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True Detective Season 3 Gets an Official Premiere Date & New Images

HBO has announced that True Detective season 3 will premiere early next year on Sunday, January 13. Nic Pizzolatto’s crime anthology series hasn’t been on the air since it wrapped its largely-derided second season in August 2015 and went on an extended break, in an effort (on the network’s part) to give the show’s creator more time to deliver a third installment that could better live up to the standard set by the series’ widely-celebrated freshman run. Judging by everything that we know about season 3 thus far, it seems that Pizzolatto is taking a back to basics approach with his latest crime narrative.

True Detective season 3, like season 1, takes place in the U.S. South (the Ozarks in Arkansas, to be exact) and explores a narrative that unfolds across multiple time periods (three, in this case). Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali stars in Pizzolatto’s new crime story as state police detective Wayne Hays, a fellow who (much like season 1 detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart before him) is haunted in the present by a case that he originally worked years earlier, back when he was a younger man. As Wayne puts it in the True Detective season 3 teaser trailer, “I want to know the whole story”.

Related: HBO’s Watchmen TV Series Will Feature Music By Reznor & Ross

In addition to confirming the premiere date, HBO has released a handful of new images from True Detective season 3 that feature Ali with his costars Carmen Ejogo (the Fantastic Beasts movies) and Stephen Dorff (Somewhere). You can check them out in the space below.

Pizzolatto is once again the sole writer on True Detective season 3 (though he got an assist from Deadwood‘s David Milch on episode four) and further directed this season alongside Daniel Sackheim (Jack Ryan) and Jeremy Saulnier (Hold the Dark). However, even with so many of the same story elements as season 1 and equally strong acting talent, season 3 is still missing an important ingredient from the show’s first season – namely, Cary Fukunaga, who helmed all eight episodes and is generally credited for elevating the series in a high-art take on pulpy crime genre tropes.

Still, there’s a lot about True Detective season 3 that sounds promising on paper and it seems reasonable to assume that, if nothing else, this installment will be a step-up from the slow mess that was season 2. Moreover, for fans of Ali’s work in films like Moonlight (which he won his Oscar for) and his soulful performance as the villainous Cottonmouth from Netflix’s Luke Cage season 1, this new season of True Detective promises to showcase the actor’s powerful screen presence in a way that it never has been before.

MORE: Riverdale Season 3 is Similar to True Detective

True Detective season 3 premieres January 13, 2019 on HBO.

Source: HBO



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2018-10-11 01:10:23 – Sandy Schaefer

22 July Review: Paul Greengrass Delivers Another Intense Docudrama

Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

In-between his efforts on the Bourne movies, journalist-turned filmmaker Paul Greengrass has spent much of his career making docudrama-thrillers about real-world events, ranging from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. (United 93) to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 (Captain Phillips). While there’s an inherent risk of exploiting a real-world tragedy that comes with any such project, Greengrass has long been celebrated for his ability to dramatize terrible events on the big screen in a manner that’s intense, yet sensitive and ultimately insightful in its presentation. Thankfully, that remains the case with his Netflix Original 22 July, even if it doesn’t necessarily represent the writer/director at his finest. Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

22 July picks up on July 21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, as Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) – a self-declared right wing extremist – prepares to carry out a terrorist attack on the city the next day. He begins his assault by setting off a bomb in a van near the main office of the then-current Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth), killing eight people in the process. Breivik then proceeds to continue his attack by gunning down 69 members of a summer camp organized by the AUF – the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party – on the island of Utøya, before he is ultimately apprehended by the police and taken into custody.

Among the members of the summer camp is one Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who manages to survive Breivik’s attack despite being shot multiple times and left permanently maimed. As Viljar struggles to recover both physically and psychologically from what happened to him (along with everyone else who survived the Utøya shootings and their loved ones), Breivik works with his chosen lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to mount a defense and use his trial as a platform to publicly announce his political agenda (which calls for the immediate deportation of all Muslims and heavier restrictions on immigration to Norway, among other things). When it becomes clear to Viljar what Breivik intends to do, he grows increasingly determined to continue his rehabilitation and testify against him in court for not only himself, but also every other person whose lives were affected by what took place on July 22.

Adapted from the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad, Greengrass’ script for 22 July has a very clear-cut three act structure – with the first act focused on the July 22 attack, the second part set during its immediate aftermath, and the final third centered on Breivik’s trial. The film is strongest during its first and third acts in particular, as those chapters (respectively) play to Greengrass’ strengths as a suspense-thriller storyteller and provide the emotional payoff to Viljar and, thus, Norway’s overarching journey of recovery and survival. It’s the second act where things start to drag and get a little muddled, especially as 22 July splits its focus between not only Viljar’s story thread, but also Lippestad and Breivik’s trial preparation, and the investigation into Stoltenberg’s administration and its failure to prevent a terrorist attack. While there’s nothing in the second act that feels inessential, 22 July struggles to divide its attention evenly between its three plotlines and the film’s pacing suffers for it.

On the whole, however, 22 July does a nice job covering a fair amount of narrative ground, even when taking its pretty substantial runtime into consideration. It helps that Greengrass (as he’s known now for doing, as a director) never fully lifts his foot off the gas pedal and keeps the film’s proceedings feeling on-edge throughout, even during its more purely dramatic portions. The filmmaker, working this time around with DP Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Snowman) and Oscar-winning Argo editor William Goldenberg, uses essentially the same vérité cinematography and restless editing style that he has on his previous movies, in order to fully immerse viewers in the film’s setting and action. At the same time, Greengrass slows things down a bit here and, in turn, delivers a movie that’s more visually cohesive than some of his weaker efforts in the past (see the last Bourne sequel, in particular). This serves 22 July well, allowing it to effectively work as both a grounded drama and thriller.

Given the sheer amount of information that 22 July strives to cover, though, there’s not a lot of room for the film’s actors to really shine – not in the way that Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks did in Captain Phillips, for example. Even so, the 22 July cast is uniformly strong across the board, with Gravli especially doing an excellent job of portraying Viljar’s struggles with his physical injuries, PTSD, and the sheer amount of emotional baggage that he’s saddled with after barely managing to escape the attack on Utøya with his own life. Actors like Thorbjørn Harr and Isak Bakli Aglen are similarly moving in their smaller roles as members of Viljar’s family, as is Seda Witt as Lara Rashid, a young woman who starts to make a romantic connection with Viljar before both of their lives are shattered by Breivik’s attack. As for Breivik himself: Lie is quite compelling in the role and portrays the terrorist as a fully-developed person – one whose rationalization of his behavior makes him chilling and pathetic in equal measure.

As with his previous films, Greengrass uses 22 July as a means for delivering larger sociopolitical commentary about the state of things in the world, specifically where it concerns the rise of xenophobic and nationalist ideologies in various countries (the U.S. included). While his scripted dialogue can start to become a bit on the nose as its strives to get these points across (especially in the third act), Greengrass largely succeeds in allowing the story here to shine a light on these issues organically, without getting up on his figurative soapbox to drive the point home. If there’s a downside to the filmmaker’s approach, though, it’s that July 22 winds up handling its subject matter in a way that’s more engaging intellectually than emotionally and, thus, lacks the emotional resonance of Greengrass’ best work to date.

All things considered, however, Greengrass does a very good job of bringing the true story behind 22 July to cinematic life. The final result is a film that makes for an enlightening and otherwise respectful documentation of a horrifying real-world event, rather than one that comes off as exploitative or manipulative. 22 July is showing in select theaters now – in order to qualify for next year’s major film awards shows – and it certainly benefits from being seen on the big screen, but can still be appreciated just as much as a Netflix Original on your home TV. While it’s obviously not a light-hearted viewing experience, 22 July is very much worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed Greengrass’ previous non-Bourne efforts and/or would like to know more about Norway’s own infamous modern terrorist attack.

