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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Culture Corner with Nahima Shaffer

The Arts Desks’ weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows

Television: “Queen of the South” 

As with most TV shows, I found “Queen of the South” while looking for something to watch on Netflix. I’ve been hooked ever since. The USA Network drama-series is an adaptation of the bestselling Arturo Pérez-Reverte novel of the same name. The series stars Alice Braga as Teresa Mendoza, whose life changes drastically when she falls in love with a member of a successful Mexican drug cartel. After his murder, she finds herself wanted by the head of the cartel while also working as a drug mule for his wife’s operations in Dallas, Tx. Caught between the cross-fires of the couple’s power-grabbing rivalry, Teresa quickly rises to start her own drug empire, but not without sacrifice. Overall, the show is dramatic, action-packed and romance-filled. 

Movie: “Love Jones” 

When I heard “Love Jones” was going to be added to Netflix, I was super excited. It’s very rare for me to enjoy or even care to watch romantic comedies, but “Love Jones” is one of those exceptions. The 1997 film directed by Theodore Witcher chronicles the love story of Darius (played by Larenz Tate) and Nina (played by Nia Long). Darius, an aspiring photographer, and Nina, an aspiring writer, meet one night at a Chicago jazz club. As their instant connection blooms, the couple faces doubts about the seriousness of their relationship. Things become even more shaky between the two when Nina heads to New York to mend things with her ex-fiance, leaving Darius to date other women. The film blends the art of poetry, photography and cinema visually and scripturally as it tells Darius and Nina’s complicated love story. It’s real yet romanticized in a way that a lot of rom-coms aren’t.

Album: “Chixtape 5” by Tory Lanez

Tory Lanez released his highly anticipated “Chixtape 5” album earlier this month. “Chixtape 5” is the fifth and latest installment of his mixtape series, known for remixes of old-school Rhythm and Blues songs. This time, Tory Lanez chose to focus exclusively on flipping early 2000s R&B hits. With features from Snoop Dogg, Mya, Ludacris, T-Pain, Fabolous and more, the album is sure to put you in your feels. With remixes of songs like Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s “Beautiful,” T-Pain’s “Sprung,” or Chris Brown’s “Take You Down,” the album is really an ode to the early 2000s with a modern edge. What’s even better than taking these older songs and remixing them is that in almost every case, Tory Lanez was able to get the original artists on the songs. Overall, “Chixtape 5” is a monumental step in segmenting the series’ legacy and perpetuity. 

Book: “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” by J.K Rowling 

Ahh, the holidays! People turn to comfort food, fuzzy warm blankets and their favorite holiday movies. Personally, I’ve been revisiting my favorite book and movie series of all time: “Harry Potter.” I’ve been listening to the books again via Audible and wanted to give a shoutout to my favorite of the series: “The Half-Blood Prince.” I find that the plot becomes especially exciting in this sixth book of the series when the overarching narrative starts to really pick up. Set during Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, the book delves into the past of his nemesis Lord Voldemort and Harry’s preparation to overcome him. In this book particularly, readers get more insight into Voldemort’s development. Also, the book focuses quite a bit on Harry and Albus Dumbledore’s relationship as they set off to hunt for Horcruxes (dark magic soul-splitting objects). I like this book because the overall tone is much darker than it is in the rest of the series. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this as a first introduction to the series, but for fans who are looking to pick it back up, it’s always my personal go-to before engaging in the final novel and films.

Written by: Nahima Shaffer — arts@theaggie.org


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