One of the directors of Best of Enemies, Morgan Neville, calls his film "both thrilling drama and absurdist comedy." And he’s right. This documentary is edge-of-your-seat thrilling and knee-slappingly funny. It is also informative, critical, biographical and inspirational. Best of Enemies balances the roles of documentary, namely to educate and entertain, in a masterful way that makes it a truly fantastic film.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has the look and feel of a movie that was made with the conscious effort to be unlike any other movie out there, and it works, and it is one of the truly great viewing experiences I have ever had.
REACT to Film AU featured a film screening of award-winning documentary Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine on April 8, followed by comments made by director Michelle Josue. Inspiring, tragic, and profound, the documentary is an artistic homage not only to Shepard's short life, but to the rising community of anti-sex hatred activists that are emerging out of the LGBT community.
As Kindles and iPads gradually (and tragically) phase out paper, some historic bookstores continue to cling to life by offering a unique experience. Capitol Hill Books, nestled in the historic Eastern Market, remains as one of Washington’s hidden gems as it rebels against the Digital Age.
In 1995, Cheryl Strayed took off on an eleven-hundred-mile trek to put aside the pain of grieving her mother's death and save herself from her own destructive behavior. When her memoir became a bestseller in 2012, Reese Witherspoon grabbed onto it with the aim to make it through her own production company, Pacific Standard, and starring herself as the independent, troubled young woman. Wild is her movie (with credit due to photographer Yves Bélanger, screenwriter Nick Horby and director Jean-Marc Vallée).
The cinema in the 1960s was an arena for Czechoslovakian political dissent, where film directors enjoyed a state-supported film industry and increased creative license. Among these visionaries was Vaclav Havel, a gifted playwright who later became the first president of the democratic Czech Republic. The 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and Havel’s presidency coincides with this year’s Czech film series titled The Play’s the Thing, brought to the Malsi Doyle Theatre by the Embassy of the Czech Republic, the National Gallery of Art, and the AU School of Communication.
Nightcrawler is a modern take on a cautionary tale as old as television itself, one that cinema most famously already told in Network (1976). In that oscar-winning film, an ensemble of cable newsmakers destroy their own and one another’s lives — through suicide attempts, assassinations, infidelity and prostitution — in order to boost ratings at the expense of their friendships.
Some books, like Marvels, have deconstructed the notion of the helpless citizen constantly relying on the superhero to save them. Taking this even farther, other books have even gone so far as depicting the depressed superhero hoping for forgiveness for a mistake in his or her past (Kingdom Come shows white-bearded Superman in such a state: retired in self-imposed exile). Yet, no graphic novel has gone to the lengths Penance: Relentless does to defile the superhero genre hope motif, one that Superman is the prime example of.
To quote a well-loved movie about a clownfish searching for his son, Portraits of Planet Ocean at the Natural History Museum was both “big and blue.” But despite the small children screaming “Nemo!” every few minutes, Brian Skerry’s photography was far more profound than an animated film.
A boxy glass case containing a colossal, caricatured paper mache sculpture of the Beatles is a startling and intriguing greeting to the display of original cover art that graced Time Covers the 1960s at the National Portrait Gallery.
There’s a scene in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him/Her in which Connor (James McAvoy) sits in a classroom and sees the woman he loves. He asks if he can bother the man in front of him for a piece of paper and to borrow a pen. Unsure exactly what to say, he writes, “Hi.,” hands the folded note forward and asks, “Can you pass this to the girl with the red hair?”
In the opening montage of Gone Girl there is a series of ordinary homes, an ordinary Main Street with an ordinary bar and even an ordinary lamp post clock at the heart of what these Midwestern folks must consider a pretty ordinary downtown. It is simple and run-down and altogether safe, if unexciting. Nick Dunne fits in just fine. He wears loose fitting clothes and goes down to the local watering hole — named The Bar and owned by Nick and his sister Margot — to play board games and complain about his wife, Amy.
Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children is an art film disguising itself as a star-driven dark comedy. It is meticulously paced but episodic, built on its characters but highly impersonal. And while it fails to reach the heights of the filmmaker’s prior works, it is unapologetically a Jason Reitman picture.
Last semester, AmLit turned your heads toward the treasure trove of Issuu.com. We loved one of the magazines so much, we reached out to the lovely duo behind the Vancouver-based magazine Freckled, Ting Shuen and Shanene Lau. Their dreamy magazine features up-and-coming photographers, artists, and writers – a lot like a magazine we know and love…
Opening with a creepily masked serial killer on a stage playing cards with a crying little girl, the orchestra and all the seats around them filled with the bloody dead bodies of men, women, and children, Nick Spencer, Riley Rossmo, and Frazer Irving’s Bedlam Volume 1 is immediately beyond disgusting.
Disjunctive shots of a sleeping Lucy Harmon, played by Liv Tyler, flicker across the screen as a stranger aboard her train secretly films her sleeping on a camcorder. So it seems that everyone views Lucy as an object of lust in Bernardo Bertolucci’s film, Stealing Beauty (1996). The film follows the story of Lucy, an American 19-year-old girl who goes to the golden Tuscan countryside to stay at the villa of several family friends and an eclectic group of other locals.
In Part I of the Vimeo Spotlight, we watched animated videos together, but this week, we’re featuring three live action (yes, real people!) short films that manage to whittle down the magic of cinema in less than fifteen minutes and on your computer screen. Montages, murder, and marriage – we’ve got it all right here.
Politics and Prose is a well-established caffeine and literary landmark in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Northwest Washington. Every once in a while I step in to browse the books and sip the coffee. But I was surprised one brisk Friday afternoon to stumble upon a gathering of folks not typical to what you expect in the District. Well, at least in the atmospheric heights of upper Northwest; where the urban bustle and eccentricity of the rest of the city seems so painfully far away.
Take a quick peek in at an AmLit meeting and you might be shocked to learn how many artists and art appreciators are working quietly in the shadow of AU’s future politicians and humanitarians. These are the kids that make references to Sylvia Plath in your gender and politics class and crack satiric jokes.
I’m waiting in line to be processed. The boss woman’s been checking us off one by one, writing out our real names in her excel spreadsheets, giving us nifty nickname tags to make sure we don’t accidentally figure out who belongs to whom. Our parents dropped us off earlier, but we’re not supposed to know each other’s names. We’re anonymous here. Like art camp where everyone gets a code name, only we’re not the campers – we’re the art.