“I Know This Much Is True”
By Nicolas Luna
The piece that’s sure to be Mark Ruffalo’s claim to fame
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
By Talia Collett
Director Céline Sciamma’s newest film has recently arrived on various streaming platforms, and it’s one not to be missed.
The newest film directed by Céline Sciamma, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” debuted in France back in 2019 and has recently arrived on various streaming platforms. The film was inspired by French writer Annie Ernaux and chronicles the love story of two women on the shore of eighteenth-century Brittany, France. The film, strikingly beautiful, sharply composed and shatteringly romantic tells a tale of a budding queer romance that is encompassed by desire and creative expression as a painter is hired to paint a portrait of a young woman following an illegal abortion.
With little to no men pictured on screen, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” has been hailed as a “manifesto about the female gaze,” and crafts this manifesto consistently in each scene with intense, tangible emotions that grip you tightly until the end. The attraction between Héloïse — played by Adèle Hanael — and Marianne, played by Noémie Merlant, feels completely pure, authentic and believable. Every scene and every shot in the film feel like paintings themselves, every emotion real and every action naturally alluring.
Since its initial release it has won multiple awards in both 2019 and 2020, the European University Film Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, the National Society of Film Critics Award and the César Award all for Best Cinematography, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer, the European Film Award for Best Screenwriter and Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay. If you get the chance to carve out two hours of your time to watch any movie this summer, this should be one on your list.
Summer flicks to watch
By Andrew Brown
Check out what streaming services and theaters have to offer this summer.
Another school year, come and gone. Now we can all look forward to a summer of no homework and parties at the beach! Except not, thanks to the Coronavirus restrictions, at least for the time being. Fortunately, instead, there’s plenty of great movies to see on streaming services. Here are my recommendations for what to catch indoors and hopefully what will see a theatrical release soon:
Coming to Netflix in June
“The Silence of the Lambs”
The only horror film ever to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, “Lambs” still stands as a classic for all time. Anthony Hopkins steals the movie as the unforgettable Hannibal Lecter in a performance that won him the Best Actor trophy. It’s worth seeing for him alone, but it’s all-around a well-directed, tense film.
“The Disaster Artist”
Directed by and starring James Franco, this film was adapted from the memoir of the same name by Greg Sestero, who had the distinction of starring in one of the most well-known bad movies of all time, “The Room.” The book is just as worth reading as the movie is worth watching, chronicling Sestero’s struggle to make it in Hollywood and his strange friendship with the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau.
Adapted from the best seller of the same name, “The Help” follows a young white writer in 1960s Mississippi, played by Emma Stone, attempting to publish the story of oppressed maids Aibileen, played by Viola Davis, and Minny, played by Octavia Spencer. The latter won an Academy Award for her performance, and the film was nominated for Best Picture. Unfortunately a little oversimplified in its depiction of race relations during the Civil Rights movement, the film is still an ultimately uplifting experience and empowering to both women and women of color.
“West Side Story”
Winner of Best Picture and nine other awards at the Oscars, it was the film of the year for 1961 and still is fantastic. What else can be said but one of the great movie musicals ever? Music by the legendary Leonard Bernstein that’s still hummable today, Oscar-winning directing by Robert Wise, along with stupendous choreography by Jerome Robbins, and shot on location on Manhattan’s west side.
Coming to Hulu in June
Directed by crime film extraordinaire Martin Scorsese and starring his old pals Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, “Casino” was unfairly derided by critics at its release for being too similar to their previous collaboration, “Goodfellas.” Fortunately, in the years since, it’s been re-evaluated and heralded as the masterpiece that it is. The plot follows mafia stooge Ace Rothstein — De Niro — who is sent to Las Vegas to manage one of their casinos. Throughout the seventies, he has to juggle hotheaded associate Nicky, played by Pesci, the Feds, and a dancer he falls in love with — Sharon Stone — among the bright lights in Sin City.
“Dirty Dancing: & “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”
A teen romance classic of the 80s, “Dirty Dancing” follows teenaged “Baby” Houseman, played by Jennifer Grey, as she comes of age during one momentous summer in the Catskills. Shy and introverted, she learns to dance and fall in love with dance expert Johnny Castle, in a career-making performance by heartthrob Patrick Swayze. I even like the sequel, starring Diego Luna. It essentially tells the same story, but transplants the time and location to pre-revolutionary Cuba. The choreography is more sophisticated, and the soundtrack is killer.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s first starring role was in this film based on the best selling memoir of Homer Hickam, where he plays the humble son of a West Virginia coal miner. Caught up in the space race of the late fifties, he defies the expectations of his father and stops at nothing to become a NASA rocket engineer. Featuring some all-star support in Chris Cooper and Laura Dern, this is an underappreciated, inspirational gem.
