Arts Editors from the past, present and future sit down to discuss the best that 2018 had to offer.
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The Daily Cardinal Arts podcast returns! In this episode of Rock with the Flock, Sam Marz, Brandon Arbuckle, Alex Jankovich and Christian Memmo discuss all things film. From Oscar contenders to Hollywood scandals, tune in for a wide-ranging conversation on the latest movie news.
With the Academy Awards nominations announcement coming out Tuesday, Jan. 24, the entertainment community is gearing up with their final Oscar predictions. In honor of the Super Bowl of film culture, I compiled a list of my own predictions for these prestigious awards. While I confess that I have not seen every film and performance on this list, I have looked over numerous other prediction lists, award ceremony nominations, thespians involved and the each film’s subject matter to nail down what I believe to be the most likely nominations in the Oscars’ six major categories: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.
Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the "Star Wars" franchise, died Tuesday morning at the age of 60 due to heart complications.
Some viewers watch a film and see familiar actors move about the screen. A few might study the technical aspects of the production. Others might just relax with their friends and view a world different from their own.
If you thought that the “Harry Potter” franchise ended with Harry, Ron and Hermione fading into a black screen at the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2,” you would be fortunately mistaken. J.K. Rowling revitalized the beloved mythology with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which was recently released in theaters. According to Rowling, this film is one of five in the new “Fantastic Beasts” series, and based on this film, the series is off to a good start.
The wizarding world of Harry Potter is, as its name suggests, one of the most fantastical works of fiction. In honor of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a prequel of sorts to the “Harry Potter” franchise that hit theaters on Nov. 18, I decided to share my ranking of all eight “Harry Potter” films, from worst to best. I use “worst” as a relative term, because in my eyes, all of the films are well-constructed and faithful to the novels. While my order has shuffled throughout the years, as of today, I have a pretty definitive rank in mind.
The best thing about watching a movie is that it shows us a world different from our own. Whether fantastical or realistic, dramatic or comedic, these films offer a path to escape from our problems and concerns. And, if really good, a film might offer a new life perspective to consider.
The annual Marquee Film Festival took place in Union South over the weekend. Curated by the WUD Film Committee, the festival featured 12 screenings that included independent, foreign and documentary films, with genres ranging from comedies to thrillers.
There’s a part from Stephen Chbosky’s novel, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” that I often think about, wherein the main character Charlie and his girlfriend go to see a movie. After it ends, Charlie comments that it is a decent film, but he doesn’t like the film because it didn’t make him feel any differently. Although this scene isn’t a pertinent moment in the novel—so much so that it didn’t even make into the movie adaptation—it always stuck with me, because it introduced a different way to evaluate film.
The first thing most people notice about a film is who is starring in it. We see the actors, invest our attention in them and virtually place them on pedestals above anything else. There is fair reasoning in this—players have a lot of impact on the film industry, especially if they have several laudable performances and a loyal fanbase under their belts. In terms of any film’s overall quality though, I would argue that the actors involved are hardly the most important parts of a film. I am not dismissing the talent of thespians working in the film industry. There’s no denying Heath Ledger’s stellar performance as The Joker in “The Dark Knight,” and it’s difficult to picture anyone other than Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs.” Actors absolutely elevate the films they play. But, without a strong director, story or production, the actual film itself would not work.A film could have a fantastic player, but if the screenwriter writes weak dialogue for a character or if the director doesn’t push enough during pivotal scenes, performances will fall apart. This happened to Natalie Portman in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” written and directed by George Lucas. Portman is a great player—if her Oscar for “Black Swan” is any indication—but Lucas’s atrocious dialogue and uncaring direction made her performance as Padmé stiff and emotionless. In such cases, even the best thespians today cannot always add quality to a film. Conversely, a movie could have a fantastic character performance and still be a sub-par piece of cinema. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” was one of my favorite parts of the film, but I cannot let that be an excuse for an overstuffed plot and choppy editing. The buzz around the movie “The Girl on the Train,” which hit theaters this past week, presents that lead Emily Blunt gives a committed performance in an otherwise lackluster thriller, suggesting that even her best efforts are not enough to save it. Recognizing a film’s greatness—or lack thereof—should not fall squarely on the shoulders of the players. Everyone wants to know who won the Oscar for Best Actor, but no one wants to know about the people who spent hours designing costumes or building elaborate stages. These parts of award shows don’t necessarily peak my interest either, and that’s because the general public, doesn’t know who these people are. And that’s how studios market films—if there is a big name attached, like Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johansson, butts are bound to find their way to theater seats. Studios hardly advertise their films around stage designers, but that doesn't mean that their work is irrelevant or deserves to be ignored. Michael Keaton is captivating in "Birdman," but Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography and Alejandro Iñárritu's directing of a visually seamless film are what make it great. Actors are one small part of the much bigger production picture that is filmmaking. They might make good films better or bad films watchable, but I think the surrounding processes are what tip the scale. Solid performances are perhaps the most noticeable piece of the puzzle, but not the most important.
