Michael Biehn cast in the second season of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” (2019-)

 

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Filming for the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian (2019-) has recently wrapped production. (Image Courtesy: /Film).

 

Michael Biehn has been cast in the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian (2019-) as a bounty hunter from the titular Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) past, according to /Film. A James Camron alumnus, Biehn has starred in The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), as well as The Abyss (1989), in addition to action movie classics such as George P. Cosmatos’s Tombstone (1993). Giancarlo Esposito is expected to reprise his role, Rosario Dawson will play fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano, and Bill Burr, Carl Weathers, and Gina Carano are all set to return; Baby Yoda (officially called “The Child”) is back also.

Garry Marshall’s “Pretty Woman” (1990) turns thirty

The Guardian critic Scott Tobias writes that Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman (1990) may have been released in the 1990s, but it is very 1980s with its “greed is good,” Reaganomics materialism, as well as its ultraconservative sexual politics. After all, it is about a Hollywood Boulevard prostitute named Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) – who is new to streetwalking, does no drugs, and doesn’t have a pimp – snagging a wealthy out-of-towner named Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), who innocently meets her asking for directions. According to Tobias, Roberts’s star-making turn, which made her America’s sweetheart overnight, elevates the film beyond its shortcomings.

Hulu review: Terence Young’s “Dr. No” (1962)

The mid-twentieth century posed an identity crisis for all of the West, but for the United Kingdom most of all. With the breakup of the British Empire following World War II and the expansion of the Soviet Union in the East, European colonialism was under attack.

It was to be expected for the white male wish-fulfillment that is James Bond to infiltrate English cinema for the next sixty years, which is why 007’s first outing is as dated as curdled milk.

If you don’t know what to watch next, Terence Young’s Dr. No (1962) is available to stream on Hulu. The spy film is an adaptation of the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming.

Since its release, it is estimated that a quarter of the world’s population has seen at least one of the twenty-four subsequent Bond pictures produced by Eon.

In Jamaica, MI6 Station Chief John Strangways (Timothy Moxon, voiced by Robert Rietty) is assassinated alongside his secretary, Mary Trueblood (Dolores Keator), by “the Three Blind Mice” (uncredited), who steal documents related to “Crab Key” and “Doctor No.”

The Head of the British Secret Service, M (Bernard Lee), dispatches Agent James Bond (Sir Sean Connery) to look into Strangways’s cooperation with the American CIA on a case of disrupted rocket launches in Cape Canaveral via radio jamming.

Bond’s investigation crosses paths with the treacherous Miss Taro (Zena Marshall) and the beautiful Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress, speaking voice by Nikki van der Zyl and singing voice by Diana Coupland) before leading him to the lair of Doctor No (Joseph Wiseman).

The movie is iconic for what would go on to become James Bond’s most recognizable tropes (Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme,” Maurice Binder’s gun-barrel title sequence, Connery’s line, “Bond, James Bond,” the “Bond girls,” the campy villain, et cetera).

Without it, we wouldn’t have Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale (2006) or Sam Mendes’s Skyfall (2012). But even those superior entries are still answering for the sociopolitical sins of their father.

Intersectionally, Dr. No is as insensitive with its representation as to the most toxically masculine, white supremacist Bond flick you can think of.

Marshall and Wiseman are both white actors playing Asian characters: Miss Taro fulfills the “dragon lady” stereotype of the duplicitous Asian woman seducing the white hero with her exoticism; and Doctor No, the evil Chinese genius plotting to take over the world.

The very setting of the film is symptomatic of the English filmmaker’s juxtaposition of the “civilized” British protagonist against the “barbaric” Third World.

Edward Said’s theories on orientalism state that Western thought can be traced back to René Descartes’s philosophication, “I think, therefore, I am.”

This state of “being” versus “nonbeing” can exist only in a universe of opposites, and, in such a universe, post-Descartes white culture was bound to see anything different from itself as the opposite, as the “unculture” to its “culture,” as an evil to be vanquished.

Bond’s travels to settings like Kingston mimic this invader’s narrative.

And the very casting of Connery itself turned out to be a poor choice for the film’s politics. He said during a Barbara Walters interview he condones violence against women.

As if Bond’s womanizing ways weren’t problematic enough.

And what makes it problematic is what feeds more into the white British male’s power fantasy. Bond always “gets the girl” at the end, objectifying his romantic leads into spoils of war.

The sexualization of “foreign” women is the apparatus through which white Europeans have committed their genocide-by-rape.

But, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-scripting Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die (2020) and with men and women of color in talks to replace Daniel Craig (who, in and of himself, is redemption for Connery’s Bond), 007 is on its way out from under the shadow of Dr. No.

But, because it’s the one that started it all, Bond will forever have to answer for it. As a (critical) fan of the character, this reviewer doesn’t even enjoy it for what it is – it is offensive, tired, and, worst of all, boring.

In Florida, film industry is doing well

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First created under then-Governor Jeb Bush, the FFEAC is made up of former legislators, business executives, entertainment industry veterans, and community leaders volunteering to advise the Department of Public Opportunity on how to best develop, market, promote, and provide services to Florida’s entertainment industry. (Image Courtesy: Florida Politics).

