The Oberlin Review

Stop-Motion Finds its Opus in Kubo and the Two Strings

Christian Bolles, Arts Editor

September 9, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

One of the most fervent debates in the sphere of moviemaking involves the value of film as art. For most, it’s understandably difficult to equate a two-hour long barrage of clichés and explosions like Transformers to, say, a Caravaggio. But then there are the movies that elicit emotion by sheer virtue of design, like Mad Max: Fury Road. Though pumped full of adrenaline and packed from beginning to end with screeching metal and unintelligible shouting, the ingenious design behind every frame makes the glorified chase scene into something special. Seeing a character sporting a flaming guitar on the back of a big rig is one thing; knowing that a real person actually held a physical guitar that spouted flame while ri...

Sausage Party Far from Wurst Animated Movie

Christian Bolles, Arts Editor

September 2, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

What makes a cartoon cartoonish? The medium has historically been geared toward children as a digestible, often short-form study in simplicity that gives developing minds a reason to stay engaged and learn valuable lessons. Vibrant colors, over-the-top narratives, and ham-fisted characters are all stereotypical characteristics of this kid-oriented fare. The inherent irony in the art form, of course, is that it’s all made by adults. Grown people who fully understand the concepts of sex, violence and drugs are responsible for the creation of worlds where none of those things exist as anything more than veiled references. Inevitably, however, they sneak in. Ghosts of mature themes are present in almost every cartoon imaginable,...

Children’s Shakespeare Project Brings ‘Hamlet’ to Wilder Main

Children’s Shakespeare Project Brings ‘Hamlet’ to Wilder Main

May 6, 2016

This year may mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, but the Oberlin Children’s Shakespeare Project has set out to make his plays young again. On Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Wilder Main, the OCSP’s cast of elementary and middle school students will be performing Hamlet, directed by Annie Rasiel, OC ’15, who founded the project during her senior year at Oberlin. “I did children’s theater growing up,” Rasiel said. “I was a weird kid and theater was my refug...

Purvis, Shapiro Aim to Screen Diverse, Unusual Movies in Series

Purvis, Shapiro Aim to Screen Diverse, Unusual Movies in Series

April 29, 2016

Students at the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies’ Hallock Auditorium had the chance to meet Marielle Heller, director of The Diary of a Teenage Girl Tuesday. Released in 2015, Diary was beloved by critics and fans alike; a New York Times Critic’s Pick, the publication called it “gutsy” and “exhilarating.” A screening of the film itself preceded the video question and answer, both organized by the Oberlin Independent Film Series. Diary is an intimate portrait of a 1...

Cast Gives Haunting Performance of “Dido and Aeneas”

Julia Peterson, Production Editor

April 22, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music, Theater & Film

With the sunset illuminating the stained glass windows of a packed Fairchild Chapel Saturday night, the stage for Dido and Aeneas seemed far removed from the rest of campus life. The opera’s overture, which showcased the baroque instruments used in the performance, immediately transported the audience back in time. The cast of the opera entered in procession and took its place on stage, beginning what was to be an hour of captivating storytelling and a celebration of music and the human voice. The opera, composed in the late 17th century by Henry Purcell with a libretto by Nahum Tate, is a retelling of the fourth book of Virgil’s Aeneid. The story is relatively simple: Aeneas, a Trojan prince, and Dido, the que...

Teacher, Student Grapple with Identity in ‘Third’

Teacher, Student Grapple with Identity in ‘Third’

April 15, 2016

At its core, playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s Third, which opened in the Little Theater last weekend and ran until Sunday, is about politics, relationships and the way that we interact with people whose opinions differ from our own. Set on the campus of an unnamed liberal arts college, Third tells the story of Professor Laurie Jameson, played by College sophomore Julia Butterfield. During the course of the play, she is forced to confront her daughter’s choices, her father’s memory loss, her ...

‘The Admission’ Reimagines Shakespeare in the Middle East

‘The Admission’ Reimagines Shakespeare in the Middle East

April 15, 2016

The tandem story of two families, one Israeli and one Palestinian, depicted in the Oberlin Student Theater Association’s production of The Admission, begins on an unassuming note. Two men converse at a table, accompanied only by the nervous click of Wilder Main’s radiator. Details slowly emerge as more characters take their seats. Avigdor, played by College first-year Jackson Zinn-Rowthorn, owns a construction company. He has plans to build in the hometown of a man named Ibrahim (College first-ye...

‘God’s Not Dead 2’ a Slice of Trump-Era Propaganda

Christian Bolles, Arts Editor

April 15, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

“The most basic human right of all is the right to know Jesus,” says Director Harold Cronk through one of his signature mouthpiece characters in his latest film, God’s Not Dead 2, produced by the Christian company Pure Flix. Ideas like these have been voiced in the U.S. ever since the words “separation between church and state” were first contrived, fermenting in communities whose refusal to accept progressive mindsets often ends in hateful contempt. Some of the greatest problems arise, however, when popular culture gives these groups enough affirmation to bring hateful ideas supported by a twisted conception of faith to mainstream American society. Donald Trump is the most recent example of entertainment gone hor...

Wright Directs Comedic Play to Celebrate Gay Culture

Wright Directs Comedic Play to Celebrate Gay Culture

April 15, 2016

For anyone acquainted with the cinema of the early 1960s — with its psycho thrillers, horror films and beach party movies — Psycho Beach Party will feel familiar. And it will also feel a little ridiculous. This makes sense, given that Pscyho Beach Party is a send-up of all those genres. The play, which will be performed in Hall Auditorium tomorrow and Sunday, is an examination of the U.S. post-WWII and pre-Vietnam. During this time, when teenagers increasingly participated in consumerism, t...

In ‘Batman v Superman,’ Quantity Trumps Quality

In ‘Batman v Superman,’ Quantity Trumps Quality

April 1, 2016

As director Zack Snyder’s favorite author and ideological match Ayn Rand once said, “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” No sentence could better sum up Snyder’s creative philosophy in putting together his latest blustering bumble of a blockbuster, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. No more apt title could have been chosen for a movie so obsessed with dichotomies and extremes without bothering to fill the space in between. In his attempts to pit l...

Askin Avoids Clichés in 30 Score

Vida Weisblum, Managing Editor

March 11, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music, Theater & Film

College sophomore JD Askin spends most of his time in his dorm room — a cozy nook in South with a red rug, a keyboard, rainbow water speakers, a lone strand of multicolored Christmas lights and not much else. Askin, a New York City native and resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is a primarily self-taught musician dabbling in a multitude of genres and mediums. At 21, he is in the process of scoring an independent horror movie called 30 using only his keyboard and Logic Pro software. Scoring 30 served as Askin’s primary project during his time off from school last semester. Over the summer, he scored a clip for an environmental science documentary produced by a small company that he had sent some samples...

‘Witch’ Taps into Paranoia, American Nationalism

Christian Bolles, Columnist

March 4, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

While The Conjuring flaunted its beat-by-beat horror and It Follows divided many fans of the genre, something was watching from the dark, forgotten woods of this country’s cultural memory. It’s a subgenre sometimes overlooked in cinema, containing innate nuance. That gold mine of cinematic potential is the American gothic tale, and The Witch taps into it. With The Witch, first-time writer-director Robert Eggers set out to craft a meticulously detailed period film predicated upon believability, accuracy and respect for the source material: hundreds of historical documents, both fictional and not, which he pored over for years leading up to filming. His work paid off: The Witch is a tense, suffocating account o...

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