Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is still four months away, but with a trailer, Vanity Fair magazine spreads, and a big showing at the D23 expo in August, the film is feeling much closer to release. And the story and characters are starting to come into focus. From early publicity for the film and the new revelations at D23 – WHAT is Rey doing with that red double-bladed lightsaber!? – we already know a decent amount about The Rise of Skywalker, which will conclude the trilogy that began with J.J. Abrams The Force Awakens in 2015. So let’s take a look at what we know and what it could potentially mean for the finished film. After all, the title itself offers a strange mystery: which Skywalker will rise after all this time?What A Difference A Year Makes(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)Up until Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars sequels traditionally took place 2-3 years after the preceding film (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones took place 10 years after Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace). TLJ eschewed the tradition by setting itself shortly after Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a result, the usual off-screen character building did not occur. This time around, Lucasfilm is making it clear TLJ and The Rise of Skywalker take place further apart from each other; about a year or so. In that time, the Resistance has regrouped with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) getting accustomed to a leadership role, Finn (John Boyega) dedicating himself to the cause, and Rey (Daisy Ridley) continuing her training in the Jedi arts.And yeah, that last one certainly sounds surprising, doesn’t it?To an extent, all three characters will have a newfound confidence as they’ve come to understand their place in the universe and what it means to fight the First Order. Since this is the final episode of not only the third Star Wars trilogy, but of the nine-film cycle first teased by creator George Lucas in the early 1980s, we’re going to presume they succeed in crushing the First Order and whatever Imperial remnant keeping it reinforced. At the same time, the characters face a greater challenge in helping to found some sort of galactic government which will last more than 20 years before a group aligned with the Dark Side can topple it. How director J.J. Abrams could make that element interesting is anyone’s guess.J.J. Abrams Is Back(Photo by Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)Although the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy was meant to showcase three different directors as they resolved the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker went through a troubled pre-production phase. Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow was originally signed to pick up the story after Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, but shortly before he was set to begin fully developing the film, Lucasfilm fired him. As always, “creative differences” were to blame. The search began anew for someone who could wrap the series up and do it to Lucasfilm’s specifications. And once again, they turned to Abrams, who infamously turned down the opportunity to direct The Force Awakens when it was first given to him.This time around, though, Abrams said he felt a certain freedom to expand beyond Star Wars storytelling grammar into something new. His comments suggest he listened to critics who mentioned The Force Awakens felt a little too much like the original Star Wars. Presumably, this means the series will not end with a rag-tag group of fighter aces launching an attack against a Death Star the size of a solar system. Which isn’t to say the Death Star will be absent from the film. The trailer offered fans a glimpse of wreckage from one of the destroyed Original Trilogy battle stations peacefully resting on an unknown planet.That shot, and Abrams comments, suggests he picked up some of TLJ’s “let’s blow up Star Wars!” attitude, even if the film includes the series third desert planet.New Planets, New Characters(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)Instead of Tatooine or Jakku, the desert world seen in the first trailer is called Pasanna, which now suggests desert planets are fairly common in the Star Wars galaxy. Another environment to be featured is a planet of ice and snow called Kijimi, where viewers will meet Keri Russel’s scoundrel character Zorri Bliss. At the D23 Walt Disney Studio presentation in August, Russell teased Zorri as “cool and shady,” before adding she is “an old friend of Poe’s.” Make your own guesses about what that means.Other new characters include a new droid called D-0, Richard E. Grant as First Order Allegiant General Pryde, Namoi Ackie as Jannah a character still shrouded in secrecy despite Ackie’s appearance at Star Wars Celebration and the Aki-Aki, inhabitants of Pasanna.The film will also feature the long-delayed debut of the Knights of Ren. Despite getting a big tease in The Force Awakens, the group did very little besides stand in the rain during Rey’s lightsaber flashback. Or was it a flash-forward? Either way, they will be part of her present situation in The Rise of Skywalker. Curiously, though, it is unclear if they will be taking orders from Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) or working to dethrone him as Supreme Leader of the First Order. And considering their absence from the story so far, were they ever really his disciples – as suggested in The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi – or do they serve a older, darker evil. The trailer released during Star Wars Celebration featured the distinctive laugh of Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), which leaves us wondering if they are part of his latest phantom menace?