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Netflix's Mr. Harrigan's Phone Review: A Faithful Stephen King Adaptation That Struggles To Translate Into A Movie
The elements from Stephen King’s novella work on the page, but they are rote and awkward in adaptation.
Disney+'s Hocus Pocus 2 Review: The Return Of The Sanderson Sisters Is Very Much A Treat
Some sequels are just a bunch of hocus pocus when they try to recapture the magic that inspired them, but Hocus Pocus 2 has new spells to cast, along with those familiar incantations which still work like a charm.
Smile Review: This Super Twisted Jaw-Clincher Is Another 2022 Horror Win
Parker Finn’s debut not only makes for a strong start to his filmmaking career, but yet another entry into 2022’s rich list of horror wins.
Bros Review: Billy Eichner’s Romantic Comedy Is A Laugh Riot With A Fresh Perspective
Situations get outrageous, especially where Bobby and Aaron’s sex life is concerned. But at the same time, Bros also takes special care when honoring queer history in a way that feels organic and real.
Don’t Worry Darling Review: A Mystery Missing Momentum
There are certainly some instances of legitimate cleverness that are revealed in retrospect, and you can meet the logic of the world halfway with certain elements, but there are also a lot of big things that don’t line up, and they undermine the film.
Peacock's Meet Cute Review: Kaley Cuoco And Pete Davidson's Fun Rom-Com Will Keep Viewers Thinking
Kaley Cuoco delivers another fantastic performance all around, even if it doesn’t feel entirely dissimilar from her role of Cassie Bowden in HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant.
The Woman King Review: Viola Davis Is A Bonafide Action Star In The Truly Epic Blockbuster
With an outstanding cast of characters and a truly epic sale, The Woman King is glorious and powerful.
Pearl Review: Ti West’s Prequel To Porno Slasher X Sheds Blood And Tears In Beautiful Technicolor
Trading in the grime and grindhouse edge of X for the old school Hollywood aesthetic that our murderous maiden loves so much, Pearl sheds its own share of blood and tears in beautiful, melodramatic technicolor.
See How They Run Review: A Cute Whodunnit That Should Have Taken A Stab At Something More
Die hard genre fans will still find some chuckles, but the public at large might not be slayed by what this killer is trying to accomplish.
Clerks III Review: Kevin Smith's Latest Trip To The Quick Stop Is An Unexpectedly Touching Finale
By time Clerks III ends, fans of the series are going to be stunned while wanting to enjoy the entire trilogy again for the first time.
- Spencer Legacy

The official trailer for Nocebo, the latest thriller film from director Lorcan Finnegan and RLJE Films/Shudder, has been released. The trailer gives viewers a look at the film’s unsettling atmosphere and the tensions that will rise between the various characters.

RELATED: Exclusive Nocebo Key Art + Stills Preview RLJE Films & Shudder’s Upcoming Thriller

“A fashion designer (Eva Green) suffers from a mysterious illness that confounds her doctors and frustrates her husband (Mark Strong) — until help arrives in the form of a Filipino nanny (Chai Fonacier) who uses traditional folk healing to reveal a horrifying truth,” reads the film’s synopsis.

Check out the official Nocebo trailer below:

MORE: Exclusive Beyond the Neon Trailer for Joey Salads-Led Thriller

Nocebo is written by Garret Shanley and directed by Lorcan Finnegan. It stars Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, and Billie Gadsdon.  It will premiere in theaters on November 4 and will be available digitally and through video-on-demand on November 22.

The post Nocebo Trailer Showcases the Tense Upcoming Thriller appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Jonathan Sim
Smile Review: A Delightfully Unsettling Horror Film

Say cheese. A new horror film has arrived in theaters and has featured a marketing campaign like no other. Brief teaser trailers showcasing creepy smiles, actors smirking maniacally a the camera at Major League Baseball games, and the fact that this movie shifted from a streaming release to a theatrical one following positive test screenings has the world waiting for Smile. This film follows psychiatrist Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), who gets haunted by an entity with an evil smile after witnessing a traumatic incident with one of her patients.

Smile is a unique, well-directed horror movie. It is another fine addition to September’s phenomenal run of original films and a great one for closing out the month. This movie comes out the same month as films like Barbarian and Pearl, and it may be even better than those. When the trailer came out, it was genuinely challenging to decide whether this would be an excellent horror film or an absolute trainwreck. Fortunately, it was the former, as Smile will blow you out of the water with how well-written, intense, and genuinely scary it can be. Who knew what horrors would be found within this frightening feature?

I went into Smile expecting to hate it. I wasn’t fully onboard for the first few minutes. At first, it felt as if the opening scene was not chilling enough, another character would have been a worthy protagonist, and the movie could have been another Truth or Dare — another film that uses evil smiles as its antagonist. However, the movie quickly picks up the pace and gets you onboard with its horrifying, gory imagery that avoids being gratuitous while perfectly depicting the scary nature of the film. While this premise could have easily slipped into comical territory, it works surprisingly well.

Smile is written and directed by Parker Finn in his feature directorial debut. This is a superb debut from a strong horror filmmaker. His camera movements and use of darkness are stylish and phenomenal. One of the key talking points this movie may start among audiences is the amount of jump scares it features. While it offers many jump scares, they are not cheap, false, or ineffective. Some horror movies feature characters grabbing the protagonist’s shoulder accompanied by a piercing noise; this is not that movie. The jump scares can sometimes catch you off guard, which is the highest compliment that I can give to a film that uses this cinematic technique.

There are times in Smile where you feel the dread and terror the protagonist goes through. Sometimes, you may even find yourself covering your eyes, afraid to look at what might be peeking through the shadows. The scariest thing about the antagonist is that it is not a monster with a weakness. The antagonist is invisible and unstoppable, taking you down a cursed path similar to what we saw in films like The Ring and It Follows. The movie does a phenomenal job setting up a ticking clock, high stakes, and a lot of fear, as you never know what happens next.

What makes this even better is how the antagonist does not only scare Rose. Instead, the antagonist takes advantage of Rose’s trauma and uses it against her while ruining her life. The best horror movies, such as CandymanOrphan, and The Invisible Man, have antagonists that isolate the hero and make their lives a living hell. This movie does an excellent job of that while exploring themes of trauma and letting go of it. The only issue with the film is a final act that nearly undercuts what made the movie scary in the first place, but ultimately lands back on two feet. Smile is an intense horror film dealing with survivor’s guilt that exceeds all expectations. By the film’s end, I found my palms sweating — something I’d never experienced.

SCORE: 8/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 equates to “Great.” While there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds at its goal and leaves a memorable impact.

Disclosure: The critic attended a press screening for ComingSoon’s Smile review.

The post Smile Review: A Delightfully Unsettling Horror Film appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Anthony Nash

While no information on who the new James Bond might be has come to light yet, one of the producers behind the films has recently revealed that the character will not be a younger actor.

RELATED: James Bond Producer Says New Film is At Least Two Years Away

Longtime James Bond producer Michael G. Wilson recently spoke at an ‘In Conversation’ event at London’s British Film Institute to celebrate 60 years of James Bond and said that younger actors are out of the running when it comes to being the next choice for the famous spy.

”We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past,” said Wilson (via Deadline). “But trying to visualize it doesn’t work. Remember, Bond’s already a veteran. He’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something. He isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That’s why it works for a thirty-something.”

While perhaps not the most surprising news, the statement does seem to eliminate a handful of popular fan choices for the role from contention, including Tom Holland. The Spider-Man actor revealed earlier this year that he had actually pitched a James Bond movie to Sony, and it’s been no secret that he’s wanted the role.

RELATED: Tom Holland Pitched James Bond Origin Movie Prior to Uncharted

Following Daniel Craig’s departure from the character in 2021’s No Time to Die, the status of the next 007 film, as well as who will be playing the character of James Bond, has been subject to heavy speculation. With this new set of news, it seems like fans will have some time to continue theorizing who should play the character while those behind the scenes work on delivering the newest version of the iconic secret agent.

The post James Bond Producer Rules Out Any Young Actors for Next 007 appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Spencer Legacy

ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke with Solar Opposites Writer/Co-Creator Mike McMahan, producer Danielle Uhalrik, and executive producer Josh Bycel. A Sinister Halloween Scary Opposites Solar Special debuts today on Hulu.

“Sometimes alien life can be spooky,” reads the special’s logline. “The Solar Opposites do a Halloween Special!”



Spencer Legacy: Yumyulack going to black and white Hell is a very fun concept. What was the creative process for that and making how hell looks?

Mike McMahan: I’ll tell you what the creative process is: fuck hell! Hell isn’t scary! That’s something that got made up to make you go to church. You want to know what’s really scary? Going into space! There’s not even any air in space, you know? We wanted to send Yumyulack somewhere that everybody’s supposed to be scared of, but Yumyulack — his whole planet was destroyed by an asteroid. He doesn’t give a shit about hell. He doesn’t give a shit about demons and all that stuff. We also wanted it to look like and feel like the old Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, like that black and white kind of creepy nature to it. I think we don’t talk about sci-fi versus Hell stuff enough.

Where’s the sci-fi holiday? We got Halloween as the spooky holiday. Where’s the sci-fi holiday, I ask you! And I think Yumyulack would agree.

Josh Bycel: I will say though, there were many, many, many rounds of notes of what Satan actually looked like. We went back and forth on that, to the size of the horns, so that was a little bit behind the scenes. Lots of notes about what the great Satan does.

Mike McMahan: A big upside-down cross covering his penis. Classic Satan stuff. I think he looks great.

What is it that makes Holiday specials so fun to make compared to regular episodes?

Danielle Uhalrik: We like writing a show that kind of makes fun of TV because we’re all such giant fans of TV, and holiday specials are always so — in the spirit of every single TV show you’ve ever seen — they always have their Christmas specials or whatever. So it’s fun for us. It’s our little kind of Treehouse of Horror too, that we get to mess around with holidays. For the writing room, in particular, they’re our favorite episodes to write because they’re untethered to the Season and we just get to do whatever. We get to really scare, especially in the Halloween episode, we get to really scare Corvo.

Between the Great Pumpkin and the Tales from the Crypt stuff, the team’s very clearly fond of Halloween and Halloween media. What other spooky films and shows would you like to see the Solar Opposites tackle?

Josh Bycel: Ooh. Oh my God. Well, first of all, yes, I mean that was really the backdrop for us, is the Great Pumpkin. Once we were able to get John Kassir, who played a similar character in a show from a long time ago, we knew we were going to have fun. May Darmon, who wrote the episode, wrote amazing little ditties.

I’m going to be honest with you, I hate Halloween. I don’t like Halloween.

Mike McMahan: He’s the Corvo of —

Josh Bycel: No! I was too scared when I was a kid, my mom would never let me have candy, so I never got to keep any of my candy. I had terrible costumes. We probably won’t do Halloween again, but for me, the movies that scared me the most were the Poltergeist [films]. If we could do a Poltergeist thing, those were the movies that scared me the most. Poltergeist 1 and 2.

Mike McMahan: Next Halloween episode, we should do Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Josh Bycel: Yeah!

Mike McMahan: What’s spookier than being at sea — the battleground! Watch out! Wooooo!

Danielle Uhalrik: That’s why I don’t like cruises. That sounds terrifying to me.

Josh Bycel: Very terrifying.

Danielle Uhalrik: You’re trapped on a hotel in the middle of the ocean.

Josh Bycel: Speaking of cruises, the other movie that Mike and I would like to do, if we were to do it again, was Ghost Ship.

Danielle Uhalrik: We watch that movie every year!

Mike McMahan: Ghost Ship is too spooky, I’ve only seen the opening.

I only saw the cover at Blockbuster and it scared me.

Josh Bycel: Very scary.

Mike McMahan: Or Deep Rising — amazing movie. Treat Williams. Not enough people see it. There’s a monster in it that drinks you. Highly recommend. Also takes place at sea.

Josh Bycel: Yeah.

The Yumyulack quote about adults with Halloween felt very personal [laughs]. Did you write that, or where did that come from?

Mike McMahan: I probably did. The meanest shit in Solar Opposites is probably straight from me. I mean, that’s kind of making fun of myself. I love people who geek out over that kind of stuff. I’ve got a lot of spooky friends that are kind of Halloween all year round. I love hanging out with them and I love how much they love and have opinions on the Haunted Mansion … but I do think if you’re going to combine people that I like who are very into things that are uncool, horse girls and Halloween people — you have very specific interests. So yeah, I’d say that like Yumyulack is me on my grouchiest day, sometimes. I guess that’s the least pleasant way to put it. But listen, Halloween people love drinking pumpkin beer. They love eating candy and they love watching movies. So I have no problem with Halloween people.

Danielle Uhalrik: We also want to give a giant shout-out. I know we did it a little bit, but May Darmon did such a great job writing this episode.

The post Solar Opposites Huluween Interview: Mike McMahan, Danielle Uhalrik, & Josh Bycel appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tudor Leonte
House of the Dragon Explained: Why Is Vhagar So Important?

One of the biggest storylines in House of the Dragon Episode 7 involved a giant she-dragon called Vhagar.

HBO’s hit show has yet to delve into Vhagar’s story, but she is the oldest character in Westeros at the time of Rhaenyra Targaryen and the others. While most of this explainer deals with all that happened before the events told in House of the Dragon, do not keep reading if you haven’t watched the latest installment in HBO’s hit series. Here is an explanation of Vhagar’s backstory and why everyone seems so interested.

ComingSoon spoiler alert

Why Is Vhagar So Important?

Vhagar is one of the strongest dragons in Westeros at the time of the House of the Dragon‘s events. The imposing she-dragon is the only dragon that is still alive from Aegon Targaryen’s Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. Initially, she was ridden by Queen Visenya Targaryen herself, Aegon’s wife and sister. Together with Balerion and Meraxes — the other two dragons alive at the time of the Conquest — Vhagar forced all the rulers in Westeros to bend the knee to Aegon the Conqueror. All except Dorne, of course, but that’s a story for another day.

RELATED: House of the Dragon Explained: The Meaning of Alicent’s Green Dress

In the latest episode, the she-dragon was claimed by Aemond Targaryen, the son of King Viserys I and Alicent Hightower. Aemond was very eager to have a dragon of his own, like his older brother, Aegon, and their cousins. To become a dragonrider, Aemond had to overcome his fears and approach the she-dragon, commanding her to obey his orders. The kid’s audacity pleased Vhagar, who agreed to take Aemond on a ride over Driftmark.

RELATED: House of the Dragon Explained: Who Are the 8 Children?

The passage wasn’t without drama, though, as Aemond loses an eye at the hands of his cousin Lucerys. Initially, Lucerys and his brother Jacaerys intervened to help Rhaena to reprehend Aemond for taking her mother’s dragon. The show implied that different people could ride the same dragon, but only after its previous owner had passed away. Before accepting Aemond as her dragonrider, Vhagar was Laena Velaryon’s dragon. As shown in House of the Dragon Episode 6, Laena chose to die and asked Vhagar to burn her due to her pain while giving birth to a stillborn child. That’s why the dragon-less Rhaena felt she was the next in line to claim Vhagar. Besides Visenya, Laena, and Aemond, Vhagar accepted Baelon Targaryen as her rider. Baelon was Viserys’ father and died before the events of House of the Dragon.

The post House of the Dragon Explained: Why Is Vhagar So Important? appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Anthony Nash

It seems that iconic rapper Coolio recorded lines for the upcoming Futurama revival at Hulu a few weeks prior to his death, according to an executive producer on the series.

RELATED: John DiMaggio Didn’t Get Pay Raise for Futurama Revival But ‘Was Holding On to Their Collective Testicles So Hard’

Speaking to TMZ recently, David X. Cohen revealed that Coolio was able to reprise his role as Kwanzaa-bot for the series and recorded new music for the character as well. Coolio first appeared as Kwanzaa-bot in Season 4 of Futurama, in an episode entitled “A Tale of Two Santas.” He would appear again in the Season 7 episode “The Future Holiday Spectacular,” as well as in a cameo role in the Futurama film Bender’s Big Score.

“Coolio was one of my favorite guests,” Cohen said. “He was always totally upbeat and genuinely enjoyed coming in to record as his character Kwanzaa-bot.” Cohen also said that the episode in which Coolio appears will be dedicated to him.

RELATED: John DiMaggio Officially Boards Hulu’s Futurama Revival Series

The Futurama revival has been picked up for 20 new episodes, which will air in 2023 with production expected to begin soon. The original seasons of the series are available to stream now on Hulu. The show is produced by 20th Television and executive produced by Matt Groening and Cohen. Rough Draft Studios is set to handle the animation.

The post Coolio Recorded Lines For Futurama Revival Series Prior to His Death appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tudor Leonte
Walker Independence Premiere Release Date & Time

The official release of the Walker Independence premiere is upon us.

In a matter of days, The CW will release the first episode of the Walker spin-off series, Walker Independence. The story takes place in the 1800s and follows a widow, Abby Walker, as she moves to the not-so-quiet Independence town from Boston. Here’s when to watch Episode 1.

When to Watch the Walker Independence Premiere

The CW will air the Walker Independence premiere starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday, October 6. Larry Teng directed the pilot from a script by Seamus Kevin Fahey based on a story he wrote with Walker showrunner Anna Fricke. The spin-off is executive produced by Walker star and EP Jared Padalecki. It stars Katherine McNamara, Matt Barr, and Greg Hovanessian. Additionally, Lawrence Kao, Justin Johnson Cortez, Philemon Chambers, Katie Findlay, and Gabriela Quezada.

RELATED: The CW’s Gotham Knights Series Begins Production

“Set in the late 1800s, Walker: Independence follows Abby Walker, an affluent Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes while on their journey out West,” reads the synopsis. “On her quest for revenge, Abby crosses paths with Hoyt Rawlins, a lovable rogue in search of purpose. Abby and Hoyt’s journey takes them to Independence, Texas, where they encounter diverse, eclectic residents running from their own troubled pasts and chasing their dreams. Our newfound family will struggle with the changing world around them while becoming agents of change themselves in a town where nothing is what it seems.”

RELATED: The CW Orders Pilots for Supernatural & Walker Prequels, New DC Series

Along with Padalecki, Teng and Fahey will executive produce alongside Fricke and Laura Terry who will EP through their Pursued by a Bear banner. Rideback’s Dan Lin and Lindsey Liberatore are also executive producing. CBS Studios is behind both Walker and Walker: Independence.

The post Walker Independence Premiere Release Date & Time appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Spencer Legacy

ComingSoon is excited to debut an exclusive clip from Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday, the upcoming action film from directors George and Harry Kirby. The movie is set to release in theaters, digitally, and through video-on-demand on October 14.

MORE: Exclusive Guns of Eden Trailer Previews the Upcoming Action Film

“The Accident Man is back and this time he must beat the top assassins in the world to protect the ungrateful son of a mafia boss, save the life of his only friend and rekindle his relationship with his maniacal father figure,” reads the film’s synopsis.

Check out the exclusive Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday clip below:

MORE: Exclusive The Enforcer Clip Shows Antonio Banderas Ominously Golfing

Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday is directed by George and Harry Kirby and written by Stu Small. It stars Scott Adkins, Sarah Chang, Ray Stevenson, Perry Benson, Javad Ramezani, and Beau Fowler. The movie is set to release in theaters, digitally, and through video-on-demand on October 14.

The post Exclusive Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday Clip Previews Wild Action Film appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Maggie Dela Paz

AMC has finally revealed the first-look teaser for its upcoming TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s supernatural horror novel series Mayfair Witches, starring Alexandra Daddario. The teaser features Daddario’s Rowan as she walks through the gate of a creepy-looking house. It has also been confirmed that the project will be making its debut in early 2023.

RELATED: Interview with the Vampire Scores Season 2 Announced by AMC

Introducing the thirteenth witch. #MayfairWitches premieres in early 2023 on @AMCPlus. Stay tuned for a full trailer soon. pic.twitter.com/2hKppdKUiD

— Interview with the Vampire (@Immortal_AMC) October 3, 2022

Based on Anne Rice’s Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy novel, Mayfair Witches hails from Masters of Sex‘s Esta Spalding and Michelle Ashford, who are both serving as writers and executive producers. Spalding is also set as the showrunner under her overall deal with AMC Studios.

The series will focus on an intuitive young neurosurgeon who discovers that she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations.

RELATED: Mayfair Witches: First Look Photos Show Alexandra Daddario & More in AMC Series

The series adaptation will consist of eight episodes produced by AMC Studios. Christopher Rice is executive producing on all projects based on his late mother’s iconic works, which were acquired by AMC Networks in 2020. This serves as the second project in the network’s expanding Anne Rice universe, following the Interview with the Vampire series.

The post Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches Teaser Sets Early 2023 Debut appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tudor Leonte
The Midnight Club Release Date & Time on Netflix

The Midnight Club release date is upon us.

The live-action adaptation of author Christopher Pike’s novel is finally here. The supernatural horror book was published in 1994 and was quite popular among younger readers. Netflix made a series out of it after optioning the rights for The Midnight Club. Here’s when to watch the upcoming series.

When to Watch The Midnight Club on Netflix

Netflix set the Midnight Club release date at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT on Friday, October 7. As always, the streaming service will release all ten installments at once. The story is set in Brightcliffe Hospice, a hospice for terminally ill teenagers, where a group of patients begins to gather together at midnight to share scary stories. The group makes a pact, swearing that whoever dies first will contact the others from beyond the grave.

RELATED: The Midnight Club Final Teaser: Heather Langenkamp Welcomes You to Brightcliffe Hospice

The limited series will star horror icon Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare at Elm Street films) as she plays the role of an enigmatic doctor who runs the hospice. Joining her are Adia, Igby Rigney, Ruth Codd, William Chris Sumpter, Aya Furukawa, Annarah Shephard, and Sauriyan Sapkota, who will all portray “the titular club of terminally ill young adults.” It will also feature Zach Gilford, Iman Benson, Larsen Thompson, Matt Biedel, Crystal Balint, William B. Davis, as well as Crystal Balint, and Patricia Drake.

RELATED: The Midnight Club Trailer: Death is a Rite of Passage in Netflix Horror Series

The Midnight Club series is created and executive produced by Mike Flanagan, also serving as the showrunner. Executive producers are Leah Fong, Julia Bicknell, and Trevor Macy. This marks Flanagan’s latest collaboration with Netflix after working together on The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Haunting of Bly Manor, and Midnight Mass. He is currently in production for his fifth horror project for the streamer, which is The Fall of the House of Usher.

The post The Midnight Club Release Date & Time on Netflix appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tudor Leonte
Andor Episode 5 Release Date & Time on Disney+

The release date of Andor Episode 5 is near.

According to fans and critics, the journey of Cassian Andor is one of the most compelling Star Wars stories in recent years. It took a while for the reluctant Andor to take up arms against the Empire, joining the Rebel Alliance. Here’s when to watch the next installment in his epic story.

When to Watch Andor Episode 5

Disney+ will add Andor Episode 5 to its available content starting at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT on Wednesday, October 5. Susanna White directed the upcoming installment from a script by Dan Gilroy. The freshman season of Andor will consist of 12 episodes, followed by another season whose debut date has yet to be announced. New episodes will follow weekly until the season finale on November 23.

RELATED: Andor Explained: What Happened on Mimban Could Connect to Han Solo

Disney+’s Andor features Diego Luna as he reprises his role of Cassian Andor. Set five years before the events of Rogue One, the series will follow the adventures of the titular hero rebel spy during the formative years of the Rebellion. It will explore tales of espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire.

The Andor cast also sees Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma, Stellan Skarsgård as Luthen Rael, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Adria Arjona as Bix Caleen, Denise Gough as Dedra Meero, Kyle Soller as Syril, Fiona Shaw as Maarva, and Faye Marsay.

RELATED: Andor Season 1 Episode 4 Recap, Theories, and Thoughts

Andor is executive produced by showrunner Tony Gilroy, who previously directed the reshoots for Rogue One. Gilroy was originally expected to direct three episodes but was forced to give up the position to Black Mirror‘s Toby Haynes due to pandemic-related travel issues.

The 2016 film was a critical and box-office hit with a gross of over $1 billion worldwide. It starred Luna, Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, and Ben Mendelsohn.

The post Andor Episode 5 Release Date & Time on Disney+ appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Anthony Nash
Exclusive Project Legion Clip Previews Donald Cerrone-Led Action Thriller

ComingSoon is excited to debut an exclusive clip from the upcoming action thriller Project Legion, starring UFC superstar Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The film is set to release in select theaters on Friday, October 7, 2022. It will then be released on digital and on-demand on October 11, 2022.

MORE: Exclusive All Sorts Trailer Previews Surreal Workplace Comedy

“Feral creatures that prey on humans have descended upon the city,” reads the film’s synopsis. “A furious fight for survival begins as the outside world descends into chaos and a former Marine (UFC superstar Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone), barricaded inside his apartment, prepares to come out fighting.”

Check out the clip below:



MORE: Take a Look at Exclusive Cards From Fallout: The Official Tarot Deck

Project Legion is written by John Sullivan and Lance Kawas, and directed by Kawas as well. The film stars Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Brande Roderick. It is produced by Asif Akbar and Al Bravo.

The post Exclusive Project Legion Clip Previews Donald Cerrone-Led Action Thriller appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Maggie Dela Paz

Following The Walking Dead‘s return yesterday for the third phase of its eleventh and final season, AMC has dropped a brand new The Walking Dead Universe trailer, highlighting its expanding franchise. The video also unveiled the official titles for its three upcoming spin-off shows, which are all set to debut in 2023 alongside the eighth season of Fear the Walking Dead.

RELATED: Melissa McBride Exits The Walking Dead Spin-off Based on Carol and Daryl

Formerly titled Isle of the Dead, the Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan-centered spin-off has now been titled The Walking Dead: Dead City, which will find the unlikely pair of Maggie and Negan navigating “a post-apocalyptic Manhattan long ago cut off from the mainland.  The crumbling city is filled with the dead and denizens who have made New York City their own world full of anarchy, danger, beauty, and terror.”

The second spin-off series is titled Daryl Dixon, which will revolve around Norman Reedus’ beloved Walking Dead character as he finds himself in Paris, France. The project was initially set as a Daryl and Carol-centered series. However, Melissa McBride exited the spin-off last April in order to take a break from the franchise following her eleven-year run on the main series.

Meanwhile, Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira are set to reprise their fan-favorite roles in the upcoming Rick & Michonne series. “This series presents an epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world,” reads the synopsis (via Comic Book). “Kept apart by distance. By an unstoppable power. By the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead … And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they’ve ever known before?”

RELATED: Isle of the Dead: Lauren Cohan & Jeffrey Dean Morgan to Star in New Walking Dead Spin-Off Series

The Walking Dead is a story that started 10 years ago with one man trying to find his family. That family grew, and gradually communities took shape. They fought and survived, thrived, and gave birth to a new generation. It is a tale of humankind, and there are more stories to tell.

Based on Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s comic series of the same name, the series is executive produced by Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert, Joseph Incaprera, Gale Anne Hurd, Denise Huth, and Angela Kang, who is returning as the showrunner for the final installment.

The post The Walking Dead Universe Trailer Teases Upcoming 2023 Spin-Offs appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tudor Leonte
She-Hulk Episode 8 Release Date & Time on Disney+

She-Hulk Episode 8 is hitting Disney+ in a few days.

With just two episodes left, the latest Marvel Studios series is preparing for its grand finale. The story showed how Jennifer Walkers acquired her mighty powers and became She-Hulk. Even though she can turn into a stunningly beautiful 6-foot-7 tall woman at will, Jennifer’s life is far from easy. Here is when her misadventures are next.

When to Watch She-Hulk Episode 8

She-Hulk Episode 8 will hit Disney+ starting at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT on Thursday, October 6. The upcoming episode was directed by Kat Coiro from a script by Cody Ziglar. Excluding the next one, only one episode is left before the series finale on October 13.

RELATED: She-Hulk Explained: Who Are The Abomination’s Gang Members?

The upcoming installment might be the good one where Charlie Cox returns as Matt Murdock/Daredevil on the show. Marvel Studios teased the cameo of the blind vigilante on several occasions, including showing his new mask before the credits in Episode 5. A few pending questions might also be addressed in the following weeks. For example, what is happening with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and that Sakaraan spaceship? Is El Aguila effectively a mutant? Are the X-Men coming to the MCU soon? Let’s see where the story goes from here on.

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tatiana Maslany portrays the titular role of Jennifer Walters. Avengers: Endgame star Ruffalo is reprising his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Additional cast includes Jameela Jamil, Ginger Gonzaga, as well as Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Josh Segarra. Megan Thee Stallion also appears in the series.

RELATED: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Episode 7 Review: A Step in the Right Direction

She-Hulk hails from head writer Jessica Gao, the Emmy-winning scribe behind Rick and Morty’s acclaimed Season 3 episode “Pickle Rick,” among other credits. Cairo (Brooklyn Nine-NineDead to Me) and Anu Valia serve as directors and executive producers.

The post She-Hulk Episode 8 Release Date & Time on Disney+ appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tyler Treese
Exclusive Beyond the Neon Trailer for Joey Salads-Led Thriller

ComingSoon is excited to debut the trailer for Beyond the Neon, which stars YouTuber Joey Salads. Described as a “gonzo journalistic thriller” tackling sex trafficking, the film is set to release in U.S. theaters on Friday, October 14. A video on demand release is then set for October 18.

“Based on true accounts, a Las Vegas escort is recognized by her sister in a viral social experiment video,” says the summary. “Looking to reunite the sisters, and secretly motivated to capture the reunion on camera, Salads and his apprehensive crew are thrown into the dangerous and corrupt world of escorting, documenting every step of their desperate effort to rescue the woman from human sex trafficking in Las Vegas.”

Check out the Beyond the Neon trailer below:



Beyond The Neon is produced by Magnum Opus Pictures’ Woodrow Wilson Hancock III and Madero Films, with Christopher Thellas executive producing. It is written by Hancock and Marisa Dzintars, while Larry A. McLean is the director.

Additionally, a limited series called Beyond the Neon: U.S. is in development with the nationwide anti-trafficking organization, Disrupt Human Trafficking. Through intelligence gathering and investigative support DHT, BNF Films, Tiftin Media Finance & Magnum Opus aim to uncover and expose sex trafficking in six cities around the US.

beyond the neon poster

The post Exclusive Beyond the Neon Trailer for Joey Salads-Led Thriller appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Maggie Dela Paz

HBO has dropped the promo trailer for the upcoming eighth episode of House of the Dragon, titled “The Lord of the Tides.” The newest episode of the Game of Thrones prequel is scheduled to air on October 9.

RELATED: House of the Dragon Season 2 Announced, HBO Issues Statement on ‘Epic Saga’

The House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer promises another large time jump featuring new cast members to portray Rhaenyra and Alicent’s children. It also teases the Hightowers’ first major move in the battle for the Iron Throne.



Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & BloodHouse of the Dragon chronicles the rise and the downfall of the Targaryens, who are the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria. It takes place 300 years before the events of the award-winning series adaptation of Game of Thrones, which aired its final episode in 2019.

The 10-episode series is being led by Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, and Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. It also features Rhys Ifans, Steve Toussaint, Eve Best, Sonoya Mizuno, Milly Alcock, Emily Carey, Graham McTavish, Ryan Corr, Jefferson Hall, David Horovitch, Matthew Needham, Bill Patterson, Gavin Spokes, Wil Johnson, John Macmillan, Savannah Steyn, and Theo Nate.

RELATED: George R. R. Martin: The Winds of Winter Ending Will Differ ‘A Lot’ From Game of Thrones

House of the Dragon hails from George R.R. Martin, Ryan Condal, and Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, with Condal and Sapochnik also serving as showrunners. Executive producers are Martin, Sapochnik, Condal, Vince Gerardis, and Sara Lee Hess.

The post House of the Dragon Episode 8 Promo Teases the Hightowers’ First Move appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Jeff Ames

Another work week is upon us, which also means it’s time for more House of the Dragon. Last week saw the show shake up much of the cast as it leaped forward in time about a dozen or so years. We saw Alicent take her first steps towards ruthlessness, while Rhaenyra surprisingly opted for more peaceful measures by relocating her family to Dragonstone. She also suggested marrying her son with Alicent’s daughter in order to ensure a peaceful transition once the finally King dies.

Both women are becoming increasingly desperate in their bid to protect their children; though, Alicent’s descent towards evil appears more self-centered — she wants to validate her own sacrifices and get back at Rhaenyra for lying to her all those years ago. For Alicent, this is personal.

Naturally, her emotions are carefully manipulated by the slithery hands of Larys Strong, whose bid for power just cost him his father and brother — the true father of Rhaenyra’s sons. This won’t go over well.

So, basically, just another day in King’s Landing.

Let’s get to Episode 7, titled “Driftmark,” and hold on for dear life as we watch our beloved characters nosedive into tragedy.

What Happens in House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 7

We open at the funeral of Laena, who burned herself (and her child) alive via dragon fire after childbirth complications called for desperate action. Daemon stands by, apathetic during the ceremony. He even laughs at some of the words spoken during the ceremony, particularly those stating the Velaryon blood runs thick through the family and must never thin.

Jacaerys and Lucerys display genuine sadness while Aegon rolls his eyes. Though, we later learn that “Jace” is actually bummed that they aren’t at Harrenhal mourning the death of Lord Strong, his actual father. “It wouldn’t be appropriate,” Rhaenyra says.

We get lots of Godfather-like glances from the likes of Varys and Alicent. Everyone seems to be conspiring in their own way. I’m still not sure what Daemon wants. He always looks like he’s thinking hard, but his thoughts typically amount to … nothing. At least, so far. Maybe he’s not thinking. Maybe he just doesn’t give a shit about any of this. Or maybe he gives a shit but is too emotionally attached to everyone involved to do anything about it.

Helaena, Alicent’s daughter, plays with a spider while her brothers Aegon and Aemond stare in confusion. “We have nothing in common,” Aegon says. He’s as apathetic as Daemon.

Larys eyeballs the hell out of Alicent, an action that doesn’t go unnoticed by Criston Cole.

Meanwhile, Laenor stands in the water below the party looking positively devastated. Corlys spots his son and orders Qarl Correy, Laenor’s “secret” lover, to retrieve him.

Varys watches all of this and looks positively tired. It takes a lot of energy for him to rise to speak with Daemon. He suggests Daemon return home — Rhaenyra watches from afar — to King’s Landing, but he’s like “Nah” and storms off, past … Otto Hightower, who, I assume, was reinstated as the King’s Hand?

Night blankets the proceedings. Otto orders a drunken Aegon to get to bed; Laena stumbles through the crowd after being pulled from the sea by Quarl; somewhere overhead, a dragon growls, a sound that draws the interest of Aemond. Varys heads to bed, another shitty day for the King.

Later, Corlys and Rhaenys, aka the Queen that Never Was, discuss their daughter’s death. She thinks it’s a punishment from the gods for their selfish ambition and chastises Lorys for his unyielding desire to ascend the throne, no matter the cost. Covered in word vomit, Lorys sits beside his grieving wife. “What is this brief mortal life if not to pursuit legacy,” he asks. Indeed.

Rhaenys lays it all on the line and states she wants Driftmark to pass through Laena’s line. She knows that Rhaenyra’s children are not Laenor’s, and she knows that he knows. At this point, the only way to ensure the Velaryon bloodline continues is to lean on Daemon/Laena’s children.

“History does not remember blood,” he snaps. “It remembers names.”

Great scene.

Elsewhere, Rhaenyra walks with Daemon along the beach. She explains how she tried to conceive a child with Laenor, but nothing came of it. “It wasn’t much fun,” she says as Daemon smirks. The topic turns to Alicent, who Daemon notes is very much capable of doing really bad things if pushed to the limit.

The couple that never was shift gears to discuss their own love life. “I was a child, I was in love,” she snaps. “It was wrong and you knew it!”

“You knew what you were doing,” he retorts.

She takes a step toward him. “I’m not a child anymore. I want you.”

Boom.

We get some romantic, er, Uncle/Niece necking while the soundtrack tries valiantly to play this off as romantic. They do the nasty and … I’m not sure what to think. Are we supposed to be happy that they found each other at last?

Elsewhere, Aemond follows the sound of the dragon and spots the massive beast snoozing under the moonlight. (There’s no music in this bit, just the sound of the dragon’s breath. It’s really cool!) Aemond attempts to touch the monster, which, I think, is Laena’s former dragon Vhagar. She wakes. Eyes Aemond and casually looks away.

Again Aemond tries to touch the beast, which opens its mouth and prepares to dish out a massive amount of hot whoop ass, but the young man shouts nonsense in High Valyrian: “Dohaeras! Dohaeras, Vhagar! Lykiri!” These commands subdue Vhagar, and Aemond climbs on her back. We get a terrific shot from his point of view and then the young man shouts, “Soves!” and the massive dragon launches into the air.

We get an incredible dragon flying sequence that literally takes your breath away — the score, the music, the FX, the acting, the direction, all of it is incredible. Hiccup, eat your heart out.

Aemond lands and strolls back to the castle like a boss. He’s confronted by Laena’s daughters and Rhaenyra’s sons. Rhaena scolds him for taking her dragon, which, Aemond notes, she should have claimed after her mother’s death. He tells her to find herself a nice pig, which earns him a slap. Stunned, the young man slaps back … then Jacaerys slaps Aemond … and Aemond slaps Lucerys … everyone slaps everyone until all the kids are atop of Aemond slapping the holy shit out of the kid. Things escalate further when Aemond calls Rhaenyra’s kids bastards and … well, kids being kids, one of them draws a knife and slices half of Aemond’s face off.

We cut to Varys looking like a man who would happily welcome death at any moment just to escape from this endless nightmare of violence, pettiness, and self-destruction. “How could you allow such a thing to happen,” he says cooly to Ser Harold and Ser Criston.

“Where the hell were you,” Alicent snaps at Aegon, slugging the gangly kid in the face in front of the entire castle.

Nearby, Aemond gets a wicked set of stitches across his face, which should come in handy should he choose to become a proper villain. His eye is lost, but the flesh will heal, which is good news, I guess? Aemond takes all of this remarkably well.

Rhaenyra shows up along with Corlys and Rhaenys. “Who did this,” Rhaenyra asks after seeing the wounds on her children.

Kids shout. Varys shouts. Everyone shouts. “Shut the f*** up,” the King commands.

“He called us bastards,” Jacaerys whispers to his mother, who stands with a look that says she knows this is going to be a long night.

“False accusations were levied against my sons and they defended themselves,” Rhaenyra says. “Accusations about the legitimacy of their birthright.”

Everyone rolls their eyes.

“This is high treason. Prince Aemond must be questioned to determine where he learned such slanders,” Rhaenyra continues, doubling down on her lie.

“Over an insult,” Alicent says, her eyes filled with tears.

Otto watches the scene from afar but slowly moves forward as if bracing for the worst. Daemon observes from a doorway, arms folded; a smirk across his face.

“Where did you hear this lie,” Varys asks Aemond.

Alicent tries to smother the fire. “Uh, he’s just a kid saying dumb kid shit … uh, where’s the boy’s true father, Laenor?”

That seems to draw everyone’s attention away from the moment.

“Yeah, where the hell is Laenor?”

“Entertaining his young squires, I would venture,” Alicent says, drawing a smirk from Criston. (Honestly, this episode has been fire. I love the little character beats tucked within the larger scene. You learn a lot from the slightest gaze.)

“Your King demands an answer,” Viserys says. “Who spoke these lies to you?”

Aemond eyes his mother, but then pivots. “Uh, Aegon!” (I’m reminded of that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie falsely accuses his friend of strong language and is forced to listen to the poor kid incur a horrible beating over the phone.)

The King confronts Aegon. “Who told you this lie,” he screams.

“Everyone knows,” Aegon says quietly. “Just look at them.”

Yeah, the jig is up. But Varys wants nothing to do with any of it. “You King demands everyone to be happy,” he shouts the way I do at every Thanksgiving family fight. He heads off to bed, but Alicent’s like, “Nah, that’s not good enough. I want an eye for an eye — literally.”

Viserys is like, “What the hell?”

“Fine, if the King will not seek justice, then the Queen will,” Alicent says coldly, the pent of rage boiling to the surface. “Ser Criston, bring me the eye of Lucerys.”

Keep in mind, the entire castle is watching this very intense family dispute. Oh, the stories they’ll tell …

The King again orders everyone to calm down, go to bed and eat some fruit or something, and also proclaims a new decree: anyone who falsely accuses my daughter’s bastard sons of their true heritage will have their tongues removed.

“Thank you father,” Rhaenyra says before turning to head back to bed.

Alicent can’t take this shit anymore and goes full-on Rambo. She grabs the King’s blade and hurls herself towards Rhaenyra. Daemon blocks Ser Criston from performing his duties, while Ser Harrold eases everyone back and allows the two women to have their moment.

“You’ve gone too far,” Rhaenyra says dryly.

“I’ve done everything that was asked of me,” Alicent snaps. (Cut to Otto slinking off into the shadows.)

“Exhausting isn’t it,” Rhaenyra says, “hiding under the cloak of your own righteousness, but now they see you for who you really are!”

Alicent lunges and then pulls back. Blood pours down Rhaenyra’s arm. (I expect the King is thinking he should have gone with Door No. 2.) Everyone is shocked. Daemon smirks. Aemond steps forward. “Do not mourn me mother,” the boy says. “It was a fair exchange. I may have lost an eye, but I gained a dragon.”

“Everyone go to bed, for the love of God,” Viserys commands as the families eyeball each other, neatly divided by miles of hatred.

The next day, Otto visits Alicent and surprisingly commends her for her actions. “You’re tough shit,” he says. “I think you can win this game.” He assures his daughter that the King will forgive her actions — what else can he do? — before stating: “Stick with me and together we’re gonna kick some ass.” He then notes that Aemond’s rebellious decision to snag himself a dragon may have turned the tide in their favor. “I mean, Vhagar is ours now.”

Scary.

We get more stitching action as a maester sews up Alicent’s arm the next morning. Laenor stumbles in. “Ah, hiya everyone …”

The couple discusses their relationship — highs and lows. Long story short, he recommits himself to her. “I will be your husband from this point on.” She looks surprised, a little shocked and … sort of weary, if I’m reading Rhaenyra right. I mean, she finally got her Uncle in the sack and now … it’s complicated.

Speaking of which, the pair stand at Dragonstone and watch Alicent’s ship sail away. “Fire is a prison,” Daemon notes of their Targaryen lineage, “the sea is always right.”

“I need you, Uncle,” Rhaenyra says. “I cannot face the greens alone. Let’s kick ass together.”

“We cannot marry unless Laenor were dead,” Daemon says.

“I know,” she replies coldly.

On the ship, Larys offers to snatch an eye for Alicent. “Not now,” she says. “But one day will come where I need your loyalty and discretion.”

Everyone is choosing a side, forming allegiances and setting the table for the battle to come.

Daemon seeks out Qarl and offers him gold to execute Laenor. We see the “loyal” servant confront Laenor and engage in a sword fight. By the time Corlys arrives, a body burns in the fireplace. Is that Laenor? Or somebody else? Thrones doesn’t typically kill a character offscreen, but I’ve been wrong with all of my assumptions about this show thus far.

We end with some lip and hand cutting as Rhaenyra and Daemon finally marry in front of their kids. Uh, this is great … I think?

Later, a mysterious bald man who is totally Laenor runs into a boat and sails away with Qarl. I knew it! And that’s how we end this week’s episode.

Final Thoughts on House of the Dragon Episode 7

Okay, so just three episodes to go, folks. I don’t know about you but this show is friggin’ incredible. There are so many interesting nuances within each storyline that it’s easy to lose oneself in the drama. While not exactly a fair comparison, House of the Dragon has handled the slow and steady buildup to its big finale far more competently than The Rings of Power.

I get it. One’s a mostly family-friendly show rooted in fantasy, while the other is a very R-rated political thriller with fantasy elements. Each show has its merits, but House of the Dragon has so much more lurking beneath the surface. Its characters reside somewhere between good and evil — you root for and despise them all the same, which is a tricky thing to pull off.

Tellingly, I’m not sure who I’m pulling for at this point. Alicent deserves what she fought so hard to achieve, but is clearly going down a very dark path. Rhaenyra is a good person, but her lies have led to a lot of problems. Yet, I don’t fault her for her lies. I get it. This world sucks and both Rhaenyra and Alicent are fumbling through the darkness trying to latch onto the first thing that gives them hope. Except, Alicent has turned to Larys Strong while Rhaenyra has sided with Daemon. Can either be trusted?

This is not going to end well for anyone, is it? There’s too much emotion, too much at stake, too much anger for anyone to step up and douse the flames. Really, this family just needs to sit down and have it out as every family does once every year or so. But it’s probably too late for that at this point.

No matter. That just means we get to watch this royal family rip themselves to shreds with swords, bows, spears, and friggin’ dragons. I’m afraid to watch, but I can’t look away.

The post House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 7 Recap, Theories, and Thoughts appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Tyler Treese
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer & Poster Preview Next MCU Movie

A second Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer and poster have been released ahead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film’s release date of November 11, 2022.

Check out the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer below:



RELATED: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Runtime Reveals 2nd-Longest MCU Movie

“In the film, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye, and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death,” reads the synopsis. “As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.”

It is once again being directed by Ryan Coogler from a screenplay he is co-writing with Joe Robert Cole. It will see the return of most of its original main cast, including Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Winston Duke as M’Baku, and Florence Kasumba as Ayo.

RELATED: Namor is a Mutant in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, New Image Released

Joining them are franchise newcomers Tenoch Huerta (Narcos: Mexico) as Namor, Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) as Aneka, Mabel Cadena as Namora, and Alex Livinalli as Attuma.

wakanda forever

The post Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer & Poster Preview Next MCU Movie appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Michael Leri

Sony only just remade the first The Last of Us game and now it seems as though it is also remaking the first Horizon. According to a couple of reports, the company is publishing a remake or remaster of the 2017 open-world role-playing game as well as a new multiplayer title.

RELATED: The Last of Us Part I Review: A Classic That Has Endured and Survived

MP1st first broke the report, which Video Games Chronicle and insider Tom Henderson corroborated with their own sources. This alleged remake or remaster of Horizon Zero Dawn is said to have more advanced character models, lighting, animations, and accessibility features as well as additional graphics modes and gameplay improvements. All of this is supposed to bring the first game more in line with its 2022 sequel, something that it would seemingly have in common with The Last of Us Part I, which had many similar adjustments from The Last of Us Part II.

Platforms were not listed in either report, but it’s likely that it will release on PlayStation 5 and PC, given how the first game and The Last of Us Part I both hit those systems. Horizon Zero Dawn did receive an update in August 2021 that gave PS5 owners a better version of the game with faster load times that ran at 60 frames per second at a checkerboarded 4K resolution, as explained by Digital Foundry. The PC port had some extra settings, but was working with that same version, meaning there was only so much the stronger hardware could do.

RELATED: Horizon Forbidden West Expansion Apparently Teased by Lance Reddick

The reports also stated that Sony is developing a multiplayer Horizon game. VGC initially reported on this in 2021, going off Guerrilla’s multiplayer job listings and its own sources. Co-op was initially planned for the first game but was scrapped in order to put in more features, as noted by a Noclip interview from 2018 and leaked concept art from 2014. Given the setup of hunters and monsters that drop multiple different kinds of parts, it’s possible that it would be like Monster Hunter, but its general loop and modes were not detailed.

Sony has not commented on these two titles, but it has committed to making more live services games. In addition to the confirmed The Last of Us multiplayer spin-off and Haven Studios’ mysterious game, Sony is allegedly working on a new Twisted Metal. More are on the way, too, since the company stated it was making 10 live service games before 2026, which this Horizon title, if real, would probably be a part of.

The post Report: Horizon Zero Dawn Remake & Multiplayer Spin-Off in Development appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

- Jeff Ames

After a surprisingly crafty publicity campaign, Paramount’s horror flick Smile enjoyed a strong debut weekend, earning $22M from 3,645 theaters, per Deadline. That, of course, was enough for the the pic to take the top spot at the domestic box office, proving once again that a clever horror concept will bring the crowds every time.

On the opposite end of the box office spectrum, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy Bros tripped out of the gate with just $4.8M. Starring Billy Eichner and Nick Stoller, the film will have to hope word of mouth will propel the gay romantic comedy to bigger numbers in the weeks ahead.

Last week’s champ, Don’t Worry Darling, meanwhile, dipped 62% in its second frame and brought in $7.3M. In total, Olivia Wilde’s steamy thriller has amassed $32.8M domestically and $54.7M worldwide.

The Woman King came in at No. 3 with $7M (-36%), while James Cameron’s re-release of Avatar landed at No. 5 with another $4.69M (-62%) to bring its reissue total to $18.5M domestically, $58M worldwide.

The only other notable news is Everything Everywhere All at Once crossing $103M worldwide, easily becoming A24’s highest-grossing pic to date (the previous holder was 2018’s Hereditary with $80M).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10

1.) Smile (Par) 3,645 theaters, Fri $8.2M, Sat $8.6M, Sun $5.15M, 3-day $22M/Wk 1

2.) Don’t Worry Darling (NL/WB), 4,121 (+8) theaters, Fri $2.35M (-75%), Sat $2.9M, Sun $2M, 3-day $7.3M (-62%)/Total $32.8M/ Wk 2

3.) The Woman King (Sony) 3,504 (-261) theaters Fri $1.75M (-41%), Sat $3.1M, Sun $2.1M, 3-day $7M (-36%)/Total $46.7M/Wk 3

4.) Bros (Uni) 3,350 theaters, Fri $1.84M, Sat $1.74M, Sun $1.22M 3-day $4.8M, Wk 1

5.)Avatar (re) (20th/Dis) 1,860 theaters, Fri $1.16M (-65%), Sat $2.2M, Sun $1.3M, 3-day $4.696M (-62%), Total $779.09M (re-issue running total through ten days is $18.5M)/Wk 2 of re-issue

6.) Ponniyan Selvan: Part One (Sar) 500 locations, Fri $2.1M, Sat $1.1M, Sun $818K, 3-day $4.1M/Wk 1

7.) Barbarian (20th/Dis) 2,720 theaters (-145), Fri $809K (-42%), Sat $1.25M, Sun $754K, 3-day $2.8M (-42%)/Total $33.1M/Wk 4

8.) Bullet Train (Sony) 1,931 (+24) theaters, Fri $370K, Sat $630K, Sun $400K, 3-day $1.4M (-23%)/, Total $101.3M/Wk 9

9.) DC League of Super-Pets (WB) 1,924 (-427) theaters, Fri $250K (-31%), Sat $620K, Sun $435K, 3-day $1.3M (-25%)/Total $91.7M Wk 10

10.) Top Gun: Maverick (Par) 1,561 (-464) theaters, Fri $335K (-27%), Sat $575K, Sun $320K 3-day $1.23M (-24%), Total $713.4M/Wk 19

The post Box Office Results: Smile Shines While Bros Fails to Make an Impact appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

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- Charles Bramesco
What is Luca Guadagnino adding to his extended cut of A Bigger Splash?

Luca Guadagnino is having what Hollywood insiders call “a moment,” which is what you say when more than one thing happens to a famous person at a single time. The Italian filmmaker brought his talents to the States for the first time in his teen cannibal drama Bones And All, now approaching release with well-received festival berths in Venice and New York, and he’s kept his PR momentum rolling by announcing an unexpected project sure to stir his growing fanbase.

In an interview with Variety published over the weekend, one offhanded line mentions that Guadagnino teased his upcoming tennis romance Challengers (in which Zendaya is caught between champions Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor) as well as an extended cut of his 2015 film A Bigger Splash titled, perfectly, An Even Bigger Splash. The three-hour-plus version, which adds 70 minutes to the run time of the original, first played at Göteborg Film Festival earlier this year. But the diehards-only director’s rework will soon be available far and wide with a proper release, though whether that will be in brick-and-mortar cinemas or streaming channels online has yet to be seen.

For those with fond memories of the sexy, luxuriant thriller inspired in part by Jacques Deray’s  1969 film La Piscine, this is a surprising treat, though it does pose the question of what missing pieces needed to be restored in the first place. The film — a love-crossed quartet between convalescing rock star Tilda Swinton, her man Matthias Schoenaerts, her ex Ralph Fiennes, and his daughter Dakota Johnson in tow  — thrives on suggestion and intimation, leaving ambiguity in key questions of who slept with whom or who witnessed which murder.

The most underdeveloped aspect of the script was its subtextual counterpoint involving North African immigrants making the perilous trip across the Mediterranean to underscore the solipsism and moral corrosion of the main characters, though it’s unclear whether that would benefit more from expansion or scaling back. Perhaps a decisive move in either direction would do the trick; this is the sort of hot button one pushes or doesn’t.

Guadagnino’s melodrama of jealousy and regret plays out under a hot, lazy summer sun, its rays beating down in afternoons spent lounging poolside until it’s time for dinner and dancing. It’s a vibe the characters wish they could live in forever, and an extended cut would service our same yearning to keep the hangout going for as long as possible. Maybe they can fit another Rolling Stones karaoke sesh in there.

A release date for An Even Bigger Splash has yet to be set.

The post What is Luca Guadagnino adding to his extended cut of A Bigger Splash? appeared first on Little White Lies.

- Kevin Bui
How Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm stays warm 25 years later

The year is 1973, and it’s a strange time to be living in America. The country is on the precipice of a huge cultural shift, in part owing to the tumultuous events of the previous decade; one fraught with wars, political assassinations and a landmark Civil Rights movement. In the town of New Canaan, Connecticut, a storm is brewing – it’s poised to be the biggest of the century. But its residents have something bigger on their minds, as their own deluge of emotions simmers at the surface and threatens to boil over.

Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm is a uniquely ‘American’ tale, one that sees its characters finding current events seeping into their everyday lives, as the dour political environment of the era lends the movie a layer of palpable tension. Richard Nixon is an almost pervasive presence in the film, his recurring appearances on television grimly setting the mood for an impending tragedy, and a concurrent sexual revolution is sweeping through the suburbs. The adults discuss the ongoing Watergate scandal and the rise of pornographic movies in equal measure at the dinner table.

One could be forgiven for questioning why a director like Ang Lee felt compelled to direct a story like The Ice Storm. Based on the acclaimed novel by Rick Moody, the film’s focus on a white, upper-middle class family during a time of change in the United States seemed like a far cry from the director’s highly-touted earlier work. Prior to taking the gig, Lee was primarily known for directing a trio of dramas centred around contemporary Taiwanese families, all of which explored the conflicting ways in which traditional values bristled against the changing ideals of modern society.

What makes The Ice Storm hold up 25 years after its release isn’t its faithful recreation of Americana, but the way in which Lee portrays its prickly cast of characters. It’s a signature approach of the director, one that employs empathy and warmth towards the members of a single family unit, but most importantly it sympathetically understands how heavily our lives are dictated by the world around us.

Set over a single Thanksgiving weekend, the film follows the Hood family as they aimlessly drift through the turmoil and confusion of the holiday season. Patriarch Ben (Kevin Kline), unhappy with his marriage and career, is having an affair with his neighbour Janey (Sigourney Weaver). His wife Elena (Joan Allen), repressed by her own domesticity, attempts to fill the void in her life with petty theft. Their two teenage children, Wendy (Christina Ricci) and Paul (Tobey Maguire), experiment with sex and drugs respectively, away from the leering eyes of their parents.

An almost unbearably gloomy mood hangs over the film, exacerbated when the titular storm eventually rolls into town. It drenches the visual language of the movie with deep blues and greens, as if to signify the dreary emotions our characters are feeling. The Hood family behaves just as coldly with the people in their lives, often acting out in their own self-interests despite their potential detriment to others. Lee ensures, however, that none of his characters are observed too harshly. Their transgressions are portrayed as a repercussion of the social confines the era has trapped them in.

Unlike the bitterness of some family dramas, The Ice Storm is primarily focused on the sadness of its ensemble; their despondency to the prospect of change and the fear of the unknown. But what truly separates it from other movies of its ilk is the way it ends with its family united, rather than being torn further apart. “Family is the void you emerge from,” Paul remarks in the opening narration of the film, “and the place you return to upon your death.”

This sentiment is best illustrated on the night of the storm, which turns into one of reckoning for the Hoods. When Ben and Elena unknowingly attend a swingers party, it’s as if a karmic twist of fate has forced them to confront the deep-seeded issues in their marriage. It’s at this event that Ben’s infidelities finally crash into his domestic life, as he finds out that Elena has been aware of his affair the whole time. Janey is also at the party, and her casual dismissals of him purges Ben into a drunken realisation of his own indiscretions. He spends the rest of the gathering slinking around the house in shame, and before the night is over he locks himself in the guest bathroom.

Elena promptly decides to have an entanglement with Janey’s husband Jim (Jamey Sheridan), but it’s one Lee depicts as an act of dejected curiosity rather than revenge. “That was horrible,” Jim says as he clumsily pulls his pants back on, the two quickly realising that the era’s newfound sexual games just aren’t right for them. When Elena seeks shelter back inside the party, she finds Ben still on the bathroom floor. For what seems like the first time in a while, the couple share a moment of genuine connection and regret, before they agree to go home, sleep it off and “talk about it in the morning.”

