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Nathan Stewart-Jarrett Discusses New Movie ‘Femme’ And Society’s Expectations On Masculinity 

Actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett recently described, in an interview with the Guardian, his new show ‘Femme,’ where he plays a drag queen named Jules. While talking about this role and pushing himself as an actor, Stewart-Jarrett also took the opportunity to describe society’s obsession with masculinity and the importance of breaking those standards.

movie

A ‘Barbenheimer’ Parody Movie Is Officially In The Works 

This past summer, ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ releasing in theaters on the same day became a pop culture phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer,” with moviegoers embracing the significance of both films and their vastly unique impacts. Some viewers even planned their entire days around seeing both movies back-to-back. 

Producer Charles Band will be creating the movie through his company Full Moon Features, he confirmed to People Magazine. 

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“With the world so divided and with so many genre films focusing on things that depress, with Barbenheimer, I just want to make a fun, cool, witty little weird movie that unites people with laughter and fun — that reminds us movies can simply be escapism.”

Band is known for his films in horror and horror-comedy, and initially spoke on the “Barbenheimer” craze to the Hollywood Reporter. Both Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ and Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ received a large amount of press and hype before their release on the same day in July, so much so that the trend to see both movies in one weekend, or back-to-back on the same day, became popular. 

“We’re making a crazy, candy-colored romp that riffs on two movies that literally have nothing in common and yet when placed together, make perfect — and perfectly strange — harmonious bedfellows. Which is what I wish we could do in real life (as opposed to ‘reel’ life),” Band explained

Band said that his biographer, Adam Felber, suggested he make the movie after the hype first began, telling him “everyone around the world is having fun with that notion, so we should actually make it.” 

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According to a synopsis reported by the Hollywood Reporter, “the story follows Dr. Bambi J Barbenheimer, a scientist doll from Dolltopia with a boyfriend named Twink Dollman, who ventures into the real world where she experiences humanity at its worst and, naturally, decides to build a giant nuclear bomb to take it all out.”

The movie will reportedly begin production sometime next year, but it’s still in the very early stages of development; they’re still looking for a director and cast. The movie will also feature a slew of original songs, like the ‘Barbie’ movie, written by Brian Wecht. 

“[This project is] an opportunity to have fun with the bizarre coupling of these two movies and the combination of Barbie’s vibe and the darkness of Oppenheimer. You mix that together and you have such an opportunity for dark humor,” Band explained. 

“But it seems like every other feature is dark and depressing, and it’s like, God, we need a little humor going into 2024,” he said.

“On top of Barbenheimer the movie, Full Moon will add some crazy merch to our already robust line of toys, including a Dr. Barbenheimer action figure riding a nuclear missile a la Dr. Strangelove. This is going to be a fun one, and I’m super excited to bring Barbenheimer to life,” Band tells People.

Maestro

Leonard Bernstein’s Family Defends Bradley Cooper’s Portrayal In New Film ‘Maestro’

Famous composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein is being portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the new film ‘Maestro.’ After the first trailer of the film was released this week, some critics online stated concerns that the makeup worn by Cooper to portray Bernstein in the movie reinforced hurtful anti semitic stereotypes. 

Cooper’s also not of Jewish ancestry while Bernstein was born in Massachusetts to Jewish immigrant parents from Russia. 

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However, the children of the late Bernstein, Jamie, Alexander, and Nina, have voiced their defense of Bradley and the film, taking to Instagram to share a statement about the backlash that Cooper and the film has been facing. 

“Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father,” their statement said.

 “We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts.”

Jamie, Alexander, and Nina also directly addressed the criticism of Cooper’s physical appearance and makeup in the film portraying their father. 

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“It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that,” they said. 

“We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well. Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.”

Cooper also co-wrote, co-produced, and directed ‘Maestro,’ marking his first directorial work since ‘A Star Is Born’ in 2018.

The film follows Bernstein and his 25-year marriage to Felicia Montealegre, who’s played by Carey Mulligan. Both Martin Scorsese and Steven Speilberg are part of the film’s production team as well. 

“At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia. We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation,” the family statement concluded. 

priest

Vatican Exorcists Denounce Russel Crowe’s New Horror Film ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’

Russel Crowe’s new horror film, “The Pope’s Exorcist,” is being criticized by the International Association of Exorcists for being “pretentious, unreliable, splatter cinema.”

rocks

Ann Axtell Morris, One Of The US’s First Female Archaeologists, Gets Recognition In New Tom Felton Film

Tom Felton, known for his role as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter, produces new film ‘Canyon Del Muerto,’ telling the epic story of Ann Axtell Morris, one of the US’s first female archeologists.

movies

‘Smile’ Writer and Director State’s Film’s Interpretation Of Mental Illness Was Intentionally Complicated 

New horror movie ‘Smile’ is becoming a hit at the box office this month. Parker Finn, the film’s writer and director, recently was interviewed by Polygon magazine at Fantastic Fest to discuss how he thinks the movie’s connected to so many audience members due to its representation of anxiety, trauma, and mental illness in general. 