House Bill 7039, as well as Senate Bill 1636, went before the Florida Legislature at this year’s Legislative Session, threatening to repeal the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, according to Florida Politics. Even though the Legislature declined to approve a new film production program for 2020, the film industry successfully spoke out against HB 7039 with an amendment to the bill sparing the FFEAC which now awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’s signature. Floridians in the trade earn an average of eighty-two thousand dollars per year, which is two-thirds greater than the state average for all jobs, not to mention the businesses and tourism supported by film and television productions, raking in tax revenues for the government.

Website lists ten greatest thrillers of all time

 

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The arbitrariness of truth and the infinity of human cruelty are key themes throughout thrillers, and shadows, dreams, crime, paranoia, conspiracy, and suspicion are key motifs. (Image Courtesy: The Manual).

 

The “thriller” is difficult to differentiate from the film noir, horror, action, or suspense, according to The Manual. In an effort to define the parameters of the genre, writer Eric Shorey listed some of the best movies considered to be thrillers. The website’s ten best thrillers are: Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991); Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992); Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000); Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (2019); David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001); Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance (2005); Rob Reiner’s Misery (1990); Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011); Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945); as well as Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

“Ready or Not” directors attached to “Scream” reboot

Spyglass Media Group is rebooting Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) in partnership with Matthew Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who directed Ready or Not (2019), according to Variety. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are part of filmmaking group Radio Silence with Chad Villella, who will serve as one of the producers behind the untitled Scream reboot; Radio Silence produced V/H/S (2012), Devil’s Due (2014), and Southbound (2015). As for Spyglass, they were organized a year ago with former MGM executive Gary Barber and Lantern Entertainment co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic, who took over the rights to Scream from the Weinstein Co. in 2018.

Netflix review: David Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago” (1965)

The Golden Age of Classical Hollywood effectively ended with the Paramount Decree in 1948, when an antitrust United States Supreme Court divested the studios of their theater holdings.

Forced to compete for screen space to compensate for the lost revenue, producers and executives resorted to gimmickry to attract audiences.

Then, with the advent of television around the same time, the cinematic arts were faced with an identity crisis as they recalibrated into technically ambitious, colorful melodramas TV simply couldn’t emulate at the time.

David Lean was the master of such large-scale spectacles, and his Doctor Zhivago (1965) is one of the last of its kind before the Second Golden Age of Hollywood took root later in the decade.

If you don’t know what to watch next, Doctor Zhivago is available to stream on Netflix. The epic romantic drama is based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak, which was banned in the Soviet Union, so shooting largely took place in Spain.

It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won five, all technical.

Functioning as a narrative framing device, KGB Lieutenant General Yevgraf Andreyevich Zhivago (Sir Alec Guinness) believes he has found the daughter of his half-brother, Doctor Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago (Omar Sharif), and his lover, Larissa “Lara” Antipova (Julie Christie).

It is the late 1940s or early 1950s Soviet Union, and as Yevgraf tells Tanya Komarova (Rita Tushingham) the story of Yuri’s life, we learn, via flashback, about his marriage to Tonya Gromeko (Geraldine Chaplin) during the Russian Revolution, and his love affair with Lara.

Lara’s husband, Pavel “Pasha” Antipova (Tom Courtenay), is a Red Army commander, and Yuri – a poet at heart – must flee for his life with his family when the new Communist government condemns his art as anti-leftist.

At a three-and-a-half-hour runtime with a period piece dramatization spanning two generations over half a century in a setting as culturally and historically rich as Russia, Doctor Zhivago is over the top and larger than life in all the best ways.

Freddie Young’s Oscar-winning photography as well as Maurice Jarre’s award-winning score mix together into a heady cinematic cocktail with the drama of Robert Bolt’s Best Adapted Screenplay.

The USSR of Doctor Zhivago sweeps across the screen as continentally as the Russian Empire itself. And, politically, it is a bold piece of filmmaking to come out of Cold War Europe (the picture is not a Hollywood production, but, rather, British and Italian).

It decries the totalitarian Soviet Union at a time when tensions between East and West were heating up in Vietnam.

For such a commercial feature, cashing in on that era’s craze for Technicolor, CinemaScope releases, what sets it apart from, say, Viktor Fleming’s Gone with the Wind (1939), is its commentary on a contemporaneous superpower.

Conversely, though, the movie depoliticizes the title character from page to screen. In the book, Yuri supports the Revolution, just not the direction it takes.

In an effort to make him a more marketable hero to Western viewers, Lean offers a more unambiguous anticommunist critique, which oversimplifies Pasternak’s source material into a capitalistically friendly cash grab.

It stops short of becoming right-wing propaganda, though, which is why Doctor Zhivago has aged into a classic for the old-fashioned streamer. It is excessive and self-indulgent, but only because there’s more for the cinephile to get lost in.

As one of the highest-grossing releases of all time (adjusted for inflation), it is an important part of cinematic history as the events it reconstructs are world history.