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Avengers: Endgame Directors Share Fan-Made Captain America Tribute

Avengers: Endgame co-directors, the Russo brothers, have shared a fan-made Captain America tribute that’s sure to bring a tear to the eye. Chris Evans’ iteration of Steve Rogers first debuted in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and was immediately taken to fans’ hearts as Marvel’s most famous U.S. patriot. Since then, Evans has been a core figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in a number of solo movies and team-ups and experiencing a rollercoaster of highs and lows from discovering his best friend Bucky was still alive, to losing his best friend Bucky as a result of Thanos’ Infinity Stone-powered finger snap.

Even before the dramatic events of Avengers: Infinity War, Steve Rogers’ future in the MCU had been the subject of much speculation, with fans theorizing that the franchise’s old guard could soon be headed for the exit door. Cap ultimately survived the Russo brothers’ first Avengers effort, but rumors of his departure continue to circulate ahead of the forthcoming Endgame. These reports have been furthered by what appear to be “goodbye” messages on the social media accounts of various cast members, most notably Evans himself.

Related: Chris Evans Reveals His Favorite MCU Captain America Costume

The Russo brothers themselves have now shared a fan-made Captain America tribute video on their official Twitter page. Created by iAmRookie, the video is comprised of footage from a variety of Evans’ MCU appearances, with choice lines of dialogue playing over the top for maximum dramatic impact. The crux of the video revolves around Rogers’ determination to fight for justice, his indomitable sense of self-sacrifice and the brief, yet also generation-spanning, relationship he shared with Peggy Carter.

The video features the strong motif of Steve finally being able to “go home” but this is more likely referring to the superhero giving his life to defeat Thanos, rather than a peaceful retirement in Brooklyn. Creations like this will only perpetuate the feeling among MCU fans that Captain America could be a permanent casualty of Avengers: Endgame and the fact that the Russo brothers have endorsed the tribute will only add weight to that theory.

While there’s certainly a strong chance that Avengers: Endgame will mark Chris Evans’ final bow as Captain America, the film’s plot remains a tightly guarded secret and Marvel Studios has some history in misdirecting fans somewhat to avoid spoilers leaking prior to a movie’s release. This has been especially true with the Russos at the helm and although many fans will expect to leave their local theater with red, white and blue tears streaming down their cheeks, it also wouldn’t be too surprising if Cap defied the odds and lived to fight another day.

More: Every MCU Movie Coming After Captain Marvel

Source: iAmRookie


2019-03-07 02:03:05

Craig Elvy

Assassin’s Creed: 20 Things Only Experts Know How To Do In Odyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – the latest installment in Ubisoft’s wildly popular video game franchise – has finally landed on shelves. Set in Ancient Greece, Odyssey gives players the opportunity to assume the role of a mercenary from either Athens or Sparta, and to take part in a mythology-infused recreation of the Peloponnesian War.

The game features an even greater emphasis on the RPG elements first introduced in its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and boasts multiple endings that are triggered by the player’s actions. Odyssey also sees the return of the controversial Hitbox combat engine which debuted in Origins – albeit in a significantly enhanced form. Thanks to these and other challenging core mechanics – not to mention the daunting size of the game’s virtual environment – Odyssey should prove suitably tough for more casual gamers. But for seasoned veterans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise? Not so much.

Indeed, gamers who have followed the series since the very first entry way back in 2007 aren’t likely to struggle. On the contrary, we expect them to flourish, putting to good use the skills and knowledge they’ve gleaned from the past 11 games in the series – not to mention the six spin-off entries – to finish the main quest in record time.  This will leave them free to start focusing on tracking down Odyssey’s hidden Easter eggs, secret areas, and other bonus content clueless rookies don’t have a chance of tracking down unaided.

