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"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.

"John Wick 2" feels like a video game

(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 soldiers. These opening events serve as a taste of the tone and style of the movie and serve no purpose to the rest of the film. A problem with the beginning scene is that it is filled with references to the first movie and focuses a little too heavily on comedy. There is comedy in the rest of the film, it is much more spread out.

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

(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.

Review: Rings

(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 Salesman delivers a twisted tale of vengeance

(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 to the incident lead to tension and paranoia.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage delivers with ridiculous but colorful action sequences

(01/20/17 3:00pm)

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is the third movie in the xXx franchise and focuses on Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) coming “back from the dead” as he takes part in one last mission to help return Pandora’s Box, a supercomputer that can control all the satellites in orbit, back to the U.S. government.

Split’s inconsistencies outweigh strengths

(01/20/17 3:00pm)

Split is like the dissociative identity disorder seen in the antagonist: a confusing jumble of good and bad elements that result in a weak film. James McAvoy portrays Kevin, a man who houses 23 incredibly different identities. Some require glasses or insulin shots while others are female or as young as 9 years old. All of these identities and characters are played very well by McAvoy as he kidnaps three teenage girls and ominously talks about “The Beast,” an unknown identity that is explained throughout the film. The girls, played by Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula and Anya Taylor-Joy, constantly plan to escape as Barry (one of Kevin’s identities) meets with his increasingly suspicious therapist.