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“Truman” is an intimate portrayal of friendship

(04/14/17 1:00pm)

“Truman” is a film about two old friends who are seeing each other for likely the last time. Julián (Ricardo Darín) is married with kids in Canada, and flies to meet his friend Tomás (Javier Cámara) who lives in Madrid. Tomás lives with his dog, Truman, who he loves like a second son. He recently decided to stop chemotherapy treatment for his lung cancer, and is coming to terms with dying. Julián supports his friend in his decision, and they spend the next few days enjoying each other’s company.


"Gifted" is heartwarming despite plot holes

(04/07/17 2:41pm)

“Gifted” explores the relationship and love between an uncle and niece who live together in Florida. When the niece, Mary Adler (McKenna Grace), begins first grade, she stuns her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) when she can complete complex math problems. The film follows the relationship between uncle Frank Adler (Chris Evans) and his niece in this non-traditional family during a custody battle to determine the future of the child.




“After The Storm” is realistic, but not memorable

(03/31/17 2:00pm)

The Japanese film “After the Storm” tackles the popular subject of a dysfunctional family with divorced parents and a struggling father. Director Hirokazu Koreeda follows the life of Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), who has just experienced the death of his father and is struggling with seeing his son, who is in the care of his ex-wife. Ryota wrote a famous, award-winning novel over a decade ago and has fallen on hard times, gambling away what little money he received from his private detective job or borrowing from his sister or mother. “After the Storm” discusses multiple questions that surround Ryota’s life: “How do I want my son to know me?” “Who do I want to be?” “What do I want to be remembered for?”


Romantic post-war drama “Frantz” filled with twists and turns

(04/07/17 2:01pm)

Set immediately after World War I, French director François Ozon’s film examines fractured relationships between nations through the lens of a young German woman named Anna, her fiancé Frantz who dies in the war and a French man named Adrien who mysteriously shows up in town. The film flips back and forth between present day, memories of Frantz and flashbacks to the war. “Frantz” begins as a story about love lost and betrayal but slowly evolves into a film about new beginnings, forbidden love and moving beyond prejudice.


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

(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 lover’s mother, Sarah (Emily Mortimer).


How the Oscars have really changed over the past 20 years

(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.




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

(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).




"Kedi" captures intimate relationships between cats and humans

(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. 



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

(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 job is on the line and perform with his daughter at her talent show. The reasons for the fight change over the course of film, as the drama of the last day of school builds.


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

(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.


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

(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.


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

(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.


"Fifty Shades Darker" disappoints with lack of passion

(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 relationship. As with the previous film, there is nearly an equal ratio of plot development to sex scenes.