The pitch meeting for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (artistic liberties taken):
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The pitch meeting for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (artistic liberties taken):
As I prepared to write this review, it occurred to me that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is the fourth Marvel Cinematic Universe film I’ve reviewed since the beginning of the year. To phrase it another way, the MCU is 10 years old and already has produced twice that number of films and a myriad of shows on Netflix, ABC, Hulu and Freeform. Add on top of that the travesty that is the DC Extended Universe, as well as films like “Incredibles 2” that don’t fall into either franchise, and it’s fair to say that the superhero genre has reached a saturation point. However, there seems to be a misconception among the uber-fanboys of the genre that any mention of this saturation point is to cast a pejorative light on all recent superhero fare. To be clear, the problem is the overall quantity, not the quality of the individual films. In fact, most of these films, on their own terms, are decent, and the same goes for the MCU’s most recent release, “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”
Every summer, the theater department at the College hosts the Frost & Dodd Playwriting Festival, which features the three student winners of the Frost & Dodd Playwriting Contest. Two of the three plays are produced as staged readings, while the winning play becomes a full-scale production. This year’s Dodd winner is Jennifer West ’20, whose one-act musical “First Year” tells the story of a student’s first year at the fictional Ivylane College.
“Ocean’s 8” stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s roguish con man Danny Ocean from Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” trilogy. Criminality, as it turns out, runs in this family. Once released from prison, Debbie reconnects with her old partner, Cate Blanchett’s wonderfully cynical Lou Miller, and together they scheme to steal a necklace worth $150 million from the Met Gala. To this end, they assemble a cohort of six accomplices played by the likes of Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter.
Let me start off by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed “Tag.” It is an endearing comedy, smartly written and more than capable of making viewers laugh out loud. If for nothing else, viewers should be excited about the star-studded cast, which included: Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Isla Fisher, Jake Johnson, Rashida Jones, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress and Leslie Bibb. The ensemble actually works very well together, with a chemistry reminiscent of Clooney’s “Ocean’s” Trilogy.
“Jurassic World” is a lousy film barely kept afloat by a marginally entertaining screenplay. Its sequel, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” is a wonderfully creative film occasionally hampered by a subpar screenplay. The fact that the screenplay for the second film is superior to that of its predecessor says quite a lot about the monumental difference in quality between the two.
This Friday and Saturday, visitors of the Black Family Visual Arts Center will be greeted by a maze of masking tape and musical equipment as they enter the atrium. What is usually a popular study space among students is undergoing a transformation into an audio-visual gallery in preparation for the DAX+ Digital Arts eXpo, a showcase featuring work by Dartmouth students, faculty and critically-acclaimed guest artists.
As any fan who grew up with the 2004 Pixar animated classic will be happy to tell you, “The Incredibles” was always primed for a sequel. For 14 long years, children of the early 2000s wondered why “Cars,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.” were all granted sequels and prequels, but a follow-up film for our favorite superhero family seemed to permanently languish in development hell. Regardless about how you feel about each of those films and their subsequent franchises, they are all self-contained stories. Sequels may not have detracted from the originals, but they also never truly enhanced them. The ending of “The Incredibles,” on the other hand, begged for closure. But director Brad Bird deliberated, instead choosing to direct “Ratatouille,” “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland.”
Each year, Dartmouth’s theater department allows select theater majors to undertake an honors thesis. A selective process, only students who have completed at least five theater courses and who have an average major GPA of at least 3.4 or higher, along with an overall GPA of at least 3.0, are eligible to apply for the project. Those who are accepted are given the opportunity to sharpen their skills and enrich their knowledge in an area of interest through a written thesis or a full-length play. In the Class of 2018, there were four students — Claire Feuille ’18, Lela Gannon ’18, Virginia Ogden ’18 and Matthew Treiber ’18 — who presented their honors theses this spring. Senior Fellow Celeste Jennings ’18 also wrote and produced a play as part of her fellowship. Throughout the month of May, all five of the students premiered their projects in the Hopkins Center for the Arts, where they shared their works to audiences for the first time.
Before the summer begins and the College waves goodbye to the Class of 2018, the graduating studio art majors have one last chance to show their work to the community.
I’ve said it before (see my reviews of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) and I’ll say it again here: I love Star Wars. But my personal relationship with Star Wars is far less interesting to me than its broader cultural impact. And the popularity of Star Wars is practically incalculable. It may just be a collection of silly stories set in an insane fictional universe, but clearly those stories resonate.
You have probably seen a lot more of jewelry designer Matt Rabito ’18 than you think. An installation of his latest work is currently on display at the Hopkins Center for the Arts beside the staircase that leads to the Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio, a place that has molded Rabito’s Dartmouth experience.
Over drinks one night last spring, Dartmouth Dance Ensemble co-director Rebecca Stenn and Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra Director Filippo Ciabatti discussed how ideal it would be for the two ensembles to work together. Each year, the DSO and DDE would have concerts on the same night, making collaboration impossible — but with enough planning for 2018, a joint performance could be possible.
Years after meeting in the basement of a Dartmouth fraternity, Alexi Pappas ’12 and Jeremy Teicher ’10 embarked on an Olympic journey unlike any other. After the president of the International Olympic Committee happened upon the couple’s first feature film “Tracktown” during a flight, they were chosen to participate in the Olympic Art Project during the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Theater and philosophy double major Claire Feuille ’18 is “The She-Wolf of France.” Or more accurately, she played the title character, Margaret of Anjou, in her own senior thesis, which debuted this past weekend at the Bentley Theater.
A little over a year ago, I used a review for the then newly-released “Logan” as the jumping off point for a larger discussion about the proliferation of R-rated superhero films that began with the first “Deadpool” film. While neither “Logan” nor “Deadpool” was the first superhero movie to garner the R rating, they did embody a potentially game-changing triple threat: both were entries in a popular franchise produced by a major studio, both were critically acclaimed and they both cracked the list of the top 10 highest grossing R-rated films of all time.
This year, the College’s art history department will undertake a widespread effort to promote experiential learning and shift away from lecture-format classes, according to art history department chair Allen Hockley. Hockley stated that the renovation of the Hood Museum and the resources it will bring will “make a huge difference” in contributing to the changes. Hockley also noted that the department plans to increase its diversification efforts.
Ever since filmmaker and critic François Truffaut published his 1954 essay “A Certain Tendency of French Cinema,” auteur theory has played a prominent role in both film theory and film criticism. Put simply, Truffaut and his contemporaries contended that directors were the true authors of their films. I remain wary of auteur theory because of its pernicious tendency to devalue the accomplishments of the many artists who collaborate with a director during the making of a film. Yet Wes Anderson seems to exist for the sole sake of being an exception.
Saturday’s World Music Percussion Ensemble performance was an important one for director Hafiz Shabazz — his 108th and final concert before retiring after more than 30 years as director. And for Shabazz, it was fitting that the performance was intended for children. Parents and grandparents filled the audience of the HopStop family show, crowding together on the floor with kids on their laps — but not for long. Soon, the kids were up and dancing to the energetic rhythms of Shabazz’s group.