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Toronto Film Festival 2019: ‘Seberg’ a Missed Opportunity to Honor an Iconic Actress

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The intriguing story behind “Seberg” and the reliable talent of its lead actress, Kristen Stewart, promise greatness. But this biopic manages to squander both, reducing the film to a bland period piece with an irritating lack of focus.

Jean Seberg was an American actress best known for her role in a French film, the 1960 Jean-Luc Godard New Wave drama “Breathless.” But by the late 1960s, this film suggests, the bilingual performer was growing bored of acting and was enthralled with the activist politics of the era, particularly the Black Panthers. It made her a target of the FBI, which harassed her relentlessly. Given Stewart’s own move away from commercial Hollywood fare lately (“JT LeRoy,” “Personal Shopper”), it’s easy to see why she’d gravitate to the project.

On a transatlantic flight, Seberg offers to give up her first-class seats for Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, and Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie), his cousin. The interaction leads to an affair between Seberg and Jamal, both of whom are married, and to her being surveilled by the FBI and shot at by Jamal’s wife (Zazie Beetz, awfully briefly).

Director Benedict Andrews (“Una”) slogs the film along at a languid pace, cutting between Seberg’s life and the FBI men tasked with following and, ultimately, publicly humiliating the actress as part of the agency’s COINTELPRO program of the ’60s and ’70s, dedicated to disrupting domestic political dissidence.

Jean Seberg in 1958, two years before her breakout film "Breathless" was released.
Jean Seberg in 1958, two years before her breakout film “Breathless” was released.Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Vince Vaughn appears periodically as a short-tempered agent (though it’s hard to take him entirely seriously), while Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”), as his partner, is more morally troubled by the agency’s treatment of Seberg — though not enough to stop it.

“Seberg” isn’t helped by its sometimes laughably uninspired screenplay. We’re told at the start that the actress was badly burned playing Joan of Arc in the 1957 Otto Preminger movie “Saint Joan,” which is later unsubtly echoed when someone warns her she’s “playing with fire.”

The government’s treatment of the iconic actress, who died young in an apparent suicide, is ripe for exploration on film — it’s too bad “Seberg,” despite Stewart’s best efforts, doesn’t do its namesake justice.

 

Kristen Stewart discusses balancing public and private life during Venice press conference for ‘Seberg’ SUBSCRIBE to our channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ETCanada… FOLLOW us here: http://www.etcanada.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/etcanada Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/etcanada Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/etcanada #KristenStewart #Seberg

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It: Chapter Two: Release Date, Cast, Plot, Theories, Rumors

Stephen King’s It crawled back onto the scene in 2017, when the first of two movie remakes came out. The second film, based like the first on King’s 1,100-page 1986 bestseller, isn’t a sequel — it’s a continuation of the plot, taking place 27 years after the first film. For It Chapter 2, members of the Losers Club from the first film have been recast with adult actors, though the young actors will also appear in flashback.

Early reviews

Here’s a look at some of the reviews that have already been released for the film, including CNET’s own.

The sequel trap

“While It Chapter 2 brings their story to a conclusive and largely satisfying end, it disappointingly walks right into the same trap as many sequels. Bloated with story ideas, characters and, most noticeably, running time — not to mention excessive CGI — Chapter 2 is at times harder to hang onto than an escaping balloon.”    — Jennifer Bisset, CNET

Kudos for the cast

The casting of the grown up versions of each character is very impressively done, with James McAvoy and Jay Ryan seeming to be the standouts — but that might be because their characters bear the most striking resemblance to their younger counterparts. Meanwhile, Bill Hader pours an impressive amount of heart into the film, despite being forced to try to add the comic relief endlessly, a task which lands most of the time.”    — Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

First film was better

“The decision [to split the book into two movies] paid off beautifully for Chapter 1, transforming the cerebral novel into a Goonies-flavored coming-of-age adventure with a cast of magnetic, scrappy, lovable kids who faced off against a monster and learned all sorts of lessons about life, love, and friendship along the way. In Chapter 2, however, the cracks in the concept begin to show, and ultimately, the final chapter fails to maintain the spark of the first, succumbing to a dangerous cocktail of muddled timelines, poorly placed novel call-backs, and scattered focus.”    — Meg Downey, GameSpot.com

Nearly three hours is too long

“So what’s the problem? For starters, It: Chapter Two is an ass-numbing two hours and 50 minutes. That’s a good half-hour longer than Chapter One, proving the adage that less is definitely more. The dragging pace diminishes the film’s ability to hold us in its grip. There are endless flashbacks to the characters as kids, as if director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman didn’t trust the audience to have seen the first film and decided to squeeze the highlights into this one just in case.”    — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Trailers and teasers

A featurette released in early September includes some of the stars briefly talking about their roles.