Here’s a list of 20 Things Only Experts Know How To Do In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

20 Find The Legend Of Zelda Easter Egg

Of all the many classic video game franchises, few are as unanimously beloved by both gamers and developers alike as The Legend of Zelda series. The team at Ubisoft clearly rank amongst this iconic Nintendo series’ admirers – as the easter egg they tucked away in Odyssey proves.

In a tip of the hat to the most recent Zelda instalment, Breath of the Wild, a Korok – a small humanoid figure made out of clay, flower petals and twigs – can be found on the Pandora’s Cove coastline. Although this hidden tribute is now the most well-known Easter egg in the game, experts had no trouble tracking it down on their own within mere days of Odyssey’s release!

19 Achieve The Secret Ending

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey marks a dramatic change in direction for the franchise – from purely action/adventure outings to something closer to an action/RPG hybrid. This is reflected in how important the player’s actions are to the game’s overall narrative, and in particular, how that narrative reaches its climax.

Indeed, what the player decides to do – or just as importantly, say – will determine how events unfold next, and ultimately determine which of the game’s multiple endings they achieve.

Most players should be able to reach at least one ending.

If you complete every side quest and make all of the right decisions to unlock the secret, ultra ending, ensuring the best possible finale for your mercenary.

18 Visit Atlantis

As soon as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Ancient Greece setting was announced, fans immediately began speculating over whether the fabled lost city of Atlantis would be part of its virtual environment. The good news is that Ubisoft hasn’t missed a trick, and Atlantis does indeed count among the many sunken locations scattered across the game’s humongous map. The bad news? It’s highly likely that only experts will be capable of uncovering the most eagerly anticipated (not to mention coolest) secret area in Odyssey.

The steps involved are extremely taxing, requiring players to traverse treacherous terrain, solve fiendish riddles posed by the Sphinx and dispatch a bevy of mythological horrors like Medusa, the Cyclops and the Minotaur!

17 Recruit Legendary NPCs Early

Over the course of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, players can enlist NPCs to serve as crew members aboard their ship, the Adrestia. Recruiting a high calibre crew is a great way to upgrade the Adrestia – so the trick is to bring legendary NPCs into the fold. Casual gamers will wait until they unlock these characters by completing quests, however experts are aware of a hidden mechanic that speeds up the whole process.

There’s a less publicized gameplay mechanic which enables you to recruit legendary NPCs by defeating them in combat using non-lethal takedowns.

Better yet, once your ship’s roster is made up entirely of legendary NPCs, you unlock the “Argonauts” trophy, too!

16 Regain The Cyclops Eye

One of the most frustrating moments in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey arrives early on, when you’re forced to give up the Cyclops’ Eye during Sequence 1. It’s not exactly the most classy of disposals, either: to put it bluntly, you squeeze it up the rear end of a poor, unsuspecting goat. If you’re scratching your head over this last revelation, then just trust us: it makes sense at the time!

Rookies will write off the Eye as a lost cause, but experts up to speed on the game’s secrets won’t give up so quickly. By engaging in an exhaustive goat-hunting expedition in Kephallonia, they’ll recover this valuable artifact, earning the dubious “Stink Eye” achievement, as well.

15 Change Their Ship’s Figurehead

Long-time fans of the series will recall that in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, you could easily customize your ship’s decorative figurehead as part of the normal upgrade process. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that carries over to Odyssey – and only expert players are likely to work out the secret method of doing this.

For starters, you need to defeat a boss – not exactly a walk in the park itself, by the way – and then behead them.

Once this has been take care of, if you scroll through the inventory of ship upgrade options, you’ll see your new souvenir listed. Select it, and voila! The Adrestia will have itself a brand new (and rather creepy) figurehead!

14 Track Down All Of The Cultist Clues

The underlying mythology of the Assassin’s Creed franchise incorporates several shadowy organisations – and Odyssey is no exception. The latest entry in the series introduces the nefarious Cult of Kosmos, and players aiming to get the most out of game’s story need to track down and eliminate key members of the group. In order to do so, they’ll have to swap their mercenary’s helmet for their detective’s cap, as the cultists’ whereabouts are only revealed by clues sprinkled through Odyssey’s sprawling Ancient Greece setting.

