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.

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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.

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Review: Novel sends readers down a spiral of tragedy, love and lies

BY ERICA LACHMAN

“We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart is a coming-of-age novel telling an enchanting story that will send the reader along an avenue of tragedy, love and lies. The novel is a mysterious and intriguing page-turner that will send the reader down an abyss of how family fortune can turn into betrayal.

The book enters the world of the highly wealthy Sinclair family who owns a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard. A young family friend named Gat visits the island and falls for the eldest cousin, Cadence Sinclair. There is a mystery behind the cause of a misadventure in which one of them survives a horrible accident on the island, but cannot remember a thing.We Were Liars

The story focuses on how love in a family can lead to lies and deceit. As the teen love between Gat and Cadence grows stronger, a family member does not approve and a trigger sparks the accident. The family tries to trace back to what the cause was of the horrid accident but are only brought to a dead-end. It’s a mystery and everyone plays his/her part in uncovering why it happened. The reader will nearly feel like a Sinclair family member uncovering the mystery because the writing is in such great detail.

It is entertaining to read because there are so many aspects of different emotions taking place as the story builds and new scenarios take place. The accident creates an uprising beyond belief. No one expects such a tragedy to take place in such a wealthy, put-together family

The writing and character building is beautiful, making the story itself stand apart from the rest of today’s young adult novels. Lockhart’s main characters, Cadence and Gat are a good reflection of teenagers today because they deal with familiar struggles like romance and heartbreak.

The reader can relate to this story because it is a tale full of adventure of four close teenage cousins who experience romance and heartbreak.

This book also contains many meaningful morals, such as that money can’t buy happiness. It focuses on the harsh consequences of a wealthy family who seem to have everything but lack love, which is the most important quality that holds life together.

Lockhart also ties in other themes like romance which helps to take a break from the continuous mystery.

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Review: Video Music Awards cause annual excitement

BY CAROLINA BOU

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

In the music industry, men have appeared to be in control. But at the annual MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) on Aug. 24, many female artists were able to prove otherwise. Performances from artists such as Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift, and others proved that the 2014 VMAs will be one to remember.

Beyoncé easily had the best performance of the night, performing a mashup of songs from her self-titled visual album, which has earned worldwide success. Beyoncé’s performance was flawless, as she transitioned from one song to the other effortlessly. She made the home audience feel as if they were watching a concert of her live, as that’s how spectacular she was. Some of the more known songs that she sang snippets of included “Drunk in Love,” “Flawless,” “XO,” and “Partition.”VMAs

After the performance, husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy awarded her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is given to musicians who have significantly made an impact on MTV and music culture. Jay-Z and Beyoncé kissed on stage, dismissing the rumors of the divorce between the couple that were once present.

The opening act included the trio of Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, singing their collaborative song, “Bang Bang.” Grande and Minaj first sang their popular hits, “Break Free” and “Anaconda.” The performance as a whole was a great way to open the VMAs, showing that females are getting more recognition than ever in the music world.

Miley Cyrus won the Moonman, which is the name of the award that the VMAs give out, for Video of the Year with her video for her hit ballad “Wrecking Ball,” but instead of going on stage to accept her award, she had Jesse, a homeless youth, accept in in her honor. Jesse proceeded to talk about the runaways and homeless youth in America and how citizens can help them. This was well-received by the audience, and a great way for Cyrus to promote a cause.

Ed Sheeran won the Best Male Video for “Sing,” Katy Perry won the Best Female Video for “Dark Horse,” and Fifth Harmony won the Artist to Watch award, the first girl group to win a VMA since 2008.

Taylor Swift and Iggy Azalea were able to showcase their new hits during the VMAs. Swift sang her new pop hit “Shake it Off,” shedding off her old style and introducing herself as a a more free-willed person no longer relying on anyone else. The funniest part of her performance was when she stopped the song and decided not to jump off a platform that she had put on stage, with the platform saying “1989” as a reference to her upcoming album. “I don’t care if it’s the VMAs, I don’t want to hurt myself,” she said, walking around it to then finish off her song.

