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About Me

I love entertainment...

Sex: Female
Language: English
Relationship Status: In a Relationship
Interested In: Men and Women

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Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India


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      • Pacific Rim Movie Review : Pathetically Grim
        5/5 (2 votes)
        Pacific Rim Movie Review : Pathetically Grim

        Pacific Rim is a Guillermo del Toro film. Let me say that again because it’s little a hard to believe. Pacific Rim is a Guillermo del Toro film. The first time I saw the promo of this film, I said to myself it’s going to be...

      • 5/5 (1 votes)
      • Interstellar
        5/5 (1 votes)

        Nolan’s "Interstellar," about astronauts traveling to the other end of the galaxy to find a new home to
        replace humanity’s despoiled home-world, is frantically busy and earsplittingly
        loud. It uses booming music to jack...

      • San Andreas
        5/5 (1 votes)
        San Andreas

        In a match between a supremely catastrophic California
        earthquake and the former wrestling star turned movie action hero Dwayne
        Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock, aptly enough here I guess, although he’s not thusly
        credited), who are you going to bet...

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        Ten years ago, the world was deep in the grip of a new film obsession called “Twilight,” released on November 21, 2008.

        While the four-book series by Stephenie Meyer about the romance between a human teenager and a vampire was already extremely popular with its audience of teenage girls (and at times older women who were affectionately called “Twimoms”), the film opened it up to as-yet-untapped fans. With the good looks of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart gazing out from posters, the “Twilight” universe multiplied its fanbase tenfold.

        Which also, naturally, opened up the fandom to as-yet unprecedented levels of hate. The book series had attracted some ire but mostly flown under the radar, whereas the worldwide, mainstream obsession with “Twilight” that followed the film's release attracted more haters than anyone could expect. Of course, this isn’t unusual for hit franchises. The success of "Star Wars," the Marvel universe, and Harry Potter have all taken their fair share of derision for A) not being “real” cinema and B) being grotesquely successful. But the way that “Twilight” is despised is uniquely gendered, with detractors mostly not dismissing it for its poor writing or filmmaking, but because of the teenage, largely female fans who propelled it past mere hit and into obsession.


        “Twilight” was mostly criticized for one of two things: not being scary enough and not being sexy enough. It was almost forgotten that this film was aimed at tween-to-teenage girls, and was about young, female desire; crushes, lust and the fear of unprotected sex. It didn’t have to be horrific. It did exactly what it intended to: give teen girls someone to swoon over, a female lead to see themselves in, and a fantasy to get lost in that ultimately is safer than actually talking to a boy in real life.

        The very concept of “Twilight” seemed to offend some critics. Manohla Dargis' review in the New York Times barely managed to contain its disregard, even discussing Bella’s inner monologue like so: “oh-so-confusing feelings, like, OMG he’s SO HOT!! Does he like ME?? Will he KILL me??? I don’t CARE!!! :)” It’s a barely concealed, vaguely misogynistic jab at Bella’s teenage feminine desire and the way that girls allegedly speak.

        Empire’s Will Lawrence was more fair, but did call it “a sometimes girlie swirl of obsession”; Rafer Guzman said in Newsday that "Twilight" “seems best left to its impressionable teenage fans”; Edward Douglas for said it was “catering to the gooey-eyed fans of Meyer's novels and their unrealistic romantic expectations”; and many of the other reviews collated on Rotten Tomatoes mention the teenage fans disparagingly, with many others peppering in a "LOL." Only Roger Ebert appeared to discuss the fans without derision in his review, saying “'Twilight' will mesmerize its target audience, 16-year-old girls” and closing with “I understand who 'Twilight' appeals to, and it sure will.” His review shows that he understands that “Twilight” is not for him, but that he respects the people it is for.


        “Twilight” started one of the highest-grossing franchises of all time; the books and the film series have made Stephenie Meyer millions. It ushered in a new era for fandom, with fans battling it out between themselves as members of Team Edward or Team Jacob. “Twilight” was, by all accounts, an incredibly fruitful and beloved franchise—a success. But throughout the reviews, and throughout popular opinion, the vitriol directed at those fans indicates that its fans are not only wrong to love “Twilight,” but that their obsession is somehow dangerous. Their love, essentially, means nothing—because they are brainless consumers powered only by their hormones, not valued tastemakers.

        But it wasn’t just the reviewers who hated “Twilight.” Even star Kristen Stewart actively tried to separate herself from the series to become a more “serious” actress; Robert Pattinson often laughs about it in interviews, going as far as to say that were he not in “Twilight,” he would “mindlessly hate it.” At the time of the film’s release, there were entire communities dedicated to tearing apart “Twilight” as avidly, if not more so, than its perceived “obsessive” fans; anti-fans called it “Twatlight” and its fans “Twitards.” They read the books and watch the films, if only to go online and mock the series. They go as far as to produce their own fan fiction; such as New Moan: The First Book in the Twishite Saga, a parody rewrite of Twilight, and videos and memes online such as "Twilight" in 15 Minutes and Buffy vs Edward, putting obsessive effort into their hatred. Stephen King even called “Twilight” “tweenager porn,” further legitimizing the idea that teenage girls cannot be tastemakers. The public assumption that “Twilight is bad” served only to reinforce the idea that teenage girls are stupid and it’s OK to laugh at their interests. In the late 2000s, hatred of “Twilight” became a public performance of othering; you were either stupid for liking it, or smart for hating it. There was no in-between.

        The fever surrounding “Twilight” was akin to the one surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey in 2012, as was the vitriolic hatred. The audience was slightly different; Grey, originally a Twilight fan fiction, appealed to an older audience. But both deal directly with the awakening of female desire and were feverishly adored by women. But instead of stepping away and saying, “this is not meant for me,” in both instances, detractors went public with their hatred. 

