The Andrew Garfield Renaissance

by John Downey '23 on January 29, 2022
A&E Co-Editor

Arts & Entertainment

The Andrew Garfield Renaissance

The Actor’s Recent Resurgence in Popularity

Kate Picone ’22

Note: This article contains potential spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home

Until his intense performance as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network, Andrew Garfield’s career was not recognized by the mainstream media. After viewers watched his iconic speech at the end of the film, however, he began to receive much more recognition for his authentic acting onscreen and charisma on the red carpet. He is currently experiencing a particular surge in popularity. 

After The Social Network, Garfield was cast as Peter Parker in Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man, and even though he is one of three actors who have played a live-action version of the superhero in the past two decades, his portrayal of Spider-Man remains unique and beloved. 

Indeed, Garfield brought to the role the boyish charm that Peter Parker is supposed to have, while also incorporating Spider-Man’s wit and sarcasm into his interpretation of the character. In The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, Garfield compels the audience with his adorable nerdiness, fumbling over his words when talking to Gwen Stacy, his love interest, — and his strength when saving the people of New York. 

This role remains Garfield’s most iconic to date. As a result, even though the actor has maintained a lower profile in recent years, fans of Spider-Man were quick to hope that he would make an appearance in the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man series, Spider-Man: No Way Home. To fans’ delight, Garfield appeared in the film alongside Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man Tom Holland and Tobey Maguire, who starred as the web-slinger in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, prompting many to revisit the charming actor’s career.

While Garfield will perhaps always best be known as the “amazing Spider-Man,” he is certainly not limited to that role or the superhero genre of movie. Aside from his career-changing turn in The Social Network, he is featured in more dramatic pieces. Recently, he starred alongside Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye and in the critically-acclaimed Lin-Manuel Miranda movie musical Tick, Tick…Boom! in which he portrayed RENT composer Jonathan Larson. 

Although he is only now experiencing a resurgence in popularity, Garfield has proven time and time again that he excels in any role he is given and deserves his reputation as one of today’s most talented actors.

Film Review: House of Gucci

by The Cowl Editor on December 11, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Film Review: House of Gucci

Lady Gaga Brings Infamous Saga to Life

Kate Picone ’22

After months of anticipation, the thrilling film House of Gucci was released in theaters on Nov. 24. The movie stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, played by Adam Driver. Based on the 2001 book, The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, the film follows Reggiani and Gucci’s marriage from a promising beginning to a horrific end as they and other members of their family build the Gucci empire. While this description suggests that the movie is a documentary, it is much more of a mysterious thriller drama, featuring betrayal, greed, revenge, and even murder.

However, some critics and moviegoers have criticized the message that Gaga seems to send with her portrayal of the scorned ex-wife. She said in an interview with NPR that she wanted to tell a story about women and survival, rather than focusing on the violence of Reggiani’s actions. However, the actress did admit that Reggiani ultimately did turn into a monster. Indeed, in real life, Reggiani was convicted of having her husband killed after he had many affairs and treated her poorly when all she had done was support him. She came from humble beginnings, and once she married into the Gucci family, her ambition began to grow. Reggiani had a good head for business, but the Gucci family did not take her seriously because of their own sexism. Although she came up with many ideas to grow the brand and shape it into what it is today, time and time again, she was not credited for her efforts. This lack of recognition, combined with how Reggiani’s husband treated her, informed Gaga’s performance.  

Another critique of the film is the actors’ accents, especially Gaga’s, with many noting how it changes throughout the film. However, Gaga spent nine months with a vocal coach in order to perfect her Italian accent and has expressed in multiple interviews that she altered her accent throughout the movie on purpose. She wanted to make it specific to Reggiani’s progression in life, beginning the movie with a higher pitch in her voice, and as the film goes on, making her voice lower and stronger, to reflect how Reggiani was innocent when she first entered the Gucci family and how the brand and her marriage changed her.