Paul and Wendy have their own revelations during the storm, the two teenagers likewise searching for their own sexual experiences in the night. Despite their best efforts though, neither of their pursuits come to fruition, a dalliance with drugs and alcohol derailing the siblings’ hopes to fulfill their respective adolescent desires. When their plans fall through, their first impulses are just like their parents. Wendy seeks the refuge of a childhood bed, while Paul rushes to the station to get on the last train back home to Connecticut.

The Hood’s collective retreat to the safety of their suburban sanctuary is indicative of Lee’s central idea in The Ice Storm. When the family finally reconvenes the morning after their late-night odysseys, a heavy silence sits in the air. Though much like the ice that still covers the roads, this tranquillity soon cracks when Ben breaks down and begins to cry. But at least the Hoods are together again. “That’s basically my theme,” Lee said in an interview prior to the release of the film. “How the family, in being conservative, gives you security. On the other hand, you want to liberate yourself from it. All those things are very universal.” Sometimes, you just have to wait for the storm to pass.

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- Chloe Walker
How The Chase set the topical, visceral tone for New Hollywood

In 1967, Bonnie and Clyde lit the fuse for a Hollywood revolution, confounding the critical establishment, attracting droves of wide-eyed audiences who’d never seen anything like it, and altering the course of American cinema forever. The furore around the film was so intense, it more or less wiped director Arthur Penn’s previous film from the public consciousness. But for all the adjectives that could be used to describe 1966’s The Chase, ‘forgettable’ is not one of them.

Bubber Reeves (Robert Redford), a wrongfully imprisoned convict, is tempted into a jail break by a fellow prisoner. After their escape, that prisoner kills a person and drives away in their car, leaving Bubber to take the fall and making him a fugitive twice over. The citizens of his unnamed Texas hometown, with only a few exceptions, are a rowdy, drunken mob who bay for his blood; after hopping the wrong train, Bubber finds himself heading straight for them. His only hope for protection is the long-suffering Sheriff Calder (Marlon Brando), who never believed he was guilty in the first place.

The Chase is a big film, running at more than two hours and boasting a big-hitting cast. Beyond Brando and Redford, it stars Miriam Hopkins as Bubber’s despairing mother, Jane Fonda as his anxious wife (the first of four features Fonda and Redford would star in together over the next 40 years), EG Marshall as the town’s obscenely wealthy overlord, and Robert Duvall as his most obsequious employee.

It was released in the middle of a tumultuous decade, and Lillian Hellman’s screenplay (adapted from Horton Foote’s novel and play of the same name) dives headfirst into a phalanx of hot-button social issues – racism, wealth disparity, the sexual revolution, guns – often using the supporting cast as a kind of Greek chorus.

It’s melodramatic, overblown, sometimes downright hysterical. And yet that hysteria, though mocked in many contemporary reviews, which gives The Chase its queasy power. The townsfolk are portrayed rather like a caricature. Fiendish, almost zombie-like; you can’t reason with them, and they move in a big, homogenous pack. As the film progresses, their soullessness starts to feel nightmarish.

Trapped in this nightmare is Sheriff Calder, who in another actor’s hands could have been a tedious archetype, a grey wall of goodness facing off against a town of hedonistic villains. Brando, however, makes him a captivating presence. He’s never self-righteous. He doesn’t hide his disdain at the citizens under his jurisdiction, or try to show them the error of their ways. He knows they are way beyond that. A palpable sense of exhaustion radiates off of Brando, just as potent as the character’s fundamental decency.

“The passage of time hasn’t dimmed the brilliant power of Brando’s performance, or the film’s seething atmosphere.”

It was Brando who suggested to Penn how to shoot the beating Calder endures at the hands of the townsfolk. The actors’ punches would make contact but be executed slowly, and the film would then be sped up. It’s a deceptively simple idea, but the scene – which unfolds over three agonising minutes – remains frighteningly effective. Indeed, the viscerality of the attack contrasts the cartoonish villainy displayed by the townsfolk earlier in the film. Suddenly, the nightmare feels very real.

It’s this constant tussle between the abstract and the real, between Old and New Hollywood, that makes The Chase noteworthy. The film was shot largely on studio sets, and there’s an artificiality to some of the supporting performances – a mannered quality to the dialogue – that seems to belong to an earlier era. But the violence, both the simmering promise and the brutal realisation of it, foretold where cinema was heading.

Behind the scenes, The Chase was plagued by production issues. Things got so heated between Penn and legendary producer Sam Spiegel that the director was tricked out of the final edit. When it was eventually released the film performed poorly both critically and commercially. Then along came Bonnie and Clyde.

But the passage of time hasn’t dimmed the brilliant power of Brando’s performance, or the film’s seething atmosphere which still manages to burrow under your skin. With the dust from the firestorm started by Bonnie and Clyde having long since settled, The Chase survives today as a fascinating throwback, a time capsule of an industry teetering on the brink of something new.

The post How The Chase set the topical, visceral tone for New Hollywood appeared first on Little White Lies.

- Jamison Kent
Midwives

Copious amounts of blood, heated exchanges, a dramatic close call and a well-intentioned yet often clueless male partner are the standard elements of a birth scene in western television and cinema. The opening scene of director Hnin Ei Hlaing’s documentary, Midwives, depicts midwives Hla and Nyo Nyo aiding a woman as she gives birth to an unresponsive child on top of a green plastic tarp.

Despite the harsher conditions that make a western hospital room look like a five-star resort, there’s no screaming, little blood and the frustrated midwife calmly asserts, “I just told you bitches to shut up,” as her colleague resuscitates the newborn. Ei Hlaing leaves gore and dramatisation on the cutting room floor. Instead, she offers a portrait of the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar through the documentation of the personal lives of Hla and Nyo Nyo.

According to the UN, Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar are one of the most oppressed minority groups in the world. The documentary follows Hla, a Buddhist and owner of a makeshift medical clinic in western Myanmar which offers aid to Rohingya Muslim residents, a punishable and life-threatening offence. As well as Nyo Nyo, there’s Hla’s younger Muslim apprentice who hopes to open her own clinic one day.

The documentary uses the personal to explore the political, showing that the two are never mutually exclusive. The trust between Ei Hlaing and her various patients allows for profoundly intimate interviews that make them seem relatable and complex rather than victims of an unjust situation.

In one memorable scene, Hla’s ill mother offers some unsolicited advice: “Never get married, okay? Don’t chase a man to marry you. I’m telling you not to chase a man. They are bad.” The inclusion of candid and off-handed remarks creates a well-rounded picture of the subjects and, at points, some critical comic relief.

Contextual information about Myanmar’s political climate does not come in until well into the documentary. The aesthetic direction is mainly limited to scenic shots of the countryside and light seeping through the floorboards and windows of less-than-reliable structures. While it is not particularly interesting aesthetically, it allows the viewer to breathe and comprehend the content between the “action” and interviews.

Ei Hlaing’s voice takes a backseat to her subjects’. She lets them control the narrative and takes on the role of an inquisitive and sympathetic spectator. Some of the most poignant moments result from her acute awareness of when to get out of the way. Unfortunately, that is not a guaranteed skill for all documentary makers. This is a compassionate and educational look into a conflict-ridden area and the women and children suffering at its centre.

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ANTICIPATION.
For those uneducated on the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, this seems essential. 3

ENJOYMENT.
Although uncomfortable to watch, the film offers incredible insight into the Rohingya Crisis. 4

IN RETROSPECT.
Perhaps would have benefited from some informative context earlier in the film. 3



Directed by
Hnin Ei Hlaing

The post Midwives appeared first on Little White Lies.

- Charles Bramesco
Timothée Chalamet chows down in the first Bones and All trailer

The new romance-cum-road-movie Bones & All represents a significant plank in the evolving oeuvre of Luca Guadagnino, both as the Italian filmmaker’s daring effort to chart the landscape of the American heartland and as a summation of his recent preoccupations — the adolescent angst of We Are Who We Are, the high Grand Guignol bloodletting of Suspiria, the tender longing of Call Me By Your Name. Though to the many fans of the latest film’s star, it’s Timothée Chalamet‘s movie and everyone else is just working on it.

The first trailer for Bones & All arrived this morning, foregrounding a distinctive director reunited with his much-sought-after muse for another project that sees them both languishing in the hazy, halcyon days of summer. Except this time around, Chalamet’s tormented not by the homosexuality he doesn’t yet fully understand, but by the unslakable hunger for human flesh.

Taylor Russell (who you may remember from Waves) is the real lead here as a fellow cannibal, on the lam after her appetite lands her in trouble with the law and drives away her father (Andre Holland). As she makes her way through the Midwest, she links up with a lonely oldster radiating unsettling vibes (Mark Rylance) and a romantic opposite in Lee (Chalamet), whose dyed mullet and ratty oversize jeans mark him as a Gen Z heartthrob despite the ’80s setting.

LWL’s trusty editor Hannah Strong was on the case back at the Venice Film Festival premiere, writing in her roundly positive review that Guadagnino “gets at the fragility and futility of human existence, and the fleeting moments of joy we find between birth and death.” She’d go on to rule that his latest is “an imperfect but effortlessly charming film, one that feels lived-in and loved… and speaks to the human desire to love and be loved, in spite of our flaws.”

To the haunting strains of “You Want It Darker” by Leonard Cohen — another international outsider who nonetheless keenly captured the spirit of Americana in his work — a pair of young lovers on the run search for a pocket of the States they can call their own. Will society ever accept them and their peculiar dietary habits? Either way, there will be blood.

Bones and All comes to cinemas in the US on 23 November. A date for the UK has yet to be set.

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- Mark Asch
The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Like Green Book, Peter Farrelly’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever is based on a true friendship, centring on John “Chickie” Donohue (Zac Efron) of uptown Manhattan, who over the winter of 1967-68 hopped a merchant freighter to Vietnam, inspired to visit the boys from the neighbourhood who were then stationed there, and give them beer as a show of patriotic support.

His odyssey, as recounted in a self-published book with supporting evidence in the form of some photos and interviews with the drinking buddies, is a tale of guff and guile, involving turning up at an MP base, talking his way onto the front lines at Khe San, running into an old friend on the road, and sheltering in Saigon during the Tet Offensive.

“For half a century, I’ve been told I was full of it, to the point where I stopped even telling this story,” Donohue told the New York Times shortly after the book’s release. The paper’s reporter continued: “It was the ultimate saloon tale: Mr Donohue has told it in many New York City bars. But others – friends, strangers, even some relatives – called it a tale too tall even for Mr Donohue.”

The film doesn’t have the detail or imagination to fill in the gaps of a well-worn story with anything convincing. Evidently a locally notorious charming fuckup, Chickie never has to turn the charm up to 11 or bullshit his way into situations – a running gag that everyone he meets assumes he’s C.I.A. is a smart idea, but undercooked – thanks to a script strung together from frictionless you-going-my-way contrivances and embellished with faded local colour, like jaded journalists or single distant flashes of cgi napalm, half-remembered by the filmmakers from older, better Vietnam movies.

Beer Run is filmed in stilted, overlit master and two shots that emphasise rather than work around the underpopulated, underdressed backgrounds and cheated or cheaply built locations. Chickie spends a night in the driest foxhole you’ve ever seen. Imagine that the production design department of a ’90s network sitcom had a day to build a jungle set for a 45-second war flashback scene. Now imagine that scene at feature length.

The blocking seems to have been no more elaborate than “I dunno… stand around,” and it’s fun to imagine the interview process by which the craft departments were hired: “You seen Full Metal Jacket?” “Yeah, like, in high school.” “You’ve got the job!”

Film schools should show their students Beer Run’s Saigon street scenes, not particularly teeming with scooters and merchant stalls, to demonstrate how ADs choreograph background action to give shots a naturalistic dynamism. Or how, sometimes, they don’t do that at all. What could have possibly given Farrelly the confidence to think he could direct a battle scene when he can’t even direct traffic?

Zac Efron, in a madras shirt and manly moustache based closely on old photos of Donohue, has the tools to give a very good performance in this role. He’s got the right gruff voice for layering an Irish union guy’s good-time patter over his insecurities, but vacillates in tone between the bluffer’s confidence of an ’80s frat house comedy star, and fighting for his life. He seems confused about the genre of the movie he’s in – which is totally understandable.

The overall tone is banter-y and lightweight, with platoon-movie oldies laid on indiscriminately and dialogue out of NBC’s The ’60s miniseries to convey Chickie’s dawning political conscience and belief that the best way to support the troops is to bring them home.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever recapitulates the old saw about the Vietnam War representing America’s loss of innocence, leavened this time with some musings on the true meaning of friendship. (There are also some very soft-touch acknowledgments that the servicemen Chickie was visiting were on to harder stuff than beer, and that American soldiers were not the war’s only victims.)

The film succeeds, at least, in making you feel like you’ve listened to a two-hour ’Nam story from a guy who visited there once.

Little White Lies is committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them.

By becoming a member you can support our independent journalism and receive exclusive essays, prints, monthly film recommendations and more.





ANTICIPATION.
Green Book but with a different American atrocity and the guy is Irish instead of Italian. 1

ENJOYMENT.
Like Forrest Gump as reenacted on PBS's Wishbone. 2

IN RETROSPECT.
The real "Greatest Beer Run Ever" remains Hal Needham's Smokey and the Bandit. 1



Directed by
Peter Farrelly

Starring
Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, Bill Murray

The post The Greatest Beer Run Ever appeared first on Little White Lies.

- Anton Bitel
Discover this high-octane, anti-colonial Jackie Chan actioner

“I didn’t do it alone,” Inspector Chan Ka-kui will say whenever he appears before committees or at press conferences, in what becomes a running joke in 1985’s Police Story, “It was a success because of careful planning.”

Played by Jackie Chan (who also directed and co-wrote the film with Edward Tang), Ka-kui may, with these words, be presenting a palatable picture of tactical coordination and collective professionalism within the Royal Hong Kong Police Force.

But the truth is that, whether bringing down a drug gang in the first film, or taking out blackmailing bombers in the 1988 sequel Police Story 2 (which Chan again directed and co-wrote), Ka-kui almost always has to act single-handedly, with his fellow cops at best absent or unhelpfully incompetent, and at worst corrupt and directly helping the criminals.

Although he keeps getting demoted to traffic or desk duty because of the immense, expensive damage to property that all his violent escapades cause, Ka-kui is, indeed, a supercop.

Change is coming. It is not just that Stanley Tong’s Police Story 3: Supercop is the first in the series not to have been written or directed by Chan, or that Ka-kui’s investigations will take him further afield than Hong Kong to mainland China and Malaysia, making our undercover hero more like James Bond (duly namechecked) than street cop.

It’s also that this time he really does not do it alone, teaming up with Chinese Interpol Superintendent Yang Chien-hua (Michelle Yeoh) who proves his equal in the gravity-defying stunts and death-defying fights that will help bring down narcotics kingpin Khun Chaibat (Ken Tsang) and an international criminal network.

There are elements here that maintain continuity with the franchise’s predecessors. More comic business that only rarely translates well. More paper-thin characterisation. More sub-plotting that sees the long-suffering May (Maggie Cheung) both exasperated by her boyfriend Ka-kui’s divided loyalties, and endangered by criminals looking for leverage. More stunt blooper reels over the closing credits.

And, of course, the series’ real raison d’être, more spectacular action sequences (on rooftops, in labour camps, in paramilitary compounds, on the roof of a barrelling van or train) around which everything else is only loosely built.

Yet there is a much bigger change on its way, emblematised by the film’s opening tilt down an old framed portrait of the RKHP’s chief patron, Elizabeth II, preserved in paint to appear a lot younger than she actually was in 1992.

Even as Police Story 3: Supercop starts by looking back to this image of Hong Kong’s colonial heritage and history, beneath that painting the local police’s top brass and some Interpol representatives are discussing the new methods being used by smugglers with a grim graphicness (“Drugs are hidden in condoms. Also in stomachs, rectums and even inside corpses. Even the corpses of babies are not spared.”) that seems incongruous under the Queen’s visage.

Different times call for different measures, and so Ka-kui is sent to Guangzhou to work alongside Chien-hua in what might be read as a measure of Changeover avant la lettre, or pre-Reunification, as the duo’s sometimes squabbling, sometimes cooperative teamwork marks both the similarities and differences between Chinese People’s Republic and the Queen’s colony.

This political subtext is writ large at the end, as Ka-kui and Chien-hua argue over where the criminal fortune that they have together seized should be repatriated. “Let the Hong Kong Government put it into safekeeping for now,” suggests Ka-kui to Chien-hua, “After 1997, we’ll be a part of China, and the money will be yours then.”

This sounds amicable enough, but Chein-hua’s protesting response (“No way, hey…”), literally interrupted and drowned out by the closing credits, points to trouble ahead in relations between these neighbouring nations.

Police Story 3: Supercop is released on UHD Blu-ray from a stunning 4K restoration both as a separate disc, and also as part of a The Police Story Trilogy boxset, on 26 September via Eureka Video.

The post Discover this high-octane, anti-colonial Jackie Chan actioner appeared first on Little White Lies.

- Marina Ashioti
Girls Girls Girls

Three Finnish girls on the cusp of young adulthood have their lives intersect over three consecutive Fridays. Dividing a film about contemporary girlhood in this way makes perfect sense, as when you’re 17, the things that matter most only seem to happen over the weekend.

Mimmi (Aamu Milonoff) is confident yet cynical and boisterous, letting on that she’s too cool to care about much. She and her endearing, curly-haired ride-or-die pal, Rönkkö (Eleonoora Kauhanen), both work part-time at a smoothie kiosk in the middle of a shopping centre, and invite themselves to popular kids’ house parties with a view to finding potential sex partners.

Rönkkö doesn’t really know what she likes and is doubtful about her prospects at ever having satisfying sex because, so far, her experiences have been lacklustre. While she’s having a mediocre encounter in the bathroom at a suburban house party, Mimmi encounters Emma (Linnea Leino), a high-strung figure skating prodigy/popular girl archetype who has dedicated her entire life to the ice rink.

The thrill of attraction and infatuation between the whimsical Mimmi and a more graceful Emma is captured perfectly by Jarmo Kiuru’s cinematography: the narrow 1.33:1 aspect ratio lends the dynamically-shot picture an intimate portraiture that gains its texture through soft tones and a warm colour palette.

As Emma gradually begins to give in to the newfound, debaucherous pull of partying and dating, the relationship that starts to take shape between her and Mimmi veers into predictable territory and rote cliché (‘Slip Away’ by Perfume Genius is becoming somewhat of a staple needle drop for the genre). More importantly, though, their relationship is explored casually and without an ounce of sensationalism, authentically capturing the overdramatic intensity and chaotic confusion of what romance feels like at such a tender age.

Logistically, this means that Rönkkö’s storyline is often relegated to the sidelines of a narrative that’s mostly focused on the connection between the other two. Although the film isn’t declarative of Rönkko’s sexual identity, asexual viewers are likely to resonate with her journey. Her seemingly heteronormative trajectory and pursuit for sexual pleasure are mired in a lack of fulfillment, making such readings pertinent.

It’s rare for cinema to depict a potentially asexual character as empathetically as director Alli Haapasalo does here, with just the right amount of ambiguity to circumvent gratuitous representation discourse. Haapasalo uses warmth, respect and empathy as her modus operandi, allowing her trio to wade through the liminal cusp of adulthood – no longer teenagers, yet not quite young adults – as they search for meaning through friendships, fleeting situationships, and budding romantic connections. Unshackled from shame, they are unreservedly free to plunge into their respective journeys of self-exploration and growth, to experience life and not have everything figured out.

Little White Lies is committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them.

By becoming a member you can support our independent journalism and receive exclusive essays, prints, monthly film recommendations and more.





ANTICIPATION.
Getting Booksmart vibes from this Finnish Sundance hit. 4

ENJOYMENT.
Relatively low stakes make for a satisfying viewing experience. 3

IN RETROSPECT.
A refreshing and truthful portrait of contemporary girlhood. 3



Directed by
Alli Haapasalo

Starring
Aamu Milonoff, Eleonoora Kauhanen, Linnea Leino

The post Girls Girls Girls appeared first on Little White Lies.

- Hannah Strong
Flux Gourmet

At a secluded manor house, an avant-garde sonic catering collective begin a new residency at the behest of prim benefactor Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie). This unconventional art form involves turning the sounds of food and cooking into performance via microphones and synthesisers.

For anyone who has seen Peter Strickland‘s 2012 feature Berberian Sound Studio, it all may sound a little familiar. Yet after the haunted dress affair of 2018’s In Fabric, in a way Strickland tells a more straightforward story, which nevertheless is perhaps his strangest to date.

The collective consists of visionary Elle di Elle (Strickland regular Fatma Mohamed) and her two technicians, Billy (Asa Butterfield) and Lamina (Ariane Labed). Their residency is to be documented by journalist Stones (Makis Papadimitriou), who is – coincidentally – being treated for digestion ailments by the in-house doctor, Dr Glock (Richard Bremmer). Reflecting on the events in his narration, there’s a sense from the off that things aren’t going to end well for at least one of the key players.

Delving into the world of egg fetishes and scat with uncommon aplomb, Strickland’s trademark absurdist humour is in full force in Flux Gourmet, as he always pushes the boundaries of good taste and decency. As the collective’s residency continues, tensions between Elle and Jan Stevens flair, while a rival sonic catering group, The Mangrove Snacks, cause various disruptions around the facility.

The plotting is only loose as Strickland is more interested in philosophising about the relationship between humans and food than he is presenting a straightforward narrative. The dinners feature diatribes about gender roles in the kitchen and a young man’s sexual awakening. There’s quite a lot to digest, and not all of it goes down easy, but it’s hard to fault Strickland’s ambition and imagination.

Christie’s performance as the overbearing mistress of ceremonies is particularly enjoyable, and the game approach of all parties when it comes to the more unsightly side of digestion mean the film avoids undermining its own gleefully ross streak. It’s likely to prove divisive, but Strickland has never been a stranger to a spot of cinematic marmite.

Little White Lies is committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them.

By becoming a member you can support our independent journalism and receive exclusive essays, prints, monthly film recommendations and more.





ANTICIPATION.
Always excited for what Strickland’s cooking up. 4

ENJOYMENT.
A complex flavour profile that isn’t always immediately satisfying. 3

IN RETROSPECT.
Strickland continues to push the boundaries of cinematic taste. 4



Directed by
Peter Strickland

Starring
Asa Butterfield, Gwendoline Christie, Fatma Mohamed, Makis Papadimitriou

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- Daniel Schindel
Inu-Oh

Japan’s Genpei War of the 1180s was so consequential that even 300 years later, the Heike clan (the losing side, all but vanquished) was a popular subject for the likes of biwa players and practitioners of the then-novel noh theater. The idea was that by telling stories of the Heike, their restless spirits could be placated. Against this backdrop of flourishing performance arts during the Muromachi period, Hideo Furukawa set his 2017 novel Inu-Oh.

The book imagines a life story for title character; he was a noh actor famed during that time, but now few details are known about him. Now anime director Masaaki Yuasa has added his own unmistakable signature in adapting the book to the big screen. Inu-Oh combines history, tradition, fantasy, and rock into one dizzyingly fun tale of the joys and heartbreaks that come with expressive collaboration.

Thanks to a deal his father strikes with a demon, Inu-Oh (voiced by Avu-chan, frontperson for the “fashion punk” band Queen Bee) has an appearance that frightens most people. Most people, but not Tomona (Mirai Moriyama), a blind biwa player. The two form an act – Tomona on his biwa, Inu-Oh dancing, both singing – that quickly becomes popular. They ignore the accepted canon of Heike songs, and in doing so help many Heike ghosts pass on the to the next world. And with each big performance, Inu-Oh’s body undergoes a transformation to become more “normal.” But the duo’s defiance of the proscribed rules for biwa and noh exhibition puts them in the crosshairs of the authorities, and tragedy looms.

Multiple overlapping themes are in play. We see how expressing the truth through art can facilitate social healing – though also, as another musical duo from the unjustly scorned Ishtar sang, “Telling the truth can be a dangerous business.” Inu-Oh’s metamorphosis literalizes how fame can facilitate the public acceptance of even the most outré individuals, and how such acceptance can also sand down the rough edges that make people more unique in the first place. Inu-Oh and Tomona are both disabled and fluid in their gender presentation, offering myriad readings on the intersection of queerness and non-normative bodies, celebrating their difference and solidarity among outcasts.

Yuasa’s animation is characterized by a love of exaggerated movement, but here he downplays that tendency in favor of more grounded character designs and gestures, with a few stylistic flourishes like Inu-Oh’s ten-foot-long arm. The film constructs an elaborate sense of magical realism, rendering Inu-Oh and Tomona’s performances in intricate detail while also imagining them in thrillingly anachronistic terms.

Composer Yoshihide Otomo combines traditional Japanese music with different forms of contemporary rock to conjure the songs, and the animators similarly convey these sequences as riotous concerts, drawing inspiration from Hendrix, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and so much more. Inu-Oh plays out as if it is a modern version of a song by an itinerant musician, relating a blend of history and folklore to us in terms we can understand.

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ANTICIPATION.
One of the world's best animators is at it again. 5

ENJOYMENT.
An exhilarating mix of age-old storytelling tradition and contemporary flash. 4

IN RETROSPECT.
A rollicking good time! 4



Directed by
Masaaki Yuasa

Starring
Avu-chan, Mirai Moriyama

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- Scout Tafoya
The Unloved, Part 106: Surf Nazis Must Die & Def By Temptation

A tribute, long overdue in these parts, to the great Lloyd Kaufman, the head honcho at the last of the mini-majors, Troma Team Studios. Kaufman oversaw an empire of bad taste from his little corner of New York and made the world a more special and honest place in the process. Here's a look at two of the finest films he put his weight behind when the rest of the world wasn't in the mood. Here's to originals and the crazies who enable them; they make the world more fun.


To watch more of Scout Tafoya's video essays from his series The Unloved, click here.

- Katie Rife
Stay Weird: Highlights of the 2022 Fantastic Fest

2022 wasn’t really Fantastic Fest’s return to an in-person event, but it felt like it. The festival’s 2021 edition was a scaled down affair, with limited seating capacity and no in-person parties. The festival was also spread out across several Alamo Drafthouses, negating one of the best (and most potentially dangerous) things about Fantastic Fest: Its centralized location. 

Every Fantastic Fest screening, party, and event save one all take place at the same location: the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, which used to be in a dusty parking lot and now resides wedged between high rise condo buildings. This makes it extremely easy to socialize—or “network,” if you’re giving yourself the benefit of the doubt—in the lobby, on the front patio, or at the Highball bar adjoining the theater. (This can also be a nuisance when you’ve got a deadline to hit.) Late into the night, these same areas become parties, both official and default; this year, I was standing outside chatting with a friend when I was startled by an inflatable dancing dragon that appeared right behind me. 

The opening night party featured the return of festival favorites Itchy-O, a Denver-based group whose act can be imperfectly described as a combination of a second line parade, an occult ritual, and a heavy-metal drum circle. Itchy-O’s 57 members infiltrated the party in snaking lines, sneaking up behind festival-goers and crawling between their feet. Once they reached the Highball stage, the Satanic laser light show began. (I missed the other rowdiest event of opening weekend, the Fantastic Debates, where filmmakers face off in the boxing ring. But according to sources, the beer was still free, and the air conditioning actually worked this year.)

The crowds felt familiar, but the behind-the-scenes faces were new. Under new festival director Lisa Dreyer and Director of Programming Annick Mahnert, the Fantastic Fest programming team is three-quarters female, a sea change for a festival that was one of the first to face a #MeToo reckoning in the late 2010s. In a podcast recording for “Letterboxd,” programmer and restorationist Liz Purchell noted that the vibe at the festival was much less masculine than in years past—a welcome change I’d chalk up both to the programming team and the noticeable uptick in the number of female directors on this year’s schedule. 

Fantastic Fest still covers your classic nerd bases: Gore-driven horror for dudes in black T-shirts (the abysmal “Terrifier 2”), the latest otaku must-see (the uplifting “Shin Ultraman”). It’s just doing so with a less aggressively male, alpha-nerd type of energy. And trust me, the men still came out in numbers. Things have changed at Fantastic Fest, but the line for the men’s bathroom is still longer than for the women’s. 

The big events on opening weekend were the world premiere of “Smile,” which I’ve already covered for this site. Critical reception for the wide-release Paramount horror film was colder here than at subsequent press screenings: This crowd really knows, and cherishes, its horror. And considering that “Smile’s” biggest weakness is its similarities to other horror movies, that may have hurt it here more than elsewhere. Kevin Bacon, who’s no stranger to horror himself, and Kyra Sedgwick turned out to support their daughter Sosie Bacon, who stars in the film as a psychiatrist dogged by an unkillable entity that feeds on trauma. (That’s not a metaphor, which is itself an interesting variation on a theme.)

Park Chan-wook, meanwhile, looked a little bewildered when festival co-founder Tim League (humbled, but present) presented him with a wrestling-style championship belt and had the entire theater get on one knee and genuflect to him before a screening of “Decision to Leave”—a ceremony I imagine was quite different from the awarding of Park’s Best Director prize at Cannes. Park then took the microphone and told the audience that this was his funniest film to date, and that it was okay to laugh, although he wasn’t sure if this was the right festival for this classical detective romance. The audience seemed to genuinely enjoy the film, although I couldn’t help but wonder if they were laughing extra hard because Director Park told them to. 

The Menu,” whose deadpan morbidity made it a natural fit for Fantastic Fest—for its sense of humor as much as its horror elements—was another hot ticket on opening weekend. Of the Thursday-Sunday lineup, the only primetime slot that really didn’t work was the first of the festival’s legendary secret screenings, which in the past have included Lily and Lana Wachowskis’ “Cloud Atlas,” M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak,” and Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria.” (And those are just the ones for which I was in attendance.) 

The pervasive rumor this year was that the latest “Hellraiser” movie would be one of the secret screenings—and unfortunately for the first wave of press and industry (like myself) who had already left by Wednesday, it was indeed secret screening No. 2. No. 1 was the upcoming Disney+/Marvel Studios TV special “Werewolf by Night,” which made sense for Fantastic Fest in the sense that it’s a black-and-white tribute to Universal Monsters movies of the 1930s and ‘40s. That being said, whoever proposed this tie-in overestimated the overlap between the Fantastic Fest and New York Comic-Con crowds: Much grumbling in the theater and complaining on Facebook groups followed Mahnert’s announcement of the title on Sunday night. 

On the positive side, that disappointment cleared the runway for that night’s other world premiere, the Epix-produced horror anthology “Satanic Hispanics.” Like all anthology films, this one was a mixed bag: Demián Rugna, whose 2017 film “Terrified” was a word-of-mouth hit at Fantastic Fest, brought the best segment by far with his original, unsettling short “Tambien lo Vi.” Mike Mendez’s wraparound “Traveler” also had its merits, especially when it turned into a pre-Colombian creature feature towards the end. On the other hand, horror-comedy hybrids from Ed Sánchez (“The Blair Witch Project”) and Alejandro Brugués (“Juan of the Dead”) felt like throwaways. (Brugués’ segment is essentially one long dick joke.) And “Nahuales” was a rare miss from Gigi Saul Guerrero, who usually excels in the shorts format. The film did win a horror directing award, however, so maybe I was just tired. Or maybe it’s as simple as this: As Mendez told the crowd before the premiere, this movie was conceived at and for Fantastic Fest (and its juries). 

In Mendez’s view, a film that’s “for Fantastic Fest” is an outrageous, uproarious midnighter. And he’s half right—this has always been one festival where audiences truly appreciate that style of genre work on its own merits. But “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which premiered at Venice and played TIFF, also went over really well with the crowd. So did “Decision to Leave.” “Holy Spider” was announced as Iran’s Oscars pick during its Fantastic Fest run, and Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness” closed this year’s fest. In a microcosm of the battle for the soul of Fantastic Fest, A24, and Shudder were both prominent presences on the industry side, each presenting original productions that were competing for buzz among this omnivorous, enthusiastic audience. 

I found the A24 oddity “Medusa Deluxe,” a dialogue-driven murder mystery set at a regional English hairstyling competition, to be narratively messy, but formally unexpected, mostly in a good way. But the buzziest titles on opening weekend came from neither company. New Zealand-based film producer Ant Timpson has been a presence at Fantastic Fest for over a decade, and this year the EP brought the world premiere of “Mister Organ,” from “Tickled'' director David Farrier, to the festival. And although it wasn’t the highest profile premiere, it was the film most likely to inspire impassioned conversations among strangers and friends alike.

It felt ... not okay to laugh at Farrier’s distress and discomfort while he was in the room. But there’s no other way to react to the brain-breaking experience of watching this documentary. Like “Tickled,” “Mister Organ” begins with what seems to be a quirky investigation into a harmless eccentric—here, the price-gouging attendant at an Auckland antique store parking lot. But as Farrier begins asking around about this mystery man, Michael Organ, he finds a long trail of traumatized former roommates, criminal charges, and even untimely deaths.

“Mister Organ” is a very New Zealand documentary, in the sense that everyone knows each other, and people are less numb to threats of violence and intimidation than in America, where belligerence is a way of life. (That being said, some of Organ’s tactics, like stealing Farrier’s spare key and taunting him with it, would be frightening anywhere.) But it profiles a universal phenomenon: The best way to describe Organ is an energy vampire, like Colin Robinson from “What We Do in the Shadows” but more malevolent. Organ uses nonsensical rambling as a weapon to agitate his victims, all of whom walk away from their interactions with him feeling vulnerable and confused. He certainly seems to have gotten to Farrier, who said in the Q&A that, while he’s proud of his work on the film, he would never have pitched it if he had known how damaging the experience of knowing Michael Organ would be on his psyche.

Another highlight of the weekend, “A Wounded Fawn,” also used psychological distress as a storytelling tool. But here, the torture is inflicted on a very worthy subject: A serial killer (Josh Ruben) whose career in murder comes to an end with the death of a museum curator (Sarah Lind) who unleashes the Furies of Greek mythology onto this misogynist monster. In its first half, this 16mm throwback plays like a pulpy grindhouse thriller. In its second, it relaxes into something far more esoteric and surreal, painted in red-orange blood and soaked in feminist rage. I’ve been lukewarm on writer/director Travis Stevens’ work in the past (“Girl on the Third Floor,” “Jakob’s Wife”). But “A Wounded Fawn” captured my imagination like few other films at this year’s festival. 

Another film that sparked with me at Fantastic Fest was “Bones and All,” a movie that “Suspiria” naysayer Glenn Kenny also enjoyed at Venice. (Me, I’m a “Suspiria” apologist.) This film is shambling and desaturated, where “Suspiria” was meticulous and decadent. But it does continue director Luca Guadagnino’s impish technique of casting famous actors and then rendering them unrecognizable with prosthetics. You’d have to check “IMDb” first in order to recognize Chloë Sevigny when she appears on screen in this film. But I wouldn’t advise it. This is a film that plays best if you go into it completely cold. 

Guadagnino does a surprisingly good job capturing the more hardscrabble corners of the American Midwest in “Bones and All,” whose ‘80s setting makes a bizarre bedfellow with the grisly cannibalism scenes. The film makes romanticized connections between outcasts in a way that feels like a metaphor for queerness. And while Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet give better performances separately than together, the at-first halting, then all-consuming, nature of their romance tracks with the arc of a queer sexual awakening. Combined with intense gore and voluminous blood—Chalamet spends much of the movie coated in it, like a YA version of Bill Paxton in “Near Dark”—“Bones and All” feels like cracking open your true love’s chest cavity and ripping their heart out.

The heart of Fantastic Fest will always be the random picks at the bottom of the lineup, however. This year, thanks to a post-pandemic reduction in my tolerance for staying up and drinking until all hours, I really enjoyed my peaceful 11 AM dates with Asian sci-fi and fantasy fare. One morning, I spent two hours with 4K remastered episodes of “Ultra Q,” which were screened for a small audience that included a few sleepy badge holders sitting alongside Shinji Higuchi, director of “Shin Ultraman” and lifelong “Ultraman” superfan. 

But the most compelling of these was a screening of “Demigod: The Legend Begins,” an also surprisingly bloody wuxia movie told through the unconventional medium of Taiwanese bùdàixì glove puppetry. The puppetry style is stiff, and one actor does the voices for every character, none of whose mouths move when they speak. At its most off putting, it’s like watching a martial arts version of Todd Haynes’ infamous “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.” But if that description doesn’t make you even a little bit interested, we have different priorities when it comes to movies. Besides, as “Demigod’s” story gets more psychedelic, any lingering doubts get swept away in a swirl of CGI effects, making the experience fully immersive. 

Surreal moments are expected at Fantastic Fest, where it’s not uncommon to see big name directors casually hanging out—this year, Rian Johnson showed up unannounced for a screening of Noah Segan’s directorial debut “Blood Relatives”—or a festival programmer walking around in costume. (This year, it was an inflatable shark suit, in honor of the unusual concentration of shark movies on the lineup.) These figures mingle with up-and-comers like Chicago-based director Alex Phillips, whose domination of the “Puke and Explode” eating contest was an excellent advertisement for his underground gross-out movie “All Jacked Up And Full of Worms.” (The contest included both hot dogs and Malört, so obviously a Chicagoan was going to win.) 

But that was nothing compared to this year’s edition of “100 Best Kills,” an annual event where longtime festival staffer Zack Carlson collaborates with found-footage artists to make clip shows designed to test the endurance of this iron-stomached crowd. The subtitle of the 2022 event—which took place at 11:30 PM on a Monday and still sold out a 200-seat theater—was “Texas Birth Control, Dick Destruction.” Dreyer opened the festivities by saying that, in a post-"Roe V. Wade" Texas, women are prepared to take matters into their own hands. I’m paraphrasing there, but the image is apt for an onslaught of castration footage, some of it hilariously fake and some of it uncomfortably real. 

Canadian programmer and filmmaker Louise Weard led the show, with a microphone in hand and a palpable sense of glee at subjecting the audience to 90 minutes of dick destruction. (“It’s classy!,” she exclaimed over an infamous scene from “In The Realm of the Senses.”) Early, campy sequences from movies like “Leprechaun 4” and “Robocop” were set to music, and produced hooting, laughing and cheering. Later on, Weard—who is transgender—upped the ante with a five-part gauntlet of ascending carnage that incorporated footage from real gender reassignment surgeries. It was a tough sit, even for the hardened gorehounds. 

There was an energy in the air as the crowd shuffled out at 1AM that morning, however, that was like nothing else I experienced this year. We had just witnessed something that was truly transgressive, and how often do you get to say that? The Fantastic Fest staff seemed nervous, anticipating angry emails and phone calls from corporate once they realized what had just happened. The audience was giggly and shaky, wrapping arms around each other’s shoulders as comrades in arms in the war on penises. For an hour and a half, Austin was still weird, and Fantastic Fest was like no other film festival on earth. I’ll never forget it.

- Odie Henderson
Till

“Till” tells the story of the murder of Emmett Till and the activism of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. It is the second retelling of this story in 2022, after the January ABC miniseries “Women of the Movement.” One may think that two filmed versions of the same story in such a short amount of time may be overkill. But the constant attempts by one political party to censor historical events that make White folks uncomfortable require these stories remain in the public consciousness. They have to be retold, much like the oral historians in my family passed Emmett Till’s story down to me when I was a little boy. Those who feel that these events are “in the past” and that we should get over them, need only be reminded of this New York Times article whose headline is “Emmett Till Memorial Has a New Sign. This Time, It’s Bulletproof.” As late as 2019, people were putting bullet holes in a sign that marked the site of a lynching.

Through Till-Mobley’s actions, we know about the death of her son, and how hideously he was brutalized. Director Chinonye Chukwu and her co-screenwriters, Keith Beauchamp and Michael Reilly aim to give viewers a glimpse of who Till was before he was murdered. Played by Jalyn Hall in the first third of the film, he’s the typical 14-year-old. Chukwu documents him getting dressed and ready for his trip down South to visit his cousins. He has the usual “but Mom” teenager moments with his mother, Mamie (Danielle Deadwyler), who in turn has the same moments with her own mother, Alma (Whoopi Goldberg). “That’s the ‘Mama, mind your business and go home’ face,” she says when Mamie silently expresses her displeasure over an opinion, a funny line in a film that is not without humor.

It’s Alma’s idea to send Emmett down to visit his Southern kin. Raised in Chicago, he had a different set of interactions with White people than his cousins Simeon (Tyrik Johnson) and great uncle “Preacher” Mose (John Douglas Thompson) would have, though the film implies that Emmett was unfamiliar with how dangerous slights against White people could be. Chicago is certainly not without racism, as a scene in a department store shows. The cousins joke about how funny it’ll look when their Yankee relative is down there helping Mose pick cotton on the farm where he sharecrops.

Before he leaves for Money, Mississippi, Mamie repeatedly broaches the subject of Southern dangers with Emmett, whom she calls Bo. Each time, he gives her the “but Mom!” teenager brush-off. She knew that a political organizer, Lamar Smith, had been murdered down there the week before for being “a rabble-rouser.” “Be small,” she tells him, which leads to gentle mockery from her son. He just wants to have fun and see the Mississippi Delta. In taking the time to show these scenes, including one where he dances with his mother to their favorite song, “Till” brings Emmett back to us as what he originally was, a teenager just starting his quest for some independence.

As we know, Emmett Till was murdered three days after he arrived in Money. On August 24, 1955, he interacted with 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant (Haley Bennett), a White woman who worked at a store frequented by Blacks. The stories varied as to the details of that encounter, and “Till” takes from several different sources. We see Emmett compare Bryant to a movie star before flashing a picture of a White girl that came with his wallet. That part of the story was disputed by Simeon Wright, who provided his own account of the events of that day in 2015. Wright did confirm Emmett wolf-whistling at Bryant, which the movie depicts. I thought that was a bit confusing, as I’d always been told that Emmett whistled before speaking to help with his stutter, and that was misconstrued by Bryant as meant for her.

No matter. What happens next is not in dispute. Though Chukwu keeps her press release promise not to depict any violence against her Black characters onscreen, she does show several White men and a few Black men forcibly retrieving Emmett from Preacher’s house. The anguish of Thompson’s performance here and the confusion Hall displays will haunt viewers long after the film is over, as will Hall’s off-camera screams in the brief scene where Chukwu alludes to his murder.

From here, “Till” focuses on Mamie Till-Mobley and her attempt to get justice after her son’s disappearance. Deadwyler is astonishingly good here, masterfully navigating every emotion we’d think a mother would have, and then a few we may not have originally considered. Her outrage is palpable as the NAACP lawyers ruthlessly interrogate her relationship with future husband Gene Mobley (Sean Patrick Thomas) and her brief marriage to ex-husband “Pink” Bradley. (Emmett’s father died in World War II.) Later, when her son’s body is found, Deadwyler does some of her best work in the film.

The way “Till” depicts Till-Mobley’s scenes with Emmett’s body are sure to be controversial. Chukwu keeps him obscured when his mother first enters the room, which led me to believe he would not be depicted. Then the camera lifts so we can see the full brunt of the damage done. Chukwu takes her time as we witness Deadwyler touching various parts of her son, sparing nothing. It felt overwhelming, and I was of two minds about this sequence. On the one hand, it felt a bit exploitative despite its undeniable power. On the other, Mamie Till-Mobley wanted the world to see what those men had done to her boy; so strong was her desire that she had an open casket funeral and put his body on the cover of Jet Magazine. Some criticized her for doing this, so in a way, “Till” is honoring this decision.

Anyone who has seen “Clemency,” Chukwu’s 2019 feature with Alfre Woodard, will recognize her love of her actor’s faces, and of the uncomfortable silences that punctuate their performances. When the film depicts Till-Mobley’s testimony in court, Deadwyler is Oscar-worthy. Watch how it looks as if she’s physically convulsing from loss at one moment, and how she then transitions to an unshakable certainty when faced with the defense’s lie that the body she buried was someone other than her son. Once Bryant takes the stand and spins her tale that she was almost raped by Emmett, Deadwyler is riveting in her righteous indignation as she walks out. “I know the verdict already,” she tells her lawyer.

Chukwu gets fine work from all of her actors, including the always welcome Frankie Faison as Mamie’s father. Goldberg is memorable in her few short scenes, and Jayme Lawson is also good in a role Goldberg once played, Myrlie Evers. Hall leaves a lasting impression as Emmett; his naturalistic performance makes him feel even more real to us. The haunting score by Abel Korzeniowski and the editing by Ron Patane ably assist the director in telling this story. Bobby Bukowski’s cinematography reminds us of how beautiful the South can look despite being a backdrop for so many horrible acts of racism.

One of the many things the civil rights movement demanded to see enacted was a federal anti-lynching law. In 2022, such a law was finally passed after decades of failed attempts. It was named after Emmett Till. That it took this long, and the idea that laws are being passed to ensure the reasons why aren’t taught in school, just highlight why “Till” feels so timely. Till's murderers confessed to Look Magazine for $4,000 after being acquitted, and Carolyn Bryant is still alive and unpunished. That should be enough to justify this movie's existence. If nothing else, see it for Danielle Deadwyler’s incredible performance. She truly is unforgettable.

This review was filed from the New York Film Festival premiere. “Till” will open on October 14th.

- Godfrey Cheshire
NYFF 2022: White Noise, Showing Up, Triangle of Sadness

The New York Film Festival always seems to arrive at the perfect time, just as summer’s heat and humidity fade and fall’s enlivening crispness settles in. Having covered the festival for decades, I’m always gladdened to approach Lincoln Center anticipating not only a bracing batch of new films from around the world but also the celebratory mood among filmgoers and critics that the combination of seasonal and cinematic pleasures seems to induce.

This year’s festival, its 60th edition, finds the event back in its accustomed form after two years of disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also undergoing under further leadership changes. After a half-century with only two pilots at the helm (Richard Roud and Richard Pena each served 25 years as the festival’s head), the NYFF witnessed a decade of more rapid evolution, both in terms of its programming and those in charge. The latest shift at the top came with the recent announcement that festival director Eugene Hernandez was leaving to become the head of the Sundance Film Festival. A mainstay in the New York film community for years before his work with Film at Lincoln Center, Eugene’s friendly, welcoming presence will be missed by many. Although his tenure did include the regrettable shuttering of Film Comment’s print edition, his steady hand was an invaluable asset in steering the festival through the rough waters that the pandemic brought to both filmmaking and New York.

Otherwise, it strikes this critic that the 2022 festival is notable for two puzzling changes already causing perplexity in various quarters. One has to do with how the NYFF presents its offerings to the press, a method that, for the first time ever, makes it virtually impossible for critics to see everything in the Main Slate. Unfortunately, this wastes one of the festival’s distinct advantages. While competitors like Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, and the big European festivals host scores or hundreds of titles and thus can press-screen only a fraction of them, New York’s Main Slate has traditionally contained only around 30 films. In the past, its press screenings would run four weeks, with two, three (or rarely, four) films per day screening on weekdays. This year, though, for reasons unknown, the screenings are crammed into three weeks, with four, five, six and even seven films unreeling per day. Moreover, some films are screened in competition with each other: while a Main Slate film plays in the Walter Reade Theater, a film from one of the festival’s other sections (Currents, Spotlight, Revivals) will show at another venue.

This is hectic, exhausting, and, above all, unnecessary. As I can testify, critics who are longtime fans and supporters of the NYFF have appreciated its relative user-friendliness for those covering it. Seeing all of its main attractions, or close to it, may have been challenging, but it was at least possible. This punishing new regimen has occasioned mainly complaints and hopes that the fest will revert to the status quo ante next year.

White Noise

The other puzzling change is the absence of world premieres in the festival’s main slots: Opening Night, Centerpiece and Closing Night. Many top-tier festivals of course demand world premieres for every film in their main sections. Though New York never had the clout to do that, it held onto the practice in its main slots, as a matter of pride and prestige. Oddly, this year’s Opening Night selection, Noah Baumbach’s White Noise,” not only premiered last month at the Venice Film Festival, it was the Opening Night selection there too. (Some observers have wondered if the power of Netflix, the film’s distributor, had anything to do with its unusual festival prominence this season. Interestingly, the NYFF’s printed program this year doesn’t mention distributors of any films. That’s a first too, I think.)

While previous Opening Night films have had the privilege of arriving as unknown quantities, “White Noise” was preceded by its Venice reviews, which were notably less enthusiastic than those for other films at the festival such as Todd Field’s “TÁR” (which plays the NYFF next week). Common themes in the critical reaction were that the great success of Baumbach’s last film, “Marriage Story,” was almost bound to make any follow-up seem weaker by comparison; and that a kindred risk lay in the fact that, for the first time ever, Baumbach was adapting another writer’s work—Don DeLillo’s acclaimed 1985 novel, which has sometimes been described as “unfilmable.”

To a large extent, I share those judgments. Like many critics, I regarded “Marriage Story” as Baumbach’s first flat-out masterpiece, a semi-autobiographical film of extraordinary ambition and accomplishment. In terms of its direction, “White Noise” shows him working at an equally high level. It’s a big, sprawling extravaganza of a movie, and Baumbach’s handling of numerous set pieces (including complex crowd scenes and elaborate special effects), like his work with a cast led by frequent (and excellent) collaborators Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, is exemplary.

The problems mainly derive from the material. Unfolding in three capacious acts, the 1980s-set tale centers on Jack Gladney (Driver) and his wife Babette (Gerwig). Residing in a bucolic college town, they are both are on their fourth marriages and have a brood of kids. His academic specialty is Hitler Studies, and if that suggests a satire of academia, that indeed is a key element of the film’s first section. The tone, though, shifts markedly in the second act, when the family is forced to join a chaotic mass exodus from their town due to an environmental catastrophe (here’s where the FX come to the fore). In the final part, the spouses confront their mutual fear of death as Jack vows to go from victim to murderer.

The influence of cinema on DeLillo’s fiction is well-known, and no doubt helps account for filmmakers’ attraction to his work. But the number and variety of those influences produce challenges that Baumbach’s script can’t overcome. A pastiche that embraces everything from satire to sci-fi to social commentary to psychodrama to surreal comedy can work on the page in a way that only reads as a strained mishmash when transferred to the screen, evoking comparisons to directors as disparate as Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, and David Lynch. But for any filmgoer tempted to bail out of “White Noise” before the end, I have one piece of advice: don’t. The film’s single best scene, which leads into and plays through its end credits, is a gigantic, supermarket-set musical number worthy of Frank Tashlin. (This delight demands to be seen in a theater; I can’t imagine how it will work on Netflix.)

Showing Up

From one angle, it might seem that Kelly Reichardt was heading into a challenge not unlike that facing Baumbach: her last film, 2020’s “First Cow,” was her biggest critical success to date, winning Best Film from the New York Film Critics Circle. But “Showing Up,” her latest, is so different from its predecessor–which was a twisty tale of male friendship and striving in the Pacific Northwest of the 1820s–that it beggars any comparison. Rather than being period-set, it’s contemporary; instead of being focused on men, it deals with female friendship, family and community; and where the previous film was bovine-centric, here the non-human leads are a cat and a pigeon.

In her fourth collaboration with Michelle Williams (after “Wendy and Lucy,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” and “Certain Women”), Reichardt casts the actress as Lizzy, a sculptor leading a low-key life in the laidback artistic environs of Portland, OR. Lizzy’s best friend (or is she simply the nearest, geographically?) Jo (Hong Chau), is also her landlord, one who hasn’t fixed Lizzy’s broken water heater in two weeks. Their relationship is additionally complicated by the fact that Jo has rescued a pigeon that (unbeknownst to her) Lizzy’s cat has mauled. As if these minor-key trials were not enough, Lizzy faces the pressures of preparing for an upcoming show and the various perplexities presented by her dad (a delightful turn by Judd Hirsch), mom and unhinged brother.

Although its setting might suggest the potential for a stinging arts-scene satire, Reichardt’s approach is instead scrupulously subtle and drolly observant. The community that surrounds Lizzy abounds in characters intent on exercising their creativity whatever may be going on in the wider world, and the film describes them with gentle, keen-eyed accuracy (the casting of even the smallest roles is one of the film’s marvels). As for Lizzy, her wardrobe sets a new standard in boho frowsiness (I was waiting for the scene in which she wasn’t wearing socks, but it never came) and she virtually never smiles. But the understated care she devotes to her art and her closest relationships, especially her problematic brother, evoke a strong inner life that has no need of outward showiness.

Reichardt’s art might be described similarly (and indeed her work with Williams, which has produced such rich results over four films, here almost seems to comprise a joint artistic credo). Her light-handed touch conveys the confidence of a filmmaker at the peak of her powers. She is certainly one of American cinema’s greatest talents, and “Showing Up” can only add to the ranks of her admirers.

Saint Omer

So far, this is a very good year for female filmmakers at the NYFF, as also illustrated by debut films from two European directors. “Saint Omer,” by France’s Alice Diop, a filmmaker previously known for her acclaimed documentaries, is a searing contemporary drama focused on two black women: A Senegalese immigrant (Guslagie Malanga) charged with drowning her baby daughter and a professor/journalist (Kayije Kagame) who sets out to write a report on the trial. The case provides a powerful, harrowing tale of human suffering that touches on all sorts of issues involves class, gender and culture. Filmed with a steady, almost forensic intensity, the courtroom drama of the film’s first half is the most riveting hour I’ve spent in a film this year. Ultimately, I don’t think the film’s challenging elements come together as well as they might, but it is still a formidable accomplishment, one that immediately establishes Diop in the forefront of French cinema.

The other impressive European debut, “Aftersun” by Scotland’s Charlotte Wells, is an autobiographical fiction about a Scottish girl (Francesca Corio) and her divorced father (Paul Mescal) sharing a week’s vacation in a Turkish resort. While the tale proceeds with an unhurried, anecdotal casualness that perfectly captures the sensual pleasures and random encounters of a welcome holiday, its focus on the two central characters provides a rich, poetically oblique view of a relationship that is strong and loving but also characterized by underlying tension. Boosted by the strong performances of its two leads, the film also benefits from the style supplied by Wells’ supple, exacting visuals and Blair McLendon’s razor-sharp editing. It occurred to me later that some reviewers might fault “Aftersun” for paying zero attention to the culture and people of the country where the story takes place, but I’m betting that the film’s considerable strengths will go a long way toward silencing such objections.

Along with “Aftersun” and last year’s “The Lost Daughter,” “Triangle of Sadness,” by Sweden’s Ruben Ostlund, suggests a demi-genre of films by northern European directors who want to make a movie while also enjoying a nice Mediterranean vacation. In this case, though, the decision doesn’t turn out to be so salutary. Though the film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, one critic who saw it there described it as “one of those love it or hate it movies.” Since I admired Ostlund’s previous films “Play,” “Force Majeure,” and “The Square,” I was surprised to find myself in the latter camp. And for a way into “Triangle of Sadness,” I didn’t think I would be. The film’s second scene, in which an attractive young couple have an argument over money (ostensibly) in a posh restaurant, is masterful, suggesting a sharply focused relationship comedy-drama to follow.

But all too soon, the same couple is in the Greek islands sunbathing on a luxurious yacht, where a drunken captain (Woody Harrelson) presides over a gaggle of well-to-do international vacationers. The premise holds lots of promise for both comedy and a satire of current mores, of course, but Ostlund’s uninspired handling left me wishing that Robert Altman or Luis Bunuel were in charge. The comedy here is obvious and contrived, the satire hardly worth the name. And that’s while the voyagers are at sea. When they unexpectedly end up on land, the whole the thing devolves into an overlong farce that plays like the Eurotrash version of “Gilligan’s Island.”

But it looks like the company probably had a great vacation.

- Matt Zoller Seitz
Life is Cheap ... But Toilet Paper is Expensive

Director Wayne Wang's versatility has never failed to impress. From his debut film, the low-budget mystery-comedy "Chan is Missing," to the ensemble family dramas "Eat a Bowl of Tea" and "The Joy Luck Club" and "Maid in Manhattan" to the psychosexual drama "The Center of the World" and the indie ensembles "Smoke" and "Blue in the Face," he seems to be comfortable doing everything. His fluidity evokes the sorts of craftsmen who moved from project to project during the heyday of Old Hollywood studios, when the same director might helm a Western, a tragic romance, and a detective movie during the same year.

Wang's 1989 film "Life is Cheap ... but Toilet Paper is Expensive"—which is getting a brief, limited theatrical release to celebrate its 4K restoration by the filmmaker—is a kinda mystery thriller, in the way that Jean Luc-Godard's debut "Breathless" is kinda the story of lovers on the run. The film follows a quiet, intense, handsome young man (Spencer Nakasako) in a black cowboy hat who has been hired to transport a silver briefcase of unknown contents from the United States to Hong Kong and give it to its intended recipient. It's a variation on a hardboiled crime drama plot featured in the likes of "Kiss Me Deadly," "Repo Man," and "Pulp Fiction." It's also Wang's own version of "Breathless" or a 1970s/'80s American New Wave directorial statement by someone like Martin Scorsese or David Lynch who looked at Godard and saw total creative freedom (there are characters in the film named Taxi Driver and Blue Velvet).

