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continues Deckard’s story but focuses on another blade runner, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), whose job is to kill outdated, less obedient models of replicants, as he uncovers a puzzle that could alter the division between humans and replicants.
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.
“You’ll float too! You’ll float too!” cried Georgie in the latest trailer for It, directed by Andrés Muschietti. I remember watching it and having high hopes for this movie. The film is based off of one of Stephen King’s most famous novels, the only prior adaptation was a 1990 miniseries with Tim Curry as a crazy clown. And, if Tim Curry as a dancing clown doesn’t automatically scream horror, I don’t know what does.
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.
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.
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.
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.