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CINEMANN SPRING 2014

is undergoing some renovations

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Farewell, my brave Hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea... comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil. —Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s adaption of the final installment of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Return of the King ur focus this last issue of the academic year is on change, highlighting child actors over the years, movie reboots, a history of animation, and the upcoming film Boyhood, among other thought-provoking subjects. This year’s improvements to layout and content are remarkable, and I thank all who participated by writing, editing, and designing for this publication. Next year, we will have a largely expanded editorial board. I can’t wait to see what changes Cinemann makes then.

O

See you at the theaters, Josh Arnon Editor-in-Chief CINEMANN | 2


10

CINEMANN

MOVIE REMAKE TRENDS

Josh Arnon Editor-In-Chief

Danny Ehrlich Senior Content Editor

Kenneth Shinozuka Junior Content Editor

Allison Chang Jason Ginsberg Anne Rosenblatt Design Editors

Dr. Deborah Kassel

MOVIE REMAKE TRENDS

Faculty Advisor

Hollywood seems to be running out of ideas, as the amount of movie remakes has risen. Are these remakes diminsihing movie

CONTENTS

quality?

FEATURED

4

CHILDHOOD ACTORS: THEN AND NOW

22

While some child actors continue to have sucessful acting careers, many have caught the public eye for their infamous breakdows. A closer look at the causes of this dichotomy.

6

SNL’S CASTING WOES

A look at the film 12 years in the making.

24

Despite the addition of many new cast members this season, SNL continues to raise question about its unequal representation of different ethnicities and races.

8

THE NEW LATE NIGHT LINEUP

THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF ANIMATION

26

28

WES ANDERSON’S THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: A VANISHED WORLD ALL HIS OWN Why this beautifully shot masterpiece is Anderson’s best yet.

30

THE BATTLE OF THE SHERLOCKS: US VS. UK Two TV shows. Two countries. One Sherlock Holmes.

REVIEWS THE BEST MOVIES OF 2013 YOU NEVER HEARD OF

CAPTAIN AMERICA The latest film in the Marvel franchise just might be the greatest.

An extensive review of the past 100 years in film animation.

18

SPRING BLOCKBUSTERS Opinions on the biggest movies of the spring season.

While the Late Show with Seth Meyers had a rocky start, it has become of one of the best talk shows of the new late night lineup.

12

BEFORE MANHOOD

31

GAME OF THRONES A review of one of TV’s most popular series.

Forget Best Picture winners, these are the top films of the past year.

CINEMANN | 3


CHILDHOOD ACTORS THEN AND NOW BY JASMINE KATZ


“GOING FROM ONE EXTREME, BEING LOVED BY MILLIONS, TO THE OTHER, BEING FORGOTTEN BY MILLIONS, CAN BE EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY DEVASTATING”

T

he fate of child actors is one of the most interesting phe-

as well as agents, producers, and managers, prevents children from

nomena in Hollywood. Some continue their acting ca-

expressing their emotions, in turn providing a recipe for pent-up

reers and become more successful, some continue their

resentment. To compensate for what they could not do as adoles-

acting careers and become less successful, some suffer public

cents, the former child actors rebel in their late teens and twenties,

breakdowns, and others branch off in entirely different fields.

when they have more freedom. Wilson explains that the child actors’ newfound wealth and their lack of experience in making their

A prime example of an accomplished child actor whose career

own decisions result in rebellions that are on a much larger scale.

flourished with age is Neil Patrick Harris. At the age of 15, Harris starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the film Clara’s Heart.

Wilson’s insider insight helps make sense of the behavior of count-

A year later, he landed the role of a teenage physician on the tel-

less actors, including Amanda Bynes. Although Bynes has not of-

evision comedy-drama Doogie Howser, M.D. Both of these per-

fered a plausible explanation for her illegal drug use, DUI’s, and

formances earned him Golden Globe nominations. Harris, now

racy tweets, many speculate that her behavior was a result of being

40, recently acted in the series finale of the sitcom How I Met Your

typecast in teen-queen roles. “Everybody had her as a goody-goody.

Mother, which he starred in for nine years. His portrayal of woman-

She couldn’t break out of that genre,” says one executive. When she

izer Barney Stinson on the show won him four Emmy nominations.

did manage to break out of the genre, she did so in an extreme way.

On the other hand, a number of actors, such as Macaulay Culkin,

Hollywood also had extreme effects on Jodie Sweetin, who starred

reach the peaks of their careers at a young age. Culkin starred in

in Full House from the ages of 5 to 13. After the show ended, she be-

the comedy Home Alone, the highest-grossing film of 1990, at

came addicted to methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy. “There

only 10 years old. His portrayal of obnoxious yet clever Kevin

is a certain sense of loss when a series ends,” Sweetin explains. “It

McCallister in Home Alone won him a Golden Globe nomina-

is kind of hard to figure out who you are when you’ve lost your job

tion, an American Comedy Award, and a Young Artist Award

at age 13, when that was basically how you identified yourself.”

for Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture. However, over the next 20 years, his acting career eventually declined.

Wilson’s advice to sufferers of child-star syndrome is to aban-

Culkin’s most recent endeavor involved joining a band called

don acting and pursue something else. Although former child

“The Pizza Underground,” where he covers songs about pizza.

actress Danica McKellar continued acting into adulthood after her role as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, she also pur-

Perhaps the most widely publicized child actors are the ones

sued a completely unrelated domain, mathematics. As a stu-

who leave a trail of scandal. Mara Wilson, a former child star best

dent at UCLA, she wrote a scientific paper with another student

known for her role as the titular character in the 1996 film Mat-

and graduated summa cum laude in 1998. McKellar attributes

ilda, attempts to explain the pattern of child-star meltdowns.

her work ethic to her parents’ emphasis on education. While

“Adults know that infatuation is fleeting, but kids don’t under-

she found finding acting jobs after The Wonder Years was “a little

stand this,” she explains. “A child actor who is no longer cute is

bumpy,” she could rely on a career in mathematics. McKellar has

no longer monetarily viable and is discarded.” Going from one

published four math books that target middle school girls, en-

extreme, being loved by millions, to the other, being forgotten

couraging them to resist stereotypes about girls and their intelli-

by millions, can be emotionally and mentally devastating, espe-

gence. “Nothing can take the place of the confidence that comes

cially for children, who cannot handle stress as well as adults.

from developing your intelligence—not beauty, or fame, or anything else superficial,” she writes in her book Math Doesn’t Suck.

Wilson goes on to say that Hollywood forces child actors to skip over the natural stage of teenage rebellion. “Having to live up to

Although the media tends to focus on the former child actors who

your fan base is a little like having to deal with a million strict parents

supply the most dramatic headlines, it is important to remember

who don’t actually love you,” Wilson writes. The pressure of trying

that their stories are not the only possible outcomes for child stars.

to maintain an immaculate image for young fans and their parents,

CINEMANN | 5


THE NEW LATE NIGHT LINEUP BY GABE BROSHY

I

n 2013, NBC announced that longtime The

The Tonight Show also features a beauti-

few ways as well. Fallon often laughs exces-

Tonight Show host Jay Leno would retire

ful, newly built set in its return to New York.

sively at his own jokes during his monologue

in 2014 after 21 years on air. The network

named Late Night host Jimmy Fallon as Leno’s successor, with Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” anchor Seth Meyers assuming Fallon’s position. The new hosts debuted recently, with Fallon’s first The Tonight Show broadcast on February 17th and Meyers’ Late Night on the 24th. Fallon has declared that he wasn’t going to make significant changes from his Late Night show, and so far this assertion has held true.

and at those his guests tell during his inter-

“UNLIKE FALLON, MEYERS’ SHOW HAS HAD AN ISSUE WITH ITS COMEDY SKETCHES... ON AVERAGE, THEY HAVE BEEN AT BEST FLAT ”

