‘Skyscraper’ Is The Worst Of The Rock

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Skyscraper is about a man named Will Sawyer (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who is called to assess the safety and security of the world’s new tallest building in Hong Kong. When the building gets set on fire, Will must fight his way inside to save his wife Sarah, played by Neve Campbell AKA Sidney Prescott from Scream, and their two kids from the burning building.

This movie was pretty typical. There really was nothing special about it. I mean just picture any action movie that The Rock has been in and you pretty much know what this movie is. Although this movie would be pretty scary if you’re afraid of heights because of all the high rise jumping.

I do have to say that I actually really like The Rock. He really is my guilty pleasure. I will see literally any movie he is in which is why I went and saw this one, but this was definitely my least favorite movie he has been in. Partly because his acting was not very good in this one, especially in dialogue scenes with his wife.

Every time they would have a conversation it was so obvious that he was acting (and not very well). His relationship with her just didn’t feel as genuine from his side as it could have, and since the movie is about him trying to save her and their kids, his lackluster acting really took away from the main point of the movie.

Campbell however, killed it as always. You could feel the love and the worry pouring out of her character in every scene she was in. I absolutely loved her in this, and my favorite scenes in the movie were the ones with her and the kids trying to stay alive and escape from the burning skyscraper.

One particularly bad aspect of this movie was the effects which were a little cringy at times. Obviously fire is a big part of this movie and a lot of the fire effects were just not good. In most scenes the fire looked very fake.

Overall, I have to say the best part of Skyscraper was Neve Campbell. The Rock was lacking a little bit in this one which was disappointing to see. And coupled with the predictable story and bad special effects, it made this movie my least favorite of the summer so far.


My Rating: 63%

Acting: 2.7/4

Cinematography: 2/4

Story: 2.5/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

 

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‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

Film Forecast Friday: July 13th

On July 13th we have…

  1. Skyscraper
  2. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  3. Sorry To Bother You
  4. Eighth Grade
  5. Don’t worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Julia’s predictions:

The two biggest movies this week will definitely be Skyscraper and Hotel Transylvania 3. Skyscraper stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who always seems to draw large audiences, and Hotel Transylvania 3 is the third installment in an adequately successful movie series so should draw a decent sized audience as well.

However, the movie I am most excited for this week is one hundred percent Eighth Grade. It is written and directed by my favorite comedian, Bo Burnham, and looks like a relatable commentary on technology, social anxiety, growing up, and so much more. It also has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes right now so the critics seem to be loving it!

I am also pretty excited for Sorry To Bother You and Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot which I expect to be hits among indie movie goers but not on a larger scale. Both have really good trailers and seem to be receiving a pretty positive reception so far.

Anthony’s predictions:

It’s going to prove very difficult to choose whether Hotel Transylvania 3 and Skyscraper will make more at the box office this weekend. Both have all-star cast, and Hotel Transylvania 3 is a sequel. If there’s anything to know about the general audience, it’s that they love sequels. Meanwhile the latter has Dwayne Johnson, which could be a good thing if you’re not completely tired of him after his last couple movies.

Sorry To Bother You has Armie Hammer in it, which makes it sold for me because I adore his acting. It’s pretty comptable to Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot as far as box office is concerned.

Eighth Grade is a new Bo Burnham movie and it’s inevitably going to be hilarious and hopefully a hit, as all of Burnham’s work are so genuine and hysterical while being generally astounding. The only thing that will hinder its box office profit is the unfortunate fact that it does not by any means have a wide release.

‘Damsel’ Should Be Called ‘Marry Me Penelope’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Of all of the dramas and dark comedies I have seen this year, Damsel may be the most confusing.

The reason why is because it has, what it seems to be, two different plots.

Good Time actor Robert Pattinson portrays a young man named Samuel who picks up a drunk preacher, Parson (director David Zellner), on his way to rescuing his “kidnapped” fiancée, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska), so that he can marry her on the spot. Upon finding her and killing her captor, Parson quickly finds out that Penelope was never kidnapped but married to the supposed captor, Anton, in their small cabin in the woods.

But that is just the first half of the movie. The other half is just Penelope and Parson traveling out of the wilderness and stumbling upon native Zacharia (Joseph Billingiere) and Anton’s brother, Rufus (director Nathan Zellner).

Now, here’s why I titled this “Marry Me Penelope”: every male that Penelope comes in contact with will eventually propose to her. She’s already married to Anton, Samuel’s entire objective is to marry her, Rufus demands to marriage after the death of his brother, and Parson randomly proposes to her in the middle of the desert.

After the film, I wondered if the multiple proposals to Penelope was the actual plot. Then I found the written synopsis given to us by the film and it states, “the once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel”. And I guess I understand that, too.

It mocks the old western genre where women were the ‘damsels in distress’ and the men were either heroes or villains. People are always trying to save Penelope but, in the end, she was the one saving herself (i.e. strapping dynamite to Parson’s chest and taking all of his belongings when he proposes).

Aside from its wishy-washy plot, Damsel was quite hilarious as it seems more like a western comedy than a complete parody of the western genre that films like A Million Ways to Die in the West have done. It was confusing throughout but, nonetheless, an entertaining watch.


My Rating: 73%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Black Swan’: When the Pretty Became the Paranoid

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Remember when Natalie Portman won an Oscar for playing a deranged ballerina? It was for the Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan, that may or may not should’ve won for Best Picture and Best Cinematography at the 83rd Academy Awards. But we’re not here to talk about The Academy, we’re here to give this unique and insane story the attention it deserves.

