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0.25.5 6月喜迎(Photo by Fox Searchlight / courtesy Everett Collection)20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Jojo RabbitWhen director Taika Waititi isn t busy making Thor the funniest character in the MCU, he takes the time to stay true to his quirky indie roots, releasing movies like Jojo Rabbit. It s about a young Nazi boy with an imaginary Hitler friend, whose mother is hiding a Jewish teenaged girl in their home. It s also up for Best Picture in this year s Oscars race.It s a high-wire act mining jokes out of World War II, and when the film came out there were immediate and mostly favorable comparisons to Jojo s forebears like Charlie Chaplin s The Great Dictator, To Be or Not to Be, Life Is Beautiful, and the original The Producers. And speaking of Mel Brooks, he lends his wisdom for documentary The Last Laugh, which explores the boundaries of humor in the face of human horror and catastrophe. Meanwhile, Train of Life is just as funny as any of the movies mentioned so far, and remains criminally underseen.Using a child s perspective to explore the origins and horrors of World War II is an evocative yet risky technique. If successful, it creates empathy in the viewer. When it fails, critics and audiences will deem it exploitative. Come and See is arguably the most memorable of this type of film, but be warned it is not a comedy and will mess you up. It s also a masterpiece. Forbidden Games and Au Revoir Les Enfants are gentler classics, and just about as affecting and powerful. If you re not a blubbering mess by the end of those and want even more World War II movies from kids point of views, try The Tin Drum, The Diary of Anne Frank, or The Boy In the Striped Pajamas.Beyond World War II, there have been a lot of great films as seen through the eyes of youth that unearth truths for people across all ages. Peter Brook s adaptation of The Lord of the Flies explores how authoritarian tendencies develop organically when left unchecked. Pan s Labyrinth uses fantasy to help a young girl engage with and escape the darkness of reality. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Florida Project all use the power of imagination to create better worlds for their young heroes.And if you re just looking for a rousing adventure of young lovers on the run (and also in scouting uniforms), see Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. Waititi shares the same comedic sensibility and timing as Anderson, as seen in Jojo Rabbit and his earlier efforts, Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
It’s that time of year again where September is stacked with so many returning series across network and cable that we couldn’t possibly feature them all! The 12 series below are all the Certified Fresh returnees this month, including superhero fare, socially-tinged comedies, and primetime mainstays bowing out with their final seasons.Titans 86% (DC Universe)What it is: The series is centered on the titular group of young superheroes — led by none other than Nightwing (formerly Robin of Batman-sidekick fame) — as they save the world from forces that want to end it. This long-in-the-making effort is a welcome addition to DC Comics’ TV footprint. Why you should watch it: Greg Berlanti is the mastermind behind DC Comics’ takeover of the small screen, so you know you’re in good hands for this streaming hit with him and co-creators Akiva Goldsman and Geoff Johns at the helm. The Titans action is slick and laid on thick, and buoyed by a stellar young-Hollywood cast, we can’t wait to see what superhero adventures are in store next. Season 2 premieres Sept. 6 on DC Universe.Where to watch: Amazon, DC Universe, FandangoNOW, Google Play, VuduCommitment: Approx. 8 hours (for the first season)The Deuce 93% (HBO)What it is: From creator David Simon (The Wire), The Deuce deep dives into 1970s Times Square — more specifically, the men and women who turn to sex work to make a living. The Golden Globe–nominated series is a true ensemble piece, with standouts Maggie Gyllenhaal as a prostitute named Candy and James Franco as identical twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino. The next two seasons jump ahead in time, but this is the series’ starting line. Why you should watch it: By transporting us to a gritty world of sex, drugs, and an American Dream that’s foreign to most audiences today, The Deuce further proves Simon’s talent for creating series that are absolutely singular and authentic. Plus, with talent like Gyllenhaal and Franco attached, it certainly ranks within prestige TV’s must-watch club. Season 3 premieres September 9 on HBO.Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, HBO Now, Microsoft, VuduCommitment: Approx. 17 hours (for the first two seasons)American Horror Story 77% (FX)What it is: Now going into its ninth season, the spooky anthology series is a favorite of critics and audiences alike. Previous seasons featured haunted houses, witches, vampires, crazed killers, and every manner of unhinged human. Why you should watch it: You don’t have to watch every season of American Horror Story to catch up for season 9, but don’t you want to!? The acclaimed anthology series is known for being as campy as it is horrific. The upcoming season, American Horror Story: 1984, is set in a summer camp that’s being devastated by a mental hospital escapee named Mr. Jingles. It’s also the first season in which AHS mainstays Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters are not expected to play a role. 1984 premieres Sept. 18 on FX.Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Netflix, VuduCommitment: Approx. 78 hours (for the first eight seasons)black-ish 92% (ABC)What it is: Funnyman Anthony Anderson stars as Dre Johnson, a black, upper-middle-class family man who — in a predominantly white neighborhood, school, and culture — still wants his kids to retain a sense of black identity.Why you should watch it: Creator Kenya Barris is one of those writers who just goes there. Even in what some would call the confines of network TV, he has conjured stories the last five seasons in the sitcom structure that are resonant, timely, and fearless. Plus, they’ll make you laugh, too! Tracy Ellis Ross and Anderson are especially show-stealing. With Barris now at Netflix and Courtney Lilly promoted to showrunner, we expect more of the same high quality when season 6 premieres Sept. 24 on ABC.Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, VuduCommitment: Approx. 43 hours (for the first five seasons)The Conners 93% (ABC)What it is: Revisiting one of the most famous families on network TV after over 20 years off the air, The Conners stars Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, and the rest of the original clan (minus Roseanne Barr) and is as insightful and heartwarming as ever.Why you should watch it: The Conners is just one of the several series on this months’ list that’s been beleaguered by off-screen controversy. After the renewal and cancellation of original sitcom, Roseanne, this series found its groove and audience without Barr. Telling it like it is for working class, family-first Americans, it resonates wide in today’s times while making us laugh like always.Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, VuduCommitment: Approx. 4 hours (for the first season)Empire 84% (Fox)What it is: A family drama of Shakespearean proportions, Empire charts the various rises and falls of the Lyon family — for starters, those of patriarch Lucious (Terrence Howard), a hip-hop mogul who’s in the process of choosing an heir to his musical throne.Why you should watch it: Nothing short of a phenomenon upon its premiere in 2015, Empire is classic Lee Daniels: engrossingly soapy, slightly camp, meticulously performed, and endlessly entertaining. Taraji P. Henson does some of the best work of her career as the scene-stealing and wig-snatching Cookie Lyon. She alone is worth the watch, but it helps that she has an excellent ensemble at her back, led by Howard who acts as the very best foil to her scheming. You probably saw Empire catching capital-D Dramatic headlines earlier this year, and we’re sure there’s more due onscreen upon the season 6 premiere Sept. 24 on Fox.Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, VuduCommitment: Approx. 63 hours (for the first five seasons)This Is Us 93% (NBC)What it is: Dan Fogelman’s hit family drama tells the story of siblings Kate, Kevin, and Randall in the present day while recounting their parents’ Jack and Rebecca’s own story through pregnancy and raising them in the early-to-mid 1980s.Why you should watch it: Not since Parenthood has a network drama so broadly and successfully portrayed complicated family dynamics. Through its use of creative narrative devices and excellent ensemble performances, This Is Us earns its praise (and your tears). The series is already renewed through season 6, so now is the time catch up on its first three rounds before season 4 premieres Sept. 24 on NBC.Where to watch it: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, VuduCommitment: Approx. 40 hours (for the first three seasons)The Good Place 97% (NBC)What it is: Talk about a creative spin on the afterlife! Kristen Bell stars as the recently deceased Eleanor Shellstrop, who by some glitch in the system ends up in the “Good Place,” a Utopian haven for those who served their lives on Earth with grace that was designed by Ted Danson’s Michael. Thing is: Eleanor doesn’t actually fit the bill of admittance and has to keep her righteous new friends fooled if she wants to stick around.Why you should watch it: The Good Place is certainly among the best network comedies of recent memory. An always-charming Bell and TV royalty Danson play off of each other in a way that — what the fork!? — simply works. The series was this year recognized with an Emmy nomination for best comedy series for the first time. Season 4 premieres Sept. 24 on NBC. Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix, VuduCommitment: Approx. 5 hours (for the first three seasons)How to Get Away With Murder 88% (ABC)What it is: Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is a criminal defense attorney and professor teaching a group of talented — and curiously attractive — law students how to defend the accused, all while tangling them up in a real-life murder mystery of their own. Buckle up!Why you should watch it: Davis if one of the industry’s most heralded and decorated actors. The trailblazing Oscar winner, who was recently announced to play former First Lady Michelle Obama, became a household name with her role on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. Annalise is a complicated and complex antiheroine who has earned David an Emmy, and her performance, matched with the trademark twists and soap of Shondaland Productions (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) and an impressive, young ensemble, has been reason enough to come back year after year. The series’ sixth and final season premieres Sept. 26 on ABC.Where to watch: Amazon, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, Netflix, VuduCommitment: Approx. 55 hours (for the first five seasons)Young Sheldon (CBS)What it is: We all know that The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon has a one-of-a-kind genius mind, but did you ever wonder just what he was like as a kid? Young Sheldon answers that question and then some while charting the nine-year-old boy-genius’s life.Why you should watch it: Young Sheldon provides something that we haven’t seen before: a reinterpretation of a beloved multi-camera sitcom character as a single-camera, family-friendly, and heartwarming dramedy. Better yet, because this is a prologue series to Jim Parson’s Sheldon, our protagonist’s mother, Mary, is played by Zoe Perry, the real-life daughter of Laurie Metcalf, who, in a small-screen first, stars as the same character on The Big Bang Theory. Season 3 premieres Sept. 26 on CBS.Where to watch: Amazon, CBS All Access, FandangoNOW, Google Play, MicrosoftCommitment: Approx. 15 hours (for the first two seasons)Fresh Off the Boat 94% (ABC)What it is: Set in the 1990s and loosely adapted from celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, Fresh Off the Boat follows a first-generation Taiwanese family who picks up from their Chinatown home in Washington, D.C., and heads south to Orlando, Florida, where father Louis Huang (Randall Park) opens a Country-Western steakhouse.Why you should watch it: A refreshing take on Asian Americans for the small screen? Check. Well-earned laughs from a trio of talented young actors? Check. A heaping dose of ’90s nostalgia? Check. And the combined powers of the hilarious Park and Constance Wu (of Crazy Rich Asians fame)? Check and check. Need we say more? Season 6 premieres Sept. 27 on ABC.Where to watch: Amazon, FandangoNOW, Google Play, Hulu, Microsoft, VuduCommitment: Approx. 37 hours (for the first five seasons)Transparent 90% (Amazon Prime)What it is: Jill Soloway’s acclaimed family comedy is much more than clever wordplay. This affecting story of a father, Mort Pfefferman, who comes out as transgender and begins transitioning as Maura is about the transitory nature of life for all members of the Pfefferman clan (and, yes, the importance of being honest and transparent with those you love as well as with yourself).Why you should watch it: Transparent is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on TV. It has been overshadowed in recent years due to an off-set controversy and eventual removal of star Jeffrey Tambor, but as an opening act to its musical series finale, the Pfefferman family is worth revisiting before their long-awaited return and feature-film length goodbye on Sept. 27 on Amazon Prime.Where to watch it: Amazon, Google Play, VuduCommitment: Approx. 20 hours (for the first four seasons)Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
