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Silver Screen

'Aardvark’ is a sporadically interesting but ultimately dull drama

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 04/13/18 9:05am

“Aardvark” tells the story of Josh Norman (Zachary Quinto), as he starts to see his therapist Emily (Jenny Slate) again after finding out his brother, Craig (Jon Hamm) is back in town for the first time in 16 years. Josh starts to reveal to Emily that he’s seen his brother on many occasions, masquerading as different people in his life. What Josh doesn’t know is that Emily is dating his brother. The film teases some interesting insights about how we deal with loneliness and how everyone ...

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Joaquin Phoenix gives a career defining role in 'You Were Never Really Here'

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 04/13/18 9:00am

There is nothing particularly boundary-pushing about “You Were Never Really Here,” the newest effort by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay. It is a relatively procedural revenge film chronicling a man with a particular set of skills rescuing a damsel from the clutches of a group of men with sinister intentions (sound familiar?).However, what makes this feature truly incredible is Ramsay’s willingness to explore the psyche of the anti-hero in lieu of the conventional trappings of the subgenre. ...

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'Itzhak' is a portrait of charismatic, world renowned musician

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 04/11/18 4:35pm

Music has always been a major part of our interaction with the world. It fills our music halls, our campuses, our workplaces and even our homes. Popular artists like Lady Gaga and Kendrick Lamar have built personas and entire brands around their names. Even members of famous bands like Harry Styles of One Direction and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 have name recognition. This is a facet of celebrity that is sorely missed for classical musicians, however. With the exception of the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, ...

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‘Blockers’ is a teenage Rom-Com, heavy on the ‘Com’

By Grace George Last updated: 04/09/18 3:09pm

“Blockers” is what you would get if you let Seth Rogen write the script for an original Disney Channel movie. The comedy follows three parents on their journey to prevent their daughters from losing their virginities on prom night. Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) encounter every possible obstacle in trying to stop their kids before it’s too late, and these pitfalls add to the hilarity and absurdity of the film. As one of the producers of “Blockers,” ...

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'A Quiet Place' creates a chilling post-apocalyptic horror through its creative sound design

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 04/06/18 6:34pm

In “A Quiet Place,” John Krasinski -- most famous for his role in “The Office” -- decides to take his first plunge into the horror genre as director and leading actor. What results is a compelling exploration of one of the most crucial elements involved in the making of a successful horror film: sound design. The film follows a small family as they navigate life in a rural, post-apocalyptic -- perhaps post-alien invasion -- landscape. It is clear from the initial trailer as well as the ...

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'Lean on Pete' is a touching coming-of-age film about a boy and his horse who set out on a journey across state lines

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 04/06/18 6:33pm

“Lean on Pete,” based on the book by Willy Vlautin, is writer and director Andrew Haigh’s newest film, which tells the coming-of-age story of Charley Thompson, a 15-year-old kid who befriends a race horse and sets out on a journey to find his family and stability in life. Thompson, played by the excellent Charlie Plummer, has just moved to Portland, Oregon after his single father, played by  Travis Fimmel (“Vikings”), found a job there. Charley, tries to be positive and cheerful ...

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Student filmmakers’ environmental documentary shown at film festival

By Katya Podkovyroff Lewis Last updated: 04/05/18 5:14am

On March 27, “Healing Baltimore's Harbor: A Pipe Dream?” was shown in the Doyle Forman Theater, bringing students and Washington, D.C. locals to hear more about Baltimore’s unsafe harbor. Students in Professor Mike English’s “Environmental Filmmaking for Public Television” class created the documentary examining Baltimore’s aged and crumbling sewage and stormwater infrastructure that continues to pollute the city’s harbor. Previously screened at the DC Environmental Film Festival, ...

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Discover a messy Wall Street scandal in 'The China Hustle'

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 03/30/18 3:48pm

The world was profoundly affected by the stock market crash of 2008, and Americans are still feeling the consequences. However, since 2008, Chinese markets have appeared to be unaffected and even improving in some cases. Documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein’s “The China Hustle” explores a loophole that may have allowed Chinese companies to exploit world markets. While it has a riveting premise, the documentary falls into the same trap from which many economic and Wall Street-centric films ...

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Comedy from the Truth: Armando Iannucci on the current state of satire and his latest film 'The Death of Stalin'

By Jacob Robbins Last updated: 03/23/18 6:27pm

Director and British Statist Armando Iannucci finds himself in a weird predicament. His latest film “The Death of Stalin” has been a sensational critical hit, with The New Yorker magazine heralding it as “the most accurate picture of life under Soviet terror that anyone has ever committed to film.” Inevitable connections have been drawn between his comedic portrayal of Soviet Russia and current political situations domestically and abroad. The problem? He started work on the film two ...

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‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ is mindless fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 03/23/18 4:52am

Taking place 10 years after the events of the first “Pacific Rim” film, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” follows Jake Pentecost ( John Boyega), son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), who gets pulled back into the military to teach and prepare the new generation of Jaeger pilots, those who command the massive mecha-robots that face the otherworldly monsters. In the event that a new threat emerges, the team would work together to save the planet Director Steven S. DeKnight (“Spartacus” and ...

