Oscar campaigns are often the most ingratiating, irritating part of awards season, full of million-dollar advertising campaigns and star-studded luncheons that us plebeians only get to watch from afar. But every now and then, there’s an utterly charming winner of awards season — usually in the form of a likable star or director who has no patience for the Tinseltown pageantry. But this year, it’s not a person but a whole town who is taking the title of Oscar season MVP: the town of Húsavík, the namesake of the Oscar-shortlisted song from Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
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Russell Crowe is about to bring another (more literal) meaning to “Death of the Artist,” with his title role in director Sam Taylor-Johnson‘s next film. Crowe is set to play the role of influential American abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko in Rothko, a drama that chronicles the true story of Rothko’s daughter’s legal battle to protect her late father’s legacy.
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Godzilla vs. Kong is just a few short weeks away from stomping into theaters and tearing into HBO Max. As the hype train continues to speed onward, Warner Bros. Pictures has released a handful of new Godzilla vs. Kong posters, including a couple flashy international one-sheets. The titans are clearly ready for battle. Read More »
Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is more well-known for its behind-the-scenes stories than its actual content. Gilliam started working on the pic in 1989, but a series of misfortunes continually got in the way. Gilliam’s long, strange quest to get the movie made was already chronicled once in the documentary Lost in La Mancha, released in 2002. In the years since that doc, though, Gilliam actually managed to get the movie made – which means there’s now a Lost in La Mancha sequel, the new documentary He Dreams of Giants.
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The Queen’s Gambit was a huge hit on Netflix last year, becoming the streaming service’s most-watched scripted miniseries with over 62 million viewers in the first month. Now, fresh off a Golden Globes win for Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television, the story of orphan chess prodigy Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) will be turned into a stage musical, bringing song and dance to the character drama. Read More »
Filmmaker Craig Brewer is a man to whom music is the key that unlocks most things. In his breakthrough film Hustle & Flow, it was the biographic, confessional (and Oscar-winning) rapping of his lead character that propelled the movie forward. In Black Snake Moan, it was swampy blues music; and in Footloose, it was pretty much anything that got your feel moving. Hell, Brewer even did a TV remake of Urban Cowboy and was one of the creative powers behind Fox TV’s Empire, which was a musical showcase in episode after episode.
When Brewer teamed up with Eddie Murphy for the first time on the devastatingly funny Netflix movie Dolomite Is My Name, Brewer was able to pack the soundtrack with tasty R&B and funk grooves from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Sly & the Family Stone, and Kool & the Gang. So when the director was given the chance to re-team with Murphy for the 33-years-in-the-making sequel Coming 2 America, Brewer had to get creative about ways to slip choice musical cues into the mix, including a song-and-dance routine with co-star Jermaine Fowler (played Prince Akeem’s illegitimate son) and choreographer/singer/actress Teyana Taylor, built around Prince’s song “Gett Off.” And to no one’s surprise, the Murphy alter-ego Randy Watson and the sweet soul stylings of his band Sexual Chocolate return as well from the 1988 Coming To America.
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We’re less than two weeks away from the premiere of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier on Disney+. It’s the second major series from the line-up of Marvel Studios shows coming to the streaming service, and it has a lot to live up to after the impressive debut of WandaVision. As we gear up for the series debut, a batch of character posters have arrived, and new Marvel Legends episodes are rolling out to help general audiences refresh themselves on the characters featured in the series. Read More »
(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)
It’s amazing how brilliant George Lucas’ prequel story appears on paper, versus how little of that particularly brilliance comes through when watching the actual prequel films. The films have their fans for sure, but it’s truly difficult to imagine viewers getting emotionally caught up in the tragedy of young Anakin Skywalker and the fall of a republic as told in those three movies. Obi-Wan’s disappointment in his former Padawan is about the only emotional resonance I’ve ever felt when watching Revenge of the Sith.
But the story is deeply tragic, and a lot of Star Wars media since the prequels has been smart enough to repackage it in a way that does heighten the drama of what Lucas put together. The later Clone Wars episodes get into this in a big way, but really that entire show exists under the shadow of events we know must come to pass. The more we fall for these characters in their animated form, the more we dread their fates. The show can at any moment deliver unadulterated adventure, humor and whimsy, but always within the context of eventual tragedy.
Clone Wars is far from the only source exploiting this general story. The 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also takes the events of Revenge of the Sith as a contextual starting point. Though it takes place five years later, the game’s major figures offer a collection of individual stories tied to the dreaded Order 66 and fall of the Jedi. Obviously, this is true of the game’s main character, young Padawan Cal Kestis. But by far the game’s most interesting figure comes in the form of disgraced Jedi Cere Junda.
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In less than two weeks, hungry fans will finally feed from the trough of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the long-awaited “Snyder Cut” that will either prove once and for all that Zack Snyder’s preferred version of Justice League was superior, or that no version of this film is particularly good. However the film turns out, one thing is certain: Snyder knows exactly how to use social media to his advantage. He’s been doling out bits and pieces of his new cut for a while now, and as we enter the home stretch, the filmmaker has released new character teasers devoted to Ben Affleck‘s Batman, Jason Momoa‘s Aquaman, Ezra Miller‘s The Flash, and Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman. More character-centric teasers are sure to come, so gird your loins!
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The single most memorable line of the Pacific Rim franchise came in the first movie when Idris Elba’s battle-armored mech marshal, Stacker Pentecost, proclaimed, “Today, we are canceling the apocalypse!” In the first season of Pacific Rim: The Black, which hit Netflix on March 4, Stacker’s name is now relegated to Easter-egg status among a new generation of Jaeger pilots. They have big blue doll eyes, anime-style no-noses, and chins so sharp you could lance a Kaiju Skinmite with them.
Animated by Polygon Pictures — the Japanese studio known for its 3DCG Godzilla trilogy — The Black jumps forward to some indeterminate point in the monster-filled future. In doing so, it skips over what seems like a crucial bit of narrative: namely, said apocalypse. Apparently, it was rescheduled and happened mostly offscreen. What’s left in these seven easily-binged episodes is a post-apocalyptic Australia, straight out of Mad Max, with a dash of The Walking Dead thrown in. Hostile human survivor camps? Check. There’s even a guy named Shane and a truck convoy that kicks up dust as it rolls across the desert like a band of latecomers to the Fury Road war party.
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