Biopics are hit or a miss, occasionally being something fresh and new, while most of the time being a regurgitation of film history. Damien Chazelle’s (“Whiplash”, “La La Land”) “First Man” sadly fails to be something new, instead falling in line with other Hollywood true stories about an important historical figure.
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The Academy got many of the categories wrong this year, honoring the wrong films for the wrong nominations. Several of this year's best films were completely or almost completely ignored. The Oscars chose to focus on decent or generally pleasing films instead of the more thought-provoking or daring works of art that remained oblivious to mainstream audiences. Here are the biggest snubs:
Netflix starts off its 2019 lineup strong with its new show "Sex Education," an engaging British comedy that presents a thoughtful look at students as they deal with the social pressures of sex in their lives.
The 2019 Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday morning in Los Angeles. A wider range of selections in genres highlights the list of nominees.
In 2017, festival goers from across America were excited at the prospects of a brand-new event to attend which promised to be unlike anything to come before it. A private island in the Bahamas, gorgeous women, world class musical performances, and lots of booze. What more could you want? It seemed too good to be true… and it was.
It’s the early eighteenth century and Great Britain is at war with France. An unstable Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) holds the throne in England; her trusted friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governing for her while the queen deals with an injury. Along comes young Abigail (Emma Stone) – Sarah’s cousin – who works in service for the queen and soon forms a close bond with her, infuriating a jealous Sarah and triggering a tense conflict between the two women over the queen’s attention.
10. The Favourite
Filmmaker Barry Jenkins received both critical acclaim and numerous awards including Best Picture at the Academy Awards for his 2016 film “Moonlight," an intimate and poetic exploration of one man’s alienation and struggle in a society he feels drowned in. Jenkins’ next film follows a completely different style, yet a similar theme. Based on the 1974 novel by James Baldwin, “If Beale Street Could Talk” has its heart in the right place the entire time, overall achieving what it sets out to do, yet struggles to execute its mission to its best ability.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” is a strong film that generates emotional appeal, yet doesn’t fully embrace its dramatic potential.
It: Chapter 2
Dick Cheney is seen by many as the most controversial and powerful vice president in American history. With such a shocking legacy, it should come as no surprise that a mainstream Hollywood film depicting his political career doesn’t praise him or present him as an admirable man.
Tekashi 6ix9ine has built his brand on controversy – beef with other rappers, memes and occasionally music. Now, amidst a whirlwind combination of the first three, 6ix9ine has released his major label debut studio album DUMMY BOY as he sits in federal prison, facing racketeering and firearms charges. 6ix9ine clearly has ambitious goals in mind, with guests from Kanye West to Tay Keith, and those two only scratch the surface of the album’s crossover production and numerous big-name guests. His ambition, however, does anything but translate to his music: DUMMY BOY is an unoriginal and elementary exercise in modern hip-hop, showcasing just how amateur 6ix9ine really is when one looks past all of the hype.
Few films captivate the soul as much as 2018’s “Roma” from Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón. He not only directed this cinematic masterpiece, but he also wrote, produced, edited and served as the cinematographer of the film. Based on his childhood experiences growing up in Roma — a suburb of Mexico City — the filmmaker has done something truly remarkable in that he has crafted a deeply intimate and personal film. It serves as a universal testament to humanity that everyone can relate to in some fashion. Simply put, “Roma” is the best film of 2018.
Arts Editors from the past, present and future sit down to discuss the best that 2018 had to offer.
“Urinetown: The Musical” by the Undergraduate Theatre Association (UTA) and InterMission Theatre (IMT) was the best production I saw this semester. Every actor just seemed to fit perfectly with their character in this production. Usually there are one or two standout performers, but this cast was just spot-on, and I was hugely impressed by the group. The show featured student talent in other ways as well, from the lighting to the props to the direction, which all heightened the drama perfectly. Overall, it was a huge success for just a two-day run, and I’m so glad I caught it because it was completely hilarious.
