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January 1, 2021

Joan Micklin Silver, Director of ‘Crossing Delancey’ and ‘Hester Street,’ Dies at 85

Joan Micklin Silver, the director of films like “Crossing Delancy,” “Hester Street,” and “Between the Lines” died on Thursday at the age of 85, The New York Times reports. Her daughter, Claudia Silver, told the paper that the cause of death was vascular dementia. In addition to Claudia, Silver’s survivors include two other daughters, Dina and Marisa Silver; a sister, Renee; and five grandchildren. Her long-time husband, Raphael D. Silver, died at age 83 in 2013 after a skiing accident in Park City, Utah.

An indie pioneer who first got her start writing a series of educational films for companies like Encyclopedia Britannica and the Learning Corporation of America in the 1970s, Silver was long aware of the barriers that would likely prevent her from entering into the male-dominated filmmaking milieu. (A telling interview quote that appears on her Wikipedia page: “I had absolutely no chance of getting work as a director”; the Times adds another heartbreaker from a 1979 AFI interview, with Silver noting, “I had such blatantly sexist things said to me by studio executives when I started,” adding that one high-powered man once told her that “feature films are very expensive to mount and distribute, and women directors are one more problem we don’t need.”)

And yet the Omaha native soon made her own opportunities, including writing and directing her first film, the low-budget drama 1975 “Hester Street.” The film, which starred a young Carol Kane and earned the actress an Oscar nomination, followed a young Jewish Russian immigrant couple making their way in 1890s America, a story reflective of the lives of her own parents, who both emigrated to the states as children.

Shot over 34 days, the final product was in black and white, and featured mostly Yiddish with English subtitles. It was not a slam-dunk effort, and the Times quotes Silver in a 2005 interview, bluntly reflecting that “nobody wanted to release it. The only offer was to release it on 16 [mm] to the synagogue market.”

Eventually, it was Silver’s husband that helped the film find a home. The Times notes that the “commercial real estate developer, stepped in to finance, produce and even distribute the film after selling it to some international markets while attending the Cannes Film Festival.” The film “opened at the Plaza Theater in Manhattan in October 1975, then in theaters nationwide, and soon earned $5 million (about $25 million today), almost 14 times its $370,000 budget. (Ms. Silver sometimes cited an even lower budget figure: $320,000.)”

Silver occasionally worked in the studio system, including being hired and fired by Paramount to adapt Lois Gould’s novel “Such Good Friends” (she was not the only writer the studio treated this way when it came to the project), and later seeing Universal Pictures by a screenplay she penned alongside her early creative partner Linda Gottlieb, only to rewrite it and give it to a director who did share the women’s vision. Still, her best successes were the ones she made for herself.

She followed “Hester Street” with a variety of indie features, including the newspaper dramedy “Between the Lines,” starring a young Jeff Goldblum, followed by the Ann Beattie adaptation first known as “Head Over Heels.” That particular project was also a source of pain, and United Artists tried to sell the John Heard- and Mary Beth Hurt-starring film as a zippy romp, only for it fail at the box office. As the Times notes, “After it bombed, the film’s young producers insisted on restoring the original title [‘Chilly Scenes of Winter’], giving it a new, less perky ending and having it re-released. This time it was received much more favorably.”

Her varied career also included off-Broadway work, a number of TV movies (her final three films were all made for the small screen), and a pair of light comedies in the form of the Patrick Dempsey-starring “Loverboy,” in which he plays a pizza-boy-turned-escort, and the coming-of-age comedy “Big Girls Don’t Cry…They Get Even.” In total, she directed seven feature films over a career that spanned four decades. To most audiences, however, she was best known for her 1988 romantic comedy “Crossing Delancey,” which combined her eye for comedy and her affection for the Jewish immigrant experience that she previously played for more dramatic effect in “Hester Street.” The film starred Amy Irving, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work.

