COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY PICTURES

Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Success or Failure?

You may be asking yourself, what is Pirates of the Caribbean, a film series based off a theme park ride, doing with a fifth installment? I can tell you in one word. Money! But, what about quality? Is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and the rest of the Pirates franchise for that matter, a success or failure?

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Alien Covenant: A Requiem to Prequels

Crafting a good prequel film can be tricky. While it is exciting to see backstories of fan-favorite characters or the genesis of a cinematic world, the audience usually knows the outcome of the film. No matter how ambitious, creative, or innovative directors attempt to be, prequels are doomed from the start and are always a slave to canon. As a result, most prequels (X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Rogue One aside) are merely “creative ways” to reach an assured end and can often feel only marginally connected to the original film that inspired it. This debacle is largely what plagues director Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi horror film, Alien: Covenant.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Twice The Fun but Half The Heart

Considering the wide variety of obscure Marvel characters, from Squirrel Girl to Spider-Ham, then the likes of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Racoon and Groot are not too out of left field. The only question was whether audiences would be receptive to an Odyssean epic set against the backdrop of 70s and 80s tunes, where a human space pirate, emerald assassin, vindictive warrior and an anthropomorphic raccoon, along with his tree sidekick, joined forces to save the universe. Yet, with due faith in the Marvel brand and an innovative script from James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, Guardians of the Galaxy ended up being one of the best breakout hits of 2014, praised for its touching characters, visual splendor, humor and unpredictability. Just as the superhero genre was becoming stale due to a bevy of uninspired films like Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men sequels, Guardians gave new life to the genre. The film helped propel other eccentric and outlandish properties, such as Ant-Man (2015), into the mainstream zeitgeist.

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What Should Happen in Pirates of the Caribbean 5?

Everyone has their guilty pleasures. I have to admit, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of mine. How can you not love the soundtrack from At World’s End? Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is just around the corner, and I’m wondering what they’re going to do with it. After internet pirates ironically “pirated” the movie, which is about pirates, I wondered what would possess them to do that.

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The Circle: As if The Onion Made a Tech Thriller

Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and John Boyega in the same movie? A movie that’s a tech thriller about the dangers of social media? Man, I was hyped for this film! I mean, it had to at least be fun, right? Unfortunately, I haven’t been this disappointed in a movie since Batman v. Superman. Directed by James Ponsoldt and based on the book by Dave Eggers, The Circle comes across as a soapbox movie that can’t even get its message straight.

COURTESY OF CORNELL CINEMA

Cornell Cinema to Debut 3-D Projection System Friday

 

Cornell Cinema inaugurates a new 3-D projection system Friday night with the post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road. 

In 2016, Cornell Cinema received a capital equipment grant from the New York State Council on the Arts offering the campus theatre half of the installation cost for a 3-D system.  A crowdfunding campaign launched in November matched the funds — remarkably quickly — and the Friday night show will be its first run. For many people, myself included, 3-D film still feels new.  Cornell Cinema hopes to share the medium’s weighted cinematic history. The first 3-D exhibition dates back to 1915 and, since that time, the stereoscopic method attracts Hollywood, independent, documentary, foreign and experimental film productions.

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The Lost City of Z Stands Up To Excavation

Have you wondered what would happen if Indiana Jones didn’t have Spielberg’s team behind it? At least I think that’s how the conversation went at the pitch meeting. The Lost City of Z (pronounced Zed), by James Gray, is based on a book based loosely on the true story of Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) who went looking for, well, a lost city. On a mapping expedition, Percy found evidence of a civilization not yet discovered by the English that’s possibly older than their civilization — which is a shock to their common belief. The rest of the film follows a search to find hard evidence to prove the civilization’s existence.

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Don’t Make Me Get Out of Line

Get Out, by Jordan Peele, is about a black man, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), who visits his white girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents’ house (think modern day Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner). What should we have expected from a director known for his comedic sketches? What is Get Out’s genre: horror, thriller, or horror-comedy? There are aspects that make it standard horror, but others include comedic facets and parts that stand out altogether from any horror genre. In the first ten or twenty minutes, the tone was all over the place.

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I’m Smurfing Done with “Smurfs: The Lost Village”

In 2011, The Smurfs came to us from Sony Pictures Animation. In 2013 we got a sequel. Both movies were panned, and now Sony has decided to reboot the Smurfs again. Smurfs: The Lost Village is directed by Kelly Asbury, who also directed Shrek 2 and Gnomeo and Juliet. The writing duo includes Stacey Harman, who did work on The Goldbergs, and Pamela Ribon, who worked on Moana and is currently attached to Ralph Breaks the Internet.

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Psycho as Not-so-Scary Video Art

I often wonder why people pay money to spin around in a teacup or turn upside down on a roller-coaster. Why willfully commit yourself to nausea and headaches when your feet can stay put on the ground?  You say fun; I say torture.  I approach horror cinema with the same skepticism.  Why open your eyes to nightmares when nothing so scary need occupy your mind?