        This is not something seen in media for boys that is frivolous or full of plot holes or poorly written. Huge franchises like "Star Wars" or "The Avengers," which are also designed mostly for male teens, are perfectly acceptable media for adults to consume and pick apart critically. But when a new Marvel film is released, even when it is poorly reviewed, there is nothing near the level of public takedown that “Twilight” attracted. Mediocre, even bad, films for men and boys are allowed to be enjoyed as disposable entertainment or at least fade into obscurity. 


        That is not to say “Twilight” is perfect. Its lack of diversity, its absence of a sense of humor about itself, and its monochrome brooding make it both anachronistic and unwatchable for many. The film's treatment of female desire, its message being that abstinence is the only way to not get killed, is perhaps even dangerous for young women to watch. And Edward’s choice to attend high school as a man of over a hundred years old is nothing short of creepy, especially in a post-#MeToo era. But it offered something to a generation of teenage girls: an outlet for their burgeoning desires, a way of understanding the world, a heroine as plain and quiet as they felt. It seems strange that outlet is through a film that seems to be a rally cry for abstinence, but still. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” despite being critically acclaimed, tells women that bad things will happen if they have sex with vampires, too.

        That isn’t to say, either, that we can’t say we don’t like films aimed at women and girls. But we need to think of a few things first: Why do we hate it? Because other people love it? Because its content is twee, or romantic, or campy, or anything else associated with young women? Were this a film aimed at men but similarly poorly written with campy acting, would we feel so much hate? It isn’t that people hated “Twilight”—it’s the gendered nature and language of that hatred.

        “Twilight” is but a blip on the cultural map now, but a punchline still. It serves as a lesson for how we treat female fans, and ten years on, we seem to be making some headway in allowing teen girls to be tastemakers. Their raw, relentless passion doesn’t mean they somehow haven’t dissected their decision to love something: fans can be as smart in their love as any cynic can be in their hate. It’s just a shame nobody realized that when the Twihards were being eviscerated on forums just for purely loving something.


        By: Marianne Eloise
        Posted: November 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

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        Hale County This Morning, This Evening” by RaMell Ross is one of 2018’s great surprises. It’s a debut documentary feature that blurs the line between intimate essay filmmaking and an observational style. RaMell Ross made the film over five years as a chronicler but also an active participant in the community. He lived and worked in Hale County and throughout the film his voice drifts onto images and into lives.

        The film takes us into the heart of a small Alabama town where Ross was living. It is a lyrical take on representation of African-American identity and it exists in conversation with a cultural context and a greater cinematic legacy that denies black Americans ownership over their own voices. The intimate filmic style is driven by associative editing, where shots are connected through movement, sound and metaphor. Like a stream of consciousness, the film is driven by Ross’s own empathic thought process.

        At the RIDM documentary film festival in Montreal, where the film won the Grand Prize for Best International Feature, RaMell Ross spoke with about his thought process and editing style and representation in the American cinema.

        There is such a strong relationship between the body and the camera’s eyeline in the film, especially in the way you film children. I was hoping you can explain how you’re creating these images.

        It's a very intuitive process and I try to use the camera as an extension of consciousness. I use observational logic, you look and adjust based on what's being transferred or what's being created through the lens. It's this weird negotiation of space and its relationship to whatever's in front of it. You're trying to get to a position where there's something fresh or something true.


        The people in the film are largely your friends and colleagues. How do you negotiate between intimacy and distance as the director?

        Early on, when I first started to make the film, I realized that there's a different film when someone is entering into someone's life to capture what they're doing and there's another film in which a person is filming where they would already be and where they're participating simultaneously in the lives of those that they're filming.

        You end up coming from different positions, it’s a sort of snap and grab style that allows you to participate in the scene more authentically. With more leeway, you inherently have more trust and more time to get up close and then also be far away. Being able to go back and forth leads to more flexibility.

        You shot 1,300 hours of footage. How do you approach going through that?

        I was editing the entire time. When you quote-unquote shoot someone, I hate that term ... when you film someone, you're constantly searching for meaning or representational moments, right? These moments are in dialogue with moments you've seen before in films, specifically with people of color; certain types of humanizing touches or gazes. You're always confirming your own relationship to meaning.

        I knew every single moment that's in the film, I already had that on the timeline over the course of five years. When you’re out there filming all the time, all of a sudden you're in the car and you are going to get some fast food. And then out of nowhere, Bootsy pulls out her phone. Her son passed away and there’s an image of him on the phone crying, covering the face of his twin. There are powerful and unimaginable moments that happen. You just put on the timeline because it has that guaranteed beauty or that guaranteed connection. 


        That moment in particular really hit me. It is a casual expression of grief that we rarely see on film. In its ordinariness, it was so heart-wrenching.

        It's not realistic in terms of the industry to wait for those moments. So, if we reverse think, we understand why the reduction of representation is so natural because of the relationship between industry and time. These moments are everywhere but who the hell can sit there and get them? Film peddles in one blip in the sea of emotional relationships when it's literally the content of the whole ocean. 

        You come from a photography background, so what was it like adjusting to the editing process for cinema?

        It came naturally because the editing process of sequencing images in photography is very similar. Films typically peddle in meaning with big things and make connections between events. They don't peddle in images in the same way which in photography does, where the image is the incident. The incident and the entire realm of meaning has to be conjured in one image, that’s how you do it in photography. I find it fascinating that in five-second or ten-second images, you then put them beside each other in ways you would a still image, but you have to be really conscious of the symbiotic relationship of what is happening and to use juxtaposition. The editing ideal was to put everything in every image and then build out with relational movement. You put it in the context of a linear timeline of life and then, perhaps, something else is there.

