confirmation_still

Confirming the Excellence of Confirmation

Confirmation is a timely exploration of gender, race and power, based on the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce). However,the movie is not really about Thomas — it follows Anita Hill (Kerry Washington), who shares her experiences as his advisor and assistant, and was subjected to sexual harassment by him. A historical drama at the genre’s best, Confirmation presents the proceedings mostly factually, although leaning to the side of Anita Hill. The bias doesn’t seem to get in the way of fact, and allows an important story to be told. Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas share many characteristics.

cert2

Certain Women: Tender Stories Told with Restrained Patience

The episodic structure of Certain Women falls closer on the spectrum of ensemble pieces to the dark, flaccid mirth of a film like Weiner Dog from earlier this year rather than the rapturous display of interconnectedness of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. However, this is not to say that Certain Women is a bad film. Rather, it is a film composed of three distinct parts — all whose plots intersect in very minor, trivial ways within the same state of Montana — that inherits a problem endemic to “multiple storylines” of this sort: some of the storylines are just much more interesting than others. The film commences with what is probably the weakest of the film’s three stories. A lawyer in Livingston, Montana, performed sufficiently by Laura Dern, is dealing with a disgruntled client attempting to sue his former employer, who later returns to his former workplace and holds a security guard there hostage.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAEGAN LUNSFORD

What was Suspect Video? Interview with Luis Ceriz, Legendary Toronto Video Store Retailer

Suspect Video is a place I loved even before I became a regular. It was a video store built to amaze: wall-to-wall selection of classic and hard to find films, cult classics and household names alike, organized exhaustively and obsessively. A little shelf of old magazines and books. A ruddy old TV playing a VHS tape while below sat some of the many tapes the store was clearing out. It’s the kind of place where one becomes a film fanatic, a cinematic cavern with 25 years of history.

COURTESY OF DISNEY

Moana: Gorgeous Animation, Expansive Mythology and a Captivating Culture

I had a friend the other day say when I like a movie, my metric ranges from “good” to “coma-inducing.” Well let’s just say Disney’s Moana made it hard for me to wake up in time to write this review. Moana follows the story of a young girl on the island of Mata Nui. She’s the daughter of the village chief and will become chief herself someday. But ever since she was young, she has had a deep desire to explore the ocean. The villagers of Mata Nui live in paradise.

documentary-stills-5

Six Months to Salvation: An Emotional Mission

Reviewing Six Months to Salvation, a documentary directed and written by Lorenzo Benitez, a sophomore at Cornell and staff writer for The Sun, could present a conflict of interests. I reassure my readers, Lorenzo and I have never met. Other than our alma-mater and having read a few of his articles in The Sun, no stifling connection skews my impression of the film. I share the following review as a mostly unbiased audience member. Six Months to Salvation follows a service trip to Thailand where Lorenzo and several other volunteers teach English over a six month period.

502131953-1_18358803_8col

The Sun’s Top 10 Movies of 2016

From documentaries to animated flicks to art films to crime thrillers, the Arts & Entertainment writers’ picks for the year’s top films reflect the diversity of excellent movies this year. 10. Weiner 

Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg easily could have made a documentary that simply condemned former Representative Anthony Weiner. Yet, Weiner begins on a high note: the Anthony Weiner who appears at the beginning of the documentary is rejuvenated, remorseful about his sexting scandals and ready to fight in New York City’s mayoral race. The positive image doesn’t last long as Weiner, once again, descends into lying and defensiveness as more sexting allegations surface. Kriegman and Steinberg expertly elevate Weiner from an entertaining to a thoroughly thought-provoking movie by catching the moments when Weiner and the people around him reflect on his self-destruction.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-movie-still

Fantastic Beasts Finds Success

Just as academics need to reveal any conflicts of interest in their studies, so do I feel the need to admit a bias right off the bat here: I love Harry Potter. I read the series growing up; I waited until midnight for the sixth and seventh book releases; and I have a themed hat, scarf, bathrobe and wallet.  J.K. Rowling has left a huge imprint on my life, and when I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, I felt an emptiness. That was it. No more visiting the Wizarding World with any new stories.

pg-5-arts-man-1

Man with a Movie Camera: Stylistic Innovation, Substantive Rumination

When asked to analogize Russian documentarian Dziga Vertov, who died in 1954, to a more contemporary artist, I have difficulty locating an answer. For a lot of other filmmakers, this isn’t so. The work of Akira Kurosawa, cinema’s most refined master of breathtaking spectacle and intelligent kineticism, can be aesthetically paralleled to the maximalist records of Kanye West, whose symphonic My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy remains among the most rousing and epic of this century’s popular music. The philosophical films of director Terrence Malick, which follow characters ambling aimlessly through existence in search of earthly salvation, parallel the music of Sufjan Stevens: thematically in their shared Christianity, aesthetically in how their subdued emotional intensity is conjured by sporadic acknowledgements of quiet wonder. Dziga Vertov, on the other hand, defies easy categorization.

arrival-movie-trailer-images-amy-adams-54-600x249

Three Takes on Arrival

“What happens now?”

“They arrive.”

by Elyes Benatar

Arrival. The title itself echoes as a strike against convention. This is not a film about aliens invading. It’s a film about aliens arriving. It’s a film that presents a realistic narrative about humanity’s attempts at contact and interaction with extraterrestrial beings.

ouija-origin-of-evil-photo-3

Sew Their Mouths To Prevent Further Sequels

What do you think when you think horror? A rated R flick that tries to scare the daylights out of you? Recently, rated R has become a dying art replaced by PG-13, a much bigger and more profitable demographic. But does it work? It does in The Haunting (1963) (rated G) and Lights Out (recent PG-13 flick) but doesn’t always, as with the 2014 film Ouija.