“I think it’s so relatable. Everybody walks around carrying these things inside of themselves that are deeply rooted in them at their core, that are based on their histories and traumas.”

Finn continued to discuss how he wanted to use that feeling that so many can relate to, “and also explore what it might be like to have your mind turning against you. For me, that’s one of my greatest fears.”

Finn suggests that “due to events around the COVID-19 quarantines, feelings of stress and anxiety have become their own parallel epidemic.”

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“I developed and wrote and ended up shooting this movie all during the pandemic, when I think we were all traumatized and feeling a sense of isolation and a fear of transmission. The idea that trauma could beget trauma was really present in my brain, and I think it just crept its way into the script,” he explained. 

Finn also broke down how society has become much more open when it comes to talking about mental health and the many different ways it impacts humanity. 

“I think it’s something that as a society, we’ve all started to confront more. I think it’s in the air. It’s something we’re all aware of: Everybody’s got trauma of some sort in their life, whether it’s great or small, things they carry around with them that they don’t talk about.”

“We all put these masks on to hide our trauma, which was very much a motif in the film, with the smile being a metaphor, a mask,” he says, referring to the common feeling of “hiding behind a smile” that many individuals who suffer from mental pain can relate to. 

The movie itself follows protagonis Rose, played by Sosie Bacon, as she navigates her own deep traumas from her childhood in relation to her mother’s death. Rose herself is a therapist, so while she’s used to helping others navigate their own mental health journeys, she’s not used to feeling her own internal struggle and confrontation with her past. 

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“I wanted to do something that felt like what it would be like to be to experience [a breakdown], to put yourself in someone’s shoes and maybe look at [other people’s experiences and traumas] in a way we haven’t considered before,” Finn says. 

“I think it’s a universal theme for everyone, this idea that we’re all afraid of not being believed, especially by the people closest to us. That’s terrifying.”

Finn explained how he worked with psychologists throughout the production of the film to get the most accurate representation of when others don’t believe someone when they discuss their personal struggles, as well as convey the pain that one feels when they feel like they’re not being heard. 

“I think it’s always a balance, but I wanted to trust the audience and respect their intelligence and their emotions. And I love messy movies. I want people to feel different things. And sometimes you want to provoke them. Sometimes you want them to feel a ton of sympathy or empathy, but you always want to make it complicated for the audience. That’s when a movie is doing its job, right?” he expressed. 

Finn’s hope regarding ‘Smile’ is to “add to the conversation” surrounding mental illness in a horror context so that the movie is not only scary on the surface, but in its deeper meaning as well. 

“I think as a society, we’ve started to speak better about mental health and therapy and trauma, things like that. But we’re still not really there. It’s not something people understand. So I wanted to use this as a parallel and a device to explore something that hopefully would get people to think a little differently about what it might be like to be actually experiencing those sorts of things,” Finn concluded. 

movie

Lance Bass and Danielle Fishel Tease New Movie That They Are Working On About Their Past Relationship

In a recent episode of “Pod Meets World,” Lance Bass guest starred and teased that “him and fellow actor Danielle Fishel have been working together to create a movie that recounts their time together.

“Lance and I are actually working on a movie about our love story and about our prom experience,” teased Fishel. “I dated Lance for about a year while I was on ‘Boy Meets World.’ It was my senior year and Lance came with me to my high school prom.”

Over the course of the podcast, Bass and Fishel recounted the story about how they both first met and fell in love.

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During a live special in 1999, *NSYNC guest starred on “Boy Meets World.” Bass has a crush on Fishel and made Justin Timberlake get her number for him. The two of them dated while *NSYNC was on tour and Fishel was still filming. 

Bass and Fishel ended up attending the prom with one another. 

“I thought I was going to marry Lance. I had envisioned our future,” said Fishel. “I held onto hope for way too long that we were going to get back together and get married and have a family. … It turns out I’m not Lance’s type.”

Bass noted that going to prom was a big turning point in his life. By 2006, Bass came out as being gay publicly.