Silver had not worked since 2003, when she directed “Hunger Point,” a TV movie following a family dealing with their daughter’s disordered eating. Her work has recently been the subject of renewed interest, however: a stage adaptation of “Hester Street” was announced in 2016, and “Between the Lines” recently received a fresh restoration. At this year’s virtual Cannes market, Cohen Media Group offered that film, along with a trio of other restorations (including “Hester Street”) to worldwide buyers.

Source: IndieWire film

December 27, 2020

‘Wonder Woman 3’ on the Way from Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot

Warner Bros. Pictures announced that it will fast-track development on the third installment of the “Wonder Woman.” franchise to be written by Patty Jenkins, who is attached to direct, and will reunited with star Gal Gadot. The news arrives following the Christmas Day release of “Wonder Woman 1984” in available theaters and streaming on HBO Max. Theatrically, the film exceeded box-office projections as the top post-pandemic domestic opening weekend for a feature this year, according to WB. “Wonder Woman 1984” took in an estimated $36.1 globally this weekend, notching the worldwide total to $85 million. It was released internationally on December 16.

“As fans around the world continue to embrace Diana Prince, driving the strong opening weekend performance of ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ we are excited to be able continue her story with our real life Wonder Women – Gal and Patty – who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in a statement shared with press. A Warner Bros. representative confirmed the news individually to IndieWire.

The sequel co-stars Chris Pine from the original “Wonder Woman” reboot of 2017, along with Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal in supporting villain roles. The movie has divided critics, but among audiences, the film was welcomed with an overall B+ CinemaScore.

According to WarnerMedia, nearly half of HBO Max’s retail subscribers viewed the film when it arrived on the platform Christmas Day, plus millions of wholesale subscribers who have access via a cable, wireless, or other partner service. HBO Max said total viewing hours on Friday tripled in comparison to a given day in a previous month.

The film adds to Patty Jenkins’ growing slate of directorial projects, including “Star Wars: Rogue Squadron,” announced by Disney earlier this month as one of many upcoming “Star Wars” projects, and “Cleopatra,” with Gal Gadot playing the iconic Egyptian queen.

From IndieWire’s review of “Wonder Woman 1984”: “Leave it to Jenkins to find a suitable and satisfying workaround in the form of ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ the rare superhero sequel that, for better (and sometimes, but rarely) worse, carves its own path and finds something joyous, wacky, and deeply enjoyable as a result. All that neon and all those parachute pants? Just a bonus, as Jenkins and Gadot take their heartfelt heroine back to 1984, finding bombastic new territory for Diana Prince to explore, blessedly outside the confines of her contemporary compatriots.”

Source: IndieWire film

December 27, 2020

The Best Queer Films of 2020

Being a year where everyone was trapped indoors glued to their screens meant, for moviegoers, that smaller films were able to sneak onto the radar, and that especially extended to queer storytelling in 2020.

From unlikely romances like Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire” to genre-pushing nonfiction portraits like David France’s “Welcome to Chechnya” and Rachel Mason’s “Circus of Books,” there were plenty of enjoyable and inspiring LGBTQ movies to engage with in an otherwise dour and painful year.

In “Monsoon,” Henry Golding burst out of the matinee idol image he established in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Mort Crowley’s scandalous 1960s play “The Boys in the Band” lived again on Netflix. In “Lingua Franca,” Isabel Sandoval wrote, directed, and starred in a breakout indie about an undocumented trans Filipina worker. In “Shirley,” Elisabeth Moss once again burned down the screen in her sly and kinky turn as gothic writer Shirley Jackson.

Yet there were also movies as queer in their expression as in their content, like the body-swapping, gender-bending horrors of Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor,” or the cross-dressing marauders of the outback in “True History of the Kelly Gang.”

Here are the 12 best queer films of 2020.

