Avery Alexander, Senior Writer
“Sing” was one of Illumination Studios’ most pleasant surprises since “Despicable Me.” Thankfully, “Sing 2” proves just as charming as its predecessor and preserves the franchise’s status as, perhaps, the most compelling Illumination franchise to date.
A sequel’s job is to be bigger and better. “Sing 2” delivers just that with fantastic renditions of popular songs (like The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” and Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars”), distinctive animation style and heartfelt voice acting performance. At the same time, the film manages to bring back the things that made the first “Sing” so great – mainly its adorable cast of characters.
From Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), the overworked mother pig with way too many piglets to handle, to Johnny (Taron Egerton), the soulful gorilla with a rocky family background, each character delivers a gripping story. The cast is back in full force, continuing and completing their character arcs in a number of undeniably satisfying ways. For a great movie, “Sing 2” truly manages to be a labor of love.
Matt Surridge, Personal Writer
Paul Thomas Anderson has created another classic with this comedy coming of age game. After his 2017 magnum opus, “Phantom Thread,” Anderson returns from his England excursion and returns home for another California saga, again adding to his impressive legacy of previous entries like “The Master,” “Magnolia,” and Boogie Nights. .” This time, Anderson approaches the setting in a less cynical or cerebral way than in those other films. Instead, it employs a life-affirming directing style that more closely resembles the work of a filmmaker like Hal Ashby, rather than that of earlier harder influences like Robert Altman.
“Licorice Pizza” is a warm, hazy portrait of the 1973 San Fernando Valley, featuring an early duet with performances from Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim. The two light the big screen on fire with Hoffman effortlessly filling the shoes of his late father, actor Phillip-Seymour Hoffman, and Haim delivering a performance that is a unique revelation of magnetism and charisma. Then there are the pre-set supporting artists like Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper and a surprising cameo from ‘Uncut Gems’ director Benny Safdie that just adds to that.s to the episodic fantasy of the film.
However, some criticisms have been leveled at the film. Some critics have expressed concern over both the age gap between Haim and Hoffman’s characters and that there is a repeated gag in the film that relies on an Asian stereotype. Anderson responded to some of these reviews.
However, the 5–the star rating for this particular review still stands. For some, a 5–star rating means a movie is flawless, but it’s not a reliable measure. There are plenty of terrible movies that are “flawless.” It’s the flaws of this film that make it so wonderful and so worthy of discussion. Much like the faces of the two lead actors are marred with real acne instead of being polished by a Hollywood makeup team, Anderson fails to fix what he undoubtedly knew some would consider “flaws” in his movie and it makes “Licorice Pizza” yet more of a rare and special treat. Anderson is one of the masters of this generation. HThis work will be long remembered throughout Hollywood history, and “Licorice Pizza” may well be one of his most heartfelt and influential films to date.
Mr Minton, personal editor
“The Lost Girl”
The trend of Hollywood actors trying their hand at directing and writing continues with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter,” based on Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name. The film follows Leda (Olivia Colman), a teacher on vacation in Italy. She meets and becomes obsessed with young mother Nina (Dakota Johnson). Audiences learn about Leda’s (Jessie Buckley) younger self through flashbacks.
From its bizarre opening sequence to its ambiguous ending, “The Lost Daughter” is an introspective and heartbreaking exploration of motherhood. Colman gives another great performance, as she effectively passes on the weight of her past actions. Even through a simple glance or look at Nina or her child, the audience understands Leda’s pain. However, the script often keeps audiences emotionally at bay, with many scenes becoming blurry and a bit boring to watch.
“The Lost Daughter” still has plenty of effective scenes, especially at the start when Nina tries to find her younger daughter at the beach. It’s an intense and exhilarating sequence that captures the fear of losing one’s child – the rest of the film unfortunately fails to capture that energy. The moments of brilliance in Gyllenhaal’s work here make her a director to watch in the future, even if “The Lost Daughter” falls a bit flat overall.