“The reason we wanted to make this prom story into a film, I think so many people can relate to that story; so many people in the LGBTQ community, their prom night was the night they were like, ‘Oh, wait a minute. This can’t happen anymore,’” said Bass.

Fishel adds that she had a vision for how their prom night would go and that Bass was nervous. Bass felt like he was hurting himself and Fishel by not being honest about what was going on in his life.

He felt that it would be best if he ended the relationship. Bass ended up breaking off the relationship two weeks after prom because he didn’t think that the distance between them was working. 

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The pair decided that their relationship would be a good story to turn into a film because Bass felt that so many people would be able to relate to their story.

“This was the catalyst for me that made me start to accept myself, which took a long time after that, but that was definitely the first little straw that broke,” said Bass. 

As of yet there is no projected air date, but the script has been started being written by “Jurassic World’s” Lauren Lapkus and “Golden Arm’s” Mary Holland. 

Zoë Kravitz Discusses Losing ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Audition 

Zoë Kravitz is receiving amazing reviews for her performance as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman.” However, this is not the first time Kravitz has attempted to enter the DC Caped Crusader universe. 

In a recent interview with The Observer, Kravitz revealed that she attempted to audition for a role in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” but was rejected after being told she was too “urban” for the part. 

Kravitz didn’t reveal whether or not she originally auditioned for the role of Catwoman for Nolan’s film, a role which was played by Anne Hathaway. 

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“I don’t know if it came directly from Chris Nolan. I think it was probably a casting director of some kind, or a casting director’s assistant,” Kravitz said.

“Being a woman of color and being an actor and being told at that time that I wasn’t able to read because of the color of my skin, and the word urban being thrown around like that, that was what was really hard about that moment.”

During another 2015 interview, Kravitz revealed she was seeking a smaller role in “The Dark Knight Rises” but she wasn’t even able to get into the room because the film wasn’t “going urban for the role.” 

“It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on with you?” Kravitz questioned. 

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Kravitz recently clarified that she wasn’t making these comments to call out anyone, but instead give an example about “what it was like to be a woman of color in the industry at that time.”

“I did not mention this to point any fingers or make anyone seem racist, namely Chris Nolan, the film’s producers or anyone on the casting team, because I truly do not believe anyone meant any harm.”

Kravitz was officially cast as Catwoman in “The Batman” in October 2019. “It was crazy when the news was officially announced. My phone was blowing up more than any birthday I’ve ever had,” the actor stated. 

In “The Batman” Kravitz plays Selina Kyle before she’s known in Gotham as the infamous cat burglar Catwoman. Kravitz revealed she interpreted this iteration of the Selina Kyle character to be bisexual. 

During one scene Selina is seen going into her apartment looking for her friend Anika, who she refers to as her “baby.” The idea that their relationship is potentially more platonic, is left open-ended. 

Kravitz claimed that the scene was meant to spotlight Selina’s bisexuality:  “That’s definitely the way I interpreted that, that they had some kind of romantic relationship.” 

“The Batman” recently topped the box office with $128 million over its opening weekend. The film is currently playing in theaters nationwide. 

Female Singing

Sia Claims ‘Nepotism’ Is Why She Cast Maddie Ziegler Over Autistic Actor In New Film

Sia has recently received a lot of backlash from the public after announcing her new movie “Music,” which stars Maddie Ziegler, Sia’s longtime muse, as a teenager on the autism spectrum who can’t speak and uses music to communicate and understand the world. 

The decision to cast Ziegler, an individual who’s not on the autism spectrum at all, over an actor who actually is on the spectrum has caused Sia to receive a multitude of complaints and online backlash from individuals who claim the choice was ableist. Initially Sia defended the decision by claiming the character Ziegler is portraying is non-verbal, and typically individuals on the spectrum who are non-verbal would need to be specially accommodated on something as intimidating as a Hollywood set. 

However, these comments seemed to have caused an even bigger uproar online, especially for individuals who actually have autism. Alaina Leary is a journalist who’s on the spectrum herself and recently wrote an op-ed piece on this controversy

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“The implication is that a non-speaking autistic actor who might require accommodations on set is, in essence, incapable—thus reinforcing ableist ideas that already lock out such performers.”

The biggest issue people took with Sia’s casting decision is that she was further shutting the door on a pool of actors who are already denied opportunities simply because they’re autistic. This also speaks on a much larger issue in Hollywood of hiring already established actors to play roles that they don’t relate to at all in real life in order to seem more “palatable” to a general audience. 

