La La Land: A Review

Simultaneously the biggest hit and the most heated debate of 2016: La La Land. Does it deserve its glory? Read what writer Hope Yoon has to say about it.

Seven Golden Globes. Fourteen Oscar nominations. Endless critical acclaim. With all the colors and nostalgia a movie can muster, La La Land marked a fireworks-ending to 2016.

But for a movie so successful, it was not a universal pleaser- in fact, it turned into a downright divisive topic amongst audience members who rated it differently, from a life-changing movie to a mediocre disappointment. The 21st-century Hollywood musical left us with a looming question few dare to answer: was it overrated?

I am no critic, nor am I an extraordinarily frequent movie-goer. And, admittedly, I have next to no knowledge about films. But I am a lover of words, music, theatre, and most importantly, stories. So I will give what I have on this movie, including my takes on the criticisms it has received. Read further for an entirely personal review of La La Land– unprofessional, subjective, and heartfelt.

To begin with: in terms of cinematography, the film reached a level of excellency that even its harshest criticizers find difficult to disagree with. It was a technical and visual delight, with breathless shots and fearless use of bold color in both the sets and the costumes. What’s more, the impeccable acting by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling made the scenes and characters seamlessly believable. Everything was perfect to the eye.

But when it came the the ear, the debates picked up volume. Being a musical, the songs had significant weight in the overall progression of the movie. While for some, it was the best original soundtrack of recent years, for others, it lacked any memorable tunes that carried themselves beyond the theatre into nodding heads and tapping feet. But in the end, music can only be evaluated through individual taste, and it happened to strike my chord. I thought the soundtrack was a delight, and this opinion intensified as I listened to the songs on repeat after watching the film itself. In contrast to songs that have hit me with a catchy boom upon the first listen and then turned increasingly boring as I put them on repeat, the La La Land soundtrack drew me in further every time I played it. In other words, the addiction deepened instead of tapering off. And what more can be said about the lyrics- especially in the climax piece “Audition”, which seems to embody everything the film is about?

Some people found dissatisfaction in the fact that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were not Broadway-level singers (or dancers), but I found it to be a deliberate choice. It would have been easy to cast doubles for a “perfect” musical, but the film chose to forgo that to prioritize reality and genuineness. Personally, I felt that the slight drawl of Gosling’s voice and the subtle quiver of Stone’s notes made the characters mesh with the music better. The music was a vehicle and an enhancer for the film as a whole, not a purpose in itself. If what I was looking for in La La Land was extraordinary vocal prowess, I would be browsing Youtube covers of the songs instead. And besides, La La Land sets itself apart in that the songs blend effortlessly into the scenes and dialogue, escaping the often choppy talk-then-sing transitions of other movie musicals.

Another pick that viewers had on the movie was its lack of diversity, questioning the casting choices as a mere result of star power or an attempt at gathering a bigger audience, sometimes getting into the question of white privilege. But I feel that this is a separate debate from analyzing the movie itself, and for convenience, will keep my scope to the content of the film.

The biggest point of contention is, almost certainly, the plot- and especially the ending. (At this point, I advise readers who have yet to watch the movie to skip to the final paragraph in order to avoid spoilers.) The broken romance between the two leads left many heartbroken and some simply puzzled. The heartbroken argue that the ending was unsatisfactory and turned the build-up and the excellent chemistry into a sham- a hollow ending that only leaves what never was. The puzzled wonder why the break-up was necessary in the plot, questioning whether the ending was a stretch to add an artistically sad element to the movie. And to make matters worse, the ending swerve wasn’t the only part of the plot put into heat. Many simply found the character development shallow and the scenes riddled with cliches. Plainly put, not deep enough.

I have personally found it difficult to admit to such people that I loved the film and its plot, including the ending. Liking something popular despite such criticism makes me feel somewhat juvenile, or that I’m possibly missing something that deeper thinkers see, having shallower ideals. But the plot did not present me with any issues, and I was certainly happy with the ending. I agree that the story uses many well-trodden tropes and themes, including the starving artist, obsessive passion, and the contrast between dreams and reality. The romance between Mia and Sebastian was built with a series of meet-cutes. But cliches are cliches for a reason- because they are widely relevant, impactful, or relatable- and even the same theme can be portrayed for a thousandth time and still be a great work of art if it is crafted with skill. That is the job of the storyteller.

