‘A Star Is Born’: Best Picture’s First Contender?

By Anthony Peyton and Olivia Norwood

Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is the incredibly anticipated remake of a remake. The anticipation lead to something just as satisfying, as the movie itself was incredible.

This time, the film stars Lady Gaga as Ally and Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, a music superstar. Ally is a struggling artist and Maine is already clearly successful, as the show opens on his concert.

Without giving too much away, the rest of the film revolves around the building of Ally as a musical sensation and how Maine helps her get there. It’s a heartwarming love story that is spritzed with lots of beautiful songs and sweet moments from the brilliant chemistry of Gaga and Cooper’s love.

Cooper not only starred in this, but he was also the director. My favorite part about this was how seasoned it seemed. It was as if Cooper had directed dozens of films, and this was another to add to the batch. Cooper guided himself and Gaga to a performance that could only be described as phenomenal.

Gaga wasn’t the only one that shined with their vocals. Cooper surprised us all with his ability to not only sing but sing in character as Jackson Maine is almost a southern crooner with a gritty and rustic voice to match. Absolutely stunned by the impressive array of talent shown by Gaga and Cooper.

As soon as I left the film, the first thing I thought was how this was the first movie I’ve seen this year that seems like a solid Oscar contender. Of course we’ve had Eighth Grade, First Reformed, and several others, but this is the first one I very solidly believe deserves it. At the very least, I see this being nominated for Best Directing and Best Original Song.

A category I don’t see A Star Is Born adding to the list of nominations is Best Original Screenplay and here’s why: it fell short in story. Everything seemed very rushed which is understandable considering it follows Ally’s rise to fame but, there was background information that could be further explained.

In one scene, Jackson punches his brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) after finding out that he sold their dead father’s farm and burial spot. You only know this because there is a drawn out argument (involving the usage of f*ck more than three times) where Jackson and Bobby get into each others faces and talk about a past that is hardly ever mentioned before the scene. This happens throughout the entire film of them not really fully explaining any background information along with cutting to another scene right when a character begins to have a moment.

Again, I’m not sure if this was to speed up the progression of the story but it would have been nice to see some type of drawn out moment for any of the characters.

Aside from this, A Star Is Born absolutely did not disappoint in not only giving Lady Gaga redemption for her acting career (I blame you, Ryan Murphy) but it gave us heart, soul, and a song to sing along with. If this isn’t nominated for an Oscar then something is severely wrong with the Academy.


Our Rating: 95%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 3.8/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

Advertisements

Film Forecast Friday: September 21

Welcome back to another Film Forecast episode of Basement Talk with your hosts Olivia Norwood and Anthony Peyton. This week we talk about all kinds of things, including new music being released (From artists Lana Del Rey and the collaboration between X and Lil Peep), new movies (who will take home the most money this week), and movies in the news, where we talk about what’s new in the industry.

Episode Length: 23 Minutes

Intro & Outro Song: “Funhouse” by John Treash

TV Talk: Who Will Be Final 3 in Big Brother 20 ?

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

In honor of final 3 being solidified after tonight’s live eviction, we’ll be discussing our thoughts on Big Brother 20 nearing the finale night on Wednesday.

Our second TV Talk, was about my own thoughts on the beginning of the season and the show all together as it was my first time watching it. I had listed my top 5 favorite houseguests and as crazy as it is, those people became final 5. Sam, Tyler, JC, Kaycee, and Angela. My thoughts, of course, have changed on certain houseguests but, nonetheless they made it to final 5. So they must have done something right.

As fate would have it, Sam was evicted last night with JC winning his first HOH (Head of Household). This left the Level 6 alliance (Tyler, Kaycee, and Angela) fighting for their chance to stay. JC made his nominations for eviction with Angela and Kaycee on the block. Being the Comp Beast that Kaycee is, she won the Power of Veto to take herself off of the block, putting up Tyler next to Angela. Kaycee joins alumni Janelle, Dani, and Paul in winning the most consecutive vetoes with 5 wins.

Tonight, the budding showmance “Tangela” will be sitting side-by-side on the chopping block. Who will be making their way to the jury house? Will Angela or Tyler face the wrath of “The Hive/FOUTE”? Let’s make a prediction: Kaycee is in a final 2 with Tyler but there is a chance that she could pick Angela to stay because of the irrational fear that she couldn’t win against the Puppetmaster. Either way, the showmance has done nothing to maintain good graces with the jury.

