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'The Post' effectively defends the importance of a free press

"Democracy Dies in Darkness." This phrase was written by U.S. appeals court judge Damon J. Keith and used by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in reference to his reporting on the Watergate scandal. Today, it serves as the Post's slogan as well as the theme for Steven Spielberg's new movie "The Post," which tells the story of one of the paper's most pivotal moments in history.


The Five Best Films of 2017

I watched around 200 films this year. Most of them were, admittedly, ones I already loved, but a few were new ones released in 2017. Here are my five favorites, ranked in no particular order -- after "Lady Bird" (which is, indisputably, number one).


The Best TV Episodes of 2017

Every end-of-year "best-of" television list you read over the next week or so is going to begin with a disclaimer. It's impossible to narrow it down to just five, or 10, or 25 of the best shows, critics will lament, citing the ever-sprawling world of Peak TV, when it's simply impractical for any one writer to watch enough of the shows out there to produce a fair ranking. Even if I had seen them all, they'll add, there's so much good TV out there these days that I can't possibly make room for all the episodes that deserve a spot on my precious list.


Ed Sheeran and Beyonce create a 'Perfect' duet

Last Thursday night, Ed Sheeran surprised fans by releasing a duet of his song "Perfect," featuring Beyonce. It's a beautifully unexpected hit from a well-matched pair. Originally written and recorded by Sheeran, the remix does a wonderful job of showcasing Beyonce's vocal ability and expressing her personal experiences.


'Utopia:' Bjoerk finds love in an alien place

Bjoerk may be from Iceland, but she wants us to believe she's from somewhere much farther away. Her aesthetic is anything but consistent; the only aspect tying together her alt-rock band The Sugarcubes, genre-hopping early solo projects and her more thematic and ambitious post-1997 projects is her unmistakable vocal delivery.


TMS predicts the 2018 Grammy nominations

With music's biggest night just around the corner, the Recording Academy is set to announce the nominations for next year's Grammy Awards today. The country's second-most-watched awards show will celebrate its 60th anniversary Jan. 28, honoring the industry's top talents. While the list of this year's nominees has not yet been released, I expect the Grammys to honor artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and SZA.


Chance the Rapper livens up 'SNL' with hosting debut

Chance the Rapper made his hosting debut on "Saturday Night Live" this past Saturday. By stripping down to his underwear and spoofing Boyz II Men in a soulful tribute to President Barack Obama, Chance showed off his hosting and comedic stills to the "SNL" audience. Joined by musical guest Eminem, the rapper proved himself to be a multi-talented act as a musician and comedian.


Selena Gomez makes a triumphant return at the American Music Awards

After a kidney transplant this summer and a public breakup with The Weeknd, Selena Gomez made a triumphant return Sunday night at the American Music Awards. In a knockout performance of her hit song "Wolves," with EDM artist Marshmello, Gomez appeared onstage in a ripped white nightgown and a bleached blonde bob, covered in bruises and fake blood, as if she had really been "running with the wolves"


'Thor: Ragnarok' is a zany, hilarious joyride

Early in "Thor: Ragnarok," the third film entry of the Norse god's solo adventures, Loki (disguised as Odin) is watching a play featuring fake Thor, Loki and Odin. It's an exact recreation of Loki's fake death scene in "Thor: The Dark World," rendered hilarious here by surprising celebrity cameos. Director Taika Waititi is sending a clear message: this is not like the underwhelming, super-serious movies that came before. In fact, it's exactly the opposite.


'Mindhunter' goes inside the minds of the damned

What is evil? Like any philosophical argument, the question of what evil is, how it manifests itself and how it is best dealt with can descend quickly into abstraction. That said, no matter your views on good and evil, it can be objectively agreed upon that within the darkest corners of our society there exist men and women who personify the concept. Men like Adolf Hitler confound us with their propensity for committing evil. ISIS, the North Korean government and white nationalist terrorists are boogeymen haunting the newsrooms of CNN and MSNBC.


Taylor Swift reclaims her 'Reputation'

Last Friday, the world stood still for Taylor Swift fans as she released her highly anticipated album "Reputation." Upon first listening to the album, it's clear that "Reputation" is a vengeful masterpiece and a vast difference from her earlier work on albums like "1989" and "Fearless." While her songs' subject matters haven't really changed, Swift finds ways to innovate her sound while remaining true to herself.


'Walking Dead' season eight premiere might be the show's saving grace

Everything has an expiration date -- my debit card, the milk in my fridge and, according to some, AMC's hit TV series "The Walking Dead." "Mercy," the show's season eight premiere, aired this past Sunday, and I'm sad to say it was met with mostly negative responses. It seems the promise of this season's theme, all-out war, was not enough to rouse people's support for Rick's fight against Negan and continued battle with zombies. I believe some lack of interest stems from the show's shift from an apocalyptic to post-apocalyptic nature. Gone are the adrenaline-filled plot lines in which walkers were the main sources of danger and every threat seemed like the end of the world. We're now firmly in the realm of human conflict over completely rebuilding a society and the battle over who gets to run that society. For this reason, many have written off the show. But all hope is not lost. "Mercy" incorporates three main things that remind us why TWD is still worth watching:


What to watch on Netflix this Halloween

The old monster flick, slasher or Disney Channel Original Movie not doing it for you? Thankfully, we always have Netflix to turn to in times of need. The streaming service has recently released a few new horror efforts just in time for your spooky movie nights.


'Stranger Things 2:' the cast has new hair now!

Looking for nine hours of television to get you in the spooky spirit? Fear not, "Stranger Things" is back with bigger hair for Steve, teeth for Dustin and traumatic flashbacks followed by slug vomiting for Will Byers!

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