Sebastian Wurzrainer


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Film thoughts: everyone has a guilty pleasure film, and it's okay

Everyone loves bad films. We may pretend not to or try to justify this preference, but at the end of the day, we all have at least one guilty pleasure film. Of course, the very notion of a “bad film” is contentious because no method of film criticism has the capacity to be purely objective. That being said, I still contend that everyone has the tendency to love films that we personally deem to be “bad” but elicit a distinct sense of enjoyment in us nonetheless.   


Arts

Review: ‘Dumbo’ is an aimless live-action remake of a classic

In his essay “What is Digital Cinema?” media theorist Lev Manovich notes that cinema ultimately began with animation. Magic lanterns, phenakistoscopes, zootropes. They all relied, in a sense, on a form of hand-drawn animation. Whereas many of his fellow theorists posit that cinema is the “art of the index,” defined by its ability to record reality, Manovich contends that its very origins position cinema as “the art of motion.” Thus, for Manovich, the dominance of computer-generated imagery animation in “live-action” films in recent years is not some existential threat to the very essence of film but rather the medium returning to its roots. 


Arts

HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ has left a monumental legacy

As “Game of Thrones” begins its eighth and final season this Sunday, a retrospective examining of the show’s legacy feels inevitable. After all, “Game of Thrones” was never just a popular TV show; its astonishing critical and commercial success has only been matched by the countless think pieces about the show’s impact on the television industry, its approach to adapting George R. R. Martin’s nigh-unadaptable “A Song of Ice and Fire” series and its many, many controversies. Indeed, considering the immense cultural ripple effect of “Game of Thrones,” it’s not shocking that both the show and its legacy are a bundle of interwoven contradictions and paradoxes. Just as the show has been praised for its nuanced female characters, critique of fascist despotism and perceived allegory about the dangers of climate change, it has also rightfully received vociferous criticism, particularly for its often-reckless depiction of sexual violence.


Arts

Review: ‘Captain Marvel’ is a blockbuster with an indie touch

At this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has garnered a reputation for tenacity when it comes to selecting unique directors whose prior work doesn’t always make them obvious candidates for mega-budget superhero extravaganzas. This strategy is noteworthy because it has paid off time and time again; the fact that Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler have recently managed to reinvigorate the franchise with “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther,” respectively, suggests that this strategy is extremely viable. 


Arts

‘Black Panther’ should have won Best Picture at the Oscars

You may have heard that the 91st Academy Awards ceremony took place a little over a week ago, and you may have also heard that the results were … controversial. But as much as I disapprove of “Green Book” as the Best Picture winner, I don’t really have the desire to explore that any further in this article. Instead, I’d like to discuss “Black Panther,” another Best Picture nominee and one whose failure to win the top prize reflects a series of ongoing problems with the Academy Awards.


Arts

A Cinematic Review of 2018: Ten great films and five flops

The Oscars may have come and gone, but I’m still not quite ready to embrace the new cinematic year. So, as a final send-off, it seems fitting to reflect on the best and worst films that 2018 had to offer. A couple of caveats before I begin, though: 1) Rather than organizing these films into a meaningless ranking, I’ve arranged them alphabetically. However, I have bolded the titles of the best film and the worst film of 2018 (in my humble opinion). 2) There are plenty of films from 2018 that I would have loved to see but haven’t gotten a chance to, largely due to accessibility issues. If you don’t see one of your favorite films from last year on this list, assume that I wanted to see it, didn’t get the chance to and would have included it on this list if I had. That last part is total wishful thinking, but it will keep everyone marginally happy. As a disclaimer, I did see all the Best Picture nominees. 




Arts

Oscars Picks: How goes the kingdom in ‘The Favourite’?

In light of the 91st Academy Awards coming up this month, a few of our film reviewers are looking at the Best Picture nominees to see what might be the best pick for the film industry’s most prestigious award. Today, Sebastian Wurzrainer looks at “The Favourite.”


Arts

Review: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' surpasses all expectations

Let’s begin this review with the following two statements: 1.) Spider-Man was the first superhero to which I was introduced. 2.) “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is hands down the best Spider-Man film ever made. Full stop. No qualifications. I mention these two things in conjunction because even though they initially appear to be unrelated, they are, in fact, intrinsically linked. I never read comics as a child, and when I finally did find myself immersed in the world of superheroes, my favorite was always Batman thanks to Tim Burton’s bizarre, stylish 1989 film adaptation. Nevertheless, my first proper experience with anything superhero related was watching Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2” at the impressionable age of seven or eight. Thus, even to this day, I have a special fondness for everyone’s favorite web-slinger.