The Oberlin Review

“Arrival” Speaks Its Own Language

Christian Bolles, Arts Editor

November 18, 2016

Think twice before reading this review. To discover director Denis Villenueve’s Arrival unspoiled, with no impression of its sweeping scale, intimate emotional core and mind-blowing final act, is an experience to be cherished. A science fiction thriller with a beating heart, based on the novella Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, Arrival is a response to the swaggering bravado of its fellows in the celebrity-studded space film vein — Gravity, The Martian and Interstellar, to name just a few. In the film’s boundless grace, Arrival matches its peers in scope, puts their human dramas to shame and provokes more thought than even Nolan’s space odyssey, all while making objective sense, a feat that other high-conce...

Femininity Dismantled Fascism in “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Christian Bolles, Arts Editor

November 11, 2016

Nowhere is oppression more boldly confronted than in our attempts to escape it. The worlds we build on the page and before the camera serve as intrinsically subversive pathways, telling stories that lift us from the grasp of dark forces while lending perspective to their machinations. Few periods of history are better acquainted with these forces than the nearly three-year Spanish Civil War (1936-39), which culminated in the crushing defeat of a left-wing movement at the hands of a ruthless fascist counterrevolution under the iron grip of General Francisco Franco. In the aftermath of the atrocity-ridden conflict, the remaining leftist rebels who could still muster the will to fight resorted to guerilla warfare, stag...

Oberlin alum Ben Sinclair stars in HBO’s High Maintenance, which he also co-writes
with spouse Katja Blichfeld.

On the Record with Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance

November 11, 2016

Ben Sinclair, OC ’06, co-created the hit web and television series High Maintenance with spouse Katja Blichfeld. The show revolves around the experiences of New Yorkers connected by their shared transactions with a pot dealer known as The Guy. Meant to tell subtle truths about the human experience while de-stigmatizing marijuana use, the series focuses on different characters and stories with each episode. After two seasons on Vimeo featuring mini-episodes, HBO picked up the show. The new season, com...

Characters Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left) and Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis, right) begin a relationship
that will undergo the test of time in “San Junipero,” the fourth of six new episodes in season
three of Netflix’s Black Mirror.

Black Mirror’s Abyss Stares Back

October 28, 2016

Science fiction has always been fascinated by the cost of progress. Legendary genre writer Isaac Asimov’s pioneering I, Robot explored the murky line between artificial intelligence and humanity, proving that some of our deepest fears can be extracted by plumbing the uncanny valley. Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ Twilight Zone-esque television show examining that Asimovian divide, uses chillingly plausible technological advancements to paint visions of futures gone awry. Bett...

Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood, dramatizes the 2009 “miracle on the Hudson,” where Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger
successfully performed a water landing of a commercial airliner without a single casualty.

Eastwood’s Sully Sheds New Light on Historic Event

September 30, 2016

There are few industry veterans more seasoned than Clint Eastwood. The legendary actor and director has delivered many winning examples of both trades, taking part in over 50 films since his career took off in 1959 with his appearance on the television show Rawhide. Known in equal parts for grit and artistry, Eastwood’s legacy will endure as myth in the world of filmmaking. Though his last film, American Sniper, garnered mixed reactions from critics and general audiences, his most recent effort, Sul...

George Wingard, program coordinator at the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program at the AJLC’s Hallock
Auditorium Tuesday to screen his 2013 documentary Discovering Dave. The film tells the story of an enslaved
potter named David Drake through his masterful engraved jars.

Archaeology, Storytelling Converge in “Discovering Dave”

September 23, 2016

When enslaved master potter David Drake first rendered his signature in clay in early 19th-century South Carolina, he knew that the product bearing his mark would endure. However, he might not have guessed that nearly 200 years later, his pots would still be on the market. Out of the estimated 60,000 to 80,000 pieces he made during his lifetime, only a small fraction have been discovered. However, those few, known among the archaeological community as “Dave Jars,” have helped scholars piece toge...

The Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Cinema Studies Center for Media Education and Production occupies the
space above the Apollo Theatre. The state-of-the-art facility has been understaffed since its construction four years

Program Cuts Leave Film Students with Questions

September 16, 2016

The Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman Cinema Studies Center for Media Education and Production stands severely understaffed, support for senior capstones has been pulled and tensions between the Cinema Studies program and the College administration forecast a potentially bleak future for a program that attracts more student interest than it has the resources to maintain. Faced with growing concerns about the program’s ability to meet its students’ needs in the wake of losing the key position of F...

On the Record: Jennifer Hoock, OC ’83, Cat in the Cream Founder

May 6, 2016

Jennifer Hoock, OC ’83, aided in the re-establishment of the Cat in the Cream with roommates Charissa Smith, OC ’82, and Cheryl Serrone, OC ’83. She graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine and earned her MPH at the University of Washington. In addition to being associate director at Group Health Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, she is a founding member and director of development at Guatemala Village Health, a nonprofit organization that promotes education, better health car...

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...

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

Christian Bolles, Arts Editor

April 15, 2016

“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...

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice plays at the Apollo Theatre. The Zack Snyder-directed blockbuster suffers from a lack of character development and an overcomplicated plot.

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...

‘Witch’ Taps into Paranoia, American Nationalism

Christian Bolles, Columnist

March 4, 2016

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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