(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Lucasfilm)Taking another look at the environments revealed so far – a desert world and a winter world – you might make the fair assumption The Rise of Skywalker might go to a forest world and complete a tour of classic Star Wars environments. One shot in the trailer even sees Kylo facing off against foes in a patch of dead trees. Some believe the story will take the characters back to the forest moon of Endor, where Palaptine’s first master plan was undone by a Jedi with incomplete training. Considering the film’s position as the grand finale, it seems reasonable to take things back to that first ending. But we’d also like the spirit of new ideas to prevail and see the final conflict take place in a new, as-yet-unrevealed setting.There Will Be Revelations(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)And while the film has to create new locales and characters, it also has to wrap up some longstanding plot threads. Reportedly, the origin of the First Order will be revealed. For those who remember the Thrawn Trilogy of novels or the 1990s Dark Empire comic book series, Palpatine’s involvement in those events seems almost assured. And in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, he told Anakin (Hayden Christensen) he was looking for a way to cheat death. Maybe he found it.Meanwhile, the connection Rey seemingly severed with Kylo at the end of The Last Jedi will reportedly turn out to be deeper than that film suggested. Fans of the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games already noted the similarity between the characters’ connection and the idea of Force Bonds introduced in those games. Is it possible their bond will yet redeem Kylo and end the misery Palpatine inflicted on the galaxy? Considering the film promises to be the end of the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith going back millennia, we’re willing to bet on it.(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, © Lucasfilm)Then again, new material shown at D23 suggests something else. Quick cuts teased a resupplied and reinforced Resistance, a red-eyed C-3PO and, perhaps most disturbingly, Rey brandishing a double-sided red lightsaber. Considering she trained with a staff back on Jakku, the lightsaber variation makes sense. But the red blades suggests the Sith may finally win. Or, perhaps, she will have to fall in order for the Skywalker to rise.Or, it was just an excellent fake-out for the D23 audience. Either way, the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga will not be a simple retelling of Return of the Jedi.Old Friends Return(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)The film will see the return of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Billy Dee Williams in their roles as General Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and Lando Calrissian. Despite Fisher’s tragic death on December 27, 2016, Lucasfilm resolved to maintain Leia’s existence in the ninth film even before Abrams signed on to direct. Once he did, he recalled scenes cut from The Force Awakens he could use to feature the character in The Rise of Skywalker. At Star Wars Celebration, he said editing her material into a new context felt like working with her again. And at D23, Abrams called Leia “the heart of the story.”Lando, meanwhile, returns to pilot the Millennium Falcon once again after he flew the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy to defeat the Empire in Return of the Jedi. It is unclear why he’s back, but we’re happy to see him no matter the reason.And then there’s Luke. Though the character was seen dying in The Last Jedi, it is important to note the special Force ability allowing certain Jedi to remain conscious entities after the termination of the body. As Yoda put it in The Empire Strikes Back, Force-sensitives are “luminous beings” and not the “crude matter” of a physical form. And as revealed in Revenge of the Sith, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) was the first Jedi to return using this technique. That Luke would return in this manner to train Rey or advise Leia is hardly a surprise. What may be more surprising is the single photo of him released so far: seemingly corporeal, he stands next to R2-D2 amid a field in flames.The notion of a Jedi returning bodily to face the ultimate evil is not the craziest idea ever suggested in a Star Wars story. Early drafts of Return of the Jedi featured Anakin Skywalker returning to his human form to face Darth Vader and the Emperor. This, of course, predates the decision to make Anakin and Vader the same person, but the idea persisted for some time. It never came to pass for Jedi, but perhaps Abrams finally employed the idea for this final Skywalker Saga film.It Will Likely Feature John Williams’ Final Star Wars Film ScoreOffering the film one more sense of finality, composer John Williams stated in 2018 that it would feature his last Star Wars film score. If he truly decides to step down – Williams subsequently agreed to compose a music loop for the Disney Parks’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge environments – it will mark the end of an incredible era. Williams’ themes are as indelible as classic lines like “I have a bad feeling about this,” lightsabers, and the jump to hyperspace. Though composers like Kevin Kiner (of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels) and Michael Giacchino (of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) maintained the musical grammar developed by Williams, every subsequent film from 2019 onward will be different. And should the film truly bring the Skywalker saga to a close, it is all the more fitting that Episode IX be the composer’s final bow.Unless, of course, he’s still with us when Disney breaks down and begins developing of Episode X.Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens everywhere on December 20, 2019.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week. the new direction that we were going in. Suits Goes South in Spin-off PearsonGina Torres’ lawyer character Jessica Pearson is used to being a boss on Suits. But in her spinoff, Pearson, which sees her move to Chicago (where she isn t licensed to practice law), she ll have to start over as a fish out of water. Jessica has to earn her family, Torres said. These are completely different people. It s a completely different world. She doesn t know them. They don t know her. They don t know if they trust me. Check out what Jessica will experience in the first trailer for the new series, which premieres later this year on USA.Abby’s: Where Everybody Knows Your NameNBC s new sitcom, about a woman who runs a bar in her backyard, will naturally draw comparisons to another famous bar-set sitcom. But star Neil Flynn noted that the setting is really the only thing Abby s has in common with Cheers. Star Natalie Morales, who plays the titular character, welcomes the comparison, though. Any kind of comparison that we could have, or to Ted Danson that I could have, I’m very happy, she said. The setting isn t exactly similar, however. Abby s bar is outside, which meant that the show filmed in front of a live studio audience outdoors in Los Angeles, presenting a few unique challenges. The things we had to worry about were airplanes and helicopters; sirens being noisy, Morales said. But a fun fact is we shot this on Tuesday nights, as opposed to many multi-cams [that] shoot on a Friday night, because we shot on the Universal Lot, and Halloween Horror Nights was going on, and you would have heard the screaming. So we avoided that, which was nice. Abby s premieres March 28 on NBC.
