Film Review: A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born written by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper and directed by Bradley Cooper (Warner Bros. Pictures, Live Nation Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, R, 136 min) Starring Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, and Dave Chappelle. Chasing the Profound What makes something profound? What conditions of elements must mix together to create a compelling mélange? Surely, surprise must operate as a key element. That which is typical tends not to point toward profundity. We’ve seen it before. It also seems as if relatability acts as a key pillar. If an artwork doesn’t feel human, it likely doesn’t pull at the emotional depths of what makes us who we are. But, it feels like… Read More →

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri written and directed by Martin McDonagh (Blueprint Pictures, Film 4, Fox Searchlight Pictures, R, 115 min) Starring Frances McDormand, Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, and Peter Dinklage. On Magnetism The term magnetic paints an evocative picture about a personality. From a young age, magnetism draws puerile fascination. Magnets make scientists out of us all. We place them farther and farther apart hoping to see where the magical pull finally loses its sway. We change dimension, trying to understand how a magnet can pull against gravity as an equal and opposite force. We add velocity to magnets, hoping to understand whether inertia holds more influence than the force clamping the magnets together…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Barry: Season 1

Barry Season 1

Barry: Season 1 created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader (HBO) Starring Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, Anthony Carrigan, Henry Winkler, and Paula Newsome. Hi-Ho It’s Off to Work We Go Hollywood’s depiction of work always seems off. People lounge around for breakfast, and then work all day. And they seem to like it. Newsflash: most people are not happy with their work and want some sort of outlet to channel frustrations and passions. Now, some people truly love what they do. And when that happens, they still must account for the stress of a competitive marketplace. Most people don’t relax on their weekdays. Somebody out there is working hard to steal that job, that client, that… Read More →

Film Review: La La Land

La La Land

La La Land written and directed by Damien Chazelle (Black Label Media, Gilbert Films, Impostor Pictures, PG-13, 128 min) Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Make Hollywood Great Again We live in an era of nostalgia. The largest television phenomenon of 2016 focused on 1980s synths, hairstyles, and sci-fi horror. Beyond cultural nostalgia, we saw an election where a clear motivation at the polls focused on policies pushing America toward the past, toward a time where the nation was considered “great,” at least for a certain kind of American. Trends ebb and flow. Beliefs move in and out of season as if they are fashion chic. While many rightly criticize much of the policies bringing fear to certain groups of… Read More →

Film Review: Cake

Cake written by Patrick Tobin and directed by Daniel Barnz (Cinelou Films, Echo Films, We’re Not Brothers Productions, R, 102 min) Starring Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington. Habits How do you act when you aren’t conscious of your actions? I tend to rub my fingernails. It’s a habit I believe I’ve passed down to my son as he tends to want to rub my fingernails when he’s trying to calm down. The innate habits we possess to get us through life can vary greatly but we engage in them to cope with the minute to the drastic. Meet Claire With Cake, we see a mother coping with physical and emotional pain. Claire (Jennifer Aniston) attends a chronic… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Walking Dead: Season 5

The Walking Dead Season 5

The Walking Dead: Season 5 created by Frank Darabont (AMC, Circle of Confusion, Valhalla Motion Pictures) Starring Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Lauren Cohan, Emily Kinney, Danai Gurira, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Chad L. Coleman. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Execution You can have the greatest ideas in the world but if you can’t execute, what’s the point? Millions of businesses start with a great idea. The ones that last are the ones that follow through on it. The dreamers need a balanced team capable of filling in the details of the plan. The Walking Dead has always suffered from this fateful issue. Season after season, the writers attempt to balance violence and action with the… Read More →

Film Review: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything written by Anthony McCarten, directed by James Marsh (Working Title, StudioCanal, Focus Features, Universal Pictures, PG-13, 123 min) Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Circles What does a circle represent for you? With no right or wrong answer, the responses could vary drastically. Some might think about the lack of a flat surface. They would reason a circle must be in constant motion, rolling wherever it might go. Others might consider a circle to be inherently equal; by definition, a circle possesses identical distance from any point on the perimeter to the center of the circle. For others, a circle represents completion, the holistic encompassing nature of life. In theory, a circle could be everything. The… Read More →

Film Review: The Immigrant

The Immigrant

The Immigrant written and directed by James Gray (Keep Your Head, Kingsgate Films, Worldview Entertainment, R, 120 min) Starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner. The American Dream What’s your American Dream? A big house? Five cars? Do you have a plan to get there? For many Millennials, the American Dream is more of an American Expectation. The grand ideals of success represent life as it should be, and every day without achievement feels like failure. But isn’t the American Dream about hope? Unparalleled success by definition can’t be for everyone. Were it received by all, it would no longer be unparalleled. What if the American Dream operates as the carrot dangling in front of the rabbit? Hard work… Read More →

Film Review: Birdman

Birdman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) written by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Nicolás Giacobone, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (New Regency Pictures, M Prods, Grisbi Productions, R, 119 min) Starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, and Edward Norton. Hollywood Award Ceremony Watch one Hollywood award ceremony and you’ve seen them all. Without fail, these shows elicit a self-congratulatory nature. There’s a sense in which every presenter truly believes her craft—acting—exists as one of the most important things in our society. Like medical doctors, social workers, teachers, and non-profit administrators, the actor exposes the injustice of the world, brings healing to others, and educates the younger generations to make this world a better place. Even though she… Read More →

Film Review: Her

Her by Spike Jonze

Her written and directed by Spike Jonze (Annapurna Pictures, Warner Bros., R, 126 min) Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde. Newspaper Trains There’s a photo that’s been making the social media rounds. It shows a black-and-white image of a commuter train with passengers reading newspapers. The inference of the image being: times haven’t changed human nature much. The only difference between then and now is the medium of information. Now our eyes are glued to the iPhone. This image struck me because it made me think deeper about the relationship between technology and human interaction. No matter what innovations occur, we all have the same desire and anger, the same hopes and fears. If… Read More →