Evolve: A Review

Evolve: A Review

Introduction:

Imagine Dragons exploded on the scene with their masterpiece debut Night Visions in 2013, which earned them many nominations, including Record of the Year for “Radioactive”. Their 2015 return with Smoke + Mirrors went a little more under the radar than anticipated, but featured some gems. The Vegas-rock group returns now with their latest offering Evolve.

1. I Don’t Know Why

The synth pop sound evokes a response similar to 80s glam rock. Launching with a vocally incredible first song that has some very sleek production. The vocals and production are powerful, with some bold lyricism from the Vegas band. It’s a very strong start for an album that has a legacy to uphold for the rock band.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

2. Whatever It Takes

Speaking fast, they come back hip-hop infused song that is very melodic and continues the album’s pattern of slick production and strong vocals. The performance is incredible. Imagine Dragons delivers yet another wonderful record for the album.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. Believer

The most popular single from the album, “Beliver” is strong vocally and in production and performance. Lyrically, it’s the best of the record potentially; it’s an arena anthem that is the highlight of the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

4. Walking the Wire

The brighter pop sound to the song is really fitting after the intense performance of “Believer”. It’s relieving and gives a love song that has some wonderful guitar work and lyricism. The vocals are absolutely stellar. This might be my favorite song on the album. It’s an anthem that is unparalleled this year in the rock field.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Rise Up

Coming out with horns and guitars, this one sounds like it was a song forgotten to be put on the Night Visions album. It’s incredible vocally and has some incredible production. This is another arena rocker that is sure to get audiences head-bobbing. It’s a colorful song that fits the colorful theme of the album.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

6. I’ll Make It Up To You

An album that’s been just incredible so far, this next record continues it by giving a softer, gentler song that doesn’t let up on the talent. It kind of similar production-wise to “Everything You Are” by Ed Sheeran and that’s a good thing. It’s another hit for a stellar album. It’s apology song that just succeeds on all cylinders.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

7. Yesterday

Taking cues from Gospel music, they deliver another bright and poppy hit that fits right in with this stellar project. This happy toast to the past and the future is masterfully produced and expertly performed. While this is the worst song of the album, that isn’t saying it’s bad; on an album of incredible records, this one earns its spot, it’s just not my favorite of the record purely for some decisions made in its arrangement.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

8. Mouth of the River

Feeling rather tribal, this track is very deserving of its spot and absolutely fits in. The lyricism is brilliant on this track, with, once again, expert producing and masterful performance, it’s another gem on an album that’s guarenteed a Grammy nomination.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Thunder

A pop studded track, it’s another wonderful single about making a comeback, directly or indirectly stating that they know Smoke + Mirrors wasn’t as good as Night Visions, but they’re making up for it with this record. And boy do they ever. The production is wonderful and the vocals fit great. It’s another great track.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

10. Start Over

Another bright, poppy masterwork, “Start Over” is the “It’s Time” of Evolve. It’s has some tropical dance infused into its production that works incredibly well. It’s another wonderful single. Serving as a great climax for the album, “Start Over” is the perfect song to send us to the end with.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Dancing in the Dark

The finale of the album is a truly perfect fit that wraps up another fantastic album. With some wonderful dance infusion, the vocals are stylized very nicely to fit the production. Ending with a slower piece, it’s a nice, fitting end for what might just be the album of the year.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

Conclusion:

Imagine Dragons have returned and they have created a true masterpiece album. It’s a perfect blending of genres from rock to pop to dance to gospel. It’s a neat perfect album. The production is all around very impressive and the vocal performances are breathtaking.

Album Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

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Doctor Who: Alternative Series Pitch

Doctor Who: Alternative Series Pitch

This pitch was posted on kkoho87.wix.com/kalebkohowrites on December 5, 2015, before the release of series 9 & 10 and the announcement of the Jodie Whitaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. Whenever you read “12” or “Capaldi”, replace it with “13” or “Whitaker”.

