Friday, April 30, 2021

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from April 25th to 30th, 2021 - Update #17

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:

ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE NEWS:

NETFLIX - From Deadline:   In competitive bidding, Netflix closed a deal to acquire U.S. rights to "Gunpowder Milkshake" from STX Films. The female-driven action film is directed by Navot Papushado, and produced by Studiocanal and The Picture Company.

DISNEY - From Deadline: Rick Riordan, the author of the "Percy Jackson" book series, says that the search is underway to find a young actor to play "Percy Jackson" in the Disney+ TV series based on the books.  Actor Logan Lerman played the character in two "Percy Jackson" films for 20th Century Fox.

ANIMATION - From Deadline:  Actress/director Elizabeth Banks is developing an adult animated primetime series, "Bedrock," for Fox.  It would act as a sequel to the 1960s primetime animated television series, "The Flintstones."

OSCARS - From Deadline:  The Oscar ratings turned out to be not quite as bad as initially thought.  Final numbers say 10.4 million viewed - still the all-time lowest.

From Deadline:   The 93rd Academy Awards had the all-time lowest Oscar telecast ratings ever - by a huge margin.  For the first time, the estimated number of viewers was under ten million, specifically 9.85 million. [It was a terrible show, in my estimation - Leroy]

MOVIES - From Deadline:  "Another Round," the Danish film that just won the "Best Foreign Film" Oscar, will get an English-language remake.  It will possibly be a star vehicle for Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:   HBO releases a photographic image to announced that it's "Game of Thrones" prequel, "House of the Dragon" has gone into production and will launch in 2022.

MOVIES - From WeGotThisCovered:   There will reportedly be CGI creatures in "Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City," the upcoming reboot of the "Resident Evil" film franchise.

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:  The winner of the 4/23 to 4/25/21 weekend box office is "Mortal Kombat" with an estimated take of 22.5 million dollars. 
 
From BoxOfficeMojo:   "Mortal Kombat" and "Demon Slayer" are a strong one-two punch at the weekend box office.
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OSCARS - From Deadline:  This page gives a full list of winners, including the "Best Picture" winner, "Nomadland."

From Deadline:  Most memorable Oscar moment:  Once again, multiple-Oscar nominee Glenn Close goes home empty handed, but she steals the show with her knowledge of the song "Da Butt" from Spike Lee's 1988 film, "School Daze," and also by dancing "Da Butt."

From Deadline:  At 83 years of age, Anthony Hopkins becomes the oldest actor to win the "Best Actor" Oscar (for his performance in "The Father").  In a video posted on Instagram, Hopkins expresses gratitude and pays tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman, who many thought would win a posthumous Oscar for his performance in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

From Variety:   Clayton Davis makes "Variety's" final predictions of winners at the 93rd Academy Awards.

From Negromancer:  Just in case you need them, here are the nominations for the 2021 / 93rd Academy Awards.

MOVIES - From Refinery29:   In an interview, young star Keke Palmer expresses excitement at being cast in Jordan Peele's ("Get Out," "Us') upcoming, secret horror film project.

OBITS:

From Deadline:  Former actor, child actor, singer and musician, Johnny Crawford, has died at the age of 75, Thursday, April 29, 2021.  Crawford was best known as a child actor for his co-starring role in the late ABC Western television series, "The Rifleman" (1958-63).  Crawford played "Mark McCain," the son of "Lucas McCain," played by the series' star, the late Chuck Connors.  Crawford was the brother of child actor Robert L. "Bobby" Crawford, Jr. ("Laramie") and the son of film editor Robert L. Crawford, Sr.  Crawford was also one of the original "Mouseketeers" that appeared on "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1955-59) TV series, although Crawford only appeared in the first season.  Crawford also received a 1959 Emmy nomination for his role on "The Rifleman."

From Deadline:  Philanthropist and former publicist, Anne Douglas, has died at the age of 102, Thursday, April 29, 2021.  Douglas was married to legendary actor Kirk Douglas from 1954 until his death in February 2020.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Review: "PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN" Rocked Me Like a Hurricane

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 29 of 2021 (No. 1767) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Promising Young Woman (2020)
Running time: 113 minutes (1 hour, 53 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence including sexual assault, language throughout, some sexual material and drug use
WRITER/DIRECTOR:  Emerald Fennell
PRODUCERS:  Tom Ackerley, Ben Browning, Emerald Fennell, Ashley Fox, Josey McNamara, and Margot Robbie
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Benjamin Cracun (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Frederic Thoraval
COMPOSER:  Anthony Willis
Academy Award winner

DRAMA/COMEDY/THRILLER

Starring:  Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Chris Lowell, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Richardson, Alfred Molina, and Molly Shannon

Promising Young Woman is a 2020 black comedy and suspense thriller film from director Emerald Fennell.  The film focuses on a young woman who takes revenge for a traumatic event in her past on the unwary young men who cross her path.

Promising Young Woman introduces Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a 30 year-old medical school dropout who lives with her parents, Susan (Jennifer Coolidge) and Stanley Thomas (Clancy Brown), in Ohio.  Seven years earlier, something terrible happened to Cassie's best friend, Nina Fisher, at a party, and it led to both Cassie and Nina leaving the medical school they attended, Forrest University.

Now, Cassie spends her nights feigning drunkenness in clubs, and allowing men to take her to their homes.  Then, she bluntly and forcefully reveals her sobriety when these men try to take advantage of her by having sexual relations with a woman who is too inebriated to give consent.  Things begin to change when Cassie is reunited with a former classmate, Dr. Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham), a pediatrician.  When another classmate reveals a lurid secret, Cassie resumes her mission of revenge, but can she survive her own mission.

