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    Film Review: 'Ready Player One'

    READY PLAYER ONE

    Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

    Ready Player One goes hard in the paint with the 1980s nostalgia, theatrical eye candy for any and every pop culture geek from Hill Valley, California to Shermer, Illinois. The story, however, takes place in dystopian Columbus, Ohio in the year 2045, where, for the most part, the real world is secondary to a fictionalized one.

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    Film Review: 'Final Portrait'

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    Armie Hammer as James Lord and Geoffrey Rush as Alberto Giacometti in Final Portrait. Photo by Parisa Taghizadeh. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

    Out in limited release this weekend is Final Portrait, written and directed by Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games). Adapted from A Giacometti Portrait, a memoir by writer and art enthusiast James Lord (portrayed by Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name), the film focuses on a specific snapshot in time, during the year 1964, when Lord sat for a portrait for his friend and renowned artist Alberto Giacometti (portrayed by an unrecognizable Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love) before departing Paris to head back to the U.S. What the artist initially tells Lord will take hours, an afternoon, at the most, turned into 18 sittings over the course of nearly three weeks.

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    Characters Overcome Gender Oppression in ACT's Lively 'Cloud 9'

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    (L–R) Valerie Compton, Mario Mazzetti, Garrick Sigl, Zoe Foulks and Zaya Kolia in Cloud 9. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Hide your feelings. Deny your sexuality. Know your place and follow the rules society deems right for your gender. These themes permeated Academy of Art University School of Acting’s (ACT) recent production of Cloud 9, which transported audiences at the Sutter Street Theater from 1800s Colonial Africa to modern-day London. Due to the timing of Spring Break, the cast had a tighter-than-usual rehearsal schedule for the two-act farce by British playwright Caryl Churchill. But that didn’t stop actors Jack Clendenen, Valerie Compton, Zoe Foulks, Zaya Kolia, Mario Mazzetti, Renee Rogoff and Garrick Sigl from pulling off a seamless, side-splitting rendition of Cloud 9.

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    Interview: 'Midnight Sun' Stars Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger, Director Scott Speer Talk Unique Love Stories, Chemistry & Not Settling for What Life Hands You

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    Patrick Schwarzenegger and Bella Thorne in Midnight Sun. Photo by Ed Araquel.

    In theaters this weekend comes a tale of summer love sweet enough to give you spring fever. Midnight Sun, helmed by director Scott Speer (Step Up Revolution), is the story of 17-year-old Katie Price (Bella Thorne, The DUFF, Famous in Love), a passionate songwriting, guitar-playing teenager living with Xeroderma pigmentosum, also often referred to as “XP.”

    According to Genetics Home Reference, XP “is an inherited condition characterized by an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight.” The disorder is rare and is estimated to affect one out of one million people in the U.S. and Europe.

    While Katie has an extremely rare form of this disease, the film focuses on her budding summer romance with Charlie (Patrick Schwarzenegger, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, The Long Road Home), a boy that unknowingly skateboarded by her bedroom window every day since they were young kids. Shot mostly at night in Vancouver, Midnight Sun takes audiences on a heartwarming adventure of first love and living life as you see fit, instead of letting circumstances dictate how you live.

    The stars and director of Midnight Sun were recently in San Francisco and Academy Art U News sat down with the trio (Thorne, Schwarzenegger and Speer) to learn more about their new film.

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    Film Review: 'Love, Simon'

    LOVE, SIMON

    Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century Fox’s Love, Simon. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

    The new coming-of-age film, Love, Simon, from 20th Century Fox adds something special to the teen comedy genre. Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), the movie’s likable main character, is gay, a secret he’s hiding from everyone around him.

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    'Cloud 9' Ready to Take Audiences on a Fun Journey Through Time

    Academy of Art University’s upcoming production of Cloud 9 will take audiences on a time-tripping romp that turns stereotypes about gender, feminism, sexuality and race upside down.  The two-act comedy by playwright Caryl Churchill begins in British Colonial Africa during the Victorian era, then jumps to a London park in 1979 for the second half (although only 25 years have passed for the characters).

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