New Trailers Videos: Season 2 Trailers for The Boys and The Umbrella Academy — Plus, Kevin Hart Attends Action Star School in Die HartA new trailer for The Boys season 2 reveals the epic parenting skills you d expect from sociopathic superhero Homelander (Antony Starr) and some gleeful scheming by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban). Season 2 premieres on Friday, September 4 on Amazon Prime Video.Die Hart, Season 1, a comedy in which Kevin Hart plays a version of himself as he tries to become an action star by attending action star school with a tough guy teacher (John Travolta) (Quibi)The Old Guard, an action movie based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka, and starring Charlize Theron and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Netflix)The Umbrella Academy, Season 2, starring Ellen Page (Netflix)Jim Gaffigan: The Pale Tourist, a stand-up special (Amazon Video)Away, Season 1, drama about an astronaut who leaves her husband and daughter to go on a dangerous, year-long mission, starring Hilary Swank (Netflix)An American Pickle, a comedy movie starring Seth Rogen (HBO Max)Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy, animated series (Netflix)The Kissing Booth 2, movie, starring Joey King (Netflix)Men in Kilts, Season 1, travel docuseries starring Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (Starz)Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, a Psych movie sequel starring Dulé Hill, James Roday, Timothy Omundson (Peacock)Pen15, Season 2, starring Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine (Hulu)Showbiz Kids, a documentary about former child stars, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Wil Wheaton (HBO)Boys State, a Sundance-winning documentary about a week-long program in which 17-year-old Texans form fake governments and campaign and run a mock election to elect a governor (Apple TV+)Shark Week 2020 (Discovery)Love on the Spectrum, Season 1, a docuseries about daters on the autism spectrum trying to find love (Netflix)Father Soldier Son, a documentary that covers 10 years in the life of a family whose father returns home after a combat injury results in the loss of his leg (Netflix)Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, a documentary starring Walter Mercado and Lin-Manuel MirandaFor all the latest TV and streaming trailers, subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.Casting News: Damien Lewis and Dominic West Teaming Up for Spectrum Cold War Thriller A Spy Among Friends(Photo by ©Showtime / Courtesy: Everett Collection)Homeland and Billions star Damian Lewis (pictured) and The Wire and The Affair star Dominic West are in negotiations to team up for a limited series adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s bestselling Cold War book A Spy Among Friends for Spectrum Originals. The six-episode thriller unfolds the story of real-life British spy Kim Philby (West), who defected to the Soviet Union, and his complicated friendship with fellow British intelligence officer Nicholas Elliott (Lewis). (Deadline)The Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss is starring in the true crime limited series Candy, in which she’ll play Texas murderer Candy Montgomery, a woman who seemed to have a great personal and professional life, but killed another woman with an ax. Moss will also be an executive producer for the series, which will be pitched to premium cable and streaming outlets.An Oral History of The Office – a podcast that is exactly what the title suggests – will have a very special host: Office star Brian Baumgartner, a.k.a. chili-making, Kool-Aid Man-impersonating Kevin. The show launches July 14 on Spotify. (EW)Oscar-nominated Phantom Thread star Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret in the upcoming fifth season of The Crown on Netflix. She is the third actress to play the royal in the series, following Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham-Carter.Groundhog Day star Stephen Tobolowsky – Ned Ryerson! – said on The Production Meeting podcast that he has been approached about reprising his role as “Needlenose Ned” in an in development TV series adaptation of the movie.Development News: Colin Kaepernick Signs Deal to Make Scripted and Unscripted Projects Across Multiple Disney Platforms(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios)Netflix is not the only platform collaborating with former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick: Disney has signed a first-look deal with Kaepernick that will span multiple outlets (including Hulu, Pixar, and The Undefeated) and will kick off with an ESPN docuseries that unfolds his journey across the last five years, in his words. The collaboration, which will include scripted and unscripted programming, aims to “provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers,” as per ESPN. Last week, Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay signed a deal with Netflix to produce a six-episode series about Kaepernick’s childhood.Mad Men creator Matt Weiner is developing a mystery dramedy series at FX, which we will write, direct, and executive produce. His last series, 2018 drama anthology The Romanoffs, streamed on Amazon. (Variety)FX and Hulu are teaming with The New York Times for a 10-part docuseries called The New York Times Presents, that will launch on July 10 with “They Get Brave,” an episode about the doctors and nurses and other health care professionals who saw New York City through the breakdown of the health care system in the early days of the pandemic. The series will launch new installments every month, including a documentary about the killing of Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville, Kentucky.Oprah Winfrey, The New York Times, and Lionsgate are partnering on a series of TV shows and films based on “The 1619 Project,” the 2019 NYT series examining the 400-year legacy of slavery in the United States. The project earned a Pulitzer Prize for its creator, reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, who will be the creative leader and producer on the TV and film works.HBO Max has ordered 12 episodes of Young Love, an animated spin-off of the Oscar-winning short film Hair Love, by filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, about a Black father doing his daughter’s hair for the first time. Cherry created the series and will be showrunner, alongside The Boondocks animator Carl Jones. The series will revolve around the same characters as the short, featuring “an honest look into the world of the Young family – including millennial parents Stephen and Angela, their daughter Zuri and her pet cat Rocky – as they juggle their careers, marriage, parenthood, social issues, and multi-generational dynamics all while striving to make a better life for themselves.”