JACKIE

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A heartbroken Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) arrives in the White House after her husband’s killing

Paced, not overhyped, meaningful, overwhelming… ‘Jackie’ was arguably a risky film to make because there have been at least ten other productions dealing with the events before, and it’s the most clear example of a feature with a woman at the center. However, Portman’s Oscar-nominated performance elevates it and breathes new life not only into a woman we love to feel pity towards, but someone who was even more groundbreaking herself.

“There should be more horses, more soldiers… more crying, more cameras… I’m not the First Lady anymore. I lost Jack somewhere. What was real? What was performance?” reads one very powerful line. Set in 1963, ‘Jackie’ follows the life of one of the most iconic First Ladies after the horrendous and utterly public assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The overwhelming horror that darkened her life in a split of second, besides the world watching her every move, resulted in a painful exposure that she ironically found useful. In the movie, there is one breath-taking scene where she refuses to wash the blood away. It’s hours until she takes a shower and said blood runs from her hair down her nude back. She wanted the planet to see the magnitude of the appalling. The unfathomable impact and the noise of the breaking news. And she sure did, the event becoming perhaps the most infamous episodes in the history of American politics.

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The widowed Jackie Kennedy at his husband’s multitudinous funeral

However, the razor-sharp Jackie didn’t let it become the center of her reality. Rather, she saw an opportunity to hold the press accountable and indeed be able to shape her husband’s legacy. Nowadays, it sounds surreal to even entertain the thought that a First Lady, let alone a President (well), could personally say what they allow to make an interview. When we hear that she was an iconic First Lady, that’s the kind of material we allude to – not only was she known to have an encyclopedic memory, she had a character that only a few First Ladies have shown to have.

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As for the movie’s assets, Portman’s performance was rightfully amongst the top five: heart-wrenching, impossibly accurate appearance-wise and fair. Not to pit girls against one another, Emma Stone’s was arguably more complete because of the singing, dancing and covering of a number of emotions. But the huge responsibility of playing someone real, iconic, and nail it, is not only a victory per se but also a safe haven in most cases when it comes to nabbing the golden statuette: Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln, Ray Charles, Erin Brokovich, Katharine Hepburn, Truman Capote, Gandhi… On the plus side, Natalie will be playing Ruth Bader Ginsburg next year, so…

The soundtrack is a presence on its own, poignantly wrapping the key moments through deep and haunting pieces scored by Mica Levi before actually watching the film. The costume design is dead on, with designs not just vaguely resembling, but almost identical to the former First Lady’s.

In conclusion, Jackie turns brilliantly on its costume design, score and of course Natalie Portman’s performance, resulting in an accurate and classy biopic that is as fair to the real events as depicting of the commendable and hugely fascinating Jackie Kennedy.

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President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy share a moment before a parade

Running time: 1h 40 minutes.

Country: United States, Chile, France

Release date: December 2th, 2016

Box office: $24.8M

Grade: B

All images are taken from Google.

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LA LA LAND

City of stars… Will it be 14 Oscars…?

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Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as Sebastian Wilder and Mia Dolan

Most certainly not, as you might suspect. But somewhere up there, quite possibly so. In fact, I’m going to call it right now: 7 (update: I got it right, damn you Bonnie and Clyde). Be it as it may, Damien Chazelle’s unprecedented hit is almost hypnotizing: colorful, well-crafted, highly original cinematography, stunning soundtrack, seriously watchable performances and a very interesting ending.

Set in the very dreamy Los Angeles, ‘La La Land’ follows two young artists: Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling). Mia is a struggling actress who makes ends meet as a waitress, whereas Sebastian is a pianist who has recently disbanded from John Legend’s Keith (why in the world). They meet on a night when both are frustrated and when running into each other at a party shortly after, the pair becomes inseparable. They push each other to pursue their dream careers and everything that hadn’t worked out before because of self-doubt or reluctance starts falling into place. However, the fairy tale stumbles when Sebastian is offered to join the band again. Persuaded by Mia despite knowing he might fall prey to commercial interests, the young man accepts so as to have a stable job. But such is their success that a tour follows, he misses Mia’s big play and not only does she deem it the last straw personally, but also professionally because she does a poor job. They split and she quits to go to her “home home” in Nevada, but he follows her and makes sure she goes back to the last and definitive audition.