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(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)Certified Fresh romance Love Basketball was the breakout hit for director Gina Prince-Bythewood. It has become a hallmark of Black cinema, and impacted the industry by blending romance and sports in a new way. Since then, she has worked on projects in other genres because she refuses to be pigeonholed – both in TV and film. (Though she did return to romance, triumphantly, in the acclaimed drama Beyond the Lights.)Her latest film, the big-budget adaptation of Greg Rucka s graphic novel, The Old Guard, was perhaps her biggest departure yet. Starring Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and more, the action flick hit Netflix last year after a planned theatrical release was scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Action is a genre that few women get the opportunity to tackle, and there are even fewer Black women at the helm of big-budget action features. Prince-Bythewood may have pushed the door open a little further: The Old Guard was a huge success for the streaming service, with 72 million views in the first month of release and talk of a sequel. She is following it up with The Woman King, starring Viola Davis as General Nanisca of Dahomey, who leads all-female unit known as the Dahomey Amazons who fought back against the French in the 19th century.Read more: Filmmaker Selects: Alma Har el s 10 Movies (and a Series) for Women s History MonthRead more: Filmmaker Selects: Issa Lópex s 10 Movies For Women s History MonthAs part of our “Filmmaker Selects” series for Women’s History Month, Prince-Bythewood shared 10 films from creatives that inspired her, and spoke with Top Critic Valerie Complex about what makes her tick, her favorite directors, and what the future is looking like for women filmmakers.Gina Prince-Bythewood on the set of The Old Guard. (Photo by Mohammad Kamal © Netflix 2020)Valerie Complex for Rotten Tomatoes: Do you miss the movie theater?Gina Prince-Bythewood: Yes! I love the collective theater experience of sitting with a group of people I don’t know, yet we all laugh/cry at the same thing. I love sitting in the theater when those opening credits come up. Especially when it s a movie that I’ve done and it s an exciting moment we all have to miss right now.What was the first film that made you really want to become a director?Prince-Bythewood: It s interesting because I didn t have that epiphany watching a movie. I had that epiphany that I was a director working on a movie. I was working on a student film at UCLA. I was on set and looked around then it hit me in that moment: you re a director. From then on, I worked on improving the craft and watching great films, which is the benefit of film school. You get to see so many movies that you normally wouldn t be able to. As time moved forward, I became more and more enamored with the craft and the power of filmmaking.Being on set, what were some of the challenges you remember having when shooting your first feature Love Basketball?Prince-Bythewood: While in school, you’re given room to fail, but for Love Basketball, that was my first shot. I worked on the script for so long and fought hard to make it. I was in a constant state of anxiety that I couldn t fail. It was the fear of: If I blow this, I’ll blow my entire career. Working on the film, the crew developed a sense of family, and everyone there wanted me to win, which helped fuel me to see it through to the end.Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sanaa Lathan while making Love Basketball. (Photo by © New Line Cinema)When you talk about that collective anxiety about failure, where does that stem from for you? Is it like a collective thing of being a woman, and being a woman of color? Was it being new in the industry? All of the above?Prince-Bythewood: It’s history. Women, Black folks, and people of color don t have the luxury of failure in this industry. It is very hard to get a second film, and a third film. Suddenly, you look around and you don t see anybody that looks like you – and I learned this pretty early on in my career.Are there any particular women filmmakers that you admire?Prince-Bythewood: Well, there is Kathryn Bigelow, and Euzhan Palcy – she is someone who looks like me, and is working with people like Marlon Brando. Then there is Kasi Lemmons who directed Eve s Bayou. It’s a film I respect immensely and was so different from anything that had come out before it. When Eve s Bayou came out, it was on such another level. The craft, the storytelling, the performances inspired me. The two sisters and their story, the performance that she got from Journee Smollett and Meagan Good, that movie stayed with me. I thought it was such an incredible debut from Kasi. I’ll never forget when I met Kasi before directing Love Basketball, and she was so giving of her time, support, and encouragement.Adepero Oduye in Dee Rees Pariah. (Photo by © Focus Features)What new filmmakers are you into right now?Prince-Bythewood: There are also some dope young women out there. I get excited, not only by their work and their talent, but the fight. I know what it takes to get a film made, and for them to have the grit to get it done is impressive. There is Dee Rees, her film Pariah blew me away. I loved Tina Mabry’s film Mississippi Damned; Little Woods by Nia DaCosta, and looking forward to her next film Candyman; and Channing Godfrey Peoples, who impressed me with Miss Juneteenth.Miss Juneteenth is such a great film.Prince-Bythewood: The movie took me into a world that I had no idea existed. There are a couple of scenes in there that are devastating to watch in the best way. Peoples did phenomenal world-building, which brought me into this small Texas community and taught me something. I cared about Turquoise (Nicole Beharie) and her daughter Kai (Alexis Chikaeze). She wants a better life for them both, and will do what it takes to change her circumstance. I just think Peoples created something special.I hear you really enjoyed Mati Diop’s first feature film, Atlantics, as well. I saw that one at Cannes in 2019.Prince-Bythewood: There was a lot of buzz about it, and I finally got a screener to watch it. I’m glad I didn’t know much about the film because it was exciting to experience that way. It s a quiet, beautiful movie, and I was just so invested in the love story. It’s beautiful, surprising, and heartbreaking.Radha Blank in The