        You use landscapes and time lapse to create breaks or transitions in time and space. Was this always a part of the film?

        If you're going and you're not shooting for a specific purpose, aside from participating in life in general, then you're allowed to film anything and there's no wasted time. I realized that I was fundamentally fascinated with the leaves blowing or watching the light change, these things that that can really only be appreciated through the photographic and filmic mediums. Once you take notice of what you're interested in, it allows you to pursue it. It was more intention and then sort of add that to the unconscious toolkit. It also turns it into a different reality which, to me, is the most under-discussed element of filmmaking. It’s not actually real. Photography is a relative illusion and film is a literal illusion of speeding multiple images. It’s something outside of our perception but is so relatable that it's more real. 

        In one scene in the film, you feature inserts from the silent film “Lime Kiln Club Field Day” with Bert Williams. Could you explain why you chose to include this in the edit?

        The film is trying to increase or participate in the complexity of the problem with representation and the problem of filming and making meaning. It’s about compounding meaning strategically. “Lime Kiln Club Field Day” would have come out around the same time as “The Birth of a Nation.” It was a strangely positive film and with “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” I was conscious of that representation. To me, it was a fundamental reminder of the sort of representation of black men and how we’re forced to look at it. Hopefully, to try and look deeper, we can see through to what’s really underneath. What’s amazing is that you can work on so many levels.

        That one clip was incredibly special when I watched it was because he is literally walking out of the woods and looking. Then when you put it in the film, and he is looking at the car. Then the conversation happened and he walked out into the light. There's so much meaning. It's like, it's absurd. Almost like, like legible meaning, not speculative.



        By: Justine Smith
        Posted: November 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

        • Entertainer
          Entertainer published a blog post The Favourite

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          With films like “Dogtooth,” “The Lobster,” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ internationally acclaimed works have been concerned with looming domestic dynamics and battles among couples, siblings and families residing under one roof. Those household idiosyncrasies and preoccupations of the Greek auteur now find a new habitat in early 18th Century England, with the fiendishly eccentric and entertaining costume drama “The Favourite.” Even if this unique absurdist has not exactly been your cup of tea previously, he might finally win you over with this deliciously “Dangerous Liaisons”-esque and thoroughly female-driven period film, co-written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara.

          Lanthimos does not share a screenplay credit with the duo—an anomaly and a welcome departure for the filmmaker, who usually co-writes with Efthymis Filippou with his signature formality. But this is a suitable, if not refreshingly looser canvas for his proven sensibilities, which then gets stretched over a twisty love and power triangle among British Royals. For all its expansiveness, the Royal Palace in “The Favourite” is nothing more than an intimate home of familial duels, with compartmentalized walls that serve as pillars of confinement. In short, it’s a perfect "Lanthimosian" playground, complete with an array of mischievous backstabbers, tight corsets and a dash of eroticism. 

          Only sort of based on a true story and laced with plenty of creative fabrications, “The Favourite” follows Queen Anne (Olivia Colman, in an instantly iconic performance), one of the lesser-known monarchs of England who reigned in the early 1700s during the war with the French. An occasionally distracted and often irritable royal figure with a mysterious skin condition, overall poor health and a soft spot for luscious desserts, Queen Anne lives with her trusted friend and lover Lady Sarah Churchill (an authoritative and stiff-upper-lipped Rachel Weisz, terrific) and tends to her 17 rabbits that tragically fill an emotional void for each of her failed pregnancies. The duo’s royal order, however imbalanced, gets disturbed by the arrival of the calculating, mud-covered ex-aristocrat Abigail Masham (a menacing Emma Stone, like you’ve never seen before), who humbly accepts a position as a servant while courting an agenda of her own to restore her glory days. Initially, an unsuspecting Sarah lends Abigail a genuine helping hand, only to quickly realize the treacherous intentions of the double-player. Various complicities reach an urgent state after Abigail works her way into the Queen’s chamber as her new personal handmaid, and eventually, crawls into her bed as her lover. A poisonously competitive streak amid the trio commences in due course, while a number of male stakeholders (played by names like Nicholas Hoult and Joe Alwyn) wander in and out of the picture.

          It would be unwarranted to define “The Favourite” as a timely feminist film with regards to its handling of female power in a male-dominated world. And yet, there is a certain timelessness in its old-fashioned frankness about a woman’s fight to get what she wants and demand what she deserves by any means necessary; brains, sexual appeal or usually, a combination of both. Often satirical, “The Favourite” also grasps the complexity of circumstantial, patriarchy-defined enmity among females, obliquely bringing to mind everything from “The Women” and “All About Eve,” to “Mean Girls” and "The Handmaiden." As amusing as it is to follow the misadventures of the infinitely witty and resourceful Abigail as she plots against her Queen and Lady Churchill, “The Favourite” deserves credit mostly for rising the desperate humanity of its female characters up to the surface, as they get challenged by their respective demons around social status, undignified competition and physical appeal.   

          The impeccable ensemble of players in “The Favourite” are thankfully allowed to deliver their lines with actual vocal fluctuations. In other words, the customary woodenness of dialogues that mark many of Lanthimos’ previous films is felt only in moderation here. Still, the filmmaker can’t help but indulge in excess occasionally, especially when he reaches for a fisheye lens to disorienting effect—the physical scale of the palace and its grounds is evident enough without that surplus. Fortunately, that forgivable glut doesn’t lessen an otherwise splendid package, elevated by legendary costume designer Sandy Powell’s original, mostly black-and-white creations (a monochrome palette must be one ingenious way to work around budgetary constraints) and Fiona Crombie’s seductive production design. Lanthimos’ most accessible movie to date, “The Favourite” is simply awe-inspiring in the way it harbors serious themes and anxieties about womanhood underneath a deceptively feather-light surface.


