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Kingsley: ‘Love and Friendship’ (2016) finds new life in Austen

(05/30/16 9:01pm)

Jane Austen has seen a small insurgence in recent cinema. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (2016) debuted in February of this year, grafting the historical appeal of Austen’s oeuvre to our de rigueur taste for zombies. Somehow it flopped. Yet for the diehard Austenites hoping for her work to not so literally come back to life, Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship” (2016) brings out Austen’s sense of wit and timing in this raucous period comedy.



The Story of Us

(05/24/16 9:02pm)

Week after week you, the loyal readers of our column, pick up the Mirror and brace yourselves for a whole lot of crazy. Things like, “How do they do it?” and “Have they found Jesus?” and “There’s medication for that” run through your minds as you read our stories. But enough about you, you sniveling consumerists. Let’s talk about us! For our final column we shall share with you the story of how we met. You’ve heard of “When Harry Met Sally” and this, dear readers, is nothing like that.


‘Sing Street’ sings from start to finish

(05/16/16 9:01pm)

The story of a teenager forming a band to woo his crush sounds like the cliché of a shirtless guitar player playing to fawning fans on a college quad. Yet in director John Carney’s expert hands (he also directed “Once” (2007) and “Begin Again” (2013)), the intersection of music, love and hardship once again becomes fruitful grounds for exploration. His latest, “Sing Street” (2016), applies his formula to troubled Irish teenagers and breathes his quintessential exuberance into the unlikeliest of places.


Making Things Up

(05/10/16 9:03pm)

Young Wes isn’t too fond of his classes. For example, he despises his 6D, which runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday nights with x-hours scheduled exclusively over Green Key weekend. That’s right ­— 72 straight x-hours. “Moving Dartmouth Forward,” people. While he hasn’t yet honed his skills in “Primate Endocrinology,” he has developed quite the arsenal of excuses to get out of class. And it’s not your typical, “Oh, I overslept,” or “My throat hurts,” or the classic, “My family was slaughtered in a tragic boating accident in the Bermuda Triangle.” No, Wes has his professors wrapped around his little finger with some of the most creative whoppers out there. Let’s take a look at some highlights.


‘The Brimstone Guild’ proves an ambitious film project

(05/05/16 9:01pm)

Like “Ringu” (1998) or “It Follows” (2014) à la Dartmouth, “The Brimstone Guild,” the latest film from Dartmouth TV, turns our quaint Hanover campus into a Gothic nightmare. Written, directed, edited, shot and co-produced by Alex Hurt ’16, the film brings Hurt’s unique cinematic vision to life in an ambitious 40-minute package.


Distractions Through Time

(05/03/16 9:04pm)

You’re in your 9L. The professor opens his mouth to speak and you’re already bored, scrolling through Yik Yak and Facebook with both thumbs. Stop it. This term will be different. You’ll pay attention. You’ll love learning. Ooh! Snapchat! No, snap out of it. The Stamp Act and Tariff of Abomination used to fascinate you. What happened? Ugh, you wish you could go back in time when there weren’t distractions.


‘Keanu’ cannot recreate the Key and Peele magic

(05/02/16 9:01pm)

Fresh off the set of their recently concluded Comedy Central show “Key and Peele,” the shape-shifting Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele make their big screen debut in “Keanu” (2016). Like many television comedians have discovered, particularly Saturday Night Live cast members, cinematic audiences are unwelcoming of stars traversing media. Fortunately, the dynamic duo’s antics translate into a feature narrative film, while maintaining the same sketch comedy style which made them household names.


New Subject

(04/26/16 9:04pm)

We’ve all been there. Staring at the never changing “12:17 p.m.” on our laptops, back row of Astro 2, wondering what soup awaits us at Collis. Just when the planets couldn’t get more boring, the stars align, and you see her. She’s so original with her Patagonia fleece, black leggings, Dartmouth baseball cap and white Converse high tops. You’ve never seen anything like her before. But you resist. She’s a black hole. Get any closer and she’ll swallow you up.