Forty-Year-Old Version. (Photo by © Netflix)And one of your favorites of last year is The Forty-Year-Old Version, which is written and directed by Radha Blank.Prince-Bythewood: Blank created something with all the elements: There’s drama, comedy, and an honest depiction of one woman s life who works in the creative arts. She has a fresh voice and clear vision that’s dope, dynamic, and bold. And shooting in black-and-white? A brilliant touch. I also loved the music and how it helps tell the story. It’s the best kind of humor because it comes from a place of truth.Your portfolio is super diversified. Like you got action, drama, romance. Do you like to do it all? Do you want to experiment with horror next? What s coming?Prince-Bythewood: I love every genre except for horror and westerns. I can t even tell you why. That s not to say I can t recognize a great western or horror film, but it s not my thing. Personally, I crave to do another love story. That is my favorite genre. However, I certainly want to see women, particularly Black women, creating in every genre. The next thing I am working on is The Woman King with Viola Davis. It s a historical epic. I m so hyped about the project because it’s a beautiful story, and we don’t often get epics of this caliber with women at the forefront.Kiki Layne with Gina Prince-Bythewood on the set of The Old Guard. (Photo by Amy Spinks / © Netflix)Do you think, since you directed Love Basketball, that the industry has changed for women filmmakers?Prince-Bythewood: It s interesting you asked that, because I came across an interview I did 21 years ago during the press tour for Love Basketball, and I talked about my hopes for the future, and the fact that we re still having those conversations 21 years later is wild to me. When I shot The Old Guard I thought to myself that few women get the opportunity to do big tent-pole and action films. When I was in film school we had Kathryn Bigelow. She was the only woman I knew doing big-budget movies.This past year, seven of us – and the majority of us, women of color – got the opportunity to do the high title films. However, you can’t get too excited though because you see the actual numbers and it s like, Oh my God, how is this still happening? How are we at 12% of anything?! But it’s important to remember there are so many great films by a fantastic group of women that are in the awards conversation this year and it s long overdue.Kathryn Bigelow on the set of Point Break in 1991. (Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)What do you hope to see for the future for not just women directors, but for Black women specifically? Paint a picture of how that would work if you had it your way.Prince-Bythewood: More Black women in the director s chair. I had this conversation with Regina King for another publication and we talked about that, what we bring as Black women to our storytelling. Hollywood needs to understand that we all bring something different, that we are not a monolith. We don t all share the same experiences, so we need women who are bringing different things, in different genres to the table. My life experiences are what s important to me and a large part of my work. Things are wide open, and there are so many stories and different perspectives to share. I want all of these women to have the opportunity to tell a story that no one else can tell.Gina Prince-Bythewood s The Old Guard is available on Netflix; Love Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights are available on Vudu and FandangoNOW. Gina Prince-Bythewood s 10 Films for Women s History Month
(Photo by Netflix)The 50 Best True-Crime DocuseriesWhile it might seem like the proliferation of true-crime in pop culture has been a trend of the last five or ten years, in reality the genre has been a staple for at least the last 100. The National Enquirer became popular when it printed gruesome details from criminal cases, and the macabre appeal of not only learning about horrific crimes, but also examining the psychology of those who perpetrate them and honoring the victims is more popular than ever.So today, instead of mega-popular TV newsmagazines like Dateline and other shows holding down the true-crime fort, we also have podcasts, streaming services, and even entire networks devoted to in-depth reporting on real-life cases. Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max are already frequent contributors to the true-crime discourse, and the trend isn t slowing. Peacock gets in on the action with John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise, which premieres on March 25; IMDb TV will stream five-part docuseries Moment Of Truth, about the murder of basketball legend Michael Jordan s father James, starting on April 2; This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist drops on Netflix on April 7; and on April 18, Starz unleashes Confronting a Serial Killer from Joe Berlinger (Emmy winner for 1996 documentary film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills). And that s not to mention the near-daily debut of new specials on broadcast and cable that examine true crime in some way, shape or form.For this roundup, though, we ve decided to focus on the true-crime docuseries that dig a little deeper into cases both famous and relatively unknown, from examinations into well-known public figures (Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Allen v. Farrow, Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer, Surviving R. Kelly) to deep dives into smaller cases (Making A Murderer, How to Fix a Drug Scandal, The Staircase). These are the series that go deeper than a typical episode of Dateline or a two-hour documentary — they spend hours dissecting the people and circumstances involved in the cases that captivate audiences.The criteria was simple: Each docuseries must have at least five reviews from critics, giving it a Tomatometer score, and that score must be Fresh at 60% or higher. If a docuseries you love isn t on this list, chances are it doesn t have enough reviews to meet that threshold — yet. Take a look at the list below next time you re in the mood for a new true-crime binge.What s your favorite true-crime docuseries? Let us know in the comments.