There’s no doubt that 2018 was an uneasy yet exciting year for Kanye West fans. A lot went down, but let’s focus on an obvious high point: KIDS SEE GHOSTS. Kid Cudi and Kanye West have been a favorite duo for hip-hop-loving millennials, so expectations for this project were high. However, it’s hard to know what to expect with those two. KSG lived up to the iconic statuses of both Cudi and West while exploring new creative territories. Many artists in 2018 have been sticking to the short album trend, and at only 23 minutes long, KSG is no exception. Despite being comprised of only seven precise tracks, the album thematically spans years of volatile controversies and mental health challenges for both artists. The album is an awakening, a fresh start for Cudi and West. Artistically and emotionally in sync at this stage in their careers, the two try to heal their mental health and perhaps a once-fragmented friendship. On the standout track “Freeee,” West and Cudi yell with liberation: “I don’t feel pain anymore/ Guess what baby, I feel free.” The album has a lot of themes involving criticism and self-control, which is played-out through the album with music that feels chaotic at some points and incredibly meticulous at others. -Molly Carmichael
“Well ... that ain’t good,” the shooter proclaims of the bullet holes in his hat — and his forehead. Such morose writing would, in any other instance, draw breathless moviegoers to the edge of their seat; consistent to the directors’ natural flair, though, we need only laugh at the existential gag’s matter-of-fact delivery. Yes, Joel and Ethan Coen return to the big screen in Netflix’s (medium screen?) release of their newest film, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” Tracing the independent anthologies of six vignettes in the American West with grit, irony, tongue-in-cheek humor and a varied cast of peculiar, well-spoken souls doomed to wander the duo’s gifted minds, the two-hour film demands multiple rewatches.
“Spider-Man” for PS4 comes out the gate in the midst of the superhero craze, and it makes for an incredible experience. Being the first “Spider-Man” console game in nearly five years, there were high expectations for the web-slinger’s latest entry. Thankfully, I’m happy to say that many expectations were met and then shattered over the course of this game. An effective way to see the quality of the title is through its narrative. I’ve never been as engaged with a story in gaming as much as this one, as it felt like I was actually playing through a Marvel movie — action and all. As for gameplay, the leveling system encourages exploration, which is thankfully a joy to do. Simply swinging from building to building, doing tricks and exploring New York City is addictive, and it’s exactly what Spider-Man is all about, putting the player into the hero’s shoes even further. Combat — being another important system of the game — is done creatively and effectively, giving a wide array of options and freedom in how to tackle the bad guys. Different suits and gadgets allow for hundreds of combinations and strategies, making for the most customizable “Spider-Man” game ever. If I was able to choose sequels for games from this year, “Spider-Man” effortlessly makes the list: It’s a must-have from 2018. -Kyle Engels
Mockumentary “American Vandal” raises the stakes in its second season, once again following the two high school filmmakers from season one as they are called in to investigate a mysterious figure known only as “The Turd Burglar” – a vandal who terrorizes a private school in Washington through poop-related crimes. Taking a step back from its more character-centric first season and instead choosing to focus more on the vandalism itself, the second season is better in nearly every way. The show manages to present a genuinely fascinating and absorbing mystery, but it doesn’t forget to capitalize on the ridiculousness and humor of its premise – through everything from the occasional fecal jokes to every episode being some sort of pun about poop. Never does this balance feel jarring or disjointed, either. Few shows manage to strike such a balance of humor and intrigue, making “American Vandal” a show uniquely fit for both genre lovers and critics alike — for crappy, it is not. -Joseph Marz
Based on actual historical characters, “Never Anyone But You” is narrated by Marcel Moore. Published in June 2018, Thomson sets his eye on the biographies of two pioneering female French surrealists to create a moving fiction that navigates same-sex love and self-transformation in a time when women’s voices were just starting to be heard.