Despite these critiques, the film has become an immediate hit, with people rushing to theaters when it came out and continuing to do so. It has grossed 21.4 million dollars at the box office, scored a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, and received a 7/10 rating on IMDb. For those who have not seen House of Gucci yet, it’s definitely worth checking out over the winter break.

Film Preview: Dune

by The Cowl Editor on November 4, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Film Preview: Dune

The Anticipated Film’s Release

Kate Picone ’22

After much anticipation, the sci-fi epic Dune starring Zendaya, Timotheé Chalamet, and Jason Momoa debuted on Oct. 22, 2021 on HBO Max. The film has gained much attention because of its notable cast and the intriguing themes of its source material. 

Dune was adapted from a novel of the same name written in 1965 by Frank Herbert. The book was revolutionary for its time because it deals with anti-corporatism, pro-eco radicalism, and Islamophilicism. Directors and producers have wanted to transform this book into a movie for quite some time, but have been hesitant because of the content and Herbert’s reluctance to allow them to use his ideas. However, there was one previous film based on the book prior to the 2021 adaptation. This one was released in 1984, but it was less than a success despite boasting a strong cast. 

The 2021 version seems to be doing much better. Reaching a rating of 8.3/10 on IMDb and 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is safe to say the public is enjoying the newest adaptation of Dune. Critics have expressed that it is a must-see for sci-fi fans due to the cinematography and, of course, the plot itself. 

Dune follows many different characters whose stories intertwine into a cohesive narrative, but the main character is Paul Atreides, played by Chalamet. He is an intellectually gifted young man challenged with the task of rising to power while reckoning with his father’s failure to lead well. His development from the picture of helpless youth into a true leader is a focal point of the film. Indeed, Atreides foresees a crusade coming to his planet and has a vision that he must be the one to lead his people through it in order for them to prevail. There is no shortage of action throughout the story, with everything from giant sand worms to bloody battles. 

Notably, some fans have critiqued Zendaya’s lack of presence in the film. The trailer suggests that viewers will be seeing a lot of the popular actress in the movie, but audience members have complained that she appears minimally. This has been disappointing to fans of the Dune novel, as Zendaya’s character is a prominent symbol of commentary on anti-colonialism throughout the book.

However, director Denis Villeneuve has explained that there will be a sequel to Dune that deals more extensively with the latter half of its source material. He promised that Zendaya will be a bigger part of this second, upcoming installment. 

While quite long – a whopping two hours and 35 minutes – audience and critics have agreed that Dune does a great job at drawing the audience into the story and making the time fly by. Dune is currently showing in theaters and on streaming service HBO Max.

A Touching Tribute to Princess Diana

by mpalmie2 on October 21, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

A Touching Tribute to Princess Diana

Kristen Stewart Set to Bring the Beloved Icon to Life in Spencer

By Kate Picone ’23

The new Princess Diana movie, Spencer, comes to theaters Nov. 5, 2021 and is expected to take the box office by storm. Princess Diana has influenced the United States and British society in fashion, feminism, and humanitarianism since she entered the royal family in 1981 when she married Prince Charles. Since her tragic death, coverage of her life, marriage, and relationship with the Crown have only increased. Books, movies, and, most recently, the television series The Crown have endeavored to tell the real story of her life in the royal family. 

Spencer, the newest adaptation of Diana’s experiences, is expected to explore the three days before she separated from Prince Charles at Sandringham during the Christmas of 1991. While the movie is not out yet, the trailer gives the audience a good indication that this will be the closest account of Diana’s life in the last few days of her stint under the Crown’s direct rule to be conveyed on the screen.

Kristen Stewart stars as Diana, and her performance as the late princess has been praised as “a mega stroke of genius” by the New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan. Stewart’s authentic emulation of Lady Di is important since, unlike other television shows and films about her life, Spencer is more concerned with her than with the royal intrigue that came to shape her life. The film’s title, which is her maiden name, is the first indication of this unique approach to telling her story. 

A second indication comes with the first trailer for the film. Throughout the clip there are many close-up shots of Princess Diana’s face, suggesting that viewers should focus on her emotions and reactions to the paparazzi, her husband, and her mother-in-law—the queen herself. 