(Photo by Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection)After Star Wars was released in 1977, everyone wanted to be Han Solo, including black children. Because before Lando Calrissian arrived in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), young black film fans were forced to search for the heroes in themselves in the white characters available to them.As Black History Month draws to a close, we have a look back at some of the groundbreaking TV series that helped change that.Before the 1970s, black characters on television most often appeared in the token roles of gangster, hardened cop, or caregiver. Then shows like The Jeffersons, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and Good Times began to fill the void in black representation, and in the 80s, Diff rent Strokes, A Different World, and 227 widened the conversation surrounding black archetypes, higher education, and navigating the politics of black and white America.And while early children’s programs like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood promoted important messages of community and tolerance, they would often feature black children in stories that would subtly incorporate the otherness of black children in order to be palatable to white audiences and avoid controversy. In reality, it’s that perceived otherness that makes life difficult for black families.Though pioneers for children’s show representation, 80s cartoons like Captain Planet, Defenders of the Earth, and Jem and the Holograms did little to elevate the minority characters above colorful casting.But in the ’90s, the landscape changed, and black kids were finally able to recognize themselves in the characters they were seeing on TV. The impact was immediate and the feeling was unique and powerful.The birth of Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and a 24-hour Disney Channel finally made it possible for creators to put a sharp focus on the black experience in children’s entertainment. Suddenly, black children were the stars of television shows — shows that understood the challenges they would face in life.The important lessons the following ’90s series taught were frequently difficult and wouldn’t have been possible without the onscreen representation these shows provided. Their legacy is a TV universe that today includes series like grown-ish, Cousins for Life, Craig of the Creek, Doc McStuffins, and K.C. Undercover.Have a look at some of those lessons of these series and specific episodes that made such a difference in empowering young black viewers.Kenan and Kel (1996-2000)Young sketch comedy gods Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell followed up their All That success with their own eponymous show. The series, set in Chicago, featured a theme song by Coolio and centered on two kids trying to get through high school, work regular jobs, and date. They served up epic laughs for four seasons that eventually led to a feature movie.The Episode: I.Q. Can Do Better Kel s parents are a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist, but his genius isn t as readily apparent. So, when the boys take an IQ test and his score comes back as certified brilliant — and Kenan s score is a three — Kenan suspects something is wrong with the test. At the end of the episode, it turns out both boys are geniuses.The Lesson:Kenan and Kel perfected slapstick to a professional grade early in their careers; in fact, the actors were almost too good at the exaggerated style of physical comedy — to the point that viewers might mistake their characters bumbling, scheming, practical jokes, and mistakes as signs of ignorance. The episode revealed, however, that their ingenuity and intellectual curiosity were actually the building blocks of genius.The Proud Family (2001-2005)(Photo by Disney Channel/Courtesy Everett Collection)Each week Penny Proud, eldest child of the Proud family, navigated the terrifying world of middle school, hormones, and the many dynamic personalities of her big family (with a theme song by Solange Knowles, backed by Destiny s Child). Voiced by Kyla Pratt, Penny was a good girl with bad girl attitude. She was ready to fight for her friends, but hated to disappoint her parents. The show mostly focused on the problems all adolescents face, but occasionally an episode specific to black childhood would explore a previously hidden truth.The Episode: I Had a Dream Penny s history teacher, tired of reading the same old reports during Black History Month, assigns the class projects focusing on lesser-known black American contributions to history. Penny gets figuratively and literally swept up in the assignment, traveling to 1955 dressed as 1960s activist Angela Davis. Enraged at the limitations the era enforces on her, Penny gives a modern-day speech about the accomplishments of black Americans. Later, her love for her white friend, Zoey, inspires a protest that eventually integrates their school. Parents protest the change, but Penny retorts by reciting portions of Dr. Martin Luther King s I Have a Dream speech.The Lesson:This episode serves an intense reality check for children who believe the past doesn t affect their current existence. In her dream, Penny s history teacher works as a disregarded janitor, and her friends are second-class citizens; Penny Proud can t swallow that level of indignity. She learns that the civil rights movement was built on a foundation of hard work, and that all black children owe a debt to those who paved the way — lest history repeat itself.Cousin Skeeter (1999-2001)(Photo by Nickelodeon/Courtesy Everett Collection)Nickelodeon’s sitcom was about a suburban black family that takes in their cousin Skeeter, a puppet in the human world who uses his adorable nature to create mischief. The story is a bit like an updated Leave it to Beaver. Skeeter, his cousin Bobby, and Bobby s lifelong friend and eternal crush Nina encounter classic sitcom tropes like navigating April Fool s jokes, sneaking out of the house, and trading lives with a wealthy lookalike.The Episode: The Bicycle Thief Skeeter sees the perfect opportunity for Bobby to prove his love for Nina when Nina’s bike is stolen. Together the crew plays detective to figure out who took the bike. Clumsy Skeeter sets up a sting operation using Bobby s bike as bait for the thief, and it works! Unfortunately, the thief is craftier than expected and gets away. The friends try to get the police involved, but a lack of evidence gets them turned away. Eventually, they track their bikes down and discover that the shop worker who s been helping them enhance their bikes set them up.The Lesson:Interactions between police officers and black children are often portrayed as terrifying and life-threatening, but in reality, interactions with the police exist on a spectrum.When the officers arrive on the scene, they uncover a stash of spicy candy. But when the trio warn an officer, he brushes them off and even mocks them lightly. The kids just shrug and let the officer eat the candy, showing that sometimes police officers’ microaggressions will shame black