By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson
Joaquin Phoenix has been surprising us with performances at every corner this year…and really long movie titles. First with the darker thriller You Were Never Really Here earlier this year, and now the more lighthearted dramedy Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot.
Based on an actual story, Phoenix portrays handicapped artist John Callahan as he recounts his trials of pulling himself out of alcoholism and into sobriety. Along the way, he meets his sponsor Donny (Jonah Hill), falls in love with his nurse Annu (Rooney Mara), and discovers his missing birth mother Maggie (Mirielle Enos).
Although inspiring, the story isn’t the only strong aspect of the film. The acting and character development is unique and powerful as Phoenix shows the humility of John, and Hill transforms Donny’s character from pretentious to having actual depth. I know I said it earlier on this year, but I believe one of the two movies that Phoenix has starred in will give him an Oscar nomination, as well as Hill receiving a nomination alongside him.
Hill has been nominated in the past for The Wolf of a Wall Street and Moneyball but neither of those showed his true range. Yes, he was funny in this film but by the end of the film you got to see past the character’s obvious facade which revealed his inner struggles. A struggle that resulted in a deeply emotional scene between Donny and John that I won’t spoil because it’s so good!
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot is filled with strong performances not only from its main actors, but also its compelling ensemble. It is heartwarming and heartbreaking without being complicated and cheesy about achieving either.
My Rating: 93%
By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner
If you’ve ever seen any Austin Powers film, then you would know that the spy genre and comedy works in the most magical of ways. But what we hardly ever see from this hybrid is a female duo. In the new film, The Spy Who Dumped Me, we get to see a funny and clumsy pair that seem to find danger everywhere they turn.
The film opens on Mila Kunis’ stuck-in-a-rut character Audrey celebrating a depressing birthday amidst a breakup with her boyfriend. Her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) tries her very best to cheer up the friend who was dumped over text with a random, over the top song (being extra is what McKinnon does best). But while this is happening, we switch over to a foreign country to find that her now ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) is being chased by random men, jumping between buildings, and then blowing them up. This is when we know that he is clearly a spy… and also a shitty boyfriend who breaks up over text.
As Audrey lives her now single life, she is confronted by CIA agents and they reveal to her that her ex-boyfriend is, indeed, a spy. Shaken by this, she goes to tell Morgan in which Drew surprisingly appears outside of her window. She confronts him about his double life and suddenly a shootout happens. He tells her to bring a package (a 2nd place Fantasy Football trophy) to a cafe in Vienna and that is where our spy adventure begins.
I won’t spoil the rest but I have to say that I didn’t expect the amount of death and gore that this film ended up having. Not a bad thing but definitely unexpected.
To be quite frank, I wasn’t falling for the film’s humor in the first 15 minutes but as it progressed I found it to be absolutely hilarious and further proves that McKinnon wasn’t the only comedian. Kunis has been delivering comedy since her career began on That 70’s Show and continued on with Family Guy, Friends with Benefits, Ted, and more recently Bad Moms. She obviously has a funny bone and a knack for making people laugh until it hurts but she never really gets the credit she deserves. It seemed like The Spy Who Dumped Me was mostly written to give McKinnon all of the comedic lines as she portrays the ‘funny friend’ but Kunis never lacks on her job to serve a punch of wit and humor.
All in all, The Spy Who Dumped Me had a fun action-packed plot and never failed to make me laugh, but it also gave me a reason to not discredit McKinnon for doing one bad movie (Rough Night).
My Rating: 78%
By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson
Anna Wintour. Vogue. New York. High Fashion. This is the groundwork and inspiration for the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada.
The legendary Meryl Streep portrays Miranda Priestly, the frigid editor-in-chief of a fictional fashion magazine in New York. Sound familiar? Well, what isn’t familiar to us audiences and fashion lovers (although we wish it were) is the story of Andy (Anne Hathaway) and her grueling yet, eye-opening experience as Priestly’s personal assistant.
While many think that working in fashion is a heaven that includes free Louboutins, this film shows the realistic day to day life and its cutthroat mentality. Andy finds herself to be the black sheep at her work as she refuses to fit in with the fashionable, size 2 women around her. But she quickly realizes that in order to earn respect she must act and look the part.
It may be hard for the chick-flick shamers to admit or understand but this film has a deeper meaning than just “fashion week” and “designer bags” (even though I wouldn’t mind a movie about the history of The Birkin). The deeper meaning I’m talking about is simple: being at the top doesn’t always make you happy.
Andy was a journalism student who’d rather write about current affairs than current trends. But in order to get quick success, she chose the job that wasn’t a part of her own dream and even though she was in a higher paying job working with one of the most important people in fashion, she wasn’t happy. She also lost sight of who she was and distanced herself from the people who mattered.
But, there’s a bright side and another important lesson to be learned. While being a personal assistant, Andy became more confident, more articulate, and more knowledgeable on the industry. Miranda Priestly might’ve been stone-cold but she did her job and steamrolled through when it became stressful. She was powerful, intelligent, and no one could touch her. If that isn’t the definition of a boss woman then I don’t know what is.
The Devil Wears Prada taught us what it means to become a better, headstrong version of you while always staying true to yourself.