“Alice Junior”

Netflix

“Alice Junior”

Exuding charm, infectious energy, and unshakeable confidence, Alice is the teenage trans girl protagonist of your movie dreams. She’s a runner-up in a reality competition show for young models, which she never lets her adoring public forget via her bubbly YouTube updates. She’s living her best life in a chic Brazilian city when her father unexpectedly moves her to the more conservative countryside. As Alice contends with boys’ school uniforms and ignorant bullying, she also opens herself up to new forms of friendship. First-time feature director Gil Baroni makes a grand entrance with this flirty, heartfelt, and celebratory trans comedy. More trans films like this one, please. —JD

"The Boys in the Band"

“The Boys in the Band”

Netflix

“The Boys in the Band”

Director Joe Mantello, who first revamped the play on Broadway three years ago with an all-star cast of out-gay male actors, brings that exact same troupe and sensibility to his new film adaptation. Produced by Ryan Murphy for Netflix, the result is a sophisticated, at times sexy, and always tart-tongued revival. The gayed-up “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” surmounts the challenges typically faced by stage-to-screen adaptations, specifically the utter confinement to a single space. It also features an unexpectedly fierce Jim Parsons in his best performance ever. —RL

“Circus of Books”

Tribeca

“Circus of Books”

It’s hard to think of a better premise for a documentary than a gay porn shop run by a straight Jewish couple, but throw into the mix that their daughter is the filmmaker and you have one of the most surprising films of the year. Filmmaker Rachel Mason follows in the footsteps of hybrid documentarian Kirsten Johnson, but throws in a heaping dose of Borscht belt humor, Jewish tradition, and gay history. Her loving account of her parents Barry and Karen Mason, and how they came to run one of LA’s most popular gay cruising spots, is the perfect blend of personal excavation and engaging storytelling. Karen emerges as the film’s comic lead and quintessential Jewish mother, haggling at the sex expo and questioning her daughter’s artistic choices in the same breath. It’s the unexpected confluence of these eclectic elements that make it such a singularly delightful film. —JD

"Funny Boy"

“Funny Boy”

ARRAY Releasing

“Funny Boy”

The latest from “Fire” filmmaker Deepa Mehta, “Funny Boy” is a luminous coming-of-age tale seen through the eyes of a relatable yet entirely unique experience. Based on a beloved novel by Shyam Selvadurai, the film follows a queer Tamil boy coming of age amid rising ethnic tensions in 1970s Sri Lanka. As if with the breezy wave of a hand, Mehta has woven these intricacies with a painterly touch, stacking the opposing forces of sexual and cultural identity into a whirl of color and emotion and memory. “Funny Boy” is heavy but never burdensome, lighthearted but never lightweight. In sweet protagonist Arjie, we find a joyous portrait of awakening, reckoning, and holding onto oneself. —JD

“Kajillionaire”

Focus Features

“Kajillionaire”

Miranda July’s dry, mannered sensibility is on full display in this story about a family of con artists, played by Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, and Richard Jenkins, whose lives are upended by the arrival of a charming stranger, played by Gina Rodriguez. What soon emerges is a fizzy romance between Wood and Rodriguez, which outshines the more twee aspects of July’s approach. Their love ultimately becomes an act of rebellion against a couple of terrible parents. —RL

Filmmaker Isabel Sandoval in “Lingua Franca”

ARRAY

“Lingua Franca”

Isabel Sandoval’s masterful portrait of a trans Filipina immigrant is so intimately rendered it almost feels too close at times. Premiering at Venice Days, the film was entirely directed, written, produced, and edited by Sandoval, who also plays the film’s lead. Sandoval is the closest thing queer cinema has to a trans auteur working on such a level. The film follows an undocumented trans woman as she saves up for a green card marriage, which becomes complicated by newfound romance. Sharply edited and shot with an austere beauty, “Lingua Franca” is a profound example of what happens when marginalized voices are given full creative control. —JD

Monsoon

“Monsoon”

Strand Releasing

“Monsoon”

In Hong Khaou’s lovely and hushed “Monsoon,” the debonair Henry Golding emerges from upstart Hollywood stardom as a calm, but still cool and compelling dramatic lead. It’s hard to take your eyes off of him, and that’s not just because he’s in nearly every shot. He carries his gay soul searching well, playing an expat returning to his roots in Vietnam. Meanwhile, a romance blooms with a man played by Parker Sawyers, which is bolstered by an obviously steamy chemistry between the two leads. Some viewers may groan that the straight Golding is playing a gay character, but what’s most quietly revolutionary about “Monsoon” is that it makes no show out of gayness at all. —RL

