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oscargraphic_WEBStar Wars 

By Leo DiPierro

Star Wars arguably has been one of the most influential and well-known pop culture sensations ever since the first film’s release in 1977. The most recent addition to the franchise, “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens,” is no exception. The film opened to the highest-grossing domestic box office weekend in history, surpassing even that of the previous highest-grossing film, James Cameron’s “Avatar,” and earning over $879,289,346 as of mid-January. The success is well deserved, as the film is an incredibly satisfying experience, both visually and with its introduction of new settings, characters, and dilemmas.

The film’s plot picks up 30 years after “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” After the fall of the galactic empire, the sinister First Order has arisen and is encircling the galaxy with its evil intent. The opening of the film lands the viewers in a new and yet familiar world, the wreckage-filled scavenger desert planet of Jakku, where the main characters Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron and antagonists, Kylo Ren and the First Order are introduced.

The cast is composed of John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. The film also reintroduces the cast of the original trilogy as their old characters, all of whom played key roles in the film’s plot. “The Force Awakens” is also immensely satisfying in terms of cinematography and visual effects. Along with the wide array of modern special effects offered, JJ Abrams, the film’s director, also integrated model-based effects from the original films into the modern slew of graphics. John Williams also makes a fantastic contribution with the film’s soundtrack, offering newly mixed versions of the main theme as well as intriguing other themes throughout the film.

 

The Revenent

by Vincent Boot

Rather than refer to it by it’s title, many moviegoers have referred to “The Revenant” simply as “DiCaprio’s new movie.”  Coming straight off of winning three Oscars in the Academy Awards of 2015 for “Birdman,” director Alejandro Iñáritu surprised us with more ground-breaking cinematography, accompanied by an all star cast in this film.  “The Revenant,” which was nominated for 12 Academy Awards for the upcoming Oscars ceremony, wasn’t an easy film to construct.  The crew often battled with harsh weather conditions, like extreme cold, due to the fact that the majority of filming was done in Alberta, Canada.  The movie, which covers the compelling story of Hugh Glass will be branded an instant classic in cinema.

In terms of cinematography, acting, and overall quality, this film was outstanding.  Its Oscar nomination for best cinematography was achieved through the fabulous nature shots, and blending of long-range and close-ranged, action-packed filming.  The film’s acting speaks for itself, as DiCaprio and Tom Hardy are both nominated for the upcoming Academy Awards.  What I found interesting was how solid DiCaprio’s performance was despite his lack of dialogue.

Overall the film was visually stunning and had excess quality in every aspect of creation.

Spotlight

by Calvin Rosevear
In 2002, the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team, “Spotlight,” published a pulitzer-winning investigation of the priest molestation epidemic and cover-up by the Catholic church.

It’s a very powerful film, with the explicit subject matter presented in a respectful and discrete manner, helping “Spotlight” get nominated for best picture. The film conveys the anxiety and frustration that accompanies the coverage of a dangerous topic.

The musical score was composed by former Academy-award winner, Howard Shore (“Lord of the Rings” and “Silence of the Lambs”). “Spotlight” opened with a very quiet, slightly sad music and continued to develop the music throughout the movie, building it along with the plot and tension.

The acting also helped to build the plot and tension. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams were both nominated for supporting actor Oscars. Both had the task of playing a role in which they had to cover a story that went against how they were raised. Ruffalo played his character very well, when he finally snapped at the frustration of the situation.

The movie had no major weak points, so it’s vast recognition comes as no surprise.

 

 

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