Review: Joshua Bell’s performance moves all who hear it

BY RACHEL SCHONBERGER

Joshua Bell has made a name for himself as a violin prodigy, and his most recent performance at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts lived up to all expectations. On Nov. 1, Bell took the stage at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center in front of an audience of 1,100 people. Through playing his 301-year-old Stradivarius violin, Bell conveys the depths of sorrow and the highs of happiness.joshuabell

With the help of pianist Alessio Bax, Joshua Bell, 46, creates music to be appreciated by all. By playing pieces from such renowned violinists and composers such as Franz Schubert and Sergei Prokofiev, the American Grammy Award-winning violinist and conductor covers an enormous range of emotions.

Whether he is playing pieces of serenity or pieces of fear, Bell moves the audience in a way that only he can. His feelings are contagious as he illustrates all emotions, moving in such a sharp manner while creating a beautifully graceful melody. Playing classics such as Schubert’s “Duo Sonata” and Pablo de Sarasate’s “Introduction and Tarantella,” Bell proved himself to be a violin virtuoso in all aspects of his performance.

The way that Bell makes such incredible sounds with only a violin, a bow, and his two hands leaves all who hear his music in a state of bewilderment and amazement.

The accompaniment of pianist Bax, 37, adds to the magic of the music with the emotional power he puts into the performance. The two musicians together create a memorable experience for the ears of many by playing pieces that can never be forgotten due to the talent and skill that they both possess.

A two-hour performance of only classical music may seem boring to many people, especially in this day and age, but Bell and Bax make sure that nobody feels an ounce of boredom with their amazing performance. The uniqueness in which Bell moves his entire body with emotion captivates and intrigues the audience members, leaving them on the edges of their seats, waiting for Bell’s next stroke of genius.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Romance movie does title justice

BY VALERIA SALGADOMovieTheBestofMe

“The Best of Me” is a movie that brings together suspense, romanticism, tragedy and joy beautifully. It truly is a great movie based upon yet another of Nicholas Sparks’ successful romantic novels.

The story focuses on Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) and Dawson (James Marsden), high school sweethearts who are reunited after 21 years by the death of a close friend.

In high school, their relationship was problematic due to Amanda’s life being quite privileged and Dawson’s not. Years later, Amanda continues to lead a pretty stable life. She has a husband and kids. The only problem is that her husband is an alcoholic and this plays a role in the rekindling between her and Dawson.

When she meets up with Dawson 21 years later, a truly unexpected turn of events occur. The concept of “the perfect love story,” being quite hackneyed, is actually presented in a way that is interesting and demands the audience’s attention.

Unlike Sparks’ other hits like “The Notebook,” “The Best of Me” has a lot more action and suspense. It commences slowly, developing the background and setting of the story. As the film unravels, it picks up speed and events start occurring that create the basis of the current dilemma.

The characters are developed through a series of flashbacks and present day reality. Amanda is a very dynamic character who helps the movie progress through its ups and downs.

The casting of Luke Bracey to play the role of Dawson while he was in high school was a poor choice because he is way too mature looking for a high school student. Marsden once again proves himself to be a fitting and appropriate actor in any role. He has previously been in both “The Notebook “and “X-Men.”

The scenery and images portrayed are exceptional, and the story takes the audience on a journey of emotional changes. While this film is a bit unnecessarily long, it is very suspenseful and romantic and an all-around enjoyable film.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Hozier appeals to emotion in debut album

BY CAROLINA BOU

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITORHozier

Every song tells a story. Indie singer-songwriter Hozier tells several stories through his debut self-titled album, released on Oct. 7. With the incredible musical ability that Hozier has as both a singer and a guitarist, his album is pure brilliance.

As a songwriter, Hozier is not only able to perfectly express his sentiments through a song, but also appeal to the emotions of the listener. Topics such as love, life, and humanism are discussed, and it is a surprise that a 13-track compilation can be so well executed. There is no bad song, as each helps to create equilibrium throughout.

