Category: Features

The Shape of Water: An American Fairy Tale

We don’t have magic in America. The first European settlers made sure of that. It was the dawn of the Age of Reason, and there was no room in the New World for old superstitions. The wizards were crushed, the witches burned, the grimoires replaced with bibles. The magics of the native peoples were almost forgotten in the face of genocide and cultural assimilation. The songs and stories of the Africans stolen for forced labor were wrapped in chains and tossed into the Atlantic. And for centuries, downtrodden immigrants were robbed of last names and customs. Not that we...

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Mental Health and 2017 Television

Early in 2017, after years of knowing something wasn’t right with me, I found myself sat in a therapist’s office with a diagnosis of depression with suicidal ideation. Now, that sounds more dramatic than it is, especially that second part. It doesn’t mean I tried anything, and in all honesty, I probably never would have, but when I was asked if my depression had ever become so bad that I had considered it, I answered honestly, “Yes.” For the rest of the year, I spent time with my therapist and practised self-care as much as I could. I tried...

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Annihilation Aims to Create Something New in Second Trailer

Here’s the second trailer for Alex Garland’s Annihilation. This latest trailer is more action packed and overtly horror-centric than the first, and the novel for that matter, but given Garland’s involvement and some of the behind the scenes reports about producer concerns over the film being too intelligent, it’s likely that Annihilation will be a bit more quiet and subtle than that this trailer suggests. But even if it’s not and ends up being more James Cameron than Ridley Scott, Garland clearly has a fascinating and unique vision for a challenging story to adapt, and a great cast. Annihilation...

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Criterion Discovery: The Lure

Background: Just two years after its Polish premiere, Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s feminist fairy tale musical The Lure (Spine #896) explodes onto Blu-ray. This is Smoczyńska’s first film in the Collection as well as the seventh Polish film overall to be inducted.  Story: In a bold re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, two young mermaids named Golden and Silver (Michalina Olszańska, Marta Mazurek) are discovered by a strip club rock band on the shores of Poland. They are quickly pressed into performing at their club where Golden secretly seduces, kills, and devours male patrons. However, Silver falls in love...

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Why You Should Be Watching Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels is a sequel to The Clone Wars, a show I’ve raved about previously. Next year will see the end of the show as it wraps up after four seasons. Much like The Clone Wars, if you’re a fan of Star Wars you need to be watching it,and now, during the mid-season break, is the perfect time to catch up in time to see how the adventure ends. If you’ve never heard of the show, the story revolves around the crew of the Ghost, a smuggling ship that gradually becomes more and more embroiled with the Rebel...

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The Top 10 Star Wars Video Games

*Originally published December 16, 2016. With the Star Wars Universe cinematically expanding beyond its episode installments, we thought it would be a good time to revisit some of the other onscreen narratives that took us deeper into this universe with new worlds, new characters, and new mythology. Typically, when we discuss the now defunct Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) we talk about the novels and comics, and while those were impressive in their own right, it shouldn’t be forgotten that more than any other intellectual property, we’ve had a surplus of wonderful Star Wars games. So dust off the...

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75th Golden Globe Nominees Announced

This morning, Kristen Bell, Garrett Hedlund, Sharon Stone, and Alfre Woodard announced the 2018 Golden Globe nominees live from the Beverley Hilton Hotel. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Sunday, January 7th and will be hosted by Seth Meyers. The major player this year is Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which led the way with seven nominations. This is a huge win for the fan-favorite director and genre filmmaking. The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri followed with six nominations each. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk also received some love, though without recognition in any of the...

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The Original Star Wars Trilogy & Its Hopeful Hero

Originally published on March 23, 2017. Throughout the month of March, Audiences Everywhere will be sharing appreciation for film trilogies, including personal reflections from our writers on some of their favorites. Today, we’re discussing a singular hero’s role in perhaps the quintessential movie trilogy: Star Wars‘ Luke Skywalker… “I’m Never Gonna Get Out of Here” He’s Luke Skywalker, and he’s here to rescue you. Capable but physically unassuming—Obi Wan calls him “little one”—with blond, feathered hair and a too-big tunic. He’s a talented pilot, good with droids, and too short to be a stormtrooper. If there’s a bright center...

