“Avatar” 2: How much has CGI improved since 2009?


https://www.freethink.com/technology/avatar-2-cgi?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=BigThinkScience

The Matrix Revisited: A Quick, Not-So-Serious Recap of Everyone’s Favorite Reality-Bending Sci-Fi Trilogy


https://www.mansworldindia.com/entertainment/the-matrix-revisited-a-quick-not-so-serious-recap-of-everyones-favorite-reality-bending-sci-fi-trilogy/amp/

Contact: 25 Years On and Still the Best Sci-Fi.


https://www.filmink.com.au/contact-25-years-on-and-still-the-best-sci-fi/

Air Pollution Linked To Increased Risk Of Autoimmune Diseases, Finds Study


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Exposure to air pollution for the long term could increase the risk of autoimmune disease, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Verona. 

Reported first by The Guardian, they conducted a comprehensive study involving medical information of over 81,000 men and women taken from an Italian database that monitored risk of fractures between June 2016 and November 2020. Around 12 percent of the lot were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in this time frame. 

Every single patient was linked to the nearest air quality monitoring station based on their residential postcode. 

The study specifically looked at long-term exposure to PM10 and PM2.5. The particulate matter is considered harmful to humans at 30µg/m3 for PM10 and 20µg/m3 for PM2.5. 

Researchers found that overall long-term exposure to aforementioned particulates above the safe levels was linked with 12 percent (for PM10) and 13 percent (for PM2.5) of developing an autoimmune disease, respectively. 

They found that long-term high-level air pollution exposure was associated with a 40 percent higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, a 20 percent higher risk of inflammatory bowel diseases like Chron’s and ulcerative colitis and a 15 percent high risk of connective tissue diseases such as lupus.Unsplash

Felicity Gavins, the director of the Centre for Inflammation Research and Translational Medicine at Brunel University London, said, “This study further supports the mounting evidence suggesting a link between air pollution exposure and immune-mediated diseases.”

She added, “Whether air pollution exposure specifically causes autoimmune diseases remains controversial, although there is no doubt that there is a link.”

Researchers do acknowledge the fact that the findings don’t prove a causal link to pollution and that other factors must also be taken into consideration. Moreover, the findings might not be applicable widely as the participants mostly involved older women at risk of getting fractured. 

‘Fame should come with a health warning’: Are Oscar winners more likely to suffer from mental health issues?


https://www.wionews.com/entertainment/fame-should-come-with-a-health-warning-are-oscar-winners-more-likely-to-suffer-from-mental-health-issues-465887?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=FB-M

The 22 Best TV Shows of 2018


The new and returning series that stood out the most

Katie Martin / The Atlantic

Trying to pick the best television series of 2018 is a bit like trying to judge a cuteness contest in a zoo: There’s way too much to choose from, and very little of it looks alike. How to compare, say, a peerless drama about repressed Edwardian England with a satirical animated comedy about an anthropomorphized, alcoholic horse actor? Or a thoughtful, in-depth documentary series about inequality in a Chicago-area high school with a bleakly comic fable about America’s nastiest and most overprivileged media dynasty?

Television’s current abundance means not just a laundry list of new quality shows each month, but also new styles and techniques with which TV creators are pushing the limits of the form. With that in mind, this list of the best series of 2018 tries to recognize things that TV has done exceptionally well this year, from complex and dynamic female characters, to empathetic cringe comedy, to experimental modes of storytelling, and everything that comes in between.


Docuseries: America to Me, Starz

Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and his three co-directors spent a year embedded in Oak Park and River Forest High School near Chicago, which granted them significant time with individual students, teachers, and parents. The result is this nuanced, engaging, often infuriating portrait of two of the most charged subjects in America: race and the school system.

More in this series

Also noteworthy: Bobby Kennedy for President (Netflix), The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (HBO), Dirty Money (Netflix)


Jeff Daly / Fx

Crime Drama: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, FX

Ryan Murphy’s second season of American Crime Story considered the 1997 murder of the fashion icon in Miami, re-creating a sordid and shocking crime through scenes of striking, decorative beauty. Édgar Ramiréz and Penelope Cruz played Gianni and Donatella Versace with compelling restraint, allowing Darren Criss’s spooky Andrew Cunanan the spotlight.

Also noteworthy: The Looming Tower (Hulu)


Guy D’Alema / FX

Weird TV: Atlanta, FX

The sophomore season of Donald Glover’s dramedy layered surreal imagery (a bathtub alligator) over wacky hijinks (Fasnacht) over a low-simmering, omnipresent feeling of frustration and danger. The monsters in the series manifested as fans, woodland maniacs, and Teddy Perkins, but they captured a sense of the systemic anxieties that accompany being black in America.

Also noteworthy: Lodge 49 (AMC), Westworld (HBO)


John P. Johnson / HBO

Tragicomedy: Barry, HBO

The lines between comedy and drama have eroded almost beyond recognition at this point, but Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s bittersweet series about a reluctant hitman (think Ferdinand the Bull with a Glock 19) who finds his sense of purpose in acting class tended toward wacky, with undertones of real pathos.

