Music, Movies & More: "Argo," "Harpeth Rising" & "Numbers

Jake Tapley

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“Argo”
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Argo,” directed by Ben Affleck, is one of the more interesting movies I have seen recently. Loosely based off the rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis, the movie uses history as its primary means of effective storytelling. 

My reaction to the movie would be much different if it were simply based off of a fiction novel or creative screenplay. I think it would lose a lot of my interest, along with some of its credibility.


The movie chronicles Tony Mendez’s ingenious idea of setting up to film a fake movie in order to free the U.S. diplomat hostages. While this is compelling and original in and of itself, I think the fact that this actually happened is to be noted and considered when watching the movie.

“Argo” boasts a terrific cast, including Ben Affleck (starring in his own movie), Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and John Goodman. Affleck, Cranston and Goodman account for much of the movie’s humor.

Goodman’s character, John Chambers, even uses a bit of subtle humor to set up the initial conflict of the movie – “You need somebody who’s a somebody to put their name on it. Somebody respectable. With credits. Who you can trust with classified information. Who will produce a fake movie. For free.”

The movie is a rollercoaster ride that pays off big at the end. If you can stick around for a couple of hours and endure a few slow scenes that lack dialogue, you will be in for a treat.

BY: Jake Tapley, Opinion editor

 

 

Harpeth Rising

Rating: 5/5 stars

Harpeth Rising, a band that entwines quintessential bluegrass with innovative style, performed in the fourth floor reading room in Rice Library Oct. 26.

The performance was free to the public in conjunction with the University Core Curriculum Speaker Series. Members of the quartet hail from California, New York, Ontario and Canada.

Though geographically distant with varied musical influences, the musicians blend melodic dulcet tones and a foot-tapping romp. Every musician played his/her instruments with a mixture of methods that included strumming, plucking and slapping the strings.

Rebecca Reed-Lunn, playing the banjo, even used kitchen utensils to create a variety of sounds. During one song the drummer, Chris Burgess, stood up and started tapping different areas of a cello with his drum sticks while another band member, Maria DiMeglio, continued to play.

Jordana Greenberg, violinist and lead singer for Harpeth Rising, shared stories of traveling the country to perform.

One of her stories was about her Toyota Corolla, which the band drove through all sorts of inclement weather, and how the car always got them where the needed to be safely. After many road trips in the Toyota, the car finally died, and the band thought it owed the car a tribute. They wrote a song and dedicated it to the trusty ride – “Tough as Nails.”

In the song, performed as a classic bluegrass storytelling tune, Harpeth Rising accredits its survival of a dangerous mountain road in Colorado to that little Corolla. The band’s musicianship is masterful and they bring new definition to bluegrass.

BY: Tommy Housman, Staff writer

 

“Numbers”

MellowHype

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

“Numbers” is the third studio album release from alternative hip-hop group MellowHype. Odd Future group members Hodgy Beats (Gerard Long) and Left Brain (Vyron Turner) came together to create this album, the first release for their group label Odd Future Records.

This 16-track album is a different approach for MellowHype. At this point in the group’s career, the members have settled into their roles individually, as well as within their label. It was time for something different – this is the evolution of MellowHype.

Instead of hardcore tracks throughout the album, as with past releases like “BlackenedWhite,” “Numbers” showcases beats that are more chill while still maintaining the hype vibe. I guess that’s why they are called MellowHype. Odd Future has achieved success – true fame.

MellowHype now has awards, multiple albums and its own label under its belt – everything critics said it would never have. At this point, there is nothing left to prove. As Hodgy said in “Astro” (feat. Frank Ocean), “We made it. And you hatin’, cuz we made it.”

Guest appearances on the album include Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and Mike G, with production appearance by Tyler the Creator. The first single released from “Numbers” is “La Bonita,” which boasts obvious Pharrell Williams inspiration and much appreciation for the ladies. This song is a hit and a smart release on MellowHype’s behalf.

“P2,” featuring Earl Sweatshirt, is one of my favorite songs on the album. This song sounds of old southern rap, reminiscent of UGK and OutKast. It is a pivotal representation of MellowHype and the evolution of this album.

BY: Ari Beedie, Staff writer

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