the terror infamy into the afterlife

The Terror: Infamy failed to live up to its incredible first season. But with this finale – “Into the Afterlife” – the season goes out on a high note, managing to pull off an emotional conclusion that elevates what came before. “We have to make sure we keep remembering,” Chester says in the final moments of the show. “Or else we forget who we are.”

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joker review

In less than a week, Joker has amassed a fortune despite a decidedly mixed critical reception. The film took the top prize at Venice, but a large number of critics (primarily American) have excoriated the film as being inappropriate if not downright dangerous, with many other commentators spilling buckets of ink on the topic before they even screened the film.

Given the film’s obvious debts to the works of Scorsese (The King of Comedy above all, with a dash of everything from Goodfellas to Bringing Out The Dead thrown in for good measure), it’s no surprise that the film is littered with needle drops that include show tunes, cabaret numbers, stadium hits, and excerpts from film scores. The evocative musical themes by composer Hildur Guðnadóttir are particularly effective in setting the mood, but there are dozens of other musical pieces used to tell the tale of Arthur Fleck.

Here are the tracks from Joker’s soundtrack, as well as some background on how these songs gained fame, how they work in the film and some surprising connections outside the narrative that shape how we hear these pieces in the context of Todd Phillips’ film.

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streaming horror pyewacket

Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October we’ll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today’s entry: Pyewacket (2017).

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Avengers VR Experience

The recent trailer for Avengers: Damage Control has Ant-Man telling the audience to “Make good choices.” 

If you’re already going through the experience, however—an immersive 4-D VR adventure that involves strapping on goggles and a backpack before galivanting around a physical stage full of sensory effects—the joke’s on Ant-Man: you’ve already made good choices by deciding to spend the time and money (18-20 minutes and $39.95, respectively) to suit up and enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Avengers: Damage Control is the third time ILMxLAB has used The VOID’s VR platform to create experiences that leverage Disney’s ever-growing swath of IP. The first two—Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire and Ralph Breaks VR—are also immersive and wholly satisfying experiences in their own right (especially the Star Wars one); Damage Control, however, was a year-and-a-half effort that resulted in a longer, more expansive, and more technologically sophisticated adventure. 

Read on to learn more about the experience, including whether or not it’s part of MCU canon. 

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castle rock season 2 review

Castle Rock returns to Hulu with a whole new story set in the world of Stephen King. The show’s anthology format allows Castle Rock to focus on a different King-inspired tale, with all new characters, every season – and season 2 promises to dig even deeper into the prolific horror writer’s bibliography. While season 1 was only tangibly connected to King’s books – merely using familiar characters and locations – season 2 goes further, pulling storylines directly from King’s books Misery and ‘Salem’s Lot. The end result is a blend of creepy and curious. There’s plenty of spooky stuff afoot, but Castle Rock never manages to be scary. And Misery and ‘Salem’s Lot, two vastly different King novels, make for strange bedfellows.

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Watchmen review

How do you solve a problem like Watchmen? The graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons remains iconic, but it’s already been the subject of a questionable film adaptation that attempted to copy the panels and splash pages shot for shot, angle for angle, color for color, and yet failed to genuinely encapsulate what made the book so special.

Rather than attempt to re-adapt the seemingly unadaptable, Damon Lindelof has instead opted for something altogether different: a sequel series. This could’ve backfired, yet Lindelof and his team have done the impossible – they’ve captured the superhero deconstruction elements that stood out in Moore and Gibbons’ work while also expanding on their world-building. The end result is destined to be one of the year’s most compelling shows.

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maleficent mistress of evil review

To this day, Maleficent remains one of the outliers of the Disney live-action adaptation machine: a visually dazzling revisionist take on Sleeping Beauty that succeeded in being more than just a nostalgic grab bag of recreations of beloved animated moments. All of it was boosted by the strength of Angelina Jolie‘s bewitching turn as the titular Disney villain and a potent, if somewhat clumsily told, sexual assault metaphor. But after the 2014 film finished its retelling of Sleeping Beauty, what else could there be to tell? In Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, fairy genocide and dastardly politicking, apparently.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is an ambitious sequel that expands the world and once again pushes a socially relevant allegory to the forefront. It’s full of spectacular action sequences and awe-inspiring world building that is designed like a mix of Avatar meets The Dark Crystal. But this lofty sequel sacrifices all the storybook whimsy in favor of political intrigue and dark plots that are far too complicated to be wrapped up by a typical Disney happy ending, and end up landing with a thud.

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new york film festival 2019 week 2 recap

The 57th annual New York Film Festival started off strong, with Martin Scorsese’s interrogation of time in his mob masterpiece The Irishman. So it is perhaps rather fitting that the whirlwind two weeks of prestige films will end with a movie displaced out of time. Edward Norton’s noir passion project Motherless Brooklyn was a somewhat baffling capper to this year’s New York Film Festival, which was filled with its share of hits and misses. One of those misses is the impenetrable Lou Ye black-and-white romance drama Saturday FictionBut a few of the gems were unmissable, including Agnes Varda’s final film Varda by Agnes.

Dive into our New York Film Festival 2019 Week 2 recap.

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Varda by Agnès Review

Inspiration, creation, sharing. As the late Agnès Varda put it herself, these are the three key tenets of her filmmaking process. Varda’s final film, an encapsulation of her decades-spanning career through the lens of her masterclass seminars, brilliantly distills her ethos into a documentary. Despite being made with clear knowledge of her own mortality, Varda by Agnès never feels like a somber mausoleum for her talents. It’s a living, breathing document that keeps her spirit and creativity accessible as well as present.

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Pulp Fiction is a profanity-laden crime drama with drugs, sodomy, and exploding brains, but when it hit theaters in mid-October 1994, it was technically a Disney movie. After Disney acquired the independent film studio Miramax in 1993, Pulp Fiction was the first project to receive a greenlight. The 2010s would commence with Disney shuttering Miramax, then selling it as it shifted focus to more lucrative in-house brands with theme park and merchandise potential, like Pixar and Marvel. Now, we’re reaching the end of the decade and the end of a peak-geek year when, among other things, Disney has set a new studio box office record, with five of its tentpole features grossing over a billion dollars worldwide.

Meanwhile, at a ‘50s-themed restaurant in L.A. called Jack Rabbit Slim’s, two people dominate the dance floor. It’s a human moment, no special effects involved, just twisting legs, scissored fingers, and movie magic. When Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace (John Travolta and Uma Thurman) accept their dance trophy for the night, there’s a part of them that might stand in for the whole ‘90s film scene, with its upswell of great indie dramas from new and exciting young filmmakers. Amid the current flood of remakes, reboots, sequels, and spin-offs, even the brain of an avowed comic book movie fan like yours truly might go hurtling back to the time when writer-director Quentin Tarantino and his contemporaries emerged on the scene in Hollywood. Back then, mid-budget dramas targeting adult theatergoers still seemed like the norm, as opposed to the exception.

Quotable dialogue and memorable characters come in all forms, including quippy, world-saving superheroes (which, again, I like more than Martin Scorsese); but with its down-to-earth lowlives and street-based plot turns, Pulp Fiction is a reminder of an all but bygone cinema era. Indelible music, cineliterate stylings, and a novelistic format help round out the perfection that is Tarantino’s sophomore feature. A quarter-century ago, Pulp Fiction shook up what critic Gene Siskel called “the ossification of American movies.” For its sheer innovation and cultural impact, this remains the most important American film of the last twenty-five years.

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