Of the many shocking things about Promising Young Woman, one of them is actress Carey Mulligan.  She completely buries herself in this role, and the waif-like persona she adopted in some of her early films disappears in the storm of the force of nature that is Cassie.  Mulligan's performance as Cassie recalls classic Clint Eastwood movie characters like “Dirty” Harry Callahan and “Preacher” (from 1985's Pale Rider).  I also have to give a shout out to Promising Young Woman's makeup department for its work in creating Cassie's look, which, spiritually, recalls the those vengeful dead girls in such Japanese horror films as Ringu (1998) and Ju-On: The Grudge (2002).

I can't help but be impressed by the debut directorial effort of writer-director Emerald Fennell.  Her film is straight to the point.  Fennell is not being allegorical, metaphorical, or symbolic.  Fennell delivers stunning entertainment that is both a timely message movie and a timeless cinematic film, a mainstream spin of the spirit of The Last House on the Left (1972) and I Spit on Your Grave (1978).  She may or may not be talking to you, sir, but there is no doubt about what Fennell is saying.

In a way, Promising Young Woman is the Get Out of 2020.  Like Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning film, Promising Young Woman is a game changer.  Whereas Peele's Get Out was a revelation in its message about white people's violence against African-American bodies, Fennell's Promising Young Woman is the clarion call to the reckoning for the way men objectify and enact sexual violence on the bodies of women.  Hopefully, Fennell's film is the cinematic earthquake that leads to a Hollywood tsunami.

And yes, Promising Young Woman is entertaining.  It simply manages to also blow your mind, chill your blood … and make some men reflexively cover their jewels.

9 of 10
A+

Monday, March 22, 2021


NOTES:
2021 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win: “Best Original Screenplay” (Emerald Fennell); 4 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell, and Josey McNamara), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Carey Mulligan), “Best Achievement in Directing” (Emerald Fennell), and “Best Achievement in Film Editing” (Frédéric Thoraval)

2021 Golden Globes, USA:  4 nominations: “Best Screenplay - Motion Picture” (Emerald Fennell), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Carey Mulligan), “Best Director - Motion Picture” (Emerald Fennell), “Best Motion Picture - Drama”

2021 BAFTA Awards:  2 wins: “Best Screenplay-Original” (Emerald Fennell) and “Outstanding British Film of the Year” (Emerald Fennell, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, and Josey McNamara); 4 nominations: “Best Film” (Ben Browning, Emerald Fennell, Ashley Fox, and Josey McNamara), “Best Editing” (Frédéric Thoraval), “Original Score” (Anthony Willis), and “Best Casting” (Lindsay Graham and Mary Vernieu)


The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Comics Review: "HELM GREYCASTLE #1" Introduces a Mind-Blowing Cast of Characters

HELM GREYCASTLE #1 (OF 4)
IMAGE COMICS/Top Cow Productions

STORY: Henry Barajas
PENCILS: Rahmat M. Handoko
COLORS: Bryan Valenza
LETTERS: Gabriela Downie
SCRIPT ASSIST: Claire Napier
EDITORS: Clair Napier; Elena Salcedo
COVER: Rahmat M. Handoko and Bryan Valenza
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: David Lapham with Bryan Valenza; Tony Parker with Bryan Valenza; Becky Cloonan; Mauricio Herrera; Matt Emmons
36pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (April 2021)

Rated “T+/Teen Plus”

Helm Greycastle created by Henry Barajas and Bryan Valenza

Chapter One: Devotion & Desire


Helm Greycastle is a new comic book miniseries from writer Henry Barajas and artists Rahmat M. Handoko and Bryan Valenza.  Published by Image Comics, this Latinx, alternate reality fantasy series mixes magic and dragons with Aztec mythology.

Helm Greycastle #1 (Devotion & Desire) finds Helm Greycastle and his band: Vola the fighter, Oskar Frostbeard the dwarf, and Shava Nailo the elven bard, fighting skeleton warriors to obtain a special item for their magic-using ally, Enxina Holimion.  She has a bigger task for Greycastle and company, however; she needs them to recover Uadjit, the Last Dragon Prince!

Who has him?  The abductors are from a new and previously unknown threat, Aztec Mexica.  Little does Greycastle know that there is already a resistance brewing against Aztec Mexica's leader, Montezuma III.

THE LOWDOWN:  The cover art for Helm Greycastle doesn't really convey how offbeat this new series is.  A blend of Tolkien-inspired epic and quest fantasy, role playing games, and Aztec mythology, Helm Greycastle promises to be something different.

The art team of penciller Rahmat M. Handoko and colorist Bryan Valenza is perfect in that it captures the disparate mythologies and mythopoeia of this concept.  In that way, the art and graphical storytelling suggest that it is perfectly acceptable for all of them to play on the same of field of narrative conflict.

Writer Henry Barajas may surprise some readers with how much Helm Greycastle seems like a Conan the Barbarian comic book.  Over the past five decades, many of the comic books starring Robert E. Howard's character, Conan the Cimmerian, have blended versions of real-world mythologies and pantheons of gods with the assorted pantheons of Conan's mythology.  Helm Greycastle seems firmly rooted in the sword and sorcery that inspired role playing games, and that's a good thing.  The cast of characters is quite impressive; no one is like the other.  By conception and by motivation, each is an intriguing player on the stage that is Helm Greycastle.

So I think readers will find something familiar in Helm Greycastle, while being intrigued by what makes it different.  This first issue also includes a one-shot Latinx RPG (5E compatible).  How's that for different?  I'm not interested in the RPG, but Barajas and company present a first chapter that suggests Helm Greycastle will, from page to page, offer the familiar and the different, but the reading experience will be one of harmony.  I recommend the adventurous readers give Helm Greycastle a try.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of fantasy comic book series that recall role playing games will want to try Helm Greycastle.