Personally, I found Mia’s struggle as an aspiring artist in society and especially her breakdown as she began thinking that she simply wasn’t talented enough to be deeply touching. The dialogue had no fancy symbolism but was honest and real- almost as if the lines were searching for that one artist sitting in the audience, just to deal a singular gut-punch and leave the rest of the crowd wondering where the depth was to be found. And Emma Stone’s complete embodiment of the character brought the emotions to a culminating explosion in the climax. We’ve all heard this story before. It’s only because the storyteller was talented that it was able to bring tears to so many eyes.

Some blame the movie for being sugarcoated, but it takes plenty of picks at Los Angeles and the irony of the performing arts industry. Yes, the film decided to make both Mia’s and Sebastian’s dreams come true, and it frankly did leave me wondering if the film would have changed for the better had that not been the case, but after a length of pondering, I came to the conclusion that the decision to deal individual happy endings was inseparably tied to the ending and the message. The movie wouldn’t have worked out this way and sent the same message had only one of them realized his/her dream, or neither.

To me, the ending didn’t feel like a stretch to squeeze in some sadness. While most commonly cited as a romance, the film isn’t ultimately about the romance. It is driven by the relationship and certainly says something about relationships in general- but the more important story is that of two individual artists. The cutting forward into the split ending illustrated that so many things in life really could work- and if something doesn’t work, we would like to demand a reasonable and understandable problem as to why it doesn’t work- but the reality is that some of those things just don’t. Life is defined less by perfect clicks and cause-and-effects and more by subtle nudgings of different circumstances or pure chance, guiding the ball down the hill in one of its millions of paths.

One of those subtle workings of life may have been that I watched this movie exactly at the point in my life when its lines would hit me over the head. Apart from countless viewings of Youtube clips and songs, I have watched this twice in theatres and have cried at exactly the same points throughout (there were four); of course this review would have to be biased. I would say La La Land is not a sad film. It reaches out to certain people, and it doesn’t for some others. It was a fearless revival of classic movie musicals rendered with modern brilliance, dancing with colors and music and life, ultimately giving hope to millions of people worldwide to chase their dreams- no matter what they are and how slim their chances may be. This may be a naive or reckless message- but the film doesn’t shy away from showing the pitfalls, failures, and sacrifices. Besides, the whole point of the movie is that the message is indeed naive and reckless, but that you should go for it anyways. A dream-lender, spark-sender, reality-bender. The world needs more of this.

-Jisoo Hope Yoon (’19)

Cover Image: La La Land poster

Goodreads: The Book Lovers’ Social Media

The skyrocketing ‘book social media’.

Used by over 40 million book-lovers worldwide, Goodreads is an online website that allows people to share books to friends, track their own books, and find new books to read. This prevailing website can be coined as a social media: it allows you to discover what your peers from overseas or nearby are reading, their personal reactions towards certain novels, and enable others to see your own reading status. As Ms. Tiffany Skidmore, a KIS 8th grade English teacher at Korea International School who frequently uses Goodreads, said,  “Goodreads is an amazing tool I use almost daily in my reading life. I use it to stay connected to what my friends are reading; to find new books to read by the great book recommendations or by looking at ratings and reviews of books I’m considering; and, to keep track of and organize the books I have read. Goodreads has enriched my reading life in countless ways!” 

“Books are one of the strongest social objects that exist, so lots of people are innately willing to talk about and share them.” – Mr. Chandler, founder of Goodreads

One of the main features of Goodreads is its convenient method of tracing one’s own progress. There is are sections of the website called “2016 Reading Challenge” and “Currently Reading” where readers can update the number of pages they read in their currently reading books and see whether or not they are working towards their reading challenge. In between the two sections, there is another part where Goodreads recommend books that are in line or similar to the books that one is reading and the books that one rated high as, giving one a vast opportunity and exposure to a variety of novels ranging from contemporary to economics.

 

Goodreads: The Book Lovers' Facebook
(Goodreads)

Another aspect, according to a New York Times article, that makes this website an escalating social media and different from other book-tracking websites such as Shelfari and LibraryThing, is the fact that “people will put more faith in book recommendations from a social network they build themselves”(Leslie Kaufman). Goodreads accentuates individuality and commonality; it allows readers to create their personal bookshelves where they can easily find their favorite books and discover what their peers are reading. This assures the users to feel free to personalize their reading process, to express their own feelings towards a book, and advocate novels to their peers.

Goodreads: The Book Lovers' Facebook
(Goodreads)

Goodreads not only benefits readers, but also self-published authors—such as Lisa See. She, who is the author of New York’s Times Bestseller novel Shanghai Girls,  Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, claimed that she has been using Goodreads since 2009 and found it as “a way to meet your readers and hope they become your advocates and spread the elusive word-of-mouth places you are not going and are off the book-tour route.” In other words, Goodreads enables authors to engage with their authors and gain invaluable feedback from them.