When Azalea and Rita Ora sang their collaborative hit “Black Widow” for the first time, their performance exceeded everyone’s expectations. Azalea’s effortless raps and Ora’s ability to hit all of her notes, along with the upbeat tune of the song, pumped up the audience, including Swift, who was seen dancing the entire time.

In the middle of the show, MTV presented a short, minute-long tribute to Robin Williams with Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” in the background. It was nice of MTV to give a tribute, but they could have executed it in a better manner. To do this, they could have had somebody introduce the tribute instead of placing it unannounced before a commercial break.

The 2014 VMAs could have improved from past years’ shows, but it was still a remarkable award ceremony.

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Review: OneRepublic dazzles audience in end-of-summer concert

Review: OneRepublic dazzles audience in end-of-summer concert

BY INES ACOSTA

PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER

Energetic, emotional, dazzling, surprising. When one thinks of pop rock band OneRepublic, these words might come to mind. Its performance at Cruzan Amphitheater on Aug. 17, however, managed to surpass these expectations and amaze the crowd with an incredible show full of laughs, lights, and amazing music. The show, which was opened by singer-songwriter Jamie Scott and pop rock band The Script, represented OneRepublic’s musical ability through the use of instruments such as the violin and cello.

OneRepublic, composed of frontman Ryan Tedder, guitarist Zach Filkins, bassist Drew Brown, drummer Eddie Fisher, and bassist and cellist Bent Kutzle, started off the exciting set by projecting the members’ shadows on a blank screen and playing “Light It Up,” a song from its most recent album, “Native.” The beginning of the show lackedsome energy, but frontman Tedder quickly picked up the pace and outshined his band members with his strong voice and talent, which was best displayed through his use of the piano, guitar, and percussion.

The band’s use of string instruments instead of recordings also added to the performance, especially in “Secrets,” where a violin and a cello were used. By the encore, most of the crowd had fallen in love with the performance, which made its cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” all the more powerful. The set was both surprising and exciting, and demonstrated just exactly how a group of five men was able to attract a crowd of 10,000.

Scott and The Script were the best opening choices for a band like OneRepublic, not only because of the similar genres, but also because of The Script’s active performance, which helped excite the crowd by the time theheadliner made its way onstage.Scott’s performance was more lackluster because he mainly used an iPad to read from and had no props, although he managed to surprise the crowd with his version of “Story of My Life,” which he wrote along with One Direction for their latest album, “Midnight Memories.”

He was then followed by The Script’s lively and entertaining set, highlighted by frontman Danny O’Donoghue’s connection to the music and the crowd. His energetic style helped give the perfect introduction for a band like OneRepublic, and quickly engaged the crowd with some of its new and old music.

The entire concert was extremely lively and showed each band’s different way of engaging a crowd, whether through its personality or just by the music itself. Although Scott’s performance wasn’t the best, The Script and OneRepublic made the show as memorable as possible and were definitely worth seeing.

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Review: Panic! at the Disco attracts crowd at Mizner Park

BY LISA RIENHARDT

PRINT ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Panic! at the Disco’s “This is Gospel” tour attracted hundreds of screaming fans from all age groups to Mizner Park in Boca Raton on Aug. 15.DSC00601

Once Panic! and lead singer Brendon Urie took the stage, the crowd went nuts. They were pushing forward to get closer to the iconic frontman. Panic! also received incredible audience participation during a surprise cover of the Queen hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The crowd knew all the words and happily sang along with Urie.

The audience was incredibly energetic and was singing and dancing along to every song. This was important because it helped add to the dynamism of the performers, who later stuck around to perform for longer than originally intended.

Urie and his band initially appeared on stage in sport coats, but the lead singer quickly became too warm due to the Florida humidity and removed both the coat and his shirt. While this is far from what audience members were expecting, it was a welcome surprise and really showcased Urie’s confidence as a performer.