TRAILER

22 July is now available for streaming on Netflix and is playing in select U.S. theaters. It is 143 minutes long and is rated R for disturbing violence, graphic images, and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-10-10 01:10:22 – Sandy Schaefer

Grey’s Anatomy: 20 Things That Make No Sense About Meredith

Grey’s Anatomy is the longest running scripted primetime ABC television show of all time. Ellen Pompeo is the highest-paid actress on television, banking twenty million dollars each season. Grey’s is poised to surpass ER as the longest primetime medical drama, as it waits for its sixteenth season renewal, and it has received thirty-eight Emmy Award nominations during the nearly two decades it has been on the air.

Meredith Grey has gone from a damaged intern having an affair with a resident and caring for her ailing mother to a widow with three children who runs the general surgery department at Seattle Grace. More characters have passed away on Grey’s Anatomy than most shows introduced during their entire runs, and the show is nearly unrecognizable now when compared to its first season because of its revolving cast of characters.

With twenty-nine principal cast members during its fifteen seasons, the writers of Grey’s Anatomy have so much history to contend with that maintaining continuity is an uphill battle that they often lose. As such, there are some details about our favorite dark and twisty surgeon at Seattle Grace that don’t make much sense at all. The confusion goes deeper than the debate on her hair color or who the next romantic lead of the show will be. Everything from her age to her internal motivations have been altered, forgotten and recreated during the show’s epically long run, and viewers are struggling to keep up.

Here are the 20 Things That Make No Sense About Meredith In Grey’s Anatomy.

20 Her Half-Sisters

When a show has been on the air for nearly two decades, it’s understandable that a few plotlines may get recycled. After all, who’s really going to notice if four of the show’s leads are revealed to have massive tumors in a principal cast of over twenty-five characters?

However, it’s hard to believe that Meredith Grey would have two half-sisters who she knew nothing about and that both of those women would come work as surgeons at her specific hospital in Seattle.

This is not even mentioning Lexie Grey’s questionable medical timeline – she started her medical internship program when most students are finishing their undergraduate studies – or Meredith conveniently forgetting her mother’s pregnancy before Maggie Pierce was born in the ’80s.

19 She Doesn’t Contact Derek’s Sisters When He’s About To Pass

Derek Shepard’s sisters were extremely important to him – so much so, that during the second episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Shepard explicitly states that if he were ever to be in a coma, he’d want all four of his sisters with him.

Meredith forgets this not-so-tiny detail when actually faced with a comatose Derek Shepard and takes him off of life support without giving his sisters a chance to say goodbye, including Amelia Shepard, who is her coworker and is easily reachable by phone. Meredith ignoring a key aspect of her husband’s personality, his love for his sisters, is more than an example of Meredith’s selfishness. It’s a lack of continuity and a disappointing, out of character oversight.

18 Getting Together With George

George O’Malley’s unrequited love for Meredith was well-chronicled during the show’s first season, enforcing the characters’ friendship, as O’Malley’s feelings for Meredith led him to provide emotional support when Derek Shepard chose to stay with his wife. Meredith never saw O’Malley as anything more than a friend, even after her break-up with Shepard.

Meredith getting together with O’Malley came from a desire to be wanted and treated well after Shepard had broken her trust, and O’Malley was clearly in denial about Meredith’s lack of interest. Still, it’s hard to believe that O’Malley would take advantage of Meredith in her vulnerable state or that Meredith would choose O’Malley as a physical rebound rather than an emotional one.

17 She Failed Her Intern Exam… And Still Became A Resident

The year 2007 was a rough one for Meredith Grey. Her stepmother passed away from a case of the hiccups, her father blamed her for the loss of his wife, her mom passed away, and she literally passed, and understandably, she cracked under pressure. Meredith didn’t answer a single question on her intern exam.

The logical next step here would have been to see Meredith repeat her intern year like George O’Malley does after failing that same exam.

Meredith would have been able to explore new dynamics with her peers while sorting through her many issues, and the show wouldn’t have to suffer through too drastic of a change. Instead, through some nepotism and a large suspension of disbelief, Meredith is allowed a do-over and breezes through to her residency, while poor O’Malley is given the short end of the stick yet again.

16 Her Inconsistent Pregnancies

After miscarrying her first child due to apparent stress from the Seattle Grace active shooter situation in season six, Meredith is told that the real reason for the loss of her child was actually a “hostile uterus.” Medically, in the real world, this means that it is difficult for a woman to become pregnant due to a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances. It is treatable through synthetic estrogen or certain bypass techniques and does not necessarily cause miscarriages.

Meredith is able to conceive multiple times during the show, and she even manages to have a fairly normal pregnancy and gives birth to a healthy baby girl. A medical drama probably could have come up with a more realistic plotline for Meredith after writers’ decided that they wanted to complicate her family planning.

15 She Modeled Her Life After Ellis

After hating her mother, Ellis Grey, for most of her life, Meredith follows in her footsteps, as she becomes a mother while still chasing her medical aspirations. Meredith places the blame for her issues on her mother’s workaholic tendencies while raising her daughter, then still chooses to start her family just as her medical career is gaining momentum.

She falls in love with a married man, has his children, raises them alone, and wins a Harper Avery Award, just like her mother. Her professional life causes a rift in her relationship, like Ellis’ Harper Avery nomination leading to the termination of her relationship with Richard Weber. Instead of learning from her mother’s mistakes, Meredith has done something that she swore she’d never do: she has become Ellis.

14 Her First Marriage Wasn’t Legal

In a touching display of friendship, Derek Shepherd and Meredith Grey gave their perfect wedding to their dear friends Alex Karev and Izzie Stevens so that the couple could be married before Stevens possibly succumbed to her advanced brain cancer.

Shepherd and Meredith then have their own, private marriage ceremony in the comfort of their own home, where they write their vows on Post-It notes and promise their lives to each other.

This was all romantic and dramatic, but why on Earth would they not bother going down to City Hall and legalizing the marriage at any point before they tried to adopt their daughter? They most likely already had a marriage license, and the tax benefits alone would have been incentive enough to go through with the final step of their marriage – actually getting married.

13 She Tried To Hold Derek Back

It isn’t easy having a family with two working parents. Nannies help, and Seattle Grace has shown its daycare center on Grey’s multiple times, but Meredith’s frustration with being a mother first and a surgeon second rang true as it was depicted onscreen. Asking Derek Shepherd to take a year off from his practice to give Meredith the opportunity to work was brave and fair, considering the time that she had taken off up until that point.

However, expecting Shepherd to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime at the White House was out of character and unreasonable. Shepherd staying at Seattle Grace meant accepting a demotion, while Meredith could have kept her seniority in DC. Staying behind without Shepherd ran contrary to Meredith’s character development, especially since she expected Shepherd to make himself smaller rather than thriving with him.

12 She Ran Away To San Diego

A large factor in Meredith’s reluctance to move to Washington D.C. came from a fear of airplanes that developed after the plane crash that ended the lives of multiple doctors at the end of season eight. This makes sense, considering the circumstances. What doesn’t make sense, however, is how Meredith fled from Seattle to San Diego following her husband’s loss, telling no one of her location or her miracle pregnancy.

Her decision to choose Seattle over her husband indirectly lead to his passing, but once he’s gone, she immediately leaves. Her love for him wasn’t enough to keep her with him, but his loss was enough for her to ignore all of the reasons she had fought to stay. It’s confusing, upsetting, and utterly heartbreaking.

11 She Stayed At Seattle Grace

During season eight’s plane crash, Cristina Yang keeps asking why all of the doctors at Seattle Grace lose their lives. It was a tongue-in-cheek joke anticipating a question that all Grey’s viewers have at least once during the series. There are shootings, bombs, car crashes, drownings, a flood, a power outage, a bus explosion, and an earthquake during the twenty years that Meredith has worked at Seattle Grace.

At least fourteen doctors and family members have passed away under unusual circumstances at the hospital, filling it with horrible, PTSD-inducing memories.

Somehow, Meredith still works there. After losing parents, a sibling, a husband, best friends, and coworkers, she never thought to just go across town to the other, better-ranked hospital and leave a hospital that is so unlucky it might be on top of the Hellmouth.

10 She Still Has Her Medical License

In order to help Richard Webber’s wife Adele, Meredith enrolls her into her clinical trial for patients experiencing rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s. She tampers with the trial to give Adele the experimental drug rather than the placebo, even after Derek Shepherd’s warnings that doing so would ruin both of their careers.

