Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Russo-Young Adapts “The Sun Is Also a Star”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cinema | May 22nd, 2019

Impossibly beautiful lead performers underline the YA fantasy aspects of Ry Russo-Young’s translation of “The Sun Is Also a Star,” based on Nicola Yoon’s bestseller. Russo-Young’s sharp handling of the 2017 adaptation of “Before I Fall” indicates her bona fides in the contemporary teen genre, but the filmmaker struggles to locate the intensity and urgency that fueled her previous feature, despite a plot with a built-in imperative. As star-crossed (potential) lovers cramming a whirlwind courtship into the fleeting hours remaining on a ticking clock, Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton don’t generate the necessary heat to make enough audience members -- of any generation -- swoon.

Throughout the film, and despite numerous attempts to convince us of their against-all-odds compatibility, Shahidi and Melton remain curiously closed off from one another. Both performers are blessed with the physical countenances of catwalk supermodels, but that elusive X-factor Melton’s character Daniel Bae insists is present never shows up for the eager viewer. Daniel, a poet at heart, is the son of South Korean immigrants who expect him to attend Dartmouth to study medicine. Shahidi’s Natasha Kingsley is a Jamaican-born high school student whose residency in New York City is about to end with the deportation of her whole family.

While her parents are resigned to their cruel fate, Natasha chooses to spend her last day in America pursuing last ditch legal efforts to postpone the departure. En route to a meeting with an immigration attorney, a distracted Natasha’s life is saved by Daniel. Daniel, who had been following Natasha since he spotted her satin “Deus Ex Machina” jacket in Grand Central Station, is instantly transformed from pursuer/stalker into guardian angel. He thinks he can convince Natasha to fall in love with him via the set of 36 questions referred to in Mandy Len Catron’s essay “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.”

As a slice of daydream make-believe, we aren’t supposed to scrutinize the nuts and bolts of Natasha’s catastrophic predicament too closely, but it’s certainly a stretch to suspend disbelief enough to accept the series of cute interludes, from Daniel’s coffee shop love pitch to a sultry karaoke rendition of “Crimson and Clover” to a stargazing show at the Hayden Planetarium. Wouldn’t Natasha be more consumed by her overwhelming family crisis? Is she already packed? Strangely, the distractions become the principal spectacle, and “The Sun Is Also a Star” ignores the timely politics of the Trump administration’s draconian and xenophobic orientation to border security and the undocumented.

The movie also misses the mark as an exemplar of the teen film simply because too many hallmarks of the genre are absent. Both “kids” are presented as high school students (Shahidi is currently 19, Melton is currently 28), but their maturity, poise, and independence are more typical of narratives featuring college-age or post-undergraduate characters. Despite entertaining directorial flourishes often accompanied by striking stock footage cutaways -- from Carl Sagan to a history lesson on African American hair care products -- Russo-Young can’t set her hooks into much beyond the postcard images of the Big Apple.

Recently in:

WATFORD CITY – A reported 10-gallon spill of liquid gold at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant in 2015 – just before the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy – could now be renamed as the largest land spill in human…

The 2019 North Dakota Senior Games begin this Thursday, August 15 and will continue through Saturday, August 17. There are 20 events scheduled for the Senior Games, which take place at various locations around Fargo and West Fargo.…

Thursday, August 29, 6-10 p.m.This Skateshop, 625 1st Ave. N, FargoShop vintage, enjoy a complimentary drink, play some vintage board games, VHS movies will be projected on the wall. It’s predicted that it will be an epic night for all!

Editorial

The power of song

by Sabrina Hornung

In this issue David Crosby said, “You know, music is like a lifting force. It makes things better.” Truer words have never been spoken. This week we decided to change things up a bit and offer our readers an exclusive music…

Basing Gun Control On Militia Muskets Is NutsThere was a picture of hundreds of colorful backpacks in the Fargo Forum that were distributed to children at the Fargodome a couple of days ago. It was part of the 21st Annual 2019…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comThe High Plains Reader spoke to Ojata Records and the Dogmajal owner and operator Jeremy Swisher about the ever-growing Grand Forks record store and hotdog shop.HPR: We might as well get the elephant…

If you’ve ever craved an outdoor music festival where you can walk to downtown shops, do yoga or go fishing in between sets, you’re in luck. The Greenway Takeover Festival returns to two stages in the heart of Grand Forks…

By Scott Ecker notharrisonford@gmail.comLast Tuesday I joined many local artists and audience members for Theatre B’s season preview at the Hjemkomst Center. As one of their board members, I see Theatre B regulars very often. …

Arts

‘Local American epics’

by Sabrina Hornung

The US Postal Service recently released a set of stamps celebrating the New Deal era post office murals that were federally commissioned during the Roosevelt administration, though the mural that graces the walls of the New…

The annual mainstage summer musical, produced by Trollwood Performing Arts School and sponsored by Bell Bank, opens Thursday, July 11. This year’s performance is Disney’s “Freaky Friday.” Trollwood Performing Arts…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

If you’re from the region you may have sipped, sampled or caught word of a libation often referred to as “red eye” or “wedding whiskey” at some point. In fact some of our friends of German Russia descent swear by it. If…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights…The purpose of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of woman and man; these rights are liberty, property, security, and…