Hozier’s first single, and first track of the album, “Take Me to Church,” is his breakout single. Combining his unique talent with some mainstream aspects to the song, such as the catchy lyrics and rock vibe, it has become a viral sensation.

The song condemns organizations such as the Catholic Church, but it’s really about what it is to be human. It’s surprising that two different topics can be juxtaposed so well. In his Album Track by Track videos on YouTube, Hozier said, “People interpret it differently, but to be honest I want it to be that way,” which makes the track so special.

His other singles include “Sedated” and “From Eden.” “Sedated” brings out Hozier’s edgy rock side, compared to his indie, more serene side. Despite this, it is one of the weaker songs, because the composition of it is not as good as that of the others. “From Eden” is one of the best songs on the album, which emphasizes his raw talent both vocally and instrumentally. “From Eden” is the single that will really attract indie fans to Hozier, since it is so memorable.

Some emotional highlights of the album include “Work Song” and “Cherry Wine.” “Work Song” is absolutely beautiful, capturing a vague story of life and love, and Hozier refers to it as a “sad little love song.” The hard, raw emotion is felt through both the lyrics and his voice when he sings. “Cherry Wine” is well crafted, juxtaposing the heartbreaking lyrics describing an abusive relationship with the sweet sounds of the acoustic guitar.

Hozier balances the deep, slow-tempo songs with more upbeat, playful songs, continuing with the idea of equilibrium throughout the album. The repeating line of “I fall in love just a little, oh, little bit every day with someone new” in the hit song “Someone New” is one that will get stuck in someone’s head for days.

“Jackie and Wilson,” a fun, upbeat song, pays tribute to soul artist Jackie Wilson, whom Hozier cites as one of his influences.

Hozier’s album is brilliant, with each song creating a euphonious sound that is addicting.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Taylor Swift makes ‘1989’ sound modern

BY JENNIFER SCHONBERGER

MANAGING EDITOR

Taylor Swift has shaken it all off – her former country sound, the haters who have attempted to leave marks on her thick skin, and the image of youthful innocence that first catapulted her into the music industry almost a decade ago. In her latest album “1989” Swift takes everything a shade bolder than the dark red lipstick she donned on the cover of her last album, “Red.”

Titled for the year of her birth, “1989” aptly introduces the birth of Taylor’s brand new synth-pop sound and lyrics that are sassier and edgier than ever. Released Oct. 27, the album has already received overflowing attention from both Swifties and non-Swifties alike; the 24-year-old sold more copies of her album in its first week than any album has in the past 12 years.TSwift

It’s no secret that Swift has developed a notorious reputation in the music industry when it comes to dating, and it’s no surprise that most of the tracks on “1989” revolve around love. However, in this album Swift ditches ballads of heartbreak and jealousy for upbeat melodies of carefree exhilaration and sends a loud message that this is who she is, and yes, she can make fun of herself for it.

Swift’s confident and good-humored personality is dominant in her hit single “Shake It Off,” which climbed to the top of the charts before the rest of the album had been released. Whether they’d like to admit it or not, anyone who has heard this song on the radio has inevitably danced or hummed along to the fun, defiant lyrics. On the other hand, Swift’s second single released, “Out of the Woods,” is repetitive and more likely to grow old fast.

The album’s opening track, “Welcome To New York,” takes on a ‘70s disco sound as Swift sings about the place that inspires her to reach her full potential, imparting a shared sense of hopeful possibility onto listeners.

If there’s one song on the album that encompasses the sound and spirit of “1989,” it’s “Blank Space.” The captivating beat is hard not to love as it delineates the reckless, spontaneous nature of love and Swift once again lightly mocks herself with lyrics such as “Got a long list of ex-lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.”

“1989”s overwhelming theme of bold assertiveness stays strong in “Bad Blood,” where she describes her relationship with an enemy in the music industry, who is rumored to be singer Katy Perry. Another singer, Lana del Rey, comes to mind during Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.” The song radiates the smoky, dreamlike sound common in del Rey’s music, and Swift pulls off this new sound well.

