Author: Mary Cate

Things My Film Professor Says Vol. 3

Casper is back and better than ever. For those of you just now joining in, Dr. Drew Casper is one of the most recognizable professors at USC. He is a professor in the Cinema and Media Studies department and known for his unconventional and performative lectures that always receive a round of applause. All of the quotes below (except for one, which is noted) come from this past semester’s class with Casper, Postwar Hollywood 1946-1962. Overall, the class was wonderful, and I learned a lot. However these quotes made coming to lecture Tuesday nights worth it… Some are contextualized and others aren’t. Use your imagination. If you like these, feel free to enjoy volumes one and two. “Those people who voted for Hamlet are burning in hell right now.” [on Hamlet winning over Treasure of Sierra Madre] “Kim Novak couldn’t act. She could do whatever they wanted. In Vertigo she’s a presence, a dream, she isn’t real. Here too [Picnic], she doesn’t know who she is. Her problem is she has no sense of who she is.” …

Movie Review: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Star rating: 4/4 Written and directed by Martin McDonagh Do I have over 20 of drafts and film school updates on here? Yes. Cool so moving on as if I haven’t taken a 9 month hiatus (I was pregnant with and giving birth to an honors thesis, sorry!) I loved this movie in what has been a wonderful year for writer/directors (see Get Out and Lady Bird). Three Billboards stands apart from the rest thanks to its layered and immaculately written script that still lets the visual splendor of cinema able to help tell the story without overly stylistic or bizarre angles or camera movement. I cannot get one particular shot of the three billboards aflame out of my head… Much the family melodrama movies I learned about this past semester in Postwar Hollywood, there are no heroes nor villains. No, writer and director Martin McDonagh challenges the audience to step outside that dated dichotomy in order to consider bigger questions about Life and Truth: what is redemption? How do we get it? How do we accept it in others? How do …

Tips That Will Make Traveling Western Europe Easier

~~And if you look closely next to me, you’ll see the word “moron,” painted on the wall, which is exactly what this article is going to help you avoid being~~   Why do I have any authority authoring this article? First of all, I love that you’re wondering this. Secondly, I’m happy to tell you. I lived in Paris the first five months of this year. Also, I have traveled throughout England, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany. 1. Buy a portable phone charger. Worth every penny. I cannot adequately express how crucial a portable phone charger was in my travels. Pro tip: put your phone on low-batter mode the second you unplug it. Having your phone alive might be the difference between sleeping in your hostel and sleeping on the street. 2. Know the name of the train station or airport from where you are trying to leave. Cities have multiple train stations and airports. It’s too easy to end up at the wrong one with no time to spare. 3. …

Movie Review: Miss Sloane

Directed by: John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) Written by: Jonathan Perera (literally nothing else; this is his first writing credit ever) Starring: Jessica Chastain, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Mark Strong, Sam Waterson, Alison Pill I have seen a few movies without posting a review (Split, King Kong, Logan, Hidden Figures) because I am working on some other ideas. I figured I would follow the same protocol for Miss Sloane tonight: see the movie, jot down my thoughts, and save for later. That was before. After seeing what is undoubtedly the best movie I have seen in theaters in over a year, I feel compelled to write a review. I loved this movie. This is my first four-star review since…..I actually do not even know. It’s been well over a year, though. This review will not be good either. I just need to quickly spew how utterly, mind-boggling superb this movie is so that you all can see it and know what I’m talking about. I don’t even want to think about awards Miss Sloane did not receive. There are …

My Thoughts on the 2017 Oscar Nominees

THE OSCARS ARE THIS SUNDAY. THIS ARTICLE IS NOT PREDICTING WHO WILL WIN. YOU CAN GO READ THAT SORT OF THING ON LITERALLY ANY NEWS SITE RIGHT NOW (Peter Travers of Rolling Stone is my personal favorite). I’M ONLY HERE TO TELL YOU WHAT I THINK, AS IF IT MATTERS. MAP KEY: If you are the type of person who likes to know other people’s opinions on things, usually to validate your own opinions, then read on! (I’m the same way) At the end of this article, I provided a list of movies that came out in 2016 that I thought were great even if the Academy did not think so. An underline means that you can click on the movie title and be led to my review of the movie. If I have not yet seen the movie, I put an * by it. Only read the below statement if you have a cold heart: ###################If you get worked up over this article, cool it. All of these filmmakers are incredible, and I would give …