(Photo by James Keyser/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)Apple TV+ has signed a multi-year deal with the Maurice Sendak Foundation to create new projects based on the books and illustrations of the Where the Wild Things Are author.Martin Scorsese will direct a Showtime documentary about New York Dolls lead singer David Johansen, including footage of Johansen’s performances at Café Carlyle in New York.And in more musical news from Showtime, Lena Horne’s granddaughter Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman, both producers on Star Trek: Picard and upcoming series Clarice, are producing Blackbird: Lena Horne and America, a Showtime limited series that will cover the legendary singer’s story, from her days dancing at the Cotton Club when she was a teen through stardom, activism with the Civil Rights movement, and her beloved, Tony-winning one-woman Broadway show, as well as her relationships with Paul Robeson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Joe Louis, Billie Holiday, Hattie McDaniel, Ava Gardner, and Orson Welles. (Variety)The Office star Leslie David Baker has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for a comedy called Uncle Stan that sounds an awful lot like an Office spin-off. Baker doesn’t specifically call the character Stanley Hudson, but the description sounds very familiar: “After enjoying his retirement in Florida, carving wood, enjoying the white sand beaches, and dancing to old disco, Uncle Stan (Leslie David Baker) gets a call from his nephew Lucky in Los Angeles asking for help with his two kids and running his motorcycle/flower shop. With his business failing, his kids growing up without enough attention, and on the brink of losing his patience with the cast of characters he has working in the shop, Lucky is going to need all the help he can get from no-nonsense Uncle Stan.” Also, one of the perks offered to backers in the Kickstarter campaign: pretzels, which we know is Stanley’s favorite snack.His Dark Materials Season 1 Premiere Streams Online for FreeFor families without HBO, a taste of His Dark Materials is streaming now online for free.
With Sunday’s Critic’s Choice Award ceremony done, all of the prominent critics groups have had their say on the best films of 2018. Each year, countless critics associations host year-end awards to recognize exceptional filmmaking, but the National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, and Broadcast Film Critics Association are carefully considered when making Oscars predictions. Each group will say they are independent to the academy in voting, tastes, and identity, but they help shape the race for the big one. And so we have our eyes on them.Our Awards Leaderboard tracks major critics groups and guilds honors, and looking at the current leaders, we think Roma, If Beale Street Could Talk, and The Favourite should feel fairly confident of some Oscar love when the nominations are announced on Tuesday. (Regina King, Olivia Colman, and Richard E. Grant in particular would not be risking much to set an early alarm.) This year, though, there have been coordinated efforts to bring lesser-known films and performances into the conversation, so we re also expecting a number of surprises among the noms. Where might those surprises come from? Below, we re looking at Oscar long shots who might just have enough buzz – and which have a couple of awards already in the bag – to break through with some Oscar voters.Toni Collette, Hereditary (2018) 89% Best ActressAlready recognized by: Gotham Awards, Film IndependentDo we need to say more about what Toni Collette did in Hereditary? It seems some may have forgotten the greatest full body performance of 2018. In the movie – which caught fire at Sundance and made an impact at the box office – Collette gifted all of us with a face-screwed-screech-filled-terrified performance that takes at least three viewings to fully deconstruct. The Aussie actress started strong this awards season with a Gotham win followed by a Film Independent nomination, but then things went quiet. Collette would be vying for the open fifth Best Actress nomination – assuming favorites Colman, Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, and Melissa McCarthy all come through as expected. She will need those horror lovers in the Academy to champion her incredible work.Yalitza Aparicio, Roma (2018) 96% Best ActressAlready Recognized by: BFCA, Gotham Awards(Photo by © Netflix)It s worth noting the star of the most awarded film of the season has gone largely unrecognized. An unknown actress, in a black-and-white foreign language film, distributed on a platform many Academy voters herald as the end of cinema, is a hard sell. Director Alfonso Cuarón has repeatedly said Roma does not exist without the women who inspired and made it, but the accolades have not exactly come streaming in. In Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical love letter to Mexico and the woman who raised him, Aparicio gave depth and aching authenticity to a character rarely featured on screen. Cuarón painted a masterpiece, but Aparicio is the canvas, paint, and brush.Steven Yeun, Burning (2018) 95% Best ActorAlready Recognized by: LAFCA, NSFC(Photo by @ Go Well USA)Yeun’s performance as a South Korean playboy in Burning is ethereal, charismatic, and unnerving. Another foreign language entry, Lee Chang-dong’s noir-thriller slowly unravels and builds to a climactic twist you don’t see coming – and so much of it rests on the former Walking Dead star s performance; our thoughts on Yuen’s character, Ben, mirror how we interpret the events of the film. Is he just a spoiled playboy formulating sinister plots for entertainment? Or is he a calculating psychopath? Or maybe just a guy who likes to burn greenhouses? It all rests on what we see in Yuen, in his gaze or sly smile. It’s a tightrope to pull off a likable Oscar-worthy villain, and Yeun makes it look effortless. The formula worked for Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, so fingers crossed.Debra Granik, Leave No Trace (2018) 100% Best DirectorAlready Recognized by: Film Independent, National Board of Review, LAFCA(Photo by JA/Everett Collection)In a year littered with exceptional work by female directors, it’s hard to justify their lack of inclusion come award time. The Rider, You Were Never Really Here, A Private Life, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Destroyer all are worthy of recognition. But Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace distinguishes itself from even those stellar entries – and not just because it still sits at 100% on our Tomatometer after 200 reviews. Director Jane Campion may have said it best in her impassioned plea for Leave No Trace: “A film filled with compassion… it has had a powerful impact on audiences. Not because it is loud, but because the truth that Granik speaks quietly can be heard even in a noisy world.”Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade (2018) 99% Best ActressAlready Recognized by: Film Independent, Gotham Awards, DGA, BFCA, NYFCC(Photo by © A24)Cringeworthy Cinema: that’s how Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade and its star Elsie Fisher charmed their way into our hearts. Reliving the painfully awkward moments of adolescence with such unflinching honesty, Fisher gave the best performance of the year that we had to watch through fingers and stooping down in our seats. (OK, maybe tied with Collette – but for very different reasons.) Burnham’s script is the quintessential coming-of-age story for the YouTube generation and, as with Roma, his film lives or dies by its central performance. As Kayla, Fisher is relatable and endearing for tweens and their parents, finding a perfect blend of earnestness and mortification.Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (2017) 93% Best ActorAlready Recognized by: Film Independent, Gotham Awards, NYFCC, BFCA, LAFCA, NSFC(Photo by © A24)Ethan Hawke often remarks that he doesn t want to be known just for the Dead Poets Society. But after the over 30 years, 80 credits, four Oscar nominations, and countless more beloved performances, Hawke still hears Oh Captain, My Captain on the regular. His turn as the conflicted and apathetic Reverend Toller is miles away from any previous role he has done. Many are taking notice: With a near clean sweep of the critics associations, Hawke s performance in First Reformed is second only to Regina King s in Beale Street in regards to acclaim this season. Why isn t he a lock for an Oscar nom? Hawke s lack of movement outside of the critics groups awards does not bode well. We ll be watching this one keenly.Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2019
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a wonder for many reasons, not least of which is the way it wove together an intricate continuity across all of its movies. Throughout 23 films (and counting), there are crossover characters, intersecting storylines, and resonant names, locations, and even brands. Of course, when you step back, you realize that the MCU was only doing what comic books have been doing in print for decades. Take another step back, and you’ll notice that what they’ve done isn’t all that unique to movies, either. Because Quentin Tarantino, for one, has been doing it for decades, too.From his earliest days as a struggling screenwriter to his iconic and era-defining films, Tarantino has built his own world of interconnected characters and original brands. In honor of the 25th anniversary of his legendary opus Pulp Fiction (released October 14, 1994), let’s take a look at the QTCU the Quentin Tarantino Cinematic Universe. () A short film co-written, directed, and starring Tarantino while he was famously working at Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, California (it’s no longer there, so don’t plan a visit), My Best Friend’s Birthday only exists in a truncated 36-minute cut because large parts of it were destroyed in a fire. Still, the seeds of the QTCU are there. For one, Quentin plays a character named Clarence who, early on, discusses his love of Rockabilly music and Elvis’ acting ability. This would, of course, foreshadow Christian Slater’s character in True Romance, a script written by Tarantino but directed by the late Tony Scott. In Birthday, Tarantino’s Clarence hires a call girl to show his friend a good time on his special day a sequence of events that would be flipped in True Romance, when Slater’s Clarence finds himself on the receiving end of a birthday call girl surprise.Reservoir Dogs (1992) 92%Tarantino s signature work, the movie that launched him as a filmmaker. In this tale of a jewel heist gone wrong, the audience is treated to flashbacks that fill in the stories of each of the movie’s black clad, code-named criminals. We find out that Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) used to run with a partner named Alabama. Of course, a woman named Alabama Whitman (later, Worley) is seen getting a taste for a life of crime in True Romance, the Tony Scott film that Tarantino wrote (see below). We also learn that Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) is named Vic Vega, as in the brother of John Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.True Romance (1993) 93%(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)Apart from the obvious connections to earlier films the Rockabilly-loving Clarence and call girl-turned-crook Alabama there is a more subtle cinematic link in Tony Scott s Tarantino-penned action adventure. The movie climaxes with a drug deal in the hotel suite of big time movie producer Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek, channeling real life producer Joel Silver). Donowitz is a producer of war movies fitting because his father, Donny Donowitz, fought in WWII as part of the Inglourious Basterds. You might remember him as the baseball bat-wielding avenger known as “The Bear Jew” (played by Eli Roth).Pulp Fiction (1994) 92%(Photo by Miramax Films)Pulp Fiction, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is arguably the Iron Man of the QTCU, because it’s really the one that takes the threads and begins to weave them together. The film introduces us to several brand names that would become central players in Tarantino’s world, starting with “that Hawaiian burger joint” Big Kahuna Burger Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules takes the world’s most intimidating bite of one of these burgers and washes it down with a tasty beverage from the place early in the movie. Later, Bruce Willis’ Butch Coolidge orders a pack of Red Apple cigarettes, a brand that shows up in just about every subsequent QT movie. Finally, Christopher Walken’s Captain Koons he of the legendary “gold watch” speech is also a descendant of “Crazy” Craig Koons, one of Django’s bounties in Django Unchained.Natural Born Killers (1994) 49%(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)Although Natural Born Killers was directed by Oliver Stone, the script was pure Tarantino. We mentioned earlier the brother connection between Vic and Vincent Vega, but there is another set of brothers that was first introduced in Reservoir Dogs, too. In Dogs, Vic complains about a pain-in-the-ass parole officer named Seymour Scagnetti (we never actually see him), whose own brother, Jack, would show up in Natural Born Killers (played by Tom Sizemore).Four Rooms (1995) 14%In the Tarantino-written and -directed segment of this anthology film, the characters are seen smoking Red Apple cigarettes. Tarantino’s character also refers to his drink as a “tasty beverage,” which echoes the same colorful turn of phrase Jules used in Pulp Fiction.From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) 62%Tarantino wrote the script for this Robert Rodriguez-directed horror film and peppered in some of his signature touches. There are Red Apple cigarettes present and accounted for, and George Clooney’s Seth Gecko at one point makes a run for Big Kahuna Burgers. The movie also introduces