Walter Mercado and Lin Manuel Miranda in "Mucho Mucho Amor"

Walter Mercado and Lin Manuel Miranda in “Mucho Mucho Amor”

Courtesy of Netflix

“Mucho Mucho Amor”

The English-speaking world had Miss Cleo, and the Spanish-speaking world had Walter Mercado. While one turned out to be a con artist, the other disappeared from public eye without so much as a characteristically dramatic flourish. The legendary Puerto Rican psychic and astrologer captivated the Latin world with his glamorous style, gender-nonconforming persona, and warmhearted cosmic readings. With this lovingly crafted documentary about his life and career, directed by Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch, he reached a well-warranted new level of fandom. We should be thanking the filmmakers for spreading the joy of Walter Mercado far and wide. —JD

"Possessor"

“Possessor”

Neon

“Possessor”

In Brandon Cronenberg’s gory, slick techno-thriller, Andrea Riseborough’s screen time is limited as Tasya Vos, as she spends most of the movie hijacking Christopher Abbott’s character. But her specter hovers over the entire movie as the puppeteer of madness, hired by a shadowy operation to take over Abbott’s body, and kill his future father-in-law, the head of a major data-mining company. If the body-hijacking element isn’t inherently queer enough, there’s an absolutely outrageous sex scene midway through the film where Riseborough emerges with a fully erect penis meant to be Abbott’s (or is it?) as her mind and his body struggle to wrest control. —RL

Elisabeth Moss and Odessa Young appear in Shirley by Josephine Decker, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Thatcher Keats.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Shirley”

Neon

“Shirley”

Josephine Decker’s eerily unhinged dark comedy lets Elisabeth Moss do what she does best: Gradually and maniacally losing her mind and taking everyone else down with her. Her portrayal of horror novelist Shirley Jackson is as narcissistic as her Becky Something of “Her Smell,” and as delusional (or not?) as her “Invisible Man” character. Her obsession with young and impressionable Rose (Odessa Young) borders on Sapphic, though she never allows herself to indulge in anything too pleasurable other than drink. There’s a touch of Joan Crawford in the acerbic jabs she levels at her husband Stanley, played by “Call Me by Your Name” favorite Michael Stuhlbarg, one of the only actors who could go head to head with Moss. Watching the sparks fly is as satisfying as anything in “Mommie Dearest.” —JD

True History of the Kelly Gang

“True History of the Kelly Gang”

IFC Films

“True History of the Kelly Gang”

The Ned Kelly you see in director Justin Kurzel’s “True History of the Kelly Gang” is not the one you know. Instead, he’s a punk-rock poet with an Oedipal complex, a fumbling romantic, even a sensitive soul, and, finally, a revenge-thirsty murderer. The film presents an unapologetically queer reading of Ned Kelly’s identity, which is something Kurzel said wasn’t intentional. The Kelly gang don women’s dresses to terrorize British colonists, and the film otherwise has an insistent sensuality that’s blatantly homoerotic. All three of the main male cast members — George MacKay as Ned Kelly, Nicholas Hoult as Constable Fitzpatrick, and Charlie Hunnam as Sergeant O’Neill — deliver everything-but-full-frontal nude scenes that highlight every chisel of their muscly bodies, and crank up the sexual tension in any room. —RL

"Welcome to Chechnya"

“Welcome to Chechnya”

HBO

“Welcome to Chechnya”

David France’s courageous and gutting documentary portrait of the Russian government’s institutional homophobia and enabling of hate crimes in its territories ignites a necessary look into the global war on gays. Using artificial intelligence, hidden cameras, and facial replacement technology, France managed to film actual LGBT Chechen refugees as they tunnel their way out of the Russian Republic, and out of danger. This is a vital story in terms of its global impact, but also a formally daring feat that stands on its own terms as a piece of cinema. —RL

Source: IndieWire film

December 26, 2020

The 10 Best Movie and TV Trailers of 2020

What makes a great movie or television series trailer? It’s less about conveying the plot and more about selling the overall atmosphere of what it will feel like to watch the entire project. The best trailers bottle up the energy of an entire show or feature-length movie and unleash that same energy in under three minutes without losing any edge. These 10 trailers below did that the best in 2020.