[This comic book includes the game, “Sacred Armor,” by Tristan J. Tarwater, with art and editing by Jen Vaughn.]

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


https://twitter.com/HenryBarajas
https://twitter.com/BryanValenza
https://twitter.com/TopCow
https://topcow.com/
https://twitter.com/ImageComics
https://imagecomics.com/


The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

BOOM! Studios Shipping from Diamond Distributors for April 28, 2021

BOOM! STUDIOS

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MARVEL COMICS

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Comic Books, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for April 28, 2021

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

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BOOKS

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FEB211782    YOU CALL THAT SERVICE LIGHT NOVEL SC VOL 03    $15.00


DC Comics New Releases from Lunar Distributors for April 27, 2021

DC COMICS:

Action Comics #1030 (Cover A Mikel Janin), $4.99
Action Comics #1030 (Cover B Julian Totino Tedesco Card Stock Variant), AR
Batman Black And White #5 (Of 6)(Cover A Lee Weeks), $5.99
Batman Black And White #5 (Of 6)(Cover B Jenny Frison), AR
Batman Black And White #5 (Of 6)(Cover C Gary Frank The Riddler Variant), AR
Batman Superman #17 (Cover A Ivan Reis & Danny Miki), $3.99
Batman Superman #17 (Cover B Rodolfo Migliar Card Stock Variant), AR
Batman Superman Volume 2 World’s Deadliest HC, $29.99
DCeased Dead Planet HC, $29.99
Detective Comics #1034 (Bryan Hitch 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $4.99
Detective Comics #1035 (Cover A Dan Mora), $4.99
Detective Comics #1035 (Cover B Lee Bermejo Card Stock Variant), AR
Harley Quinn #2 (Cover A Riley Rossmo), $3.99
Harley Quinn #2 (Cover B Derrick Chew Card Stock Variant), AR
JLA The Tower Of Babel The Deluxe Edition HC, $34.99
John Constantine Hellblazer Rise And Fall HC, $29.99
Nightwing #78 (Bruno Redondo 2nd Printing Variant Cover), $3.99
Robin #1 (Cover A Gleb Melnikov), $3.99
Robin #1 (Cover B Gleb Melnikov Wraparound Variant), AR
Robin #1 (Cover C Andy Kubert Team Card Stock Variant), AR
Robin #1 (Cover D Riccardo Federici Card Stock Variant), AR
RWBY Justice League #1 (Of 7)(Cover A Mirka Andolfo), $3.99
RWBY Justice League #1 (Of 7)(Cover B Simone Di Meo Card Stock Variant), AR
Suicide Squad Bad Blood HC, $29.99
Teen Titans Academy #2 (Cover A Rafa Sandoval), $3.99
Teen Titans Academy #2 (Cover B Philip Tan Card Stock Variant), AR
V For Vendetta Book And Mask Set (New Edition), $24.99


Winners at the 93rd Academy Awards Are Announced; "Nomadland" Wins "Best Picture

The 93rd Oscars® nominations were announced Monday, March 15, 2021, recognizing nominees in 23 categories.  Academy members from each of the 17 branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and International Feature Film categories, nominees are selected by a vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

Active members of the Academy were eligible to vote for the winners in all 23 categories beginning Thursday, April 15, through Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

The 93rd Oscars were held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and was televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.



Winners for the 2021 / 93rd Academy Awards:

Best motion picture of the year:
"Nomadland" Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers - WINNER
"The Father" David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers
"Judas and the Black Messiah" Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers
"Mank" Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers
"Minari" Christina Oh, Producer
"Promising Young Woman" Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers
"Sound of Metal" Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Anthony Hopkins in "The Father" - WINNER
Riz Ahmed in "Sound of Metal"
Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom"
Gary Oldman in "Mank"
Steven Yeun in "Minari"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Daniel Kaluuya in "Judas and the Black Messiah" - WINNER
Sacha Baron Cohen in "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
Leslie Odom, Jr. in "One Night in Miami..."
Paul Raci in "Sound of Metal"
Lakeith Stanfield in "Judas and the Black Messiah"

Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Frances McDormand in "Nomadland"- WINNER
Viola Davis in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Andra Day in "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
Vanessa Kirby in "Pieces of a Woman"
Carey Mulligan in "Promising Young Woman"

Performance by an actress in a supporting role:
Yuh-Jung Youn in "Minari" - WINNER
Maria Bakalova in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
Glenn Close in "Hillbilly Elegy"
Olivia Colman in "The Father"
Amanda Seyfried in "Mank"

Best animated feature film of the year:
"Soul" Pete Docter and Dana Murray- WINNER
"Onward" Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae
"Over the Moon" Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou
"A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon" Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley
"Wolfwalkers" Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants

Achievement in cinematography:
"Mank" Erik Messerschmidt - WINNER
"Judas and the Black Messiah" Sean Bobbitt
"News of the World" Dariusz Wolski
"Nomadland" Joshua James Richards
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Phedon Papamichael

Achievement in costume design:
"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Ann Roth - WINNER
"Emma" Alexandra Byrne
"Mank" Trish Summerville
"Mulan" Bina Daigeler
"Pinocchio" Massimo Cantini Parrini

Achievement in directing:
"Nomadland" Chloé Zhao - WINNER
"Another Round" Thomas Vinterberg
"Mank" David Fincher
"Minari" Lee Isaac Chung
"Promising Young Woman" Emerald Fennell

Best documentary feature:
"My Octopus Teacher" Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster - WINNER
"Collective" Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana
"Crip Camp" Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder
"The Mole Agent" Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez
"Time" Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn

Best documentary short subject:
"Colette" Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard - WINNER
"A Concerto Is a Conversation" Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
"Do Not Split" Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook
"Hunger Ward" Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman
"A Love Song for Latasha" Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