It was a sunny, summer afternoon as I drove along rolling country roads back to my house. The radio was blasting alternative tunes from Milwaukee’s FM 102.1. As the station cut to commercial, the radio DJ spoke a name I hadn’t heard in quite some time: Bon Iver.
I consider myself far more of a film lover than a film critic. Whether a film is being announced or premiering in theaters, I genuinely want it to do well, because if there’s anything that I learned from watching, studying and evaluating movies, it’s that filmmakers put an incredible amount of effort and planning into their works. No one wants to be subject to harsh criticism or dislike, but there is often a gray area when it comes to a film’s quality. That is where the film critic half comes into play.
The 1980s were something of a golden age for film. “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Princess Bride” and “The Breakfast Club” are only a small sliver of cinematic brilliance that came out of the decade. It is difficult to pin down any one reason why the ‘80s films were so successful, but I think it is because of the energy and precision the directors and filmmakers infused into their work. The narratives were airtight, the characters were well-developed and the quality of the films were unparalleled for their time. That same level of craft seems harder to come by in contemporary movies, so when I do come across such a film, the result is something incredibly special. And my goodness, did I find something incredible with “Sing Street.”
What I have always admired about The Head and the Heart was the band’s ability to tap into raw human emotions and experiences. As their name suggests, their traditionally folky, alternative style makes me reflect on my own life— with both my head and my heart. In their third album Signs of Light, the band departs from this sound, opting for less folk and more pop. From a musical standpoint, the results are mixed. However, The Head and the Heart does stay true to their unique qualities at the core of each track both lyrically and thematically.
We are a culture of continuation. Virtually every film that’s announced nowadays is a sequel to or installment of a pre-existing property. While that is sure to rake in the ticket sales at the box office, it begs the question: Is the film industry losing originality?
When I tell people that I want to be a writer, many people ask the question “Don’t you want to make money?” To this, I would usually respond with a small smile and a shrug, because I know why they’ve asked it. As a field of study, the arts—whether it be writing, acting, singing or performing—can get lost in the shuffle amid the degrees deemed more “successful” like business, engineering or law. That is not to say that these fields are not immensely important in our society, but their placement in the limelight means that the arts may be left in the shadows. If there was one thing I would take away from the South By Southwest film festival, it is that the importance of the arts should never be understated, because it ignites my passion in a way only certain things can.
Seven months removed from the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, community members gathered Sunday to sing “Happy Birthday” to the teenager who would have turned 20.
State Street may have been dead Tuesday night, but the Majestic Theatre could not have been more alive as the New York City-based band DIIV took the stage. I stepped into the theater without expectation, having only heard of the band because they were playing at the Majestic. Not only was this my first experience with DIIV, it was my first experience in the theater itself. The venue provided an enclosed setting and as a result, I found myself fully immersed auditorily and visually within the spectacle onstage.
A proposal that would dramatically alter the state’s campaign finance laws is being fast-tracked through the state Legislature, despite being termed by critics as a “deregulation” of the current system.