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2018-05-22T13:22:35.214Z
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The women-helmed anthology series will recognize the trailblazers the Times forgot.

History is man-made. Written by those with power, history frequently omits key people and events that have shaped our present. The New York Times has played its own part in distorting the past through its selective editorial lens. Specifically, its obituary section has long featured white men while glossing over the lives of trailblazing women. Now, the Times is trying to make belated amends.

With its first foray into scripted content, the New York Times is partnering with Paramount Television and Anonymous Content to create the anthology series Overlooked. Based on the Times editorial project of the same nameOverlooked will consist of 10 episodes per season, each part telling the story of an extraordinary woman who never received proper recognition in the paper’s obituary section.

Amisha Padnani, a digital editor at the NYT obituary desk, first developed the idea for the Overlooked editorial project in early 2017. When she discovered that Mary Ewing Outerbridge, credited with introducing tennis to America, had not received a NYT obituary upon her death in 1886, Padnani began a quest to find other overlooked individuals. “Those who didn’t get [an obituary] were, not surprisingly, largely women and people of color,” Padnani wrote in March.

“Since 1885,” the Overlooked project description reads, “obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we’re adding the stories of other remarkable people.” These remarkable, under-recognized woman include Marsha P. Johnson, a central figure in the gay liberation movement; Sylvia Plath, an influential...

Netflix continues its domination of American households by teaming with Barack and Michelle Obama.

There is no stopping Netflix. With nearly eight billion dollars to spend on 2018 acquisitions alone, they’ve put a stranglehold on adult animation, laughed at the derision coming from Steven Spielberg, and are contemplating beating theaters at their own game. Everyone wants to be in business with them: from Key and Peele to Guillermo del Toro. If you’re looking to stay relevant in the pop culture landscape going forward, you must find a home at Netflix.

Apparently, that includes the former President of the United States. Via their Twitter feed, Netflix boldly announced that they would be going into business with Barack and Michelle Obama. The couple has signed a multi-year production deal that will include scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features. Whatever the genre, they will dominate it.

Barack Obama has always embraced pop culture. He let his Trekkie flag fly high in 2012 when he posed with Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols. He happily dropped references to Mad Men in his State of the Union address. He sat down with Zach Galifianakis for his painfully bizarre Between Two Ferns talk show. He read mean tweets for Jimmy...

A journalist, a mystery, and a creature from beyond.

Welcome to 4:3 & Forgotten — a column where I get to look back at TV terrors that scared adults (and the kids they let watch) across the limited airwaves of the 70s. This week’s entry was crafted as a television pilot, but NBC made the terrible call back in 1973 of not picking it up for series. (This shouldn’t surprise anyone as the same network also canceled 1985’s Misfits of Science before its first season even ended.) The Norliss Tapes introduces a man who sets out to debunk the supernatural only to discover, perhaps too late, that he’s the one being debunked!

Where: NBC
When: February 21st, 1973

David Norliss (Roy Thinnes) has spent the past year working on a book about how the supernatural and all of its associated mystics, fortune tellers, and faith healers, is pure hokum, but when his editor calls for an update he’s shocked to learn Norliss hasn’t written a word. The writer instead tells Sanford T. Evans (Don Porter) that all of his notes exist solely on audio tapes and that they reveal how far he’s gone in his research and how dangerous he’s found it to be. And then Norliss disappears. Sanford arrives at Norliss’ groovy house overlooking the San Francisco Bay and discovers the tapes, and he pops the first one into the player in the hopes of discovering what’s happened to his friend (who took advances and still owes him a manuscript).

This is the fantastic framing device...

The MCU is determined to make the lamest Spidey villains totally rad.

Comic books are silly stuff. A teenager is bitten by a radioactive spider, and after a brief stint of selfish pursuit, the kid vows vengeance against the underworld that stole his uncle’s life. He dons a blue and red leotard, swings between the skyscrapers of New York City, and captures the criminals too bizarre for the police to even understand let alone arrest.