As students, we should encourage each other to utilize this “book-lovers’ Facebook” not only to discover new books, but also to ascertain what our fellow book-lovers and peers are reading. If you are struggling to find your next novel to read, there is one solution: Goodreads. This skyrocketing website, perhaps, will become the newest, largest ‘book-social’ media yet in our world.

 

– Sarah Se-Jung Oh (‘19) 

Seoul Fashion Week Recap

A recap on the stylish week of the year

With the cooling fall weather and falling leaves, while others are bringing out their autumn sweaters and heavy jackets, some are strutting out in their brightest clothing designed for summer and spring. What for?

It’s Seoul Fashion Week; the time for designers to display their latest collections for the coming seasons ahead. This time, the models are walking down the runways in the new Summer/Spring 2016 collections.

As South Korea continues to grow as a cultural hub for tourists and creative artists all around the globe, it’s inevitable that Korean fashion has been widely noted for its innovative and quirky style, unseen in other well known Western brands. Here are the top five Korean brands that stood out in this year’s SS 16 Seoul Fashion Week.

 

Photos by InDigital
Photos by InDigital

Kim Seo Ryong

Titled “Hey, Good Looking”, Kim’s SS16 menswear collection displays a range of aesthetics, from colorful abstract prints to more classic silhouettes. Kim established his brand in 1996, and is most well known for his finely tailored suits with his occasional touch of “rock star excess”. By using tougher materials such as leather and unconventional colours, Kim made even the most classic pinstriped shirt or plaid blazer look bold and outstanding. Contrastingly, Kim stuck to more neutral colours such as beige or black for louder prints. The stars of the show, however, were his colourful geometric pants and blazer, maintaining Kim’s signature eclectic rocker look.

 

Photos by InDigital
Photos by InDigital

Flea Madonna

Inspired by the term Prima-Donna, meaning the first woman in Italian, the womenswear brand is renown for its girly and quirky prints, combining dollish and edgy elements in the clothing. This season’s collection had a combination of extra girly pieces, with its sheer lace tops and flowing silk robes, and bolder, more manly articles, such as the slit leather culottes and varsity sweatshirts. Jei Kim, the designer of Flea Madonna, even paired the two together, with hooded jumpers and fluffy tulle skirts, creating an interesting juxtaposition between the casual tops and the more feminine bottoms. With slicked back hair and classic red lips, the models paraded down the catwalk, truly like prima-donnas.

 

Photos by InDigital
Photos by InDigital

Cres. E Dim.

Short for “crescendo e diminuendo,” the gradual increase and the gradual softening of sound, the brand Cres. E Dim. was launched in 2009 by Hong Bum Kim. Kim created unconventional silhouettes by having the fabric “overlapping the body…cut into fragments to add rhythm” (Cres. E Dim. official site). Pinstripes were all over Kim’s pieces, from trousers to collars, thick and thin. Playful icons, reflective of a circus, were spotted on many of the tops, and the models also sported trendy thin scarves around their necks. The colour palette was youthful, borderline tacky, with louder, elementary colours paired with muted denim and pastel tones. Silhouettes were either loose and boxy, with irregular necklines and extra wide lapels, or short and flirty, with high slits and body-hugging skirts.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 9.24.41 PMKYE

Kathleen Kye’s high-end street style brand KYE is adored and worn regularly not only by Korean celebrities, but also by others around the globe. She has held shows at the New York Fashion Week event, and has showrooms in other global fashion hubs, such as Paris and Milan. This season, a common print was the continuous serpentine loops. The models bore midriffs, shoulders, and leg, in sheer mesh, short skirts, and cropped shirts, that all bore Kye’s signature black and gold or sweeter candy-coloured hues.

 

Photos by Benu Studio
Photos by Benu Studio

BAEMIN X KYE

A collaboration between one of Korea’s top delivery service systems, Baedal Minjok, and a world renown fashion label produced some of the most whimsical and edgy clothing seen at this year’s spring/summer SFW. The collection featured fun and comical phrases, such as “Please don’t lean on the door” and “Entrance forbidden: Officials only”.  The combination of Korean typography and fashion was unexpected, yet ultimately refreshing and original, as seen on the oversized sweatshirts, sporty bomber jackets, and flowing silk shirts. Many of the pieces were almost a collage-work of multiple Korean texts, from newspapers to street shop signs, creating novel graphic designs that have captivated fashion moguls from all around the world, including British fashion blogger Susanna Lau.

