Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Agents of Change’ is derivative and relevant, all at once

The 1960s Civil Rights movement makes up a huge part of U.S. history curriculum, but like so many fact-based lectures, much of the humanity and connection to the present gets lost in translation. Sure, the education system officially made huge strides in racial inclusiveness thanks to a series of student-led …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: In ‘The Accountant,’ sleekness can’t escape silliness

Partway through director Gavin O’Connor’s introspective thriller The Accountant, Ben Affleck stands in front of a re-rendering of Michelangelo’s famed painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Instead of depicting the hands of God and Adam reaching out to one another, the image instead displays a robotic hand reaching toward …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Alston: From gorillas to lizards — A guide to monster movies

Audiences have been flocking to theaters to see giant monsters since the early years of film. From the stop-motion puppets of the 1930s to the computer-generated destructive deities of recent years, these gigantic beasts never fail to entertain, even if the monster movie genre has waned at the American box office …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Emerald Recommends: The best Halloween movies to remind you of childhood

Halloween is rapidly approaching. While creepy clowns walk the streets and a scary amount of work piles up for students, The Emerald recommends some classic Halloween movies that made our Halloweens a little less scary as children. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Don’t let the festive title fool you. This quirky Tim Burton …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ should have been left at the station

The Girl on the Train opens on a disheveled-looking Emily Blunt, gazing out the window of a train (what else?) while the outskirts of New York pass her by. As protagonist Rachel Watson, Blunt embodies a character type we haven’t seen from her before. She looks decidedly frantic, yet distant, …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: “The Birth of a Nation” seeks greatness but falls short

In 1915, D.W. Griffith released The Birth of a Nation and forever changed the cinematic landscape. Epic in scope and sweepingly influential, the film is still held in high technical regard for its editing and cinematography. It is also, even by early 20th century standards, shockingly racist. In telling the …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

FOX’s ‘Pitch’ shatters stereotype of what a baseball player and sports TV show should look like

On Thursday, FOX aired the second installment of its new series Pitch, profiling the life experiences of the first woman ever to play in Major League Baseball. Although the story is fictional, San Diego Padres pitcher Ginny Baker, played by Kylie Bunbury, has the ability to inspire young women everywhere …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: The Hidden Reality of HBO’s ‘Westworld’

Think about The Truman Show for a minute, the 1998 movie where Jim Carrey plays an insurance salesman who discovers that his entire life is a television show and that all of his friends and family are paid actors. It’s a movie that makes you think long and hard about …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: Zach Galifanakis and Kristen Wiig carry the lackluster ‘Masterminds’

We are six films into the career of stupidity maestro Jared Hess. In that time, he’s given us Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos, all of which revel in the shenanigans of the weird and dim-witted. His unabashed love of both makes him the best and worst choice for Masterminds, …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Deepwater Horizon’ is powerful, but problematic

Biopics are tricky. Striking a respectful, non-exploitive tone in a film about real events involving real people is challenging and will remain so as long as the genre exists. Director Peter Berg and writers Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand must have known this during the making of Deepwater Horizon. …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Netflix: What’s coming and going this October

It’s a new school year, which means it’s time to start procrastinating on homework and binge-watching Netflix instead. This month, subscribers get a whopping 24 new Netflix Originals. Ava DuVernay’s documentary about the history of racism in the United States, The 13th, is coming on Oct. 7. Russell Peters also has …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

The best shows to binge with new dorm buddies

It’s the start of the school year, which means that a perilous time has befallen incoming Ducks. Freshman year means dorm living, and all the social pitfalls therein. You’ve just moved into a crowded hall full of bizarre strangers, and over nine months they’ll either grow to be lifelong friends …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

‘Bob’s Burgers’: what fans can expect from its upcoming seventh season

Six seasons in, it’s less worrying that Bob’s Burgers will run out of plots than that it won’t have enough time to realize all its possibilities. While Homer Simpson was already in outer space by the time The Simpsons was in its sixth season, Bob’s has covered an astonishing amount …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ a noble, if flawed, dramatization

It’s a tall order to squeeze the story of Edward Snowden’s life into a feature-length film. In Snowden, the new film from director Oliver Stone, this is sorely obvious. At 138 minutes, Snowden follows the title character from 2004, when he broke both his legs in army training, to 2013 when he …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Blair Witch’ is a decent revival for horror fans, but nothing special overall

Back in 1999, word of an unbelievable horror movie hit the early sectors of the web. A film compiled from real-life footage of a few young adults who ventured out into the woods of Maryland in search of the local folk legend known as the Blair Witch. The Blair Witch Project …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Don’t Think Twice’ is a brilliant look at the bruising world of improv