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I got the idea for this pitch from the news that Peter Capaldi (the current Twelfth Doctor) wanted to do other projects on the side, which would result in shorter seasons. I decided to keep the standard twelve episode season. I’d also like to note that I haven’t seen a single episode of season nine at this time. I do not get BBC America on cable. Moving on…

Introduction

This season would open with the Twelfth Doctor in his TARDIS. He is basically distraught over losing Clara a few episodes ago in Season Nine or is basically doing something in his Tardis. He flashes back to his time in another incarnation. This would allow Capaldi to appear in the beginning of the series and end of the series or begin and end each episode, while being able to work on his projects. What incarnation would be spending time with, you ask? Well, I’m telling you that it’s a Doctor we haven’t seen a lot of. We’ve seen his beginning and ending, but what about in between? Of course I’m talking about that one hit wonder from the 90’s, the Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann. From here on out, I will be pitching each episode with a possible title and synopsis for each episode.

Episode #10.1 – The Eighth Day

This episode would begin with our flashback. The episode would lead into 8 and his companion, Grace (as we last saw them at the end of 1996’s Doctor Who movie). The episode would feature the Eighth Doctor take Grace back to the never before seen eighth day of Earth’s creation. There, they find aliens being created, one of which is the Silence. The 8th Doctor forgets ever meeting them at the end because of a Silence erasing the adventure from his mind. Twelve closes the episode by filling any loopholes with his smooth Scottish psychobabble. They leave the day as the winners however, defeating a plot by the silence to kill Adam & Eve to end Humans before they grew.

Episode #10.2 – Enter Grace

The Eighth Doctor & Grace battle Cybermen, who plan to delete an entire planet to expand their power. Grace is the hero in this episode and we get better development with her character. She shows grace on the Cybermen, allowing them to leave with their lives when The Doctor stops them.

Episode #10.3 – Exterminate

The Doctor & Grace encounter a group of rouge Daleks who plan to destroy a Time Lord embassy on the planet of the Sontarans. The Doctor & Grace foil the war criminals. The Doctor first catches wind of the 1st Great Time War, prompting him to return to Gallifrey.

Episode #10.4 – The Drums of War

The Doctor & Grace are summoned to Gallifrey by the War Council of Gallifrey. The council informs the Doctor of their dire need of his help. The Doctor refuses to get involved, even when being urged by a regenerated Master. Part One of a three part story.

Episode #10.5 – Treachery of the Time Lords

The Eighth Doctor & Grace are planning on leaving Gallifrey to continue exploration. Eight’s TARDIS is damaged by the Daleks as the fight is brought to Gallifrey. The War Council continues to hound the Doctor to join them in their war with the Daleks, begging him to save Gallifrey. He refuses. The head Time Lord, played by Timothy Dalton, hires an assassin to kill Grace and make it look like a Dalek killed her. Grace is killed. The Eighth Doctor is enraged and agrees to fight the Daleks, believing them to be the killers. He is assigned to the Master’s unit. End of Part Two or Three.

Episode #10.6 – Run

The Eighth Doctor fights ferociously and even brings the war to a tipping point. The Master, who is drunk while celebrating their inevitable victory, reveals it was the Time Lord War Council’s fault. Eight already knows what he is doing is wrong. With this new information, he decides to run. He sneaks into the TARDIS shed and steals his repaired TARDIS & flees Gallifrey, being branded a war criminal. Part 3 of 3.

Episode #10.7 – The Battle of New York

The Doctor is hiding out in New York City in the year 5000 A.D, when a group of Time Lords sent to arrest him attack. The Doctor defeats them and escapes. He continues on in a life of depressed solitude, blaming himself for Grace’s death. He begins suffering from PTSD.

Episode #10.8 – No More War

The Eighth Doctor finds himself battling The Master’s unit, who is sent to capture him for his war crimes, when they all discover the 1st Time War is over, but a second has broke out. The Master is called back to Gallifrey. The Doctor refuses involvement.

