Best films of 2018

The year is coming to an end and as we look back on what we’ve been through in our lives, whether it be a bad break up or finally graduating college, let’s also take a look back at what the wonderful world of film has brought us this year with the best movies of 2018. “Black Panther” Director: Ryan Coogler Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o Audiences saw three entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year, including the wrecking ball, “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the best of the group was hands-down the first to hit theaters, “Black Panther.” Though the visual effects definitely could have used some extra work, including the final fight between the lead hero and villain Eric Killmonger, the film’s deep and powerfully layered story, rich illustration of African cultures, exhilarating soundtrack by rapper Kendrick Lamar and incredible performances from its cast, namely that of stars Boseman and Jordan, made this not only the best Marvel movie this year, but one of the best in the franchise.   “Game Night” Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein Stars: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Jesse Plemons The concept of a simple game going wrong has been the

Marvel’s femme fatale take the spotlight

With the recent release of the highly anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War,” Marvel Studios has yet again proven that it knows how to release a summer blockbuster that can be enjoyed by people of all walks of life. What we did not know is if Marvel was listening to the cries from its fans, asking for more female representation and bigger roles for the female characters. Before some of its more recent releases in the past three years, one of the biggest criticisms pointed toward Marvel Studios was that there were no females with significant roles besides Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, was questioned on the matter back at a press conference in 2014. “I think it comes down to timing, which is what I’ve sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story,” Feige said. “However, I hope that we introduce a strong female-leading movie franchise sooner rather than later.” While Marvel has yet to release a film with a leading female role, it has introduced us to stronger supporting characters such as Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana in “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014). We have

Crowning the voice of the next generation

On April 16, Kendrick Lamar  accomplished an amazing feat by winning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Music for his April 2017 album, “DAMN.” This marks the first time the award has been given to an artist outside of the classical or jazz music genres. When you stand back and look at the bigger picture, this isn’t just a win for Lamar — but for the hip-hop community at large. The buzz surrounding the award may not drastically increase his riches, or propel his career to new heights; however, what it does bring is an overdue respect and recognition to the genre of  hip-hop, which is often overlooked. While hip-hop has been around for nearly four decades, people often do not hold the genre in the same tier as the more “traditional” classical or jazz genre. We have seen the start of an effort to change this recently, with the induction of N.W.A. into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, and Jay-Z being the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017. After the release of “DAMN.” Kendrick headlined both weekends of 2017’s Coachella and took home six MTV awards and five Grammy awards. He

Not all heroes wear capes

Senay Kenfe saw the viral video of the children from the Ron Clarke Academy in Atlanta finding out they would be viewing “Black Panther” and was immediately inspired. The happiness on the children’s faces motivated Kenfe to start a similar campaign for underprivileged Long Beach low income students to see the movie as well. “I work in music so I hit up a couple people I know in the industry privately, and once I got a lot of people interested in the helping, I set up a GoFundMe,” Kenfe said. “It kind of took off unexpectedly. Within a day, I’d raised $2,000.” Kenfe explained his reasoning for choosing the movie in his GoFundMe story. “I am of the opinion that the superhero trope and the idea of combatting the evil in the world that we exist in should be maximized and encouraged,” Kenfe wrote. “It's hard to deny the fact that there are limited examples of such in the media today with regards to black figures.” Kenfe said he felt the movie could show children that black figures can be heroes rather than just “slaves or criminals.” Mareli Dominguez, a fourth grader at a Title I school was one of

By | 2018-02-27T22:54:01+00:00 Feb 27, 2018 | 10:54 pm|Categories: Arts & Life, Today|Tags: |

“Black Panther” is a fresh take on the superhero film

It's become a cliché for reviews to proclaim that Marvel Studios’ newest movie is their best output yet. But “Black Panther” really is the best movie to bear the Marvel name; it's the only one to draw tears from me. It isn't just a beautiful or entertaining movie, it's perfect. “Black Panther” uses humor not just to entertain, but to tell us something about the characters, and avoids the usual trope of cutting tension for the sake of a laugh. The humorous impact may vary from person to person, but it worked for me. Every character has a meaningful arc brought to life by a fantastic cast. Action scenes typically featured in superhero movies are present, but these feel different. The camera moves throughout sets without cutting and pulled back from the action, in a way which helps the viewer keep up on the fight with ease. The focus is on characters and what the fight means for them, not grand displays of acrobatic feats or power. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison makes these scenes dynamic, and a riveting soundtrack which combines the hip-hop rap melodies of Kendrick Lamar and traditional African music makes them better. The drama of “Black Panther” is

By | 2018-02-18T21:21:35+00:00 Feb 18, 2018 | 9:21 pm|Categories: Arts & Life, Film and Television, Reviews, Showcase, Today|Tags: , , |

Negative Space: Starting Black Panther

Welcome back to Negative Space, the Daily 49er’s formerly biweekly column on comic books. I say formerly because we'll be doing this every week now! The goal remains the same: to connect you with the best that comic books have to offer. Every week I'll be recommending one book that fits into a monthly theme. So that you can access these books for free, all recommendations will be drawn from either the University Library or the Long Beach Public Library. “Black Panther” hits the silver screen for only the second time this weekend, but he's graced the pages of Marvel Comics for over fifty years. That's a lot of history for new fans to catch up on - so don't. If more Black Panther is what you desire, then start with book one of the hero’s current series: “Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet.” The book pulls developments from prior “Black Panther” adventures in a way that doesn't require readers to be experts in the character’s history. Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates pens a story that sees T’Challa, the Black Panther, return to his home country of Wakanda. The Black Panther is king in Wakanda, and T’Challa has reclaimed the throne

By | 2018-02-13T21:36:20+00:00 Feb 13, 2018 | 9:36 pm|Categories: Arts & Life, Columns, Today|Tags: |