youth. The lesson is imperative to their survival in a world that isn t always kind (but also doesn t have to be deadly).Codename: Kids Next Door (2002-2008)KND was a super-secret global spy ring made entirely of adolescents determined to end parental crimes of forced veggies, bedtimes, and the regulation of Halloween candy. Numbuh Five, voiced by Cree Summers, was an early childhood icon for many black girls. Summer s gravely voice, Five s sporty design, and the effortless cool of the character can be compared to Pam Grier s Coffy or a modern-day Idris Elba. When the show focused on Five, it often forced the fearless anchor of the team to confront her inner demons.The Episode: Operation M.A.U.R.I.C.E. One of the main goals of the KND was to allow kids to be kids for as long as possible. Age and time changed Five s sister, Cree, from Five s best friend to her sworn enemy. Afraid her friend Maurice will suffer the same fate when he turns 13, Five and the team agree to watch Maurice 24/7 to make sure he doesn t become part of the teen s team. Though he s growing up, Maurice will get to be a kid forever.The Lesson:Some people get to remain kids. Growing up doesn’t mean a person is expected to be jaded. Maurice, though 13, still wants to protect his friends. He’s growing and maturing, but his roots remain intact. This sets expectations for Five that help relieve a lot of the pressure she feels as she approaches the same age; she doesn’t have to become her sister. In a world where black children are expected to grow up faster than their peers, learning that remaining young at heart is a choice is an important one.That s So Raven (2003-2008)Raven (Raven-Symoné) is a normal high-schooler, except for one thing: She can see into the future. Raven, who has aspirations to be a designer, tries to survive high school and interpret her visions with her friends Eddie (Orlando Brown) and Chelsea (Annelise van der Pol) by her side.The Episode: True Colors Chelsea and Raven apply for a job at Sassy’s. Raven passes every test with flying colors, but in a vision, Raven hears the boss say she doesn t hire black people. Hearing these words shocks Raven to her core. For the first time she is consciously aware of racism. I always heard about racism, Raven tells her friends, but I didn t know how much it could hurt. Raven s parents convince her to fight back. Eventually, they catch the boss on camera being overtly racist, and she is fired.The Lesson:Fighting for one s rights can be incredibly daunting, and having to explain to young children why one s skin color shouldn t exclude them from work, can be demeaning and embarrassing. Even Chelsea, who loves Raven endlessly, has a hard time identifying her new boss as racist. She just discriminates against bald people, Chelsea explains at one point, showing that even the most well-intentioned friend may still have difficulty understanding these situations. Raven was ready to give up, but with her support system behind her, she was able to get justice, which is an enormously valuable lesson for any child to learn.
WandaVision's Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany Say the MCU Heroes Are 'Literal Soulmates' Plus, Teyonah Parris and Kathryn Hahn hint at futures in the MCU, Kevin Feige talks Phase 4's roadmap, and Bettany learns what a "zaddy" is. by RT Staff | January 15, 2021 | Comments
(Photo by Warner Brothers)What makes a good movie?For me, a good-to-great movie rests on the perspective of the artists involved. Do they have something to say? Is it novel, is it interesting, is it challenging? Does it challenge the status quo or does it capitulate to it?You know, one thing I like to keep in mind is, as much as I love film and television as media, they re completely capitalist enterprises, and that can totally influence the art involved. I tend to believe that good art, it challenges status quo more than anything else. It has a voice, it has a perspective, it has an understanding of history without being completely beholden to it. It has a strong visual grammar and perspective that feels in line with the story and thematics it s interested in telling.Above all else, I seek joy, I seek pleasure, and I seek being challenged as a viewer.What were you watching the first time you saw yourself on screen, and what did you relate to about that story?You know, it s so funny getting asked a question like this. Because sometimes I wonder about the impulse to see yourself on screen. And I think sometimes people really judge this on the basis of identity. Like, “I m a Black woman and I m seeing another Black woman on screen that looks like me, moves like me, has similar concerns as I do.”For me, I think the time that I really, really first saw myself, or at least spiritually saw myself on screen, was in Now, Voyager with Bette Davis performance. I am separated by time, race, sexual identity, with this woman. So you know, it s not like we line up in those sort of ways. But spiritually, I felt like when I saw it as a teenager for the first time, I was blown away by is portrayal of mental illness and anxiety, and the complications that can happen between a daughter and a mother.What is the hardest review that you ve ever written?Every new review is the hardest review I ve ever written lately, to be honest. It s been tough going. I will say, the Judas and the Black Messiah review was very tricky for me. Partially because I wanted to bring in a historical perspective, but not be so weighed down on it.Who is an under-the-radar director or screenwriter that you think more people should know about?I d say up-and-coming may be a better term for them. Channing Godfrey Peoples, who wrote and directed Miss Juneteenth. I m really excited to see where her career goes. And Chinonye Chukwu, who wrote and directed Clemency with Alfre Woodard, is a writer-director I m very interested in. I’m so curious to see where these women s careers go.What is your favorite movie from your childhood?I could be a basic bitch and mention Jurassic Park, which was apparently the first movie I saw in theaters, but I was so young I don t remember it.Favorite movie from my childhood I did see Eve s Bayou when I was very young, because my mom also really likes it. Partially because my family s from Louisiana, I consider myself a Southern broad, and the way the South is depicted in films is very fascinating to me. Especially when Black people are allowed to inhabit these works. The text that is Eve s Bayou is so dynamic, it s so rich, it s so challenging, it s so visually inventive. It s an amazing independent film. I ve had taste since the beginning, apparently.Is there someone in your life, that s not a critic, whose opinion you seek out and admire?E. Alex Jung. We ve really become closer friends in the pandemic, and it s a friendship I cherish. Partially because he s really influenced me to ask for my worth and then some, and really challenge myself as a writer. I sometimes like to write my reviews or pieces as love letters to friends, and I keep them in mind. He was in mind with writing I May Destroy You. 如，LOL手游要回城才能购买装备，玩了多年王者荣耀之后，会经常不买装备就出门；再如，王者荣耀辅助要买经验宝石，可以三路游走，中路法师清完线之后也可以边路游走，而在LOL手游中，这些玩法都将不再适用……因此，很多玩家玩了一段时间LOL手游之后，还是更喜欢王者荣耀。
