By Amanda Gilmore
Sam Levinson’s latest TV Series is Euphoria meets 50 Shades of Grey, while set in the world of a Pop Superstar.
The first two episodes, which screened Out of Competition at Cannes, sets up the mindset of Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp). She recently lost her mother which led to a nervous breakdown that derailed her last tour. Now she’s releasing anticipated new music with the hope to be the greatest, sexiest pop star in America. However, she’s still grieving over her loss, leaving her vulnerable.
Cue club owner Tedros (Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye), who sees the vulnerability and takes advantage of it. He swoops in and helps her remix her newest single. As Jocelyn is already underwhelmed by the original version, Tedros ignites a passion within her again. But will this new romantic-professional relationship bring new heights or the deepest of lows for the Popstar?
There are lots of provocative sexualized scenes in The Idol. For those familiar with Euphoria, the scenes here are dialed-up a notch further. However, these provocative scenes are being used to highlight bigger themes and messages within the Script. Here, Levinson — and Co-Creators Tesfaye and Reza Fahim — are dissecting the highs and lows of a life of a pop icon.
In the first episode, a compromising photo gets released online of Jocelyn. It shows the singer with ejaculate on her face. Everyone on her team immediately attempts to spin this into a positive light for the star. This brings us to the life of the busy bees that surround and ‘manage’ a popstar. Additionally, it highlights how they keep her protected from these horrible things for fear of another break.
The people surrounding Jocelyn care for her deeply. Some even take on the role of pseudo-parents (Hank Azaria and Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s characters) even if they don’t always know what’s best. The person who will move mountains for her is her best friend and Assistant Leia (Rachel Sennott). Sennot is superb as the caring friend who’s the only one who sees Tedros as the snake he is.
In his acting debut, Tesfaye, dawning a Rattail, gives a chilling performance as the manipulative Tedros. In these first two episodes, the Actors share tantalizing scenes that people will have mixed feelings over. However, once again Levinson is using them to inform the viewer of the mental states of his characters. Tedros is controlling while Jocelyn succumbs to his demands.
Depp gives a groundbreaking performance that will skyrocket her character. And the Supporting Cast is outstanding. To name a few not priorly mentioned: Troye Sivan, Jane Adams and Blackpink’s Jennie Kim. And at the end of the second episode, Red Rocket breakout Suzanna Son delivers a show-stopping performance while sitting at a piano.
We’re excited to see where the Series goes from here.
The Idol screens at Cannes ’23:
Mon May 22 at 10:30PM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
By Mr. Will Wong
Based on the massive popularity of Squid Game, the world has shown it’s ready for K-Drama. Disney+ take a leap of faith on JTBC Series SNOWDROP, which just finished its televised run in its native Korea, the transcendent star power of its two leads prove that powerful storytelling and performances knows no boundaries of language.
The story is set in the late ’80s as South Korea is about to undergo a major political revolution. We witness mass protests calling for democracy, calling-out the dictatorship that ruled the nation and its unfair election practices. We meet Eun Yeong-ro (Blackpink‘s Jisoo), a student at the Hosu Women’s University trying to abide by the strict regulations at the dorm and doing her best not to get her and her roommates kicked-out. The girls agree to go on a group blind date with some neighbouring male students. Quite instantly, Yeong-ro finds herself drawn to Lim Soon-ho (Jung Hae-in) who is posing as a graduate student, but unbeknownst to Yeong-ro, he is a North Korean agent on a mission. Through kismet, she finds him unconscious and bloodied one day in her dorm room, just as the Agency for National Security Planning are in hot pursuit of him. Together with her roommates, Yeong-ro must find a way to hide Soon-ho within the school, keeping him safe from the ANSP and also other students who could leak his whereabouts.
Unfolding over 16 episodes at 90 minutes apiece, each meticulously-styled episode of SNOWDROP feels like a Feature Film in itself. Under tight and focused direction by Jo Hyun-tak, the Series is equal parts gripping Political Drama and Romance, and it is effective on both levels. We aren’t too familiar with Korean history, but are well aware of some of the controversy surrounding the Series and its historical accuracy. We recognize this Series recalls a painful part of Korea’s past in which hundreds, potentially thousands, dead in the fight to end dictatorship in South Korea, and understand why this is a sensitive topic. This is a story to be told in its own due right. SNOWDROP however is imagined.
Despite its criticism, we can evaluate the Series based on its merit as Fiction and we were charmed by the beauty of this doomed love story, where our hero and heroine have seemingly impossible obstacles to overcome. There is an imminent sense threat lurking, whether it be from within the walls of the school or from external forces. Writer Yoo Hyun-mi builds an interconnected world of characters, giving us a sense of the power dynamics and what’s at stake for them whether we’re seeing tension between the higher-ups at the ANSP and drama among their wives. And of course, ultimately what this means for our two central characters.