“Your twenties are all about hope. And your thirties are all about how dumb it was to hope.” Improvisational comedy didn’t really take off until the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, but it’s still baffling that a movie like Don’t Think Twice hasn’t already been made. In a way, it …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Get Down’ never slows down

A certain cocktail had to come together to result in a show like The Get Down — a one-of-a-kind blend where a production house that is lenient with talent and liberal with cash (Netflix), meets a director known for vibrant extravagance (Baz Luhrmann, of Moulin Rogue and The Great Gatsby) and the pair …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: Sausage Party proves that modern comedy knows no boundaries

There are no longer any limits to what can be shown in a major studio feature film. The perception that America is beholden to moral self-censoring is dead. Seth Rogen has killed it, or at least proven that it can be toppled with enough industry clout. Sausage Party is a …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Suicide Squad’ is cynical, superficial and meaningless

In many ways, it’s all of our fault that Suicide Squad played out the way it did. We packed the cinemas for Guardians of the Galaxy, showing demand for superhero films that broke the mold. We pushed Harley Quinn to the forefront of nerd culture, despite never having made an …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘The Killing Joke’ makes a muddled mess out of a classic comic

At 48 pages, Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke — often hailed as the definitive Batman/Joker story — is slim by graphic novel standards. It’s also long been criticized for not allowing its main female character, Batgirl, to function as anything more than a MacGuffin to motivate Batman’s quest. DC’s new …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Lights Out’ is simple horror that packs a brilliant punch

Horror is a genre that is obsessed with rules, both spoken and unspoken. The ghost on the mysterious VHS tape will only kill after seven days. The vampire must always avoid sunlight, garlic and crosses. The black couple will split from the group first, drawing the ire of the masked slasher. …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Star Trek Beyond’ is a spacey summer treat

In 2009’s Star Trek, J.J Abrams reinvented a sci-fi classic for a new generation with a phenomenal ensemble cast and a smart excuse for revisiting classic Trek lore. It felt like a perfect reintroduction, one that Abrams struggled to build upon with Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. Bagging the hopeful sci-fi series …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Stranger Things’ is a nostalgic, thrilling summer binge

’80s nostalgia is a genre of pop culture that’s so saturated, it seems impossible to escape. All around us are remakes, reboots and revivals of life from a bygone era. One of cold war paranoia, bold neon pop music — screens dense with Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Carpenter. …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Microbe and Gasoline’ is like ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ for kids

In the newest film from writer-director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), imagination and intellect are the formative hallmarks of youth and young manhood. Microbe and Gasoline focuses on Daniel Guéret (Ange Dargent, in his first acting role), a young teen given the grade school nickname “Microbe” for …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ doesn’t live up to the original, and is all the better for it

One of 2016’s most fiercely debated films, Ghostbusters has been a lightning rod for online controversy and earnest think pieces for everyone. Now with the full film out for the world to judge, the time has come to step away from conversations of ‘ruined childhoods’ and perceived misogyny. When separated …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Double Takes: Mr. Robot season 2 begins cryptically, beautifully

Double Takes is a series in which two Emerald writers compare notes on a recent piece of media. In this installment, Emerald writers Chris Berg and Emerson Malone share their thoughts on Mr. Robot’s two-part season two premiere. “I tell you, the human condition is a straight-up tragedy, cuz.” – Leon …

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Arts & CultureEditorialsFilm & TVOpinion

Berg: The latest Purge is every bit as hypocritical as America itself.

It’s hard to paint The Purge: Election Year as anything but a hit. Having grossed over $45 million in just five days on a $10 million budget, it stands to be one of 2016’s most profitable investments for Universal studios. The action-horror sequel outgrossed a new Steven Spielberg project, The …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TV

Review: In ‘Swiss Army Man,’ life in the wild is better than back at home

Swiss Army Man’s overarching theme is simple but poignant: just how banal, unnecessary and ultimately alienating so many practices that we take for granted in society are. No culture is free from arbitrary taboos and customs which, if you pull back, reveal themselves as completely useless, if not harmful. One …

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Film & TVSportsTrack & Field

Tracktown film premieres in Eugene during U.S. Olympic Trials

Alexi Pappas and Jeremy Teicher’s  film Tracktown premiered at the McDonald Theater in Eugene on Tuesday evening before a sold-out crowd. The film, a fictional story based off of Pappas’s experiences and observations as a professional runner, was appropriately screened while the 2016 Olympic track and field trials are taking place …

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Arts & CultureFilm & TVMusic

Berg: Yes, Fall Out Boy’s Ghostbusters theme is bad. But there’s more to it.

It seems like everyone has an axe to grind with Paul Feig’s reboot of Ghostbusters. Whether you find the notion of an all-female cast pandering, or considering the use of African-American stereotype to be uncouth, negative emotions have prematurely surrounded the film. This week, the cycle of outrage extended to …

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