But Wang is no more interested in plot for its own sake than Godard was; the architecture of this film is obsessively fragmented. The movie less often evokes mid-century arthouse classics (such as Godard's sci-fi detective pastiche "Alphaville") than the sorts of brilliant but difficult films Godard made deep in his career, when he'd lost most of his original audience by going abstract and political (and often borderline-impenetrable) but didn't care because he was immersed in the art that only he could make. 

"Life is Cheap" became briefly notorious after it received an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, for bloody violence and intense sexuality (including a scene where the hero visits another character in a recording studio where a scene of pornographic sex between a man and a woman is being dubbed by two men, one of whom attempts a "girlish" falsetto). Shaken but unfazed, Wang's distributor released the film with an invented rating, "A" for adult, two years before the MPAA created the NC-17, which was meant to indicate the more artistic kinds of "extreme" mainstream cinema that would appear very briefly in the '90s. The movie is somehow hardcore-edgy and playful at the same time. Sometimes these tendencies cancel each other, but most of the time they amplify each other. 

We often hear the hero of "Life is Cheap" narrating in hardboiled voice-over. He describes his mission, the people he meets, and his observations about life in the neon dream city in the years before the British handed it over to China. He wonders what's in the briefcase and why its intended recipient behaved in such an odd fashion. 

But then the movie will go long stretches without any narration, or without even seeing the hero. What story there is gets interrupted (from the very beginning of the movie!) by disruptive flash-cuts. Some are barely visually legible: a flash of red; a glimpse of what might be the leader on a reel of film. Others are disturbing. Many sequences let supporting characters address the camera, which represents the hero, and Wang stays on them for so long that they turn into little documentary-style character portraits of eccentrics and possibly dangerous individuals, from the man who offers tutorials on "sexy dancing" to the porno producer who is casually accused of an awful crime. There's a recurring close-up image of a man's hand being cut off with a meat cleaver at the wrist, its chopped bones and oozing veins visible to the camera, as well as a long shot of a severed hand on a pristine white hospital bed and a white ceramic bowl full of watered-down blood nearby. Are we seeing the hero's fate? Is the entire movie a deathbed recollection—or a premonition? 

For the re-release, Wang has also added never-before-seen, low-resolution video footage he shot on location in Hong Kong during production. The material appears mainly in a long, unheralded and unexplained block of footage roughly a third of the way through. We see actors that we encountered in character previously, on location. They seem to be rehearsing. There's also footage of ordinary Hong Kong street life, including a butcher at work, and a man on a gurney being loaded into the back of an ambulance by paramedics. You could say this material ruins any concept or proper commercial pacing if there were any indication that Wang prized such things. To be specific, he does care about an audience-pleasing pace, very much—in his other films. Not so much in this one, which adheres to its own internal metronome, and in some ways feels like an inversion of some of his concerns in "Chan is Missing," a classic indie about then-modern-day Chinese-Americans and a meditation on assimilation.

This is a difficult movie to watch at times—and for decades it has been hard to see, period. It's not the sort of film one can fairly judge by any conventional criteria. It has a punk rock sensibility that links it to other notable films by major new indie directors who came up in the '80s and '90s, like Gus Van Sant ("My Own Private Idaho"), Alex Cox ("Repo Man"), Jane Campion ("Sweetie"), and Gregg Araki ("The Doom Generation"), as well as high-profile studio ringers like Scorsese and Oliver Stone (including the latter's "Natural Born Killers" and "U-Turn"). It seems to be a completely uncompromised movie, with all the qualities that phrase suggests.

Now playing at BAM. 

- Katie Rife
Smile

When the horror histories of the 2010s are written, the decade will be associated with trauma metaphors the way the ‘80s are with slasher movies. And although it comes on the cusp of a new decade, the new Paramount wide-release horror movie "Smile" fits right in with its PTSD-induced kin. The difference here is that the monster is barely a metaphor at all: The demon, or evil spirit, or whatever it is—the movie is vague on this point—literally feeds on, and is spread by, trauma.

Specifically, the vague something that dogs Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) throughout “Smile” likes the taste of people who have witnessed someone else dying by suicide—gruesome, painful, bloody suicide, by garden shears and oncoming trains and the shattered fragments of a ceramic vase in a hospital intake room. That’s where Rose briefly meets Laura (Caitlin Stasey), a PhD student who’s brought to the psychiatric emergency ward where Rose works, shaking and terrified that something is out to get her. “It looks like people, but it’s not a person,” Laura explains, saying that this thing has been following her ever since she witnessed one of her professors bludgeoning himself to death with a hammer four days earlier. At the end of the extended dialogue scene that opens the film, Laura turns to Rose with a psychotic grin on her face and proceeds to slit her own throat.

This would unsettle anyone, but it especially bothers Rose given that Rose’s own mother died by suicide many years earlier. That lingering trauma, and the fears and stigma that surround it, form the film’s most intelligent thematic thread: Rose’s fiance Trevor (Jessie T. Usher) admits that he’s researched inherited mental illness online, and harsh terms like “nutjobs,” “crazies,” and “head cases” are used to describe mentally ill people throughout the film. The idea that she might not actually be plagued by the same entity that killed Laura, and that her hallucinations, lost time, and emotional volatility might have an internal cause, seems to bother Rose more than the concept of being cursed. The people around Rose, including Trevor, her therapist Dr. Northcott (Robin Weigert), her boss Dr. Desai (Kal Penn), and her sister Holly (Gillian Zinzer), certainly seem to think the problem is more neurochemical than supernatural—that is, until it’s way too late. 

The only one who believes Rose is her ex, Joel (Kyle Gallner), a cop who’s been assigned to Laura’s case. Their tentative reunion opens the door to the film’s mystery element, which makes up much of “Smile’s” long, but not overly long, 115-minute run time. The film’s storyline follows many of your typical beats of a supernatural horror-mystery, escalating from a quick Google (the internet-age equivalent of a good old-fashioned library scene) to an in-person interview with a traumatized, incarcerated survivor of whatever this malevolent entity actually is. Brief reference is made to a cluster of similar events in Brazil, opening up the door to a sequel.

“Smile’s” greatest asset is its relentless, oppressive grimness: This is a film where children and pets are as vulnerable as adults, and the horror elements are bloody and disturbing to match the dark themes. This unsparing sensibility is enhanced by Bacon’s shaky, vulnerable performance as Rose: At one point, she screams at Trevor, “I am not crazy!,” then mumbles an apology and looks down at her shoes in shame. At another, her wan smile at her nephew’s birthday party stands as both a bleak counterpoint to the sick grin the entity’s victims see before they die (thus the film’s title), as well as a relatable moment for viewers who have reluctantly muddled their way through similar gatherings in the midst of a depressive episode. 

Sadly, despite a compelling lead and strong craft behind the camera—the color palette, in shades of lavender, pink, teal, and gray, is capably chosen and very of the moment—“Smile” is diminished by the sheer fact that it’s not as fresh a concept as it might seem. This is director Parker Finn’s debut feature as a writer and director, based on a short film that won a jury award at SXSW 2020. To spin that into a non-franchise wide-release movie from a major studio like Paramount within two years—in a pandemic, no less!—is an impressive achievement, to be sure. 

But in padding out the concept from an 11-minute short into a nearly two-hour movie, “Smile” leans too heavily not only on formulaic mystery plotting, but also on horror themes and imagery lifted from popular hits like “The Ring” and “It Follows.” David Robert Mitchell’s 2014 film is an especially prominent, let’s say, influence on “Smile,” which, combined with its placement on the “it’s really about trauma” continuum, make this a less bracing movie experience than it might have been had it broken the mold more aggressively. It does introduce Finn as a capable horror helmer, one with a talent for an elegantly crafted jump scare and a knack for making a viewer feel uneasy and upset as they exit the theater—both advantages for a film like this one. But fans excited to see an “original” horror film hitting theaters should temper those expectations. 

This review was filed from the premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 23rd. It opens on September 30th.

- Nick Allen
AMC's Interview with the Vampire is a Cheesy but Curious Series Adaptation

Previously tackled by Neil Jordan nearly 30 years ago, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire now receives an episodic treatment from AMC this week (premiering right after more of “The Walking Dead”). Adapted here by Rolin Jones and with the first two episodes directed by Alan Taylor (“Game of Thrones,” “Thor: The Dark World”), the expansive look makes one appreciate how encompassing this overview of a vampire’s life can be: about morality, legacy, and even how one’s fear of death can inhibit one's enjoyment of the present. These meditations come in a package that includes some cheesy writing and drawn-out storytelling, but that still might have enough positives for this series to leave its mark on the long legacy of Rice’s text. 

This “Interview with the Vampire” takes viewers back to 1900s New Orleans’ Storyville neighborhood, also known as the Red-Light district, which is treated with ornate production design and large sets that fill up the screen and suck us in all on their own. And this “Interview” is told through a perspective not often used when going to this point of history. Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) is a Black business owner who runs underground affairs while also gaining some upward mobility—he can play cards with local white politicians and fat cats, but they also expect a “sir” at the end of his statements. Louis has a pride in his community, and a closeness with his family, particularly that of his mighty religious brother Paul (Steven G. Norfleet) who preaches at the dinner table. In a saga that’s all about unlikely bonds, Louis and his brother have a touching relationship that ends with one of the series’ few gripping twists of fate. 

“Interview with the Vampire” becomes a love story when Lestat de Lioncourt (Sam Reid) enters the picture, with his staggering, accented low voice and Brad Pitt-esque looks and a self-assured presentation as a classy outsider. Lestat sees Louis for the passion he has inside of him, and not just because Lestat is a hungry vampire who can read and control minds. When the life-changing bite finally happens, it’s a striking moment—in part for its open, blissful sexuality, leading to a hot and heavy relationship between them that makes more transparent what Jordan’s film shrouded (though its performances, arguably, did not). Throughout, Lestat helps embolden him as a person, as a business owner seeking more power, a Black man seeking more visibility in an openly racist society. 

Enter Claudia, an immortalized 14-year-old girl (Bailey Bass) who becomes a fascinating linchpin for their domestic tranquility until things start to rot away over time with her own angst. Bass’ work as Claudia, which is good enough to parallel that from Dunst in the film, articulates even more the claustrophobia of this unquenchable bloodlust and immortality, and she highlights how much of a tragedy it is to stay the same, to not grow old. Worse, it wasn’t much of her choice, and the feeling of a makeshift family can’t replace the isolation she feels from the entire world.

This is all being recounted to a reporter in modern times, keeping with the key framing device that had Christian Slater listening to a wisened Brad Pitt in the Jordan film. In this case, it’s Eric Bogosian’s acerbic and seasoned reporter Daniel Molloy, who first interviewed Louis almost 50 years ago. Now Louis is interested in sharing more of the truth about his life, while revealing to Molloy his hard-earned life reflections as they sit across from each other in a Dubai skyscraper. 

In a too-gradual build of tension, Molloy doesn’t hesitate to push back against things that his murderous host says, or to ask for more, like about ripped pages from Claudia’s journals (an irate Louis says she does not want her exploited). As their conversation takes place in the Dubai skyscraper, sometimes it provides voice-over to the flashback, which can be too on-the-nose. In one particular eye-rolling moment, Molloy’s off-screen voice chimes in with a real record-scratch moment: “Take a Black man in America, make him a vampire, f**k with that vampire, and see what comes of it.” 

Anderson can be a compelling screen presence, especially as he charts the psychological experience of his vampirism from decades and decades ago. He established a certain moral boundary with killing—causing him to feast on fish, rabbits, and other animals instead of human fare. It all comes with larger, fascinating ideas about identity, a frame for his understanding of self as a gay man in such comparably conservative times. Throughout, Louis was someone who wants to stay connected to his family, his community, “his people,” as he repeats. 

But vampire acting can be a tough game of brooding hamminess, which this series even notes when Lestat, Louis, and Claudia go to see a vampire movie and later laugh about the stiff, jagged, leering body, and slow-moving claw of an on-screen vampire. We get a more human-inspired version here of course than that telling, and yet the grave self-seriousness here makes for progressively flat performances in their own right. And while all of the billowing resentment and struggle between our vampires has to go somewhere, it comes out from Louis and Lestat in sometimes overly melodramatic bursts of screaming dialogue. The strings swell behind them, sometimes the sets are destroyed, and both Anderson and Reid get to show all of their teeth as actors. “Interview with the Vampire” jumps on this whenever it can, revealing how the series can only break its growing monotony with either showy dramatic displays or (albeit staggering) moments of gory violence, like a turbo vampire-punch that impales someone’s face. 

Like a drop of blood from the vampire who initially chewed you out, this episodic adaptation (with seven episodes for season one) offers you a distinct choice. Viewers can get more or less the same events by re-watching Jordan film, or they can get a much more elongated presentation of these ideas in a much more drawn-out telling, with a more contemporary acknowledgement of race and sexuality. I choose the Jordan movie for its efficiency, though this version is not without its curiosities and its merits. 

Five episodes provided and screened for review. The first two episodes of “Interview with the Vampire” premiere on AMC on October 2nd. 


- Marya E. Gates
Bros

“Bros,” co-written by and starring Billy Eichner, has been touted as the first mainstream Hollywood studio-backed rom-com to feature gay men as the leads. Directed by Nicholas Stoller and produced by Judd Apatow, the film consciously evokes tropes from the hey-day of studio-backed romantic comedies, including nods to more than one Meg Ryan classic and a compelling lead performance from Eichner. However, its perpetual commentary on the mainstreaming of queerness remains at odds with its very desire to tell its story within the Hollywood system. 

Eichner plays Bobby Leiber, a born and bred New Yorker who hosts a queer history podcast called 11th Brick (because as a cis white gay man that’s probably the brick he’d have thrown at Stonewall) and is the director of the first national LGBTQ history museum, on the brink of finally opening its doors. At 40, Bobby has spent most of his life alone and has convinced himself he’s better off this way. “We’re horny and we’re selfish and we’re stupid. I don’t trust these people,” he tells a group of friends when explaining why he prefers hookups to anything long term. 

This being a self-aware rom-com, Bobby’s life and plans change when he meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) at a club. Before we know it the two have decided to be emotionally unavailable together. What follows is a by-the-books romantic comedy filled with dates and sex and fights and meeting the family, all with a queer twist. The soundtrack filled with jazzy Nat King Cole songs helps evoke a Nora Ephron-style New York Autumn.

Running B-side to Bobby and Aaron’s love story are the preparations to open the museum. Here we see Bobby’s (and presumably Eichner’s) passion for queer history and community. The museum board is made of a variety of queer people, including a butch lesbian, a belligerent bisexual, a Black trans woman, and a nonbinary person. Unfortunately, each character comes across as a cliché, which is likely by design as the whole film uses queer identity as a springboard for jokes. Many of the jokes do land, because if anything queer people know how to laugh at ourselves. However, what Eichner and co-writer Stoller seem to have forgotten is that a rom-com like “When Harry Met Sally” is so iconic not just because of Harry and Sally's authenticity, but that all of its characters feel like real people. 

While most of the characters are underdeveloped, Eichner’s razor-sharp wit and caustic humor shines through in the dialogue and situational comedy as he skewers many aspects of gay dating culture, from Grindr hookups to obsessive gym usage to group sex. The script is not peppered with queer history and countless name-drops of queer icons like Cher, Barbra Streisand, and Mariah Carey.  

Eichner also takes jabs at the modern commodification of queer culture within the entertainment industry, from the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” reboot to the universal love of “Schitt’s Creek” to Hallmark’s inclusion of queer rom-coms (going so far as creating fake titles like "Christmas with Either" and "A Holly Poly Christmas") once they realized a profit could be made. Although Eichner rejects this very sanitization of queerness, the self-aware rom-com beats in “Bros” find it treading the same waters. 

Late in the film, Bobby tells the museum board, “We fight like crazy, and we always have, but you’re my people.” This is the guiding light of “Bros”: to show the gays as messy, to show the queer community as more than a monolith, to have them be as loud and proud and take up as much space being their authentic selves as possible.

And it really is great to see a mainstream Hollywood film of this magnitude with this kind of representation from throughout the LGBTQ community. However, it defeats its own message of bringing queer history and queer life out of the margins when it centers the love story between two cis, conventionally attractive white gay men. Eichner is the first to point out his privilege; early on his character wins an award at an LGBTQ gala for Best Cis White Gay Man of the Year. But being self-aware isn’t as impactful as de-centering the cis white gay man as the lead, especially when every other queer character in the film still remains on the margins of the story. 

“Bros” is clearly a labor of love for Eichner, and as a belligerent bisexual (petulant pansexual?) myself, I laughed a great deal at the comedy. As a commitment-phobe who found romance late in life, I was moved by the core relationship. And as a country girl, I felt like the running Garth Brooks joke was tailored specifically for me. But there's also something at odds with Eichner’s mission to bring queerness, gay sex, and gay dating in all its texture to mainstream Hollywood studio-backed cinema, while in the same breath sanitizing queerness to be palatable to straight culture. 

For a movie so focused on the importance of mainstreaming queer history, it seems to care very little for the queer films that came before it. Bobby and Aaron discuss how often straight male actors win praise for playing gay cowboys, but beyond digs at both “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Power of the Dog” (directed by and starring straight people), the only other queer film mentioned is Luca Guadagnino's “Call Me By Your Name” in a throwaway joke about how it's the one queer movie to which all straight people compare other queer films. By only highlighting those few movies—ignoring queer cinematic pioneers in the process—“Bros” is as culpable of keeping queer history (in this case cinematic history) in the shadows as has happened to the other facets that Bobby’s LBGTQ museum is supposedly shining a light on. The point of the museum is to show history through a queer prism, yet the film itself doesn’t seem to view cinema in the same way. Worse yet, "Bros" thinks of itself as the most important pioneer solely because it's doing so on a mainstream level.

This review was filed from the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10. "Bros" opens on September 30th. 

- Matt Zoller Seitz
I Didn't See You There

Reid Davenport's great film "I Didn't See You There" works on two levels simultaneously. 

First, it's a funny, sharply observed feature-length autobiographical film about what it's like for a disabled man with cerebral palsy to move through a world whose architects barely acknowledge his existence, and whose inhabitants treat him with contempt or condescension when they notice him at all. "The people who gawk at me on the streets remind me of the profound ignorance in the world," he told PBS News Hour. "And I don’t mean to sound preachy, but it really affects my life, and, in turn, I’m sure, affects many other people with disabilities."

Second—and of equal, or possibly greater importance—"I Didn't See You There" is an experimental movie of great beauty. It's filled with images of ordinary objects and situations that have been filmed in such surprising and revealing ways by Davenport that when you encounter them again in your own life, you will see them differently, and think of Davenport's work. 

There are moments when Davenport makes a point to show us how challenging life can be for him. He gets stuck on a commercial jetliner after it's landed. He tries to cross a downtown street where drivers ignore crosswalk lines. In his apartment, he listens to answering machine messages while pouring himself a drink with a shaky hand. (The last message is from the Internal Revenue Service.) 

But for the most part, Davenport simply observes the world around him and reports back, as a poet or painter or street photographer might. He sees things that others don't, and he seems to have his creative antennae constantly extended because he believes there is beauty happening everywhere and he doesn't want to miss any of it. 

Davenport thinks about freak shows and the monetization of difference when a traveling carnival sets up near his apartment. The freak show is no longer much of a presence in modern life, but it still sums up much of the world's attitude toward disability. One of the most striking things about Davenport's filmmaking is the way it pushes against that mentality, not just with spoken or written statements but images and sounds. It insists that Davenport be appreciated as an artist as well as a journalist-advocate. 

The movie begins with a lateral tracking shot, taken from a small camera affixed to the arm of Davenport's wheelchair, showing a subway train at rest in a station as the filmmaker wheels along its length. Davenport's voice-over narration describes how, when a train starts to accelerate and pull away from the station after his wheelchair is moving in the same direction, there's a brief moment when both chair and train are moving at the same speed. Then we see the moment—one that a person without any mobility restrictions would probably never notice—and it lodges in the mind, like an evocative line of poetry that seems tossed-off, yet strikes us in a deep place.

Some of the more adventurous extended sections of the movie link back to early experimental and essay films ("Man With a Movie Camera" and Stan Brakhage's experimental Super 8mm home movies spring to mind at various points) as well as established, artistically-minded filmmakers like Michael MannTerence Davies, and Terrence Malick

Davenport, too, is the kind of artist who will pause or suspend his narrative to let us admire a shot of a beam of light cutting through an otherwise dark room, or fixate on a reflection in a puddle, or point the camera up at the sky as the cameraperson glides and spins, transforming power lines, treetops, and clouds into elements in a moving collage of colors and shapes. A long traveling shot focuses on an iron fence whooshing by as Davenport's wheelchair traverses a city sidewalk. The black bars strobe-flash across the screen, and briefly seem to roll backwards.Another sequence consists mainly of closeups of of the pavement whizzing by underneath Davenport's wheelchair, scored with the sort of percussion track that you'd expect to hear in a film where George Clooney breaks into a vault. The borders of cobblestones and sidewalk stones, the grids of metal grates, the lettering on manhole covers, and the bright yellow, Lego-like plastic protrusions on rubber sidewalks flicker and blur, creating a modest little abstract-experimental film-within-the-film.

Even the title is multilayered. "I Didn't See You There" describes how the world and most of its inhabitants interact with the disabled. But it also describes what it's like to watch and listen to this movie, which is—on top of all its other achievements—a personal statement on the experience of modern urban life, with its distinct perils, aggravations, and unexpected moments of grace that you would never think to notice unless they happened to you personally. There isn't much narration because Davenport lets the images speak for him. 

Now playing in select theaters. 

- Cristina Escobar
Entergalactic

Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s new Netflix collaboration, “Entergalactic,” is hard to categorize. It’s billed as a “television event” and an “animated story.” With a 92-minute running time, I am tempted to call it a film, albeit one divided into sections (which show up as chapter titles, not full episode breaks).

And yet “Entergalactic” lacks many of the things that make up a film. There is a plot, following the typical beats of a romance. But there’s not enough action to say it's powered by narrative. 

This isn’t a character study either. Kid Cudi as Jabari doesn’t have fully baked motivations or experience some profound growth. Neither does his love interest Meadow, voiced by Jessica Williams. Williams and Mescudi both give admirable performances as do their supporting cast members with amusing bits by surprising voices like Macaulay Culkin as Downtown Pat, sharing his (lack of) wisdom in love to Jabari, Jimmy (Timothée Chalamet), and Jordan (Jaden Smith). But as fun as these characters are, they exist more as vibes than as people. 

And on the vibe level, “Entergalactic” totally works. It may not be a movie or a TV show but it’s certainly more than an extended music video. It’s an experimental form, using plot and characters to present a collage of multisensory art.

The animation is stunning, presenting a mix of comic book and street art aesthetics. This look reflects our protagonist’s worldview as a graffiti muralist turned comic book creator. We are seeing the world through his eyes, with dashes of the perspectives of the other artists in “Entergalactic.” The piece is full of them: Meadow is a photographer and one of the major plot points revolves around a group show she’s doing.

One of her fellow exhibitors Nadia (070 Shake) introduces her art with “it just gets me tight that people equate New York with gray and darkness when the city’s mad colorful. Even the people are so colorful. So in my work, I try to showcase that.” It’s an ethos that could describe “Entergalactic” itself, which mixes color and black and white scapes to build contrast and drama. Jabari has made a name for himself through large murals of a black-and-white character Mr. Rager (Keith David) who appears in contrast with the vibrant New York around him. It helps that Jabari and Meadow have their own unique take on the city, traveling from what buddy Jimmy calls a “one-percent” apartment to back alleys to elite parties to bicycle lanes.

Together, these visuals depict a similar NYC as the award-winning animation of 2018’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” just more grown up. This story doesn’t follow comic book characters but rather the people who make them. We get scenes about sex, drug use, and hangovers.

We also get some of Kid Cudi’s politics, which he interweaves smartly throughout “Entergalactic.” When we’re first meeting Meadow, we see her tell her non-Black best friend Karina (Vanessa Hudgens, having fun with her over-the-top character) that all white guys look the same to her, including her manager Reed (Christopher Abbott)—and they’re all ruled out of her dating pool. Why? “Oppression,” she says in a one-word, pithy answer, showing her bad bitch bona fides.

“Entergalactic” is decidedly and unapologetically Black, even as its characters exist in a multiracial world. At his comic book job, Jabari is skeptical of the light-skinned Puerto Rican Len (Arturo Castro) who tries to make a common bond with him, even as his friend group covers the spectrum of human skin tones.

And on gender too, “Entergalactic” asserts a progressive point of view. Both Jabari and Meadow are flawed, dynamic people who have to compromise and grow to find happiness—both are equally human. Furthering this feminist perspective, Jabari tells his buddy Ky (Ty Dolla $ign) to “Stop saying bitches,” modeling what healthy masculinity looks when no feminine eyes are looking. And in a scene that rings true to my experience as a sibling, Jabari calls upon his sister Ellie (Maisha Mescudi) for love advice. She gives it to him straight—bringing the exact right mix of knowledge about women, her brother, and the way the world works.

And that’s before we get to the music.

Kid Cudi has made a name for himself—in music, fashion, and general pop culture—for a reason. His lush numbers here will surely appeal to hip hop heads and neophytes alike. These songs capture the ups and downs of romance and the search for identity that also goes with it. Here, there’s no abrasive aggression or boasting bluster. Instead, it’s soul searching stuff. It's the type of music anyone can relate to.

As an art piece, “Entergalactic” is evocative, beautiful, and smart. I can picture it playing at parties for decades to come. Just don’t approach it as a TV show.

On Netflix today.

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- Matt Singer
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- Matt Singer
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- Matt Singer
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- Ivan Huang

Wondering when your favorite shows are coming back and what new series you can look forward to? We’ve got you covered with the Den of Geek 2022 TV Premiere Dates Calendar, where we keep track of TV series premiere dates, return dates, and more for the year and beyond. 

We’ll continue to update this page weekly as networks announce dates. A lot of these shows we’ll be watching or covering, so be sure to follow along with us! 

Please note that all times are EST. 

Note: This are U.S. releases. For upcoming British releases, head on over here.

DATESHOWNETWORKMonday, October 3A Sinister Halloween Scary Opposites Solar SpecialHuluMonday, October 3Meet Marry MurderLifetimeMonday, October 3The House That Norm Built (9:00 p.m.)PBSMonday, October 3POV “The Last Out” (10:00 p.m.)PBSMonday, October 3The Good Doctor (10:00 p.m.)ABCTuesday, October 4SherwoodBritBoxTuesday, October 4Making Black America: Through the Grapevine (9:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, October 4Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom (10:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 5Abominable and The Invisible CityHuluWednesday, October 5Chucky (9:00 p.m.)SyfyWednesday, October 5Kung Fu (9:00 p.m.)The CWWednesday, October 5The Real Love Boat (9:00 p.m.)CBSWednesday, October 5NOVA “Rebuilding Notre Dame” (9:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 5Reginald the Vampire (10:00 p.m.)SyfyWednesday, October 5PBS NewsHour “Ricochet: An American Trauma” (10:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, October 6Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s ButlerHBO MaxThursday, October 6A Friend of the FamilyPeacockThursday, October 6Station 19 (8:00 p.m.)ABCThursday, October 6Walker (8:00 p.m.)The CWThursday, October 6Walker Independence (9:00 p.m.)The CWThursday, October 6Grey’s Anatomy (9:00 p.m.)ABCThursday, October 6Alaska Daily (10:00 p.m.)ABCFriday, October 7GlitchNetflixFriday, October 7Derry GirlsNetflixFriday, October 7The Midnight ClubNetflixFriday, October 7OddballsNetflixFriday, October 7The Redeem TeamNetflixFriday, October 7Nailed It!NetflixFriday, October 7Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer TapesNetflixFriday, October 7The MoleNetflixFriday, October 7The Problem With Jon StewartApple TV+Friday, October 7Let the Right One InShowtime.comFriday, October 7Ghost Brothers: Lights OutDiscovery+Friday, October 7S.W.A.T. (8:00 p.m.)CBSFriday, October 7Fire Country (9:00 p.m.)CBSFriday, October 7Next at the Kennedy Center (9:00 p.m.)PBSFriday, October 7Blue Bloods (10:00 p.m.)CBSSunday, October 9Secrets of the Dead (8:00 p.m.)PBSSunday, October 9NCIS: Los Angeles (10:00 p.m.)CBSMonday, October 10My Life is MurderAcorn TVMonday, October 10All American (8:00 p.m.)The CWMonday, October 10All American: Homecoming (9:00 p.m.)The CWMonday, October 10POV “Accepted” (10:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, October 11The Winchesters (8:00 p.m.)The CWTuesday, October 11Professionals (9:00 p.m.)The CWTuesday, October 11Becoming Frederick Douglass (10:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 12Easy-Bake Battle: The Home Cooking CompetitionNetflixWednesday, October 12NOVA: “Computers vs. Crime” (9:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, October 13Dead End: Paranormal ParkNetflixFriday, October 14Everything Calls for SalvationNetflixFriday, October 14ShantaramApple TV+Friday, October 14Martha GardensThe Roku ChannelFriday, October 14Penn & Teller: Fool Us (8:00 p.m.)The CWFriday, October 14Whose Line Is It Anyway? (9:00 p.m.)The CWSaturday, October 15The Queen’s UmbrellaNetflixSunday, October 16Miss Scarlet & The Duke (8:00 p.m.)PBSSunday, October 16Magpie Murders (9:00 p.m.)PBSSunday, October 16Annika (10:00 p.m.)PBSMonday, October 17The Paloni Show! Halloween Special!HuluMonday, October 17The Vow: Part 2 (9:00 p.m.)HBOMonday, October 17POV “An Act of Worship” (10:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, October 18Somebody Feed PhilNetflixTuesday, October 18Unsolved Mysteries Vol. 3NetflixWednesday, October 19Documentary Now!IFCWednesday, October 19Nature: “Running with the Beest” (8:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 19NOVA “Can Psychedelics Cure?” (9:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 19American Horror Story: NYCFXWednesday, October 19Secrets of the Dead: “Last Days in Pompeii” (10:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, October 20One of Us Is LyingPeacockFriday, October 2128 Days HauntedNetflixFriday, October 21From ScratchNetflixFriday, October 21BarbariansNetflixFriday, October 21The PeripheralPrime VideoFriday, October 21AcapulcoApple TV+Friday, October 21GhostwriterApple TV+Friday, October 21Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes (9:00 p.m.)PBSFriday, October 21Joe Bob Halloween 2022 Special (9:00 p.m.)Shudder TVSaturday, October 22Magic With the Stars (8:00 p.m.)The CWSaturday, October 22World’s Funniest Animals (9:00 p.m.)The CWSaturday, October 22Beyond The Headlines: Swindler Seduction (10:00 p.m.)LifetimeMonday, October 24Independent Lens “Tik Tok, Boom” (10:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, October 25Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of CuriositiesNetflixWednesday, October 26Star Wars: Tales of the JediDisney+Wednesday, October 26The Mysterious Benedict SocietyDisney+Wednesday, October 26Sherman’s ShowcaseIFCWednesday, October 26NATURE “CANADA: Surviving the Wild North” (8:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 26NOVA “Disrupting Darwin/Lionfish” (9:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, October 26Secrets of the Dead: “The End of the Romans” (10:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, October 27Daniel SpellboundNetflixThursday, October 27Romantic KillerNetflixThursday, October 27Star Trek: ProdigyParamount+Thursday, October 27True Crime Story: IndefensibleAMC+Friday, October 28The Bastard Son & The Devil HimselfNetflixFriday, October 28Big MouthNetflixFriday, October 28Drink MastersNetflixFriday, October 28Ghosts of Flight 401 (8:00 p.m.)Travel ChannelFriday, October 28Dia De Los Muertos! (9:00 p.m.)PBSFriday, October 28Urban Legend (10:00 p.m.)Travel ChannelFriday, October 28Milk Street’s Cooking SchoolThe Roku ChannelFriday, October 28Milk Street’s My Family RecipeThe Roku ChannelSaturday, October 29Beyond The Headlines: An Amish Sin (10:00 p.m.)LifetimeSunday, October 30The White LotusHBOMonday, October 31The Haunted Museum: 3 Ring InfernoTravel ChannelTuesday, November 1Below Deck Adventure (9:00 p.m.)BravoWednesday, November 2NATURE “Woodpeckers: The Hole Story” (8:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, November 3BlockbusterNetflixThursday, November 3The CapturePeacockThursday, November 3The SuspectSundance NowFriday, November 4ManifestNetflixFriday, November 4The Mosquito CoastApple TV+Friday, November 4SlumberkinsApple TV+Friday, November 4Lopez vs. Lopez (8:00 p.m.)NBCFriday, November 4Young Rock (8:30 p.m.)NBCFriday, November 4Great Performances: “New York Philharmonic Geffen Hall Reopening” (9:00 p.m.)PBSSunday, November 6MoodBBC AmericaSunday, November 6Dangerous Liaisons (9:00 p.m.)StarzMonday, November 7Independent Lens “Move Me” (10:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, November 8PBS Newshour Midterm Elections Special Coverage (8:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, November 9The CrownNetflixWednesday, November 9Nature: “American Ocelot” (8:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, November 9NOVA: “Crypto Decoded” (9:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, November 9Zootopia+Disney+Thursday, November 10The Big BrunchHBO MaxThursday, November 10The Missing PeacockFriday, November 11Mythic QuestApple TV+Friday, November 11Circuit BreakersApple TV+Sunday, November 13Tulsa KingParamount+Sunday, November 13YellowstoneParamount NetworkMonday, November 14TeletubbiesNetflixMonday, November 14American Experience “Taken Hostage” (9:00 p.m.)PBSWednesday, November 16Call My Agent! [Korean Version]NetflixWednesday, November 16Martha CooksThe Roku ChannelWednesday, November 16NOVA “Zero to Infinity” (9:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, November 17Gangs of LondonAMC+Friday, November 18The Great British Baking Show: Holidays EditionNetflixFriday, November 18Interrupting ChickenApple TV+Friday, November 18Martha HolidaysThe Roku ChannelFriday, November 18Emeril CooksThe Roku ChannelFriday, November 18Planet Sex with Cara DelevingneHuluSunday, November 20The L Word: Generation Q (8:00 p.m.)ShowtimeMonday, November 21POV “Midwives” (10:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, November 22American Masters (9:00 p.m.)PBSTuesday, November 22Welcome to ChippendalesHuluWednesday, November 23WednesdayNetflixWednesday, November 23Pitch Perfect: Bumper in BerlinPeacockWednesday, November 23King Tut: Allies and Enemies (8:00 p.m.)PBSThursday, November 24First LoveNetflixSunday, November 27KrapopolisFoxWednesday, November 30Snack vs. Chef NetflixWednesday, November 30WillowDisney+Wednesday, November 30Irreverent PeacockThursday, December 1HushALLBLKThursday, December 1Wicked CityALLBLKFriday, December 2Firefly LaneNetflixFriday, December 2Slow HorsesApple TV+Friday, December 9Little AmericaApple TV+Friday, December 16The RecruitNetflixFriday, December 16Cook At All CostsNetflixFriday, December 16Paradise PDNetflixWednesday, December 21Jack RyanPrime VideoThursday, December 22The Best Man: The Final ChaptersPeacockThursday, December 22SnapALLBLKFriday, February 10YouNetflix

If we’ve forgotten a show, feel free to drop a reminder in the comment section below!

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The post TV Premiere Dates: 2022 Calendar appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Matthew Byrd

Xbox Game Pass remains the best deal in gaming, and the competition for that title really isn’t even that close. While there’s rarely a bad time to be a Game Pass subscriber (even when Xbox’s own first-party offerings start looking a little thin), anyone looking to dive into some horror games this time of year should feel especially excited to have an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

After all, one of the biggest “problems” with some of the best modern horror games is the fact that they can be a little intimidating. Those looking for some spooky games may start to wonder if it’s worth investing $60 or even $70 in a title that they may not be able to finish. Even if you’re a hardened horror gamer, it can sometimes be annoying to sift through a seemingly endless array of horror gaming options just to find that one title that’s right for you. If you have a Game Pass subscription, though, both the price of the horror hunt experience, and the number of games you have to work your way through, become much more manageable.

With that in mind, here’s a look at a few Xbox Game Pass horror games that are well worth your monthly subscription fee and a few hours of your time.

cnx.cmd.push(function() { cnx({ playerId: "106e33c0-3911-473c-b599-b1426db57530", }).render("0270c398a82f44f49c23c16122516796"); }); 7 Days to Die

Though actually a survival game (with a few other genres mixed in for variety), 7 Days to Die’s zombie apocalypse setting lends itself to a surprising number of genuinely effective scares. 

A countless number of other games have tasked us with surviving the zombie-fuelled end of the world, but 7 Days to Die is just a little bit different from everything else out there. By emphasizing resource management, base building, and select RPG mechanics, this game asks you to do so much more than kill a few zombies in order to see the next day. It’s also a fantastic multiplayer horror experience. 

A Plague Tale: Innocence

A Plague Tale: Innocence is one of a few games on this list that kind of challenge the limits of the horror genre label. Ultimately, I think you’ll have a hard time arguing against the game’s credentials once you actually play this absolute gem. After all, few things are scarier than having to survive a small army of plague-filled rats with little more than a torch by your side. 

A Plague Tale features one of the best horror atmospheres I’ve ever seen in a game. Death, decay, and hopelessness can be found in every corner of this game’s world. If the terrifying swarms of rats don’t get you, the feeling that there isn’t much hope in fighting them off anymore certainly will. 

Alice: Madness Returns

2011’s Alice: Madness Returns really is one of the most overlooked horror games ever made. Granted, this title’s somewhat bizarre license and almost Zelda-like adventure gameplay make it surprisingly easy to dismiss it as a curiosity. There are few games out there that offer quite what this one does, so there isn’t a lot you can easily compare it to when you’re trying to recommend it.

While this title will rarely “scare” you, Alice is the kind of horror game that will appeal to anyone who prefers their horror experiences to dive deeply into the surreal. It’s a dark fantasy adventure that boasts some of the most incredible environmental design concepts you’ll ever see in such a title. Even when this game gets dark (and it can get very dark), it remains stunningly beautiful in a truly weird way.

Alan Wake: American Nightmare

It must be said that this Alan Wake DLC was not exactly what fans of the original game were looking for. Rather than directly continuing the main game’s story in a more straightforward way, American Nightmare offers a strange kind of spin-off adventure that utilizes time loop mechanics. That last aspect of the game (as well as the DLC’s emphasis on familiar mechanics) led some to label it as “repetitive.” 

While there are certainly some repetitive elements in this game, American Nightmare is best thought of as an interactive (and extended) version of a Twilight Zone episode. It’s an entertaining (if uneven) continuation of those Stephen King-like vibes that elevated Alan Wake in the first place. If you’re looking for a brief horror fix on Game Pass, it’s one of your best options.

Alien: Isolation

I’ve heard quite a few people argue that Alien: Isolation is the absolute scariest game ever made and…well, I’ll always have a hard time arguing against them. At the very least, I feel confident saying that this is as scary as an Alien game can possibly be. 

Isolation understands that the scariest thing about the original Alien film wasn’t just the Xenomorph itself. Granted, most horror films would benefit from featuring one of the most terrifying creature designs ever crafted by an expert team, but the thing that really made that movie scary was its use of claustrophobia and…well, isolation. You’ll get to know both of those feelings well as you attempt to survive an expertly paced series of missed calls against a monster that actually gets smarter as you play. This is the kind of game that can make you hold your breath for extended periods of time simply because you’ve convinced yourself that the monster on-screen can somehow hear you. 

Dead by Daylight

Horror multiplayer games really shouldn’t work. After all, so much horror relies on the feeling of being alone and helpless. How can you invoke that feeling when you’re surrounded by friends and allies? 

What makes Dead by Daylight work, though, is the way that it forces you to behave like the “dumb teens” in a horror film. It turns out that many of us will make bad decisions and even leave our friends behind when we’re being chased by a supernatural slasher who laughs at your odds advantage as they impale you on a meat hook. As we’ve previously discussed, this game really is also gradually morphing into the slasher hall of fame in the best ways possible.

Dead Space/Dead Space 2

Dead Space and Dead Space 2 may be the greatest survival horror games ever made. While both games obviously owe a lot to the Resident Evil franchise (specifically, Resident Evil 4), the first two Dead Space games mastered ideas that even modern Resident Evil titles are still trying to properly incorporate. 

Dead Space is just the perfect blend of action, horror, and traditional survival elements (puzzles, resource management, etc.). Dead Space 2 arguably raises the bar with its improved level design and collection of all-time great horror gaming setpieces. As for Dead Space 3…well, I think that game sometimes gets a little more hate than it deserves, but it’s certainly a watered-down version of its predecessors in many of the ways that matter most. It’s a pretty good co-op action title if that’s what you’re looking for, though. 

Fallout 3

I recognize that I might die alone on my “Fallout 3 is a horror game” hill, and I’ve resigned myself to that fate. Regardless of whether or not you consider Fallout 3 a pure horror game, I can guarantee you that any horror fan will find something to enjoy in this incredible open-world RPG. 

Fallout 3 is filled with nuclear wasteland terrors just waiting to be discovered. While some of those terrors involve the nightmarish nuclear wasteland scenario the game throws you in, others (like Dethclaws and a memorable haunted building) will surely please genre traditionalists. Fallout: New Vegas features some similarly scary sequences, though Fallout 3 is really an incredible reminder that the franchise has always embraced its spooky side. 

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

The argument over whether or not Hellblade is really a horror game sometimes overshadows the fact that this game features incredible moments of horror that more conventional examples of the genre wish they could top.

The horror of Hellblade can be found in the many ways the game so expertly and artistically captures the feeling of losing your mind while the world refuses to slow down and let you figure things out. It’s a freefall into madness that will leave you questioning your own ability to discern reality. It’s some kind of masterpiece. 

Immortality

Truth be told, it’s difficult to talk about Immorality (one of the best games of 2022). Actually, it’s almost impossible to talk about why this game is great without diving into the kind of spoilers that would ruin the brilliance of the experience. It’s certainly hard to talk about why Immorality is a horror game without doing the same. 

Much like Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Immortality is a surrealist vision of horrors both all-too-real and surprisingly supernatural. This FMV puzzle game finds ways to lure you just a little further down the rabbit hole until you eventually realize that you’re fallen so far into the dark that you no longer know which way is out. It’s a thinking person’s horror game that you won’t be able to forget no matter how hard you try to get it out of your mind. 

Inside

Expectations were high for Inside given the widespread (and sudden) success of Playdead’s previous game, Limbo. In some ways, I think that those expectations warped the initial conversations about what Inside does so well. While liking Limbo doesn’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy Inside (they’re very different experiences), anyone looking for a truly unique horror experience will certainly find something to love in this one.

Inside begins with a young boy trying to escape a mysterious facility, and it only gets weirder from there. While there are vague horror elements running throughout this title, Inside really plays its genre card during its amazing final moments when the true nature of this game is slowly revealed. I guarantee that you will not forget your time with this one.

Prey

Many immersive sim games (like BioShock, System Shock, and the Thief series, for example) rely on horror elements to some degree. However, I’d argue that 2017’s Prey is the apex of what kind of horror experience an immersive sim can really offer. 

Immersive sim games make you consider nearly every element of your environment, and Prey excels at betraying that necessary sense of curiosity by making many aspects of your environment absolutely terrifying. While this game doesn’t quite reach the heights of the genre’s best offerings, Prey features some of the absolute best examples of sci-fi horror that you’ll ever have the misfortune of discovering for yourself. It’s a wonderful experience that a lot of genre fans missed out on for one reason or another. 

State of Decay

If you love the idea of trying to survive the zombie apocalypse but need a little more action to go with all those basic survival mechanics, State of Decay is the game for you.

State of Decay is an open-world zombie survival game that caught quite a few people off-guard when it was released in 2013. While this game is more than a little rough around the edges, it’s remarkably easy to get caught up in its gameplay loop. Don’t ask me why trekking through zombie-filled woods in order to acquire minor supplies that slowly allow you to expand your base of operations is so entertaining, but State of Decay is still one of the best ways to scratch that zombie itch.  

The Evil Within 2

Sometimes, you just want a good, slightly more traditional survival horror game. While The Evil Within 2’s large-world structure and slightly more modern gameplay elements make it more than a tribute to the survival horror games of old, this overlooked 2017 title really does feature the best elements of that genre’s golden age. 

There are times when The Evil Within 2 feels like what the Resident Evil games would have eventually become if that franchise didn’t veer off into some wildly different creative directions. Granted, working your way through this title’s often uneven combat and stealth elements can be a slog, but it’s a pleasure to simply exist in this game’s brilliantly realized horror world. This title also features some of the most wonderful “WTF?!?!” moments you’ll find in a modern horror game. 

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

As much as I love Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, there’s a part of me that will always miss the horror elements that 2003’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein so brilliantly utilized. Thankfully, The Old Blood serves as a kind of elaborate tribute to that sometimes overlooked game. 

This prequel expansion to The New Order sees you try to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein during World War II. What follows is a glorious tribute to both the series’ past flirtations with the horror genre as well as a tribute to certain styles of classic horror movies. Granted, The Old Blood doesn’t reach the creative heights of The New Order (and fighting off the undead can get a little repetitive), but anyone looking to shoot their way through a small army of demons while losing themselves in a lush, Gothic atmosphere will be happy they spent a little time with this one.

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- Alec Bojalad

In 2018, Adult Swim ordered another 70 episodes of Rick and Morty to air over multiple seasons. While some of those episodes have now been released, it was a wider indication that not only was the studio happy with the show, but that they saw it had long-term potential. Creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon feel exactly the same way. In a recent interview with The Wrap Roiland said “I think the show could run forever.”

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But they also addressed a comparison that had been made in conjunction with the renewal news. Justin Roiland went on to say “We’re also not trying to do what The Simpsons is doing and we’re doing less episodes than The Simpsons.” Yet, when looking to shows that have enjoyed incredible longevity, the 20th Century Studios series is definitely one to learn lessons from. Rick and Morty is already seemingly following some of the formula of The Simpsons despite what its creators are saying, but how else can the Adult Swim show look to its Disney/Fox competitors in ensuring it remains relevant for the foreseeable future?

Mixing Continuity 

Continuity has always been a major point of discussion for Rick and Morty as it flirts between allowing most of its seasons to feel very standalone, before a sudden and unexpected arc calls back to a previous adventure or villain. That’s been the case with the likes of Birdperson or Evil Morty, but the first episode of the latest season of the show seemingly promised more continuity focused storylines moving forward. 

The Simpsons has also had to manage this balance between throwing back to past stories and ensuring that each episode felt fresh and self-contained for any new viewers who might jump in. The Fox show saw great success in rewarding both long-term fans and remaining consistently accessible for anyone jumping in for the first time. Rick and Morty should carry on its current trajectory if it is to reach the scale and longevity of The Simpsons. After all, the longer the show goes on, the more damaging it would be to its success if fans had to watch from the very beginning. Season lengths do make a big difference though, with the shorter seasons of Rick and Morty definitely making continuity easier to track than the often 20+ episode run of The Simpsons 

Bringing In Guest Stars

Longevity can sometimes be based on ratings and those can be impacted by any number of components. The Simpsons mastered a simple technique to continue to boost their viewing figures, by stealing a trick that is firmly cemented in sitcom history. The guest star spot has seen huge names making their way to Springfield, with the likes of Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Cash, Meryl Streep, Ed Sheeran, James Earl Jones, and even recently Billie Eilish, lending their vocal talents to the show. 

Of course, while the list goes on and on for The Simpsons, Rick and Morty is beginning to follow a similar approach, with some acting legends of the past and present also getting the opportunity to contribute to the sci-fi series. Taika Waititi, Patton Oswalt, Sam Neill, Susan Sarandon, Jeffrey Wright, Danny Trejo, and Kathleen Turner are just a few examples from the adventures of the Smith family. Rick and Morty would be wise to continue to use this gimmick to build interest in the series, as viewers tune back in to see how some of their favourite performers might fit into this whimsical universe. 

Building Out An Ensemble 

For there to be guest stars, there also has to be a wider range of characters for them to inhabit, that believably contribute to the narrative. That’s easier to achieve when an ensemble has been established. The Simpsons might focus on the titular family that viewers regularly find sitting on the couch, but the list of supporting parts in Springfield is almost endless. So many different figures have allowed for such a diverse range of narratives, that pull from multiple points of view. The sitcom can return to any of these faces at any point, allowing for the core cast of characters to still feel fresh. Everyone has a favourite outside of Marge, Homer, Lisa, Bart and Maggie, whether it’s Flanders, Krusty, Patty or Selma!

Rick and Morty hasn’t fully established itself as an ensemble quite in the same way as The Simpsons. It has returned to a few recurring characters like Birdperson, Tammy and Mr. Poopybutthole, but for the large part the figures that audiences are introduced to don’t last much longer than an episode. The show got great narrative longevity out of the President (Keith David) for instance and that can be achieved on a grander scale with a larger roster of characters to pull from. Rick and Morty can continue to go on their intergalactic adventures with fresh faces each time, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a few return here and there, not just for continuity sake, but to widen the depth of stories to tell. That’s partially how The Simpsons has kept reimagining new escapades for so long. 

Regular Event Episodes 

The Simpsons hasn’t heavily relied upon event episodes in its run, but it has established a few conventions that gives fans something to look forward to. It’s tradition for instance to air a Treehouse of Horror episode for Halloween, with Disney+ day also starting a new trend of themed shorts each year on the streaming service. It’s a fun precedent to set, with the continuity of the show getting completely broken in favor of some kind of event-based celebration. 

Rick and Morty recently moved into similar territory, making a point of exaggerating another Thanksgiving episode. Of course, it didn’t even air during the right time of year, but that only adds to the ridiculous spectacle of the event. Rick and Morty could make these Thanksgiving episodes annual releases, similar to how Treehouse of Horror has set itself as a mainstay of the spooky season. Years down the line, the science fiction show will have formed a new tradition, that only adds to its long-term appeal. 

Keeping The Status Quo 

Continuity isn’t quite the same as the status quo. Sideshow Bob’s continued obsession with killing Bart is all part of the canon of the show, but at the end of each episode the status quo has still remained the same. The Simpsons has made a habit of never changing. The characters never age, never truly evolve and Springfield pretty much reboots every time the intro music plays. There are a few exceptions to that rule, including the death of Maude Flanders, which makes those moments even more impactful. 

Rick and Morty is settling into a status quo of its own. With the portal gun and car destroyed, many of the family’s adventures take place from the house, much like The Simpsons. Any character development seems to have been halted for the most part, with each member of the Smith household falling into line with their main personality traits. Morty for instance underwent the most metamorphosis, but with his doubt in Rick being wiped, could it be that this is the reality from now on? In fact, the show makes a joke of the status quo, with the characters acknowledging they never seem to age, and Rick jumping through whole universes to find an Earth that is exactly the same. Perhaps that’s all part of a larger plan to establish a firm rhythm to sometimes play around with, thus contributing to the longevity of the series once more. 

Intro Gags 

The intro to any series sets the tone of the show. The Simpsons theme music is absolutely iconic, and each episode is launched with a couch gag, involving the titular family and their famous sofa. Rick and Morty themselves have even appeared during one such intro, with a small joke always kicking off proceedings in an unexpected way. 

The theme music for Rick & Morty is beginning to take hold after six seasons. The clips used in the intro have also changed per series, but the idea that some of them might not even appear in the show has opened the door for further red herrings, or perhaps physical jokes made purely for the title sequence. Just like Hulu’s Solar Opposites plays around with how it introduces audiences to an episode, forcing viewers to not skip past those credits, Rick & Morty can do the same, establishing its own shifting pattern of jokes to make the intro as unmissable as The Simpsons. 

The Benefit Of Meta Relevancy 

The Simpsons has strangely always managed to remain culturally relevant, often through odd predictions of the future. The sitcom has both reflected the world outside and even pre-empted it, shocking fans years later with its surprising accuracy. There is a layer of meta commentary to the show, with each series really reflecting the mood of the period it was made in. In some ways, The Simpsons could be considered an important cultural time capsule. 

Rick and Morty has a long way to go before it can leave a legacy like this predecessor. But it hasn’t shied away from the notion that it can produce meta jokes and comment on the real-world directly. It’s an idea that will in its nature continue to allow the show to remain relevant, as the writers will always have the opportunity to muse on something new, unburdened even by any fourth wall. That’s a real gift for anyone who wants the voice of the show to evolve. 

The Simpsons really is the blueprint, not only for beloved animated shows, but long-running sitcoms in general. As of this writing, 729 episodes of The Simpsons have aired. Rick and Morty has a long way to go before it could remotely hit those numbers. But Dan Harmon was optimistic of the series’ chances, saying “I think a good TV show is one that lasts 1000 episodes.” If the Adult Swim outing was to reach those dizzying heights, then following the floor plans set out by The Simpsons, as it is evidently doing despite claims from its creators, is the best way forward. 

The post What Rick and Morty Can Learn From The Simpsons appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Alec Bojalad

The Simpsons are tossing something extra in trick or treat bags this year. The show will present audiences with two nightmarish “Treehouse of Horror” installments. One of which features an iconic figure of Halloween: Krusty the Clown from Springfield, USA, stepping in for Stephen King’s Pennywise the Clown from Derry, Maine (and his book It, and its film adaptations). Fans have been rendering both masters of disaster laughter in homemade art, and the Fox animated series decided to supply them with a receptacle.

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“For one of our two Halloween episodes this year, we’re holding a Simpsons Halloween Fan Art Contest to get some great homemade drawings of scary Krusty,” The Simpsons‘ showrunner Matt Selman tells Den of Geek. “We’ll put the winners under the end credits of ‘Not It,’ our parody of… well, you know.”

Viewers are encouraged to send Krusty the Clown fan art for a chance to have their work aired during the end credits of “Treehouse of Horror Presents: Not It.”

“When a supernatural clown starts slaying the children of Kingfield, young Homer Simpson teams up with other middle school misfits to face their fears and defeat the mysterious monster,” reads the official synopsis. “But years later, the evil clown returns, and Homer’s friends must confront the tragedy of their adult lives to destroy Krusto once and for all.”

Selman spoke with Den of Geek about the horrors of choosing one ghastly piece of terrifying art over more abhorrent contributions.

Den of Geek: Who is more dangerous to young minds, Krusty the Clown or Pennywise?

Matt Selman: I think Pennywise is worse. Krusty is kind of lazy and phones it in.

Why are you running this contest, cheap labor?

The term “fan service” may apply to this episode. So many people have drawn mash-ups of Krusty and Pennywise on the Internet, and people have gotten tattoos of them. It’s a fun and intuitive mash-up between these two super-famous clowns, right?

There’s already so much of an internet presence of Krusty and Pennywise homemade parody, homemade fanart, that we said we should just do an episode where Krusty is a parody of the clown from It, if we can tell a good story. I won’t completely own up to the fan service element, but once you get into the 700s (episodes) of a series, I think it’s okay to write towards the tattoos people already have. I mean, there are a lot of [Rick and Morty] Pickle Rick tattoos out there. You’ve got to admire that. You write an episode that inspires thousands of tattoos, you’ve done a good job.

The episode’s genesis came from fan art, so why shouldn’t we reward or engage with the fans in the actual presentation of the show by incorporating fan art into our credits? The show was born out of fan art. We wrote a plot that is a mash-up of Krusty and Pennywise.

The Simpsons Comics has already done a legal satire of Krusty and Pennywise. I’m sure the comics are great. The writers of the show don’t read the Simpson comics. People love them. We just don’t read them. But apparently, they’ve already done a parody of it. A pretty clever title, actually: “It Happens.”

In that one, Krusty is also a Demon in Hell but not in ours, in ours it is an original demon. We resisted the urge. It was tempting to make them a mash up with Moe. But we didn’t. But for a show that was born out of fan art, it was cool to come back to fan art. The show is literally going to end with our favorite pieces of fan art under the closing credits.

I’m sure we’re going to get some we can’t show, probably ones that are going to be too not safe for television, hopefully. There are a lot of laws for how these contests work that I was not aware of and now am aware of. If we regulated the environment as well as we regulated The Simpsons Fan Art Contest, global warming would be a thing of the past.

Will there be a place where we can see the entries that didn’t show up on TV?

I don’t think so. I think only the TV ones will be shown.

Who is judging this?

Some of the writers, and some of the producers of the show. So, me and Brian Kelly and Cesar Mazariegos will be judging the art.

What led you to double the Halloween offerings this year?

There’s more candy. Who doesn’t want more candy? A legal parody of It is a story you could not tell in a third of an episode, in a six-minute segment. Honestly, it was hard to tell it in 20 minutes. We had to cut out tons of stuff to get it to fit.

It’s a two-part story, the same way the book and movie are two movies. Homer and the gang as kids and then Homer and the gang as adults. I wanted to do it as two acts with only one act break. Usually, we have three acts on the show. But Fox didn’t like that idea. Fox needed a three-act, so I did not win that battle.