Jisoo possesses a natural charisma and is just enchanting. It is hard to believe this is her first starring role. Her Yeong-ro is virtuous, nurturing and just learning to navigate the complicated truth that life is about to throw her way at her young age. Jung Hae-in delivers an understated performance as Soon-ho, giving us a sense of mystery and it becomes our mission to uncover his intriguing truth as the Series progresses. Other standouts include Yoon Se-ah as the stern Headmistress at the Women’s University, Pi Seung-hee and it is a pleasure seeing her story unfold as we figure where her loyalties lie. Jung Yoo-jin also leaves an impression as Jang Han-na, a rookie and first ever female ANSP agent, perhaps a little too eager. While we’ve only seen part of it, we can tell we’re going to love this already and are prepared for this to get real emotional.
The first two episodes of SNOWDROP are available now to stream now on Disney+, with new episodes arriving weekly on Wednesdays.
2020 was a year indeed, but despite being filled with one tough blow after another, Music was there for us to guide us through these challenging times. While some of the year’s biggest smash hits turn back to the drumbeats and synths of the ’80s for inspiration, this is a good thing as that nostalgia translates to happiness and dancing.
While nothing beats a great Music Video, we’re seeing that the success of a single doesn’t necessarily depend on a flashy video. In fact, Megan Thee Stallion‘s hit “Savage” only has a Lyric Video and an Animated Video, but its exposure on TikTok helped propel it into the stratosphere of success.
And on the other side of things, Taylor Swift continues to top album sales charts without any definitive hit single. Times are changing on the musical landscape and more than ever on the Billboard Hot 100 we’re seeing songs from previous years land in the 2020 Hot 100 which either is a sign of people latching onto familiar things for comfort, or maybe chart criteria perhaps needs a deeper look.
Below are our Top Ten favourite singles of 2020! What are yours? Tweet us at @mrwillw!
1. Midnight Sky – Miley Cyrus
2. Rain on Me – Lady Gaga ft. Ariana Grande
3. Break My Heart – Dua Lipa
4. Say So – Doja Cat
5. Adore You – Harry Styles
6. ily – Surf Mesa ft. Emilee
7. How You Like That – Blackpink
8. August – Taylor Swift
9. Savage – Megan Thee Stallion
10. Naked – Ava Max
(Photo/video credit: Warner Music/Universal Music Group/Sony Music Entertainment)
We adore BLACKPINK and can’t wait for this upcoming Documentary! We know you’ll fall in love with them too!
Since their debut in August 2016, BLACKPINK has become the highest-charting female K-pop group of all time with their innovative music, eye-popping music videos and internet-breaking fashion concepts. BLACKPINK: LIGHT UP THE SKY serves up the never-before-seen moments that BLACKPINK’s global fandom — known as “BLINKs” — have been craving for years. Directed by Caroline Suh (Netflix’s “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”), the documentary goes deep with each of BLACKPINK’s four members: Jisoo, the whip-smart unnie (“big sister”) of the group with a quirky sense of humor; Jennie, the rapper whose fierce onstage persona contrasts with her soft-spoken nature; Rosé, the dulcet-voiced Australian coming into her own as a singer-songwriter; and Lisa, the dancing queen whose spark plug personality never fails to make her bandmates laugh.
As BLACKPINK continues reaching new heights in their career — from headlining sold-out world tours to becoming the first female Korean group to perform at Coachella — each member reflects on the ups and downs of fame and the long, often challenging journey that brought them to worldwide success. BLACKPINK: LIGHT UP THE SKY reveals the relatable, unfiltered sides of the foursome, who continue to be a leading force in expanding K-pop’s popularity, proving that music knows no borders or language barriers.
See the Trailer:
BLACKPINK: LIGHT UP THE SKY arrives on Netflix Wednesday, October 14, 2020.
(Photo/video credit: Netflix)
From their upcoming debut full-length LP, BLACKPINK continue to wow the world with these bangers! You must check-out the gorgeous new Video for their brand-new single HOW YOU LIKE THAT! BLACKPINK are comprised of Jennie, JiSoo, Rosé and Lisa. The South Korean girl group continue to pull-in alarming numbers and fandom around the world. They debuted in 2016 and today are the world’s most-followed girl group. They’ve collaborated with the likes of Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga, more recently on the Track Sour Candy.
Lady Gaga is back with her sixth Studio Disc CHROMATICA a cinematic ’80s and ’90s-inspired Album returning the superstar once again to the world of Electronic-Pop. The cohesive collection, split into three sections, marked by interludes Chromatica I, II and III, takes us away on a escape to the planet on which Gaga resides, packed with jaw-dropping collaborations. The likes of Ariana Grande, whom we’ve heard on superb second single Rain on Me, Elton John and K-Pop queens Blackpink appear on the Chromatica and while the Album has been pushed-back amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the wait proved worthwhile.
Joanne Collaborator BloodPop returns once again in a Producer capacity and this marriage proves a beautiful union as Gaga stands her ground, but also gives him a proper chance to shine.
We’re thrilled to hear Gaga back doing what she does best and we are excited for this uplifting era and pandemic permitting, hopefully it won’t be too long a wait to see the Album’s eponymous stadium tour.
Preview some of Chromatica‘s highlights:
RAIN ON ME (ft. Ariana Grande)
SOUR CANDY (ft. Blackpink)
SINE FROM ABOVE (ft. Elton John)
Buy or stream Chromatica here.
(Photo/video credit: Universal Music Group)
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