Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Sony Turned Peter Rabbit into a Remorseless Killer

Most of us grew up with Beatrix Potter’s stories, the most famous among them being her debut work The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902. It’s a charming little morality tale about a young rabbit warned by his mother to not raid a farmer’s garden. He does so and lands himself in trouble. It may not be the headiest of literature, but it’s a cultural touchstone. Three years ago, the Sony email hacks revealed that they were planning on bringing Beatrix Potter’s beloved character to the big screen.

Courtesy of Magic Light Pictures

Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films Delight at Cornell Cinema

With the Oscars right around the corner, Cornell Cinema recently screened the nominees for best Animated Short. All five films showcase completely different styles of animation and stories. A love letter written by NBA legend Kobe Bryant, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s dark take on fairy tales and frogs uncovering a chilling secret are just a few of the shorts included in this years selection of nominees. Dear Basketball is based on a poem of the same name written by Kobe Bryant. It utilizes a sketch-based animation, helping draw the audience in with a black and white color scheme that created a youthful look and fast pace.

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread.

The Phantom of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Acting Career

I really did not want to see Phantom Thread. And honestly, I am not entirely glad I did. But I wanted to see every movie nominated for Best Picture, and was intrigued that Daniel Day-Lewis announced directly after production that it was his last movie ever. Phantom Thread is set in 1950s post-war London. Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a famous dressmaker of the British elite.

Agent of Change

Agents of Change: Untold Stories of the Willard Straight Takeover

On Saturday evening, Cornell students, alumni, faculty and local Ithaca residents were treated to a screening of the documentary Agents of Change at Kennedy Hall. The event was hosted by Associate Dean of Students Dr. Renée T. Alexander ’74 and co-sponsored by Black Students United, OADI, Omega Psi Phi, Ujamaa Residential College and the Office of the Dean of Students. The winner of both Jury and Audience awards at the 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival, Agents of Change takes us back in time to the 1968 strike at San Francisco State University and the 1969 Willard Straight Hall takeover at Cornell. Both SFSU and Cornell protests were based on similar demands for an increase in black faculty and students and the development of a black studies program. The directors Abby Ginzberg ’71 and Frank Dawson ’72 cleverly juxtapose the two events.

Andy Serkis as Caesar

GUEST ROOM | Oscar for an Ape

As much as I love foisting my movie opinions on others, I don’t envy the jobs of Academy voters. Every year they put forth their best guesses as to what films and actors they feel stood out over the last 365 days and every year somebody somewhere will always feel their favorite piece or person has been snubbed. Unfortunately, those opinions are consistently more boisterous than the silent consent of the masses. That said, I think they’ve done a good job this year… for the most part. Best Actress has Frances McDormand (Three Billboards)?

Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

GUEST ROOM | The Last Jedi Reimagined

I got to review The Last Jedi when it came out, along with some other Arts & Entertainment writers. To sum it up, we all pretty much said the same thing: it was a film of highs and lows. The overarching theme of balance the movie sought to explore shone through in its quality: good balanced against bad. But this isn’t a movie review. This is a “rewrite” of sorts, in which I will attempt to suggest a few small tweaks that had the potential to improve a movie.

Courtesy of TSG Entertainment.

The Shape of Water Is a Fairytale for Adults

The elevator pitch for The Shape of Water is “a fairytale for adults,” and the movie doubles down on this concept from the very beginning. The opening shot, a graceful long take, sweeps through an underwater home as if the viewer is swimming in it. The image is surreal, especially combined with Alexandre Desplat’s enchanting score and Richard Jenkins’ narration about the “princess without a voice.” Within the first minute, we’ve been transported into director Guillermo Del Toro’s fantasy. Del Toro’s vivid imagination brings to life the story of a mute woman, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), in the 1960s who works as a janitor in a secret government laboratory in Baltimore. The science facility has captured an aquatic, humanoid amphibian, referred to as The Asset.

Miguel talks to his grandmother in front of the ofrenda in the recent Pixar release Coco.

GUEST ROOM | Films About Mexico Should Stop Focusing on Día de los Muertos and Drugs

When I first saw an ad for Coco, I felt hopeful. There aren’t very many movies about Mexican people, especially not children and family movies. However, once I watched the trailer, I was massively disappointed. It seems that time and time again, movies that revolve around Mexicans are about either Día de los Muertos or drugs. I get it.

Courtesy of Pixar Studios

GOULDTHORPE | Idols with Feet of Clay: #MeToo and John Lasseter

It’s been three months since The New York Times released its bombshell story about Harvey Weinstein. Since then, more and more sexual offenders have been brought to light, and the entertainment industry has been rocked to its core. I can’t even begin to name all the actors, producers and so on who have had allegations come to light against them. It’s become a huge movement, but has sparked some backlash too. So I figured I would put my own voice out there, focusing on one case that hit close to me and my field: John Lasseter.

t-coco-movie-making-of-opener

What were the Biggest Animated Hits and Misses in 2017?

2017 is over. Another year gone. I’d put more of the typical “new years” style fluff here, but I’ll just jump right into the story. Here’s some of my personal highlights from 2017:

The Lego Batman Movie

 

Warner Brothers delivered the first major animated release of the year, and they delivered a great film. It’s energetic, thrilling, pull-out-all-the-stops fun that we all really needed at that point, for one reason or another.