GUEST ROOM | Citizen Kane, 75 Years Later

The year 1941 saw the release of Citizen Kane. Orson Welles directed, wrote, produced and starred in the film, which has been criticized for its resemblance to the life of the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. The storyline is the quintessential American Dream, perfectly arching a rise and fall for its tragic hero: Charles Foster Kane. Due to its technological advances, its interpretation of the American dream and its emphasis on the gratuitous excess that comes along with power, Kane stands the test of time, even 75 years later. The film follows the ups and downs of fictitious media mogul Charles Foster Kane (Welles) through his rise to power and subsequent loss of everything.

Arts Writers Feud Over Potential Oscar Winners

The only thing more divisive than religion and politics is opposing Oscars predictions. The Arts section has weighed in on their favorites; where do yours stack up? Best Picture
Will Win: The Revenant

As much as we would like to see something smart like Spotlight or funny like The Big Short take home the coveted award of Best Picture, we will probably see Alejandro Iñárritu walk out with a little golden man for the second year in a row.  The story of a frontiersman (Leonardo DiCaprio) out to seek vengeance on the man who left him for dead (Tom Hardy) is a simple yet intense storyline.  It is beautifully shot — thanks to Emmanuel Lubezki —  with vast shots of nature and landscapes.

GUEST ROOM | #WasteHisTime2016: Leo and the Oscars

Every year that Leonardo DiCaprio appears in a compelling film, the hot topic becomes whether or not it will be his year to win an Oscar. In the decades since his performance as Johnny Depp’s kid brother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, DiCaprio has proven himself to be a committed and strong presence on screen. His usual performances involve compelling and charismatic characters, who are flawed and display an incredible range of emotion. His films have left many in tears, in awe and endlessly intrigued. However, the Academy has not awarded him for any of his roles.

Spinning Singles: The Lumineers, “Ophelia”

Last Friday, the world heard “Ophelia,” the first single released from The Lumineers’ new album, Cleopatra. As expected, it is hauntingly beautiful. The song is named after the ingenue of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The lyrics state, “And I don’t feel no remorse/And you can’t see past my blindness,” which is similar to the undying love Ophelia had for Hamlet, who did not regret ending their affair prematurely. The emotional distance between these two characters from the tragedy is evident in the song and, as a Shakespeare fanatic, I can appreciate the lyrics.

Baskets: The Unseen Side of Clowns

Zach Galifianakis’ latest project involves him clowning around — literally. He teams up with creators Louis C. K. (writer and star of Louie) and Jonathan Krisel (director of Portlandia) for a delightfully unorthodox comedy about pursuing your dream no matter what anyone else tries to tell you. Baskets is as odd as you would assume and then some, but its peculiarity feeds and then starves your need to know what happens next. The trailer for the show invites the curious in for a peek at the darker side of being a clown: it’s smart and refreshing. The FX show revolves around Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) and his failed endeavors to assimilate into real life while pursuing his seemingly bizarre ambition of becoming a professional clown.

Concussion: A Hard-Hitting Look at the NFL

“Let’s say you run a multibillion-dollar football league. And let’s say the scientific community — starting with one young pathologist in Pittsburgh and growing into a chorus of neuroscientists across the country — comes to you and says concussions are making your players crazy, crazy enough to kill themselves, and here, in these slices of brain tissue, is the proof. Do you join these scientists and try to solve the problem, or do you use your power to discredit them?”

This is the opening of a GQ article called “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas. “Game Brain” serves as the main source material for the sports drama Concussion, a film that describes the controversy surrounding the NFL’s attempt to ignore the danger of the title injury. Directed by Peter Landesman, the film focuses on the major findings of Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith), who noted the severe damage that concussions can cause professional football players.

Anything but Lovely: “The Hateful Eight”

New Year’s Day brought the world Quentin Tarantino’s latest bacchanal, The Hateful Eight. The bloody and suspenseful events of this character piece keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. It is a traditional western with the all the Tarantino flair we know and love. Originally, the script was leaked in January 2014 and Tarantino called it off, however, after a successful reading in LA of the script and persuasion from his muse, Samuel L Jackson, he changed his mind. The result: the eighth film Tarantino has directed, named for just that occasion.