On paper, there’s nothing about Early Man that’s particularly special. But paper isn’t the movie’s medium: It’s clay.

Aardman’s latest offering is an absolute delight, and, much like Paddington 2, is a prime example of the heights that children’s entertainment — and entertainment in general — can reach in the right hands. In this case, those hands are quite literal, as Aardman is one of the last bastions of stop-motion clay animation.

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Black Panther Review

I have never felt the way I do right now after watching a movie.

Black Panther was so much more than I thought it would be. As a Black woman who has loved film her entire life, I know how much representation matters and I’ve never seen a movie on the scale of Black Panther. I knew going in that it is a Marvel Studios movie, which also means it’s a Disney movie. There are expectations that come with that. But in my head, no matter the hype, I figured they would never give us the same love and attention they give to heroes like Captain America.

And I was right. They didn’t give us the same love as Captain America. They gave us so much more.

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Movies to Watch with Black Panther

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Black Panther.)

When Gone with the Wind premiered in 1939 in Atlanta, one of its stars wasn’t allowed to attend because Georgia law at the time prevented black people from entering whites-only movie theaters. Two months after being barred from seeing the launch of her own movie, Hattie McDaniel became the first black Oscar winner, accepting the award in a whites-only hotel in Los Angeles, allowed in the building only because David O. Selznick was powerful enough to ask a favor.

Gone with the Wind is the highest-grossing movie of all time adjusted for inflation. By every definition it is a blockbuster. Its depictions, its compromises of its own artists, and its legacy are all important background to consider now that, a little over 78 years later, Black Panther is about to roar onto screens.

No, Black Panther isn’t the first black superhero movie. No, it’s not the first blockbuster with a black director. But the sheer scope of its cast (including multiple Oscar winners who thankfully didn’t need favors to get into the room where they hoisted their statues) and the massive, mainstream cultural cache that comes with any Marvel movie make Black Panther an event on another level.

78 years between the two. Something to think about while we consider some other movies to double feature alongside T’Challa’s first solo adventure.

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Who Are the Dora Milaje

The Dora Milaje play a huge role in Marvel’s Black Panther. You can see them clad in red throughout the trailers, fighting Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger and being all badass at King T’Challa’s side. They leave quite an impression.

But who are these beautiful warrior women? Where did they come from? And what are they all about? Well, never fear. Here’s a rundown of the facts and history from the comics that you’ll need to know.

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American Crime Story Don't Ask Don't Tell Review

This week’s American Crime Story review takes a look at the latest episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Spoilers follow.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Black Panther interview

Don’t be fooled by Ryan Coogler‘s laid-back Oakland accent. The writer/director may have an affable personality, but he’s also a whip-smart filmmaker whose previous two movies, Fruitvale Station and Creed, proved he was well equipped to make the jump from intimate, character-based indies to the blockbuster big leagues.

His latest movie, Black Panther, beautifully blends those sensibilities into one of Marvel Studios’ most exciting projects to date: a superhero film that embraces its cultural identity while still providing all of the action, humor, and dazzling visuals fans have come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I had the chance to speak with Coogler at the Black Panther junket, and he told me about one of the movie’s most impressive action scenes, how he and his co-writer crafted one of the film’s breakout characters (Shuri, played by Letitia Wright), the influence of President Obama when writing the screenplay, and more.
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love in horror movies

Given my thematic body of work here on /Film thus far, I’m sure you’re expecting a February essay that analyzes Valentine’s rosiness through a horror lens. Have I already become that predictable? Yeah. Let’s absolutely talk about why love and horror create the most exquisite, developmentally rich bond(age)s in all the genre world. Why? Simple: there’s no scarier plot device in horror than “love.”

Love is often described as many things – a battlefield (Pat Benatar), the answer (John Lennon), a motherf*#@er (Old School) – but cinema audiences largely attribute love’s on-screen representation to Gerard Butler rom-coms or Hallmark tear-jerkers. Guy meets girl unexpectedly, they fall in love, happily ever afters all around. If it’s December, said man is probably also Santa in disguise. Picture perfect, just as in reality. Right?

For all its butterflies and “You complete me” sentiments, love can also be a savage monstrosity that tears at our gushy insides. This is where, amidst a sea of overtly-saccharine lifestyle pornography pics, the horror genre keeps us in check – unafraid of love’s flip-side intimidation. Call me a cynic, emotionless, or unsalvageable if you must, but to me, we rob ourselves of crucial understanding by not facing our fears and exploring the shadows light doth create.

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Friends With Benefits vs No Strings Attached

(Welcome to Seeing Double, a series where two strangely similar films released around the same time are put head-to-head. This time, we’re letting love take the wheel in honor of Valentine’s Day and looking at a pair of movie twins about sex, love, and the futility of denying your feelings.)

Every week is “Love” week here at /Film, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day this edition of Seeing Double is focusing on the most American representation of love possible – the romantic comedy. Some say it’s the most honest film genre there is while others call it poppycock of the heart, but there’s no denying the popularity of funny movies about love. Audiences and Hollywood alike just love seeing characters laugh and kiss their way to a happy ending.

2011 saw two high-profile rom-coms hit theater screens just six months apart, both centered on an identical premise, and both starring a cast member from Black Swan and That ’70s Show. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Impossible to believe even? But it’s true, I swear. As insane as it sounds, though, there’s an even bigger mystery surrounding No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits. In the seven years since their release, no one’s ever felt 100% confident identifying which romantic pairing of popular young actors is in which film without a quick IMDB search.

That confusion ends now. Keep reading as we put No Strings Attached and Friends Without Benefits head-to-head and end this madness once and for all.

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Black Panther Phenomenon

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Black Panther is a film that celebrates blackness…and that should become the new normal.)

For some, the Black Panther movie may be a new phenomenon, a perhaps radical showcase of black talent in which both the men and the women are centered equally — and where they stand tall like royalty as accolades continue to pour in far and wide. It’s supposedly an anomaly, a moment to celebrate. And that it is; an important example of black excellence taking center stage.

The red-carpet presentation at its January premiere was by itself a sight for sore eyes, black decadence at its finest, accessorized with deep hues and pops of gold.  It was that rare mainstream occurrence in which our beauty literally radiated in a space historically dominated by the likes of Greta Garbo, John Wayne, and Frank Sinatra. And finally, FINALLY, others saw in us what we’ve seen in ourselves since the dawn of time.

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Avengers Infinity War LEGO Sets

As we get closer to the release of Avengers: Infinity War in May, more and more details about the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel will come to light. Thanks to the extensive merchandise coming to shelves in the months leading up to the release of the film, these kind of revelations are unavoidable, but we’ll do our best to keep any major spoilers hidden for those who don’t want to be spoiled.

The official Avengers Infinity War LEGO sets have been revealed, and many of them highlight key actions sequels from the Marvel sequel. In fact, a few of them may spoil a few surprises in store for the movie. So if you don’t want to possibly ruin some key moments in Avengers: Infinity War, you may not want to read any further. You’ve been warned! Read More »