Achievement in film editing:
"Sound of Metal" Mikkel E. G. Nielsen - WINNER
"The Father" Yorgos Lamprinos
"Nomadland" Chloé Zhao
"Promising Young Woman" Frédéric Thoraval
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Alan Baumgarten

Best international feature film of the year:
"Another Round" Denmark - WINNER
"Better Days" Hong Kong
"Collective" Romania
"The Man Who Sold His Skin" Tunisia
"Quo Vadis, Aida?" Bosnia and Herzegovina

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling:
"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson - WINNER
"Emma" Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze
"Hillbilly Elegy" Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney
"Mank" Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff
"Pinocchio" Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score):
"Soul" Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste - WINNER
"Da 5 Bloods" Terence Blanchard
"Mank" Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
"Minari" Emile Mosseri
"News of the World" James Newton Howard

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song):
"Fight For You" from "Judas and the Black Messiah" Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas - WINNER

  • "Hear My Voice" from "The Trial of the Chicago 7" Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite
  • "Husavik" from "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson
  • "Io Sì (Seen)" from "The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)" Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini
  • "Speak Now" from "One Night in Miami..." Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth


Achievement in production design:
"Mank" Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale - WINNER
"The Father" Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone
"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton
"News of the World" Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan
"Tenet" Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Best animated short film:
"If Anything Happens I Love You" Will McCormack and Michael Govier - WINNER
"Burrow" Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat
"Genius Loci" Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise
"Opera" Erick Oh
"Yes-People" Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

Best live action short film:
"Two Distant Strangers" Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe - WINNER
"Feeling Through" Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski
"The Letter Room" Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan
"The Present" Farah Nabulsi
"White Eye" Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

Achievement in sound:
"Sound of Metal" Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh - WINNER
"Greyhound" Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman
"Mank" Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin
"News of the World" Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett
"Soul" Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

Achievement in visual effects:
"Tenet" Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher - WINNER
"Love and Monsters" Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox
"The Midnight Sky" Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins
"Mulan" Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram
"The One and Only Ivan" Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

Adapted screenplay:
"The Father" Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller - WINNER
"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad
"Nomadland" Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao
"One Night in Miami..." Screenplay by Kemp Powers
"The White Tigers" Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani

Original screenplay:
"Promising Young Woman" Written by Emerald Fennell - WINNER
"Judas and the Black Messiah" Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas
"Minari" Written by Lee Isaac Chung
"Sound of Metal" Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance
"The Trial of the Chicago 7" Written by Aaron Sorkin

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment Sign Content Agreement

Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment Announce Unprecedented Post-Pay 1 Content Licensing Agreement

Deal Includes U.S. Rights to New Theatrical Releases from 2022-2026 Following Their Pay 1 TV Window and Library Titles from Sony Pictures for Disney’s Streaming Services and Linear Networks

Agreement Provides Disney with a Robust Collection of Sony Pictures’ Universe of Marvel Characters Films in Post-Pay 1 TV Windows


BURBANK, Calif. – The Walt Disney Company (DIS) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) today announced a multi-year content licensing agreement for U.S. streaming and TV rights to Sony Pictures’ new theatrical releases across Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution’s vast portfolio of platforms including its streaming services Disney+ and Hulu, as well as linear entertainment networks including ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic. The deal covers theatrical releases from 2022-2026 and begins for each film following its Pay 1 TV window. The agreement builds upon the companies’ prior arrangement which saw SPE movies licensed to FX in the post-Pay 1 TV window.

The deal also grants rights to a significant number of SPE’s iconic library titles, ranging from the “Jumanji” and “Hotel Transylvania” franchises to Sony Pictures’ Universe of Marvel Characters films, including Spider-Man. This gives Disney enormous programming potential across its platforms and makes them key destinations for a robust collection of Spider-Man films. Notably, the agreement provides Hulu access to a significant number of library titles beginning as early as this June.

“This landmark multi-year, platform agnostic agreement guarantees the team at Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution a tremendous amount of flexibility and breadth of programming possibilities to leverage Sony’s rich slate of award-winning action and family films across our direct-to-consumer services and linear channels,” said Chuck Saftler, head of Business Operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks, and Acquisitions in DMED’s Networks division, who played a key role in the negotiations. “This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences.”

“This groundbreaking agreement reconfirms the unique and enduring value of our movies to film lovers and the platforms and networks that serve them,” said Keith Le Goy, president, Worldwide Distribution and Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We are thrilled to team up with Disney on delivering our titles to their viewers and subscribers. This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy, which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


ABOUT DISNEY MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT DISTRIBUTION:
Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) manages The Walt Disney Company’s vast content commercialization and distribution ecosystem that delivers the Company’s unparalleled storytelling to audiences worldwide. This entails P&L management and operation of the Company’s portfolio of streaming services including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and the international general entertainment offering, Star; its linear television channels and the ABC-owned stations; theatrical film distribution; content licensing and distribution, including Disney Music Group; global advertising sales; and the technology that powers these groups. Using a wealth of consumer insights from across the Company, DMED makes content investment and distribution decisions to maximize audience engagement and commercial impact across platforms, collaborating with creative leaders in Disney’s Studios, General Entertainment, and Sports organizations.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT:
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. Sony Pictures Television operates dozens of wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies around the world. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, Sony Pictures International Productions, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.

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Negromancer News Bits and Bites from April 18th to 24th, 2021 - Update #24

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:

ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE NEWS

AWARDS - From Deadline:   Back around April 11th, the winners at the 21st Annual Black Reel Awards were announced.  "Judas and the Black Messiah" won the "Outstanding Film" award.  Regina King's "One Night in Miami" wins the most awards, picking up five trophies.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:    CBS has renewed "NCIS: Los Angeles" for a 13th season.  It has give a straight-to-series order for "NCIS: Hawaii," which will be the first series in the franchise to have a female lead. The original "NCIS," was renewed for a 19th season.