The Spider-Man rogue’s gallery is weirder than most. Hollywood has struggled awkwardly to adapt oddities like Sandman, The Lizard, Electro, and the Rhino. Trying to contemporize concepts born from the quickie brainstorms of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the early 1960s is a thankless task.

That being said, when Peter Parker returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kevin Feige, and Jon Watts revealed a serious threat from the dopiest of Spidey foes. Michael Keaton’s The Vulture ranks as one of the finest MCU villains.

Now, it appears that the MCU miracle machine is attempting to follow up their nefarious success with an even sillier bad guy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jake Gyllenhaal is in talks to pester Peter Parker as the fishbowl helmeted baddie, Mysterio. Wow. To make that creepoid work is a definite challenge.

Quentin Beck first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #13in 1963. He is...

Netflix picked up two of this year’s honored movies, while others are coming soon to theaters.

The 71st Cannes Film Festival has ended, and between having its own women’s march, bringing Star Wars back to the festival, seeing the return of Lars von Trier, and hearing Asia Argento’s searing awards ceremony speech, this year was as eventful and political as ever.

And politics are certainly reflected in the winners of this year’s top prizes in the festival’s main competition. No, Cate Blanchett and the rest of the jury did not renege on their promise to remain impartial. Instead, the winners list showcases a wonderfully diverse range of artistic voices through a variety of empathetic stories. We’re stoked to see them all, so here’s a quick guide into the Cannes greats of 2018 and when they’re expected to make their way to the general public.

Palme d’Or: Shoplifters

The first Japanese film to win the coveted Palme d’Or since The Eel in 1997, Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s Shoplifters provides a fresh look into the dynamics of an impoverished family. Partaking in several criminal enterprises in the name of survival, the family in question primarily shoplifts to make a living for themselves while on the very fringes of Tokyo society. The strength of their bond keeps them afloat. However, when the family also informally adopts a homeless girl into their household, they invite scrutiny into their unconventional dynamic. Shoplifters is a nuanced take on an age-old question: can found families exist and thrive? The film has...

We desperately need nuanced narratives about women in power, and Netflix must deliver.

When Variety announced that Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro would be teaming up on a new Netflix movie together, the internet was set alight — and for great reason. Their film, titled First Ladies, will be about America’s first female president and her wife. It will be written by Notaro and her spouse and fellow One Mississippi scribe, Stephanie Allynne.

The First Ladies press release doesn’t even detail much about the film beyond its catchy premise: “behind every great woman… is another great woman.” But honestly, that sounds good enough for me and the world at large.

First Ladies will undoubtedly serve as a vital stepping stone towards further shaping a representative media landscape. In a time when audiences are still navigating films and shows that don’t portray women or the LGBTQ community in wholly positive or simply well-rounded ways, we need a movie like this.

We’ve seen a number of women presidents on screen over the years,...

Deadpool won the weekend, but another iconic figure has the bigger box office story.

Unsurprisingly, Deadpool 2 topped the box office chart over the weekend. The sequel even broke an attendance record in its debut, selling the most tickets ever for an R-rated movie on a Friday opening day: 5.8 million. That’s a few hundred-thousand people more than the first Deadpool (5.5 million) and last fall’s IT (5.6 million). However, 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded is still the R-rated first day champion, having opened on a Thursday and sold 6.2 million tickets that single day.

Even with Deadpool 2 beating its predecessor on Friday, though, the sequel couldn’t top the first Deadpool overall. Nor did it beat IT or The Matrix Reloaded. After drawing the majority of its fans on Friday, Deadpool 2 wound up with a total attendance of 13.6 million. The original Deadpool remains the R-rated champ with 15.4 million. In between, The Matrix Reloaded sold 15.2 million tickets in its debut 15 years ago, and IT sold 13.8 million. Deadpool 2 did, however, just barely beat The Passion of the Christ‘s 13.5 million people.