“I Know Places” is by far the most underrated song on the album. Although it has received little hype compared to the other tracks, the song captures an adventurous love as it weaves around a catchy chorus.

For Swift’s original fan base, there are definitely calmer songs that stay true to her older sound. Though she doesn’t make as much use of her old tear-stained guitar, Swift’s soft, sweet side comes through in songs such as “This Love” and “How You Get the Girl.”

In the year 2014, “1989” has made a strong comeback. Unfortunately for country fans, Swift seems to have gone fully synth-pop electronic in this album. Still, her confident lyrics make it clear that she has nothing to apologize for when it comes to love – and with an album this catchy and successful, she shouldn’t apologize for anything at all.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Fall into new shows: The Circuit’s staffers review television pilots of the new season

The Circuit’s staffers review television pilots of the new season.The-Flash-TV-Series-Poster

Read our October print edition of the Circuit to see more pilot reviews.

 

The Flash

Premiered Oct. 7 on the CW

Airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

BY ZUE LOPEZ

A&E PHOTO EDITOR

DC is finally able to share some of Marvel’s limelight in the media with the premiere of “The Flash.” The CW channel gives a classic, well-known DC comic superhero some screen time. The first episode of “The Flash” came out Oct. 7, and it helped quell doubts about a Flash TV show having a too specific audience, because this show is perfect for anyone who enjoys action and heroism. Even though it is a spin-off of “Arrow,” another popular superhero show that is set in the same universe, viewers do not need to have watched “Arrow” or have any previous knowledge about the Flash to understand it. Starting from before the main character Barry Allen turns into the Flash, the pilot does a great job of explaining what is going on and showing viewers a little bit of depth on the character – before he turns into a superhero. The pilot might was a little fast-paced because of everything that goes on during the episode, a nine-month coma included, but it is indicative of what’s to come and was easy enough to keep up with. “The Flash” seems to literally be hitting the ground running.

 

Forever

Premiered Sept. 23 on ABC

Airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

BY BROOKE MILLER

“Forever,” a new TV series directed by Matt Miller on ABC, is a fast-paced show that will make viewers unable to take their eyes off the screen. It is about Doctor Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), New York City’s star medical examiner, who has a secret that no one knows: he is immortal. The only person who knows this secret is Morgan’s best friend, Abe (Judd Hirsch). Morgan does not just study the dead to solve criminal cases, he does it to solve the mystery that has kept him alive for 200 years. This high impact show is definitely intriguing and moves quickly. The new series displays multiple qualities, including love, suspense, mystery, and even a little comedy, which makes the show enjoyable. However, the mature humor is targeted to mainly teens and adults. This show will leave the viewer wanting to keep watching.

 

Black-ish

Premiered Sept. 24 on ABC

Airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.

BY ANA BEATRIZ GONCALVES

ABC’s new show “Black-ish” proves to be funny and entertaining for all. The story revolves around Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson), and his rise to be the first black senior vice-president for his company. Unfortunately, he’s the senior vice president of the “Urban Department,” and Dre feels like he was racially profiled for the job. Meanwhile, it seems that his family doesn’t act as “black” as they should be, especially when his son wants to have a bar mitzvah, even though they aren’t Jewish. This narrative comedy style has the audience laughing at the inner thoughts of the main character and his struggles. All the actors, down to the 5-year-old twins, perform believably great acting. The only problem with the show is that the pilot seems to present and resolve every problem in the 30-minute time span, and the audience is left hopeful but unsure about how the rest of the season will play out.