Movie Review: Silence

Star rating: 1.5/4 Directed by Martin Scorsese Written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese (based on the 1966 historical fiction novel by Shūsaku Endō) Starring: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker (my idol) I felt nothing after watching this movie. I saw it at 18:45 on a Friday night in one of Paris’ most popular movie spots in the underground shopping mall next to the Louvre museum. The entire theater was sold out. I still felt nothing. The story felt so phony. Was it the undoubtedly intentional lack of music (yet somehow two people were credited as score composers, what…)? The lack of intrigue? The lack of heart? All I knew walking out of the theater two hours and forty minutes later is that I did not want any part of it. Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson are some of the finest living actors. Yet, why did our leading man, Andrew Garfield, who normally puts in 110% into his roles and practically sweats pathos on-screen, leave me feeling nothing? As for Adam …

Movie Review: I, Daniel Blake

    Written by: Paul Laverty (The Wind That Shakes the Barley) Directed by: Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Kes) Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires I saw La La Land for a second time last week. Escapism. It’s all we need on a gloomy day. But sometimes a movie forces us to pay attention, to experience reality as we experience it. Phone trees, being on hold for 45 minutes, being told “that’s not my decision to make,” and just the general frustration of running around in circles because no one seems to know what they are talking about. Imagine pitching a movie on the most horrid parts of human daily life. Enter Ken and Paul. I, Daniel Blake is little piece of nostalgic Italian neorealism that won the highest honor (the Palm D’Or) at the Cannes Film Festival last year. This being my only knowledge of the movie, I went to see it at 1pm on a Friday afternoon, in a old shoddy movie theater that definitely looked more like a carnival show room. There were two …

Movie Review: Paterson

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Dead Man) Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani Star rating: 3/4 Paterson is a movie where I am frighteningly tempted to look at reviews before forming any kind of opinion on it myself. There’s a lot of symbolism, motif, ambiguity in this movie—what is writer-director Jim Jarmusch trying to say? What is Adam Driver trying to convey in his performance of an everyday bus driver? Part of me thinks the relationship between Adam Driver’s character, Paterson, and Golshifteh Farahani’s character, Laura, is soul-sucking and depressing. Then I have to consider that maybe I feel that way because it’s realistic. And maybe not even so bad, all things considering. Paterson makes me wonder why we even read poetry, makes me want to ride the bus, makes me want to eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations more. Though I may not understand all of Jarmusch’s subtlety (why were twins a recurring motif?), he wrote Laura to perfection. I thought she was annoying. Then I thought she was wonderful. I often wanted to leave Paterson’s …

Movie Review: Jackie

Star rating: 3.5/4 I saw this movie about a month ago back in Tulsa with my mother. I am not entirely sure why I did not jot down my immediate thoughts, as I normally do after I see a film. However, this wonderful movie has stayed with me, compelling me to write a quick review. I am not normally a huge fan of the biopic in terms of entertainment value. But Jackie really kept me interested. Perhaps it was the haunting discordant score of string instruments. Or maybe it was Natalie Portman’s soft voice as the First Lady. I know that the jagged narrative, which jumped around sporadically from Jackie’s interview post assassination to her life preceding the tragedy, was compelling. Peter Sarsgaard is a personal favorite of mine, so I’m a little biased with everything he does. A month after viewing, I am struggling to give specifics for why I enjoyed it so much beyond what I just said. But since I still think of Jackie a month after viewing with awe, I recommend it is worth your …

Movie Review: Moonlight

Star rating: 3/4 Writer/director: Barry Jenkins Starring: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes   The weird thing is I thought I was seeing Silence tomorrow… Ha Ha Ha Moonlight had a lot to live up to, I’ll give it that. I will. I’ll also throw in some things that were wonderful: the colorful lighting, the bold and unconventional camera movement, the single violin score (for most of the movie, anyway), the wonderful acting of Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes, the wonderful supporting acting of Janelle Monae. Yet, I am trying to figure something out about this movie, which tells the story of Chiron in three different phases of life as a young boy, high schooler, and adult, that does not totally sit right with me: the silence. The movie had so much air I could have float back to Los Angeles if I knew how to harness it. I swear 50% of this movie is people looking at each other, no score, no words. Just looking. Staring. That’s a fact. You either love it or …