Also noteworthy: Forever (Amazon Studios)


Netflix

Empathetic Cringe Comedy: Big Mouth, Netflix

An ongoing question is how such a disgusting, bodily fluids–fixated cartoon about puberty can also be so unfailingly sweet. The second season of Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg’s Netflix series dove into the subject of sex education, offering up a Bachelor-style primer on basic contraception methods and a heartfelt defense of Planned Parenthood. Oh, and the Shame Wizard.

Also noteworthy: SMILF (Showtime)


Netflix

Topical Comedy: BoJack Horseman, Netflix

The fifth season of Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s animated satire was among its finest yet, tackling the topic of sexual harassment and abuse in Hollywood—and the timely question of forgiveness—with a degree of grace and thoughtfulness that no other series has yet managed to employ.

Also noteworthy: Black-ish (ABC)


Netflix

Short-Form Storytelling: The End of the F***ing World, Netflix

Dropped casually by Netflix at the beginning of January, this co-production with Britain’s Channel 4 offered up a quirky, heartwarming, visually distinctive romance between a runaway teenager and a wannabe serial killer that had a total running time of less than three hours.

Also noteworthy: Room 104 (HBO)


Colleen Hayes / NBC

Philosophical Comedy: The Good Place, NBC

Ever since it tipped its hand at the end of Season 1, Mike Schur’s zany comedy about the afterlife has turned its attention more thoroughly to the question of how to be good. In its third season, which sent Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and company back to Earth (and gifted viewers with Swole Chidi), the show has been as endearing and as thoughtful on the subject of morality as ever.

Also noteworthy: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)


Tod Campbell / Amazon

Podcast Adaptation: Homecoming, Amazon Studios

Sam Esmail’s gripping series, based on a Gimlet Media podcast about a shady transition center for returning veterans, was loaded with visual flair, ingenuity, and overt references to classic mysteries. It also boasted a tight, remarkably interior performance from Julia Roberts in her first major TV role.

Also noteworthy: Dirty John (Bravo)


Starz

Period Drama: Howards End, Starz

The 1992 film adaptation of E. M. Forster’s seminal novel about buried desire and class strictures in Edwardian Britain still stands as a masterpiece, but Kenneth Lonergan’s four-part miniseries found new relevance in its exploration of cultural division, with stellar performances from Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen.

Also noteworthy: Picnic at Hanging Rock (Amazon Studios)


BBC America

Female Characters: Killing Eve, BBC America

Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge returned to television with this stylish, irreverent drama about an MI6 bureaucrat (Sandra Oh) enlisted into active duty to hunt down a psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer). Between Oh’s Eve and Comer’s Villanelle, Killing Eve offered up some of the strangest and most fascinating TV women of the year.

Also noteworthy: Insecure (HBO), Pose (FX)


Jonathan Olley / AMC / Ink Factory

Auteur-Driven Drama: The Little Drummer Girl, AMC

The director, Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden, Oldboy), brought a meticulously stylistic approach to his adaptation of a 1983 John le Carré novel about an elaborate plot to infiltrate a terrorist network, giving Florence Pugh’s Charlie a backdrop awash in primary colors and visual intensity.

Also noteworthy: Maniac (Netflix)


duardo Castaldo / HBO

Foreign-Language Drama: My Brilliant Friend, HBO

The bar for adapting the first of Elena Ferrante’s hugely beloved Neapolitan novels was extremely high, but Saverio Costanzo’s series retained the vital fierceness of Lenù and Lila’s friendship, while faithfully replicating the claustrophobia of their drab, violent childhoods.

Also noteworthy: Fauda (Netflix), The Rain (Netflix)


Justin Downing / SHOWTIME

Literary Adaptation: Patrick Melrose, Showtime

Edward St. Aubyn’s five novels about a drug addicted, upper-class Englishman and his monstrous childhood paint a horrific story in sumptuous prose. David Nicholls and Edward Berger’s lavish interpretation made Patrick’s life similarly entrancing even in its darkest moments, with a superb Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.

Also noteworthy: Dietland (AMC)


Netflix

Reality Show: Queer Eye, Netflix

Netflix’s reboot of Bravo’s groundbreaking 2003 makeover series arrived seemingly out of nowhere, but became one of the biggest word-of-mouth hits of 2018. How? Against all odds, it forged some peaceful spaces on the front lines of the American culture wars, tackling subjects from police brutality to trans identity with sensitivity.

Also noteworthy: The Great British Baking Show (Netflix), Making It (NBC)


Rog Walker / HBO

Experimental Storytelling: Random Acts of Flyness, HBO

Terence Nance’s debut television series was technically classified as a sketch-comedy show, but what it felt like was something more profoundly beautiful and unsettling—a meditation on experiences in lives of black people that played with form, genre, nostalgia, darkness, and modernity.

Also noteworthy:Mosaic (HBO)


Rog Walker / Netflix

Food Series: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (Netflix)

Samin Nosrat’s elemental approach to cooking made her 2017 bookSalt, Fat, Acid, Heat—one of the hit culinary publications of the year. Her Netflix docuseries of the same name quietly revolutionized food TV by lionizing ingredients and cultures over celebrities and chefs, focusing on the essential building blocks of any kitchen.