Urie was extremely honest with his audience and fed them bits of inside information pertaining to a few of his most popular songs. For example, concert-goers learned that “Miss Jackson” is actually about the mother of a girl he used to date. These intimate details helped form a bond between Urie and the audience.

The venue itself was perfect for a general admission concert and had just enough elevation that it was easy to see the performers in detail. It could get a bit cramped as everyone crowded around the stage, but security helped ease the issue and provided great crowd control. Also, there are many decent and affordable restaurant options just outside the arena where concert-goers could grab a quick bite before the show.

Panic!’s opening acts included lesser known bands such as Youngblood Hawke and Walk the Moon. Youngblood Hawke had a very breezy and upbeat sound, while Walk The Moon proved to be more of a traditional alternative rock band. Both acts were able to play for about an hour and succeeded in hyping up the crowd, and the only lull in the concert took place while the roadies were setting up for Panic!.

Panic! at the Disco put on a great, high-energy show that left its audience breathless and on an adrenaline rush.

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Exclusive interview with the stars of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

Exclusive interview with the stars of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

“The Fault in Our Stars,” the film adaptation of John Green’s best-selling novel, is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. Its popularity among teenagers since the book’s release in 2012 has led to the excitement for its big screen release on June 6. Narrated by 16-year-old cancer patient Hazel Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) as her life changes when she meets 17-year-old Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) in a support group, “The Fault In Our Stars” is more than just a love story, but a lesson about how to enjoy life no matter the circumstances. The Circuit’s Online Arts & Entertainment editor Jennifer Schonberger was one of four people who got the chance to participate in a round table interview with John Green, Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami on May 7.

tfiosHow did you get the film going in the right direction so it wasn’t too clichéd or melodramatic?

Shailene: The luckiest thing for us is that John Green made a book that wasn’t melodramatic or exaggerated or underplayed. So our only job was to pay homage to the book and try and bring it to life in the most authentic way possible.

John: When I was writing the novel, I tried really hard to find a way to be honest, which means not being afraid to be emotional, but it also means not being melodramatic. That was the line I tried to ride and I thought that everybody did a great job with that in their performances.

Nat: (Holds up paper in which he wrote, ‘We wanted the movie to be funny as well as sad.’) I was ready for that question.

Shailene: He’s going to hold that exact thing up, by the way, for every question.

Nat: I think any story that’s good and truthful will be funny and sad, because everybody’s life is both funny and sad.

What influence did the community have on you and the movie overall? 

John: It started with the community influencing the book. The online community that surrounds the videos my brother and I make helps me every day because they remind me of what teenagers are interested in, how teenagers express themselves, and that teens, despite what we may hear in mass media, are actually really intellectually curious and thoughtful. So it started there, but they influenced the movie because we had a healthy fear of fans of the book. We didn’t want them to be mad at us.

Ansel: People always ask me if I was scared to take on this role. Yeah, I was. (laughs) This is a really important role, and Augustus Waters is a really important character, and I didn’t want to mess that up because the book was good how it was. So who am I to come in here and ruin that for someone? But I’m very glad because now that I’ve seen the movie, I watch it as objectively as I can and I think that we did a good job making it.

John: I really think it honors the book and if I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be on this tour.

Shailene: I wouldn’t be here either.

Nat: I would. (Everyone laughs.)

John, what was your biggest fear when they came to you to make TFIOS into a movie?

John: I said no initially. I said no to a lot of people. One person said to me “we can’t have too much cancer.” But that’s what the movie’s about. The whole idea of the book for me was that it was going to be about sick people, and not about healthy people learning lessons from sick people, because I hate that. I think that dehumanizes sick people: to say that they exist so that healthy people can learn lessons in life. It’s a great testament to everyone at this table and also to the director Josh Boone and to everyone involved in the movie that [the movie came out as well as it did]. And to the people at Fox, it goes against everything that you are told about the movie-making business to make a movie where the female romantic lead, who’s supposed to be aspirational, has tubes in her nose and where the male romantic lead is an amputee.

