Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, July 18, 2019

Silver Screen


‘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 ...

Read More


‘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 ...

Read More


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 ...

Read More


'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 ...

Read More


Tyler Perry’s 'Boo 2!' will have you on the floor laughing

By Leanna Faulk Last updated: 10/21/17 8:17pm

Tyler Perry first introduced Madea in 1999 during the Atlanta screening of “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” It wasn’t his initial decision to play the character but after an actress fell through, he had to step in because the show must go on. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween is the 14th studio movie where Perry worked as a director, producer, writer and actor. The original film, “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” recieved mixed reviews from critics and has a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes.  The ...

Read More


Sleeper Oscar pick ‘Only the Brave’ salutes firefighters and their everyday heroism

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 10/21/17 8:11pm

“Only the Brave” could not have been released at a more timely moment. As wildfires destroy communities across northern California every day, it is important to remember the burden that those who fight these fires carry, and the sacrifices they are willing to make. “Only the Brave” is a beautifully shot love letter to those who risk their lives to ensure the safety of their communities. Its characters are as riveting as its plot, only reinforcing the film’s dramatic conclusion and making ...

Read More


‘Take Every Wave’ shows the ocean as a place of truth and honesty

By Kathryn Sanders Last updated: 10/18/17 6:07pm

In the opening scenes of “Take Every Wave,” a new documentary film about big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, we see Hamilton checking out El Nino-influenced monster waves in Hawaii. He is preparing to surf some of the biggest waves he’s ever seen. “I’ve been waiting a lifetime to ride this thing out here,” Hamilton says to a friend on the phone. After this opening sequence, the film shifts to Hamilton’s life, chronologically. From his mother’s pregnancy with him in San Francisco, ...

Read More


'The Pathological Optimist' delves into origins of Anti-Vaxxer movement

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 10/16/17 2:19am

The anti-vaccination movement is one of the most discussed ─ and disputed ─ topics in popular medicine today. Over the course of five years, filmmaker Miranda Bailey takes her viewers into the home of the man who is credited for sparking the controversy ─ Dr. Andrew Wakefield. In 1998, Wakefield published a paper with several other colleagues in the British Medical Journal drawing a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism in children.The paper resulted in a miasma ...

Read More


John Carroll Lynch reminisces about his experiences with Harry Dean Stanton

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 10/11/17 11:19pm

John Carroll Lynch sat nestled at the conference room below the Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown. He just flew in from Boston to promote his new film “Lucky ,” mere days after the passing of the film’s star and legendary actor, Harry Dean Stanton. While playing with his glasses on the wooden conference table, Lynch reflected on the first time he met Harry Dean Stanton. “It was at a bar, Dantanna’s, where he would go there at least every Thursday, smoke cigarettes and drink tequila outside,” ...

Read More


'Blade Runner 2049' nearly matches the original film

By Ben Foster Last updated: 10/09/17 3:33pm

Denis Villeneuve is no rookie when it comes to making movies. With a track record that includes “Enemy,” “Prisoners,” “Sicario” and “Arrival,” I wasn’t worried that he would drop the ball on the sequel to one of my all-time favorite films: “Blade Runner.” In fact, I was ecstatic that Villeneuve had been given creative control over the film instead of Ridley Scott, the director of the original “Blade Runner,” as Scott’s modern films have left audiences disappointed time ...

Read More


‘Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House’ is timely but flawed

By David Steele Last updated: 10/09/17 4:50am

“Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” seems to prove that for Hollywood, timing can be everything. Interjecting itself neatly into the contemporary debate over the morality of leaks, this account of Mark Felt’s ─ popularly known as “Deep Throat” ─ famous leaks attempts to establish a historical precedent for the noble leaker. Unfortunately, if it weren’t for the critical importance of its subject matter, the film would not be nearly as satisfying. “The Man Who ...

Read More


'The King’s Choice' is a humanizing yet flawed glimpse into World War II

By Brandon Ermer Last updated: 10/06/17 7:10pm

The Second World War was a watershed moment for the world, and since the war’s conclusion in 1945, it has been adapted to the screen from many perspectives: from the bravado and valiance of American soldiers shown in historical fiction like “Fury” and “Inglourious Basterds”, to the sobering tragedy and triumphant heroism in films based off of true events like “Schindler’s List” and “Flags of our Fathers”. “The King’s Choice” finds its place among the latter, although its ...

