The Oberlin Review

“Expanded Cinema” Film Screening Challenges Students to Think Beyond Two — Or Perhaps Three — Dimensions

Josh Spielman

September 28, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

The 3D movie fad has declined in the past few years, but it wasn’t long ago that Hollywood studios were aggressively marketing their summer blockbusters in three dimensions. Multiplexes gleefully cashed in on audiences willing to fork over nearly $20 for the sensory spectacles. The cynical commercialism of, say, a Transformers film has since blemished 3D film technology. Now, if I’m putting on a pair of novelty glasses in a darkened theater, at best, I’ve wasted money on an overblown, in-your-face version of a decent movie. Right? Wrong. Take two films shown Monday night in the Clarence Ward Art Building, in the second installment of the Cinema Artists’ Cinema 16mm film series. This week’s event, “Exp...

Vikander Falls Short as Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider”

Ananya Gupta, Arts & Culture Editor

April 6, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers for the Tomb Raider series. After playing Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary and watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, it’s safe to say that I’m a superfan of the gun-toting, knife-wielding, acrobatic badass Lara Croft. Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft and directed by Roar Uthaug, unfortunately reduced this iconic, legendary woman into a one-dimensional character, with a storyline several notches below even the amateur Adobe Flash games one can excavate online today. While several versions of Lara Croft’s backstory exist, all franchises tell the story of an English woman who is trained to be an archaeolog...

Peanut Sauce Film Project Explores Thai Education System

Peanut Sauce Film Project Explores Thai Education System

September 8, 2017

The Peanut Sauce Project 2560, a documentary project with an eye toward the education system in Thailand and the marginalized groups within it, presented three documentaries in the Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space Friday night. The project was organized by double-degree fifth-year Thanisa Durongkaveroj, who was joined by Matt Blankinship, OC ’17, Anna Treidler, OC ’17, and collaborator Bitong Suchritt. Durongkaveroj, Blankinship, and Treidler were all in attendance at Friday night’s ...

“Raw” Offers Potent Commentary on Sexuality, Sisterhood

Christian Bolles, Columnist

April 14, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers and mentions of violence, sexual assault, nausea and trauma inflicted on both humans and animals. When French writer-director Julia Ducournau’s feature-length debut Raw made rounds at film festivals worldwide, paramedics became an occasional fixture of the proceedings as audience members either fainted or left the theater — some without returning, others to empty their stomachs in the nearest bathroom. Despite being produced on a tight budget and given limited theatrical distribution, these incidents have brought the film a grotesquely alluring reputation since its release a few weeks ago. Historically, other films have garnered similar reactions — The Exorcist is...

Jenkins’ Accessible “Moonlight” Showcases Stellar Performances

Christian Bolles, Columnist

February 10, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

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...

‘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...

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...

‘Anomalisa’ Comments on Gender Politics in Romance

‘Anomalisa’ Comments on Gender Politics in Romance

February 5, 2016

Very few filmmakers are capable of confronting the contradictory selfishness of love with the heartbreaking honesty of Charlie Kaufman. After toying with the idea of a procedure that can render one’s previous relationships forgotten in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman explores the other side of the coin in Anomalisa, telling the story of a man who seems unaware of his own doomed cycle of infatuation and disinterest. Simultaneously a fable about what it means to grow older and a pitch...

Jurassic Junk: Newest Pixar Film Falls Flat

Jurassic Junk: Newest Pixar Film Falls Flat

December 4, 2015

In an era where remarkable animation can be summoned with the flick of a well-funded wrist, animated films can’t get by on pure spectacle. Before cutting-edge visuals were even possible, Pixar was making movies that cut to the heart of basic human truths; as technology caught up to their ambition, they used beauty to enhance these stories, not to replace them. Perhaps if masterpieces such as the Toy Story trilogy, Up and Ratatouille didn’t exist, The Good Dinosaur would be a very good movie. Bu...

Narrative Complexity, Lush Visuals Set Crimson Peak Apart

Christian Bolles, Columnist

October 30, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Between the reds and blues of love and tragedy, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro finds his stride. He fathoms horrifying beauty in the macabre landscapes of the human mind, weaving tales as rich in narrative complexity as they are in visual sumptuousness. His obsession with the dark nature of life led him to probe immortality in Cronos, where an old man is confronted with terrible power. In The Devil’s Backbone, he questioned the toll of power on the young, telling a tale about the ghosts left behind by war. Pan’s Labyrinth, his crowning masterpiece, addressed our need to escape from the evil of humanity, positing that even in the face of death, the fantastical transcends the human condition. Now, Crimson Peak takes de...

Writer-in-Residence Tackles African Diaspora, German Identity Through Film

L. Schumann

October 30, 2015

Filed under ARTS, Features, Theater & Film

Branwen Okpako, the Max Kade German Writer-in-Residence for fall 2015, first became friends with Auma Obama when they both attended the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. When Auma Obama’s half-brother, Barack Obama, began his presidential campaign, Okpako used this opportunity to make a film about Auma Obama that could broaden the discussion about the African Diaspora through anecdotal narrative. This project, which took Okpako to locations including Kenya, Germany, Britain and the United States, became the documentary The Education of Auma Obama, which will be screened at the Apollo Theatre on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. When the film premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, Okpako rec...

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