Don’t let the absence of sports keep you from getting your baseball fix with this hilarious, zany comedy. Starring Brendan Frasier, graduate of Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, and Albert Brooks as the titular scout named Al Percolo. Desperate to score a big-time prospect for his team, the New York Yankees, Al heads to rural Mexico and discovers Steve Nebraska (Frasier), who can throw harder and hit a ball farther than any player alive. But Steve is childlike and has separation anxiety, which puts his, and Al’s careers, in jeopardy. An undeserved box office flop upon release, this will get laughs from anyone, regardless of being a sports fan.
Based on the true story of the Navajo code used in World War II, Nicolas Cage stars as a US Marine who learns the value of his fellow Native American soldiers fighting the Japanese. It focuses a little too much on the white perspective of the war, but the battle scenes are intense and the aim to honor the Navajo is well-intended.
“The U.S. vs John Lennon”
Famous musician John Lennon was well known for his anti-war activities in the late 60s and early 70s. But what few people are aware of are the extraordinary measures the conservative US government, led by President Nixon, went to in an attempt to have him deported. From wiretapping to interfering in his immigration case, the story is real and gripping. Some interview subjects, such as Geraldo Rivera, are head-scratching, but perspectives from Carl Bernstein, Gore Vidal, and Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono are welcome..
Coming to Amazon Prime in June
A touching coming of age story about a teenage girl growing up in a small town. An electric directorial debut from Greta Gerwig, the movie stars Saoirse Ronan in an Academy Award-nominated lead performance. Following a Catholic high school student who aspires to attend a prestigious east coast college, her career goals chafe with her family’s financial capabilities and the desires of her difficult mother.
A fun twist on the whodunnit formula, writer-director Rian Johnson corrals a gigantic all-star cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Chris Evans, into an old mansion with quirky detective Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig. The rich patriarch of the selfish Thrombey family, played by Christopher Plummer, dies mysteriously. It’s up to Blanc to piece together the events of his death and find out which suspicious member of his family may have killed him. The only problem: everybody had a reason for wanting him dead.
A darkly comic thriller that takes a unique twist to a familiar premise. A group of close friends, played by Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, and Kylie Bunbury, always have a weekly game night, but get bored and want to spice things up. They decide to take part in an interactive mystery game with actors, but unfortunately, real thugs enter the house. The friends think it’s all part of the game, and it sends them on a wild ride they’ll never forget. Also featuring a hilarious supporting performance by the friends’ awkward neighbor, played by Jessie Plemmons.
Coming to Disney+ in June
Based on the hit young-adult book series from 2001, this movie is admittedly at least a decade too late to the party. Suffering two delays and drawing the ire of the book’s fans by changing key details, this one looks to be a disappointment for both veterans and newcomers to the series. But there’s nothing quite as entertaining as a good old fashioned cinematic trainwreck.
Coming to theaters this Summer
Writer/director Christopher Nolan wowed audiences with his “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy, and mind bending thrillers like “Memento,” “The Prestige,” “Inception,” and “Interstellar.” Now he returns with a time travel film, and the combination of spectacular special effects and an intriguing-sounding premise has me itching to see it in theaters.
Disney’s latest trend of remaking their classic animated features in live-action continues with “Mulan.” Starring a cast of Asian actors, it is refreshing that greater representation is coming to such a wide release blockbuster. However, the film is directed by New Zealander Niki Caro rather than an Asian, and the project garnered controversy when star Liu Yifei implicitly endorsed police brutality during the Hong Kong riots last year.
“Wonder Woman 1984”
The sequel to the hit DC superhero film “Wonder Woman,” both director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot return to deliver this follow up, set during the cold war. Not much is known about the film’s plot now, but as the only DC Comics film left to come out this year, it’s sure to be a success for comic book movie enthusiasts.
“The New Mutants”
Delayed at least two years, this alternate take on the X-Men was made to be the first in a trilogy of films. However, due to the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney, it’s unlikely to happen that way now. Disney’s priority will be phasing Fox’s Marvel properties, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, releasing this turkey is likely just them cutting their losses. Especially after the last X-Men film, “Dark Phoenix,” was a huge box office flop, but the horror element should make it stand out from the pack of superhero movies.
“The Beatles: Get Back”
Famed rock band the Beatles ended their union on a sour note in 1970. Soon after their break up was announced, Apple released the album and accompanying documentary “Let It Be,” which featured instances of bickering and drama between the members. The film has been out of circulation for decades. But recently, Apple Corps announced that director Peter Jackson has taken the original 55 hours of footage filmed in January 1969, and put together a new documentary from it. Beatles fans everywhere are anticipating this release, which will see distribution from Disney at the end of the summer.