However, I believe when you stream the show on Disney+ (not Hulu because Hulu has ads) but when you stream it on Disney+, we’re making a version with only one break. So, it will be a two-act story. Maybe I’ll lose that battle too.

Do you have a favorite “Treehouse of Horror?”

They’re all so good. I have some favorites, in addition to the classic ones. I love the one about The Great Pumpkin, the Peanuts special parody we did. One of my favorites was “The Ned Zone,” where Ned can predict the future. I’m part of the modern Simpsons era, for better or worse. I’m going to pick two modern ones that I think are great. And I do love the Thanksgiving horror.

Last season, scary season lasted longer than “Treehouse.” Will there be other holiday fright treats?

It’s possible. It’s not in the works yet, but it is all possible. We’ve done Christmas trilogies already, and some of them have been violent and scary. So, I feel like we covered that. We haven’t really done a lot of other trilogies recently. They’re very expensive and time consuming. They usually take you into another world, expensive background designs, new characters and fancy animation.

I wanted to get your response to the Rolling Stone ranking.

The ranking. We’ll take it. We’ll accept it. It’s very flattering. People can judge if it’s good or bad on their own, but it’s hard to argue that it’s one of the most influential shows in the history of television, in terms of how it changed people, how people saw the world, how people saw television, how people saw comedy, how people saw storytelling.

I take no credit for that myself. All the early years, the Dream Team. In terms of a generational show that changed how movies, commercials, television shows, animation, and global culture were seen. How politics came in. I feel it was really one of the top five most influential shows of all time.

They always put some crazy ones on the list to get people to get mad about them, right? Like, isn’t Fleabag number five? Nothing bad to say about Fleabag, but it’s hard to say it’s an equal creative accomplishment to say 30 Rock. The Simpsons certainly had as much quality as we do quantity.

The Simpsons Halloween Fan Art Contest is open to legal residents of the U.S. and Washington, D.C. ages 18 and older, until October 9, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For more information and to drop submissions, visit TheSimpsonsHalloweenFanArtContest.com.

The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror Presents: Not It” airs Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. on Fox, and streams the next day on Hulu.

The post The Simpsons Wants Your Creepy Krusty the Clown Art appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Joe Matar
Rick and Morty Season 6 Episode 5 Review: Final DeSmithation

This RICK AND MORTY review contains spoilers.

Rick and Morty Season 6 Episode 5

One of the simplest, stupidest, and worst Rick and Morty episodes ever was last season’s Rickdependence Spray, which concerned itself with matters of Morty’s sperm turning giant and sentient. The humor was almost all of the gross-out variety and, well before the time everything coup de grâced with Morty’s sperm and one of his sister’s eggs producing an incest baby, it had hit a point of diminishing returns. So it’s sort of surprising that “Final DeSmithation,” another entry in the “unapologetically dumb” category of Rick and Morty episodes that also happens to feature the concept of incest looming over everything, is actually a lot of fun to watch.

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It helps that, for one, the grosser stuff doesn’t really pile on until near the end in the form of a big, nasty, fortune-cookie-pooping alien. There’s also the possibility that Jerry might end up having sex with his mom floating around for nearly the entire episode runtime, but it’s only theoretical up until she actually shows up in the final act, at which point events transpire such that we are eventually subjected to Jerry and his mom’s blurred-out sex organs having a near-collision. Say, this was a fun paragraph, wasn’t it?

The central premise, though sparked by Jerry opening a fortune cookie at a Panda Express that foretells “You will have sex with your mother,” is, unlike the sperm episode’s, a lot cleverer than it initially lets on, leading Rick and Jerry down a fortune cookie rabbit hole, culminating in the discovery that the fortunes are being generated by the aforementioned pooping monster as part of a grand scheme to control fate. It’s funny; sometimes I got lost in more serious episodes about the Central Finite Curve and other such sci-fi whatsit, but it seems if you tie lofty concepts to stupid nonsense like monsters that shit out cookies, suddenly I’m a regular Stephen Hawking!

This is one of those episodes where characters ramble off batshit high-concept stuff at speed, but somehow, it’s all followable. You can harness the power of the pooping fate monster by writing what you want to happen on a slip of paper and then putting it inside a pooped-out fortune cookie? Got it. Once you get a fortune from a cookie, as long as your fate hasn’t yet come to pass, you’re effectively immortal? Makes sense to me. The old guy who takes care of the pooping monster put a bunch of “You will have sex with your mother” fortunes out into the world in hopes someone would come investigate and liberate him and the monster from their forced labor? Why, of course, it’s the only explanation that makes sense!

Read more Link Tank: A Rick and Morty Anime Is Coming By High on Life: Is This Xbox FPS Secretly a Rick and Morty Game? By

There’s a freewheeling, absurd cleverness throughout “Final DeSmithation” and it extends to Rick’s sci-fi powers. As usual, Rick is pretty well in control of the situation, killing baddies and dodging death without breaking a sweat, but his methods this time are consistently fun to watch. I don’t think Rick has ever been this Inspector Gadget-like before, with robotic implants extending from all over his body to get he and Jerry out of different binds. From an extend-o-eye that reveals hidden cameras to an ability to duck his head into body to avoid bullets, there’s a great playfulness to all of Rick’s sci-fi abilities this time around, adding welcome charm to what could be more exhausting sequences of Rick effortlessly killing everybody.

Also charming is that this an episode that pairs up Rick and Jerry, which is a rare but almost always fun character permutation. Rick having to keep Jerry safe like he’s a dumb, defenseless puppy throughout the episode is cute as are his occasional attempts to joke around with Jerry and lighten the mood. Overall, these two bouncing off each other makes for funny stuff. (However, the post-credits tag joke, which features the rest of the family, is overlong and brings the episode down a tad.)

Last, but certainly not least, is that “Final DeSmithation” is elevated by a running gag about the theme from classic seventies sitcom, Taxi, because of, as Morty explains, a meme from a subculture on TikTok of kids who have decided the theme from Taxi slaps. I like this a lot because the theme from Taxi does, in fact, slap.

“Final DeSmithation” reminded me of the sentient sperm episode in how brazenly stupid and over-the-top it all is but, unlike the sperm episode, I laughed a bunch and found the escalating ridiculousness charming in its bonkers creativity. Plus, I love the Taxi theme. Finally, unlike with how things went in the sperm episode, this time the incest was narrowly avoided. We’ll call that the cherry on top.

The post Rick and Morty Season 6 Episode 5 Review: Final DeSmithation appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Louisa Mellor
House of the Dragon Episode 8 Trailer: The Threat of War Looms

Warning: contains spoilers for House of the Dragon episode 7 ‘Driftmark’.

House of the Dragon episode seven left Rhaenys and Corlys Velaryon without a son, Prince Aemond without an eye, and Rhaenyra and Alicent’s respective court factions the Blacks and the Greens without any doubt that they were at war – the “ugly game” for control of the Seven Kingdoms had begun. Despite King Viserys I’s weak pleas for togetherness, the blood of his family runs far too hot for forgiveness. Their enmity is now in the open, and as Rhaenyra and Daemon travel to King’s Landing from Dragonstone in next episode, ‘The Lord of the Tides’, that only promises to deepen.

Watch the teaser trailer below:

Here’s what fans can expect from House of the Dragon episode eight, directed by Geeta Vasant Patel (The Great, Sweetbitter, Superstore) and written by House of the Dragon producer and Light as a Feather screenwriter Eileen Shim.

Otto Hightower on the Iron Throne House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer Otto Hightower Iron Throne

As a quick reminder – Rhys Ifans’ character was removed from his position as Hand of the King in episode four after he reported Rhaenyra and Daemon’s night-time brothel outing to Viserys. The King called the report a lie and sent Otto Hightower away in an act that publicly accepted Rhaenyra’s protestations of innocence. Privately though, Viserys acknowledged his daughter’s lies by sending her a maester with a pot of Moon Tea (the Westeros equivalent of the morning-after pill).

After Otto’s replacement as Hand Ser Lyonel Strong was burned to death in Harrenhal, Otto was reinstated and reunited with his daughter Queen Alicent. In episode seven, instead of admonishing Alicent’s bloodlust after the ‘eye for an eye’ incident, Otto congratulated his daughter on her fighting spirit. In episode eight, Otto is seen on the Iron Throne, ruling in an ailing King Viserys’ stead, provoking the ire of Princess Rhaenyra, who calls the Greens “vipers”.

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Get ready for another time jump as ‘The Lord of the Tides’ appears to skip ahead a further eight or so years, ageing up the Targaryen and Velaryon royal heirs from children and teens to twenty-somethings. Prince Aegon is now played by 27-year-old actor Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk, The Last Post) , his brother Prince Aemond is now played by Ewan Mitchell (Trigger Point, The Last Kingdom), and their sister Helaena is played by 24-year-old actor Phia Saban (The Last Kingdom). Rhaenyra’s son Jacaerys is now played by 19-year-old Harry Collett Casualty, Doolittle).

Note Queen Alicent’s seven-pointed-star necklace, a symbol of the Westerosi faith of the Seven – perhaps a sign of her growing piety and yet more distance from the Targaryens’ historically Essosi line.

The Driftwood Throne Succession Question House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer Rhaenys Driftwood Throne

The Iron Throne isn’t the only one with a disputed succession. Following the fiery death of their dragonrider daughter Laena and the faked death of their son Laenor, Lord Corlys and Princess Rhaenys Velaryon were left without a direct heir to their family seat of Driftmark. In episode seven, Laena’s daughter Baela was suggested as the preferred heir to the Driftwood Throne, but the matter remains unresolved. In episode eight, Corlys (also known as “The Lord of the Tides – this episode’s title – and “The Seasnake”) appears to have been injured in battle, while his younger brother Vaemond Velaryon is seen marching with troops under the family banner.

King Viserys’ Failing Health House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer Red Keep

Speaking of ailing leaders, King Viserys I isn’t even seen in the episode eight trailer, only his voice is heard warning his family that “The Crown cannot stand strong if the House of the Dragon remains divided.” Viserys’ health has failed steadily since the series began, likely due to septic poisoning contracted from cuts he sustained on the swords of the Iron Throne – proving that metaphor is alive and well in Westeros.

Prince Daemon and the Dragon’s Egg House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer Prince Daemon Dragon Egg

It’s Targaryen tradition to place a dragon egg in the cradle of a new-born baby, with the hope that the egg will hatch into a dragon that the child will claim in time. The egg of Daemon and Laena’s younger daughter didn’t hatch, depriving her of a dragon mount like Prince Aemond until he claimed Laena’s dragon Vhaegar. Prince Daemon handling another egg (after the one he stole to provoke his brother the King in episode two ‘The Rogue Prince’) suggests the birth of another Targaryen child.

Lady Mysaria/The White Worm Returns House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer Lady Mysaria

We’ve seen Prince Daemon wear a hood like this on nefarious business – the murder of his first wife Lady Rhea Royce, for instance, or arranging the ‘death’ of his second wife’s husband. If that’s him under the hood again, it looks as though Daemon is visiting old beau Lady Mysaria, now a King’s Landing spymistress nicknamed “The White Worm”. It was one of Mysaria’s spies who spotted Rhaenyra and Daemon in the Flea Bottom brothel back in episode four, which led to the expulsion of Otto Hightower and the isolation and growing isolation of his daughter the Queen.

The Greens vs the Blacks House of the Dragon Episode 8 trailer Green V Black fight

The training yard scrap between the King’s sons and their nephews in episode six paved the way for the episode seven fight that lost Prince Aemond an eye. That matter is clearly not over in episode eight, which sees not only hostile glances between the Greens and the Blacks, but yet more violence. As Ser Otto Hightower says in voiceover as Ser Vaemond Velaryon and his men march through the city gates, “the threat of war looms.”

House of the Dragon episode eight ‘The Lord of the Tides’ airs on Sunday October 9 on HBO in the US and on Monday October 10 on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

The post House of the Dragon Episode 8 Trailer: The Threat of War Looms appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Chris Cummins

You probably don’t realize it, but we are currently in an animated music video renaissance. From the beautiful nightmares served up by DyE’s “Fantasy” to The Strokes’ incredible Heavy Metal homage “At the Door,” contemporary animated clips have been pushing the limits of music video storytelling.

Then there’s the throwback majesty of Wooze’s “Huge Axeman.” The latest single from the British/Korean duo of Jamie She and Theo Spark, the funky new wave-flavored jam sounds like Devo overdosing on Adderall. Wooze formed in England in 2017, but with this tune — a highlight from their new EP The Magnificent Eleven — the group may be poised for global, make that intergalactic, success. A huge reason for this is the video for “Huge Axeman” which was hand-animated by She over a period of six months.

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Appropriately, the clip finds buff versions of the duo taking on enemies that feel more Aqua Teen Hunger Force than Masters of the Universe in an awesome, Filmation-influenced cosmic landscape. Friends, this thing is so much fun that it will take your mind off of the global garbage fire that is 2022. And shouldn’t such delightful distraction be the point of art in the first place?

Watch it here:

It took She six months to craft the four and a half minute video, a task that sounds more full of learning than arduousness. “I did a couple of animated videos for other people’s bands which were largely collage based and not so much stop motion all the way through, but it gave me enough confidence to think it’s possible,” he explains.

“I gauged whether or not Theo thought it would be a stupid amount of effort and time and he said no, carry on, so I did it,” She says. “I wrote the storyboard with Theo and did an animatic and got started. I thought if I do a little sequence every morning for a couple of hours I can get it down in a few months. It took a tiny bit longer than I thought it would but otherwise it roughly worked out to my plan.”

Created during a period in 2019 when the pair were “just writing everyday and going a bit mad” (as Jamie She tells Den of Geek), “Huge Axeman” lyrically toys with issues of body image and masculinity, making its companion video the perfect opportunity to comment on how 1980s cartoons like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, and their ilk delivered questionable and wildly irresponsible messages about how men should look.

“I can’t ignore the body image,” She tells us when he was asked about his thoughts on Masters of the Universe‘s legacy. “That’s the first thing that comes to mind, the question of body image and whether it’s a problematic message. But then I sort of ignore that and press play and start watching He-Man and realize that it’s striving so hard and so valiantly to tell a valuable story for children and adults, and with such a wholesome message at the end, which they didn’t have to do.”

While Masters of the Universe gave a generation a daily dose of fantasy, the intended hyper-masculinity of the series’ leads doubtlessly planted the seeds of future body dysmorphia in the minds of some viewers who grew up to try to emulate the physicality of the characters. So it’s no surprise that She has some ambivalence towards the He-Man legacy. “I have really mixed feelings,” he states, “it’s such a funny combination of factors, isn’t it?”

Ultimately though, She feels that the He-Man saga is “essentially just pure joyful fantasy in its most distilled form and that’s why it endures.”

The same can be said for the “Huge Axeman” video itself, which ushers viewers away to a seemingly more innocent, fun time — making it a important moment in the evolving history of the artform.

The post New He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Inspired Music Video Will Blow Your Mind appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Kirsten Howard

This article contains MCU spoilers

Ryan Reynolds has become quite the social media influencer, producing countless videos to promote Aviation Gin, Wrexham Football Club and now… Deadpool 3! It came as quite a surprise for fans who had expected to see something about the Merc with a Mouth at D23, but Reynolds decided to break the big news through yet another comedy clip instead, which was surely overseen by the upcoming Marvel movie’s director, Shawn Levy.

While the video might have teased the fact that Deadpool will definitely be entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its third instalment, it also set the record straight that Hugh Jackman will be returning to portray Wolverine, one last time. It’s a monumental announcement that could have major repercussions for the future of the franchise, but it also offers up plenty of questions and opportunities for Mutants and the FOX X-Men movies of the past. 

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Could Deadpool 3 be the movie needed to bridge the gap between the two superhero eras? How will Logan’s comeback actually be explained? And what could all of this mean for the MCU moving forward? 

Tying up Loose Ends

Before speculating on how Wolverine may play into the threequel, it’s important to remember where we last left Wade Wilson. The character was in an interesting position, forming a new team and reuniting with the love of his life. There are plenty of plot threads that Deadpool 3 is going to have to face head-on if it is to act as a sequel, rather than a soft reboot. 

Deadpool actually stole Cable’s time travelling device at the end of the last movie, allowing him to rescue his partner Vanessa Carlysle from her grim fate. This could have re-written the timeline in a number of ways, but the post-credits sequence also saw Wade Wilson continuing to jump across the stream, throwing reality into further chaos. With the Multiverse at the center of the current phase of the MCU, it seems Deadpool 2 created the perfect pathway towards combining those narrative concepts. 

Not only was Deadpool reunited with Vanessa, he had also become a part of X-Force, a group of super powered individuals with a moral compass as gray as the hitman’s. Domino, Firefist, and Cable were joined by X-Men members Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio, to round out the unit. Deadpool was almost on the path to redemption, demonstrating a few more heroic characteristics that indicated the protagonist was continuing to evolve. Any sequel would have to take into account those moving stories (especially with Cable stuck in the present day) while paying off any of that significant development. But by introducing Wolverine into the equation, an interesting dynamic may arise that sees Deadpool having to pick a side between them. 

Bringing Back Wolverine 

While the third film may continue to play upon the themes and arcs of the previous instalments, it has also promised to reunite Wade Wilson and Logan on screen. Their history is a complex one, with Wolverine getting referenced in both Deadpool films, while the Merc without a Mouth made his debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The last time audiences saw Logan, he was finally laid to rest after his healing factor finally gave up in the dystopian future depicted in Logan inspired by the Old Man Logan comic book. However, the story did take place in 2029, after Deadpool 3

Plus, there are other timelines out there where Wolverine is very much alive. The way reality was reset in X-Men: Days of Future Past is one such example of a timeline that could see Logan living out his best days. Wolverine’s own character arc could get a little complex, as audiences won’t exactly know what he has previously experienced. But there’s surely a way for Deadpool to catch Wolvie up on his adventures from multiple timelines, much in the same way the trickster god was reminded of his possible pasts in Loki

Boarding the MCU

There are plenty of ways Wolverine and Deadpool may come to exist in the same timeline. While we’ve touched on the different realities Wolverine still exists in, how he could travel between them is currently a mystery. Of course, there’s always the slim possibility that the Logan seen in Deadpool 3 could already be native to the timeline that Wade Wilson operates in. After all, audiences have also seen an iteration of the X-Men from the First Class universe. 

Deadpool’s interference with the time stream might be the most obvious explanation. Whether it’s Wilson who travels to yet another reality featuring the X-Man, or whether Wolvie is drawn to Deadpool’s own universe, the time watch will probably be responsible. Deadpool 2 did see the character briefly cross paths with Wolverine, and this may have completely destroyed his own time. 

There’s also the matter of the death of He Who Remains. The Multiverse, thanks to the MCU, was hugely weakened after Sylvie killed the man responsible for keeping everything in check. Doctor Strange has only tampered with the walls between worlds further. With Kang’s invasion imminent, is the collapse of realities responsible for bringing Wolverine and Deadpool together? Or is the Watcher interfering with proceedings, knowing that the duo have to be paired up to combat upcoming threats. 

A final option may involve Mutants who exhibit powers related to the wider planes of existence. X-Men: Days of Future Past initiated the concept that the X-Men could control the flow of time in their own right. Legion took the idea further, with the combination of David Haller and Jia-Yi’s abilities creating a complete reboot of his respective timeline. The potential for this avenue to be explored is far smaller, but the powers of the X-Gene shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Whose Wolverine is this Anyway?

Just like there are multiple iterations of Wolverine, there may also be different incarnations of the supporting characters in Deadpool’s life. In fact, there are even a few Wade Wilson variants that have been portrayed in the past, so why couldn’t there be more? Just because this is Deadpool 3, does it mean that the version of the characters brought to life are exactly the same? In the promotional video, Reynolds did mention that “every Deadpool needs to stand out and stand apart.”

Perhaps Marvel Studios is looking for a soft-reboot that can easily fit into the MCU mould. If Marvel wants to start completely fresh they might take a Daredevil approach, essentially keeping everything the same without referencing previous events too much. The very universe that the threequel takes place in might be a tiny bit different, to avoid the confusion of clashing timelines (something that Deadpool has previously played on in a humorous and meta way). 

A Revival for FOX’s X-Men

The creative team behind this film are surely not worried about playing around with the various realities. The stakes are perhaps even bigger now that it’s going to be linked to the MCU. But with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness already pulling in a variant of Professor Xavier portrayed by Patrick Stewart, and WandaVision teasing Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, maybe it’s time for one last hurrah for the FOX X-Men franchise

Previous Deadpool movies have flirted with bringing in the stars of the past and laughed at the continuity of the franchise. With the Multiverse in play at this moment, why not use the opportunity to have a road trip film of sorts, featuring Wolverine and Deadpool, bringing back the X-Men and perhaps even unifying the realities? Ryan Reynolds spoke about the film being a special introduction to the MCU, and this could be how it’s achieved. 

Whether Deadpool 3 brings some of the FOX X-Men into the MCU to join the likes of Namor and Ms. Marvel, who are already flying the X-Gene flag, remains to be seen. But what can’t be ignored is the release date. Deadpool 3 is currently slated for September 6, 2024. It’s no coincidence that the date parks it squarely before the massive Avengers movies and Fantastic Four, both of which involve Kang and the future of the MCU. Deadpool 3 might thus be putting everything in place for an epic Secret Wars involving returning X-Men, Wolverine and Wade Wilson himself, marking a further connection to the franchises of the past. 

Star Mutant Mantle

The future of the Mutants and Deadpool is unclear. The latter is probably going to be brought into the MCU via the sequel for the long-term. Maybe Deadpool 3 will be a path to a Multiversal event, rather than a significant method to introduce Mutants to Earth-616; Marvel Studios will want to put their own spin on these characters after all. 

Regardless of the approach, what cannot be denied is that Hugh Jackman’s return has massive implications. With the potential for further connections to the MCU, a link with the FOX franchise, and the indication that audiences will get some kind of closure on Deadpool’s past outings, the movie is starting to look like the end of an era and the start of something new at Disney. Hugh Jackman held the torch for the Mutants for FOX for a long time, maybe it’s time to pass it on to Ryan Reynolds as he embarks into a new reality. 

The post How Wolverine Could Perfectly Bridge the Gap Between Marvel Superhero Eras in Deadpool 3 appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Rosie Fletcher
The Best Alien Horror Movies Ranked

As we look out into the great black emptiness of space, we are reminded of the question posed by the Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi- “Where is everybody?” Is life as we understand it a freak chemical fluke, never to be repeated in all of the great cold infinity above us? Or is it in fact an inevitable outcome of a relatively common set of circumstances, resulting in a universe teeming with life and civilisations, and if so, will we ever get to meet them?

And if and when we do encounter life that evolved under another sun, with intelligence different, yet equal to our own, how do we kill it?

Yes, some films tell us that when we encounter new life and civilizations they’ll heal our wounds with magic glowing fingers, teach us that nuclear war is bad, and misunderstand our local customs in a delightful and heartwarming way. But the movie aliens that have the ring of truth about them only want to eat you, lay eggs in you, or shift your entire perception of reality in a way that forces you to appreciate the true horror of existence.

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So, here are the very alien horror movies. A quick note about methodology:

We’re talking about alien horror movies. So no Sunshine, where the threat is a guy with sunburn, no Pandorum, and no Event Horizon (whatever your theological understanding, I think we can all agree that if he is not actually indigenous to Earth, Satan has at least resided here long enough to gain citizenship).

Jake Gyllenhaal in Life 10. Life

This film got mixed reviews on release. A lot of people said it was basically a rip-off of another, better-known horror film about extraterrestrials (one which may or may not appear in this list). What those people missed is that that was the point. This film takes the well-worn “there’s a monster on our spaceship” premise and sets it on board our own, very real International Space Station.

The change is immediate. First, no gravity. Second, no lengthy corridors and mysteriously roomy ventilation shafts. This is a film about a team of unarmed scientists in a floating tin can, fighting a monster in their pyjamas. In an environment like that, the humans wouldn’t stand much of a chance against a reasonably angry chimpanzee, but the monster itself is a fantastic design that aims to create something truly alien and whose kills are far more terrifying than merely “eating” its victims would have been.

Apollo 18 9. Apollo 18

Found footage is not a genre that we have seen much of from space, which if you think about it is odd given it is the only way most of us will ever experience outer space. Apollo 18 fixes that, with its story of a secret moon mission that took place after Apollo 17.

The grainy footage compensates for any shortcomings in the CGI, and the moon spiders, while raising a lot of questions about how they would evolve, let alone stay alive, are an excellent monster that evokes the fear actual astronauts must have had of allowing moon dust into their capsule (moon dust being famously nasty, sharp and hard to remove stuff).

It also features a great rendition of the planned-but-never-launched Soviet moon lander, which will be a lot of fun for space nerds.

Jackson A. Dunn in BrightburnSony Pictures 8. Brightburn

It is a sad fact of the modern pop cultural experience that superhero movies dominate every facet of our lives. So no, we could not keep them out of the list. Brightburn is a familiar story. A couple finds a crashed spaceship with a baby inside. They adopt the baby. As the baby grows up, they start to exhibit strange powers.

We’ve all heard it before.

Only rather than becoming a hero and a symbol of hope for all mankind, this time the superpowered child goes on a murder rampage. The script is written by Brian and Mark Gunn, the brother and cousin of the film’s producer, James Gunn, who has plenty of chops across both the horror and superhero genres. So the film knows exactly what it’s doing, dissecting each element of the Superman myth to show how, in reality, it would be a horror story.

Vivarium, Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg; Saban Films 7. Vivarium

The opening credits of Vivarium feature lots of footage of cuckoos, which clues you in from the outset that this film shares some thematic links with Brightburn. The premise is simple and chilling. A young couple goes to a house viewing on a newbuild housing estate. They have a look around, but when they try to leave, they can’t find their way out of the estate, and there are no people on the estate.

We won’t spoil what happens next, except to say that what sounds like a comical set-up quickly becomes a real nightmare. It also confirmed some of our long-held theories about the housing market.

John Krasinski in A Quiet Place

6. A Quiet Place

We did not set out to make this a list of films about why parenting is a nightmare, but here we are. A Quiet Place asks, “What would happen if the Earth was overrun by alien monsters that would viciously attack you if you made so much as a sound?” and quickly answers the question “Your kids would get you killed”.

The premise feels like something out of a Steven Moffat Doctor Who script, but the way it is executed is tense, claustrophobic, and never quite lets you relax. The quiet of the title becomes oppressive, so that you become desperate to hear a noise while at the same time dreading it. It’s the kind of perfect match-up of premise and execution that secures an instant classic.

Sputnik Alien 5. Sputnik

Voskhod 2 was the Soviet space mission that marked the very first spacewalk. The astronaut who carried out the spacewalk, Alexei Leonov, found it hard to move outside the ship because contained gas in a vacuum will expand, and his suit ballooned beyond the point where he could perform fine movements. Indeed, when he tried to get back into the ship his suit would not fit through the airlock, and he had to bleed air from his suit to fit. Then the airlock wouldn’t close because of heat distortion.

Leonov had to return to Earth basically lying across his co-pilot’s lap, they went over 240 miles off course and spent the night stranded in the forest, with bears and wolves, in mating season.

What we’re saying is- why are there not more horror movies set in the Soviet space programme?

Sputnik is a film about a psychiatrist tasked with interviewing the one surviving cosmonaut of a mission gone wrong. There is an alien, and plenty of monster horror, but the horror of this film also comes with trying to operate inside a regime entirely fuelled by secrecy and paranoia, and an awareness that you are entirely disposable to it.

Nicolas Cage in Color Out of Space; RLJE Films 4. Color Out of Space

H.P. Lovecraft was a racist. It’s important to mention that when going into any discussion of his work, because it is something that underpins not only all of his writing but the entire segment of the cosmic horror genre he inspired. From The Shadow Over Innsmouth to The Mountains of Madness to good old Cthulhu himself, Lovecraft’s stories are fuelled by the idea that difference, on its own, is something to be terrified of, and that the prospect that humans (meaning white men) are not the God-ordained centre of the universe is too frightening for the mind to bear.

But while his racism is not universal, that fear of the different, and that vertigo that comes with seeing what a small place your perspective holds against the vastness of the universe, does tap into something common.

The “monster” in the Color Out of Space is no such thing. This alien is not an animal that wants to eat you or use your meat for reproduction. Nor is it an invading intelligence. It is truly alien, more so than any other creature on this list, and its existence and perspective are not something the human mind can grasp. It is not, as far as we can know for certain, even hostile, it’s just that its very existence in a human space is dangerous to us, its ways of interacting with us as destructive as a child hugging a snowman.

This film does an excellent job of taking the ideas from a story full of purple prose and some really quite painful dialogue and turning it into a gripping, disturbing story with some of the queasiest body horror you’ve seen.

Alien Saucer in Nope 3. Nope

Nope meanwhile, is a film that can remind you just how horrifying “something wants to eat you” can be. Cut down to its bare bones, this film is Jaws with a UFO instead of a Shark, and protagonists who just want to photograph the monster rather than kill it.

It takes tropes about UFOs that are old and well-worn that we don’t actually bother thinking about how scary they are. What if there was a flying saucer trying to suck you up?  Like the Pixar short Lifted? Where would you hide? How would you escape?

But more than that, this is a film about being alien. Like Color Out of Space, it is a film about how simply being in a habitat that is not your own can make you dangerous.

Creature from The Thing 2. The Thing

This is the only film on this list to also make it into our list of Best Alien Invasion Movies. The creature, or what we see of the creature between its perfect imitations of Earth life, remains as frightening now as it was when it appeared in cinemas. The final scene is still one of the greatest in horror cinema.

And once again, we never really know what the alien wants. Is this an invasion plan? An attempt at communication? A non-sentient contagion blindly mimicking whatever it comes into contact with? The humans, in their typical way, stop being curious about all these questions once they figure out they can kill it with flamethrowers.

Do you think this means that, after all, it could be us who are the real monsters?

Nah, it’s definitely the shapeshifting alien that can turn its chest into teeth and bite your hands off.

Now, are you ready for the best alien horror movie ever made? Which one do you think it will be?

Xenomorph in Alien (1979) 1. Alien

Surprise! Yes, this result is going to be an absolute shocker for everyone who was rooting for Critters 4 or Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

But while we love a twist ending as much as the next guy, the truth is that in 43 years not a single alien horror movie has been able to touch the original, and yes, the best.

Forget, for a moment, the three sequels, two prequels, ill-advised crossover franchise and surprisingly good videogame spin-off. Forget the fan theories about Blade Runner. Forget that this is the jumping-off point for a billion-dollar media franchise, whether it should be or not.

Take this story as it was intended, a single, isolated tale of a team of space truck drivers who deviate from the road to respond to a distress signal, and inadvertently let a monster on board their ship.

Forget the “expanded universe”, and look at the size of the universe this single story gives you, with ancient dead alien civilisations and galaxy-spanning human dystopias which we will see only through the interior of two spaceships.

The Alien itself is utterly strange, but with its phallic head and invasive reproductive methods pointedly directs audiences to the question “What if cis men could get raped and become pregnant?”

And yet the real danger, the real horror, in many ways the creature that is most alien to Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo, remains “the Company”.

It remains the best entry in its franchise, but in isolation, it is elevated above it as a single, perfect encapsulation of a very simple story. It will probably never be beaten.

The post The Best Alien Horror Movies Ranked appeared first on Den of Geek.

- David Crow

This article contains House of the Dragon episode 7 spoilers.

Laenor Velaryon is alive. This revelation sent shockwaves through the House of the Dragon viewing community, astonishing book readers and the unsullied alike. Before the moment where a newly shorn Laenor (played briefly but poignantly by John Macmillan)  removed his hood, viewers were led to believe they were witnessing the darkest moment of cruel betrayals: Rhaenyra Targaryen (Emma D’Arcy), Princess of Dragonstone and wife of Laenor, appeared to conspire in the murder of her husband. And, indeed, someone was definitely lying dead in a fire, adorned in Laenor’s clothes.

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Yet the son of Driftmark lives still, even if in doing so he has now abandoned his titles and ancestral home in favor of a life at sea and presumably in Essos—a land where a man’s gold is more valuable than his name.

It’s a shocking twist, not least of all for fans of George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, in which Laenor’s murder at the hands of his lover, Ser Qarl Correy (Arty Froushan), is a matter of historical record. The only question left ambiguous on the page is who was Qarl’s benefactor, convincing the young noble that it’d be better to slay the future queen consort and attempt to live the life of a wealthy fugitive.

House of the Dragon seemed to provide a definitive answer (Prince Daemon and Rhaenyra planned it together!) before pivoting to an altogether different revelation: But their plan was to fake Laenor’s death so that he and Qarl could live free!

It’s a change from Martin’s text, and a welcome one, because for the first time in completed lore from the world of Westeros, a queer character has not been consigned to the most common and repetitive of tropes: an early, tragic death after a lifetime of misery.

While we’re quick to note that Martin did not invent or contribute in a substantial way to the “Bury Your Gays” trope, nearly every gay or queer-coded character in his larger lore, be it in “A Song of Ice and Fire,” that story’s subsequent Game of Thrones adaptation, or Fire & Blood (on which House of the Dragon is based), has nonetheless embraced the “gay characters must die” convention with little attempt at self-awareness or subversion. And considering how much Martin loves to subvert tropes, this is incredibly odd.

While the term “bury your gays” is relatively recent, the trope has existed since at least the late 19th century. It was in this period when gay, closeted writers used the emerging storytelling device as a way to write about the agony of a hidden life, such as the fate of both Dorian Gray and Basil Hallward in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. In that text, Hallward is a deeply moral Victorian artist and admirer of Gray, painting the titular portrait that takes on a supernatural power. When Hallward discovers the deviousness of his muse, however, he cannot live with the guilt and is murdered by Dorian, who in turn eventually kills himself by stabbing the picture at the end of the novella.

The gay subtext of The Picture of Dorian Gray existed beneath the surface of the book’s other miscellaneous wickedness, but it wasn’t particularly obscure, even by Victorian standards. Four years after its publication in 1891, Wilde was convicted of “gross indecency” with men and served several years in prison that broke him.

While the trope was invented as a way for gay or queer writers to discuss their personal experiences in a fictional context, it soon became a crutch and increasingly lazy storytelling device that persists to this day, with most gay characters condemned to live forlorn lives of suffering before bitter ends.

Lillian Hellman made her Broadway debut by writing The Children’s Hour in 1934, a play in which two young teachers’ lives are ruined when a student accuses them of having a lesbian relationship. William Wyler adapted the play to screen twice in 1934 and 1961, and it wasn’t until the latter film that any version of this story actually allowed one of the characters to be a closeted lesbian—it was the one who hanged herself onscreen because Audrey Hepburn didn’t love her back.

You can carry the trope on down through Oscar winning performances like Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Heath Ledger as a doomed, closeted cowboy in Brokeback Mountain. You can also see it in genre fare as wide-ranging as all the gay characters in V for Vendetta… and most of those in Game of Thrones.

To be fair, very few characters achieve happy endings in Martin’s world, which in itself is a fantastical version of medieval England. In other words, this is not a great era to be alive for people attracted to other members of the same sex. However, the medieval patriarchy’s cruelty to women has also long fascinated Martin and he’s spent much of his text in “A Song of Ice and Fire” challenging it with central point-of-view characters like Brienne of Tarth, Arya Stark, or the more traditionally feminine Daenerys Targaryen. The latter of whom defies medieval gender roles by taking what is hers with fire and blood. Dany is a conqueror like Aegon before her, or William of 1066 fame for that matter.

Granted, we know the (probable) end of Dany’s story thanks to the final season of Game of Thrones. It’s as bitter as the ashes falling on her throne. However, hers is not the only story in Game of Thrones, and whereas Dany falls to her own ambitions and paranoias, Sansa Stark rises and becomes the unexpected queen who did what her brothers could not: earn the North its independence.

There is no such subversion or reconsideration of the gay or queer experience in Martin’s world. Generally, any character coded as such meets a grim fate: Renly Baratheon is murdered by his brother’s supernatural shadow in the books and on the show; his lover Loras is accused of treason and of lying incestuously with his sister (at least in the book). We don’t yet know Loras’ fate in the books, but it was quite explosive on Game of Thrones; and the bisexual Prince Oberyn Martell became everyone’s favorite new character in A Storm of Swords and Game of Thrones Season 4, only to have his head smashed in like a melon.

There are some minor exceptions, at least on Game of Thrones where the Yara (Gemma Whelan) character is revealed to also favor women and lives to the end, but even that is an underdeveloped invention of the show (the sexuality of her literary counterpart, Asha, remains ambiguous). Meanwhile her only named lover in the series, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), dies badly.

Fire & Blood doesn’t differ much from this despite covering nearly 150 years of history. House of the Dragon viewers have not met the compelling characters of Elissa Farman and Rhaena Targaryen, the latter of whom would be the great-aunt to Viserys I (Paddy Considine) on the show, but they had a thinly veiled romance in the book. It ended poorly for the pair with Elissa stealing dragon eggs and attempting to be the first to sail across the Sunset Sea to a fate unknown. Still, that lack of resolution is better than Rhaena’s end; her other lovers are brutally murdered by her husband who is jealous he’s never been allowed to father children by Rhaena, and Rhaena in turn becomes a recluse who spends the rest of her days living alone in Harrenhaal, presumed to be a witch.

And then there’s what happened to Joffrey Lonmouth, who had his face smashed in by Ser Criston Cole on both page and screen, and now Laenor.

As with all the other gay characters in Martin’s world, Laenor should endure a familiar fate, one of personal tragedy and heartbreak, as glimpsed in Sunday night’s episode as he weeped into the waves that had swallowed his sister’s remains, seemingly wishing he was down there with her. In the book, he soon has his wish when Qarl buries another gay for a fistful of gold.

Yet that is not what happened. House of the Dragon could’ve given Laenor his literary demise, or (in the ill-advised choice to go too far afield from Martin’s intricate plotting), let Laenor live the life he imagined to be headed toward with Rhaenyra in the episode: “Ser Qarl will return soon to the fighting in the Stepstones as I recommit myself to you.” A life of deception and resignation.

These are the most likely outcomes for a queer character in Westeros, but the most likely outcome for Sansa was to be the unhappy wife and glorified breeder for a monstrous husband; and for Dany to be little more than Kahl Drogo’s plaything. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is also about defying the conventions of a brutally cruel medieval world made by men.

Laenor Velaryon did just that by getting on a boat to chart his own course.

The post House of the Dragon: Laenor Just Beat George R.R. Martin’s Most Problematic Trope appeared first on Den of Geek.

- Debopriyaa Dutta
Gundam's Success Gave Cowboy Bebop The Room It Needed To Be Weird

Shinichirō Watanabe's "Cowboy Bebop" defies genre expectations. It is a sci-fi ballad and a space Western with noir elements, sporting themes that are hopelessly bleak and existentialist. The anime's protagonist, Spike Spiegel, is not your conventional hero: he's a green-haired space cowboy who puts his life on the line to put food on the table, with a "whatever happens, happens" attitude to help him stumble through life. The rest of the characters struggle to figure out their place in a dystopian, fragmented world, where everyone is out to achieve their goals, no matter the cost.

The sprawling, diverse world of "Cowboy Bebop" is perhaps the anime's greatest strength, as it functions as more than a mere backdrop to a compelling story with relatable characters. Most importantly, Watanabe was able to portray the complexities of human nature while merging it with futuristic aesthetics that are not solely ornamental. There's the thrill of bounty hunting, the glamorous pull of swanky space casinos, and of course, the endlessly cool Spike, who is the ultimate badass.

However, "Cowboy Bebop" had the space to exercise its creative ingenuity due to the success of another anime that redefined the mecha genre. 1979's "Mobile Suit Gundam," which launched the explosively popular "Gundam" series, allowed Watanabe and the folks at Studio Sunrise (the studio behind both "Gundam" and "Cowboy Bebop") to experiment with fresh concepts and storytelling formats in anime. Here's how they managed to do it.

How Mechas Paved The Way For Space Cowboys

In an interview with Watanabe and Shin Sasaki, the managing director at Studio Sunrise, the latter explained that anime as a genre was gaining steady popularity by the time "Cowboy Bebop" was conceived. Sunrise experienced immense success with their flagship anime series, "Mobile Suit Gundam," which kickstarted an entire industry of plastic model kits known as Gunpla, which is still popular today. Although "Cowboy Bebop" was initially intended solely for Japanese audiences, Sasaki claims that the studio immediately recognized the anime's global appeal due to Watanabe's gripping world-building:

"The Japanese animation industry was at a high point at that time, and Sunrise even more so with the success of flagship IPs like 'Gundam.' That's why we were in a position that granted us some leeway to experiment with new concepts. 'Cowboy Bebop' was an attempt to create a new world and bring something fresh to the audience. When we saw the world crafted by the staff, we knew it'd have great success overseas."

The reason "Mobile Suit Gundam" resonated with audiences can be attributed to the series' realistic, yet cool-as-hell robot designs, whose technology was presented as scientifically-accurate and practically feasible. Apart from this, the series paints a gritty, nuanced picture of war while featuring characters who are humanized through and through, instead of being put on a pedestal and lauded as heroes.

"Cowboy Bebop" adopts a similar approach when it comes to its world building and characters. Although set in a dystopian world, the problems that ail the protagonists are innately human and do not partake in the traditional characteristics associated with heroism. Apart from this, the aesthetics of the world, rife with beat-up spaceships, futuristic planets, and realistic socio-cultural tropes, made "Cowboy Bebop" beloved and special.

Watanabe Does Not Play Around

Although Sasaki's praise for Watanabe and his team sounds great, the truth about the production process of "Cowboy Bebop" is immensely problematic, as Studio Sunrise was far more interested in the anime's ability to boost merchandise sales than its artistic integrity. In the same interview, Watanabe calls Sasaki's claim that the studio banked on the anime's success a "lie," and goes on to applaud his team's commitment to creative freedom:

"He [Sasaki] claimed that they knew the series would be successful. That's a lie [laughs]... I think the creative freedom we battled for bore its fruits, right? We created 'Cowboy Bebop' as a series of its own, not as a promotional tool for something else. In today's industry, creative freedom is a thing of the past, and that saddens me."

Watanabe's words might seem uncomfortably straightforward, but they're true. Sunrise was indeed interested in selling toy spaceships after "Cowboy Bebop's" release, but the creative team crafted a character-focused story where the aesthetic elements were complementary in nature. Yes, "Gundam" might've allowed "Cowboy Bebop" to pull off a story that was fresh and unconventional, but the true credit must be given to Watanabe and his team, who refused to give into a corporate cash grab that would have compromised their creative efforts. 

Although "Cowboy Bebop" did not sell merchandise like "Gundam," it managed to create its own space in the sci-fi anime genre and garnered a global fanbase dedicated to Watanabe's eclectic vision. Moreover, the legacy of Spike Spiegel still shines bright, as he is remembered as a man full of broken dreams who fought 'til the bitter end.

Read this next: Anime Shows Like Cowboy Bebop That Are Worth Your Time

The post Gundam's Success Gave Cowboy Bebop The Room It Needed To Be Weird appeared first on /Film.

- Michael Boyle
Censorship Was The Spark That Sent Rod Serling To The Twilight Zone

There are plenty of lessons to learn from the '60s anthology TV show "The Twilight Zone." Lessons like "don't judge a book by its cover," and "make sure you have a second pair of glasses." Perhaps more noteworthy was the way it used its speculative elements to tackle larger social issues, using the speculative elements as allegories for the stuff they actually wanted to talk about.

For example, the 1960 episode "Eye of the Beholder" is about a woman getting plastic surgery in the hopes of looking normal, only for us to discover that the definition of normal in this society is very different from our own; the episode serves as a commentary on how beauty standards are subjective and influenced by the people around us. Another episode, "The Monsters are Due of Maple Street," serves as a not-so-subtle indictment of McCarthyism, centering around a small town that descends into paranoid madness. 

Perhaps the most blatant commentary on the state of the world is from "I Am the Night—Color Me Black," in which the sun doesn't rise on a small town that succumbs to mob rule and unjustly hangs a man. Rod Serling ends the episode with the closing narration:

"A sickness known as hate. Not a virus, not a microbe, not a germ—but a sickness nonetheless, highly contagious, deadly in its effects. Don't look for it in the Twilight Zone—look for it in a mirror. Look for it before the light goes out altogether."

Covering The Issues Indirectly

Considering the show's strong bent towards social justice, it's not too surprising to find that one of the biggest inspirations for the series was the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Till was a Black 14-year-old boy who was "abducted, beaten, and shot" while visiting family in Mississippi, and whose killers — both white — were acquitted of all charges by an all-white jury. It was a tragedy that helped kickstart the civil rights movement, and also inspired Rod Serling to write a teleplay ("Noon on Doomsday") about the racism that led to such a miscarriage of justice unfolding. 

Serling was expecting to deal with a lot of pushback and censorship with his script, but was still surprised by how extreme it all turned out to be. He later claimed the story was "gone over with a fine-tooth comb by 30 different people," and that by the time it aired it was basically unrecognizable from the story Serling was trying to tell. As Smithsonian Magazine put it, "Any hint of the South was removed from the plot; not even a Coca-Cola bottle could appear, lest viewers invoke the idea of the region."

The whole thing made Serling rethink his approach to social commentary, and soon after he had the idea for "The Twilight Zone," a show that was about apolitical sci-fi/fantasy concepts on the surface, but often used them as an avenue to explore more controversial ideas. It was through the "Twilight Zone" that Serling managed to get his Emmett Till-inspired story aired on TV: the aforementioned episode "I Am the Night," which is still one of the most memorable episodes of the series.

The Importance Of Picking A Side

"The writer's role is to be a menacer of the public's conscience," Serling later said in regards to the show. "He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus the issues of his time."

It's why the critiques of modern "Twilight Zone" being too preachy also falls a little flat, because let's face it: the original show was extremely preachy to anyone who understands subtext. The preachiness is less divisive today mostly because the messages being pushed (like McCarthyism being bad) is often not as relevant of a take as it was back in 1960. (Also worth noting: most viewers of the 2019 "Twilight Zone" were very young when they first watched the classic show, and were less likely to notice the political themes at the time.) 

A more reasonable critique of the modern "Twilight Zone," however, is that it might have had a little too much freedom with explicitly exploring its ideas. Whereas Serling was forced by the censors to hide his social commentary under at least one or two layers of speculative fiction, the first season of "The Twilight Zone" reboot got to have a whole episode where the surface-level plot is about a Black mother and her teenage son getting repeatedly harassed by a racist white police officer. Whereas Serling could only indirectly evoke the memory of Emmett Till, "Replay" directly reminds viewers of real-life incidents of racist police shootings.

Saying Things Serling Couldn't

The writers of "Replay" were allowed to be far more explicit in their point of view, far more active in their role as "a menacer of the public's conscience" than Serling ever was. This resulted in what was, depending on who you ask, either "the best of the first four episodes" or an episode whose "lack of subtlety waters down the impact of its message." 

Sometimes, having the freedom to be as explicit as you want can have adverse affect on the point you're trying to make. By removing any sort of allegory, you might be denying viewers who don't already agree with your point the space to have their minds changed. A classic episode like "Eye of the Beholder" has a clear message about how beauty standards are subjective, but what makes the message effective is the way it pops up in the middle of what seems like a lightly spooky body horror story. To anyone who might not already be on board with the episode's message, those first 10 minutes of "Eye of the Beholder" lets them put their guard down, so that when the theme becomes clear, it hits hard. 

"Replay," meanwhile, provides no false sense of security. From minute one, it's clear exactly what the episode is going to say. To any viewers who may not agree -- whether they're a full-on Blue Lives Matter type or more of a "the police have a few bad apples" type -- the episode puts their guards up from the start.

Not Necessarily A Worse Approach

The fact that "Replay" isn't particular effective at changing people's minds about its core themes isn't necessarily a bad thing. Good art doesn't need to cater to everyone's sensibilities, nor does it really need to be educational. The target audience of "Replay" seems to be people who already agree; it's a cathartic exploration of a stressful, traumatic situation that plenty of people can relate to, one that doesn't bother to hold the hands of any viewers who don't agree with the premise. 

Regardless of what you think of the modern "Twilight Zone," it does serve as a good example how much the TV landscape has changed since the '60s. "If Serling were here," producer Jordan Peele said in a 2019 interview about the reboot, "he'd have a lot to say and a lot of new episodes he couldn't have written back in his time." 

You can argue the modern "Twilight Zone" could've benefitted from a little more subtlety, but the fact that they were allowed to go there at all is worth celebrating at least a little. The reboot didn't need to oblige the deeply conservative whims of the network executives Serling had to deal with, and that's undeniably a step up. 

Read this next: The 15 Best Anthology TV Series Ranked

The post Censorship Was The Spark That Sent Rod Serling To The Twilight Zone appeared first on /Film.

- Travis Yates
George Lucas' Only Rule For Mel Brooks' Spaceballs Inspired One Of The Film's Funniest Scenes

George Lucas didn't set out to create a merchandising empire with "Star Wars," that's just the way it worked out. Lucas wrote and directed "Star Wars" in 1977, helping shape Hollywood's blockbuster era. He took an age-old story of good versus evil, sprinkled in some World War II parables, and set it all in a galaxy far, far away.

Some of the decade's biggest sci-fi films were high concept with adult themes. Films like "Silent Running" and "The Man Who Fell From Earth" explored topics like environmentalism and the human condition. Not exactly children's fare. Lucas engaged younger audiences with colorful characters, dazzling special effects, and an easily digestible narrative.

Like a nebula star forming in a ball of gas and dust, the conditions were perfect for a mega-franchise to flourish. Cable television and VCRs were making media more accessible in the home while Ronald Reagan deregulated marketing and advertising to children on television. It opened the floodgates for the Hollywood blockbuster and pop culture-influenced merchandise.

So, years later when Mel Brooks contacted George Lucas about a "Star Wars" parody, Lucas had only one rule, and it had nothing to do with what we saw on-screen.

Luke, I Am ... On Your Lunchbox

As influential as "Star Wars" was for Hollywood movies, it made an even bigger splash in how Hollywood ties merchandising into its films. George Lucas made a groundbreaking merchandising deal with 20th Century Fox, turning down an additional $500,000 payment for directing the film in exchange for the movie's licensing and merchandising rights. It gave Lucas total control of the "Star Wars" universe, including future films and any product licensing.

The immediate merchandising, which included seemingly every toy under the sun, more than covered Lucas' gamble. Theaters continued to fill as "Star Wars" toys flew off the shelves, leading to two original sequels and cementing Lucas' legacy in Hollywood. The licensing became the gift that kept on giving to the tune of $4 billion when Lucas sold the "Star Wars" franchise to Disney in 2012.

Lucas told The Hollywood Reporter he's never been all that interested in the merchandising side of the franchise. He said:

"I'm just the movie guy. The branding and the licensing and that sort of thing, it's fun. I like that there's lots of great toys and funny T-shirts and really great gadgets and things that are fun. But at the same time, my main focus is on just making the movie."

Although his focus might be on the movie, he knew what he had on his hands. When Mel Brooks came calling with the pitch of a "Star Wars parody" the only concern Lucas had was the merchandising tie-ins.

A Children's Toy

"Star Wars" might have inspired some strange rip-offs throughout the 1980s, some unintentionally hilarious, but it wasn't until 1987 that a proper parody was made. Thankfully it was done by the master of the parody, Mel Brooks. As he did with other parody films, Brooks went to the creator of the source material, in this case, Lucas, for his blessing to produce "Spaceballs."

In his book "All About Me!" Brooks explains that Lucas only had one request in spoofing "Star Wars." Brooks wrote:

"He [Lucas] said he had seen 'Blazing Saddles' and 'Young Frankenstein' and was a big fan. He enjoyed the script, and only had one real caveat for me: no action figures. He explained that if I made toys of my Spaceballs characters they would look a lot like Star Wars action figures. So even though in the movie itself we have Dark Helmet playing with action figures, we never sold any."'A Whole Exposé Of The Movie Business'

Although "Spaceballs" is meant to be a parody, Brooks' conversation with Lucas inspired a scene about "Star Wars" merchandising that is as real as it gets. Brooks takes a shot at the ridiculous amount of "Star Wars" merchandise available in one of the funniest scenes of the movie. The director called the scene "a whole exposé of the movie business."

It is made even funnier because it's true. Chances are, there's a curious piece of "Star Wars" merchandise in your home. There's certainly no shortage in mine. Comic Book Resources shared some of the weirdest "Star Wars" merchandise, including a disturbing Jar Jar Binks lollipop and a poorly positioned tape dispenser that makes you pull tape from C-3PO's crotch. While "Spaceballs" might be a parody, the merchandising scene might be the truest take on "Star Wars" this side of the galaxy.

Read this next: The Most Brutal Moments In The Star Wars Franchise, Ranked

The post George Lucas' Only Rule For Mel Brooks' Spaceballs Inspired One Of The Film's Funniest Scenes appeared first on /Film.

- Miyako Pleines
An American Werewolf In London's Transformation Scene Was A Week-Long Slog To Film

When it comes to werewolf transformations on screen, it's hard to top the one featured in "An American Werewolf in London." The scene has it all: magnificent practical effects, unbridled anguish, and Sam Cooke's version of "Blue Moon" playing comically in the background. While many have tried to recreate its brilliance by werewolf transformation standards — special nods go out to "Ginger Snaps" and "Dog Soldiers" for their particular takes on the subject — there's really nothing else quite like David Kessler's (David Naughten) in "An American Werewolf in London."  

Directed by John Landis, this horror comedy tells the story of two American friends who accidentally get lost on their backpacking trip across Europe. When they are viciously attacked by a mysterious wolf-like creature, one of the men is killed while the other is forced to discover his new fate as a full-fledged werewolf. It's a wild ride that is made even more enjoyable because of the incredible practical effects of Rick Baker who was in charge of shaping Naughten into a rabid lycanthrope for the film. 

The task was not an easy one, though. In fact, it turns out that the entire process was almost as painstakingly brutal as the fictional transformation depicted on screen.  

A Grueling Transformation On Screen And Off

What makes the "American Werewolf" transformation so unique is that pretty much all of it happens on screen. There's no cutting away to dramatic shots of the moon (at least not right away) or cleverly hiding the accursed behind closed doors. Instead, viewers are privy to the whole horrific change, watching as David's hands and feet crackle into elongated paws and his face lengthens into a murderous snout all while he writhes in pain on the floor of his girlfriend's charming English apartment. 

In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, David Naughten explained his experience of becoming the deadly beast for the film. He said that Baker sympathized with him once he learned that Naughten would be playing the werewolf. "I feel sorry for you," he told him, which is arguably not what you want to hear from the guy who's in charge of your makeup on set. 

In order to get the prosthetics just right, Naughten had to have molds made of his limbs and head. "It was really suffocating," he recalls, adding that he remembers asking Baker's assistants, "Are you sure you know how to do this?" Thankfully, they did know and Baker got through the preparation in one piece, but the tediousness was not over. "It was everyone's first time, which was both thrilling and alarming," Naughten recalls. "The transformation scene took an entire week to film, with me having to spend hours in makeup even just for a couple of shots."

Ultimately though, all of the painstaking time and effort was worth it. Baker went on to win the first Academy Award for Best Makeup for his work on the film, and the transformation scene has gone down in horror history as the lycanthrope Gold Standard.        

Read this next: The Horror Movies We Can't Wait To See In 2022

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- Anya Stanley
JoBeth Williams And Craig T. Nelson Had A Blast 'Smoking Pot' For Poltergeist

Over four decades since its release, Tobe Hooper's "Poltergeist" still has scare power. Written and produced (and perhaps a bit more) by Steven Spielberg, the paranormal horror story about a haunted suburban family home is filled with incredible sequences and meticulously-crafted scares: a cherubic little girl stares at the static on tv and ominously intones, "They're here"; her closet later turns into a giant breathing maw, a gateway to a foul dimension; her brother's toy clown comes alive and attacks him; a gnarled tree outside his window does the same. 

Underneath it all, the movie generates intense dread due to its simple relatability: the Freeling family was like millions of others across North America.

At the head of the besieged household are Diane and Steve Freeling, played by JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson. Steve is a real estate developer who recently moved his wife and two children into the planned California community of Cuesta Verde, unaware that the land their home was built upon was already occupied.

Before furniture starts moving around independently and children get sucked into portals, the film takes its time getting to know the Freelings. While some enjoy the scenes with the family dog, or Steve's remote control battle with his neighbor, the most endearing pre-scare sequence involves dear old mom and dad relaxing after the kids have gone to bed with giggles, light chatter, and a puff or two of the devil's lettuce. 

Speaking with Vanity Fair recently, Nelson looks back on the movie and the famous midnight toking scene:

"You're going from that kind of sublime, upper-middle-class living, having a family that's fairly stable, raised in an area that's nice, to the horror that you're going to experience later on."Reefer Madness In Cuesta Verde

The scene is one of the most charming of the entire film, a glimpse behind the bedroom doors of an average family. As Steve and Diane roll and puff, the conversation turns to sleepwalking and the valid fear that their daughter might sleepwalk her way into their unfinished swimming pool. Steve allays his wife's worries the way many loving partners do — by deploying goofiness, distending his belly and sucking it in before a mirror and saying, "Before, after..." It takes less than three minutes for the movie to invite its audience to join the loving — and believable — family.

