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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.
"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.
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 is kidnapped.
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.
“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.
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.
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 its totality it is a reflection on what it means to suffer a loss in all aspects. A loss of acceptance, of identity, and of a loved one.
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 that amount of money, you would think these commercials would be pretty impressive, right? Some definitely were, while others didn’t quite hit the mark. Here’s a roundup of some of the most talked about Super Bowl ads this year:
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 them from their fates.
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.
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.
“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.
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 by its meandering nature.
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.
There are three key elements that come to mind when I think of
Pixar movies: creativity, adventure and emotion.
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 the film centers on, the entire community still feels connected.
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, kindness, and forgiveness are exceptional. The child cast did a beautiful job of capturing the real-life reactions to a new student with unique facial differences, however, some may have missed the mark when it came to really pushing the envelope during the very emotional scenes.
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.
“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.
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.