We see it most often with the hiring of heterosexual actors to portray LGBT+ roles, however, the hiring of able-bodied or neurotypical actors to portray individuals with physical or mental disabilities has been a longstanding issue in Hollywood that clearly continues to shine bright; one of the biggest examples being Tom Hanks in the movie “Forrest Gump.” 

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During an interview with “The Sunday Project,” and Australian TV show, Sia defended the decision to cast Ziegler in the film by claiming nepotism as her reasoning. 

“I realized it wasn’t ableism. I mean, it is ableism I guess as well, but it’s actually nepotism because I can’t do a project without Ziegler. I don’t want to. I wouldn’t make art if it didn’t include her.”

Ziegler, 18, first became famous after appearing on reality TV show “Dance Moms” where Sia initially discovered her, and the two have been working on projects together ever since. Sia even claimed that Ziegler herself expressed multiple concerns on set over her role, telling Sia she was worried people would think she was “making fun” of people with autism, to which Sia replied that she “wouldn’t let that happen.” 

“Music” follows a young girl with autism who is raised by her drug-dealing older sister, played by Kate Hudson. Quickly after the trailer was released it became the center of a massive debate regarding the trend of hiring non-disabled actors in leading roles where a central aspect of the main characters journey is their disability. 

Sia did claim initially that she had tried to work with a young girl who was on the autism spectrum for the role, however, the girl found the experience to be “unpleasant and stressful” which led to Ziegler’s casting in the role.

Star Wars Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Popular with Audiences, but not Critics

The third entry in the latest Star Wars trilogy just hit theaters, and while the film undeniably did well at the box office, critics felt that it lacked imagination and it prioritized appealing fans over advancing the narrative. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 86% of viewers liked the new Star Wars movie, whereas only 57% of critics gave it a positive review. This stands in contrast with the previous two entries in the series; both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were well received by critics, earning a Tomatometer score of 93% and 91% respectively, though a majority of viewers disliked the second film, which has an audience score of only 43%. For the third movie, director J.J. Abrams set out to address what audiences perceived to be some of the problems with The Last Jedi; apparently, this effort succeeded with audiences but not with critics, suggesting that the movie sacrifices its artistic potential in service of providing audiences with a predictable spectacle.

Even director J.J. Abrams felt that critics’ assessments of the film were fair. During a Q&A session after a screening of the film, he was asked what he thought about critics’ and audiences’ differing perspectives. Abrams said that both critics and audiences were right, suggesting that much of the controversy comes from the differing opinions on what viewers want out of a Star Wars movie. The prolific director explained that during the production of the movie, he knew that many of the decisions he and his team had to make would please some and infuriate others, so he was not too surprised about the movie’s polarized reception. Abrams directed the first and third entries in the trilogy, and Rian Johnson directed the second movie; in the latest installment, Abrams decided to walk back some of the changes and developments that occurred in the second movie, causing much of the controversy that emerged in the wake of the film’s release.

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One aspect of the movie that was universally praised, through, was its presentation. In particular, the special effects were well-received across the board, and critics and fans enjoyed the musical score, which was composed by series veteran John Williams. Much like the The Force Awakens, however, the movie’s writing was considered by many to be too derivative of previous entries and lacking in imagination. 

Writing for NPR, Bob Mondello acknowledged the tremendously difficult task of satisfyingly concluding a story involving the nine films, the first of which was released in 1977, but criticized the director’s approach of doing so by recycling previously-seen story elements in an homage to the series that ultimately led to a predictable outcome. Matthew Rozsa of Salon liked the film overall, but acknowledged that it wouldn’t satisfy everyone, writing that people who disliked The Last Jedi would probably like The Rise of Skywalker, but people who liked The Last Jedi would probably not, though he conceded that “at times the plot does strain under the weight of its responsibilities.” And Brandon Katz of Observer opined that ending the nine-part series “in a universally satisfying conclusion simply isn’t possible,” but that at the very least Abrams gave fans “a swashbuckling adventure film that sparks the kid inside of you as it delivers a series of big movie moments ripe for broad appeal.”

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In many ways, audiences felt differently. Reviews submitted to Rotten Tomatoes were positive, as viewers found the experience entertaining, praising the use of CGI, the exciting light-saber duels, and the music, though some people complained about the plot. Among the 36,000 reviews, a common refrain was praise for all of the movie’s elements except for the plot, which proved controversial; while some viewers enjoyed how well the movie ties up loose ends, others felt that the story was too convoluted, at times nonsensical, and failed to honor story elements established in the previous eight films. Whatever the case may be, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker proves to be an entertaining and fun Star Wars experience, as long as you can overlook some of the more divisive storytelling decisions.