“Killing Eve” Season 3 Official Trailer

A perfect example of a trailer that is more tantalizing than the resulting show, the sneak peek at “Killing Eve’s” third season even cleverly obscures the fact that one of the heavily featured characters (spoiler!) dies in the first episode. Get excited by Villanelle’s fashion choices and deeply weirded out by her homicidal clown, because it’s pretty much all diminishing returns from there.

“Perry Mason” Official Trailer

Wait, wait, wait, Matthew Rhys scruffily fedora-ing around a noirish Depression-era Los Angeles AND a charismatic evangelist played by Tatiana Maslany? Sign us up. The trailer for HBO’s prequel reinvention of the classic TV series won us over with its atmospherics and shadow-lit grit, teasing the story of how Perry Mason became, well, Perry Mason.

The Crown” Season 4 Official Trailer

God save the Queen — and the Netflix accounting department — because the pomp and circumstance of this trailer seemingly has a budget equivalent to most mid-tier movies. Flyovers! Fireworks! Everyone being posh in expensive clothes and awful to each other in expensive accents! Season 4 of the “The Crown” has to marry a Margaret Thatcher plotline with a Charles and Di plotline — and this trailer was the first indication of how deft the show would be this year.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 4 Teaser

What does it say about 2020 that the trailer for Hulu’s relentlessly dystopian show — which was released over the summer to tease a pushed-to-2021 release — gave us something to look forward to in the middle of a pandemic? Filled with the striking visuals the show is known for, it also gives us a sneak peek at June’s (Elisabeth Moss) apparent path towards vengeance. Is there light at the end of the bleak tunnel? Maybe? Hopefully?

Westworld: When Caleb Meets Dolores” Teaser

I mean, “Westworld” is basically incomprehensible at this point, so why not make a romantic comedy out of it? The “Westworld: When Caleb Meets Dolores” trailer was an easter egg for fans navigating through HBO’s interactive online show elements…and…it’s good? It makes perfect sense? It’s a lot less convoluted than the show? It’s the perfect example of guerrilla marketing gone wrong when you’d rather watch the spoof than the real thing.

The Batman” DC FanDome Teaser Trailer

Hollywood’s predictable trend of marketing tentpoles with moody song covers continued this year (see Hans Zimmer’s Pink Floyd cover in the first “Dune” trailer), which part of the reason “The Batman” teaser’s straightforward use of Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” felt so refreshing. The original version of the song also fits Matt Reeves’ vision for the Caped Crusader long a glove: slow-building tension and brooding rage. The first “Batman” trailer sticks the Dark Knight in the middle of a David Fincher serial killer thriller, and it works like gangbusters. The teaser is so good it made Warner Bros. delaying the film to March 2022 all the more painful.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” Official Trailer

A lot of people had no idea Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah” was on the docket for this awards season. That blindspot changed in August when Warner Bros. dropped this blood-boiling powder keg of an official trailer in August. Framed around an impassioned speech by Fred Hampton (played here with big screen dominance by Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya), this trailer for “Judas and the Black Messiah” hits with brute force and left the biggest impression of 2020.

“Nomadland” Official Trailer

Searchlight Pictures’ official trailer for “Nomadland” debuted earlier this month, well after the Chloé Zhao-directed drama won the Venice Film Festival, garnered universal critical acclaim, and became a leading frontrunner in various top Oscar categories. What’s so impactful about the “Nomadland” trailer then is how it refuses to go the austere route and paint itself as some huge glorious Oscar contender. The trailer sticks to what works so impactful about the film: Zhao’s lyrical direction, Frances McDordmand’s emotional canvas of a face, and Ludovico Einaudi’s resonant piano soundtrack. No wonder the trailer alone elicits tears.

