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Review: “Cherry” a fanciful adaptation of an honest book about addiction

(04/05/21 6:05am)

“Cherry” by Nico Walker, while refreshingly candid and meaningful in book form, suffers from its prolonged length and an overreliance on tropes in its adaptation to the big-screen. The directors, brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, clearly tried to create something profound out of Walker’s sincere story, yet the two-and-a-half hour film ended up cheesy nonetheless. Every moment in the film is self-conscious, hindering the genuine story from shining through.



Review: ‘The Weasel's Tale’ offers plot twists and dark comedy

(02/01/21 7:00am)

A decade after Argentinian director Juan José Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes” won the 2010 Academy Award for best foreign film, Campanella made his return to live-action cinema with “The Weasel’s Tale” — a remake of the 1976 film “Yesterday's Guys Used No Arsenic.” Campanella’s dark comedy, offered through the Hopkins Center for the Arts’ “Film on Demand” series until Wednesday, follows former starlet Mara Ordaz, played by Graciela Borges, who lives with three filmmaking colleagues in a secluded mansion on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. 


New titles for the new year: A guide to Netflix and Hulu's January offerings

(01/07/21 7:00am)

The start of the new year heralds change — often in the form of New Year’s resolutions, but also when it comes to new titles on our favorite streaming services. With the arrival of 2021, Netflix and Hulu have welcomed a slew of classic titles to their collections. Wondering what movies you should watch from the comfort of your home or dorm room? Look no further: Here are our favorite “new” old movies to enjoy in the brand new year.


Review: ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ shines light on misogyny in Trump-era America

(11/02/20 7:10am)

The much-anticipated “Borat” sequel, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” is as politically timely as it is funny. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Jason Woliner, the film, released Oct. 23, outdoes its predecessor with its bold, high stakes pranks and rich political satire. At its core, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” makes a powerful critique of how misogyny is frequently overlooked in President Donald Trump’s America.


Review: ‘Enola Holmes’ offers fresh, female-focused take on Sherlock Holmes

(10/15/20 6:00am)

“Enola Holmes” — one of the newest entries to Netflix’s catalog, based on the young adult series by Nancy Springer — is a fun, adventurous and action-packed film that brilliantly reinvents the Sherlock Holmes franchise. Directed by Harry Bradbeer and written by Jack Thorne, “Enola Holmes” centers on the life of the youngest Holmes sibling, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown), and her journey to reunite with her missing mother while forging her own sense of freedom. While the film contains some elements of the classic Holmes mysteries, it adds a new twist with its focus on social activism and female intellect. From start to finish, the film successfully creates a world that places a strong-willed heroine center-stage, offering a timeless lesson on female empowerment.


Boycotting ‘Mulan,’ Disney’s latest venture into human rights violations and corporate greed

(09/17/20 6:10am)

In late 2018, the production crew of “Mulan,” the latest soulless Disney live-action remake, began filming in the Xinjiang province of northwest China, home to the Uighur people. At that same time in Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party continued to sharply expand internment camps for ethnic Uighurs, camps that had already incarcerated up to one million members of the predominantly-Muslim minority group. 


Review: ‘Indian Matchmaking’ balances tradition and modernity, despite controversy

(08/21/20 6:30am)

When I first watched “Indian Matchmaking,” I didn’t frown upon the premise of the show. Instead, I laughed at hilarious scenes between Indian American families redolent of my family. Released on July 16, this Netflix original is produced by the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Smriti Mundhra, who communicates a middle way between arranged marriages and modern dating. “Indian Matchmaking” has polarized viewers, with some seeing it as perpetuating colorism, sexism and the caste system, while others perceive it as a lighthearted take on contemporary Indian culture that destigmatizes arranged marriages. I am in the second camp and let me tell you why. 