Shailene: In the movie poster–and this is a studio film, not an independent film–they touched me up just a little bit, maybe a lot a bit. But still if you look at it, I’m not wearing eye shadow, I had a little bit of brown mascara on, that’s my natural lip color, and I’m wearing a cannula [a medical tube]. In every single scene in this movie, I’m wearing a cannula except for in the very beginning. That doesn’t happen in movies. To have a female lead look the way that Hazel looks in this movie, I think is kind of redefining the paradigm in which cinema looks at females. And I feel so proud about it and so lucky.

John: Even the way she dresses in the movie, she doesn’t dress provocatively.

When you met with actual cancer survivors before filming, what impact did that have on the film?

Ansel: I think that after reading the book, the whole idea is that the illness doesn’t define these characters. And when we meet the people who have cancer in real life, it only supports that.

Shailene: What I thought was really amazing in so many ways was that very rarely did I actually talk about cancer with them. They were very open about what they were going through, but still we would just talk about what anyone else would talk about. For me, it was really beautiful because it was the first time that I had ever spent that much time around somebody who was going through something like that, and it completely validated in a sense the way that you [John] wrote Hazel and Gus. Hazel and Gus would say things like ‘Cancertastic,’ not making fun, but making light of it and being able to speak real about it.

There are a lot of tears in this movie. As actors, is it ever hard for you to cry?

Ansel: It doesn’t matter if it’s written, it’s if it feels right. Like when Augustus was at the gas station, yelling that he didn’t want to live anymore and all that stuff, it’s the worst feeling ever. He feels useless and he feels like he shouldn’t be around anymore. So that’s obviously when he would cry. In those kinds of moments, it’s easy and it just comes out.

Shailene: You submit to the truth of what the characters are going through.

Nat: I think part of this movie that was good is that we all became so close, so some of the scenes really felt emotional. Like the eulogy scene was actually emotional to film.

John: That’s why I can’t be an actor (laughs). I can’t submit completely, and I think being able to do so is a beautiful talent.

What influence would you say literature had on the writing of the book and the making of the movie?

John: I drew a lot on Gatsby, with the green light– Monica’s green car. At one point Gus says a line like “that car looks like all the dreams that we were foolish to hope,” and that was directly from Gatsby. I also like writing about characters who read a lot because I know that the people who read my books are often predisposed to read a lot. I know that “The Fault In Our Stars” is not as good as Gatsby; I don’t want to sound like I’m very pleased with myself. But I do love to write in the context of other books, because I love other books, and I love being a reader.

Shailene: [to John] I think you have every right in the world to be very pleased with yourself.

John: Aw, thanks buddy.

Nat: Also because the way he looks is nice.

John: Oh yeah, cause I’m handsome.

(Everyone laughs.)

Do you think you will ever write “An Imperial Affliction”?

John: No, I’ll never write “An Imperial Affliction,” I don’t think. That’s the great thing about books that don’t exist; they can be better than books that do.

What do you think was the hardest scene to film as actors?

Shailene: I thought the egg scene was pretty hard, only because it’s so fun and light. A moment like that is so important in a movie like this because it’s so real and so genuine and it’s so light and free. For me, it’s harder to laugh in a scene than it is to cry, so that was a little bit tricky.

Nat: I thought the trophy scene was hardest for me because you’re balancing the reality of that scene.

Ansel: For me it was the gas station scene, just because there’s a lot of pressure on that one. It’s tough. The hard part of our job sometimes is submitting fully to the moment. I think it wasn’t till the third or fourth take that I actually went there. It’s an emotional scene.

The movie followed the book almost perfectly, but how did you decide which scenes to put in and take out from the book?

