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Recognizing “Epic” Mumblecore

The 97-minute, 2016 film Free of Thought ends with John hunched over a sink in a dimly-lit kitchen. Through a doorframe, we see our protagonist doing the dishes and hear him whistling to himself: a quiet, unassuming moment almost all can relate to. What makes this particular, ostensibly-mundane scene so striking are the circumstances that led up to it. The film starts in Melbourne, Australia, where John is in a relationship with Mel. But by the film’s closing moments, John has become a habitual stoner, messily broke up with Mel and migrated to Montreal, Canada.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has not given up in the new Halloween.

‘Halloween’: Laurie Strode Strikes Back

Ruby: Let me just start off by saying that it’s a pretty bad idea to see a horror film with Varun. Varun: Watching a horror movie is, for me, an act of pure masochism. RQ: Yeah, but honestly it’s not even scary. VB: If you’ve seen enough slashers it’s probably not that scary since the film dogmatically clings to the tropes of that genre. But I think there’s enough jump scares in the film to make all but the most hardcore horror fans sweat a little.

Ashley Bell and Lek Chailert among elephants in Love & Bananas.

‘Love & Bananas’ is Emotional, but that’s About It

Love & Bananas, at times, feels like a souped-up vlog. At other moments, it makes you want to run out of the theater and go hug an elephant. Unfortunately, the nearest zoo is 40 miles away from campus, which makes that a tad difficult.
The documentary follows actress Ashley Bell and elephant conservationist Lek Chailert on their mission to rescue a 70-year-old elephant, Noi Na, from a trekking camp. Bell’s narration introduces the audience to the largely unknown plight of Asian elephants. She, with Chailert’s assistance, details the horrors of human abuse toward the massive, yet gentle, creatures.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Director Damien Chazelle Flexes with “First Man”

Damien Chazelle is rapidly cementing himself as one of the most talented young filmmakers working today. Although it would be fair to accuse “First Man” of being a vehicle for director Damien Chazelle to show off with a somewhat thin screenplay underneath, I’m very much down to watch Chazelle flexing for the next 50 years. He brought me back to my childhood and made me feel like I wanted to be an astronaut again.

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Sorry to Bother You Excites Despite Being Scattered

Sorry to Bother You presents a uniquely absurd story about finding meaning in a racially and economically unjust world. What appears on the surface as biting satire transforms into a thrilling but radical sci-fi about our rights as workers and as humans. Centered in an alternate-reality present day Oakland, Sorry to Bother You tells the story of Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), who after discovering the key to telemarketing success rockets up the corporate ladder and is swallowed into a world of corporate greed. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson)  and his friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) attempt to organize the telemarketers Cassius once worked with and protest against the corporation Worry-Free, which specializes in providing modern-day slave labor to other companies. The movie opens with Cassius landing his much-needed job in telemarketing and being told to just “stick to the script.” For the first half of the film, characters seem to follow this role, as we move through the daily life of Cassius and his coworkers in their attempts to get by.

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A Star is Born Shines Dully

Right off the bat I’ll save you a Google — that really is Bradley Cooper singing. Damn son. I mean of course Lady Gaga can sing; she’s Lady Gaga, but . . .