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Spider-Man Gets Animated in Teaser for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

2017 successfully brought Spider-Man into the MCU, and now Sony is branching out with an animated Spider-Man film that sees black-hispanic teenager Miles Morales, team-up with a host of Spider-Men from parallel universes to learn the meaning of great power and responsibility. Scripted by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directed by Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey, and featuring the voice talents of Shameik Moore, Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, and Liev Schreiber, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will finally see the long awaited debut of Miles Morales on the big-screen, as well as the Spidey-centric multiverse that made waves in...

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Robert Rodriguez Returns with first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel

After almost 20 years of James Cameron trying to make this film happen, here’s the first trailer for Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel, based on the famous manga series. Yeah, it looks weird, but credit to Robert Rodriguez for taking something as commonly explored as A.I. in film and presenting it with a vision that’s entirely his. Hollywood has gotten a lot of deserved criticism for their adaptations of Japanese properties and simply placing them in white America. But Rodriguez looks to do something entirely unique which is situating the story in what appears to be a Latino-American world,...

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Life Once Again Finds A Way in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer

Here’s the first trailer for J.A. Bayona’s fifth installment of the Jurassic franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom! Bayona, who impressed us with The Orphanage, The Impossible, and A Monster Calls, has clearly upped the ante on the franchise’s visual style, removing some of the summer blockbuster sheen for a look that’s a little more grounded in the realm of disaster pics. This goes along with the film’s seeming environmental slant, which sees our returning leads from Jurassic World, and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, trying to prevent the second extinction of the dinosaurs, who are under threat from a volcano...

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One Mississippi and Tig Notaro’s Non-Performative Honesty

When most of us want to hide in the dark corners to deal with our mental health privately, it seems counterintuitive that in the comedy community, comedians so often use the stage as a form of therapy. Jokes become a kind of confession as performers work through their issues with an audience. Frequently, this comedic form can be a recipe for failure. At its worst, psychologically confessional material makes the crowd uncomfortable and wastes precious open mic time for people who are working on their humor, not their trauma. Sometimes, though, this transparency serves the material well. If a...

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Still Looking Out For Us: Shyamalan’s Split & Mental Illness

Originally published on February 6, 2017. I knew what we were in for the moment I saw the first trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s new film Split. Critics have long had it out for Shyamalan. Before the release of The Visit in 2015, I wrote about how the cultural consensus has consistently and willfully misunderstood him as an auteur. The Visit ended up opening to the sort of widespread acclaim that had evaded his work for over a decade. But when I saw Split’s trailer, I was sure it was about to come crashing down again, buckling under the...

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Why You Should Be Watching Easy

Originally published on October 4, 2016. Writer and director Joe Swanberg got his start in the mid-2000s as an influential member of the Mumblecore film movement. Defined as a distinctive sub-genre of the American independent film revolution that has its roots in the 1990s, Swanberg and others defined themselves through a new form of cinematic Naturalism, connoting both an intensely paid attention to detail in realistic performance and dialogue. In some of the earliest Mumblecore features, many key actors were untrained performers, whose respective naïveté gave birth to much of the sub-genre’s understated pathos and emotional drama. Frequently centering...

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The Set Design of Ridley Scott’s Alien

It’s impossible to celebrate the 80th birthday of Ridley Scott without discussing his magnum opus – a movie that has transcended cinema and extended its tentacles beyond popular culture. Alien is a film that was largely and wholeheartedly ahead of its time. You need look only at the uncommon heroine – Ellen Ripley – to understand this. From the opening scene of the film, Scott achieves many things. The most fascinating, however, is how he establishes a queasiness and fear in the audience while also maintaining a palpable sense of intrigue through the set design alone. Why Alien works...

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