“Possessor” Red Band Teaser Trailer

Neon’s teaser trailer for Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor” is no small feat. It manages to bottle up the sickening body horror, slick body-swapping storyline, and pulsating pace of the uncut feature film and package it into an unrelenting one minute and 17 seconds of footage. For this reason, it’s the definition of a perfect teaser trailer.

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” Official Trailer

Netflix had a great year in movie trailers (from the old Hollywood rush of the “Mank” teaser trailer to the rock n’ roll thrills of the “Da 5 Bloods” official trailer), but no Netflix trailer was as jaw-dropping or perfect as the official clip for Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” Much like the film itself, the trailer is a brain-melting bait and switch as it sets up a “meet the parents” narrative only to pull the rug out without warning and descend into a surreal fantasy. A Charlie Kaufman trailer with nearly 3.5 million views is a bright spot in 2020.

Source: IndieWire film

December 25, 2020

Viggo Mortensen Picks the Tolkien Character He Wishes Peter Jackson Used in ‘Lord of the Rings’

It was 19 years ago when Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy kicked off with “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The franchise would become the highest grossing film trilogy in box office history, with each outing out-grossing the previous one at the worldwide box office. Jackson celebrated the anniversary in a big way this month with the release of a 4K remastering of the trilogy on home video, and fans have turned to HBO Max to stream all three films through the holidays. As GQ Magazine and TIME both declared this month, “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are essential Christmas movies.

With so much newfound holiday attention on “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Empire Magazine re-shared its 15th anniversary oral history with the nine-actor ensemble of “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The lengthy interview includes memorable tidbits about the making of Jackson’s epic fantasy franchise, most notably Viggo Mortesen’s reveal of the one J.R.R. Tolkien character he wishes Peter Jackson included in his three-film adaptation.

“I’d like to have seen what Peter Jackson would have done with the character Ghân-buri-Ghân, the chief of the Drúedain, wild men of the Drúadan Forest,” Mortesen said. “Seeing him lead King Théoden and his army of Rohirrim through the forest to join the fight to save Minas Tirith would have been thrilling. Towards the end of Tolkien’s ‘The Return Of The King,’ the Forest of Drúadan is given by newly-crowned Aragorn to Ghân and his people for their exclusive use, leaving it to them to decide that from then on if anyone else is to be allowed to enter it.”

Mortensen continued, “I suppose all of that extra material would have given the already thematically complex and quite lengthy movie far too long a running time and an overwhelming amount of information for viewers to easily assimilate. Die-hard Tolkien aficionados, however, might have enjoyed the character, as he is a one-of-a-kind noble descendant of prehistoric humans.”

Considering “The Return of the King” runs nearly four hours long, there was no time for Jackson to include Ghân-buri-Ghân or the Drúadan Forest without bloating the trilogy-ending installment. All three “Lord of the Rings” films ran at least three hours long, and still Peter Jackson found himself cutting things out of the theatrical releases. Mortensen revealed earlier this year that an emotional flashback between Aragorn and Arwen (Liv Tyler) got cut and happened to be one of his favorite scenes shot during the production.

“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is now streaming on HBO Max.

Source: IndieWire film

December 25, 2020

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Post-Credits Scene, Explained: What It Means for the DCEU

[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Wonder Woman 1984.”]

During this summer’s inaugural DC FanDome event, the “Wonder Woman 1984” panel hosted a number of usual suspects, including director Patty Jenkins and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Kristen Wiig, and Pedro Pascal, along with a pretty notable super-fan: original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, whose presence was greeted by giddy admiration by Jenkins and her cadre of stars. So, is it really so shocking that Carter, who has both carried the Wonder Woman torch and so happily stumped for its latest on-screen incarnation has now popped up in Jenkins’ first sequel?

Well, maybe it’s a little bit of a shock. After all, Jenkins didn’t include one in her first “Wonder Woman” feature, a major break from not just the rest of the DC Extended Universe, but also the entire current crop of superhero-centric features, which all seem to feature multiple mid- and post-credits scene rife with important information and winking in-jokes for its audience.