Some of these hints can be uncovered with little effort, whereas others will prove elusive to all but the most seasoned of gamers!

On the plus side, all of this running around pays off, as only players who chase down every single cultist will get to experience the game’s whole story.

13 Unlock Evie Frye

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – the ninth video game in the main series – is headlined by twins Jacob and Evie Frye. Of the two siblings, Evie is arguably the more memorable – which is probably why she’s an unlockable character in Odyssey. Now, before you get too excited, bear in mind that Evie is a legendary NPC, so you won’t get to play as her directly.

Still, it’s incredibly cool to recruit her as a crew member on your ship, provided you’re an Ubisoft Club member with enough XP to afford her. See, unlocking Evie requires players to part with 7,500 XP in exchange for the “Master Assassin” badge, which only long-time fans of the franchise will have amassed!

12 Access Battle Royale Mode

Battle royale games like Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds are currently the hottest thing on the block. Making the most of modern online multiplayer capabilities, games in this genre pit a pack of players against each other in thrilling, last-man-standing contests.

Obviously, this stands in stark contrast to the single-player, open world experience offered by Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – until experts stumble across the “Call to Arms” sidequest. Found by scouring the island of Melos, this mission – which requires skilled players to wipe out 99 consecutive enemies – represents a thinly-veiled attempt by Ubisoft to acknowledge (or should that be “cash in on”?) the popularity of the battle royale genre!

11 Find The Black Panther Easter Egg

Black Panther is currently the second highest grossing film of 2018, and with that success comes a considerable fanbase, too. At least some of the developers at Ubisoft fall within that category, if the Black Panther Easter egg included in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is anything to go by. As experts will have no doubt already discovered, the game contains a fairly faithful recreation of Black Panther’s two most notable scenes: the duels that occur at the base of a waterfall.

This is staged at the Gortyn Waterfall, where players can first spectate on the melee using Eagle Vision.

That’s not all, though: it’s also possible to clamber up the cliff where the fight is going down, and actually confront the pair of brawlers yourself!

10 Discover Sam Fisher’s Goggles

So far we’ve focused solely on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Ancient Greece setting – which disregards the fact that certain sections of the game are set in a present day safe house. Anyone unfamiliar with the franchise’s convoluted (some would say downright insane) science fiction elements, just trust us when we say that this does make sense.

Regardless of whether or not you buy into this more far-fetched aspect of the Assassin’s Creed mythology, there are multiple Easter eggs to dig up during these segments. Not all of these relate to the franchise either – just ask the experts who’ve unearthed the iconic, three-lensed night vision goggles worn by Sam Fisher, the protagonist of Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell games!

9 Stumble Across The Sword In The Stone

The team at Ubisoft has done a remarkable job of recreating an utterly convincing (albeit wildly fantastical) rendition of Ancient Greece in Odyssey. This awesome attention to detail is reflected in almost every aspect of the virtual environment, particularly the character and weapon design. We say “almost”, because at least one item experts will undoubtedly come across whilst roaming the game map definitely does not fit the time period depicted: the Sword in the Stone from Arthurian legend. Fortunately, this gag is an intentional mistake on the developer’s part.

Unfortunately, you can’t remove this legendary blade from its Lakonia resting place.

That’s a real shame: historical accuracy be damned – there’s always a place for Excalibur in our armory!

8 Locate The Rabbid Figure

Another easter egg squirrelled away in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s modern era safe house setting, the Rabbid figure is hard to spot if players blitz through these sequences. However, experts tend to favor a more methodical approach – even when confronted by the franchise’s moments of less than engaging gameplay.

