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The radar: March’s cream of the crop

1

Film: Beauty and the Beast

One of the most highly-anticipated films this year, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast truly did not disappoint the old and young fans alike. Bringing in a whopping international box office of $700M as of writing time, it’s no wonder why people can’t seem to get enough of this tale as old a time—with a twist.

We’ve all grown up and become familiar with the classic, albeit slightly creepy, story of the Belle who fell in love with the so-called Beast. But Disney has given this original masterpiece a much-needed modern rendition with the one and only Emma Watson and breathtaking 21st century CGI additions. Even when the classic scenes feel familiar with our already Disney-centric eyes, there’s just this certain type of magic that only the live-action film can enrapture viewers with.

Although, not all good things can be said of the film, as there are some scenes that feel a bit too forced—such as Watson’s painfully obvious auto-tuned singing voice and the overuse of CGI simply for the sake of it. Not to mention how terribly fast the pair fell in love—even faster than you can say “Stockholm syndrome.” Fortunately, all these minor setbacks won’t really matter much when the end credits roll and the tissues have been thrown away, as Disney will always belong in its special and sacred place in our yearning hearts.

 

2

TV Show: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Satire at its finest, the Daily Show is an American late-night staple that never shies to deliver political commentary unfiltered and unabashed—a show that people never get tired of, regardless of who the host is. With the legendary John Stewart’s exit from the Daily Show in 2015, the then-unknown young South African comedian Trevor Noah entered the scene with far more potential than anyone could have ever expected. In what he defines as his “war on bullsh–,” the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah laces every joke with hidden anger, carefully masked with a quick smile sharp enough to cut glass.

Born and raised during the South African apartheid, Noah’s understanding of cultural, social, and racial disputes runs deep, shedding light on issues from culture and isolationism to race and immigration. With Noah and his multilingual habits at hand, the show hits the high notes perfectly when appealing to multiracial communities and seeing situations with a fresh global perspective—which is precisely the reason the Daily Show has successfully extended its reach to all over the world, both online and offline, all thanks to the Noah effect.

While Noah struggled to find his footing in the early days of his new job, he slowly and surely found his direction with a helpful boost from none other than President Donald Trump. For satirical late shows like the Daily Show, its finest hours occur after the world’s darkest days—and in this case, that means Trump. Yet despite his vocal opposition of Trump, Noah manages to keep it calm, controlled, and educated—never steering into the area of preachy commentary.

Subtle yet savage, Noah plays with boundaries and toys with taboo. He’s progressive, fearless, and entirely millennial in his commentary, pushing to find humor even in the darkest times. His jokes land on the mark, upholding a socially critical, satirical style of comedy that tackles heavy topics in a laughable light manner—that actually isn’t very light at all. Because behind each side remark and slick joke lies political attacks in a no-holds-barred playing field. Noah doesn’t pull punches—yet he manages to keep it low-key, waiting until the moment is right to lash out with unbeatable straightforward logic that can’t be argued with.

With Noah on screen or online night after night, late night television is something you shouldn’t miss out on—not when it’s become as good as this.

 

3

TV series: Bojack Horseman

Sometimes life just gets too dark to keep watching humans mess up their lives. Luckily, shows like Bojack Horseman exist where we can see animals mess up theirs—and so terribly as well.

Set in fictional Hollywood infiltrated with animals acting, dressing, and messing up like people do, we follow Bojack, a washed-up actor/horse who just wants to make it and give fame one last shot before he gives up for good. Coined as the “saddest comedy show ever” by The Guardian, the series delves more into one’s own introspection about the ups and (mostly) downs of life as we know it. However, it’s not entirely true that Bojack Horseman is not a belly-laugh worthy show, as some of its most memorable episodes consist of incredibly intricate slices of brilliance that hold a deeply emotional gut-punch that hits you right after the episode ends—making you forget that you’re basically watching a twisted version of Barnyard.

Though it might sound too substantial for a humbly drawn animated series about animals in Hollywood, Bojack Horseman is truly something of a gem in this era rife with the typical TV series.

 

4

Music: Arigato, Internet! by Reese Lansangan

“…all rolled into one convenient sushi.”

This is what Reese Lansangan’s website says about her. Amid being a multi-talented songwriter, artist, graphic designer, fashion designer, and published author, Reese proves that she is so much more than a pretty face. And even more than that, she absolutely proves to be a fiery ball of astounding creativity in her debut album, Arigato Internet!

Lansangan’s first album is one of introspection, astrology, and all things quirky—with a ukulele to boot in most of the songs. The album is ideal for those looking for a new spin on Filipino indie music. Featuring thirteen original songs written by Reese herself, it’s evident just how much of her personality is displayed on the album.

 

5

Music: Riverchild by Clara Benin

Mostly known for her soulful soothing voice, Clara Benin’s second album is the epitome of chill—not the sad type of chill like so many of us are used to, but the hopeful and special kind that only Clara does best. With only five songs on the album, it serves as something more than enough for long-time listeners to get their Benin fix—and for new fans to discover what kind of music Clara has in store for them.

From the album’s first track, December in English, to the third song, Tila in Tagalog, Riverchild clearly showcases the artist’s versatility in song writing. Imagine yourself sipping a cool drink while listening to this album in the scorching heat—there’s no better way to spend your hot summer afternoons.