The Daily Texan

All content by James Preston Poole
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Life&Arts writer reviews his experience at the Texan

August 7, 2018

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing permanent staffers to say farewell and reflect on their time spent at the The Daily Texan. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (-30-)...

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‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ fails to equal sum of its faulty parts

August 7, 2018

Hollywood has tried relentlessly to find a starring vehicle for Kate McKinnon for the past few years, and it seems like they’ll have to keep looking. Following high-profile flops such as the...

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‘Teen Titans GO! To The Movies’ slams superhero movies in entertaining family romp

August 3, 2018

When “Deadpool” was released in 2016, it was violent, profane, but also extremely successful, so of course they made a children’s version! OK, “Teen Titans GO! To The Movies”...

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Short film ‘Bastards’ from RTF graduates combines social issues and action

August 1, 2018

There’s no shortage of unique voices coming out of the radio-television-film department, a fact that program graduates Shadi Qutob and Farzan Sewani embody to the very fullest with their new short...

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‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ sets high bar for blockbuster cinema

July 31, 2018

Since the first film’s release in 1996, the most impossible mission the “Mission: Impossible” franchise faced was trying to prove it was more than just an American imitation of James...

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‘BlacKkKlansman’ is provocative dive into race in America

July 24, 2018

Spike Lee is nothing if not a provocative filmmaker, making movies that are often charged with racial issues. His latest, “BlacKkKlansman,” embodies this reputation more than any other. Despite...

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Middle school dramedy ‘Eighth Grade’ is important film for adults, adolescents

July 17, 2018

Middle school is an uncomfortable time, and now we get it to relive it. A24’s new film “Eighth Grade” aims to accurately recreate the pains of adolescence. The feature film writing/directing...

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Superhero sequel ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ is small victory for Marvel

July 15, 2018

After “Avengers: Infinity War,” it made sense for Marvel to go smaller, but nobody expected them to go this small. Superhero sequel “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” once again directed...

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Haunting documentary ‘Three Identical Strangers’ is one of year’s best films

July 10, 2018

Not only is truth stranger than fiction, but it is also quite cinematic. Such is the case for “Three Identical Strangers,” a provocative new documentary directed by Tim Wardle. The film follows...

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Second season of ‘Luke Cage’ transforms the series into compelling crime drama

July 6, 2018

Second seasons of television are often difficult to nail. After starting off strong, many series stumble in their sophomore efforts by either trying to do too much or struggling to find a story. Marvel...

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‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ explores impact of violence, corruption

July 3, 2018

Benicio del Toro finally has a franchise to call his own. Unlikely as it may seem, the highly acclaimed 2015 thriller “Sicario” has spawned a sequel, focused this time around on del Toro’s...

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Sports comedy ‘Uncle Drew’ is far from slam dunk

June 29, 2018

When there isn’t enough material in books and comics left to adapt, where does Hollywood turn? Web series, apparently. Yes, “Uncle Drew,” the new film from “Drumline” director...

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Stylish ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ saves franchise from extinction

June 26, 2018

When “Jurassic World” hit theaters, it left a portion of the audience feeling underwhelmed. As nice as it was to return to Isla Nublar, many felt writer-director Colin Trevorrow played it safe...

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Pixar’s latest flick is ‘super’

June 19, 2018

Fourteen years after writer-director Brad Bird’s smash animated hit “The Incredibles” hit theaters, audiences are finally getting a sequel. Unlike the underwhelming “Finding Dory,”...

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All-woman heist caper ‘Ocean’s 8’ will steal your heart

June 17, 2018

A cast entirely made up of A-list actresses, a heist and a dash of humor — what’s not to love? “Ocean’s 8,” the latest installment of the “Ocean’s” franchise,...

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‘First Reformed’ is masterpiece of biblical proportions

June 13, 2018

Paul Schrader is no stranger to darkness. The prolific writer-director has more than 40 years of experience exploring the uncomfortable side of humanity, most notably in his screenplay for Martin Scorsese's...

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Outstanding start can’t save ‘Hereditary’ from messy plotting

June 12, 2018

Every year, a new horror film is proclaimed a classic, and this year, it’s “Hereditary.” The debut feature from writer-director Ari Aster arrives in theaters with quite the pedigree....

‘Bobby Kennedy for President’ is surprisingly thoughtful take on complex figure

May 3, 2018

The docuseries has been a dependable source of quality content on Netflix for quite some time, and the streaming service’s latest addition is no exception. “Bobby Kennedy for President,”...

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‘Super Troopers 2’ is a fun time, though not much else

April 24, 2018

If there’s any doubt about the demand for a “Super Troopers” sequel, the fans actually footed the bill for this one. After Fox Searchlight refused to provide the budget for comedy...

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First season of Netflix’s ‘Lost in Space’ is a space odyssey worth taking

April 17, 2018

In the sea of original content that is Netflix, it takes a lot to stand out. “Lost in Space” stays firmly above water by delivering an experience that is, at the very least, memorable. The...