亚博网页版注册 Box office watchers love nothing more than a film becoming a surprise success and outperforming its expectations. Tracking services were once again made the fool this weekend as they did not even give Good Boys a chance over the shark sequel, let alone besting a second sequel that few were asking about nor the franchise spinoff showing signs of wear and tear. But Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, and Keith L. Williams – backed by word-of-mouth since their SXSW premiere in March – managed to do just that and now Good Boys hopes for a long shelf life.King of the Crop: Good Boys Takes Advantage of Comedy Drought(Photo by Ed Araquel / © Universal)Good Boys is the eighth R-rated film of 2019 to have an opening weekend of million or more. That may seem low until you realize there were only eight R-rated films all of last year to achieve that. The bigger question many are asking is: where are the successful comedies? Until Good Boys, the highest-opening comedies of the year were all headlined by African-Americans: A Madea Family Funeral (.06 million), What Men Want (.23 million), and Little (.4 million). The Rebel Wilson pair in the first half of the year turned out to be a mixed bag as Isn’t It Romantic, despite being the only positively-scored of this batch (69%), fell short due to international rights being handled by Netflix, while The Hustle was a hit, thanks to its overseas release – even if it s one of the worst-reviewed films of the year (14%).SXSW had three big comedy premieres this year well in advance of their releases, each maintaining highly-acclaimed status by critics. In May, United Artists Releasing and Annapurna failed to capitalize on the premiere for Booksmart (97% on the Tomatometer), which only grossed .68 million. Lionsgate also seemed to miss with Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen in Long Shot (81%), which finished with just .31 million, though one could easily blame that on folks not wanting any more politics with their night out at the movies. The third of the batch was Good Boys, produced by Rogen and holding steady with a Certified Fresh 79% on the Tomatometer. Its placement in August is certainly no accident, as the first two American Pie sequels were successes in this month, as were the Rogen productions Superbad and Sausage Party. Back on the same weekend in 2005, Universal released The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which opened to .42 million and went on to gross over 9 million. Other high-grossing R-rated comedies released in August include We’re the Millers (.41 million opening / 0.39 million total), Tropic Thunder (.81 million/ 0.51 million), Pineapple Express (.24 million / .34 million), and The Campaign (.58 million / .90 million), even if the latter three were technically financial failures. Good Boys, with a budget of just million, is well on its way to joining the profit list.Rotten Returns: Where d You Go, Bernadette? Oh, There You AreRyan FujitaniThe United Artists Releasing experiment has seemingly had a lot of bottoms this year from releasing one of the worst-reviewed films of the year in The Hustle to not cashing in on the aforementioned goodwill of Booksmart to failing to get the Child’s Play remake to outgross even the original s take of .2 million. But thanks to at least one international haul and a few skimpy budgets, those are minor failures at worst and could each be written up as profitable. They won’t be able to escape the numbers on Richard Linklater’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, though. It’s only the fourth wide opening of his career but certainly weaker than The Newton Boys, which opened to .01 million in 1,965 theaters. Bernadette grossed .4 million in 2,404 theaters and reps a new low for UA Releasing and Annapurna when it comes to a 2,000+ launch.The Top 10 and Beyond(Photo by Daniel Smith / © Universal)Anyone who had Hobbs Shaw at number 1 this weekend was not paying attention to either the breakout potential of Good Boys or the evidence that the popularity of the Fast Furious series – at least as it relates to spinoffs – is dwindling. We ll certainly test that theory when Vin Diesel returns in Fast and Furious 9 next Memorial Day weekend, and yes, Hobbs Shaw has the eighth-highest gross after 17 days for films opening in the month of August, just ahead of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which did gross over 6 million. However its .1 million this weekend trails the .1 million that Apes made in weekend three, which suggests a final gross in the 0 million range. That is going to be around million less than The Fate of the Furious (itself finishing with 7 million less than Furious 7). More concerning for Universal about this series future is that the film has only grossed 3.3 million internationally to date. That alone is about 0 million less than Fate acquired, though H S still has not opened in China, which added 2+ million alone to that overseas haul; a couple million higher than Furious 7.The battle for the family dollar was joined this week by The Angry Birds Movie 2, proving once again that Hollywood still has not received the memo that releasing animated films in August is a fool’s errand. Sony may have felt bullish, given that Sausage Party is the highest-grossing animated film ever released in this month, making .68 million. But they should have looked further down the list and realized that kids are back in school, weekday numbers are down, and that has resulted in only three other animated films to even pass million (Planes, Barnyard, and ParaNorman). Now, The Angry Birds Movie 2 may not be joining that list either. Despite giving the film an extra day’s head start on Tuesday, the film has grossed just .2 million in its first six days. That is a just a million more than Kubo and the Two Strings had in five days (.2 million), and it finished just shy with .02 million.