Also noteworthy: Chef’s Table: Pastry (Netflix)


Anne Marie Fox / HBO

Gothic Melodrama: Sharp Objects, HBO

Jean-Marc Vallée and Marti Noxon’s adaption of Gillian Flynn’s thriller saw a damaged young journalist return to her rural hometown to report on a murder. The miniseries distinguished itself with enthralling performances, not to mention twisted visual elements buried like subconscious prickles throughout.  

Also noteworthy: The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)


Sharn Norman / Beck Media / Facebook Watch

Half-Hour Drama: Sorry for Your Loss, Facebook Watch

In an ever-more gratifying field of time-disciplined dramas (shout-out to Homecoming), Kit Steinkellner’s funny, moving series about a young widow (Elizabeth Olsen) trying to rebuild her life was a triumph of structure and tone, with standout performances from Olsen, Janet McTeer, and Kelly Marie Tran.

Also noteworthy: Vida (Starz)


Colin Hutton / HBO

Comi-Tragedy: Succession, HBO

Even in the genreless world of prestige television, Succession felt initially perplexing, telling the story of a Manhattan media mogul and his traumatized, toxic children with bleak humor and endless linguistic creativity. That said, it seemed to lean toward tragedy in its sharp, superb conclusion.

Also noteworthy: Kidding (Showtime)


Colin Hutton / HBO

True Crime Series: Wild Wild Country, Netflix

Netflix’s six-part documentary about the cult that moved into a rural Oregon neighborhood in the 1980s—and the mind-bending antics that followed—mined a jaw-droppingly strange true story, along with the question of why so many people continue to fall for con men in the pursuit of a spiritual life.

Also noteworthy: The Staircase (Netflix)


Lifetime

Subversive Rom-Com: You, Lifetime

Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble’s series about a bookstore clerk (Penn Badgley) who stalks one of his customers was a gratifying, surprisingly insightful treat, taking the cues and mores of romantic comedies and exposing them in all their manipulative, creepy horror.

The Best Movies of 2018


Harlem. South Korea. Mexico City. Wakanda. The finest films of the year went everywhere and showed us a new way to live.


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Movies are changing rapidly. Superhero stories are evolving. Documentaries are booming. Netflix is democratizing—or destroying, depending on your point of view—the movie experience. But it’s also committing resources to some of the most unlikely, fascinating films of the year—one of which made this list, composed by Sean Fennessey and Adam Nayman. Here’s that and nine more. And for more about the Year in Movies, read Sean Fennessey’s essay about the movies’ many fallen men of 2018, Tom Breihan’s Best Action Movies of 2018, and Miles Surrey’s Best Superhero Movies of 2018.


10. If Beale Street Could Talk

Directed by Barry Jenkins (Annapurna)

For his follow-up to Moonlight, Jenkins went directly to the source of one of that film’s clearest and most fertile influences—the fiction of James Baldwin—and emerged with a faithful adaptation that’s also very much an expression of his own personal vision. Jenkins’s lush, expressive style reaches an apex at several points in If Beale Street Could Talk;in the probing, rapturous close-ups of stars KiKi Layne and Stephan James as they gaze at each other (and back at us); in the languorous tracking shot down a sunny summertime street in Harlem as old friends approach from both sides of the frame; in a ’70s-style split screen that evokes a period and its moviemaking. All this beauty, in turn, envelops but doesn’t overwhelm the hard, unsentimental (but still romantic) substance of Baldwin’s story of lovers trapped—but not defined or defeated—by a social context at once beyond their control and in their bones. No film I saw in 2018 improved more upon reflection, or thrives as strongly in memory; Jenkins’s extraordinary image-making hypnotizes the mind’s eye. —Adam Nayman

9. Support the Girls

Directed by Andrew Bujalski (Magnolia)

“I started this day off crying, so if you ask me, laughing is progress,” says embattled restaurant manager Lisa (Regina Hall) midway through Support the Girls;by the end of Bujalski’s film, she’ll be literally screaming into the void, which may not be progress but definitely seems to feel good. Like the director’s previous, gym-set Results, Support the Girls is a workplace comedy, and the sweet ensemble dynamics and myriad contradictions of Lisa’s highway-side establishment Double Whammies—an independently owned establishment that panders to sleazy truckers and harmlessly horny dads—remain in play even as the script gradually narrows into a character study of a woman at once determined and terrified of being defined by her job. Hall’s hugely appealing performance has already been honored by the New York Film Critics Circle, and she fully inhabits a character whose mix of pride, professionalism, and protectiveness makes her a heroine to the (mostly younger) women slinging drinks in low-cut shirts on her watch; the “girls” (including supporting-cast MVPs Haley Lu Richardson and Shayna McHayle) love her unconditionally, and so do we. —AN

8. Annihilation

Directed by Alex Garland (Paramount)