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John Legend’s first major acting role as band leader Keith

Chazelle’s feature somehow reminds me of ‘Shrek.’ It takes everything we know about a genre and belies all its stereotypes through honesty and optimism. That may be the secret to ‘La La Land’ being unanimously thought disarming; the movie is esthetically perfect, but the story and the characters are not. ’30 Rock’-style, the characters show us their vulnerabilities first thing, positioning themselves at the audience’s level so that we can root for them. Stone is a shoe-in, and Gosling can rest assured the world has ultimately come to learn what a multi-layered performer he is. As for the soundtrack, I wouldn’t be surprised if the musical categories take the night by storm, and the cinematography is pretty much top-notch. But even more importantly, as a whole this is an enjoyable movie about love, dreams and good music. One with few flaws that sounds like a great plan, especially now that we need that more than ever. (Irritating though as the sentence is starting to ring).

In essence, I believe that few directors offer the variety of pleasures that Damien Chazelle has proven to with ‘La La Land,’ which will likely be remembered as one of the most entertaining and charming musicals for many generations to come. Let’s see how the Academy operates tomorrow…

Release date: December 9th, 2016

Country: United States

Grade: A

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As ‘Titanic’ and ‘All About Eve,’ ‘La La Land’ has been nominated in all 14 eligible categories

Running time: 2h 8 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: December 9, 2016.

Box office: $427.2M

Grade: A

All images are taken from Google.

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ALTERNATIVE FREEDOM

Through perseverance, the truth will reign supreme

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White House’s James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

By Leah O’Connor

9:51 PM PST 02/24/17

Freedom of the press is one of most important rights that citizens of the United States of America hold. This goes for both the journalists in charge of collecting and presenting the truth to the public, and those who read their publications. As of late there seems to be a war on the press, coming directly from the president himself. It is almost as if our government is purposely trying to create a divide within the country, using people’s press preferences as a direct line of action. And it’s working.

The media is one of the main forms of communication when it comes to relaying the government’s policies to the masses. I receive notifications on my phone from the New York Times and NPR multiple times a day, keeping me updated to what is going on within the White House. And that is just the bare minimum of information I could receive. Without this media, I would be left in the dark to these decisions that could directly affect my life, or the lives of people with whom I feel empathy towards. As the government continues to try and suppress the voice of the media, it makes me fear for the future of free speech.

For the news outlets that do support Trump, the utilization of the phrase “alternative facts” has become a frequent occurrence. A bias when it comes to stations — such as Fox News — is to be expected, but I find it increasingly frightening to hear of blatant lies being sold as news. Kellyanne Conway is a prime culprit of doing just that, having made up a massacre (The Bowling Green Massacre), along with defending the use of “alternative facts.” Plain and simple, there is no such thing as an “alternative fact”, for the phrase itself is an oxymoron. Yet, this form of media is being praised by our government, while other publications, that in the past have been highly respected, are being disregarded as propaganda. I fear that this mentality could quickly spiral into areas of fascism if the direction does not change.

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Kellyanne Conway, White House Senior Advisor and Trump’s former campaign manager

I cannot stand by and accept the concept of “ignorance is bliss” when it comes to the political climate of today. There is too much at stake to just ignore the problems. Over the past few years, I had slowly been making myself more conscious of what is going on around me, but upon entering college, and especially upon Trump’s election, I decided that I needed to become even more aware. I became more outspoken on social media platforms, and within my own personal life. I decided that I could not live my life passively.

‘Saturday Night Live’ has been one of the strongest forces when it comes to calling out the Trump administration for their BS. Since the election, the comedy show’s ratings have spiked to its highest level in six years, showing that there are at least some positives to the situation. Those positives are in terms of inspiration for the arts. With times of turmoil often comes great inspiration for artists, and in this case that inspiration comes across in the form of mockery on ‘SNL.’ By making fun of Trump and his administration, it personally makes me feel less alone in my feelings towards him.

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(Next) Emmy winners Kate McKinnon as Conway and Alec Baldwin as Trump

No matter how hard the Trump Administration tries to discredit the media and censor opinions that differ from the Conservative agenda, it is important to remember that we cannot let ourselves be silenced by a country that was built on the idea of free speech. Staying informed is the only way to truly combat the war that Trump is trying to create. Our weapons are our minds and our media, and I believe that through perseverance, the truth will reign supreme.

All political views compiled in this essay come from a Democrat viewpoint and are unequivocally subjective.

All images are taken from Google.

This story also appears on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

MERYL STREEP

 

20 nominaciones al Óscar, 30 a los Globos de Oro… No por nada asociamos el nombre de Meryl Streep con la excelencia. Tras varias décadas compitiendo contra sí misma, este año la Asociación de la Prensa Extranjera de Hollywood le ha  concedido el premio Cecile B. Demille a toda una vida de logros. Esperando ese cuarto Óscar❤️