Author: Staley Sharples

A Life In Waves Elevates An Inspiring Life

Overview: The career of electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani is unpacked in this engaging documentary. Gunpowder & Sky; 2017; Not Rated; 76 minutes. The Limits Of Sound: A Life In Waves begins with Suzanne Ciani’s appearance on David Letterman in 1980, and it’s the perfect introduction to her strange, otherworldly sounds. Her career spans from classical piano, to experimental electronic music, to commercial sound design, to a deep dive in New Age music. Ciani, in testimony and archival footage, often speaks about how sound functions and how it’s created. She discusses the mood attached to manmade sounds, and how...

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To The Bone Is An Imperfect But Affecting Look At Eating Disorders

Overview: A young woman works at managing her anorexia nervosa in an unconventional group home. Netflix; 2017; Rated TV-MA; 107 minutes. Body Horror: Elements of To the Bone were like watching body horror: watching Keanu Reeves’s character examine Lily Collins’s bony, bruised spine made my skin crawl. Collins, who has battled with eating disorders in the past, lost a considerable amount of weight for her role as Ellen, and its efficacy was not lost on me. Ellen is so thin that it looks physically painful, a feature that’s emphasized by her yelps of pain as she obsessively does sit-ups to...

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Transformers: The Last Knight Will Please Its Target Audience and That’s About It

Overview: As their planet Cybertron begins to collapse, Transformers must partner with Earth-bound humans in order for both of them to survive. Rated PG-13; 149 minutes, 2017; Paramount Pictures. Bay, The Maximalist: Transformers: The Last Knight marks the newest nosedive into Michael Bay’s maximalist style of filmmaking, piling on visual stimulation through action sequences in exotic locales and sarcastically ridiculous comedic scenes. Never one for subtlety, Bay’s been ramping up the intensity of his Transformers franchise for a decade. Though Transformers: The Last Knight can be an assault on the senses at times, its decibel levels and explosion count...

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Father’s Day Reflections: Dad’s Movie Nights

Around the holidays, my mom would usually have several important conference calls with Santa scheduled. While Mom was busy talking to the big guy, my sister and I would get some quality Dad time. On those nights where it was just the three of us, we’d head to one of our favorite restaurants (Chik-Fil-A or the ultra-garlicky Fazoli’s was often the top choice, much to my mom’s chagrin), take our food to Dad’s office, pop in a VHS from my Dad’s collection, and have a movie party together. Comedies were always our favorites; I can’t count the number of...

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‘The Circle’ Doesn’t Complete Itself

Overview: A young woman lands a highly coveted job at tech giant The Circle, but soon finds herself challenged by a host of moral dilemmas when her boss asks her to participate in an experiment for the company. STX Entertainment; 2017; Rated PG-13; 110 minutes. All Eyes On You: Based on Dave Eggers’s 2013 novel of the same name, The Circle carries a premise that is equal parts ridiculous and believable. Though this sounds like a bizarre contradiction, the film taps into the overblown tech anxiety buzzing everywhere from The White House to personal consumers and amplifies those fears...

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‘Unforgettable’ is a Flawed Movie Destined to be More Hated for Being Honest About Itself

Overview: A divorcee (Katherine Heigl) gives her ex-husband’s new girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) the worst welcome to the neighborhood of all time. Warner Bros.; 2017; Rated R; 100 minutes. Is Katherine Heigl Our Joan Crawford?: Watching Unforgettable in a half-empty small theater, I thought to myself, “poor Katherine Heigl.” Her show Doubt was canned after just two episodes this February. Her attempts at big screen comebacks have led her to winning the Razzie for Worst Actress. Now, with the erotic thriller Unforgettable set to bomb in its competition against the eighth installment of ultra dudebro action franchise F8 of the Furious,...

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Three Words That Will Stick With Matt Novack Forever

Having worked on the Adult Swim TV Show Children’s Hospital and feature-length comedies such as Role Models, They Came Together, and the upcoming How To Be A Latin Lover, Matt Novack is an experienced composer with a keen ear for just the right music to compliment comedy. I had the pleasure of speaking to Matt Novack about his work on these projects, and how he goes about developing a score with some of the most well-known actors and directors in comedy. — Staley Sharples (AE): Tell me a little more about your background. How did you first get started composing?...

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Fist Fight Hits Below the Belt

Overview: After an incident involving rebellious students, two high school teachers go head-to-head for an old-fashioned fist fight in the parking lot. Warner Bros.; 2017; Rated: R; 91 minutes. The Angry Black Man: Fist Fight is a ham-fisted attempt to provide commentary on an underfunded education system and the damage it does to the teachers and students within that system. Instead, it reveals itself to be a film that takes some of the brightest stars in comedy and reduces them to one-dimensional, offensive stereotypes. Ice Cube’s character, tough-guy teacher Ronald Strickland, is initially positioned as the film’s villain. Strickland is...

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Netflix Hidden Gem: Inside Job

Inside Job (2010) Directed by: Charles Ferguson Genre: Documentary Sony Pictures Classics Synopsis: A documentary that deconstructs the factors that led to the Credit Crisis of 2008. Overview: Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s searing documentary about the Credit Crisis, is one of the most deliberate and unrelenting investigations in the popular documentary canon. Taking a politically liberal stance, the film condemns the bankers and government employees in power, and in some ways plays almost as if the director is deconstructing a mastermind heist. Even the title Inside Job is a fitting descriptor for the work done by the film’s interviewees, detailing their roles...

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Keep In Touch Explores Past Lives

Overview: After a personal crisis, Colin Glennon finds himself revisiting his past and attempting to track down his childhood sweetheart. Finding out she died in a car accident many years earlier, he comes across her younger sister Jessie, resulting in unintentional romance and hard truths for the both of them. Unbundled Underground; 2015; Not Rated; 109 minutes. Rebuilding:  From the beginning of the film, it’s evident Colin Glennon (Ryan Patrick Bachand) has been in prison. For how long or for what reason, we initially don’t know. In those early scenes, Colin seems to be stripped of self-confidence with the...

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6 Female Directors We Want To See On Jessica Jones

Marvel’s Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg recently revealed via Variety that for the next installment of Netflix’s smash hit, will feature only female directors to helm all 13 episodes of Season 2. While we wait for a list of the directors working on Jessica Jones, I created a list of some of the women I’d like to see at the helm of the second season of the series. Jennifer Kent Australian native Jennifer Kent made her directorial debut with The Babadook, showcasing her deft ability to explore emotion through horror. Many aspects of Jessica Jones could be classified as...

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Amy Schumer’s “Formation” Parody Highlights A Much Bigger Problem in Entertainment

Filming on Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn’s action comedy Mother/Daughter wrapped in August, and to generate press for the film, Schumer and Hawn released a video last week where they lip-synced to their own interpretation of Beyoncé’s black female empowerment anthem, “Formation.” Actress Wanda Sykes also makes an appearance in the parody, which features Schumer and Hawn dancing in the tropics of Hawaii, where much of their film was shot. Of course, anyone who’s ever heard “Formation” knows that having two white, affluent actresses twerk to lyrics such as “I like my negro nose and Jackson 5 nostrils” would elicit some...

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