 

Manhattan Love Story

Premiered Sept. 30 on ABC

Airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

BY ANA RIBEIRO

“Manhattan Love Story” takes a classic and highly entertaining approach on a romantic comedy. The show appeals to the cliché that girls are from Jupiter and boys are from Mars. It is a well-written script and it stars some very talented actors, such as Jake McDorman, who plays leading man Peter, and also Analeigh Tipton, who plays the main character Dana. It starts with Peter strolling down the street thinking about how he would probably “conquer” almost every girl who walks past him. Then paths are crossed when Dana, who is thinking about how she would kill to own every purse she sees, walks past Peter. The beginning plot is pretty mainstream, except that there’s an interesting hook: viewers can actually hear the main characters’ unfiltered internal thought monologues, which are entertaining to hear since they think so differently from each other about everything. The show debuted Tuesday, Sept. 30 and viewers can watch it Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

 

Happyland

Premiered Sept. 30 on MTV

Airs Tuesdays at 11 p.m.

BY MADISON KOSLOW

“Happyland” is a quirky, dramedy MTV series that goes behind the scenes, revealing secrets and surprising realities of workers at a popular theme park, Happyland. Happyland’s pilot had its ups and downs. It feels as though MTV focused on finding an attractive cast rather than a cast made up of talented individuals. The show also lacks a realistic flow of events; however, it still delivers a fair amount of comedy, such as fighting dressed-up characters and a fainting drug-influenced raccoon surrounded by children. The show also delivers a good amount of drama, shocking turns, and surprises like Lucy’s (Bianca Santos) love interest, and the drama between Lucy and her mother. As well as comedy and drama, the show has a bit of romance between the characters of Ian (Shane Harper) and Lucy, who take their staged romance as prince and princess in Happyland into reality.  This aspect of the show makes it seem like a typical love story, but the chemistry that Ian and Lucy have is only the beginning. The pilot ends with a mystery that will easily pull viewers back for the future episodes.

 

A to Z

Premiered Oct. 7 on NBC

Airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

BY ARIEL GRIFFIN

“A to Z” is an entertaining romantic comedy that has the potential to be a successful series, but might not make it through the first season because of the spoilers revealed at the beginning of the episode. The show depicts the individual lives of two single adults who have worked within 20 feet of each other in the same office park for years, but have never met before until the first episode. Henry (Ben Feldman) is an employee at an online dating site who is looking for the girl of his dreams. Zelda (Cristin Milioti) is a hard-working lawyer who is poised and straightforward. The first day they meet, they are instantly attracted to each other, but Henry’s quirkiness and Zelda’s sarcasm tend to throw viewers off throughout the episode. The downside about this show is that the unknown narrator starts and ends the episode by telling viewers how long Henry and Zelda’s relationship will last. Because of this, the season’s end result is extremely predictable. Other than this major fault, “A to Z” has a very light-hearted sense of humor and is great for viewers of all ages. To watch more of the show, tune in to NBC on Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: Bet your bottom dollar that ‘Annie’ is still a classic

BY RACHEL SCHONBERGER

From the outstanding rendition of “Maybe” until the finale, the classic story of a little orphan girl named Annie, at the Au-Rene Theater stage at Broward Center for the Performing Arts through Oct. 19, is victorious. The curtains opened on the talented cast and crew on Oct. 7, and everyone who saw the show was sure to leave squealing, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!”

The true star of the show is Annie, played by Florida-native Issie Swickle, who is from Davie. Her loveable acting and exceptional voice creates an energetic, fun-loving tone for the entire musical.photo 1 (2)

The show follows the character of Annie, an 11 year-old girl, who is determined to find her parents no matter what obstacles come in her way. With the help of billionaire Oliver Warbucks, Annie continues her lifelong search for her mother and father who left her on the stoop of an orphanage in New York City 11 years ago. However, she is soon adopted by Mr. Warbucks and couldn’t be any happier. The play follows the story beautifully, ensuring its success.

The show features an adorable, comedic little girl as Molly (Lilly Mae Stewart) to spark the scenes in the orphanage and the hysterical Mrs. Hannigan (Lynn Andrews) and her two colleagues, Daniel “Rooster” Hannigan  (Garrett Deagon) and Lily St. Regis (Lucy Werner), who provide comic relief throughout the show.