Another interesting aspect of this film is that it examines the princess after she had been a member of the royal family for a significant period of time. Spencer sees her enduring her husband’s affair, constant scrutiny from the royal rules, and attacks from paparazzi. Indeed, Stewart’s Diana is in an incredibly raw and vulnerable state. 

In the trailer, Prince Charles is seen explaining to Diana that she has to be two people: one that she shows to the public and one who she can be behind closed doors. This kind of discussion is likely not far off from real life as Diana was constantly reminded to be a royal, not herself, by people like her husband and the queen.

The trailer alone indicates that Spencer will be a beautiful, sad, and tragic story of a free spirit caged by the regulations of a life she was pushed into. In addition to Buchanan’s glowing review of Stewart’s performance in the titular role, other reviews express that she played the part of the late princess with a passion and liveliness inspired by Diana’s legacy. 

In a Venice Film Festival interview, Stewart expressed that playing the princess made her feel “free and alive” and went on to describe her as “a sparkly house on fire.” The actress’ unique way of describing Princess Diana further affirms the seriousness with which she took the assignment of bringing the beloved icon to life as well as that Spencer will be a touching dedication to the loveable and iconic princess.

The 2021 Tony Awards Celebrate the Return of Live Theatre

by The Cowl Editor on October 7, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

The 2021 Tony Awards Celebrate the Return of Live Theatre

Tina and Moulin Rouge! Among the Night’s Notable Winners

Kate Picone ’22

On the night of Sept. 26, 2021, the 73rd Tony Awards were held at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City. This event celebrates the greatest accomplishments in theatre. Uunlike other award shows that applaud performances on the small screen and the silver screen, the Tonys are all about onstage performances. At this year’s ceremony, many outstanding productions and people were nominated and received awards, but among the most notable were Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Adrienne Warren for her role in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical won the Tony for Best Musical, Aaron Tveit won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his part in the production, and Alex Timbers won Best Direction of a Musical for his guiding vision of the show. This musical is one of the most popular offerings on Broadway, and has been for quite some time because of its catchy songs, beautiful costume work, and eccentric themes. After a long season of COVID-19 halting all Broadway performances, it was the perfect musical to reignite the Broadway scene. The cast and crew’s exhilarating performances and tremendous efforts, some of which were featured at the Tonys, rightfully won them the aforementioned awards.

Another notable musical featured at the Tonys was Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, especially because of Adrienne Warren’s inspiring performance as Tina Turner. To say that she embodied the role of the famed singer is an understatement, as she worked extremely hard to capture her in both an entertaining and respectful way. The actress said in a CBS interview, “It feels like a blessing, and I’m happy to be able to do what I love.” 

In the CBS interview, Warren also remarked that she felt a lot of pressure to do right by Turner and Turner’s fans with this production. The musical tells the story of Turner’s life, spanning from her turbulent childhood and being “discovered” to her treatment in show business and her terrible marriage to Ike Turner. Warren additionally expressed that the famed singer has always been an inspiration to her, explaining, “I’ve looked up to her for as long as I can remember…And I had never seen another woman sing rock’n’roll that looked like me.” 

While the performance was outstanding, the production took a lot out of Warren physically. She had to train and work out so much that it resulted in injuries to her ankle and knee, as well as a herniated disc. The show began to consume her life, especially since she was onstage for nearly the entire production, performing 24 numbers. 

The role also required a lot of emotional energy. Warren  felt a responsibility to represent Black women in show business, not only through Turner’s experience, but also with regard to what Black women in theatre face today in 2021. She wanted to shine a light on Black performers and force the industry to notice them. 

In striving to do so, her performance as Turner allowed Warren to find herself. For the first time in her career, she felt that she had accomplished the representation she and other Black creators deserved. Indeed, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical has definitely gotten the attention and recognition it deserves, not only through the awards it received at the Tonys, but also through the range of emotions viewers feel while watching the production.

It is such powerful viewing experiences as these that make live theatre so meaningful, and that make the Tonys such an important event.