Either way, Kaycee will be the winner of Big Brother 20.

Onto something non-houseguest related. On the Thursday, September 13th live eviction, Julie Chen made the shocking statement of ending the show with “Outside of the Big Brother house, I’m Julie Chen Moonves”. What made this so scandalous was ‘Moonves’ as it is her husband Les’, the former CEO of CBS, last name. This was done intentionally as her husband recently resigned from his position after the reporting of four allegations of sexual harassment. Using her married name was a small, yet impactful defiance against CBS and Chen has already resigned from her spot on ‘The Talk’. Whether or not Chen will continue her career on Big Brother is still unanswered but, she will likely be leaving.

This may be Julie Chen’s last season, but this will not be the last of Big Brother. With the speculation of next season being the second ‘All Stars’ season, I am confident that BBUS will be back next summer for another 90 days of backdoors, betrayals, and blindsides.

Film Forecast Friday: September 14

No podcast this week for the Film Forecast, but we do got a post for ya! September 14, 2018 has some very interesting movies coming out.

We have…

  1. A Simple Favor
  2. The Predator
  3. Unbroken: Path to Redemption
  4. White Boy Rick
  5. Lizzie

Anthony’s Opinion:

I think this week has some good movies that have been talked about pretty often lately. Specifically The Predator and A Simple Favor. The Predator is a highly anticipated remake/sequel (?) to the classic franchise. Chances are, it’ll make the most at the box office this weekend. This doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best movie, but it will probably make the most money.

A Simple Favor is a movie I’ve been looking forward to for ages now. It’s starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as two very different woman, but it has a very intriguing plotline I’m excited to see pan out. It’ll make the second most at box this week, behind The Predator.

The next three movies (Unbroken: Path to Redemption, White Boy Rick, and Lizzie) won’t make big – if any – impressions at box his weekend. However, I will say I’m incredibly excited for White Boy Rick, as it looks like it has potential to be a good movie. Lizzie is starring Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart and tells yet another story of the infamous Lizzie Borden.

Olivia’s Opinion:

Listen. The Predator looks like crap. Will it stop people from seeing it? Unfortunately, no. I want it to tank but it won’t so that is the reality that we (mostly me) are living through.

The new Blake Lively film A Simple Favor is one film that I am excited to see. With costars such as Anna Kendrick and Henry Golding, I expect a huge turnout for this sexy mystery and I expect to see Henry Golding shirtless again. So, that’s a big thumbs up from me.

As for the lesbian drama that no one expected Lizzie, I think this might garner a lot of attention from the indie following. It stars Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart and maybe their acting will finally be seen as serious with this new thriller after their past few unnoticed films.

As for Matthew McConaughey’s White Boy Rick (which reminds me a lot of Johnny Depp’s Blow), I think this will be a box office hit. Not necessarily as big as other films like A Simple Favor or The Predator. More on the box office status of other 2018 films like BlacKkKlansman or Eighth Grade. 

Overall, The Predator is taking home big money this weekend. Big money from a big YIKES movie. Let’s go shirtless Henry Golding for A Simple Favor!

‘The Room’: The Best Worst Movie Ever

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Therese Gardner

The Room is infamous for many reasons. Its strange origins, how absolutely terrible it is, and the cult following it has developed.

The man, the myth, the legend, Tommy Wiseau, wrote, directed, and starred in this film. Even those closest to him are unsure how he got the money to make this film which cost roughly $6 million to make which, if you’ve seen it, is quite hard to believe.

But Wiseau’s money isn’t the only thing that’s mysterious about him. For the longest time no one knew exactly how old he was, but after a quick internet search it seems we may have finally settled on 63. People also aren’t sure exactly where he’s from as he used to claim he was from New Orleans, but his accent told a different story.

The mystique surrounding Wiseau and The Room was a large contributor to its cult following. However, that isn’t the only factor. It also helps that it’s so bad that it makes you actually want to watch it. While most bad movies make you want to turn them off, The Room somehow has you coming back for more.

Although not very popular at the time of its release in 2003, it has now grown to cult status with regular midnight showings across the country that Wiseau himself will often show up to and sign stuff for fans.