Williams reveals to VF that much of the scene's whimsy was improvised:

"Craig was a comedy writer at one time. In fact, I think he did stand-up too in his early days. But he's very funny, and so Tobe and Steven would just let us run with things. Craig got into that whole thing, doing that with his stomach, which of course had me in genuine hysterics, and I think we really began to feel like we were stoned after a while.

We weren't, by the way."

So what was in the rolling paper? Nelson explains: "We rolled up those joints of oregano and tried to get them lit and puff away."

A popular theory holds that Mom and Pop Freeling visited their friend Mary Jane before visiting their neighbor to ask -- between convincingly stoner-ish snickers -- if he experienced anything strange, like chairs spontaneously stacking. Williams tells VF that it makes some sense:

 "No, I think it was just the absurdity of what we were going through, because what we were saying was basically insane. And I think, yes, maybe we were a little stoned. I don't know, we didn't plan that! But it could have easily read that way."

Read this next: Horror Roles That Changed Actors Forever

The post JoBeth Williams And Craig T. Nelson Had A Blast 'Smoking Pot' For Poltergeist appeared first on /Film.

- Matt Rainis
Rod Serling Looked To His Real-Life Experience For The Title Of The Twilight Zone

"The Twilight Zone" is an absolutely foundational piece of American media. Its influences on the science fiction and horror genres are incalculable. The show, which ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964 in its original run, was the brainchild of Rod Serling, who served as both the host of the show and its head writer.

Every episode would be a stand-alone story in which a normal person would experience unexplainable and unusual events, usually resulting in some sort of twist and a moral being learned at the end. The show's episodes served as new American fables. The moralistic approach of the show was uncommon for science fiction at the time but became a mainstay of the genre.

The show, led by Serling, pushed the boundaries of its medium, but that did not always mean it always did so successfully. The show eventually was extended from half an hour to an hour, which many critics believed to have led to the show's decline in quality in its fourth season. Serling's direct involvement in the writing was also dwindling at that time.

The show's eventual decline was evidence of how vital Serling was to the operation, both on and off screen. He even came up with the show's famous title, which came from his real-life experience in World War II.

From His Darkest Days

Serling served in World War II as an Army paratrooper. His experience and trauma from his time in the war are reflected in the dark and moralistic tones of his writing. According to a Smithsonian Magazine article, it was from his paratrooping days that he came up with the name "The Twilight Zone." The twilight zone is the moment the plane goes down and can no longer see the horizon.

After the show's fifth season it was canceled, although Serling would claim that the cancellation was more a mutual agreement. He bemoaned the direction the network wanted him to go in, wanting more actual monsters and less parable. He discussed this in the last interview of his life in 1975.

"I think you can say more obviously in the framework of an honest-to-Christ contemporary piece so that you don't have to talk in parables, in symbolisms and the rest of it, but this is not to say that you can't make a point of social criticism using science fiction or fantasy as your backdrop. We did that on 'Twilight Zone' a lot, but there's no room for that kind of subtlety anymore. The problems are so much with us that they have to be attacked directly."

Besides attempting and failing to get a movie made, Serling was done with "The Twilight Zone" after its cancellation. Despite this, he left a permanent stamp on the American psyche and on the entertainment industry. And a big part of that is the eerie name that he pulled out of what were likely some of the darkest days of his life.

Read this next: The 15 Best Anthology TV Series Ranked

The post Rod Serling Looked To His Real-Life Experience For The Title Of The Twilight Zone appeared first on /Film.

- Miyako Pleines
Daniel Craig Has No Hard Feelings About His Casino Royale Casting Controversy

If you're a James Bond fan, you have a favorite 007. That's just the way it is. Sean Connery's original depiction of the alluring spy typically tops the list as "most beloved." Still, there are those who prefer Roger Moore or Timothy Dalton as their agent of choice. '90s kids will have a soft spot for Pierce Brosnan. Everyone has a favorite, and while having favorites is fun, it can also be the cause of fierce loyalty that gives way to intense debates (usually on the Internet), and no Bond knows this better than Daniel Craig.

Craig's journey in his role as the tuxedo-wearing, martini-drinking MI6 operative started with "Casino Royale," the 21st Bond film in the series. His casting proved to be pretty controversial. Die (another day) hard Bond fans were wildly skeptical that this blond-haired, blue-eyed Brit would have what it takes. To be fair, the initial photos meant to usher Craig into his new role didn't really make him look like he'd be able to sustain high pressure Aston Martin car chases or even higher stakes poker games, but still, the internet reactions were probably a lot harsher than they needed to be. Thankfully though, Craig proved the haters wrong and is now widely considered a fan favorite amongst the Bonds. But what does Craig feel about the skeptics all these years later? Turns out, he's actually pretty okay with it.

No Hard Feelings

The biggest complaints Craig faced mostly boiled down to his looks (too blond, too blue-eyed), and producer Barbara Broccoli was seemingly incensed by this ridiculous criticism. She told Yahoo! Entertainment, "The fact that they were complaining that he was blond stupefied me because Roger Moore was blond. I didn't know what they were talking about." Good point, Ms. Broccoli! 

Craig touched on these criticisms as well. "Of course I was bothered by it," he said -- yet he recognized that the vitriol was largely out of his control. "There was nothing I could really do," he pointed out, adding, "All I could do was make a good movie, or attempt to make a good movie and say, 'There you go.' And if they didn't like it, then I don't know, that's all I had to give." 

Make a good movie he did, because "Casino Royale" is a wild ride into the world of exceptional spies, beautiful cars, and dangerous femme fatales. I still get chills watching the poker game because not only does Craig look divine in that tuxedo (blond hair and all), but it's also a remarkably tense and entertaining scene.

Today, Craig's portrayal as the "Shaken, not stirred" secret agent is one of the franchise's best, so it's crazy to think that such a large portion of Bond fans initially had their doubts. Still, Craig is largely sympathetic stating that the critiques were "understandable." He tells Yahoo!, "I grew up watching Bond. So I couldn't criticize other people for having passions about it." Way to be a trooper, Mr. Craig. No hard feelings.

Read this next: The 18 Best Action Movie Actors Ranked

The post Daniel Craig Has No Hard Feelings About His Casino Royale Casting Controversy appeared first on /Film.

- Matt Rainis
A Pivotal Clockwork Orange Scene Called For Stanley Kubrick Tossing A Camera Off The Roof

Stanley Kubrick was famously a tough director to work with. This was mostly because of his poor treatment of his actors, which I believe was an aspect of his almost pathological perfectionism. Kubrick had to get every detail in every film he made exactly as he envisioned it in his mind, and he didn't care if he had to mentally scar someone like Shelley Duvall for life in order to achieve that.

Sometimes, though, Kubrick's approach would not require damage to an actor's well-being, but to some equipment. This is the case in one of the pivotal scenes in "A Clockwork Orange." The film's main character, Alex DeLarge, a violent and charismatic hoodlum in a dystopian, futuristic England, has been imprisoned and is undergoing various forms of torture and reconditioning. He gets the opportunity to take his own life and attempts to do so by jumping from a window.

The shot showcases the suicide attempt from the subjective point of view of Alex himself, relaying the jump from the window to the ground below from the perspective of the jumper. It was another of the countless examples of Kubrick having a very specific idea of what he wanted in a film, and all it required was the sacrifice of a single lens.

A Leap Of Faith

Kubrick was known for his use of unorthodox shots and attention to detail, and the shot of Alex's leap required extra preparation.

In an interview with the magazine "Sight & Sound" from 1972, Kubrick discussed how he made the suicide attempt scene happen. As with most of his ideas, the director needed very specific supplies to craft the scene just as he envisioned. The item required in this instance? A Newman Sinclair clockwork mechanism camera. "It's a beautiful camera and it's built like a battleship," Kubrick said.

But even a camera of its heft wouldn't survive the drop without some protection. So Kubrick's team used polystyrene boxes to create 18 inches of protection around the camera, with a slice cut out for the lens. With the camera fully armored, Kubrick described what happened next:

"We then threw the camera off a roof. In order to get it to land lens first, we had to do this six times and the camera survived all six drops. On the final one it landed right on the lens and smashed it but it didn't do a bit of harm to the camera. This, despite the fact that the polystyrene was literally blasted away from it each time by the impact."

It's ironic that Kubrick, who was unafraid to damage actors in whatever way he needed (including seriously injuring Malcolm McDowell), managed to film this scene without harming the camera at all. If he took that sort of care with everyone he worked with, perhaps Kubrick would be better regarded not just as a director, but as a human.

Read this next: The Most Controversial Scenes In Sci-Fi Movies

The post A Pivotal Clockwork Orange Scene Called For Stanley Kubrick Tossing A Camera Off The Roof appeared first on /Film.

- J. Gabriel Ware
Halloween 4's Rooftop Showdown Had The Entire Set On Pins And Needles

A decade after Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) set himself and Michael Myers ablaze at the end of "Halloween II," a comatose Michael Myers finally awakes during an ambulance transfer from Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium back to Smith's Grove Sanitarium in 1988's "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers." The trigger: overhearing ambulance personnel reveal that he has a living relative. Jamie Lloyd, his niece and daughter of Laurie Strode (played by Jaime Lee Curtis in the first two films) lives with foster parents in Myers' hometown of Haddonfield Il. Consequentially, he returns to kill her. 

I'm that one hard-to-please "Halloween" fan who unfairly compares any sequel and remake to John Carpenter's 1978's masterpiece. My qualms with "Halloween 4" primarily lie with The Shape. The masked, mechanic suit-wearing Michael Myers played by George P. Wilber neither looked nor moved like Nick Castle's portrayal of the character from the original. Plus, the featureless white mask is a far cry from the iconic William Shatner mask.

The upside to the film is that it introduced us to 11-year-old Danielle Harris who plays Jamie and replaces Jamie Lee Curtis as the franchise's final girl. Popular slasher flicks of the era mainly centered mischievous teenagers who paid for their nights of partying, sex, and booze with their lives. So, as a kid, I found movies like "Halloween 4" and "Child's Play" more relatable, and therefore more terrifying. But having a child as the primary target of a butcher knife-wielding serial killer inherently poses real-life dangers, and a rooftop showdown in "Halloween 4" had the entire set on pins and needles.

'We Had To Be Extra Careful From Every Conceivable Safety Point'

In the film, Jaime and her teenage foster sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell), take shelter at the fortified home of the sheriff. Of courses, Michael Myers shows up and dispatches the armed guards, leaving him alone with the sisters. He stalks them up the stairs, through a top window, and onto the slopped roof. Rachel slips and slides as she crawls to the top carrying Jaime on her back. Myers appears and stabs at them. In a panic, Rachel crafts a makeshift harness with a wire to rappel Jaime down to safety, but Myers again comes swinging his knife. Rachel drops Jaime; thanks to the harness, she stops short of hitting the ground. Rachel tumbles and clings on to the gutters, but knife swipes from Myers sends her crashing to the pavement. It's one of the most intense scenes in the movie.

"They were all troopers, but the key to that whole scene was that it combined a lot of fears," Dwight H. Little, the film's director, told Daily Dead in 2018. "There's the fear of Michael, but it's also a fear of heights and losing someone you love, so it's terrifying on a lot of different levels."

The actors were indeed troopers because filming the scene was as dangerous as it appeared on screen. The production crew built the rooftop in an open field in Utah where the movie was filmed. They shot the scene on a chilly March night; the rooftop tiles were icy and slippery. Everyone were rigged on a wire, and stunt people surrounded the roof below in case anyone fell. "We had to be extra careful from every conceivable safety point," Little said. Still, they weren't able to save one of their stars from injury.

A Staple Sliced Ellie Cornell's Stomach

In the documentary "Back to the Basics: The Making of 'Halloween 4,' Ellie Cornell discussed one of the final takes of the scene where she slipped and slid down the roof with Harris on her back. A staple protruding out from the roof caught her stomach and sliced it open. "I didn't bleed out. There weren't intestines showing," She said. "It was not that –- you know. It was just a surface wound. But I think the set medic went bonkers just because we had more to shoot. So they patched me up, and we went back to work."

Working on "Halloween 4" must have been both a frightening and exhilarating experience for child actress Danielle Harris. Being a part of a risky stunt like that with Michael Myers chasing after me would have been a childhood dream come true, but I'm sure I would have needed some encouragement to get on that roof. According to screenwriter Alan B. McElroy, the original script called for an even more dangerous scene. He explained in the documentary:

In the original script, Sheriff Ben Meeker actually fought with Michael Myers in the basement of the house. And the fight between the two of them -- that's when Ben Meeker dies fighting The Shape. The furnace gets knocked over; a fire starts in the basement. So, then the house becomes engulfed in flames, and this is actually what drives Rachael and Jaime toward the roof. So, you end up with this great sequence where the house is in flames, they're on the roof, and The Shape is on the roof with them. How are they going to survive that?"

A fire? Yeah, no one would have been able to convince me to do that.

Read this next: The 15 Best Final Girls In Horror Movies Ranked

The post Halloween 4's Rooftop Showdown Had The Entire Set On Pins And Needles appeared first on /Film.

- Valerie Ettenhofer
What Happened To The Orcs After Sauron's Defeat In The Lord Of The Rings?

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has been keeping some of its J.R.R. Tolkien connections under wraps throughout its first season, leaving viewers to speculate about exactly who characters like Adar (Joseph Mawle) and the man from the sky (Bridie Sisson) really are. While some of its mysteries seem like they'll continue unraveling as the series wears on, this week's episode gave viewers some insight into how this particular story may tie into both Middle-earth's future and past. Surprisingly, it has kind of a lot to do with orcs.

In the show's sixth episode, "Udûn," the orcs become major players in the geopolitical conflicts raging across Middle-earth. The villainous creatures, who Tolkien's texts say were made by early Dark Lord Morgoth, have long since been theorized to be made not from scratch, but by "corrupting" existing beings like elves. In the latest episode, Adar leads an army of orcs to battle, and once he's captured, he reveals that he is, in fact, an elf Morgoth corrupted. He was apparently made before the orcs, and considers them like his children. He also, interestingly, asks his captors to think of them as a species of living thing like any other, not just as a source of evil.

Adar's appeal to the humanity of his captors, coupled with the orcs' chanting cry that may hearken back to where they were first made, has left us with orcs on the brain. Tolkien fans more or less already know where they came from, but where did they go when all was said and done?

Here's What The Return Of The King Says

In the same episode, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) suggests doing away with the species entirely in a move that, based on the show's more empathetic contextualization of the orcs, amounts to genocide. Although it's an appalling plan, it's not completely out of line with the common conception of orcs as mostly mindless but definitely harmful beings whose function is only to serve darkness. So did all the orcs end up slaughtered by the end of the Third Age?

Not exactly, although, with their leader Sauron well and truly gone at the end of "The Return of the King," they don't fare much better. Here's what Tolkien wrote in "Return of the King," describing the aftermath of Frodo and Sam destroying the One Ring:

"As when death smites the swollen brooding thing that inhabits their crawling hill and holds them all in sway, ants will wander witless and purposeless and then feebly die, so the creatures of Sauron, orc or troll or beast spell-enslaved, ran hither and thither mindless; and some slew themselves, or cast themselves in pits, or fled wailing back to hide in holes and dark lightless places far from hope."

So basically, as empathetic and individualized as Adar makes the orcs sound when he tells Galadriel that "each one has a name, a heart," the dark fate their race will meet thousands of years later is still indicative of their lack of autonomy. The orcs are essentially mind-controlled, and when the last bit of Sauron's power blips out of existence, they lose their drive to go on. Still, the word "some" here implies that there are orcs who may have lived past their Sauron-mandated expiration date, but if they did, we're not told what their lives looked like.

As Always With Tolkien, It's Complicated

There's also the trippy inferred ending to Tolkien's works to consider: in a letter written in the late 1950s, collected in "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien," the author tentatively established that Middle-earth could actually take place on the same planet as our earth. He writes, "I have, I suppose, constructed an imaginary time, but kept my feet on my own mother-earth for place." He goes on to speculate that the events of "The Lord of the Rings" and its accompanying texts occurred ages ago, meaning human beings are in the Sixth or Seventh Age. The fact that orcs aren't walking around now is proof positive that they didn't last, but then again, neither did the rest of the books' species.

While orcs didn't fare well in Tolkien's texts, it's worth noting that the Prime Video series is already on track to give the race a more nuanced story. As fellow /Film writer Rafael Motamayor points out, Tolkien's idea of a group of irredeemable, single-mindedly evil enslaved peoples isn't exactly the most complex piece of mythology imaginable, and even Tolkien seemed to ultimately write the orcs as somewhat unique individuals despite the baseline lore he created. So far, the orcs of "The Rings of Power" are fairly nondescript, but it'll be worth keeping an eye on them in the series to see if they ever rise above their simplistic villainous backstories.

Read this next: The Best Lord Of The Rings Characters Who Weren't In The Movies

The post What Happened To The Orcs After Sauron's Defeat In The Lord of the Rings? appeared first on /Film.

- Alex Billington
Take a Peek at Barry Keoghan's Audition for The Joker in 'The Batman'
Barry Keoghan - The Joker

Why so serious, Barry? A recent interview with British GQ has revealed that the audition video that British actor Barry Keoghan created for Matt Reeves has been online for years. But we've only discovered it just now! In Matt Reeves' The Batman movie from earlier this year (still one of our favorites), the final scene at Arkham Asylum reveals another prisoner in another nearby cell close to Paul Dano's The Riddler. He has green hair and a big, scary smile - though his name is never revealed in that final scene. We all know it was The Joker, a teaser for things to come much like how Batman Begins ends with a Joker card hint as well. The talented young actor Barry Keoghan stars in the role, appearing on screen for less than five minutes (along with this deleted scene). How did he get the gig? Well, Keoghan has revealed his audition video - shot in a hallway by DP Angie Sciulli. With make-up and a top hat + cane costume, he casually strolls down the hallway and then back - with just a bit of blood on his face. You can check it out below. Don't forget to smile.

Barry Keoghan as The Joker

Thanks to British GQ for the tip on this audition video. It comes from a recent article published on Barry Keoghan, profiling the actor and his performances - he discusses the role: "Beneath heavy prosthetics that make him look like a maniac run through a meat grinder, Keoghan insisted his blue eyes stayed the same. 'I wanted some sort of human in there behind the makeup,' he says. 'I want people to relate to him… [to know] this is a façade he puts on.' The character is, to Keoghan, 'a broken-down boy'… Recently, Keoghan texted Reeves a listicle that rated the best Jokers put to screen. 'There were seven and I was number four,' he says, grinning. 'Lads, with four minutes of screen time, not bad eh!?' Keoghan has not yet been invited back for a sequel but the character, kept under wraps and revealed only when audiences finally saw it in theatres, feels like the set-up of something bigger. 'As soon as that call comes,' he insists, 'I'm there man, I'm there.' In the meantime, he's hellbent on securing a part in Taika Waititi's Star Wars movie. 'I'm tryna meet him,' he quips, 'I've been askin' everyone.'" You can watch that deleted scene here. Who wants to see Barry return?

- Alex Billington
Will Smith Escapes from Slavery in Teaser Trailer for 'Emancipation'
Emancipation Trailer

"There are many ways to die in a swamp…" "There are many ways to die here…" Apple TV has revealed a first look teaser trailer for a film titled Emancipation, starring Will Smith as an escaped slave film that has been in the works for the past few years. Apple has made the very bold decision to release this film in December, right in the middle of awards season, despite all of the negativity surrounding Will Smith's slap at the Oscars earlier in the year. It recently screened to small group of influences, and the early word is it's a powerful film. Will Smith stats as Peter, a runaway slave who forges through the swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey to escape plantation owners that nearly killed him. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of "Whipped Peter," taken during a Union Army medical examination. The cast also includes Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Gilbert Owuor, Mustafa Shakir, Steven Ogg, Grant Harvey, Jabbar Lewis, Jayson Warner Smith, Ronnie Gene Bivens, Michael Luwoye, Aaron Moten, and Imani Pullum. This is an excellent teaser, setting up the stakes and the story. But does anyone want to see this right now?

Here's the teaser trailer (+ poster) for Antoine Fuqua's Emancipation, direct from YouTube:

Emancipation Poster

Tells the triumphant story of Peter (Will Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom. The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of "Whipped Peter," taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper's Weekly. One image, known as "The Scourged Back," which shows Peter's bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery. Emancipation is directed by the award-winning American filmmaker Antoine Fuqua, of films including The Replacement Killers, Training Day, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn's Finest, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer, Southpaw, The Magnificent Seven, The Equalizer 2, Infinite, and The Guilty previously. The screenplay is written by Bill Collage (Exodus: Gods & Kings, The Transporter Refueled, Allegiant, Assassin's Creed). It's produced by Todd Black, Joey McFarland, Jon Mone, and Will Smith. Apple will release Emancipation in select US theaters starting December 2nd, 2022, then streaming on Apple TV+ on December 9th later in the fall.

- Alex Billington
Eva Green & Mark Strong in Mysterious Thriller 'Nocebo' First Trailer
Nocebo Trailer

"I will be with you… always." Vertigo Releasing in the UK has revealed the first official trailer for a thrilling new horror mystery film titled Nocebo, from director Lorcan Finnegan - of the films Without Name and Vivarium (worth a watch) previously. This is premiering at the 2022 Sitges Film Festival next week, and will open in the UK later this year. A fashion designer is suffering from a mysterious, unexplainable illness, until a Filipina caretaker arrives at her home and begins to use the traditional folk remedies from her country. And then a terrible truth is revealed… Uh oh, sounds scary. Eva Green stars with Mark Strong, Billie Gadsdon, Cathy Belton, and Chai Fonacier as the caretaker Diana. This looks creepy!! The end of this trailer is a whole other level of crazy, with some freaky hints in the final few shots at what's to come. Enjoy.

Here's the first official trailer (+ new poster) for Lorcan Finnegan's Nocebo, direct from YouTube:

Nocebo Poster

A talented fashion designer (Eva Green) is suffering from a mysterious illness that puzzles her doctors and frustrates her husband (Mark Strong). Help surprisingly arrives in the form of a Diana, a Filipino carer (Chai Fonacier) who uses traditional folk healing to reveal a horrifying truth. Nocebo is directed by Irish genre filmmaker Lorcan Finnegan, director of the films Without Name and Vivarium previously, plus lots of other short films. The screenplay is written by Garret Shanley (also of Without Name and Vivarium previously). Produced by Brunella Cocchiglia and Emily Leo. This will be premiering at the 2022 Sitges Film Festival this month. Vertigo Releasing will then debut Finnegan's Nocebo in UK cinemas in early December later in 2022. No US release date has been set yet - stay tuned for updates. First impression? Look freaky?

- Alex Billington
'I Love You, You Hate Me' What Went Wrong with Barney Doc Trailer
I Love You, You Hate Me Trailer

"There was something larger going on here…" Peacock has revealed an official trailer for a documentary mini-series titled I Love You, You Hate Me, arriving in just a few weeks for streaming on NBC's service. This documentary is about the dark side of Barney, everyone's favorite the purple dinosaur who brought joy and love to millions of kids. The series focuses on a strange conundrum - the way the world seemed to turn against Barney and his lovable, toothy smile. Even one of the actors who was in the suit to play the friendly dino received death threats against his family. How?! Why?! "Follow Barney the dinosaur's furious reaction and what he says about the human need to hate. Something in American society was broken and never came back, or is it just who we were all along?" A dark question to ask about a kids' show character, but hey, these are the conversations we need to have. We should look at what's really going on behind that costume. This trailer isn't nearly long enough, because now I need to know what happened! Check this out.

Here's the trailer (+ poster) for Tommy Avallone's doc series I Love You, You Hate Me, from YouTube:

I Love You, You Hate Me Poster

I Love You, You Hate Me is a limited series chronicling the rise and fall of Barney the Dinosaur’s furious backlash — and what it says about the human need to hate. From Barney-bashing to frat parties to homicidal video games, something in American society broke into a million pieces, and it’s never been put together again… or is this just who we were all along? I Love You, You Hate Me is a mini-series directed by filmmaker Tommy Avallone, director of the docs I Am Santa Claus, The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man, and Waldo on Weed previously, plus the film Community College, and a few other projects. Produced by Trent Johnson. Executive produced by Tommy Avallone, Joel Chiodi, David Collins, Rob Eric, Raymond Esposito, Amy Goodman Kass, Wendy Greene, and Michael Williams. NBC will debut I Love You, You Hate Me streaming on Peacock starting on October 12th, 2022 this fall. Intrigued?

- Alex Billington
First Trailer for Disney+ Korea Series 'Connect' Dir. by Takashi Miike
Connect Series Disney+

What the hell do we have here?! Disney has revealed a teaser trailer for a new horror thriller series called Connect, made for Disney+ Korea. Premiering at the 2022 Busan Film Festival before it's streaming later this year. I can't even believe that Disney made this, and hired the legendary Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike (!!) to direct, but hell yes why not. In this series, adapted from the Manga, a man is kidnapped and one of his eyes is removed by a gang of organ hunters. The eye is then transplanted into the body of a serial killer… The unwilling donor now has terrible visions as he witnesses terrifying attacks on the residents of Seoul. The series stars Jung Hae-in, Go Kyung-pyo, and Kim Hye-jun. This has some gnarly footage in it for a teaser that is barely 60 seconds long. Does this supernatural eye help people heal, too? How does the story play out and who is trying to stop the bad guy(s)? Will this eye live on somehow? So many questions…

Here's the first teaser trailer (+ Korean teaser poster) for Disney+'s series Connect, direct from YouTube:

Connect Poster

Based on a webtoon of the same name, series depicts a mysterious story that occurs when a man who has been deprived of a part of his body by organ hunters, connects with a person who has received an organ transplant. Connect, also known as 커넥트 or Keonekteu in Korean, is a series created by writers Heo-dam and Masaru Nakamura. Featuring episodes director by Japanese horror master Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer, Gozu, One Missed Call, Dead or Alive trilogy, Graveyard of Honor, Hara-kiri, 13 Assassins, Sukiyaki Western Django, Yakuza Apocalypse, Blade of the Immortal, First Love). Based on a webtoon of the same name, Connect, by Shin Dae-sung. No producers are listed yet. This series will first premiere at the 2022 Busan Film Festival this fall. Disney will then debut the Connect series streaming on Disney+ starting in December 2022 later this year. Stay tuned for more updates. First impression? Who wants to watch?

- Alex Billington
Epic Full Trailer for Marvel Sequel 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer

"Now is our time to strike." Marvel has revealed the main official trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the highly anticipated superhero sequel set to open in theaters in November. This follow-up to the outstanding Black Panther movie is handling not only the real world loss of Chadwick Boseman, beloved as the original T'Challa, but also introducing an entirely new race - the underwater Atlanteans, lead by Namor, who gets plenty of screen time in this one. The ensemble cast for this one Letitia Wright as Shuri, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Winston Duke as M'Baku, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, Michaela Coel as Aneka, Tenoch Huerta as Namor of Atlantis, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, and Angela Bassett returning as Ramonda. It looks like we finally do know they will introduce a new female Black Panther, revealed at the end of this trailer. Everything looks good! Still has a unique look and feel, and seems like an exciting follow-up to the first movie. Dive right in.

Main official trailer (+ posters) for Ryan Coogler's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, from YouTube:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Poster

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Poster

You can rewatch the teaser trailer for Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever here, for more footage.

Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M'Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje, fight to protect their nation of Wakanda from intervening world powers in the wake of King T'Challa's death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is once again directed by talented American filmmaker Ryan Coogler, director of the films Fruitvale Station, Creed, and the first Black Panther movie, as well as a producer on Judas and the Black Messiah. The screenplay is written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole. Based on the characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Produced by Kevin Feige and Nate Moore. Disney will release Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters starting November 11th, 2022. Planning to watch?

- Alex Billington
Trailer for Coming-of-Age Film 'Manifest West' with Tim Heidecker
Manifest West Trailer

"We make the rules now, all four of us. We'll be a family of 'Mountain Men' in no time." Samuel Goldwyn Films has debuted an official trailer for an indie off-the-grid thriller titled Manifest West, from filmmaker duo Joe Dietsch & Louie Gibson. The film is intriguing coming-of-age story told through the eyes of a young girl whose family spirals out of control after they decide to live off the grid. It had its world premiere at the Mammoth Film Festival, where it won Best Genre Film, earlier this year. The film stars Annet Mahendru, Milo Gibson, Lexy Kolker, Michael Cudlitz, and the comedian Tim Heidecker (giving a very serious performance this time). This starts out so nice and uplifting, the story of a family trying to make a life on their own in the woods - reminds me of Captain Fantastic. But then things quickly get intense and twisted and dark, which isn't so nice and fun anymore. Don't look bad, doesn't look that great either. Check it out.

Here's the official trailer (+ poster) for Joe Dietsch & Louie Gibson's Manifest West, from YouTube:

Manifest West Poster

Manifest West is a coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a ten-year old girl whose family moves off the grid into untamed North American Wilderness. It’s their attempt to establish normalcy, to thrive off the land, and escape the pressures of modern society. But the family also has its own internal pressures building, and you can’t escape what’s going on in your own household, no matter how far you move up a mountain. Manifest West is co-written and co-directed by filmmakers Joe Dietsch & Louie Gibson, both of the film Happy Hunting previously, plus lots of other industry work. It's produced by Bryson Pintard. This initially premiered at the 2022 Mammoth Film Festival earlier this year. Samuel Goldwyn Films will debut Manifest West in select US theaters + on VOD starting November 11th, 2022 this fall. Interested?

- Alex Billington
Lee Jung-jae's Epic Non-Stop Action Movie 'Hunt' Official US Trailer
Hunt Official Trailer

"We'll know soon how you fit into this." Two spies. One target. Magnolia Pictures has revealed an official US trailer for the Korean action film titled Hunt, which first premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It's one of the most intense and epic action films of 2022, with more kinetic energy than even Michael Bay's movies - seriously. Hunt is also the directorial debut of "Squid Game" star Lee Jung-jae, who also stars in the period espionage action movie. "Expose the mole within the agency! Can the 'Hunted' become the 'Hunter'?" Park Pyeong-Ho and Kim Jung-Do are agents for the National Security Agency. They are both excellent at their jobs and rivals. The two men chase after a North Korean spy sent to South Korea. They soon uncover a hidden truth about an assassination plot. The film stars Lee Jung-jae, Jung Woo-sung, Heo Sung-tae, Jeon Hye-jin, and Jeong Man-sik. This is literally wall-to-wall, non-stop intense action and shoot outs and fights and it just gets crazier as it goes on. So many people, so much shooting. I don't think everyone will enjoy this one, but definitely worth a watch if you love action movies. Check it out.

Here's the official US trailer (+ new poster) for Lee Jung-jae's Hunt, direct from YouTube:

Hunt Movie Poster

You can rewatch the first festival trailer for Lee Jung-jae's Hunt here, for even more footage.

After a high-ranking North Korean official requests asylum, South Korean KCIA Foreign Unit chief Park Pyong-ho (Lee Jung-jae) and Domestic Unit chief Kim Jung-do (Jung Woo-sung) are both tasked with uncovering a North Korean spy, known as Donglim, who is deeply embedded within their agency. When the spy begins leaking top secret intel that could jeopardize national security, the two units are each assigned to investigate each other. Tension and animosity mount between the two chiefs, as they both know if they cannot find the mole, they may be accused themselves. Pyung-ho and Jung-do slowly start to uncover the truth but, in the end, they must deal with an unthinkable plot to assassinate the South Korean president… An operation that tests the faith of two men caught between suspicion and vigilance. Hunt, originally known as Heon-teu or 헌트 in Korean, is directed by Korean actor turned filmmaker Lee Jung-jae (456 in "Squid Game"), making his feature directorial debut with this film. The screenplay is written by Jo Seung-hee and Lee Jung-jae. It's also produced by Lee Jung-jae. This first premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. It already opened in Korean cinemas in August. Magnolia will debut Lee Jung-jae's Hunt in select US theaters + on VOD starting December 2nd, 2022 this fall. For more info, visit their official site.

- Alex Billington
New US Trailer for Turkish Film 'Brother's Keeper' About Two Friends
Brother's Keeper Trailer

"Back to your places!" Altered Innocence has released an official US trailer for an indie drama from Turkey titled Brother's Keeper. It originally premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival last year, and also played at the London and Chicago Film Festivals, among many others in 2021. Yusuf and his best friend Memo are pupils at a boarding school for Kurdish boys, secluded in the mountains of Eastern Anatolia. Set over the course of a tense day at an isolated boarding school, this moral drama follows a boy's desperate fight to save his sick friend in the face of a rigid bureaucracy. By the time the adults in charge finally understand the seriousness of Memo's condition and try to get him to a hospital, the remote school has been buried under a sudden, heavy snowfall. Starring Samet Yildiz as Yusuf and Nurullah Alaca as Memo. This looks like it has some impressive cinematography telling a heartbreaking, frustrating story about how hard it is to fight against incompetence and carelessness. Looks like it's worth a watch - with some good quotes in this trailer.

Here's the official US trailer (+ poster) for Ferit Karahan's Brother's Keeper, direct from YouTube:

Brother's Keeper Poster

Yusuf and his best friend Memo are pupils at a boarding school for Kurdish boys, up in the mountains of Eastern Anatolia. When Memo falls mysteriously ill, Yusuf is forced to struggle through the bureaucratic obstacles put up by the school's repressive authorities to try to help his friend. But by the time the adults in charge finally understand the seriousness of Memo’s condition and try to get him to a hospital, the school has been buried under a sudden, heavy snowfall. With no way out and desperate to reach help, teachers and pupils engage in a blame game where grudges, feelings of guilt and hidden secrets emerge, as time ticks mercilessly on and threatens to run out. Brother's Keeper, originally known as Okul Tirasi in Turkish, is directed by Turkish filmmaker Ferit Karahan, director of the films The Fall from Heaven, Eski Köye Yeni Adet, and The Death of Black Horses previously. The screenplay is written by Gülistan Acet and Ferit Karahan. This initially premiered at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival last year. Altered Innocence will release Brother's Keeper in select US theaters starting October 21st, 2022 this fall. For info visit the official site.

- Alex Billington
Final Official Trailer for Guillermo del Toro's 'Cabinet of Curiosities'
Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities

"This is one of those nightmare specials." Netflix has debuted the full official trailer for their new horror anthology series titled Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities. It's now set to debut at the end of October over four days just before Halloween eve. Bizarre nightmares unfold in eight tales of terror in this visually stunning, spine-tingling horror collection curated by Guillermo del Toro. This anthology of sinister stories is told by some of today’s most revered horror creators, including the directors of The Babadook, Splice, Mandy, and more. It features eight unique horror stories that challenge the classical horror genre. Two of the episodes are original works by del Toro himself, while the others are written and directed by various filmmakers (including one H.P. Lovecraft story!). The casts for the eight films feature Essie Davis, Andrew Lincoln, Luke Roberts, F. Murray Abraham, Tim Blake Nelson, Sebastian Roché, Ben Barnes, Demetrius Grosse, Crispin Glover, Peter Weller, Sofia Boutella, and Rupert Grint. All of them look wicked and creepy and very scary!! This series will be the highlight of this year's horror season.

Here's the full official trailer (+ poster) for Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities, on YouTube:

Cabinet of Curiosities Poster

You can rewatch the first teaser trailer for del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities here, to view even more footage.

Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities is a "collection of the Oscar-winning filmmaker's personally curated stories, described as both equally sophisticated and horrific." Del Toro has confirmed he will introduce each episode. Cabinet of Curiosities is a horror anthology series featuring "sinister stories" made by filmmakers: Jennifer Kent (The Babadook, The Nightingale), Guillermo Navarro (cinematographer on Hellboy, Hellboy II, Pacific Rim, London Fields), Keith Thomas (The Vigil, Firestarter), Panos Cosmatos (Beyond the Black Rainbow, Mandy), David Prior (The Empty Man), Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, Twilight, Red Riding Hood, Plush, Miss Bala), Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Cypher, Nothing, Splice, Haunter, In the Tall Grass), and Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Bad Batch, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon). Created and presented by Guillermo del Toro, based on his own short story of the same name. Netflix will debut the Cabinet of Curiosities series streaming on Netflix starting October 25th, 2022 just in time for Halloween weekend. Planning to watch all these?

- Alex Billington
More Horror Shorts on Hulu - 'Bite Size Halloween: Season 3' Trailer
Bite Size Halloween: Season 3 Trailer

"They're gonna take one of us away." Hulu has revealed an official trailer for their new offering of horror shorts out this season. Bite Size Halloween: Season 3 launches on October 1st available on Hulu, with a whopping twenty new shorts from exciting emerging filmmakers. We are huge fans of short films, always featuring the best ones to watch once they debut online. This series is a 20th Century Studios creation, as they're developing these shorts with hopes that a few can be turned into features (Grimcutty from John William Ross, Matriarch from Ben Steiner are out this month on Hulu). Shot in seven different countries, this new series of shorts takes on topical issues such as racism, gender, parenthood, sexuality, and identity. Blending genres like horror, comedy, sci-fi, thriller, and more. Some of these do look awesome! And some of them don't. If you have the time to spare, might as well watch these in October. Check out the trailer below.

Here's the official trailer (+ poster) for Hulu's series Bite Size Halloween: Season 3, from YouTube:

Bite Size Halloween: Season 3 Trailer

This October, the strangest nightmares come creeping while you're awake! In celebration of #Huluween, 20 new horrifying shorts will debut for Bite Size Halloween Season 3 streaming on Hulu soon! Created by exciting emerging filmmakers working at 20th Digital Studio, these shorts take on topical issues and blend genres like horror, comedy, sci-fi and thriller. Don't miss actors such as Tatiana Maslany, Brendan Hines, Misha Osherovich, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Lin Shaye and David Costabile; plus Rebekka Johnson and Kate Nash who co-wrote/directed/star in a short featuring Nash's original music. Bite Size Halloween: Season 3 features new short films directed by filmmakers including Michael Schwartz (Snatched), Kate Nash, Nuhash Humayun (Moshari), Sam Max (Chaperone), Michelle Krusiec (Bite), Zoey Martinson, and many others. Hulu will debut all the new episodes from Bite Size Halloween: Season 3 streaming on Hulu starting October 1st, 2022 this Halloween month - click here for all three seasons. Any of them look good?

- Alex Billington
Demon in a Cabin Horror 'The Accursed' Trailer Starring Mena Suvari
The Accursed Trailer

"The Devil himself never takes possession, he sends one of his agents." Screen Media Films has revealed an official trailer for an indie horror thriller titled The Accursed, made by filmmaker Kevin Lewis (of Nicolas Cage's Willy's Wonderland most recently). Not to be confused with the other horror film also known as The Accursed released last year - this one is about a demon taking over an old woman in a cabin. Elly is asked by a family friend to look after an elderly woman who is living in a remote cabin for a few days. She agrees, but soon discovers there is a demon hiding in the woman just waiting to break free. Uh oh. The horror film stars Mena Suvari, Sarah Grey, Sarah Dumont, Meg Foster, and Alexis Knapp. This looks like it does get super horrifying at the end when the demon wants out and is tired of waiting. The final shot in this is freaky.

Here's the official trailer (+ poster) for Kevin Lewis' The Accursed, from Screen Media's YouTube:

The Accursed Poster

Elly (Sarah Grey) is asked by a family friend (Mena Suvari) to spend a few days looking after an elderly woman (Meg Foster) living in a remote cabin. She readily agrees thinking a short trip to the woods will be a nice escape. The cabin turns out to be anything but relaxing as Elly begins hallucinating in ways that blur reality with her dreams. As the visions take over, Elly realizes that she was lured there by a demonic presence hiding inside of the woman just waiting to break free. The Accursed is directed by American writer / filmmaker Kevin Lewis, director of the films The Method, Andrew Jackson White Elk, Downward Angel, Malibu Spring Break, Dark Heart, The Drop, The Third Nail, and Willy's Wonderland previously. The screenplay is written by Rob Kennedy. This hasn't premiered at any festivals or elsewhere, as far as we know. Screen Media will debut The Accursed in select US theaters + on VOD starting October 14th, 2022.

- Alex Billington
Review: 'Good Night Oppy' is an Uplifting Doc About NASA's Ingenuity
Good Night Oppy Doc Review

The magic of NASA has faded in recent years, no longer the awe-inspiring, astounding, dream-big place that it used to be during the iconic Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle era. But perhaps we're just not seeing inside the walls of NASA anymore, maybe we're just not hearing the stories like we used to? Good Night Oppy is an extraordinary documentary that sets this straight, and puts everything back on course, remind us once again that NASA is still the dream-big, make-it-happen, monumental place that it has always been. Going into this film, I had no idea what I was about to watch. It's about the clunky robot rovers they sent to Mars in 2003. Is that it? Is it just some abstract footage of them on that planet, driving around in Martian silence? Oh yes - it's that and SO much more. This documentary film left me in awe. I was so moved by it, so inspired & invigorated, that I watched it twice within a few days. No notes – this film is pretty much perfect.

This is the most inspirational movie about space travel and space exploration that I have seen in years. Directed by Ryan White, and produced by Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, Amazon Studios, Film 45, and Tripod Media, in association with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Good Night Oppy is a mesmerizing look at the "Mars Exploration Rover" missions of 2003 - sending the robots dubbed "Spirit" and "Opportunity" to Mars. ILM is involved because half of the film is CGI footage of the two rovers exploring Mars. Not only is it photo-realistic rendering, but it's accurate in every possible sense - the rocks and formations and dust has been rendered precisely in perfect detail. The other half of the film is even better - it tells the story about the many people involved in this project. Various engineers, mission directors, robot drivers, passionate interns, researchers, designers, and "science people" are interviewed - talking about their time working on this, their memories, and how remarkable this whole mission was. It was a dream project envisioned by a geologist who wanted to study the rocks on Mars himself, so they sent a science robot (or two) over to this red planet.

The reason that Good Night Oppy is so extremely watchable is because it's such an entrancing, cinematic documentary that beautifully dips into so many wholesome stories of all the people who worked on making something extraordinary happen. This film flies, man oh man, just like the two rovers jetting over on rockets to Mars (at 24,600 mph). As soon as it starts, you're sucked in, and it moves from one moment to the next so smoothly. The editing is some of the best documentary editing I've encountered this year (edited by Rejh Cabrera & Helen Kearns), never wasting time with boring cutaways or interviews that go too long. It's an emotional and inspiring look inside NASA that proves they're still doing amazing things and right in the middle of the story - oh right, here are some of the people doing all these amazing things. I was enjoying the story of the rovers, but it gets even better when these people tell their own stories of how they got into NASA and why they're so in love with space exploration. NASA is also beautifully, naturally diverse - these people come from all different walks of life all over the world & they all have one thing in common: they love space.

I'm so glad I had a chance to watch this before even knowing what it was really about. As soon as it was over, my first thought was - I could watch this again right now. So I did (a few days later) and it was as inspiring and moving as the first time around. Such a breath of fresh air to watch this and oh yes, HERE is a superb documentary that just flows - like the water on Mars used to many years ago. I will be recommending this to everyone - anyone can watch it and anyone can be inspired by this story. It may even change some lives if the right person watches it at the right age. It is a rejuvenating reminder humans are still doing incredible things at NASA, even if we always don't know it, they're working hard to make the next amazing discovery. We should all take this passion to heart, and recognize that we can achieve anything we want - no matter how impossible it seems. The right minds, with the right attitude, can take us farther than we've ever been.

Alex's TIFF 2022 Rating: 10 out of 10
Follow Alex on Twitter - @firstshowing / Or Letterboxd - @firstshowing

- Alex Billington
Official Trailer for 'The Sound of 007' Doc About Iconic Bond Themes
The Sound of 007 Trailer

"Nobody does it better…" Amazon has revealed an official trailer for a Bond Day offering coming to Prime Video in October titled The Sound of 007. Bond Day is October 5th - did everyone know this? I'm not sure why they didn't call this The Music of 007 instead, because my first thought is this is a behind-the-scenes look at the sound design of the movies? Nope. The Sound of 007 is a feature-length doc film (88 minutes) telling the remarkable history of six decades of James Bond music, going behind the lens into one of the greatest movie franchise and the iconic 007 theme song. Mixing heartfelt interviews with incredible James Bond archive material, telling the story of the composers behind the Bond themes, as well as the iconic Bond Songs. Featuring tons of interviews, including with Hans Zimmer who gushes in this trailer about Bond's legacy. Amazon seems to be readying a number of surprises for Bond Day, with this doc as the centerpiece.

Here's the main official trailer (+ others) for Prime Video's doc The Sound of 007, direct from YouTube:

The Sound of 007 Doc

The Sound of 007 Doc

"It's not the melody, it's an attitude… That became the Bond style." –Composer John Barry. The Sound of 007 pulls back the curtain on the remarkable history of six decades of James Bond music, taking viewers on a journey from Sean Connery's Dr No through to Daniel Craig's final outing in No Time to Die. From Ventureland and EON Productions, The Untold Story of 007, charts the incredible history of the music, enthralling true tales behind the tunes and famous faces who have recorded some of the most beloved soundtracks in cinema. The Sound of 007 is directed by British filmmaker Mat Whitecross, director of the docs The Shock Doctrine, Moving to Mars, Oasis: Supersonic, Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams previously, as well as many music videos. Produced by John Battsek. Executive produced by Ali Brown, Kerstin Emhoff, Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Stephanie Wenborn. Amazon debuts this Bond doc (+ other offerings) streaming on Prime Video starting October 5th, 2022, for "Bond Day", this fall. Who wants to watch this?

- Alex Billington
Another Fun Japanese Trailer for Shinkai's 'Suzume no Tojimari' Film
Suzume no Tojimari Trailer

"I'm afraid of a world where Souta doesn't exist!" Japan's Toho has revealed a second official trailer for Suzume no Tojimari, the latest from acclaimed animation filmmaker Makoto Shinkai (of Your Name and Weathering with You). We've featured two other Japanese trailers previously - the most recent one here during the summer. It's an action adventure road story about a girl named Suzume, starring Nanoka Hara as her voice. 17-year-old Suzume's journey begins in a quiet town in Kyushu when she encounters a young man who tells her, "I'm looking for a door." Soon, doors begin to open across Japan, bringing destruction upon any who are near them. Suzume must close these portals to prevent further disaster. This new anime adventure features character design by Masayoshi Tanaka, art direction by Takumi Tanji, animation by Kenichi Tsuchiya. It will be released under the title just Suzume internationally, from Crunchyroll / Sony Pictures / Wild Bunch. No release dates have been set - expected in the US sometime in 2023. But still - this looks amazing!! Wait - this guy turns into a chair?! Oh my goodness, this is going to be so much fun.

Here's the second Japanese trailer (+ poster) for Makoto Shinkai's Suzume no Tojimari, from YouTube:

Turn on English subtitles by clicking the [cc] button and setting the language to "English" in settings.

Suzume no Tojimari Poster

You can rewatch the first official trailer for Shinkai's Suzume no Tojimari here, or the early teaser again.

Suzume, a 17-year-old girl living in a quiet town in Kyushu meets a young man on the road who says, "I'm looking for a door." Suzume follows him and finds a door in an abandoned building in the mountains. It was as if it was the only place left standing after the collapse. An old, worn-out door. As if drawn by something, Suzume reaches for the door… Soon, doors begin to open one after another all over Japan. But, as misfortune will come from the other side of the door. The door that opens must be closed, they say. "The stars, the setting sun, and the morning sky. The place where I wandered into… There was a sky where all time seemed to melt together." Led by the mysterious door, Suzume's "journey of closing the door" begins. Suzume no Tojimari or すずめの戸締まり, roughly translated as Suzume's Door Closing, is both written and directed by acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai, of the films The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Centimeters Per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words, Your Name, and Weathering with You previously previously. This new film is set to open first in Japan starting November 11th, 2022 this fall. No US date has been set - stay tuned. Visit the film's official website. Still looks good?

- Alex Billington
Ethan Hawke & Ewan McGregor in Dramedy 'Raymond & Ray' Trailer
Raymond & Ray Trailer

"We come from chaos… Our father was a monster." Apple TV has unveiled a trailer for Raymond & Ray, best known as the film where Ethan Hawke & Ewan McGregor star as half-brothers. This just premiered at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival a few weeks ago, and will be out for streaming on Apple TV+ in October. It's another collaboration between Colombian filmmaker Rodrigo García and actor Ewan McGregor - they previously made the film Last Days in the Desert together in 2015. Half brothers Raymond and Ray reunite when their estranged father dies—and discover that his final wish was for them to dig his grave. Together, they process who they’ve become as men, both because of their father and in spite of him. The cast includes Maribel Verdú and Sophie Okonedo. It's also produced by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. This definitely looks like a festival film, digging deep into buried emotions and family and letting go. Take a look.

Here's the first official trailer (+ poster) for Rodrigo García's Raymond & Ray, direct from YouTube:

Raymond & Ray Poster

Raymond & Ray follows half-brothers Raymond and Ray (Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke) who have lived in the shadow of a terrible father. Somehow, they still each have a sense of humor, and his funeral is a chance for them to reinvent themselves. There's anger, there’s pain, there’s folly, there might be love, and there’s definitely gravedigging. Raymond & Ray is both written and directed by the acclaimed Colombian filmmaker Rodrigo García, director of the movies Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, Ten Tiny Love Stories, Nine Lives, Passengers, Mother and Child, Albert Nobbs, Last Days in the Desert, and Four Good Days previously. Produced by Alfonso Cuarón, Bonnie Curtis, and Julie Lynn. This just premiered at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival this month, and is also playing at the Chicago Film Festival. Apple will debut García's Raymond & Ray streaming on Apple TV+ starting October 21st, 2022 this fall. Look any good?

- Alex Billington
Official Trailer for 'Descendant' Doc About Descendants of the Clotilda
Descendant Trailer

"I think the book of secrets is gonna be opened." Netflix has revealed the official trailer for an acclaimed documentary film titled Descendant, from director Margaret Brown. This premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, where it won a Special Jury Prize. It played at numerous other film festivals including SXSW, CPH:DOX and is also showing at the New York Film Festival coming up. Descendant tells the story of the Clotilda - the last known ship to smuggle stolen Africans to America - the unthinkable cover-up, and the huge impact of that crime on generations of descendants living in Africatown. Once the past is revealed, can the future be reclaimed? The film meets with and follows descendants of the survivors from the Clotilda as they reclaim their story and attempt to find the ship to prove the truth about what really happened to their ancestors. It's a remarkable film, and has earned great reviews out of the festivals so far.

Here's the official trailer (+ poster) for Margaret Brown's doc Descendant, direct from Netflix's YouTube:

Descendant Poster

Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of "The Clotilda" – the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today. Descendant is directed by award-winning American doc filmmaker Margaret Brown, director of the doc films Be Here to Love Me, The Order of Myths, and The Great Invisible previously, plus many other projects. Produced by Margaret Brown, Kyle Martin & Essie Chambers. This initially premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and it also played at SXSW and CPH:DOX. Netflix will debut Brown's Descendant streaming on Netflix starting October 21st, 2022 this fall. Who's interested?

- Alex Billington
Full Trailer for 'Bones and All' with Timothée Chalamet & Taylor Russell
Bones and All Trailer

"Sanctify, sanctify." MGM has revealed the main official trailer for Luca Guadagnino's new horror love story Bones and All, arriving in theaters this November. The film premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, where it won Best Director & Best Young Actor, and it also played at the Telluride Film Festival recently. Adapted from the book by Camille DeAngelis, the film is about a relationship that begins between Maren and Lee, two youngsters "surviving on the margins of society." The story is also about cannibals on the run, trying to contain themselves and not get into more trouble. Bones and All is "a very romantic story, about the impossibility of love and yet, the need for it. Even in extreme circumstances." The score is composed by Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell co-star, with Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark Rylance, Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Harper, David Gordon Green, André Holland, Jake Horowitz, Francesca Scorsese, & Anna Cobb. This is a great trailer that clearly points out - this is horror! But there is a sensitive, soft side to it about these two young lovers. Check it out below.

Here's the main official trailer (+ poster) for Luca Guadagnino's Bones and All, from MGM's YouTube:

Bones and All Film

You can rewatch the first short teaser for Guadagnino's Bones and All here, to view the first look again.

A story of first love between a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society and an intense and disenfranchised drifter, as they meet and join together for a thousand-mile odyssey that takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan's America. But despite their best efforts, all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts and to a final stand that will determine whether their love can survive their otherness. Bones and All is directed by acclaimed Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, director of the films The Protagonists, Melissa P, I Am Love, A Bigger Splash, Call Me By Your Name, and Suspiria previously. The screenplay is written by David Kajganich (The Invasion, Blood Creek, True Story, A Bigger Splash, Suspiria); adapted from Camille DeAngelis' novel of the same name. Produced by Luca Guadagnino, David Kajganich, Francesco Melzi d'Eril, Lorenzo Mieli, Marco Morabito, Gabriele Moratti, Lisa Muskat, Theresa Park, Peter Spears. This just premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival earlier this month. United Artists & MGM will be releasing Guadagnino's Bones and All in select US theaters starting on November 23rd, 2022 (during Thanksgiving week) this fall. Who wants to see this?

- Alex Billington
New 10th Anniversary Trailer for Laika's Horror Classic 'ParaNorman'
ParaNorman Poster

"The curse is real!!" Laika has revealed a new trailer and poster for the film ParaNorman, their classic stop-motion animated horror comedy that first opened in 2012. This delightful, kooky film is beloved by horror fans of all ages and is getting a re-release in theaters (!!) this October. Glad it's coming back!! A boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. The excellent voice cast features Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, and John Goodman. "Celebrate the 10th anniversary of ParaNorman this fall with an array of theatrical events, promotional activities, fan-favorite engagements. Newly remastered in glorious 4K with Dolby Atmos sound, LAIKA's supernatural action-comedy is rising back to theaters." Halloween weekend screenings through Alamo Drafthouse in the U.S. and in partnership with PictureHouse and Cineworld in the UK. Don't miss this chance to enjoy ParaNorman on the big screen (again)!! Have fun.

Here's the new 10th anniversary re-release trailer (+ poster) for Laika's ParaNorman, from YouTube:

ParaNorman Poster

Norman, a boy who's able to speak with the dead, has to take on zombies, ghosts, witches and, worst of all, grown-ups, to save his small town from a centuries-old curse. The film's voice cast features Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin and John Goodman. Laika's ParaNorman is co-directed by Sam Fell (director on The Tale of Despereaux and Flushed Away) & Chris Butler (storyboard on Coraline and Corpse Bride). The original screenplay is by Chris Butler. Stop-motion animation studio Laika created the film at their location in Portland, OR. The film originally opened (in 3D) back in 2012, released in theaters from Focus Features. Laika will re-release ParaNorman in select US theaters + UK cinemas starting in October. Find tickets + more info right here.

- Alex Billington
Official Trailer for 'Possession' Haunted Horror Thriller from Norway
Possession Trailer

"As we all know, the Lord judges and the Lord punishes." He does?? Samuel Goldwyn Films has revealed an official trailer for an indie horror thriller from Norway titled Possession, arriving in theaters this October. Not to be confused with the iconic Isabelle Adjani & Sam Neill thriller also titled Possession from 1981, this is something else. In this Norwegian film, a priest has been tasked with deciding the location of a new church for the local mining company, which reveals itself to be on top of an old Sami burial ground. After removing the remains, the dead come alive and haunt the settlers. The film stars Jan Sælid, Eva Nergård, and Tarjei Sandvik Moe, among many others. This looks like a very atmospheric, very dark horror film about how religion plays dirty tricks on the minds of men. That seems much scarier than all the hauntings.

Here's the official US trailer (+ poster) for Henrik M. Dahlsbakken's Possession, direct from YouTube:

Possession Poster

While the Spanish flu epidemic is sweeping across the continent, a priest and his son return home to their family in rural Norway from missionary service in Madagascar. The priest has been tasked with deciding the location of a new church for the local mining company, which reveals itself to be on top of an old Sami burial ground. When the priest decides to have the remains dug up and removed, the dead come alive and haunt the settlers. Possession, originally known as Forbannelsen in Norwegian, is both written and directed by Norwegian filmmaker Henrik M. Dahlsbakken, director of the films Returning Home, Late Summer, Cave, Going West, An Affair, Gledelig Jul, Project Z, and The Outlaws previously. The will film is opening in Norway in October, and hasn't played at any film festivals as far as we know. Samuel Goldwyn Films will also debut Possession in select US theaters + on VOD starting October 7th, 2022 this fall. Looking scary?

- Michael Bezanidis

Four new images from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are here, putting the spotlight on four returning characters from the original movie. Entertainment Weekly has released four never-before-seen images from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, giving fans a fresh look at the highly-anticipated Marvel Studios movie. The images feature Angela Bassett As Queen Ramonda, Letitia Wright as Princess Shuri...

