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Victoria & Abdul – Top 5 Fake Spoilers

20 years after Mrs. Brown, Dame Judi’s back in Victorian era wardrobe as… Queen Victoria. Audiences have been positively clamoring for Judi to reprise her role as the 19th century’s most famous baby factory so fair warning: FAKE SPOILERS BELOW!

5 - You've heard of actors sleepwalking through a part? Well, watch Judi Dench sleepsit through this one!
5 – You’ve heard of actors sleepwalking through a part? Well, watch Judi Dench sleep-sit through this one!

4 - Ms. Dench forgot to get the okay from the Weinstein Brothers before making a period piece about a British monarch so they sent a dead fish to the set.
4 – Ms. Dench forgot to get the okay from the Weinstein Brothers before making another period piece about a British monarch so they sent a dead fish to the set.

3 - Hungry for action? Just wait for the scene of butlers and maids practicing their bowing to an empty chair!
3 – Worried that a historical drama won’t have enough suspense? Just wait for the scene where the help practices bowing to an empty chair!

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"Give up your freedom so we can get ours back!"

Bureaucracy and the Beast

(B&B is in the public domain of everyone’s childhood so Boblius refuses to acknowledge plot details as “spoilers.”)

Before he’s THE BEAST, Beast is a tax-and-spend Prince. He vacuums income from the subjects of his French village to throw lavish parties where he prances around like Agador from The Birdcage (but somehow isn’t the gay character people are up in arms about?). The villagers are happy to RSVP in the affirmative for pre-Beast’s parties as long as he doesn’t mock them.

That's more like it.
That’s more like it.

When a disheveled and smelly (one assumes) crone stumbles into pre-Beast’s latest party offering a single rose in exchange for shelter during a horrific storm, he laughs her offer away. Only pre-Beast gives out the roses in this edition of Bizarro Bachelor. For his haughtiness, the crone reveals herself to be an Enchantress (we wouldn’t want to call her a witch in a movie starring Hermione) then transforms pre-Beast into THE (CGI) BEAST. Finally. Now he looks like the Beast from our childhood. Whew. (more…)

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The LEGO Batman Movie: Death of a Police Commissioner, Birth of a Batgirl

(Spoilers below? Oh yeah.)

A few years back there was a Lego movie. It’s name escapes me right now. Anyway, the Lego movie was thought to promote collectivism and criticize capitalism. The makers of the Lego movie (whatever it was called) denied an anti-business agenda BUT… the bad guy in the film was named “Lord Business.”

Well, a few years have passed and now we have The Lego Batman Movie on our hands. Perhaps to bring a Ra’s al Ghul-ish balance to the cinematic Lego-verse, this film asserts a strong critique of police policies largely revealed through the Barbara Gordon character. Her shedding of the commissioner’s uniform (Don’t get excited, it’s a PG film) in favor of her Batgirl costume formalizes her abandonment of supposedly enlightened law enforcement policies.

In the first reel Police Commissioner Jim Gordon finds himself in a crisis: The Joker has assembled a huge bomb to blow the literal floor out from under Gotham City. Gordon does what the G.C.P.D. does best: Call BATMAN!

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drew

American Illustrators, The Movies, and Drew Struzan

PhantomMenaceMuch like the word “genius,” the label “artist” gets bandied about quite a bit. When I was taking fine art classes in college, one of the more colorful and exuberant life drawing and painting instructors — let’s call him Charlie — a very hyperactive and passionate painter, talked to us about what it meant to be an artist.

“So you all want to be artists, huh?” He shouted as he strutted in and around our rows of easels as we worked. “I’m just here to teach you how to paint and hopefully paint well. I can’t teach you to be an artist. An artist is a way of life, man. Are you willing to starve for your art? Are you in it for the money? Van Gogh sold one painting in his life. He went mad and then committed suicide. He was an artist. Are you willing to let it consume you? Let’s just concentrate on painting for now.”

Now, I’ve always been fascinated by illustrators who were adept at rendering the human form, faces, and textures were able to put their subjects into fascinating settings and conjure up just the right mood. I had a knack — still do, though not so practiced of late — of being able to capture likenesses fairly well when I drew. The best illustrators and painters are very talented at drawing and their pen and pencil work alone is worthy of collecting. Without a foundation in accurate lifelike drawing a lot of paintings and illustrations meant to be realistic tend to look less real, less lifelike and dull.

