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Film

Disney World Raising Annual Pass Prices Ahead of Galaxy’s Edge Opening

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Easter Eggs

Turns out that visiting a galaxy far, far away will hit closer to everyone’s wallets. As the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort on August 29 nears closer, Disney is preparing for battle — of a sort. Disney Parks is raising the prices of the Walt Disney World Annual Passes across the board ahead of the highly anticipated opening of Galaxy’s Edge.

According to Inside the Magic, all tiers of the Disney World Annual Passes except for the Theme Park Select Pass will see a price increase. The lower-cost Epcot After 4 is now valued at $309, up $20 from $289, while Disney’s Silver Pass increased from $479 to $519. Meanwhile, Disney’s Gold Pass sees a big increase of $90, jumping up from $609 to $699.

The higher tiered annual passes also see hefty increase, with the Platinum Pass now costing $899, up from $748. . The Platinum Plus Pass now costs $999, up from the previous $849 price point.

Out-of-state residents take the biggest hits. The Platinum Pass for out-of-state now costs $1,119, while the Platinum Plus Pass has increased to $1,219.

These price increases come in the months leading up to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which definitely lives up to the hype in its west coast incarnation. However, not all is lost for those wishing to fly to a galaxy far, far away: earlier this year, Disneyland unveiled cheaper annual passes for those willing to schedule their trips weeks in advance — a necessity for the unavoidable long lines that will be clogging up Galaxy’s Edge. And just yesterday, Disney announced that higher-tiered Annual Passholders would get a special preview of the land prior to its August opening.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on August 29, 2019.

The post Disney World Raising Annual Pass Prices Ahead of Galaxy’s Edge Opening appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/disney-world-annual-pass-prices-galaxys-edge/

Film

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Early Buzz: Peter Parker Swings Into a Post-‘Endgame’ World

Far From Home early buzz

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a relatively small-scale story that brought Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in as a supporting player to serve as a mentor to Tom Holland‘s web-slinging high schooler Peter Parker. But years later, and in the wake of the devastating events of Avengers: Endgame, does this Spidey sequel soar or stumble? Read on for the Far From Home early buzz below.

spider-man far from home clip

Spider-Man: Far From Home Early Buzz

I had a chance to see this movie earlier this week and speak with director Jon Watts about some of its more spoilery moments, so keep an eye out for that interview just after the film is released. Until then, here’s my spoiler-free reaction to the film:

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And here are several more reactions from critics across the web:

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Wow, I was honestly not expecting this much love for this movie, but I’m glad to see people enjoyed it so much. Personally, I have complicated feelings about this movie, and it’s extremely tough to talk about without getting into spoilers. It somehow reminds me of the best and worst of the MCU at the same time, and I’m really looking forward to discussing it with you all and the rest of Team /Film when it opens, because there’s tons of stuff to dig into.

Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 2, 2019.

The post ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Early Buzz: Peter Parker Swings Into a Post-‘Endgame’ World appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/spider-man-far-from-home-early-buzz/

Film

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Early Buzz: Peter Parker Swings Into a Post-‘Endgame’ World

Far From Home early buzz

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a relatively small-scale story that brought Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in as a supporting player to serve as a mentor to Tom Holland‘s web-slinging high schooler Peter Parker. But years later, and in the wake of the devastating events of Avengers: Endgame, does this Spidey sequel soar or stumble? Read on for the Far From Home early buzz below.

spider-man far from home clip

Spider-Man: Far From Home Early Buzz

I had a chance to see this movie earlier this week and speak with director Jon Watts about some of its more spoilery moments, so keep an eye out for that interview just after the film is released. Until then, here’s my spoiler-free reaction to the film:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

And here are several more reactions from critics across the web:

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Wow, I was honestly not expecting this much love for this movie, but I’m glad to see people enjoyed it so much. Personally, I have complicated feelings about this movie, and it’s extremely tough to talk about without getting into spoilers. It somehow reminds me of the best and worst of the MCU at the same time, and I’m really looking forward to discussing it with you all and the rest of Team /Film when it opens, because there’s tons of stuff to dig into.

Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 2, 2019.

The post ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Early Buzz: Peter Parker Swings Into a Post-‘Endgame’ World appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/spider-man-far-from-home-early-buzz/

Film

Daily Podcast: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alamo Drafthouse, Paranormal Activity, Pixar, Avengers, Comic Con, & Country Bear Jamboree

Country Bear Jamboree

On the June 19, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall and senior writer Ben Pearson to discuss the latest film and tv news, including Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alamo Drafthouse, Paranormal Activity, Soul, Avengers: Endgame, Comic Con, and Country Bear Jamboree.

Feedback: Good prequels.

  • Jon A says Batman Begins.
  • Stephen B says Temple of Doom

In The News:

All the other stuff you need to know:

  • You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes.
  • /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com.
  • You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps (RSS).
  • Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at peter@slashfilm.com. Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air.
  • Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word!
  • Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo.

The post Daily Podcast: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alamo Drafthouse, Paranormal Activity, Pixar, Avengers, Comic Con, & Country Bear Jamboree appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/daily-podcast-spider-man-far-from-home-alamo-drafthouse-paranormal-activity-pixar-avengers-comic-con-country-bear-jamboree/

Film

Daily Podcast: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alamo Drafthouse, Paranormal Activity, Pixar, Avengers, Comic Con, & Country Bear Jamboree

Country Bear Jamboree

On the June 19, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall and senior writer Ben Pearson to discuss the latest film and tv news, including Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alamo Drafthouse, Paranormal Activity, Soul, Avengers: Endgame, Comic Con, and Country Bear Jamboree.

Feedback: Good prequels.

  • Jon A says Batman Begins.
  • Stephen B says Temple of Doom

In The News:

All the other stuff you need to know:

  • You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes.
  • /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com.
  • You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the popular podcast apps (RSS).
  • Send your feedback, questions, comments and concerns to us at peter@slashfilm.com. Please leave your name and general geographic location in case we mention the e-mail on the air.
  • Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes, tell your friends and spread the word!
  • Thanks to Sam Hume for our logo.

The post Daily Podcast: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alamo Drafthouse, Paranormal Activity, Pixar, Avengers, Comic Con, & Country Bear Jamboree appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/daily-podcast-spider-man-far-from-home-alamo-drafthouse-paranormal-activity-pixar-avengers-comic-con-country-bear-jamboree/

Film

Another ‘Paranormal Activity’ Sequel is in Development, So Prepare Those Night Vision Cameras

paranormal activity movies ranked

It’s easy to forget that the original Paranormal Activity, released in 2009, wasn’t just a massive box office hit. It was an event. I’ll never forget the early festival buzz and I’ll never forget the girl silently weeping in terror in the row in front of me when I saw it on opening night. Even though the many sequels ultimately drove the franchise into the ground, this is a landmark series and perhaps the most influential and important horror title to emerge in the past decade.

So yeah, news that another Paranormal Activity sequel, the seventh in the franchise, is in the works shouldn’t surprise anyone. Not really. It was inevitable. And it’s time.

The news of another Paranormal Activity movie emerged from CineEurope (via Coming Soon), where Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos made the following announcement:

“We are partnering with uber horror producer Jason Blum to bring a new installment of Paranormal Activity.”

The details begin and end there, but that’s all we need for now, really. We can safely assume that the new film will follow in the footsteps of its predecessors and tell a story through security cameras, laptop cameras, and phone cameras, giving us an up close and personal look at things going bump in the night for a doomed family who picked the wrong house to call home.

No matter your opinion of the Paranormal Activity movies (they range from great to awful!), they transformed producer Jason Blum into one of the most important and continually vital names in horror filmmaking. After the first film in the series made $193 million worldwide on a budget of only $150,000, he was launched into the stratosphere and his credits now include Get Out, Us, Halloween, Happy Death Day, Oculus, The Purge, Ouija, Sinister, The Visit, Split, and dozens of other projects, both acclaimed and completely forgotten. At the very least, Paranormal Activity gave Blum the power to spend the past decade shaping the modern form of the horror genre, which makes any news of a new film, especially with his involvement, noteworthy.