Also, as pointed out by Scott Mendelson at ForbesDeadpool 2 broke the opening-weekend record for a comedy sequel — yes, Deadpool 2 should count as a comedy (even Box Office Mojo thinks so now). The previous holder of this honor was Rush Hour 2, which sold 11.9 million tickets back in 2001. The closest comedy sequel in the past decade was The Hangover II, which sold 10.6 million tickets in 2011. The question now is whether it can become the best-selling comedy sequel of all time by ultimately beating current champ Meet...

“This place was never home.”

Last week saw old William stunned as his daughter rode up to greet him, but their reunion is put on the backburner this time around as we return to two other main characters. Maeve and company are introduced to the honorable wonders and bloody demises of a nearby park called Shogun World, and Dolores moves one tragic step closer to escaping Westworld. (Poor Teddy.)

Let’s take a look at season two, episode five of Westworld: “Akane No Mai”

The Giving Lake

The episode opens with a brief return to the show’s most current timeline as the Delos security team dredges the lake to recover host bodies. We’re reminded once again that poor Teddy (James Marsden) is among them as his lifeless body lays atop a pile of similarly deceased robot corpses. They’re harvesting the control units (their brains!) but are confused by what they’re finding — a full third of the hosts’ have empty brains. The Delos rep is clearly pissed, but the big question here is where their data went.

At this point it seems clear that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) is the one responsible. It seems doubtful that she simply wiped the hosts’ control centers, and instead it’s a safe bet that she’s uploaded the data somewhere else. I’m still standing by my ridiculous theory that the Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) found on the shore in this season’s premiere episode isn’t actually Bernard. Or at least, it’s...

We chat with the filmmaker about his obsession with despair and the inspiration that drives him behind the camera.

Why do we even bother? The world continually feeds us excuses to give up on life. There are days when I can’t even find a reason to crawl out of bed. Beneath the covers is warmth and safety, beyond the bed is fear, anger, and despair.

In his early twenties, Paul Schrader saw Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket. The film changed his life. The protagonist that sits in judgment of the lives he wanders amongst would find himself at the center of several of Schrader’s films. Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Julian in American Gigolo. John LeTour in Light Sleeper. Reverand Toller in First Reformed. They’re all the same haunted man.

For his twentieth feature, Schrader exposes the infected psyche of a small town priest trapped inside a historic parish on the verge of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Called to aid a man consumed by despair due to the deteriorating environment of Mother Earth, Toller rediscovers purpose in the doomed man’s actions. First Reformed feels like the climax of every Schrader film that has come before. The movie is a staggering examination of the hell we all face, and will certainly leave its mark on any audience that finds itself under its gaze.

I sat down with Schrader the night after he screened the film for the MPAA at the National Archives in Washington D.C. We discussed...

The German New Wave icon discusses her exploration of Swedish master Ingmar Bergman.

Margarethe von Trotta is frequently hailed as a driving force in the New German Cinema Movement. After acting for filmmakers like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, von Trotta abandoned performing to direct with her 1975 film The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. Since then von Trotta has directed fourteen features. Searching for Ingmar Bergman is the director’s first foray into documentary filmmaking and follows von Trotta on her personal journey through Bergman’s work. Von Trotta not only reflects on her experiences with Bergman and his films, but also interviews major Bergman players like Liv Ullman, as well as filmmakers Olivier Assayas, Mia Hansen-Løve, and Ruben Östlund. Ultimately, it’s a refreshing departure from the usual biographical documentary and offers a peek into the underseen parts of Bergman’s life and career. Following the film’s world premiere at Cannes, I sat down with von Trotta to revel in our shared love of Bergman.

In the film, one of your subjects asks you which Bergman film is your favorite. You mention that you love The Seventh Seal, as it was the first Bergman film you saw, but don’t exactly say which is your favorite. Do you have one? I certainly do.

What is your favorite?

I have two favorites. Scenes from a Marriage and Fanny and Alexander.

The late ones. Those are in his old age. For me, it’s Sawdust and Tinsel. It’s with Harriet Anderson, it’s a wonderful film. And then I like Cries...