Source: It: Chapter Two: Release date, cast, plot, theories, rumors – CNET

 

It’s Alive! Facebook’s Surprising Video Standout Is A Horror Movie Startup

Like a proud parent, Jack Davis has covered the refrigerator in his Wilshire Boulevard office with artwork. But these aren’t crayon-drawn stick figures of Mom and Dad. They’re the stuff of nightmares—a demonic entity with shark teeth, a cannibal with thorns sprouting from his head, a tree that likes to disembowel its victims.

The gruesome creatures crawled out of the imagination of Davis’ Crypt TV, a digital studio that aspires to become the Marvel of monsters for mobile. Davis, 27, has raised $11 million from investors including Hollywood producer Jason Blum (Us, Ma), media mogul Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Huffington Post cofounder Kenneth Lerer and NBCUniversal. The four-year-old Los Angeles studio, which creates horror videos for social networks, is on track to bring in about $20 million in revenue this year through production deals, running ads for films like Crawl and selling merchandise.

When he started, “no one was doing scary for mobile,” Davis says. That signaled a missed opportunity. “This is a huge genre. It has a solid fan base, and scary movies are very, very big.”

The Golden Age of streaming has birthed Netflix competitors that cater to nearly every genre, from U.K. shows on Britbox to anime on Crunchyroll and, yes, horror on Shudder and Screambox. At the same time, studios like Elisabeth Murdoch’s Vertical Networks have built audiences that are reached primarily through mobile-first social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram, which more than a billion people visit each month.

Davis and Crypt TV cofounder Eli Roth, the film director and producer who developed Netflix’s first horror series, Hemlock Grove, bet that an audience who loved films like Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated Get Out would snap up suspense and horror on the small screen, too.

It’s an intuition that’s paying off. Crypt TV said on Friday that it had reached a deal with Facebook to develop five series exclusively for Facebook Watch, its on-demand video service. The deal extends a partnership started in 2018, when Facebook green-lighted a 15-episode series based on Crypt’s short film The Birch.

Facebook has been paying as much as $25 million for these original shows, though the bulk of them cost $3 to $5 million, according to a person familiar with the matter. Forbes estimates the new Crypt TV deal is valued at less than $20 million. Neither party would disclose the terms of the partnership.

Facebook might seem an unlikely place to screen monster movies for Generation Z and younger Millennials, who make up nearly half of Crypt TV’s audience. One Pew Research Center survey last year found that the world’s largest social network is no longer the most popular hangout for teens, a big drop from earlier in the decade. Plus, Facebook Watch has struggled to gain traction. A year after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched Watch to better compete with Google’s YouTube and Snapchat’s Discover, only half of Facebook users had ever heard of it, says The Diffusion Group, a media research consultancy.

Still, momentum is gathering for shows that capitalize on the network’s power to amass communities to talk about shared interests—say, Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show, Red Table Talk, or Sorry for Your Loss, a drama on grief starring Elizabeth Olsen. Facebook says more than 140 million people each day spend at least a minute viewing Watch videos.

“It’s very hard to say that a platform … (of) two-plus billion people on it doesn’t have young people on it,” says Matthew Henick, Facebook’s head of content planning and strategy. “What Crypt does incredibly well is—because they’re able to tell their stories through many different modes or, in this case, products—they’re able to find those audiences and pull them in.”

Crypt TV taps into a community that likes to be scared. Horror has been reeling in fans on the big screen: The genre brought in a record $1 billion in box office sales in 2017, according to Comscore.

Some fans want to get their goose bumps for free. Thanks to The Birch, which was viewed 26 million times on Facebook, the studio now has 9.75 million followers, or more than triple its YouTube audience. On Davis’ fridge hang mementos from fans. One shared a photo of her tattoo—it’s of the Look-see, a creature with no eyes and flesh that’s been stitched together.

“Young people have so much emotion,” Davis says. A scary story “provides an amazing, permissive structure to take on deep emotional issues.”

A fortuitous encounter at a dinner party hosted by his parents in West Los Angeles led to the creation of Crypt TV. Then a student at Duke University, Davis found himself sitting next to Roth and began reciting dialogue from Roth’s portrayal of the bat-wielding Nazi killer Donny Donowitz in Inglourious Basterds.

The conversation turned to Davis’ career plans. The sociology and political science major said he hoped to launch his own company, capitalizing on the dramatic shift in media viewing habits he’d observed during his four years in college. Roth had a suggestion.

“I said, ‘You know that audience that’s going to see horror movies now’—because obviously now horror has exploded—‘They’re all on their phones,’” Roth recalls. “What is the next generation of characters? Who is creating the new Freddy Krueger? Is there a way to launch a Freddy? A Jason? A Michael Myers? A Chucky? Just on your phone?”