While audiences eventually gave up on Paranormal Activity – 2015’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension earned $78 million worldwide against a $10 million budget, which is fine but a far cry from the series’ glory days – a comeback feels right. Found footage horror has been taking a break for a few years and maybe audiences are hungry for it again. And maybe a new film will revert back to the style of the earlier films, which utilized its micro-budget brilliantly and built scares out of a naturalism that is generally lacking in other films of this ilk.

Plus, the final film in the series did little to cap off the franchise’s increasingly complex and labyrinthine mythology and nerds like me demand closure, damn it. Plus, any devotee of the franchise knows that the odd-numbered entries are the good ones, so a seventh film has to be good. I don’t make the rules, I just relay them.

We’ll let you know when we hear more about Paranormal Activity 7 or whatever goofy subtitle they decide to give it. One thing is for sure: they can turn these movies around in about six months, so don’t be surprised if one appears suddenly and without warning.

The post Another ‘Paranormal Activity’ Sequel is in Development, So Prepare Those Night Vision Cameras appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/new-paranormal-activity-sequel/

Film

Indigenous Awakening: 10 to Watch at the NFB

“Canada, you are in the midst of an Indigenous renaissance. Are you ready to hear the truths that need to be told? Are you ready to see the things that need to be seen?”

With this proclamation — part challenge, part whoop of joy — musician Jeremy Dutcher accepted the 2018 Polaris Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, an avant-garde reworking of traditional Wolastoq songs that incorporates century-old wax cylinder recordings of his own ancestors.   “All of my people, this is for you!” he said, speaking in Woloastogey, the imperilled language that he so ingeniously is helping to keep alive.

Dutcher is part of a wave of Indigenous artists and storytellers that’s reshaping Canada’s cultural landscape and national self-image — a movement that includes such disparate figures as museum curator Alexandra Nordstrom, who crafted a tonic corrective to the historic record with her exhibit Poundmaker: Life, Legacy and Liberation: film director Zacharias Kunuk, whose work with the Isuma Arts Collective is representing Canada at this year’s Venice Biennale; and singer Emma Stevens, the Eskasoni First Nation high school student who’s become an internet sensation with a Mi’kmaq-language rendition of the Beatles’ tune Blackbird.

Filmmakers have been playing a vital part in this renaissance, employing the language of cinema to defy stale colonial narratives and fashion their own bold visions of decolonization, ushering in what Jesse Wente, Director of Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office, refers to as “the first true golden age of Indigenous cinema.”

The National Film Board is now two years into its Indigenous Action Plan, a plan that commits to putting no less than 15% of production funds into Indigenous projects, and there are currently over thirty Indigenous-driven projects in the works in English Program alone. The filmmakers mentioned below represent different communities across Canada, and their work ranges from classic linear storytelling to community-engaged doc projects and experimental forays into Augmented Reality.

“As Canada’s public producer and distributor, we can play an important role in supporting Indigenous directors, and in building capacity for Indigenous filmmaking more generally,” says Michelle van Beusekom, Executive Director of NFB English Program.

“Over the course of Canada’s history, there have been ongoing and systemic attempts to silence Indigenous voices, to erase their languages and stories. The NFB was created with a mandate to reflect Canada in all its complexity, so we recognize our responsibility to confront that history, and to create a space where Indigenous filmmakers can tell their stories in their own ways — and get those stories on Canadian and international screens.”

The work of Indigenous creators featured prominently in the NFB offering at this year’s edition of Hot Docs, where nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, Tasha Hubbard’s tour-de-force account of the aftermath of the shooting death of Colten Boushie (coproduced with Downstream Doc Meida), won the award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary, and an inventive reboot of Five Feminist Minutes included the short doc Lake, an exercise in cinema vérité in which artist Alexandra Lazarowich worked with a crew of Indigenous women headed by producer Coty Savard.

The need to provide more training opportunities for Indigenous crew and producers was among the issues discussed recently at the second annual Indigenous Film Summit. Marcia Nickerson, author of Onscreen Protocols and Pathways, a newly published production guide commissioned by imagineNATIVE, identifies a specific need to bring more Indigenous producers onstream. Non-Indigenous producers, she says, as well-intentioned as they may be, need to “lean out and make more space for Indigenous creators.”

“As a public producer, we have the latitude to build training into our budgets, whether for craft and crew positions or for associate producers,” says van Beusekom. Equally important, she notes, is the way films get made. “We are changing how we work with Indigenous communities, building in time, budget and process to understand and ensure respect for local cultural practices and protocols. Some significant best practices were established over the course of development and production on Kiimaapipitsin, a feature doc project being directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers. She worked with producer David Christensen to develop and implement cultural competency training for non-Indigenous crew members, a practice that has since been used on several other projects including Freedom Road, a Challenge for Change inspired project that recently had its world premiere on the Shoal Lake First Nation.

As Tailfeathers notes, “We’ve ensured that every shoot includes key crew training positions for emerging Indigenous talent and we’ve made a concerted effort to employ community members on all of our shoots.”

“Across our slate of Indigenous projects, we’re striving to knit reciprocity into the entire production relationship,” says van Beusekom, “whether it’s hiring from within the community, creating training opportunities for emerging local talent, providing footage to community archives or organizing filmmaking workshops for youth.”

Here are ten Indigenous-driven projects that are currently in production or recent release.

Now is the Time

With this inventive short, an animation/documentary hybrid, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter (below) provides a beautifully crafted and deeply personal account of a pivotal moment in his people’s history.

Photo: Tracy Auchter

On August 22, 1969, the community of Masset witnessed something wonderful. Robert Davidson, the visionary young artist who would soon emerge as a central figure in the Haida arts resurgence, had carved a totem pole, reviving traditions that had been suppressed for over a century. On the urging of Barbara Wilson, a local trainee filmmaker and member of the newly established Indian Film Crew, the NFB had sent a crew to document the ceremonies surrounding the raising of the pole. But the final film, completed by a non-Indigenous team, presented proceedings through a muddled outsider gaze, raising more questions than it answered. Five decades down the road, the Masset-born Auchter brings the story back home, juxtaposing footage from the 1969 shoot with contemporary interviews and his own inspired animation. Pictured in banner: Robert Davidson in 1969.

Auchter’s credits include the The Mountain of SGaana, a short animation based on a Haida story that won the award for Best Film for Young Audiences at the 2017 Ottawa International Animation Festival. Auchter’s largely First Nations crew on Now is The Time included DOP Asia Youngman, sound recordist Ramsay Bourquin along with Odessa Shuquaya and Cameron Watts. Stop motion animation was by Alicia Eisen. Now is The Time is associate produced by Teri Snelgrove, produced by Selwyn Jacob, and executive produced by Shirley Vercruysse at the BC & Yukon Studio. Watch for a summer release.

Freedom Road

The Winnipeg Aqueduct, completed in 1919, provided the growing city with a reliable water supply but lead to decades of hardship for the Anishinaabeg people of the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. The project left them stranded on an artificial island where, in a cruel colonial irony, they were forced to live under a boil-water advisory while Winnipeggers benefited from their local lake water.

The people SL40 have fought long and hard to turn a page on this history, and over four days in early June they celebrated the opening of ‘Freedom Road,’ a road largely of their own making that now links them to the Trans-Canada Highway. Angelina McLeod (below), born and raised in SL40, has been documenting the momentous process from within, and on June 5, as part of the festivities, she and her team premiered Freedom Road, a series of five shorts highlighting different aspects of the community, before an enthusiastic crowd in the local gym.

Roxanne Greene, a member of the local band council, spoke during the post-screening discussion, commending McLeod and the NFB team for respecting cultural protocols and for involving the community in production decisions. “This will be a really great educational tool for everyone,” she noted.