These whodunits are perfectly bingeable.

Sometimes it feels good to solve a crime. I don’t mean that we should all get degrees in criminal justice but simply that, after a long day or week of stress, kicking back at home and playing armchair detective can be extremely satisfying. We as a country have a huge appetite for guessing at mysteries: if the popularity of true-crime podcasts like Serial and docu-series like Making a Murderer doesn’t prove it, the fact that twelve to fifteen million people still watch NCIS in its fifteenth season sure does.

Hour-long mysteries can be fun, but the past decade or so has seen a global spike in prestige crime shows — dramas that cast talented, often big-name actors to take on heavy themes and solve a crime that runs an entire season. For armchair detectives, these shows can be even more exciting than procedurals, as TV mysteries drawn out for weeks often require a keen eye and memory. More than one recent whodunnit show has even left viewers without a clear-cut answer, instead asking them to, much like a jury, look at the evidence they’ve seen over the past hours and come to their own conclusion.

While this year has already given us a few passable mysteries (two are included below), the recent selection hasn’t fully satisfied our craving for juicy, engaging storytelling. For that, it’s worth looking further back to uncover the most binge-worthy single-season mysteries out there. The next time you want to binge...

And why does it matter? Spoilers for HBO’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’

Ray Bradbury’s formative classic Fahrenheit 451 was published in full in 1953, and since then it’s sparked two films. The first, directed by François Truffaut, came out in 1966. It was about time for an update, and HBO was willing to provide it. But was it time for this update?

This long-overdue redo, starring the undeniably excellent Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, is meant to be a modern, gritty retelling of a classic. But those gritty and the modern elements both fall short, something I’ll get to shortly. And even the retelling gets addled, because [SPOILER ALERT] the film kills off the wrong person.

Or maybe I should say, people. Because there’s a lot of death in the book. And while there’s some in the new film, it manages not to overlap almost completely. There are book spoilers to follow, but as it’s been taught in almost every high school for the past 65 years, I’m declaring the statute of limitations over.

In Bradbury’s book, the list of the dead includes Clarisse (mowed down by a car in the first 50 pages) and almost all of the human race, blown to bits in the last pages in a war between superpowers that’s been brewing while no one notices.

I can forgive the lack of the bombing — modern global events may be in a bad state, but it’s nothing like the...

Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle give aching performances as an inexperienced early-60s couple with a tragically short-lived marriage.

A deeply serious film about the messiness of first-time sex, or rather, how sex can cause disastrous permanent consequences between naive youngsters, On Chesil Beach is a knife-like psychodrama at its core that slices up painful memories of a lifetime. A salt-sprayed, pebbled shore on the Dorset coast and an airless, over-formal hotel room witness a newlywed couple’s ill-fated honeymoon in the summer of 1962. It’s a time where England is just a measly year removed from the sexual revolution and the unrestrictive Swinging Sixties, but obviously the fear-drenched, repressed (and madly in love) young couple at the film’s center, played by Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle, are painfully unaware of this. Observing them might make you think no one at their age has learned anything about sex before; not from friends or pop-culture, and certainly not from their parents. So what happens when two people who are clearly head-over-heels for each other are perfectly matched in social causes and intellectual pursuits, but sadly can’t converse about erotic desires?

Atonement author Ian McEwan’s screenplay (adapted from his own acclaimed novella) presents one grim scenario on the extreme in a heartbreaking film, exquisitely directed by first-time filmmaker Dominic Cooke. While the handsome couple uncomfortably dines in their suite on unappetizingly overcooked, stale-looking plates of food (presented ceremoniously by awkward staff members, who don’t help with the air of dread) and try their...

Umbrella Entertainment’s ‘Road Games’ and ‘Fair Game’ should be automatic buys for Ozploitation fans.