Episode #10.9 – The Skaro Advancement

The Eighth Doctor is kidnapped by the Master and his Time Lords & forced to travel to Skaro to lead a covert ops group of Time Lords in their attempts to end the Second Great Time War. The Doctor helps blow up the capital and kills several Daleks, however he refuses to aid the Time Lords and further. The Second Great Time War is won by the Time Lords, but a third and final war breaks out in revenge only months later.

Episode #10.10 – 2000 A.D.

The Doctor finds himself on Earth when Y2K, which wasn’t supposed to happen, breaks out due to a temporal anomaly. The Doctor is able to source the problem to Sontarans and moves on. The events of Y2K are erased, with the destruction date being set back thousand and thousands of years into the future.

Episode #10.11 – The Dalek Offensive

Part 1 of 2: The Doctor is forced into a confrontation between the Time Lords and Daleks & is taken war prisoner by the Daleks. He believes he is to die soon, not wanting to live any longer. The Daleks put him on death row. The Daleks take him to the execution chamber & he is set to die, but the Doctor isn’t done yet.

Episode #10.12 – The Night of the Doctor

The Doctor is saved from death row by the Master. The Master (who has gone rogue) has a plan to end the Time Wars forever, but he needs the Doctor’s help in doing so. The Master & The Doctor sneak back to Gallifrey & steal a weapon called The Moment. The Master & Doctor escape to a safe place to use the device. The Doctor asks what the point of this device is, to which the Master replies by telling him it’s a weapon to blow up Gallifrey & kill everyone, that there’s no other way to end it, and that he wants the drumming to stop. The Doctor defeats the Master and turns him over to the Time Lords, resulting in a full pardon for the Doctor and The Master was to be punished. The Doctor is reinvigorated with new life and purpose, but because of the Time Lords reputation in the Time Wars, he can’t save anyone because they don’t trust him. This is the case with Claire, who dies rather than let the Doctor save her. The Doctor dies in the crash with her, but, as the Night of The Doctor showed, he chose his regeneration into the War Doctor (played by John Hurt). Leading us back full circle, we catch up with 12 who is on his TARDIS concluding his flashback & telling us the untold story of the 8th Doctor.

The Force Awakens: An Alternative Scene Sketch

The Force Awakens: An Alternative Scene Sketch

This sketch was originally posted on kkoho87.wix.com/kalebkohowrites on December 22, 2015.

In my version of the film, we didn’t know Kylo Ren was Han Solo’s son. It was revealed when Kylo Ren, or Ben Solo, murders his father Han Solo. Rey and Finn, who were captured by Captain Phasma, are saved by Chewbacca, who viewed Han’s murder with the others. They run away from the base, Finn has his lightsaber and Chewy his bowcaster. As they get close to the Millenium Falcon, Kylo Ren walks off the Falcon, crossbar lightsaber in hand. He turns it on and screams, “Rey! We have unfinished business to attend to!” Finn activates his lightsaber and yells, “Over my dead body!”

 Ren replies, “That’s the idea, F-N2187”

“That’s not my name!” yells Finn

Finn charges at Ren swinging willy nilly. Ren smacks blades and shoves Finn. It’s clear that Kylo Ren is playing a sick game with Finn and toying with him. Finn gets struck up the back by Ren after a while of toying with him. Finn is severley injured and unconscience. Chewy shoots Ren in the side, grazing him. Just a flesh wound. Ren goes to kill Chewbacca, but Rey picks up Finn’s saber and and swings at Ren, but misses him entirely. She blocks Ren’s swing. She is able to defend herself but isn’t very skilled with the lightsaber. She leads Ren away from the Falcon giving Chewy (carrying Finn) time to escape on the Falcon. Meanwhile, Poe Dameron and his men cannot penetrate the starkiller’s port. The shields are damaged but not fully down and they are being destroyed by the First Order’s fleet. Poe and Wedge Antilles are the only ones left. They are being persued by seven TFO fighters. All hope is lost. Rey and Kylo fight on the edge of the charging Starkiller. We see the beam begin to glow red and that glow illuminates their fight. Rey loses her lightsaber and Ren points his blade are her throat and says, “You’re nothing. You’re an insignificant speck from an insginificant planet. You get lucky that’s all. Now you’re luck has run out.” He raises his blade but suddently stops. He turns to the sky. An old, faded X-Wing flys through the pack and destroys five of the fighters. Poe shouts to the other plane to attack and they wipe out the other two fighters.

