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Olivia Popp
Olivia Popp '21 is a self-proclaimed TV junkie who previously served as Managing Editor of Arts & Life for two years. She has covered shows for Tell-Tale TV and TV Fanatic, and she enjoys writes about all things film, TV, theatre, and entertainment. Currently, she is abroad in Germany, which is why you might find her writing about an eclectic collection of content. Contact Olivia at oliviapopp 'at' stanford.edu with TV recs or new flavors of barbecue sauce (truly!). Find her on Twitter: @itsoliviapopp.

Films you might have missed: ‘Official Secrets’

For the most part, Gavin Hood’s “Official Secrets” stirred up a big buzz at Sundance. But after a late summer/early fall release, I heard so little of the film that I wasn’t sure exactly where it went. Perhaps this thriller flick could have had a bigger opening, with Keira Knightley excelling in her role as…

Films you might have missed: ‘Wild Rose’

Unless something else quickly comes along (“Frozen 2,” I’m waiting!), “Wild Rose” is the heartwarming, emotional and uplifting musical film of the year. There have been films like “Yesterday” and “Blinded by the Light,” but none of them astound like “Wild Rose.”

“Marriage Story” unites comedy, drama, and subjectivity

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” is a simple concept — even the title has a storybook-ish quality — with incredible execution. Nicole met Charlie, and both were swept off their feet. They loved each other very much, and they still do. But years later and with a young child, their goals no longer align, and they’re…

‘Ad Astra’ is a stellar adventure

James Gray’s “Ad Astra” puts Brad Pitt in space, with a pleasant and dichotomously different character portrayal than his role in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” It’s the most satisfying space-themed film I’ve seen since “Interstellar,” but it’s not without its flaws. Roy McBride (Pitt) is told that his long-lost astronaut father may still…

Sundance 2019, part 2: U.S. Dramatic Competition

This is the second piece in a series of three 2019 Sundance Film Festival coverage articles. Them That Follow “Them That Follow” is perhaps most fascinating as a premise, following a snake-handling religious group devoted to its pastor. It also features an all-star cast including Walton Goggins, Olivia Colman, Jim Gaffigan and Kaitlyn Dever (in…

Sundance 2019, part 3: Best of the Fest

This is the third piece in a series of three 2019 Sundance Film Festival coverage articles. The Farewell “The Farewell” is one of the films that generated significant buzz before Sundance, becoming entirely sold out extremely early on — and will be guaranteed to skyrocket Lulu Wang to newfound success. Featuring Awkwafina in a dramatic…

Sundance 2019, part 1: Quirky and boundary-breaking films

This is the first piece in a series of three 2019 Sundance Film Festival coverage articles. Per usual at the snowy festival, I watched a large variety of films — some pre-determined, some selected because of the buzz they were receiving at the festival — but most of which went above and beyond my expectations.…

‘Avenue Q’ brings laughs to the Bay Area

“Avenue Q” has always been an underdog musical (one that shockingly won the Tony for Best Musical in 2004), but its sardonic wit and strong grasp of parody made it an instant classic. The New Conservatory Theater Center (NCTC) boldly tackles the now 15-year-old work, seeking to de-problematize (or as much as possible) the elements…

SF Sketchfest brings great comedy to the Bay

Now in its 18th year, SF Sketchfest ended this weekend and featured a wide variety of performers in comedy all around the U.S. One of San Francisco’s biggest comedy festivals, Sketchfest has over two weeks of performances, shows, talkbacks and more. At the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco on Friday evening, SF Sketchfest offered…

SF Playhouse’s ‘Mary Poppins’ is ‘practically perfect’

SF Playhouse excels at plays, but I’ve remained relatively unimpressed with its works of musical theater. However, the theater’s production of “Mary Poppins” provides a welcome exception. “Mary Poppins” is also a highly unconventional choice of musical—originally performed in 2004, it never really became popular for professional theaters to perform; however, the iconic story makes…

‘Bumblebee’: A masterfully nostalgic love letter to the 80s

“Bumblebee” is the 80s film I was not expecting, the 80s film I didn’t think I needed, but the 80s film I really did end up needing at the end of 2018. The newest installment in the “Transformers” franchise, the flick marks the series’ first true spin-off and prequel film. Director Travis Knight (“Kubo and…

Boots Riley on ‘Sorry to Bother You,’ political organizing and making a difference

Boots Riley might have previously been best known as a self-described “communist rapper,” but his new film, “Sorry to Bother You,” has been making a splash in the cinematic community after premiering last January at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson and Steven Yeun, “Sorry to Bother You,” marks Riley’s writing…

Touring production of ‘Chicago’ razzles and dazzles

The Broadway touring production of “Chicago” presents a fantastic limited run at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts through Nov. 18. A hard musical to get right and easy to reduce to a shell of disconnected musical numbers, the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago” is the longest-running American musical in history, and the touring…

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ screenwriter, VR leaders unite at second annual Confluence Summit

The second annual Confluence Summit presented by Winston Baker took place on October 25 in Menlo Park, bringing together professionals from both the tech and entertainment industries. From industry leaders simply attending the conference to those speaking on the panels, the Confluence Summit was another superb expansion on last year’s event, highlighting new developments in…

‘Cardboard Piano’ crafts a beautiful queer tragedy

New Conservatory Theatre Center presents Hansol Jung’s “Cardboard Piano” in the heart of San Francisco. Taking us back to northern Uganda in 1999, we meet the young Adiel (Gabriella Momah ’15) and Chris (Megan Timpane) — a black woman and white woman, respectively —  who are lesbians in love. However, any sort of queer behavior…

TheatreWorks’ ‘Fun Home’ is good but never quite gets there

This October at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, TheatreWorks presents the Tony Award-winning musical “Fun Home,” based off of Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of the same name. Directed by Robert Kelley, this production is sound but isn’t perfect — it’s sufficient, but its lack of precision made all the difference. “Fun Home”…

National tour of ‘Waitress’ cooks up a new Broadway classic

The 2016 Broadway musical “Waitress” took the theater scene by storm and was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. With an original score by Sara Bareilles, “Waitress” is one of many new musicals to feature the crossover talent of singers and songwriters. Based on a 2007 film of the same name, “Waitress” tells…
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