 

While New York, Milan, and Paris are all well-respected global fashion capitals that carry some of the world’s most recognized brands, it’s nice to come back to our roots and appreciate the great style that surrounds us today: in Seoul.

Which designs or brands allured to you the most this Fashion Week? Let us know in the comments below!

 

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

 

Book Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

The story of the Tiger Mother revealed from Blueprint’s latest book review.

As many people ponder on how Chinese parents grow so many virtuous and prodigies, our minds are immediately drawn to the assumption that Asian mothers are always directing their children into depressing lives—in which they are always dictated by their mothers to do well. Even most of us, as sons and daughters of Asian mothers, find it difficult to accept the fact that some are oppressed by our mother’s domineering orders and supervision. Amy Chua, however, reprimands this commonplace notion by including her own experience and entices us to appreciate the methods behind producing prodigies.  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a revolutionary novel that will perplex, illuminate and elucidate the readers to understand the collision of two cultures—western and eastern—and how one’s family story can change the perspectives of the society.

(goodreads)
(Goodreads)

Chua, a mother of two daughters and a tiger mother, recounts her life with raising her children up in the ‘Chinese way’ whilst living in a society where her children are prone to become raised in the ‘Western way’. She describes how she constructed her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, to be hard-workers and best in everything they do. Tiger mother, also, highlights that “what Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.”So, she scolds the two to play their instruments flawlessly—without even a single mistake—by calling her oldest daughter ‘garbage’;she bribes her youngest daughter with lollies in order for her to enter a competition;and, limits them to specific rules that could neither be negotiated nor altered. As distressing and oppressive these may sound, the author justifies her actions for acting in such way.

Book Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
(dailymail.co.uk)
(ucrtoday)
(ucrtoday)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes this novel so notable and illuminating is the way in which Chua intertwines her own feelings towards her daughters and the cultural differences between Western and Asian parents;for example, she indicates that Western parents are always encouraging their children to well, while on the other hand, Asian parents believe that the most efficient way of raising children up is by “preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.” This not only makes the readers acquire an insight of a typical Chinese family, but also grasp the concept on how divergent the cultures are. She, however, loosely claims that one is not better than other—for every parent want to do best for their children, it is just that Chinese have a different method of doing so.

Book Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
(blogs.wsj.com)

 

If you are struggling to understand the strictness of your, own, mother’s or Asian mother’s actions and behaviours, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is the perfect novel for you;it will allow you to capture the dichotomy methods and how the role of an Asian mother is not immoral, but rather a desire to help fulfill their children. A ravishing novel that will guarantee you to be lured, paralyzed and delighted.

 

—Sarah Oh (’19)

 

Fresh Off ABC: Fresh Off The Boat

There’s a new cool kid in the TV town, and you just might relate to him.

Ever felt like you didn’t belong because of cultural differences? Ever experienced being the new kid after moving to a school and environment where you knew absolutely nobody? Ever just need to laugh every, oh I don’t know, Tuesday? If you’ve answered yes to any of these three questions, you’re in luck. ABC’s new comedy sitcom airing every Tuesday, “Fresh Off the Boat” will get you going on laughing, relating, and binge-watching.

“Fresh Off the Boat”, a show based on the memoir of an American restaurateur, Eddie Huang, is sweeping the nation with it’s unique and hysterical plotline. The story is told through the eyes of young Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang), who is eleven years old. The story starts off with Eddie and the rest of his Taiwanese family, his father (Randall Park), mother (Constance Wu), two brothers, Emery (Forrest Wheeler) and Evan (Ian Chen), and his grandmother (Lucille Song), making their way from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida. His father decides to open up a restaurant there called Cattleman’s Ranch, in order to embrace the American Dream. After all, it’s all he has ever dreamed of, and he’s determined to take his whole family on the journey. Of course, there’s always the unhappy ones when moving. Eddie is scared about fitting in at his new school, and his mother complains that the humidity of Orlando is not good for her hair. Despite fears and difficulties, the Asian-American family tries their best to “blend in” even if it really doesn’t work out.

(ABC)
(ABC) 

Because the Huangs are seen as “foreigners” in their new, all-white neighborhood, many culture-clashes occur. Considered a minority, the family is stared at with the eyes of both curious and bewildered people. The show follows a non-white family trying to adapt to suburban, white culture in comedic and relatable ways, portraying the toughness of fitting in while being “different”. Eddie’s new neighbors and peers at school make fun of the Chinese food he brings for lunch, his last name that no one can pronounce correctly, and the way he looks. They even act surprised that his English is “good,” when in reality, he was born and raised in the United States.