John: I think [Michael] Weber and [Scott] Neustadter did an amazing job, the guys who wrote the screenplay. They understood what was dramatically necessary and how to make it into a two-hour movie that was going to feel like the book. I thought they made perfect choices, so I didn’t have any notes when they sent me the script. I was like ‘I want to be mad about something, but I can’t be.’

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Bay graduate composes music, releases demo

USE

BY ILANA SPERLING

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

After recording a radio broadcast of a celebrity softball game at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Bay alumnus Jeremy Tache drives for four hours down to Boca Raton to meet with his music producer and record his demo in the studio.

Marketing himself as “the other JT,” Tache released a self-promoting website and three songs on April 16.

“For me, music is an escape, an outlet for everything,” he said. “I love just sitting down and writing a song because it’s a way to express anything I’m feeling in a creative way.”

Tache, who is a freshman at UCF, has a sports talk radio show called Tache Talks, plays on the club baseball team, and composes his own music on the piano.

“I’ve always had a pretty busy schedule,” Tache said. “In high school I was involved in musical theater, baseball, and newspaper and it was always a challenge figuring out how to manage my time. In the end, I always found a way to do it because I was passionate about all that I did. I think the same applies now.”

In middle school, Tache went to Broward Arts Camp, where he met his musical mentor Jacob Jeffries and discovered his passion for composing songs. He has written close to 30 songs is now working with Grammy-nominated producer David Ruttenberg.

“It’s kind of a surreal ride so far. Nothing is set in stone as far as this going anywhere, but getting in contact with a producer of the status I’ve been working with has been a really cool experience,” Tache said.

Mr. Ruttenberg is a writer for Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), which is one of three performance rights organizations for artists. He said that like himself, Tache is serious about his work.

“Working with Jeremy is actually a treat. He’s an accomplished performer and can really craft touching, meaningful and clever lyrics that truly affect the listener,” Mr. Ruttenberg said.

Inspired by artists such as John Mayer and bands like A Great Big World and All Time Low, Tache said he has taken aspects of his favorite singers and bands and incorporated them into his own pop rock sound.

“I have a lot of different inspirations. I think you can hear that in my music,” he said. “My favorite artist of all time is Bruce Springsteen but my music doesn’t necessarily reflect this. Jacob Jeffries was a huge influence on me because he’s the one who taught me how to be a songwriter and how to compose a song.”

After releasing his website and demo recently, Tache said he is happy with all of the positive feedback he has received.

“When I met with the producer, I expected him to [just] give me advice, but he listened to my songs and told me he would love to work with me,” Tache said. “What’s been really cool is having a few different people tell me that they’ve shown my songs to friends and family members and that they’ve enjoyed my music, too. Getting feedback from people who I don’t know has been the coolest part.”

Tache said the website has presented him with an amazing chance.

“Having a legitimate audience is really exciting and getting the opportunity to share my music via this website is definitely a very rewarding feeling,” he said.

Senior Dominic Santiago has been friends with Tache since he joined American Musical Theater two years ago.

“He writes about his experiences. Knowing the people he was writing about and all the interactions he was having made me enjoy his music. It was something we could laugh about,” Santiago said.

Santiago said it has been amazing watching Tache grow as a musician.

“Jeremy has always been a really great guy and the fact that he went to UCF and got a producer and has his own website is a great step for him. I’m just looking forward to whatever else he can do,” he said.

Looking toward involving himself in the music industry in the future, Tache said he hopes to have an impact on pop music.

“I would love to be the performer, but I understand how the music business works and I understand that good strong writers are important, too. I am totally looking forward to the opportunity to send my songs in to different labels for different artists,” he said.

Mr. Ruttenberg said he expects Tache to be successful.

“Jeremy’s future is incredibly bright,” he said. “There is certainly more than a few slots open to him in the entertainment industry. My gut tells me that there’s no limit to Jeremy’s future.”

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Book Review: Why We Broke Up

BY CAMILA ZIADI

“Why We Broke Up” is a novel written in the form of a letter, in which high school juniorMin (short for Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom) Greenwrites a letter to her high school senior ex-boyfriend Ed Slaterton, co-captain of the basketball team and math whiz, explaining why it is they broke up.

