Tag Archives: Movie Review

“The Big Sick” tells a tale of love and immigrant families

By Kevin Song
New York City, NY

Based on the real-life experience of actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, ‘The Big Sick’ tells the story of Kumail’s struggles living as a comedian and part-time Uber driver in Chicago. Kumail meets a girl named Emily at one of his shows, and the two embark on a turbulent relationship.

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A new twist on a romantic comedy

By Aleksandra Wicko
Chicago, IL

Drifting away from traditional Hollywood romance, ‘The Big Sick’ takes a refreshing and hilarious approach to a conventional form and does justice to complicated real-life relationships. Based on the true story of Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon, the issue of interracial relationships provides a compelling narrative that includes a big secret and a medically-induced coma.

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Cynical tale spoils sparkling cinematography

By Xuan Truong
Springfield, MA

Woody Allen opens the curtain once again to unveil his latest work, “Café Society.” He takes us back into a world filled with jazz, expensive wines, and wealthy socialites set against the backdrop of the raging ‘30s.

“Café Society” is the product of Allen’s finest cinematography, with a blend of vibrant colors and brilliant composition that create a dazzling mask. But behind the mask lies something much darker. Continue reading

Flat characters deflate Woody Allen’s latest

By Angel Santana
Pennsauken, NJ

Woody Allen’s new film, “Café Society,” features some of the most flawless actors in Hollywood today: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell. Allen is a highly respected director and is one of the most experienced directors alive. While the film has a lot of potential, it falls short.

Taking place in the 1930s, Eisenberg plays an awkward, ambitious young man named Bobby Dorfman who leaves his bickering parents, gangster brother and loving sister in New York to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. His uncle, Phil, played by Carell, is a major talent agent who hires Bobby to do odd jobs. Bobby meets Phil’s secretary, Vonnie, played by Kristen Stewart, and falls in love with her. However, Vonnie has a boyfriend. Continue reading

“Café Society”: Stunning visuals, lackluster plot

By Katie Okumu
Berea, KY

In the twilight of Woody Allen’s career, he has created a substantial array of movies that have struggled to match the originality and depth of his earlier works.

In “Café Society,” his most recent endeavor at storytelling, Allen tells a familiar narrative through another awkwardly bumbling lead actor in a different period (1930s America).

Jesse Eisenberg plays Bobby, a down on his luck, Jewish, New York-native who moves to Hollywood in order to work for his celebrity agent Uncle Phil (Steve Carell).  Continue reading

“Jenkins” hits the right notes

By Kay-Ann Henry
Miami Gardens, FL

Just in: Meryl Streep is an unbelievable actress. OK, that isn’t anything new. After all, she has been nominated for 19 Academy Awards. She is the solute, and her roles are solvents; she always blends together outstanding solutions. Her performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins” is no different.

Streep plays the title character, a wealthy American socialite who seems to have everything —except the one thing she really wants. Set in 1944, the movie tells the true story of a woman whose love for music drives her to a memorable —and completely awful—concert in Carnegie Hall. Streep’s performance is both hilarious and poignant. She successfully portrays someone who is grounded enough to function in society, but detached enough that she can’t recognize her lack of musical ability.  Continue reading

Streep shines in “Florence Foster Jenkins”

By Meherina Khan
Katy, TX

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a biographical comedy that follows the eponymous New York socialite and philanthropist, played by Meryl Streep, as she strives to establish herself as a passionate—though not very talented—opera singer. Although enthusiastic, every yelp and moan was so awful; it was hard to suppress the tears and winces that came along with hearing such an unpleasant voice.

As a rich patron of the arts, it wasn’t hard for Jenkins to buy out Carnegie Hall and live out her deeply vested dream to perform. Her concert became legendary—more for her ability to be tone deaf rather than her skill to carry a botched tune.  Continue reading

Hoffman shines in dull spy feature

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

By Catherina Gioino
Queens, N.Y.

In a society where fears of terrorism are often racially and religiously-charged, there comes a point at which people must rethink their prejudices. Such is the message of “A Most Wanted Man,” a film set in a post-September 11th era when governments are on the lookout for terrorists.

A darkening title card sets the tone for the film, by detailing the German government’s failure to detect Mohammad Atta, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks. Some time later, Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) — a man sought after by counterterrorism officials — mysteriously appears in Hamburg. Karpov, a suspected Chechen terrorist, is the initial subject of investigation by Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a troubled and brilliant spy. Continue reading

‘Boyhood’: A journey from childhood to adulthood

Courtesy of IFC Productions

Courtesy of IFC Productions

By Jodi Sterling
New York, N.Y.

In his newest feature, writer and director Richard Linklater captures the life of a typical American kid — from dealing with his older sister annoyingly singing Britney Spears to consuming mushrooms on his first day of college. Linklater’s independent film “Boyhood” is a drama that follows a boy through his 12-year journey from childhood to adulthood.

The film tracks Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows up with his struggling mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette) and his obnoxious sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater). Throughout the film, Mason comes face-to-face with many challenges as he tries to figure out the meaning of this thing called life. As Mason grows from year to year, the viewer sees a realistic perspective of a young kid growing up in America, and the ups and downs that go along with it. Continue reading

‘Most Wanted Man’ offers sophisticated plot

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in ‘A Most Wanted Man’ as a brilliant but troubled spy. This was Hoffman’s final role before his unexpected death in February.

By Nicholas Santiago
Newark, N.J.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his final role, plays Günther Bachmann, a hardened undercover German spy hunting for terrorist threats while attempting to maintain his tight circle of informants. Annabel Richter (Rachel McAdams) joins Hoffman onscreen as a humanitarian lawyer defending Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a Chechen-Russian fugitive haunted by his past as he enters Hamburg in search of a new future. This is Dobrygin’s English-language debut, and may well prove to be his breakout role.

Tommy Brue (Willem Dafoe), a wealthy banker, and Martha Sullivan (Robin Wright), a case officer at the U.S. embassy, are solid supporting characters whose roles become increasingly intertwined with Günther and Issa as the plot thickens.

And thicken it does. With no signs of relief, the characters’ paths continually intersect, and no individual’s true intent becomes elucidated until the final scene. Continue reading