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October 11, 2020

Gal Gadot, ‘Wonder Woman’ Director Patty Jenkins to Re-Team for Paramount’s ‘Cleopatra’

The epic story of the Egyptian Queen of the Nile is returning to screens once again. Deadline has reported that “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot will reunite for “Cleopatra” at Paramount Pictures, who reportedly closed the deal on the film over the weekend. The period biographical drama will be scripted by Laeta Kalogridis, the writer behind Oliver Stone’s swords-and-sandals epic “Alexander” and Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island,” and the creator and executive producer behind Netflix’s recently canceled science-fiction series “Altered Carbon.”

This new version of “Cleopatra,” the latest female-driven epic from dream team Gadot and Jenkins after Warner Bros.’ smash hit “Wonder Woman” and the upcoming “Wonder Woman 1984,” will be produced by Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven, Jenkins, Gadot, and her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures partner Jaron Varsano. Kalogridis will also serve as the executive producer. According to Deadline, Gadot recently took part in a series of Zoom pitches along with Jenkins and the producers to lay out the story beats based on Kalogridis’ research.

According to Deadline, there is an “accelerated timetable,” with Kalogridis beginning writing immediately on the big-budget Paramount epic. A “Cleopatra” revamp has been in the works for years, including from Sony Pictures with Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin based on Stacy Schiff’s biography, with Angelina Jolie once attached. Potential directors have included James Cameron, Denis Villeneuve, and David Fincher.

Enthusiasm for the project is in spite of the fact that Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s lavish 1963 version starring Elizabeth Taylor as the Queen of the Nile and Richard Burton as Mark Anthony nearly tanked 20th Century Fox at the time due to its bloated budget, production foibles, and disappointing box office returns. The movie won four out of its nine Academy Awards nominations, but quickly became a cautionary tale for big studio projects.

Meanwhile, still to come is “Wonder Woman 1984” from Jenkins and Gadot. The sequel has been shuffled four times on the release calendar by Warner Bros. due to the pandemic, but the movie is now expected to open as a Christmas Day release on December 25, 2020. It was originally set to open June 5, then August 14, then October 2.

IndieWire has reached out to Paramount Pictures for comment.

Source: IndieWire film

October 11, 2020

‘French Exit’ Review: Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges Outshine a Sleepy Transatlantic Satire

Frances Price has a problem. It’s not that she doesn’t have any friends, or that she’s wasted most of the 12 years since she’s been widowed, or that her adult son Malcolm is as much of a dilettante at 20-something as she is at 65 — all of those things are true, but they don’t seem to bother her very much (besides, Frances’ late and loaded husband appears to have reincarnated as a black cat she calls Small Frank). No, Frances’ problem is that an infamous socialite like her can’t afford to be poor. “My plan was to die before the money ran out,” she announces at the top of a low-key farce about her final adventure, “but I kept and keep on not dying, and here I am.”

Death is always just a few dollars away in the wry and beguiling “French Exit,” a musty tragedy of manners that director Azazel Jacobs and his longtime friend/sometime collaborator Patrick DeWitt have adapted from the latter’s novel of the same name. For Frances — who a serrated Michelle Pfeiffer plays like an intoxicating cross between Selina Kyle and Luann de Lesseps — the dwindling stacks of cash in her bedroom closet are the last grains of sand in an hourglass turned upside down more than a decade ago, when Big Frank died and she pulled Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) out of boarding school because she needed someone new to love her. Imminently penniless, Frances decides that she and her doting son and the family cat who may or may not house the spirit of her long-deceased husband will make a break for it: They’ll convert the money they have left to euros, sail on a tacky cruise ship across the Atlantic, and hole up in a borrowed Paris apartment until spent dry.

So begins a sleepy, gray Sunday afternoon of a movie that feels like a hyper-literate Aki Kaurismäki comedy one minute, and the silliest thing that Whit Stillman never made the next. Its best stretches invariably split the difference, such as the cold-as-dry-ice bit where Frances and Malcolm discover that cruise ship morgues are a lot busier than you’d imagine. The rest of it is watched with a blank stare. The unfussy approach that Jacobs honed with the likes of “Terri” and “The Lovers” is a peculiar fit for this material: On the one hand, Jacobs’ refusal to heighten the film to meet its characters at their level tends to suffocate the well-postured screwball energy percolating just below the surface, and keeps “French Exit” from becoming a more animated farce. On the other, it creates a world almost as blithely indifferent to Frances and Malcolm as they are to it in return.