Fallon’s program has retained announcer Ste-

views. He also seems to inform every single one of these guests how much of a fan he is, which becomes redundant. Furthermore, his dialogue with interviewees and especially with Higgins often becomes insignificant mush. Unlike his predecessor on NBC’s Late Night, Seth Meyers had no prior talk show experience before assuming his new position. Like Fallon before he took over the Late Night job, Meyers previously served as an anchor for

ve Higgins, house band The Roots, and com-

Fallon’s charming, enthusiastic personality

SNL’s “Weekend Update.” His first few shows

edy sketches such as “Pros and Cons” and

was on full display from the opening moments

demonstrated this lack of experience. His mon-

“Thank You Notes,” which are consistently

of his show’s debut. While it mostly benefits

ologues mirrored “Weekend Update” bits in

very funny and the highlights of his program.

him, Fallon’s personality hurts the show in a

that they didn’t flow at all, each joke stood on

CINEMANN | 6


its own; and he appeared very nervous

endured, Late Night with Seth Meyers

and awkward in his show’s first few epi-

has been very good overall in its first few

sodes. His lack of experience with inter-

weeks, and has even outdone The Tonight

viewing real people was also apparent

Show. Aside from occasionally over-ex-

in his first few interviews; on “Weekend

plaining his jokes during his monologue,

Update,” he had only interviewed char-

Meyers has settled in since his show’s de-

acters that were scripted and fictional.

but, appearing far less nervous or awkward than at first. He has found a way to express

The show has also failed to incorporate

his likable, witty persona just weeks into

bandleader Fred Armisen, Meyers’ for-

the show, and has hence outperformed

mer colleague on SNL. His interactions

Fallon in his monologues and interviews.

with the show’s host have been primarily

Furthermore, Late Night has had a much

limited to his ridiculous stories about his

more diverse array of guests than The To-

latest ventures and Meyers’ expressing

night Show, making the former show more

his doubts about the validity of these sto-

interesting. While nearly all of Fallon’s

ries, which while funny at first have be-

guests have been movie stars and ath-

come quite repetitive. Unlike Fallon, Mey-

letes, journalist Anderson Cooper, busi-

ers’ show has had an issue with its comedy

nesspeople Warren Buffett and Arianna

sketches like “Venn Diagrams” or “Celeb-

Huffington, Vice President Joe Biden, and

rity Drunk Texts.” While a few of these

author Neil deGrasse Tyson, among oth-

have been comical, on average, they have

ers, have appeared on Meyers’ program.

been at best flat, such as “Famous Quote First Drafts.” That sketch’s jokes were ex-

The Tonight Show has enjoyed unmatched

cessively wordy and hard to understand

popularity in its history; however, it is the

at first, forcing Meyers to explain them.

show that follows it that has been the real highlight of NBC’s new late night lineup.

Despite the problems that the show has

CINEMANN | 7


MOVIE REMAKE TRENDS BY AMIKA CHOUDHURY

R

emaking old movies has been a trend throughout the last few years, and Hollywood seems to love them. Robocop

and Total Recall, both of which have already been released,

are only two of the newer remakes. Upcoming releases of remakes include The Crow and Starship Trooper. So how is remaking old movies working out so far? From what we can tell, not so well. The recent release of Robocop cost about $100 million to make but took only third place opening weekend, making a whopping $21 million domestically. Prior to Robocop came Total Recall in 2012, another disaster in the box offices that made $25 million opening weekend in America, a small fraction of the $200 million it cost to make it. These flops show the American public’s lack of interest in sci-fi remakes that still holds up this year. In general, the remakes were just not good or at least not good enough to fulfill out expectations. One of the characteristics that made the original Total Recall succeed was its use of comedy. Critics and audience members alike agree that this was definitely not the case in the 2012 remake. The remake rarely, if ever, incorporated any shred of comedy. Robocop was a similar disappointment. According to the

critical consensus site Rotten Tomatoes, the original Robocop was liked by 88 percent of critics while the 2014 version was liked by only 49 percent of critics. A similar trend was apparent for the critic reactions of Total Recall. While 84 percent of critics enjoyed the original film, only 30 percent enjoyed the remake. The general principle that applies here is that when something works, why remake it? There are several factors that tell us why Hollywood remakes such films. The first factor is the foreign box office. Part of the reason as to why there are so many sci-fi remakes is because of the demand from foreign countries. Though Robocop and Total Recall were huge flops in the United States, they still each took the number one spot in many of the international box offices and ended up grossing nearly $200 million each from the international market. However, once marketing costs are taken out, the movies fail significantly. The demand for sci-fi action movies may be caused partially by their lack of dialogue and reliance on action, which often appeals to foreign audiences. Whatever the appeal may be, the international market is definitely one of the main reasons the production of sci-fi remakes continues. There is also the fact that Hollywood is not afraid to keep repeating

CINEMANN | 8


something that works, even if Hollywood does not typically make successful remakes. Though, in the past there have been several successful remakes. Such remakes include Star Trek and Clash of the Titans. The distinguishing factor between the success of these remakes and the failures of remakes like Robocop and Total Recall is that successful remakes are improving upon movies that are beloved but not necessarily good. The success of Star Trek came partially because the remake rebooted the beloved Star Trek brand. However, it also included new advances in special effects and was not overacted like the original series. In the same way, Clash of the Titans incorporated better special effects and thankfully did not center around a bad robot owl. In general, it is safe to say that remaking a movie that was not necessarily good in quality is much easier to do than remaking a movie that is known for its brilliance. However there are several films that were successful as both the original movie and the remake. Take, for instance, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy as well as the more recent The Amazing Spider-Man series. Such films are not as much remakes, as they are adaptions of beloved characters. Though Tim Burton’s Batman series from the 1980’s and 90’s was a huge success (despite its terrible effects), Christopher Nolan’s more recent Batman franchise was also a huge success critically and at the box office. The second film franchise was based more on Batman as a character and Gotham City as a fictional place than on the previous Batman films. It is evident from watching the films that Tim Burton directed that he had his own imprint on the character and the city while Christopher Nolan had a darker approach. Both the Spider Man series from the 2000’s and the more recent The Amazing Spider-Man series follow a similar trend. Each is a different adaptation of the characters from the comic books. One major adaptive difference would be the different love interests in each film. While the first film focused on the relationship between Peter Parker and Mary Jane and made Gwen Stacy come later, The Amazing Spider-Man focuses more on the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy and comes in a more chronological order specific to the comic books. The point here is that adapting a film from another film is very different than adapting different films from a known story. The general principle that Hollywood should take away from the recent failures of movie remakes is to not fix something that is not broken. Different adaptions of beloved characters may be acceptable, but the most successful remakes come from the bettering of beloved classics. This betterment may include better effects or better acting. Once Hollywood realizes this, we may see a new boom of successful movie remakes.

CINEMANN | 9


SNL’S CASTING WOES BY DAHLIA KRUTKOVICH

W

ith its largest casting overhaul

performers, as per Cecily Strong’s presence on

in seventeen years, this season

the show last year, an example of how the two ti-

of Saturday Night Live has been

tles are not mutually exclusive. Having six more

dubbed a “rebuilding year.” Upon the begin-

people on the cast in that same manner seemed

ning of its thirty-ninth season, SNL found itself

unbearable, especially without the beloved sen-

in a peculiar situation: there was an influx of

ior cast to salvage sketches and add familiarity.

inexperienced, raw talent, and a lack of true onscreen presence, a predicament it hadn’t been

Though, once released, the new cast list was

in since the early 2000’s. With the departures

met with more disgruntlement than previously

of fixtures Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Andy Sam-

assumed would erupt. Prior to its release, many

berg, Jason Sudeikis, and Kristen Wiig over

fans expected this to be a rare and precious

the last two years, the show had been left with

opportunity to improve minority representa-

no standout leader or star. In some cases, this

tion in something as ingrained into the Ameri-

wouldn’t be an especially terrible problem, al-

can identity as SNL. However, this was not the

lowing more air time for under-utilized or over-

case. Enraged by the fact that every new cast

looked cast members. But, instead of strong

member hired this season (which increased the

writing or using every member to his or her

show’s roster by nearly a third) was white and

full potential, the show had devolved into rely-

all but one was male, popular outcry became

ing on those few aforementioned members to

too prominent to ignore. Finally, in a moment

hold the production together entirely. Natural-

of self-deprecation and rare self-awareness,

ly, questions surrounding the overall quality of

during the episode hosted by Kerry Wash-

the show were only exacerbated when a large

ington on November 2nd, SNL acknowledged

casting session was announced mid-summer.

one of its casting deficiencies. Having Wash-

Historically, new cast members have been

ington play multiple prominent black women

non-factors for their first few episodes, only to

(Michelle Obama, Oprah, Beyoncé) during the

become either dead weights or niche character

span of one sketch, and in an odd scroll-over

CINEMANN | 10


text break narrated by Al Sharpton, the pro-

destabilizing casting change up of the year, Seth

have been the glue of the show since episode

ducers of the show promised that by Janu-

Meyers, a fixture at the “Weekend Update” desk

one. Consistently on point with accents and

ary a black woman would be a member of the

and writing table for over ten years, left for Late

imitations, McKinnon’s Angela Merkel, Ellen

cast. Finally, on January 18th, Sasheer Zama-

Night with Seth Meyers. While he will be missed

DeGeneres, and Kathleen Sibelius have easi-

ta premiered as a featured player on SNL and

greatly, his replacement alongside Cecily

ly been season highlights, along with Killam’s

whose presence thus far has been delightful.