Of course, because this is Meredith Grey, once her wrongdoing was exposed, no one suffered any long-term consequences. Richard takes the fall for Meredith to protect her job, but neither one loses their medical license. Richard eventually becomes the head of the residency program, while Meredith is the head of general surgery. Shepard had no real backlash for being involved. Everyone was just fine and still eligible to perform surgeries in a respected hospital, somehow.

9 She Considered Herself The Other Woman

After learning that Derek Shepherd was a married man, Meredith halted her physical relationship with him, only being intimate with him one time after learning of his marital status. She legitimately felt guilt for unknowingly dating someone’s husband and didn’t actively try to home-wreck Addison Montgomery’s marriage.

Despite the fact that many of her actions during this complicated time were respectful of Montgomery and her marriage, she still bonded with Mark Sloan when they realized that they both considered themselves homewreckers. Meredith’s characterization centers around her “dark and twisty” tendencies, so her pessimistic framing of the situation would make sense in her own mind, but there’s logically little to support her enduring belief that her relationship with Shepard began with any wrongdoing on her part.

8 She Is Still Alive

Meredith’s self-destructive and occasionally life-threatening tendencies put her in many dangerous situations. She has nearly escaped passing away so many times that its statistically improbable that she would still be alive. Setting aside the fact that she briefly drowned while helping at a ferry boat crash site, Meredith’s life makes no sense because anyone else who’d had this many close calls would not longer be with us.

Meredith held a bomb inside of a patient’s body and barely handed it off before it exploded in the hands of the bomb technician.

She also had prolonged exposure to toxic blood, she drowned for a long time, she asked an active gunman to shoot her, and her plane crashed. Yet here she is, waiting for the next ridiculous trauma that life throws at her.

7 She Barely Talks To Cristina

Cristina Yang was Meredith’s person. More than a best friend, a husband, or a family member, Yang was the one person who Meredith always relied on and trusted. Since Yang left Seattle Grace for Switzerland, all we’ve really heard from her was that Meredith didn’t tell her where she had run away to after Derek Shepherd’s car crash.

There was no confirmation that Yang came to Shepherd’s funeral, as she didn’t stay with Meredith after his passing or visit her newborn child and nary a text has been sent between the two onscreen. Long-distance friendships are hard, but with modern technology like Skype, FaceTime and texting, completely dropping off of the face of the Earth is a cause for confusion.

6 She Gives Thatcher Part Of Her Liver

The last viewers had seen of Thatcher Grey, he had drunkenly, publicly blamed Meredith for his wife’s passing and uninvited her from the funeral. This comes after he abandoned her and started a shiny new family that allowed him to forget about the daughter he left behind.

Even if Thatcher treating Meredith horribly wasn’t enough to dissuade her from saving his life, a complicated position to navigate, Thatcher had multiple daughters and presumably many other family members. Even if Lexie and her sister weren’t matches, how was there no other family member able to donate their liver other than his estranged daughter? There’s no reason it should have been Meredith except as an opportunity to inflict more unnecessary pain on our protagonist.

5 She Had A Busy Two Years

Everything that happened over the first five seasons of Grey’s Anatomy occurred during a two year period. Because the intern year occurs during seasons one through three and Meredith’s first year of residency is seasons four and five, there are many plotlines that happen in a short timeframe.

Plotlines such as George’s marriage and divorce with Callie, Denny Duquette’s storyline with Izzie Stevens, and Christina’s doomed engagement to Preston Burke all happen over the course of less than twelve months.

Meredith and her friends have known each other for only two years by season six, and so much crazy drama has occur in the midst of eighty hour work weeks and eight hour surgeries that it’s almost like they could fill half a decade’s worth of life experience.

4 She’s Always Drinking

Meredith drinks a lot of tequila for a doctor. While she’s shown abstaining from drinking while on-call, Meredith spends most of her down time getting drunk at Joe’s Bar or at home, and even had to be hooked up to an IV during a massive accident to sober herself up for work.

The state of near-constant hangover that she must be functioning in would make her workdays impossible, and the likelihood that she’s be called in during her downtime to work during a disaster situation at Seattle Grace, the grand mecca of disaster, is fairly high in the world of Grey’s Anatomy. How she manages to drink so often without a sponsorship from Pedialyte or AA is a mystery to us all.

3 Her Age

In the script for Grey’s pilot, Meredith is supposed to be thirty-two years old. After taking time off to travel through Europe with Sadie and to care for her ailing mother, it’s understandable that Meredith would be older than the average medical intern. It’s clear that the Grey’s writing team put some thought into Meredith’s backstory in the early years of the show and realized that between taking the MCAT and helping Ellis, there’s no way that Meredith could have started her internship at the median age of twenty-seven.

Meredith’s birth year is confirmed as 1978 multiple times during the course of season eleven, retconning her initial age to be twenty-eight. The writers probably weren’t too concerned about continuity ten years after the fact, but Meredith’s original age made much more sense than her current one.

2 Her Disappearing Children

After a hullaballoo regarding who should watch the children and how to be an active parent and a surgeon, Meredith’s children have completely disappeared from the show after Derek Shepherd’s passing. The children are occasionally referenced, but haven’t been shown in the hospital daycare, her home, or her carpool.

Her children have become an afterthought, despite the fact that they were the main source of conflict between Shepard and herself before he passed away.

Some of these children should be starting school, while others are still in infancy, but having Meredith completely forget that she chose to give birth and adopt multiple children erases multiple seasons of character development geared towards family and motherhood.

1 She Has Gone Through An Improbable Amount Of Trauma

As mentioned multiple times, nothing seems to go right for long in the life of Meredith Grey. Meredith’s mother passes away while Meredith was unconscious, she lost her husband, her boyfriend had a wife, she nearly passed away multiple times, she couldn’t have children, and everyone she knows left or passed away.

Every aspect of her life, from family to spouses to friends, ends with a major trauma and loss. She’s still continuing on with her life and career, while most people would be deep in therapy and rarely leaving their homes if faced with the same amount of sorrow. Meredith is a strong woman, but what she has been through could drive even the most optimistic individual to depression.

Are there any other aspects of Meredith’s character that make no sense in Grey’s Anatomy? Sound off in the comments!



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2018-10-09 01:10:23 – Kristy Pirone

Harry Potter: 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had a lot of ground to cover, as Harry had to destroy the remaining four Horcruxes that were hidden around Great Britain, while Voldemort was just beginning to take control of the wizarding world from the shadows.

The fact that there was so much content in The Deathly Hallows meant that the creators of the Harry Potter films decided to split the final book into two movies, which opened the door for the creators of the Twilight and The Hunger Games movies to do the same.

The process of creating the final two Harry Potter movies was an emotional one for everyone involved, as a series that took a decade to make was coming to an end. This wasn’t helped by the many beloved characters meeting their maker throughout the course of the story, meaning that there were a lot more emotional send-offs than in the previous movies.

We are here today to see what moments from behind-the-scenes of The Deathly Hallows movies were captured on film forever – from the last time that Remus Lupin & Severus Snape smiled, to the final day of the ten-year odyssey of the Harry Potter movie franchise.

Here are the 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Completely Change Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2!

25 Lupin & Snape Getting Along

Alan Rickman so totally owned the role of Severus Snape that it’s hard to imagine any other actor playing the part. It’s also difficult not to hear Rickman’s voice whenever reading one of Snape’s scenes in the Harry Potter novels.

It’s also a surreal experience seeing Alan Rickman clowning around or smiling in any behind-the-scenes footage of the Harry Potter movies, as Snape never had anything close to a light-hearted moment or laughed at anything that was funny.

Remus Lupin and Severus Snape may have had a cold relationship in the movies, but that didn’t stop David Thewlis and Alan Rickman coming together for a photo on their last day of filming, which even resulted in a rare Snape smile.

24 Voldemort & His Tracking Dots

The Harry Potter movies decided to remove Voldemort’s nose in order to give him a more serpent-like appearance. This was only accomplishable due to advances in CGI and the fact that Voldemort generally didn’t appear that often compared to the other nose-bearing members of the cast.