Daryl Redsky, one of the featured subjects in the series, is one of several community members who provided the crew with a range of cultural awareness training. “The work that Daryl did with us was rooted in traditional Anishinaabe ceremony,” says producer Alicia Smith. “He shared cultural protocols for visiting and working in his ancestral territory. He often spoke of having to live in two worlds, and he did this great thing, where he’d ask us to learn and speak one Anishinaabemowin word each time we saw him, to enter his world for a while.”

Freedom Road was shot by cinematographer Tyler Funk and edited by Erika MacPherson. The sound recordist was Charlene Moore, an alumna of the CBC New Indigenous Voices program and one of the driving forces behind the Indigenous Film Summit. Produced by Alicia Smith and executive produced by David Christensen for the North West Studio, Freedom Road premiered on June 5 in the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

The Tournament

Sam Vint describes Isaac, the subject of his latest film, as a ‘sparkplug,’ an outgoing eight-year-old, fearless to the point of recklessness, who’s way too focused on playing hockey to dwell on his physical disabilities.

The Tournament, a short doc directed by Vint and beautifully shot by Winnipeg cinematographer Tyler Funk, accompanies Isaac and his sledge hockey teammates as they head to Minneapolis to participate in the Hendrickson Hockey Festival, an adaptive sports event that creates a welcoming space for child athletes living with disabilities.

“Everywhere you look the disabled outnumber the able bodied – in the hotel, the pool, the rink,” says Vint. “Once a year they get to be the majority and they take full advantage. It’s as big a deal to them as Christmas — and a bit more fun.”

As the parent of a son born with spina bifida, Vint has found himself becoming an advocate for children with disabilities, and The Tournament is buoyed by the exhilarating energy of the Hendrickson event. “Win, lose or draw, everyone is here for a good time. But don’t think for a second that winning isn’t important.”

Describing himself as a ‘lifelong Winnipegger and proud Métis’, Vint has been active in film and TV production since 2007 when he completed the NSI New Voices Program. His writer/director credits include Alice And Kevin, a short made through NSI Indigidocs chronicling an Indigenous woman’s battle to secure health care for her disabled child, and The Ken Ploen Way, an affectionate tribute to the CFL legend. Vint conducted research for the Eagle Vision/NFB co-production We Were Children, a feature doc on residential schooling. The Tournament is produced by Alicia Smith and executive produced by David Christensen at the North West Studio. 

HotHouse 12

The latest edition of Hothouse, the NFB animation mentorship program now its 12th incarnation, is being produced in partnership with ImagineNATIVE, working with three emerging animators from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. It benefits from the expertise of Amanda Strong and Amanda Roy, associate producer trainees who bring a wealth of Indigenous storytelling experience to the table.

The apprentice storytellers are: Kassia Ward, an artist/animator from the Enoch Cree Nation whose resumé includes degrees in both psychology and biology alongside experience in 3D animation; Chris Grant, a young Mi’kmaq artist whose own experience with schizoaffective disorder inspired a 2018 solo exhibition called Disposing Sanity: Life After The Psych Unit; and Meky Ottawa, an Atikamekw from Manawan who works in a range of visual art genres, from gallery installations to giant murals. Below: Ward, Grant and Meky.

“For too long Indigenous stories have been exploited,” says Amanda Strong, “and it’s great to see change and opportunities for artists to direct their own stories, whether it be traditional or contemporary. We are in a very exciting time for Indigenous creators and the next generation of voices.” Hothouse 12 is associate produced by Amanda Strong and Amanda Roy, produced by Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popović, and executive produced by Michael Fukushima at the NFB Animation Studio.

Meneath

Métis artist Terril Calder, who describes herself as “a daughter of colonization,” is from the Métis Nation of Ontario, and with Meneath she ventures into Augmented Reality, a field in rapid evolution, to explore two colliding belief systems — the Seven Deadly Sins as described in Christian texts alongside the Seven Sacred Teachings that have been handed down over generations in numerous First Nations.

“Ethics guide us in our core beliefs and our decision-making, and give birth to our politics,” says Calder. “At my core there has always been a broken dialogue between these two sets of ethics, and AR offers a staggering amount of possibilities in exploring this theme.”

 

Having studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba, Calder was active for many years with Winnipeg’s Video Pool Media Arts Centre and Student Bolshevik Collective. She is one of the founding members of Toronto’s 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, and her animation credits include Canned Meat (2009), The Gift (2011), Repercussions (2013), The Lodge (2016), and SNIP (2016). Her work has screened at ImagineNATIVE, Cannes, Rotterdam, Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, the Ottawa International Animation Festival and the Smithsonian, and has received prizes at TIFF, Sundance and the Berlinale. Meneath is produced Jelena Popović and executive produced by Michael Fukushima in the NFB Animation Studio.

The Inconvenient Indian

It was in 2016, after filming at the Standing Rock occupation against the Dakota Access Pipeline, that Michelle Latimer came to a sharp new appreciation of The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King’s powerful retort to the official history of North America. “What was an unarmed and peaceful act of resistance quickly become vilified,” she says.

“As Indigenous people we were coming together to fight for our rights, and the rights of the land and waters. However our assertion and occupation was perceived as ‘inconvenient’ in the eyes of the state. We became Inconvenient Indians — and in standing together we had the power to change the world.”

The Métis/Algonquin filmmaker and activist is currently in production on a film adaptation of King’s bestseller, focusing on how Indigenous-experience has been misrepresented in mainstream culture. “Standing Rock showed me what an awakening looks like,” she says, “but we are still in deep need of communicating and reclaiming a new, old-story. Our story.”

Latimer’s credits include Nuuca, co-produced through own company Streel Film and Field of Vision, with Laura Poitras and Charlotte Cook as fellow executive producers; and Nimmikaage (She Dances for People), a visual mashup crafted from NFB archival footage. The Inconvenient Indian is co-production of Toronto’s 90th Parallel Productions (Stuart Henderson, producer; Gordon Henderson, executive producer) and the NFB Ontario Studio (Justine Pimlott, producer; Anita Lee, executive producer). Jesse Wente, Director of Indigenous Screen Office, is onboard as creative producer.

Throat

Infusing the throat singing traditions of her community with electrifying new urgency, Tanya Tagaq cuts a swath though the contemporary music scene. “Tagaq’s vocal technique may have traditional roots,” says The New Yorker, “but the music she makes is absolutely contemporary, combining shimmering pop, icy electronica, and hardcore punk with her confrontational, compelling vocals.”

With Throat, a feature doc currently in production at the Ontario Studio, the Polaris Prize winner is collaborating with Chelsea McMullan on a project that showcases compelling footage shot during a 2017 concert at Toronto’s Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church.

“Concert footage has given us legendary docs like Stop Making Sense and Amazing Grace, and there’s a fierce and powerful beauty to Tanya’s vocals, so sound is of primordial importance on this project,” says producer Lea Marin.

The production worked with the Piruvik Centre, an Iqaluit-based training centre founded by Leena Evic, to implement cultural competency training for the crew. Evic walked the production team though the colonial timeline and its resulting impact on Inuit culture, and the session was open to the entire studio and Tanya’s management team at Six Shooter Records. 

On Evic’s suggestion, the production hosted a community feast in Cambridge Bay when they returned for their second shoot, hiring a local catering company to prepare a traditional meal. “It was a wonderful way to connect with the community,” says Marin, “a way to express our gratitude and answer questions about the project”

Throat is co-created by Tanya Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan, director of My Prairie Home, a profile of transgender performer Rae Spoon. Featured performers include Tagaq’s bandmates Jean Martin and Jesse Zubot and Iqaluit-based artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory. The chief sound recordist on the 2017 concert shoot was Alex Unger, working with a team from Tattersall Sound & Picture. Throat is produced by Lea Marin and executive produced by Anita Lee at the Ontario Studio.

The Labrador Doc Project

A flexible format that lends itself to experimentation, the short film anthology can carry multiple voices and stories, accommodating diverse creative approaches. With the Labrador DOC Project, four emerging Inuit filmmakers are crafting short films on life in Nunatsiavut, their corner of the world.

