Priscilla Speaks!

Until now, Priscilla Presley’s story has mainly been told as a part of Elvis’. With Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, we now have a special opportunity for an intimate look at her experience, separate from the eye-catching distractions of her husband’s stardom. The movie is unwaveringly tied to Priscilla’s perspective — unsurprising, since Presley served as an executive producer. We follow her as a 14-year-old girl who gets invited to 21-year-old Elvis’ house for a party. We feel the excitement of the pop star’s interest and find ourselves skeptical about what business a grown man has with a child.

On ‘Poor Things’: Her Own Means of Production

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” While the attribution of this quote to Oscar Wilde remains debatable, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things embodies its essence flawlessly. A masterpiece of fiction, Poor Things continues to stir a maelstrom of contrasting reactions: Some adore it, others find it disconcerting; it exudes opulence yet leaves an unsettling impression. The bizarre brilliance of Bella Baxter (portrayed by Emma Stone) has prompted some to exit the theater within the first 30 minutes, while others, myself included, found themselves ravenous for seconds.

‘Dune: Part Two’: Lacks Plot Lines as Arresting as its Visuals

I walked into Dune: Part Two with extremely high hopes. I envisioned a sequel with masterful cinematography, bubbling with conflicts and tensions and romance. Instead, I left feeling like Dune: Part Two hardly pushed the plot forward or dove deeper into characters. This film, like the first movie, is very aesthetically appealing. Everything from the chalky coloration of Giedi Prime to the glowing blue eyes of the Fremen is artfully done.

‘Fear and Loathing’ in Ithaca: Sober and (Less) Sober Reflections on Gonzo Journalism and Turning 21

I picked up a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on Friday, 12 hours away from an essay deadline I desperately wanted to avoid and thinking about the book’s long-standing place on my must-read list because of the Criterion Collection’s announcement of the 4k release of the — allegedly — inferior adaptation. I convinced myself, in a further effort to stave off the inevitable essay writing and editing, that it’d help me as a journalist and an editor. I still cringe at my attribution as a journalist — put a gun to my head and maybe I’d invoke Marat as a hero — but I must admit it fits the job description. I now spend enough of my time laying out pages, emailing potential interviews or sources, and copy editing for Oxford commas to make the position undeniable. It’ll help with my journalism, I told myself; I’ve accidentally found myself as a student journalist, and I now need help with my journalism. 

On Sunday I turned 21: that last fun birthday before they begin to blur together and race unfortunately and unexpectedly to the grisly end.

Wait For Me: Hadestown, A Show You Should Not Wait to See 

These days, being a proud theater kid is not for the weak-egoed. I’ve learned that there is a certain kind of pride you must set aside to embrace the wonderful world of musical theater. Over winter break, my friend and I purchased two orchestra seats to Hadestown on a whim in order to take advantage of Broadway’s two for one deal which promptly rolled out after the holiday tourist rush. Though I had most certainly heard of the show, I went into Hadestown mostly blind. The one thing I was not blind to was the fact that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before actor, “Elsa please I know you’re in there” singer and all-around icon Jordan Fisher is in it, and just for him, I was excited enough.

‘Drive-Away D**es,’ Sibling Rivalries and Having Fun 

“The greatest films of all time were never made… the greatest loves of all time are over now.” 

Taylor Swift’s discourse on romance tracks surprisingly well onto the recent history of the great Gen X directing duos: The last couple of years have brought about the divorces of the Safdie brothers, Wachowski sisters and — most tragically — the Coen brothers. Creative partnerships tend to be tenuous, and most historic examples (Martin and Lewis, Nichols and May, Powell and Pressburger, to name a few) end with one or both attempting to stake their own claim — or perhaps needing to after the death of one half. Still, this recent crop of breakups, and particularly the first individual projects from Joel and Ethan Coen, represent at once a great tragedy and fascinating subject for interrogation. A duo best marked for their juxtaposition of brilliant wit with bleak subject matter have split up and demonstrated that they each brought something incredibly different to their collaboration. Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth brought the filmmaker’s trademark visual excellence but stripped the exercise of any humor, and the new film from Ethan Coen, Drive-Away Dolls (or D**es, as the final title card and filmmakers call it), cares about little more than getting a laugh out of its audience.

The Oscar Nominees: The Ones I Liked Less

Well, it can’t all be great. As good as this year’s Oscars slate is in comparison to say, 2021, it still isn’t quite able to escape the inadequacies or odd choices befitting any body of wealthy West Coast liberals and reactionary octogenarians. There isn’t a Green Book this year, or any other film whose victory might call into question the value of the exercise itself, but (unless you suffer from the same brand of brain rot as me) watching all the nominees is never a necessity to cover the best of this year in movies. Here are the ones you can skip: 

The Holdovers 

I hate to be the curmudgeon unable to find much of the joy in this film about a curmudgeonly old man finding joy, but — alas — The Holdovers was not for me. I’m incredibly sympathetic to its warm nostalgia for ’70s aesthetics, even if the specific genre its cribbing from has never particularly appealed to me.

The Oscar Nominees: The Ones I Liked*

I may have aged another year, but I remain in the same state of arrested development that holds dear a decade-long obsession with the Academy Awards. This year, at least, has been an uncharacteristically good year for the kind of prestige awards fodder that ends up nominated, and though (as always) I didn’t like everything, I found a lot of really enjoyable bits in almost all the best picture nominees, even the bad ones. I’ve already reviewed Killers of the Flower Moon, The Zone of Interest and Barbie/Oppenheimer for The Sun (not to mention the excellent reviews of the last two from other Staff Writers), but there are six more Best Picture nominees that are worth talking about. Although the distinction is arbitrary, I’ve split them into two articles, one covering the ones I liked (or reservedly recommend) and another the ones I liked less (or think might merit a skip). Without further ado, here are the ones I liked: 

American Fiction 

Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction, adapted from the 2001 novel Erasure, attempts to simultaneously satire the current state of Black literature and backdoor a compelling family drama in the space of two hours.

Overflowing with Untapped Potential: A Critical Review of Percy Jackson and the Olympians First Season

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”

Such was the line that began The Lightning Thief, the first book of many that were to embody the famous, multi-series saga of half-bloods, monsters and gods. Welcome to the realm of Percy Jackson. 

If there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s that the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series is a childhood classic. From witty humor to action-packed fight scenes, with thrilling characters and a beautiful blend of modern magic, many fans consider the series one of the best stories of our time. 

Last December, the much-anticipated live-action adaptation finally aired on Disney+. This season covers the first book and serves as the introduction to what is to become a much larger series. It concluded on Jan.