          By: Tomris Laffly
          Posted: November 20, 2018, 3:15 pm

          • Entertainer
            Entertainer published a blog post Welcome Home

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            "Welcome Home" is part of a long tradition of thrillers about devil figures who amplify tension in a couple's relationship, hoping to steal one half of the couple away, or simply torment (and maybe kill) both of them. 

            The couple here is Cassie and Bryan (Emily Ratajkowski and Aaron Paul), good-looking young Americans who rent a spacious villa in Italian farm country, hoping to repair a relationship damaged by Cassie's infidelity. The devil figure is Federico (Riccardo Scamarcio, last seen in "John Wick: Chapter Two"). He's eloquent, charming, faintly sinister man who, as Bryan points out, seems to magically appear in their lives at moments of crisis.

            The movie fills in the details of Cassie's betrayal in a series of flash cuts synced up with Bryan's moments of anguish. Federico simultaneously stokes Bryan's feelings of emasculation and resentment and starts hanging around Cassie, acting like a gentlemanly Prince Charming and giving her a rugged shoulder to cry on. 

            You know where this is all headed, although there are a few strong scenes along the way (particularly Federico and Bryan's drunken night out) that let the actors zero in on psychological details and make a meal of a moment. The otherwise appealing Ratajkowski is a bit vague in certain scenes, and she seems so sweet and loving that it's sometimes hard to square Cassie's demeanor with her indiscretion, even after the script has spelled it out for us. But Paul gives Bryan an arrogant, self-loathing, resentful edge that makes him into something more than a tortured boyfriend (and hints at why Cassie cheated); he's particularly good in scenes where Bryan takes a hard look at his own weaknesses. 

            Scamarcio has the trickiest role, and he doesn't disappoint. Scamarcio is spot-on as a man who presents himself to others as a charismatic, confident, Big Bad Wolf-type, but is privately disturbed and pathetic. The character is the star as well as the writer-director of a melodrama he created, but there has to be something defective in a personality that needs to create melodrama in the first place. Scarmacio's performance is so intricate that he somehow manages to suggest a backstory for Federico even though the film is mostly mum on where this man came from and what drives him. His darkly handsome features and boyish sense of menace evoke Javier Bardem and Ray Liotta in villain roles. You feel sorry for him even when you're rooting for his violent death.

            As directed by George Ratliff and written by David Levinson, the movie unfolds along fairly predictable lines. The minute you see the couple settling into that beautiful house, you know that the story has to end there, probably with several prolonged acts of gruesome violence, because that's how these movies resolve. It's a built-in aspect of the genre, like the gunfights that end Westerns. What really matters is what the filmmakers do with the standard elements, and how they get to the ending. 

            And on that score, unfortunately, "Welcome Home" has to be considered a missed opportunity. Directed with panache by Ratliff, with widescreen images by Shelly Johnson that use negative space to isolate and target the characters, the movie showcases a group of artists pouring their hearts into a work whose storytelling emphasis is misguided. "Welcome Home" too interested in things we've seen before—chiefly, anything having to do with the setup of troubled couple/devil figure—but not interested enough in things that we almost never see in thrillers, such as the microscopic details of Cassie and Bryan's unhappiness, which are woven into the expected thriller plot points and sensitively acted; and the moral implications of the ending, which is unexpectedly a knockout. 

            The last 15 minutes of "Welcome Home," in fact, are vastly superior to everything that precedes it. Twisting the plot in unexpected directions, it nails a tone of delighted black humor that can hold its own with the best thrillers by Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma and David Fincher. In contrast to the earnest anguish and terror of the rest of the picture, it's audacious and cheeky, verging on naughty. It goes too far, then way too far, in a good way, putting a bizarre new frame around the movie you've been watching. But once the buzz from the ending fades, you may find yourself resenting "Welcome Home" for not figuring out that it could've been a classic until it was too late.

            By: Matt Zoller Seitz
            Posted: November 20, 2018, 4:58 pm

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            In “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” co-writer/directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore take Wreck-It Ralph out of the confined space of 8-bit arcade games and into the wild world of the Internet, which in their version looks like something between Oz, "Zootopia" (their previous film), Wonderland, and Disney World. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and his best friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) meet up with a range of endearing and very funny characters, from a roomful of Disney princesses to personifications of Internet apps like search and pop-up ads. 

            In an interview with, Johnston and Moore talked about the initial ideas for visualizing the Internet that did not work and which special effect was the most complicated.

            It’s a pretty big challenge to create a concrete, visual architecture of something as virtual and abstract as the Internet. I mean, even if you’re doing a fantasy like “Cinderella,” you have some idea of what a castle looks like.

            PHIL JOHNSTON: Yes, you know what a castle looks like; there are lots of references on castles. Rich says that we're sort of delusional and we start hiking and then suddenly now three years after our hike began we turn around and go "Oh, that was Mount Everest we just went over." I don’t think we fully understood how hard it was going to be. I'm just now realizing, “Oh yeah, we did not have any idea of what the Internet was going to look like.”

            RICH MOORE: It was like working without a net with razor blades. We worked without a net before but never with pointy objects to fall onto. It was daunting because all of our metaphors that we came up with early were just as abstract as the internet itself to the point where you’d say, "What if it all takes place in a cloud and there are raindrops?" Then we would talk to our IT department to kind of pitch these ideas to them and they're like, “That's not a good metaphor. There is no cloud. The internet is way more physical and tactile than this idea of something bouncing in the atmosphere.” 