With Hebron Relocation, photographer and filmmaker Holly Anderson revisits the 1959 forced relocation of Inuit from Hebron to communities such as Makkovik. In Evan’s Drum, journalist and activist Ossie Michelin explores the revival of the Inuit drum, through the tender relationship of a mother and her five-year-old son. With First Inuk Teacher, visual artist and curator Heather Campbell pays tribute to her grandmother Evelyn Campbell, an important figure in the development of Inuit curriculum, and with Nalujuk Night, photographer Jennie Williams documents the purpose of a fascinating annual event that takes place every January 6 in Nain, when masked figures move through the community.

These stories are told and led by Nunatsiavummiut with community collaboration and engagement. Additional Inuit colleagues on the project are Jason Edmunds and Amy Chaulk (associate producers), and Glenn Gear (animator). The production incorporates a training component and is supported by the NLFDC. The Labrador DOC Project is co-produced by the NFB Quebec-Atlantic Studio (associate producer (development), Stephen Agluvak Puskas; producer, Kat Baulu; executive producer, Annette Clarke) and the St.John’s-based LJH Films (producer, Latonia Hartery), a company dedicated to supporting work by Indigenous creators.

Pictured above, left to right: Heather Campbell, Glenn Gear, Holly Anderson, Ossie Michelin and Jennie Williams.

Mary Two-Axe Earley

The late Mary Two-Axe Earley was nothing if not determined, willing to take on the most powerful people in Canada in her campaign to end gender discrimination against Indigenous women.

Courtney Montour, who grew up in Kahnawake, Two-Axe Earley’s hometown, has been hearing Two-Axe Earley stories since she was a child.  But it was only in 2016, when she was gifted an extraordinary audio archive by Alanis Obomsawin, that she began to meticulously research and imagine a film.

Obomsawin knew and admired Two-Axe Earley, and during the summer of 1984 she recorded hours of lively conversation in Two-Axe Earley’s Kahnawake kitchen. “When Alanis told me about the tapes, asking me if I was interested in using them somehow, what could I say!  It was an automatic yes,” says Montour.

Alanis Obomsawin and Courtney Montour at Obomsawin’s NFB office.

“Courtney’s body of work amplifies the voices and stories of those who are often silenced and told they do not belong, ” says producer Kat Baulu. “Like Alanis, she’s a great listener, and she’s trusting that amazing sound archive to lead the way on this project.” Mary Two-Axe Earley is produced by Kat Baulu and executive produced by Annette Clarke at the Quebec-Atlantic Studio.

Jordan’s Principle

Jordan River Anderson never got to live at home like most kids. Born with a genetic muscular disorder, he spent his first years in a Winnipeg hospital, far from his home on the Norway House Cree Nation. When he was finally got clearance to move into a family setting, a dispute between federal and provincial authorities over the costs of his care would prevent the move. He died — in hospital — before his sixth birthday.

But Jordan’s short life has generated a momentous legacy. His story inspired the creation of ‘Jordan’s Principle’ — a child-first principle that aims to ensure that First Nations children living on and off reserve get equitable access to all government funded services.

Adopted by the Canadian Parliament in 2007 but then not implemented, it would take a prolonged legal challenge by the Assembly of First Nations and the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, and ongoing activism within the community of Norway House itself, to bring about the landmark 2016 ruling that ordered the Canadian government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.   This epic court challenge was the subject of Obomsawin’s 2016 documentary We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice.

After three remedial non-compliance orders against the Canadian government for failing to abide by the original decision, Jordan’s Principle was finally put into practice in 2017. In Jordan’s Principle (working title), the 53rd film in her remarkable career, Obomsawin celebrates Jordan’s life and legacy, tracing the benefit of the activism he inspired in his family and community, and First Nations kids and families across the country. Scheduled for a fall 2019 release, Jordan’s Principle was directed and produced by Alanis Obomsawin at the Quebec-Atlantic Studio.

The post Indigenous Awakening: 10 to Watch at the NFB appeared first on NFB Blog.

Vía https://blog.nfb.ca/blog/2019/06/19/indigenous-awakening-10-to-watch-at-the-nfb/
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Film

‘X-Men’ Franchise Producer Lauren Shuler Donner Hasn’t Seen ‘Dark Phoenix’ Yet

dark phoenix production problems

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke with /Film in anticipation of next week’s premiere of the final season of FX’s Legion. We’ll bring you the full Q&A with Shuler Donner, who produced all the X-Men films and was hands on through all of the films up to Days of Future Past, before the premiere.

During the interview, Shuler Donner offered some updates on the X-Men films and two stage adaptations of films she produced, Dave and The Secret Life of Bees. Here’s what she had to say about her projects outside of Legion.

Dark Phoenix is in Her Queue

Although it may be the final X-men film under Fox (depending whether Disney decides to release New Mutants theatrically or not), Dark Phoenix did not exactly end the series with a bang.  It opened to a series low and dropped significantly in its second week.

Shuler Donner has made it clear that she was not directly involved with the film, as she’s stepped back after Days of Future Past, but she still has high hopes for New Mutants. She did produce the previous version of the Dark Phoenix story in X-Men: The Last Stand, so we asked if she was happy with Simon Kinberg’s more faithful retelling of it.

“I have to be honest with you, I have not seen it yet,” Shuler Donner said. “I’m sure I will be, but I have not seen it.”

Producing Legion, two Broadway shows, and more films has legitimately kept Shuler Donner too busy to see the latest film, especially since Kinberg was the producer signing off on cuts. Since the Disney acquisition, Shuler Donner has deferred to Marvel’s Kevin Feige on any future X-Men news. Now she indicates she is unlikely to join him in future X-Men productions.

“X-Men now belongs to Disney and it’s in their capable hands,” she said. “That’s really up to Kevin Feige. He started out with me. I trust him. I think whatever he does, it won’t be right away. I think he’s already dealing with the plan that he set in motion for the other Marvel universe. But, I will not be involved most probably. I’ll be friend of the court.”

Dave is Now Shorter, But With More Songs

Shuler Donner is producing the stage adaptation of Dave, the 1993 comedy hit. In the film, a presidential impersonator (Kevin Kline) steps in when the real president (also Kline) dies, and ends up doing a better job running the country and being a husband to the First Lady (Sigourney Weaver).

In 1993, it was standard to imagine Presidents as corrupt politicians who didn’t have the people’s interests at heart. In 2019, we long for the days when those were our biggest worries about our leaders. While Dave does not become an anti-Trump show, Shuler Donner agreed its message is more relevant than ever.

“What I think is it’s especially more relevant, that it will be great to go into a theater and watch a President that cares about his people more than he cares about himself,” she said. “Dave is a wonderful fantasy about a president who really tries to care for the people and do a good job. I think now more than ever, we need to watch a show about kindness.”

She liked it when I said, “Make America Dave Again.” “Oh, I love that,” Shuler Donner beamed. “That’s a great slogan! I’m going to write that down. Thank you.”

Dave already did a test run in D.C. last summer. When it is performed again, it will be a bit tighter.

“We’ve done some changes since then,” Shuler Donner said. “We’ve made it much shorter, 15 minutes shorter. It showed us a lot. Now we are, like everybody else, standing in line for a theater for Broadway because shows like Wicked and Book of Mormon and Hamilton stay in those theaters. That means there’s less and less theaters for us newcomers.”

Secret Life of Bees Tickets Are on Sale Now

The Secret Life of Bees is a 2008 movie written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, adapted from the Sue Monk Kidd novel. Dakota Fanning starred as a runaway girl in 1964 who finds the answers she’s looking for with a trio of beekeeping sisters (played by Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okenedo).

Like Dave, Bees is also doing a trial theatrical run, which Shuler Donner says is standard for the process.