Roth introduced him to Blum, who became Crypt TV’s earliest investor and served as a mentor to the company’s 23-year-old founder.

An early success was #6SecondScare, an October 2014 online competition that encouraged users of Vine, Twitter’s six-second video service, to upload their scariest videos.

Roth lent his name to the contest and coaxed Hollywood celebrities including Quentin Tarantino and High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens to promote it and serve as judges. #6SecondScare attracted 20,000 submissions and ended up featured on ABC’s Good Morning America.

In the summer of 2015, Davis’ team launched Snapchat Murder Mystery, a show that gathered ten social media influencers to a mansion party, then killed off their characters in an Agatha Christie-styled whodunit. A year later came Crypt TV’s breakthrough moment with The Birch. The four-minute video follows a terrified schoolboy who summons an ancient being in the woods to dispense a particularly bloody form of retribution on the boy’s tormentor.

Davis faces his own monster lurking in the dark: Quibi. The mobile video subscription service comes with a Hollywood pedigree, a $1 billion cash horde and some of the best-known filmmakers in horror, Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth) and Sam Raimi (Evil Dead), as well as Blum, producing original content.

Quibi launches in April—though Crypt TV, in classic horror film fashion, has gotten a running start.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a Los Angeles-based senior editor for Forbes, writing about the companies and people behind the biggest disruption in entertainment since cable TV: streaming video

Source: It’s Alive! Facebook’s Surprising Video Standout Is A Horror Movie Startup

Harleen Mann, Sensation Of Punjab Police Went Viral On Social Media

Few days back, an SHO of Punjab Police Harleen Mann uploaded a selfie of herself and within no time it went viral. The photo is currently trending on several media platforms like Facebook Twitter and Whatsapp. Everyone is commenting and tweeting over such a beautiful cop………….

Source: Harleen Mann, Sensation Of Punjab Police Went Viral On Social Media

‘Always Sunny’ stars Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney producing comedy series for Apple — 9to5Mac

Deadline reports that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney have finalized the cast for a straight-to-series half hour comedy show greenlit by Apple for its upcoming video streaming service. more… The post ‘Always Sunny’ stars Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney producing comedy series for Apple appeared first on 9to5Mac.

via ‘Always Sunny’ stars Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney producing comedy series for Apple — 9to5Mac

Fan Bingbing’s Mysterious Disappearance: What It Means For China’s Elite – Steve Rose

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Imagine if Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson went missing and nobody knew where they had gone – even three months later. That is what happened to Fan Bingbing. Fan is one of China’s best known and highest-paid actors, thanks to a string of domestic hits such as Cell Phone and Double Xposure, and small roles in Iron Man 3 and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The 37-year-old was on the jury of the Cannes film festival last year, and is set to star in a new thriller opposite Jessica Chastain and Penelope Cruz. On 2 July this year she posted details of a visit to a children’s hospital in Tibet on Weibo (China’s answer to Twitter). Then her account went dead, leaving her 63 million followers, and pretty much the rest of China, wondering where she had gone…….

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/oct/04/fan-bingbing-mysterious-disappearance-chinese-film-star-elite

 

 

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The Horror Oscars: The Best Scary Movies of Every Year Since 1978’s Halloween – Sean Fennessey

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Here is the number of Oscars that were awarded to Alfred Hitchcock for Best Director: zero. Here is the number for John Carpenter: zero. Wes Craven: zero. James Whale: zero. David Cronenberg: zero. You get the point. In the Academy Awards’ 90-year history, horror films have been nominated for Best Picture just six times, out of a possible 546 nominees. Here they are: The Exorcist, Jaws, The Silence of the Lambs, The Sixth Sense, Black Swan, and last year’s Get Out. Only one took home the prize. (The Silence of the Lambs in 1992.)…..

Read more: https://www.theringer.com/movies/2018/10/1/17921290/horror-movie-academy-awards-halloween-40-alien-shining-nightmare-elm-street-silence-lambs-scream

 

 

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The One Word You Can’t Say on Star Trek – Michele Debczak

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When it premiered in 1966, Star Trek presented a world unlike anything else on television at the time. But there was one frontier even its creator wouldn’t venture into: As Entertainment Weekly reports, the word “God” must never be mentioned on the show. The rule originated with Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, and will be followed by the makers of the franchise’s newest property, Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres in September. According to the writer Kirsten Beyer, the new series adheres to Roddenberry’s idea of “a science-driven 23rd-century future where religion basically no longer exists……

Read more: http://mentalfloss.com/article/503156/one-word-you-cant-say-star-trek

 

 

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