 

 

Despite adversities, no one can stop Eddie and his family’s hike to the American dream. Still not convinced to watch this amazing show?

Check out some of the funniest moments from Fresh Off the Boat – when the show got too real.

 

White kids make fun of Eddie’s lunch:

We’ve probably all experienced this. People who are not of our culture getting surprised by so-called “exotic” food Asian people eat. What Eddie and his family consider normal, is not by those who have no knowledge about their culture. It’s human nature to be surprised when you see something abnormal that you’re not used to seeing everyday. However, instead of accepting diversities, the immature students at Eddie’s new school takes this to a whole new level by using it as an excuse to tease him about it. Being bullied about being different? TOO REAL.

 

Asian parents: Go big or go home

When Eddie is called a “chink” by a student in his new school, he lashes out inappropriate language that even the principal has never heard of (and he’s from Boston!). When the principal suggests a possible suspension taking place, instead of accepting the consequences, Eddie’s mother and father defend him by taking his side. Parents always on our side? TOO REAL.

 

“Too expensive”

 

When Eddie goes clothes shopping, his mother takes one look at the price tag and simply says, “too much”. When it comes to Asian stereotypes, one major one is that Asian people are cheap. I guess that’s not 100% false. We like to bargain and get the best of the best deals out there. That one look Eddie’s mother gave him when she saw the number on the price tag is TOO REAL… and too familiar.

 

There’s not a moment where you can’t relate to Eddie Huang. After all, we are living in an Asian society. Don’t miss out on the rest of the season! Laughs, giggles, smiles are guaranteed.

– Leona Mauryama (’17)
Header: ABC 

The Return of Game Of Thrones

Your favorite TV show is back, and it’s better than ever.

After the leak of almost half of its new season before the season premiere (remember, true fans stay loyal–don’t spoil it for yourself and watch all four leaked episodes!), Game of Thrones still returns to HBO with its usual blood and nudity for its fifth season on Sunday with 8 million views–just as much (or more) views as it would have even without the leak.

This episode is everything any fan would have hoped for, with some serious, major plot points. As usual, my expectations were met not even within twenty minutes into the episode. The plotlines were entirely compelling, which is what makes us come back for more each episode.

Here’s a quick recap on what went down:

The episode opens with a flashback of little Cersei and her friend visiting a supposed witch in the woods. Cersei, no different than she is now, shows no mercy or fear for the witch and demands her fortune or it’d be the last time the witch would open her eyes. The witch obliges to the fiery little Cersei and tells her that she will be queen until a younger, more beautiful queen casts her down; and although the king will have 20 children, Cersei will have three. Well, the two obvious candidates for this younger queen are Margaery Tyrell and Daenarys Tagaryen but we know for sure Cersei will be keeping a good eye on Margaery.

Back to the present, Cersei keeps busy as usual; blaming Jamie for her father’s death, she becomes warier of Margaery and laughs off her cousin Lancel’s efforts to convert her to a strange religious group he is now a part of. We can clearly tell this introduction to a new group of beings is a start to a new conflict. Lancel may look like a typical harmless believer of religion in his plain clothes and short hair, but he sure seems sinister and too pure to be true.

Margaery then walks in on her brother, Ser Loras, engaged in some kinky swordplay with a man named Oliver, in the bedroom. The two siblings bemusedly discuss whether Tywin’s death means his engagement to Cersei is off and Loras plants the idea that Margaery would be stuck in King’s Landing with Cersei, the monster-in-law. Cunning, plotting Margaery, we all know she would deal with this with her conniving ways, and she does, by manipulating her new husband, the new King. Is it just me or is this war between Cersei and Margaery strongly in Margaery’s favor? Cersei is being cautious and clearly needs to step up her game. I didn’t feel her dominance and control over herself and the ones around her as much as I expected.

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(HBO)

Meanwhile, our favorite Lannister finally rolls out of a box and wastes no time in getting back to his favorite hobby- drinking and being pessimistic. However, Varys has other plans for Tyrion Lannister- he wants to take Tyrion to Meereen to meet Daenerys and see if it’s worth fighting for. Hallelujah, finally! The moment I’ve been waiting for. Finally, some sort of crossover between these storylines take a turn for the better and we’re hoping that Tyrion won’t be stubborn about it and thank goodness he isn’t. Instead, this news has Tyrion interested. Let the voyage begin!

