Helen McCrory, British Star of Stage, Film and TV, Dies at 52

She was acclaimed for her work on the TV series “Peaky Blinders” and in three Harry Potter movies, but she first gained notice in the London theater.

#actors-and-actresses, #deaths-obituaries, #harry-potter-fictional-character, #lewis-damian, #mccrory-helen, #movies, #peaky-blinders-tv-program, #television, #theater

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How Anthony Hopkins Inhabits ‘The Father’

The director Florian Zeller narrates a sequence from his Oscar-nominated drama about a man’s descent into dementia.

#academy-awards-oscars, #hopkins-anthony, #movies, #the-father-movie, #zeller-florian-1979

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Five Science Fiction Movies to Stream Now

Explore future worlds or get lost in a time loop with these options.

#archive-movie, #bernal-daniel-film-director, #el-ascensor-movie, #jo-sung-hee-1979, #movies, #odonnell-liam, #rothery-gavin, #science-fiction, #skylines-movie, #space-sweepers-movie, #the-map-of-tiny-perfect-things-movie, #time-to-hunt-movie, #yoon-sung-hyun

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Gina Prince-Bythewood: Movies Won’t Be the Same Without the ArcLight

For the director Gina Prince-Bythewood, seeing her movie premiere there or just a poster for it on display was a sign that her work mattered. News of the closure hit hard.

#arclight-cinemas, #cinerama-dome-los-angeles-calif-movie-theater, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #los-angeles-calif, #movies, #prince-bythewood-gina, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #shutdowns-institutional, #theaters-buildings

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‘We Broke Up’ Review: Breaking Up Is Hard to Watch

A longtime couple tries to keep their fractured relationship a secret during a family wedding in this melancholic romantic comedy.

#cash-aya, #harper-william-jackson-1980, #movies, #rosenberg-jeff-1981, #we-broke-up-movie

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‘Monday’ Review: A Year of Love and Its Hangovers

Fiery physical contact keeps an expat couple together in Greece, and the sex scenes are enough for a half-dozen movies.

#gough-denise-1980, #greece, #monday-movie, #movies, #papadimitropoulos-argyris, #stan-sebastian

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Movies Survived 2020. The Oscars Diversified. There’s More to Do.

At the pandemic Oscars, anything could happen. Here are the lessons from the nominations: The good, the bad and what needs fixing.

#academy-awards-oscars, #blank-radha, #hbo-max, #judas-and-the-black-messiah-movie, #mank-movie, #minari-movie, #movies, #netflix-inc, #nomadland-movie, #promising-young-woman-movie, #race-and-ethnicity, #sound-of-metal-movie, #the-father-movie, #the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-movie, #women-and-girls

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Red Carpet or Not, Film Festivals Roll On

Fresh leadership and veteran instincts helped keep film festivals running during the pandemic. The leaders of the major festivals speak about how.

#berlin-international-film-festival, #movies, #new-york-film-festival, #south-by-southwest-music-and-media-conference, #sundance-film-festival-park-city-utah, #toronto-international-film-festival

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‘Pieces of a Woman’ Has Midwives Talking About That Birth Scene

Vanessa Kirby’s Oscar-nominated performance involves an extended sequence that these experts say gets some things right — and a few wrong.

#kirby-vanessa-1988, #midwives-and-doulas, #movies, #pieces-of-a-woman-movie, #pregnancy-and-childbirth

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The 6 Best Speeches of Awards Season So Far

From a pajama-clad Jodie Foster to the teary “Minari” child star Alan S. Kim, they managed to make their acceptance speeches work from home.

#academy-awards-oscars, #actors-and-actresses, #awards-decorations-and-honors, #boseman-chadwick, #boseman-simone-ledward, #british-academy-of-film-and-television, #chung-lee-isaac, #criticschoice-awards, #directors-guild-of-america, #foster-jodie, #golden-globes-awards, #gotham-independent-film-awards, #kim-alan-s-actor, #ma-raineys-black-bottom-movie, #minari-movie, #movies, #nomadland-movie, #the-mauritanian-movie, #youn-yuh-jung, #zhao-chloe

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Plex raises $50M growth round to fuel ad-supported streaming, expansions

Streaming media software maker Plex announced today it has raised a $50 million growth equity round from existing investor Intercap ahead of its planned business expansion into rentals, purchases and subscription content. This is the first financing Plex has taken on since 2014 and is being partly used to purchase shares and options from Plex’s early seed investors and shareholders from prior acquisitions, and to give the company’s earliest employees a bit of liquidity. Of the $50 million raised, $15 million will be put to work as new growth capital.

