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Cinema got political in 2017, but it’s only the beginning

Charmaine Blake

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Films such as The Florida Project and Get Out have led the charge in Hollywood and while Trump may have killed off satire, next year political history looks set to take its place

How will the rise of Donald Trump affect cinema? Or the decline of Harvey Weinstein? Or any of the other momentous events of 2017? Movies typically take a year or two to produce, so most of this years output harks back to the time when such events were inconceivable. But 2017 gave us a taste of what to expect. Jordan Peeles hugely acclaimed Get Out, for example. The smash-hit horror movie encapsulated our racially charged Black Lives Matter/Colin Kaepernick/Charlottesville moment, but it also sent out a signal to movie studios that political and profitable were no longer mutually exclusive. It could be the wake-up call for a new era of Hollywood wokeness.

There were other signs, too. Katherine Bigelows Detroit restaged the riots of 1967 and a harrowing true-life case of police prejudice, with little in the way of both sides equivocation. The Battle of the Sexes used a 1970s tennis match to highlight a gender playing field that is still far from level. The Florida Project mapped out a landscape of US poverty most movies continue to ignore. Even at the big-budget end of the spectrum, observers detected a certain wokeness to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, whose themes of a diverse, oppressed resistance banding against a fascistic order ruled by an impetuous man-child lend themselves to certain interpretations.

First to sense that the times they are a-changin has been Steven Spielberg. He put his big-budget sci-fi, Ready Player One, to one side to rush out The Post arguably the first genuine Trump-era film which dramatises the Nixon White Houses battle to suppress publication of the Pentagon Papers. Spielbergs urgency is understandable: The Posts themes of political self-interest threatening press freedom resonate loudly with the Trump administrations war on fake news and the mainstream media, especially since the movie concerns the two US papers that have done the most to damage Trump, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

If Trump is agreed to have killed off political satire, political history could well be taking its place. Expected next year are Adam McKays Dick Cheney drama Backseat, starring Christian Bale (with Sam Rockwell as George W Bush and Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld). Jason Clarke plays Ted Kennedy in Chappaquiddick, Jason Reitman takes on the disgraced presidential candidate Gary Hart in The Front Runner, Felicity Jones plays equal rights trailblazer Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex, and Leonardo DiCaprio is set to portray Theodore Roosevelt for Martin Scorsese.

At the more mainstream end, we are due inclusivity paeans such as Guillermo del Toros cold-war monster fantasy The Shape of Water and Pixars Mexican-themed Coco. Ava Selma DuVernay unveils her big-budget Disney fantasy A Wrinkle in Time (centred on an African-American girl) and Marvel enters a new era with its Afrocentric superhero movie Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman. Like Get Out, the movie promises to combine race politics and entertainment spectacle. There is clearly an appetite for both.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/dec/21/cinema-got-woke-in-2017-but-only-the-beginning

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How The Blair Witch Project changed horror for ever

Charmaine Blake

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The movie’s marketing took advantage of trust in the early internet, but fake news isn’t what it used to be

“We will never get a movie like The Blair Witch Project again. Having said that, weve had dozens of movies like The Blair Witch Project. In the 20 years since its release, it has transformed the horror landscape, and more besides. Found footage is now a sub-genre in itself thanks to it. How many horror movies have we seen claiming: This all really happened, honest? How many occult symbols and folk myths have crossed our screens? How many gung-ho teens have set off on an adventure, never to return? And how many times has a gimmicky horror reaped rewards for virtually no outlay? Blair Witch did not invent all these tricks but it put them together to create a phenomenon. It is the 21st centurys Exorcist………………………………………………….”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/apr/08/how-the-blair-witch-project-changed-horror-for-ever

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Yes, ‘New Mutants’ is still coming, Probably.

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Jean Grey comes into her powers in ‘Dark Phoenix’.

Image: 20th Century Fox

“The X-Men are part of the Disney family now, and never has that felt clearer than at the studio’s CinemaCon presentation Wednesday.

Disney touted both Dark Phoenix and New Mutants as part of its upcoming slate, alongside the usual Avengers and Star Wars and Pixa

What exactly the X-Men’s future looks like at the Mouse House, though, remains unclear.

Deadpool clearly isn’t going anywhere. “You’ll be seeing more of Deadpool in the years ahead,” promised studio chairman Alan Horn, after sharing Ryan Reynolds’ cheeky tweet about Fox joining Disney.

And New Mutants, despite delayed release dates, reports of reshoots, and rumors of a straight-to-streaming distribution plan, does seem to be headed to cinemas — it was included on a slide of Disney’s 2019 theatrical releases.

But the core X-Men franchise led by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sophie Turner is evidently coming to a conclusion. Dark Phoenix, out this summer, was described by 20th Century Fox’s Emma Watts as “the perfect sendoff” to the X-Men series……………………………………………………….”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/dark-phoenix-deadpool-xmen-disney-cinemacon/

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Dog assassins are a thing in ‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ and holy crap we can’t wait

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These good boys are ready to help. Also, John Wick and Sofia are there.

Image: Lionsgate

“The entire John Wick franchise was set into motion by the death of a dog. Now, in John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the canine species finally gets a shot at revenge.

In footage revealed exclusively at CinemaCon, two Belgian shepherds owned by Sofia (Halle Berry) take an active role in the fight, bringing down the bad guys who would harm Sofia and John (Keanu Reeves).

The scene opens with the two human assassins in what looks like a desolate, deserted castle, preparing for some dramatic event to come.

Parabellum knows exactly how long we’ve been waiting to see some dogs fuck some shit up.

Then the henchmen arrive and the shooting starts, and Sofia’s dogs spring into action. They race ahead to take down minions for Sofia to shoot. One mauls a guy, sending him off the side of a high wall.

At one point, Sofia spots a baddie coming at them from above — so she bends over and lets one of her dogs springboard off her back, leap onto that high wall, and attack that dude directly.

Mind you, Sofia and John are in the battle as well, frantically running around and shooting at nameless villains in the gracefully choreographed way we’ve come to expect from these films………………………………………………………………….”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/john-wick-chapter-3-parabellum-dog-assassins/

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