Based in the hustle of a New York ballet company, the fragile Nina (Natalie Portman) strives to prove that she is the best dancer to be the new Swan Queen in their upcoming production of Swan Lake. She soon finds out that envy and wrath comes with the territory of the role. In her journey to achieving her dream, she feels the pressures of being perfect and develops paranoia in the scariest of ways.

The plot is interesting, but what really made this film special was its cinematography, colors, and overall art direction. They’re the aspects that draw a viewer in and make them appreciate its beauty. In Black Swan’s case, the cinematography was done in a cinema veritè style, the colors were pinks, whites, grays and blacks, and the art direction was light contrasting the dark.

Not only is it ‘light vs. dark’ but it’s also ‘innocence vs. temptation’ and ‘perfection vs. imperfection’. Nina represents purity and she rejects anything with impurities. Her life is pretty, pink, and childlike whereas her environment is cutthroat, edgy, and adult. Without making stark contrasts, the cinematography blends the two to allude to Nina’s transformation from White Swan to Black Swan.

But its prettiness doesn’t cloud the horror aspect. It’s still dark and sticks to the theme of paranoia and the hallucinations that Nina experiences. Her competition is her own inner darkness and it’s shown as her alter ego tries to kill her and actual black feathers start to grow out of her skin.

Its scare factor lies in the horrors of mental illness and the fact that all of these nightmarish events are happening inside of her head. The pressures of her passion result in her own madness. Nina is no longer in her right mind and ultimately gives into the dark side of herself.

Black Swan is not a modern retelling of Swan Lake. Instead, it utilizes the themes of the play to create a story about a woman who loses herself and her mind in the midst of maintaining perfection.

TV Talk Thursday: Big Brother Season 20

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Happy TV Talk Thursday!

Every first Thursday of the month, we review a new tv show or new season. Today, we’re diving into the 20th season of the widely popular CBS reality show, Big Brother.

Let’s start off by saying that this is the first and only season I’ve ever watched of this show so my opinions are with a fresh, newbie perspective.

Just a quick overview of the concept of the show. Sixteen people stay in one house, compete in challenges, which are followed by evictions from the house members which ultimately leads to one person taking home $500,000.

This season starts off with tech-themed challenges that require some athleticism and, with no surprise, the athletes of the house dominate. Many of those athletes have already created alliances with each other, causing them to create friction between all of the house guests.

As a first-time viewer, you discover that the competitive and seemingly popular ones become the biggest targets by the less aggressive members.

Oh, the drama that ensues!

With the first eviction happening today and considering that this show’s fanbase is heavily based on favorites, I would like to list my top five members of Big Brother 20.

First, the most popular and trending house guest is the adorable pumpkin that is Sam. She lost her competition and received the worst punishment I’ve seen: becoming isolated from the rest of the house and communicating through a robot. After being perceived as the weaker member, she was made a target by the aggressive competitors. This broke poor Sam until she received immunity, which was based on her social media popularity, thanks to the fans at home.

Number 2 has to go to my other favorite, Tyler, who also became the first Head of Household of the summer. He’s a chill lifeguard who is too lovable for anyone to hate him. Number 3 is the small, smart, and sassy JC who brings nothing but joy when I see him in the house or in a competition.

My number 4 and 5 will go to Angela and Kaycee who are in the same power alliance. Angela is one of the athletes of the house who most of the members want gone because of how strong she is as a competitor. So far, you can’t knock her down or she’ll knock you out. Kaycee was the other member who recieved a punishment for coming in last and although she’s an athlete, her low key role in the house makes me wonder if she’ll just float through the competition without creating friction or gaining enemies.

Those are my top 5 of the season, so far, and I cannot wait to see what happens later on. Let us know your thoughts on the season and who your personal faves are.

‘The First Purge’ Predicts an Eerie Future for America

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

The First Purge is the fourth installment in The Purge series and acts as a prequel to the other films as it depicts the very first and experimental Purge which took place solely on Staten Island, not on a countrywide scale.

Each of these films depict a not so distant America in which one night a year all crime is legal. Now, although on the surface this premise seems pretty absurd (I really don’t foresee legalized murder becoming a reality anytime soon), the principles it illustrates deep down are not only very real, but are happening right now.

This film in particular really focused on the virtual war between the government and the lower class. In the film, this is illustrated by the government sending in troops to kill off those in low income areas once they realize civilian participation in The Purge is not nearly where they thought it would be.

Now obviously this isn’t actually happening, but a government that supports the wealthy more than those that need it the most is a reality and one the film is clearly trying to showcase, along with the racial tensions that go along with it.

One thing I loved about this new installment in the series is that it bears a message. And a very powerful one at that. The first three films came out pre-Trump, and the message of those seemed to be something like “wow America sucks”. I really like the first three films (well actually I hate the first one, but I digress), but they are not nearly as powerful as The First Purge which has a slightly different tone.

This is perfectly illustrated in the last two lines of the film. One of the characters, after surviving the first ever Purge, asks “what do we do now?” To which one of the other characters replies “we fight.”

Not only does this film attempt to motivate its audience to act through its compelling message, but the film itself is very well done. The acting is superb and much better than you see in most horror movies.

Also, the cinematography and direction actually gave me goosebumps. And then the way it is all edited together helps the audience gain perspective on how horrific the events in this film are. Which in turn helps spread the overall message of the film by giving you time to stop and evaluate the state America is in today and how, by principle, it isn’t much different than the America shown in the film.

Overall, The First Purge is a beautifully done film with a strong and highly important message for America. A film with so much meaning that is also well done is a rarity in any genre – especially horror. But even if you aren’t a horror fan, see this movie. It will give you a lot to think about.


My Rating: 90%

Acting: 3.4/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4