The X-Winger shoots the final piece thatis keeping the shields up and destroys it. It’s an impossible shot. Poe shoots and fires in to the port. The Starkiller is going to be destroyed. Kylo Ren is immeditaly taken with fear. “Skywalker,” he says. Ren flees to his ship. Rey watches as Poe and the mysterious pilot fly away. Rey is then picked up by Chewbacca. When Rey returns Poe tells General Leia Organa-Solo about the mysterious pilot. “Luke,” she says. At this, R2 turns on with the map leading to Luke. Luke walks in from the shadows and says, “Don’t worry R2.. I’m back. I sensed I was needed more than I ever had been. I only wish I had been fast enough to save Han.” Everyone is so happy that he is back and to MEET THE WAR HERO & LAST JEDI. Luke Skywalker meets Rey and tells her that the Force is strong in her. That the Force has awakened and it is what called him back. Meanwhile, on a star detroyer, Kylo Ren reports Skywalker’s return to Snoke who tells him he is a failure. He will have to face his uncle and when that time comes, Snoke will have made him ready.

TO BE CONTINUED IN THE LAST JEDI.

Dark Universe: A Post-Credit Scene Sketch for The Mummy

Dark Universe: A Post-Credit Scene Sketch for The Mummy

With the announcement of the Universal Monsters franchise being officially branded Dark Universe, I decided now was the appropriate time to publish a short scene sketch I wrote to serve as a post-credit screen for Universal’s The Mummy. I have not seen the film yet and this is all just for fun. I hope you enjoy!

(The credits finish rolling. The scene begins with Tom Cruise entering the room of Russell Crowe’s Henry Jekyll. Cruise says nothing, but Jekyll can sense he has come to announce his success in defeating The Mummy.)

Jekyll: (Slightly Menacingly) You think your world is safe. The Mummy was just the beginning. You are unaware to the fact that you live in an age of gods and monsters.

(Jekyll’s voice carries on in voice over.)

Jekyll: Monsters that range from the tragic…

(Camera pans up on the back of a chair in an outdoor cafe in Paris, the Eiffel Tower being visible in the distance. We see the top of a hat peeking out of the top of a chair. We watch has a gloved hand reaches and picks up a cup of tea, revealing the gloved hand is NOT CONNECTED TO ANYTHING! The hand raises up and THE INVISIBLE MAN turns his head and takes a sip as we see the liquid disappear into thin air.)

Jekyll: …To the most terrible…

(We cut to a man in an overcoat walking down the streets of New York. He follows a woman down an alley way, but the camera does not. We hear a small scream. The man emerges wiping blood away from his mouth. We cut back to see the woman’s bitten neck as two young men discover her body. DRACULA!!)

Jekyll: …To the stuff of pure nightmares.

(Cut to a mountain forest as a giant, hulking figure emerges. We cut to the back of his rectangular head as he looks down on a city. We cut to a side shot where we see him smirk, the moonlight glistening off of the screw protruding from his neck. FRANKENSTEIN!! We return to Jekyll’s room where he is standing, facing Tom Cruise.)

Cruise: And where do you fit into all of this, Dr. Jekyll?

(Jekyll turns away from Cruise as he looks out the window. He smirks and we punch in close up on his eye as it twinkles and his pupil enlarges, hinting at MR. HYDE. Cut to black.)

The End.

All works produced on kalebkohowrites.wordpress.com are property of Kaleb Koho. All rights reserved by copyright.