Road Games (1981)

The Australian Outback is a big place, and it’s easy to feel alone amid the natural beauty and desolation. Pat Quid (Stacy Keach) actually prefers it that way, and along with his loyal dingo he spends his days driving his tractor-trailer back and forth across the landscape. His serene existence is interrupted by the news that a serial killer is killing young women and disposing of their bodies along the lonely highway. Circumstance and setup leave Pat marked as a suspect leaving him little option but to try and catch the killer on his own. Lucky for him a sassy American hitchhiker named Pamela (Jamie Lee Curtis) joins him for the ride.

Richard Franklin‘s (Psycho II) cross-country slasher is a fantastic entry for the genre despite being an atypical one. There’s a killer, and he’s slaughtering women, but those elements often feel like a subplot against what amounts to a fun road movie. That’s not a bad thing either as Keach has rarely been granted such a playful role. The thriller aspects may be less frequent, but they work every bit as well.

Curtis brings a healthy splash of sunshine to this already sun-drenched tale, and she keeps up with Keach whenever...

The striking cinematography isn’t enough of a red herring to distract audiences from a convoluted story.

From the opening sequence, it’s clear the best part of Vaughn Stein‘s Terminal is its star, Margot Robbie. We wait in anticipation to see her entirely as the camera cuts from her legs, eyes, and lips while she makes a deal with an unknown man. Every shot drenches her in color or darkness, whatever makes her look her best in a particular scene. Her character Annie is cool, calm, and gorgeous, everything we expect from a classic femme fatale, but her story shows she and the other characters have more in common with famous noir characters we’ve seen before than we’d like.

Any noir, or even neo-noir, would stay on its star or lead us to the detective that is trying to solve the case, but Terminal does neither. In fact, the case is pretty unclear throughout the entire movie. Instead, we jump from character to character without any clear knowledge of how they have anything to do with the opening deal. One moment we see Bill (Simon Pegg) waiting for a train in an abandoned terminal when he encounters a very odd janitor named Clinton (Mike Myers) and decides to go to the station diner, which is still open. Then we go to a pair of what we later find out are assassins, Alfred (Max Irons) and Vince (Dexter Flecher), as they are waiting in an apartment, for what we aren’t sure yet. Annie is officially...

We recommend what you need to watch after you see the R-rated superhero sequel.

Once again, the Merc with the Mouth is sending up superhero movies and referencing all kinds of pop culture, including classic cinema. A lot of the jokes will work best if you’ve seen the marks before you see Deadpool 2. The sequel certainly expect you to have seen all the entries in the X-Men franchise, particularly Logan, the ending of which it spoils in its first few minutes.

Other essential titles are less likely to have been seen by much of Deadpool‘s audience. I’ve compiled a list of some of these, most of them not directly alluded to by the movie or its title character, and recommend they be seen to better appreciate Deadpool 2 on your next viewing.

A Night at the Opera (1935)

Ryan Reynolds may want to be the Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton of raunchy superhero fare, and he’s definitely good at making Deadpool a great pantomime character a lot of the time, but I consider his performance to be broader in its humor, especially because of his vocal quips, and more akin to the Marx Brothers. Deadpool is Groucho, Harpo, and Chico all in one — maybe no Zeppo or Gummo, however.

For any Deadpool 2 fans who want an introduction to the Marx Brothers, my favorites stand as the looser, more anarchic vehicles such as Duck Soup and Animal Crackers....

Bigger and better… well, except for the nudity.

Sequels can be a tough game to get right, and that’s never more the case than when the first film is a surprise success. What worked naturally the first time around is at risk of feeling forced and overly thought-out in a follow-up as filmmakers hope to capture lightning in a bottle a second time. The sequel to 2016’s Deadpool deftly dubsteps that issue, though, by delivering another carefree, gleefully ridiculous, and comically violent romp through superhero comics and pop culture.

Deadpool aka Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has been living the life of an avenger — note the small ‘a’ — and taking down bad guys around the globe with his guns, katanas, and aggressive insults. He returns home for his anniversary with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and the shared decision to bring new life into the world, but their joy is cut short when a group of assassins comes calling. Distraught and devastated, Wade finds new purpose when he’s asked to help an angry young mutant named Russell (Julian Dennison). That effort, in turn, becomes protection duty when a soldier from the future named Cable (Josh Brolin) arrives looking to kill the teen.