In order to create the effect of Voldemort lacking a nose, Ralph Fiennes needed to have tracking dots applied to his face. These were necessary in order to tell the computers where all of the parts of Fiennes’ face where in relation to each other so that they could take away the nose and remove all traces of the dots on his face. Ralph Fiennes also had to wear other prosthetics, including a gross-looking set of fake teeth.

23 Talking Through The Nagini Chase

The scene where Neville slices Nagini in two with the Sword of Godric Gryffindor is one of the all-time greatest moments in the Harry Potter series. It is meant to reflect Harry defeating the basilisk in The Chamber of Secrets, with Neville finally becoming the hero that he was always meant to be and becoming worthy of drawing the sword from the Sorting Hat.

The movie version of The Deathly Hallows botched this scene somewhat by adding Hermione and Ron to the mix, as they attempt to deal with Nagini using spells. Neville had to rush in and save them, as they both suddenly developed the aiming skills of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. 

22 The Dark Lord Of Clowning Around On Set

Ralph Fiennes has appeared in some of the greatest movies of all time, including the likes of Schindler’s List, The English Patient, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He is known for his extensive theatre work and for taking on roles in serious and somber movies.

All of these serious roles may give you the impression that Ralph Fiennes lacks a sense of humor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

He would never have taken on the part of Lord Voldemort if he was going to stick to roles that would win him Academy Award nominations. Ralph Fiennes must have known early on that the role of Lord Voldemort was going to become the one that he was most associated with, so he clearly leaned into it and had as much fun as possible with the part.

21 Hermione & Ariana

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left us with a lot of unanswered questions about Albus Dumbledore, especially where his sister is concerned.

Ariana Dumbledore was attacked by a group of Muggle boys as a child, which left her emotionally scarred and unable to control her magic. The release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the revelations concerning Credence Barebone have led some fans to suggest that Ariana Dumbledore was an Obscurial and that Grindelwald’s obsession with them was sparked by meeting her. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 neglected to reveal much about Ariana’s backstory, though we were at least given the chance to see her in the flesh.

20 Wandless Magic

Wands are an important aspect of the Harry Potter series, which means that they appeared all of the time in the movies. The props department always had to make sure that there were lots of spare wands ready at any moment, as they were pretty flimsy and easy to accidentally break during filming.

Daniel Radcliffe broke over eighty wands on the set of the Harry Potter movies, either through being too rough with them or for just wearing them down with overuse. This can be clearly seen in the behind-the-scenes footage where he has a tendency to use them as drumsticks when bored on set. Luckily for Daniel Radcliffe, there were times when wands were added in later with CGI, so he just had to pretend to hold one.

19 Draco’s Fear Of Flying

You might think that the flying broom sequences in the Harry Potter movies are accomplished using only green screen effects, but there is a practical element involved that is necessary in order to make the movement of the brooms seem more natural.

The flying broom is connected to a rig that looks like the mechanism used for a theme park ride, which is essentially what it is.

This flying machine can be moved in such a way as to make it look like the broom is tipping or changing direction, while the background can be added in using CGI in order to complete the illusion. Poor Tom Felton was stuck riding on a broom while looking like a wimp, as Daniel Radcliffe got to look like a super cool wizard.

18 Griphook’s Goggles

One of the most difficult aspects of wearing a prosthetic mask that covers your whole head is what it does for your sweat. Robert Llewellyn who played Kryten in Red Dwarf has talked about how his mask was so tight that the sweat was all squeezed down onto his back.

Warwick Davis is no stranger to prosthetics and masks, which is why he was well-prepared for the outdoor scenes involving Griphook in The Deathly Hallows movies. The Griphook outfit not only covers all of Warwick Davis’ head but also his hands. This is why he is seen wearing goggles during outdoor sequences, as they protect his eyes from the elements without risking him accidentally touching his eyes with his clawed hands.

17 Filming Helena Ravenclaw

In order to discover the truth about Ravenclaw’s diadem, Harry must seek out the Ghost of Ravenclaw House, who is revealed to be Helena Ravenclaw. She is the one who reveals to Harry that the diadem was stored within the Room of Requirement, as Voldemort was dense enough to believe that no future Hogwarts student would ever discover the existence of the room.

The meeting between Harry and Helena involved two separate sets, as she was a ghost and spent almost all of her scenes floating off the ground or passing through objects. This meant that Kelly Macdonald (the actress who portrayed Helena) and Daniel Radcliffe had to shoot their scenes separately, as Radcliffe wasn’t available during her shooting days.

16 Filch & Harry Make Up

David Bradley played Argus Filch in almost every Harry Potter movie, missing out on only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Filch’s role was greatly diminished from that of the books and he was mostly used as a comic relief character in the movies.

As one of the few actors who had remained with the franchise from the beginning, David Bradley made sure he was there for the final day of shooting, where he embraced Daniel Radcliffe.

On the surface, this image makes it seem like Harry and Filch finally made amends, which seems out of character for both of them, even though Filch did aid in the defense of Hogwarts during its hour of need. The other reason why Filch may be smiling so much is that he’s already planning his party for the Stark family.

15 Hagrid & The March Of The Death Eaters

The role of Rubeus Hagrid was mostly played by Robbie Coltrane throughout the eight Harry Potter movies. We say mostly because another actor also played Hagrid in many different scenes. Robbie Coltrane is slightly over six-feet tall, but that still isn’t tall enough to play the role of a half-giant. This meant that Hagrid was often played by Martin Bayfield for the purpose of being a body double and performing stunts, as Bayfield is almost seven-feet tall.

The version of Hagrid from the Harry Potter books was over eleven-feet tall, meaning that it would have been impossible to recreate him on film without using CGI. This meant that Robbie Coltrane and Martin Bayfield still had to wear bulky costumes in order to increase their size in order to make Hagrid look bigger than he was, as even carrying someone that is the same size as Daniel Radcliffe needs to look like an impressive feat of strength.

14 Luna Loves Harry Potter

Evanna Lynch had never acted professionally before auditioning for the role of Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She was a huge fan of the Harry Potter novels and won the role because, as producer, David Heyman said: “The others could play Luna; Evanna Lynch is Luna.”

The passing of Dobby and his subsequent burial was filmed outdoors, which meant that Evanna Lynch had to find some entertainment while she waited for the crew to finish setting up each scene. This would normally result in the smartphone or tablet being whipped out at this point, but Lynch decided to go old school and read her copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

13 Dobby Relaxing On Set

The actor who played Dobby was a notorious drama queen on-set. This was partly due to trouble that started early on in his career, brought on by the numerous fake news reports that stated he was being sued by the Russian government due to his resemblance to Vladamir Putin.

The passing of Dobby is one of the most emotional scenes in The Deathly Hallows films, which is why it took so long for his actor to get into the right frame of mind in order to expire in Harry Potter’s arms.

You may think that the Dobby guy is sneaking in a few moments of sleep while on the set, but he’s actually using an advanced method of the Meisner technique in order to get into character.

12 The Secret Of The Brooms

We mentioned earlier that the broom sequences required the use of a moveable rig and a green screen in order to make the flying sequences seem realistic, but not all of the broom scenes involved high-speed chases. There were times when the brooms sat in a static position while floating in mid-air, as they waited for their owner to climb on top of them.

In order to create these scenes, the special effects team developed a standing rig for the brooms that would suspend them above the ground. These rigs had to be strong enough to hold the weight of an adult person, while also being slender enough to be easily removed later by the special effects team. The scene shown above comes from the Seven Potters sequence, where everyone is preparing to leave Privet Drive on broomsticks, save for Hagrid, who is using Sirius Black’s bike.

11 Bellatrix & Warwick Davis

The Harry Potter franchise was very kind to Warwick Davis, as he played Professor Flitwick since the first movie and Griphook in both of The Deathly Hallows films. He also voiced Griphook in the first movie, but the physical role was played by Verne Troyer, making him one of the few American actors to appear in the Harry Potter movie series.