gravelly-voiced, no-nonsense Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (played by Michael Parks), who would become a key player in the QTCU. It’s also worth noting that the movie features yet another pair of brothers (Seth and his brother, Richie, played by Tarantino) who have a thing for black suits.Jackie Brown (1997) 87%(Photo by Miramax Films)Beware of people who claim that, because it was based on an Elmore Leonard novel and not an original Tarantino idea, there are no overt connections to the QTCU in Jackie Brown. They’re just not paying attention. Midway through the film, we see Jackie in the Del Amo Mall food court, enjoying a meal from Teriyaki Donut the same fictional fast food franchise whose food Ving Rhames’ Marcellus Wallace is carrying when Butch Coolidge runs him down in Pulp Fiction. In a second food court scene not long after, we not only see Jackie indulging in Teriyaki Donut again, but her accomplice Sheronda (LisaGay Hamilton) sits down at her table with a tray full of food from Acuña Boys, which would later be referenced in Kill Bill Vol. 2 and appear a couple of times in Grindhouse.Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) 85% and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) 84%(Photo by Miramax Films)We’ll treat this kung fu-inspired magnum opus as one film, with plenty of easter eggs to link it to the larger QTCU. For one, if you look at The Bride’s (Uma Thurman) old gang, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, you’ll notice that they all fit a little too easily into Mia Wallace’s description of her failed TV pilot, Fox Force Five the blonde leader, the Japanese kung fu master, the black demolition expert, the French seductress, and Mia’s. character, the deadliest woman in the world with a knife (or sword?). The first cop on the scene after the Bride’s wedding day massacre is, of course, Earl McGraw, and Red Apple and Big Kahuna also make appearances. And remember Acuña Boys from Jackie Brown? In Vol. 2, they happen to be the name of the gang that Michael Parks Esteban Vihaio runs.Grindhouse (2007) 84%(Photo by The Weinstein Co./Dimension)In both the Tarantino portion of this double feature homage, Death Proof, and the Rodriguez portion, Planet Terror, there are connections to the QTCU. Big Kahuna burgers are mentioned, and Red Apple cigarettes are smoked. On top of that, an ad for Acuña Boys Authentic Tex-Mex Food first glimpsed in Jackie Brown pops up during intermission, and one of Stuntman Mike s early victims, Vanessa Ferlito s Arlene, can be seen sipping from an Acuña Boys cup. Texas lawman Earl McGraw also reappears, along with his son, Ed, and we learn there is a sister named Dakota, too, who features in Planet Terror. As kind of a bonus, Rosario Dawson’s Abernathy has a familiar ringtone on her phone it’s the same melody whistled by Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah) in Kill Bill Vol. 1.Inglourious Basterds (2009) 89%(Photo by Francois Duhamel/©Weinstein Company)In addition to Donny Donowitz, Michael Fassbender’s English soldier-turned-spy Archie Hicox has deep ties to the QTCU, it turns out. Late in the old west-set Hateful Eight, it is revealed that Tim Roth’s Oswaldo Mobray is actually a wanted man named “English Pete” Hicox, Archie’s great-great-grandfather.Django Unchained (2012) 87%(Photo by The Weinstein Co.)We’ve already mentioned “Crazy” Craig Koons, but there is another deep cut reference to Django hidden in an earlier Tarantino movie. In Kill Bill Vol. 2, Bill’s brother Budd (played by Michael Madsen also another pair of QT brothers!) buries the Bride alive in the grave of Paula Schultz. This is the lonely final resting place for the wife of bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) in Django. The Hateful Eight (2015) 74%(Photo by The Weinstein Company)In addition to the Hicox family tree, Red Apple tobacco the early version of the soon-to-be ubiquitous (in the QTCU, anyway) cigarette brand makes a couple of appearances here. Demián Bichir s Bob smokes a Manzana Roja right after the intermission, and Channing Tatum gets a custom-rolled Red Apple cigarette his favorite from Dana Gourrier s Miss Minnie.Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019) 85%(Photo by Columbia Pictures)At one point in Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Bride drives a blue Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. That same car shows up (driven by Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth) in Hollywood. And not only do Booth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton smoke Red Apples (of course), but there’s an end-credits scene in the movie that shows Dalton doing a TV commercial for the cigarette brand.Pulp Fiction was released in theaters on October 14, 1994.
It is rare that the box office has an upset of the magnitude of this weekend s. It s even rarer that such a surprise victory does not come with the normal spoils one might expect from it. All the projections showed the adaptation of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep leading the pack with a haul in the mid-20s to as much as million. Roland Emmerich’s WWII FX-laden updating of Midway was trailing even behind Last Christmas among most projections. Nevertheless, Midway bucked the odds – or the typically wrong tracking services – and pulled out a victory with .5 million, albeit one that is the lowest-grossing number 1 in November since 2012 when The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – in its third weekend and in the doldrum weekend post-Thanksgiving – grossed .4 million.King of the Crop: Midway Causes Major Upset, But Faces A Battle to Profit(Photo by © Lionsgate)Midway s surprising victory at the box office does come with some caveats. Aside from the Twilight statistic noted above, Midway’s .5 million is the lowest opening weekend for Roland Emmerich since Stargate in 1994 (.6 million) and it seems unlikely to stretch to .5 million as that film did. (Though if this weekend taught us anything, it s that we should prepare for surprises.) That would then make it Emmerich’s lowest-grossing wide release since 1992’s Universal Soldier made .2 million. It will gross more than that but in the history of November only two wide releases – not rated “G” or “PG” – have ever opened to less than million and grossed over million. They were Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear (.09 million) and A Bad Moms Christmas (.11 million).Lionsgate can surely promote Midway as “the number 1 film in the country” this week but it is still staring down a 0 million price tag with not a lot of international appeal for its American victory tale. Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor grossed 0 million in international dollars. Lionsgate has only had nine films make as much as 0 million overseas: four were Hunger Games films and one was the final Twilight film. (The other four Twilights were released by Summit before Lionsgate acquired them.)Rotten Returns: Dark Fate indeed, for Terminator, but its Tomatometer score is rising (Photo by © Paramount Pictures)Paramount is not having the greatest of weeks. Their family film, Playing With Fire, is the worst-reviewed (24% on the Tomatometer) of the new releases this week; the nearly million-budgeted film grossed .8 million, which is hardly a disaster – and better than some projections – but not a rousing success, either. It is last week’s release of Terminator: Dark Fate, though, that is just not looking good; it dropped 63% to .8 million in its second week. A solid haul is not unheard of from here: Dark Fate is just a million behind Paramount s own Daddy’s Home 2’s 10-day gross (.21 million) just two years ago as it went on to squeak out over 4 million. But its second weekend is over .5 million less than what the Farrell/Wahlberg sequel earned in its second weekend. Dark Fate is also about a half-million ahead of The Muppets, which had a massive fallback in its second weekend back in 2011 and grossed over million. Terminator’s second weekend is also slightly behind that one (.08 million). However, an optimistic million finish means nothing without a stronger international showing and to date it sits at just 0 million when it is going to need more than 0 million outside the U.S. to break even. On the plus side, Dark Fate is one of those rare films whose Tomatometer score is actually getting better as it expands and more critics see it: it is currently Fresh at 72% after spending time in the 60s.The Top 10 And Beyond: Doctor Sleep Fails to Shine, Joker Enters The All-Time Top 50Doctor Sleep this week became the victim of too-lofty expectations. The numbers are truly disappointing though, which has pundits asking if Warner Bros. should have sold its connections to The Shining more forcefully – and whether there was an appetite for more Shining in the first place. Only four Stephen King adaptations have ever opened to over million – and two of them were this year with It: Chapter 2 and the Pet Sematary redux. (1408 and the first It were the others.) Inflation notwithstanding, Doctor Sleep had the 10th best opening for a King adaptation and at 73% on the Tomatometer ranks as the 11th best-reviewed theatrical release of a film based on the author s work.1980’s The Shining grossed approximately 9.5 million in adjusted dollars. Doctor Sleep’s .1 million start trails behind even Dreamcatcher, which opened to .02 million back in 2003. If you gave The Lawnmower Man an inflation boost from 1992, it would have grossed million today, right around what Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil sequel opened to (.06 million) – though we should note that was 10 days before Halloween in 2016. The trouble for Doctor Sleep might have been with the release date. Horror is not a popular genre in November these days. Not a single horror film has grossed over million from a November start since before 2000. The Mist, a 2007 Stephen King adaptation released over Thanksgiving (and the 12th-highest–rated King adaptation at 72% on the Tomatometer) took in what equates to about million in ticket sales today on its first weekend.Also not a great genre in November: romantic comedies. At least, successful November rom-com releases have been pretty sparse. There have been some moderate numbers over the years for films like The American President (.07 million) and Love Actually (.69 million). Shallow Hal grossed .8 million, but that was sold more on its high-concept premise than as a traditional rom-com. Paul Feig’s Last Christmas began with .6 million this weekend. That puts the film likely in the - million range. As for those who are surprised Universal put out a Christmas movie in November, rather than December, it s not uncommon practice – and has worked well for some releases in the past. These November releases with Christmas in the title show the release strategy can succeed wonderfully, and fail spectacularly:How the Grinch Stole Christmas (.08 million opening / 0.04 million total)A Christmas Carol (2009) (.05 / 7.85)Four Christmases (.06 / 0.14)Christmas with the Kranks (.57 / .78)A Bad Moms Christmas (.75 / .1)This Christmas (.95 / .12)Arthur Christmas (.06 / .46)Almost Christmas (.13 / .15)A Very Harold Kumar 3-D Christmas (.95 / .06)Ernest Saves Christmas (.71 / .2)A Christmas Story (.07 / .29)All I Want For Christmas (.64 / .81)One Magic Christmas (.66 / .67)I’ll Be Home For Christmas (.89 / .21)The Man Who Invented Christmas (.35 / .52)In better news for Warner Bros. this week, Todd Phillips’ Joker has passed more milestones. Its 3 million domestic and another 0 million internationally gives the film 4 million. That means it has now joined the list of the 50 highest-grossing films of all-time. Say goodbye to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (and say it soon to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Jungle Book once Frozen II and The Rise of Skywalker open) as Joker enters the list this weekend at 44th place; it is also headed soon to become the 44th film ever to reach billion.Maleficent: Mistress of Evil has had a bit of a rebound lately. It is going to pass 0 million at home sometime this week and it is now over 0 million worldwide. But it is still going to need about another 0 million before getting out of the red. The Addams Family is now well into profit with over 4 million worldwide, million of that domestically. United Artists Releasing (a combo of Annapurna, MGM, and Orion) had some rough box office results earlier this year with Booksmart and Laika’s Missing Link, but they have been more recently putting out movies that have been turning profits, like their remakes of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (a.k.a. The Hustle) and Child’s Play. The Addams Family will be their biggest earner to date.Check out Harriet star Cynthia Erivo s Five Favorite FilmsHarriet dropped 38% and made .2 million in its second weekend. Between that and its .46 million gross to date, the film is in the vicinity of Allied and Stranger Than Fiction, which each managed to just get over the million line. That could make it just the 18th film in Focus Features history to reach that mark.Fox Searchlight expanded Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit from 256 theaters into 802 and it just missed hitting the top 10 with .9 million. That puts the film squarely between the studio’s (500) Days of Summer, which went from a third weekend of .77 million in 266 theaters to .73 million in 817 theaters, and Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, which made .51 million in 238 theaters in weekend three and jumped into 791 theaters the next week to gross .05 million. Those films had .35 and .72 million, respectively, after 24 days. Jojo Rabbit is at .1 million.Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite moved into an “official” wide release this week, expanding into 602 theaters. It grossed another .5 million, which is better than The Farewell’s move to wide release from 409-to-704 theaters in its fifth weekend, where it grossed .09 million. The Neon release also has a slightly better per-theater-average (,152) than Boyhood had (,900), when it jumped in the same period from 310-to-506 theaters. The Farewell had .2 million after 31 days; Parasite has .2 million (and another .5 million internationally); Boyhood had .5 million and grossed over million. I, Tonya is Neon’s highest-grossing domestic film to date with .9 million.Check out Parasite star Song Kang-ho s Five Favorite FilmsFinally, in limited release news, Amazon’s release of Shia LaBeouf’s autobiographical Honey Boy grossed 8,825 in four theaters. That is the second-best per-theater-average (,206) for Amazon to date, ahead of both Late Night (,576) and Beautiful Boy (,722), also each released in four theaters. The 2018 Suspiria remake had a ,019 average in just two theaters. It is also the fourth-best PTA of 2019 behind Parasite, The Farewell, and Avengers: Endgame.This Time Last Year: The Grinch Kicks Off Holiday Season With Plenty of GreenThe second weekend of November 2018 brought us Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, from Illumination. The feature-length animated version of the classic story opened to .57 million. Hanging strong was Bohemian Rhapsody, grossing .2 million and just getting over its first 0 million in 10 days. In third place was the Nazi monster film, Overlord, with .2 million and back in sixth place was Claire Foy taking over the role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl In the Spider’s Web, which made just .8 million. Just before the weekend, Venom passed the 0 million mark. A Star is Born rose to 8 million and David Gordon Green’s Halloween was at 6 million. The top 10 films grossed a total of 2.58 million and averaged 59.2% on the Tomatometer; this year’s top 10 grossed an estimated .7 million and averaged 55% with critics.On the Vine: Ford, Ferrari, and A Trio of AngelsNext week a pair of new challengers for the number 1 spot emerge and most are betting on James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari with Christian Bale and Matt Damon to be victorious. The true-life racing drama is Certified Fresh at 91% on the Tomatometer after a successful festival run. The box office must also find room for Elizabeth Banks’ new reboot of Charlie’s Angels with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska. The previous big-screen iterations both grossed over 0 million, but will this one draw the same nostalgic interest? Warner Bros. is also releasing Bill Condon’s latest, The Good Liar, with Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren, which is expected to come in on the low-end of the charts. Then, finally, in limited release is Trey Edward Shults’ Waves, which is Certified Fresh at 88% from its festival run and which is being touted as a potential awards contender.The Full Top 10: November 8-10Midway (2019) 42% – .5 million (.5 million total)Doctor Sleep (2019) 78% – .1 million (.1 million total)Playing With Fire (2019) 24% – .8 million (.8 million total)Last Christmas (2019) 46% – .6 million (.6 million total)Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) 70% – .8 million (.46 million total)Joker (2019) 68% – .2 million (3.49 million total)Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) 39% – million (.3 million total)Harriet (2019) 73% – .23 million (.46 million total)Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) 68% – .32 million (.66 million total)The Addams Family (2019) 45% – .2 million (.47 million total) Saturday, Dec. 29American Gods Holy Day Binge, Starz, 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET — The cast of American Gods, including Ricky Whittle, Orlando Jones, Yetide Badaki, and more, will live tweet their favorite moments during this all-day season 1 marathonStarship Troopers Marathon, El Rey Network, 9 p.m. — A marathon featuring the original 1997 Starship Troopers movie, along with three of its sequel films.A Midnight Kiss, Hallmark, 8 p.m. — With only one week to prepare, Lisa Patterson (Adelaide Kane) and her family of party planners are given the biggest job in their company s history: a New Year s Eve party for tech entrepreneur Megan Clark. But when her brother breaks his leg and her parents head off on a planned vacation, Lisa must reluctantly enlist the help of her brother s visiting college buddy, David Campos (Carlos PenaVega), to help her pull off the event. But what Lisa didn t plan on was falling in love in the process. Sunday, Dec. 30The Twilight Zone Marathon, Syfy, 11 p.m. — The network’s annual marathon will run through Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 6 a.m. and will include fan-favorite episodes “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” “A Quality of Mercy,” “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street,” “The Invaders,” and “The Encounter.”Monday, Dec. 31 — New Year s Eve(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Firefly New Year’s Marathon, El Rey Network, 6 a.m. — Watch the hit space Western series Firefly (and its movie, Serenity), beginning on Monday and running through Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.Fox’s New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live from Times Square, Fox, 8 p.m. — Maria Menounos cohosts the network’s New Year’s Eve programming, which will feature performances by Sting, Robin Thicke, Florence + the Machine, Jason Aldean, Juanes, and Why Don’t We, along with appearances by Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, and the Fox NFL Sunday on-air team.Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest, ABC, 8 p.m. — The American Idol host once again helms the annual NYE program.NBC’s New Year’s Eve, NBC, 10 p.m. — Carson Daly and Chrissy Teigen host the special, which will feature appearances from Leslie Jones and Keith Urban.Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour, Netflix — Couldn t get tickets to the pop superstar s latest tour? Catch the filmed version from the comfort of your own home.Tuesday, Jan. 1 — New Year s Day Who Year’s Day Doctor Who Marathon, BBC America — Instead of a traditional Christmas Day special, the eleventh season of the Doctor Who revival starring new Doctor Jodie Whittaker will air a New Year’s Day special.HGTV All-Premiere New Year, HGTV, 2 p.m. — Watch brand-new episodes of Caribbean Life, Mediterranean Life, Bahamas Life, My Lottery Dream Home, Pool In My House, HGTV Dream Home 2019, and other lifestyle programming all afternoon and evening.ID’s Premiere New Year, Investigation Discovery, 4 p.m. — The network will debut new series, including Deadly Secrets, Killing Time, American Nightmare, and Hometown Homicide; season premieres of Your Worst Nightmare and Evil Lives Here; and new episodes of Deadly Deception and Body Cam.Great Performances – From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2019, PBS, 9 p.m. — Hugh Bonneville hosts this special featuring the Vienna Philharmonic.