The skillful duo of Grace Farrell (Ashley Edler) and Mr. Warbucks (Gilgamesh Taggett) work together excellently with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Allan Ray Baker), former U.S. President. The president’s character adds a historical and comedic element to the show with many jokes in store for everyone in the audience.

Of course, the show would not be complete without the utterly adorable dog Sandy, played by a four-year-old rescue terrier mix, Sunny. Each time the dog runs on stage to do mind-blowing tricks, the audience is sure to generate the world’s loudest “Aww!”

The artistic work behind the show is truly incredible. The sets brilliantly make Christmas in New York City from 1933 fit into one room. The beautifully lit Christmas tree and caroling children create a want for Christmas two months early.

 

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: One Direction closes their tour with the ‘best concert ever’

BY TARA BAGHERLEEIMG_0662
FEATURES EDITOR

With pitch perfect voices, adorable antics, and impressive lighting and fireworks, One Direction definitely delivered on its “Where We Are” tour, closing it out on Oct. 5 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.

When Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan emerged on stage, they brought an electric presence with them, beginning the show with their album’s title song “Midnight Memories,” accompanied by fireworks and colored lights. Other upbeat songs on the set-list included “Little Black Dress,” “Kiss You” and “Rock Me.”

The most notable part of the night was the fact that it was the last show for the stadium tour after going around the world since April.

The boys were extremely sentimental and grateful with continuous thank-you’s and emotional speeches, which made the night all the more special for fans, especially when they sang slower songs such as “Don’t Forget Where You Belong,” “Little Things,” and “Moments,” when the crowd used phone flashlights to illuminate the venue.

The show was opened by Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, which is made up of Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin, and Michael Clifford. They sang popular radio hits such as “She Looks So Perfect” and “Amnesia.” They gave an energetic performance that made everybody want to get up and dance. It was very bittersweet, since this is their second and last time touring with One Direction before they kick off their own tour at Cruzan Amphitheatre on Sept. 13, 2015.

Since the stadium is outdoors, the fireworks shooting out of the top added an effect of grandeur and magic to an already magical night.

The stage, which was very large to allow the boys to move around, had a catwalk-like extension that extended into in the crowd. This gave the boys even more room to dance and move around while singing.

Production aside, the boys’ voices sounded even better live than on record. With extra harmonies and melodies and the accompaniment of live instruments, (especially from Horan on the guitar) there is no doubt that these performers are talented. Even though their target audience is teenage girls, they managed to get parents and security guards to sing along to their classic song “What Makes You Beautiful.”

The boys did a great job of blending their set-list, singing songs from all three of their albums: “Up All Night,” “Take Me Home,” and their most recent “Midnight Memories.”

Closing the show with “Best Song Ever,” One Direction made it the best night ever, having the audience of 70,000 dance and sing along, and turning this last concert of the tour into a memorable, sentimental dance party.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

App Review: Evernote

evernote-logo-1

BY CARLY SCHREIDELL

With the start of the new school year, most teachers would agree that it is vital for students to stay organized in order to succeed in their classes. The idea of phones being used during school usually doesn’t sit well with teachers, but the Evernote app will make it almost impossible for teachers to refuse.

Evernote is compatible with any iPod, iPad, or iPhone that is generation five or higher that is updated to iOS7 and any computer. This app was last updated in July 2014 and has received close to five stars in ratings in the iTunes app store.

Using the Evernote app allows users to have full control in what they organize and how they organize it. Evernote is divided into notebooks that the user can create for each topic. After developing multiple notebooks, there is an option to link related topics together. This feature makes it easier and more flexible for the user to expand on an idea while staying organized.

Taking pictures, uploading photos, recording voice memos, and creating a notes are the options a user can choose from in regards to saving their ideas and to-dos. There is an appropriate way to save anything and everything. These choices encourage the user to save ideas because it’s so easy to.

When opening the camera in the app, the user has several modes the to choose from for the camera. Each mode adjusts to the type of object the user is capturing. There is a mode for capturing a Post-It note, document, business cards, and normal every day photos.