 

The 2nd Annual KohOscars

The 2nd Annual KohOscars

Last year, I began a new tradition of selecting and conducting my own Oscars ceremony here on my blog, with all the same criteria and categories, but my own nominations. On the night of the real Oscars ceremony, I update this article with who won the KohOscars, minus the trophies and celebrities and career credibility boost. Check back in on January 24th and see who won. The winners will be highlighted in bold. Here are the nominations for the 2nd annual KohOscars:

 

Best Picture:tumblr_static_5pmkp6ctiyw4w080oc0s4kgwk

  • Sing Street
  • La La Land
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Passengers
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Doctor Strange
  • Deadpool

Best Actor:

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  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange
  • Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Diego Luna, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • James McAvoy, Split
  • Josh Brolin, Hail, Caesar!
  • Eddie Redmayne, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them

Best Actress:

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  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Lucy Boynton, Sing Street
  • Amy Adams, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Felicity Jones, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Margot Robbie, Suicide Squad
  • Morena Baccarin, Deadpool
  • Anna Kendrick, The Accountant

Best Supporting Actor:

Hail, Casar!

  • Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!
  • Alan Tudyk, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Aaron Hernandez, Suicide Squad
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, Doctor Strange
  • Benedict Wong, Doctor Strange
  • Dan Fogler, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
  • Jon Bernthal, The Accountant

Best Supporting Actress:

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  • Elizabeth Olsen, Captain America: Civil War
  • Gal Gadot, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange/Hail, Caesar!
  • Viola Davis, Suicide Squad
  • Sofia Boutella, Star Trek Beyond
  • Lizzy Caplan, Now You See Me 2
  • Haley Bennett, The Magnificent Seven

Best Animated Feature:

zootopiaposter1-1

  • Zootopia
  • Moana
  • Finding Dory
  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Trolls
  • Kubo & The Two Strings
  • Sing

Best Sequel:

batman-v-superman-dawn-justice-backdrop

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Doctor Strange
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Finding Dory

Best Cameo:

lin-manuel-miranda-moana

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana
  • Stan Lee, Captain America: Civil War
  • Carrie Fisher, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Anthony Daniels, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Bruce Willis, Split
  • Tom Holland, Captain America: Civil War
  • Christopher Jackson, Moana

Best Cinematography:

roger-deakins-hail-caesar-1

  • Roger Deakins, Hail, Caesar!
  • Linus Sandgren, La La Land
  • Ben Davis, Doctor Strange
  • Greg Fraser, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Bill Pope, The Jungle Book
  • Trent Opaloch, Captain America: Civil War
  • Larry Fong, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Best Director:

image

  • John Carney, Sing Street
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Anthony & Joe Russo, Captain America: Civil War
  • Gareth Edwards, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Ethan & Joel Coen, Hail, Caesar!
  • Denzel Washington, Fences
  • Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book

Best Documentary (Feature):

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  • O.J.: Made In America
  • The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years
  • For The Love of Spock
  • Sonshine
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off The Wall

Best Documentary (Short):

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  • MOVE
  • Extremis
  • 4.1 Miles
  • Behind The Scenes: Captain America: Civil War
  • Marvel Studios: Assembling A Universe

Best Film Editing:

Directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen pose for a photo in Los Angeles

  • Roderick Jaynes, Hail, Caesar!
  • Tom Cross, La La Land
  • Andre Marcus & Julian Ulrichs, Sing Street
  • Jeremy Milton & Fabienne Rawley, Zootopia
  • John Gilroy/Colin Goudie/Jabez Olssen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Stan Salfas, Now You See Me 2
  • Sabrina Plisco & Wyatt Smith, Doctor Strange

Best Foreign Language Film:

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  • Elle, France
  • Being 17, France
  • The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, Finland
  • Neruda, Chile
  • From Afar, Venezuela
  • Things To Come, France
  • Aquarius, Brazil

