Better Than Real Life

For an art form that often lives in the shadow of its live-action big brother, animation finally received its share of the spotlight on Saturday at Cornell Cinema’s special event, Homegrown Animation. Headlined by Tara Cooper ’08’s ten-minute short Until the Lake Froze Solid, the program included nineteen animated shorts made by Cornell students over the past six years, as well as a Q&A session with Tara about her MFA thesis film. Although there was no red carpet or hordes of paparazzi waiting outside Homegrown Animation was both a showcase of the cream of the crop of Cornell animation projects and some well-deserved face time for the incredibly talented artists whose work rarely earns the attention that it’s due.

Reality in the Wrong Places

“I want to report on the real state of the world.” So says recent college graduate James, played by Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale), explaining his intent to emulate travel writers like Charles Dickens. He’s got it all figured out: After spending a few months in Europe with his buddies, he will enroll in the Colombia School of Journalism. However, when the first part of those plans falls through, he is forced to spend the summer of 1987 working at Adventureland — a decrepit amusement park that seems right at home with the urban decay of surrounding Pittsburgh. And so is the setup of Adventureland.

A Great Movie to See on a Man Date

Paul Rudd has managed to make himself the common denominator in almost every successful comedy since Anchorman. Since first showing up in 1995’s Clueless, he has surfed the undercurrent, playing the pleasant-faced guy with just enough issues to remain unpredictable and unforgivingly funny.
He’s so good that he doesn’t even need help from Judd Apatow. Using last year’s Role Models as an example, it’s amazing how Rudd’s presence and timing can make a comedy feel like that school of subtly sophisticated sex jokes and raunchy feel-good film.

Tony Gilroy's 'Duplicity' Disappoints

If the going rate for disappointment these days is $18.50, then snag a small popcorn, a small Coke and a ticket to the next showing of Duplicity. Centered on deception and romantic intrigue, Duplicity just tries to do too much. The trailers create a much more compelling plot than what this difficult-to-follow spy-thriller actually delivers. However, the unnecessarily complicated storyline does not take away from the undeniable chemistry between leading lovers Julia Roberts and Clive Owen.

He's Just Not That Into You … or Whatever …

“He’s just not that into you.” For desperate romantics clinging on to a relationship that’s lost all hope, it’s a painful line to hear. The movie He’s Just Not That Into You attempts to instill this very idea into your head by showing the relationship tribulations of various 30-year-olds. Based on Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s best-selling relationship advice book, the movie focuses on the large gender difference in perspectives regarding burgeoning relationships. Separate “chapters” of the movie focus on potential problematic issues that can arise, leaving viewers hopeful that they will acquire the goldmine of relationship advice by the end of the film.

Everyone Likes A Good Suck

When we think of vampires, a negative image usually tends to form in our minds. We imagine creatures of the night, surviving off the blood of humans and killing indiscriminately, without emotion. In the past year, with the release of Twilight, many (mostly adolescent girls and young women) saw this stereotype change. In fact, it seemed that vampires, non mortal creatures, could actually have the potential to garner characteristics that only humans are known to possess. These included empathy, compassion, and in the case of Edward Cullen from Twilight, romantic love.

More Than Cliffhangers

The Banff Mountain Film Festival, a collection of outdoor adventure, environmental, and mountain culture films, rolled into town once again last Friday to dazzle a filled-to-capacity Kennedy Auditorium. This year’s festival, which ran from Oct. 31 through Nov. 9, received some 300 submissions from 37 countries. After the festival, the Banff Mountain Film World Tour hits the road, visiting 200 locations in North America and 28 other countries in a span of six months. Ithaca residents get to vote ahead of time on the eight to ten films they wish to see from the selection of 50 finalists, totalling about two and half hours worth of footage.