Warwick Davis spent much of his time in the makeup chair, as even the reworked version of Professor Flitwick still required a fancy new hairdo and mustache. The picture above gives us a glimpse of Davis out of costume, but Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t so lucky, as she was fully adorned in the Bellatrix gear.

10 Bellatrix Posing

Bellatrix Lestrange may be one of the most loathsome characters in the Harry Potter series, as she is Lord Voldemort’s most devoted follower and will gleefully commit atrocities in his name. Bellatrix is responsible for disposing of Sirius Black, which immediately earned her a significant hatedom among the Harry Potter fans.

The movie version of Bellatrix is much more difficult to hate, thanks to an incredible performance by Helena Bonham Carter, who managed to turn Bellatrix into the Harley Quinn of the Harry Potter franchise.

Helena Bonham Carter never let the fact that she was playing a crazed murderer affect her on a personal level, as she can be seen clowning around in many different behind-the-scenes photos from the Harry Potter movie series.

9 The Weasley’s Prepare For Battle

The Battle of Hogwarts is probably the most chaotic moment in the series, with seemingly every important character showing up for the final conflict between the forces of good and evil.

There were moments of the battle that were sectioned off, in order to make them easier to film. One of these involved the final duel between Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley, which took place in the Great Hall as a battle raged on behind them. The duel scene was shot in such a way that you could only see directly behind Bellatrix & Molly, which meant that you only saw a small portion of the battle that was happening. This was likely done in order to make the scene easier to film.

8 Filming The Battle Of Hogwarts

The Battle of Hogwarts was incredibly difficult to film, which is true of all battle scenes that involve a lot of participants. The reason why the Battle of Hogwarts was even more difficult than normal was the fact that almost everyone involved was either using a supernatural weapon (usually a wand) or was some kind of magical creature.

There were parts of the Battle of Hogwarts which involved Harry running through a battlefield that was filled with dueling wizards, huge spiders, suits of animated armor, and giants, all of whom were fighting each other. The producers and special effects team that worked on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 rose to the challenge and created one of the greatest looking battles in movie history. They managed to capture the chaos of a large-scale conflict while also maintaining the fantastical elements that the Harry Potter series is known for.

7 The Burrow Set

One of the new scenes that were added to the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince involved the Death Eaters attacking and burning down the Burrow, which is the home of the Weasley family.

This scene wasn’t popular with the fans, as it ignored aspects of lore and was totally pointless, as the Burrow needed to return for the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies.

Harry and his friends return to the Burrow at the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, after escaping from the Death Eaters at Privet Drive. This scene involved showing the lands around the Burrow, which was accomplished with the use of a green screen.

6 Dobby’s Funeral Is Hilarious

Dobby the house-elf was created almost entirely with CGI in the Harry Potter movies, which was a necessity due to his size and stature. Dobby helps Harry Potter and his friends escape from Malfoy Manor, but takes a knife to the chest for his troubles. This results in a scene where Harry cradles an injured Dobby and comforts him as he slowly passes away, in what is one of the saddest moments in the series.

The scene of Harry holding Dobby required the use of a physical Dobby puppet that Daniel Radcliffe could hold, which could be altered with CGI at a later date. The puppet that is seen in the picture above is clearly in an unfinished state, which may be why the cast is having such a laugh, as Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are certainly not in character.

5 Stylish & Wounded

Apparition is one of the most prized skills of any wizard, or at least it would be if it weren’t possible to block apparition within certain locations. Those who wish to apparate are required to pass a test, as those who do not perform the spell properly can screw it up and cause “splinching” which is the term used for leaving pieces of your body behind.

Ron manages to harm himself in The Deathly Hallows movies through splinching, which meant that Rupert Grint needed to have injury makeup applied. This didn’t stop Rupert from looking his best and pulling off his model pose while having holes added to his arms and shoulders.

4 The Real Father Of Delphini

Daniel Radcliffe is one of those people who is impossible to hate, except by the most bitter of people who despise the fact that he was given such an important and lucrative role at such a young age. He comes off brilliantly in interviews and seems like of the most genuine and nicest people you could ever meet.

It seems that the charms of the Harry Potter actor are even effective against Death Eaters, as Helena Bonham Carter was clearly fond of her on-screen mortal enemy.

The two of them can be seen clowning around together in various behind-the-scenes clips, which must have been a way to burn off some tension before they started chasing each other with wands again.

3 The Boring Wedding Of Bill & Fleur

The hardest part of any movie/television production on the part of the actors is the waiting around between shots. It can take a long time for the crew to set up each shot for even a simple production. When you have a movie series like Harry Potter which involves huge sets that need constructing and special effects work that needs preparing for, then it can take forever to set up even a few seconds worth of footage.

The wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour would have required a lot of setting up, due to the sheer amount of extras that are engaging each other in the background of each shot. It’s no wonder that the main trio doesn’t look as interested as they should be.

2 Bellatrix’s Sound Check

The reason why Helena Bonham Carter is sitting on a set of benches is that this is the location where she filmed her final duel of the series. The movie version of Bellatrix’s demise is actually way more violent than what happened in the books.

In the book version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the duel between Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley ends when Molly fires a curse that strikes Bellatrix above the heart. We never find out what spell Molly cast, but it was enough to deal with Bellatrix for good. The movie version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 shows Molly freezing Bellatrix in place and then shattering her body into pieces.

1 The Last Day

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were cast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the age of eleven. They spent the next ten years of their lives working on the Harry Potter movie series, which meant that there formative years were spent in front of the cameras. An entire generation of Harry Potter fans grew up alongside them.

As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 finished production, more and more of the actors were given a send-off for their final day of filming.

The most emotional of these last days was the one for the main trio, who had finally finished their decade-long odyssey and hugged on the set. These last moments can be seen on the home releases of The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and it’s hard for any fan of the Harry Potter series to remain dry-eyed when seeing them say goodbye to each other and to the roles that defined their youth.

What do you think of these photos? Do they completely change Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 for you? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-08 02:10:12 – Scott Baird

10 Best Disney Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes (And 10 With Almost 0%)

After all these years, Disney movies remain the gold standard in family entertainment. Starting from the back of a realty office in Hollywood back in 1928, Disney is now a brand worth billions of dollars. But it’s not just money—Disney’s cultural influence is worldwide and manages to stay relevant with each subsequent generation. There’s no underestimating the power of nostalgia; chances are if someone grew up liking Disney movies, they’re probably a fan for life. Walt Disney pioneered the idea of feature-length animated movies, an idea considered ridiculous at the time. They would be too expensive to make, and what self-respecting adult would pay money to see a full-length animated film? Turns out everyone wanted to, especially those with kids. At the time, there was no such thing as a full-production studio dedicated to animated films—so with the profits of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Walt Disney built one. From there, it was only a short period of time before Disney branched out into producing live-action films, and before anyone knew it, Disney dominated the family entertainment market.

Since then, Disney has expanded its intellectual properties to include Marvel, Star Wars, ABC, and 20th Century Fox. This makes Disney virtually unstoppable. Some meme artists have even depicted Mickey Mouse as Thanos, with its individual properties the different gems in the Infinity Gauntlet. But there were a few hiccups along the way. Disney has had tremendous success with its films, but people tend to forget that even the mighty occasionally fall. Here are the 10 best Disney movies according to the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, along with the 10 worst.

20 Best: Pinnochio (100%)

Pinnochio was Walt Disney’s second animated feature, released shortly after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Like its predecessor, it had gorgeous visuals with a painstaking attention to every element of the production. Unlike Snow White, it initially flopped at the box office. Luckily, Walt Disney had faith in the movie and gave it a second release to recover production costs. The plan worked, and Pinocchio eventually earned enough money to put it back into the black.

The iconic “When You Wish Upon A Star” theme from the film is still synonymous with the Disney brand.

The artists of Pinnochio helped pioneered advances in effects animation, which specialized on non-character elements that move, such as water or fire. The animated ocean effects during the Monstro sequence were the most ambitious water effects ever achieved for its time.

19 Worst: That Darn Cat (13%)

If nobody remembers this movie, it’s partially because it came in and of the theatre pretty fast. A remake of Disney’s moderately successful live-action That Darn Cat from 1965, the 1997 version was not nearly as successful. Starring Cristina Ricci as Patti, the plot features a cat that becomes “witness” to a kidnapping gone wrong. Patti eventually convinces the authorities to investigate and she becomes central in helping to solve the details of the crime and eventual rescue.

