All in Arts & Entertainment

Love it or hate it, the "Twilight" franchise is ubiquitous, permeating almost all facets of popular culture. Not since "Harry Potter" (the comparison ends here, I promise) has a fantasy book series oriented towards young adults inspired such passionate fervor among the masses. Whether one chooses to hop on the bandwagon, the "Twilight" series is simply something no one can ignore no matter how hard you try. With "New Moon," the second installment in the wildly successful saga, director Chris Weitz ("About a Boy," "Golden Compass") propels the series into a new direction. Whereas the first movie did not quite know what it wanted to be, the filmmakers of "New Moon" stripped away all of the pretense, creating a movie that is both better than the first film and—gasp!—better than the book.

Conventional wisdom holds that Nicolas Cage is a talentless actor who got lucky once or twice but more often than not is rubbish. This isn't strictly true although a recent wave of turkeys like "Knowing" and the laughable remake of "The Wicker Man" paint a different picture. The fact that he gives his best performance in seven years is a tribute to the legendary Werner Herzog, director of "The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans."

It is Top 10 list time again. It was very tough whittling down all of the theater pieces I've seen this year, but I think I've managed to create a list that I'm almost happy with.
Four shows on the list were Off-Broadway. Lynn Nottage's horrifically powerful "Ruined," set in a whorehouse in the war-ravaged Congo, won the Pulitzer Prize. David Adjimi's fascinating "Stunning," gave voice to a 16-year old Syrian-American girl married to a 40-year old man in Brooklyn as she's taken under the wing of a seemingly well-read African American maid.

Masquerade Musical Theatre Company's latest production, Michael John LaChiusa's "See What I Wanna See" directed by senior Colin Culligan is a small show that touches upon the philosophical concepts of perception, belief and truth in a way that reflects the human condition. By way of two separate plots, the musical, based in parts on Ryunosuke Akutagawa's "Rashomon," sings about murder, crime, love, hate, and faith and shows the unique point of view of each character. Though at many times, the plot  is confusing, Masquerade's actors prove that a little talent and a lot of song can transcend a clouded storyline and pull off and altogether meaningful and entertaining performance.

University dancers, alumni and faculty wowed crowds in the Fall Dance Concert commemorating the dance department's silver anniversary. The concert ran performances from Thursday, November 19 to Sunday, November 22 in Adams' Playhouse. Audiences were graced by the diverse talents of current members of the department as well as brilliant recent alumni who danced in and choreographed pieces for the performance.

Adam Lambert debuted the lead single from his first major-label album, "For Your Entertainment." As remarkable and unique as his voice is, he seems to be relying far too heavily on his sexuality post- American Idol. If it shocked you before, now it's at least old news, if you're not banging your head against the wall with every picture that you see of Lambert "shocking" us all by making out with a naked woman.

As if following in Rob Zombie's footsteps and remaking a classic that had no conceivable reason, besides money, to be remade—2008's critical failure "The Day the Earth Stood Still"—was not enough, director Scott Derrickson has set his sights one of the most prized and most difficult works in the English literary canon: John Milton's "Paradise Lost." It seems rather odd that Legendary Pictures, has handed the reins to Derrickson on adapting Milton's classic, considering that Derrickson has yet to prove himself as a director. Granted, Christopher Nolan was greeted with much skepticism when Warner Brothers handed him the Batman Franchise, but then again Nolan by then had two excellent movies under his belt in "Memento" and "Insomnia." Unfortunately, Derrickson does not.