The company declined to disclose its valuation as a result of the funding — technically Plex’s Series C — but says it resulted in a relatively low dilution for its existing investors who have stayed in, including Kleiner Perkins and Nexstar, for example. Meanwhile, some of its earliest investors were able to get a 10x return or greater on their shares.

As part of the round, Intercap chairman and CEO Jason Chapnik joined the board of directors as chairman, and Intercap president James Merkur also joined the board. Including this financing, Plex has raised more than $60 million.

To date, Plex has been cautious about fundraising because, as Plex CEO Keith Valory says, “we really hadn’t had to.” That is, the company has been profitable on its own.

But things have been changing at Plex in recent years. Though it has always catered to the home media enthusiast with its software for organizing movies, TV, music and photos on users’ home networks, Plex more seriously began to go after the larger market of cord cutters with its 2017 launch of a low-cost, DIY streaming TV service. In the years since, it expanded into free, ad-supported streaming and last year took on rivals like ViacomCBS-owned Pluto TV with its own launch of a live TV service, also supported by ads.

Today, Plex now offers more than 20,000 free on-demand movies and shows and over 150 free live TV channels in 193 countries, alongside access to other content, including personal media libraries, streaming music and podcasts.

As it expanded the types of services it offers, it also lowered the barriers to entry for Plex newcomers. Users now no longer have to sign up for an account to access the ad-supported video or live linear streaming service, which impacts Plex’s business model.

Image Credits: Plex

“That is much more tailored towards paid marketing — like getting integrated into the search capabilities for devices like Roku, Fire TV or Vizio, etc. But then, also, using [search engine marketing] and Facebook and other, even on-device paid marketing programs to get people to get in and start watching something,” says Valory. “We found that the kind of paid marketing and customer acquisition costs for that business is really efficient. We’ve been able to get profitable on that marketing investment really, really quickly,” he adds.

That model is what prompted Plex to consider raising capital to grow this aspect of its business and expand in new areas, as well.

That included managing subscription content and offering rentals and purchases — something Plex began to talk about last year as part of its roadmap, saying they could potentially arrive in 2020. But then COVID hit, and though streaming itself grew — particularly ad-supported video in April through June or July — some Plex employees were hit harder than others by the pandemic. And Plex also needed more time to ready the infrastructure involved.

It’s now preparing to launch these efforts this year, perhaps initially with a video rental marketplace or a subscription aggregator. (Plex says it’s not sure which will get out of the gate first because both are being built simultaneously.)

With the subscription play, Plex isn’t looking just at selling subscriptions the way that say, Amazon or Apple do through Prime Video Channels or Apple TV Channels. It’s also considering deep linking technology to get users to their favorite streaming apps, including those from the big-name brands that otherwise wouldn’t want to be a part of someone else’s service. This could position Plex as a competitor to services like Reelgood, which today allows users to track what they’re watching and get recommendations across all their streaming apps, not just within each individual app.

Plex’s video rental (and maybe purchases) marketplace, meanwhile, will be much like any other, offering users a chance to pay for content they couldn’t find a way to stream.

Both ideas fit in with Plex’s larger goal to become a one-stop shop for all your media needs.

“We’ve always had a fairly audacious mission. You shouldn’t have to go to 20 different apps to get the content you care about. You should be able to go to one place and we should be able to do all that for you,” notes Valory.

Image Credits: Plex

To fuel its growth on both this front and for its ad-supported businesses, Plex plans to use the funds to expand its now 100-person team with investments in marketing and monetization teams, as well as on the development side.

“Certainly, there’s still way more work to do in terms of amplifying the efforts on our performance and growth marketing and engagement,” Valory says. “I mean, the business is growing super fast, so we’ve done a pretty good job, to date, of building out the muscles to get new users in the pipeline for the AVOD business. There’s still a ton of work to do there, but a lot of the muscles that we’re building there will help in terms of the top-of-funnel and increasing engagement for the whole product,” he adds.

Intercap, which led Plex’s round, is in it for the long haul — citing in particular how the fragmentation happening now in the streaming landscape could ultimately be good for Plex’s own growth.

“Content providers, creators and consumers are all paying the price for the explosion of so many streaming media services and the industry needs a trusted way for the experience to be as enjoyable as possible,” says Chapnik. “Plex has always been at the forefront of solving new media challenges and we believe they are primed to solve this problem — they are the cable company of the future.”

