(Welcome to Not Dead Yet, a feature dedicated to new Blu-ray releases and what special features you should be excited about. Because yes, some of us still like to own physical copies of our movies.)
It’s time again to round-up the best Blu-rays available right now, and in the immediate future. This week, we have the Jennifer Lawrence spy-thriller Red Sparrow, the very funny Game Night, the surprisingly good horror-sequel Strangers: Prey At Night, and the so-dumb-it’s-fun action flick The Hurricane Heist.
Here are the new Blu-ray releases and their special features you should check out this week, and beyond.
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Update: The Hollywood Reporter has more details on the Dark Phoenix reshoots. It seems that the third act of the movie needs some work and the reshoots are expected to cost under $10 million.
Earlier today, news dropped that Fox was moving X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants all the way to 2019. We now have a clearer picture about why this happened, and what the future holds for these films. More on the Dark Phoenix and New Mutants delays below.
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“Power, that’s what he wants,” observes Jennifer Lawrence’s Dominika Egorova in Red Sparrow as she stands confidently bare before her Sparrow trainees. She’s just humiliated an aggressive male in the group and her former would-be rapist. Soon after foiling the attempted assault in a shower, Dominika disrobes at the front of the class and goads her assailant to finish his deed consensually. Try as he might, the classmate can’t get it up. With her unabashed preening, Dominika reveals the impotency of those who attempt to corral her sexuality for their own pleasure – not unlike Lawrence herself these days.
Love her or loathe her, Jennifer Lawrence is a millennial icon and trailblazer – among the first of her contemporaries to win an Oscar as well as carry a major Hollywood franchise on her shoulders. She’s a truly unique cultural creation: combining a beguiling screen presence with a guarded private life, but exuding accessibility and authenticity rather than mystery and artifice. Lawrence is not a star because she’s better than us. She’s a star because she’s one of us, a fitting reflection for the ethos of a generation that grew up self-actualizing on screens and now must figure out how to transition into adulthood.
As Red Sparrow opens, it’s instructive to observe yet another chapter of her career as she both navigates and rewrites modern stardom. From her unique position having conquered the commercial and prestige corners of the film industry, Lawrence has the ability to reflect our society’s values while also helping to shape them. This applies to an even greater extent in matters regarding gender, sexuality and self-presentation. In the midst of an unfinished gender revolution, Lawrence confronts an amplified version of the dilemmas presented to many women in America and across the developed world. How much can a patriarchal society bend before it breaks? At what point does female strength become threatening to men? How do we gender traits like assertiveness and confidence? How do women exude sexuality for self-empowerment, not merely to feed a male gaze? Read More »
With Red Sparrow, the gloves are coming off for director Francis Lawrence. The filmmaker behind Constantine, The Hunger Games sequels, and the “Bad Romance” music video has made an often unsettling thriller. Mary-Louise Parker, in a “no such thing as small parts” sort of small part, brings great levity to the movie, but light popcorn fare this adaptation of author Jason Matthews‘ novel is not.
After the success of the three Hunger Games sequels, Lawrence has served up a pitch dark film about the brutal, unforgiving, and cold world of Russian Intelligence. The story begins with the immersive and eye-catching visuals expected from Lawrence. In an eight-minute sequence cutting between Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton‘s characters, the director tells a lot of story with such precision. It’s a strong hook that we recently discussed with Lawrence along with the film’s style, lessons from his music video work, collaborating with Jennifer Lawrence, and more.
Check out our Red Sparrow Francis Lawrence interview to get insight from the director on his latest film.
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Jennifer Lawrence is a big, Oscar-winning star, so she probably doesn’t have to audition for many parts anymore. However, there’s one role Lawrence lost from her auditioning days that still haunts her: Alice from Tim Burton‘s Alice In Wonderland.
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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, Red Sparrow star Jennifer Lawrence takes a lie detector test like some kind of old fashioned spy. Plus, one fan creates an incredibly lifelike sculpture of Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown from Back to the Future, and VICE News takes a deep dive into the Best Picture-nominated Darkest Hour. Read More »
Shelley Duvall’s frantic, desperate face throughout almost the entire runtime of director Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining will forever be burned in my memory. Not only because it’s brilliant and deeply unsettling (as is the film). It’s also because amid that is the actual terror and sheer exhaustion Duvall experienced while having to deliver and re-deliver countless takes of her character being emotionally battered to the point where, to the actress’ own admission, it had become “excruciating.” Further, she felt no vindication for all that effort as the conversation around the film later centered on its male auteur. “The reviews were all about Kubrick, like I wasn’t there,” Duvall told Roger Ebert back in 1980.
This is an all too familiar position that many actresses find themselves in for the sake of authenticity, a sense of suffering that almost always serves as an impetus for the female character’s eventual empowerment. While the character’s self-actualization is an important one — apparently at whatever cost — there is much to be said about how a male filmmaker interprets and navigates female characters whose bodies are first consumed by audiences before they utter even a single line of dialogue. That said, they are either weaponized, brutalized, lusted after or a combination of all these things.
But those aren’t conditions that a male filmmaker often considers when it comes to his female muse, which indicates a lack of partnership in the portrayal that is more prevalent between a male filmmaker and a male muse. As a result, the character is at risk of becoming compromised through the male gaze. With all of this in mind, let’s explore some of the most renowned female muse/male director pairings on screen.
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Depending on which critic you ask, Red Sparrow is either a surprisingly good adult drama or a slog to sit through. Either way, there’s some buzz behind the Jennifer Lawrence spy-thriller. A new Red Sparrow clip offers a dramatic-yet-subdued look at the film.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Jennifer Lawrence has aced the steely-faced seductive stare. That much we can tell during the barrage of clips, TV spots, and marketing for her upcoming spy thriller Red Sparrow.
The film hits theaters in a matter of weeks, and with early buzz building for the movie, 20th Century Fox is kicking its marketing into high gear. But can the air of mystery around Francis Lawrence’s Cold War-era film be maintained?
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While Black Panther is dominating the box office this weekend, in a couple weeks it will be Jennifer Lawrence‘s turn to be a badass on the big screen in Red Sparrow.
The first screenings of Red Sparrow were held this week, and reactions and reviews are starting to hit the web. While some might be expecting this to be Jennifer Lawrence’s own Atomic Blonde or even an example of what a Black Widow movie might be like, the early reviews indicate that Red Sparrow is neither of those things. The spy thriller from director Francis Lawrence is proving divisive, with some absolutely loving what this movie turned out to be while others thinking it’s an overlong and numbing experience.
Read the first Red Sparrow reviews below for a more in-depth picture. Read More »