These people are out of step with reality, but just by a toe-length or two, and if this eccentric family portrait often seems poised to stiffen into a less symmetrical relative of “The Royal Tenenbaums,” even the more explicitly surreal moments in its second half keep one foot on the ground at all times. The result is an anodyne if increasingly tender little film that would have been lost in its own lineage if not for the strength of its cast.

For a movie about someone trying to make their escape (from New York, from themselves, from this mortal coil), “French Exit” is never in a hurry to get anywhere, but Pfeiffer’s lush and crumbling turn always gives it a sense of direction. Her Frances is like an old bird of paradise who’s spent its entire life in a mahogany cage, and suddenly has to migrate halfway across the world to die in style. She’s an endangered species of Manhattan socialite — one trapped inside an echo chamber that’s small enough to feel like a coffin — and even the untrained eye could identify her kind from a mile away as she swanned up Central Park West.

Frances has never aspired to be anything more than a cliché (“people tell it, not so many live it” she boastfully coos), and there’s a poignant comic perfection to the way that Pfeiffer always listens for how Frances sounds to herself. She laces every line with the nausea of hearing your own voice come through on the other end of an important phone call, and the woozy film around her feels like it has some kind of middle ear problem as a result. “My life has fallen completely to pieces and I’m upset about it,” she declares at one point like an actor who accidentally says the stage direction out loud.

Malcolm is the only person who doesn’t bat an eye at his mom, and Hedges’ subdued but strikingly thoughtful performance is anchored in a place of almost complete acceptance; “French Exit” is always at least a little intriguing when he and Pfeiffer are onscreen together. There may be private moments where Malcolm has his doubts — it’s always weird to find your mom sharpening her steak knives in the middle of the night! — made more touching when the pair become a united front in public. One especially off-kilter scene finds Frances encountering a homeless man in the park one night (she has a curious thing for homeless people, it turns out), and the way that Malcolm stands behind her in a stoic pose of absolute support is such a pure display of a son’s love for his mother that it almost borders on the perverse.

“French Exit” powers its way across the ocean on the friction it creates between the enviable nature of their “I want what they have” relationship, and the nagging sense that Frances needs to let Malcolm out of her shadow. The kid doesn’t even bat an eye when his mom tells him he needs to ditch his new fiancé in Manhattan (Imogen Poots winches the movie together as the jilted Susan, displaying that same gift for straight-faced satire that once saved Peter Bogdanovich’s “She’s Funny that Way” from itself).

Once Frances and Malcolm arrive in Paris, they acquire an eclectic menagerie of new friends as they back into a fable-like story about the pricelessness of the company we keep. Danielle Macdonald has some droll fun as a blunt and horny cruise ship psychic who refuses to sugarcoat the truth of her readings. Valerie Mahaffey is spectacular and hilarious (in Jacobs’ light chuckle of a comic register) as a lonely widow who keeps a dildo in her freezer and is committed to making the best of things no matter what. Meanwhile, the great Isaac de Bankolé is a reliably warm presence that helps unmoor this movie from the real world in a final act that approaches the “love is all you need” ethos of something like “Paddington 2” (a vibe that only grows stronger when Small Frank starts talking in Tracy Letts’ voice during a handful of séances). DeWitt’s insistence that money does more to keep people apart than bring them together is soft enough to fringe the movie like silky window dressing, but the last stretch of “French Exit” still resolves into a rather unambiguous fantasy about the kinds of families people might be able to make for themselves if the world revolved around a different kind of currency.

That reading might seem like more of a reach in the movie than it does in the book (despite DeWitt writing both), but Jacobs doesn’t give us much else to hold on to. For all of its touching moments — and a series of closing grace notes that shimmer with a mystical flair missing from the rest of the film — this gossamer-thin adaptation is hampered by the same ambivalence that’s haunted Frances for so long. We come to like these people, but we’re not quite invited to join them. It’s never been nicer to watch a movie about people making the best of things, but “French Exit” is too aloof to meaningfully engage with how these characters better themselves on their way out the door.

Grade: B-

“French Exit” premiered at the 2020 New York Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics will release it in theaters on February 12, 2021.

Source: IndieWire film

October 8, 2020

What Is Call To Adventure?