Strong, longtime co-head writer, Colin Jost, has

recurring “Weekend Update” character, 19th

been doing an admirable job. After writing on

century film critic, “Jebidiah Atkinson.” Bobby

Although, with seventeen members billed on

the show for nine years (and holding the posi-

Moynihan’s own character work, Jay Pharoah’s

the cast, a number that would justify the label

tion of co-head writer for two of them) Jost was

musical sketches have been steadily improving,

“bloated,” the lack of racial diversity on SNL remains astounding. In the show’s thirty-nine years, there has been one person of Asian descent (not to mean only east Asian, rather all of Asia), there have been only been two men of Hispanic descent, though no women, and a

filling the hole left by the Lonely Island. Cecily

“THE LACK OF RACIAL DIVERSITY ON SNL REMAINS ASTOUNDING.”

total of four black women, including newcom-

Strong has also shown herself to be far more than “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party”; in fact, she has greatly improved since last season and holds her own with both the witty one-liners at the “Weekend Update” desk and prominent roles in sketches.

er Zamata. With increasing racial diversity in America today, shouldn’t a show as ingrained

promoted internally, in the same vein as Tina

Although the first half of the season experi-

into American identity as SNL reflect that di-

Fey was in 2000. Unlike Meyers, Jost’s first epi-

enced some growing pains as the new cast mem-

versity? It’s especially concerning that an

sodes have gone without incident. He has been

bers settled into their roles, once they finally

emergency casting session was necessary as

able to articulate clearly, which was a problem

did, they have been as good as any freshman

a result of public pressure rather than an in-

for both Meyers and Jimmy Fallon when starting

cast could be. While mostly starring in digital

ternal realization or natural hiring. While NBC

their careers, and he can play the straight-man

shorts, the new members have played to their

has had remarkable problems in the past with

quite well when conducting sham-interviews.

strengths and background knowledge in doing

racial homogeny, and those problems seem far

Though outside of this, he hasn’t been incredi-

that, as most of their backgrounds have been in

from over, if anything positive has come from

bly memorable or charismatic in his first season.

online video production on sites such as You-

this ordeal, it’s that the question of diversity

Tube and Vimeo. However, none of them have

has finally begun to attract more mainstream

Despite the previous worries of lack of leader-

really shown themselves to be truly outstand-

attention, not just on SNL, but on TV as a whole.

ship or direction for this season, the preexisting

ing in any way. Yet despite these shortcom-

cast has certainly stepped up to the plate. Taran

ings, these actors are still only a freshman cast,

Killam, Kate McKinnon, and Kenan Thompson

and next year will truly be the test of quality.

In the final and probably most sentimentally

CINEMANN | 11


THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF ANIMATION

CINEMANN | 12


BY JOSH ARNON

O

ver the years, animation has trans-

animated feature film was El Apóstol, made

rectors saw that animation was the ideal me-

formed from novel cartoons to ele-

in 1917 by Quirino Cristiani from Argenti-

dium for fantasy, since everything the writers

mental tales with themes central to

na. However, in the 1910’s, animated motion

imagine can appear on the screen in its origi-

our lives. Disney has risen and fallen not just

pictures were known generally as “cartoons.”

nal, unaltered form. This movie is arguably the

once, and the emergence of major competitors

first animated film that could compare with any

has infused the industry with originality. This

In 1923, a studio called Laugh-O-Grams went

live-action film. When Russian director Sergei

is the story of how drawings on blackboards

bankrupt and its owner, Walt Disney, opened a

Eisenstein saw the film, he called it the greatest

became comparable to any live-action film.

new studio in Los Angeles. Disney’s first nota-

film ever made. That’s high praise from a man

ble breakthrough was 1928’s Steamboat Wil-

whose Battleship Potemkin is even now con-

The first movie recorded on standard picture

lie, the third of the Mickey Mouse series. It was

sidered one of the greatest films ever made.

film that included animated sequences was

the first cartoon that included a fully post-pro-

Enchanted Drawing in 1900, which was fol-

duced soundtrack, featuring voice and sound

Following Snow White’s release, Disney be-

lowed by the first entirely animated film, Hu-

effects printed on the film itself (“sound-on-

gan to focus much of its productive force on

morous Phases of Funny Faces, in 1906, both

film”). The short film shows an anthropomor-

more feature length films. The 1940 film Pi-

by J. Stuart Blackton. He is, because of these

phic mouse named Mickey neglecting his work

nocchio expanded the innovations explored

achievements, considered the father of Amer-

on a steamboat to make music using the ani-

in Disney’s previous film. Characters fly

ican animation. These early works were unnat-

mals aboard the boat instead. The first animat-

in and out of frames, giving the fantastical

ural-looking, whimsical depictions of common

ed feature sound film was Peludópolis, which

movie another sense of depth. It strongly

occurrences, such as a dog performing tricks

premiered in 1931. The first animation to use

personifies the puppet and gives it the hu-

with a clown, which would today be consid-

the full, three-color Technicolor method was

mane goal of being “a real boy.” The strong

ered creepy. Director Wladyslaw Starewicz,

Flowers and Trees, made in 1932 by Disney

moral lessons and powerful, as well as un-

known as Ladislas Starevich, started to create

Studios, which won an Academy Award for

expected, narrative made the film a classic.

stop motion films using dead insects with wire

the work. Another movie in the early 30’s, the

limbs and later, in France, with complex and

stop-motion film King Kong (1933), became a

The late 1930’s, the 40’s, the 50’s, and some

really expresive puppets. In 1911, he created

significant influence in later monster movies.

of the 60’s were Disney’s Golden Age. An-

The Cameraman’s Revenge, a complex tale of

other groundbreaking film was Fantasia

treason and violence between several differ-

Walt Disney’s 1937 Snow White and the Sev-

(1940), a movie that dares to couple great

ent insects. It is a pioneer work of puppet an-

en Dwarfs was the first animated feature film

classical music with the unrestrained creativ-

imation and the oldest animated film of such

made using solely hand-drawn animation.

ity of animation. Dumbo (1941), an exciting

dramatic complexity, with characters filled

The film is not only a fantastic realization of a

personification of an elephant, and Bambi

with motivation, desire and feelings. In 1912,

fairy tale but also world in which characters fill

(1942), a darker and yet gorgeous story of

Starewicz would release the first puppet-an-

each frame. Characters in the background and

a deer’s struggle for survival, were other

imated film, The Beautiful Lukanida. In 1914,

foreground move separately and at different

high points for Disney in the 40’s. Cinderel-

American cartoonist Winsor McCay released

speeds, and characters express themselves

la (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter

Gertie the Dinosaur, an early example of char-

with clearly defined body language. The ani-

Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and

acter development in drawn animation. The

mation flows in a genuinely realistic way. Di-

Sleeping Beauty (1959) were fantastical and

film was made for McCay’s vaudeville act, and as it played McCay would speak to Gertie, who would respond with a series of gestures. Also in 1914, John Bray opened John Bray Studios, which revolutionized the way animation was created. Earl Hurd, one of Bray’s employees, patented the cel animation process, which involved animating moving objects on transparent celluloid sheets. Animators photographed

