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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.

The Founder: True stories don't always have happy endings

(01/20/17 2:15pm)

Whether it’s opening your Happy Meal to reveal your special toy, dipping your McNuggets into a variety of sauces or running around the PlayPlace during a birthday party, almost every American has a memory at McDonald’s. The Founder tells the true story of how one family-owned San Bernardino burger shack became one of the most recognized and profitable fast food chains in the world. And it’s not what you think.

"Rogue One" resonates in a way "The Force Awakens" could not

(12/13/16 3:15pm)

We have entered a time period of extreme polarization. While we do not have X-wings, Imperial shuttles or droids, our means of fighting have taken root in other forms of reaction and opposition. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story knows its place in the current political climate and is self aware enough to create a narrative that challenges the binary of simply good versus evil. It’s a lesson that resonates with me and will likely resonate with any viewer who has bore the heavy weight of the past year on their shoulders.

Black Mirror's Horrifying Tomorrow

(12/09/16 2:00pm)

Black Mirror, created by Charlie Brooker, depicts a horrifying version of where our society is moving to in the near future. The show turns the mirror back on society and it speaks to how social media is creating a false reality, how technology can be evil, the future of incarceration and so much more. If there is any problem with Black Mirror, it is that it covers so much and forces the audience to question nearly everything about current and future Western society. Yet, because the show has a completely different plot and different actors for each episode, the message behind each story is easily digested by the audience.

Westworld Season 1 Finale: What Happened and What It Means

(12/08/16 4:27pm)

HBO’s big-budget sci-fi show Westworld has finally come to the end of its first season, ultimately leaving even the most astute viewers positively puzzled, either at what the episode decided to show, or what the implications were behind it all. Long-standing questions about what the maze is, whether or not there are different timelines and what exactly Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) endgame is, were all answered in the finale. There’s no question Westworld is intellectual and thought provoking, but tonight the show may have been too cerebral for its own good.

Review: "Seasons"

(11/28/16 3:17am)

Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud's new film Seasons opened on November 25, the perfect time to be thankful for what we love and the beauty in our own lives. Though it takes a while to get there, Seasons is a call to action for viewers to protect the wilderness from decreasing any further. Humans have developed and powerfully pushed against the wilderness. This film asks us to question why we cannot allow nature to rebuild and reclaim places that were cultivated and developed by humans. Seasons is filmed very differently than many other documentaries. There is minimal direction from the narrator (Jacques Perrin) as to what the viewer is looking at. This allows the wilderness, as the subject of the film, to speak for itself in the quiet, yet powerful way it does.