#avod, #intercap, #media, #movies, #plex, #streaming, #streaming-media, #streaming-tv, #tv, #vod

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Cinerama Dome in Hollywood Won’t Reopen After Pandemic

ArcLight Cinemas owned 16 theaters and more than 300 screens, including the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

#los-angeles-calif, #movies, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #theaters-buildings

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Movie theater chain in Los Angeles, forced to close by the pandemic, will not reopen.

The company owned 16 theaters and more than 300 screens.

#los-angeles-calif, #movies, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #theaters-buildings

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Will Smith’s Production Pulls Film Out of Georgia, Citing Voting Laws

The film, ‘Emancipation,’ which is being produced and financed by Apple Studios, is the first major production to cite the law as a reason to leave the state.

#black-people, #fuqua-antoine, #georgia, #movies, #smith-will, #voting-and-voters

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Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny, Best Friends Forever

Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny got to know each other while making films in the late ’90s, when they were both coming up as actresses. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

#friendship, #lyonne-natasha, #movies, #sevigny-chloe

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What’s on TV This Week: ‘Our Towns’ and ‘Beethoven in Beijing’

A documentary on HBO looks at small towns across America. And PBS’s “Great Performances” revisits a pivotal 1973 classical music tour.

#movies, #television

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Benita Raphan, Maker of Lyrical Short Films, Is Dead at 58

Her dreamlike “genius” films about figures like Emily Dickinson and Buckminster Fuller hovered between documentary and experimental cinema.

#art, #deaths-obituaries, #documentary-films-and-programs, #movies, #raphan-benita, #walker-art-center

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Chloé Zhao Becomes Second Woman to Win Top Directors Guild Award

The “Nomadland” filmmaker is the first woman of color to take the feature-film directing prize. She’s now the prohibitive front-runner for the Oscar.

#documentary-films-and-programs, #dweck-michael, #fogel-susanna, #glatter-lesli-linka, #homeland-movie, #kershaw-gregory-filmmaker, #marder-darius, #movies, #nomadland-movie, #saturday-night-live-tv-program, #schatz-amy-filmmaker, #sound-of-metal-movie, #television, #the-queens-gambit-tv-program, #zhao-chloe

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Five International Movies to Stream Right Now

Take a cinematic trip around the world with these fine options.

#ameur-zaimeche-rabah, #any-crybabies-around-movie, #eeb-allay-ooo-movie, #for-the-time-being-movie, #gavron-sarah, #movies, #rocks-movie, #sato-takuma-film-director, #south-terminal-movie, #tiziana-salka, #vats-prateek

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Why You Can’t Watch ‘Circus of Life’ in Pakistan

This is the story of an unholy alliance, Pakistan-style.

#circus-of-life-movie, #movies, #muslims-and-islam, #pakistan, #qadri-malik-mumtaz-hussain, #rizvi-khadim-hussain, #sarmad-khoosat, #zindagi-tamasha-movie

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‘Thunder Force’ Review: Saving Chicago, One Mutant at a Time

Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer don superhero suits in this painfully lazy Netflix comedy.

#falcone-ben, #mccarthy-melissa, #movies, #spencer-octavia, #thunder-force-movie

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Do Patricia Highsmith Novels Make Good Films?

The author’s oeuvre has long been the subject of cinematic preoccupation, inspiring over 20 screen adaptations and counting. Here, a close read of four of the best and worst of them.

#2020tbookclub, #books-and-literature, #highsmith-patricia, #movies, #strangers-on-a-train-book, #the-talented-mr-ripley-book

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40 Acres and a Movie

Disney can’t change its problematic past. But can it make a new future with Marvel?

#black-people, #children-and-childhood, #disney-plus, #marvel-entertainment, #morris-wesley-1975, #movies, #new-york-times, #pixar-animation-studios, #podcasts, #race-and-ethnicity, #soul-movie, #walt-disney-company, #wandavision-tv-program, #wortham-jenna, #writing-and-writers

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Overlooked No More: Granville Redmond, Painter, Actor, Friend

He was known for his California landscapes. Deaf since childhood, he acted with Charlie Chaplin in silent films, an early example of deaf representation in Hollywood.

#actors-and-actresses, #art, #biographical-information, #california, #chaplin-charlie, #deafness, #movies, #redmond-granville-1871-1935

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‘Shiva Baby’ Review: It’s Complicated

The potential land mines of a young woman’s life are set to explode simultaneously in this tense comedy from Emma Seligman.

#movies, #seligman-emma-film-director, #sennott-rachel, #shiva-baby-movie

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‘The Tunnel’ Review: Fire in the Hole

Painfully cliché but sufficiently diverting, this is the latest in a string of disaster movies from Norway.