As science fiction goes, 2018 was not a banner year. Consumed by the trappings of adaptation (Ready Player One), intellectual property (The Predator), world-building (The Cloverfield Paradox), and sequelism (Pacific Rim: Uprising), just one film in the genre sought to tell a story individuated from our modern movie world. Garland’s loose adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel is an exceptionally strange film as studio fare goes, colorful and violent, but also opaque, elusive, and spiritual. The film follows an all-female team of emotionally unmoored scientists who travel to the center of an all-consuming ecological event that is devouring land and time at a terrifying rate. It’s called the Shimmer, and its appetite is cosmic. Garland, who plumbed the depths of artificial intelligence in 2015’s Ex Machina, takes a bolder risk here, attempting to tangle with the idea of the self while also having Natalie Portman fire an automatic weapon at a mutant alligator. It’s an odd, intoxicating film with a score that will invade your bloodstream, a breathtaking third act, and a puzzle-box ending that rewards multiple viewings. There is nothing else like it, mostly because no one else would try. —Sean Fennessey

7. Let the Sunshine In

Directed by Claire Denis (Curiosa)

Hopefully, 2019 will be the year of Claire Denis: The acquisition of the great French director’s new, stunning sci-fi movie High Life by hit-making distributor A24 means that her work will be more readily available to American audiences than ever. In the meantime, though, Denis had a minor box office success this spring with the deceptively accessible Let the Sunshine In,starring Juliette Binoche as a painter navigating the treacherous minefield of midlife dating (it doesn’t help that her art-world social circle is littered with exes). In the past, Denis has pushed both narrative structure and violence to the breaking point (and she does so again in High Life),but Let the Sunshine In looks and behaves like a conventional romantic comedy … until you realize that the emotions it’s dealing with, about companionship and loneliness, are completely unsanitized, and completely devastating. A scene where Binoche’s Isabelle is seduced on the dance floor by a tall, dark stranger to Etta James’s “At Last” is sublime, but despite the song’s title, it’s not a happy ending. The actual finale isn’t an ending either, and we know it. For a movie that may ultimately be about the need for compromise, Let the Sunshine In doesn’t make any—and that’s why it’s Denis at her best. —AN

6. First Reformed

Directed by Paul Schrader (A24)

”I know that nothing can change and I know there is no hope.” Good morning to Paul Schrader! In a world devoid of meaning, there is no greater joy than meeting an artist whose purview is even darker than your own. Schrader’s portrait of a pastor coming unglued from his faith and corporeal reality features one of the great performances of the century in Ethan Hawke’s forlorn Reverend Ernst Toller, an equal to Travis Bickle in Schrader’s canon of demoralized men. The filmmaker is riffing on the slow cinema of his youth, aping the painterly, patient ethical dramas of Ingmar Bergman and Yasujiro Ozu. But it’s remarkable to watch him wriggle away from his inspirations and back into the maddened, isolated masculine anxieties that have defined his career. By the time Hawke and a young, pregnant parishioner named Mary (Amanda Seyfried) find each other, it’s in an ecstatic, bizarre form of spiritual bliss. And by the time they are floating, so are we. —SF

5. Black Panther

Directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel)

Black Panther does something that no other movie has done before. I’m not talking about crafting a cinematic superhero film that is both acclaimed and socially relevant, though that’s true. And I’m not talking about making a film with a primarily black cast an international sensation, though that is also true. Black Panther does something else extraordinary: It bends a world to its whims. The extended Marvel continuum is the center of the pop cultural universe, more dominant, demanding, and overexamined than anything else. But, in a clever bit of self-referentiality, Black Panther mimics its own core crisis of isolationism vs. globalism, zooming in to a localized fable of succession, kings, and factional warfare. Sure, it globe-trots like a James Bond flick and ponders the history of the fates. But it takes itself seriously and stays home in Wakanda, eyeing oppression and disenfranchisement within the walls of closed communities.

But this isn’t a turgid morality play. The composite parts of a rollicking comic book movie are all there: sharply drawn set pieces, exceptional costuming and production design, overqualified actors filling in bit-part gaps, adventurous photographic choices, meme-worthy gags. Evil threatens and ultimately falls. But Coogler’s sure-handed, empathic portrait of fathers and sons—what they give to each other and what they take away—is an uncommonly trenchant theme interwoven in a movie that also features CGI war rhinos. Black Panther is obviously great, but never greatly obvious. —SF

4. Zama

Directed by Lucrecia Martel (Strand)

The greatest movies make us experience them on their own terms. They go so far with their style that there’s no meeting them halfway. No narrative film released in 2018 asked more of its audience than Martel’s Zama,a slow-motion comedy about a Spanish diplomat wasting away in a remote Patagonian outpost in the 1700s; the line between the boredom of Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho), who wants desperately to leave for better things, and that of the viewer is razor thin, but Martel—a genius of mood and atmosphere—stays on the right side in every precise, mesmerizing scene. Part existential horror movie, part colonial critique, part satire of deflated masculinity—and so fully realized on the levels of sound, image, and performance that comparisons to past masters are inevitable (I thought often of Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon)—Zama is challenging stuff and exists in a separate universe from some of the other titles on this list. But if cinema is about being transported to another place, Martel is unrivaled as a guide—which may be why, in its amazing final scenes, the film suggests that the solution (for the character and the audience) is to just sit back and enjoy the ride. —AN

