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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fall 2013 proves to be strong season for film

    Warner Bros.

    The leaves have long since changed colors and have fallen off their trees as winter descends. In Arizona, the only way to tell that winter is here is by the hoodies and UGG boots, which have been trotted out in order to bear the frigid 60-degree weather. With finals about to send us all to DEFCON 1, let’s slow down and look back at some of the best films of the fall semester.

    “Gravity” — If there is one film you see on the big screen this year, it must be this film. Seriously, if you have not seen this film yet, treat yourself after a marathon study session when you need a break from flash cards, the library and Facebook procrastination.

    Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts whose job to service the Hubble Space Telescope quickly turns into a race against time to survive thanks to debris from an exploded satellite crashing into their space station. The canvas of pure emptiness and solitude that is space is juxtaposed with chaos and destruction of massive proportions for visuals not often seen in cinema.

    *“Blackfish*” — This disturbing documentary puts the “killer” back in killer whale. Revolving around Tilikum, one of SeaWorld’s orca whales, this film reveals, in a stark and unforgiving light, the inhumane conditions to which these whales are subject. After being kidnapped from the wild at a young age and then being forced into suffocatingly close spaces, the plight of these whales may have you legitimately reconsidering whether you can willingly set foot in SeaWorld again.

    “Blue is the Warmest Color” — The short of it: a three hour-long French film about two young lesbians with an explicit, controversial sex scene that earned it an NC-17 rating. The long of it: beautiful and transcendent. Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is 15-years-old, and her absent eyes show that she’d rather be elsewhere, wherever that may be. When her eyes light upon blue-haired Emma (Léa Seydoux), Adèle stops dead in her tracks, and the two eventually begin dating. Both actresses bare all — physically and emotionally — in two raw performances to create the best, and most tragic, screen romance of the year.

    “Fruitvale Station” — Based on true events, this film brings us the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, a young African-American man who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer at Fruitvale Station during an altercation. At only 27-years-old, director Ryan Coogler crafts an honest portrayal of Grant, an ultimately well-meaning young man trying to make his life better, but who doesn’t always make the best decisions toward this goal. Michael B. Jordan does this complex man justice with a powerful, authentic performance, capturing both the sincerity and faults of Grant.

    “12 Years A Slave” — As you can guess by the title, this isn’t a film you go out and see for a popcorn-munching good time with your buds. This is brutal, hard-to-watch cinema, as an unflinching account of the true events of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free African-American living with his family in New York before being kidnapped and forced into slavery. Michael Fassbender as tyrannical slave owner Edwin Epps, Lupita Nyong’o as a young slave that Northup befriends and Ejiofor all deliver tour-de-force performances. This is quite possibly the best film of the year.

    “The Spectacular Now” — Most of us aren’t too far removed from the good ol’ “the way we was” days of high school. Do you remember your senior year, when you were still in school, traipsing the halls as you went to class, but looking at everything with nostalgia? You hadn’t left yet, but you had that peaceful, strange resolution that you were missing high school yet experiencing everything again for the first time. “The Spectacular Now” captures this quiet, poignant last hurrah as the charming yet unambitious Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) falls for introverted Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley).

    Follow Alex Guyton @TDWildcatFilm

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