On Friday, August 3rd we have…
The Darkest Minds
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Never Goin’ Back
Let’s start off with the obvious blockbusters Christopher Robin and The Spy Who Dumped Me. Being that it’s Disney, Christopher Robin will bring in most of the moviegoers this weekend while the Mila Kunis comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me will bring in the rest.
I don’t foresee The Darkest Minds doing that well but that may just be because I personally have no interest in a Hunger Games/ Stranger Things/ The Fifth Wave mockery. It seems to be a very boring plot that we’ve already seen many times before.
Lastly, the new young adult indie flick Never Goin’ Back will do great. It’s a comedy about two girl stoners, which maybe we need more of, who get into all kinds of antics on their day off. Sounds like a Ferris Bueller/ Pineapple Express mashup that I am not even mad at.
By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton
On the 27th of July, the long awaited sixth season of Orange is the New Black was released on Netflix.
Don’t read any further unless you want major spoilers!
Last season, we were introduced to the riot of Litchfield Penitentiary by the inmates after the death of one of their own. Taking the course of 3 days, the inmates are finally caught and taken to Maximum Security but not without escaping all kinds of torture as the death of a security guard is revealed.
Now the inmates are facing absolute hell as some are joining gangs, deflecting old foes, and pleading innocent to murder accusations. While Piper Chapman faces the usual “I’m not being treated right” act, Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson and Galina ‘Red’ Reznikov are kept in solitary for a crime they did not commit.
The inmates are also split up into three different groups: B Block, C Block, and D Block. You quickly see how different blocks are more privileged than others and instead of gangs/groups based on race, they’re based on blocks. This system breaks up the former prison families that we all knew and loved while bringing together the sworn enemies.
It’s become intriguing to see not only the inmates perspective after the riot but also the guards. We see Guard McCullough dealing with actual PTSD after being tortured and humiliated by the inmates that she was in charge of. Now she is sent back to her job scared of what could happen.
The sixth season has taken on a much larger story and, like always, has introduced more characters with complex backgrounds. Without straying away from the main plot, the real experiences and political climate of inmate treatment are heightened and exposed. It’s a story that just doesn’t seem to have any positivity – even in its sixth season. But that’s the reality of Orange is the New Black.
By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood
I find there no need to introduce a movie that has captivated all ranges of people since 1995. Toy Story is an animated movie that blew people so far out of their shoes that it has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.
It’s nice to look at the brilliant accomplishments behind the franchise that changed the animation industry and Disney all together, but it’s even more fascinating to think about why they achieved what they did. What was it about Toy Story that makes everyone so powerfully shout a ‘yes!’ when they are asked whether they like it or not? Well, that reason can be answered with many responses.
The animation itself was one of the many factors that people love. It was something unique that wasn’t shown prior to 1995. I mean, it was a bunch of talking toys. How often did you see such a thing in a beautifully animated film?
That transitions perfectly into the second aspect of Toy Story that people fell in love with. That would be the story itself. It adds to the uniqueness of the already living toys with backstories that only benefit the characters. Being able to witness of a chipper young cowboy doll become friends with a plastic astronaut was the perfect amount of funny and happiness. On top of that, we have a dog who doubles as a slinky, a dinosaur scared of his own shadow, and so many more.
It’s a mesmerizing piece of family-friendly artwork that warms the human soul on even the saddest of days. It didn’t stop with the first one, either. It ended up being one of the only franchises ever to prove that a sequel can be better than the original.
It’s ridiculously important to understand just how powerful animation can be. Toy Story is yet another animated family movie that stood in its place – which was high up on an ever evolving pedestal.
By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson
Yesterday I got the life changing experience of watching all four of the Scream films in a theater (3 of which were on 35 mm print) in a marathon properly titled “Scream-a-thon”.
Let me start by saying that the Scream franchise was already my third favorite horror franchise even before entering the theater. Watching them in a row with a hyped up group of people and entertaining break shows solidified its spot even more.
Prior to the first Scream showing, two workers, dressed up as Ghostface, made a successful attempt to excite the audience with pre-show trivia and games with prizes. Each of these games was splattered with quotes from the legend himself (I am indeed talking about Ghostface) such as the iconic “gut you like a fish” line from the first film.
Before Scream 2 started, we all got the honor of watching a drag queen dressed up as Tatum from Scream with a cardboard garage around her waist imitating the character’s death to the song “Drop Dead Gorgeous” by Republica.
The movies themselves were something else. Seeing the Jamie Lee Curtis of the Scream franchise, Neve Campbell, master the art of one of the most powerful women of horror was truly enlightening. Sidney Prescott is the queen of modern horror. Even in Scream 4, Campbell’s character rules the show and uses all her power to develop Sidney even more.
Separately, watching Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis and Matthew Lillard as Stu Macher makes my bones shiver. They showed what a teenage psycho really was. More like the modern version of the horny teenage psychopath. And I’ll tell you, it was wonderful. The next time that a movie showed an even more modern psycho was Scream 4 when the surprising, fame hungry killer was revealed.
All four movies were something that should – and must – be experienced at least once in the form of a marathon because it’s a very life changing experience. It’s crazy to be able to watch one of the most cult classic horror franchises of all time in a theater with people who are equally as excited as I was.