“Usually what you do if you’re going to produce a musical that is bound for Broadway, that you want to be bound for Broadway, you need to get it up on its feet,” she said. “So you’ve got your team, you’ve written the book, your music and your lyrics, you have a reading but those are people standing around reading and singing. You need to get it on its feet, see it move, see the actors move, see how the choreography works, if it’s too long, if you need this song or if you need another song. Everybody does usually a regional run.”

The Secret Life of Bees is currently playing at the Atlantic Theater Company in Chelsea so you can be among the first to see it.

“The Band’s Visit which won the Tony last year, they started out there,” Shuler Donners said. “A lot of shows start out there. Now we get to watch it with an audience, get to see what works, what doesn’t work and then eventually it will go to Broadway. It’ll get at heater and go to Broadway also.”

Legion returns Monday, June 24 and look for our interview with Lauren Shuler Donner before then.

The post ‘X-Men’ Franchise Producer Lauren Shuler Donner Hasn’t Seen ‘Dark Phoenix’ Yet appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/x-men-producer-lauren-schuler-donner/

Film

‘Little Women’ First Look: Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, and More Are Radiant in Greta Gerwig’s New Adaptation

little women first look

Christmas has come early for fans of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic coming-of-age novel that has spawned countless screen adaptations and legions of lifelong fans. But no matter how many times the story of four sisters growing up in post-Civil War America is told, Little Women will always feel undeniably fresh. Even more so with Greta Gerwig‘s upcoming adaptation, which features Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet leading a stacked cast of rising talents and award-winning stars. As if the cast — and the prospect of a Lady Bird reunion — couldn’t get us excited enough, the debut of the first Little Women images look spectacular.

Little Women First Look






Vanity Fair debuted the first images from Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Little Women adaptation, showing Ronan and Timothée Chalamet as Jo March and Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, respectively, as well as the remaining March sisters played by Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scanlan (Beth), Emma Watson (Meg), and Midsommar‘s Florence Pugh (Amy). Laura Dern also makes an appearance as the March matriarch looking rather glum, likely at the prospect of the March sisters’ father (Bob Odenkirk) being kept away at war. The supporting cast also includes Meryl Streep as the rich Aunt March.

The first image features Ronan and Chalamet as Jo and Laurie, two childhood friends whose close relationship is the central thread to the story. They will be stepping into the roles last played by Winona Ryder and Christian Bale, who famously broke viewers’ hearts in the 1994 Little Women. But based on this image, which shows Ronan and Chalamet looking ridiculously good while both wearing coats and ties, the new Little Women could exceed even the love for the ’90s film. That androgynous costuming touch was intentional on Gerwig’s part — she explains to Vanity Fair that costume designer Jacqueline Durran made the pair swap clothes throughout the film — and a new modern reading of Jo and Laurie’s frequently debated relationship. “Jo is a girl with a boy’s name, Laurie is a boy with a girl’s name,” Gerwig told Vanity Fair. “In some ways they are each other’s twins.”

She explained, “They find each other before they’ve committed to a gender. It wouldn’t be wrong to call Saoirse handsome and Timothée beautiful. Both have a slightly androgynous quality that makes them perfect for these characters.”

It’s this kind of interpretation that makes Gerwig’s new take on Little Women so exciting, even if the casting of Emma Watson as Meg and Florench Pugh as an older Amy give me pause. Watson looks great in these images, but her acting in recent roles have left much to be desired, while Pugh’s casting potentially speeds up the arc of an already divisive character. But qualms aside, these images look fantastic and have left me nothing else but rapturous.

Little Women will open in theaters December 25, 2019.

The post ‘Little Women’ First Look: Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, and More Are Radiant in Greta Gerwig’s New Adaptation appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/little-women-first-look-greta-gerwig/

Film

‘Little Women’ First Look: Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, and More Are Radiant in Greta Gerwig’s New Adaptation

little women first look

Christmas has come early for fans of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic coming-of-age novel that has spawned countless screen adaptations and legions of lifelong fans. But no matter how many times the story of four sisters growing up in post-Civil War America is told, Little Women will always feel undeniably fresh. Even more so with Greta Gerwig‘s upcoming adaptation, which features Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet leading a stacked cast of rising talents and award-winning stars. As if the cast — and the prospect of a Lady Bird reunion — couldn’t get us excited enough, the debut of the first Little Women images look spectacular.

Little Women First Look






Vanity Fair debuted the first images from Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Little Women adaptation, showing Ronan and Timothée Chalamet as Jo March and Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, respectively, as well as the remaining March sisters played by Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scanlan (Beth), Emma Watson (Meg), and Midsommar‘s Florence Pugh (Amy). Laura Dern also makes an appearance as the March matriarch looking rather glum, likely at the prospect of the March sisters’ father (Bob Odenkirk) being kept away at war. The supporting cast also includes Meryl Streep as the rich Aunt March.

The first image features Ronan and Chalamet as Jo and Laurie, two childhood friends whose close relationship is the central thread to the story. They will be stepping into the roles last played by Winona Ryder and Christian Bale, who famously broke viewers’ hearts in the 1994 Little Women. But based on this image, which shows Ronan and Chalamet looking ridiculously good while both wearing coats and ties, the new Little Women could exceed even the love for the ’90s film. That androgynous costuming touch was intentional on Gerwig’s part — she explains to Vanity Fair that costume designer Jacqueline Durran made the pair swap clothes throughout the film — and a new modern reading of Jo and Laurie’s frequently debated relationship. “Jo is a girl with a boy’s name, Laurie is a boy with a girl’s name,” Gerwig told Vanity Fair. “In some ways they are each other’s twins.”

She explained, “They find each other before they’ve committed to a gender. It wouldn’t be wrong to call Saoirse handsome and Timothée beautiful. Both have a slightly androgynous quality that makes them perfect for these characters.”

It’s this kind of interpretation that makes Gerwig’s new take on Little Women so exciting, even if the casting of Emma Watson as Meg and Florench Pugh as an older Amy give me pause. Watson looks great in these images, but her acting in recent roles have left much to be desired, while Pugh’s casting potentially speeds up the arc of an already divisive character. But qualms aside, these images look fantastic and have left me nothing else but rapturous.

Little Women will open in theaters December 25, 2019.

The post ‘Little Women’ First Look: Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, and More Are Radiant in Greta Gerwig’s New Adaptation appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/little-women-first-look-greta-gerwig/

Film

‘Barry’ Breakout Anthony Carrigan Joins ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ as the Villain

bill and ted face the music cast

Anthony Carrigan is trading targeted assassinations for time travel in his new role as the villain of Bill & Ted Face the Music. The scene-stealing actor who broke out as the amiable mobster Noho Hank in HBO’s Barry will be facing off against Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the long-awaited third installment as part of the Bill and Ted Face the Music cast.

Carrigan is going from playing one lovable goofball to terrorizing two lovable goofballs in Bill & Ted Face the Music, which reunites the time-traveling rockers more than 28 years later. Now settled down with families, Bill and Ted will be facing a foe worse than Death: middle age…and apparently Carrigan. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Carrigan will be playing “the duo’s relentless adversary,” though no further details have been revealed.

Carrigan cuts a striking figure thanks to his smooth dome and hairless face, a distinctive appearance that he gained as a result of his alopecia areata. Though it’s something that’s worked in his favor ever since he broke out as the unnervingly polite mobster in Barry, leading him to playing quirky villains in genre TV and movies. I’m sure that Bill & Ted will make use of Carrigan’s singular talents for switching between sinister and silly at the drop of a hat. If we’re going to get into theories — since the third Bill & Ted is all about the middle-aged best friends grappling with family and legacy, Carrigan’s resemblance to William Sadler as Death in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey could suggest that he’s playing a relation. The Son of Death? That would certainly be an appropriately weird villain for the film.

Bill & Ted Face the Music will be directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy QuestRed 2Fun With Dick and Jane), from a screenplay by returning franchise writers Chris Matheson (Imagine That, A Goofy Movie) and Solomon (Men in Black, Mosaic).

