Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Silver Screen


‘Lady Bird’: on class and place

By Jacob Robbins Last updated: 02/16/18 5:49pm

“I live on the wrong side of the tracks” says Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson ( Saoirse Ronan) in the movie, “Lady Bird.” At first, the comment seems innocuous, a humorous quip that cements the utter quirkiness of our female protagonist. On a second reading, however, it gives more depth to the film; “Lady Bird” is a movie on place and class more than it is about the mother-daughter dynamic. Much has been made in the flashy advertisements on television and social media about “Lady ...

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“Black Panther” is a watershed moment in pop culture

By Jacob Robbins Last updated: 02/16/18 3:37pm

Among conversations on contemporary pop culture, there is a consensus: a lack of representation is certainly holding back important stories from being told. Among conversations on cinema, there is a question: if movies are heralded as the universal and accessible art form than for whom are they accessible to? It is clear that we have reached a fever pitch in our society where the demands for equal representation in film is, perhaps finally, being met with real action. It is not an exaggeration ...

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Top 10 shows to help you relax and de-stress this semester

By Grace George Last updated: 02/15/18 4:20am

In order to maintain sanity between exams and homework, it is essential to take breaks from studying any way you can. Whether you are looking for a laugh or a good mystery, here are a few shows to watch when you want to destress and forget anything that might be weighing you down. “The Office” “The Office” is a classic TV series that will make you laugh at every awkward turn. All nine seasons of this raunchy, easy-to-follow comedy are available on Netflix and no matter how far the characters ...

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A Fantastic Woman is a stunning and vibrant examination into loss

By Jacob Robbins Last updated: 02/10/18 3:37pm

LGBTQ films are having a mainstream moment; from “ Moonlight” to “BPM” to “Call Me By Your Name,” recent audiences have been intrigued and delighted by the portrayal of non-hereto norms on the screen. Enter “A Fantastic Woman,” Chile’s official submission to the 2018 Oscars and front-runner for best foreign film. This film is all at once a meditation on identity and sacrifice, discrimination and acceptance and love and loss. Make no mistake: this is not a love story, but in ...

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Super Bowl LII commercial roundup: Because it’s not all about football, right?

By Anna Donohue Last updated: 02/06/18 12:46am

Sunday night’s Super Bowl LII resulted in a historic win for the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots, drawing in an audience of over a hundred million viewers across the United States. While the game is a big event for sports fans, many of us look forward to another aspect of the evening -- the commercials. Companies shelled out $5 million dollars -- as a baseline -- for a 30-second ad during this year’s Super Bowl coverage, according to a report by Sports Illustrated. For ...

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‘The Shape of Water’ is a human love story between a woman and an amphibian

By Becky Evans Last updated: 12/08/17 9:39am

Guillermo del Toro loves creatures. From the Pale Man in “Pan’s Labyrinth” to the titular character of “Hellboy,” his films have become famous for their inhuman characters. Now, del Toro thinks it is time to give some love back to his creatures. “The Shape of Water” is del Toro’s newest film. It chronicles the star-crossed romance between Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a strong-willed mute woman who works as a cleaner in an underground government lab, and the strange humanoid amphibian ...

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‘Tom of Finland’: A solid biopic that lacks focus

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 12/08/17 8:39am

Directed by Dome Karukoski, this Finnish film tells the real-life story of Touko Laaksonen, more famously known as Tom of Finland, one of the most important and influential gay icons of the 20th century. “Tom of Finland” effectively reveals Touko’s inner frustrations and accomplishments, but lacks the flow and emotional heft necessary to pack a bigger punch. Touko Laaksonen was an artist who drew “homoerotic fetish art” in the latter half of the 20th century, and many of his works became ...

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Gary Oldman delivers an Oscar-worthy performance in an otherwise unremarkable ‘Darkest Hour’

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 12/08/17 7:39am

Something anomalous has happened in filmmaking recently: Two World War II films released concurrently by different directors happened to contain eerily similar subject matter, and managed to complement one another. These films were “Dunkirk” (Christopher Nolan) and “Darkest Hour” (Joe Wright). “Dunkirk” is a harrowing film chronicling the escape of the surrounded British armed forces from the clutches of the Nazis while “Darkest Hour” serves as a biopic of the man who delivered ...

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'The Divine Order' is a charming feminist manifesto

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 12/01/17 6:52am

“In 1971, the world was changing…but here at home, time stood still.” These are the words that open “The Divine Order,” hinting at the world the viewer is stepping into; a world still full of sexism and inequality. Despite the film’s familiar story arc, it is complemented by a dynamic cast, a brisk pace, and impeccable comedic timing that make it one of a kind. After the introduction, which was laced with footage from ‘60s and ‘70s social movements, the viewer is brought ...

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'Roman J. Israel, Esq.' proves Denzel Washington isn’t slowing down anytime soon

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 11/30/17 6:55pm

From Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy comes “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” Denzel Washington stars as a former civil rights lawyer who is in a state of personal crisis. He slowly realizes that the world is not the same as it was when he was young, and that the legal system still does not favor or always help the less fortunate. These brewing thoughts paired with his internal struggle makes the film an effective and enjoyable critique against modern legal institutions, but people may be turned off ...

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Pixar’s ‘Coco’ is a cultural adventure with many twists and turns, but ultimately finds its way to your heart

By Cordilia James Last updated: 11/22/17 5:23am

There are three key elements that come to mind when I think of Pixar movies: creativity, adventure and emotion. Despite minor setbacks, the latest Pixar movie, “ Coco” manages to tackle each element brilliantly, making it a film the whole family can enjoy. The animated film follows the story of Miguel Rivera ( Anthony Gonzalez), a young Mexican boy with dreams of becoming a musician amidst his music-loathing family. Their hatred of music began generations earlier when Miguel’s ...

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'Coco' writer and story supervisor aims to tell a story of Mexican culture the right way

By CORDILIA JAMES/THE EAGLE Last updated: 11/21/17 9:40pm

Back in 2011, after the “Toy Story 3” craze had finally started to settle, Pixar Story Supervisor Jason Katz teamed up with Director Lee Unkrich to brainstorm story ideas for a new world audiences everywhere could enjoy.Both men found themselves fascinated by Mexican culture. Katz in particular had an affinity for Mexican folk art, collecting alebrijes and books on the subject. At last the two came up with the story of a young boy who travels to the “Land of the Dead,” where he learns about ...

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“120 BPM” shows the French ACT UP movement as sex, pain, death, dancing

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 11/20/17 9:43pm

120 Battement Par Minute (Beats Per Minute) is director Robin Campillo’s second major film. The two and a half hour movie discusses many aspects of the French AIDS epidemic in the 1990s through a mostly historical fiction lens with some real documentary found footage. Campillo seems to define the afflicted gay community through an on-screen combination of sex, death, dancing and group solidarity. Even if there is disagreement among the more extreme members of ACT UP, the AIDS awareness group ...

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‘The Room’ star, Jacob Tremblay, does it again with ‘Wonder’

By Leanna Faulk Last updated: 11/18/17 11:01pm

Based on the New York Times bestseller, “Wonder” tells the beautiful story of August “Auggie” Pullman, a 10-year-old boy with an extremely rare facial deformity, attending school for the first time after being homeschooled by his mother all of his life. The film is heart-warming and inspiring -- especially school-aged students. ‘Wonder’ has the capability to really spark change amongst families with children living with facial deformities. Its emotional and honest depictions of love, ...

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

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

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 9:00am

“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 5:57am

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 11:37pm

“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: 11/10/17 1:02am

“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 10:24pm

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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