The user can also upload photos from an album already saved on his phone or computer. Taking pictures of assignments on the board or taking pictures of notes to have easy access to study from are common needs students have. Having several options ensures that what a user is photographing is at the best quality for each specific photo and is easy to find and use.

Evernote is available for free in any app store and is available for download on any computer, making it convenient for the user to set reminders, create checklists, and update their notebooks at any time.  Each user must create an account to keep everything connected. As the user updates things through the computer, it automatically updates onto the app.

For users with restricted data on their cellular device, this app updates in the background by accessing the Internet. Evernote is updating the information being added constantly and uses the Internet to send the user push notifications for reminders set through the app. There is an option to restrict the automatic synchronization to occur only when the phone is connected to Wi-Fi. This could be an issue for some users, but can be adjusted through the settings in the app.

This app, made in mind for students, will help organize the Bay’s student body as they prepare more efficiently and clear ways of getting their work done quickly all through the school year.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

Review: The Kooks’ new album is worth a ‘Listen’

BY EMILY GITTEN

This year the indie rock world is coming of age. Fresh faced Vampire Weekend shed their upbeat, preppy style for darker themes and ominous music, and the youthfully rebellious Arctic Monkeys refined their style with adult themes on the critically acclaimed album “AM.” The Kooks followed in this trend as they released their fourth studio album “Listen” on Sept. 2.kooks

Ditching the lighthearted guitar jangles of hit singles like “Naïve” and “She Moves in Her Own Way,” The Kooks attempt to blend 1980s synthesizers with classic soulful elements that have fans questioning if this new sound is the right move for the famously clean-cut band.

Lead singer Luke Pritchard’s famous nasal vocals don’t seem to match with the heavier bass lines and jagged guitar riffs featured on “Listen.” Even the most dedicated fans won’t expect Pitchard to loop the nonsense lyrics “down down diggy diggy” on the album’s lead single, “Down,” the band’s attempt to revive ‘70s funk in British rock. However, “Around Town” seems to make all the waves of booming sound work, rounding out all of the noise with a smooth gospel choir singing backup vocals.

The old Kooks are not completely lost. “Dream,” a lovelorn ballad, still contains the sweet, airy tones of past albums like “Inside In/Inside Out” and “Junk of the Heart.” The breathy sounds in Pritchard’s voice are a friendly reminder that the Kooks still produce music that is not only entertaining, but somehow creates a warm and fuzzy feeling deep inside.

As unfitting as this new sound seems, the Kooks still manage to piece together a fairly entertaining 11-track compilation. The combination of synthesizers and soul will attract fans of Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club, but longtime fans will have to adjust to the new sound.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story

AMT sets calendar for three shows

BY GILLIAN D’ONOFRIO

American Musical Theater teacher Cynthia Lutwin announced that this year AMT will be producing three plays for spring: “Once on this Island” (AMT1), “Beauty and the Beast” (AMT2), and “In the Heights” (AMT3). Auditions were held on Sept. 2.

The 185 students in AMT will be putting on three different shows, unlike in the past when they have only performed two. This is due to the addition of a higher-level AMT class for advanced performers who have completed one or more years in AMT at Cypress Bay.AMT.jpg

“It’s going to be different having three different levels of actors to work with this year,” Mrs. Lutwin said. “I’m looking for devotion and seriousness from my casts this year.”

Mrs. Lutwin said she feels more excited than overwhelmed to have three different AMT classes this year and is looking forward to seeing a variety of acting skills from her students.

“My favorite part of teaching is watching my students grow and learn new things,” she said.

The AMT classes rehearse for four months by working out and memorizing lines. The productions will start with “Once on this Island” from March 11-14, “Beauty and the Beast” from April 8-10, and “In the Heights” on April 16 and 17.

“I am more than excited for this year, and can’t wait to see how well everyone performs,” Mrs. Lutwin said.

Print Friendly
Share

Read the full story