            PJ: We screen these movies eight or nine times internally and the first several are just storyboards. Our first screening our internet was still connected by that data stream and there was a big data falls and fairies and wands and little bits of data was flowing through this massive river and again it was something where in our research team just said, “Well that doesn't really make sense. That's not what a data stream is. It's a clever play on words but that's just not how the Internet works.” 

            Just like cloud is a play on words. 

            RM: Exactly, they said that's just a term that they created for servers; the cloud is nothing more than just a bunch of servers somewhere holding information. So we were like, “Okay, we really need to buckle down and do some real research on this.” We visited a lot of these server farms and there is a huge one in LA on Wilshire Boulevard, a skyscraper called One Wilshire and it is just packed as tight as it can be with servers, cables, and wires. 

            PJ: 10,000 miles of cables. 

            RM: Yes, just 20 floors and maybe 10 people servicing the skyscraper filled with equipment.

            Like gardeners watering seeds. 

            RM: Yes, exactly like that.

            PJ: It's like there are no human beings, it's just a bunch of computers and it’s the hub for the West Coast of all the connections. It's literally just wires and cables under the Pacific Ocean that run from Asia to Santa Monica Boulevard. It comes up the beach and goes up Wilshire Boulevard underground. They showed us this set of servers that controls Thailand; if someone from Thailand is communicating to LA it comes through here and then goes out to your computer. 


            So how did that inform the metropolis that you created?

            RM: Well we could see that this is physical; this is not an abstract idea of something invisible that we can’t see. This is hardware and it's packed so tight. We talked to some real experts who worked on the infrastructure of the Internet in the beginning and they'd say it was never really well planned out because they thought it was just going to be colleges sharing ideas. They didn't expect everyone in the world was going to be using the Internet so it's built on an infrastructure that is like Rome or Istanbul.

            PJ: They’re just kind of building stuff on top of stuff. It started with these three connections and then a little more, a little more ... 

            It reminds me of “Zootopia” because of the distinctly different sections with so many funny and distinctive details. I like the way you made virtual experiences like tweets and comments concrete. 

            PJ: Yes, we were personifying that stuff.

            RM: Like Rome or Istanbul there is an ancient city down at the bottom. There's a scene when where if you look around you see what we think of as the older net. It's at the very bottom so there's Netscape Navigator and Friendster and then the bigger websites are at the top. It's this ever-expanding city and then like a city, there are different districts. So there's a social media district, the big data mines, there's gaming and like that where we started to imagine it as the biggest city in the world. 

            PJ: It's constantly expanding.

            Did you make lists of the most irritating things on the Internet to include, the things that drive people crazy? 

            RM: Yes, we were constantly saying what has to be in here? So with Ralph who is a deeply insecure character we knew he had to experience one of the darker more negative sides of the Internet -- online bullying and trolling. And then we had more cheerful things like cat videos. The brighter, sillier side of the Internet also had to be there. 

            PJ: And shopping. We said we'll never be able to kind of make the perfect snapshot of the internet so let's just break it down into categories: there's gaming, there's shopping, there’s news, there's social media, search, and a couple of others, and if we kind of stayed within those buckets then it will feel like the Internet. 


            Tell me about Vanellope's glitch. I think that's one of the most important interesting elements in both movies and what does that mean to her and what does it mean to the storyline? 

            RM: In the first film Vanellope was considered a glitch and was excluded from her game because of it and in the end comes to realize that she had been swindled basically. But now she now is embracing it as a superpower, which allowed her to be a better racer. So in this film six years later she still has the glitch. She uses it as her superpower but when her game gets unplugged we're playing it more as a panic attack almost. There's an anxiety side to it. So she has this thing that is both something she uses as a racer but also a kind of a physical manifestation of her emotions. So when she's getting upset or nervous or anxious, there's a more negative glitch or anxious glitch that is one of her insecurities, but it also helps her reaction time. 

            PJ: Greatest power, greatest weakness. 

            It had to be the most fun thing in the world to get the Disney Princesses back together. That may be the funniest scene in any movie this year.

            PJ: Again, daunting!

            And you got the original voice actresses back, too! 

            PJ: 11 of the 14, all except for those who have left us. It’s amazing to be there facilitating this kind of meeting of the minds. We have a lot of animators on our film that were inspired by Second Golden Age films like "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast." These are the characters that got them interested in animation and now they're sitting with the actresses that voiced them—I mean more than voiced—they’re so much those characters. The animators for those films were drawing a lot from these actresses, from their acting choices. There is a lot of them in those characters, more than just the voice, the behaviors, the point of view, it's like they’ve somehow become those characters. 


            How much fun was it to take those ladies and give them so much personality and agency and meta-awareness?

            PJ: Hugely rewarding. 

            RM: They all read the scene and we were a little scared that they might think, “Well are you making fun of us?” But to the actress they all totally got it, loved it, felt like it made the characters more contemporary, sort of brought them into 2018. Behind this satire is an abiding love for these characters. 

            What was the biggest technological challenge you took on for this film?

            RM: Without giving away the end, there is one character made up of three hundred thousand individual characters. And it's not just an outside layer. We didn't cheat it. They are moving from the inside and they’re several layers deep. 

            PJ: And it's insane. 

            RM: Phil and I learned when we had this idea of a year-and-a-half ago that this is how we wanted to end the movie, with this event. Everyone's like, "Oh sweet, good idea, cool idea," and apparently we're just learning this now, after we left and they all said, “This can't happen; this is never going to get done.” 