These long-time campaigners will cast their eyes over every inch of the safe house, which means snooping around each room, no matter how empty it appears to be. This will eventually lead them to the shelves of a particularly untidy room. Here, they’ll spy the Rabbid toy – a cute shout-out to Ubisoft’s all-ages Rayman franchise, accompanied by a line of dialogue (“Bwaah?”) associated with these bunny-like characters.

7 Acquire The Epic Unicorn Skin

It doesn’t matter what mythology we’re talking about: unicorns are invariably treated as an incredibly rare species. Certainly, this carries over to the world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, where players can indeed transform their horse into one of these awe-inspiring creatures – provided they can get their hands on a unicorn pelt.

They sport an eye-watering 6,400 Drachmae price tag!

Rookies who are feeling flush will plump for either the Black Unicorn or undeniably amazing (though sadly, non-flying) Pegasus skins, purchased with real-world cash from the Ubisoft Store. On the other hand, genuine experts prefer to earn their keep, and will trawl merchant stalls for the appropriately named, randomly-spawing Epic Unicorn skin, which leaves rainbow hoof prints.

6 Home Town Pride

The developers of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey hail from Ubisoft’s Montreal headquarters, based in Quebec. Like the citizens of any city or town, these guys and gals are proud of the place they call home – so much so that they managed to sneak a Quebec-related easter egg into the game!

It’s something that will almost certainly go unnoticed by less observant gamers, but experienced players – the type of people who scan the entire game environment for secret material – will discover a travel magazine whilst rifling through the safe house. The destination this mag is promoting? Why, Quebec, of course! True, it’s not exactly the most exciting bonus content in Odyssey, but it’s a nice touch all the same.

5 Put The Arena Spikes To Good Use

A key trait which separates veteran Assassin’s Creed players from newcomers is the willingness of the former to experiment with their surroundings. Take the spikes that dotted around the Arena in Odyssey.

Rookies will probably dismiss these as mere set dressing and completely ignore them once the fighting breaks out.

Don’t expect experts to make the same mistake, though. Already clued up on just how interactive the game worlds in the franchise can be, these gamers will immediately identify the potential for the spikes to deal damage to their opponents. The next thing you know, the edges of the Arena will begin to resemble a shish kebab vendor who trades in skewered would-be gladiatorial champions!

4 Reminisce About The Frye Twins

It turns out Assassin’s Creed Syndicate isn’t the only instalment in the franchise to take place in London – Odyssey does, too. True, the vast majority of the game is set in Ancient Greece, but its modern era sections unfold in London, something that won’t come as a shock to more attentive players.

After all, just by gazing out of the safe house windows, you can take in a decent view of London’s famous skyline, with what tourists would recognize as Big Beg especially prominent. What’s more, if you allow yourself a moment to properly contemplate the sight before your eyes, you’ll even trigger a line of dialogue that references Jacob and Evie Frye, the lead characters in Syndicate!

3 Discover All Of The Underwater Locations

As you might expect from a virtual environment that recreates the entire Aegean Sea, Atlantis isn’t the only submerged area on the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey map.

The ocean floor of Ubisoft’s vision of Ancient Greece is littered with dozens of hidden locations brimming with valuable treasure.

Anyone prepared to embrace their inner Jacques Cousteau will be in for a real treat. That said, given the sheer amount of exploration required to pinpoint all of these sunken locations – fun fact: at 130km², Odyssey’s map is 62% bigger than the already massive world of Origins – we’d wager only experts will visit all of them.

2 Get All Of The Other Endings As Well

Sure, everybody wants to get the best possible Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ending – you know: the super secret, totally awesome one we mentioned earlier. Even so, part of being an expert is also having a completist streak, which is why we think they’ll figure out how to achieve Odyssey’s eight other possible endings, as well.

This might not sound like much, but it’s actually quite a feat, for two main reasons. First of all, this game is absurdly long – the main quest alone clocks in at 40 hours of gameplay – so repeating it again and again is no picnic. Secondly, they’ll need to ensure they get every single word and deed right, in order to arrive at their desired conclusion!