Source: Visual Storytelling

October 8, 2020

Stories for Disability Awareness Month

Disability Awareness Month gives us the opportunity to lift up the voices of those living with disabilities and share their many unique lived experiences. In recognition of this month, we dedicate our newest collection to the stories of these individuals, and their loved ones who offer their support and admiration.

Share your story. StoryCorps Connect makes it possible to interview a loved one remotely and then upload it to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress. Learn more at StoryCorpsConnect.org.

Leading the Way

John Washington was born blind and developed a severe loss of hearing over time. In a conversation with his daughter, John shares the pride he took in raising his children.
Read the full transcript here.

story


“If you had walked away and left me there, nobody would have looked askance.”

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We Have One Heart

Yomi Wrong expresses her admiration and thanks her mom, Sarah Churchill, for never giving up on her.
Recorded in partnership with the Disability Visibility Project.
Read the full transcript here.

story


"Here comes this guy into my office. Drop dead gorgeous."

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Everything We Did, We Did Together

Meaghan Starkloff Breitenstein sits down with her daughter, Colleen Kelly Starkloff, to remember her husband Max, who was left quadriplegic following a fatal car accident in his twenties.
Recorded in partnership with the Disability Visibility Project.
Read the full transcript here.

Bonnie and Myra Brown

In an interview with her daughter, Bonnie Brown shares the hopes and fears she experienced as a single mom with an intellectual disability.
Read the full transcript here.

Q & A

Sarah Littman talks with her son Joshua about everything from her experience raising a child with Asperger syndrome, to what life would be like without animals.
Read the full transcript here.

story


“We looked like a very scary situation coming in there. And we turned into a party people wanted to join.”

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A Visit to the ER Takes an Unexpected Turn

When Ellen Hughes entered the emergency room with her son Walker, she recognized that she was in what looked like a scary situation. But thanks to Public Safety Sergeant Keith Miller, their group became a party people wanted to join.
Read the full transcript here.

story


"I don’t know what I’d do without you. Because I cannot stand being alone."

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Brothers Living with Autism on Navigating Through Work and Life

Being born only a year apart meant that brothers Russell and Remmick could lean on each other while they navigated the working world as adults with autism.
Read the full transcript here.

Want even more stories? Sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

Source: SNPR Story Corps

October 4, 2020

With ‘Hocus Pocus’ Right Behind ‘Tenet,’ It’s Another Weird Box-Office Weekend

As Regal Theaters in the U.S. and U.K. parent Cineworld weigh closing their cinemas, this weekend’s box office offered little encouragement as this weekend’s top 10 came to about $8.2 million, and could be $10 million-$11 million for all films. That’s down from $9.6 million for last weekend’s top 10, which saw about $12 million overall. By comparison: This weekend in 2019, with the opening of “Joker,” brought in $150 million overall.

"Tenet"

Tenet

Warner Bros.

“Tenet,” by far the biggest contributor to domestic returns since it opened a month ago ,held well again, down 21 percent with $2.7 million. It has reached $45.1 million domestic so far, for $307 million worldwide.

The only country that is not reliant on “Tenet” is China, where local titles have driven the grossed to over $1 billion in the last six weeks. This weekend (a holiday there) showed two titles both gross over $150 million with “My People My Homeland” and the animated “Jiang Ziya.”

Stateside, anyone who might have bet that the 1993 title “Hocus Pocus” would be the #2 film this weekend film over of a 2020 weekend would be very wealthy. (Also in this weekend’s top 10: “Beetlejuice”and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Increasingly, the top 10 theatrical titles resemble a VOD chart. ).”Hocus Pocus” grossed $1,975,000 at 2,570 theaters; even though it ranks second, it still grossed only $749 per theater. This result is among the highest in recent reissues, but it was only a modest hit on initial release; nearly $2 million is a good result.

There are no new studio films of note opening until at the earliest November 13 (“Freaky” from Universal), and the grosses for “Tenet” (Warner Bros.) and other titles in play are inadequate to sustain the expense of keeping the days open.

Still, only four titles in the top 10 had a PTA of even $500, which represents about 60 people per film across a three-day run. Two films played in fewer than 400 theaters. The average cinema complex, which has at least six theaters, grossed less than $4,000 this weekend — and 50 percent of that goes back to distributors. That can’t possibly cover the expenses of beiong open, which is why Cineworld is considering closure. And with James Bond now in April, it’s nearly seven weeks before the next wide release with “Soul” on November 20 (presuming that date holds).

