Courtesy of Cornell Cinema

Bombay Comes Alive in Court

I walked into Cornell Cinema to watch Court with absolutely no context and fairly average expectations, but Chaitanya Tamhane’s directorial debut sets the bar incredibly high for his future work. Though it was slow-paced and at times disregarded plot entirely, it was absolutely beautiful and had me laughing constantly. While at first it seemed to be a commentary about India’s court system, it turned into an intimate look into the characters’ lives and as a result produced a really beautiful conception of life in Bombay. In general, the film concerns itself with the trial of a folk singer who is being tried for writing a song with controversial lyrics. One of my favorite parts of the film was its use of color and cinematography.

Courtesy of Cornell Cinema

The Life of the Party at Cornell Cinema: Portrait of Jason


Jason Holiday is the life of the party. He’s the guy that can talk and talk, and save a get-together from being a total bust. He gets drunk while he tells you his many tales, some of which may be tall, and makes sure to impersonate the other characters in the story — and his stories are good. This is no surprise, as Jason Holiday is a gay African-American hustler, aspiring cabaret performer and all-around interesting guy in the 1960s. Who wouldn’t want to spend an hour or two with him?

Courtesy of Cornell Cinema

Fresh-Squeezed Fierceness: Tangerine at Cornell Cinema


Tangerine — a 2015 release from writer/director duo Sean S. Baker and Chris Bergoch — chronicles the actions of people who feel trapped. The movie focuses on two transsexual prostitutes and best friends: Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor). At the start of the movie, both women set off on quests. Sin-Dee is hell-bent on finding the woman with whom her fiancé and pimp, Chester (James Ransone), cheated on her while she was in prison for 28 days. Alexandra nonchalantly hands out fliers for her Christmas Eve gig to friends and clients (though, with each little blue paper, the feeling that no one’s going to show grows stronger).


The Prophet at Cornell Cinema


What is it about Liam Neeson that makes him, at age 63, one of the most popular movie stars? He’s not strikingly good-looking, or especially physically imposing. Without a doubt, it’s Neeson’s voice that drove his “ReNeesonce” in acting, in such pretty-bad films as Taken and Non-Stop. His voice is fatherly, warm and reassuring, but also capable of gravity and menace. Above all, Neeson’s voice conveys wisdom, even when the script he’s reading decidedly doesn’t.

Courtesy of Cornell Cinema

We, the Living: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence


A small village covered deep in snow sits in a valley by the side of a rocky mountain. In the back, people carrying ladders climb the roof of a house to reach its blazing chimney. At the center, on a frozen river, three kids skate in formation, others run with hockey sticks and a larger group is curling. A woman pulls another in a sledge and a third one is seen crossing a bridge with a bundle of sticks on her back. Closer to the left, a sign in a brick building hangs half unhinged.


Just in Time to Explore Film: Justin Lerner at Cornell Cinema


If you’re a student you’re probably familiar with the notion that there are no dumb questions. While some might disagree with that, the discussion of which questions are, in fact, important is likely to lead to an important debate. Justin Lerner ’02 invites us to question the way we see love and morality in today’s society through controversial themes in his latest film, The Automatic Hate. He’ll be present at the sneak preview this Thursday 7 p.m. at Cornell Cinema. This is his second feature film following Girlfriend (2011) and his award-winning short film The Replacement Child (2007).

Courtesy of Cornell Cinema

The Dirty Business of Politics: Street Fight


It doesn’t surprise anybody to say that politics is a dirty business — and one that tends to ignore the substantive issues that the whole enterprise claims to be about. Especially in today’s political climate, with the 2016 presidential race more resembling a reality show competition than an election for the most important public office in the country, this circus-show aspect to American politics is as clear as ever. So when I say that the 2005 documentary Street Fight, presented on Tuesday at Cornell Cinema and directed by Marshall Curry, revealed to me new ways that politics is ugly, it would be easy to dismiss my opinion as obvious. However, the film, which is about the 2002 mayoral race between Cory Booker (now a well-known New Jersey Senator) and the long-time incumbent Sharpe James, explores just how much dirtier local politics are then, and how they allow for tactics that would be unacceptable in their national counterparts. Since Booker is a now prominent national politician, it is a bit disorienting to see him as such an upstart, going through housing projects and corner stores canvassing for every last vote.

Courtesy of Marshall Curry

On Documentaries and Life: A Chat With Marshall Curry


This week, Cornell Cinema is hosting the two-time academy award nominated film director, Marshall Curry. He is presenting two of his more socially focused documentaries; Street Fight screened on Tuesday and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front will play on Wednesday. While different in their subject matter, each film addresses current political and social themes in the United States. The screening of If a Tree Falls is at 7:15 p.m. and is free of charge. In preparation for his time on campus, The Sun was able to ask a few background questions about the path Curry has taken as a filmmaker and some of his future plans.

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EDITORIAL: Don’t Betray Cornell Cinema, Again

Last week, Cornell Cinema was unable to secure the number of votes needed from the Student Assembly to raise the amount of byline funding the organizations receives each year. The vote follows a recommendation from the Student Assembly Appropriations Committee that urged the S.A. not increase the Cinema’s funding. While the committee suggested that Cornell Cinema further reduce its costs, additional cuts adversely affect the programming and benefits the organization provides for the campus community. We urge the members of the S.A. to reconsider their decisions to ensure the vitality of Cornell Cinema for future Cornellians. In its recommendation, the Appropriations Committee argued that Cornell Cinema should not be granted an additional $1.40 per student increase, raising its byline funding amount from its current $10.60 to $12 per student.


iGenius: Steve Jobs Biopic

In his book Creativity Inc., which details the founding of Pixar, Ed Catmull likens the presence of fellow co-founder Steve Jobs to the famous 1980s Maxwell tape commercial, with the dude in the suit being blown back full force — tie, cocktail, lampshade and all— by the sheer power of his stereo system. According to Catmull, everyone else was always the dude in the suit, and the stereo system was always Jobs. Steve Jobs does nothing to disprove Catmull’s analogy of Jobs as an intense, driven, borderline psychotic individual whose life had controversy, ambivalence and intrigue to spare. Written by Aaron Sorkin, one of the few auteurist screenwriters of today, the film invites much comparison to his masterful script for The Social Network five years back, which likewise focused on an ambivalent, controversial, intensely driven individual who ended up forever changing the world as we know it. Social Network was helmed by David Fincher, a director of notoriously misanthropic and exquisitely dark films, who was originally slated to do Jobs before Danny Boyle stepped in.