Review: 'The King of Staten Island' is a complete waste of time and money

(07/03/20 6:00am)

“The King of Staten Island” is not a good movie. There. I’d like to get that out of the way. Unlike the 136 minutes stolen from me watching this snooze fest, it will only take me a second to get to the point of this review: “The King of Staten Island” is incredibly boring, self-indulgent and not worth your time or money.


Review: “Da 5 Bloods” a powerful story of the Black experience in Vietnam

(06/26/20 7:00am)

Director and producer Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” released two weeks ago on Netflix, is an impactful Vietnam War story about the Black experience, following the journey of four middle-aged, Black veterans in the present day. In the film, the group returns to Vietnam to recover the body of their fallen captain and the buried treasure they left behind during the war. 


‘The Half of It’ is a beautifully bold stroke and the love story we’ve been longing for

(05/11/20 7:00am)

On May 1, Netflix released Alice Wu’s “The Half of It,” a film that follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) as she navigates love and personal identity as an Asian American teenager. “The Half of It” transforms the common teen romance narrative into a funny, relatable and heartwarming work of art by pushing the boundaries of representation in mainstream romantic comedies.



Review: 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always' is a slow burn that highlights a sad reality

(04/24/20 6:10am)

As a wave of states introduced abortion restrictions last year, abortion rights have increasingly come under fire. Now, in the age of COVID-19 — with abortions deemed non-essential in some states — the right to choose is especially pertinent. With this in mind, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and can now be purchased on Amazon Prime, is even more timely than it would’ve been just two months ago. 


Review: 'Better Call Saul' remains a masterclass in dramatic storytelling

(04/09/20 6:10am)

It’s been so long since the explosive conclusion of “Breaking Bad” in 2013 that “Better Call Saul” — the 2015 prequel spinoff created by “Breaking Bad” masterminds Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould — feels like its own show. And I’ll admit, I was wary of its ability to stand out from its predecessor, most of all because Saul Goodman, the smooth-talking, comb-over-sporting strip mall lawyer played with electricity and heart by Bob Odenkirk, was largely a one-note side piece in the original show. A skeevy lawyer who helps criminals hide their money and avoid jail time — end of story. It didn’t seem substantive enough for its own show, and it seemed like “Better Call Saul” would be doomed to the spin-off junk pile in the wasteland of failed TV shows. But I had faith in Gilligan and Gould, so I approached “Better Call Saul” with tepid hope. Now, five years and almost five complete seasons later — the fifth season is currently underway — part of me loves “Saul” even more than “Breaking Bad.”





Review: ‘1917’ is visually stimulating but lacks effective screenplay

(01/17/20 7:00am)

Thanks to surprise wins for Best Director and Best Motion Picture — Drama at the Golden Globes, Sam Mendes’ bold cinematic experience “1917” has been a buzzy film, garnering a spike in attention it hopes to carry into the Oscars in February. Set during World War I and focusing on two British soldiers in the trenches of France, “1917” is shot and edited to look like one take. This is much like Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s masterful 2015 Oscar winner for Best Motion Picture of the Year, “Birdman.” Unlike “Birdman,” though, “1917,” lacks a scintillating script or multifaceted characters, but it makes up for some of that loss with the sheer grandeur of its cinematic vision.


Review: 'Little Women' remains relevant, fails to meet hype

(01/07/20 7:00am)

I always look forward to winter break for many reasons, an unexpected one of which is Oscar-bait. Oscar-bait season is the first three weeks in December, when movie production studios are racing to put out their “best” films of the year before the Oscar qualification deadline on the last day of the year. Typically, films that receive Oscar nominations are released between August and December.


Review: 'Parasite' is a fantastic first foray into the Korean film genre

(11/12/19 7:00am)

The first time I was exposed to Korean films was a glorious experience. I don’t remember how old I was, but it was probably in high school when a buddy and I watched “Oldboy” for the first time. I was blown away. I had forgotten just how wide the spectrum of emotions a movie can make you feel was, and it felt like I was falling in love with movies all over again.