ArchersIn America, there have been several periods where talented illustrators emerged. In the 1910s, 20s and 30s, the works of Maxfield Parrish, J.C. Leyendecker, Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, and Howard Pyle (to name just a few), adorned the covers of Collier’s, the Saturday Evening Post, or in Wyeth’s case numerous works of literature: The White Company, Robin Hood, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and The Last of the Mohicans.

Sometimes, these talented men worked on a grand scale – many of them, like Wyeth and Parrish were commissioned to do large murals — and much of their work for magazine covers, stories, and book covers were originally painted much larger and reproduced much smaller for print. When I worked at Stanford, helping to put out the Stanford Daily back in the early 1980s, I happened upon an exhibit of N.C. Wyeth’s work at a small gallery in Palo Alto and was awestruck by one of the paintings he had done to illustrate Robin Hood, depicting the outlaw’s band of merry men crouched behind the base of a massive oak tree with their bows pulled back waiting to let their arrows fly. The texture and color of the grass and the men’s costumes looked as rich and fresh as if it had all been painted yesterday. My recollection was that the work was enormous but time has a tendency to romanticize and embellish the truth. In fact the work is an oil on canvas about 40 inches tall and 32 inches wide; i.e., about the size of a standard movie poster (though five inches wider). And the painting was actually for sale at the time for about $25,000 and I dreamed of owning it one day.  I still dream.

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LairWhiteWorm

My Bloody Easter Basket: Appreciating Lair of the White Worm

lotww

It’s Eastertide, so I’m thinking about human sacrifice. Feeding monsters virgins is for primitives and pagans. We Westerners are above all that. Except we’re not.

Human sacrifice centers Christian identity. Forget the Jesus-loves-you sentimentality churches retail to smooth their theological edges. At bottom, Easter is about filicide. God murdered his only son (incarnated for that purpose) to save people from the hellfire God himself prescribed (because Eve talked to the wrong snake). Of course, everything’s cocaine and cream cakes because God’s sacrifice saves the world and Jesus comes back to life. So it’s human sacrifice, but with a Hollywood ending.

Yet, “human kind/[c]annot bear very much reality[,]” so we’ve turned Easter into egg hunts and Peter Cottontail. Easter reminds us that God kills. A lot: the Great Flood (so much for that beta test), the Midianites (except for female virgins kept as war spoils), Passover (which somehow reminds me of this), and finally Jesus (sort of). Maybe it’s marketing for kids. Try explaining to a child that God murder/suicide loves you. Or maybe it’s because dying for something is what we pay other people to do.

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Trailer Tuesday: “Horns”

Beware, this latest trailer isn’t only a little NSFW, but worse…Harry Potter does an American accent.  That’s right. Daniel Radcliffe is shedding his little boy fame and taking on a much creepier, and much less British role in his latest film “Horns.”

unnamed-4Up until now, I hadn’t known much about this film. Granted this trailer has been out for a while, but I wasn’t all that intrigued by the things I had seen or read on this movie.  Naturally, I didn’t know what to expect going into this trailer for the first time, but if you go in with low expectations, you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised!

The first thing that popped up on my radar was Daniel Radcliffe’s American accent (which actually isn’t that bad, but it does catch you off guard a bit).  He’s in love with a girl and he promises to love her for the rest of his life…but all that she asks is that he loves her for the rest of hers. Aww…cue the stormy night and gruesome murder scene.  The love of his life is naturally killed approximately 2 seconds later while the two are secluded in the middle of the woods together.  The small town is rocked by this and Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) instantly becomes the main suspect.  But he knows he didn’t do it (and I suppose we are to assume the same thing).  He’s enraged by the death of his girlfriend and he wants the head of the man responsible.  So, like any vengeance-fueled boyfriend, he starts to grow horns as some sort of physical manifestation of his anger.  Now I will say this trailer does showcase some great editing and creates a creepy atmosphere.  You really feel Ig’s passion for discovering the true murderer, making you sympathize when he starts to go all unnamed-6demonic and lose his mind.  Cut to a quick, but effective, montage of him terrorizing some locals and screaming at no one in particular about what really happened the night of the murder, all leading up to a final glance at what he’s really turning into, which is some ultra-creepy devil-looking thing.  I’m a fan!

Although this trailer does have its fair share of cliché-ridden plot points, it did offer up enough originality to make me want to check it out.  It looks pretty creepy and the special effects look rather decent for such an indie project.  I’m not sure if Radcliffe’s intention is to try and fully rid himself of the Potter perception, but maybe after seeing the film we’ll finally be able to perceive him as an adult!

This one already hit theatres on Halloween in a limited release, so check it out while you still can.