“THE CAMERAMAN’S REVENGE... IS A PIONEER WORK OF PUPPET ANIMATION AND THE OLDEST ANIMATED FILM OF SUCH DRAMATIC COMPLEXITY, WITH CHARACTERS FILLED WITH MOTIVATION, DESIRE AND FEELINGS. ”

the sheets over a stationary background image to generate the sequence of images. The first

CINEMANN | 13


critically acclaimed stories released in the

co-existing in a live-action world. The next

its Graphics Group was purchased by Ap-

50’s. In the 60’s, One Hundred and One Dal-

year began what is known as the Disney Re-

ple Computer’s Steve Jobs for $10 million

matians (1961) and The Jungle Book (1967)

naissance, a creative resurgence in which the

and made an independent company in 1986.

continued Disney’s tradition of great films.

company was able to produce films compa-

Initially, Jobs made it a high-end computer

rable with those of its Golden Age, restoring

hardware company whose core product was

However, upon Disney’s death in 1966, the

public and critical interest in the company

primarily sold to government agencies and

quality of the company’s films noticeably de-

as a whole. Films with powerful and fresh

the medical community. Despite the usage

clined. The studio released relatively medi-

narratives jam-packed with memorable char-

of short demonstration animations to show

ocre films from the late 60’s to most of the

acters, such as The Little Mermaid (1989),

the capability of the device, it never sold well.

80’s, such as The Artistocats, The Fox and the

Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992),

Due to poor sales, the company began pro-

Hound, and The Great Mouse Detective. These

The Lion King (1994), Hercules (1997), Mulan

ducing computer-animated commercials for

films lacked the compelling narratives and el-

(1998), and Tarzan (1999), were released.

other companies. Its short demonstration

emental cores of Disney’s greats. In ‘88, Dis-

animations and commercials produced little

ney showed a return to excellence with Who

However, in the middle of the Renaissance

income and cost Jobs millions of dollars each

Framed Roger Rabbit, a critically acclaimed

something unexpected happened. A divi-

year, causing him to often consider selling the

film that featured classic animated characters

sion of Lucasfilm created in 1979 known as

company. In 1990, Jobs sold the company’s

Enchanted Drawing is the first film to include animated sequences

1900

Walt Disney Studios enters its golden age of animation with Fantasia

1928

Steamboat Willie is realeased by Walt Disney Studios

CINEMANN | 14

1937

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first animated feature film, is realeaesd

1940


hardware division and transferred 18 em-

Amazingly, every one of Pixar’s films from

and the Beast’s ballroom scene and The Lion

ployees, and in 1991, about 30 employees in

A Bug’s Life (1998) to Toy Story 2 (1999) to

King’s stampede were implementations of this

the company’s computer department had to

Monsters Inc. (2001) to Finding Nemo (2003)

new technology in traditional animation. Up

go (including the company’s president, Chuck

to The Incredibles (2004) achieved critical and

to 2006, Disney and Pixar were engaged in a

Kolstad). These decisions reduced the total

commercial acclaim. Cars (2006) wasn’t near-

deal that had the former company produce

number of employees from about 100 to just

ly as well-received critically, but the company

films while the latter developed them, but

42. The future of the company looked grim. In

quickly rebounded with Ratatouille (2007),

that year Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion.

1991, it made a $26 million deal with Disney

WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), and Toy Story 3

to produce three computer-animated feature

(2010). Pixar had noticeably less fantasti-

Other competitors emerged in the 1990’s.

films, which was seen by Jobs as the company’s

cal tales than Disney, but its humanization

DreamWorks Animation created Antz (1998),

last chance for success. In 1995, Toy Story, the

of toys, fish, and machines was a fresh break

The Prince of Egypt (1998), Shark Tale (2004),

first of the films and the first feature-length

from traditional storytelling in animation. Its

and the Shrek, Madagascar, and How to Train

computer-animated film, was a miraculous

stories had a tremendous amount of depth

Your Dragon franchises, most of which did

success both critically and commercially. Pix-

and superbly well-written scripts. CGI (com-

well commercially, though relatively less so

ar Animation Studios had started a trend that

puter-generated imagery) was actually being

critically. Interestingly, the advances of Jap-

would later consume animation as we know it.

experimented by Disney before Pixar; Beauty

anese animation (anime) in the 80’s through

Walt Disney dies and Disney Studios endures a decline in quality

Steve Jobs buys a division of Lucasfilm to create a computer hardware company

1966

1986

Toy Story becomes Pixar’s first feature length computer -animated film

1989

With the release of the Little Mermaid, the “Disney Renaissance” begins

1995

2013

Frozen becomes the higest-grossing animated film of alltime making over $1 billion

CINEMANN | 15


the 21st Century were all but ignored by the

est-grossing Japanese film up to that point

Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005),

American public. Akira (1988) was landmark

and won the Japanese Academy Prize for

and Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) are the only no-

in anime art and largely influenced live-ac-

Picture of the Year, its equivalent of the Acad-

table stop-motion films in this time frame.

tion, becoming a cult classic in America. Grave

emy Award for Best Picture. Miramax Films,

DreamWorks is doing fine, though its quality

of the Fireflies (also 1988) is considered one

a subsidiary of Disney, bought the rights for

is inconsistent. And after Miyazaki’s retire-

of the greatest war films ever made. But the

distribution of Mononoke for North Ameri-

ment, hand-drawn animation is all but dead.

explosion of innovation in anime was brought

ca. Harvey Weinstein, Miramax’s chairman,

However, Pixar has began to slip its hold over

about by Studio Ghibli, which was co-founded

demanded that edits should be made to the

the animation market. Following Toy Story 3,

by Hayao Miyazaki. Known by some as “Jap-

film. In response, the film’s producer, Toshio

the abysmal Cars 2 (2011) as well as the un-

anese Walt Disney,” in an age of computer

Suzuki, sent Weinstein a katana with a mes-

derwhelming Brave (2012) and Monsters Uni-

animation, Miyazaki used painstakingly de-

sage stating “No cuts.” Since the creation of

versity (2013) were a dramatic drop in quality

tailed traditional cel animation. His films are

the Academy Award for Best Animated Fea-

from Pixar’s mastery of storytelling. Mean-

abundant with complex characters, mythical

ture Film in 2001, Spirited Away is the only

while, Disney has begun what may be a Second

settings, and fantastical narratives. His mov-

foreign film to have won the award. Miyazaki

Renaissance. The Princess and the Frog (2009)

ies include My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s

retired last year after making The Wind Rises.

was a charming, though traditional, reminder

Delivery Service (1989), Princess Mononoke

of Disney hand-drawn animation. Disney’s

(1997), and the masterpiece Spirited Away

In the twenty-first century, stop-motion lived

embrace of CGI with Tangled (2010) provided

(2001). Princess Mononoke became the high-

a short life. Chicken Run (2000), Wallace &

entertaining and visually stunning fun. Wreck-

CINEMANN | 16


It Ralph (2012) was an inventive journey

films have not matched the quality of the great

and Spirited Away can. The future of anima-

through video game tropes and heartwarm-

films of its first Renaissance: The Little Mer-

tion is exciting, and I am sure that Disney and

ing characters. In 2013, Disney showed how

maid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The

Pixar will re-emerge as giants over the next

much it surpassed Pixar in recent years, both

Lion King. Also, Pixar will surely rebound, with

few years. We saw that Disney can break

commercially and critically, with Frozen, a gor-

sequels to Finding Nemo and The Incredibles in

conventional norms with Frozen, but how

geously animated film with complex charac-

the works. Brad Bird, the acclaimed director

original is it willing to be to reclaim its throne?

ters, a smart script, fantastic songs, and a story

of The Iron Giant (1999), The Incredibles, and

that deliberately defies Disney conventions.