OSCARS - From Esquire:  On the eve of the 93rd Academy Awards, writer Tom Nicholson ranks the previous 92 "Best Picture" Oscar winners.  No, "Crash" is not #92; it's #84.  "Cimarron" is #92. "Moonlight" is #1.

MOVIES - From Deadline:   Star Vin Diesel and director F. Gary Gray will team-up for STXfilms action-comedy, "Muscle."  The film's story is being kept secret for the time being.

ANIMATION/LGBTQ - From YahooEntertainment:   Pixar is seeking "authentic" young performer to voice its first transgender character

AWARDS - From THR:  "Nomadland" wins "Best Feature" at the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards. This article includes a complete winners list.

SCANDAL - From Deadline:  Broadway and film super-producer, Scott Rudin, is now saying that he will step back from his film and streaming projects in the wake of the scandalous revelations about his abusive behavior towards those he works with and those who work for him.  Rudin previously announced that he would step back from his Broadway projects.

STREAMING - From Deadline:  Netflix is nearing a deal on "Shout It Out Loud," a biographical film about the iconic rock band, KISS.  Apparently, the hopes are that it would do for KISS what the Oscar-winning "Bohemian Rhapsody" did for the rock band, Queen. 

From Deadline:  Actress Hillary Duff is set to headline "How I Met Your Father," a spinoff of the long-running CBS comedy series, "How I Met Your Mother" (2005-14).

BLACK HISTORY - From Variety:   Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, and Kevin Hart are among the Black Hollywood figures behind a two-part Apple Original Films documentary about African-American achievement in Hollywood and about what it takes for Black actors to be successful in the film industry.

DISNEY - From Variety:   Disney and Sony Pictures have signed a massive licensing deal that will bring Sony films to multiple Disney streaming and broadcast and cable TV platforms.  The previously announced Netflix/Sony deals gives Netflix exclusive rights to Sony films in the post-theatrical "Pay 1" window.  The Disney/Sony deal gives Disney all subsequent TV windows.

GOLDEN GLOBES - From Deadline:  The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Golden Globes, has expelled former 8-time president, South African-born Phil Berk, from the organization.  Berk recently sent an email to fellow members disparaging "Black Lives Matter" and one of its founders.

From Deadline:  Phil Berk, former 8-time president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which hands out the Golden Globes), sent out an email to fellow HFPA members blasting the "Black Lives Matter" movement and co-founder Patrisse Cullors.  Fellow members push back at Berk, an 88-year-old South African.

BLM - From YahooNews:   Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts against him in the killing of African-American victim, George Floyd, nearly one year after kneeling on Floyd’s neck in an incident that sparked global protests against police brutality.  Chavin, a white man, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020.

ANIMATION - From Variety:   Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers (a current Oscar nominee for Disney/Pixar's "Soul"), and Justin K. Thompson have been tapped by Sony Pictures Animation to direct the sequel to the Oscar-winning animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

BOX OFFICE - From Variety:   The winner of the 4/16 to 4/18/2021 weekend box office is "Godzilla vs. Kong" with an estimated take of 7.7 million dollars.

STREAMING - From EW:  Amazon is spending "upwards of 464 million dollars" to produce the first season of its "Lord of the Rings" TV series!

AWARDS - From Deadline:  The American Society of Cinematographers announced its 35th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards winners.  "Mank" won the "Theatrical Release" trophy.

From Deadline:  At the 2021 / 48th annual Annie Awards, Disney/Pixar's "Soul" wins "Best Feature" and "Wolfwalkers" wins "Best Indie Feature."  The two films were the big winners at the ceremony, with "Soul" winning seven awards and "Wolfwalkers" winning five.

From Deadline:   At the 2021 / 57th annual Cinema Audio Society Awards, Amazon Studios drama, "Sound of Metal," and Disney/Pixar’s "Soul" won out in top categories.

OBITS:

From Deadline:   Film and television producer, Charles "Chuck" Fries, has died at the age of 92, Thursday, April 22, 2021.  Fried was a prolific producer of films and of television series and movies.  He produced such films as "Cat People" (a 1982 remake) and "Troop Beverly Hills" (1989).  Fries is also considered a very important person in the development of the TV movie, especially "issue-oriented" films such as "Bitter Harvest" (1981) and "Small Sacrifices" (1989).

From YahooEntertainment:   Gregory Jacobs, the rapper and record producer best known as "Shock G" and "Humpty Hump," has died at the age of 57, Thursday, April 22, 2021.  As Shock G, Jacobs led the rap group, "Digital Underground," which had a hit in 1990's "The Humpty Dance."  Shock G also produced two tracks and provided background vocals on 2Pac/Tupac Shakur's debut album, "2Pacalypse Now" (1991).

From YahooEntertainment:   Scottish pop singer, Les McKeown, has died at the age of 65, Tuesday, April 20, 2021.  McKeown was the lead singer of the Scottish pop rock band, the "Bay City Rollers," during the group's most successful period, the mid-1970s, including singing lead on the "Billboard Hot 100" #1 single, "Saturday Night" (1975).