            I swear to you no one told us those and we just went on. We didn't think we'd have the rendering power to complete these scenes. There are no cheats but whenever we could we were encouraged to do a close-up so we don’t have to do every one of them there. So we did work with our cinematographer and the animators to make sure that we were being smart about the shots. 

            People will have to see the movie many times to catch all the references—do you have a favorite that people should look out for?

            RM: The things on the Internet go back way before the Internet itself began, so it isn’t only about the latest meme. We got some help from Mark Henn, who has been around since the '70s. We wanted to throw in one more joke but we didn't have characters built in models. 

            PJ: And it takes a long time to build 3D characters … 

            RM: … in the CG world, so we asked Mark, “Could you do a 2D character for us?" 

            PJ: It was the Humphrey the Bear from these old Jack Hannah '50s Disney cartoons. There's a very well loved one about Humphrey picking up litter in the park with this ranger. Everyone was like, “Oh my God that is so meta; it is a deep pull.” We said, “Mark, can you recreate that little cycle of Humphrey picking up the garbage with the Ranger?” Within like two days he had it animated.

            RM: So the last thing we added to the movie was a 75-year-old character. 

            By: Nell Minow
            Posted: November 19, 2018, 2:13 pm

            • Entertainer
              Entertainer published a blog post Creed II

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              “Creed II” falls victim to the sins of sequelitis—it’s bigger, louder and more grandiose than its predecessor—yet manages to right itself by not losing focus on the humanity of its central characters. The lives of Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B. Jordan), his girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and his mentor Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) are as lovingly dwelled upon as they were in Ryan Coogler’s original. There is more suspense in whether Rocky will reunite with his son, and in the struggles of the newly married Creed couple, than in any punch thrown in the boxing ring. It’s commendable that the film is committed to the character-based world building evident in the first “Creed.” With this sequel, however, the Creed franchise seems destined to travel the same road the Rocky franchise did; the intensely personal and original vision of its creator is slowly being corrupted by the seductive demons of fan service.

              In a way, this destination seems wholly appropriate, for the first “Creed” was a lovely meditation on how the sins of the father will be visited upon by the sons. In that film, Donnie Creed wrestles with his legacy before emerging from the shadow of his famous father to forge his own path. “Creed” followed suit, leaving the nest of its parent franchise while simultaneously paying tribute with a beautifully written role for Stallone’s Rocky. Here, Stallone once again inhabits Rocky with the finely tuned actor skills we often forget he has. There’s something about playing Rocky as an old man that brings out such effectively subtle choices in Stallone. In his new role as mentor and corner man, Rocky has become a less gruff though equally devoted incarnation of Burgess Meredith’s Mickey. Knowing what Mickey meant to him, you can feel Rocky’s desire to honor him and his job.

              Stallone the actor is on loan from “Rocky,” but Stallone the writer comes straight from “Rocky IV.” By 1985, the hunger that drove him to create the character of Rocky Balboa had since taken on a cynical by-the-numbers laziness. Some of that laziness infects the screenplay Stallone co-wrote with Juel Taylor, and I wonder if Rocky fans like me are partially to blame. Whereas Coogler’s original used “Rocky IV” as his jumping off point, director Steven Caple Jr.'s sequel is practically a remake that feels preordained by fans who, after seeing “Creed” immediately lusted for a matchup between the sons of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago (played once again by Dolph Lundgren). “Creed II” hews so closely to “Rocky IV” that there’s a crazy (though admittedly awesome) training montage set in the middle of nowhere and the final bout takes place in Moscow.

              “Creed II” even takes “Rocky IV”’s vision of Russia, which is a missed opportunity. Stallone’s most subversive touch back in 1985 was to present Apollo Creed, a Black man, as the symbol of America. Apollo is even introduced by a song from the Godfather of Soul entitled “Living in America.” Back in Reagan’s era, Americans weren’t going to root for the Russians (witness the litany of “Team America: World Police”-style movies made in the 1980’s), so this set up a begrudging conundrum amongst racists like the one felt back when Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling. As cheesy as “Rocky IV” is, it still had a political conviction.

              In this film, Creed’s son is offered up as our American representative, and the movie never takes into account that a lot of people nowadays would be rooting for the Russian. It acts as if we’re still in the Cold War. This is cheating that eliminates an intriguing political bite, reducing the film’s central conflict to one simply based on revenge. Though Jordan’s performance ably brings home the personal reasons for Creed vs. Drago, I still would have appreciated at least a sly dig (pun intended) at our current political reality.

              “Creed II” opens not with Donnie but with Drago, who is mercilessly training his son Viktor (boxer Florian Munteanu). Lundgren, like Stallone, has aged into something grizzled yet chiseled, so his mere presence alone commands the screen. In keeping with the sins of the father theme, Drago wants to use his son to get back in the Russian good graces he lost when Rocky defeated him. All he needs to do is to wait for Donnie to win the heavyweight title, then capitalize on the name recognition of yet another “Creed vs. Drago” bout. While Stallone’s older Rocky is a quiet study in introspection and regret, Lundgren plays Drago as a Russian Mama Rose whose desire to relive past glories through his progeny reaches levels that would shame Ethel Merman. It’s so excessively delicious you almost want an old man rematch between him and Rocky.

              While all this spectacle plays out, Jordan and Thompson remind us that a normal, beating heart exists underneath “Creed II.” These two have such wonderful chemistry together—he allows her to be tough, she allows him an unabashed vulnerability. When “Creed II” does a minor recreation of “Rocky IV”’s musical boxing ring introduction, it’s Bianca singing the song for Donnie. Thompson gets her Rihanna tough-girl swagger on in this scene, and later in the film, she inspires Jordan’s powerfully emotional “Denzel Washington single teardrop scene in Glory” moment.