Ratatouille will be writing the screenplay for

The movie has become the highest-grossing

The Incredibles sequel, so I’m quite sure that

animated film of all-time, having made over

movie can’t go wrong. Stop-motion and hand-

$1 billion and currently ranked number six in

drawn animation are currently defunct, and

the top worldwide grossing movies of all-time.

they will remain so for at least several more years. CGI animation is great for humanizing

Since Disney is on a roll with better and better

creatures and creating expressive characters,

movies, I predict that in upcoming years we

but the style comes with the cost of not being

will see a second Disney Renaissance. Howev-

able to create fantastical worlds and charac-

er, arguably except for Frozen, Disney’s recent

ters as imaginatively and freely as Pinocchio

CINEMANN | 17


THE BEST MOVIES OF 2013 YOU NEVER HEARD OF BY LORENZO BROGI-SKOSKIEWICZ

E

very year, when it comes down to Oscar night, there are always a few big favorites. This year, Gravity and 12 Years

a Slave were the frontrunners and 12 Years ended up taking the top prize. However, there were arguably better movies this past year than 12 Years a Slave. Many of them were foreign movies, documentaries, or even movies that failed at the box office. Just because a movie received little recognition doesn’t mean that it should have been ignored in the Best Picture nominees. The factors that held those films back from recognition was unsuccessful marketing, unique genres, and a limited audience for theme. Here are some of the more unknown but great movies of this past year.

CINEMANN | 18


1. THE ACT OF KILLING The Act of Killing is a brilliant documentary film

matic way they wished, which includes crime

tary crew proposed, having the former killers play

directed by Joshua Oppenheimer that was nom-

scenarios and even lavish musical numbers. Do-

the victims and making them see their own actions

inated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Fea-

ing so, the film attempts to understand the leg-

for the first time. Finally real—only when unreal.

ture but ended up losing to 20 Feet from Star-

acy of such unpunished actions and tries to find

dom. While The Act of Killing was in almost all

the meaning behind all of this mindless killing.

This is not an easy film to watch; the crew of

regards a superior film to 20 Feet, it most likely

the documentary recreates all of the massa-

didn’t come away with the big prize because of

The movie begins with a quote from Voltaire (“All

cres in such incredibly elaborate detail, that it

the controversial subject depicted in the film.

murderers are punished, unless they kill in large

is sometimes discomforting to watch all of the

numbers, and to the sound of trumpets”) and ends

gory beheadings and mutilations even though

The Act of Killing tells the story of Anwar Congo,

with a man vomiting, retching up a horrible and

they are all staged. However, it is those occa-

an Indonesian gangster who led an anti-Com-

disturbing growling howl. In-between, the movie

sional and fleeting moments in the movie when

munist purge in Indonesia that claimed over one

travels through a long and deep abyss, into which

the killers become aware of their crimes that

million lives between the two year span of 1965

unspeakable horror and madness are thrown to-

makes the movie so special. “We murdered peo-

to 1966. Congo became notorious for both the

gether to make a disturbing and uncomfortable

ple and were never punished,” says one of them,

sadistic brutality of his murders and commit-

movie that delicately balances alongside a capti-

“Have I sinned?” From the ashes of this huge

ting all of these atrocities in style, wearing sleek

vating story. In one scene Anwar Congo says, “It

multitude of horror comes the long and distant

silk pink shirts and camouflage pants, saying he

was as if we were killing happily.” In another, he

echo of their conscience. And that these revela-

“wanted to look like a movie star” while killing.

jokes about the raping of children during an attack

tions are all captured on camera at their birth is

He went unpunished for his crimes and is now

on a small village, and in another he explains to the

what makes The Act of Killing such an electrify-

considered a local hero in Indonesia. The doc-

viewer the easiest way to strangle a man with a

ing and magnificent movie, albeit a discomfort-

umentary crew of The Act of Killing challeng-

length of wire and a piece of wood. Slowly but sure-

ing one, and one of the best films of the year.

es Congo and some of his fellow murderers to

ly, the former killers begin to feel empathy, this is

recreate their mass killings in whichever cine-

in part created by the role reversals the documen-

CINEMANN | 19


2. The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) The Great Beauty is an Italian movie that tells the story of a rich journalist in Rome, named Jep Gambardella, who is the king of the Roman nightlife and has a connection to just about everyone in the Roman upper class. After turning 65 he realizes that he doesn’t have much longer to live and begins to develop a different view of the world. He wanders around the luscious Roman streets, basking in the glory of the night and meeting all sorts of strange characters along the way, from middle-aged strippers, to small people, to pimps, to ghost-talkers, literary critics, and many more. Through these people the view of his world begins to change and he rediscovers what the true meaning of beauty is for him. La Grande Bellezza is directed by Paolo Sorrentino, the best Italian director of the last decade and the director of other award winning movies like Gommorah and This Must be the Place. Sorrentino decided to make this movie in honor of Federico Fellini’s 50th anniversary of his first Oscar win. Fellini was the master of artistic cinema, weaving both themes of beauty and intricate plots into his works. His most famous works includes Otto e mezzo (8 1/2), La Dolce Vita, and E La Nave Va. In his career Fellini won eight Academy Awards and garnered many more nominations, the most wins for any foreign director in history. La Grande Bellezza is mainly a direct nod to Fellini’s 8 1/2, which is considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. Sorrentino’s shot selection mimics the style that Fellini used in his movies: emphasizing image and beauty and music over a flowing story arc, often going over long periods of time without any dialogue, and utilizing many shots that emphasize the beauty of Rome. These actions give La Grande Bellezza a unique style and pace that one can only find in movies made by Fellini. It almost seems like La Grande Bellezza has no plot and that the actors are just doing whatever Sorrentino tells them to do (à la Fellini), but all the while Sorrentino manages to succeed in doing what he wants, and that is depicting the appeal and magnificence of life through the beauty of Rome. Sorrentino is able to accomplish this with gorgeous shots of famous Roman landmarks and by creating beautiful sets filled with color, giving each individual scene a life of its own. What also separates La Grande Bellezza from other great foreign movies this year like The Hunt and The Broken Circle Breakdown and allowed it to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film is a tremendous performance from leading man Tony Servillo. Servillo, who plays Jep Gambardella, delivers the performance of his lifetime and even deserved to be nominated for best actor, certainly ahead of Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio, who were both nominees this year. Servillo gives a certain gusto to the character that very few actors can match. He owns every scene of the movie and captures the attention of the viewer even when he doesn’t say a single line for five minutes. Servillo delivers every line with a kind of sarcastic wit that makes him look superior to the rest of the characters; however, when deeper emotions like sadness, love, and anger are called into play, he still manages to capture them and gives a tremendously emotional performance. Without Servillo’s acting, The Great Beauty certainly would not have been as good as it is. Both Sorrentino and Servillo have created a wonderful movie that truly honors the legacy of Federico Fellini while also making a profound message. They deservedly have been recognized for their achievements by many critics and the Academy.


3. Inside Llewyn Davis Inside Llewyn Davis is the latest installment by

character for the role of Llewyn. He certainly de-

The music in the movie expresses about every

the Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Bar-

served an Oscar nomination for this role and was

emotion the human brain is capable of, ranging

ton Fink, Millers Crossing, No Country for Old Men,

also arguably better than Leonardo DiCaprio (The

from melancholic to joyous. A great example is

True Grit) and in my opinion the best movie of the

Wolf of Wall Street) and Christian Bale (American

during the scene when Llewyn, who is in such

year. While the movie was universally praised by

Hustle). The rest of the cast is also fantastic, with

desperate need for money, joins a gig in a re-

critics, it made very little money at the box of-

great performances from Coen Brothers’ regular

cording studio. The song they are playing, called

fice both locally and overseas and received only

John Goodman (Monsters Inc., The Big Lebowski,

“Please Mr. Kennedy,” is an extremely wacky tune

two Oscar nominations. To me, what separated

O Brother Where art’ Thou), who plays an old and

that is about astronauts and requires one per-

Llewyn Davis from the rest of the pack were three

obese jazz singer with harsh opinions on folk music

son to just constantly yell out the word “shout.”

factors: its tremendous acting, masterful direc-

and the funniest lines in the movie. Notably, Carey

Llewyn hates the song because it is not his style of music and decides not to sign on to receive

tion and cinematography, and above all music.

