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The Big Sick: A Graceful, Hilarious Rom-Com Coming to Cornell Cinema

What if we fall in love with someone that does not meet our family’s traditional standards? The Big Sick, playing at Cornell Cinema this weekend, explores on this question hilariously and gracefully. Kumail is a stand-up comedian and Uber driver in Chicago. An immigrant from Pakistan, Kumail is supposed to marry a Pakastani woman. Every time he goes to dinner at his parents’ house, a Pakastani woman “just drops in” to join the family for dinner.

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Hamlet (1921) with the Filmharmonia Duo Coming to Sage Chapel

We’re all probably familiar with the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – Hamlet, prince of Denmark, seeks revenge on his uncle at the behest of his father’s ghost, all the while finding the time to talk to skulls, wallow in existential dread, etc. etc. However, this 1921 German silent film adaptation turns the familiar tale on its head, doing so with a very interesting proposition from Dr. Edward P. Vining’s 1881 book: Hamlet is actually a woman.  

This not actually as unusual as it might seem; there is, in fact, a long and rich tradition of female Hamlets. After Charles II gave permission for women to act, the first woman to appear in a Shakespeare play did so in 1660, and soon afterwards, women began playing not only women’s roles but also those of men.

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For The Love of the Movies: Coming This Fall to Cornell Cinema

There was nothing I loved more as a kid than driving five minutes up the road to an AMC theater with my mom, waiting in line at the massive concession bar and finishing my extra-large popcorn with extra butter during the previews. Sometimes we’d treat ourselves and drive 15 whole minutes to a Regal with the nice reclining, leather seats. So why, if I love going to the movies so much, had I never been to Cornell Cinema? Last week I sauntered into the basement of Willard Straight to talk with Cornell Cinema manager Doug McLaren. I didn’t lie to him — I’d never ventured below the Ivy Room, so he graciously showed me around.

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So Many Movies, So Little Time: Cinemapolis Fall Preview

The independent theatre’s fall line-up is jam-packed, full of must-see indies, fascinating documentaries and local collaborations. It hurts me to say this, but I simply can’t make it to all of them (I already missed Brigsby Bear, for God’s sake). Honestly, there are too many great offerings to even profile them all, so I’ve made some tough decisions and given you the run-down on my viewing wish-list.

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Leap! Barely Gets Off the Ground

Leap! has taken a very peculiar path. It actually came out a year ago under the title Ballerina, appearing in both France and the UK. Now the Weinstein Company has delivered the movie to US theaters. Directed by Éric Summer and Éric Warin, Leap tries to take on some inspiring (if cliched) themes, but falls flat due to a combination of botched writing and animation.

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Primate Philosophy and Gorilla Warfare

After walking out of the theater, I was upset that War for the Planet of the Apes was billed as a summer blockbuster. On paper, the film meets the criteria: it has a big budget, CGI action sequences and notable stars. Yet in the midst of its noisy and spectacle-driven contemporaries, War for the Planet of the Apes stands awkwardly out of place. It boasts a quieter tale and seeks not simply to thrill but to instruct as well. The blockbuster appeal serves as an invitation to a wider audience, who are treated to a delightfully introspective film.

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Dunkirk: Sound and Storytelling

So I’ve been trying to write this review without swearing but uhhh… holy shit did this movie floor me. If you’re one of those people who reads only the first couple lines of a review: go see Dunkirk. It’s breathtaking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-eMt3SrfFU

And that’s the first thing I need to harp on — Dunkirk is beautiful. There were more than a couple of takes in this movie where I couldn’t help but think director Christopher Nolan and director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema were just showing off, flexing their cinematographic muscles.

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Spidey Swings Home

After a semi-successful trilogy by Sam Raimi and two over-the-top films from Marc Webb, it seemed like everyone’s neighborhood wall crawler was going to put up the cowl for good, while studios battled over whether Spider-Man should be portrayed as an emo teenager or an emotionally challenged Tobey Maguire. Yet, who would have thought that thirty minutes of Tom Holland donning spandex in Captain America: Civil War was a sign of better things to come? Holland’s performance earned him stripes for his own solo movie in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the title of which references the eponymous high school dance and is symbolic of Spider-Man joining the larger Marvel family owned by Disney. As with anyone who has to interact with new relatives, Homecoming can feel awkward and terse as it attempts to navigate and connect with past films, but once it finds its own footing, the movie flips into high gear. In the end, the latest Spidey excels as a greater extension of the Marvel Universe, and also as a solid stand-alone feature buoyed by a stellar supporting cast, infectious humor and a fresh, contemporary high school setting.

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Oh Baby…

“How to explain this movie in a nutshell? Well, Baby drives the car. But music drives Baby.” That’s what director Edgar Wright had to say about this film on the opening page of the soundtrack booklet. Yes, I paid money for a physical copy of the soundtrack, a CD with 30 songs on it. Suffice it to say, if you’re looking for a contrarian, negative review of Baby Driver, go watch some hack on YouTube lashing out for more followers.