Outgunned by both Cable and circumstance, Wade assembles a super-powered team of his own to take down this futuristic villain. Domino (Zazie Beetz), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgård), Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), and Peter (Rob Delaney) join Deadpool as the non-gender discriminatory X-Force. (Take that X-Men!)

Fans of the first film will...

If we could turn back time for a moment…

Deadpool loves to take shots at bad movies. And, well, the reviews for the first and second movies, not to mention the ridiculous box office numbers, have given it full license to say what it wants about anything that’s not up to its caliber of cinema. But a lot of the character’s shtick requires you to have seen the bad movies to be in on the joke. I wrote about this two years ago when Deadpool came out, and maybe you were inspired to finally see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern if you hadn’t before, and now you’re able to appreciate the jabs at those same movies found in Deadpool 2.

This time, the two bad Ryan Reynolds superhero movies that Ryan Reynolds and his Deadpool franchise love to mock are at the center of the obligatory mid-credits scene. Cable (Josh Brolin) somehow travels back in time and saves Deadpool from his self-sacrificing heroic death (are there two Cables when that happens? never mind, this isn’t a movie for deep time-travel discussion), then Deadpool gets the time-travel doohickey fixed and travels back to save Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and Peter (Rob Delaney) and then kill both his X-Men: Origins version of Deadpool and the actor Ryan Reynolds as he’s agreeing to be in Green Lantern.

It doesn’t make a lick of sense, the mark is overused by the character, and the...

We’re not ready to see what goes down when the adults aren’t around.

Grumpy adults love to pervert their childhood. The revelation that our onetime world of promise inevitably transforms into a disappointing dreck of reality never fails to elicit rage. Mom and Dad lied to us. We cannot grow up to be anything we want. Dreams of wealth resulting from the childhood fantasy of a rock ‘n’ roll fighter pilot astronaut deteriorate in your teen years, and then your idealistic pursuit of the great American novel stumbles into retail hell. Would you like fries with that? Did I just reveal too much about myself?

Watching children giggle at the absurd comic stylings of Daniel Tiger makes you want to rip that ‘toon limb from limb. Can you imagine what it’s like growing up the son of the man who sired The Muppets? For Brian Henson, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy put food on the table. He built his own career around these characters, picking up the baton, and directing his father’s creations in The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and episodes of the show Muppets Tonight.

After 35 years of entertaining children, it’s time for Brian Henson to let off some steam. The Happytime Murders is his therapeutic assault on the perpetual childhood he’s chained against. Are you ready for his psychological release? Click at your own risk.

Well, I’m light headed.

Detective Melissa McCarthy and puppet P.I. Bill Barretta navigate the seedy underbelly...

The legacy of a garment in a galaxy far, far away.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a movie full of capes. There are quips about capes, capes as plot devices, and even a scene that takes place in a closet full of capes.

Capes are the Skywalkers of garments: melodramatic, self-aggrandizing, and prone to causing complications, as Edna Mode of The Incredibles reminds us in her legendary “No Capes!” rant. As such, it is hardly surprising that capes—and their slightly less useless cousin, cloaks—are seemingly the Star Wars franchise’s favorite statement piece that isn’t a lightsaber.

Only certain types of people can rock a cape. It requires hefty doses of both confidence and attitude. Not enough confidence and you look like a kid wearing a blanket pretending to be Superman. Not enough attitude and the cape wears you. Regarding functionality, Edna Mode is correct in her assertion that capes are worse than useless. But, when applied correctly, it’s hard to argue that they don’t have a certain style.

So, in honor of Solo, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit 10 Star Wars scenes enriched by the presence of capes and cloaks.

1. Obi-Wan becomes one with the Force

The death of one of Star Wars’ most beloved and quotable mentors was a traumatic moment in many a childhood. Looking at it now as an adult, Obi-Wan’s last stand is...