"The New Mutants"

“The New Mutants”

Fox

The absence of new films continues to boost the runs of “The New Mutants,” down 11 percent, and “Unhinged,” off 15 percent. Both are approaching $20 million, which is credible under the circumstances.

Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor Uncut,” a horror genre film not unlike his father David’s work, placed #9 as the leading new title this week. But that grossed only with $277,500 in 320 theaters.

These days call for improvising top 10 charts. Some companies hold back numbers, or report on Monday. Estimates might be less reliable. Our top 10 is based on our best estimates. Last weekend’s #3 film, BTS concert film “Break the Silence,” fell to #10 by our best guess. Based on numbers available to IndieWire, it grossed more than #11, “Shortcut,” an Italian-made horror film that reported $205,000 in 655 theaters.

Just below are two new titles. #12 is “Save Yourselves!” which, like “Possessor Uncut,” is a Sundance premiere; it took in $141,000 in 388 theaters. “The Call” with Halle Berry placed #13 with $140,000.

If Regal shuts down, and others follow, that would plunge the release schedule even deeper into the unknown.

The Top 10

1. Tenet (Warner Bros.) Week 6; Last weekend #1

$2,700,000 (-21%) in 2,722 theaters (-128); PTA (per theater average): $992; Cumulative: $45,100,000

2. Hocus Pocus (Disney) (reissue)

$1,925,000 in 2,570 theaters; PTA: $749; Cumulative: (adjusted) $90,500,000

3. The New Mutants (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #2

$1,000,000 (-15%) in 2,154 theaters (-151); PTA: $464; Cumulative: $21,000,000

4. Unhinged (Solstice) Week 8; Last weekend #4

$870,000 (-11%) in 2,023 theaters (-159); PTA: $430; Cumulative: $18,403,000

5. Infidel (Cloudburst) Week 3; Last weekend #6

$(est.) 420,000 (-45%) in 1,792 theaters (-93); PTA: $234; Cumulative: $(est.) 3,391,000

6. Beetlejuice (Warner Bros.) (reissue)

$(est.) 325,000 in 346 theaters; PTA: $939; Cumulative: (adjusted) $178,000,000

7. The Empire Strikes Back (Disney) (reissue) Last weekend #5

$335,000 in 1,655  theaters (-452); PTA: $201; Cumulative: (adjusted) $

8. The Broken Hearts Gallery (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #7

$275,000 (-45%) in 2,100 theaters (-41); PTA: $131; Cumulative: $3,733,000

9. Professor Uncut (Neon) NEW

$227,500 in 320 theaters; PTA: $711; Cumulative: $227,500

10. Break the Silence: The Movie (Trafalagar) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$(est.) 206,000 (-80%) in 491 theaters (-56); PTA: $420; Cumulative: $(est.) 1,400,000

 

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Source: IndieWire film

October 4, 2020

The Most Comfortable Headphones to Buy: Over-Ear Headsets and Earbuds Under $100

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links.

Just because a pair of headphones comes equipped with all the latest technology doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best — there are two important characteristics that ultimately determine their worth. First, it’s essential that they sound good (you know, to make sure you’re successful with that whole “listening” thing you’re trying to do). But second, and almost as important, is the matter of comfort.

If you’re going to be wearing headphones all day while Zooming with coworkers or chatting with friends and family — or working with professional sound mixing equipment — you’re going to want to make sure that said headphones don’t squeeze your head too tightly or fall off or do anything else to cause discomfort.

We’ve put together a list of the most comfortable headphones — both over-ear and earbuds, wired and Bluetooth-friendly — for anyone who’s searching for comfort (in addition to high sound quality). The below selection is what we found when scouring user ratings and feedback, and comes complete with actual user comments regarding each pair’s fit. (And while most are Bluetooth-enabled, you can pick up an iPhone dongle here for the wired pairs that are not. This dongle also acts as a splitter so you can charge your phone and listen to music with a pair of wired headphones.)

OneOdio Pro-10 Foldable Over Ear Headphones with Mic

Price: $27.99

This basic model from OneOdio features soft ear-cushioning earmuffs on their 90° swiveling earcups, and comes with dynamic bass sound perfect for doing, mastering, monitoring, mixing, broadcasting, tracking, and personal listening. They’re flexible, making them comfortable even for long working sessions. The headphones come with two different cables — a 6.35 to 3.5 9.8ft coiled cable and a 3.5 to 3.5 3ft cable with answer/end button & in-line microphone for hands-free phone calling — and are compatible with with professional mixers, instruments, as well as smartphones and computers.