The intrigue surrounding this film even sparked a movie, The Disaster Artist, which stars James Franco and is based off the book by Greg Sestero who co-starred in The Room. The Disaster Artist gives a detailed look into how this strange film came to be.

All in all, The Room definitely made an impression on the film community. It’s hard to pinpoint what about it makes it so watchable despite how bad it is, but to be so widely talked about 15 years after its release is quite impressive for any movie. Especially for one known as the worst movie ever made.

 

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Is The Wake Up Call We Need

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

BlacKkKlansman tells the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African American to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Shortly after joining the department, Stallworth decides to go undercover and infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.

While Stallworth connects with the KKK members over the phone, white police officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) interacts with them in person. Together they are able to gather valuable intel on the KKK and anticipate some of their attacks.

This movie does an excellent job at showing the ugly truth of the hate that is just as present in America today as it was in the early 70’s when this story took place. It makes you uncomfortable and angry, especially with all its reminders that this kind of hate is still heavily prevalent today.

The film definitely does not shy away from its fair share of references to Trump. One such reference is when the Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke (Topher Grace), says to Stallworth that we need someone in office who will help America achieve greatness again.

Being produced by the same team that made Get Out, I had high expectations for this film and I was not disappointed. Everything about it was superb and aided its message.

I was especially impressed by the acting in this film. These were all very heavy roles to play considering not only the fact that it was based on a true story, but also that the story surrounds such sensitive subject matter. But every single person in this film was brilliant, and you know they were doing a good job based on the fact that the film was so hard to watch at times.

Overall, BlacKkKlansman forces you to see the hate and racism that lies within America. It even ends by showing clips of the violent protests that took place in Charlottesville, VA exactly one year ago, killing 3 people and injuring many others. It also shows clips of Trump, and clips of the real David Duke still doing hateful talks to this day. These serve to remind us that even though the story the film tells took place in the early 70’s, it is just as relevant today as it was then.


My Rating: 91%

Acting: 3.7/4

Cinematography: 3.6/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

‘Eighth Grade’ Is Brilliantly Real and A Must-See

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Eighth Grade follows the awkward and lonely Kayla as she tries to make her way through the eighth grade. Kayla wants what anyone wants which is acceptance from her peers. The film is framed with videos that Kayla makes for YouTube. These videos consist of Kayla giving advice on topics such as how to be yourself and how to be confident, and play as Kayla is trying to do those things herself.

The film revolves a lot around the internet, as most of our lives do these days. But the use of technology is not overdone and out of touch as it is in many films and TV shows, instead it serves to show the place technology holds in Kayla’s life and how it contributes to the anxiety and nervousness she experiences.

My favorite thing about this film was how real it was. From the panic Kayla faces as she enters a pool party, to her conversations with her dad at the dinner table I related to all of it. I literally felt as though I was transported back in time to when I was that age.

For me, however, this film isn’t just relatable to eighth grade me, but to current me as well. Writer and director Bo Burnham did a masterful job creating the stress and anxiety many people face daily through the story of an eighth grader, which is a stressful age for anybody to be. Also, all the questions Kayla faces, such as how to be yourself, are struggles that any age can relate to.

One of the reasons Kayla’s feelings came through so well was through the choice to focus the camera mainly on Kayla’s face during anxiety inducing situations. This happens at one point during the pool party where the camera is entirely focused on Kayla’s face although you can hear a fight happening in the background. Another instance of this is when Kayla is in the car with her dad and is telling him to “stop looking like that”. Instead of panning over to the dad’s face to see what Kayla is talking about, the camera focuses on Kayla so that we can see the dozens of emotions going through her head through her facial expressions.

On that topic, I can’t talk about the emotion the audience gets from Kayla without discussing Elsie Fisher’s acting. She pulls off this role phenomenally. In most films about kids this age they are so out of touch and the kids don’t seem genuine, but that is not the case at all in this film. Fisher’s slight eye movements and the way she smiles and nods as her character tries to fit in really sell the realness of the film and how relatable it is.

Not only is this film relatable, but it is also funny. Burnham does an amazing job placing humor so effortlessly throughout the film simply through everyday actions that we all can relate to.

Honestly, I must applaud Burnham for making perhaps the most relatable and real movie about growing up that I have ever seen. Eighth Grade will have you laughing, crying, and saying, “wow I didn’t know other people did that”.


My Rating: 99%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4