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- Michael Bezanidis

Amazon is already teasing the upcoming season one finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power with a stunning new ensemble poster. The latest episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power saw the heroes of the series suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of Adar and his army of orcs and humans, resulting in the creation of Mordor, a key Middle-earth location. With just two more...

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- Michael Bezanidis

Avengers: Secret Wars has found its writer in Michael Waldron, the writer behind two recent Marvel Studios projects. Earlier this year, Marvel Studios hired Rick and Morty scribe Jeff Loveness to write the screenplay for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Now, Deadline has revealed the writer of The Kang Dynasty‘s follow-up Secret Wars, as Michael Waldron, another Rick and Morty veteran...

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- Michael Bezanidis

A new report claims that Zazie Beetz is in talks to return to the role of Domino for Deadpool 3. According to reliable scooper Daniel Richtman, Domino actress Zazie Beetz is in talks to make an appearance in the recently-announced Deadpool 3. Beetz made her debut as Domino in the second Deadpool movie, working as a member of X-Force. ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’ Trailer Release Window...

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- Michael Bezanidis

Barry Keoghan has expressed interest in returning to the role of The Joker following his appearance as the character in The Batman. Earlier this year, The Batman featured the debut of a new take on The Joker, with 29-year-old actor Barry Keoghan taking on the role of the Clown Prince of Crime. Best known for his work in the Yorgos Lanthimos-directed The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Chloé Zhao’s...

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- Michael Bezanidis

Marvel has dropped a brand new trailer and poster for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, revealing that tickets for the movie are now on sale. With just over a month to go until Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters, Marvel has released the second trailer for the Ryan Coogler-directed movie, showing off a bunch of never-before-seen footage and announcing that tickets for it are finally on sale.

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- Noah Villaverde

Harry Potter actors Alfred Enoch and Bonnie Wright will lend their voices to an audiobook of Alan Rickman’s diaries. Alan Rickman, an acclaimed character actor notable for his roles in films such as Die Hard and the Harry Potter film franchise passed away in 2016. Six years after his passing, a book featuring his own personal diary entries is being published. Titled Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of...

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- Noah Villaverde

This Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania producer teases the release window for the film’s first trailer. Marvel Studios is set to wrap up Phase 4 this Autumn with the releases of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters as well as Werewolf By Night and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney Plus. In 2023, Phase 5 will begin, and the first major film to be released will be Ant-Man...

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- Noah Villaverde

The cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever visited Chadwick Boseman’s final resting place before they began production on the film. In August 2020, Chadwick Boseman passed away at 43 due to complications from colon cancer, which he was diagnosed with at Stage 3 in 2016. He kept his illness secret from the public, with only close associates aware of that fact. In a statement released by his team on...

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- Noah Villaverde

Production on the upcoming Blade reboot starring Mahershala Ali has reportedly been delayed to 2023. Marvel Studios’ upcoming Blade reboot starring Mahershala Ali dealt with a setback last week when it was announced that director Bassam Tariq departed the project, leaving the film without a director at the helm. The search for a new director is currently underway, while X-Men ’97 head writer Beau...

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Vikram Vedha 2022 is a remake of a Tamil movie created by the same and directed in 2017. But this remake is different from other Bollywood movies this movie doesn’t get that kind of bad review because of the storyline and the actors. This movie is now the hot favourite at the box office because …

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There are benefits and drawbacks to living abroad or frequently traveling for work or pleasure. Do you want to watch your usual program? Or maybe you have a plan to keep up with the games you’ve come to love? Or perhaps you’re feeling a little sad and depressed, and a good broadcast from your home …

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Chup is a thriller movie featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Sunny Deol & Dulquer Salmaan. One of the most exciting thriller films of Bollywood this year, directed by R. Balki. But the movie’s story is the most strong part of the movie you should definitely go to the cinemas to watch this latest thriller. Release Date: September 23, …

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We all have our favorite movies. The ones that we can watch over and over again and never get tired of them. The ones that make us laugh, cry, think, or simply entertain us. While there are countless great films out there, there are a select few that stand out above the rest as truly …

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Laal Singh Chaddha is the remake of the 1994 Forrest Gump. Laal Singh Chaddha was created with a budget of 180 Crore. But it has started the first-day box office with an 11-crore haul. But can this movie recover and boost the 1st-week box office? Release Date: Sept 9, 2022 Genres: Adventure, Fantasy Watchmoviesonline.in Rating: …

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Laal Singh Chaddha is the remake of the 1994 Forrest Gump. Laal Singh Chaddha was created with a budget of 180 Crore. But it has started the first-day box office with an 11-crore haul. But can this movie recover and boost the 1st-week box office? Release Date: August 11, 2022 Genres: Romance, Comedy, Drama, War, Children’s …

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The Gray Man is the biggest budget Netflix film that features Ryan Gosling, and Chris Evans. The movie is full of action more than 200 million USD was spent to make these masterpieces. Also, Dhanush has made his debut in Hollywood. but in the first week, the movie was unable to make an impact let’s hope …

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Shamshera is another unique film from Ranbir Kapoor featuring Sanjay Dutt, and Vaani Kapoor directed by Karan Malhotra. Is now in cinemas, but the question is why this movie got so many negative reviews from the critics. Though it has negative reviews it’s collecting a great amount of box office. Release Date: July 22, 2022 …

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HIT The First Case is a crime thriller film directed by Sailesh Kolanu. It’s a remake of the Telugu film Hit 2020 featuring Rajkumar Rao & Sanya Malhotra. The movie is doing great in the 1st week, Rajkumar Rao has played a great role as a police officer. The film is full of thrill and …

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Shabaash Mithu is a biography based on a real-life story featuring Taapsee Pannu, Vijay Raaz, and Brijendra Kala. A story of the Indian cricket team and how much crisis they have faced as a women cricketer. Taapsee Pannu is now in cinemas it can collect a huge amount of box office in India. Release Date: …

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- Christian Toto
Lenny Bruce Impersonator Misses Whole Point of Lenny Bruce

Director Ted Balaker once told this site Lenny Bruce wouldn’t be allowed on college campuses today.

And the director of “Can We Take a Joke? is right.

Bruce never held back. As a result, he found himself repeatedly jailed, hounded by cops monitoring his every quip and dead at 40 from an overdose.

The comedian’s no holds barred shtick, tackling sacred cows with humor and insight, made him a legend. Every political comedian owes a debt to Bruce.

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Except that kind of brutal honesty is no longer allowed on college campuses. Just ask Nimesh Patel, an Indian-American comic whose Columbia University show ended abruptly after he told a joke the show’s organizers didn’t like.

Or Jerry Seinfeld, who famously won’t go near a college gig because today’s students cry “racism! sexism! etc.” over the tamest bits.

Ronnie Marmo, the actor who portrays Bruce in a one-man showcase, should know better than most performers why Bruce mattered and how conservatives are defending free speech rights in the modern era.

Except he appears 0-2 on both counts.

RELATED: WHY ‘LENNY’ IS ESSENTIAL VIEWING IN OUR CANCEL CULTURE AGE

Marmo spoke to the liberal New York Daily News about his show, “I’m Not a Comedian … I’m Lenny Bruce.” The long-running performance, returning to the East Coast this month, is directed by veteran actor Joe Mantegna.

The show will be a little different this time around, though. A portion in which Marmo, in character, uses the N-word is now gone. Bruce wouldn’t use that word now, the actor claims.

Marmo added that he isn’t afraid of Cancel Culture or liberal attacks on the show, even though progressives would swiftly rally against “I’m Lenny Bruce” if he uttered the word on stage.

“I realized there’s a balance between being an artist and telling the truth, and not being tone-deaf to the world I’m living in.”

Bruce’s whole career disagrees with that sentiment, and the actor who brings him to life should know that. If Bruce risked jail for telling the bits he wanted to tell, surely he’d stand up to Cancel Culture types eager to restrain his art.

It gets worse.

Marmo says he wants to introduce Bruce’s legacy to young liberals. Using the n-word, he alleges, would attract more racists to the show than his preferred demographic.

Because, as everyone knows, racists will line up to see any show that uses the n-word once. Happens all the time. Then they leave, en masse, goose stepping toward the lobby in their red MAGA hats.

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Marmo then turns his back on the group currently protecting Bruce’s free speech legacy.

Conservatives.

“The people on the right who are screaming ‘Screw you! First amendment! Free speech! I’ll say what I want’… those people think I’m doing the show for them … Lenny is rolling over in his grave.”

Marmo says he interrupted his own show once when he felt parts of the crowd were laughing at Bruce’s crude material for the wrong reasons.

“I stopped the bit and said, ‘Stop laughing.’”

Imagine a performer lecture the crowd not to laugh at his or her show, one based on a comedy legend. You don’t have to imagine it, apparently.

If Bruce is rolling in his grave, it’s not for the reasons Marmo suggests.

Here, comic Eddie Izzard explains why Bruce matters both then and now.

“He died for us to give us the freedom of speech …” Izzard says. Someone should tell Marmo before his next performance.

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- Christian Toto
‘Come On, Man’s’ Joe Concha on ‘SNL,’ Late Night Lectures

Joe Concha and Rob Schneider have something in common.

No, the popular media pundit didn’t star on “Saturday Night Live” like Schneider, but they both recoiled in horror when the NBC sketch series jumped the shark.

The moment?

“SNL” star Kate McKinnon mourning Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. No jokes. No satirical asides. Just an iconic show abandoning its core principles to praise Donald Trump’s opponent.

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“I literally remember saying this, ‘what the [bleep] did I just watch? Where’s the punchline?” says Concha, who leaned on those memories while writing his new book.

Come on, Man! The Truth About Joe Biden’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Presidency” does more than skewer the 46th Commander in Chief. Concha, a regular presence on Fox News and TheHill.com, slams pop culture for propping up the elderly leader.

The right-leaning Concha started the book eager to make the case that Biden’s first two years were “terrible, horrible.” He sent along the final draft further convinced of his theory.

A leader framed as a moderate poured gasoline on the cultural fires, early and often.

“We were sold otherwise,” says Concha, similarly aghast at raging inflation rates, a sieve-like border and cashless bail policies spiking crime rates nationwide. The man tasked with uniting the country called half the nation “semi-fascist,” “like the Diet Coke of fascism,” Concha cracks.

“Less than a month ago in these pages I warned that President Joe Biden’s dangerous rhetoric, calling American citizens semi-fascists, and MAGA extremists was very likely to lead to political violence. And here we are.” https://t.co/29tPyU8PsL

— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) September 27, 2022

The news media has done all it can to distract Americans from Biden’s radicalism and wobbly mental state. So, too, have comedians eager to keep taunting Trump no matter what Biden does or says.

Like calling for a deceased Congresswoman at an event near and dear to her heart.

The late night comedians of yore, Concha says, would have feasted on the gargantuan gaffe. Instead, outgoing host Trevor Noah brought it up without the kind of energy he reserves for a GOP miscue. Noah’s competitors couldn’t be bothered to pounce, or seize, on it.

“Late night hosts have become activists serving at the pleasure of their party,” he says, one reason Fox News’ “Gutfeld!” is leading the pack with “one-tenth the resources.”

“He’s found his niche audience … half the country,” he adds.

Concha pines for a time when late night comics would tease and torment world leaders but still share a laugh with them when the cameras went dark. It’s how “SNL” legend Dana Carvey treated the gig, mocking President George H. W. Bush on screen and, later, joking with him at the White House.

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Compare that, Concha says, to Alec Baldwin’s “mean-spirited” take on Trump for five relentness years.

Today, the late night landscape brims with lectures over laughs.

“I can’t tell the difference between [Jimmy] Kimmel and [Stephen] Colbert,” he says.

Comedy in general is under attack, both from progressive scolds and a woke mindset that considers Identity Politics the prime directive. ‘

“You will never see the show ‘Friends,’ or anything like it, ever again. Six straight white people? There would literally be boycotts,” he says. “‘Seinfeld,’ the greatest comedy of all time, didn’t have a lot of minority characters. No one talked about it at the time.”

Concha wouldn’t be at home on MSNBC or “The Young Turks,” but he bristles at being dismissed as a conservative pundit. He’d rather be known as the sole member of the Pragmatic Party.

“Don’t spend what you don’t have … is that conservative? I think it’s common sense,” he says. “Do I want more police on the street? Yeah, it’s not a conservative position. I’m just a dad and a husband.”

The Biden administration is encouraging people to break the rules, he says, pointing to the porous U.S.-Mexico border as one stark example.

“My wife’s a doctor. Her hospital is overrun, and half the time [patients] don’t have ID on them. It’s not ‘conservative’ [to object],” he says. “It’s just common sense things I want to be fixed.”

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- Christian Toto
‘Bros’ Bombs at Box Office

LGBTQ+ romances are commonplace on screens large and small.

The indie film world teems with gay and lesbian love stories, as does the streaming landscape.

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Bros” is still a different kind of movie for Hollywood. And, based on the initial reception, mainstream audiences aren’t eager to see a rom-com aimed directly at the LGBTQ+ community.

“Bros,” a smart, sophisticated love story starring Billy Eichner, bombed at the box office. The film will earn roughly $4.75 million on more than 3,000 screens for its opening weekend, according to the far-Left Deadline.com.

That puts the film in fourth place behind “Smile,” “Don’t Worry Darling” and “The Women King” – the latter two in their second and third weeks of release, respectively. “Bros” under-performed in the black community (just 6 percent of the total audience) and in the heartland, according to Deadline.

“Bros” boasted plenty of advantages over most rom-coms.

The film’s director, Nicholas Stoller, is well-versed in comedic work (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Neighbors”). Co-producer Judd Apatow previously delivered hits like “Knocked Up,” “The Big Sick” and “Trainwreck.”

Eichner, who stars in the film and co-wrote the script, lassoed some of Hollywood’s biggest names to help promote the film, including Jack Black and Paul Rudd.

Billy Eichner has returned to the streets, this time with actor Jack Black, to promote his upcoming romantic comedy “Bros,” out in theaters Sept. 30. https://t.co/3CxxLC9nEa

— TheWrap (@TheWrap) September 26, 2022

Plus, “Bros” is smart, sophisticated and brimming with rom-com essentials – colorful supporting players, a strong resolution and credible second act conflicts.

The media gave the film plenty of attention, routinely mentioning its historic nature.

It still delivered horrible numbers for a mainstream release.

Why?

The film’s content may be partly to blame. Most rom-coms don’t deliver hardcore sex scenes, something “Bros” does repeatedly. Eichner’s social media presence is combative, to say the least. His  hard-Left politics could have chased some viewers away.

WARNING: ADULT LANGUAGE

FYI. pic.twitter.com/KLu0lka9Sl

— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 20, 2019

The film’s subplots may also hurt repeat business. The film takes shots at Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, and gives a brief shout out to progressive darling Stacey Abrams.

It’s also possible audiences are wary of the culture wars and didn’t want their weekend escapism to remind them of our tribal times.

The film features scenes sure to alarm those who decry “grooming” tactics at the grade school level.

Hollywood, for all its progressive virtue signaling, can be unabashedly conservative when it comes to risk mitigation. The failure of “Bros” to draw a crowd won’t go unnoticed in Tinsel Town.

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- Christian Toto
Rice’s ‘Woking Dead’ Hammers Hollywood, Cowardly Comics

Woke isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a cultural revolution that impacts nearly every element of modern life.

A.J. Rice, CEO of Publius PR and a veteran radio producer, understands the threat woke poses to western culture. Rice’s “The Woking Dead” captures it all, from virtue signaling gone wild to the “mostly peaceful” riots of 2020 which the media and Left excused in unison.

HiT reached out to Rice about the new book, how “Saturday Night Live” lost its way and why he’s hopeful for a woke-free future.

HiT: It’s impossible to discuss woke without mentioning pop culture. Your book shares an important note about the long-running “Jeopardy” program and why it matters. Can you detail why a certain show champ got attacked for all the wrong reasons?

Rice: James Holzhauer went on a tear on “Jeopardy!” In 2019 and won well over $2 million. During his record-setting winning streak, Variety and others attacked him for being too good at the game. Do they attack LeBron for being too good at basketball?

Why James Holzhauer is bad for “Jeopardy!” (Column) https://t.co/VcbBo0Xl8h pic.twitter.com/hWuZJzsWjA

— Variety (@Variety) April 23, 2019

It’s ridiculous.

This was the everyone-gets-a-trophy crowd trying to take trophies away from a guy who earned them, while he was still earning them. This is where woke pop culture has taken us. It celebrates victims and denigrates achievers.

A J Rice Woking Dead authorAuthor A.J. Rice

Look how they treat Trump, who built an empire and provided thousands of jobs before ever entering politics.

HiT: Morrissey is no Sean Hannity, but he’s come under assault from the woke mob in recent years. Why are these attacks noteworthy in the bigger pop culture picture?

Rice: Morrissey is an iconoclast. When he was going after the monarchy, pop culture celebrated him. But when he suggested that England might not want unfettered immigration which could change the character of the country, pop culture tried to cancel him.

The attacks on Morrissey prove that no one is safe from the woke zombie mob.

Whatever you said or did before doesn’t matter. He’s a sexually fluid leftist vegan. He’s a nonconformist in his music and everything else.

#Morrissey‘s alignment with anti-immigration politics and the far-right inspired an all-day protest party: https://t.co/r2aC5ffCzS pic.twitter.com/dSrxsga4WJ

— CONSEQUENCE (@consequence) June 27, 2018

But wokeness cannot abide anyone who figures out that the freedoms we used to take for granted are precious and deserve to be defended. He’s defended them and the zombies went on the attack.

HiT: This site has noted how the woke mob doesn’t try to cancel hit men movies, even though they kill for a living and skip the judicial system entirely. There’s something similar going on with Tony Soprano, no? You’re surprised the woke mob hasn’t whacked him yet…

Rice: Tony Soprano was everything the wokes despise. He was a masculine, straight white man who was tough, fatherly and not afraid to drive a big gas-guzzling SUV. He used guns frequently to make his points. He used the phrase “made men.”

You can’t say that now, so he would need a new phrase. “Made human” maybe? That’s not inclusive of those who identify as animals. It is surprising that wokes haven’t gone after mob movies but I wouldn’t take that for granted. They’ve gone after decades-old movies and gotten warning labels slapped on them.

HiT: Your book savages the new “diversity” rules in the Oscars competition. Why is this manufactured wokeism so detrimental to the creative process, and what impact will it have on awards-season fare?

Rice: The Oscars have literally thrown away achievement for the sake of diversity. Your film won’t even be considered for an award unless it meets very specific racial, which is really racist, criteria for casting and behind-the-scenes staffing. That’s a private entity doing a political force’s bidding and it, by itself, waters down the value of the award.

The best films are not being awarded unless they’re politicall blessed. It’s not about achievement anymore. It’s about politics.

Despite the drama, the ratings for this years Oscars were the second lowest in the event’s history. https://t.co/t8pYjWjjrG

— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) March 30, 2022

We’re already seeing the effect of this. Americans are tuning out the Oscars and all other awards shows. They’re tired of everything getting politicized in one, boring, predictable, woke direction. And they’re tired of being lectured to by people who have no idea what life is really like for most of us. Americans are effectively telling the political Oscars to take their trophies and shove ’em.

HiT: The war on 2019’s “Joker” was … astounding. The press ate up every morsel of pre-release news and gossip, but right before it opened the same media declared war on the film. What changed?

Rice: The media’s reaction to “The Joker” was very telling. The leftist media tried to tie it to the guy who shot up a movie theater a few years ago. But there are a couple of serious problems with that. First, that guy dyed his hair but he never called himself the “Joker.” Media did, to give him a brand, and because he shot up a theater showing a Batman film.

Two, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker had nothing at all to do with that guy. The film is a raw depiction of mental illness. But media including The New Republic, which used to be thoughtful and interesting but is now anti-republic and woke, declared all-out war on “The Joker.”

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It wasn’t the most violent film we’ve ever had, it didn’t have the most gratuitous blood or sex, but because it could somehow be very loosely and dishonestly tied to a tragic event and politicized, media used it and the victims of that event to make some twisted political point.

In the end, they even flirted with banning that film or shunning anyone who saw it, which is very dangerous for free speech and expression. But too many in the media have abandoned that. They only believe in free speech when they’re speaking. The rest of us should just shut up.

HiT: Your book touches on AOC and how comedians won’t even joke about her… at what point does “SNL” and late night TV decide it’s time to mock both parties again, or has that balanced ship sailed?The Woking Dead_book cover

Rice: AOC sounds like a precocious tween who read a couple of articles in Teen Vogue and thinks she’s smart now. She’s not very bright, she’s wholly manufactured, poorly educated, and offers nothing at all in the way of interesting or original thought. She knows nothing about how the real world works.

This is a woman who was amazed by the garbage disposal in her apartment. She provides an endless vein of comedy for anyone brave enough to make jokes about her.

And I say brave enough not because she’s smart enough to hit back, but because if you joke about AOC, the woke media will come down on you fast and accuse you of racism, misogyny, all the usual phobias, everything.

She’s untouchable despite being a famous moron.

As for “SNL,” they won’t touch anything left of center anymore, which makes them boring. Just this week Kamala Harris went on a hilarious riff about the Webb Telescope with US military at the Korean DMZ, before she accidentally declared a US alliance with North Korea.

KAMALA HARRIS: “The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea.” pic.twitter.com/H2dI5UYOlo

— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 29, 2022

That’s very disturbing but it’s also very funny. Will “SNL” joke about it? Kimmel? No, because they’re leftist cowards.

HiT: The vast majority of stars do as they are told. They don’t fight back or question the woke mindset. Those that do, like Gina Carano, are swiftly punished for their thoughts. Do you see any light at the end of this tunnel? Or will the fight against woke have to come from outside the Hollywood ecosystem?

Rice: There seems to be an unwritten but strongly enforced rule in entertainment and Hollywood that if you want to succeed you will be a hard-core leftist.

Jennifer Lawrence didn’t sound like a leftist when she first hit it big, she talked about family and normal life in Kentucky.

Taylor Swift got badgered about politics by the media because she didn’t want to talk about politics early in her career. She just wanted to shut up and sing. Now both are out front as leftists. Did they bow to pressure? It sure looks like it. They sound like cartoon leftists spouting talking points they may not even really understand. Long-term this is unhealthy for creativity and freedom.

Diversity is our strength, the left says, but they only mean skin color, not diverse or new ideas. That’s blatantly and openly racist, but they don’t care and no one calls them out on it.

Hollywood is probably irredeemably woke now. The fight for real freedom is coming from outside Hollywood’s house, not inside, but there are some signs of hope. Gina Carano has a deal with Daily Wire to make movies. Some of her “Star Wars” co-stars want her back, and Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have defended her and others who step outside Hollywood’s box, such as Chris Pratt.

Americans will have to decide how much woke we’ll put up with. It doesn’t produce interesting or funny entertainment and never will. Will we fork over our hard-earned dollars to see our country, our faith, our families, our way of life relentlessly denigrated? We have for a long time but we won’t forever.

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- Christian Toto
Hollywood Legend Walter Hill: Woke ‘Is Death to the Arts’

Walter Hill doesn’t get the cultural respect he deserves.

Directors like George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are household names, and rightly so.

Hill’s legacy doesn’t burn as brightly, but it comes close. Here’s a partial list of projects he either wrote, directed or produced. Any Hollywood dweller would kill to have this resume:

Alien Aliens The Warriors Southern Comfort Hard Times Streets of Fire The Long Riders 48 Hours Deadwood

Hill is back this month with “Dead for a Dollar,” a solid western starring Christoph Waltz, Rachel Brosnahan and Willem Dafoe. Waltz plays a bounty hunter torn between completing an assignment and realizing his benefactor may be a very rotten soul.

The filmmaker is making the press rounds to support the film, an indie western facing stiff winds at the box office. He opened up to Moviemaker Magazine about the film, working with Dafoe again after all these years and, near the end, his thoughts on the new woke environment.

Hill clearly had something he had to share on the subject.

RELATED: YOUTUBE STARS CREATE CONTENT WITHOUT WOKE LECTURES

The filmmaker described how he refused to make “Dollar” woke in the conventional sense. The story in question features a woman in an adulterous relationship with a black army deserter. It’s one of several subplots that could be “re-imagined” for modern sensibilities.

“I thought that I would anchor the issues of race and feminine possession in a man’s world within the period of that time, and not have a 2022 debate. I wanted an 1897 debate,” says Hill. “I think that’s only fair to the audience and the characters.”

Hill also weighed in on his last directorial effort, “The Assignment.”

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The film followed a hit man who is transformed into a woman by a vengeful surgeon. Critics savaged the film, suggesting he mishandled the story’s trans themes.

What was unfortunate is there’s nothing in the movie that violates trans theory, and it reinforces trans theory. That is to say, what you are inside your head is what you are. But I did not completely understand it was too soon to deal with trans stories in a comic-book style film. We’re still in the phase where it is perceived that it must be treated as hallowed ground. I miscalculated. The woke environment is still very pervasive.

The Moviemaker conversations wraps, but Hill refused to let it end without this chilling note on current cultural trends.

But look, you’re giving me a chance to say this: this woke environment, politically correct environment, is a terrible thing. And it hurts. It is death to the arts and it’s death to creativity. There’s no question that there were injustices in the past. Nobody is arguing that point. But how you redress it is how you treat the future.

Hill is part of the old Hollywood guard. Others in his age group, including John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, recoil over cultural trends in the arts.

Hollywood’s younger generation, even established movie stars, either ignore the issue or support the new woke revolution.

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- Christian Toto
The ‘Gutfeld!’ Effect? Low-rated Trevor Noah Retires from ‘Daily Show’

Did he jump or was he pushed?

Trevor Noah’s reign on “The Daily Show” is coming to an end. The far-left comic made the announcement on Thursday’s Comedy Central show.

His work is done. After reducing the ‘Daily Show’ audience by about 75 percent, Trevor Noah is moving on. From @DailyMail https://t.co/EVymAsJUgf

— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 30, 2022

The media is treating the news with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal family transition. He changed television! He brought the show into the social media age!

Left unsaid? He oversaw the show’s dramatic ratings collapse!

Late Night TV Rankings Sep 19-25

1⃣@GutfeldFox! @GregGutfeld
2⃣@StephenAtHome
3⃣@JimmyKimmel
4⃣@JimmyFallon
5⃣@SRuhle
6⃣@FoxNewsNight @GillianHTurner @MikeEmanuelFox @KevinCorke
7⃣@BillMaher
8⃣@Nightline
9⃣@SethMeyers
🔟@JKCorden
#11 @DonLemon
#12 @IamJohnOliver
#13 @TrevorNoah pic.twitter.com/jEZL1hKsPy

— RoadMN 📈 (@RoadMN) September 27, 2022

Noah won’t be missed, if only because his voice is already reflected in the remaining hard-left shows. If Noah isn’t around to mock President Donald Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis or any other GOP politician, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, John Oliver and Jimmy Kimmel will pick up the slack.

And Jimmy Fallon, whose “Tonight Show” now routinely ranks fourth in the late night landscape, will scrounge for their liberal scraps.

The late night landscape is changing. We recently watched as TBS cut ties with Samantha Bee, and James Corden previously announced he’s leaving the world of “Late Late” TV behind.

Iit’s hard to deny a key reason for these industry changes.

Greg Gutfeld.

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The Fox News superstar entered the late night fray April 2021 and is now the highest rated show in that space. Gutfeld’s audience dwarfs Noah’s TV flock, and The Daily Mail may be the only mainstream outlet to highlight Noah’s calamitous ratings.

Where does Noah go next? It hardly matters.

What’s clear is that late night is undergoing a transformation. Any platform eager to stay in the late night game will be forced to bring more diverse hosts to the table following the loss of Noah, Bee and Showtime’s “Desus & Mero.”

That diversity won’t be ideological in nature, meaning it won’t matter in a significant way.

RELATED: LIBERAL LATE NIGHT HOSTS HURT AMERICA. HERE’S WHY 

Noah’s legacy is insignificant compared to his predecessor. Jon Stewart helped established Comedy Central’s faux news template, bringing a left-leaning bias to small screens nationwide. Stewart’s skill set lapped Noah’s, no doubt, and the “Irresistible” director launched the careers of Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Stephen Colbert and more.

Noah grew into the gig, but he never mastered that sense of outrage that Stewart brought to the goofiest headlines.

The outgoing “Daily Show” host occasionally broke from the liberal pack, like when he mentioned President Joe Biden’s monumental gaffe earlier this week in which he asked for a dead person to speak up at a public event.

Those moments were rare over his seven-year run.

Noah also felt badly for Jussie Smollett, whose hate crime hoax paralyzed Chicago police and inflamed ideological tensions nationwide.

He copied his liberal peers in conducting fawning chats with Democrats like Vice President Kamala Harris, more yawn-inducing TV that served no one save the progressive moment.

Stewart is destroying his cultural legacy by going woke, courtesy of “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Apple TV+. Noah leaves the stage with very little legacy to protect.

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- Christian Toto
Dear ‘SNL’ – Why Not Copy These Subversive Sketches?

“Saturday Night Live” returns this weekend, and we all know what to expect.

Gags targeting President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fox News or a combination of all four targets. Dr. Oz and Ben Shapiro might be in for a skewering, too.

Who won’t get a satirical close-up?

KAMALA HARRIS: “The United States shares a very important relationship, which is an alliance with the Republic of North Korea.” pic.twitter.com/H2dI5UYOlo

— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 29, 2022

A show once renowned for its “take no prisoners” stance is now an off-shoot of the Democratic party. It’s undeniable. Even show founder Lorne Michaels couldn’t say otherwise in an interview with fellow progressives at The New York Times.

How can the status quo change? Perhaps the show’s writing team can hit pause on the latest “Pod Save America” episode and watch the following clips.

They may lack broadcast TV budgets and A-list stars. They still deliver the satirical laughs from a source “SNL” no longer recognizes. Let’s call it Red State USA, or the half of the country NBC series no longer cares about.

Jeff Dunham’s “Fireside Shats”

“SNL” mostly ignores President Joe Biden. Only one Biden sketch last season proved potent, but the show failed to follow-up on the fear his mental health is compromised. The Commander in Chief’s latest gaffe made even the corrupt news media take note of his well being.

Tucker Carlson on Karine Jean Pierre saying it’s not “all that unusual” for Joe Biden to forget that Rep. Jackie Walorski is dead:

“What is unusual is to have a completely senile President, and it’s a problem.”

pic.twitter.com/aZTMslxcDJ

— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 29, 2022

Leave it to Dunham, the most influential ventriloquist in comedy, to tell the Biden jokes “SNL” won’t. His occasional “Fireside Shats” series takes shot after shot at the president without seeming overtly cruel.

That’s not an easy feat given Biden’s ugly, divisive rhetoric.

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Tyler Fischer

The “Terror on the Prairie” star does a mean Biden impression as well as his presidential predecessor. Fischer also happily scolds progressive targets on his video channel. This comic takedown of NPR’s Identity Politics obsession is both first-rate and hysterical.

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The Babylon Bee

The best fake news site on earth (apologies, CNN!) now delivers first-rate video sketches. This clip, mocking Gen Z types who sign student loan papers they can’t afford, is just one of many defying the narratives “SNL” adores.

That doesn’t mean it’s not funny or politically on-target.

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“That Show Tonight”

This subversive showcase wouldn’t exist if “SNL” hadn’t gone far Left in recent years. Michael Loftus’ brainchild tells right-leaning jokes in between giddy sketches and live performances. This short but provocative sketch sends plenty of information our way.

Friends may fight on Facebook over their political differences, but can either side say they prefer the “new” teacher from this sketch?

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FreedomToons

This scrappy YouTube Channel uses simple, effective animation to make its satirical points. The clips are short and pithy, and they take creative chances in both the presentation and choice of political targets.

This clip takes a swipe at President Trump while torching the Left’s unchecked hypocrisy on illegal immigration.

YouTube Video

Ryan Long

The Canadian comic should be the first name Michaels thinks of when considering new Not Ready for Prime Time Players. Long has extensive experience in both stand-up comedy and sketch production, and his singular style draws steady traffic on social media.

This may be his finest hour, a clip with 7 million views that’s as pointed today as when it first aired two years ago.

YouTube Video

This Long sketch is more politically charged, and it’s one that could be expanded to smite both parties.

YouTube Video

JP Sears

This tireless YouTube creator leans on cheap wigs to make serious points about politics, culture and free speech.

Here, he makes some brutal comparisons between the 1950s Blacklist era and modern Hollywood. It isn’t flattering, but it’s pretty funny.

YouTube Video

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- Christian Toto
‘Bros’ Embraces Best Rom-Com Tropes

Gay-themed romances aren’t new to Tinsel Town. Think “Brokeback Mountain,” “Happiest Season” and “Call Me By Your Name,” for starters.

“Bros” is still a very different kind of film. It’s a rom-com featuring two male characters with all the trappings of a major studio release.

Everything else here is unapologetically heterodox.

The film’s frank depictions of gay sex, culture and identity set it far apart from any mainstream movie. All of the above suggests the story might coast on those factors, content that its groundbreaking nature requires little else in our woke age.

Instead, “Bros” delivers well-defined characters, smart dialogue and, best of all, laughter. The story’s insistence on diving into a “grooming” culture war battle, though, may lose a sizable group of viewers.

It’s an unforced error in a story seeking, and mostly earning, widespread approval.

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Billy Eichner stars as Bobby, a podcaster whose love life consists of one-night stands, courtesy of Grindr. He’s smart and cynical, and he’s not pining for a relationship of any kind.

Just. Not. Interested.

And then he meets Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), a hulking gent who holds the same mindset. The two flirt and fight between awkward sexual encounters, but they slowly realize how much they enjoy each other’s company.

That’s where the cultural complications kick in.

Bobby’s social warrior bona fides come first, always. Aaron, who presents as a traditional (read: straight) male straddles his gay and heterosexual worlds. Both bring plenty of baggage to the courtship, and it’s here where “Bros” assembles its sharpest commentary.

And boy, does “Bros” drown in commentary.

 

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Bobby is spearheading a new LGBTQ+ museum project, with his fellow creators bickering about President Abraham Lincoln’s gay vibes and other issues. The film stops over and again to deliver a lecture on gay rights, historical punishments and more.

The Stonewall riots get repeatedly name-checked before the first act wraps.

“Bros” just can’t help itself, but it should.

Yet when Bobby breaks down why his confident façade is just that, the movie soars. He shares the hurt he’s accumulated over time, and it speaks to cultural injustices far better than any ham-fisted lecture.

The film generates some laughs by poking fun at the Hallmark Channel, both its lineup of bland originals and the way the woke Left forced it to embrace sexual diversity. On screen, it’s cynically suggested Hallmark was chasing dollar signs, not bowing to Cancel Culture.

The sly, unspoken gag? Macfarlane starred in several Hallmark originals.

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Eichner, who co-wrote the script, has a mile-a-minute style that perks up every scene, and he’s not afraid to give Bobby real flaws. The rest falls in the capable hands of director Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), who has a keen sense of both comic timing and making the most of every punch line.

Traditional audiences may still squirm from start to finish.

Along the way we’re treated to throuples, gay orgies, anonymous sex and a dash of foot worship. Eichner is holding nothing back here, going so far as to gently critique gay culture at times without drawing satirical blood.

“Bros” includes several off-putting scenes that may upend the film’s plea for tolerance. An early sequence finds Bobby talking to a straight couple and their young children present. The chat veers into gay sex details, and Bobby asks, and rightly so, if the conversation is appropriate for young ears.

The woke parents just shrug, as if any element of the gay lifestyle must be embraced by children of any age.

No exceptions.

Later, Bobby argues with Aaron’s mother (Amanda Bearse), an elementary school teacher, that gay history should be introduced to second graders. The film later doubles down on the argument, akin to a victory lap.

“I didn’t know if that was ever going to come along for me in my career.” After years as a Hallmark Channel hunk, #BrosMovie star Luke Macfarlane finally nabbed the romantic lead of his dreams — and on his own terms: https://t.co/Dag8jZt7Ze pic.twitter.com/zpuo8ngwyY

— IndieWire (@IndieWire) September 29, 2022

A line likely to alienate viewers from both ideological sides? A character notes that two-thirds of her child’s grammar-school class mates consider themselves “non-binary.”

Later, Bobby lovingly recalls his parents taking him to a play where the male cast appears fully nude. It’s meant to show how children must be exposed to gay relationships and issues. Many will recoil at the context given Bobby’s age at the time. He was 12.

No matter your political leanings, “Bros” is, yes, an inclusive step for an industry that kept gay stories off-screen for decades. Eichner and co.’s eagerness to embrace culture war issues may work against the progress it seeks.

HiT or Miss: “Bros” offers a different kind of rom-com, but it falls back on the genre’s better elements to power its love story.

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- Christian Toto
‘Armageddon Time’ Director Compares Trump to Nazi Goebbels

Director James Gray says an old friend advised him to tune out the daily headlines to improve his mood.

Gray, who previously gave us “The Yards,” “Ad Astra” and “We Own the Night,” couldn’t do it.

“…if you are a creative person you can’t divorce yourself from the world. I have no idea how to solve issues of inequality, so you have to put it out in front of the audience. I don’t think it is my job to have an answer. As artists, we are here to pose questions.”

That explains why politics play a vital role in his Oscar-season entry, “Armageddon Time.”

The personal film, loosely based on Gray’s childhood, stars Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong and, in an unbilled cameo, Oscar-winner Jessica Chastain.

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“Armageddon Time” is set in the 1980s and follows a Jewish family dealing with racism, school conflicts and more. So-called white privilege also gets a close-up in a story set at the school attended by a young Donald Trump.

The film’s political leanings are clear from the trailer.

The father in the film, played by Strong, calls newly elected President Ronald Reagan a “schmuck” in its opening moments.

That’s not the only slight against the leader who helped end the Cold War.

Gray’s film savages Reagan, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The story also features actors playing future President Donald Trump’s parents, who served on the school’s board of trustees, in a not-so-flattering light.

The magazine asked Gray about those elements and whether it could hurt the film’s marketing appeal outside of Blue State USA.

I didn’t make it for Democrats or Republicans. In some ways, I made it for Republicans. When you’re fighting paycheck to paycheck, it’s easy to say, “What do you mean, white privilege? I don’t feel any f***ing privilege.”

The interviewer followed up on the query. Gray didn’t change his tune.

My only answer would be that I don’t really care. It’s like saying, “Do you care that Joseph Goebbels has a real problem with your movie?” It’s like, “No, I don’t care.” That’s an excellent enemy to have. I don’t care that Donald Trump doesn’t like it. That man is a vile, destructive force in the country and in the world. And if he hates it or if his acolytes hate it, if Ron DeSantis, Mr. F***ing-Education-Destroying DeSantis wants to hate on my movie, that’s fine with me too.

Joseph Goebbels served as the minister of propaganda for the Third Reich, charged with making the Nazi regime look presentable for the average German.

Gov. DeSantis, attacked for keeping sexual content out of elementary schools, kept schools open during the pandemic while other states still reel from the academic fallout from school closures.

In a separate interview, Gray said Reagan used coded language on race to win the presidency and hinted he was a bigot despite evidence to the contrary.

The far-Left Hollywood Reporter’s line of questioning is valid. Audiences are coming back to theaters post-pandemic, but adult-minded films face stronger headwinds than their blockbuster peers.

“Armageddon Time” may struggle to find an audience given its political stances. Gray apparently doesn’t care.

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- Christian Toto
‘Dead for a Dollar’ Embraces Western 101 (With a Few Woke Nods)

Walter Hill is back in the saddle, courtesy of “Dead for a Dollar.”

The action auteur behind “The Long Riders,” “Wild Bill” and “Geronimo: An American Legend” returns to his beloved genre. And he’s got some serious creative firepower on his side, including Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz and Willem Dafoe.

“Dead” is no instant classic. The stakes are too low, and screenplay hiccups drain some of the story’s inherent tension. Still, the gritty morals behind the tale, and some slick gunplay from the 80-year-old auteur, make it a solid genre entry.

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Waltz stars as Max Borlund, a bounty hunter tasked with rescuing a woman from the clutches of a fiendish black deserter.

Or so Max is told.

In reality, Rachel (“Mrs. Maisel” herself, Rachel Brosnahan) ran off with Elijah (Brandon Scott), her former student, to escape her abusive spouse.

That doesn’t matter to Max. He’s got an assignment to complete, and that’s just what he’ll do. It won’t be easy, though. His path crosses that of a Mexican kingpin (Benjamin Bratt, chilling but in too few scenes) along with an old nemesis.

That’s Dafoe as Joe Cribbens, a life-long criminal who’s gunslinging skills are second to none. Dafoe is having a blast without gnawing on the scenery, a performance that highlights the stilted nature of his colleagues.

Hill ensures this western snapshot is staid, even formalized, down to the stoic line readings. Even the film’s color palette hearkens back to the past, with sepia tones that make it look as if “Dead for a Dollar” hit theaters in the 1960s, not today.

 

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If you can’t guess where all of this is headed, then you’ve never seen a western. Still, formula never stopped a movie from achieving lift-off. After a pedestrian start, “Dead” finds its rhythm.

Max’s inner conflict simmers the more he learns about Rachel’s plight. And he’s similarly torn about Elijah’s fate, knowing he has the power to intervene but not without repercussions.

Modern filmmaking creeps into Hill’s legendary vision. Frontier women can be as brave, and empowered, as the men of the era. “Terror on the Prairie” expertly proved just that.

Brosnahan’s Rachel still feels ripped from the 21st century.

The story’s racial element also feels clipped so as not to offend. Elijah’s race, and that of Max’s partner-in-crime Sergeant Poe (Warren Burke), rarely draw attention.

That’s the color blind world we all crave, but in a period western we’d likely hear plenty of vile “n-words” dropped.

Once again, a modern film threatens period accuracy to avoid triggering woke viewers.

RELATED: WHY THE BIG BUDGET MOVIE WESTERN IS DEAD

NOTE: Hill told the press he made “Dead for a Dollar” for modern times.

“I thought it should have some modern relevance, so it was kind of bifurcated or self-contradictory if you will.”

More upsetting is Elijah’s lack of screen time. He’s a pivotal player here, at least on paper. Yet we never get to know him. He lacks both screen time and chemistry with Rachel. 

Hill’s missteps aside, the Hollywood pro leads us to the third act confrontation we crave. Plus, a spirited whip duel prior to the fireworks suggests Hill still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

So does the classic western yarn.

HiT or Miss: Walter Hill’s “Dead for a Dollar” is a sturdy, if unremarkable oater in the grand tradition.

The post ‘Dead for a Dollar’ Embraces Western 101 (With a Few Woke Nods) appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

- Christian Toto
Russell Brand Scorches YouTube for Misinformation Double Standard

It’s clear Big Tech’s battle against so-called “misinformation” isn’t genuine.

Your first clue?

ABC’s “The View” posts its content on YouTube week after week without any Big Tech fallout. The show is rife with misinformation, but Team YouTube doesn’t lift a finger to stop it.

It’s hardly the only mainstream media outlet peddling false information.

How about every news source which declared the Hunter Biden laptop story misinformation two years ago based on … nothing?

Why haven’t you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story? Read more in this week’s newsletter➡ https://t.co/CJesPgmGvo pic.twitter.com/jAi7PnpbZf

— NPR Public Editor (@NPRpubliceditor) October 22, 2020

That blazing hypocrisy fires up Russell Brand, the socialist turned red-pilled podcaster. The bawdy Brit’s YouTube channel, nearing 6 million followers, routinely shreds both Big Tech and the mainstream press.

This week it got personal.

Brand suffered a YouTube strike after he admittedly misinterpreted official NIH data regarding COVID-19. Brand and co. offered a follow-up apology video to correct the record.

It didn’t help.

YouTube took down the original video. Brand, in response, removed the subsequent apology clip and vowed to share more content on Rumble. The platform offers a free speech alternative to YouTube, owned by Google.

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The bigger issues remain, and Brand tackled them with his singular wit.

“Why are big media organizations not censored for misinformation in the same way? Is it because YouTube are part of the mainstream media?” Brand asked.

“We have a responsibility to make sure the information we convey is absolutely 100 percent as accurate as we could be,” he said. He didn’t shirk away from his role in the NIH mistake, although his admission proved more transparent than many news outlets.

The YouTube “strike” rattled Brand, in part, because he sees a glaring double standard afoot.

“It looks like censorship because the mainstream media misinformation is up all the time,” he said, cueing up Rachel Maddow of MSNBC fame describing how effective the COVID-19 vaccines were upon their initial release.

We later learned that information was untrue. The vaccines offer some help, some protection, but not as much as the vaccine producers (and the media) told us.

“Isn’t that cast iron, rock solid misinformation?” he asked of the clip. Brand didn’t blame Maddow, but he wondered why that video is still allowed to thrive on YouTube.

“Is there one standard for independent news broadcasters like us on our channel, and a different standard for what we would call the mainstream media?” he said. “Is it possible that YouTube … now dances to the tune of the mainstream media, to the tune of the establishment? Certainly in this instance it would seem like it.”

RELATED: IS RUSSELL BRAND THE NEW JOE ROGAN?

He then suggested YouTube props up mainstream media channels to the detriment of indie news sources.

He flashed a FAIR statistic stating 83 of the top 100 YouTube news channels hail from corporate media platforms. Is that a sign of the synergy, and strength, of entrenched platforms? Or is YouTube placing its digital thumb on the scale to benefit them?

Brand brings up good questions, but one topic isn’t open for debate.

Indie content providers face YouTube censorship on a regular basis. Think Dr. Drew Pinsky, Nick Di Paolo, Steven Crowder and others. Radio titan Dennis Prager is in near-constant battle with YouTube over his PragerU channel.

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When was the last time ABC, The Washington Post or other outlets complained of similar strikes?

Brand and his near-6 million followers would like to know.

“Why are independent channels being attacked, censored and brought down, while mainstream media channels are being pushed, highlighted and celebrated?” Brand asked.

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- Christian Toto
Oscar-Winner Alex Gibney Defends Canceled Doc ‘Jihad Rehab’

Alex Gibney might be the second biggest name in documentary films.

Michael Moore, for better and worse, holds top honors here.

Gibney’s resume includes “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Taxi to the Dark Side,” “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” and “Totally Under Control.”

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His work earns critical kudos, intense press interest and the Academy’s undivided attention. “Dark Side” earned him Best Documentary honors in 2008.

The filmmaker is a reliably liberal voice, too, often framing subjects from a left-leaning perspective. His features critiquing Donald Trump and the War on Terror highlight that point. 

So does his Twitter feed.

Unlike modern progressives, though, Gibney understands how censorship should be anathema to liberals.

It isn’t, of course.

Most censorial attacks now hail from the Left – from academia and journalism to within his own industry. Consider the recent assault on “Jihad Rehab.” Director Meg Smaker’s documentary examines ex-terrorists and their attempts at rehabilitation.

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The film earned a coveted slot at the Sundance Film Festival and early raves:

“This is a movie for intelligent people looking to have their preconceived notions challenged.” – The Guardian

The documentary snagged the full-throated support of progressive darling Abigail Disney. Then, a wave of criticism sank the film, focusing on its alleged Islamophobia and the fact that Smaker is white and therefore ill-equipped to tell the story.

That’s despite her extensive ties to Middle Eastern culture.

This wasn’t just folks sharing their First Amendment right to critique a movie. Disney yanked her support from the film and several festivals canceled its screenings. Sundance issued a formal apology for showing “Jihad Rehab” a full month after its debut.

“We have been listening to, and reflecting on, the many perspectives shared around the inclusion of Meg Smaker’s documentary film ‘Jihad Rehab’ at our Festival in January. As with every film we show, we hope to stimulate conversation and debate that adds value to our civic society. In this case it is clear that the showing of this film hurt members of our community — in particular, individuals from Muslim and MENASA communities — and for that we are deeply sorry.”

Perhaps the most dramatic attack came from Smaker’s fellow artists. A group of 230 filmmakers signed an open letter condemning the movie, even though many signees admitted to not seeing the documentary.

Gibney’s name wasn’t on that list.

The filmmaker used Twitter to share his digest with the events surrounding the film.

Important article on freedom of expression in documentaries in today’s NY Times. https://t.co/EfD5XdrySL When films are shown, the authors should expect to be open to praise or criticism. Fair. What should be of concern are campaigns intended to silence voices and censor films. https://t.co/GHH0qBO8HH

— Alex Gibney (@alexgibneyfilm) September 25, 2022

He doubled down on that sentiment.

My analysis is not wrong. I don’t object to criticism of any kind. (Though i may disagree.) what was wrong in this instance was an attempt to prevent the film from being shown at all. https://t.co/R7LfVCa6Dt

— Alex Gibney (@alexgibneyfilm) September 26, 2022

Will other artists rally to Smaker’s side?

Given the momentum against the film and the professional perils of defying Cancel Culture, it’s likely she’ll have few supporters as prominent, and as vocal, as Gibney.

NOTE: The following thread from independent journalist Jesse Singal is a must-read.

Left is a quote from a critical article about “The UnRedacted” by Assia Boundaoui, a filmmaker. Right is a direct quote from the film in which Meg Smaker, the filmmaker, is talking to a detainee

The level of straight-up lying that goes into these outrage campaigns is disgraceful pic.twitter.com/QSziB1Vsby

— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) September 27, 2022

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- Christian Toto
Rob Zombie’s ‘The Munsters’ Is D.O.A.

Rob Zombie’s 2007 “Halloween” reboot removed the mystique behind Michael Myers.

Instead of a mysterious “shape” who killed out of rage, Myers became a mistreated lad with a penchant for William Shatner masks.

The writer/director’s “Munsters” reboot performs a similar service. The original series contrasted the ghoulish family with its Norman Rockwell neighbors, and hilarity ensued.

You won’t find much hilarity in “The Munsters,” now on Blu-ray and Netflix. The reboot, technically a prequel, drowns in creative flop sweat while ignoring the source material’s comedic template.

Rarely have so many performers burned so many calories for zero laughs. Less than zero, to be more accurate.

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Jeff Daniel Phillips stars as Herman Munster, created by a mad scientist fusing disparate human parts together. He’s freshly revived when he has a prophetic date with Lily (Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s muse).

It’s love at first sight, which rankles Lily’s grandfather, the Count (Daniel Roebuck stepping in for Al Lewis’ iconic ghoul).

Will Grandpa find a way to separate these lovebirds? Will Lester the werewolf (Tomas Boykin) trick Herman into a deal he’ll quickly regret? Can characters introduced in the first act disappear without a trace?

“The Munsters” storyline feels like several sitcom episodes cobbled together, with no particular plot emerging as vital to our interests. Yes, Grandpa loathes Herman at first, but it’s hardly enough to carry a film.

The emergence of Grandpa’s vengeful ex is similarly wan and hardly worth our while.

 

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The film’s saving grace? Phillips and Sheri Moon Zombie share an odd, undeniably chemistry as two lovestruck Munsters. Their infectious spirit holds some sections of the film together, even when it’s clear the material is pure filler that screams for an editor’s blow torch.

Zombie chose to bathe nearly every scene in ugly neon light, ensuring nothing on screen is frightening or film worthy. That yields a PG-rated romp, but it also makes the entire production look like a straight-to-video affair, at best.

The content hardly helps.

You’ll sit, stone-faced, waiting for that first, elusive laugh. Zombie and co. try everything to make us grin, from silly fades to fast-action snippets and animated segues.

Nothing works.

Rob Zombie talks about directing his first PG-rated feature with #TheMunsters: “A lot of people have said to me: ‘Finally, I can watch one of your movies with my kids,’ which I don’t have kids so that’s kind of meaningless to me. But that’s nice!” https://t.co/kV8p52qqsN

— Variety (@Variety) September 28, 2022

The film shoves its micro budget in our faces. In many ways, it feels like a product of another age – even before the ’60s-era inspiration. The comedy is Borscht Belt crude, the musical cues so bald you’ll swear it came from a silent movie screening.

The film traffics in a few black-and-white montages, but they add nothing to the laugh quotient or storyline.

It’s still hard to get grumpy about Zombie’s “Munsters” misfire. The cast is so game, so eager to do anything for their director, that to pile on the production feels cruel. It’s literally punching down.

RELATED: ‘CHILD’S PLAY’ REBOOT IS A DEBACLE

Phillips nails Fred Gwynne’s signature laugh and foot stomps, while Sheri Moon Zombie flutters across the screen like her predecessor, Yvonne De Carlo. It’s all for naught, as the story barely moves forward, and the screenplay delivers one groaner atop another.

Some gags are meant to be old and dusty, of the wink-wink, nudge-nudge variety. It’s hard to distinguish them from the “fresh” pile.

We get the usual array of Easter eggs, from Phillips name-checking “Car 54, Where Are You?” (Gwynne’s previous sitcom hit) to minor characters from the show’s original run dropping by for a visit.

Keen-eyed types will notice original “Munster” Pat Priest made the cut, as did the voice of Butch Patrick A.K.A. Eddie Munster.

“The Munsters” feels like a robust high school production, one given ample space and a serious makeup budget (by scholastic standards). Even the best backdrops and monster goop, though, are marginalized by Zombie’s lighting scheme.

On this day in 1964, the Munsters first aired!
Here’s one of the best scenes from the show and the lesson still applies today! pic.twitter.com/YHv3UVqvRJ

— Scooby-Doo History (@scoobyhistory) September 24, 2022

The director responsible for “The Devil’s Rejects” and “31” isn’t known for his funny bone, and “The Munsters” won’t change that perception. He stomps all over the film’s few clever lines, either with the boisterous soundtrack or ham-fisted direction.

At least he didn’t trod down a woke path or discard the show’s PG roots. You’ll hear a gay sex joke but it should sail over the kiddies’ heads.

Children may be the best audience for the reboot, their young minds open to the garish coloring and “Barney”-level yuks.

“The Munsters” doesn’t directly tease a sequel or series extension, but the final moments suggest such a scenario. Now, that’s frightening.

The Blu-ray edition features audio commentary from Rob Zombie plus an hour-long featurette “The Munsters: Return to Mockingbird Lane.” The latter lets the writer/director do a deep dive into his creative process.

HiT or Miss: The first trailer for “The Munsters” hinted at a debacle in the making. The actual film does nothing to counter those thoughts.

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- Christian Toto
Elizabeth Banks Re-Writes History on ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Flop

Elizabeth Banks broke out the “Lady Ghostbusters” playbook to promote her “Charlie’s Angels” reboot.

Banks, a versatile talent who made a smooth transition to directing with “Pitch Perfect 2,” landed a killer second gig behind the camera.

Bring “Charlie’s Angels” to the big screen. Again.

The frothy TV show already made that jump, twice, courtesy of Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz. Now, the IP was ready for more, and Banks would make that happen. 

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Except the culture changed dramatically since the last time Barrymore’s “Angels” lit up the screen in 2003. A new “Angels” couldn’t be about titillation or other tropes common to the source material.

The reboot had to be empowering to the core. Woke, one might say.

And Banks was eager to play along. She pushed that narrative to the press, much like the 2016 “Ghostbusters” team did in 2016 (It didn’t work).

The “Angels” reboot downplayed glamour and sex appeal, two key elements of both the TV show and the feature film franchise.

Banks doubled down on that woke sentiment in various press interviews.

“I just could not stop thinking about how I felt I could bring the themes of sorority and sisterhood and camaraderie and women working together as a team into an action movie if I did a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ movie, and that ‘Charlie’s Angels’ already had that built into its DNA…”

“I think it’s important as a woman and as a filmmaker and as a feminist to recognize that I stand on the shoulders of the women that came before me… the inclusivity and openness of those scenes really matters to me, and I think it really speaks to women about how we should be conducting ourselves.”

She expounded on that thinking in a separate interview, sharing how she tweaked the movie to be more empowering.

“One of the ingredients of this movie was supporting and believing women … we literally have a character who is essentially working at a big corporation and is not being believed or listened to by her bosses.”

Banks didn’t stop there.

“One of the statements this movie makes is that you should probably believe women,” Banks adds. “We have as much validity in what we’re feeling and how we want to go about living in the world, being in the world, and that was really important to me, that we felt like we had characters that were being taken seriously and given a chance to live their best life.”

Now, three years after “Charlie’s Angels” became an infamous flop that stopped the franchise cold, Banks is changing her tune.

RELATED: DENNIS MILLER ON CHARLIE’S ANGELS’ FLOP: WE DON’T WANNA BE SCOLDED

Banks opened up to The New York Times about the movie’s failure in a way that suggests she didn’t mean what she said back in 2019.

Or, more likely, she regrets those interviews.

“There was a story around Charlie’s Angels that I was creating some feminist manifesto. I was just making an action movie…”

Next, she simultaneously plays the Victim Card while betraying everything she said about her film the first time around.

“I would’ve liked to have made Mission: Impossible, but women aren’t directing Mission: Impossible. I was able to direct an action movie, frankly, because it starred women and I’m a female director, and that is the confine right now in Hollywood. I wish that the movie had not been presented as just for girls, because I didn’t make it just for girls. There was a disconnect on the marketing side of it for me.”