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

rogue-one-jyn-ersa-geared-up

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Doctor Strange
  • La La Land
  • Sing Street
  • Suicide Squad
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • X-Men: Apocalypse

Best Music (Original Score):

lala-land

  • Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
  • James Newton Howard, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them
  • Carter Burwell, Hail, Caesar!
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana
  • Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Michael Giacchino, Star Trek Beyond
  • Henry Jackman, Captain America: Civil War

Best Music (Original Song):

sing-street

  • “Drive It Like You Stole It,” Sing Street
  • “City of Stars,” La La Land
  • “How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
  • “No Dames!” Hail, Caesar!
  • “Try Everything,” Zootopia
  • “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” Trolls
  • “Heathens,” Suicide Squad

Best Production Design:

rogueone_logo-0-0

  • Doug Chiang, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Jess Gonchor, Hail, Caesar!
  • Patrick Tatopoulos, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • David Wasco, La La Land
  • Charles Wood, Doctor Strange
  • Owen Patterson, Captain America: Civil War
  • Sean Haworth, Deadpool

Best Short Film (Animated):

piper3

  • Piper
  • Inner Workings
  • The Head Vanishes
  • Borrowed Time
  • Happy End
  • Pearl
  • A Night At The Mannequin Factory

Best Short Film (Live Action):

nwc-move-2016-event-600x350

  • MOVE
  • American Paradise
  • Hardware
  • Hold On
  • Hot Seat
  • I Know You From Somewhere
  • Laps

Best Sound Editing:

la-la-land-ryan-gosling-emma-stone-1

  • La La Land
  • Sing Street
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Doctor Strange
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Moana
  • Zootopia

Best Sound Mixing:

homepage_trailerthumbnail_moana_720_f3266261

  • Moana
  • Sing Street
  • La La Land
  • The Accountant
  • Doctor Strange
  • Deadpool
  • Captain America: Civil War

Best Visual Effects:

rogue-one-header

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Doctor Strange
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Deadpool
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • The Jungle Book
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them

Best Costume Design:

civil-war-2

  • Judianna Makovsky, Captain America: Civil War
  • Michael Wilkinson, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Angus Strathie, Deadpool
  • Alexandra Byrne, Doctor Strange
  • Mary Zophres, La La Land
  • Mary Zophres, Hail, Caesar!
  • Kate Hawley, Suicide Squad

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay):

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  • Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, Deadpool
  • Jon Spaiths/Scott Derrickson/C. Robert Cargill, Doctor Strange
  • Chris Weitz/Tony Gilroy/John Knoll/Gary Whitta, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Simon Pegg & Doug Jung, Star Trek Beyond
  • Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, Captain America: Civil War
  • Andrew Stanton & Victoria Strouse, Finding Dory
  • J.K Rowling, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them

Best Writing (Original Screenplay):

sing-street-1

  • John Carney, Sing Street
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Bill Dubuque, The Accountant
  • Joel & Ethan Coen, Hail, Caesar!
  • Jon Spaiths, Passengers
  • Jared Bush, Moana
  • Jared Bush & Phil Johnston, Zootopia

 

Special Achievement Award:

Processed with VSCOcam with x4 preset

  • Bethany Elden, Sonshine

 

The Hamilton Mixtape: A Song by Song Analysis

The Hamilton Mixtape: A Song by Song Analysis

In 2009, a young Broadway star performed at the White House for a night of poetry and spoken word and received a standing ovation. That young hopeful was soon-to-be Broadway legend Lin-Manuel Miranda and the rap song he performed was an early version of Alexander Hamilton, the first song from the smash musical Hamilton. Originally, Hamilton was to be a mixtape of songs pertaining to the life of the first Treasury Secratary Alexander Hamilton. However, he put the project on hold when he was convinced by his friend Tommy Kail (director of Hamilton) to make it a musical instead. After working on the project for five years, Hamilton: An American Musical opened at The Public Theatre in 2014, before moving to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theater in August of that same year. The mixtape idea never left Lin and, after the musical’s massive success, Lin decided to recruit other major figures in rap, R&B, and pop music to record their own versions of the songs from the show, as well as contribute their own original songs. Today, The Hamilton Mixtape was finally released after seven years of development.