In 2017, when Jenkins eschewed the now-expected post-credits scene, she told HelloGiggles that she was “personally not a huge fan of them.” The filmmaker added, “The end of a film is the exclamation mark I have worked hard for, and I don’t want to cut to a commercial for a next film there. But, I would have been open to it if it flowed. In this case, it just didn’t feel right. This is a standalone film. It’s not a chapter in something else ‘next’ and I thought jumping to some momentous flash in the future would be jarring to the mood I’d worked so hard to get to.”

In the case of “Wonder Woman 1984,” it clearly did feel right, serving as more of an exclamation mark (or perhaps a winky-face emoji?) rather than a pure “commercial” for the next outing (though, that could certainly be the case…).

In Jenkins’ latest film, Gadot’s Diana Prince eventually dons a sparkling golden suit of armor to fend off her newest enemies in the film’s final big battle — a suit she’s already explained to her resurrected paramour Steve Trevor (Pine) as belonging to another incredible Amazon warrior, Asteria. In Diana’s world, Asteria was the bravest of the Amazons, and when the warriors were forced into a battle with mankind, it was Asteria who stayed behind in her wondrous be-winged suit to hold them off while her sistren fled to the island of Themyscira. She has never been forgotten, however, and every year, the Amazons hold their annual games in her honor.

“Wonder Woman 1984”

Warner Bros. / screencap

Asteria — and her suit (check it out above) — were left behind with mankind, and Diana spent years searching for both (eventually finding the suit, with no trace of Asteria to be found). Perhaps, however, she’s been there all along. In a throwback to the film’s second opening sequence, which saw Diana saving everyday people from somewhat wacky (if still dangerous) mishaps, the mid-credits scene finds a mysterious (and clearly, quite talented) woman saving some everyday citizens from a falling pole in the middle of a crowded street fair. But while we’ve seen Diana do this before, this time around, it’s another Amazon behind the help: Asteria, as played by Carter.

After Carter-as-Asteria saves the innocent, silly humans from said pole, the beloved actress then turns to the camera, and confirms she’s Asteria and “she’s been doing this for a long time.” Cue literal wink. It’s a cute moment, and one that might also signal more Asteria (and more Carter!) to come in what seems like the inevitable third “Wonder Woman” film. Is the world ready for two Wonder Women? Hell yes, now more than ever.

“Wonder Woman 1984” is currently in select theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

Source: IndieWire film

December 23, 2020

Give to StoryCorps today to help continue to create space for each of us to listen to and honor each other.

Your support makes our work as facilitators, oral historians, and archivists possible. Make a gift to StoryCorps today so we can ensure that no story goes untold.
Source: SNPR Story Corps

December 22, 2020

I have the coolest job. Your support makes it possible.

I joined StoryCorps in May of this year as the site manager for our Mobile Tour, StoryCorps’ converted mobile recording studio that visits cities across the country each year. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mobile Tour hasn’t been hosting in-person recordings — but that  hasn’t stopped us from giving people an opportunity to share their stories.

Our team, which typically welcomes StoryCorps participants into our Mobile Booth, has shifted to a virtual recording format so we can honor appointments that have been made — and so we can continue to reach out into communities to invite people to share their stories. We partner with local radio stations, local cultural institutions, and service organizations to welcome community members to participate in a StoryCorps conversation. Thousands of those interviews, which my team facilitates, are then preserved in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. 

I love our team, and I have one of the coolest roles as someone who facilitates interviews twice a week. It’s a privilege and an honor to hold space for listening. I’ve learned that people just want to be heard. In the Mobile — and virtual — Booth, people find a safe space to open up, to tell a story that matters, and to be remembered.

StoryCorps allows people to experience compassionate listening. When you donate to StoryCorps, you help seek, cultivate, and foster stories from diverse populations across America — stories we’re all lucky to hear.

Our stories make up our history. Help us continue to create a place for history to be heard. Please support StoryCorps today.

With gratitude,

Eunice Cho
StoryCorps Mobile Tour Site Manager

Source: SNPR Story Corps

December 22, 2020

An oral history emergency?

If you could press a button and listen to your grandmother when she was ten years old, would you press that button? Every time I’ve posed that question, the response is a unanimous yes. 