From CNN:  Former Vice-President of the United States, Walter "Fritz" Mondale, has died at the age of 93, Monday, April 19, 2021.  Mondale served as VP under President Jimmy Carter from Jan. 20, 1977 to Jan. 20, 1981.  Mondale was also a United States Senator for the state of Minnesota from 1964 to 1976.  He unsuccessfully ran for President, but lost to incumbent President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

From Variety:  Songwriter, composer, playwright, and record producer, Jim Steinman, has died at the age of 73, Monday, April 19, 2021.  Steinman's most famous work is recording artist Meat Loaf's 1977 debut album, "Bat Out of Hell."  Steinman composed all the songs on the album which became one of the bestselling albums of all time.  Steinman also wrote and/or produced songs for Air Supply, Barry Manilow, and Celine Dion, to name a few.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Comics Review: POST AMERICANA #5 Gathers Its Eagles for the Final Chapter

POST AMERICANA #5 (OF 6)
IMAGE COMICS

STORY: Steve Skroce
ARTIST: Steve Skroce
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Fonografiks
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (April 2021)

Rated M / Mature

Post Americana is a six-issue miniseries written and drawn by Steve Skroce and published by Image Comics.  Post Americana is set in a dystopian future and focuses on two rebels' attempts to save an area called the “Wasteland” from a rogue President of the United States.  Colorist Dave Stewart and letterer Fonografiks complete Post Americana's creative team.

Post Americana  has two settings.  The first is “The Bubble,” an installation inside the Cheyenne Mountains that is the most sophisticated super-bunker in the world.  Inside, Nathaniel Hawksworthe, the new President of the United States, plans to use the bunker's resources to build the “New America” by basically paving over the second setting, the “Wasteland.”  Determined to stop Hawksworthe are Michael “Mike” Lee, a hapless rebel, and Carolyn, a deadly Wasteland girl, who is already hellbent on revenge against the denizens of the Bubble.  But Carolyn and Mike will have to survive the Wasteland in order to save the Wasteland.

As Post Americana #5 opens, Carolyn, Mike, and Evey's ride with Night Terror has taken them to the lost coast of California to Wonder Studios, the former home of the Walt Disney-like Cromwell Leviticus Okamoto.  There, Mike finally meets his secret ally, Okamoto's wife, Marcy, in person.  Marcy soon admits to deceiving Mike, but he doesn't even know half the story.  And that could mean a death sentence for everyone on the planet – even those soft-living folks in the Bubble.

THE LOWDOWN:  I am a huge fan of writer-artist Steve Skroce, going back over two decades – which I admitted in my review of Post Americana #1.  In my review of subsequent issues of this series, I have regaled you, dear readers, with the joys of reading Post Americana.

Post Americana #5 is the penultimate issue of the series, and in it, Skroce has created an issue that seems divorced from the rest of the narrative.  However, it actually isn't, as this fifth issue serves as a launching pad for the craziness to come in the finale.  Post Americana is a blast to read, and its satire of the United States is both sharp and sly and blunt and brutal.  It is as if Skroce wields both a satirical scalpel and hammer.

As he has throughout this miniseries, Skroce gets excellent assistance in creating this fine edition of his latest comic book.  That includes superb coloring from Dave Stewart and lettering from Fonografiks that makes the craziness readable.  I can't wait for the sixth issue.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Steve Skroce's comics and of post-apocalyptic sci-fi will want Post Americana.

A

[This comic book includes a four-page preview of “The Good Asian #1” by Pornsak Pichetshote and Alexandre Tefenkgi.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, and Dave Chappelle to Headline "The Midnight Miracle" Podcast

Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, and Dave Chappelle Announce The Midnight Miracle Podcast on Luminary

Luminary Original The Midnight Miracle Features Salon Style Conversations with Kweli, Bey, and Chappelle, and Guests from Among the Country’s Most Influential Cultural Icons

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Luminary, a subscription podcast network, announced The Midnight Miracle, a salon style show created and hosted by Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, and Dave Chappelle. The show provides a glimpse into a very interesting season in the lives of the three hosts and their friends, and features guests from among the country’s most influential cultural icons. The show will be released in the coming weeks on Luminary, and will be available on the Luminary channel on Apple Podcasts when its new subscription platform debuts worldwide later in May.

“Making a podcast isn’t the obvious next move for me, but it’s the right one. The Midnight Miracle gives you a look into how me and my friends process the world around us, and I think it will change the way listeners think of what a podcast can be,” said Chappelle.

The Midnight Miracle was recorded during Chappelle’s legendary 2020 Summer Camp in an intimate setting at “The Shack” — a mechanic’s garage retrofitted as a clubhouse. Inside, listeners get the sense they’re sitting in on conversations among friends. In the variety show tradition, the conversations are punctuated with sketches, impersonations, archival audio clips, and a powerful soundtrack that includes music from Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, D’Angelo, Heatwave featuring Johnny Wilder, and much more to come.

Kweli, Bey, and Chappelle meticulously edited more than 100 hours of recorded content to make The Midnight Miracle in partnership with Jamie Schefman and Noah Gersh of SALT. A single season is planned, with new episodes starting in the coming weeks and continuing throughout the year, with a summer hiatus.

“The Midnight Miracle pushes the boundaries of podcasting, creating an audio experience listeners have never heard before. It is the exact type of project we built Luminary to support, and we are so excited to share it with listeners across the world,” said Simon Sutton, Luminary CEO.

“Talib, Yasiin, and Dave each bring deep wells of perspective to The Midnight Miracle. The conversations between them and their friends are humorous and profound, and the show is edited in a truly unique fashion. We are really proud to be a home for groundbreaking audio like this,” said Mark Silverstein, Luminary Chief Content Officer.

Kenzi Wilbur, Luminary Head of Development and Miles Hodges, Luminary Head of Acquisitions have led Luminary’s efforts to bring this outstanding programming to fruition.