This novel, written by Daniel Handler, known for writing under his pen name Lemony Snicket, is illustrated by Maira Kalman. The colorful illustrations throughout the novel engage the reader and make the story unique from other novels, as well as facilitating the reader’s understanding.

The story is easy to relate to, and accurately and beautifully depicts what young teenage love and lust is like. The end of the story has an unexpected twist, and leaves the reader craving more. Although the book is quite long with 354 pages,the reader will not be able to put down this romantic, thrilling, dramatic, heart-breaking, comedic piece.

The letter is cleverly written, including flashbacks as well as events occurring in the present. Throughout the letter, Min makes several allusions to movies, some fictitious and some real. At first, the references to the movies are interesting, but after a while, they become boring and difficult to understand and follow.

Although this young adult novel may seem like another corny, sappy love story, it has a lot more depth and meaning, and some of Min’s words will leave the reader pensive, deciding what it is Min truly means.

Min writes Ed a letter, and along with a letter, she plans to return to him, in a box, memorabilia from their relationship lasting from Oct. 5to Nov. 12: two bottle caps, a lobby card (a poster used to advertise a movie), a box of matches, a pinhole camera, a rubber band, a pennant, a toy truck, a recipe book, a protractor, a comb, and a pair of earrings, among other items that Min collected throughout their relationship. Maira Kalman illustrates all of these items.

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Movie Review: Rio 2

BY MEREDITH SHELDON

FEATURES EDITOR

The family of five witty, blue birds is back again traveling on an adventure through the Amazon rainforest in the recently released animated comedy “Rio 2.” The engaging and colorful sequel, which premiered on April 11, is a successful combination of comedy, romance and music, keeping the audience entertained for the full duration of the film.

Believing they are the only five blue Macaw birds remaining on the Earth, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and their three kids venture to the Amazon to explore the forest and find a protective shelter. Upon arrival, they discover their preconceived assumptions are wrong and hundreds of their family members are residing in an exclusive section of the forest.

Jewel reconnects with her family members in the forest and helps her kids adapt to the new surroundings in the wild while Blu struggles to assimilate. Throughout this emotional and physical conflict, Blu encounters problems with the vindictive Nigel (Jemaine Clement), his rival from the original “Rio” movie. Blu’s frustrating experience adapting to his new life adds a humorous element to the film.

Directed by Carlos Saldanha, the film maintains a unique animation style, similar to Fox’s previous productions of “Madagascar” and “Ice Age.” Not only is it a comical and endearing movie, but it is also visually appealing. The 3D effects and the vibrant, vivid colors of the characters pop out on the screen drawing in the viewers’ attention.

Besides animation, another prominent feature in the uplifting sequel is the music. R&B and soul musician Janelle Monae composed the catchy opening song “What is Love.” The musical elements, which were not incorporated in the original “Rio” movie, truly add to the overall exciting mood of the film, which prompts viewers to dance and sing along.

Pop singer Bruno Mars stars in the film as the voice of Roberto, one of the blue birds. Mars’ powerful and beautiful voice contributes to the compelling musical renditions in the film.

Jamie Foxx, Jake T. Austin, Will.i.am and other actors reprise their former roles in the sequel. Hearing the familiar voices from the original movie come back to life again in the sequel was entertaining.

The excitement of “Rio 2” continued off screen at the World Premiere party in Miami on March 21. Live from the Fountaine Bleu, stars such as Jake T. Austin, Anne Hathaway and George Lopez strutted down the blue carpet boasting about the new film. After watching the premiere in the same theater as the directors, animators and cast, it was obvious how much passion and work the creators put in to producing the film.

“Rio 2” is a hilarious, family-friendly comedy that sparks laughter and excitement. The compelling musical elements and the colorful animation combine to create an enjoyable movie experience. For those who were fans of the original movie, this is not one to miss.

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