The Oberlin Review

Best Picture Countdown: “Vice”

Kabir Karamchandani, Staff Writer

February 22, 2019

Vice tells the story of Dick Cheney, allegedly the most powerful vice president in American history. Despite being scattered at times, Vice is overall an engaging film for its target audience, taking the viewer through Cheney’s highs and lows and painting a picture of one of the main powers behind the Bush administration. For an alleged satire, Vice is low on laughs and instead focuses on the development of political rhetoric during Cheney’s time in Washington.  Christian Bale impresses as Cheney, showcasing his journey from a bumbling, aggressive college dropout to a collected and reserved politician. Bale plays the part well, yet one of the film’s biggest issues is its written portrayal of Cheney. The film mak...

Best Picture Countdown: “Green Book”

Kabir Karamchandani, Staff Writer

February 15, 2019

Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen shine in Green Book, a by-the-numbers film about a Black pianist and his white valet on a tour through the Deep South. Oscar-bait through and through, what the movie lacks in innovation it makes up for in execution. Director Peter Farrelly deftly handles the film’s sensitive subject matter, making the movie feel cliché at points, but never heavy-handed or forced. Green Book is character-driven from the start, opening with a scene that has no relevance to the plot but sets up Mortensen’s Tony Lip as the stereotypical Italian-American New Yorker of the 1960s. When this rough-talking, hot dog-guzzling club bouncer is hired to drive and protect Black pianist Dr. Don Shirley on hi...

Best Picture Countdown: “The Favourite”

Liz Stewart

February 15, 2019

The two posh period dramas of the year, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite and Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots, both focus on female royalty from a feminist perspective but do so in opposite ways. The former refreshingly reframes historical material while deconstructing the genre’s high-brow elitism — most period-pieces are suffused with snobbish dialogue. The latter, unfortunately, falls relatively flat.  There was a time when Mary Queen of Scots might have cruised to major nominations because of its traditional, theater-inspired style, leaving Lanthimos’ absurdist film stranded on the outskirts of awards season. The Favourite is ultimately enticing “anti-Oscar bait” that may yet garner a win in at least o...

Best Picture Countdown: “Roma”

Liz Stewart

February 15, 2019

 Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma has the potential to become the first ever foreign-language film to win Best Picture. Its simple yet touching story, skilled camera work, and sound design set it apart from its competitors, boasting the kind of pedigree the Academy craves. It thoughtfully caters to an intellectual audience while remaining digestible enough for anybody to enjoy.  And perhaps these are the qualities, along with its release on Netflix in addition to the big screen, that have allowed Roma to break the curse that sometimes inhibits foreign language films from receiving Best Picture nominations, as they tend to be unfairly overlooked or pigeonholed into a single category. With a whopping ten nominations, Roma...

Best Picture Countdown: A Star Is Born

Liz Stewart

February 8, 2019

In today’s cinematic era riddled with countless mediocre remakes and sequels, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star is Born has refreshed Hollywood’s current creative dry spell by subverting the standard remake. Cooper knows how to properly recreate a timely classic, adding even more purpose and heart to a screenplay that was already laden with emotion — A Star is Born is a necessary deviation from our tragic status quo. Cooper presents familiar material with a new twist, allowing the film to stand alone from its predecessors. It still tells the story of an impulsive rockstar, whose fame declines while his formerly working-class girlfriend ascends to stardom. However, 2018’s A Star is Born is more int...

Best Picture Countdown: Black Panther

Kabir Karamchandani

February 8, 2019

Marvel Studios is notorious for churning out movies that are fun to watch but lack substance and depth, which makes Black Panther a pleasant surprise. The film sets a new bar for the genre, with a compelling villain and a semi-nuanced debate of a politically relevant issue. In a time rife with xenophobia and immigration issues, Black Panther tackles serious questions about whether a country’s responsibilities extend beyond its borders and whether those in power have a responsibility to help those who are not. The film handles these issues with surprising tact, painting them as a debate rather than the black-and-white depiction of disagreements usually found in superhero films.  Despite this, the film still remains somewhat hamstrung by its g...

Best Picture Countdown: Bohemian Rhapsody

Kabir Karamchandani

February 8, 2019

A music-packed ode to Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody is, unfortunately, more style than substance. While the score is sure to entertain any Queen fans, the biopic is far from true to its source material and lacks coherence and a consistent story thread. The movie is scattered from the opening. Within the span of a few minutes, the focus quickly switches from scenes of Mercury’s home life to a musical performance, to his introduction to his future band-mates, and finally to his first meeting with his future wife. The beginning chaotically sets up up various elements of the plot that never quite come together. Instead, the film jumps from song to song for the majority of its runtime — which isn’t actually a bad ...

The Post Sheds Light on Media, Government Tussles

Kirsten Heuring, Staff Writer

February 9, 2018

If I had to pick one word to describe The Post, which is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, I would choose “relevant.” The movie revolves around the publishing of classified documents related to the hopelessness of the Vietnam War under the Nixon presidency and his administration’s attempts to stop these documents from being made public. Due to the depiction of paranoid, tyrannical leadership trying to silence news organizations, much of the movie resonates in today’s social and political climate and the struggle for freedom of speech. The movie begins as Daniel Ellsberg (played by Matthew Rhys), a government employee, witnesses the destruction and horror of the Vietnam war firsthan...

Unsung Heroes: An Overview of The Oscars’ Best Original Score Nominees

Sonia Wurzel

March 4, 2011

Sunday night was Hollywood’s prom: the glitzy and glamorous 83rd annual Academy Awards, a night to honor those who work in the film industry. Of course, the focus of the event is always on the prestigious (overrated? predictable, maybe?) Best Picture award, but as was made clear in the presentation for this year’s Best Original Score award, music also plays an essential role in Oscar-nominated movies. Historically, music has always served as an intrinsic element of film. During the silent film era, pianists would play live music alongside film reels, imbuing the film with nuance, tension and emotion. While films no longer require live accompanists, a good score can still make or break a movie, enhancing the dialogue...

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