Everybody should get some of ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ (2016)

(04/25/16 9:01pm)

More than 20 years after the success of “Dazed and Confused” (1993), Richard Linklater graduates from ’70s high school to ’80s college in “Everybody Wants Some!!” (2016). These two films along with “Boyhood” (2014) complete his unofficial adolescence trilogy, which showcases Linklater’s paternalistic nostalgia for decades past. Instead of sentimental photo albums, his films feel more like highlight reels, anthropological studies charting the richest rituals and mating patterns of young sub-cultures.



‘Son of Saul’ (2015) reconceptualizes the Holocaust in cinema

(04/18/16 9:01pm)

After seeing “Son of Saul” (2015) at the Telluride Film Festival, I witnessed director László Nemes correct renowned Holocaust film scholar Annette Insdorf, who likened his film to “Schindler’s List” (1993). To Nemes, “Schindler’s List” focused on some 3,000 survivors amongst 12 million casualties and absurdly romanticized the Holocaust. This absurd portrayal of an already absurd era normalizes and renders cloyingly palatable this horrific past. One sees the same in many of cinema’s most recognizable Holocaust titles such as “La vita è bella” (1997) and “Inglourious Basterds” (2009). While there is “Night and Fog” (1955) and of course, “Shoah” (1985), the atrocities of concentration camps precisely preclude the immediacy of the filmic image. Cinematic escapism quickly becomes entrapment and internment when one revitalizes Auschwitz on the screen. Therefore, Nemes crafts his anti-sentimental, icily confrontational debut tour-de-force to dismantle decades of misrepresentation and display Auschwitz in its infernal, chaotic form.


Flop Culture

(04/12/16 9:05pm)

Today, we’re here to celebrate not pop culture, but flop culture. That is, long-lost fads that have been left in the past where they belong. Human history is filled with the what ifs and have nots. These are the trends that almost made it, but didn’t quite have the stuff. You won’t find these in the history books. Cute British accents during the Revolutionary War “Thanks love!” “Terribly sorry!” “Belt up ya barmy fizzog ya twit!” What do all these things have in common? They’ll make anyone swoon if said in a British accent. The cute British boy minstrels “The Judas Brothers” wooed all the American girls of the 1760s with their loose bloomers and lack of dysentery. Their hit songs “Best Hymn Ever” and “Love Yourself (But Not Indecently)” caused even the crotchety old miller, Sir Chester Miller, to go weak in the knees. Their accents could stop witch hunts and consumption in their tracks. That is, until the Revolutionary War began and “The Judas Brothers” had to flee for their lives. Their siren songs were never heard again. Hand Piercings, 0 C.E. Ear piercings were so 50 B.C.E. Tongue rings? Get out of here! The trendsetting Romans were looking for the next big thing and Pontius Pilates had run out of answers. After one too many Bacchanalia, daredevils Typhus and Lupus were playing gladiator, until Lupus accidentally skewered Typhus’ hand. The party screeched to a halt. But the famous fashionista, Pilates, declared the pierced hand the future of fashion. Boy, did he nail it! Soon, all the Romans were clamoring to pierce their paws. That is, until Jesus rolled into town and totally ruined it. Clifford the Big Red Dog during the Cold War Everyone remembers Clifford from their childhood. Who didn’t want a giant, crimson beast to ride around on in the late ’90s? Little do people know that Clifford originated in the ’50s as a symbol of national pride after World War II. That is, Russian national pride. Stalin chose the giant canine as the symbol for united workers, strong economy and borscht. Dogs of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your leashes! Eisenhower, however, put that dog down. Any American child seen idolizing the socialist monster was sent to the gulag and forced to eat borscht. Woof! The 2004 ‘Katrina Doll’ Picture this. It’s 2004. Barbie is dominating the doll market and nobody could compete. American Girl and their dolls were floundering. They needed the quintessential doll that would topple Barbie’s tyranny. So they came up with Katrina, the all American girl who loved everything hockey, especially the Carolina Hurricanes. She took the doll world by storm, and soon Katrina dolls were flooding the market. Mattel needed rescuing, but no one could save them. Even FEMA — Federal Emergency Mattel Aid — couldn’t help. Fortunately for Mattel, Hurricane Katrina swept the competition away the following year. Cremation in Pompeii Traditional burials were so blah. A wooden box for all of eternity? No thanks. Hip Pompeiians needed to die in style circa 78 CE. Sacrifices were all the rage. Fire was on fire. Soon, all the sexy teenagers wanted to be incinerated. Hot! Unfortunately, Mount Vesuvius really harshed the mellow on this one. Needless to say, the cremation business and everyone else were soon turned to dust. Flea Markets and Rat Races after the Black Plague We all love a good flea market. Antiques, vintage clothes and delightful old women. But did you know that flea markets originated in the Middle Ages, where they actually sold fleas to people? That’s right. Flea circuses were hotter than Satan’s wrath in 1320. And rat races. Everyone loved a good rat race. I always put my money on Seabiscuit, the fastest thoroughbred rat in town. Business was booming, that is, until people were dropping dead at the race track. Not because of the excitement, but because of the deadly pathogen that soon swept Europe faster than the flea market trend. Oh well, another pastime down the drain.


