Raw – A Feminist Slant on Body Horror

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Raw is a 2016 French-Belgian body horror film which tells a coming of age story about sexual discovery through cannibalism. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. This is a film about sex and eating people. It is blatantly weird, unabashedly gross, and undeniably creative. This is far outside the normal spectrum of what I usually watch, but every now and then it can be fun to push one’s boundaries. In this case, I’m glad I did. Raw certainly is not for everyone, but those willing to take a chance will discover a surprising degree of substance beneath the bloody imagery.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Everything You Loved About The First One

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There are a lot of big budget blockbusters on the horizon this year, but I doubt any of them are as highly anticipated as Guardians Vol. 2. The first Guardians is arguably the best film in the MCU and it is the film that redefined Marvel’s overall tone. Each film they’ve made since has slowly shifted the franchise closer to the lighthearted, irreverent feel of Guardians. Ant Man was a straight up comedy, Dr. Strange was surprisingly joke dense, and if the latest trailer is anything to judge by, even the Thor franchise seems to have adopted the Guardians approach, what with its use of classic rock music and well placed humor. So with the rest of the franchise chasing Guardians’ coattails, how does the actual sequel measure up? Does it recapture that spark, or does it fall a little flat? The answer to both is yes.

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In Defense of The Matrix Trilogy – Why Warner Bros.’ Intended Reboot is an Insult to a Masterpiece

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In the wake of Warner Bros.’ recent announcement that they intend to reboot The Matrix I have been encountering a lot of the same anti Matrix sequel rhetoric that has been floating around the Internet for years. While the general reaction to the prospect of a reboot has been (thankfully) negative, some people are saying that the inevitable reboot can’t be worse than the terrible sequels. I am acutely aware that most people view the first movie as incredible and its two sequels as colossal screw ups that squandered the potential of a great series. That mentality could not be further from the truth. The sequels are an integral part of a cinematic whole that, taken together, is a masterpiece of science fiction. The Matrix Trilogy is a synthesis of philosophy, mythology, and religious symbolism. It is a work of astonishing thematic depth and complexity, and I do not believe for a moment that Warner Bros. will be able to recapture that spark, no matter who they attach to the project. So today I am going to affirm the value of the two Matrix sequels by exploring their themes and symbolism while hopefully clearing up some of the more common misconceptions about these films.

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Logan – Remarkably Intimate

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A film that is often hailed as The Dark Knight of its franchise, in some ways Logan is actually better than the Caped Crusader’s most beloved outing. Its tighter, more focused, far more intense, and ultimately, more emotional. Logan strips away all the extraneous elements that so often bog down super hero franchise films until nothing is left but the core of the audience’s emotional connection to the film: its characters. We don’t care about saving the world. We don’t care about super powers, explosions, or spectacle. We care about these people: Logan and Charles. This is the most intimate and authentic portrayal of these characters ever put on screen and it is by far the best film in Fox’s X-Men franchise.

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Oscar Results – 89th Academy Awards

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Well, that happened. What a colossally disappointing evening. La La Land had its Best Picture win snatched away and Moonlight took it home instead. The film everyone expected to sweep the night instead goes home with six awards to its name. I’ve been wrong before about Best Picture winners (Boyhood should have had it), but I’ve never been this sad about a result.

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Oscar Predictions – 89th Academy Awards

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Whew! It’s been a long haul, but the big night is finally here! I’ve managed to see all the nominees for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director, Cinematography, and a few others besides. This year presented a unique challenge in that there was a clear standout: La La Land. In my experience there’s usually one movie that scoops up all the technical achievement awards (such as Gravity or Mad Max: Fury Road) while a movie with more emotional impact or thematic depth takes Best Picture (12 Years a SlaveSpotlight, etc…) But this year, La La Land embodies both of these characteristics, tied the record for most nominations with 14, and boasts spectacular box office success to boot. Predicting who would win in each category this year was mostly a matter of trying to decide what awards La La Land would not win. So without further ado, here’s my predictions for the 89th Academy Awards!

Main Categories:

Best Picture: La La Land
Best Actor: Denzel Washington for Fences
Best Actress: Emma Stone for La La Land
Best Supporting Actor: Dev Patel for Lion
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for Fences
Best Animated Feature: Zootopia
Best Cinematography: La La Land
Best Costume Design: Florence Foster Jenkins
Best Director: Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Best Editing: La La Land
Best Makeup and Hair: Star Trek Beyond
Best Original Score: La La Land
Best Original Song: City of Stars from La La Land
Best Production Design: La La Land
Best Sound Editing: Arrival
Best Sound Mixing: La La Land
Best Visual Effects: Doctor Strange
Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Heisserer for Arrival
Best Original Screenplay: Damien Chazelle for La La Land

Other Categories:

Best Documentary Feature: O.J. Made in America
Best Documentary Short: The White Helmets
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Best Animated Short: Piper
Best Live Action Short: Ennemis Interieurs
Well there you have it! Last year I had 75% accuracy, so here’s hoping I can top myself! Even if I don’t, I’ll be happy so long as La La Land wins Best Picture. It is the clear standout, my favorite movie of the year, and one of my favorite movies of all time, a fact which astounds even me since I usually don’t like musicals. I’ve got it down for 10 Oscars, so fingers crossed!
Also, I hope Manchester by the Sea gets stomped into the ground.
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Best Picture Nominees Ranked

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Alright! All the Best Picture nominees have been seen and the formal reviews written. It is time to talk candidly about these films. They’re all good, but which ones are the best of the best? Which one’s should the casual movie goer bother to see before the big day and which one’s can be ignored? No more pretentious review lingo; it’s time to see how they stack up.

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