Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Interview with Blockers Producer Chris Fenton ’93

Blockers, starring Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena, is showing at Cornell Cinema tonight at 9pm for an exclusive prescreening. The film, a comedy about a group of parents who try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night, premiered at the South By Southwest Film Festival earlier this month and “did extremely well down there in front of a really enthusiastic audience,” according to producer Chris Fenton ‘93, a Cornell alumnus. In advance of his movie being screened on his alma mater’s campus, I had the pleasure of talking to Fenton about Blockers, his time at Cornell and his career as a whole:


The Sun: Is there anything about Blockers that you think works particularly well with a college audience? CF: Well it’s a rated-R comedy, and rated-R comedies aren’t made as much as they used to be, so it’s exciting to have one that actually seems to be resonating and testing well with audiences, and in particular this movie has two generations that it focuses on. One is our parents that are essentially my age, mid 40s, and then the kids in the movie, who I think really steal the show, are high school age.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

GUEST ROOM | Which 2017 Movie Would Win A Hypothetical Oscar For Best Scene?

When you consider what the Oscars are about — ranking our favorite movies of the year — they should really be a lot more fun. So let’s drop some boring categories (I’m sure everyone would be absolutely devastated if we got rid of Best Song and Best Makeup and Hairstyling) and add some fun ones, like Best Practical Effects, Best Ensemble Cast and Is Your Picture A Wildly Entertaining Horror/Thriller/Comedy That Doubles As A Nuanced, Thought-Provoking Metaphor For The Hardships Faced By Minorities In America? Another such fun award would be Best Scene. It’s the perfect way to both reflect on the standout sequences from some of the Best Picture front-runners as well as reward moments of brilliance in flawed films that would otherwise go unacknowledged at the Oscars. For reference, here are the scenes I would have picked each year for the past decade:

2016 – Moonlight – “What’s a Faggot?”
2015 – Furious 7 – Double Skyscraper Jump
2014 – Whiplash – Final Concert
2013 – Gravity – Opening Debris Sequence
2012 – Django Unchained – Dinner Monologue
2011 – Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – Tom Cruise Scales the Burj Khalifa
2010 – Inception – Rotating Hallway Fight
2009 – Up – Married Life Montage
2008 – The Dark Knight – Literally Any Scene
2007 – No Country For Old Men – Coin Toss

We’re looking for instantly memorable scenes that are essential to their film’s success and have the chance to become iconic years down the road.

Courtesy of TSG Entertainment.

The Shape of Water Is a Fairytale for Adults

The elevator pitch for The Shape of Water is “a fairytale for adults,” and the movie doubles down on this concept from the very beginning. The opening shot, a graceful long take, sweeps through an underwater home as if the viewer is swimming in it. The image is surreal, especially combined with Alexandre Desplat’s enchanting score and Richard Jenkins’ narration about the “princess without a voice.” Within the first minute, we’ve been transported into director Guillermo Del Toro’s fantasy. Del Toro’s vivid imagination brings to life the story of a mute woman, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), in the 1960s who works as a janitor in a secret government laboratory in Baltimore. The science facility has captured an aquatic, humanoid amphibian, referred to as The Asset.

blade runner 2049 warner bros

Blade Runner 2049 Might Just Be A Masterpiece

It’s not often that a recently released movie can possibly be considered a “masterpiece.” The term carries a lot of weight.

Yet, many have already declared Blade Runner 2049, the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic Blade Runner, a masterpiece. 2049 extends Scott’s visionary world, in which near-human robots called “replicants” are second-class citizens, and those who stray from their slave status are hunted down by cops called blade runners (don’t ask why they’re called “blade runners”… it sounds cool). The original film followed a blade runner named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), and this installment continues Deckard’s story but focuses on another blade runner, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), whose job is to kill outdated, less obedient models of replicants, as he uncovers a puzzle that could alter the division between humans and replicants.


Who Would Win a Hypothetical Best Scene Oscar?

The Oscars: an award show that expanded the number of Best Picture nominees after it snubbed a well-made, entertaining action movie, and yet still refuses to nominate well-made, entertaining action movies. I understand The Academy’s struggle, though. There are a lot of great films each year that simply need to get nominated, such as… The Flashily-Directed Movie About Actors Pursuing Their Dreams (La La Land)

The Uplifting Movie About Black People (Hidden Figures)

The Nuanced Movie About Black People (Moonlight)

The Movie That’s Not Nearly Pretentious Enough To Even Have A Chance (Hell or High Water)

The Movie About Everyday White People Wallowing In Their Own Despair (Manchester By The Sea)

The Movie Nobody Has Heard Of And Even Fewer People Have Actually Seen (Lion)

The Acting Showcase (Fences)

The War Movie (Hacksaw Ridge)

The Beautiful, Thought-Provoking Movie About Giant Squids Spraying Ink At The Actress From Enchanted Inside a 1000-Foot-Tall Hovering Black Potato (Arrival)


The Oscars could use a shake-up. At this time last year, I wrote an article introducing a hypothetical Oscar for Best Scene, which would allow The Academy to nominate movies that don’t exactly fit the Best Picture mold, but still have entertaining, technically impressive or inspired sequences.


Holy Split, Signs of M. Night Shyamalan’s Return Are Happening

Director M. Night Shyamalan gets a lot of crap, and rightfully so. Until his most recent outing, Split, he hadn’t made a good movie in more than a decade. After Earth was bad. The Happening was so bad that it was funny. The Last Airbender was so far down the scale of badness that it was no longer eligible to be funny.


Stale Popcorn is Still Popcorn: Jason Bourne is Still Jason Bourne

If George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road set the gold standard for a director returning to an old franchise and Steven Spielberg’s return to Indiana Jones with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an example of a flop, then Paul Greengrass’s effort for Jason Bourne lands squarely in the middle. The action is as exciting as ever and all the performances are engaging, but the movie’s title indicates just how little effort was put into making the latest installment of the Bourne franchise fresh and unique. The film continues the original trilogy’s story of former CIA assassin Jason Bourne, once again played subtly but convincingly by Matt Damon. The details of the plot are more or less unimportant. Bourne is still on the run and he’s still trying to find out information about his past (and the sky’s still blue, by the way).

Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

AKABAS | Bracketology: Who/What is winning 2016?

There are many things that literally everyone on Earth hates, such as hangnails, hotels that charge for WiFi, late-2000s M. Night Shyamalan films, and that moment when you don’t check your phone for an hour and there are 257 unread messages from a single group chat when you come back. There aren’t many things that literally everyone on Earth loves, but one of those things is March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. A single-elimination bracket – the concept that you need to win every single game to stay in it – is ingenious. I support using the bracket concept whenever humanly possible, so let’s make a bracket to determine who or what has had the best 2016 so far. The competitors were determined subjectively by me, and the seeds, listed below, were determined primarily by number of Twitter followers (credit to former Grantland-writer Rembert Browne for this idea).


GUEST ROOM | The Sun’s 2016 Summer Movie Preview

Yes, we have to wait until 2017 for Star Wars: Episode VIII, but, thankfully, there are some pretty fun movies to look forward to in 2016. There’s a new Star Trek installment by the director of Fast Five, who might be my favorite person on the planet. Liam Neeson is starring in a Martin Scorsese film, so we’ll see if he’s still capable of ever making a movie where nobody gets taken, because it’s debatable at this point. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is doing a comedy called Central Intelligence with Kevin Hart, which has the chance to be either really stupid or incredibly stupid. For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to have a live-action Jungle Book and a live-action Tarzan come out within three months of each other.