Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, November 18, 2017

Silver Screen


‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is a masterful tale of grief and redemption

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 11/17/17 6:14am

In his 2008 cult hit “In Bruges,” writer and director Martin McDonagh depicts two hitmen out on a contract in Bruges, Belgium. While the film never strays far from the macabre inevitability that someone is going to be murdered, the relationship between the two hitmen is akin to that of an old married couple trying to salvage their marriage by taking a vacation. McDonagh takes this formula, combining morbidness and hilarity, and expands on it in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” ...

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Save yourself from seeing ‘Justice League’

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 11/17/17 4:00am

“Justice League” opens with a smartphone video recording Superman. Children behind the camera hastily ask him questions about his sigil and stumble into their ending question, “What’s your favorite part of planet Earth?” Henry Cavill freezes and ponders his newly adopted homeland, he looks down and smiles -- before he can give us an answer the screen cuts to black.His answer is more than likely something about hope or human resilience, maybe his answer is nothing, because Clark Kent’s ...

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'Murder on the Orient Express' only makes it as far as its star power can take it

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 11/13/17 12:57am

When Quentin Tarantino’s “ The Hateful Eight” came out in 2015, it was lauded as a grand success. Tarantino was able to craft a unique murder mystery spanning 167 minutes with only one major set piece. For all intents and purposes, it was a cinematic triumph. While “Murder on the Orient Express” seems to take note of Tarantino’s success, it fails to even come close. A remake of the 1974 film of the same name, “Murder on the Orient Express” follows detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth ...

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‘God's Own Country’ is an impactful take on a familiar story

By Maddi Chilton Last updated: 11/11/17 6:37pm

“God’s Own Country” has been compared quite a lot to “Brokeback Mountain,” as they’re both meandering tales about finding forbidden love in the countryside. They both cross the entire spectrum of emotion from sweet to tragic and back again, but “God’s Own Country” deviates from the picturesque mountains of Wyoming, instead taking place in the gray, cloudy British countryside. It’s a strong debut for director Francis Lee, who drew partially from his own life as a young man ...

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The Wonder Woman effect: Two AU film professors weigh in

By Kathryn Sanders Last updated: 11/09/17 8:02pm

“Wonder Woman” was a smash hit at the box office, but is that enough to permanently change things for women in Hollywood?The film made $103.1 million in its U.S. opening weekend and has since grossed over $800 million globally, as of October 2017. It was not only a financial success, but a critical one as well. The Rotten Tomatoes audience score clocked in at 89 percent and Metacritic lists a score of 76, with “generally favorable” reviews.And that’s not all. With Patty Jenkins as its ...

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'Stranger Things 2' brings much of the same joy back, but loses some of the magic

By Griffin Rowell Last updated: 11/06/17 5:24pm

The gang from Hawkins, Indiana is back; a year older and a little bit wiser as they take on a new, but familiar challenge, in the second season of Netflix’s ‘80s love letter, “Stranger Things.” For all intents and purposes, the latest season, which was released on Oct. 27, is a sequel. Many of the themes and motifs that run throughout these nine episodes are ones that you would see pop up in one of the great, or not so great, movie sequels from ‘80s pop culture behemoths like John Carpenter ...

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'Thor: Ragnarok' owns its personality as one of Marvel’s unique films

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 11/04/17 12:16am

Marvel is an unstoppable machine in the movie business, with three films scheduled to come out every year until 2020. Each one is expected to be a surefire hit due to a devoted, widespread following, including the newest addition to Thor’s solo ventures. Marvel films have a generally positive track record but despite every film being a box office hit, there are flaws that exist. “Thor: Ragnarok” is the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and has already made over $100 ...

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‘Novitiate’ depicts women grappling with their faith in a time of transition

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 11/03/17 4:46am

The Vatican II era of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1960s was a watershed moment for the faith. It marked the transition from the archaic -- but time-honored -- traditions of the church to more accepting, liberal policies under Pope John XIII. In “Novitiate,” writer and director Margaret Betts explores how these changes impact a group of young women who decide to devote their lives to God, as well as a veteran of the faith who feels as though the church is leaving her behind. The film ...

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‘Blade of the Immortal’ balances fantasy and gruesome reality

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 11/03/17 3:48am

Takashi Miike has directed a long list of films ranging from action dramas to comedy musicals. One of his newest films, “Blade of the Immortal,” adds to Miike’s list of violent action dramas as it depicts the gruesome and emotional tale of Manji (Takuya Kimura), an immortal swordsman, and Rin Asano (Hana Sugisaki), a girl who was forced to watch her father’s murder and mother’s rape. She seeks out Manji to help her take revenge on a group of murderous swordsmen. Takashi Miike has succeeded ...

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'Wonderstruck' is just not wondrous enough

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 11/02/17 4:45pm

Directed by Todd Haynes and based on the book by Brian Selznick, “Wonderstruck” tells the stories of two deaf children as they go on separate adventures in different time periods to search for something missing in their familial lives. Unfortunately, both tales aren’t all that compelling to begin with and the film has a tendency to meander, unable to balance the full complexities of both characters.   Rose, one of the main characters in the film, has her heading out to New York sometime ...

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