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Towards the beginning of Knives Out, a detective (Lakeith Stanfield) remarks that Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a successful crime novelist and the patriarch of the Thrombey family, “practically lived inside a Clue Board.” The detective is referring to Harlan’s sprawling, mahogany–filled mansion that serves as the film’s primary setting. In some ways, though, the whole movie feels like Clue.
Emmett Neyman (E '19) finds comfort in groups. He thrives when he’s being social; It’s clear from the way he lights up when he talks about tutoring other engineering students, playing on his Ultimate Frisbee team, or how he tries to fit lunches with prospective students during Quaker Days into his schedule. Even his bright purple t–shirt—branded with the “Penn Engineering” logo—links him to a broader community. For Emmett, the Engineering Quad is his home base, and he couldn’t look more comfortable sitting at a small table in the white marble halls of Towne.
A towering figure in a full–length, tan fur coat and white go–go boots saunters on stage. Peering at the crowd through strands of his blonde wig, John Holmes (C ‘18) lip syncs to a number from the musical Chicago. He slowly spins around on stage and mimes the lyrics of the song to periodic shrieks of encouragement, exaggerating his every movement with drama and panache. As he luxuriates on a chair on stage with the tatters and rips in his fur coat fully visible, the recorded voice of Catherine Zeta–Jones wails, “Whatever happened to class?”
As soon as you walk through the sparkling glass doors of Stock, a Southeast Asian eatery specializing in all things noodles, it is clear that attention to quirky detail reigns king. Vibrant green chopsticks bring a pop of color to the otherwise minimalist, monotone decor. Located in Fishtown—proximity may be the only downside to this insanely good noodlery—Stock serves traditional Vietnamese and Thai cuisine with fresh flair and a spicy kick.
It’s been a particularly sobering month for people invested in the entertainment industry. Allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and many others have shocked movie lovers and prompted them to examine the power politics that exist in casting meetings, press tours, and movie sets around the world. We are no longer able to blindly consume movies and television without considering what exactly goes on beneath Tinseltown’s glittery exterior—and, more importantly, how we can work to change it.
Middle school is awkward. No matter how much distance we get from those three long years, your mind can always resurface memories that involuntarily make you cringe on your own behalf. Big Mouth, now streaming on Netflix, offers a 22–minute portal back into that embarrassing, embarrassing world; except this time, all your friends are voiced by famous comedians. Creator Nick Kroll brings along his cabal of hilarious friends (Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Jordan Peele—the list keeps going) to voice the bizarre characters that inhabit the Westchester suburb where our protagonists face the trials and tribulations of junior high.
Only twice have I left a movie theater feeling intensely altered by the experience. The first film was Room. I walked out of the 2015 Brie Larson drama in a haze: warmth radiated from the red theater carpets, and the soft glow of light reflecting off of hung movie posters pirouetted across my vision. Walking with the herd towards our cars, I was comforted and awed by humanity.
A lot of people say they don't do well with horror movies, but I do not do well with horror movies. I'm a paranoid and anxious person as it is, and nothing makes me absolutely lose my mind like some sparse ominous music cues, a dark room, and a well–placed jump scare. As a movie lover, this has proven to be a problem. Whenever a great new horror flick comes out, I’m forced to choose between missing out on a great film that everyone’s talking about and being a nervous wreck for 90–120 minutes. I saw the trailer for It, the remake of the classic 1990 miniseries based off of Stephen King’s novel, and could tell this was one of those movies that everyone would be seeing. I refused to miss out this time, so I decided that I'd take the plunge come September 7th.
If you ask any cinema studies major about the greatest
filmmakers of the past 20 years, you’d probably receive a laundry list of about
15 names: David Fincher, P.T. Anderson, Darren Aronosfky, the Coen Brothers, Todd
Haynes, Wes Anderson, the Dardenne Brothers, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Danny
Boyle—among others. One name, though, that no one can deny has had an
omnipresent influence on film since 2000 (like it or not), is Christopher
Nolan. The director of Memento, the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, and last month’s Dunkirk
has enjoyed immense success and critical acclaim from the very start of his
career. Many exalt him as the populist “great” director of the new millennium,
and four of his movies are in IMDb’s top 50 films. How has Nolan managed to go
from making small indie movies to some of the most expensive films of all time,
become a critical darling, and churn out populist hit after populist hit? In
short: what’s the hype?
Hollywood loves a good remake. In the summer of 2016 alone,
we saw updated versions of Ghostbusters, Ben–Hur, The Magnificent Seven and
Pete’s Dragon. These remakes have a tendency to be poorly received and/or just
plain forgotten. Regardless, 2017 has brought about a whole new slate of
remixed classic movies, and some of them actually look pretty good. Here’s a
little preview of what we have coming in the next few months:
Whether you reside in Philly, or have decided to stay here
through the summer, many Penn students will spend the upcoming summer
months right here in the City of Brotherly Love. There's a ton to explore in
this city, but inevitably, there'll be a night where you just can’t think of
anything to do. And when that night comes up, try going to see an outdoor movie in one of the outdoor venues that allow you to enjoy the warm weather. The city offers most of these screenings for free, so it’s a
great way to go see a movie without spending $20 on a ticket and food. There
aren’t any concrete schedules released yet for this summer, but Street's compiled a list of venues that are going to offer outdoor movies in the
A few weeks ago, Street got to speak (Ed. note: well, over the phone) with Jake Gyllenhaal to talk about his space thriller, Life, also starring Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson. The movie came out on March 24th, so read some of Jake's thoughts right here and then go check out Life!
