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Midsommar catharsis

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Midsommar is one of the most cathartic movies ever made.)

Cinema has always had a way of making the real world make more sense to me. Throughout the years, I’ve identified with the heroines of rape-revenge cinema and the women of Tarantino films. When reality prevents me from getting closure, I can sometimes find it in film. However, I didn’t expect to find catharsis in Ari Aster’s Midsommar, especially given how traumatic Hereditary was. I expected to leave the theater feeling disgusted and raw, but I left elated. By experiencing my own trauma again through the beautiful and twisted lens of Dani’s story, my years-old wounds were scrubbed clean. I left feeling as if I had just been through two and a half hours of intense therapy. 

Midsommar is a challenging film. It’s heavy – full of grief, death, pain, and genuine horror. There are moments of levity scattered throughout as the movie riffs on its own absurdity, but it isn’t an easy experience. Aster has said in interviews that the movie is protagonist Dani’s fairy tale, and in a way, it felt like my fairy tale. I identified with Dani (Florence Pugh) in several ways, and our shared name didn’t hurt. Like Dani, I have an anxiety disorder. I have a terrible fear of abandonment. At the age of twenty, I moved thousands of miles away from anyone I knew besides my then-boyfriend, whose behavior mirrored her boyfriend Christian’s enough to be eerie. It wasn’t Sweden, but it wasn’t home either. While our experiences obviously weren’t identical, the interactions between Dani and the people around her mirrored my own. Her trauma legitimized my own. (Spoilers ahead.)

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Splash Mountain at 30

(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises.)

More than 18 million people visited Disneyland in 2018. The park averages somewhere around 45,000 to 50,000 people a day, though its maximum capacity is nearly twice that number. The attractions that serve as the foundation of Disneyland Park are, by and large, those that arrived in Anaheim well after the park opened 64 years ago, on July 17, 1955. Space Mountain arrived in the mid-1970s, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad showed up in 1979, and of course, the biggest inclusion of all, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is barely two months old. 

But the most curious case among Disneyland’s E-Ticket attractions celebrates its 30th anniversary today. It’s a ride that has been consistently popular for its three decades, at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Like the best of Disney theme-park Imagineering, it’s an attraction that serves as a mix of styles, blended together to create a thrilling headliner. Like Galaxy’s Edge, it’s an attraction inspired by a film. The only difference is you probably haven’t ever seen the film on which Splash Mountain is based. And that’s just how Disney wants it.

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The Lion King Beyonce music video Spirit

Whatever your feelings about the upcoming The Lion King remake, it’s hard to resist the star-studded cast behind the film’s soundtrack. Even harder to resist is the pull of Beyoncé, who is performing a highly-anticipated original song in the film and releasing an entire The Lion King-inspired album featuring collaborations from hitmakers like Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay-Z.

Watch The Lion King Beyoncé music video for “Spirit” below, which is included in the artist’s upcoming album, The Lion King: The Gift.

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Transformers Unicron Action Figure

Earlier this week, we featured a new HasLab project asking collectors to crowdfund the creation of a life-size Cookie Monster replica. But the Hasbro collector initiative has a completely different toy that is vying for even more money in your wallet. It’s The Lord of Chaos, The Planet Eater, The Chaos Bringer. It’s the one and only Unicron.

After debuting in the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie, HasLab wants to bring Unicron to your toy shelves in the form of the largest converting Transformers figure ever created. Unicron changes from planet mode to robot mode, and if you’ve got enough money, he can bring chaos and destruction to your toy collection. Read More »

Legend of the White Dragon

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, learn how Jordan Peele‘s Us crafted the doppelganger scenes to allows actors to play two characters in the same shot. Plus, watch a teaser for a Power Rangers inspired short film called Legend of the White Dragon starring Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver, and see how SpongeBob SquarePants voice actor Tom Kenny reviews impressions of some of his signature characters. Read More »

Justice League - Snyder Cut Billboard

What comic duo is reuniting for a new Batman comic? Want to see Supergirl‘s new outfit and haircut for the fifth season? How many pieces does it take to build a life-size LEGO Iron Man statue? Want to see Michael B. Jordan‘s impressive weapons training for Black Panther? When is Dark Phoenix coming to home video? Want to see a Batman: Hush animated movie clip? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits. Read More »

the red sea diving resort trailer

Chris Evans‘s time as Captain America has come to an end, which means it’s time for him to branch out into other projects. He has Knives Out hitting theaters later this year, but this month you can catch him in the Netflix film The Red Sea Diving Resort. The film is inspired by a true story, and follows a team lead by Evans and Michael Kenneth Williams trying to smuggle refugees to Israel. Watch The Red Sea Diving Resort trailer below. Read More »

Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crossover Comic

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had an endless array of comic book crossovers throughout their long history. They’ve met up with Archie, ALF, and Garfield, and more recently the heroes in a half-shell worked with the Ghostbusters and Batman. Now BOOM! Studios has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles slated to crossover with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the original iteration of the Japanese-imported superhero team, in a new limited comic series starting this winter. Find out more below. Read More »

yesterday script changes

Yesterday, the latest film from director Danny Boyle, had one of the all-time great movie premises: what if a struggling musician woke up to realize that the rest of the world had forgotten the music of The Beatles? The movie hit theaters at the end of last month and has made $68 million worldwide so far on a reported $26 million budget – not exactly a runaway hit, but not a failure, either.

Now writer Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, About Time) is sounding off about some of the alterations Boyle made to the screenplay, and you can judge for yourselves whether you think these Yesterday script changes improved or worsened the final product. Warning: spoilers ahead. Read More »

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Bluntman v Chronic Poster

San Diego Comic-Con is nearly upon us, and Kevin Smith is preparing to debut the first trailer and a sneak peek from his forthcoming movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. The movie treads the same territory as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back with the titular stoners setting out to stop a reboot of the fictional movie Bluntman and Chronic. However, this time instead of being a goofy adaptation of the comic book that’s full of dick and fart jokes, Hollywood decided to take the tokin’ duo in a different direction.

Kevin Smith has revealed the teaser poster for Bluntman v Chronic, the movie-within-a-movie at the center of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. As you can see, Smith is clearly riffing on the gritty darkness of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the actors bringing this new version of the stoner superheroes to life clearly aren’t Jason Biggs and James Van Der Beek again. Get a better look at the Bluntman v Chronic poster below. Read More »