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Madelyne Xiao
Madelyne Xiao ('18) is a film writer for the Daily's Arts and Life section and the editor of Vademecum Magazine. She enjoys words and images, particularly those of Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, Francis Ford Coppola, and Wes Anderson.

Summer movie preview

Summer’s a season for blockbusters. From sequels to spinoffs to superhero sagas, the next three months are going to be jam-packed with a variety of films for every taste. Below, the Daily previews a few films to look out for this summer. June “Jurassic World” The much-anticipated sequel to Steven Spielberg’s epic, “Jurassic World” has been…

‘Live from New York’ falls short

New York City has a way of filtering out its mediocre acts — there’s ample reason for the city’s reputation for world-class artistic and cultural institutions. Making it big in the Big Apple is an incredible feat. Lasting 40 years, though — that’s something else entirely. But that’s the story of Saturday Night Live!, the…

Capsule reviews: Female directors break the celluloid ceiling at SFFIF

The 58th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF), which runs from April 23 to May 7, features work from every corner of the world. Whether you’re looking for a definitive documentary feature on Zimbabwean politics (“Democrats”) or a beautiful, subdued art film on California’s famous El Camino Real (“The Royal Road”), SFIFF has a selection…

Ranking film and television streaming services

In a matter of decades, we’ve gone from vast movie palaces, towering screens and drive-in movie theaters to minute electronic displays — those belonging to the cellphones, tablets and laptops, which stream the latest in cinema and television with a few quick keystrokes. And what’s the small screen without a streaming service to match? We selected and evaluated eight online…

‘The Room’ director talks new sitcom project, directorial influences

It’s been called the “Casablanca” of horrible movies. Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room,” a romantic drama/black comedy, is internationally renowned for its off-kilter dialogue, continuity errors and melodramatic delivery. Since its release in 2003, the film has garnered a cult following, with monthly midnight screenings in San Francisco. Wiseau, the film’s producer, director, writer and star,…

CAAMFest: An inside look at this year’s festival

The Center for Asian American Media will host CAAMFest from March 12 to 22 this year in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland. Now in its 33rd year, the festival brings food, film and art from Asian and Asian-American artists to the fore. Each year, the festival endeavors to speak to an oft-overlooked demand for Asian-American…

John Boorman’s ‘Queen and Country’

The men of “Queen and Country” never make it to the frontlines of battle. Instead, they’re waist-deep in the small skirmishes of army base politicking and their own love lives. The film follows the trials and tribulations of 18-year-old Bill Rohan (Callum Turner), a sergeant in the English army during the Korean War. Director John…

‘The Interview’ and persistent orientalism in film

Fu Manchu was the original cinematic East Asian — scheming and mysterious, he was a force of overwhelming evil. He shunned traditional weaponry for his own exotic arsenal: charms, snakes and strange elixirs. He was the originator of the Fu Manchu mustache and, unfortunately, a longstanding Western tradition of portraying Asian characters as villainous and…

Short but sweet: A look at this year’s Oscar nominated short films

With the Academy Awards only a little over two weeks away, Oscar pundits have already begun to make their picks for “the big four” awards categories: best film, best director, best actor and best actress. Yet, while these critics cobble together their Oscar predictions, we at The Stanford Daily wanted to take the time to highlight the less-recognized — though equally deserving — short film category.

Berlin and Beyond comes to Palo Alto tonight: ‘The King’s Surrender’ is a brooding study of brotherhood

Stimmung: “mood,” in German. “The Kings Surrender,” a feature of the Bay Area’s Berlin and Beyond Film Festival, has stimmung in spades. Philipp Leinemann’s second film blurs the boundaries between pursuer and pursued, cop and criminal. In its opening moments, the film follows a SEK (the German equivalent of SWAT) team’s botched drug bust. The…

Breaking the celluloid ceiling at the Sundance Film Festival

The director’s chair is too often a man’s domain, . This year, the Academy Awards  chose not to recognize any female directors, though many critics considered Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) and Angelina Jolie (“Unbroken”) to be favorites prior to the nominations announcement. More jarringly, in the past decade, only 4.4% of top-grossing films have been helmed…

Xiao’s top five films of 2014

Although last year was headlined by “Boyhood” and “Birdman” — both films will likely dominate the Academy Awards — I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight some quieter successes. In general, I appreciated those films that actively engaged me, that prompted thought and reflection in the course of, or after, viewing.

Best books of 2014

A biological/anthropological perspective of human life. A powerful examination of race relations in America. The male-dominated arts establishment. All are fair game for The Daily’s top five books of 2014.

Revisiting five great films from the National Film Registry’s 25th class of inductees

Each year, the National Film Registry, a program of the Library of Congress, selects 25 new films to preserve in its archives. The inductees are chosen for their historical, creative and cinematic value, and these span decades, genres and styles. The inaugural class of Registry inductees in 1989 included such stalwarts as “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane” and “Gone…

Wiseman’s new documentary ‘National Gallery’

The opening images of Frederick Wiseman’s new documentary “National Gallery” pay quiet homage to the titular London location. They’re long, generous shots of the art museum’s sweeping spaces and silent tenants. As Wiseman moves from one high-ceilinged room to the next, stopping to fixate on some detail in an Old Master’s painting, there’s a distinct…

Eddie Redmayne and screenwriter Anthony McCarten on ‘The Theory of Everything’

So much has been said of Stephen Hawking – physicist, author, explainer-of-space-time and the universe – that it’s occasionally difficult to disentangle the man from the icon. “The Theory of Everything,” starring Eddie Redmayne (fresh off Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables”) and written by Anthony McCarten, gives its audience some grounding in Hawking’s personal life –…
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