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Review: ‘Rampage’ hits hard in action, pulls punches everywhere else

April 12, 2018

After engaging in death-defying car stunts, getting lost in two different magical jungles and fighting a hurricane, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starring in a movie involving giant monster isn’t...

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Director, star John Krasinski answers questions concerning his new film ‘A Quiet Place’

March 30, 2018

Though his film is titled “A Quiet Place,” actor, director and writer John Krasinski has a lot to say about his horror film, which has received glowing reviews since its debut at 2018’s...

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Undergraduate thesis “The Goodnight Show” heads to Tribeca Film Festival

March 23, 2018

Two teenagers kiss while the world ends behind them — an image that inspired UT radio-television-film undergraduate Charlie Schwan to create his undergraduate thesis, “The Goodnight Show.” Co-written...

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‘Isle of Dogs’ is a visually stunning low point for Wes Anderson

March 21, 2018

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and the same seems true of Wes Anderson. Frequently proclaimed an auteur, Anderson charmed his way into the hearts of moviegoers everywhere with films such...

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“Unfriended: Dark Web” dives into unexplored horror territory with mostly successful results

March 19, 2018

It’s tough to review a film like “Unfriended: Dark Web”. It has no real characters to latch on to, instead placing all of its bets that its scares will work. So does review the film...

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“Sorry to Bother You” is worth bothering with

March 17, 2018

Once “Get Out” paved the way for major motion pictures to tell entertaining, thought-provoking stories about race relations, it was only a matter of time before others followed suit. Hopefully,...

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Blumhouse gives sci-fi an “Upgrade” with bold new film

March 17, 2018

Science-fiction and Leigh Whannell, the writer behind the “Saw” and “Insidious” franchise, doesn’t sound like the smoothest of mixtures, but this is a risk that pays off. “Upgrade”,...

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“A Prayer Before Dawn” is a relentless, brutal experience not to be missed

March 16, 2018

Between prison and addiction, the story of Billy Moore is not a happy one. As the film adaptation of Billy’s story and the accompanying memoir, director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s “A...

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Q&A: Ethan Hawke and Paul Schrader talk “First Reformed”

March 14, 2018

A24’s “First Reformed” is the first collaboration between two titans of the film industry, actor Ethan Hawke (“Training Day”, “Boyhood”) and Paul Schrader (“Taxi...

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“A Vigilante” overcomes storytelling problems to combat a serious issue

March 13, 2018

In a time where abuses of various kinds against women dominate the headlines, there’s something appealing about the concept of a “A Vigilante” Said concept follows Sadie (Olivia Wilde),...

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“Ready Player One” is Steven Spielberg at the top of his game

March 13, 2018

The golden rule of film should be “Never Doubt Steven Spielberg”. Spielberg, who’s stuck to smaller films since 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”,...

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The DC Comics pop-up shop and Superman panel celebrate superhero history

March 12, 2018

It’s bizarre to think that DC Comics have never done a pop-up shop at SXSW before, because they knocked it out of the park on their first go. The shop- located at the corner of 8th and Red River-...

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“Blockers” has some huge laughs that frequently undercut its heart

March 12, 2018

If movies were judged on good intentions, then “Blockers” would get a full five stars. First-time director Kay Cannon, best known as the writer of the “Pitch Perfect” trilogy,...

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Real-life Westworld allows guests to “Live Without Limits” in immersive installation

March 10, 2018

The immediate thought that came to life when HBO announced their intention to install a real-life version of the town of Sweetwater from their hit show “Westworld” was “how the hell are...

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Audiences will make noise for innovative horror “A Quiet Place”

March 10, 2018

Actor John Krasinski, best known as Jim from the television series  “The Office”, may seem like an obvious choice to helm a horror film, but judging by the quality of “A Quiet Place”,...

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It’s hard not to ‘Love, Simon’ in compelling LGBTQ rom-com

March 9, 2018

“Everyone deserves a great love story” is one of the more fitting taglines in film. “Love, Simon,” directed by Greg Berlanti and based on  the novel “Simon vs. the...

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Hit ‘Mute’ on Netflix’s latest original release

February 27, 2018

Complete creative control may not always be a good thing, and writer and director Duncan Jones’ “Mute” is proof. Jones has been developing this passion project for over a decade, at...

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Starring Natalie Portman, Alex Garland’s ‘Annihilation’ is a masterful trip into the unknown

February 23, 2018

Nearly 13 years after her last “Star Wars” movie, Natalie Portman makes her long-awaited return to the science-fiction genre. Judging by the results, she should do it more often. Based on...

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‘Black Panther’ is a stylish, socially relevant home-run for Marvel Studios

February 16, 2018

Marvel Studios made a name for itself by being ahead of the curve in the superhero landscape, and “Black Panther” is no exception. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the latest entry in the Marvel...

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‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ offers some campy sci-fi fun despite many problems

February 7, 2018

Surprise album releases have become a huge trend in music recently, and it’s looking like the film industry might follow suit.  With practically no notice, the third chapter in J.J. Abrams’...