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Why Is Sony Burying Proud Mary and Taraji P. Henson?

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Proud Mary might not be that proud after all.

The Taraji P. Henson-starrer was one of the years most anticipated films when the trailer dropped last year. Hensons turn as Mary, a hitwoman working for an organized crime family in Boston, seemed like the black response to Atomic Blondethat is until this year rolled around, where it seems like Sony and Screen Gems have completely dropped the ball on promoting it.

Proud Mary is out this Friday, and social media has been flooded not with excitement for the film but confusion as to why its not being pushed harder. Is it a case of a studio underselling a black film, as is customary in Hollywood? Or does Sony want to hide the fact that the film might not be very good?

Its not screening for critics this week, so dont expect any advance reviews of Proud Mary. Furthermore, critics attending the films press junket werent allowed to screen the film first, so interviews with Taraji will have to remain vague as its a little hard to discuss a film that you havent seen yet with an actress.

Henson herself has even voiced frustration with the promotion of the film.

In a pre-Christmas interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Henson said shes been begging and pleading my connections and doing whatever I can to make this movie the best it can be. I dont just put my name on stuff just to say it; I get down and dirty. [Studios] never expect [black films] to do well overseas. Meanwhile, you go overseas and what do you see? People trying to look like African-Americans with Afros and dressing in hip-hop fashions. To say that black culture doesnt sell well overseas, thats a lie. Somebody just doesnt want to do their job and promote the film overseas. Do you not have people streaming my Christmas specials in Australia? Come on, yall! I dont understand the thinking. Send me over there, and if it fails, then we dont do it again, but why not try? If I knew this movie was gonna make money domestically, I would try to get more money overseas. Its business!

Traditionally, Hollywood has blamed lack of interest in black films overseas as the reason why they dont promote them there. But just last year, Get Out raked in big money overseasas did Hidden Figures the year beforeand historically, films like Coming to America, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Independence Day, and Bad Boys 2 have, too. If anything, its a systemic problem of assuming black films undersell in America and in turn, fail overseas. Henson starred in Hidden Figures and her television drama Empire screens internationally, so why not develop her into a burgeoning international box-office star?

As Octavia Spencer, Hensons Hidden Figures co-star, said, [Will Smith] was told the same thingthat he wasnt going to be taken to promote his film. Had he not paid for himself to fly all over the world that very first time, he would not be an international box-office star. So they have to start investing and taking black actresses and actors across the world just like they do with unknown white actors. They need to do the same thing for black actors. If you dont know em, why would you go support the film?

Speaking of Smith, even his critically panned film Bright managed to be a success for Netflix (a sequel has already been greenlit) and trust me, Proud Mary would have to do some heavy lifting to be worse than that trash.

Henson has been a star for decades and its a shame that there isnt a bigger push for Proud Mary. This week, I accidentally stumbled upon a Facebook Live interview with the actress that lasted less than 10 minutes and had her scrolling through an iPad to find fans questions to answer in real time. It looked like a thrown-together operation from a flailing media company that has decided to pivot to video.

Ive been rooting for Henson for years. Fans are excited to see the movie and want to support it and help studios realize that black filmsand films starring womenhave a hungry audience that craves more than a few tweets and TV commercials. As Henson told THR, If a man can do it, why cant we? I feel like women get better as we age. Give us the same chances as you give men.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-isnt-sony-doing-more-to-promote-proud-mary-and-taraji-p-henson

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Every Star Wars film ranked!

Charmaine Blake

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“From the sagas debut in 1977 to this months Solo and (almost) everything in between, we rank 14 of the Star Wars films and spin-offs

14. Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999)

What a disaster. Never was so much anticipation and excitement loaded into a single movie, which shortly after its release in 1999 became known as A New Crushing of Hope. This monumentally obtuse and dull prequel episode utterly failed to answer 15 years worth of what-happened-next? (or is that what-happened-before?) excitement, and featured the intensely annoying and borderline offensive character Jar Jar Binks.

13. Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984)

Warwick Davis plays Wicket the Ewok on his home turf, the forest moon of Endor, in this TV movie. He helps two orphaned human siblings, Mace and Cindel, find their abducted parents. Burl Ives narrates.

12. Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985)

A classy cast, including Sin Phillips, arguably gives this movie the creative edge over the first Ewok-centred film. Cindel, the orphaned girl from that film, reappears to help the Ewoks against marauders.