Here’s the official synopsis for Bill & Ted Face the Music:

Following 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the stakes are higher than ever for William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Reeves). Yet to fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure, when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it and bring harmony to the universe. Along the way, they will be helped by their families, old friends and a few music legends.

Bill & Ted Face the Music opens August 21, 2020.

The post ‘Barry’ Breakout Anthony Carrigan Joins ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ as the Villain appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/bill-and-ted-face-the-music-anthony-carrigan/

Film

Shut Your Mouth: Exploring the 48-Year History of the ‘Shaft’ Franchise

New Shaft films have been in and out of theaters five times over the past forty-eight years, and that’s one hell of an accomplishment for any franchise. It’s made even more impressive and unprecedented, though, by the realization that the same actor has brought John Shaft to life through those five films and across nearly five decades. That’s a feat not even the Star Wars films can claim yet. Richard Roundtree headlines the first three films – Shaft (1971), Shaft’s Big Score! (1972), Shaft in Africa (1973) – and while he’s only a supporting player in the most recent two, both named Shaft (2000, 2019) for Hollywood reasons, his presence is still an important one.

Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie Usher take the lead in those later films as Shaft Jr. and Shaft III, respectively, and with a changing of the guard comes more than a few changes in approach and tone. While two entries in the 70s trilogy fit the mold of the decade’s blaxploitation films with plots involving street thugs and mobsters both black and white, the third takes Shaft on a James Bond-like adventure around the globe. The ones from 2000 and 2019, though, are shaped more for their respective times. Shaft (2000) is a sex-less action/thriller touching on racism and police corruption, while Shaft (2019) is an action/comedy – with an emphasis on the comedy – involving disgruntled military vets, booty, and drug trafficking. They’re entirely different beasts from that original trilogy, but the common thread between them all remains the cool cat whose name is in the title.

John Shaft (Roundtree) is a private eye working the streets of New York City helping people in need. He usually prefers clients close to the right side of the law, but when the head of a black crime organization hires him to find his daughter, he takes the case for the girl’s sake. She’s been abducted by an Italian crime family as part of ongoing turf battles, and while the police and general populace suspect a race war brewing Shaft knows it’s all about business. And he knows how to handle his business.

Shaft (1971) is the one that started it all, and as one of the first blaxploitation films it launched numerous copycats and helped popularize the sub-genre for audiences across races. A few came before and many came after, but while some focused on the black experience in America with drama and serious commentary, most tried to follow in Shaft‘s big footprints by delivering entertainment lined with attitude, mild racial exploitation, violent men, and sexy women.

MGM bought the rights to the original book early – a wise pick-up as the film was largely responsible for saving the flailing studio from having to declare bankruptcy – and director Gordon Parks is the one who cast Roundtree in the lead role. It was the actor’s first feature film, and the idea was to create a fun, thrilling movie that empowered a black man with authority, ability, and intelligence. Instead of glorifying a tough gangster or pimp, Shaft is a hero of sorts standing up for the black community, deriding “the man” at every opportunity (both white and black), wooing the ladies, and winning in the end.

The film features a group of black revolutionaries, but rather than make a grand political statement they exist mostly to help Shaft in his search for the missing girl. Some criticized their presence as mere lip service to the idea of “black power,” and marketing playing up the angle certainly contributed to the idea, but at the end of the day, the film is pure entertainment. I mean, it’s all right there in Isaac Hayes’ Oscar-winning theme song for the film that refers to Shaft as “the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks.”

Shaft was a different kind of action hero, one who appealed to a wide and diverse audience with a film that found financial success before making its mark in pop culture. It’s a solid urban thriller about a successful black private eye who’s as at home with the powerful as he is with the dregs of society, and it offered a counterpoint for audiences to the year’s other blaxploitation hit, the far angrier Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssss Song. It takes concepts and perceptions from black and white film culture and brings them together in a way that appealed to early 70s audiences on both sides of the racial divide, and that’s no small feat.

A phone call in the middle of the night disturbs Shaft’s canoodling with his woman, and he’s surprised to hear her brother on the end of the line. He needs Shaft’s help, but before the private eye can reach him the man’s been killed. The investigation reveals a missing cache of cash and dueling gangsters searching for it, and soon both Shaft and his lady are targeted by competing thugs.

Shaft’s Big Score! (1972) was greenlit pretty quickly after the first film’s success – so quickly that it’s Roundtree’s second feature credit! – and the same team returned for the sequel. Parks once again directed, original author Ernest Tidyman wrote the script, and Urs Furrer returned as cinematographer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the plot is also similar to its predecessor. “Why rock the boat” was apparently the mantra as Shaft once again finds himself trying to protect someone with Italian crooks on one side and a black gang squeezing in on the other.

It’s familiar, but with twice the budget of the first film’s $1 million the filmmakers were able to give it a more refined look and increase the action quotient. In addition to the expected punches, kicks, and neck chops, the film also delivers a solid car chase – with Shaft riding shotgun while one of his lady friends drives no less – that grows to include a speed boat and a helicopter. It makes for an exciting third act.

Coming so soon on the heels of the first, the sequel has no cause to address a changed audience and having helped kick it off the year prior, the film instead settles into its corner of the blaxploitation market to deliver more of the same. It’s essentially what first sequels continue to do even today – be the same, but bigger – and while it earned slightly less than the first it was still a healthy hit for MGM and landed at #17 on the year’s list of the highest grossing movies.

Shaft isn’t looking for trouble, but when a tall man carrying a big stick breaks into his apartment one morning he most certainly finds it. He’s abducted, stripped, and locked in a room with sand beneath his feet and heat lamps blaring down upon him. It’s a test, and only after passing it is he told that he’s been hired to infiltrate and help bring down a human smuggling ring moving slave labor from Africa to Europe. He’s not too keen at first, but the paycheck and the sexy supporting players sway his attention.

If the one-two punch of the first two films taught viewers anything, it was to expect the expected. Happily, though, depending on your point of view, Shaft in Africa (1973) shakes things up considerably. The film quickly leaves Shaft’s beloved New York City behind with the bulk of the film unfolding in West Africa and France.

Instead of giving audiences what previously worked – and what they presumably wanted more of – the third film makes a direct play for James Bond territory. Shaft’s always been a bed-hopper, obviously, but here he does so as part of a globe-hopping adventure complete with gadgets like a hidden camera in his fighting stick and a femme fatale who’s murdered shortly after enjoying his loving stick. Hell, Shaft even name-drops Bond at one point. Both franchises were MGM properties at the time, and one wonders if a crossover might have been planned had this entry not bombed spectacularly.

Ernest Tidyman’s novels set the basis for the first two films, but while he had a few more in the book series MGM decided to go the original story route with a script by Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night, 1967; The Poseidon Adventure, 1972). They also chose a new director in John Guillermin (The Towering Inferno, 1974; King Kong, 1976). While 1973 saw plenty of blaxploitation fare in the likes of Black Caesar, Coffy, and Hell Up In Harlem, the decision to go big also meant stepping away from the sub-genre that it first called home. Curiously, this same year saw MGM release the Bond film Live and Let Die which itself dabbles in blaxploitation.

Whatever the reasoning for the big shift, audiences failed to respond. It’s a shame too as, while the film may lack the perceived authenticity of the first two it’s pretty damn entertaining. Sure we get some condemnation and shade thrown towards the slave trade and “modern” societies that look the other way, but we also get some naked stick fighting, camel-riding, and Shaft making a compelling case to a virgin why she shouldn’t consent to a clitoridectomy. And not for nothing, but it’s also arguably the sexiest entry in the franchise thanks in part to the head villain’s sex freak of a moll having a visible reaction and attraction towards Shaft. She’s a determined lady, and Shaft being the gentleman that he is, he eventually relents.

When a young black man is beaten to death outside of a fancy restaurant it’s Det. John Shaft who lands the case. The killer is still on the premises, but while he claims self defense a witness suggests it was a racially motivated crime. The man’s wealthy father and an unjust legal system sees him released on bail, and he immediately jets out of the country. Shaft is ready when he returns, but his attempt to bring the man to belated justice sees him caught in the cross-hairs of a local gang boss.