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(HBO)

In Meereen, Daenerys is encountering problems of her own as her men are being targeted by the Sons of the Harpy, a group of men who have been going around murdering their targets in gold masks. Daenarys simply orders for their deaths. She deals with the fact that the freed slaves want their fighting pits back in a similar way- by shutting them down and ticking them off. Daario, her new love interest who has returned, suggests that Daenarys use her dragons to their full potential, “A dragon queen without dragons is not a queen.” Daenarys admits that she can’t control her dragons anymore as proved by the scene of her unsuccessful, terrifying visit to her two dragons who try to flambe her. Uh oh poor Dany, someone needs to find solution soon.

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(HBO)

In the free folk storyline, Stannis summons Jon Snow as Stannis wants to take Winterfell back. But he needs the wildlings that Jon is fond of to help him, and they’ll never do that unless Mance Rayder pledges his loyalty to Stannis. Let’s also not forget that awkward elevator scene between Snow and Melisandre… Mance, who refuses, ends up dead as Mance takes a direct hit in the chest by Snow’s arrow. No surprise there.

Elsewhere, Littlefinger is taking Sansa to a place “so far away from here, even Cersei Lannister can’t get her hands on you.” During their voyage in their carriage, they unknowingly pass by Brienne and Pod, who are having their own squabbles. Did anyone else want to scream at Brienne in that scene that Sansa is in that carriage and that they should just take her into their care right then and there?

 

I can’t wait for next week’s episode. A number of rich plotlines hit throughout this episode, yet so many questions waiting to be answered. Is Jon going to get away with what he’s done? Where is Arya Stark? What tricks does Margaery have up her sleeve? Will Tyrion get to Daenarys without trouble?

 

– Hyun Jung Choi (‘16)

Header: HBO

5 Reasons Why “How To Get Away With Murder” is the Best Show Ever

Everyone needs a little bit of How To Get Away With Murder in their lives, guaranteed.

Need a little spark in the mundane spin of high school life? How to Get Away With Murder is, literally, the perfect combination of thrill and romance you need to turn your life upside down.

 

Before we proceed, here’s a convenient snippet of HTGAWM for you (no spoilers, I promise):
The series takes place in Middleton University in Philadelphia, one America’s most prestigious law schools. Here, 5 law students – Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch), Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee), Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Asher Millstone (Matt McGory), and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) (aka the Keating 5) – are hand-picked by the infamous defense attorney and a criminal justice professor Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) to work under her. The murder of Lila Stangard, a psychology student in Middleton University, drags the Keating Five, Professor Keating herself, and her two employees – Frank and Bonnie – into a gruesome murder case(s).

The cast of HTGAWM in all their perfection. (people.com)
The cast of HTGAWM in all their perfection. (People)

Phew! Now that the synopsis is out of the way, here are 5 reasons why you should start watching HTGAWM:

5. Twist that Plot!

“How To Get Away with Murder is constantly full of suspense and has so many interesting plot twists that its really hard not to get hooked. I can’t wait for season two to air!” – Hannah Byun (‘15)

“You want to try and put all the pieces together but right when you think you’ve figured everything out something new and crazy happens.” – Sara Drake (‘15)

Wow, can I just say that the plot development is AMAZING, PERFECT, SUBLIME??? In the beginning, the bits and pieces of information may seem arbitrary, but as you get deeper and deeper into the series, every details start to congregate to one masterpiece – like a mosaic. HTGAWM continues to build on the already-close-to-perfect plot with the most jaw-dropping and bone-chilling twists, making it impossible to press pause.

 

4. Great Camera Techniques

The setup of the series is quite unique. There is an ever-present back-and-forths between the present and the flashbacks (you’ll have to find out what kind of flashbacks they are 😉 ), which sustains the zest of HTGAWM. Even as a non-cinematic enthusiast, the transitions, the cliffhangers, and the overall aesthetics of each episode are impressive and eye-catching. A perfect example of visuals enhancing the storyline!

3. Sentimental Character Development

Contrary to the heartless theme of murder, the episodes reveal important secrets and personal conflicts of each characters, bringing cohesiveness to the entire cast and, surprisingly, arousing sympathy – an unexpected emotion to get out of a criminal series.

 

2. Become a Great Storyteller

Aside from the one underlying foundational murder case that the entire series is based on, each episode features cameos of various, head-twisting criminal cases – from monetary complications and drug cases to tabooed stories of adultery and parental abuse – all of which you can chip in as conversation-continuers!

 

1. Smokin’ Men and Women

How can you say no to this gorgeousness?

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Seriously. Look at that face. I think I need a moment. (ABC)

And to this familiar and beautiful face from Harry Potter?

This kid has seriously Neville-LongBottomed. Big time. (Buzzfeed)
This kid has seriously Neville-LongBottomed. Big time. (Buzzfeed)

Remember Paris from Gilmore Girls? Well, she’s Keating’s employee now.