The reviews of the film were dismal. One critic described it as “…a desperate dip into utter conventionality: dull car chases, explosions, inept slapstick.” Another says it is a “…disappointing, rather warmed over Disney offering.” Despite this, Cristina Ricci was nominated for two awards for her performance in the film, a Kid’s Choice Awards, and a Young Artist’s Ward.

18 Best: Mary Poppins (100%)

The mostly live-action Mary Poppins was a smash-hit. It earned 13 Academy Award film nominations and won five, including Best Actress, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. It’s easy to see why. Julie Andrews brought her amazing charisma to the performance, dazzling audiences with her ability to sing, dance, and easily handle comedy intended for children. The songs are memorable, with several such as A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious becoming part of the American culture.

Disney had experimented with combining live action with animation before, but never in such an ambitious way. For many, their favorite part of the film is where Mary Poppins, Burt the Chimney Sweep, and the Banks children jump into the chalk drawing and have a little adventure in an animated world. Disney is releasing the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, in December of 2018.

17 Worst: My Favorite Martian (12%)

Based on the 1960’s television show of the same name, My Favorite Martian tells the story of a humanoid Martian (Christopher Lloyd) that crash lands on earth. He enlists the help of a reporter in a funk to put him up while he tries to repair his spaceship and get home.

Though reviews were generally kind to Christopher Lloyd, the movie as a whole was mostly disliked by critics.

Said one reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes, “An utterly pointless and unimaginative remake based on the classic ’60s sitcom…a meteoric misfire.” Another gets right to the point: “A terrible movie. Beware.” My Favorite Martian did earn three nominations…of The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. It was nominated for Worst Resurrection of a TV Show, Most Botched Comic Relief and Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy.

16 Best: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (100%)

Like most Disney movies, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was adapted from existing source material. It’s based on characters from short stories from the author A. A. Milne. The film focuses on young Christopher Robin and his stuffed bear, and a menagerie of other stuffed animals come to life. The movie is a collection of animated shorts edited together into a feature-length film.

Surprisingly, the Winnie the Pooh franchise is worth much more than one might imagine. Variety estimated the sales of merchandise related to Winnie the Pooh topped over $5 billion, which among Disney properties, is second only to Mickey Mouse. Disney released a live action movie, Christopher Robin, based on an adult Christopher Robin rediscovering Winnie the Pooh and his friends in August of 2018.

15 Worst: Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (11%)

One would think that after one of the most stereotypical happy endings of all time, writers would have a hard time coming up with a good sequel for Cinderella. One would be right. Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is actually an anthology movie that ties together three Cinderella short stories into one film. The first story describes her struggle to be herself as a new princess. The second follows Jaq the mouse feeling left out. And the third shows how Cinderella tries to teach one of her step-sisters how to smile. Seriously.

This direct-to-video sequel wasn’t liked by critics. One top critic says simply, “Do not see this film.” Another, quite dramatically, announces, “A screaming black vortex of total, irredeemable awfulness.” A quick glance through other remarks reveals similarly negative responses. Nevertheless, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True still made approximately $120 million in sales.

14 Best: Toy Story (100%)

Toy Story was ambitious in scope, it being the first animated Disney feature that was fully animated with CGI. Audiences had never seen this kind of animated film before and impressed audiences made the movie a runaway hit. Though CGI animated movies have come a long way since then, Toy Story still holds up. The interplay between Woody the Cowboy (played by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is the highlight of the film. Though they have different perceptions of reality, they learn to work together to make sure they don’t get left behind in their boy Andy’s move.

Toy Story garnered three Academy Award nominations and won a Special Achievement Academy Award for being the first feature-length computer-animated film. It has two hit sequels, with a third in production.

13 Worst: Blank Check (11%)

What if a kid found a blank check that allowed him to spend a million dollars? That’s the intriguing premise behind Blank Check, a movie that didn’t really build a successful story out of this great idea. Through an implausible series of events, young Preston Waters is given a blank check to help pay for a bicycle accident involving a car. But he’s given the wrong check, and the person who gave it to him is a criminal. Preston spends the rest of the movie spending lavishly while trying to avoid the authorities and the criminal who is hot on his tail.

One top critic explains it’s “One of those smart-aleck kid adventures that manages to be entirely obnoxious with very little effort.” A Rotten Tomatoes super reviewer hilariously opined, “If you loved Home Alone, you’ll still gonna hate Blank Check!”

12 Best: Darby O’Gill and the Little People (100%)

Though many modern audiences have never heard of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, it probably remains the most successful movie ever made about Leprechauns. In the film, the aging laborer and caretaker Darby O’Gill has spent much of his life trying to catch the Leprechauns. One day, in his old age, he is actually caught by them. He spends the rest of the film strategizing how he will spend the three wishes granted upon him by Brian, the King of the Leprechauns.

The film also features a young and dashing Sean Connery as Michael McBride, the love interest to Darby O’Gill’s daughter.

Though it won no awards, it has been critically well-received over the years and had state-of-the-art special effects for its day.

11 Worst: Mr. Magoo (7%)

The character of Mr. Magoo was a successful cartoon character from the late 40’s through the 50’s. The running gag for each story was that millionaire Mr. Magoo was practically blind, which led him into comically dangerous situations. Mr. Magoo was also amazingly lucky, which seemed to save him every time.

The Disney adaptation starred Leslie Nielsen, an actor beloved for being able to handle silly comedy with a straight face. But it just wasn’t enough to save the film, which seemed to suffer from the repetitive and unfunny gags. Critics were beyond cruel to the film. One announced, “The movie is an insult to the intelligence of the entire human race.” Another agrees, “Mr. Magoo is transcendently bad. It soars above ordinary badness as the eagle outreaches the fly. There is not a laugh in it. Not one.”

10 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

After the runaway success of the first Toy Story, a sequel seemed inevitable. Somehow avoiding the curse of most sequels being inferior to the original, Toy Story 2 managed to be a moving story which many think is even better than the first. It also introduced a brand new character to the saga, Jesse the Cowgirl.

Toy Story 2 has one of the most heartbreaking songs in Disney’s collection, When She Loved Me, performed by Sarah McLachlan. The song describes being abandoned by the child she loved, a sequence that left hardly a dry eye in the house. It went on to become a smash hit, just like the first one. Though it won no academy awards, it won many independent awards and some argue it is the best Toy Story movie of the entire franchise.

9 Worst: A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (5%)

A Kid in King Arthur’s Court is very loosely based on Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, a story that has been adapted into several other films. Modern ’90s kid Calvin Fuller is playing baseball for his team when an earthquake hits. A chasm opens up on the field and he falls in. Calvin is inexplicably transported to England in the age of King Arthur, where he quickly wows the locals with his modern knowledge. While there, he also falls in love with the local princess.

Critics seemed to be surprised this was a Disney film. One critic laments, “Rarely do the well-financed wizards at Walt Disney Pictures cook up a movie this badly written, acted, and directed.” Another says, “Sitting through it, I found myself shuddering at what Disney may have in store for next summer.”

8 Best: Old Yeller (100%)

Old Yeller was famous for ruining many a childhood with a depressing plot twist, the on-screen demise of its titular dog. After saving his family multiple times over the years from bears, wild hogs, and wolves, Old Yeller finally seals his fate when he fought off a rabid wolf to protect his people. Not only did the the dog pass away, but its owner and best friend Travis had to put him down himself because he had been infected with rabies. This scene has become one of the most famous tear-jerking live-action scenes in all of Disney’s films.

Despite the bummer plot development, the film was still a critical and commercial hit. And it still managed to leave on a high note—by the end, Travis adopts Old Yeller’s puppy and names him Young Yeller.

7 West: Meet the Deedles (4%)

As handsome as Paul Walker was, even he couldn’t have saved Meet the Deedles. The story describes the hapless Phil and Stew Deedle, brothers who are in high school and avid surfers. Their father becomes disgusted with their lazy behavior and sends them off to a boot camp where they can learn some discipline.