About Dave Chappelle:
Dave Chappelle is an American comedian, screenwriter, television and film producer, and actor. Recognized as one of the greatest comedians of all time, Chappelle was awarded the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2019. Chappelle’s work in stand-up comedy, writing, producing, and acting has earned him more than 30 nominations and awards in television and film for projects that include his groundbreaking sketch comedy television series, Chappelle’s Show, guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, and his comedy specials, most recently earning his third and fourth Emmy Awards for Sticks & Stones in 2020. In audio content, Chappelle has won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album three years in a row, 2018 through 2020. In 2017, Netflix cited Dave Chappelle: Collection 1 as the most-viewed comedy special ever on their network.

About Yasiin Bey:
Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, is an American rapper, singer, actor, multimedia artist, and activist. Bey began his hip hop career in 1994 and in 1999 released his solo debut, Black on Both Sides which was #1 on the Billboard Top Rap Album chart. Since then, he has been nominated for 6 Grammy Awards for his musical performances, albums, and videos. His acting career has earned him more than 11 award nominations, including the Golden Globes, Emmys, and NAACP Image Awards. And in 2005 he won the Black Reel Best Indie Actor Award for his performance in The Woodsman.

About Talib Kweli:
Talib Kweli, a Brooklyn-based MC, is one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware, and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. Kweli has recorded with producer Hi-Tek as the duo Reflection Eternal, released landmark solo material, and collaborated with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and more. Kweli founded Javotti Media in 2011, a platform for independent thinkers and doers in music, films and books. In 2019, in partnership with UPROXX, he launched People’s Party with Talib Kweli, a podcast where he explores hip hop culture and politics with thought-provoking guests like Lamar Odom, Don Cheadle, Lil’ Kim, Dax Shepard, Jemele Hill, Ice Cube, Perry Farrell, and Michael Rapaport. And in 2021, Kweli released Vibrate Higher, a book that illuminates Kweli's upbringing and artistic success, and discusses the power of hip hop as a political force.

About Black Star:
Together, Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli are known as Black Star — the seminal hip-hop duo from New York City who changed music forever in 1998 with their self-titled album Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star.

About SALT:
SALT is an audio first media company that creates exceptional experiences with the world’s leading artists, studios, and talent. What began with award winning and genre-defining work in audio fiction has quickly grown into SALT becoming the pre-eminent one stop partner for creating outstanding audio storytelling and brands. More than a podcast company, SALT stays true to its name helping everything taste just a little bit more like itself. Founded by partners Jamie Schefman, Noah Gersh, and Nick Panama, whose shared wealth of experience in music built the foundation of the company, SALT successes include Blackout, Carrier, The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon, Hit Job, and most recently The Midnight Miracle.

About Luminary:
Luminary is a subscription podcast network with an award-winning lineup of original shows you won’t find anywhere else. Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to the full collection of Luminary Original Podcasts, featuring celebrated creators, diverse voices, and important stories told through a new lens. You can find Luminary’s original content via the Luminary app, available on iOS, Android, and the web. And it will be available on the Luminary channel on Apple Podcasts when its new subscription platform debuts worldwide in May.

Luminary was founded by Matt Sacks in 2018 with backing from NEA, a global venture capital fund. Driven by a love for podcasts, Luminary is elevating the podcasting experience for both listeners and creators.

Luminary offers all listeners a seven-day free trial. After the free trial, the annual subscription is $34.99, or the equivalent of about $2.99 per month. Luminary also offers a monthly subscription for $4.99 which will increase to $5.99 for new subscribers concurrent with the launch of Luminary’s subscription channel on Apple Podcasts. International pricing is similar to US pricing, with annual and monthly plans available in each territory.

For more information about The Midnight Miracle, please visit newsroom.luminarypodcasts.com.

For more information about Luminary, visit luminarypodcasts.com or follow @hearluminary.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sigourney Weaver Narrates NatGeo Series, "Secrets of the Whales," Beginning April 22nd

National Geographic Taps Multi-Award-Winning Sigourney Weaver as Narrator for SECRETS OF THE WHALES, an Awe-Inspiring Look at the Mysterious and Beautiful World of Whales

Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-At-Large James Cameron to Serve as Executive Producer

Latest Work of National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry to be Featured in National Geographic Magazine and Book Timed to the Special

Epic Four-Part Series Will Be Marquee Event Premiere of National Geographic’s 2021 Earth Day Celebration


WASHINGTON, D.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Geographic announced that Golden Globe and BAFTA Award-winning actress Sigourney Weaver (“Alien,” “Avatar,” “Gorillas in the Mist”) will narrate its global television event, SECRETS OF THE WHALES, which chronicles the whale way of life and their challenges and triumphs in an ever-changing ocean. Additionally, the network announced that renowned filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-at-Large James Cameron will serve as executive producer. SECRETS OF THE WHALES will premiere globally on Earth Day 2021 in 172 countries and 43 languages.

    “I’m proud to work with my longtime partner, National Geographic, in showing incredible new insights into the inner world of whales, their emotion and culture. These majestic, mysterious animals continue to surprise us.”

The four-part event series is the work of acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry, as he helps tell the story of a species he’s been documenting for decades. Filmed across three years in 24 locations, it’s a profoundly personal saga, venturing deep into the world of whales to reveal life and love from their perspective. Skerry’s latest work will also be featured in National Geographic magazine and the National Geographic book “Secrets of the Whales” timed to the special.

In SECRETS OF THE WHALES, Weaver guides viewers on a journey to the heart of whale culture to experience the extraordinary communication skills and intricate social structures of five different whale species. With the help of new science and technology, viewers witness whales making lifelong friendships, teaching clan heritage and traditions to their young and grieving deeply for the loss of loved ones.

“National Geographic has long been deepening our connection to the world around us, and I’m honored to team up with them to narrate this stunning series,” says Weaver. “Viewers get up close and personal and experience the extraordinary emotion, grace and power of these magnificent creatures. They get to know them intimately in order to ultimately realize just how like them we truly are.”

