Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, March 23, 2019

Silver Screen


“The Sense of an Ending” is a beguiling tale about selective history

By Naomi Zeigler Last updated: 03/17/17 1:00pm

It seems inevitable for us that we misremember our own histories. We are, after all, selfish and forgetful beings. And, as a character says in director Ritesh Batra’s “The Sense of an Ending,” “history is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” For Tony, the protagonist of the film, his own recollections - about himself and his past - are challenged when he is unexpectedly inherits money and a diary from his college ...

Read More


"Beauty and the Beast" brings the nostalgia you're looking for

By Elisabeth Holmes Last updated: 03/11/17 3:00pm

Another princess tale has been adapted from the original Disney cartoon to live action film, and in this case, done excellently. “Beauty and the Beast” was both nostalgic and offered some new context to this beloved story.The film begins with a prince being transformed into a beast by a witch when he wouldn’t show her compassion. Then we meet Belle, a young woman living in a small town who rescues her father from the capture of the Beast, but must stay at the Beast’s castle in return. The ...

Read More


"Kong: Skull Island" nails what makes monster movies fun

By Griffin Rowell Last updated: 03/10/17 2:00pm

“Kong: Skull Island” wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, while also setting a new bar for the genre in nearly every aspect of filmmaking: score, cinematography and cultivating likeable, A-list actors with genuine chemistry and charisma.Director Jordan Vogt-Robert, relatively unknown by mainstream audiences, was tasked with managing a nearly $200 million budget, a litany of mega stars and a franchise with a longstanding history with eyes on a crossover series with the “Godzilla” series. ...

Read More


How the Oscars have really changed over the past 20 years

By Zach Vallese Last updated: 03/09/17 2:00pm

The 89th Academy Awards aired on the last Sunday in February and it was a night filled with great speeches, stunning performances and an unforgettable “Steve Harvey-esque” flub. The event has evolved over the last 20 years, keeping pace with natural evolution but also as a result of serious criticism and complaints. While the changes have been welcomed by many of the participants and their fans, inequities seem to persist and the Oscars will likely continue to evolve. It was comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s ...

Read More


"My Life as a Zucchini" makes you want to cry tears of joy and hope

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 03/06/17 12:56am

“My Life as a Zucchini” is a well appreciated break in this oversaturated market of animated children’s movies. The only Oscar-nominated animated film with a PG-13 rating, Claude Barras does not veil the awkward yet dire situation of these children in his first feature length film. This is not a children’s movie at all. “My Life as a Zucchini” follows the life of Icare, a 9-year-old nicknamed Courgette (the French word for zucchini).The film opens with his drunk mother climbing the stairs ...

Read More


Though engaging, "Logan" stumbles without an interesting villain

By Griffin Rowell Last updated: 03/03/17 2:00pm

“Logan” is the culmination of the Wolverine spinoff trilogy, and most likely Hugh Jackman’s last time playing the beloved comic book mutant, a role he became synonymous with over his 17-year stint. A marketing campaign featuring a trailer with the Johnny Cash cover of “Hurt” aptly set the tone for what would be Marvel Studio’s second R-rated superhero movie in a little over a year, following on the heels of the uber successful “Deadpool.” By starting off with an f-bomb, severed limbs ...

Read More


The Young Pope, episodes 6-10: Lenny becomes likeable

By Matt Holt Last updated: 03/02/17 2:00pm

So, when we were at the midway point of The Young Pope, there were a handful of ways the show could have ended. Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law), also known as Lenny Belardo, asserted himself as an infallible figure isolated in the Vatican. This all changes in the last five episodes. At the halfway point, it’s clear that his plan for the Catholic Church is not working. In his speech to the College of Cardinals, he calls for fanaticism and isolationism. He believes his absence from the public spotlight ...

Read More


"Get Out" goes beyond standard horror tropes with thrilling results

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 02/26/17 9:20pm

Jordan Peele has made a name for himself working on and starring in the famous sketch show Key and Peele. Now, he has officially made his directorial debut with 2017’s horror-comedy “Get Out.”Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man, is skeptical of meeting Rose’s (Allison Williams) white family. Rose comforts him and tells him how her dad wishes he could have voted for Obama a third time. Chris agrees to visit, but soon after arriving he and Rose begin to sense a strangeness from her family.As ...

Read More


"Kedi" captures intimate relationships between cats and humans

By Elisabeth Holmes Last updated: 02/24/17 2:00pm

"Kedi" follows the relationships of seven stray cats living in Istanbul and the relationships those cats have with the people living around them. Much of the film is shot at the same height as the cats, showing the beauty of Istanbul from a cat’s perspective. There are close up shots of the cats’ eyes and ears, and just as those who live with these animals on a daily basis claim, viewers begin to see each cat’s individual personalities throughout the movie. For a few of these cats, it ...

Read More


"Fist Fight," though comedic, highlights important issues in public schools

By Elisabeth Holmes Last updated: 02/17/17 3:34pm

"Fist Fight" is a comedy about a fight between two male teachers on the last day at a public high school. Charlie Day, known for his role as Charlie in "It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia," plays pushover English teacher Andy Campbell. He is challenged by the aggressive history teacher Ron Strickland, played by Ice Cube. The film follows Andy Campbell’s day leading up to the feared fight. He tries to figure out a way to get out of fighting Ron Strickland, go to a teacher’s meeting where his ...