‘The Revenant’ (2015) cannot bear its own weight

(04/11/16 9:01pm)

With Leo officially in the Oscar record books, we can all rest easy. But it took “The Revenant” (2015), a film plagued with budgetary problems, threats of hypothermia, cast injuries and a fired producer to get him there. Alejandro González Iñárritu has a history of torturous films (“Biutiful” (2010) and “Birdman” (2014)) that study the processes of human will and endurance. His films are inflections of this central theme, and “The Revenant” applies his aesthetic to the 1820s American frontier, before Manifest Destiny was a national rallying cry and the road to expansion was paved in blood.


Time Capsule

(04/05/16 9:21pm)

Paul and Emily Brigham return to Dartmouth for their 50th reunion. They met their senior spring at a mutual friend’s “chill wine/16Soberwhat? party” and have been nagging each other ever since. After a few bottles of champagne at the reunion dinner and awkward conversation with former trippees and hook-ups and trippee hook-ups, the Class of 2016 walks to the BEMA to unearth their senior time capsule.


‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ dissects nuclear family, then goes nuclear

(04/04/16 9:17pm)

After the success of the hand-held, alien invasion blockbuster “Cloverfield” in 2008, producer J. J. Abrams shaped its blood relative “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016) to exist in the same apocalyptic universe. But the film seems patently devoid of aliens; rather they are a backdrop or suggestion, and what we get instead is a tight, chamber thriller in which alienation becomes the central horror.


Playtime

(03/28/16 10:06pm)

It’s springtime, and you know what that means. No, not sundresses, stargazing, frolicking naked or being arrested for frolicking naked. It’s one-act season! Theater in the park is about to start up soon, so we’ve been receiving hundreds of one-acts to select for our spring repertoire. Here are the worst pitches we read.


‘The Lady in the Van’ (2015) takes its own backseat

(03/28/16 10:01pm)

Beyond her turn as the beloved Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series or Violet Crawley on “Downton Abbey,” Dame Maggie Smith may be unknown to most American audiences. A giant of the British stage and screen, Smith has received two Oscars (“The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969) and “California Suite” (1978)), two Emmys for “Downton Abbey” and a Tony for “Lettice and Lovage” (1990). But this great Dame, finding a second wind in her not so twilight years, trades her Downton pomp and circumstance for the grime and acerbity of Miss Shepherd, the lady in the van.



Stale jokes and hypocrisy abound in ‘Deadpool’ (2016)

(02/28/16 11:01pm)

Tim Miller’s directorial debut “Deadpool”(2016) joins the recent movement of postmodern, subversive superhero films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy”(2014) and “Kingsman: The Secret Service”(2014). Starring Ryan Reynolds as the wisecracking, fourth-wall breaking, red-clad antihero, the film lavishes in its gory, scatological excess and attempts to dismantle all the tropes of its Marvel forebears. It even pokes fun at Reynolds’s box office flop “Green Lantern”(2011)—“Don’t make me wear green,” Deadpool mocks. But behind its subversive mask lies a film that feels anything but rebellious.




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