of Shakespeare’s most piercing insults. The Rudes, as they often call themselves, focus primarily on producing Shakespeare-inspired plays, with some forays into classically inspired works like Greek myths. School of Public Affairs senior Caitlyn Wan will be this year’s executive director said the group’s goal is to update Shakespeare’s classic stories for greater appeal to a modern sensibility. “Even though we are Shakespeare focused we have some variety in what we do,” she said. Each year, the Rudes puts on a non-Shakespearean holiday show, often coupled with a charity effort. Here’s a look at the Rudes’ fall season:

Fall Movie Preview

(08/27/13 8:32pm)

It’s been an exhausting summer of superheroes, sequels and special effects galore, but the fall season is just around the corner to provide a respite from the ever-bigger summer blockbusters. The studios will be unloading their Oscar contenders and “prestige” pictures throughout the rest of the year, delivering much-anticipated work from acclaimed directors and a few blockbusters to keep the money rolling in. Here are five upcoming movies worth checking out when they arrive on a silver screen near you.