Arts and Entertainment

March Movie Marathon

A&E’s picks for your next movie night!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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By Julia Shen

“C’mon C’mon” (2021), Black-and-White

A quaint, character-centric indie film from A24 and Mike Mills (of “20th Century Women” fame), “C’mon C’mon” follows Johnny, a radio journalist who, after getting a sudden phone call from his estranged sister, is put in charge of taking care of his nephew and her son, Jesse. Nearly everything about “C’mon C’mon” is flawless. The characters feel like genuine people who you can truly sympathize with , furthered by Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffman, and Woody Norman’s stellar performances. The emotional beats hit throughout the movie, even if the conflicts aren’t completely high-stakes. The incredible score, combined with the good character writing and outstanding performances by the main cast, crafts an emotionally-charged story that watchers can truly resonate with. Additionally, the cinematography is beautiful, even with its black-and-white aesthetic. The shot composition is unique and extraordinary, each shot popping with detail. A truly underrated film, “C’mon C’mon” is a must-watch. —Luca Adeishvili

“Train to Busan” (2016), Horror

Over the years, filmmakers in Hollywood have milked the ever-popular zombie trope dry, whittling down the once-compelling genre into pathetically digestible archetypes with mediocre performances and horrendous CGI. Such lackluster movies make Yeon Sang-ho’s “Train to Busan” a prominent distinction. The audience, crammed between rickety toilets, cushioned seats, and mechanized doors, follows our protagonists on a zombie-infested journey to the quarantine zone in the Korean city of Busan. Yeon proves to be a master of juxtaposition throughout the film's progression; while the tension created is painstakingly claustrophobic, the scenes advance steadily and maintain their formulated momentum, faithfully chugging towards the end. Though the suspense is intense, it is never suffocating enough to kill: the audience gets the chance to take a breath through the humane elements and elaborate themes that are masterfully dissected within the cuts. “Train to Busan” is an elaborate allegory that explores Yeon’s ever-cynical view of humanity, where cutthroat competition and survival instinct reign supreme. Despite the repetitive trope, it is a must-watch that taps into a darker meaning of the undead. The social commentary remains, like all good messages do, as an unsettling mass in the pit of your gut. —Madison Kim

“Sorry to Bother You” (2018), Satire

Set in an alternate reality of Oakland, California, “Sorry to Bother You” is an absurd and unique satire of modern capitalism. Cassius Greene (LaKieth Stanfield) takes a job as a telemarketer, in which he uses a unique talent to climb the ranks until he meets Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), a wealthy CEO who offers Cassius an exorbitant salary at a detrimental cost. The aesthetics of “Sorry to Bother You” are almost comic book-like, featuring harsh color palettes and direct imagery and messages, but is grounded by Stanfield’s incredible and surprisingly subtle acting, joined by Tessa Thompson and Steven Yeun. The film is sharply comical, offering glaring social commentaries and an engaging and twisting plot that keeps viewers on their toes. The chaotic energy, jarring messages, and facetious nature of the film may initially turn off some viewers, but for those willing to witness a wild and unsettling film that nearly goes off the rails, “Sorry to Bother You” offers it all while still delivering potent themes concerning the disproportionate effects of capitalism and the unjust systems of society. —Lucien Clough

“Vivarium” (2019), Horror

While looking to settle down, young couple Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) take an opportunity to tour a seemingly ideal development built by a strange company. After they are shown around one of the homes for sale, the couple decides to tour the neighborhood, and the two eventually find themselves stuck in a maze of identical houses and streets. Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, “Vivarium” takes the feeling of being trapped to the next level as Gemma and Tom slowly break down. The seemingly infinite neighborhood is made to feel claustrophobic, and the fear and frustration that the couple feel as they deal with being alone in the development, as they try to raise an odd child, is portrayed through the screen, creating a suspenseful horror film and an uncomfortable feeling that ruminates once it’s done. —Roxy Perazzo

“Shawshank Redemption” (1994), Drama

Frank Darabont’s “Shawshank Redemption,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same title, is centered around a prison devoted to inmates serving lengthy sentences. Upon arriving at the prison, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) meets Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and the two immediately become friends. Two years into his sentence, Andy puts his banking knowledge to use by helping Warden Norton (Bob Gunton) manage the financial affairs of the prison. Darabont’s slower pacing invokes the audience with the illusion that no time has passed, though almost 19 years have passed by the film’s end. After a dramatic two hours, the film ends with a riveting prison escape, followed by an endearing yet slightly wistful denouement. Darabont’s depiction of Red and Andy’s experiences subtly explores many of the issues with the prison system, ranging from criminal injustice to sexual assault. Freeman and Robbins deliver remarkable performances, contributing to the film’s overall success as a dramatic yet captivating story. —Kaeden Ruparel

“21 Jump Street” (2012), Comedy

Based on the hit ‘80s television show by the same name, this reboot will keep you laughing with its light-hearted and satirical, yet almost absurdly childish, humor. It mocks stereotypical depictions of high school, following Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum), who grow a friendship as they attend police academy together and become partners in crime as officers. They are assigned to be a part of the secret Jump Street unit, where they go undercover and head back to high school to shut down a dangerous drug ring. We witness them navigate their relationships with other students and with each other as they attempt to accomplish their mission and keep themselves hidden in plain sight. The plot is propelled by the fact that neither of them are good at their job and that somehow they always seem to find a new way to humiliate themselves. However, the undeniable chemistry between the two protagonists is the true highlight of the film. Schmidt and Jenko just click. Their constant bickering and kiddish behavior mixed with Hill and Tatum’s comfortable dynamic sets the stage for an oddly tender film that leaves viewers giggling with nostalgia and amusement. —Raisa Noha

La La Land (2016), Musical

What movie marathon is complete without a musical romance included in the lineup? “La La Land” is the epitome of what musicals adapted for the big screen should entail: bright colors, heartfelt music, and a dimensional plot. The film starts off with a vibrant opening number that juxtaposes the beauty of sunny Los Angeles with the traffic that is causing this scene to happen in the first place. Viewers follow jazz pianist Sebastian “Seb” Wilder (Ryan Gosling) and actress Amelia “Mia” Dolan (Emma Stone) as they both struggle to find work within their respective industries. A blossoming relationship ensues as the two grow closer, only to be driven further apart by the conflicting ambitions that brought them together in the first place. “La La Land”’s music, composed by Justin Hurwitz, is not only catchy, but also captures the mood of the respective scenes perfectly. Gosling and Stone are also the perfect on-screen couple, which makes this film that much more enjoyable. Overall, “La La Land” is a fun movie with a twist that makes it even more qualified for a movie marathon. —Lianne Ohayon