#movies, #oie-pal, #the-tunnel-movie

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Hollywood Actor Charged With Running Film-Distribution Ponzi Scheme

Zach Avery convinced clients, to the tune of $227 million, that he had a deal with HBO and Netflix that would help net them speedy 35 percent returns, the S.E.C. said.

#movies, #ponzi-and-pyramid-schemes, #securities-and-commodities-violations

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Will People of Color Win All Four Acting Oscars This Year?

Plenty of Academy Awards history could be made at this year’s ceremony, especially if the SAG Award winners repeat. Here are some records that could fall.

#academy-awards-oscars, #actors-and-actresses, #boseman-chadwick, #davis-viola, #kaluuya-daniel, #movies, #youn-yuh-jung

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Watch These 11 Titles Before They Leave Netflix in April

These movies and TV shows are leaving U.S. Netflix by the end of the month. Stream them while you can.

#movies, #netflix-inc, #television

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The Many Selves of Alfred Hitchcock, Phobias, Fetishes and All

In showing several different sides of the filmmaker, some of them contradictory, Edward White’s “The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock” captures him in full.

#books-and-literature, #content-type-personal-profile, #hitchcock-alfred, #movies, #the-twelve-lives-of-alfred-hitchcock-an-anatomy-of-the-master-of-suspense-book, #white-edward-author

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From a South African Slur to a Scathing Drama About Toxic Masculinity

The new film “Moffie” examines the brainwashing of a generation of white men in the twilight of the apartheid regime.

#apartheid-policy, #cape-town-south-africa, #content-type-personal-profile, #discrimination, #hermanus-oliver, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #men-and-boys, #moffie-movie, #movies, #south-africa

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China Tries to Counter Xinjiang Backlash With … a Musical?

The movie is part of Beijing’s wide-ranging new propaganda campaign to push back on sanctions and criticism of its oppression of the Uyghurs.

#china, #communist-party-of-china, #facebook-inc, #forced-labor, #han-chinese-ethnic-group, #kazakhs-ethnic-group, #minorities, #movies, #social-media, #twitter, #uighurs-chinese-ethnic-group, #xinjiang-china

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What’s on TV This Week: ‘Hemingway’ and ‘The People v. the Klan’

Lynn Novick and Ken Burns revisit the life of Ernest Hemingway on PBS. And a documentary about a civil suit against the Ku Klux Klan airs on CNN.

#bbc-america, #cnn, #documentary-films-and-programs, #four-weddings-and-a-funeral-tv-program, #hemingway-2021-tv-program, #ku-klux-klan, #movies, #nomadland-movie, #oliver-sacks-his-own-life-movie, #public-broadcasting-service, #puzo-mario, #rocks-movie, #television, #the-godfather-coda-movie, #turner-classic-movies

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SAG Awards Go to ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7,’ Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis

Daniel Kaluuya and Yuh-Jung Youn took supporting actor honors. On the TV side, “The Crown” and “Schitt’s Creek” won top honors.

#academy-awards-oscars, #actors-and-actresses, #anderson-gillian, #bateman-jason, #i-know-this-much-is-true-tv-program, #movies, #ohara-catherine, #ruffalo-mark, #sag-awards, #schitts-creek-tv-program, #screen-actors-guild, #stunts-and-stuntmen, #sudeikis-jason, #taylor-joy-anya, #ted-lasso-tv-program, #television, #the-crown-tv-program, #the-mandalorian-tv-program, #the-queens-gambit-tv-program, #the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-movie, #wonder-woman-1984-movie, #youn-yuh-jung

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‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Roars at the Box Office With $48.5 Million

Even though it was streaming at the same time, moviegoers flocked to theaters. But with caps on seating capacity, analysts said, the take was about half of what was normal.

#box-office-sales, #godzilla-vs-kong-movie, #movies, #quarantine-life-and-culture

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Help! My Apartment Building Is a Movie Set

You can’t stop your landlord from renting out common areas to a film crew, but you can try to get some concessions from the production.

#content-type-service, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #landlords, #movies, #noise, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #renting-and-leasing-real-estate

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Yuh-Jung Youn Never Dreamed of Acting. Now She’s an Oscar Nominee for ‘Minari.’

The veteran Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn has had a thriving career for five decades — all because of a choice she made when she failed her college entrance exam.

#academy-awards-oscars, #actors-and-actresses, #content-type-personal-profile, #minari-movie, #movies, #youn-yuh-jung

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Stream These 5 Chilling New Horror Movies

Looking for some big scares, but overwhelmed by choices? We have picks for you.

