Sophie Zheng | Sun Sketch Artist

Avengers: Infinity War Roundtable

What was your favorite moment from the movie? Lev Akabas: Every single time that Thor called Rocket “Rabbit.” Also the ending. I know some may criticize it for taking the easy way out with a cliffhanger or exploiting cheap emotion, but it was also genuinely surprising. I’ve been consistently entertained by Marvel for the past ten years, but truly surprised? It’s been a while.

Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlet Johannson) prepare for battle in Avengers: Infinity War.

Avengers: Infinity War Goes to Infinity… But Not Beyond

Though Marvel announced Avengers: Infinity War in October 2014, in many ways the title for the 19th installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a long time coming. Yes, the film is loosely based on Jim Starlin’s 1991 comic The Infinity Gauntlet (and its subsequent sequel The Infinity War) but even more so, the title is indicative of Marvel’s ongoing battle to tell cohesive and compelling crossover stories as its roster of heroes exponentially expands with each film. This conflict began back in 2008 when Nick Fury uttered to Tony Stark, “You’ve become a part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.”

With Infinity War, you can tell that its directors, the Russo Brothers, are trying to live out Thanos’ goal by making this film “balanced as all things should be.” Yet in their egalitarian attempts to give every character and plot thread a chance in the spotlight, Infinity War both does too much and consequently not enough. In its best moments, it is able to pull off the impossible, drawing together different franchises for a smorgasbord of action, spectacle and adventure.

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The Sun’s Top 10 Superhero Movies of All Time

Avengers: Infinity War comes out in three days. I’ll say it again. Avengers: Infinity War comes out in three days. It’s a remarkable time to be alive, to see the culmination of a full decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies – one could argue the culmination of thousands of years of human civilization. It’s a perfect time for The Sun’s Arts and Entertainment section to count down our list of the top 10 superhero movies of all time in advance of what is surely the most highly anticipated comic book movie ever.

Courtesy of Amisk Ace Entertainment

Mind Game at Cornell Cinema: A Wild Ride

This week, I had the privilege of being invited by Cornell Cinema to preview the film Mind Game, which will be screening this Friday and Saturday. Mind Game is a Japanese movie from 2004, directed by Masaaki Yuasa and Kôji Morimoto. It’s received critical praise from festivals around the world, but has seen limited release to general viewers. Over the past couple years, though, it’s finally been filtering into theaters, so the chance to see it here at Cornell is truly a rare experience. And what an experience it is!

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Isle of Dogs: Another Strange Masterpiece

I have been looking forward to this movie for months. Since Isle of Dogs’ first trailer dropped last September, I have waited with bated breath. So much intersected here: not only is it a stop-motion animated film, but it’s a Wes Anderson film, AND it’s a PG-13 animated film. That last one stuck out the most to me. We see family animated films and adult animated films all the time, but nothing in the middle.

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Ready Player One: A New World for Readers and Characters

When I saw the trailer for the cinematic adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, it almost deterred me from reading the novel. But what seemed like an archetypal hybrid of Tron and Divergent is in fact its own body of work, with unique ’80s culture references, vast world building and most importantly, a story centered around a nerdy, ordinary boy. The book follows protagonist Wade in a near future, roughly 2045, where the world is plagued with hunger, famine and climate change. To escape these harsh realities, people enter an augmented reality world known as the OASIS, where anyone can be anyone; regardless of their past status or background, individuals can make a new life for themselves, choosing where they work, how they live and what they eat. We learn that the founder of the OASIS has died and left behind a tournament in which gamers can search the OASIS for three keys that unlock three gates to find an easter egg.

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GUEST ROOM | An Ode to The Dude

Many of us are easily familiar with the name “Lebowski.” When we hear it, we think of bathrobes, bowling balls and buddy-love between John Goodman’s Walter and Jeff Bridges’ The Dude. With its one-of-a-kind storyline and its clever comedic interjections, The Big Lebowski has become a household film title, an easy answer to the ice-breaker question “favorite movie?” and a classic go-to choice when you and your friends couldn’t agree on anything else to watch on Netflix. But the film has not always been held in such high regards. Twenty years ago, when it was first released, The Big Lebowski was met with dissatisfaction and criticism. The reviews were mediocre at best, and in the box office, it was far from a hit.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

I Can’t Stay Quiet About A Quiet Place

Less is more. That seems to be the spirit behind A Quiet Place. Directed by John Krasinski, with a story by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, the film sticks with a simple premise. It keeps a tiny cast of characters and, as is usual for horror, a relatively small budget of $17 million. It’s a lean pool of resources.

Ready Player One: A Visual Stunner

Trying to adapt Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One was going to be a challenge for any director, even a veteran one like Steven Spielberg. Released in 2011, Cline’s debut was filled with pop culture references that were indicative of the decade it was written in, though he also sprinkled in a plethora of ’70s-’90s references as well. Yet because the film adaptation is gracing screens seven years later, what was seen as contemporary back then is now outdated. Spielberg thankfully does not force characters from 2018’s popular zeitgeist to interact with the characters Cline used in his novel. Ready Player One is surprisingly able to revel in the nostalgic excess that made the novel so popular in the past, yet it explores thought-provoking themes about virtual reality, climate change and escapism present in today’s society.

Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), Goergy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), Lazar Kaganovich (Dermot Crowley) and Lavrenti Beria (Simon Russell Beale) in The Death of Stalin.

Should We Laugh at The Death of Stalin?

I’d say we all enjoy political comedy now and then. Whether it’s making fun of Hillary Clinton dabbing or making fun of anything Donald Trump tweets, nothing feels as good as teasing those in power. So, when I first saw ads for The Death of Stalin, I was thrilled. It’s a British film based on the French comic La mort de Staline, and only recently opened here in the United States. The film has some weak points here and there, but manages to deliver plenty of laughs and has a good heart.