John Singleton’s Shaft (2000) arrived twenty-seven years after the character’s last big-screen outing, and while it was initially billed as a reboot of sorts it’s actually a sequel. Samuel L. Jackson plays Shaft – supposedly the nephew of Roundtree’s Shaft, but revealed in the newest film as his son – as a man who went into law enforcement despite his namesake’s warnings about its limitations.

With a budget more than twenty times the earlier films the action here is more plentiful, but it’s on par with Shaft’s Big Score! as the weakest and least interesting of the franchise. Jackson is fine, obviously, and there’s no arguing with the supporting cast that includes Christian Bale, Jeffrey Wright, Vanessa Williams, Toni Collette, Dan Hedaya, and a brief appearance by Roundtree, but its arrival in 2000 leaves it feeling like any number of generic 90s thrillers. Tough cop butting up against a seemingly rigged system in his pursuit of justice is a familiar premise, and it almost feels as far removed from the Shaft character as his African adventure did.

What starts as a direct indictment of racist violence and police corruption shifts almost completely into just another tale of a violent street thug causing havoc. Bale’s rich white boy exists on the periphery while Wright’s Dominican drug lord becomes the main villain who eats up most of the screen time (while Wright chews much of the screen). It’s an odd choice as the racist system seems a much more exciting target for a man like Shaft and one more fitting of the times in light of the 90s being home to an increased awareness of police brutality and the L.A. riots.

In case you were wondering where else the film had been neutered, and this can’t be understated, it’s a weirdly sex-less movie too. Despite opening credits that play across shadowy glimpses of bodies writhing, caressing, and rubbing each other there’s not a single sex scene to be found here. It’s suggested that Shaft leaves a bar with a woman as it’s his duty to “satisfy her booty,” but that’s as close as the film comes to acknowledging Shaft’s sex life. No wonder Shaft Sr. pretended not to be his father.

J.J. Shaft is a data analyst with the FBI, and while he doesn’t get much respect from his boss it’s still an accomplishment he’s proud of as the son of a single mother and a father who abandoned them after he was born. When J.J.’s good friend is found dead from a suspicious overdose he’s forced to ask his father for help in investigating the truth, and while they clash in every way imaginable they also work well together.

Like its predecessor, Shaft (2019) is once again a decades-later follow-up that tries to be both a reboot and a sequel, but unlike that 2000 entry and the original trilogy, it’s also a flat-out comedy. The decision to take the Shaft franchise into heavily comedic territory seems like an odd one, especially after the previous entry did a respectable $107 million at the box-office. It’s not surprising, though, and seems to fit in with an observation I made last year regarding the lack of black-led action franchises that are played serious and straight. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em I guess, and to that end director Tim Story and a pair of screenwriters have delivered the Shaft action/comedy nobody asked for.

I seem to be in the minority in finding it more fun than fail, but it’s easy to see why most critics and audiences are turning up their nose. It’s a film trying to find comedy in the contrast between a modern young professional J.J. and the hard-hitting “pussay” magnet of films past, and for every joke that works two more land awkwardly with a thud. It’s trying to be a Shaft movie even as it pokes fun at Shaft movies, and the balance doesn’t always work.

Jackson reprises his role from the 2000 film, but in a complete turn around from his asexual presence there, his appetites are played up to comical degrees here. When J.J. goes to his office he first meets a topless woman with glitter all over her breasts and cleavage, and when Shaft pops in moments later it’s with glitter all up in his facial hair. Jackson plays it mostly straight which makes it even funnier, and it feels like him truly cutting loose with the character. J.J. teaches Shaft about respecting women, Shaft teaches J.J. about women, period, and everyone goes home happy. The action is treated similarly with J.J. despising guns even as Shaft uses them with abandon.

We know by this point that audiences didn’t turn up for it, but the intention seemed to be to lure them in with a “buddy cop” premise designed after the likes of recent hits Ride Along (2014) or Central Intelligence (2016). Who doesn’t love seeing a mismatched pair forced together to solve a crime? It’s a beloved premise for American action/comedies as a competent tough guy and a nerd/fool come together for laughs and the eventual realization that different strengths are still strengths, but it doesn’t quite feel like a natural fit for a Shaft film. It’s unclear if this was always the intention or if last year’s stylish but empty SuperFly remake gave the studio cold feet about playing the genre too seriously.

If nothing else, the film does bring the franchise full circle by bringing together all three generations of Shaft men for a third-act action set-piece, and while box-office receipts suggest it’s the end of the road for this particular bloodline, I for one wouldn’t bet against them. And yes, I’ll be first in line in 2046 when Lady Shaft opens wide with its story about a female detective who teams up with her father, grandfather, and great grandfather to solve a series of clown abductions in Brazil.

The post Shut Your Mouth: Exploring the 48-Year History of the ‘Shaft’ Franchise appeared first on /Film.

from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/shaft-franchise-history/

Film

‘Toy Story 4’ Box Office Will Reach for the Sky With a $260 Million Global Debut

toy story 4 box office tracking

Toy Story 4‘s box office could do more than reach for the sky — it could shoot to infinity and beyond with an all-time best animated movie debut. The Toy Story 4 box office tracking estimates that the Pixar sequel is looking at a $160 million debut domestically and a whopping $260 million worldwide, with potential to reach $300 million if domestic overperforms.

Deadline reports that Toy Story 4 could be the big hit that will salvage a disappointing summerToy Story 4 is currently tracking for a $160 million debut in U.S. and Canada, with some industry experts estimating as much as a $200 million debut. Overseas, it gets even better with an expected worldwide debut of $260 million — possibly $300 million if the domestic box office exceeds expectations. Whatever the case, Toy Story 4 is already set to shatter box office records for animated movies, beating Incredibles 2‘s worldwide debut of $235.8 million. However, Toy Story 4 still trails behind Incredibles 2‘s record domestic opening of $182.6 million.

Toy Story 4 is getting a big international rollout from Disney, a difference from most animated films, which are often rolled out slowly overseas. Twenty-seven countries including Australia, Brazil, Korea, and Russia, are getting Toy Story 4 on Thursday, followed by China, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., and six others on Friday. Italy and France come a week later, while Japan gets a July 12 release and Germany August 15 as some other smaller markets trickle in over the next few weeks.

By comparison, in 2010, Toy Story 3 opened to $145 million worldwide, where about 76% of that was boosted by the domestic box office, according to Deadline. The film would eventually go on to make over $1 billion worldwide and industry insiders expect Toy Story 4 to make those same numbers.

Directed by Josh Cooley and starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, and Joan Cusack, Toy Story 4 hits theaters on June 20, 2019.

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.

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from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/toy-story-4-box-office-tracking/

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Attempts to Bridge Distances in “Unknown Caller”

The Handmaid's Tale Unknown Caller Review

With pouts flickering behind her self-assured facade, The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Yvonne Strahovski is good at raking pity for an egotistical privileged power-starved Serena Joy. For all her monstrous deeds to her Handmaid June, Serena Joy’s point of sympathy is her maternal love for baby Nichole because it plays to a universal understanding that maternal bonds are sacred and allows her to care for someone outside of her ego.

However, maternal attachment does not exempt Serena Joy from being an architect of the totalitarian Gilead. There are moments the series borders on over-sympathizing with Serena Joy, investing in her emotional turmoil, while not condoning how myopic her maternal reach is. While June (Elisabeth Moss) anticipated that coaxing Serena Joy back into power might help matters, perhaps re-stationing her in rule only made the Wife comfortable once again in Gilead.

It barely occurs to Serena Joy that June is mourning for baby Nichole too. There, “Unknown Caller” stretches the circumstances for two characters who never met to have a meeting. The Waterfords pressure June to contact Luke in Canada to arrange Serena Joy to see Nichole, who is now in arms of June’s husband Luke (O. T. Fagbenle) in Canada.

