The Oberlin Review

“Joker” Brings Controversy, Brutality to Box Office

Kushagra Kar, Production Editor

October 11, 2019

Be warned, Joker is no laughing matter. The brutally honest truth of the matter is that I am horrified. Through every moment of the film and each subsequent second since I walked out of the Apollo Theatre, a deep discomfort has pervaded my mind.  To say that Todd Phillips’ 2019 psychological thriller Joker is a departure from conventional comic book movies would be an understatement. I’ve felt this shock before, with James Mangold’s 2017 Logan, which was a breath of fresh, unnervingly profane air. The film was rich in great character moments to supplement the enjoyable superhero beats. Yet, Joker does something far more impressive — blurring the conventional lines that define the genre of comic book films. J...

A screencap from Tall Girl, a new Netflix original movie.

“Tall Girl” Highlights Questionable Values for Young Girls

September 20, 2019

First, I must clarify that I am five feet and three inches short on a good day, so I do not have personal experience with being shamed for being tall: if anything, the opposite is true. Though I am critical of this film, I am in no way denying that high school is brutal and that bullying is a rampant problem with serious and lasting consequences. Additionally, the lead actor Ava Michelle has actually been at the receiving end of public bullying for being too tall, well documented in her stint on...

Looking Beneath the Laughs in Coming-of-Age Comedy “Good Boys”

Casey Troost

September 6, 2019

 Based on the trailer, it’s easy to compare Good Boys to previous action-comedies like Superbad, Bad Teacher, Year One, and Bad Grandpa. However, while the humor of comparable movies is often delivered by adults or teenagers, Good Boys shifts the focus to three youthful and inexperienced pre-teens. In Good Boys, most of the comedy comes from scenes in which the three naive protagonists, called “The Bean Bag Boys,” misinterpret the adult content they come into contact with. For example, Thor, one of the three Bean Bag Boys, mistakes a BDSM mask in his parent’s closet for protective wear and puts it on to answer the door for a stranger. While I enjoyed the comedy in the film, I question whether I should have...

“Avengers: Endgame” Rocks the Box Office

Kabir Karamchandani, Staff Writer

May 3, 2019

Editor’s Note: This review contains major spoilers for the movie Avengers: Endgame. With a $1.5 billion worldwide gross in its opening week, Avengers: Endgame is undeniably one of the biggest cinematic events in recent history — and perhaps the biggest of all time.  To start, I have to confess to being a Marvel fan. I have watched every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and am deeply invested in the characters and world. As the culminating moment of the series, Endgame has little in the way of emotional stakes for viewers new to the franchise, but excels as a finale. It has no small amount of crowd-pleasing moments and spotlights several touching new developments in character relationships establishe...

Captain Marvel: A Solid Superhero Movie, But Nothing More

Captain Marvel: A Solid Superhero Movie, But Nothing More

March 15, 2019

As a die-hard Marvel fan and a general superhero buff, I was more than merely excited to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female superhero-led movie. Yet, perhaps spoiled by last year’s Black Panther, I was somewhat disappointed by the movie. Captain Marvel is a fine film, and a much-needed step in the right direction in terms of female representation within the MCU, but it never truly excels, instead feeling like a by-the-numbers superhero movie with nothing special going for it. Pa...

Black and White “Fury Road” Re-Release Highlights Action, Scenery

Christian Bolles, Columnist

May 5, 2017

When beloved director George Miller first released the much-awaited follow-up to his cult classic Mad Max series, he teased that he had watched the new film in black and white and found it a superior experience. Now, after much fan buzz, the “Black and Chrome” edition of Mad Max: Fury Road has hit the big screen for a single day, as part of an ad campaign for its inclusion in the movie’s Blu-ray set. After all of the hype Miller generated around the remaster, one might question whether the film could possibly be that much better with a change as seemingly minimal as a rebalanced colour palette. Yet, when rendered in such contrast, the aesthetic brilliance of Miller’s mayhem-ridden masterpiece shines all the ...

Chan-Wook’s “Handmaiden” Unpacks Sexual Power Dynamics

Christian Bolles, Columnist

April 21, 2017

“Of all the things I’ve washed and dressed, have any been so pretty?” This is the first question Korean handmaiden Sookee asks herself upon meeting her new mistress, a soft-spoken Japanese noblewoman named Lady Hideko. Sookee’s immediate attraction to Hideko is objectifying — even clinical — mirroring the aesthetic fascination that revered Korean director Park Chan-Wook maintains for the decadent imagery that defines his most recent work, The Handmaiden. The film is clearly about sex, but it’s also about the broader philosophical implications of the myriad power dynamics inherent in a sexual relationship. The film takes place during Japan’s annexation of Korea in the early 20th century and at its most...

Peele’s Triumphant Debut Get Out Interrogates Liberal Racism

Christian Bolles, Columnist

March 31, 2017

Directorial debuts are often fragile. The vast majority of them display a promising but flawed proof of behind-the-camera skill, so for any new director, finding success in their first effort is difficult. When it comes to non-white directors, however, Hollywood’s prevailing whiteness and racism elevates that difficulty to nearly complete impenetrability. After years of building up his reputation via the famed sketch comedy show Key & Peele and contributing to the script for last year’s warmly received comedy Keanu, Jordan Peele finally took the chance to flex his directorial muscles, breaking into the Hollywood mainstream with the explosive, laser-focused Get Out. The film blows past the stigma that often...

Logan Succeeds with Faithful Adaptation of Wolverine Comics

Evan Johnson

March 10, 2017

In an early scene of James Mangold’s new X-Men feature Logan, Hugh Jackman, as James “Logan” Howlett, the superhero formerly known as Wolverine, discovers a comic book with himself on the cover. It’s not Wolverine as we’re seeing him now, weaker and having aged as the adamantium in his bones slowly poisons him, but his former self, young and drawn with a pulpy gloss that highlights his muscular torso. He’s trying to convince Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) — a nurse from a failed project created by a corporation called Transigen that bred children as mutants — that he cannot take care of the 11-year-old girl in her custody, Laura, also known as X-23 (Dafne Keen). After rummaging through the mess of Gabriela...

Jenkins’ Accessible “Moonlight” Showcases Stellar Performances

Christian Bolles, Columnist

February 10, 2017

If you haven’t seen Moonlight on the grounds of its tough subject matter, you may not be alone, but you certainly should reconsider. Writer/director Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature takes a Boyhood-esque trip straight to the heart of human pathos, spinning its tale of a man named Chiron through intimate close-ups that reflect the personal sting of his unfortunate circumstances. Moonlight has been — and will continue to be — hailed by the industry and viewers as “important” due to the sheer rarity of the subject in the medium of film: a gay Black man. But historically, “important” is a reductive and alienating label that pushes works of social significance into a dusty altar in the corner while safer, m...

Political Issues Weigh Down Action Film

Christian Bolles, Columnist

September 11, 2015

Content Warning: This review discusses violent and potentially offensive themes that may be disturbing to some readers. In order to properly instill fear in the audience, horror and action filmmakers exploit deep sources of paranoia and thrust them onto the screen. This leverage of the human psyche often manifests itself as a masked man with a knife or a bloodthirsty beast; the former plays on our knowledge of the potential cruelty of other humans and the latter on our wariness of the unknown. No Escape weighs both of these options and settles for a not-so-happy medium. This decision gives rise to one of the greatest narrative miscalculations in recent memory. Brothers John and Drew Dowdle, who wrote and directe...

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