Wrote user Sean, who uses them daily to block out noise in his cubicle, “I wear these sometimes 8 hours a day 5 days a week and the build quality and comfort you get, for the price, is second to none.”

And user Audaxia wrote, “these are very comfortable headphones, on the first day I wore them for about 5 hours before my ears started to hurt a bit but the next day I adjusted the size of the sides and it was very comfortable. I was able to wear them all day without discomfort.”

OneOdio Pro-30 Foldable Over Ear Headphones with Mic

Price: $32.99-$37.99

These over-ear headphones are the next model up from the Pro-10s, and feature foldable, high-quality, memory foam-padded ear cushions specifically designed for both comfort and noise isolation, and have an adjustable and stretchable headband to make the fit even more custom. The 90° swiveling earcups allow for easy single-ear monitoring. They also come with two different cables, the 6.35 to 3.5 9.8ft coiled cable and 3.5 to 3.5 3ft cable with mic, and are compatible with with professional mixers, instruments, and everyday devices. While comfort is the main criteria here, these leather and metal headphones are also pretty stylish, too (and are Amazon’s Choice for “retro headphones”).

User Chunky Bacon! praised both the sound quality and the comfort, writing, “These actually fit all the way over my ears, unlike many other brands which tend to squish them,” as did user nonya biz, who wrote, “They are a bit bulky but really light weight, I almost forget I’m wearing them. I’ve had them for 2 days now and have wore and used almost constantly and have yet to have ears hot or sweating or any other discomfort.”

COWIN SE7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Bluetooth Headphones

Price: $99.99-$109.99

These headphones use Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology to quell airplane cabin noise, city traffic, or a busy office. Although the come with an audio cable, they’re also equipped with Bluetooth and can work wirelessly as well. The built-in mic allows for hands-free calls, and the ears are covered with protein ear pads and a foldable headband making them both comfortable, flexible, and easy to transport. The battery allows for 30 hours of playtime using just Bluetooth, and 20 using Bluetooth with ANC. (And yes, certain colors slightly exceed our $100 price limit, but they’re worth including regardless.)

User Jay praised their light weight and easy portability, plus noted their comfort, writing, “The pads are nice and soft and do not hurt the ears after hours of use. They are also detachable so they can be replaced if needed.”

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones with Microphone

Price: $59.99-$69.99

This slightly more basic model of the COWIN Bluetooth headphones comes at a cheaper price point, but with similar features. They come in fun rainbow colors (red, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, and black) with silver accents, and a whopping 43,109 ratings give this pair of headphones an average score of 4.4 out of 5, meaning the positive feedback isn’t boosted by bots.

User Lucas Jon praised their comfort, but warned that they’re better suited to lower-intensity activity. “These sit very comfortably on my head while I do chores around the house or yard work etc. I run a mobile auto detailing business in my spare time and use them for that as well. I don’t have a particularly large head and they fit nicely, but I imagine they would be better for someone with a big noggin. If I find myself looking down for too long they will start to slip off my head,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t even attempt to do any kind of cardio with these. Weightlifting, sure but running – no.”

Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Price: $59

These modern, minimalist headphones come with a padded adjustable headband in addition to cushy folding earcups for maximum comfort. The lightweight design also includes a microphone and volume and playback controls with Bluetooth 5.0 technology that allows you to connect two devices at the same time with no lag, even when switching between devices. A 30-hour battery can be fully recharged in just over an hour via USB-C with Qualcomm’s QuickCharge technology.

According to user Sam O., the sound quality is the biggest selling point but “In terms of the feel and comfort of the headphones, they do a much better job than other over-the-ear headphones I’ve owned before. I have a big head and, despite that, these headphones adjust very well to my head. The material of the headphones is definitely comfortable and I can keep them on for long periods of time with no real problem.”

And user Lane S. wrote, “I use them professionally in film and television. I needed a good BT set for location filming that didn’t cover my entire ear and make it cumbersome to slip off and put around my neck constantly. Over ears are too big to comfortably do this so you end up putting on the top of your head and look like an idiot. Or take off and have to keep looking for them.”