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Talk about a throwback. (ABC)

Any film with Viola Davis, you know you can bet your money on – her acting is above and beyond phenomenal.

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You see this? This is the face of someone who knows she’s good at what she does. (ABC)

Days of reblogging photos of Kendall Jenner and “aesthetics” are gone! Lovers of Tumblr, stock your blog posts with these fine-lookin’ ladies.

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Hot dang. (ABC)
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Hot dang part 2. (ABC)

Personally, I would give this series a 4.5 out of 5. A soft-hearted person that I am (cough cough), I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying a murder series. This was only possible because, visually, the crime scenes are obscure, which I (and a lot of you) can appreciate a ton. However, there is one downfall, and it’s the fact that there are one too many sexuals scenes. But if you’re into murder and sex appeal, go right ahead, this is the perfect show for you.

 

– Lina Oh (’16)
Header: ABC
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)

What’s New, Milan?

Check out Blueprint’s best picks in one of the most anticipated fashion events of the year.

Paris is the world’s fashion venue,

New York is the city for all clothing entrepreneurs,

London is for all things chic and classy,

But how many people know of Fashion Week in Milan, Italy?

Here are 5 stand outs of Milan Fashion Week 2015 Spring/Summer from Blueprint, to you:

1. EMPORIO ARMANI

Theme:

  • Casual – especially paired with sneaker-like footwear
  • Fitted tops with loose trousers
  • Boxy, ankled pants
  • Dashes of cobalt blue
  • Neutral colors and patterns

Review: 

Just like the name of their brand, their new designs ooze elegance and royalty. Their spring emphasis on cobalt blue was an eye-pleasing choice, and so was the feminine, waist-hugging structure of their line. But what’s new here? Perhaps not much. Everything was there, but the lack of creativity may have been a downfall.

Rating: 4/5

 

2. DOLCE & GABANA

Theme:

  • Darker hues of red and black
  • Latin-inspired colors
  • Bold, elaborate patterns (jewels and distinct, vine-like patterns)
  • Fitted figure

 

Review: 

Who would have thought a brand as European as Dolce&Gabbana would go Hispanic?! Swirly black patterns on red, with hints of glistening gold: all things españoles that scream “sexy” like no other. Hats of to you, Domenico y Stefano!

Rating: 5/5 for novelty and creativity

 

3. VERSACE

Theme:

  • Wide range of bright colors
  • Boxy fitting
  • Slicked back hair
  • Geometric patterns 
  • Tinge of 80’s throwback

 

Review:

Although their designs had an underlying support of the infamous black&white, really, the colors range from from coral orange to baby blue, from hot red to a medley of all of three. Keeping the clean and structured look, Versace incorporated a lot of geometric shapes, and embellished their work with sparkles. (Always yes for sparkles.) Versace’s design might come off a little mundane, but truly, they have managed to bring sophistication and aesthetics in such simplicity.

Rating: 5/5

 

4. GUCCI

Theme:

  • Waist-fitted apparel
  • Muted colors with few bold colors
  • Delicate touch – feathers, minimal gold studs, strapped heels, silky material
  • Clean, slicked-back pony tails

 

 

Review:

Mid-length skirts, bright feathers, wide-legged pants, and patterned scarves? I see what you’re doing here, Gucci, bringin’ the 90s back! It’s hard to mess up 90s fashion, but this year’s Gucci designs seems to be a little too ill-fitting. Honestly, the quintessential impression of a fashion show is exactly what Gucci brought to Milan this spring: excessively bold and quite incomprehensible apparel.

Rating: 2/5

 

5. ANTONIO MARRAS

Theme:

  • Unfitted figures, boxy
  • Bold patterns
  • Contrasting colors
  • Over-the-knee dresses

 

 

Review:

The perfect combination of the past and present! Frankly, I have never heard of Antonio Marras until this spring, and from what I’m seeing, it’s a brand to keep and eye out for. Like Gucci’s approach, Marras’s designs may seem a bit dated and daunting at first, but the more you look at it, the more it grows on you – not necessarily as day-to-day apparel, but as art. Bringing shapes and textures of the Victorian Era, yet spicing the out-dated with a modern twist of geometric shapes, abstract lines, and floral patterns, what can I say, it’s true brilliance.

Rating: 5/5

Which fashion brand was your favorite? Leave a comment or a poll response below!

Suits Finale: Recap & Thoughts

It’s the season finale that left its fans sobbing and screaming.

“You know I love you, Donna.”

These six words drove us nuts on the second to last episode of Suits Season 4. What did we get in return?