Turns out she led the way in that “disconnect” but isn’t keen on remembering it.

The post Elizabeth Banks Re-Writes History on ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Flop appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

- Christian Toto
How ‘This is the End’ Capped the Bro-Comedy Era

“This Is the End” starred some of Hollywood’s funniest people playing themselves at the dawn of a Biblical apocalypse.

Look, there’s Michael Cera cast completely against type!

And Danny McBride is leaning into his image so hard he might pull a muscle!

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Critics and audiences embraced the film, which soared past the $100 million mark domestically and snagged an 83 percent “fresh” rating at RottenTomatoes.com

The film hardly cried out for a sequel based on the dramatic third act, but the meta gags and all-male stylings (with apologies to Emma Watson) proved bittersweet.

We wouldn’t see these comedies again. Maybe ever.

RELATED: ‘DUMBER’ DIRECTOR – WE’RE STARVING FOR R-RATED COMEDIES

Blame Judd Apatow and a certain pastry-themed franchise for the rude, crude but ultimately sweet style of bro-comedy.

The original “American Pie” (1999) and its sequels leaned into the “Porky’s” style humor, but each included a sense of sweetness and brotherhood. That made the gags both digestible and hilarious.

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Meanwhile, Apatow assembled a murderer’s row of comic actors for “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” the 2006 comedy that made him a directorial star.

The cast? Steve Carell. Seth Rogen. Paul Rudd. Jane Lynch. Mindy Kaling. Elizabeth Banks. Leslie Mann. Jonah Hill.

More Apatow hits followed, including “Knocked Up,” and like-minded comedies flourished (“Step Brothers,” “Old School,” The “Hangover” trilogy, “Pineapple Express”).

“This Is the End” built on that bro comedy legacy. It also assumed our affection for the actors in play. This brand of humor – aggressive, unabashedly male and often overloaded with white actors – got pushed aside in the woke era.

Even “Hangover” director Todd Phillips admitted as much.

Now, screenwriters can’t pull off those cinematic pranks anymore. Comedies must abide by a new set of rules, making unexpurgated romps a thing of the past. Remember the “End” scene where Cera is being sexually serviced by not one but two women?

Chances are that moment wouldn’t make the final cut in our “enlightened” age, even though it’s very funny.

Translation? The death of the bro-comedy, at least the kind that made us howl for 15+ years.

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Something else rushes to mind while watching “This Is the End.” Audiences might not embrace some stars playing fictionalized versions of themselves in 2022.

Rogen’s hard-Left politics, and overt nastiness toward conservatives, makes it harder to enjoy him on screen as “Seth Rogen.”

James Franco’s shtick also gets more scrutiny after he admitted to using his acting school to bed multiple students, which briefly derailed his big-screen efforts.

Plus, both Rogen and Hill have publicly attacked their own bro-classic, “Superbad,” suggesting they wouldn’t make that same movie today due to the new woke by-laws.

“This Is the End” isn’t a great film. The meta gags wear out their welcome, and the finale can’t match the giddy heights of those first 20 minutes. It’s still a film fit for a time capsule, marking the moment when rule-breaking comedies went into a forced retirement.

The post How ‘This is the End’ Capped the Bro-Comedy Era appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

- Christian Toto
Lorne Michaels Won’t Come Clean on ‘SNL’s’ Liberal Bias

Lorne Michaels got political in the very first season of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

The TV producer cast Chevy Chase as President Gerald Ford, turning the Republican into a stumbling, bumbling Commander in Chief back in 1975.

It didn’t matter that Ford’s athletic background was beyond dispute. Michaels and co. turned Ford’s rare missteps into a recurring bit.

The impression did more than make audiences howl and leaving Chase with chronic back pain.

“The news coverage was harmful, but even more damaging was the fact that Johnny Carson and Chevy Chase used my ‘missteps’ for their jokes. Their antics — and I’ll admit I laughed at them myself — helped create the public perception of me as a stumbler. And that wasn’t funny.” – “A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford.

“SNL” became the go-to source for political humor. The series lampooned whoever held power, from the hapless President Jimmy Carter to President Bill Clinton (and his voracious appetites). That ended when Barack Obama took the oath of office in 2009.

The comedian tasked with impersonating President Obama said the show “gave up” on mocking the first black president after a while.

Now?

“SNL” all but ignores flawed Democrats like President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and, of course, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Even show legend Rob Schneider called it out during a lively chat with Glenn Beck. The show even serenaded Obama in absentia when he left the White House in 2016.

Except the mastermind behind “SNL” won’t admit it.

RELATED: RYAN LONG SHAMES ‘SNL’ (AGAIN)

The New York Times interviewed Michaels about the show’s 48th season, starting Oct. 1. The conversation touched on sizable cast changes, Michaels’ future with the show (he’s not leaving) and “SNL’s” liberal bias.

The Times scribe didn’t frame it as such, but it’s clear that’s what he meant.

“Do you pay attention to criticism from people who say they don’t feel represented by the show’s politics anymore?

Michaels offers a rambling answer, ending with a revealing quote:

“But the first priority can’t be not offending people you like or who are powerful… and if someone does something stupid, it would be glaring to not deal with it.”

Like this?

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Or this?

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Or this?

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Or this?

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None of these snagged an “SNL” skit last year. VP Harris’s gaffes, her fleeing staffers and results-free methods similarly didn’t get name-checked on “SNL.”

The show pretends she doesn’t exist, at least as a satirical target.

To be clear, Michaels isn’t afraid of offending Democratic politicians. His bigger concern? A sharp satirical haymaker can have real-world consequences, from Chase’s Ford to Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression.

Both reduced the politician in question, and Michaels and co. can’t risk that. It explains why late night hosts strain to avoid mentioning Biden’s mental state or Harris’s word salad jamborees.

The Times reporter, sensing Michaels’ dodge, reframes the question about “SNL’s” liberal bias. Michaels, again, ignores it.

“Between the pandemic and presidency, people were truly frightened … We went through a really scary times, the last four years. Hopefully, we’re coming out of it and it’s just the old scary things like a depression or war.”

He’s being pithy, but he still won’t torch the administration playing a role in both calamities.

There’s zero reason to expect “SNL” season to reverse course and skewer both sides of the political aisle. If Michaels can’t even address the show’s glaring bias in a New York Times interview, he has no intention of restoring the show to its satirical roots.

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- Christian Toto
How ‘Escape from the Future’ Highlights Our Surreal Present

Imagine waking up after a 60-year nap and seeing a society where “mostly peaceful” riots were the norm.

Paul Clayton did just that, but with a twist.

The prolific writer’s new book, “Escape from the Future And Other Stories” uses science fiction to both engage and warn readers about trends that demand more attention. The book’s main story follows a time-traveling family, but other tales touch on hard-Left activism and Identity politics gone wild.

The main story in the book, “Escape from the Future,” follows a ’60s-era family who wind up in 2020 America, warts and all.

HiT reached out to Clayton to learn more about the book, how he tackled a common problem in the culture and his frustrations with Conservative, Inc.

HiT: The main story in “Escape from the Future” looks at today’s society from a curious lens, a family time-traveling to the present. Can you share how you came up with that device to showcase just how far we’ve fallen, culturally speaking?

Clayton: I’ve used ‘time travel’ to overcome the “frog in the slowly boiling pot” phenomenon. Young Americans have no perspective on how much the culture in America has changed. That comes with age.

But many older Americans don’t see it because the pace of cultural change is so slow. To overcome that, I’ve used time travel as a “fast forwarding device.” I think it has worked well in my stories. 

By the way, I’ve used the ‘time travel’ device in “Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again.” In that work, Van, a high school senior in the year 1966, wakes up in a coffin in a field in 2015 Philadelphia.Escape-From-The-Future-cover-

The book explored race relations in post-Ferguson America. It received a nice positive review in the Smoky Mountain News. I think it’s one of my best books, but race relations are a mine field for writers, publishers and reviewers.

Few dare to go there. I did, but the book, like my others that delve into sociological realms, languishes in the great Amazon Sea.

In that book, Van makes his way home only to discover that his old neighborhood, long an Irish American enclave, is now predominantly black, with a small minority of Vietnamese boat people refugees.

You can imagine how triggered woke liberals would be by something like that.

HiT: The core characters in “Escape” have a hard time processing how horrible modern life turned out. Why don’t you think more people, no matter their ideological bent, feel a similar way? And are there institutions who are partly to blame here?

Clayton: I think that most Americans, the ones with perspective and historical memory, know at a deep subliminal level, that something is not right in this country. They probably suspect that many of our leaders are corrupt to the core, in hock to foreign powers, like China.

They know that the culture has “changed,” with what were once taboo sexual practices, now being “normalized.” They know that the culture is being bastardized, that America is losing its once honorable and principled luster.

But they are in denial. I know some of them. They are afraid to dive deeply into what lies beneath all the normal distraction of daily life. And, to answer the second part of your question, yes, there are institutions to blame. Government for one. Geriatric senators and congress representatives. Many of them on psychotropic drugs. Many of them on the payroll of foreign powers, like China.

The education establishment for another, hijacked by activist teacher unions and their sexual activist members. And ‘the press.’ That includes news organizations, and satellite and broadcast TV.

HiT: ‘Human Exclusion Zone’ offers a slick peek at the near future … can you share how you look ahead while keeping an eye on current tech realities?

Clayton: Well, that story is based on current trends (green theology, socialism) and on human nature. Human nature, of course, never changes. So that’s a given.

And if we no longer put our faith and trust in a higher power, God, we are putting our faith and trust in man, in humankind, and humankind is flawed to the core.

HiT: ‘Zone’ offers its own cautionary tale, but it’s one rooted in modern activism. Did any one event inspire the story’s twist/concept?

Clayton: This story just showed up in my head one day. I let it marinate in there for a year or two.

Its genesis probably came from the daily headlines about the never-ending attempts by the Left to demonize traditional families, suburbs, internal combustion cars—dumb ones that cannot be turned on and off from afar by green government bureaucrats—and to herd everyone into high rise hives with crowded, dangerous public transportation.

And as we all know, there are a lot of folks who now care more about saving the whales, dogs, cats and wolves than they do human babies.

The Left, especially ignorant young Lefties, have a fanatical faith in the new world they are busy building. You can see that in their religious devotion to ‘green,’ their hatred of tradition.

They ignore any reliable competing technology, like natural gas generators, nuclear reactors and possible future fusion reactor technology, and any cautionary evidence against a purely green culture, like the limits of our current energy grid, the limits of solar panels, windmills and current battery technology, energy storage limits.

Those limits, if thrown a wild card by nature—as when the Texas grid went down due to extreme cold and lack of wind or sunshine—can cause major disruptions and loss of life. But, try and tell that to some young green-believer.

HiT: It’s not hard to suss out your politics from the book, but the stories are consistently engaging and brisk. Talk about the balance between sending a message and not making the reader bludgeoned by the process.

Clayton: Well, it’s all in the wrist. That is, the art of story. Drama. Culture. That thing that the Right seems to place so little importance on. By the way, the book I wrote before “Escape…” called, “Crossing Over,” seems to be getting some traction.

That’s because the subject matter—a possible 2nd American civil war—seems to be on a lot of peoples’ minds now. In that book I’ve taken a modern, but traditional family, and put them in the middle of what could go down, massive chaos and crime, people attempting to flee the cities for havens of safety.

Anyway, if a writer creates a realistic fictive world by “showing,” the reader will, for the most part, go along for the ride and be affected. Like a virus, a heretical idea or meme will take root deep down inside. This is why the Left literati shun works like mine.

HiT: Why is science fiction, and horror, so effective with social commentary?

Clayton: It allows the reader to relax’ and lay down their defenses against having their world view attacked; after all, it’s science “fiction,” story that could happen, but probably won’t (at least that is what we tell ourselves).

It’s not real.

If the story was told in a contemporary setting, the reader might be looking around and saying, “no, I don’t agree with that,” or “that’s not really what’s happening”… because they’ve been programmed by the ABC/NBC/CBS/MSNBC/CNN/CIA media to believe a certain way and look at everything that contradicts that as “conspiracy theory.”

RELATED: HOW LIBERAL MEDIA BIAS EXTENDS TO ARTS COVERAGE

But in a sci-fi setting, under the comforting veil of “story,” the reader lets in, or entertains, ideas that they normally would not. I think the process only works if the story and the storytelling is vivid and compelling, and that’s what I attempt to do.

HiT: Horror has been inundated with socially aware stories of late, but it’s always from one direction — the Left. Are you aware of any TV shows or films that flip the script here, showcasing freedom-friendly tales or warnings of a socialist uprising?

Clayton: The one that comes to mind is the “My Son Hunter” movie. But I cannot really think of any others. And this is where I get angry, because I think that the conservative side, the Right, gives lip service to Andrew Breitbart’s on-point observation that “Politics is downstream from culture.”

Yeah, they all say it, but very few (I don’t know of any, except yourself) actually “live that” or “do that.”

The Left owns publishing. They have completely taken it over. The Right has a few conservative publishing houses, but they seem to focus on 500-page tomes by Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter selling for $29.99.

These books are not culture; they are politics, and as such will not be bought and read by young people, will not change any minds. Novels, short stories, movies, plays… these are “culture,” and the Right ignores them.

They have abandoned the cultural battlefield, leaving it to the Left and their stable of man-hating, progressive, angry minority, and sexual pervert authors and their stories.

Woke acquisition editors at publishing houses and woke literary agents openly state that they are not interested in any works by white male authors, especially Christian, straight, or traditional ones.

(a friend who is a literary agent told me that he cannot even get editors to read first novels by young white male writers, no matter how good; they are just not interested. this is heartbreaking for writers who may, in fact, be brilliant, & critical of their own “privilege.”) https://t.co/GmtVY8lbCV

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) July 24, 2022

I have reached out to the Right, conservative media, over the years, sending emails, snail mails, sending books through the mails, sending gifted ebooks, just about begging for a read and a mention.

One of my books actually made it to former presidential candidate, Pat Buchanan’s kitchen table. He told me he would read it when he finished his current writing project. Never heard a word back.

I have pinged the folks at Fox News, sending emails, letters, books… You would think they’d be interested in a good conservative novel. After all, it seems as if everyone at Fox is writing and pitching a book–histories, dog books, cookbooks.

But I have never gotten anything back. Just radio silence.

I’ve thought a lot about this, as to why, and I’ve come to a couple of possible conclusions, but I’ll keep them to myself, as I don’t want to burn any bridges. I’ll just say that I am deeply, deeply disappointed in “conservative pundits and media types.”

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

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- HiT Guest Contributor
YouTube Stars Create Content Without Woke Lectures

There’s a broadening market for cultural criticism on streaming platforms like YouTube, Rumble and Odysee.

Fans outraged by the wokening of their favorite childhood properties like “Star Wars” (Disney) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (Prime Video) are letting their voices be heard.

The further Hollywood producers drift from the source material, the less they care about being true to what the intellectual property creators envisioned. The more they use these properties to push their personal political agendas, the more they turn off the very generation that can afford to buy their merchandise and support their endeavors.

In short, they are getting woke and going broke.

What they’re also doing is creating a void for the “investor” generation, people with full-time jobs and expendable income.

But what happens when that generation, eager to buy a limited edition Darth Vader statue, has been so insulted by Team Disney they’d rather do anything but support the Mouse?

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A handful of these critics have taken to developing their own intellectual properties. The stories are written from their based, conservative world views, and they’re sold to their fanbases and like-minded consumers.

Readers are probably familiar with Eric July’s Rippaverse. The indie producer’s first project, the graphic novel “Isom,” broke crowd-funding records.

July has promised to produce a comic book universe to take on Marvel and DC, giants who many say have left their traditional fans behind.

“Isom” is one of the best-selling graphic novels of the year, and yet the woke media refuse to grant it attention.

Why? Because July is the Left’s biggest nightmare: A conservative black man with an audience.

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Rippa has spent more than a decade growing an audience of center-right, Conservative and Libertarian fans who have watched Hollywood attack the icons of their youth.

And then comes Shadiversity.

Not overtly political like Rippa, Shad Brooks is a YouTube personality with more than 1.4 million subscribers across two channels: Shadiversity and Knights Watch.

Brooks’ Knights Watch lets him comment on the latest fantasy and science fiction media and dissect the writing, quality and woke agenda that has infested most of what comes out from Hollywood today.

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Shad built this second channel to more than 100K subscribers in just a few short months.

The audience is out there, perhaps not quite understanding why these shows aren’t feeding their nostalgic hunger. Instead, they become irritated, confused or bored by content that should have them reveling in youthful exuberance.

These fans of Marvel, DC, Tolkien, etc. are tuning out content that should be tailor-made for them, and instead tuning into Shad and channels like his that dissect exactly what the reasons are for their discontent.

What’s Shad’s answer?

First, he wrote a fantasy novel, “Shadow of the Conqueror,” and through nothing more than his channel, he sold upwards of 50,000 copies of his first work of fiction.

An astonishing first outing for any writer, and it’s proof his audience is hungry for stories that aren’t pushing a leftist agenda.

And now, much like Rippa, Shad has launched a crowdfunding campaign to sell an adaptation of his story as a graphic novel, which I’ve adapted and illustrated.

One week in, Shad’s campaign has made more than $200,000, and grows by the thousands every day. He, like Rippa, intends to take profits from this campaign and build out an entire comic book company, developing various intellectual properties of his into graphic novel format and selling them to an ever-growing audience.

While others are content to complain about the lack of quality entertainment, Shad, Rippa and others like them are forging a future for the culture without progressive indoctrination.

It’s through the culture that ideals are formed in young minds, where we learn what it means to be heroic and virtues like self-sacrifice, honor, duty and courage. It’s through culture that we shape the future of the political landscape that will determine how much tyranny we allow into our lives.

RELATED: COMIC BOOK CREATORS TURN TO NFTs

We can’t all be YouTube stars or creators, but we can support those fighting this fight for the future of our society.

Will you fight with us?

Mike S. Miller is a New York Times best-selling illustrator whose career has spanned 30 years primarily in comics and video games. After a decade working for Marvel and DC on top titles such as X-Men, Wolverine, Adventures of Superman and JLA among others, Mike took a turn toward the independent, assuming the role of art director at start-up publisher, DBPro, and helmed titles such as George R.R. Martin’s prequel to A GAME OF THRONES: ‘The Hedge Knight’ and ‘The Sworn Sword.’ His most famous work in mainstream comics was for DC comics on the #1 digital comic in the world, Injustice: Gods Among Us”). Mike created his comic book company, Blacklist Universe, and had several successful crowdfunded projects including Lonestar and MAGANIFICENT 7, among others.

 

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- Christian Toto
Canceled Stars, Shows Find New Places to Shine

Roseanne Barr uncorked one vile, racially-charged Tweet and found her career reduced to rubble.

Barr broke boundaries for women with “Roseanne,” the 1980s sitcom that gave blue-collar women an empathetic closeup.

She also delivered roughly 30 million viewers per show to ABC, with its 2017 reboot flooding the network’s coffers anew.

That single Tweet ended it all, and it looked like we’d seen the last of the self-described “domestic goddess.”

Now, Barr is prepping an exclusive comeback for FOX Nation five years after ABC’s dismissal. And she’s hardly the only “canceled” person, or property, given new life.

RELATED: WHY HASN’T CANCEL CULTURE COME FOR ALEC BALDWIN?

“A Roseanne Comedy Special” marks Barr’s first stand-up program in 16 years. No platform, large or small, considered Barr worthy of redemption.

FOX Nation did.

The rise of alternative platforms offers hope for a cancel-free tomorrow. It also might encourage stars to speak up, knowing they have a safety net should the hard Left demand their professional hides.

The Daily Wire similarly picked up Gina Carano after Disney unfairly fired her for a social media message its PR team twisted into something hateful. Carano lost her representation and likely faced long odds against any kind of comeback following her “Mandalorian” dismissal.

Instead, Carano headlined the web site’s “Terror on the Prairie” and snagged a small but pivotal part in “My Son Hunter,” distributed by Breitbart News.

That film, a comic assault on Hunter Biden’s alleged crimes, also gave Laurence Fox his first gig in two years. The British star, best known for TV’s “Lewis,” shares views on the pandemic and “systemic racism” considered anathema in show business but held by millions.

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FOX Nation seems keen on redeeming stars and projects erased too soon.

The platform is also bringing back “COPS,” the long-running reality show canceled by the Paramount Network following the death of George Floyd following an altercation with Minneapolis police officers. Black Lives Matter demanded Americans shrink police departments nationwide following Floyd’s death, and Hollywood felt pressure to trim shows that depicted law enforcement in a positive light.

“COPS” didn’t go away after 31 years on the air for any real or perceived crimes. It wasn’t a matter of low ratings, either. The Cancel Culture movement, fueled by protests following Floyd’s death, demanded pro-police stories be silenced.

That’s also why A&E killed “Live PD,” a similar reality show showcasing police officers in action.

“Last Week Tonight’s” John Oliver personally kept that argument alive earlier this month.

Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” survived that purge, but the show’s writing team overhauled its final season to include pro-BLM narratives.

All new “COPS” episodes, exclusive to FOX Nation, begin airing Sept. 30.

RELATED: WAPO TRIES TO CANCEL COUNTRY MUSIC. REALLY

Some stars are permanently canceled for good reasons. Even if Harvey Weinstein escaped the long arm of the law, the crush of credible accusations against him suggests he’s not fit to produce another movie ever again.

The same holds for fallen icon Bill Cosby, who similarly won’t find work from a mainstream platform following dozens, and dozens, of sexual abuse allegations.

Other stars deserve a second chance.

They may have stumbled on the public stage or simply held views the industry considers unacceptable. Louis C.K., who admitted to sexually exposing himself to several women, isn’t waiting for a platform to embrace him anew.

He built a comeback on his own terms, leaning on forgiving fans along the way.

Others lack fan bases large enough to power their comebacks. They have little chance of finding industry work on their own.

Or, to be more accurate, “had” little chance.

Emerging platforms see these redemption cases as either morally important, potentially lucrative or both. Their collective impact could transform Hollywood.

Traditional studios may realize canceled stars no longer stay canceled despite their draconian measures. Or, they may watch them shine anew on different platforms and regret they canceled them in the first place.

Stars may become bolder in their work and opinions as a result.

The post Canceled Stars, Shows Find New Places to Shine appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

- Christian Toto
How ‘Bad Words’ Paved Jason Bateman’s Path to ‘Ozark’

Jason Bateman’s character did some terrible, no-good things in four seasons of “Ozark.”

Audiences likely rooted him on, much like they did with James Gandolfini’s work on “The Sopranos” or Bryan Cranston’s meth cook in “Breaking Bad.”

How did the cute kid from “The Hogan Family” transition into a well-heeled monster for the Netflix smash?

Blame “Bad Words.”

The 2013 dark comedy cast Bateman as a misanthrope crashing a kiddie spelling competition. The comic actor made us laugh, of course, but his character’s pain gave us pause.

That film, directed by Bateman, paved the way for his stunning “Ozark” transformation. And it’s one more movie they couldn’t make today.

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Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old preparing to crush the competition at an eighth grade spelling bee.

How? 

Guy exploits a loophole in the competition’s rules to enter as an adult, and he has the spelling chops to go the distance. He’s aided by a clueless reporter (Kathryn Hahn, the film’s weakest element through no fault of her own) and a burning desire to come out on top.

Why?

It’s the film’s biggest mystery, and one that takes a back seat to Guy’s brutal behavior. He’s whip smart and cunning, and anyone who crosses him learns that lesson the hard way. Bateman delivers every put down with maximum cruelty, and his comic chops ensure those barbs land. Hard.

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And then we meet Chaitanya (Rohan Chand, delightful). He’s a fellow spelling bee competitor with a smile as sweet as molasses. Chaitanya and Guy strike up a curious friendship, with the older competitor teaching him about stealing, booze and the female anatomy.

It’s oddly reminiscent of Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) plying his pre-teen players with booze in 1976’s “The Bad News Bears.”

It’s wrong, of course, but in the context of “Bad Words” both funny and illuminating. To say exactly why would spoil the big reveal for those who missed the comedy the first time ’round.

So why wouldn’t a film studio make “Bad Words” today?

RELATED: WHAT IS CANCEL CULTURE, AND WHY SHOULD ARTISTS FEAR IT?

Let’s start with Gil’s potty mouth. He dresses down several women in the coldest way possible, a no-no for modern scolds. It’s the Patriarchy … on steroids!

Plus, he refers to young Chaitanya as “Slumdog” and other ethnic slurs, a secondary no-no in our hyper-aware climate.

Does it matter that it reveals Guy’s eagerness to shock, or the fact that he treats the lad like a boy, not a studying machine like his biological Dad?

Of course not. We can’t have certain characters behaving badly in certain ways. Now, if Guy was a contract killer, all would be forgiven.

Bad words (2014)
Dir; Jason Bateman pic.twitter.com/7y64cn8d2h

— Name cannot be blank (@crybabeedeede) June 15, 2021

Critics recoiled at Guy’s language, even back in 2013 before the woke revolution changed the face of film commentary. 

It needs us to find his racism, misogyny, callousness, and impropriety funny.

Well, yes.

Sometimes (many times) inappropriate behavior is funny. Just ask the rapscallions behind the “Jackass” franchise, for starters.

What they’re missing, of course, are the reasons why Guy became who he is. And, without spoilers again, critics may not approve that underlying message, either.

Still, this is Bateman’s showcase in more ways than one. “Bad Words” is his directorial debut, and he returned to that gig throughout his tenure on “Ozark.”

He’s a fast study.

The actor’s follow-up directorial gig, 2015’s “The Family Fang,” proved adequate but hardly memorable. “Bad Words” singes the viewer from the opening scene, and Bateman’s willingness to plunge the darkest depths of his character made “Ozark” a reality.

The post How ‘Bad Words’ Paved Jason Bateman’s Path to ‘Ozark’ appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

- Connie Wilson
Jacir Screens at the 53rd Nashville Film Festival
Jacir Nashville Film Festival

“Jacir” screened on Friday, September 30th, at the 53rd Annual Nashville Film Festival. It is the story of a refugee, Jacir, as he flees  Aleppo (Syria) and tries to assimilate into the ghetto (Memphis, Tennessee). Written and directed by Waheed Qawasmi, the 1 hour and 44-minute film is filled with ... [Read More]

The post Jacir Screens at the 53rd Nashville Film Festival appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Angela Kingham
SMILE Review: You’ll need therapy after this!
Smile review

  Smile centers around a therapist named Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) who, after meeting with one of her many ill patients, experiences a traumatic and violent occurrence in one session with a Ph.D. student (Caitlin Statsey) who claims to see “something” – not a person – smiling at her ... [Read More]

The post SMILE Review: You’ll need therapy after this! appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Connie Wilson
223 Wick is Proof That Great Settings Can Only Take a Plot So Far
223 Wick

Initially, this “thriller/fantasy” 223 Wick film caught my eye because it was very moody and scripted by Melanie Clarke-Pettiella and Jess Byard. I’m always in favor of letting more females write horror, as a former active voting member of the Horror Writers’ Association, so I bought into this Amazon Prime ... [Read More]

The post 223 Wick is Proof That Great Settings Can Only Take a Plot So Far appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Anthony Whyte
Check out the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer
Black Panther Wakanda Forever Trailer

Tickets are now on sale for Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the action-packed feature film that ventures back to the kingdom of Wakanda where a new threat emerges from a hidden undersea nation called Talokan. A brand-new trailer, poster, and images also debuted today and are available to watch. ... [Read More]

The post Check out the new Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- John Smistad
JERRY & MARGE GO LARGE (2022): Gaming the Game
Jerry and Marge Go Large bryan cranston

JERRY & MARGE GO LARGE (2022): Gaming the Game Film Review by John Smistad JERRY & MARGE GO LARGE is Based on the true story, long-married couple Jerry and Marge Selbee win the lottery (a lot) and then use the money to revive their struggling small town starring Bryan Cranston and ... [Read More]

The post JERRY & MARGE GO LARGE (2022): Gaming the Game appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Sean O'Donnell
Star Trek Sequel Removed From Paramount’s Release Slate

The upcoming Star Trek sequel recently lost its release date and has been removed from Paramount’s release slate. The rebooted film franchise began in 2009 with the aptly named film, Star Trek. Subsequent films in the series include Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek: Beyond. The series starred Chris ... [Read More]

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- Sean O'Donnell
Director Bassam Tariq Leaves Marvel Studio’s ‘Blade’
Bassam Tariq Blade

Director Bassam Tariq has officially departed Marvel Studios’ upcoming film Blade. There are reports that the star of the film, Mahershala Ali, is very frustrated with the process. Blade will release on November 3, 2023, and is currently in production. The film will star Mahershala Ali as the Daywalker and ... [Read More]

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- Shah Shahid
Venom Director Ruben Fleischer Tapped For Now You See Me 3

The Now You See Me franchise is going ahead with the director of Venom set to helm the project. Bringing to life the unexpected Venom character for its feature film debut, the same director will now be breathing new life back into this magic/heist film franchise. The first two films ... [Read More]

The post Venom Director Ruben Fleischer Tapped For Now You See Me 3 appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Anthony Whyte
Movie Review: The Beautifully Dull Amsterdam
Amsterdam Review Christian Bale Margot Robbie John David Washington

I really want to have fun writing this Amsterdam movie review. Amsterdam stars a lot of actors I normally want to see and enjoy. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington working together in a movie should be a home run, right? Add in Rami Malek, Anya Taylor Joy, ... [Read More]

The post Movie Review: The Beautifully Dull Amsterdam appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Elliot Hopper
Best Shows to Watch on BBC iPlayer

There is truly something for everyone in 2022’s slate of high-profile dramas for the BBC, from the suspenseful second season of The Capture to the contemplative and meticulously crafted Marriage. New seasons of well-liked programmes like Death in Paradise and Call the Midwife have also debuted this year, along with ... [Read More]

The post Best Shows to Watch on BBC iPlayer appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Connie Wilson
“Wannabe” Screens at Opening Night of the Nashville Film Festival on Thursday, September 29, 2022

“Wannabe” is a 13-minute 33-second short written and directed by USC graduate Josie Andrews that will screen at the Nashville Film Festival on September 29th, Opening Night. It’s playing opening day in the “Next-gen: program 1” block on Thursday, Sep 29th at 1:00 PM at the Belcourt Theatre, and it’s ... [Read More]

The post “Wannabe” Screens at Opening Night of the Nashville Film Festival on Thursday, September 29, 2022 appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- Paula Schwartz
Tyler Perry Talks ‘A Jazzman’s Blues’ With Stars at NY Special Screening

“This is a 27-year labor of love,” Tyler Perry told a New York audience before a special screening of his new period drama, A Jazzman’s Blues, Thursday evening at the Paris Theater. The event was hosted by Netflix, which is now streaming. Perry had just come from doing 14 hours ... [Read More]

The post Tyler Perry Talks ‘A Jazzman’s Blues’ With Stars at NY Special Screening appeared first on The Movie Blog.

- gareth

Looks like a great celebration.

We’re excited to announce October marks the 25th anniversary of the Fallout franchise! Join us all month long as we look back on twenty-five years of this iconic franchise, featuring developer retrospectives and tons of activities across the entire franchise, including:

Free week of Fallout 76 New Fallout Shelter Quests Huge sales Giveaways And so much more!

Each week in October fans can visit www.fallout25th.com to learn what we’ve got planned for that week’s festivities.

Read on for more details about what players can expect throughout this anniversary month.

FALLOUT 76 FREE WEEK 

Haven’t taken a dive into Fallout 76? Explore post-nuclear Appalachia with your friends during Fallout 76’s Free Week, concluding October 10. We’ll also be offering Fallout 76 on sale during the Free Week, allowing you to keep playing without missing a beat of progress at a discount.

A NEW UPDATE COMES TO FALLOUT SHELTER! 

We’re adding new content to Fallout Shelter for the first time in over four years! Take on an alien threat in an all-new quest line featuring new enemies, take up arms with new weapons, recruit new Dwellers and decorate your Vault with a new celebration room theme. We’ll have more to show off when the update launches next week, so stay tuned!

SAVE BIG DURING FALLOUT’S FRANCHISE SALE 

Newcomer to the Fallout universe or longtime fan looking to fill some missing entries in your collection? We’re offering deep discounts across the entire Fallout franchise! Players on Steam have until October 18 to take advantage of the anniversary sale, while sales on Xbox and PlayStation platforms end on October 12.

For all the latest on activities and events around the 25th anniversary of Fallout, visit www.fallout25th.com.

- gareth
The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Trailer Has Arrived

The new trailer is here. What do you think?

Tickets are now on sale for Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the action-packed feature film that ventures back to the kingdom of Wakanda where a new threat emerges from a hidden undersea nation called Talokan. A brand-new trailer, poster and images also debuted today and are available to download.

Fans counting the days to the film’s November 11 release can purchase tickets wherever tickets are sold.  Now fans, communities and organizations can arrange group bookings and theater buy-outs by visiting: WakandaForeverTickets.com

In the film, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of Talokan, the film also stars Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena and Alex Livinalli.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Kevin Feige and Nate Moore, opens in theaters November 11, 2022.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: @MarvelStudios@BlackPantherMovie

Twitter: @MarvelStudios@theblackpanther

Instagram: @marvelstudios@blackpanther

Hashtag: #WakandaForever



- gareth

Back with a new radio segment and we talk

E3, Modern Warfare 2 and numerous changes at WB.

 

The gang returns from Hiatus to talk TV shows including House of Dragons, LOTR, Andor and more! O course, the geek sheet with Vicky B!

 

- minshewnetworks

When it comes to horse racing games, unfortunately, there isn’t plenty to choose from. Over the past couple of years, there have been few game releases that offered realistic gameplay, and exciting horse racing and covered the entire process that goes into horse racing from breeding to starting your own stable.

Even though horse racing is the oldest sport in the world, and has grown in popularity over the years, there aren’t many game studios that cover such games, especially for this-generation consoles.

So, if you love horse racing and horse facts like “who is the longest lived horse?” how do you get some games that satisfy you? Does this mean that there are no horse racing games for PlayStation 5?

Well, when it comes to new releases, there isn’t much action in the horse racing gaming community. Ever since the PS5 was released, there weren’t many new horse racing games released apart from Winning Post 9 in 2022.

Fortunately, horse racing games that were available for the PS4, are playable on this-generation console, and you can get them from the PS Store.

Here are some of the best horse racing games you should download right now.

Best Games Horse racing Games for PlayStation 4 and 5 Winning Post 9

Considering that this game was released in 2022, it is at the top of our list since it has the best graphics and plenty of options to choose from. This game was developed by Koei Temco, and it is probably one of the best horse racing games in the world.

The most important thing when it comes to horse racing games is the physics involved. Fortunately, Winning Post 9 has incredibly realistic game mechanics that allow you to recreate a real-world racing event.

On top of that, it comes with a variety of options from betting, horse breeding, purchasing system, profits, costs, and much more. It is basically like running your own stable.

The best thing about Winning Post 9 is that it comes with a very accurate betting feature, that allows you to recreate and simulate real-world events like the Breeders’ Cup just to see the results of the race.

Phar Lap Horse Racing Challenge

Here we’ve got another incredible horse racing game by PikPok and published by means of Home Entertainment supplies. Even though both companies are not very popular inside the gaming community, they nevertheless managed to supply a top-notch horse racing game.

The satisfactory component of Phar Lap is the visuals. It looks as if they spent quite a lot of time designing horses and race venues just to present lovers with a greater real-life recreation. 

The best thing about Phar Lap is that it is not only about horse racing. This game has plenty of components that are happening in the world of horse racing behind the curtains. From horse breeding to starting your own stable, and even training your horses.

The main objective of the game is to earn a respect and prestige with your stable and become a popular name in the world of horse racing.

Equestrian Training

This is not much of a horse racing game just because it is centered around taking care of these incredible animals. 

This game is based on the official French Horse-riding Federation diplomas, and it is perfect for horse owners that want to learn more about the process. The training of the horses is incredibly accurate, and there are more than 2,500 questions that pop up as a quiz to help you improve your horse knowledge.

You can also ride your horse and take part in many of the fun mini-games that are offered. 

Winning Post 8 

Even though the newer version of this game was released this year, Winning Post 8 still remains one of the best horse racing games available for both PS4 and PS5. One of the reasons why people still play this game is because the new game Winning post 9 is released only for the Asian region, which means that you cannot purchase it from the PS Store.

With that said, Winning Post 8 is just as good a game. Even the graphics of the game are good enough despite the fact that it was released in 2018.

- gareth

PAX West – A Post-Pandemic New Attendee Experience

by Candice Branum 

Labor Day weekend 2022 I was given an opportunity of a lifetime! I was given the chance to attend PAX West as a photographer for Skewed and Reviewed. This wasn’t just my first time working with them, this was my very first time going to an event like this. I can say that, without a doubt, it was one of the most fun and memorable experiences I’ve ever had! Lucky for me, my cohort for the day was fellow Skewed and Reviewed contributor, Joseph Saulnier.

Joseph and I started the day by finding a decent parking spot across from the Washington State Convention Center, where the event is held every year, and making our way to the hotel that housed our badges. This appeared more chaotic than it actually was, though the large crowds and deafening sounds of hundreds of people lining up to get their vaccine status checked\ would certainly have caused panic for an introvert. The lines moved quickly and people were generally respectful. Still, the overwhelming excitement to see what PAX had to offer was almost too much to bear! Badges secured around our necks, we hurried back through the streets of downtown Seattle and into the Convention Center at last! 

I will tell you, this was a day of firsts for me. For anyone who hasn’t been inside, the Washington State Convention Center is a beautiful building filled with 6 stories of businesses and rooms to service thousands of visitors a day. I’ve lived in the Seattle area for nearly 2 years and I have never had the opportunity to check it out. 10/10 would recommend visiting at least once. With the grand trip up the escalators we stopped to get our gear ready, and made our way up another floor to the main event! 

Let me just say, I wasn’t fully prepared for how grand and exciting it all was! The cosplay was on point, the vendors were well prepared and equipped with products and staff, and the different events that were scheduled to take place throughout the day were gearing up for their different shows. I could barely take it all in. Part of me just wanted to stand in one place and admire everything and the rest of me, like the 12 year old I am (inside), wanted to run through the isles touching and playing with everything! 

Of course, like the adult I’m required to be, I chose to walk through and admire and touch at a reasonable pace. I was shocked to see so many familiar brands. Many of the vendors were well-known big names in the gaming industry. Nintendo was promoting Splatoon 3 big time with lines for time to play the game being capped often; Pokemon had a Play Lab filled with players; Pac-Man World Re-Pac was set up and ready to play. There was everything you could think of, from VR and group PC game demos, to tabletop games and arcade classics, PAX West had it all! 

With all of that being said, I wasn’t just there for pleasure, I had a job to do. I will say, it was hard to stop and focus on taking pictures, when the constant overstimulation and “SQUIRREL!” moments kept drawing me in. We were so distracted that we lost track of time. Joseph reminded me we had a very important meeting coming up to play a demo of a new game and interview someone notable and we needed to get going. Only trouble was the interview was in 15 minutes and we were a 10 minute walk away. 

We rushed down from the 6th floor of the convention center, realizing that just getting out of the building was eating up time, we picked up the pace. From the convention center we rushed

(mostly uphill) to the W Hotel. We arrived just in the knick of time. Waiting in the lobby there was another member of the media waiting for his interview as well. Just as we were starting to wonder where to go next, a comfortably dressed man arrived to greet us. He guided us to an elevator and explained how the game play and interview process would work. The next thing we know, we are standing in a good sized hotel room, surrounded by a group of men all wearing Squanch Games t-shirts, of varying designs. As was discussed on the way up, Joseph and I would have first crack at playing their newest game, High on LIfe, while the other gentleman would interview, none other than the creator of the game as well as (and more notably) the Emmy-award winning show Rick and Morty: Justin Roiland! 

We were comfortably situated at a desk that held the computer we would play on. High on Life already preloaded and ready to be played. I’m more of a console gamer and was more than happy to let my much more PC gaming experienced companion have the full 30 minutes allotted for gameplay. As suspected, Joseph was a natural. 

High on Life turned out to be wonderfully terrible in the most exquisite way! The colors were vibrant, the dialogue shocking and hilarious, and the gameplay appeared seamless. The beautiful and vivid art was quite a refreshing contrast to the dark and depressing story. The familiar voice actors spouting out hilarious and morbid quips really enhanced the experience just that much more, though perhaps still not overshadowing the incredible attention to detail in every frame. You can tell this game was made with a lot of love and care. The dialog also tells me the dialogue and story was written by seasoned millennials who have seen a thing or two, and we are here for it! 

After Joseph made it to, and wrecked, the first boss the demo was over. Which was good because it was just in time for Justin Roiland and his Mikey Spano (CCO, Squanch Games) to arrive for our interview. Mimosa in hand and nursing a rarely felt hangover, Justin graciously sat with us for half an hour. We talked about High on Life, behind the scenes of his first game Trover, and what inspired his creativity. Between Justin, Mikey, Joseph, and myself the conversation felt much less like an interview and more like a conversation between friends. It went by quicker than I would have liked but it was an incredible experience (if I didn’t have a picture I wouldn’t believe it happened) that I will remember for the rest of my life! 

Joseph and I made our way back, albeit in less of a hurry, to the convention center. We had the chance to participate in a demo for a new online multiplayer game called Deceive Inc, coming soon from developer Sweet Bandits Studios and publisher Tripwire Presents. Joseph alos got to play a VR game from Tripwire presents called Espire 2. We roamed the floor for a few more hours, coming across more game dice than I’ve ever seen in my life, beautifully handcrafted gameplay merchandise, and the coolest cosplay I’ve ever seen in person! 

Given more time, I could have explored for hours more, but alas the floor was closing and it was clear that we didn’t have to go home, but we couldn’t stay there. The low lighting of the floor seemed to get darker and the massive crowds had all coalesced at the down escalator, waiting to escape the very same crowd they were creating. This left the main floor kind of ominous. Strangely enough, despite sometimes feeling overwhelmed trying to get through if you’re in a

hurry, one of the true charms of events like this seems to be the infectious joy the large crowds bring. Without the mass of people sharing excitement, we could all just stay home and order merch online. 

I never really understood why people went to things like Comic Con, E3, or PAX events. It all seemed a bit overwhelming and pointless with today’s technology. From virtual meetings to online shopping, it all seemed like a massive waste of time and effort. However, after attending this year, I can attest to the allure of events like this. A meeting of people from all over. Different cultures, interests, belief systems… all coming together to enjoy their passions collectively. It fills a need we have as a species to come together and share our commonalities while being so different. Respecting one another, sharing our joy, and meeting new people. From console to tabletop, PC to roleplay, PAX West had something for everyone. Including a new respect and understanding for the need for conventions for a newb like me. Can’t wait for the next one!

- Joseph Saulnier

PAX West 2022 was a refreshing return to the PAX experience of pre-pandemic.  Not the least of which is a return to hands on demos of up and coming games that people are genuinely excited about.  Of all time at PAX this year, High on Life from Squanch Games was the highlight this year.

In High on Life (“HoL”), you are fresh out of high school with no job and no ambition, but you are valuable in other ways.  You see, in this colorful universe humans are used as a drug to get aliens high, and an alien cartel wants to get rich off of it.  Now you, and a cast of charismatic talking guns, are on a mission to become the deadliest intergalactic bounty hunter the cosmos has ever seen.

Yes, you read that right.  For those that don’t know, this game has talking guns.  One of the first thoughts I had when I heard this was, “how much do they talk?”  No matter how good the game is, this little part of the game could totally kill the experience if not done just right.  I saw the trailer and it looked promising, but trailers are focusing on the fun highlights, so there is a lot of talking.  But the game looked great, and has that distinct Squanch Games sense of humor that we saw in Trover Saves the World and Accounting+.  But could they pull off a AAA FPS the way that they hope.

If the demo level I was able to play was any indication, then this game is already well on it’s way to solidifying itself on the list of great, story-driven FPS games.  I played the same level shown at Gamescom this year, where you have to go retrieve a knife (a very rude, vile, and hilarious knife) and complete your first bounty.  As you make your way through the level, your first gun helps you discover and learn just a small sample of the mechanics that are a part of this game.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find that even through the tutorial level, where the gun will do more talking in such a short time than the rest of the game (as explained to me), I never got the overwhelming feeling, or feeling of bombardment, from your weapons, even the knife.  The game was colorful and bleak at the same time.  It was funny and engaging and I cannot wait for even more.  For a glimpse into my experience and a look at the tutorial level I was able to play, check out the Gamescom gameplay footage below.



 

After my time with the game, we got a chance to sit down with Justin Roiland and Mikey Spano, Founder/CEO and CCO of Squanch Games respectively.  You can tell how much passion has gone into this project from both gentlemen. To be honest, the interview felt like a conversation between old friends.  This was one of the easiest interviews I have ever conducted, but also the one that was least like an interview.  I asked one question and it cascaded into a nearly 40 minute adventure into the mind of Justin Roiland.

It was so interesting as we began talking about the cast of HoL, which includes the likes of JB Smoove, Tim Robinson, Jennifer Hale, and Zach Hadel.  Justin talked about the time he wanted to get JB Smoove to guest on an episode of Rick and Morty, but couldn’t get him for the show.  So he was amazed at being able to land him for such a bigger commitment with HoL.  Knowing the actor’s penchant for improv, we talked about what amount of the dialogue we hear on screen (from all characters) was improv versus scripted.  In what was certainly a surprise to us, the dialogue in HoL was much less when compared to the likes of Trover.  It certainly goes to show what an impressive writing staff they have for this game, being able to capture each actor so well.

HoL feels like it will be a refreshing entry into the FPS playing field.  With so many games being launched with a PVP mentality, it’s nice to see another great story-driven PVE game being released into the field.  There aren’t enough AAA titles with the level of humor and gameplay in one package.  High on Life releases exclusively on Xbox and PC (Steam & Epic Games) on December 13, 2022, and is a day one Game Pass title.  Just in time for the avid gamer to devote countless hours over holiday breaks.  I know I will be.

- Michael Newman

Speak with any life coach, inspirational speaker or parent and they will tell you that starting each conversation with a smile is a great way to disarm and instantly put at ease the person you are talking with.  For example, you walk into your local coffee shop, its crazy busy, people are running around trying to fulfill orders, and it looks like the person behind the counter has already worked a twelve-hour shift by 6AM.  You saunter up to the counter, the person scowls at you, asks what you’d like to order.  You flash your stunning smile, say “Good morning” and you see that frown turn upside down.  Ok, maybe that’s not how it always works, but that’s the idea right? A smile is meant to convey someone is friendly, happy, and generally approachable.  However, what would happen if a smile conveyed something completely different? What if a smile was something sinister, dark, and malevolent?  Maybe after folks go to see the movie Smile, the entire meaning will be turned on its head?

Smile wastes practically no time setting up the premise.  In an emergency psych ward Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), a doctor who spends almost all of her waking (and sleeping) hours working with her numerous psych patients.  Laura (Caitlin Stasey), a seemingly sane PHD student arrives with an uncontrollable fear that she is going to die.  She describes how several days prior; her professor had killed himself with a claw hammer right in front of her.  Ever since that event she has been taunted by something that takes the form of people she knows and doesn’t know, always with a sinister smile across their faces.  Before Rose can get any additional information, Laura kills herself in a predictably gruesome fashion, right before her very eyes.  Rose’s only hope is reaching out to Tyler (Kyle Gallner) her ex-boyfriend who also happens to be a cop to help unravel the mystery before her.

Smile clearly takes its inspiration from similar films such as It Follows and Fallen in many ways surpassing those films with its constant sense of suspense and dread.  It keeps the viewers guessing whether what Rose is seeing is real or some demented figment of her imagination.  The film manages to maintain its atmosphere utilizing jump scares sparingly and relying more on its mystery and uneasiness to push the narrative forward.

Smile is one the most suspenseful movies I’ve seen this year.  While it has its fair share of gore, it’s the psychological aspects that really propel this movie into being simply a copy of the same genre films that have come before it.  While it doesn’t necessarily break new ground, it effectively utilizes cinematography and atmospheric shots to portray a woman who is seemingly descending into madness to those all around her, and yet still appearing sane to those who know better.  The film effectively blurs the line between psychosis and reality, at times even asking the audience to determine whether what we see is truly real, or simply the shattering of a professional’s mind before our very eyes.

At a run time of almost two hours, I never felt that Smile dragged.  While there certainly could have been a greater focus on the victims before Rose, the story is less about the entity itself, and more about how demons (both real and imagined) can twist the mind of even someone who should know better.  Rose constantly struggles with what is physical and what is metaphysical, feeling that if she can simply take control of her own sanity, that she can somehow erase the entity using only willpower and the power of her mind.

Smile is a great addition to the Halloween season and is a fantastic way to kick off the fall time.  It may not change the formula in any significant way, but at the end of the day you are in for a frightfully good time.  If you have been waiting for a smart thriller to make its way to theaters before spending your hard-earned money, you could certainly do far worse than Smile. In fact, after seeing it, you might just look forward to the frowny faces of those behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop!

4 out of 5 stars

- gareth

Love the new video.

Striking Distance Studio has released a brand-new trailer that gives a sneak peek at The Callisto Protocol’s main setting: Black Iron Prison, a maximum-security facility located on Jupiter’s moon Callisto, where something has gone terribly wrong.

 

Discover what terrifying secrets lie beneath Black Iron Prison as revealed in the new trailer here: video link.

 

From the original creators of Dead Space and starring Josh Duhamel as cargo space ship pilot Jacob Lee, The Callisto Protocol is a story-driven survival horror game that will release on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X this December 2nd.

 

For more information on The Callisto Protocol check out the official page or follow the game on Twitter.



- gareth

Fans should love this news.

 

The ancestral home of dragonkind is stirring as Blizzard Entertainment today announced Dragonflight, the ninth expansion for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft®, will be released worldwide on November 28 at 3pm PT. “Dragonflight was crafted with our incredible community in mind and with the desire to return to what we all love most dearly: the splendor of Azeroth and its characters, with our players cast as heroes,” said World of Warcraft executive producer Holly Longdale. “We invite everyone into this new adventure where we will bask in the landscape of dragons, become a part of their ancient legacy, and watch the secrets of this land unfold together.” Players will discover the Dragon Isles and explore four new zones—each themed around and revealing more about the ancient dragon aspects—all lovingly crafted by the World of Warcraft development team for veteran and new players alike. As the Dragon Isles awaken, so too do long-forgotten secrets, and players will traverse land and sky as they explore what the Dragon Isles has to offer. It is here that they will discover the dracthyr, who have emerged from their long slumber to join the fight and will become available to play during the Dragonflight pre-expansion patch for players who prepurchase the expansion. Able to switch between a humanoid visage and a fearsome draconic form, the dracthyr are highly mobile, and their unique Evoker class can specialize in ranged damage-dealing or in aiding their allies as a healer by harnessing the mystical gifts of dragonkind. Soar through the skies as you master the all-new skill-based art of Dragonriding, which allows players to take to the air on the back of their own Dragon Isles Drake. There are also millions of combinations of appearances available for Drakes, allowing players to make their companion their own as they learn to fly further, longer, and faster throughout their journey. Players can also express themselves through the new talent system, which allows for creative skill selection at every level so you can play your class however you choose, and through the updated profession system, where players can choose to hone their craft. Alongside the updated Heads-Up Display (HUD) User Interface (UI) system, players may customize both the look and feel of their World of Warcraft experience through the game itself in more ways than ever before. On November 28, Dragonflight will release with eight dungeons, four of which can be taken on with friends as players build toward the new level cap of 70, while the remaining four can be tackled in the end-game. The first raid of the expansion, Vault of the Incarnates, will be unlocked—at all difficulty levels—on December 13. Dragonflight is available for digital pre-purchase as a Base edition ($49.99 SRP), Heroic edition ($69.99 SRP), and Epic edition ($89.99). Each digital edition includes one or more items for players to celebrate joining forces with the dragonflights as they reclaim their lost realm: Base Edition: Includes Drakks, as a pre-purchase bonus pet to accompany you on your quests. Heroic Edition: Includes Drakks, as a pre-purchase bonus pet, the new Murkastrasza pet, a Dragonflight-level character boost (level 60), and a new Tangled Dreamweaver flying mount to soar on. Epic Edition: Includes all Base and Heroic items, the Timewalker’s Hearthstone effect, the Diadem of the Spell-keeper head-slot transmog, the Wings of Awakening back-slot transmog in five color variants, and 30 days of game time. The expansion is also available for pre-purchase as a boxed Collector’s Set: in addition to an Epic edition digital key, players can explore Dragonflight’s visual development with the Art of Dragonflight hardcover book, upgrade their set-up with the powerful visage of an Alexstrasza mousepad, and add iconic representations of Azeroth’s five primary dragon flights in a five-pin collector’s set. The Collector’s Set is available for pre-order on the Official Blizzard Gear Store at https://gear.blizzard.com/collections/world-of-warcraft. An active subscription is required to play World of Warcraft. For more information on World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, visit www.worldofwarcraft.com
- gareth

Here is a look at some gameplay from the Alpha.



 

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SEOPress PRO Nulled is a powerful plugin to optimize your SEO, boost your traffic, improve social sharing, build custom HTML and XML Sitemaps, create breadcrumbs, manage redirects 301 and so much more. SEOPress Pro WordPress Plugin Features Google Local Business Google Suggest Backlinks Dublin Core Robots.txt Google XML Video Sitemap Breadcrumbs URL Rewriting Import SEO metadata […]

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- Somaster

Rank Math Pro Nulled is the most powerful way to get BEST WordPress SEO tools added to your website. Rank Math Pro WordPress Plugin Features Powerful Schema Generator Unlimited personal websites Easy to Follow Setup Wizard Built With Performance In Mind Clean, & Simple User Interface Industry-Leading Support Download Rank Math Pro WordPress Plugin Note: If you […]

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- Montelent

Nowadays, every small to large scale company is emphasising deploying effective cybersecurity protocols. But, it’s not new; with the advancement in the field of the internet, online threats also developed. The risk of data breaching was less in the 1900s compared to this modern technological era. Moreover, at that time, few had the authority to […]

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- Montelent
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Official Trailer

Jake Sully now resides on the planet of Pandora with the family he unexpectedly found there. Jake, Neytiri, and the rest of the Na’vi race’s army are going to have to collaborate in order to save their world from an old enemy who has returned to finish what he started before. Watch the Trailer Below:

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- Stark
BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER Full Trailer

Well, the next big Marvel adventure is getting ready to roll. Here is the full trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Kingdom without a King prepares for war coming from beneath the waves, as the MCU introduces Namor: The Sub-Mariner, this time from an ancient Aztec culture rather than Greek mythology, and confirmed as one of the first mutants in the Marvel Universe.

Ryan Coogler returns to direct the sequel, which will introduce RiRi Williams (Dominique Thorne) alongside Namor. The movie will see Wakanda as a target.

After the sad death of the original Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, the entire approach for this movie had to be re-thought with producers deciding not to recast the role and instead acknowledge the passing of his character with the actor.

Black Panther 2 Main

The first movie was a box-office phenomenon with a huge take, driven by it being successfully pitched as a cultural event.

Organizations such as the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute named Black Panther as one of the top ten films of 2018. It grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide and broke numerous box office records, becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker, the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time, the third-highest-grossing film in the U.S. and Canada, and the second-highest-grossing film of 2018.

The film was nominated for seven awards at the 91st Academy Awards, winning three, and received numerous other accolades. Black Panther is the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination, and the first MCU film to win several categories.

Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and Winston Duke star in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which is set for release in cinemas on November 11th.

A television series set in Wakanda is also in development for Disney+.

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- Matt aka Eggy
BROS Box Office Bummer

Universal’s Bros, the first gay romantic comedy released by a major Hollywood studio, flopped with a very low $4.8 million opening this weekend. That’s less than half of what it was tracked to earn.

The Push Back

Of course, homophobia is to blame. Bros co-writer and star Billy Eichner made a point of pushing back and whined on Twitter.

“Everyone who ISN’T a homophobic weirdo should go see BROS tonight! You will have a blast! And it is special and uniquely powerful to see this particular story on a big screen, esp for queer folks who don’t get this opportunity often. I love this movie so much. GO BROS!!!”

So even though 96.5% of the world’s population are heterosexual, according to Eichner you are a “weirdo” if watching a bunch of dudes copping a hold of one another isn’t your thing. You bigots!

Bros 1“96.5% you say. Source?” A Limp Wristed Reception

Bros‘ top 10 markets were all in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles – no surprises there. Apparently it did decent business in several other major cities including Chicago, but apart from that, the film has been a bit of a soggy biscuit.

Rather than just take it on the chin, Eichner himself continued to make excuses on Twitter as to why his film hasn’t quite managed to pack the fudge with audiences. 