Caravan
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, one of two Return of the Jedi spin-offs. Photograph: Allstar/Lucasfilm

11. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

An animated feature-length one-off that spawned six seasons of a TV series. Set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, this drama recounts the story of Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, and their command of a clone army in the war with the Separatists. Lively appearances from Yoda and Jabba the Hutt.

10. Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The third in the prequel trilogy has its defenders, perhaps due to the fact that it brings the threads of a big, baggy story together and creates the origin-myth moment for Darth Vader. The flawed, unhappy Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, is drawn into the ambit of Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, and a great villain is born. Anakin will often tilt his head down and look up, in an awful parody of coyness.

9. Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002)

This is the best of the prequel trilogy, due to the appearance of Christopher Lee. He plays the wicked renegade Jedi, Count Dooku, who has a mano-a-mano confrontation with Yoda, which is nothing if not very good value. There are some spectacular battle set pieces that still stand up, especially on the big screen.

8. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

The invention of YouTube in 2005 gave an official recognition to the existence of the bizarrely misjudged one-off Star Wars variety special transmitted once in 1978 and then never again. For years, a sheepish George Lucas pretty much tried to manipulate fans into thinking they had dreamed it. Everyone hated the Holiday…”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/may/24/every-star-wars-film-ranked-solo-skywalker

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How we made The Blair Witch Project

Charmaine Blake

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We were listed as deceased on IMDb. Our parents started getting condolence calls

Daniel Myrick, co-director

“I had this idea of a stick figure hanging from a tree the Blair Witch symbol

I grew up around the woods and swamps of Florida. For a long time, I had this idea of seeing a stick figure hanging from a tree and it creeped the hell out of me. Ed Snchez, a friend from university who ended up co-directing, helped me work this into a 35-page treatment about three students who go missing after heading out into the Maryland woods to make a documentary about a legendary witch. The idea was that this film was put together later, using the footage they shot. In the late 90s, with digital coming into its own, it was only a matter of time before someone made this kind of first-person movie.

The treatment covered what happens, but it had no dialogue we wanted it all improvised. The original plan was for it to be three guys, but we had to cast Heather Donahue after what happened during her audition. We asked actors to pretend to be at a parole hearing and explain why they should be released. She said: I probably shouldnt be released.

We set up a base at a house in Germantown, Maryland, that Ed shared with his girlfriend. There were 10 to 15 of us there for six weeks, sleeping on couches and on the floor. The shoot took eight days and was a 24/7 operation. It wasnt like a normal film: the actors would work the cameras, filming each other all the time. Using GPS, we directed them to locations marked with flags or milk crates, where theyd leave their footage and pick up food and our directing notes.

Watch a trailer for The Blair Witch Project

These would say things like: Heather, youre absolutely sure that to get out of this mess you go south. Dont take no for an answer. Or: Josh, somewhere along the way today, youve had it with this bullshit. They had the freedom to decide how to play it: we only intervened if…”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/may/21/how-we-made-the-blair-witch-project

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Margot Kidder Beyond Lois Lane

Charmaine Blake

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Margot Kidder flanked by fans at WonderCon in Anaheim, 2015

Image: Araya Diaz/WireImage

“It is no small legacy for an actor to become so entwined with a character in the popular imagination that no one can ever replace them. Such was the fate of Margot Kidder, who passed away in Montana on Monday at the still-too-young age of 69.

Many brilliant actors have taken on the role of Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane, whom Kidder portrayed in Superman I, II and III. Teri Hatcher played her for years in Lois and Clark; Amy Adams is the current Lois of record in DC movies.

Neither could hold a candle to Kidder, who became the essential, irreplaceable Lois just as her co-star Christopher Reeve became the archetypal Clark Kent/Superman.

Her Lois was effortlessly empowered and brooked no nonsense in or out of the newsroom. She fizzed and crackled with intelligence and energy; she was devoted to getting the story even in the midst of a date with an alien superbeing.

It’s no exaggeration to say that she inspired a generation of women and men to enter journalism as much as her real-world counterparts Woodward and Bernstein.

Margot Kidder at the 1983 Academy Awards.

Image: Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Even as Kidder portrayed a strong feminist icon in an otherwise…”

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/14/margot-kidder-lois-lane/

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