Read More


"The Great Wall" has great visuals, but not a great plot

By Jack Reilly Last updated: 02/17/17 2:00pm

Epic battles, grotesque monsters and stunning visuals define “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Andy Lau and Willem Dafoe. The story features two European mercenaries, William (Damon) and Tovar (Pascal), who travel to China’s Great Wall with the goal of acquiring the famed Black Powder, a legendary powder said to be extraordinarily powerful. Little do they know that there is much more to the Great Wall than meets the eye. It is the Chinese main line of defense ...

Read More


Why I can’t buy into the "La La Land" craze

By Haley Samsel Last updated: 02/16/17 8:53pm

The hype around "La La Land" over the past few months has been palpable. Critics have raved about the film’s rejuvenation of the movie musical. FiveThirtyEight is using some type of statistical magic to predict that the movie will win “Best Picture” at the Oscars on Feb. 26. Even one of our own writers, Dilpreet Raju, called "La La Land" a “sprawling success” in a review posted earlier this month. Friends from all walks of life have spoken to me about how the film profoundly affected them. ...

Read More


"The Lego Batman Movie" teaches valuable lessons in a fun way

By Michael Blickstein Last updated: 02/12/17 11:18pm

The Lego Batman Movie stars Will Arnett and Michael Cera as Lego Batman and Robin respectively, and is the follow-up to the well-received and highly rated The Lego Movie from 2014. This film follows Lego Batman (Will Arnett) on his journey to overcome his fear of having a family and opening up to other people, as well as his duty to defeat all of the movie villains locked in the Phantom Zone.Similar to The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie is a film made up of what you’d expect a child’s Lego ...

Read More


Bill Burr is at his best in "Walk Your Way Out"

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 02/11/17 3:02pm

Bill Burr has become a sort of icon in the comedic landscape of the 21st century. His humor is not exactly prototypical when compared to some other household names of today, such as Louis C.K. and Sarah Silverman. All three find common ground in an ability to use vulgarity as a mechanism to further a joke, not dilute it. That is where Bill Burr begins to diverge, however, and with his new Netflix special “Walk Your Way Out,” he displays his variance from the average. Despite a rather outrageous ...

Read More


"Fifty Shades Darker" disappoints with lack of passion

By Elisabeth Holmes Last updated: 02/10/17 11:18pm

At the beginning of Fifty Shades Darker, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) renegotiates the terms of her former relationship with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) such that the relationship now has no rules and no punishments. Ana starts a new job as an assistant at a book publishing firm, and Christian continues to buy companies and nice things with his seemingly endless supply of money. Over the course of the film, Ana and Christian become much closer to each other as they try to develop a more healthy ...

Read More


"John Wick 2" feels like a video game

By Michael Valenti Last updated: 02/10/17 11:11pm

The sequel to Chad Stahelski’s 2014 film, John Wick, brings back the same level of action and stunts in John Wick: Chapter 2. The movie follows John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, as he ties up loose ends after the events of the first film. The introduction is filled with a menacing Russian mobster smoking a massive cigar as he describes the horrors that John Wick has committed. As he basically describes the entire events of the previous movie, John Wick brutally murders almost all of the mobster’s ...

Read More


Review: Rings

By Nazli Togrul Last updated: 02/04/17 7:49pm

Rings is the third movie in The Ring franchise and brings the story into present day. All three movies are based on the urban legend of the girl who died by falling into a well and seeks revenge by killing people who watch a disturbing tape. The infamous tape that kills whoever watches it in seven days is now available on your iPhone. The highly anticipated film directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez starts off calm with a few jump scares here and there, even in the broad daylight. Julia (Matilda Lutz) ...

Read More


The Young Pope, episodes 1-5: Paolo Sorrentino’s HBO mini-series explores the Vatican like it never has been before

By Matt Holt Last updated: 02/04/17 7:27pm

HBO has another hit on their hands. The Young Pope, created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, takes on one of the oldest institutions in the world: The Catholic Church. The college of cardinals — the mechanism that chooses the Pope — picks a young, handsome Lenny Belardo (Jude Law) to lead the Catholic Church. At 46 years old, he’s the youngest Pope as well as the first American to ever assume the Papacy. Angelo Voiello (Silvio Orlando), the Secretary of State of the Vatican, orchestrates ...

Read More


The sprawling success of La La Land

By Dilpreet Raju Last updated: 02/03/17 10:00pm

Before all its praise and positive clamor, most average moviegoers had a tentative approach to La La Land. A musical with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone? Can they even sing? I’m not even sure I like musicals. Why would I like this one?It turns out, any fears audiences had would be dismissed by the end of the first act. Universal acclaim has led to the film winning seven Golden Globes, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented La La Land with a whopping 14 nominations, tying the ...

Read More


The Salesman delivers a twisted tale of vengeance

By Alix Mammina Last updated: 02/03/17 9:23pm

Veteran Iranian director Asghar Farhadi returns this year with “The Salesman,” a nuanced portrayal of one couple’s struggle to come to terms with a brutal assault. Emad (Shahab Hosseini), a high school English teacher, and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) balance rehearsals for their parts as leads in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” with their move into a new apartment. After Rana is violently attacked by a stranger while in the shower, her and Emad’s differing reactions ...

Read More