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots

The project starts off with an intense and sincere opening from Black Thought of the Roots as he teases what you’re about to hear, contrasting Hamilton & John Trumbull. The beat is grooving and Black Thought’s flow is strong. The track serves as an intriguing and strong introduction to the mixtape.

Track Rating: 10/10

2. My Shot (ft. Busta Rhymes, Joel Ortiz, & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots

This was the first of seven singles released from the mixtape. The track takes the most important, popular, and inspirational song from the musical and applies it’s messages to the modern day. The shining star of the track is easily Joel Ortiz’s stirring verse that showcases his prowess and a new comer to the game and captures the feel of the song the most out of anyone on the track. Busta Rhymes’ verse comes second. This remix brings traditional rap and mixes it with the ingenuity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton.

Track Rating: 7/10

3. Wrote My Way Out (ft. Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Aloe Blacc) – Nas

Sampling Hamilton‘s “Hurricane”, Nas and company present one of the most stirring and original tracks on the mixtape. With a stunning hook by Aloe Blacc, Nas’ verse evokes an inspirational response from the listener with his rise from poverty. Dave East presents a similar verse, but it doesn’t quite land. It’s Lin-Manuel’s verse that rings true and brings the emotional response, as he delves into his childhood and bullying. The song is a tribute to the people who were able to write their way out of their situations.

Track Rating: 10/10

4. Wait For It – Usher

Usher covers one of my favorite songs from the musical and brings a bit of pop flavor. Honestly, Usher plays it very safe compared to what I was expecting. There isn’t much to say here. It’s decent.

Track Rating: 6/10

5. An Open Letter (ft. Shockwave) [Intermission] – Watsky

I came into this one blind. I didn’t know Watsky or Shockwave. The track takes the original verse intended for the Hamilton song “The Adams Administration”. Watsky brings a fast-paced criticism of John Adams and delivers an explosive track.

Track Rating: 10/10

6. Satisfied (ft. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia

Sia’s cover of Satisified inflames a song that screams pop to new levels of pop, implanting Queen Latifah’s rapping in the fast part and a quick cameo from Miguel. The track is good and Sia does something fun with an already fun song.

Track Rating: 7/10

7. Dear Theodosia (ft. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor

The song itself feels like an old style alternative song in the vein of Plain White T’s, so holding true to that and bringing so bright, colorful pop sounds to it elevates the song. Regina Spektor is stellar and absolutely owns the track.

Track Rating: 8/10

8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda

This mixtape would be remiss excluenyhe father of Hamilton himself from contributing some tracks. The first of Miranda’s two tracks is a demo for a rejected song from the show. The song follows George Washington’s men at Valley Forge. The song essentially appeared in the show anyways as most of the song appears in the song “Stay Alive”. Seeing as this song is a broken- down, alternate version of a song we got already. For that reason alone, the song doesn’t hit as hard.

Track Rating: 6/10

9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson

The emotional song from the show talks about the mourning of the family after the loss of Alexander’s son Phillip. Kelly brings an emotional performance but the song’s production puts too much influence on the added trap beat.

Track Rating: 6/10

10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys’ vocals are beautiful in this cover from the show. The song is even more emotional and cinematic on the mixtape than in the show.

Track Rating: 7/10

11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) [ft. Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, & Residente] – K’NAAN

This original song about immigration samples “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” from the show. The song has a good groove and nice message.

Track Rating: 6/10

12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots

Jimmy Fallon’s comical cover of You’ll Be Back, a comical song in the show, is a fun pairing. Fallon does not have a great voice, but the production is solid.