#blood-moon-movie, #come-true-movie, #movies, #slaxx-movie, #the-block-island-sound-movie, #the-dark-and-the-wicked-movie

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Watch an Underwater Brawl in ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

The director Adam Wingard narrates the sequence where the big ape and the giant lizard first spar in the film.

#godzilla-vs-kong-movie, #movies, #skarsgard-alexander, #wingard-adam

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Beyond WandaVision and Justice League: Superhero Streaming for Every Taste

Even if Avengers and Justice Leagues leave you cold, there’s probably some superpowered champion out there for you. Here’s a guide to the best nontraditional superhero stories available to stream.

#avatar-the-last-airbender-tv-program, #black-lightning-tv-program, #constantine-tv-program, #doctor-strange-movie, #future-man-tv-program, #harley-quinn-tv-program, #hellboy-2019-movie, #helstrom-tv-program, #i-am-not-okay-with-this-tv-program, #iron-fist-tv-program, #jessica-jones-tv-program, #legion-tv-program, #lucifer-tv-program, #marvels-agent-carter-tv-program, #marvels-agents-of-shield-tv-program, #marvels-luke-cage-tv-program, #marvels-runaways-tv-program, #movies, #preacher-tv-program, #raising-dion-tv-program, #she-ra-and-the-princesses-of-power-tv-program, #steven-universe-tv-program, #swamp-thing-tv-program, #television, #the-boys-tv-program, #the-gifted-tv-program, #the-lego-batman-movie-movie, #the-old-guard-movie, #the-powerpuff-girls-tv-program, #the-tick-tv-program, #titans-tv-program, #unbreakable-album, #utopia-tv-program, #wandavision-tv-program

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in April

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of April’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #documentary-films-and-programs, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #movies, #television

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‘Malmkrog’ Review: Now You’re Talking

Welcome to a three-hour, multilingual 19th-century house party, organized by the Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu.

#malmkrog-movie, #movies, #puiu-cristi

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‘The 2021 Oscar Nominated Short Films’ Review: Major Issues in Brief

From social justice themes to stories about grief and reckoning with the past, this year’s nominated shorts get serious.

#a-love-song-for-latasha-movie, #academy-awards-oscars, #feeling-through-movie, #movies

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The Best Movies and TV Shows New to Netflix, Amazon and Stan in Australia in April

Our streaming picks for April, including ‘Concrete Cowboy,’ ‘Made for Love’ and ‘Them’

#australia, #movies, #netflix-inc, #television

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How ‘Sound of Metal’ Star Paul Raci Went From Day Jobs to Oscar Nominee

After decades of struggle, the 72-year-old actor finally found his breakthrough playing a deaf Vietnam vet with addiction issues — a role with parallels to his own life.

#actors-and-actresses, #ahmed-riz, #content-type-personal-profile, #deaf-west-theater-co, #movies, #raci-paul, #sound-of-metal-movie

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Godzilla, Kong, Predator, Jason: Everybody Fight!

Franchise movie crossovers have a rich history of pitting adversary against adversary. Here’s a guide to some of those battles.

#a-nightmare-on-elm-street-movie, #alien-vs-predator-movie, #dollman-vs-demonic-toys-movie, #frankenstein-meets-the-wolf-man-movie, #freddy-vs-jason-movie, #friday-the-13th-movie, #godzilla-vs-kong-movie, #king-kong-vs-godzilla-movie, #movies, #the-three-stooges-meet-hercules-movie

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‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Review: Let’s You and Him Fight

Ape and lizard go toe-to-toe, with a cast of talented humans to comment on the action.

#godzilla-vs-kong-movie, #movies, #wingard-adam

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A French Monument Remains Every Bit as Grand on Film

The Palais Garnier, which inspired the first “Phantom” in 1910, is silent at the moment, but it continues to hold the imagination.

#documentary-films-and-programs, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #marie-antoinette-movie, #movies, #nureyev-rudolf, #palais-garnier, #paris-france, #paris-opera-ballet, #the-phantom-of-the-opera-play, #the-white-crow-movie

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When King Kong Accidentally Met Godzilla

The 1962 monster matchup was supposed to pit the big ape against Frankenstein’s monster. A rights issue cropped up, Toho got involved and the rest is history.

#godzilla-movie, #godzilla-king-of-the-monsters-movie, #king-kong-vs-godzilla-movie, #movies, #wingard-adam

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When Tragedy Strikes, What Does Criticism Have to Offer?

It’s easier to find meaning in fiction than in the senseless mass killings of our reality, which seem to render the critical perspective pointless, even silly, at times.

#atlanta-spa-shootings-2021, #chekhov-anton, #movies, #saramago-jose, #theater, #violence-media-and-entertainment

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