1 Climb Up The Naked Statue

Full disclosure: this entry is unashamedly juvenile in nature, given it revolves around players scaling up a male statue and dangling from part of its anatomy (three guesses which part). Regardless, we’re positive that even the most mature expert will decide to do just that, when they pass by this landmark early on in Odyssey – honestly, it’s just too hard to resist.

You’ll be rewarded for your childish antics if you do.

Performing this act initiates a wry line of dialogue from the player’s mercenary, which just goes to show that Ubisoft definitely predicted this becoming a thing. Although to be honest, they hardly needed the talents of one of Ancient Greece’s oracles to foresee it!

Did we miss out any other things that only experts know how to do in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-09 06:10:21 – Leon Miller

Classic & Modern Doctor Who TV Shows Get Honest Trailers

Screen Junkies dropped the Honest Trailers for both the BBC’s modern and classic Doctor Who TV series. The Doctor Who season 11 premiere was a ratings win, with over 9 million viewers tuning in across the UK. Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the debonair time-traveler has been met with considerable acclaim among critics and fans.

Since launching in 1963, the franchise has spawned thousands of episodes – some of which have vanished over the years – and over a dozen incarnations of the titular character. The BBC’s hiatus between the “classic” and “modern” series lasted from 1989 to 2005. Beginning with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper’s entrance as the ninth Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler, the revival went on to become a huge hit. Thanks to booming digital effects, and a new generation of fans, Doctor Who has evolved from a quintessential campy, sci-fi show to a visually stunning tapestry of outer-space hijinks. While each actor to play the Doctor has brought something of their own, the tangible essence of what makes the show compelling and continuously draws people in fuels its ongoing success.

Related: Screen Rant’s Doctor Who Viewing Guide

In celebration of the new season premiere, Screen Junkies released the “modern” and “classic” Honest Trailers about an hour apart. Both pay tribute to the best remembered Doctors, companions, and aliens seen across the decades. Check out both trailers below:

While the Honest Trailers team point out the winning recipe of lighthearted comedy and fantastical adventure from both eras, the distinctions are made clear. The modern trailer highlights the larger-than-life, apocalypse-dodging, tortured hero themes, as well as the long line line up of famous guest stars. The classic trailer mocks the goofy special effects, 1960s outfits, and cringe-worthy racism in much earlier episodes. The trailers also help frame why the series has gotten away with repeating similar plot lines and classic villains, such as the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master over and over. Like Star Trek, the creators focus on finding new ways to tell incredible tales that resonate with legacy fans, whiling drawing in new ones. The point is to be able to start watching at any point, and still be engaged right away.

Doctor Who is among the oldest examples of a series that satisfies its fan bases by centralizing an enthralling, ever-advancing character that viewers love. Similarly, CBS’ Picard-focused Star Trek series has generated so much excitement because of how beloved the character is. The MCU has created a global fan base for their heroes by giving them increasingly complicated challenges, while keeping them true to their core characters. On the other hand, Luke Skywalker’s character shift in Last Jedi as described by Mark Hamil, indicates why some fans didn’t responded positively. With Whittaker already off to a great start embodying the incomparable Time Lord while adding her own sparkle, an amazing new season appears to lie ahead.

MORE: Doctor Who: Why Jodie Whittaker Is Already A Great Doctor

Source: Screen Junkies 1, 2



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2018-10-09 02:10:17 – Calvin Barr

Walking Dead: Chris Hardwick, Chandler Riggs, & More Remember Scott Wilson

Less than a day after news broke that Scott Wilson had passed away, several cast and crew members from AMC’s The Walking Dead TV show – old, current, and new – are paying tribute to the late actor on social media. Prior to The Walking Dead season 9 premiere this weekend, the network brought several cast members (including Andrew Lincoln) and franchise producers, as well as new showrunner Angela Kang, to New York Comic Con 2018 to promote the upcoming new season.