              These two are inspiring, keeping the notion of Black love alive on the screen. Like Donnie’s mentorship scenes with Rocky, their relationship plotline is complex and relatable. Notice the funny-sexy-romantic and near slapstick scene where Donnie finally proposes to Bianca. It’s completely predictable that Donnie’s fumbling attempt at a romantic outpouring of words would go unnoticed because Bianca doesn’t have her hearing aids in, but the duo surprise us with the beauty of what happens next. Their relationship remains at the center of the film, forming a synthesis where we can’t think of one without the other.

              The boxing scenes are serviceable and entertaining, though there’s nothing on the visual order of the one shot boxing match Maryse Alberti shot in the original, nor is this film’s sudden blasting of “Gonna Fly Now” as emotionally stirring as it was when Coogler did it. Still, there is much here for fans to feast on, from unexpected cameos by actors from former Rocky films to the reveal of Michael B. Jordan’s ridiculously swole body after his post-crazy workout regimen. Additionally, the great Russell Hornsby steals his scenes as a Don King-like boxing promoter, and Phylicia Rashad continues her fierce maternal streak as Donnie's stepmother. There are moments big and small that are worth cheering for, which is more than you can ask for in a sequel.

              Jordan brings such love to playing Donnie that, despite my fears that this franchise may eventually beget something as bad as “Rocky V,” I look forward to its continuation. If “Creed II” is a box-office success, I’m sure there will be yet another fan-influenced sequel. So I’m predicting that in “Creed III” Donnie will fight Clubber Lang’s son, Clobber Lang, who will be played by Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson, Jr. Mr. T will appear in a cameo selling the Clubber Lang Grill while still complaining about that Rocky statue in Philly. You heard it here first.

              By: Odie Henderson
              Posted: November 19, 2018, 2:16 pm

              • Entertainer
                Entertainer published a blog post 30 Minutes on: "Mid-90s"

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                "Mid90s," about a young skateboarding teenager falling in with a group of older boys, is an accomplished debut feature from actor turned writer-director Jonah Hill. It's affecting, loose, sharply observed, emotional but not sentimental. It's also faithful to the period but not aggressively nostalgic, recreating the era in order to walk around in it and look at it, rather than merely marveling at how long ago it now seems, and how innocent "we" supposedly were. Some of the best scenes in the movie put the characters into a specific situation and watch them behave, without keeping one eye on the clock at every second and constantly fretting about whether exposition has been delivered with sufficient panache and that the plot has been moved along to everyone's satisfaction. It creates life and watches it unfold.

                Before shooting started, Hill supposedly showed his collaborators a few key works that he wanted them to keep in mind. One of them was Larry Clark's notorious 1995 New York teens-in-trouble drama "Kids." The result has that sort of pre-millennium indie movie vibe. All that being said, the atmospheric details are strong enough that viewers of a certain age might find themselves traveling falling into emotional rabbit hole anyway, even if their own experience of the era was nothing like the one depicted onscreen. Maybe the highest compliment that can be paid to this kind of movie is to say that it feels like it's of the era, not just about it or set during it. 

                My favorite scene in the movie is a longish visit to a local park where 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) and his friends skate, smoke pot and talk to each other. One of the boys, a budding filmmaker known as Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin) because he's considered a dimwit, films two of the other teens as they talk to a currently unemployed non-skater who tells them that he used to work in data entry. They all shoot the breeze for a bit. Hill keeps their conversation on the soundtrack as the movie cuts to images of people elsewhere in the park, all enjoying the day in their own way. You get a sense of the park as an extension of the scene, and the scene as a microcosm of life itself. If you let your mind roam (as I think the movie wants it to) you might feel momentarily warm about the prospects of the human species. 

                The entire scene—including the fact that somebody else is onscreen recording it—has the feeling of a caught slice-of-life moment from a documentary, something that was witnessed and recorded rather than written and performed. If this and other moments like it (including scenes of the teens busting each other's chops and trying to one-up each other with outrageous, often racially provocative banter) make it feel as if Hill created "Mid90s" so that he could go back in time and really pay attention during moments that meant a lot to him in retrospect. It's part of a continuum of films about young men hanging out while aimlessly entertaining each other and themselves, trying to get their minds off troubles at home and fear of the future by getting drunk and high and trying to score with girls and occasionally risking their lives heroically or more often stupidly. You could draw a direct line from Federico Fellini's "I Vitelloni" through Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets," Michael Schulz's "Cooley High" and Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" and "Everybody Wants Some!" 

                Scorsese is pretty clearly the biggest influence, though it's the early Scorsese of "Who's That Knocking At My Door?" and "Mean Streets" more so than "Goodfellas," which Stevie, his thuggish older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges) and single mom Danny (Katherine Waterston) are seen watching on their living room television on Blockbuster Night (ask your parents what that was, kids). The way young men try to impress each other and establish a pecking order through jocular sarcasm and insults; the way dares and machismo lead to bad outcomes, as in the film's harrowing accidents; the truthful-seeming observations about how young men and women relate to each other at parties and on the street, all have that affectionate yet anthropologically exact sensibility that Scorsese brought to his early movies, minus the ultra-violence. The only prolonged fight in the film is between a couple of middle schoolers, and the most intense confrontation doesn't get any more physical than Olan Prenatt's frizzy-haired wiseass Fuckshit flicking Ian's nose, to taunt him into a fight he isn't brave or stupid enough to engage.