In an extremely unlikely series of events, the Deedle brothers assume false identities as park rangers and…hilarity is supposed to ensue.

As with most movies received this badly, the Rotten Tomatoes reviews are hilarious to read. One critic announces dryly, “If all of this sounds ridiculous, it is.” Another is much more cruel, saying, “Dumb is one thing, but this sorry attempt at action-comedy from stuntman turned director Steve Boyum is in an intelligence-deprived class all its own.”

6 Best: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (98%)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was Disney’s first animated film feature and the first animated film to gain massive success. It was actually the profits from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that allowed Disney to build its first full-fledged production studio in Burbank, California. From there, Disney was unleashed to produce dozens of huge hits.

Early forecasters predicted Snow White would be a huge flop, but Disney had the last laugh when the film was finally released. Critics, even the ones predicting its failure, absolutely loved it. Audiences flocked to it and children adored it. Walt Disney received a special Academy Honorary Award for making a “significant screen innovation.” The Honorary Oscar came with seven little miniature Oscars. As with Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, Disney is producing a live-action adaptation of the film.

5 Worst: Mulan 2 (0%)

Did we ever even need a Mulan 2? According to critics, the answer is a resounding “no.” The original Mulan was a hit in 1998, following the adventures of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who became a fearsome warrior against all odds. Mulan 2 features a convoluted plot wherein Mulan prepares to get married and go on an important mission at the same time, trying to prevent several kingdoms from collapsing against the Mongolian hordes.

The plot doesn’t sound terrible, but it didn’t deliver. Critics seemed to dislike it mainly for being bland. One explained, “If it were any more trivial, it’d be invisible. Mulan II is, rather, more conceptually offensive.” Another spoke bluntly, “It’s harmless, sure, but it’s also charmless.” Another sequel was planned but eventually shelved.

4 Best: 101 Dalmatians (98%)

With 101 Dalmatians, Disney opted to develop a somewhat obscure children’s story.  This was a bit different from the popular fairy-tale adaptations that Disney had been known for. After a bachelor and his new blushing bride get married, their respective male and female adult Dalmatians breed a large litter of puppies. An over the top villain, Cruella de Vil, steals them along with other Dalmatian puppies with plans to eventually turn them all into a fur coat. The adult Dalmatians and other animals lead efforts to rescue ALL the puppies and bring them back to safety.

101 Dalmatians cut costs by adopting a more minimal animation style but still was a critical and financial success.

The movie was adapted into two live-action movies in the ’90s and also had an animated sequel in 2003.

3 Worst: The Big Green (0%)

Not many Disney fans know this film even exists. The Big Green was released in 1995 and tells the story of a scrappy British teacher who introduces kids with low self-esteem in a small Texas town the game of soccer. Sort of a Bad News Bears for the soccer crowd, the movie follows these underdog kids as they go from losers to heroes.

However, according to critics, it’s derivative and not as good as either of those films. Perhaps the poster, which features a young kid getting hit in the groin by a soccer ball, is the first sign the “comedy” wasn’t up to par. One critic writes, “The Big Green is at its worst and most desperate when resorting to ridiculous hallucinations and silly sped-up photography to get laughs, and it’s at its best when… well, it’s over.” Yikes.

2 Best: Cinderella (97%)

It’s hard to believe, but Disney suffered a bit of a downturn during WWII and by the late 40s was financially doing poorly. Disney turned back to its classic roots and decided to produce Cinderella, an old story based on folklore and also told in a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. The movie not only brought Disney out of debt, but gave the studio enough capital to create its own film distribution company, begin production on other films, and start building Disneyland and Disney World.

The movie received critical praise not seen since Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Pinnochio. Many noted its rich colors and backgrounds, realistic human animation, and memorable music. It was later nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Original Song for Bippity Boppity Boo.

1 Worst: Kronk’s New Groove (0%)

The Emperor’s New Groove was a unique and charming Disney film that has become somewhat of a cult classic over the years, featuring the voices of the hilarious David Spade and Patrick Warburton. Its sequel, Kronk’s New Groove was not received nearly as well. Part of the problem may be the thin plot, which has something to do with Kronk running a restaurant, falling in love with a camp counselor, and trying to impress his father. Yzma returns as a villain but doesn’t really have much to do.

Voice talents notwithstanding, the resulting film was a dud with critics.

Pointed out one, “Great voice talents, but weak storyline and frankly not much groove.” Another astutely observed, “It’s just too generic, and generic is not what we want from a sequel to a film that managed to escape the Disney mold.”

Which of these films did you love most? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-07 06:10:17 – Gary Gunter

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

Mortal Engines Footage Description: First 25 Minutes Debuts At NYCC

Following The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Peter Jackson returns as a producer on Mortal Engines, and at the movie’s New York Comic Con panel, the first 25 minutes of footage debuted; we offer a brief breakdown of what’s included.

Adapted from Philip Reeve’s novel of the same name, Mortal Engines takes place in a futuristic world where cities are moving beasts that roam the world searching for fuel to keep moving. Meanwhile, smaller also mobile towns have become the prey of larger city-states like London. The film follows Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), a fugitive with a deadly grudge against London’s Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving). Hester runs across historian Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) as she attempts to defeat Valentine and protect smaller cities and towns from the insatiable hunger that is London.

Related: Mortal Engines Trailer #2 Debuts At NYCC

Ahead of the film’s release in December, Jackson, Mortal Engines director Christian Rivers and members of the cast appeared on a panel at NYCC. Prior to a Q&A with the cast and filmmakers during the Mortal Engines NYCC panel, Andy Serkis presented the first 25 minutes of the movie. Much of the opening footage focused on building out the world of Mortal Engines. The film kicks off with an opening monologue setting the stage for the post-apocalyptic world (what Jackson refers to as a “post-post-apocalyptic” world) following the 60-Minute War that destroyed society as we know it.

After the voiceover, viewers get to meet Hester, who’s on a cliff and spots the approaching predator city of London. Once she sees the oncoming, mobile city, Hester runs back to a grouping of smaller, mobile towns that break apart and start running from London. Hester is stuck on one town that can’t seem to get its engines started and winds up being the “prey” pursued by London. The town flees across the open land, which Jackson referred to as “the great hunting ground” (essentially, where Europe used to be). The chase sequence continues for much of the opening, as the smaller town is chased by London and attempts to lose the larger city-state amid some foothills. While the sequence is filled with tension, the town is eventually caught by London and “ingested.”

On board London, Tom meets Katherine Valentine (Leila George) at the London Museum, where he shows her some of the artifacts he’s collected to help with her research into the 60-Minute War. Tom shows Katherine a video of a pre-war city being destroyed using some kind of quantum technology. Then, Tom reveals he’s been collecting similarly dangerous technology, some of which has been stolen. Once London ingests the smaller town, Tom is tasked with going down to sort through it for valuable artifacts, and he’s accompanied by Katherine. There, they meet Thaddeus, but Hester is lurking in the crowd of people moving from the town into London. When she has a moment, she attempts to assassinate Thaddeus, but she’s stopped by Tom and has to flee.

The final sequence of the footage screened includes a foot chase through the ingested mining town as Hester runs from Tom and Thaddeus (though the latter is following more slowly due to the injury Hester inflicted). Hester flees from Tom through the town as it’s being destroyed by massive saws and metal jaws. Eventually, she reaches a platform that overlooks a tunnel out of London and she jumps. Tom catches her and Hester tells him to ask Thaddeus about her mother, revealing that Thaddeus murdered her mother. Then she forces Tom to drop her and when Tom does mention to Thaddeus what Hester said, Thaddeus pushes Tom down the tunnel and out of London.

Altogether, the footage shown at NYCC for Mortal Engines introduced an expansive world akin to that of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit with sweeping, beautiful visuals. It remains to be seen if Mortal Engines turns out to be a massive blockbuster success on par with the trilogies for which Jackson is most well known. But, with Jackson on board as a producer and Rivers at the helm, it’s clear Mortal Engines will provide some stunning sequences for moviegoers – which they’ll get to see when the film hits theaters in December.

