Review: “That Awkward Moment”

That Awkward Moment.jpgBromances are anything but a new concept in film.  For decades, the likes of Bill & Ted, Point Break, and Wayne’s World provided bromantic entertainment in a variety of different genres.  However, thanks to the success of I Love You Man in 2009, the bromance genre has taken on a new life, reaching new creative and financial heights.  The newest in the long line of recent bromance films is this weekend’s That Awkward Moment, which unfortunately never finds its footing, resulting in a mess of clichés, poor characterization, and a waste of a talented class. Where films like Superbad and I Love You Man found success in subversion and parody of romantic comedy tropes, That Awkward Moment is too comfortable playing it safe.

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Review: “Gloria”

Gloria poster.jpgThe only thing foreign about Gloria, a wonderful Chilean import that was snubbed from this year’s nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, is its setting and Spanish dialogue. The main crux of the movie, that of a divorced 58-year-old woman coming into her own later in life, harkens way back to the American cinema of the 1970s, when Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and others dug into the state of womanhood post-wifehood. These films all feature complex female leads who are independent from man’s indentity yet still yearn for interdependency nonetheless, and Gloria is no exception as it deftly balances the perks and pains of self-reliance.

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Review: “Labor Day”

Labor Day Poster.jpg“They were two people who couldn’t go out into the world, so they made a world with each other.”

I’m always enticed by directors who venture out of their comfort zone. It’s easy to become fond of a filmmaker because of his/her genre mastery, but before long our dependency on his/her ‘one trick pony’ abilities are undercut by a desire for versatility. We want to see the filmmaker do more than only what they are good at, to swing for the fences or put a tunneled effort into a project that is totally unfamiliar. Sometimes, we want them to try and fail because the combination of valiant effort and failure is a stain that defines a filmmaker as opposed to tarnishing them. We as avid viewers respect a cinematic changeup, regardless if it turns out to be more of a sinker or a curveball. Trying something new is a challenge, but the results, whether positive or negative, are always worth the labor.

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Elizabeth Banks Directing “Pitch Perfect 2”

Elizabeth Banks in Alexander McQueenAfter many years of consistent work as a recognizable Hollywood actress in the likes of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hunger Games, Elizabeth Banks is poised to make her directorial debut with the sequel to the surprise smash hit, Pitch Perfect.  Instrumental to the original’s success, Banks was the key producer of the film, developing the concept before handing it over to screenwriter Kay Cannon to flesh out the film. This time around, Banks is taking more creative control, replacing Jason Moore as the director of the sequel.

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Foreign Language Oscar Preview

The Great Beauty aka La Grande Bellezza film stillThe countdown to the 86th Annual Academy Awards has begun. Whether you are planning a huge viewing party with tiny chocolate statuettes to distribute amongst your friends or you’ll be watching the ceremony alone to experience the thrill at its maximum, I’m quite sure you might still be wondering: what are those foreign language films nominated this year? Every year, the Foreign Language Film category remains a mystery to a majority of American moviegoers. I mean, can you roll off the last several years of Foreign Language winners like you can those for Best Picture? The category was officially created in 1956 and features only non-English speaking movies. Amazing titles have been nominated in the past and this year as well, but it is often hard for the public to really get a clear idea of what these movies are about, let alone see them in cinemas. As an international student, I’ve always taken great interest in the nominees, so I’m going to take this chance to go through the 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Award nominations:

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Movie Rewind: “The Trip” (Steve Coogan, “The Trip To Italy”, “Philomena”)

Trip poster.jpgTrans-cultural influence between Britain and America has left Americans with much to rejoice over. From one of the most popular bands in history, The Beatles, to J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular book series turned multi-million dollar franchise, Harry Potter, not to mention the Pilgrims, the British have blessed our American shores with many a great import. One such import is Michael Winterbottom’s 2010 comedy The Trip. After taking an assignment for the food issue of the newspaper The Observer to impress his girlfriend, Steve (an impressively glum Steve Coogan) is forced to find a new companion when she calls for a “break” in their relationship. Rather than traverse the finest restaurants Northern England has to offer by himself, Steve reluctantly invites his friend and colleague Rob (the infectiously sunny Rob Brydon) to come along. On January 20th, a sequel to The Trip called The Trip to Italy premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to highly positive reviews. In addition, star Steve Coogan co-wrote and co-stars in the wonderful Philomena, now a Best Picture nominee at this year’s Academy Awards. In other words, now’s the perfect time for movie rewind of The Trip.

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“I, Frankenstein”: When Will Fantasy Re-Imanginers End?

I Frankenstein Poster.jpgEveryone criticizes Hollywood for being unoriginal, relying on sequels to their big blockbusters that are just variations on the same formula they used to start their last franchise. However, in the past few years there’s been a trend of studios digging back even further to find material for their latest action movie. Classic literature characters, fairy tale heroes, Greek gods, and even historical figures have found themselves fighting bad guys against green screens. This weekend saw the release of one of the most ridiculous of these ideas yet, taking the monster of Mary Shelley’s famous horror novel and turning him into the shirtless, axe wielding lead of I, Frankenstein. So I find myself asking the question, what’s the allure of these films? And are audiences even responding to them?

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