It’s not often that a recently released movie can possibly be considered a “masterpiece.” The term carries a lot of weight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCcx85zbxz4
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continues Deckard’s story but focuses on another blade runner, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), whose job is to kill outdated, less obedient models of replicants, as he uncovers a puzzle that could alter the division between humans and replicants.
As a fan of Salinger’s works, and someone who generally enjoys biopics about writers and creative people, Rebel in the Rye seemed to be right up my alley, but unfortunately fell flat in many places. I felt that Rebel in the Rye did not reveal or add much to what many fans already know about Salinger’s life.
This past Sunday night, the United States witnessed yet again another worst mass shooting in modern American history. Dozens of people are dead, and hundreds of individuals will have the rest of their lives marked by this violent catastrophe. It’s heartbreaking to think that all they were trying to do was have a good time and a catch a Jason Aldean concert. Now, in a near formulaic fashion, some media outlets are dominated by discussions on matters like effective gun control and a little less on issues like access to quality mental healthcare. A strongly partisan and highly rhetorical battle ensues, where conservative voices become increasingly creative in their defense of the present lack of gun control while liberal writers become continuously more pessimistic in their hopes that stringent laws will ever be passed.
I enjoyed Happy Death Day just a little more than I would like to admit. When I was trying to convince my horror movie buddy to come with me to the advanced screening at Cornell Cinema on Monday, he plainly retorted, “that movie looks like trash.” But the idea of seeing the film before everyone else was just too tempting to resist. Well, not saying that it is the best horror movie ever made, but based on the full house and strong audience engagement that night, I do think Happy Death Day can kill it in the box office before Halloween. Jessica Rothe, who you might remember from La La Land as one of Emma Stone’s roommates, plays the lead girl Tree, a college student who gets killed on the night of her birthday. Worse still, she is stuck in the time loop until she figures out the identity of her masked killer.
I sat down with Lorenzo Benitez ’19, who is a staff writer for The Sun, on an unusually bright Sunday morning to talk about his documentary, Six Months to Salvation. His directorial debut follows seven young Australian volunteers, including Benitez himself, throughout their volunteering experience as English teachers in rural Thailand. The film was initially envisioned in October 2014, when Benitez and a couple of his friends decided to take a gap year after high school. At the time, criticisms around “voluntourism” were starting to surface and he figured that a journalistic piece of evidence could only serve to clarify and enlighten. The spread of English in developing countries often raises questions about westernization and colonialism.
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City relayed a narrative of civil disobedience, the destructive uprooting and displacement of black communities, and a constant fight to bring the city back to its people. The 2016 documentary, directed by Matt Tyrnauer and featuring Prof. Thomas Campanella, premiered in Ithaca at Willard Straight Theater this past Wednesday. The documentary delves into the life of Jane Jacobs’, recounting her fervent campaign to save New York City from attempts to pave over its existing social fabric. Author of the influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, grassroots activist Jacobs advocated for “eyes on the street” as a force for safety, providing for vital and prosperous city streets. In an hour and a half the film provided a critique of urban renewal and the ideals of modernism driving New York City’s planning commissioner Robert Moses to clear out the suffering cities through demolition and the complete remodeling of its infrastructure.
“There are 50-something women everywhere! Why do we only see them in the world but never on the screen?”
This was the question that prompted Katherine Dieckmann to set out and make Strange Weather. Following the screening on Thursday night at Cornell Cinema, writer-director Dieckmann joined the audience for a conversation about the making of her most recent film. I find her initial question striking because the only reason I wanted to see this film in the first place was Holly Hunter. I’m a fan of hers; I don’t care if she’s pushing sixty or most of her recent roles are mothers or kind-hearted neighbors, because she shines in major and minor parts alike.
Chase Palmer, screenwriter for the 2017 film It, will be holding a question and answer discussion at the Scwhartz Performing Arts Center today. Back in 2009, when the project to create a new It film began, Andy Muschietti was not set to be the director, but rather Cary Fukunaga who Palmer had worked with previously. Palmer got an offer to write the script and took it. “When it comes to an adaption of anything by Stephen King, you want to jump on board,” Palmer told The Sun. In 2015, Fukunaga dropped out as the director of the film and Andy Muschietti took the reigns.
How does a “little brown girl” feel power in a nation plagued by discrimination, privilege and bias? Bronx Gothic, which plays Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Cornell Cinema, follows Okwui Okpokwasili as she passionately examines this topic through drama, comedy and dance. Okpokwasili’s one-woman show follows the narrative of two young, black girls growing up in the Bronx, one innocent and the other’s life marked by sexual violence and abuse, who communicate on a deeply personal level through the passing of notes. For the first thirty minutes of the stage version of Bronx Gothic, Okpokwasili simply vibrates in the corner of the stage with the hope that people will be forced to stop asking what is going on and tune in to the frequency that she is emitting. The remainder of her narrative is laid out as a crude series of letters depicting a friendship’s rise and fall, sex, and bias, paired with movements that, at times, bring Okpokwasili to the stage floor.
I am gonna come clean now: I didn’t know who John Cleese is until two weeks ago. My best friend was appalled when he asked if I wanted to go to this Cleese talk together, and I looked at the event title and said “sure, I loved Kirshner’s class.”
But now I’m converted! The Monty Python star wrote, directed and stars in the brilliantly silly heist movie, A Fish Called Wanda, which screened at Cornell Cinema on Sept. 10. Cleese and professor Jonathan Kirshner, government, engaged in a prescreening conversation, which is just as funny and nutritious as the film.