“SECRETS OF THE WHALES has all the elements I love — new tech used for scientific inquiry, wrapped in great storytelling that visually excites and emotionally resonates,” says Cameron. “I’m proud to work with my longtime partner, National Geographic, in showing incredible new insights into the inner world of whales, their emotion and culture. These majestic, mysterious animals continue to surprise us.”

“Capturing these whales on film has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life, and I’m thrilled to bring the complexity and beauty of these creatures right to viewers’ living rooms,” says Skerry. “It is my hope that in venturing into their world, viewers recognize themselves in these animals’ joy, pain, love and relationships and are as inspired by them as I am.”

One of the world’s top ocean photographers, Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater, documenting uncharted territory and elucidating environmental issues, often leading to policy change. Skerry’s work expands upon National Geographic’s legacy of exploration and dedication to conservation and protecting the animal species that inhabit our planet as they grapple with an ecosystem under threat. On April 22, the company celebrates our wonderful world across its portfolio, raising awareness of the immense challenges facing Earth and inspiring stewardship for generations to come.

SECRETS OF THE WHALES is produced for National Geographic by Red Rock Films. For Red Rock Films, Brian Armstrong and Shannon Malone-DeBenedictis are executive producers. For Earthship, James Cameron and Maria Wilhelm are executive producers and Kim Butts is associate producer. For National Geographic, Pamela Caragol is executive producer and Geoff Daniels is executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment for National Geographic Global Networks.



About National Geographic Partners:
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Disney, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: UNCUT GEMS Offers Surprising Performances from Its Cast

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 28 of 2021 (No. 1766) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Uncut Gems (2019)
Running time:  135 minutes (2 hours, 15 minutes)
MPAA – R for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use
DIRECTORS:  Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie
WRITERS: Ronald Bronstein and Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie
PRODUCERS:  Sebastian Bear-McClard (p.g.a.), Eli Bush (p.g.a.), and Scott Rudin (p.g.a.)
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Darius Khondji (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Ronald Bronstein and Benny Safdie
COMPOSER:  Daniel Lopatin

DRAMA

Starring:  Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch, Keith William Richards, Tommy Kominik, Jonathan Aranbayev, Noa Fisher, Jacob Igielski, and Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd)

Uncut Gems is a 2019 crime drama film from directors Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie.  Director Martin Scorsese is one of the film's executive producers.  Uncut Gems focuses on a fast-talking New York City jeweler and gambling addict who risks everything in hope of staying afloat and alive.

Uncut Gems opens in 2010 in the Welo mine in Ethiopia where Ethiopian Jewish miners retrieve a rare black opal from the mine.  The story moves to 2012 where we meet Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), who runs KMH, a jewelry store in New York City's Diamond District.  A fast-talking businessman, Howard is also a gambling addict, and he is struggling to pay off his gambling debts, which include the $100,000 he owes his brother-in-law, Arno Moradian (Eric Bogosian), a loan shark.

Howard's personal life is also in shambles, as he is estranged from his wife, Dinah Ratner (Idina Menzel).  Dinah insists on sticking to their plan of getting a divorce after Passover.  Meanwhile, Howard's relationship with his girlfriend, Julia De Fiore (Julia Fox), a KMH employee, is also up-and-down.  Still, Howard believes that all will be well when he gets that rare black opal that the Ethiopian miners found.

Things start to fall apart when Demany (Lakeith Stanfield), an intermediary who recruits clients for Howard, introduces him to NBA player, Kevin Garnett (Kevin Garnett), of the Boston Celtics.  Suddenly, holding onto and selling the opal takes on a life-or-death significance.

Audiences may pull for Adam Sandler's Howard Ratner and even root for him simply because he is the lead character in Uncut Jewels, but the truth is that Ratner is worthy of pity more than he is of sympathy.  He has a terrible case of “problem with immediate gratification.”  He is a gambling addict, and one gets the idea that he is addicted to seeking his own satisfaction.  He is vain, venal, narcissistic, and self-absorbed, and he tells lies the way people breathe air.  However, this all leads to a last act of the film when the pity that one might feel towards the pathetic Howard turns to sympathy.

Sandler gives one of the best performances of his career, and although many commentators thought that he deserved an Oscar nomination for his performance in Uncut Gems (which he did not get), he had a better character arc in 2005's The Longest Yard.  Still, Sandler proves in Uncut Gems that he can deliver a surprising performance that can even shock audiences.

However, I find the most fascinating character in this film to be Uncut Gem's version of the real-life former professional basketball player, Kevin Garnett.  Garnett fashions a version of himself that is more complex, darker, and more nuanced than the player people know from his long career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), which lasted 21 seasons from 1995 to 2016.  I could watch an entire film featuring this Garnett.

Overall, the Safdie Brothers deliver in Uncut Gems a crime drama like no other, and with screenwriter Ronald Bronstein, they offer a cast of interesting, even off-the-beaten path characters.  Actress Idina Menzel is known for her big smile and her ability to belt out a song, but here, she takes the script's Dinah Ratner and makes her a salty woman who is utterly disinterested in her wayward husband, Howard's conceited charisma.  Menzel's Dinah would set it off before she'd let it go.

The usual impeccable Lakeith Stanfield is impeccable – as usual, and I wish there was more of his Demany.  Abel Tesfaye, better known as the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, The Weeknd, goes meta to turn in a delightfully edgy and smutty version of himself.

I don't know if I would recommend this film to fans of Adam Sandler's comedies, especially the raunchy and juvenile ones.  Still, the Safdies and Sandler create something so different that I think movie audiences that like to take a dare sometimes will find a dark jewel of a movie in Uncut Gems.

7 of 10
A-

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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