(Photo by Paramount Pictures)Dora and the Lost City of Gold had .67 million in its first five days. It now has million after 10 days, which is about a million ahead of where Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters was at. However, Dora trailed that film’s second weekend, .7 million-to-.5 million, suggesting a final haul right now between and million. Families were still too busy seeing The Lion King, which is just a few days away from passing the 0 million mark. It is the 10th highest-grossing film after 31 days of release, though its fifth weekend haul is more around what the 14th-16th place films had done. It still maintains a pace to get it around the 0 million line domestically. But it has already joined history as one of the ten highest grossing films of all-time globally with .435 billion, with eyes on Furious 7 (.516 billion) for eighth place. In other Disney news, Toy Story 4 became their fifth billion dollar release of 2019, not to mention their 23rd of all time in a field of just 43 films to reach the milestone. It needs another million to surpass their live-action remake of Aladdin.Sony is also keeping an eye on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, which just began its international run, which it s going to need to turn a profit. Domestically the film is still doing very well. The million-budgeted film has grossed over 4 million and is about on par with the pace of Mission: Impossible III, putting its final estimate between 0 and 5 million. It has only made .7 million overseas so far, but that is only in Hong Kong and Russia. The film still needs another 8 million to break even. Leonardo DiCaprio’s last three films all grossed over 0 million internationally. Sony is also ready to pop the champagne on Spider-Man: Far From Home, which, with over .1 billion, is on the verge of passing Skyfall as the highest-grossing film in the history of the studio.(Photo by Kathleen Pollard, 2019. © CBS Films)Over in the terror category, folks still preferred last week’s Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark to this week’s 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. The former is doing better than most horror films in August, currently smack dab in the middle of where Rob Zombie’s Halloween was in 2007 and what The Cell and The Possession had after 10 days. Stories’ million second weekend was better than any of those films, putting a + million total in play. Uncaged opened to million, less than the million many tracking services had figured. It is also less than the first film, which started with .2 million on its way to .3 million. With the exception of 80s horror classics An American Werewolf in London and David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly, horror films released August that have opened to less than million have not made it to million total.Looking at the summer of Sundance, we have WB/New Line’s pick-up of Blinded by the Light opening to just .45 million in 2,307 theaters. The distributors are certainly now hoping for some Bend It Like Beckham international numbers to make up the million budget and acquisition. Then, expanding again but out of the crowded top 10, is A24’s The Farewell. It upped its theater count to 861 and grossed .5 million, which is down 28% from last week’s expansion to 704 theaters. Looking at a collection of films that increased from the 700 to the 800-theater range from fifth-to-sixth week, including Enough Said, Emma, Garden State, The Favourite, The Shape of Water, and Gosford Park, the 28% drop is higher than any of them, as they grossed between .58 million and .13 million. Last week we made the comparison to Garden State, and that still holds, as both films had a near identical gross after 38 days of release. The Farewell stands at .83 million while Garden State had .84 million. However, Zach Braff’s film’s expansion to 813 theaters at this point netted .9 million, suggesting that Lulu Wang’s film does not have the momentum to reach million. That said, it still should have enough in the tank to best Amazon’s Late Night (.46 million) and become the highest-grossing pickup from Sundance of 2019 thus far.This Time Last Year: Crazy Rich Asians Began an Impressive Run(Photo by Sanja Bucko/Warner Bros.)One of the biggest success stories of 2018 opened this weekend when Crazy Rich Asians grossed .51 million on its way to a remarkable 6.58 multiple and 4+ million domestic haul. The Meg was still second with .15 million, and the latest Mark Wahlberg/Peter Berg collaboration, Mile 22, opened in third with .71 million. Albert Hughes’ prehistoric adventure tale, Alpha, finished fifth with .35 million. The top ten films grossed a total of 0.71 million; the second-lowest weekend of the summer at the time. Critics graded the films an average of 65.3%. This year’s top 10 grossed an estimated 1.54 million and averaged 70.5% on the Tomatometer.On the Vine: Ready or Not, Will Audiences Fall Again for Gerard Butler?Ryan FujitaniThe summer is definitely winding down if the week’s highlight is a new film from Gerard Butler, who has not headlined a positively-scored (non-animated) film since RocknRolla in 2008 (and even that is just barely Fresh at 60%). Nevertheless he is back to possibly conclude the “Fallen” trilogy with Angel Has Fallen. The first two films are his most successful (again as the star in a live-action film) since 2010’s The Bounty Hunter, though London Has Fallen grossed million less than Olympus Has Fallen. Regardless there is also Ready or Not, a humans-hunting-humans horror-comedy that Fox Searchlight did not cancel and is hoping to draw more interest to than recent Fox films. Overcomer is the latest faith-based film from the genre’s most successful director, Alex Kendrick, whose last film, War Room, grossed over million. Then in limited release is Brittany Runs a Marathon starring Jillian Bell in one of the great surprises out of Sundance this year. Amazon is hoping their pick-up will find the necessary word-of-mouth to make this a late summer expansion.The Full Top 10: August 16-18Good Boys (2019) 80% – million ( million total)Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) 67% – .14 million (3.74 million total)The Lion King (2019) 52% – .9 million (6.12 million total)The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) 73% – .5 million (.24 million total)Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) 77% – .05 million (.22 million total)47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019) 45% – million ( million total)Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) 85% – .5 million (.91 million total)Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) 85% – .6 million (4.35 million total)Blinded by the Light (2019) 88% – .45 million (.45 million total)The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) 44% – .4 million (.88 million total)