Next: The Biggest Changes Mortal Engines Makes to the Book



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2018-10-05 12:10:02 – Molly Freeman

Hillary Clinton’s Madam Secretary Cameo, New Details Revealed

Hillary Clinton will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Madam Secretary, and details have been released ahead of the season 5 premiere. The CBS political drama stars Téa Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who assumes the position of Secretary of State following the mysterious death of her predecessor. The series, which is executive produced by Lori McCreary, has drawn generally positive reviews and has commented on many of the real-life issues facing the U.S. government.

Though Leoni’s Secretary McCord has been compared to Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate has not appeared on the series before now. Madeleine Albright, who held the position of Secretary of State under Clinton’s husband’s administration, appeared in a season 2 episode of the series. It was first announced in July that Albright, Clinton, and another former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, would make an appearance in this episode. Now, just days before the premiere, some insight into what went on behind-the-scenes has been shared.

Related: ‘Madam Secretary’ Series Premiere Review

TVLine reports that, during a set visit last month, McCreary and stars Keith Carradine and Erich Bergen revealed what it was like to have Clinton and the other former Secretaries of State on set. McCreary recalls that the politicians were giving with their “time and energy,” adding “it was really an honor that they would spend their time with us.” Carradine, who stars on the show as U.S. President Dalton, shared a funny moment with Clinton, in which she referred to him as “Mr. President.” In fact, he says that all of the Secretaries of State referred to him as such, noting their “spirit of play” on set.

But possibly the most intriguing anecdote comes from Bergen, who plays Blake Moran, personal assistant to Secretary McCord. Bergen has a background in musical theater, which also happens to be a passion of Clinton’s. While chatting with the politician on set, Bergen learned that she knew of his role in the show Waitress, and told him she “was a big fan of Smash,” a musical drama that aired on NBC and was canceled after just two seasons.

Though this is Clinton’s first time on this particular show, it’s not her first time playing a version of herself on T. In fact, it’s not even her first time this year. In the first episode of the revival of Murphy Brown, Clinton shared a moment with the eponymous journalist, making a joke about her emails. The episode also featured a fake Twitter conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump. And, in 2016, Clinton made a brief appearance on Broad City, taking a selfie with Abbi and Ilana at her campaign headquarters in New York.

More: Murphy Brown Revival Premiere Includes Hillary Clinton Cameo

Madam Secretary season 5 premieres on Sunday, October 7 on CBS.

Source: TVLine



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2018-10-05 06:10:30 – Becca Bleznak

Bill Cosby Sentenced to 3-10 Years in State Prison

Television star and comedian Bill Cosby has been sentenced to serve three to 10 years in state prison, following his guilty conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill made the sentencing, ruling Cosby a “sexually violent predator”.

The saga revolving around Cosby’s sexual offenses goes back decades but was not examined by the public eye until stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress brought the allegations to light during a 2014 routine. The resulting examination into the image of this otherwise “clean” and “family-friendly” figure resulted in numerous additional allegations of rape and drug-facilitated sexual assault and battery going all the way to 1968. In the following years, multiple organizations and companies cut ties with Cosby, with reruns of his once-celebrated television shows being taken off the air.

RELATED: Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault By Jury

After a mistrial in June 2017, a retrial in April 2018 found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Constand. Per THR, Judge Steven O’Neill sentenced Cosby to three to 10 years of “total confinement” in state prison, along with a $25,000 fine. The sentencing came from a recommendation from prosecutors, who argued that Cosby was still a danger to women and the community at large. Cosby’s lawyers, on the other hand, requested house arrest, citing Cosby’s age at 81 and his status as legally blind.

Constand previously had a friendship with Cosby starting in 2002, as athletics administrator in Cosby’s alma mater of Temple University, with the incident in question occurring on January 2004. The sentencing is an end for Constand’s long legal battle, which reopened in 2015 after dozens of women came forward with their own experiences of Cosby’s sexual misconduct. This case is not only significant for being the first one to end with criminal action towards Cosby, but it is also the first prominent celebrity case as part of the new #MeToo movement.

The conviction and sentencing is a sign of relief to Constand and countless other victims of sexual assault. With figures such as Harvey Weinstein still facing criminal charges and undergoing through similar legal hurdles, the Cosby case is forming a precedent for accused persons ultimately receiving justice in a court of law. Still, progress in the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up isn’t a sure thing, with people like Louis C.K., who had his own accusations of sexual misconduct (which the comedian admitted to), returning to work not too long after their condemnation. While the Cosby sentencing is a large step, the actor still has many accusations to answer for, and sexual misconduct in the workplace still remains an important issue not just for Hollywood, but for all facets of society to deal with.

MORE: The Academy Expels Bill Cosby & Roman Polanski

Sources: THR, AP News



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2018-09-25 01:09:00 – Chris Compendio

Magic: The Gathering Pro Sacrifices Worlds Slot to Protest State of the Game

In an unprecedented turn of events, Magic: The Gathering professional player and Pro Tour champion Gerry Thompson has chosen to remove himself from the game’s World Championship this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thompson is one of the most recognizable faces in professional Magic, as he is a well-respected competitor who is a frequent writer of strategy articles and the co-host of a popular Magic podcast.

The Magic: The Gathering World Championship is meant to be a celebration of the past year of the game’s competitive scene, taking 24 of the best players across the globe and pitting them against each other in different formats to crown a winner. The tournament features a $300,000 prize pool, with even the worst finishers taking home $2,500 just for showing up and playing. It is often used to preview upcoming sets to get people excited for new Magic cards as well.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons is Getting a Magic: The Gathering Campaign Setting

Thompson’s decision to forgo the festivities is a powerful protest, as he is sacrificing $2,500 at the minimum alongside the chance of winning $100,000 and valuable pro points. The latter is essentially Magic‘s ELO system, with more pro points awarding incentives such as invites to Pro Tours and appearance bonuses for attending tournaments. In a Reddit post, Thompson outlines a number of issues he feels are present within Magic‘s current professional player system and beyond. Although there are many issues, here’s a sample of what Thompson is criticizing:

“Wizards of the Coast (WotC) does not pay professional players a living wage. This, in and of itself, is not a requirement. However, if the goal is to sell the dream of playing on the Pro Tour, there should be something in place to make that worth achieving. Between qualifying becoming more and more difficult, especially with the goal posts continually changing, and the lack of reward at the top, the message currently being sent is ‘don’t waste your time.'”

Thompson makes a number of other insightful statements, but the glimpse into the pro player lifestyle in Magic that he offers is a bleak one that has been criticized by those within the game for a number of years. While Wizards of the Coast has actively attempted to improve these elements, it has been a slow and painful process that has seen players seek greener pastures in Hearthstone and other card games instead.

As of this writing, Wizards of the Coast has only offered a brief statement regarding the protest, suggesting that the company believes it is taking steps to improve some of Thompson’s points of contention while also promising it will do better in the future. Ultimately, part of Thompson’s argument is that these promises have been made multiple times in the past, so it’s hard to imagine much of a positive response from the pro player community regarding the initial statement from Wizards of the Coast.

Thompson’s protest has garnered a lot of traction on social media as well. His initial Tweet linking to his Reddit post already has over 2,000 likes and 1,000 retweets, and has been met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from other professional players:

For many fans of the game who aren’t familiar with the pro scene, Thompson’s protest could be the wake-up call they need to help garner support for the pro players who increase the game’s visibility and appeal to viewers. While it’s unlikely Magic can ever compete with games like League of Legends and Fortnite in terms of Esports viewership, there’s no reason to believe it can’t be a legitimate competitor to games like Hearthstone – especially since Magic has had an online presence for much longer than Blizzard’s card game.

It remains to be seen what’s going to happen from here on out, but Thompson’s sacrifice to make a point for his fellow competitors while they still compete for thousands in prizes is not likely to be forgotten soon, and could be the genesis for some major, sweeping changes to Magic‘s pro player system as we move forward.

More: Magic: The Gathering Launching New Chandra Nalaar Comic Book Series This Fall

Source: Gerry Thompson



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2018-09-21 10:09:08 – Cody Gravelle