Before June is pressured into contacting Luke, she bites down on Serena Joy’s entitlement to see a child that she has essentially stolen from – and shared with – June. It matters shit to June that Serena Joy has grown softer toward June’s concerns. June gives one condition: “I want you to owe me.” June, with Moss holding a rigid stone-faced countenance, can feel no elation when speaking to her long-lost husband through the phone line because of the muddled affairs that lead to the contact.

Of course, looking into the eyes of the woman who held your wife down while she was raped, Luke gives some satisfactory invectives at Serena at the Canada airport. Serena tries for empathy while rationalizing the circumstances, using choice words of cordiality. She also talks to Luke like he’s the ingrate, remarking that she protected June (minimally at least). Although it indulges Serena Joy’s grief, it is pity that compels Luke to momentarily hand his child to her.

While it is off-screen, Serena Joy had enough of a conscience to smuggle June’s secret gift into Luke’s hands. So June reaches Luke on her own terms through a cassette tape from Lawrence’s basement. In a drenching impassioned speech, June confesses Nichole’s parentage and the baby’s real name Holly. It’s a heartbreaking confession because June does not have to apologize for her affair with Nick but the human mind easily feels guilt for a perceived transgression when navigating a stormy dystopia. While her truth to Luke can never redeem the horrific ordeals, her words to Luke reclaim a part of her humanity that Gilead has stolen from her.

For all the communication contrivances, “Unknown Caller” deals with how mourning for bygone company can wear the soul. Serena Joy longs for Nichole and her privilege allows her grief to be alleviated to some extent. June mourns for her baby, as she pines for Luke, but understands the necessity of leaving her be in Canada. Mrs. Lawrence (Julie Dretzin) also discusses lost days in the Before time, suggesting a past where Commander Lawrence wasn’t as cold and callous when he made music for her through mixtapes.

Supporting players unravel some dimensions, reclaiming a part of their identity. Mrs. Lawrence finds autonomy by confiding in June about how her husband has faded from her. It leads to June’s affecting counsel: “It’s okay to take a sliver of somebody and hold onto that, especially if it’s all you have.” It’s a declaration of self-preservation that illustrates why, despite her expectations being thwarted constantly, June permits herself to entertain goodness even in oppressive figures like Serena Joy, sometimes Fred Waterford, and Commander Lawrence.

In addition, June also discovers that deep down, not unlike the late second Ofglen/Lillie, Ofmatthew (Ashleigh Lathrop) held her own subversive thoughts beneath her smiling pious-Handmaid shell even if she’s not the mode of an idealized survivor. I suspect they were going to background Ofmatthew’s meek disposition and hope her story will unravel.

But June overestimates how much good can remain in a person’s conscience when Serena Joy and Fred broadcast a “give back our stolen child” plea to the world, shanghaiing poor June to stand at the couple’s side as they are filmed live. With Serena Joy reclaiming sliver of power in Gilead, she would easily forgo empathy and sense to wield power and privilege to get back the old days with the baby, forgetting her revulsion over Eden’s execution as well as the maternal instincts that drove her to send the baby to Canada in the first place.

You don’t want the show to go that far yet wonder how far it would go.

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from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/the-handmaids-tale-unknown-caller-review/

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The ‘Kingsman’ Prequel is Now Confusingly Titled ‘The King’s Man’

the king's man release date

In a series full of fun titles, the upcoming Kingsman prequel has another tongue-twister for you: The King’s Man. 20th Century Fox has revealed that the upcoming Kingsman prequel title is the somewhat confusing The King’s Man, which is set to arrive in theaters in February 2020. The prequel, which stars Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter, Spectre) and up-and-comer Harris Dickinson (The Darkest Minds) will chronicle the origins of the well-dressed British intelligence agency.

20th Century Fox has confirmed the title for the Kingsman prequel is The King’s Man, assassinating the previous reports that speculated the film would have the subtitle The Great Game. In a tweet featuring a title card for the film, the Kingsman account wrote, “Next year, we go back to where it all began. Meet The King’s Man, in theatres February 2020.”

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While Fox hasn’t confirmed an exact release date — though this announcement does fall in live with previous reports that the film will hit theaters on February 14, 2020 — the studio has also released a synopsis for the film:

As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man must race against time to stop them. Discover the origins of the very first independent intelligence agency in THE KING’S MAN, directed by Matthew Vaughn, coming to theaters February 2020.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, who directed the first two hit films Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden CircleThe King’s Man will be the first of the ultraviolent Mark Millar comic adaptation to be released under 20th Century Fox following the Disney-Fox merger. But you likely won’t have to worry about the violence being toned down. The film, which explores the formation of the spy organization in the early 1900s leading up to World War I, will likely live up to the franchise’s cartoonishly bloody standards, and its habit of casting the most posh British actors as ruthless spies. In addition to Fiennes and Dickinson, The King’s Man also stars Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man), Daniel Bruhl (Captain America: Civil War), Matthew Goode (Watchmen), and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones).

Original Kingsman star Taron Egerton likely won’t appear in this prequel, but Vaughn is still planning a Kingsman 3 with both Egerton and Colin Firth set to reprise their roles.

The King’s Man is set to hit theaters in February 2020.

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from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/the-kingsman-prequel-is-now-confusingly-titled-the-kings-man/

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Alamo Drafthouse Finally Announces Opening Date for L.A. Location

Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles

People of Los Angeles, rejoice: the Alamo Drafthouse is coming to Downtown L.A.! No really, I’m serious this time – I know they’ve been promising that for years, but today the theater chain has finally, officially, definitively, concretely announced that the L.A. location will be opening in early July, just a couple of weeks from now. Get all the details below.

The Drafthouse was supposed to arrive in the City of Angels back in 2015. Then the opening was pushed to 2018, before finally settling on 2019 as the new target opening date for its location at The Bloc, the open-air property in Downtown L.A. But everything has finally fallen into place, and one of the coolest theater chains in the world will be executing a “soft launch” in early July. The theater will have “an opening slate of independent and blockbuster films, as well as a wealth of repertory titles featuring beloved classics and hard-to-find cult favorites.”

Plus, they’re bringing their own “movie a day” subscription plan with them:

Additionally, the cinema chain announced that it’ll also expand its Alamo Season Pass subscription beta test in Los Angeles. Members of the subscription plan will be able to watch a movie a day and reserve their seats in advance for one low monthly fee. The beta test will roll out in Los Angeles during the soft launch period, beginning with a small group from a waitlist and then expanding the membership in the near future. Guests may add their name to the waitlist at drafthouse.com/victory/seasonpass.

Los Angeles is obviously a very movie-friendly city, and while there are several major repertory cinema locations and terrific theaters spread across the sprawling city, the Drafthouse could still be a game changer for movie fans in the area. The theater will feature twelve screens with 4K projectors and one 35mm projector, plus a full bar and kitchen, and its own branch of the bar and video store Video Vortex, where Blu-rays and DVDs will be available for free rental. The downtown area doesn’t have very many venues like this (The Ace Hotel has become a hub for special screening opportunities lately, but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head), so this centralized location could be a haven for cinephiles and a way to continue the revitalization of the downtown area.

The Drafthouse famously enforces a no talking/no texting policy, actually cares about theatrical presentation (unlike several of the major theater chains, which occasionally have problems even in L.A.), offers delicious food during its screenings in a non-obtrusive way, and plays rare and funny clips before each screening instead of the usual onslaught of advertising. (AMC Theaters ads can last up to twenty minutes before movies begin.)

Rachel Walker will serve as the Head of Creative and Programming, and I’m so excited to see what she and her team bring to the vibrant cinema scene here in L.A. One way they’ll stand out from the pack: former Geek and Sundry producer Ash Minnick has been hired to “shape Drafthouse’s flagship tabletop gaming community initiative,” so expect some fun things on that front, too.

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from /Film https://www.slashfilm.com/alamo-drafthouse-los-angeles-opening/