royalties, instead opting for $200 in cash imThe movie tells the story of a folk singer named

mediately. This plan ends up backfiring on him,

Llewyn Davis in Greenwich Village who is ex-

as the song becomes a hit and Llewyn receives

tremely talented; however, nobody recognizes

no royalties from its success. Another fantastic

his skill, and if they do they hate him for a varie-

song is “Fare Thee Well.” The song was written

ty of reasons. Llewyn is homeless and wanders

by Dink, who was Llewyn’s former partner and

from couch to couch every night crashing with

ended up killing himself. It is the most performed

his friends, his latest album has received no royal-

song in the movie and it is about a man who says

ties at all, and his former singing partner just died

goodbye to his lover for the last time. Each time

leaving him depressed out of his mind. Oscar Isaac

Isaac sings it, he is able to bring such life to the

plays the role of Llewyn Davis and is just incredi-

words while also providing a melancholy weight.

ble. Not only does he get the emotions of Llewyn down perfectly, but he also has the musical tal-

While this year’s Best Picture winner 12 Years

ents to show just how good of a musician Llewyn

a Slave is no doubt a fantastic movie, these

is. He finds the perfect balance between being a

three films are as good, and arguably even

likable character for the audience and at the same

better, than 12 Years. Though they are all cer-

time being an a-hole to everyone else in the mov-

Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) and Justin Timberlake

tainly very unorthodox films, they provide tru-

ie. Llewyn can never catch a break and takes out

(Social Network, In Time) also show off both their

ly fantastic and moving viewing experiences.

his frustration on his friends. When this happens,

acting and singing, albeit in very limited roles.

Isaac makes the viewer feel his pain and sorrow.

Adam Driver (Girls) and Garret Hedlund (Tron

However, Isaac is also able to deliver the classic

Legacy) are also at their very best in the movie.

Coen Brothers’ style of humor and is the perfect The Coen Brothers are some of the best filmmakers of today, and this movie has reaffirmed their skills. The two directors are famous for both their bleakness and stark cinematography (this time without the help of legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins), and they certainly continue this trend in this movie. They manage to make movies with extremely gritty and dogged undertones while balancing these dark aspects with a charismatic sense of humor, albeit a very bleak one. Not only are the Coen brothers able to create an alluring period piece about the 1960’s Greenwich Village folk music scene, but they also manage to balance that aspect with a very melancholic atmosphere that really sets the tone of the entire movie. Perhaps that is the reason why it was largely ignored at the Academy Awards, missing out on all five of the main categories.

CINEMANN | 21


BEFORE MANHOOD BY CHRISTINA CHO

A

fter a remarkable 12 years in the

many difficulties. First, the producers faced

these thick obstacles, but it is also currently

making, Richard Linklater’s (the

many financial hurdles. They had to mus-

being praised worldwide. The unconvention-

Before Trilogy) film Boyhood will be

ter and convince venture capitalists to gain

al “definitive coming-of-age movie” wowed

released in theaters this summer. Back in

faith in investing thousands and thousands

the world at both the 64th Berlin Interna-

2002, national news networks and newspa-

of dollars into one film. In addition, they had

tional Film Festival (won Best Director, Prize

pers announced the start of the phenomenal

to simultaneously film the long story, per-

of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas,

filming of the journey in boyhood, telling the

suade initial investors to keep an unwaver-

and Reader Jury of the Berliner Morgenpost

fictional story of a divorced couple (Ethan

ing faith for over a decade despite the poor

and was nominated for the Golden Berlin

Hawke and Patricia Arquette) raising their

state of the economy, and adapt to having

Bear) and the 2014 SXSW Film Festival (won

son of age 6 (Ellar Coltrane) until age 18.

investing companies go bankrupt. Further-

Louis Black Lone Star Award and Special Jury

This statement stirred the public, for Linklat-

more, Linklater recalls the difficulty in find-

Recognition). “Its appreciation of the scruffy

er’s latest masterpiece is not a typical movie

ing actors who would work without pay,

magic of everyday life,” according to Enter-

that follows traditional guidelines in focus-

knowing that he had a “super low budget.”

tainment Weekly, “is relatable to all.” Come

ing on a particular chapter in life. Instead,

Second, the producers had to cast and hope

watch this “human time-lapse photography”

it is a path-paving movie that encompass-

that a six-year-old boy would illuminate the

in theatres on July 11, as it is a crowd-pleas-

es the beautiful experience of growing up.

film by showing the beauty in everyday life.

ure that “is a metaphor of our own lives.”

Although the scope of the movie raised much

Not only is Linklater’s latest already an im-

fame and publicity, the same scope brought

pressive feat of filmmaking for overcoming

CINEMANN | 22


CINEMANN | 23


SPRING BLOCKBUSTERS BY EVAN GREENE

T

his spring had a surprising number of

ry and is thus labeled as divergent. In post-apoca-

to be very disappointing. The story is about a

good new movies. Certainly, a film worth

lyptic Chicago, the movie follows our protagonist

young vibrant hero who tries valiantly to fend off

seeing is Divergent, a modern-day Hunger

as she struggles to change the world in an exciting,

a threat from the Soviet agent known as Winter

Games that surprises its audience with a captivat-

action-packed thriller. Characters fight one anoth-

Soldier. Our hero is none other than Steve Rogers

ing storyline. The setting and cinematography of

er witin vicious boxing matches and witted verbal

(Captain America) who tries to make a name for

this movie is excellent; the movie vividly captures

attacks. The movie explores not only the growth

himself by being a patriot and crushing the scary

sleek buildings and characters dressed in futur-

of its main character but also the evolution of a

and threatening bad guys. The problem with this

istic costumes. It takes place in a very believable

society that defines its citizens by their social con-

movie is although there are some exciting intense

and modern new world, where people all have

tributions in everyday life. To me, this movie was

battle scenes, many parts of the action dwindle

specific roles in society based on their personali-

more exciting than The Hunger Games, as it has

to boring and don’t keep the viewers’ interest. It

ties. Everyone’s place in life is divided into factions

better cinematography and well-developed char-

seems before the action starts that movie goers

or attributes according to what character trait he

acters that fight to the end for what they believe in.

realize that Steve Rogers will win, and this knowl-

or she best personifies, like Abnegation (selfless-

edge takes away from the battle scenes. It is obvi-

ness) or Amity (peacefulness). The lead character,

Some movies made more of a splash than others,

ous that in each battle scene he will crush his en-

Tris doesn’t seem to fit into any particular catego-

as Captain America: the Winter Soldier turned out

emy because of his sheer power. This movie was

CINEMANN | 24


long-awaited by many action-adventure fans, and in my opinion does not live up to Captain America’s reputation of excitement. The scenes tend to blend into the same kind of superhero acting with very little variety, and the viewer almost wants to leave the movie halfway through. On the other hand, Draft Day with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner surpasses expectations and is an entertaining and intriguing drama. The writers give a clear, inside look at what happens in pro football when players get picked for the NFL teams. There is a magical chemistry between Costner and Garner that keeps the viewer wondering when they will become an official couple. The screenwriters have these two attractive actors meeting in supply closets and in dark offices, where they are constantly interrupted by the job demands of picking a winning football team as the clock ticks. The movie does starts off slow, as you initially wonder when will they ever get to picking the teams. But the authors have written a both humorous and intriguing look at what goes on behind the scenes when players are selected. The owners, general managers, and rising stars themselves do a funny and almost vicious trading dance to see which team will end up with the best picks. Not only are the players trying to satisfy their NFL dreams but the team owners and their fans seem to care tremendously about which stars will change their destiny and bring them to the Super Bowl. The side romance takes place between General Manager, Sonny Weaver (Costner) and his girlfriend (Garner), and the team’s financial wizard really does add the needed twist to the humorous plot. In the end, the moviegoer walks out and says, “Wow, that

“DIVERGENT, A MODERN-DAY HUNGER GAMES THAT SURPRISES ITS AUDIENCE WITH A CAPTIVATING STORYLINE. ”

turned out to be a great movie. I will now look at the business side of football very differently.” So whether or not you are busy, it is worth renting or going out to see Draft Day and Divergent, as these two movies will change the way you look at both professional football and the future. Both movies possess both exciting plots with intriguing action, well-developed characters, and creative cinematography that pleases the eye.