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#TBT: A youthful Harvey and Donna have their first encounter after the first major success for Harvey. The chemistry that we have seen the past four seasons between these two is very much prevalent here. (USA)

A sexy flashback to Donna and Harvey’s first meeting. An all-knowing Donna approaches Harvey at a bar with the intention to work for him which he remarks back by saying, “You’re not just a pretty face, are you?” This is also where we see infamous dangerous banker, Charles Forstman, shooting a devilish look at Harvey.

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The Stench of Desperation: Without keeping in touch with Harvey for at least three months, Sean Cahill approaches the lawyer with a panic we didn’t see from him the last time he was around. (USA)

Back to present time, Cahill visits Pearson Specter Litt to ask for Harvey’s help to make his case against Woodall and Forstman. Mike and Rachel work together to find Cahill’s money and save him. The couple figures out that Harvey’s troublesome brother probably has something to do with the missing money as the flashback shows Harvey’s brother asking Harvey for money to start his life afresh by setting up a restaurant. But when Jessica turns down Harvey to loan him the money, Harvey runs to Forstman and takes on his offer despite Jessica’s warnings.

In the meantime, Donna helps Louis through tough times as he says goodbye to his late secretary, Norma (who we’ve never seen but heard so much about!). As Louis is at a loss, he offers Donna Norma’s position and we see Donna turning down the offer. However, she does have second thoughts as she confronts Harvey about the night before when he told her that he loved her. Harvey, being the man he is, is afraid to confront his feelings up straight and ends up saying the worst thing possible, “I did that because I wanted to make you feel better.” Donna then accuses him of not taking chances and not letting his true feelings out and storms off.

Back in the flashback, we find out that Forstman had offered Harvey $1 million to come work for him but when he decided to back off from the deal, he finds out that Forstman had already given Harvey’s brother the loan amount he needed for his restaurant. Harvey chews out Forstman for making a stock move based on something he told Forstman the night before in confidence, which made him realize that he was simply manipulated for inside information and can’t go after Forstman without putting both himself and Marcus in a world of hurt.

As we return once again to the present, Forstman has come to talk to Harvey to remind him about their deal made 12 years ago. He argues that Forstman only blackmailed him into the deal. Forstman then tells Harvey that it’s unfortunate that he won’t hear him confess to the crime. A smart man like Forstman never caught on that Harvey was in fact wearing a wire all along, with Cahill listening at the other end of it. This calls for a celebration!

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Cue the Fangirling: FINALLY!!!! THE MOMENT WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!! AND SHE SAID YES!!!!! (USA)

Mike returns home and to find Rachel having prepared a romantic dinner to celebrate but Mike turns the whole night around by finally popping the question. It’s probably one of the most emotional scenes in a good way of all time in Suits as Mike Ross says the sweetest compliments possible to a girl and gets down on one knee with his grandmother’s ring in his hands. No doubt was it a tear shedding moment!

Unfortunately, there’s still time to throw some wrenches. Donna comes back to see Harvey, this time, telling him that she’s leaving him for good- that she is going to work for Louis. Harvey tells her not to go, but Donna still leaves, telling him that she loves him. You had your chance Harvey!

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Goodbye For Good?: One can argue that Donna was too flustered with the recent events she had been through, but honestly, props to her for finally taking initiative and doing what she feels is best. You should’ve seen that coming, Harvey. (USA)

We listen in to a final phone call as Harvey phones his brother and we hear that he’s doing great with a wife and kids. That was a satisfying moment because we know the money in the end was worth it and Harvey not giving up on his brother paid off. A truly touching moment there especially since Harvey was broken down by Donna’s departure- hearing how well his brother was doing probably brought some warmth to his broken heart.

Well so much for Darvey (Donna+Harvey)! We couldn’t have been more wrong about their relationship turning romantic and Mike’s proposal sure threw a curveball at us! At this point, Mike and Rachel have gone as far as they can. What will be of the other characters? Will Donna ever come back to Harvey? Will Harvey fight for Donna? Will Mike and Rachel’s engagement last? Who will be Harvey’s new secretary? What changes will this Donna situation in Louis?

The writers sure have to take every step very carefully from now on, because if they screw this up, it’ll be a terrible injustice to years of great script writing! I can’t wait for the summer premiere of a whole new season!

 

What were some of your thoughts on the Season 4 finale of Suits?

 

“I died, as always. I was in shock when Donna left Harvey but anything Donna does, I support cuz she’s ****** flawless!” – Sohee Yu (‘16)

 

– Hyun Jung Choi (‘16)

Header: USA
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)