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‘Ramen Heads’ is an enjoyable jaunt targeted at a niche fanbase

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 03/23/18 4:50am

People often take for granted things that are a part of their everyday lives and ignore their meaningful origins in lieu of more pressing details like jobs and family. “Ramen Heads,” named after the group of die-hard foodies that make ramen a cornerstone of their lives, is the first film from TV documentary director Koki Shigeno. It delves into an important aspect of everyday life in Japan that may get overlooked: ramen. The first 40 minutes of the documentary act as a biographical introduction ...

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'The Death of Stalin' is a deeply dark and delightful satire

By Jacob Robbins Last updated: 03/16/18 4:14pm

We live in strange times, don’t we? Where alternative facts are nearly indistinguishable from the truth. Where our leaders do and say things that often leave us scratching our heads. Where our presidential cabinets have become a revolving door of characters. That’s what makes “The Death of Stalin” so wonderfully funny and reflective. Its timeliness reminds us of the humor and absurdity of our present political conditions—and perhaps the horror we see in the face of it. The latest ...

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Intentional or not, “Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy” is a great bedtime watch

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 03/16/18 3:04pm

In a world full of videos of crackling fireplaces, crickets chirping and ethereal soundtracks played over a night sky, viewers and listeners have plenty of resources for finding sleep aids online. However, these videos usually have no substantial purpose besides lulling the listener to sleep. In creating a documentary about the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, director and cinematographer Thomas Riedelsheimer has managed to achieve a middle ground between an engaging artist profile and a sleep-inducing, ...

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The best Oscar-winning movies you probably forgot about

By Jacob Robbins Last updated: 03/05/18 9:27pm

It’s those five words that have us on the edge of our seats every year: “and the Oscar goes to…” We await in gleeful anticipation for who will carry that golden statuette. Will it be a surprise? Will it finally be someone who should’ve gotten it three movies ago? Will it be the newcomer? The hype for these moments reach massive levels of excitement, yet after those five words are uttered, after the acceptance speech, after either the vows to see the awarded performance or cries ...

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'Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story' is a sobering documentary long overdue

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 03/02/18 5:45pm

“Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” tells the tale of World War II inventor and actress  Hedy Lamarr, a tale Lamarr spent years trying to share. Directed by Alexandra Dean, the documentary focuses particularly on Lamarr’s revolutionary invention of frequency hopping, which helped the Allies create a new remote-controlled torpedo. Throughout the years Lamarr never received credit for her work until the end of her life, and never got paid by the U.S. military for her patent. This was because ...

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“Death Wish” will leave you wishing just that

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 03/02/18 4:47am

Horror director and producer Eli Roth has had an interesting career spanning two decades. From cult classics like “Cabin Fever” and “Hostel,” as well as an extremely memorable performance as the “Bear Jew” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” Roth has had both highs and lows, mostly earning a reputation as a niche director who makes gruesome, polarizing films. In a move away from his traditional role as director and producer of violent horror flicks, Roth has decided ...

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The Eagle’s Guide to the 2018 Academy Award Nominated Short Films

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 03/02/18 4:13am

The Academy Awards this year have a very diverse set of films across all categories, with the short film section being no exception. Here is The Eagle’s guide to the Oscar-nominated shorts broken down by category (“Animated,” “Live-Action” and “Documentary”) and listed in alphabetical order within those categories. Animated “Achoo” In this charming short, a runtish dragon competes with two of his larger, stronger and more talented peers in a competition to impress a human ...

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The Eagle's guide to this year's Best Picture nominees

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 03/02/18 4:10am

An outstanding year in filmmaking has resulted in no clear front-runner. The months leading up to the 90th Academy Awards have been tumultuous for the film industry. The reckoning Hollywood is facing with many of its prominent male figures as a result of the #MeToo movement has created a unique dynamic this award season. This year has been significant for the viewers and industry insiders as they revealed an underbelly of sexual harassment and abuse. Films such as “The Post” and “Dunkirk” ...

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‘Annihilation’ has its reach exceed its grasp of horror sci-fi

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 02/23/18 7:50am

"Annihilation,” Alex Garland’s much-anticipated follow-up to his smash hit “Ex Machina” is in theaters this weekend. Trailers have teased the film as sci-fi horror with world-ending stakes, a seemingly odd turn from “Ex Machina.” In the end, “Annihilation” is a slow burn sci-fi thriller pondering over gender status, humanity and creation. Aside from the hype around Garland’s second time in the director’s chair, the film has garnered some press for its release structure ...

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Put down the board games and go watch “Game Night”

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 02/23/18 7:49am

It’s probably safe to say that traditions, no matter how celebrated, can become dull after endless repetition. This is the case for the characters in “Game Night,” a film co-directed by the writers of “Horrible Bosses” (Jonathan Goldstein) and more recently “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (both John Francis Daley and Goldstein). When the subjects of the film decide to shake things up a little bit, it drastically backfires, sending the gang into a frenzied adventure when one of their friends ...

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