CINEMANN | 25


CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER BY SPENCER LERNER

W

hen it comes to making movies,

Rogers (Captain America) and does a fantastic

Winter Soldier and as always is played by Johans-

Marvel is no amateur. Having made

job. Rogers is in an unfamiliar world of chaos,

son, who performs the character with the sec-

eight films in the past six years, the

and because of his old-fashioned values from

ond-most screen time and does not disappoint.

company may have outdone itself. If you ask any

the 1940’s, all he has to fight for is what he

In the Winter Soldier, Natasha Romanoff can be

Marvel fan boy what his favorite Marvel movie

believes in. In any other movie, the type of “ac-

serious or funny, but when it comes to the task

is, you will get an overwhelming majority who

tion-packed” acting would seem somewhat exag-

at hand, she always gets the job done. At around

say the first Iron Man and a few who will say The

gerated, and sometimes, even with Chris Evans,

the halfway mark, you may be in your chair won-

Avengers. A week ago my response would have

it can still be hard to believe. As an experienced

dering why Romanoff is even in the movie, but

been Iron Man, but after this weekend, my new an-

Marvel movie watcher, I know there will be mo-

later on Scarlett Johansson steps it up and im-

swer is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Why,

ments in Captain America, just like in any other

presses the audience with her not only serious

you ask? The movie is overflowing with action

superhero movie, that are completely impossi-

but also comedic acting that catches the audi-

(like any Marvel movie should be), is full of adven-

ble. It can be very easy to take a step back and

ence off-guard and thereby guarantees a laugh.

ture that keeps you interested, and most impor-

say, “That just cannot happen.” But Evans does

Although Evans has a fantastic performance,

tantly has a great and somewhat complex plot.

an eloquent job and keeps the audience wanting

without Johansson’s witty humor for comic re-

more throughout the entire film with his combat-

lief, the movie would have been hard to watch.

First and foremost, the acting in Captain Amer-

ive scenes and his comedic scenes with Scarlett

ica is believable. Chris Evans returns as Steve

Johansson. Natasha Romanoff returns in The

CINEMANN | 26

The directing and plot in The Winter Soldier also


stands above Marvel’s standards. Without giving

of Ultron and the very same day as the sequel to

too much away, Steve Rogers is in modern-day

Man of Steel.

America after helping save the world from Loki. When S.H.I.E.L.D is compromised, Rogers has to fight against unsuspected foes to make sure that America’s core rights and values aren’t lost. With the exception of Iron Man, no other Marvel movie stands close to The Winter Soldier. Speaking in a “Marvel movie state of mind,” the plot is complex, captivating, and has a fantastic turn that made the movie worthwhile. That’s not to say that none of this praise would be true otherwise; the film is intricate and fascinating because it focuses on a developing plot as opposed to the mindless action sequences that usually appear in superhero movies. The directing is also above par. The movie for the most part is serious, and the directing style reflects its tone well. With past Marvel movies, cheesy transitions were used to go from one scene to another, or corny close-ups were used at inappropriate times, but not in The Winter Soldier. The directors (the Russo brothers), who directed the failed comedy You, Me and Dupree, definitely did a better job with The Winter Soldier. This film uses only transitions and camera shots that are appropriate for their scenes, keeping the movie sophisticated. It’s interesting to think of what will happen to the Captain America franchise in the future. It’s a fact that Chris Evans will return as Captain America in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but in my opinion The Winter Soldier left too much unresolved in the hero’s life for just one more movie. It isn’t likely that Marvel will make a third Captain America movie, and Chris Evans has said that he would like to focus more on directing rather than acting after the second Avengers. Personally, I would love for audiences to see more of the Captain in the future and be fine if Marvel decides to end the current phase of Marvel flicks with another film starring Steve Rogers, instead of Age of Ultron. Regardless of what Marvel decides to do, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a winner. The movie is definitely one of the best and most thought-out that Marvel has to offer, and on a scale where the first Iron Man gets a nine out of ten, I give Captain America: The Winter Soldier a ten out of ten. Update: On April 7, Marvel announced that a sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be coming out May 6, 2016, after Avengers: Age


WES ANDERSON’S THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: A VANISHED WORLD ALL HIS OWN BY BENJAMIN ADES

A

n

unconventional,

extravagant

ad-

Zero Moustafa tells the writer about his own ad-

The plot in this film is Wes Anderson at his best.

venture to say the least, Wes Ander-

ventures working as a lobby boy for Gustave H. in

In many of his other films there is no clear con-

son’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is not

the 1930’s. Although most of the story stays in the

flict; there is no dramatic arc to pull in the view-

just another one of his larger-than-life mas-

1930’s, Anderson occasionally returns to the old

er. For example, in Anderson’s debut film, Bottle

terpieces; it is his best yet. Anderson displays

writer’s flashback of himself asking Mr. Moustafa

Rocket, the plot is just a series of vignettes in

his unique visual and narrative prowess to tell

about his own adventures, hence traveling back

time. But it shares with The Grand Budapest

the adventures of the legendary Gustave H.,

and forth through time. This multilayered plot

Hotel the creation of a secluded, closed world,

the last great concierge at The Grand Buda-

resembles the architecture of the hotel itself,

which only faintly resembles the one we would

pest, a hotel located in a European mountain

which is designed to look like an intricately and

recognize as our own. He does the same in

resort in the fictional country of Zubrowka.

heavily decorated cake. Amusingly enough, cakes

The Royal Tenenbaums, which tells the story of

and pastries also play a key element in an ingen-

a family of overachievers spun up in a world

The movie’s plot structure is consistent with

ious escape from a prison, which is described by

of their own, and who come together to cre-

Anderson’s quirky but distinctively vibrant and

Gustave H. in one of the film’s many flashbacks.

ate a world that has few parallels with reality.

meticulously detailed visual style and cinematic technique. The story begins in the present, in the

Wes Anderson brilliantly creates these unique

cemetery of an Eastern European city, where a

worlds visually. His characters wear costumes

teenage girl with a book called The Grand Buda-

that define them in such a way that makes them

pest Hotel under her arm pays tribute to its au-

become caricatures, almost stereotypes of

thor. Flashback to 1985 in a cluttered office with

themselves. Each Anderson movie has a par-

French windows and ornate moldings, where an

ticular color palette. This use of color is again

old writer begins to tell us about an encounter he

present in The Grand Budapest Hotel, where

had in the late 1960’s with some Zero Moustafa

combinations of salmon pinks, light blues,

who used to work at The Grand Budapest Hotel

bloody reds, and a tremendous amount of pur-

and then came to own it. During that encounter,

ple create an environment that strongly echoes

CINEMANN | 28


the trope of the multilayered cake referred to

to bring order and predictability into an otherwise

usual suspects like Bill Murray, Adrien Brody,

above. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, as in previ-

chaotic world. It gives the creator and his viewers

Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton,

ous movies, Anderson uses a large number of

a feeling of total control over the world before us.

and Harvey Keitel, all of who have worked with

miniatures and models. Whenever the outside

him before. As the eccentric Gustave H., Ralph

of the hotel is shown, it is really a model and

Beyond the fascinating plot structure and ex-

Fiennes shows a hilarious side of himself that

not the actual department store in the town in

quisite image composition, the film benefits

we haven’t seen in many of the films or plays he

Germany in which the interiors were filmed.

from a superb casting. Anderson rounds up his

has starred in. His acting is very witty and he delivers his lines with a precision that seems

Above all, Anderson is renowned for the use

sort of childlike, similar to a very hyperactive

of symmetry in his films. The idea of symmetry

and excited young boy. His caricaturesque ges-

in a shot is especially unique, since film school

tures, especially his facial expressions, embody

students are taught to never use symmetry

the movie’s intensity and exaggerated mood.

because of the rule of thirds. The rule dictates that a cinematographer, photographer, or

Watching The Grand Budapest Hotel is an ex-

painter splits his or her image into nine equal

tremely immersive experience. The viewer is

boxes, like a closed tic-tac-toe box, and then

completely drawn in by Anderson’s bold use

composes the image using the intersections

of color, fascinatingly detailed miniatures, and

and the corners of the boxes, rather than just

the way in which he sets up his shots. Much

placing the image in the center. The violation

like Stefan Zweig’s memoir “The World of Yes-

of this rule is one of Anderson’s trademarks.

terday,” from which Anderson found inspiration for his movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel

All of these cinematic devices help create an or-

succeeds in creating a humorous, endearing

derly and self-contained world that almost re-

and nostalgic look at the rise and fall of a so-

sembles a doll’s house and can be read as a desire

ciety and the end of the world as we know it.