3. Roma

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Netflix)

Roma is practically defined by a humane grandeur, the swirling image of Mexico in a state of unrest in 1970, masses of people on the move through forests, deserts, beaches, city streets. But the image that has attached itself to my mind and refused to let go takes place inside the home of the middle-class family at the center of the film, on the floor of the living room, where a mother is clutching her young son, seated foot-to-foot, heads bowing toward one another, in tears. It’s one of the most profound, modest evocations of a family dissolving that I’ve ever seen. Alfonso Cuarón has rendered dystopian warfare, interstellar space travel, and a rousing round of Quidditch on screen. But he’s never made anything quite like Roma, a masterly work in which he is controlling all of the levers—writing, directing, producing, and physically shooting the film. If ever a movie demanded such a one-man-band approach, it’s this personal remembrance, a swatch of memory reprogrammed for the big screen. It’s also a staggering achievement, a rare occasion when the oft-overused word “vision” is worthy. It feels like something Cuarón has been seeing in his mind for years, decades. That we can see it now is a gift. —SF

2. Minding the Gap

Directed by Bing Liu (Hulu)

It has been an unpredictably massive year for the documentary form—as narrative podcasts grow, true crime has emerged as a core American genre and streaming services have built their unwieldy content plans around sprawling doc series. And yet, it was good ol’ feature documentaries that rose above a glut of “real” to tap into something urgent and sometimes even profound. They hit on something obvious but elusive in the culture, and audiences showed up. What RBG and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? accomplished with overt political and social gestures, Free Solo found in astonishing physical feats, and Three Identical Strangers captured in its shocking unbelievability, Liu’s Minding the Gap touched on the surface of the earth, gliding along the mortal remains of an abandoned American city. Tracing his friends and fellow skateboarders through adolescence and into uncertain adulthood in Rockford, Illinois, Liu doesn’t do anything fancy with the camera. He doesn’t try to announce a decree about his generation. He doesn’t even care much about narrative cohesion. But if you look closely at the credits, you’ll see a meaningful name that’s also a guidepost: Steve James. The same Steve James who made Hoop Dreams some 25 years ago, tracking a previous generation of hopeful and ignored young men seeking guidance in flawed role models. The connection is deep and earned. Liu’s film is autobiographical but timeless, a picture of how disenfranchised kids with no good idea of how to live make mistakes and wonder why they went wrong. It’s an unusually raw and upsetting movie made with grace and a seeming ease, across several years. Unlike so many in the genre, you can never feel it working or manipulating the viewer. The landing is hard, but the trick is worth it. —SF

1. Burning

Directed by Lee Chang-dong (CGV Arthouse)

“There is a difference between movies that refuse to fix their meanings for fear of exposing their essential vacuousness—that leave so much space for interpretation that they end up feeling legitimately empty, like a shell game without a marble—and movies that bristle with an ambiguity derived from the complex, irreconcilable nature of reality itself.” I wrote those words about Burning in October, the point being that Lee’s film was in the second category. They’ve only felt truer the more I’ve meditated on this wonderfully maddening thriller. The trope of the unreliable narrator is brilliantly realized in the character of Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in), an aspiring writer who sees himself as the hero in a tale of unrequited love. The question of whether his romantic rival, Ben (Steven Yeun, who should be nominated for an Oscar), is an embodiment of true evil or a hateful projection of the author remains as wide open as the fate of the woman who comes between them (Jeon Jong-seo, in a nuanced, thoughtful performance that’s being given predictably short shrift by critics who’ve misread the role as evidence of misogyny). As a story about class, money, sex, art, masculinity, and the fundamentally mysterious nature of all interpersonal exchange, Burning is as intricate and layered as the kind of novel Jong-su wants to write; it’s the cinematic equivalent of a page-turner where you can’t help but savor each poetically loaded passage. —AN

With Apologies To:

The Favourite
The Rider
Hereditary
A Star Is Born
First Man
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Cold War
Eighth Grade
The Old Man and the Gun
Game Night
Mid90s
Widows
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Wildlife
A Quiet Place
The Price of Everything
Shoplifters
Vice
Leave No Trace
Infinite Football
The Death of Stalin
Sorry to Bother You
BlacKkKlansman

Why is John Wick rated so high on Rotten Tomatoes? Is it that good?


Well why do you think some movies are rated so good? Because they are actually good movies. Same is the case with John Wick.

Don’t scroll down if you have not seen it…spoiler zone….

The movie is very simple and realistic and it is the first and foremost reason why it is rated 86% on tomatometer. I mean seriously who kills a total of 84 people over a goddamn puppy and a stolen car. The movie has a swift flow of action throughout and Keanu Reeves’s effortless acting makes it perfectly likeable

There is a sub- world created in the movie that makes it more compelling to watch. The sub-world it creates –accessible only to assassins, criminals, and gangsters who have their own rules, cliques, and currency – is as fun to watch as the action itself. It’s like being temporarily granted VIP access to a place you didn’t even know existed. It just happens to be a place that could probably kill you in two seconds. And John Wick shows you why he is the best there is in that world.