When we collect our stories, we realize how vital they are — especially now when so many are feeling isolated or unheard. 

I’m the regional manager for StoryCorps Atlanta, one of the StoryCorps locations across the country where people go to record, preserve, and share their life stories. My job is to make sure the booth stays open to people who want to participate in sharing their stories, that the equipment is running well, and that it’s being used as much as possible.

I also do a lot of outreach. A number of people come to StoryCorps on their own, but many others come to us because we invite them through outreach to local, community-based organizations and cultural institutions. This is how we’re able to record the previously untold stories in our collection that make the biggest impact — such as stories of undocumented immigrants, homeless communities, and frontline workers fighting public health emergencies.

America is made of many different stories and experiences. Everyone has a story to tell, and a need to be heard. And having access to our stories  — yours, mine, people we don’t know — gives us a chance to understand who we are and to listen to each other more fully. When you support StoryCorps today, you give us the power to ask people to share their stories.

Whatever you can give — $5, $10, $25 — makes this possible. Please, donate today.

Thank you,

Daniel Horowitz Garcia
StoryCorps Regional Manager

Source: SNPR Story Corps

December 22, 2020

Happy Holidays from SXSW – Conference Programming, Merch & More

Before we dip into the egg nog and let visions of sugar plums dance in our heads for the holidays (and by sugar plums, we mean BBQ tacos), take a stroll through the latest programming announcement and register to join the world’s brightest creatives during SXSW Online 2021, a digital experience from March 16-20.

Deep in the heart of SXSW, there is a lot to discover from the world’s of tech, film, music, and beyond with programming spanning across our 2021 themes. Explore our first programming announcement of the season including Featured Speakers like three-Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn; award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo; New York Times bestselling author Michael Lewis; DEVO cofounder Mark Mothersbaugh; cannabis regulator Cat Packer; world-class tennis champion Maria Sharapova; Emmy-nominated host and writer Baratunde Thurston; Director of Jet Propulsion Lab at NASA Dr. Michael Watkins; quantitative futurist Amy Webb; Reddit’s COO Jen Wong; chef Andrew Zimmern; and more.

So after we sing a few bubbly bars of Auld Lang Syne (bonus points to anyone who actually knows all the words) – the New Year kicks off with more SXSW Online event updates! Stay tuned for big announcements coming this January including Conference Keynotes and Featured Speakers, Film Festival screenings, Music Festival showcases, and more.

In the meantime, browse the initial Conference lineup as well as our Holiday Playlist, SXSW Merch, and registration info below.

Holidays Jams

Cozy up by the fire and turn your holiday spirit up to 11 with the SXSW Holiday Playlist featuring songs by SXSW Music Festival Showcasing Artist alumni including Bleached, Phoebe Bridgers, José Feliciano, Molly Burch, Black Pumas, and more.

Listen Up

SX Swag

Speaking of cozy – browse the newest additions to the SXSW Merch store from Aviator Nation sweatsuit sets to retro-inspired tees. Plus, official SXSW and SXSW EDU hats, accessories, posters, mugs, and even dog leashes (pets need SX swag, too!). It’s a great way to knock out your holiday gifts or up your own remote work wardrobe. Preview some new collections and limited edition items at merch.sxsw.com.

Find Your SX Lewk

See You Next Year

Holiday gift? New Year’s resolution? Register today to take advantage of the unique opportunities the SXSW Online event has to offer, including Conference sessions, Music Festival showcases, Film Festival screenings, world-class networking, and the unexpected discoveries that are always a part of SXSW, all in a digital setting.

Groups of 10 or more can save big with Group Registration rates. Currently enrolled students may also apply to purchase a SXSW Online Pass at a special discounted rate.

The entire SXSW fam wishes you a safe, relaxing, cookie-filled, happy holiday season. We’ll see you back in 2021 with more exciting programming announcements!

Register Now

To stay in the SX know, sign up for SXSW Event Updates and follow us in all the usual social spots for daily updates – Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for the latest SX coverage.

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Source: SxSW Film