Elijah de Castro, editor
“Emily in Paris” Season 2
The cultural response to the excessive French stereotypes that filled the first season of “Emily in Paris” can be divided into two schools of thought – real dissent of how the idolatrous series poke fun at the French and embarrassing amalgams of these stereotypes in the name of quirky entertainment.
However, despite its flaws, “Emily in Paris” is back for a second season and will be around forever. The show’s sophomore effort is unbearable, and the line between intentional and unintentional ridicule that the first season unknowingly walked has disappeared. Now that’s just stupid.
The plot of the second season – Emily focusing on expanding the businesses of the French marketing firm she works at while getting along with the men of Paris – is irrelevant. All that matters is the severity of the show’s sickening stereotypes. The character’s performances are appropriate for show business: both are equally cheesy.
For some reason, the showrunners thought it would be a good idea to dub the stereotypes of European culture. Crossing the borders of France and into Eastern Europe, the show depicts one of the characters being a Slavic caricature of a Ukrainian immigrant shoplifter. If “Emily in Paris” fans still think this is all trivial, they should make a simple thought experiment – what would Mexicans think of “Emily in Mexico”? What about “Emily in Japan”?
Mike Ross, Life and Culture Editor
Thebe Kgositsile, better known by his stage name Earl Sweatshirt, enjoyed one of the most fascinating careers in hip-hop history thanks to his fluctuating status, often oscillating between mainstream and underground recognition. From the days of projects like “Doris” and “I Don’t Like S—, I Don’t Go Outside,” Earl’s world Vision matured while tackling themes of existentialism, grief, and reality. “SICK!” is a nice addition to the rapper’s world record through his eyes.
As the name suggests, “SICK!” is the result of a meditative and masterful lyricist’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapper vacillates between commenting on societal and personal truths over beats that find satisfying middle ground between his two previous releases. Like his other work, “SICK! is brief but fully realized, which ensures that the lyrical guru does not release any sort of meaningless charge. The record is as abstract as it is approachable, with tracks like “Sick!” and “Vision” exerting trap influences. “Tabula Rasa” and “Lye” meet the artist’s standard for word-making, reminiscent of artists like Westside Gunn and the late MF DOOM. “SICK!” is an exciting example of Earl Sweatshirt’s potential to join the pantheon of all-time great lyricists that preceded him.
Maddy Martin, Editor
“Don’t look up”
“Don’t Look Up” is a black comedy about two scientists trying to warn the world of a comet that will inevitably destroy Earth. Brilliantly condensing decades of climate denial and debate into one existential storyline, the film is one of the strongest allegories of climate change written this century. “Don’t Look Up” can sometimes be difficult to watch due to the way it highlights the horrific reality of climate change. The stress that scientists and environmentalists carry as they try to preserve the world while being dismissed and labeled as alarmists can cause frustration. But the humor and absurdity ground the viewer and create a path through the apocalyptic terror.
Evan Miller, Writer
One of the staples of the “Scream” franchise is its humor and meta commentary on the horror genre. In “Scream,” the fifth installment in the franchise, the commentary cleverly focuses on movie fandom and how revisionist horror has overtaken mainstream horror in popularity.
“Scream” brings back several legacy characters, including Dewey Riley (David Arquette), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). Arquette stands out the most as Dewey, delivering his best performance in the franchise with a heart usually absent from these films.
Even when the Big Three aren’t onscreen, “Scream” is populated with a cast of lovable new characters in their own right. Although it constantly feels like one of them can perish at the hands of the terrifying Ghostface in gruesome and bloody ways, the viewer hopes otherwise because of his greatness.
“Scream” falters in the many moments it asks the viewer to suspend their disbelief. While the characters make conscious remarks about situations like the previous films, the viewer still can’t help but criticize the characters for some of the silly decisions they make, which often leads to their downfall.
Not only does “Scream” give fans of the franchise something to scream about, it also gives newcomers the chance to fall in love with the franchise like so many others have over the past 26 years.