It was during the series’ panel at The Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden that Kang announced Wilson and Sonequa Martin-Green would be reprising their roles as Hershel Greene and Sasha Williams, respectively, in season 9. While the details regarding their return were kept under wraps, the news itself was met with applause. Sadly, it was only a few hours later that word got out of Wilson’s passing. (According to his representative, he passed away from complications with leukemia.) And now, several people that knew him on the acclaimed series are paying their respects.

Related: Walking Dead: Andrew Lincoln Teases That Rick Grimes Might Not Survive

In the time since Wilson’s passing yesterday, cast and crew members such as Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes), Tom Payne (Jesus), and more, including Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick, have issued statements about the Wilson’s death online. Below is a small collection of those tributes, beginning with Hardwick’s:

Even though Wilson’s character was killed off way back in season 4, his legacy continues to live on, something that audiences will see throughout season 9. Furthermore, while the news regarding Wilson’s season 9 return only recently broke during New York Comic Con weekend, Wilson had reportedly already filmed his scenes for the production, thus meaning that he will still appear in the show, unless, of course, the producers decide to cut his scenes out. But that’s something that fans will just have to wait and see what happens.

At the moment, it’s unclear when Wilson will make his return, posthumously of course, in The Walking Dead season 9, but it’s safe to assume that it would be sometime in the first half of the season. The cast and crew are still in the midst of filming the season’s second half, and since Wilson’s Hershel was Maggie’s father, it makes sense that he would reappear in one of the episodes Lauren Cohan is in. After all, Cohan is slated to exit the series during the first half of season 9, though there is always the possibility that she could return in a future season.

Next: Walking Dead Gets New Opening Credits Sequence For Season 9

The Walking Dead premieres on October 7 on AMC.

Source: Various (see links)



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2018-10-07 02:10:06 – Mansoor Mithaiwala

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

EA Sets Up Jacksonville Tribute Fund After Shooting



In the wake of the tragic shooting at a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, Electronic Arts has set up a fund for the victims and contributed $1 million. The shooting took place at the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar on August 26, with two tournament competitors killed and a further ten injured. The shooter was a professional Madden player who is believed to have been motivated by his anger at losing in the tournament, and who ended the shooting by committing suicide.

The world of esports has been left shaken by the violence, and EA Sports promptly cancelled the three remaining Madden tournaments, in order to give them time to review security protocols. CEO Andrew Wilson said in his statement, “Our teams have been working non-stop to do what we can to respond to this terrible situation.”

Related: Mass Shooting At Madden 19 Tournament In Florida Leaves Multiple Dead

EA today announced the Jacksonville Tribute, a fund to which the company has already contributed $1 million for the victims of the shooting and the families of those who were killed, Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton. The Tribute will include a livestream event that will take place on September 6, which is intended to offer a way for people to “support the victims, and to show that this horrific event will not define us, but only serve to make our community stronger.” The livestream will presumably involve fundraising efforts that will allow people to contribute to the fund. Read EA’s full statement below.

At this point the facts about the Jacksonville shooting are still emerging, and those who were injured are still recovering. Gamers have responded with an outpouring of grief, particularly for Robertson and Clayton, who were prominent players within the Madden NFL community and went by the gamer names SpotMe and Trueboy, respectively. A GoFundMe campaign by their fellow player Justin “Swizzy” Saline has already raised more than $36,000 for the families of Robertson and Clayton, to be divided evenly.

The gaming community has proven to be a powerful force in fundraising, with the charity Extra Life raising more than $40 million since 2008 to support children’s hospitals. While it can be difficult to know how to cope with such a senseless loss of life, it’s heartening to see both the Madden community and EA responding with pledges to support those affecred. We’ll bring you more details on the Jacksonville Tribute fund and livestream event as they become available.

More: Police Respond to Shooting at YouTube HQ in San Bruno

Source: EA





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