• Arts & Entertainment

    From Chains to Chains: “13th” tells the story of mass incarceration

    The film “13th” is a must see for anyone who wants to understand America’s ongoing struggle with race relations. This riveting documentary takes you step-by-step through the historical events that resulted in America containing 25% of the world’s prison population. With an excellent cast of interviewees and shocking archival footage, “13th” explores the underpinning economics, legislation and stereotypes that led to a form of “legalized slavery.” The documentary starts with the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery. The exception to the amendment are criminals. After the emancipation of Southern slaves following the Civil War, this clause was heavily exploited by those unwilling to relinquish slaves for both…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    A Monster Calls: A fantasy film that tells it like it is

    Someone unfamiliar with “A Monster Calls,” could dismiss it as the typical fantasy-fiction adventure centered around a child's friendship with a friendly beast. While this is technically true, it is so much more than that. “A Monster Calls” separates itself from the rest by instilling its fantastical story with a commitment to realism and emotional complexity. The film weaves its superb screenwriting and acting to create a cathartic story about coming to terms with grief. The film revolves around young teenager Conor O’Malley, played by actor Lewis MacDougall. Every night, Conor is terrorized by a recurring nightmare in which he is desperately trying to grasp his mother’s hand as she…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    “Everybody Wants Some!!” lets the good times roll

    “Everybody Wants Some!!,” directed by Richard Linklater, is told with the perfect touch of lightness and complexity that comes together in a terrifically fun and insightful movie. The 2016 film is told with a loose storyline that meanders in all the right directions. It is amazingly rich and has an unforgettable ensemble of characters. “Everybody Wants Some!!” depicts the seemingly never-ending good times of a group of hard-partying college kids on a school baseball team. Set in the 80’s, the film is full of short shorts, mustaches and disco. The film is deeply nostalgic, while still seeming universal and timeless. Although this film will particularly resonate deeply with college students,…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Apocalyptic low-budget horror film delivers a big scare

    “10 Cloverfield Lane” is, at least in namesake, part of the JJ Abrams produced Cloverfield franchise. Unlike the original Cloverfield movie which used “found footage” to recount an alien invasion of New York, this film forgoes the loud, overblown, elaborate alien action, and instead keeps the situation simple, smart and incredibly thrilling. The underground space in which the majority of the movie takes place is expertly utilized and the movie’s dramatic tempo is truly spectacular. This film is a sparkling example of what a simple horror movie can be, and proves that sometimes a creepy smile can be much scarier than a gargling alien perched on the top of the…

  • Arts & Entertainment

    British spy thriller less than thrilling

    Whether it be Ali G, Borat or Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies are defined by their characters.  The main character of “The Brothers Grimsby,” a 2016 film directed by Louis Leterrier, is Nobby, played by Cohen, a potbellied, working-class buffoon who lives the poor Englishman’s dream with his nine rowdy kids, with names such as Skeletor, Django Unchained and Stella Artois, and his lovely wife.  Nobby is disgusting, rowdy and irresponsible yet loving and good intentioned. He might be “low class,” but he is very human. The idea of this character had the potential to be great, but the film does not take sufficient satirical risks as Cohen’s other films…