Track Rating: 5/10

13. Helpless (ft. Ja Rule) – Ashanti

Ashanti’s cover of Helpless is great. Her voice is beautiful and the chemistry she shares with Ja Rule is excellent.

Track Rating: 8/10

14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind

This trap beat break that remixes and samples the opening of “Take A Break” is excellent and has a dance groove to it that rocks.

Track Rating: 10/10

15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott

This soulful answer to Hamilton‘s “Say No To This” is a beautiful southern beat groove that absolutely kills it. Jill’s voice is super rich. It’s a delight.

Track Rating: 9/10

16. Congratulations – Dessa

Dressa’s modern pop/rap song is perfect and absolutely kills it & says exactly what everyone is thinking about Alexander’s mistake. Told from the perspective of Angelica, the song is an excellent track that brings originality to a mixtape of remixes and covers.

Track Rating: 10/10

17. Burn – Andra Day

Andra’s cover of Burn is excellent and absolutely stirs the listener. The song is gorgeous and her voice is powerful.

Track Rating: 10/10

18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J. Period

J. Period’s 30 second intermission is a nice little remix that moves the mixtape along. It seems unnecessary however. The remix is not much of a remix

Track Rating: 4/10

19. Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda

The second demo from Lin is much better. The cabinet battles are some of the best parts of the show and the fact that a third one exists is excellent. Dealing with slavery is a great debate that makes me wonder what if.

Track Rating: 9/10

20. Washingtons By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa

This mixtape was a revolutionary step forward for rap music just like the musical….until Wiz showed up with the stereotypical rap song about money that waists a sample of “Washington On Your Side” on this trash.

Track Rating: 1/10

21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend

This beautiful southern gospel rendition of the Hamilton song is fantastic, gorgeous and stirring. John Legend’s vocals are amazing.

Track Rating: 10/10

22. Who Tells Your Story (ft. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots

Sampling the final song from the show should’ve been a beautiful ending to this good mixtape, but sadly, it’s waisted on a mediocre song with mediocre verses.

Track Rating: 3/10

23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper

This remix is another waisted opportunity. It doesn’t work. The raspy vocals hurt the cover.

Track Rating: 5/10

Overall Rating: 8/10

The Hamilton Mixtape over all is a great piece of music and takes the music from the greatest musical of the 21st century and popularizes it further with new takes.

How I Develop A Story

How I Develop A Story

I have been coming up with a ton of story ideas lately and I’ve been able to develop them very quickly, essentially because of how I go about developing the story in general. There isn’t any definitive way to write a story or go about developing one, but I thought I would share my process to potentially help those suffering from writer’s block or stuck developing their story.

So first comes the inspiration. I can’t help you with that. If you can’t or aren’t being inspired to write by the things around you and the situations of your life or really anything in general, then maybe you shouldn’t be a writer. For me, inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere. Some examples include dreams, other books, phrases, names, concepts, really anything. Once I have that inspiration, usually the basic idea of the story is born, maybe its just a scene or a character, but the seed is planted. From there, I take formulate the most basic plot from the idea. After that, I begin building characters. I believe if your story doesn’t have deep or interesting characters, then your story is essentially dead. I play around with the characters and their roles in the story and general motivations. I start to take these characters and give them a personality. These characters often inspire character moments from which you can begin connecting dots. From there, I take my general plot and clearly define the plot points and character moments. Then I begin writing a r0ugh draft of the general story. This gives me a sort of road map in which I can begin crafting the finer points, details and storylines of the story to create the story I want to tell. From here, the story will change many times in either minor or major ways. I find it easier to write a story if you have clearly defined characters and plot in which you can play with it in any way you seem fit.

I hope this helped you. Currently, I am actively writing two different stories, actively developing two more and I still have a ton of other concepts and ideas sitting on the back burner. On top of that, I just wrapped up my run in our high school production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and we are in early stages of our One Act Play season, in which we will be performing a play entitled Karima. Not to mention regular school and a quickly approaching speech season. I hope that explains my absence from the blog and the internet in general.