                The movie manages to feel loose and tight at the same time, the correct aesthetic for a fairly brief (88 minute) work that's more about stitching together a bunch of caught-seeming moments than attempting any kind of sweeping, coherent statement. The only thing I can really say against "Mid90s" that it's so elliptical that it feels underwritten. It's never clear why the older kids put up with Stevie, who's so young (and small even for a younger kid) that he's practically a mascot, and who doesn't skate well enough to justify himself as anything else. And whenever the movie presents elements of deep darkness—such as Stevie's tendency to harm himself, which hints at past traumas that the movie itself isn't prepared to address, and Stevie's first sexual encounter, which age-wise would be classified as statutory rape—it glosses over them, in such a way that you can't be sure if it's trying to be subtle and failing, or reflexively adding a bit of extra grit because that's what we expect from this kind of film. I wanted a bit more context for Stevie's behavior, not because we can't imagine it, but because we almost can. Most of the pieces (such as Dabney casually commenting on Ian's birthday that when she was his age, she was breastfeeding him) are already present, and could've been shaped with more care. It's hard to tell if this part of the story was never written in the first place, or written or shot and then cut. 

                Either way, the film's lightness and looseness is a source of strength as well as weakness, and it's easy to imagine it turning literal minded or preachy if it went too far in the direction of psychologizing and explanations. It's always clear thats Stevie is simply too young to be involved in a lot of the things he's involved in, and to its credit, the movie seems inclined to view the arc of his experience with the skater kids non-judgmentally--as a bunch of things that happened, many of them regrettable if you're looking at Stevie's life through the eyes of his mother, but all memorable, in both good and bad ways, if you're Stevie. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' warm synth score and Christopher Blauvelt's blocky 4x3 cinematography are the only overtly lyrical aspects, and they both feel earned and intelligent. This is the kind of inward-looking movie that a talented thirty-something director makes when he realizes he's not a kid anymore, then wonders if he ever was.

                By: Matt Zoller Seitz
                Posted: November 18, 2018, 4:25 am

              • Thumb tldg1 3shot bck 0020 rt

                Park Chan-wook’s attention to detail is well-known among cinephiles. From the brutal beauty of his Vengeance Trilogy (“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” “Oldboy,” and “Lady Vengeance”) to his stunning work on 2016’s “The Handmaiden,” he doesn’t leave much to chance. His films often feel like incredibly calculated affairs, and yet he still somehow allows for human fallibility and emotion to feel genuine. He’s a stylish, meticulous filmmaker who only rarely allows that style to smother his characters. All of this makes him kind of a perfect fit for John Le Carre, a masterful writer who was also obsessed with detail. Park makes his TV debut directing all six episodes of AMC’s adaptation of Le Carre’s “The Little Drummer Girl,” and the result is a sometimes drawn-out affair but in a way that the filmmaker clearly loves. And his passion for the detail and procedure of espionage is infectious, both to his A-list cast, who all deliver, and to us as viewers.


                “Now the fiction and reality become one.” This line is said almost four full hours into “The Little Drummer Girl,” which unfolds in a very unique manner—in two-episode installments over three nights. For the first 2/3rds of the mini-series, we’re witnessing what is largely set-up, but Park and his team dive deep into that set-up, illustrating the difficulty in going so deep undercover that you might possibly lose yourself. This is what happens to Charlie (Florence Pugh), an actress recruited by an agency in 1979 led by an Israeli spy named Martin Kurtz (Michael Shannon) and trained by a fellow spy named Becker (Alexander Skarsgard). Charlie and Becker blur the lines between her real personality and that of the woman she will become, infiltrating a group of Palestinian terrorists. In a sense, Martin is the director of this little play, and Becker is the writer. Charlie will be the star.

                That little plot recap only hints at the complexity of “Little Drummer Girl,” but this is the kind of piece you can appreciate even if you don’t follow the plot (or find it sometimes convoluted). Not only does Park bring copious amounts of style and beauty to the filmmaking, but he directs his leading lady to one of the fiercest, most fascinating performances of the TV year. Charlie is an actress interested in pro-Palestinian causes, and those two elements of her personality impact the way she engages in the world of espionage. She lights up during scenes of what are basically “back story,” something common to both performers and undercover spies. And Pugh brilliantly conveys the malleability of her character without ever feeling like a device. Many actresses would have gotten lost in this part, losing it to the charade or politics, but Pugh never does. Shannon and Skarsgard are both very good, but the series belongs to Pugh.

                Well, Pugh and Park. The international dynamic at play in the production of “The Little Drummer Girl” starts to feel like it adds a layer of tension and personality to the overall affair. After all, it’s a Korean director helming a piece with American and British stars about an Israeli-led spy mission. There are scenes when Park’s outsider status feels almost replicated in the storytelling, adding an effective sense of otherness and confusion to what we’re watching, whether it’s the sometimes-odd-sounding dialogue or compositions that feel like the rest of Park’s filmography. “The Little Drummer Girl” is about an outsider to the culture in which she’s going undercover and it’s different than it would have been were it made by a Brit or Israeli. There’s something just a bit off about every episode in a way that makes it distinctly Park’s, and often riveting.

                Some people will feel that the story was drawn out to meet a six-episode contract as if four episodes wouldn’t feel as prestigious, and they’d have a point, but the pace of “The Little Drummer Girl” feels appropriate for Le Carre and the subject matter at hand. Park and this series really blur the lines between actress, spy, and terrorist, noting how much all three rely on scripted narratives to accomplish their goals. It’s another high-profile mini-series that rewards the patient, and further proof of its director’s international importance. 

                By: Brian Tallerico
                Posted: November 16, 2018, 6:32 pm


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