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Silver Screen


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

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 11/04/17 4:16am

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 8:46am

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 7:48am

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 8:45pm

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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Rory Kennedy and the zone of discomfort

By Kathryn Sanders Last updated: 10/27/17 11:38pm

After filmmaker Rory Kennedy screened her new documentary, “Take Every Wave” about the life of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, in New York recently, a man approached her and said he’d finally go into the ocean, even though he was terrified of the water and had never been in it before. “So, for him, that’s his wave,” Kennedy said. The documentary shows Hamilton challenging himself to ride bigger waves and take intense risks, constantly pushing himself to overcome fear. His ardor for ...

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‘The Paris Opera’ hits all the right notes

By Daniella Ignacio Last updated: 10/27/17 11:34pm

Imagine a major terrorist attack happening on the day of your final dress rehearsal, for the first production of the season at one of your theaters, the Bastille Opera. Do you go on with the show? How do you address the situation? How can you push aside your grief and tell a story? Stéphane Lissner, the director of L’Opera National de Paris, decided that the final dress for the ballet “La Báyadere” would go on despite the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks that occurred that morning, and ...

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The scars that can’t be seen, shown on the big screen

By Cordilia James Last updated: 10/27/17 4:56pm

Explosions. Blood. Pain. For many of those serving in the military, war leaves scars that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Director Jason Hall’s “Thank You for Your Service” documents these scars through the emotional story of three soldiers after their service in Iraq. Miles Teller portrays Adam Schumann, one of the soldiers who struggles to reconnect with his family alongside his fight with post-traumatic stress disorder. The film gives audiences a glimpse into the daily lives of military ...

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‘Thank You for Your Service’ gives audiences an idea what it’s like to have PTSD

By Cordilia James Last updated: 10/27/17 4:52pm

Jason Hall’s directorial debut, “Thank You for Your Service,” allows audience members to experience trauma alongside a strong cast that successfully portrays the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder. Nonetheless, a rushed resolution makes the story feel incomplete.The plot follows Schumann (Miles Teller), Solo (Beulah Koale) and Waller (Joe Cole), as they struggle with PTSD following their involvement in the Iraq war. The men look forward to reuniting with their families, hoping that it ...

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‘Suburbicon’ is as much a mess as it is a good time

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 10/27/17 4:02am

American cinema has a long tradition of taking the quiet suburban utopia and portraying it as a living hell for its inhabitants. It can be seen across all genres, from the drama “American Beauty,” where a father is tormented by his failing marriage and his lust for his teenage daughter's best friend, to the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” where the seemingly mundane lives of a group of friends are turned into a literal -- you guessed it -- nightmare. “Suburbicon” continues ...

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A disturbing picture of guilt: ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ startles and unsettles

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 10/27/17 4:02am

Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the most adventurous directors working today, consistently making films that are willing to unsettle an audience -- most recently “The Lobster,” an expectedly twisted but unexpectedly romantic take on modern love. Lanthimos’ latest film, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” takes a much darker turn. Colin Farrell teams up with Lanthimos once again, this time as Steven, one of the best cardiac surgeons in the greater Cincinnati area. His pleasant life is upturned ...

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'Dina' tests the audience with a sweet, unconventional love story

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 10/23/17 1:43am

Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles have created a sweet and interesting look into the relationship of Dina and Scott, a couple who are both afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome. The camera disappears behind the couple’s daily interactions with each other and the world around them as the documentary follows their relationship from the day that they move in together to their marriage and ends with them returning from their honeymoon. The camera is almost too good, constantly being one step ahead ...

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