Mpow H7 Bluetooth Headphones

Price: $25-$27.99

Another pair of sleek, brightly colored Bluetooth over-ear headphones, these offer up to 25 hours of rechargeable battery life and a 3.5mm audio cable changes the wireless to wired mode to keep listening when the battery runs out. The three-button easy control allows you to operate audio and call function directly on the headphones without having to dig your phone out of your pocket or bag.

Wrote user Bfamous, “they feel snugg and are really nice because they are adjustable and you can adjust the ear cup parts! The leather foam feels really soft and comfy.”

Riwbox CT-7S Cat Ear Bluetooth Kids Headphones

Price: $32.98

You know who absolutely won’t tolerate discomfort of any kind? Kids. These adorable cat ear headphones are not only cute, but comfortable as well thanks to their padded earcups. The small size is perfect for children, as is the fact that the volume is regulated not to surpass a certain level. The light-up cat ears are eye-catching for kids (and young-at-heart adults), though the embedded red/blue/green LED lights are only able to blink and change color with the rhythm of whatever they’re listening to in wireless mode (since the headset’s power and Bluetooth are turned off in wired mode). A glowing Riwbox Cat cartoon is interactive fun for other kids too.

Wrote user J. Bui, “The headphones are loud but not too loud for kids, the earmuffs are thickly padded and soft. It fits my 5 year old son perfectly! It also fits me and I’m a 5’7 woman!”

LETSCOM Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds

Price: $54.99

These just-released noise-cancelling earbuds come in black or white and block out up to a maximum 28dB of unwanted noise using active noise cancellation technology. Each earbud has two built-in mics that help suppress unwanted noise, and inside the earbuds are two 10mm dynamic speakers. One charge will give you up to nine hours of playback (and 27 hours total of power, when combined with the charging case. A IPX8 waterproof nano coating means you won’t have to worry about sweat or water while exercising or using by the pool, and they automatically power on when taking them out of the case so you don’t have to wait for them to connect when you put them in your ears.

User M wrote, “Even with the ergonomic left/right shape, they allow for plenty of adjustment/rotation in your ear to make them more comfortable and still get the same sound. They were super easy to pair! It usually takes a few tries to pair anything with my phone the first time, and I was still looking at the bluetooth settings when the buds said they were paired. It only took a few seconds. It automatically started playing Spotify and the sound was excellent. It is a really deep rich sound. When I only had one earbud in, it is noticeably lower quality, so I would recommend using both, plus many of the controls only work with both.”

ICOMTOFIT TWS IPX5 Earbuds

Price: $24.99

Switching from over-ear headphones to earbuds is definitely an adjustment in terms of both fit and comfort, but these ergonomically designed earbuds include three sizes of soft, flexible ear tips to ensure a secure fit. Combined with clear and balanced sound quality (and noise cancellation technology), these Bluetooth earbuds come with a rechargeable Aluminum alloy charging case featuring an LED display of the battery life. They fully charge within two hours, and support up to four hours of use.

Not for nothing, they’re also Amazon’s Choice for “comfortable wireless earbuds” and are specifically made to endure sweat and prevent damage from an intense workout.

User Dartagnan McCalister praised the sound quality and aesthetics, but especially the comfort, writing, “I am particularly in awe over the fit as I typically avoid most earphones due to the shape of my ear canal. It makes it fairly difficult to enjoy most Bluetooth devices that are meant to sit within the ear without additional support around the lobe. These come with varying sizes of earbud sleeves with those sitting already on the earbuds upon opening in “small” size, which is my perfect fit. Most others are far too large, which doesn’t allow me to wear them for extended periods of time. These fit perfectly!”

GOOJODOQ Wired In-Ear Ear Plugs Sleeping Earphones

Price: $11.98

Amazon’s Choice for “comfortable earbuds,” these wired earbuds are made specifically for long-term use at night. The soft ear plugs block background noises (from TVs to loud roommates to partners snoring), and the ergonomically designed, flexible silicone eartips come in two sizes and fit entirely in the ear for most size ear canals. They’re compatible with most devices, and they also have a multifunctional button and in-line microphone.

Wrote user Mia, “I’ve tried several versions of sleep headphones and always had the same issues. I guess the cartilage on my ears is too sensitive because the headband style was too hard – the speaker is a hard plastic disc and laying on it hurt my ears but if you moved it up/down you couldn’t hear at all. Had the same issues with other in-ear headphones that would make my ears ache by morning. But these are perfect! All pieces are soft rubber so every element has a bit of give to it, so I can lay comfortably without waking up with sore ears! I don’t even notice the cord when it’s on my pillow (inevitably you will sleep with a cord on your face).”