“Rolling Stone already has BROS on the list of the best comedies of the 21st century. What’s also true is that at one point a theater chain called Universal said they were pulling the trailer because of the gay content. (Uni convinced them not to.) America, fuck yeah, etc. etc.” Bors 3One of the best comedies of the 21st century – seriously? File This Under Things That Didn’t Happen

In another ham-fisted attempt to explain why everyone is wrong about his film, Eichner say he went to an L.A. cinema on Saturday night: 

“Last night I snuck in and sat in the back of a sold-out theater playing Bros in LA. The audience howled with laughter from start to finish, burst into applause at the end, and some were wiping away tears as they walked out. It was truly magical. Really. I am VERY proud of this movie.”

Though Bros carries a modest $22 million production budget, it will likely struggle to achieve profitability, considering its disappointing debut. Sounds like Eicher and Universal are going to have to bite the pillow on this and accept the fact that the vast majority of the world are just not interested. 

Bros 2People who don’t like my little film are homophobic weirdos…

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- Stark
China In For Game Studios

One of the things you notice when you travel and work overseas is just how absent some corporate entities we take for granted in the West are elsewhere. I was forever shocked by the size and influence of Rakuten in Japan, with Amazon and Google barely getting a look-in. It was the same in China. Facebook, Instagram and the others we see as part of daily life were nowhere. WeChat was everywhere, and wider than that, Tencent seemed dominate everything. China is now coming for gaming.

Tencent-China-GamingYour future employer… probably.

It seems that even China has growth limits. Tencent may already be the world’s biggest video games company by revenue, but growth is stalling at home. Tencent already owns a stake in more than 800 companies, including Epic Games, Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft.

According to Reuters, Tencent is back in the overseas acquisition market and is “aggressively seeking” to up the stakes it already has in these firms in order to take a controlling majority share. No more passive financial investments, all glory to the rising Red Dragon and the people’s gaming revolution having a long march through the markets!

Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is attracting the attention of regulators in the UK and the EU with support from Google and Sony who fear the link up. Careful what you wish for as this may leave Tencent able to exploit the gap and swoop in.

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese gaming overlords.

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- Stark
International Retro Review: FLODDER IN AMERIKA!

Sometimes an Outposter steps forward. Sometimes an Outposter makes a contribution. Sometimes, just sometimes, an Outposter effectively creates a new category on the site and then makes it their own. That Outposter is Leopardo and his International Retro Reviews are so prolific that we are literally running out of Dutch jokes and will soon have to revert to cheap “Finger In The Dyke” gags like the juveniles that we really are. Anyway, here is Leopardo with more from the Netherlands – Flodder In Amerika!.

Flodder

Flodder In Amerika

Hi, and welcome back to another International Retro Review, the reviews that are skimmed and ignored by tens of people every time I find the time to write one!

I started with a review for Flodder a few months ago, and I mentioned the sequels. Having recently re-watched them, I decided to finish the trilogy. So, here is Flodder in Amerika! (AKA Flodder does Manhattan!, 1992). Flodder 3 (AKA Flodder Forever, 1995) will follow at a later date.

Here is the trailer:

In 1995, with the release of Flodder 3, the Netherlands had their first ever movie trilogy. These movies were very popular at home, and also in Germany. Germany is a country to our east, and the Dutch and the Germans are best friends since ancient times. There was some trouble in the early 1940s but nobody really talks about that anymore. They like our movies, we like their beer, and we don’t really complain about the state they leave our beaches in after a holiday anymore.

Great guys, those Germans. They can dig holes, but not fill them back in when they’re done apparently. And when they do it’s to bury empty Oettinger cans. Terrific… but, back to the movie.

Flodder in Amerika! is written and directed by Dick Maas, the creator of the original. Cast and crew are pretty much the same as well.

Cast

Johnny Flodder – Huub Stapel
Ma Flodder – Nelly Frijda
Kees Flodder (the son) – René van ‘t Hof
Kees Flodder (the daughter) – Tatjana Simic
Larry Rosenbaum – Jon Polito

I just realised Polito died in 2016 when researching this review. RIP Mr. Polito, you did your best.

Flodder

Plot

The movie picks up about a year after the first one. As you may remember from having watched the original Flodder directly after reading my review (ha!), their mansion is destroyed and the family now lives in the rubble. Apparently, nobody told them about insurance. Johnny’s fiancée is conveniently ignored so he can get up to the same shenanigans.

The City Council has finally found a way to get rid of the Flodder Family. Their plan is to hijack an exchange program with the US, a pair of overtly bleeding heart Americans wants to set up a program where families from both countries trade places for a year to foster understanding and harmony between our two peoples. The Council decides to plant the Flodders in the program to ship them off.

The Flodders don’t really see the point but decide to go along for the free holiday. Arriving in New York, they immediately get separated from their handler, social worker Sjakie from the first movie. They get set up in the Plaza hotel after being mistaken for a Russian medical delegation, get kicked out again and finally befriend night club owner Larry Rosenbaum (John Polito) who takes them in and lets them work for him.

Flodder

So, what do I think about this movie?

First of all, this is basically Ghostbusters 2. It suffers from the same problems and makes the same mistakes. Whole scenes and sequences from the first one are repeated, only changed around a little. And the change is almost the same one every time: Johnny gets involved with a married woman, only this time in the USA.

Kees is a pervert who peeps on girls, only this time in the USA. There is a high-speed chase in a crappy old convertible that ends in a crash, only this time in the USA. You get the picture. Some jokes are repeated literally, only the setting is different.

All the movie’s jokes revolve around easily avoidable mistakes. The taxi driver assumes the weird foreigners are Russian, so he just puts them in the hotel. But Johnny speaks English, why not exchange a few words before getting in the taxi? The whole movie is full of that kind of thing, it’s kind of frustrating.

Also, why does the council put the Flodders in the exchange program? It’s never clear WHY they want to get rid of them so bad, they didn’t want to get rid of them in the first movie, that was the neighbourhood’s inhabitants. This carries on to the TV series and part 3 too. All of a sudden the Flodders are a poor beset family and the City Council is their enemy. It makes no sense.

The humour is toned down considerably. It is much more family friendly. The nudity is still there, this is Dutch after all, but some of the darker stuff from the first one is referenced only, not shown. With one exception: the movie treats the character of Sjakie, the social worker, especially badly. It’s one spiral of bad luck that ends in an accidental sex-change operation. Its really stands out.

It’s not all bad though. The way the family brings over Dutch culture and sensibilities to the US is fun, albeit in a very stereotypical way. If you are the sort of person who likes watching young women take their clothes off to a musical number, this movie has something for you.

Some of the visual gags work, I believe this is the first movie I ever saw that has the Statue of Liberty get decapitated in it. Oh yeah, right… Spoilers. Sorry!

Flodder

All in all, it’s a fun idea that wasn’t executed very well. There are too many similarities to the first one, and some of the cast are kind of phoning it in. Jon Polito is good though. He looks like he’s having fun, and his scenes are genuinely funny, especially his rampage through the nightclub at the end.

Apparently Flodder In Amerika! wasn’t dubbed for the English language release, but dialogue was recorded twice, once in Dutch and once in English. I have never seen the English version but I have seen it dubbed in German.

The Verdict

If you liked the first Flodder, you’ll like this one. If not, just leave it. Three bitterballs out of five.

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- Stark
DAHMER Expert Critical Of Accuracy

Netflix’s show Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is making waves, and not just in terms of massive ratings. Some viewers have criticized it as needlessly voyeuristic and families of the victims, and those involved in the case have spoken out.

Journalist Anne Schwartz broke the story of Dahmer’s killings for the Milwaukee Journal in 1991 and was close to the case. In a new interview with The Independent, Schwartz has criticized the show for the portrayal of the police.

Dahmer

After her career at the Journal, Schwartz went on to work in communications for the Milwaukee Police Department and for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The show does depict police officers as racist and homophobic:

“I’ve spent a lot of time with them, interviewing the people who were at the scene. Again this is a dramatization, but at a time when it is not exactly easy for law enforcement to get trust and buy-in from the community, it’s not a very helpful representation.”

She has cast aspersions on the shows accuracy and how far it uses creative licence to stray from the facts:

“[The show] does not bear a great deal of resemblance to the facts of the case. In the first five minutes of the first episode, you have Glenda Cleveland knocking on his door. None of that ever happened. I had trouble with buy-in, because I knew that was not accurate.”

Schwartz went on to say that Milwaukee wants to forget all about the case and move forward. Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is the biggest ever new series debut for Netflix, so they probably do not care and feel any publicity is good publicity.

In other news, Netflix has dropped the LGBTQ+ tag from the show after outrage from that community.

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- Matt aka Eggy
Livestream: BULLET TRAIN

For today’s Livestream, we’ve been grown ups and got ourselves all organised by all watching Bullet Train! We are going to have a chat about it.

We’ll also catch up on the weeks big stories including Dahmer, Andor, Deadpool 3 and The Last Of Us. Also, we will descend into the usual anarchy while we talk about another week of ridiculousness from the Hollywood mob, such as the LGBTQP Wizard Of Oz and a certain Stranger Things star calling the show’s fans racists.

So tune it today and watch Drunken Yoda desperately try and keep Boba Phil, Shawn T and my good self on topic. *Editors Note: He will fail.

Join us on the Livestream today (2nd October) at 12 noon CST and 6pm UK time. Be there AND be square!

Livestream Oct 2nd

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- Stark
WEREWOLF Gory, BLADE Shoot Delayed

After Earthbound heroes of science and technology, like Spider-Man and Iron Man, and the galactic like Thor, Captain Marvel and the Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel is preparing to embrace horror and bring that into the MCU as well. This is no surprise to fans who remember Marvel’s horror comics from the 70s and 80s. This begins this Halloween with Werewolf By Night.

Apparently, for the first time in the MCU, there will be blood and gore.

american-werewolfExactly how much gore are we talking here?

Early reports have mentioned blood, screams violence. Director Michael Giacchino gave an interview to IGN and says nobody told him not to splash the blood:

“Well, it was one of those things where no one said no. I just kept pushing. I knew that we were going to balance that with heart and humor and humanity and empathy and all of that. And as long as we kept that balance in tow that I felt like we had some leeway to push on the horror side. And look, we’re dealing with monsters, monster movies, and I felt like we needed to just go into that realm, just not be afraid of it.”

He went on to say that after a while he kept asking for more just to see how far he could push things:

“I think there was an air around the production of, ‘What’s going to happen? Are they going to let us do this while we come back with all this footage that is so violent? What’s going to happen?’ But I knew in my heart that what we were doing was not sadistic. We weren’t creating a film that was all about just indiscriminate killing.”

Later in the interview he also confirmed:

“…and being in black and white didn’t hurt us either.”

The one-off adaption of Werewolf By Night will premiere Friday, October 7th on Disney+.

In other Marvel news comes the not unexpected news that Blade appears to be pushing some things back. Director Bassam Tariq exited suddenly and as a result some shooting is being delayed.

Blade

Cleveland.com reports that a nine-day shoot in that city scheduled for November 14th-22nd has been pushed back and casting calls for extras have been pulled.

Other sources are saying that shooting now won’t start until the new year, possibly as late as the spring.

Speed rests on how fast the Marvel machine can find a new director. The movie was originally slotted between The Marvels in July 2023 and Captain America: New World Order in May 2024.

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- Shawn Thompson
Netflix’s MONSTER: THE JEFFREY DAHMER STORY

I’m sure you have all heard about the new miniseries from Netflix about everyone’s favorite gay cannibal serial killing necrophiliac. That’s right, you knew I’d be the one to talk about Dahmer.

The series stars Evan Peters, in what is honestly his best performance. This guy was born to pretend to be a cannibal sex offender. Kudos to him! Good job Evan. No, for real. It really is some great acting.

The series starts with the last few hours of Jeff’s freedom and his failed attempt at sealing the deal on his latest victim. The guy manages to get free and find the police. Life goes downhill for Jeff after that. Following episodes give us Dahmer’s life story in flashbacks. We see his batshit insane Mom and her many, many “Woman Moments”. His Dad, who was a bit eccentric himself but not a bad guy. We see his building fascination with road kill, his problems in school, all of that. You know the signs of a potential serial kill. You’ve seen them on TV and the Last Movie Outpost Livestream every Sunday.

We also get the pleasure of thinly disguised lectures on how police don’t care about minorities and gays in poor parts of the city. To hammer this home, we get to see how apparently the deaths of family members are harder on black people. Apparently having your son killed, REDACTED and eaten by a gay serial killer is less hurtful for white families.

Yeah there is some woke in it. But it also unintentionally (hilariously) red pills a lot of normies on just how promiscuous and, dare I degenerate, the gay subculture was at the time. NTTIAWWT disclaimer.

You know it hit close to home when the blue check NPCs on twatter demanded the removal of the Netflix LGBTVQQRRRBBQLGTV tag.

Now to the only parts that matter. Yes it is gory and bloody and sleazy. I loved it. Watching it is like watching an exploitation cannibal movie because, despite any claims to the contrary, that is exactly what it is. Pure cinema exploitation at its finest. You even almost think you can see film grain while watching it. It overflows pure sleaze. Dahmer’s killing methods are so over the top you’d think I made them up. We see a lot of details of his work. It’s not for those with delicate sensibilities.

Dahmer

It is a bit slow and it drags at times. Like any true exploitation film, it has some needless padding. If you have interest in the topic, I recommend it. I’d score it higher than I have but I have a few issues with it.

The marginalizing of the suffering of the families of the white victims to showcase the black families is something I found distasteful in the extreme. If not for that, I would give the series a more solid score.

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- Stark
AVATAR 2 Early Tracking

It hardly seems real that after all this time the Avatar sequel is imminent. Thirteen years in the making and now Avatar: The Way Of Water is just over 2 months away. There is a staggering lack of buzz and very limited publicity so far. No doubt that will all change soon.

Avatar

So what does this mean for box office? Will the lack of buzz and general apathy towards the original movie impact the take? Apparently not. Variety has reported that the sequel is on track to generate around $650 million at the domestic box-office. The same analytics experts, Cinelytic, say the movie will earn another $425 million and $214 million from video-on-demand and streaming platforms, respectively.

This is down on the years big performer Top Gun: Maverick which pulled in $700 million and also down on the 2009 original which made $772 million.

This analysis does not include overseas box office, and that is where the big money is for Avatar as a franchise. The majority of the $2.79 billion record breaking haul was made outside the US and that is where the sequel’s performance will really be judged.

The blurb for Avatar: The Way Of Water says:

“Set 2167 more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.”

One thing in the its favor is the December release, when Black Adam and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will have already been and gone. Then there is nothing to challenge it until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania comes out two months later. This may mean it picks up repeat business through lack of choice.

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- Matt aka Eggy
A New AMERICAN PIE Is Being Baked

Universal Pictures is ready to serve us up a new slice of American Pie and its said to offer a “fresh take” on the 1999 classic.

The original American Pie was written by Adam Herz and directed by Paul Weitz. It grossed more than $235 million worldwide and spawned three sequels with the main cast, as well as spinoff franchise American Pie Presents.

We were introduced to the likes of Jim, Stifler, Michelle, Nadia, as well as Stifler’s mum and Jim’s Dad. American Pie also served up some of cinema’s most memorable scenes such as Stifler drinking THAT beer, Nadia and the webcam, and of course Jim and the pie.

The Fresh Take

So Outposters, I can sense you rolling your eyes at this “fresh take” but hear me out. I honestly believe that even with Hollywood’s current trend of wokeism, they can still deliver the goods.

And I’m sick of being pessimistic about remakes, reimaginings and “fresh takes” so let’s give this a chance and explore who is going to be spearheading the new American Pie – it’s the one and only… Sujata Day… 

American Pie Out

Who Is Sujata Day?

Sujata Day, known for her role in the HBO series, Insecure. A show about two friends who face the challenges of being black women who defy all stereotypes.

Rae also created the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. It follows “J”, who is self-described awkward and black passive-aggressive. The entire premise is depicting uncomfortable scenarios one may experience when dealing with others. 

Day neglected the idea for two years, but was motivated after she read an article by Leslie Pitterson pointing out the absence of black female nerd characters on screen.

American Pie Black Girl“J” from The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. She looks like its definitely everyone elses fault.

Her feature directorial debut was Definition Please, which she wrote and starred in as a former spelling bee champion reconnecting with her estranged family in a fresh American take (another fresh take) on a Bollywood trope.

Day also previously directed the LeVar Burton-narrated YouTube series This Is My Story. This is where millionaire LeVar Burton narrates his real life personal experiences of racism with “stunning and straightforward simplicity”.

She was the inaugural recipient of Women’s Voices Now’s inaugural Women Making Waves award and was profiled on NBCUniversal News Group’s Inspiring America series for Definition Please and its exploration of race and mental illness on film.

Sujata DaySujata Day – she definitely doesn’t look like she is about to womansplain something to you. This One Time At Band Camp…

…Sujata Day took a beloved American classic comedy who’s target audience was young heterosexual men, and totally fu…

This film is going to be so woke, so full of diversity and “the message” that it’ll make everything Disney are currently churning out look like a Schwarzenegger movie from the glory days of the 80s.

Rather than have a slice of the new American Pie I’d rather rather have a slice of a freshly laid, steaming dog turd. I suspect it will be the same thing.

America Dog shit

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- Inside Pulse
Ways You Can Make Gaming Nights More Fun

Having a game night with your friends can be a great way to bond and ensure that everyone comes together for lots of fun. However, planning such an event can be overwhelming as the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the host to ensure that everyone has a good time. If you have been tasked with such a job, do not panic as there are a few things you can do to be successful at planning this experience. 

This article will provide you with a few ways to make gaming nights more fun, so that you and your loved ones can have the time of their life. 

Play With Other People

One of the best ways to make fame nights more fun is by inviting others to play with you. There are certainly ways you can have a lonesome game night, if you play on a computer, for example. This may be ideal for the days where you need to relax, but if you are looking for fun then you will want to make sure you have the right company. When thinking about the list of people to invite to join you in your game night, you should think about quality rather than quantity, as you want to have the right people with you. Your invitees should like game night as much as you do to avoid them feeling bored. You can either do this with your friends or have a family game night, which can be just as fun and a great way of bonding.

Create a Comfortable Space

Game nights can be fairly long, especially if everyone is enjoying themselves. For this reason, you must ensure that you create an appropriate gaming space that is comfortable for the duration of the game. Decide on where the game will be set – do you have a table big enough for everyone to sit around? In these events, people are usually happy to sit on the floor as long as they have a few pillows. Even if you have a small space, there are many ways you can get creative so that your space is inviting and appropriate for game night. 

Allow No Distractions

Some game nights are pure fun and taken less seriously, whilst others can be the opposite. This will really depend on the people you have joining you and the type of vibe you are trying to create on the night. You may wish to tell everyone that distractions are forbidden. For example, phones can only be used in extremely necessary situations or during breaks. This may seem like you are being extra, but it can be easy for people to be distracted by their smart devices and social media – the point of game night is for everyone to be involved and have a good time. There are better chances of this happening if you let everyone know this. 

Have Snacks

Playing games will open quite an appetite! Considering that you and your loved ones may be playing for hours on end, it makes sense to have food and drinks ready to serve. Bear in mind, this does not mean you will have to cook a three-course meal ahead of this event. Having a diversity of snacks on a table, as well as a few drinks, should be more than enough to keep everyone’s tummies happy. 

Have Friendly Competitions 

The word competition may sound scary to some people, but it can actually bring the fun to game night more than you think. Having friendly competitions may be just what you need to spice things up. How much fun can it be to have contests with your friends? Separate the group into different teams and compete between each other. You can make it even more fun by having the loser team do something for the group, like pay for dinner next time everyone’s out together. Just make sure to reiterate to everyone that this is always friendly and ensure that no one gets too personal, as things can get heated when wins and losses are at stake. 

Decide Which Game To Play Before Game Night

There is nothing more boring than arriving at the designated place for game night without knowing what game everyone will be playing. This can be a difficult decision, especially if you have a large group of individuals, each with a different opinion and taste. Once you know that you will be hosting a game night, you should all come to a decision as to what game it will be played. If there are always heated discussions and disagreements, it may be a good idea to decide that whoever is hosting game night is responsible for deciding which game will be played. Pleasing every single person can be challenging, so aim to ensure that everyone has a good time overall, even if initially react negatively to your decision. 

Set The Rules at The Start of The Game

Even the most commonly played games result in some sort of conflict at some point during game night. Most of these are due to disagreements when it comes to the rules and how the game is played. You would be surprised at how people have different opinions and ways of playing. For this reason, the group should discuss the rules of the game before it starts to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This way, when a player loses, it will be fair, and they will be unable to claim that they were oblivious to the rules and should be given a second chance as a result. 

Designate a Team Leader or ‘Master’

A great way to ensure that everything goes smoothly during game night is by nominating someone as the team leader or as some game players like to call it ‘the master’. This person is in charge of the game, but this is more than just giving someone full power during the event – they are supposed to ensure that everyone is aware of the rules and that these are followed correctly. The master can choose whether they want to play, but it may make more sense for them to oversee what is happening instead. It may sound like it is a boring role as they are not playing per se, but they will be just as involved, and it can be just as exciting. To avoid any difficulties in deciding who should be the team leader, it may make things easier to designate whoever hosts game night as the person in charge. 

Avoid Conflicts

Avoiding conflicts should certainly be a priority if you want to ensure that game night is fun and everyone enjoys themselves. This is why things such as having a team leader to take charge of what happens as well as deciding and reminding everyone of the rules before the game starts is crucial. However, even with such systems in place, there may still be times where this can be difficult to achieve. You may also consider having a random wheel as part of your game night, to help you make decisions. You can personalize this accessory however you want so that you can input the information you want. 

Have a Theme

Did you think about having a theme for your game night? Once you know the game that you are playing, think about how the entire night will be about this. Having a theme can enhance the party significantly. A few things that you can do include decorating your place according to the game. Having food that celebrates the theme and maybe even acting in a different way. This will certainly bring all the fun and will have you deliver a game night that no one will soon forget. 

Dress Up 

Along the lines of what was discussed previously, dressing up can also take the fun to the next level. You can tell your invitees that there is a specific dress code, such as comfortable or pajamas, or to put in some effort to look good. If you decide to have a theme, as mentioned above, you may want everyone to dress up in characters according to the game or theme you have set for the night. Remember that game night is to play games, but also to have fun with your loved ones and have unforgettable moments. 

Personalize The Playing Pieces

The individuals you invite will surely appreciate the effort if you decide to personalize the playing pieces. There are occasions where players fight for which piece they want to be all night, causing the conflict you want to avoid. A good way to achieve this is by ensuring everyone has their own personal piece – everyone will be happy, and it will make you the number one game night host. 

Have a Light Game At The End of The Night

As the host, you will decide which games will be played and whether there will be more than one. Whether you play different ones or focus on one long game, you must have a plan to end the night on a positive note. This may be difficult to achieve if there is competition between the players and the game is rather heavy. Playing a light game, such as charades, for example, before everyone leaves ensures that everyone leaves happy and on good terms. 

Playing a gaming night does not have to be overwhelming and difficult. Make sure that you follow some (or all!) of the tips discussed on this page so that you bring fun to the experience and everyone enjoys themselves to the fullest.

- James Fulton
The Weekly Round-Up #669 With Lazarus Risen #7, Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca #6, Vampirella: Year One #3, The Department of Truth #21 & More Plus The Week In Music!

Best Comic of the Week:

Lazarus Risen #7 – I can barely believe how essential this issue is to this series.  We see what is likely to be the last confrontation between Hock and Carlyle, Forever’s first clear act of rebellion, and Eight makes her move too.  Just about every storyline that began years ago when Greg Rucka and Michael Lark started writing this book collide together in this oversized issue, which serves as the last of the “quarterly” prestige issues.  Of course, it’s been a lot more than a quarter since we last saw an issue of this series, and Rucka announces in the letters column that the book is now going on hiatus for a while, until the creators are able to return to a monthly, uninterrupted, format for the last arc.  I love this book, and the amount of thought and care that goes into it, and am willing to wait as long as needed, so long as it stays this good.

Quick Takes:

Action Comics #1047 – Kal-El has returned to Earth, and he’s brought Warworld with him.  This sets off a number of interesting responses, as the world’s governments are rightly concerned about having such a warlike civilization in orbit.  It also provides Lex Luthor the opportunity to cause some mischief, once again.  I was surprised that we didn’t get to see any of the emotional reunions between Superman and Jon, or the other members of his family (we did see him and Lois together in the one-shot that came out a couple of weeks ago).  I’m guessing these have been left to Tom Taylor and the next issue of Superman, as that’s more his strength, whereas Phillip Kennedy Johnson does well with these grander stories.  I wish I knew for certain that Johnson is going to be staying on this book; I’m not usually a Superman reader, but I’ve loved this Warworld storyline, and am willing to stick around if the writing stays this good.  Riccardo Federici’s art is still quite lovely in this book, but he definitely is more suited to the sci-fi fantasy elements of the Warworld story.

AXE: Avengers #1 – So before the AXE event ends, it looks like there’s going to be a few one-shots, all written by Kieron Gillen.  The Avengers one really only focuses on Iron Man, as he’s judged by the Celestial.  It’s a little strange to see Gillen writing this, when so much of the way Tony is judged has to do with the recent events of his own book.  It would have made sense had Christopher Cantwell written this book, but I guess it fits into the larger event better this way.  I was liking AXE at the beginning, but it’s starting to wear on me.

Captain America: Symbol of Truth #5 – Maybe I’ve missed something, but I’m not entirely sure just why there is such an issue between Black Panther and his associates and Sam in this issue, given that Sam did stop Crossbones from doing something evil in Wakanda.  This story just keeps moving like this – the whys are not clearly explained, nor are we given the clearest picture into what is motivating Sam to act the way he is around trusted allies.  Like, why not ask T’Challa about his adopted brother, the White Wolf?  I like RB Silva’s art, and can see this book improving, but I think that needs more editing or shaping of the story.  I’m going to stick with it for a while longer to see if I’m just wrong about things.

Deathstroke Inc. #13 – This Year One arc really clicks with this issue, as Ed Brisson and Dexter Soy have Slade waking up in a morgue and going after his gear while completely nude, before getting back on the clock and tracking his quarry.  I like how we’re getting this closer look at Slade’s origins, but I do think it’s curious that Ollie Queen was active as Green Arrow before Joseph Wilson was even born – Joe was in his twenties in Priest’s Deathstroke arc.  This is the stuff that always gives me a lot of trouble with DC books.  I have no idea what the general shape of the timeline is, and who met whom when.  Mostly I can ignore it, but sometimes, it really trips me up and keeps me from fully enjoying a book.

Defenders Beyond #3 – This very strange Defenders book got stranger again, as the team ends up in the White Hot Room, the home of the Phoenix.  Taaia, who is Galactus’s mother from a prior version of reality, is taken over by the Phoenix, and the rest of the team, with the Beyonder, need to navigate that.  I am a huge Al Ewing fan, and love how this series digs into the deep past for its story material.  I’m also really enjoying Javier Rodriguez’s artwork, and unique layouts.  I’m just not sure I know what this team is trying to accomplish, but it’s still a fun ride.

The Department of Truth #21 – Cole learns the secrets of Fort Knox, and how it was used by the Department as a repository for their Soviet counterpart’s secrets after the Berlin Wall came down.  The problem is, it was Hawk that set up that location, and now that he’s working for Black Hat, there’s a chance that he’s made plans for all that information.  It’s curious how, this far into the series, there is still always something new to learn about the Department, but it also feels like the story is moving faster than it has in a while.  I like this series, and always look forward to a new issue, but I’m a lot happier with it when it’s set in the present and things are happening.

Detective Comics #1064 – I’ve decided that it’s time to add this series to my pullfile list.  It’s weird that a year ago, I wasn’t reading any Batman books, and now I’m getting all the main ones (there are so many tertiary series and specials!).  Ram V’s story has been unfolding slowly, as a family with ancestral ties to Gotham makes its return, and Talia and her League of Assassins stand against them, while Bruce is perhaps suffering from panic attacks.  Rafael Albuquerque’s art is gorgeous, and V’s story is getting clearer.  I really love the James Gordon backup by Simon Spurrier and Dani – I’m concerned that this is the third chapter of three, and hope that the story continues next month.  It’s worth buying the book for alone.

The Human Target #7 – This book is back after a hiatus, with Christopher Chance still investigating who murdered him with poison.  He’s only got about five days remaining, and all signs point him towards Fire.  His attempts to interview her turn into a series of attempts at seduction on her part, and it starts to look a little like he might never learn what happened.  Tom King’s writing on this title is very tight and effective, and Greg Smallwood’s art is gorgeous.  I do find some of his colouring choices, like how he represents clear bottles or glasses to be odd, but I like the way it makes the book a little quirky.  Chance has been working his way through the entire old JLI, and I’m not sure how many characters are left to turn up in the back half of this series.

Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #6 – Going into this final issue, I figured that Brian Michael Bendis would do one of two things: reveal that this series is just the prologue to some longer event that will take a year or two to finish, or rush the ending in a way that is not fully satisfying.  That’s exactly what they do, as the architect of The Great Darkness is dealt with pretty easily, giving the teams time to hang out together.  I liked this series, because I love the Legion in most forms, and did enjoy Bendis’s remake of the team, but this series did end up leaving me wanting more.  I hope that DC brings the Legion back, and I’d be happy to see Bendis develop and explore this team more.  Scott Godlewski’s art on this title was phenomenal, and even though he’s kind of slow, I’d like to see him work on a new LSH book, maybe swapping issues with Ryan Sook.  I don’t want this to be the last of this Legion.

Miles Morales Spider-Man #42 – I had no clue that Saladin Ahmed was leaving this book, or that it hadn’t been solicited for a few months.  I guess there’s just too much going on.  This is a nice wrap-up issue, as Miles hangs out with his friends, gets closer to Starling, and prepares to move on to the next step in his education.  Ahmed’s Miles run was very good, if a bit quick at times, and I’m sad to see him leaving.  I don’t really know the incoming creative team – Cody Zigler and Federico Vecintini, but they’re going to have some big shoes to fill.  I’ll give them one arc to impress me.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #24 – Aphra and the Spark Eternal continue to delve through their memories together, while Aphra’s friends (if you can call them that) find themselves facing Triple-Zero and BT-1.  Sadly, the murderous droids aren’t in this issue enough, I’ve missed them.

Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca #6 – Chewie’s found himself in prison, alongside that older alien in the newer trilogy (I don’t remember her name), while some bounty hunters work with the guy who was posing as Han’s dad to free the Millennium Falcon from an Imperial impound lot.  This is a fun adventure story, but I did notice the lack of Han Solo in this issue.

Stillwater #15 – Daniel has returned, and his presence is making a mess of Galen’s plans for the towns of Stillwater and Coldwater.  Galen’s reaction to this change, just after annexing their neighbouring town and working so hard to control its citizens, perhaps leads to a massive revelation about just why everyone in the city limits is immortal.  Chip Zdarsky is quickly becoming one of the biggest writers in comics right now, but it’s his creator-owned work that remains his best.  Especially when he pairs with artists like Ramón Perez.  This is a great series that feels like it’s moving towards its final arc.

Vampirella: Year One #3 – This issue covers familiar ground, as we revisit the scenes from Vampirella’s childhood that were already shown in Priest’s first Vampirella series and in Draculina.  It left me with some power deja vu, but I guess if he’s finally telling a linear story (more or less), it does make sense to show how Vampirella turned against her mother and started going after Drayvant Æpostyl and his followers.  I’m really enjoying this latest volume, and am looking forward to seeing in more detail than we’ve seen before how Vampirella ended up on Earth next issue.

X-Men #15 – Forge has been working on addressing the challenges posed by the Children of the Vault for a few months now, and finally feels that it’s time to deal with them, and to retrieve Darwin, who was lost in the Vault a while back.  This is an interesting issue, as Gerry Duggan chooses to first show us what could happen if the Children ran free, and then uses a parallel structure to bring us into the story.  It’s curious that we’re starting to see some post-AXE stories, while that event is still taking place (I guess this means that the world’s not going to be destroyed!).  I hope that this current team of X-Men is going to have more focused adventures than the last group did, after this Vault story is resolved.

Comics I Would Have Bought if Comics Weren’t So Expensive:

Ant-Man #3

The Week in Music:

Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen – It really feels like Sudan Archives has leveled up on this lengthy album, and she was already working at a very high level.  She seems ever more confident in herself and her choices of beats and accompaniments on this album, and while I miss the heavy focus on the violin in her earlier albums, this still works on many levels.  There’s a liberation to her lyrics, as she sings about self-image among other things.  This is a very complete album, and it’s great.

Pantha Du Prince – Garden Gaia – More and more I’ve been in the mood for sophisticated downtempo electronic music, and this album fits nicely.  I don’t have a lot to say about it, but it’s a nice vibe.

Tumi Mogoroso – Group Theory: Black Music – South African jazz drummer returns with this new project, which is a sweeping and large collection of mostly his own work (and two covers of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”.  He makes excellent use of choral voices to help elevate the emotional weight of his work.  I was fortunate enough to see Tumi play once, as part of the Shabaka and the Ancestors group, and his performance stuck with me.  This is a solid jazz album that I’m going to get a lot of play out of.  

Chip Wickham – Cloud 10 – Singles have been dribbling out from this album for a while now, and it’s so nice to finally get the whole package.  Wickham has been on my radar for a while, since I came across his name on some old Brownswood Bubblers, I think, and this full release makes me happy.  His jazz is beautiful and swings.

- John Babos
Pull List Roundtable 10/5/2022 – & More!

For a full list of these releases, head to ComicList: The New Comic Book.

John Babos

6 books this week.

Black Adam The Justice Society Files Doctor Fate #1
Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths #5
Dark Crisis The Deadly Green #1
Gotham City Year One #1
Junkyard Joe #1
Miracleman #0

So, what did you find intriguing from the week that was?

- Joe Corey
Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: Picard (Season Two)

When Paramount decided to focus the new Star Treks shows on their steaming service (CBS All Access which became Paramount+), they were able to take the series in new frontiers. Not only could they introduce new entries into the franchise, but they had a chance to bring back popular characters from the early shows. Star Trek: Picard has allowed Sir Patrick Stewart to return as Admiral Jean-Luc Picard. For seven seasons and four feature films, Picard took the U.S.S. Enterprise across the galaxy. Nearly two decades after the last film, Stewart was given an unusual opportunity to revive the character. Instead of making another movie, he could lead a series that didn’t have the same demands as ST:TNG. Star Trek Picard was set up to only last 3 seasons and 10 episodes. This was a little bit easier than the 26 episodes per season. Star Trek Picard: Season Two gives us the middle adventure and the return of more familiar faces.

Picard finds himself visited by three old “friends” during his retirement. He runs into Guinan (Ghost‘s Whoopi Goldberg). She brings up how Picard has always run from romantic relationships. He later discovers that an alien lifeform in a rift wants to speak with him and him alone. He gets a lift from Seven of Nine (Boston Public‘s Jeri Ryan) to the discover who wants him. Turns out it is the Borg and they are going to use Picard to assimilate everyone as the Borg Queen taps into all the systems. Picard orders self-destruct. Right before the explosions Q (Breaking Bad‘s John de Lancie) whisks Picard away to an alternate timeline where the Federation is all about destruction. Q is testing Picard once more. Picard takes this test to an extreme that leads him to Los Angeles in 2024 where he must change the alternate universe.

While it seems like a lot is happening, the good news is that there’s 10 episodes and not a 2-hour running time. There’s plenty of time for Picard to deal with so much internally and externally. We can appreciate him dealing with his own mortality and the realization that the universe as he knows it can come to an end if he can’t pull off this adventure.

If you’re a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Picard is essential viewing. This is much better than any of the movies that followed the show. Sir Patrick Stewart brings so much in his return to Jean-Luc Picard. His reunion with Q feels like the set up for a Shakespearean History or Tragedy – depending on what happens in episode 10. I’m not going to spoil it. There is a thrill of experiencing Picard back at the helm. Star Trek: Picard – Season Two maintains his legacy no matter which universe you reside.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The episodes look fine whether it be in the distant future or the upcoming future. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 that does a fine job mixing the background music with the dialogue and laser blasts. There are also dubs in German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese. This is a great way to learn a foreign language. The subtitles are in English, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish.

The USS Stargazer (18:29) has production designer David Blass get excited about talking about his chance to make his own starship for the show. He also goes into the terror of such a responsibility. Other members of the team go into what they contributed to the starship. This was about as involving as designing the next sportscar for a car manufacturer. They evolved the USS Stargazer from ships that came before since it.

The Chateau (15:24) gives us a sense of Picard’s life at the winery. David Blass goes into the architecture that has to give the sense that it’s a working operation with a historic feel. We get to see the various books and items that Picard keeps around his house.

The Trial Is Over (12:04) goes into Q & Picard’s relationship. Patrick Stewart credits John de Lancie for making an impact on Star Trek: The Next Generation. de Lancie was happy he could keep his beard when he returned to the role. In the interest of full disclosure, when my brother Matthew was in high school, he sold Star Trek: The Next Generation the script that became “True Q” so he contributed to Q and Picard’s history.

Rebuilding the Borg Queen (11:11) goes into Annie Wersching assuming the role. Her version is detached from the Borg.

Picard Props (12:06) has Jeffrey Lombardi, the property master, take us through the items used on the show. There’s a lot that goes into props.

Picard Passages (24:59) lets Patrick Stewart discuss how he brought the character close to himself. He goes into how he was excited to get deep into Picard’s background.

Gag Reel (3:55) has Patrick Stewart and the gang not being one take wonders. You used to have to go to conventions to see these bloopers.

Deleted and Extended Scenes on “Assimilation,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Monsters” and “Farewell.”

CBS Blu-Ray presents Star Trek: Picard – Season Two. Starring Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, John de Lancie, Annie Wersching, Whoopi Goldberg & Wil Wheaton. Boxset contents: 10 episodes on 3 Blu-rays. Release Date: October 4, 2022.

- Joe Corey
Quiet Days in Clichy brings Henry Miller’s story to 4K UHD

Henry Miller is the kind of writer you discover in college despite the lack of hearing his name in any English classes. Showing up in a literature lecture with a copy of Miller’s Tropic of Cancer raised a few eyebrows. His tales of carnality while he lurked around France made prudent classmates act like his novels should only be stashed in a paperbag. Quiet Days in Clichy was one of the first books to read since it was his shortest book. After reading it, I had found out that there was a movie made in the ’70s. This proved to be extremely frustrating since I could track down a copy in the age of VHS. I couldn’t find a copy on Beta. After all these decades, Blue Underground is putting out Quiet Days in Clichy on 4K UHD. Now you can see it all at the end of October. Here’s the press release from Blue Underground with all the details:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BLUE UNDERGROUND RESURRECTS JENS JØRGEN THORSEN’S LOST EROTIC CLASSICQUIET DAYS IN CLICHY
Cannes Film Festival Winner is Fully Restored in 4K [4K UHD + Blu-ray] (10/25)
[DVD – Special Edition] (10/25) Via MVD Entertainment Group Blue Underground is proud to present the one-of-a-kind viewing experience of Quiet Days in Clichy. Back in 1970, controversial Danish artist Jens Jørgen Thorsen tackled the impossible – translating author Henry Miller‘s semi-autobiographical novella Quiet Days in Clichy to the big screen.In it, he captures the youthful spirit and liberated sexuality Miller experienced in his Bohemian days as an expat in Paris, portraying an American writer Joey and his French pal Carl sharing an apartment in the Parisian district of Clichy. While both men are broke and starving, it is no deterrent to their pursuit of desire for sexual adventures. Filmed in the French new-wave style of Godard and amplified by an original soundtrack by Woodstock favorite “Country Joe” McDonaldQuiet Days in Clichy is not for those offended by Joey and Carl’s uninhibited sexual escapades.A European hit, when Quiet Days in Clichy made its way to the United States it was quickly seized by authorities, claiming it to be nothing more than obscene, pornographic filth, citing some of its sexually explicit moments. After protracted litigation against the government by its’ US distributor, the film was eventually cleared, but mysteriously became lost. But now, more than 50 years later, Blue Underground has resurrected this important “adults only” classic, presenting it in a brand-new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from its recently discovered uncut & uncensored original 35mm fine-grain negative. The new 4K UHD release of Quiet Days in Clichy hits shelves on October 25, 2022. Quiet Days In Clichy [4K UHD + Blu-ray] Joey is a struggling writer with no money. His roommate Carl is a charming stud. Together, they live, laugh, and love their way through Paris.

Quiet Days In Clichy [4K UHD + Blu-ray]List Price: $49.95  

Based on the Controversial Novel by Henry Miller & Featuring Original Music by Country Joe McDonald

Joey is a struggling writer with no money. His roommate Carl is a charming stud with a taste for young girls. Together, these two insatiable dreamers will laugh, love and screw their way through a decadent Paris paved with wanton women, wild orgies and outrageous erotic adventures. Based upon the long-banned novel by Henry Miller and featuring a hit soundtrack by rock legend Country Joe McDonald, QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY is considered to be the most daring film adaptation ever of one of the most controversial authors in history.

In May of 1970, the United States Government seized the only English-language prints of QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY on charges of obscenity. And while it was ultimately cleared in Federal Court, the film mysteriously disappeared shortly after its release. Now more than 50 years later, this landmark ‘adults only’ classic can be seen in a brand-new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from its recently discovered uncut & uncensored original fine-grain negative, with Dolby Vision HDR and DTS-HD Master Audio!

Bonus Materials Ultra HD Blu-ray (2160p) and HD Blu-ray (1080p) Widescreen 1.66:1 feature presentationsAudio: 1.0 DTS-HD (English)Subtitles: English SDH, Francais, EspanolSongs of Clichy – Interview with Country Joe McDonaldDirty Books, Dirty Movies: Barney Rosset on Henry Miller – Interview with Henry Miller’s editor and publisher Barney Rosset‘Midnight Blue’ Interview with Barney RossetNEW! Deleted SceneNEW! Theatrical TrailerNEW! Poster & Still GalleryNEW! Book Cover GalleryNEW! Court Documents Sales Points The controversial ‘adults-only’ classic returns on 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray Disc!WORLD PREMIERE! New 4K 16-Bit Restoration from its recently discovered uncut & uncensored original fine-grain negativeUHD features 2160p Ultra HD Resolution and Dolby Vision HDR, with DTS-HD Master AudioRemastered Blu-ray features 1080p HD Resolution, with DTS-HD Master AudioLimited Edition NSFW embossed slipcover and reversible sleeve with alternate artwork (First Pressing Only)Features original music by Country Joe McDonald, lead singer of the psychedelic rock group Country Joe & the FishErotic classic in the tradition of I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW), LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER, and HENRY & JUNEWinner: Prix Byzance – Cannes Film Festival – Best Erotic Film of the YearBased on the controversial novel by acclaimed author Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, Black Spring, Tropic of Capricorn)National Print Advertising and extensive Online Exposure
- John Babos
WWE Hall Of Famer, NJPW Founder, Politician & More Antonio Inoki Passes Away At 79! RIP

WWE Hall Of Famer, NJPW Founder, Politician and More Antonio Inoki Passes Away At 79! RIP.

WWE reports.

WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki passes away

WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki.

One of the key figures in the history of Japanese wrestling, Antonio Inoki was among the most respected men in sports-entertainment and a bona fide legend in his homeland.

Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1943, Inoki grew into a natural in-ring competitor. The incredible squared circle figure found his greatest success in New Japan Pro Wrestling, a promotion he founded in 1972. Over the course of the next two decades, Inoki built NJPW into the most successful wrestling company in Asia. Utilizing talented Japanese competitors like Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu, innovative high-flyers like Tiger Mask and Dynamite Kid and American Superstars like Bob Backlund and Vader, the young promoter created a product that was unique, influential and far ahead of its time. In addition to running the company, Inoki himself was one of the top stars in NJPW, carrying the championship and battling the likes of Stan Hansen, Tiger Jeet Singh and Hulk Hogan.

In his most-famous match, Inoki fought boxing legend Muhammad Ali in a rare wrestler vs. boxer match in June 26, 1976 – a contest that paved the way for the advent of Mixed Martial Arts, which would explode in popularity decades later. The bout also exemplified Inoki’s undying love and respect for professional wrestling. This passion for competition earned him the nickname “Moeru Toukon” amongst his peers, which translates to “The fighting spirit that burns.”

Inoki was also a tremendous ambassador for professional wrestling, bringing major events to places like Russia and China. And in 2010, WWE did the same by welcoming Antonio Inoki into the WWE Hall of Fame Class.

WWE offers it’s heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and fans of the squared circle legend and the wrestling world as a whole.

On behalf of the IP team, I offer our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Muhammad Hussain “Antonio” Inoki.

- Joe Corey
DVD Review: Ed Sullivan’s Rock & Roll Classics

Why isn’t Ed Sullivan in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame? The host of the long running variety show on CBS was responsible for two of the biggest moment in Rock history. On September 9, 1956, Ed Sullivan introduced Elvis Presley to an audience of 60 million people. That was over 80% of the people who had access to TV. He launched a kid from Memphis into the stratosphere. Then on February 9, 1964, 73 million people huddled around their tiny black and white TV sets to experience the British Invasion with the Beatles. Think of how the musical tastes changed for millions of viewers on those two nights. Ed’s show booked so many rock legends including the Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Beach Boys and The Byrds. How can he not be inducted and enshrined in Cleveland? Perhaps they view Ed Sullivan as not a rock and roll kind of guy? He was an entertainment gossip columnist in New York City who was able to finagle hosting the show from 1948 until the cancelation in 1971. He had all sorts of acts booked on his show from comics to opera to Broadway casts to spinning plates. He wasn’t exclusively rock and roll. If your family tuned in on Sundays at 8 p.m., there was something for everybody coming up on his really big show. The good news is that Ed Sullivan’s Rock & Roll Classics is focused just on the rock acts.

This is more than a random compilation of performance clips. The DVD feature episodes from a series that was made in the late ’90s. Jay Thomas (Cheers) narrates the episodes by giving a sense of historical context and background on the various acts. This allows you to appreciate the performances more than just running a bunch of clips. The acts are grouped so you can experience of the pioneers of rock or the British Invasion bands. There are quite a few bands from the psychedelic times. This is the kind of treasure trove of performances that would excite avid listeners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage.

There was a wide variety ways people performed on Ed Sullivan. Quite a few showed up and lip synched to their hit song. Others would sing live while their band mimed playing their instruments to a backing track. Another variation was singers performing live with Ed Sullivan’s house orchestra. There were a few bands that played everything live and sang. The complete live moments can be easily identified because they sound rather rough. Early TV audio microphones and mixing weren’t optimal at the time. They were dealing with was broadcasting it to antennas that were hooked up to TVs with a tiny mono speaker. There was no such thing as a 5.1 DTS-HD run through a sound bar. But no matter how your favorite band played (or fake played) on The Ed Sullivan Show, they all looked their best. They didn’t want to look unfashionable in front of millions of viewers.

There are some people who want to see the uncut episodes of The Ed Sullivan Show. I have experienced a few uncut episodes. You’re better off cutting straight to the memorable moments instead of all the plate spinning action and forgotten performers that filled out the hour. You want to cut right to Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones and Marvin Gaye. Ed Sullivan might not have been a rock icon, but the man used his show to bring the music to kids across the country. Ed Sullivan doesn’t need to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame since Ed Sullivan’s Rock & Roll Classics is a Rock Hall of Fame all to itself.

The Video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer is taken off the standard definition videotapes and a few kinescopes from when the show aired. There’s a lot of black and white footage since CBS didn’t embrace Color until the mid-60s. The audio is in Dolby Stereo, but the original band recordings were in mono.

The Ed Sullivan All-Star Comedy Special (91:11) is contains clips from the comics that appeared on his variety show over the decades. The lineup includes George Carlin, Milton Berle, Flip Wilson, John Byrner, Rowan & Martin, Joan Rivers and more. The special is hosted by Mary Tyler Moore.

British Invades, America Fights Back (56:17) goes into the time when the British bands ruled the charts in the mid-60s and American bands that didn’t shrivel up. There is talk of the Beatles vs. The Beach Boys. The special includes performances including Peter and Gordon’s “A World Without Love,” The Who’s “Can’t Explain” and The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.”

The Sounds of Soul (55:49) goes into the history of Soul music with performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. You get more performance from James Brown, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and the Jackson 5.

Interviews include Pete Townshend, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Michelle Phillips, Rich Little, Flip Wilson, John Sebastian, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Glady’s Knight, Joan Rivers, Chris Hillman, Felix Cavaliere, Peter Noone, Steve Allen, Milton Berle, James Brown and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Time Life presents Ed Sullivan’s Rock & Roll Classics. Starring Ed Sullivan and Jay Thomas. Boxset Contents 25 episodes on 10 DVDs. Release Date: October 11, 2022.

Here are the episodes with the songs and musical acts:

Top Hits of 1965
1. Medley: “It’s the Same Old Song/Something About You/I Can’t Help Myself”
Four Tops 

2. “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” 
Herman’s Hermits 

3. “Let’s Hang On!” 
The 4 Seasons 

4. “Do You Believe in Magic” 
The Lovin’ Spoonful

5. “It’s Not Unusual” 
Tom Jones 

6. “I’m a Fool” 
Dino, Desi & Billy

Top Hits of 1966
1. “Along Comes Mary” 
The Association 

2. “My World Is Empty Without You” 
The Supremes

3. “Love Is a Hurtin’ Thing”
Lou Rawls 

4. “Don’t Bring Me Down” 
The Animals 

5. “Paint It, Black” 
The Rolling Stones

Top Hits of 1967
1. “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” 
Johnny Rivers 

2. “The Happening” 
The Supremes 

3. “Never My Love”

 The Association 

4. “Creeque Alley”

The Mamas & The Papas 

5. “Ruby Tuesday”

 The Rolling Stones

Bonus Performance: “The Ballad of the Green Berets”
SSgt Barry Sadler

West Coast Rock

1. “California Soul”
The 5th Dimension

2. “She’d Rather Be with Me”
The Turtles

3. “Grazing in the Grass”
The Friends of Distinction

Top Hits of 1968
1. “Lady Willpower”
Gary Puckett and the Union Gap 

2. “Mony Mony”
Tommy James and the Shondells

3. “Time Has Come Today” 
The Chambers Brothers 

4. “Do It Again” 
The Beach Boys 

5. “Like to Get to Know You” 
Spanky and Our Gang 

6. “Delilah” 
Tom Jones

Top Hits of 1969
1. “Baby It’s You” 
Smith 

2. “Jean” 
Oliver

3. “Worst That Could Happen” 
Brooklyn Bridge

4. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” 
The 5th Dimension

5. “Proud Mary”
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Top Hits of 1970
1. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head 
B. J. Thomas

2. I Want You Back 
The Jackson 5

3. One Less Bell to Answer 
The 5th Dimension

4. We’ve Only Just Begun 
Carpenters

5. Someday We’ll Be Together 
Diana Ross and the Supremes

6. The Love You Save 
The Jackson 5

Folk Rock
1. Up on Cripple Creek 
The Band

2. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)
The Byrds

3. Down on the Corner 
Creedence Clearwater Revival

4. Daydream 
The Lovin’ Spoonful

R&B Greats
1. Proud Mary 
The Ike & Tina Turner Revue

2. Lonely Teardrops 
Jackie Wilson3. Fingertips—Pt. 2 
Stevie Wonder4. I Can’t Get Next to You 
The Temptations

First Women of Rock
1. Love Child 
Diana Ross and the Supremes

2. Maybe
Janis Joplin

3. Son-of-a Preacher Man 
Dusty Springfield

4. If I Were Your Woman 
Gladys Knight & the Pips

5. Raise Your Hand
Janis Joplin

6. You Can’t Hurry Love
The Supremes

Great Groups
1. Help!
The Beatles

2. Words
Bee Gees

3. Mr. Tambourine Man 
The Byrds

4. It’s All in the Game 
Four Tops

5. Medley: My Girl/(I Know) I’m Losing You 
The Temptations

6. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 
The Rolling Stones

The British Invasion
1. She Loves You 
The Beatles

2. We Gotta Get Out of This Place 
The Animals

3. Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter 
Herman’s Hermits

4. Needles and Pins 
The Searchers

5. Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying 
Gerry and the Pacemakers6. The House of the Rising Sun 
The Animals

Smash Hits of the ’60s
1. I Get Around 
The Beach Boys

2. Monday, Monday 
The Mamas & The Papas

3. California Dreamin’ 
The Mamas & The Papas

4. Big Girls Don’t Cry 
The 4 Seasons

5. Downtown 
Petula Clark

6. Crimson and Clover 
Tommy James and the Shondells

Bonus Performance: “Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)”
Neil Diamond 

Psychedelic ’60s

“Born To Be Wild/Magic Carpet Ride”

by Steppenwolf 

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On”

by Vanilla Fudge

“Psychedelic Shack”

by The Temptations

Groovy Sounds
1. Groovin’
The Young Rascals

2. Happy Together
The Turtles

3. Good Lovin’
The Young Rascals

4. Sunday Will Never Be The Same
Spanky And Our Gang 

5. Stoned Soul Picnic 
The 5th Dimension

6. Good Morning Starshine 
Oliver

7. Good Vibrations
The Beach Boys

Move to the Music
Twist And Shout 
The Beatles

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On
Jerry Lee Lewis

Dancin’ In The Street
Martha & the Vandellas

That’s Why (I Love You So)
Jackie Wilson

Keep The Ball Rollin’
Jay And The Techniques

Do The Freddie 
Freddie And The Dreamers

Dance To The Music 
Sly & The Family Stone

Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame

“Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley

“Wendy” by The Beach Boys

“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Rock Legends
1. Hound Dog
Elvis Presley

2. What I’d Say 
Jerry Lee Lewis

3. Peggy Sue
Buddy Holly

4. Blueberry Hill
Fats Domino

5. Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley

Rock Legends 2
Too Much 
Elvis Presley

That’ll Be The Day 
Buddy Holly

Prisoner Of Love
James Brown

Let The Four Winds Blow 
Fats Domino

I’m Comin’ On Back To You 
Jackie Wilson

British Invasion 2
1. I Want To Hold Your Hand 
The Beatles

2. Time Is On My Side 
The Rolling Stones

3. Just A Little Bit Better 
Herman’s Hermits

4. Ferry Cross The Mersey 
Gerry And The Pacemakers

5. I’m Telling You Now
Freddie And The Dreamers

Legends of Soul
1. For Once In My Life
Stevie Wonder

2. Take This Heart Of Mine 
Marvin Gaye

3. Up-Up And Away 
The 5th Dimension

4. I Second That Emotion 
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

5. Bold Soul Sister 
The Ike & Tina Turner Revue

Motortown Review
1. Doggone Right
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

2. Love Is Like An Itching in My Heart
The Supremes

3. Love Child
Diana Ross & The Supremes

4. Who’s Lovin’ You
The Jackson 5

5. You Met Your Match
Stevie Wonder

6. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
The Temptations

Classic Love Songs

“Dedicated To The One I Love” by The Mamas & The Papas

“(They Long To Be) Close To You” by Carpenters

“Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley

Teen Idols
1. Ready Teddy
Elvis Presley

2. Not The Lovin’ Kind
Dino, Desi & Billy

3. It’s Not Unusual
Tom Jones 

4. Diana
Paul Anka

5. Dream Lover
Bobby Darin

- Joe Corey
Blu-ray Review: Dexter: The Complete Series + Dexter: New Blood

Rarely has the revival of a show saves its legacy. Most of the time when they bring a series back either for reunion movie or a series, it’s a not an elevating experience. It’s nice to see most of the cast working again, but the experience is one of nostalgia. When a new Dexter series was announced, there wasn’t exactly fans eager to revisit the cult series. The Showtime series became must see viewing its first four seasons. The last four seasons were enjoyable although nothing truly topped Dexter vs. the Trinity killer season. When the final episode aired with its “what happened to Dexter” reveal was as disappointing as the endings of The Sopranos, M*A*S*H*, Cheers and Sons of Anarchy rolled into one. If this was merely a review of Dexter: The Complete Series, I’d be moaning how the show just went off the rails. But since this is Dexter: The Complete Series + Dexter: New Blood, I’m praising the Blu-ray collection.

Dexter was a complete twist on the police procedurals that dominate television now. We are taken inside the homicide unit of the Miami police where a crack team investigates the murders all over Miami. The Morgan siblings are part of the staff keeping up the legacy of their father Harry (The Warriors’ James Remar). Debra Morgan (The Exorcism of Emily Rose’s Jennifer Carpenter) is newly promoted to the unit. Her brother Dexter (Six Feet Under‘s Michael C. Hall) is the leading blood splatter expert. There are two things that she doesn’t know about her brother. That Harry’s ghost haunts Dexter. Most importantly is she doesn’t have a clue that her brother is a serial killer. Nobody on the homicide unit knows this because Dexter’s got a code. His biggest thing is that his victims are real killers that have found ways to avoid being caught by the police. Dexter doesn’t have to worry about a judge and jury ruining his form of justice. He knows how to dispose of his guilty victims. The only thing that remains of them is a single blood sample kept in Dexter’s treasure chest.

Each season of 12 episodes plays out