Trainspotting was one of
the definitive films of the 1990s. A brash, gritty story of Scottish heroin
addicts featuring a unique soundtrack and memorable, idiosyncratic characters,
the movie hit independent cinema like a meteor. It
was essentially Pulp Fiction for our friends across the pond. Almost
exactly 20 years later, we have T2 Trainspotting (an admittedly bizarre title),
in which director Danny Boyle and the whole cast have decided to revisit these
characters as they enter middle age. It's extremely rare to find a sequel made
20 years after the original in which the entire original cast comes back to
participate. For that reason alone, this film is fascinating to watch: doing a
double feature with these movies invokes a Boyhood–like feeling, where time seems to have passed before our
very eyes. Of course, creating a sequel to such an iconic and beloved story is a
risky move. Street spoke with Boyle, who explained the initial fear he had with returning to these iconic characters and storylines. He
chuckles, “If this is bad, we’ll get absolutely hung drawn and quartered!”
Admit it: in the weeks after you got into Penn, you started checking Philly food Instagrams. Over the past few years, food accounts have blown up on Instagram; millions of people follow these pages to look at pictures of pizza, pasta, ice cream and countless other foods. Philly Foodies and Freshmen15 are two food accounts that hit close to home—one is based in our beloved city, and another is run by a current Penn student. Philly Foodies is an account that posts multiple pictures a day from numerous Philly restaurants; you’ve probably used it before when deciding where to go to eat over the weekend. Freshmen15 is an account with a completely different concept: it features food found near colleges across the country. Street spoke with people behind these two accounts to see what it’s like being Insta–famous.
Ceyda Torun is eager to talk TV—particularly her TV habits growing up in Istanbul. “On Sundays we watched either BBC documentaries, like Jacques Cousteau or an Attenborough documentary, or Disney movies," she said.
The Oscars are on Sunday and La La Land is about to win 8–11 Oscars without batting an eyelash, including Best Picture. It’s one of the biggest populist awards–friendly hits I’ve ever seen, and a lot of this love comes from Emma Stone’s emotional performance (she'll be stealing the Best Actress award from the rightful winner, Natalie Portman, but that’s a whole separate article.) Interestingly, this will be the first movie with both a Best Actress nomination and a Best Picture win since 2004. To put that into simpler terms, the Oscars don’t often award Best Picture to a movie with a female protagonist. Of all nine Best Picture noms this year, only three feature a female in a lead role. And this is one of the good years. Last year there were only two; the year before there were zero. As an Oscars junkie, there are dozens of statistics I could throw out that demonstrate how skewed these awards are towards men, but I’ll stop here. The problem remains: Why is it that critically–acclaimed female films like Jackie (2016) or Carol (2015) get snubbed from the biggest categories, while mediocre male movies like Hacksaw Ridge (2016) land Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor nods with ease?
I’m not going to lie: the first 50 Shades movie disappointed me. When you’re making a movie from a tome of Twilight fan–fiction, I expect a campy, sexy rollercoaster ride. Instead, I got a relatively banal romantic drama that took itself far too seriously. Still, I walked into Fifty Shades Darker on its opening night Friday with high hopes. Maybe the two leads would actually have chemistry this time around. Maybe Christian Grey would tie Anastasia up and carry out his wildest fantasies while a techno remix of “S&M” by Rihanna blares in the background. Universal Pictures, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but I feel like the next movie could really benefit from such a scene.
Sundance never fails to pack the year with outstanding movies. From Boyhood to Little Miss Sunshine, some of the best indies of all time have made their debut up in the mountains of Utah. This year’s festival, which took place from Jan. 19–29, was comparatively low–key. There wasn’t one specific film that the critics have rallied behind as an instant classic, but there were more than enough movies that seemed worth the watch.
I Am Not Your Negro starts with archival footage of the Dick Cavett Show in 1968, featuring Cavett himself asking writer James Baldwin whether things are improving for the black man in America. Without missing a beat, Baldwin opines, “It's not a question of what happens to the Negro here…the real question is what’s going to happen to this country.” A short scrap of footage highlights how eerily similar protest signs from 1960s Birmingham are similar to those in 2014 Ferguson. The film explicitly shows that Baldwin’s concerns are still valid today.
If I were Lemony Snicket, I might start off this review by warning
that if you are expecting a laudatory, glowing review of the A Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix
series, you’ve come to the wrong article.