All in all the movie is quite interesting and even if you are not an action lover believe me you are gonna love it. That’s the charisma John Wick creates in the movie.

 

What are some good movies/series about psychopaths?


Before I can suggest anything I want to make something clear first, because I’ve seen this misconception a lot here.

Hannibal Lecter isn’t a psychopath. At best he’s a sadistic high-functioning sociopath. In fact Thomas Harris specified it several times that Hannibal wasn’t a psychopath and that he wanted to write a book about a perfect sociopath. The producers of the movies thought it’d be better calling the guy a psychopath without knowing what a psychopath is.

Hannibal was an asocial toddler and grew up to care only for his sister. He enjoyed seclusion and the trauma that shaped him was eating his own sister after some Nazi soldiers killed his parents in a conflict with the Russians. Later USSR took over his family’s mansion and used it as an orphanage. He stayed silent for years. This also became his trigger later. Anyone who knows that difference between a psychopath and a sociopath would never call Hannibal a psychopath.


Unfortunately every Hollywood movie or an American series portray psychopaths in a horrendous manner so I can suggest some anime, light novels, and mangaka that do them justice.

Johan Liebert, the titular monster of the anime and manga Monster. This boy had an operation as a kid because he was shot in the head. When they scanned his brains, they were shocked to find a peculiar brain formation that they didn’t understand at that time (Nazi Germany). The boy had no remorse, sadness, and failed to register the humane emotions others were able to. He cared for no one but his twin sister and the doctor who saved his life, but that didn’t stop him from screwing them. He possessed superficial charm and all the traits of a psychopath and cared for no one except himself. The time frame of the anime was before they came to terms of naming us so they just called him a Monster when they found zero change in his pulse throughout his actions.


Makishima Shogo from Psycho-Pass. In a utopic Japan where a system called Sybil judged people as a god and saw through their souls to see who’s prone to depravity and who’s not, Shogo was able to lie, kill, and manipulate the entirety of Japan without being spotted. Sybil was unable to judge him because he exerted no kind of emotions when he was slitting a throat, seeing his friend blown to bits, or seeing his enemy shred to pieces by cyborg hounds. He was neutral to everything and anything. He didn’t understand himself as a kid because he was always bored and rarely felt joy. He started entertaining himself by reading and seeking art, and soon he disliked the current Japan and became an anarchist. His aim is to destroy Sybil. In the anime his type was called A Priori Acquit (Criminally Asymptomatic), those who are free from any reaction to criminal activities.


Tanya Degurechaff from Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya The Evil). This one what I’d personally call a perfect depiction of paths. The story goes around an atheist who was thrown before a train by a petty employee for getting fired. The MC then stands before Yahweh. The MC refutes the possibility of a god and tells him that if he’s a god then he’s not doing his job properly. Yahweh banishes the impious human to an alternate universe in the body of young girl. This world resembles the world of WWI and the MC finds himself on the side of Germany. The MC’s top priority is to survive. The anime shows how he’d save his comrades to keep up his good name, how he’d manipulate his way to a promotion, how he’d do his best to have human shields, how he’d strife to being away from the war and make sure he’s not in danger. He’s self-preservative to a vast level and he’s devoid from empathy, regret, shame, and guilt. He manipulates everything around him just to live and survive the war, and he doesn’t care about anyone. This made him/her the perfect soldier in the army. That’s what a psycho/sociopath would do in these situations. We wouldn’t kill for fun, but if it’s us or them we’ll make sure we walk out of it.

 

‘Black Panther’ Is Marvel’s First Genuine Masterpiece


Ryan Coogler’s highly anticipated superhero movie is even better and richer than could have been imagined, thanks to a fantastical world that evokes real questions about history

 

Let’s talk about hunger. As wonderful as Black Panther is—and it’s as good as we’d hoped, maybe even better—nothing in it is a match for the carefree, infectious joy displayed last week by a group of middle school students from Atlanta’s Ron Clark Academy. Maybe you’ve seen them. They went viral after videos of their celebratory dancing on school cafeteria tables hit Instagram, then Twitter, then the news. The students had just found out that they—like middle and high school students across the country, boosted by fundraising campaigns and the wise support of their principals, teachers, parents, and local community leaders—were taking a school trip to see Black Panther for free. Fundraisers to send students like these to see the movie have become a nationwide trend: the #BlackPantherChallenge. Over $300,000 has been raised to date.

