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Michael Darer
Michael is an English Major at Wesleyan University set to graduate in 2016. He writes for the Arts Section of Wesleyan’s Argus newspaper, where he reviews films, albums, and television weekly. His hobbies include Netflix, writing, and arguing about things that really don’t matter. He hopes to grow up and own six pugs. He already has all of their names picked out.

Entries by Michael Darer

College Newspapers and the Uncomfortable Necessity of Dissent

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 4:41 PM

On Sunday, September 20th, Wesleyan University's elected student assembly (the WSA) debated a petition to revoke funding to the University's official newspaper, the Wesleyan Argus. Signed by 147 students and faculty, the petition arose in response to an opinion article published in the newspaper by sophomore Bryan Stascavage...

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The End of the Tour Fails to Capture the Energy of its Subject

(3) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 8:48 PM

I was fretting over how to write about James Ponsoldt's The End of the Tour before the film even began. Starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg as renowned writer David Foster Wallace and Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky respectively, the picture documents Lipsky's four-day interview of Wallace during the closing...

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Ted 2, Seth MacFarlane, and the Age of the Brogressive

(3) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 8:49 AM

Perhaps, I'm just a masochist, but I cannot stop thinking about Ted 2. I've made no bones about my distaste for the film, but it's rare that a film so dumbly vulgar holds my attention for nearly two weeks after its release.

As I continue to marvel at the...

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Ted 2 and the Empty Plea for Equality

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 3:39 PM

There are very few interesting things about Ted 2--Seth McFarlane's follow-up to his 2012 stoner comedy released this past Friday. It's a vulgar and stupid film, lacking any of the charm that saved its predecessor from sinking to the level of Family Guy or McFarlane's western parody A Million Ways...

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"What a Lovely Day": The Radical Potential of Mad Max: Fury Road

(8) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 3:02 PM

"Who killed the world?" asks Mad Max: Fury Road at various points in its runtime. It's a sweeping question and an essential one for the film's brutal beating heart, but unlike a question such as "who watches the watchmen?" there is very little ambiguity here. Rather, like everything that makes...

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Interruption and Rebellion: First Thought's on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 5:35 PM

I didn't sleep last night. Granted, I've had a history of insomnia, so it is not unheard of for me to stay awake until five or six in the morning. Last night, however, was not that sort of aimless wakefulness. No, it was extravagant and intentional.

Last night, Kendrick...

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Purity Ring and Noel Gallagher Suffer the Sophomore Slump

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 6:32 PM

Another Eternity - Purity Ring

"If it's not broke, don't fix it": so the saying goes. This seems to have been the guiding principle behind Another Eternity, the second studio album from Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring. Formed in 2010, the group consists of Megan James and Corin Roddick. In...

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A Late Review of Selma

(2) Comments | Posted January 23, 2015 | 3:27 PM

Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, is a movie of textures: the thin cloth of blouses and rough wool of suits; the thick lattice of veins beneath cracked skin and the glimmering rivulets of blood and sweat; the cold classical imperiousness of marble, the grating patchwork of tarmac, the rust and...

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Mockingjay and the Price of Violence in Popular Fiction

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2014 | 2:51 AM

This Friday, Mockingjay: Part 1 -- the third film in the cinematic tetralogy based on Suzanne Collins' trio of dystopian Young Adult novels, and the first based on that trilogy's concluding chapter -- premiered in theaters around the United States. It's a film that brings with it quite a bit...

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Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre After Forty Years

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 5:51 PM

At their core movies are a visceral art form -- fueled by a sensory appreciation and fusion of a multitude of other disciplines. Certainly, film has the potential and the inclination to take shape around a number of other tenets and considerations -- narrative, theme, point of view -- but...

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Steven Spielberg's 'Jaws': A Reappraisal

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 11:19 AM

June 20th, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg's classic thriller Jaws (released June 20, 1975, and based of Peter Benchley's 1974 novel of the same name) -- a picture that many consider to be the first modern summer blockbuster. On Martha's Vineyard, however, where the...

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Art, Mental Illness and Frances Bean Cobain

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 1:17 PM

A little under two weeks ago Lana Del Rey was interviewed by The Guardian. The resulting post was titled "Lana Del Rey: 'I wish I was dead already,'" after one of the pop star's more provocative quotations. In the interview Del Rey spoke specifically about Kurt Cobain, which...

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Defense Against Offense: The Reality of 'Trolling' and Its Impact

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 11:10 PM

It's an oft-repeated adage of Internet usage that you're not supposed to take anything seriously. When someone says something inflammatory, you're to chock it up to the violent privilege of anonymity and move along. Don't worry: it's just a joke. Chill out: no one would say that in "real life."...

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Drop Everything Now: In Defense of Taylor Swift

(13) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 4:06 PM

When it comes to music criticism, it seems as though pop and country are often deemed the easiest targets. Ask a random passerby what sort of music they listen to, and there's a nine out of ten chance that they'll reply with something along the lines of, "anything but country"....

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A Review of 'Blue Ruin'

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2014 | 3:18 PM

In the universe of the action film, revenge is the ultimate motivator for violence. For years, cinema has turned to it as a and reliable catalyst for conflict, relying on the simple morality and charged empathy that stories of retribution carry on their shoulders as a way to elevate the...

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