CINEMANN | 29


NOT JUST FUN AND GAMES: WHY THIS SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES WILL BE THE DEADLIEST AND MOST HEART-WRENCHING YET

WARNING SPOILERS BY MADDIE BENDER

B

y the end of season three, viewers

as it utilizes surprise, fear, and the show’s unique

bered, as nobody, not even his own mother,

thought they had seen it all. They saw

representation of the dynamics between a male

can stand Joffrey’s presence. My only hope is

their favorite characters killed off, CGI

and a female. The scene’s fast pace contrasts

that Joffrey will die a slow and painful death.

zombie-oids launch an attack on the known

starkly with the other scenes from the pre-

world, and more of Theon Greyjoy than they

miere that mainly featured slow dialogue and

Tyrion and Shae’s relationship stands on rocky

had ever wanted to see. From an action per-

plot exposition. To understand the importance

footing, and it appears at last that Cersei has

spective, the season premiere did little be-

of the necklace, one must remember the sig-

discovered the secret romance, leaving the fate

sides try to fill the Robb-shaped holes in our

nificance of past artifacts given as reparation,

of Shae and even Tyrion unclear. As the undis-

hearts by introducing new characters and

notably the dragon eggs given as a wedding

puted power couple of season three, Shae-rion

revising others, most notably the questiona-

gift to Daenerys and the magical coin present-

vowed to stand by each other, but viewers began

ble casting replacement of Daario (formerly

ed early in the show to Arya by Jaqen H’ghar.

to see this commitment falter as early as half-

Ed Skrein, now Michiel Huisman). Huisman’s

Following the deaths of most members of

way through the season, after Cersei and Jof-

new face only adds to the confusion viewers

the Stark family, Arya’s primary mission (to

frey forced Tyrion to marry an unwilling Sansa,

feel when attempting to remember charac-

reunite with her family) has failed, and she

for whom Shae served as a maid. The show ex-

ters’ names, appearances, and significance. In

may continue to build a highly dysfunction-

panded on the power dynamic between Sansa

addition, viewers met foreign Prine Oberyn

al daughter-son relationship with the Hound

and Shae and has resolved any loose-endings;

(Pedro Pascal) through a less-than-inter-

as she searches for her old assassin friend.

it seems almost inevitable, though upsetting,

esting scene in a brothel, which he will likely frequent over the course of the season.

that the end of Shae-rion could be approaching. Advertisements

preceding

the

season

Sansa’s ongoing predicament will surely be a

showed the familiar three-eyed raven cap-

Based on the introduction of new charac-

highlight of season four. Following her mar-

tioned with the phrase “All Men Must Die.”

ters, season four of Game of Thrones appears

riage with Tyrion, Sansa received word that her

If the validity of this statement was not ap-

to promise the exit of fan-favorites. Viewers,

mother and brother Jon had both been slaugh-

parent enough after the Red Wedding, the

however, should not despair when faced with

tered with Joffrey’s direct order. As she strug-

fourth season may further emphasize it.

the daunting task of remembering even more

gles to make sense of her future in the season

After barely escaping with his life (and remain-

characters and plot lines; I have faith that the

premiere, a supporting character from season

ing hand), Jaime, now as close to lovable as

directors will create a smooth, if not entirely

three, Dontos, approaches her and gives her a

he will get, is once more thrust back into the

painless, transition to the plot lines of new char-

necklace as repayment for saving his life. The

metaphorical mouth of the (Lannister) lion on

acters while delving deeper into the plot lines

scene lays out in such a way to capture viewers’

his return to King’s Landing. Jaime must real-

of existing and formerly overlooked characters.

attention and hold it until the end of the scene,

ize his abhorrent nephew/son’s days are num-

CINEMANN | 30


BATTLE OF THE SHERLOCK’S AMERICA VS. ENGLAND BY DANIEL MINDICH

R

in the show always refer to Sherlock as a psy-

tempts to add more of a modern-day conflict

chopath, but when a forensic scientist angrily

into the older books. A bit of the backstory of

calls him that title to his face, he responds with

Watson’s new job is that while Sherlock used

a snappy, “I am not a psychopath, Anderson, I

to live in London, he had a substance abuse

am a high-functioning sociopath. Do your re-

problem that went out of control (which the

search.” Although each episode is an hour and

show picks up on later into the series). This

a half long, it is definitely worth watching all

part of the story, although it may seem un-

the way through. In Sherlock, along with Sher-

true, was also in the Sherlock Holmes books

lock Holmes and Dr. Watson, there are many

and only added in the third series of Sherlock.

of the characters from the original stories

Rather than have Detective Lestrade be Sher-

that you would expect to find in an adaptation.

lock’s friend who allows him to help in inves-

Sherlock is a very interesting and wonderfully

tigating his house, Elementary uses a minor

well-done show that everyone should watch.

character from the books, Inspector Gregson,

ecently, Sherlock Holmes has been

to be the captain of the NYPD and hire Sher-

made into two different TV shows.

lock as a Consulting Detective. The fact that

Sherlock is from the BBC, has three

Elementary makes these decisions shows that

series (what seasons are called in the UK),

it not only wants to be true to the books but

each has only three episodes, and so far every

also wants to add its own themes and char-

series has come out every two years. Elemen-

acters. The TV show goes about these choic-

tary is from CBS, is relatively new and in its

es with a character such as Detective Bell, a

second season now, and a season comes out

new detective that the show adds to the mix

every year, like we are used to with Ameri-

whose name may be a reference to the in-

can television shows. Both series take place

spiration of the Sherlock Holmes character.

in modern day, but Sherlock takes place in

More of Elementary’s changes are revealed

England while Elementary takes place in

over time throughout the course of the series.

New York. Sherlock and Elementary are both very good series, but though both are very

Both series must be different from the books

different than the original books, Sherlock is

because we live in modern times and there

an overall better and more impressive show.

are newer and more interesting crimes that can happen today. The Sherlock from Sher-

Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as

lock solves crimes differently than people

Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr.

could have in the time that the books were be-

John Watson. In the original novels, Dr. John

ing written. For example, Sherlock must crack

Watson is a doctor and a biographer for Sher-

the password to a phone that contains secrets

lock Holmes, but in the modern Sherlock,

that could harm or save many English lives.

Watson is writing a blog for therapy about

In Elementary, there are high-tech bank rob-

what happens to him and eventually writes

beries and Anthrax outbreaks that couldn’t be

about his cases with Sherlock. By making this

attempted or solved in the times of the books.

change, Sherlock attempts to bring a modern twist to the original books. A way Steven Mof-

Elementary seems to have more changes to

fat, the show’s co-creator and co-executive

the original novels than Sherlock because

producer, pays tribute the original books is

it is not only trying to be a show that feels

that he makes the titles of the episodes slight-

similar to a familiar book series but it is also

ly different from the titles of Sir Arthur Conan

Elementary stars Jonny Lee Miller as Sher-

trying to be interesting for an American audi-

Doyle’s stories. For example, the first episode

lock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson.

ence while leaving its mark on the evolution

is called “A Study in Pink” while the first Sher-

In this show we are introduced to Watson at

of Sherlock Holmes. Elementary is a very

lock Holmes book is called “A Study in Scarlet.”

the beginning and learn that she is a “sober

good adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, but

The show is very serious from an American

companion” to Sherlock, and her job is to stay

through watching all of the series over break

perspective, but when looked at for dry Brit-

with Sherlock and check in with him every two

and re-watching most of Sherlock, I can say

ish humor, the show and characters are quite

hours or accompany where he goes. This more

that Sherlock is a better adaptation of the

hilarious. An example of a joke is that people

American version of Sherlock Holmes at-

books and is more gripping than Elementary.

CINEMANN | 31


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