That’s not the sole reason Black Panther seems poised to trounce box office records this weekend, to say nothing of its other benchmarks, like exceeding the Fandango presales of every other Marvel movie to date, or being one of Twitter’s most talked-about movies of 2017—despite not coming out until 2018. But it helps. If we’re going to have a conversation about what makes Black Panther feel so essential, we may as well start there. We can do the whole song and dance of spelling out the basic reasons for the movie’s importance: what it means for Hollywood that a project of this size, with this budget, and with a nearly all-black cast, can finally seem like a worthwhile risk for a major studio and the timely impact of a movie about a mythical African kingdom, a so-called “shithole country,” to be released at this moment in our political history. The movie is a symbolic solution to issues that, when Black Panther was just a rumor, a dream getting tossed to and fro in a Marvel Studios boardroom, we didn’t think could grow so much more dire.

All of that matters. All of it is true and worth reckoning with. Does any of it justify the goofiness of Michael B. Jordan, one of the movie’s stars, cosplaying as a member of the actual Black Panther Party on the cover of British GQ? Complicated. Maybe a radical political organization like the Panthers would have preferred to have been left out of your corporate franchise narrative, pun or no pun. And would any of the movie’s representational power still matter if Black Panther weren’t any good? Again: complicated. The social politics of it all are eerie and dense; those politics, twined with history, aesthetics, the New York Times push alerts I keep ignoring, the open-all-hours despondent chaos of my Twitter feed, and on and on, is even more fraught. It’s possible to love Black Panther but be conflicted, but still love it, but still be conflicted, all the while sharing in the unmitigated joy of its existence. “The film arrives as a corporate product,” writes Carvell Wallace, beautifully, for The New York Times, “but we are using it for our own purposes.” I like thinking of Black Panther in those terms: not just as a movie you watch, nor as a challenge to the woke box-checking of the political minefield we call the internet, but as something we can use.

Black Panther is a feat in its own right. It is very much the Black Panther tale dreamed up by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s, a retelling of the origin story in which Wakanda becomes the sole possessor of vibranium, an indestructible alien element from a fallen meteorite, and over time becomes the most technologically advanced society in the world, in part by cutting itself off from said world, hiding under the cloak of unassuming third-world poverty.

The story of the movie, taking its cue from the comics over the years, involves precisely this question of isolation, and whether Wakanda is better off alone. The trouble starts when T’Chaka, the king of Wakanda, and the current Black Panther, is killed in an attack on the U.N. in Vienna, a plot point familiar from 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. When he dies, his son, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), rises to power. The robot-armed villain Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), meanwhile, is trying to break into Wakanda and steal its resources with a small team of bad guys, among them Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), by his side. Who Killmonger is to Wakanda I’ll leave it to the movie to reveal. Suffice it to say this gnarly, muscled Annapolis grad from America has been trained in bringing down royal dynasties, and he’s got his eye on T’Challa’s throne—and the smarts, as well as the thirst for vengeance, needed to get there.

It’s a complicated plot centered on the question of what Wakanda is and—most urgently—what it means, not only to the Wakandans themselves nor even to Africans broadly, but to blacks everywhere. Imagine knowing there was a black utopia, a place at the root of all blackness, self-sufficient and untouched by slavery or colonialism. It’s a fantasy: a reversal of history. “Wakanda itself is a dream state,” says director Ava DuVernay to The New York Times, “a place that’s been in the hearts and minds and spirits of black people since we were brought here in chains.” The question that envelops Black Panther, in other words, is a question baked, poignantly and also fraughtly, into its script. What Wakanda—a booming black metropolis that mixes technological Afro-futurity with the spiritual and ancestral past—means to the black people within the movie is analogous to what it means to us outside of it.

Incidentally, I’ve noticed in comment sections and the occasional dumb tweet that this idea can be misread to suggest that the premise of Black Panther is one in which black greatness can exist only in fantasy. I see it differently. The power of Wakanda, to me, is in the idea that within destitution and historical violence can lurk great power. Wakanda puts up a literal front that effaces its true beauty; what appears impoverished is, in fact, the seat of technological advancement. This is different from the usual Third World discourse, and it’s certainly different from the history of colonization, in which the primacy of Africa as a hub of civilization, rather than as merely a victim of it, is often erased.

“I’m from a place that I’d never been to and that nobody who I loved had been to because they couldn’t afford to go,” says Coogler, who grew up hearing about Africa but went for the first time only late in the process of making his previous film, Creed. “So I would hear stories from them about this place that they didn’t even know anything about, and those stories were a counterbalance to the awful things that we did hear about them.” Coogler spent about three weeks traveling Africa as he did research for the film. “I truly felt that seeing it for myself was necessary for my growth as a human being.”

The story of black American spiritual renewal and voyages to Africa isn’t a new one; entire movements and styles, from Black Zionism in the 19th century to the kente cloth durags I grew up seeing in Irvington, New Jersey, were born of this idea. It’s not even new to movies, really—Coming to America being a prominent, humorous riff on black Americans’ imaginative curiosity about Africa and Africans, and Hype Williams’s Belly, which features a character played by Nas expresses a desire to leave behind a life of violence to go to Africa and find his roots. But that’s not the same as seeing it in a Marvel movie. And Coogler, smartly, revels in the astonishing, symbolic beauty of it. Coogler’s Wakanda is rife with powerful women, including the army of speared warrior women known as the Dora Milaje, who serve the king in name but, based on their fierceness alone, would seem to serve no master. Has Grace Jones hailed from Wakanda this whole time and none of us knew? The gangbusters quartet of Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, and Letitia Wright play T’Challa’s love interest, war general, mother, and sister, respectively, but each woman stands on her own, separate from her ties to T’Challa. Each woman is as modern as the gleaming, sky-high buildings or the hyperadvanced rail system devised by Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, who is in charge of the country’s vibranium-based technologies.