Read More


'The Florida Project' is a clear window into another lifestyle

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 10/06/17 1:22pm

Sean Baker continues his trend of directing dramatic, directionless films that serve as a window to an American lifestyle or culture that mainstream media rarely cover. In his previous movie, “Tangerine,” he focuses on two black, transgender prostitutes working in a very dangerous neighborhood. That high intensity film is offset completely by his latest film, “The Florida Project.” Prepare to laugh and cry at the innocence of these children as you walk around with them in their rundown ...

Read More


'American Made' lives up to its title, but lacks in precision

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 10/03/17 5:50pm

Tom Cruise, no matter what his personal life holds, is a bonafide, big box office movie star. Even his latest film, The Mummy, which was a critically dismissed domestic flop but boomed in China, managed to gross over $400 million. While “American Made” may be the same case, Cruise displays his ability to haul in any viewer’s attention.Doug Liman helms “American Made,” based on the true story of Barry Seal (Cruise), a commercial airbus pilot turned drug-running, reconnaissance-photo-taking ...

Read More


Harry Dean Stanton isn’t feeling too 'Lucky' in John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut

By Ali Almutairi Last updated: 09/29/17 5:00pm

The pivotal question running through my mind during the first act of “Lucky” was the following: did director John Carroll Lynch’s film merely feature Harry Dean Stanton, or was the film in fact a swan song about the iconic character actor?The film explores the life of an unassuming man named Lucky, played by Stanton. Lucky goes through the same routine every day: he wakes up, smokes a cigarette, does his morning exercises and heads out to do his daily errands. His life has seemingly been this ...

Read More


'Rebel in the Rye' misses capturing J.D. Salinger

By Toni Tileva Last updated: 09/17/17 7:29pm

Director Danny Strong offers a tepid biopic riff on the 2013 documentary Salinger in “Rebel in the Rye.” The film explores the 1950s, around Salinger’s writing of “The Catcher in the Rye,” whose place in the pantheon of great American novels is indelible. Holden Caulfield, the novel’s protagonist, gave a voice to the disaffection and confusion of modern living and his condemnation of all things fake rendered the book timeless and dearly loved. The main issue with “Rebel in the Rye” ...

Read More


'American Assassin' is another spy action movie, but worse

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 09/15/17 8:49pm

Michael Cuesta directs the film adaptation of the New York Times bestseller, “American Assassin.” The action novel, written by Vince Flynn, received an incredible amount of praise from both critics and audiences, so it is not any surprise that Hollywood has decided to turn it into another action movie. However, this adaptation takes the mindless formula of a spy action movie to a whole new level─and not in a good way.The movie begins with Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) watching his fiancee die ...

Read More


'Mother!' is madness in a film reel

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 09/15/17 2:30am

Little was known about “Mother!” leading up to its release, and that is exactly as writer/director Darren Aronofsky wanted. Marketing for the film has been gearing it towards the horror genre, though that is nowhere near what the film truly is.Still, it didn’t prevent the marketing team from producing one of the most memorable trailers in recent history. Use of pizzicato to stir and illicit heightened tension as the trailer ramps up the intensity is original and unnerving. “Mother!” itself ...

Read More


'Good Time' proves to be a wild, eclectic ride

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 09/13/17 8:43pm

“Good Time,” directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (Benny also stars in the film as Nick) tells a one night tale of madness and crime in New York City. After a bank robbery gone wrong, Connie (Robert Pattinson) must get his brother, Nick, out of the dangerous Rikers Island Prison before the night is up. Pattinson has shifted his own career following the “Twilight” series, which sprang him to stardom. He took two years off from acting before his transformative return in David Michôd’s ...

Read More


'It' successfully floats, and so will you

By Toni Tileva Last updated: 09/07/17 11:22pm

Stephen King’s seminal─and wildly popular─tome “It” is newly interpreted by “Mama” writer and director, Andy Muschietti. Unlike the 1990 TV mini-series, this silver screen adaptation focuses on the protagonists’ childhood encounter with the demonic killer-clown Pennywise, leaving the adulthood one for a future sequel. The setting is 1989 in the small town of Derry, Maine. Beneath the bucolic exterior, something dark is stirring in the town’s underbelly─literally, in the sewers, ...

Read More