For all that’s new, there’s old again: The act of becoming king is still rooted in old rituals, down to a fight on the rocky cliffs of a waterfall in which the incumbent Black Panther, stripped of his legendary powers and reduced to being a mere man, must defend the seat from a challenger. T’Challa wins that battle, but he risks losing the war. What makes Black Panther feel different from other Marvel movies is that the world it imagines, the fights it insists must be fought, are grounded in real questions with immediate analogues that harken back to an entire discourse of black activism and thought. Other superhero movies could take a page from Black Panther’s book. How much better would most superhero movies be if, rather than fall back on the plain anonymity of World War I and II villains, they rooted themselves in a live, urgent sense of culture? What if Christopher Nolan’s Batman films had anchored themselves in a genuine sense of economic disparity, rather than continually paying lip service to that idea through a vaguely conceived millionaire and his abuses of power? What if the Avengers’ Ultron had more of a palpable fear of public surveillance? Seeing Bruce Wayne or even 007 get a tour of their new toys, meanwhile, is always fun, as tropes go, but imagine that those toys, and the monied, technologically advanced societies they imply, had become possible only through an element that had the power to reverse the course of colonial history. Wouldn’t those tools seem more powerful, the stakes in their design that much higher?

That’s what it feels like to watch Black Panther. Coogler’s unique skill, visible from his first feature, Fruitvale Station (2013), about the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III in Oakland, is his ability to instill a movie with a sense of history and, even more remarkably, a sense of place. Fruitvale is very much an Oakland story. The director’s tremendous follow-up, Creed (2015), a sequel to the Rocky franchise (again starring Michael B. Jordan), is a Philly story.

Black Panther is, obviously, a Wakanda story, meaning that its images ripple with Wakanda’s specific rhythms and textures; characters’ in-jokes and senses of humor seem to open up untold bits of history among them; rituals feel genuinely ritualistic, lived in and specific to the people and the place. It’s convincing in the way that the struggles between young Creed and old man Rocky became the foundation of one of the most moving and unlikely screen relationships in recent memory. Their shared history, evoked in the pictures on the walls, the scratches in the furniture, and the gestures and looks that divvy up the emotional beats of the story, is what creates that bond. Coogler takes history—geographic, interpersonal, textbook—seriously. But that’s merely a personality trait. What makes his films a cut above is his ability to give that history an afterlife in images, to weld those images into a story, to fashion that story into something larger than life—larger, even, than movies.

Black Panther may be Coogler’s first superhero movie, but in truth, the heroes at the center of his films, including Oscar Grant, have always felt bigger than their real-life counterparts, if only because of Coogler’s willingness to lean into treating them like the heroes of a movie. It’s not that simple, but maybe it is. Even Fruitvale, which lacks the muscled opera of Creed and the big-budget wizardry of Black Panther, is a movie whose contrived sense of last rites seems to contradict the realistic look of its images. But the movie isn’t totally interested in outright realism. It’s a precisely structured, unsubtle, larger-than-life tragedy, the kind of tribute you give to a man whose fate stood for more than one man’s fate. That comes off in large part because of Jordan, who is again the standout actor in Panther, and who has found, in Coogler, the perfect collaborator. In Panther, Jordan’s pain is the movie’s pain, his rage the movie’s rage. He’s the villain, but not really. The movie takes the grand risk of seeing him with sympathy, not merely because he’s human, but because he, too, is a black man in search of a home, and a history—like so many of us. He has strayed, but the movie goes out of its way to give his feelings legitimacy. The ideas that sustain him—about what Wakanda owes to the world—are the opposite of villainy.

I admittedly have less at stake in whether Black Panther is a good superhero movie. I just wanted it to be a good movie. And I wanted us to be a good audience: thoughtful, fair, fervent, excited. I think we’re all winning, on all fronts. The most radical thing a Black Panther movie could have done is ask what Wakanda means—and what it owes—to the race. And that’s what Coogler’s passionate, funny, dexterous movie asks, over and over again, both to its characters and to its audience. It’s a mighty question, and it feels like it’s coming alive in almost every one of Coogler’s images: in their sense of the elements, in their dramatic and physical grandeur, in their beauty. Black Panther crouching in trees to pounce on a team of sex traffickers is an image with force; so are the images of T’Challa fighting for the throne in water so viscous and alive it seems fit to swallow him back up into the earth. Wakanda is sequestered for a reason. Its ability to resist being colonized, like its neighbors, isn’t arbitrary or accidental. How do you make a multimillion-dollar Marvel movie out of that moral complexity? There’s no need to wonder any longer. Coogler has made that movie. And it’s Marvel’s first genuine masterpiece.