LUDOS Clamor Wired Earbuds

Price: $19.97

Candy-colored headphone design isn’t exclusively for larger over-ear models; these Ludos Clamor earbuds come in more than a dozen colors and, instead of plastic tips, they have memory foam pads designed to sustain wear and tear and provide long-lasting comfort. The headphones come with two different sizes of pads to ensure a custom fit.

The high-quality audio and balanced bass provide immersive sound, but user Luke Walker praised the comfort of the memory foam earbuds, writing, “This is the first pair of earbuds that claim to be ‘memory foam’ — earbuds generally hurt my ears, or fall out, or both. These stay in and they actually feel quite comfortable! Since they form nicely to the inside of my ears, I can barely hear anything except the music/sounds coming through them (They block outside noise out nicely).”

TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds with Wireless Charging Case

Price: $29.99

You can’t beat the price of these wireless Bluetooth earbuds. Both the earbuds and the charging case are waterproof up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes, meaning they’re suitable for working out. They can last for four hours with a single charge, and the compact charging case (which can be charged wirelessly or with a USB cord) provides an additional 14 hours. They’re available in five colors, and were designed with gel-flexible silicone earcaps that come in four different sizes to ensure a comfortable fit.

A bonkers 101,167 users have given it an average rating of 4.3 out of 5, with user Vivek D. noting how much better the fit is for him than another popular wireless earbud brand. “I’m one of the very, very few people who cannot use the apple air pods. No matter how hard I try, they fall out of my ear in less than a minute. I thought I would try a different brand, and when I put these in my ear, they fell out within seconds. I was about to give up, pack up the box, and send it back, but I decided to check out the instruction manual in case i was doing something wrong. I’m so happy I did. Turns out there were 4 sizes of plastic ear caps included with the earbuds,” he wrote. “On my third try, the second smallest ones, I felt how i imagine Cinderella felt when she tried on the glass slipper. They were perfect and no matter how much I jumped up and down or shook my head, they stayed in place!”

Jarvania Bluetooth Headband Headphones

Price: $18.99

Take your sleep to the next level with this comfy headband with built-in headphones specifically meant for use while falling asleep. The bluetooth headphones can last for up to 10 hours of playback and are nestled inside a soft, durable braided cord headband with a breathable mesh lining that stretches to fit all head sizes. The slim headphones are foam-covered and less than 1/4 inch thick, making them comfortable for all sleeping positions. They’re also washable, so you can take out the speakers and clean the band — and you can use them for travel or sports too. Pull the band over your eyes and you have a built-in sleeping mask as well.

Writes user Ado, “I have been using a wired sleep headband for a while but the wire started to wear out. Just got this yesterday and used it for the first time last night, and it worked great. Sound quality worked perfectly with my white noise sleep app, and the battery life lasted all night. Easy to connect to Bluetooth too. Breatheable and comfortably to sleep in.”

LETSCOM U8I Bluetooth Headphones

Price: $17.98-$20.98

These waterproof wireless earbuds are specifically made for sports, so the internal nano-coating protects the headphones from heavy rains or sweat. And while they’re wireless and use Bluetooth technology, they are connected by a cord to prevent any lost earbud tragedies while working out. The earths come in four sizes, and they come with a carry bag, a micro USB cable, and a wire clip.

User Somer Durr liked the different sizes of eartips, writing, “They feel great on and are very secure even when I’m running on the treadmill.”

JVC Gumy in Ear Earbud Headphones

Price: $7.99-$9.95

Just because you want a budget pair of earbuds doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice comfort. These might be cheap, but they come with three different sizes of silicone eartips and are comfortable enough to wear in bed. They’re compatible with Android smartphones and iPhones, and have a 3.3′ color cord with gold-plated 3.5mm headphone plug.

Wrote user Linda, “I hate having anything in my ears, but these are the most comfortable earbuds I have found. Perhaps because they have such a soft earpiece. It forms to your ear with no effort on your part. Bad thing is, when I’m listening to a book, it’s too easy to go to sleep while listening. Then it’s the search back to where my brain checked out. They are comfortable and have really good sound at a good price.”

Source: IndieWire film

October 4, 2020

Cineworld Considering Temporary Closure of All Regal Cinemas in U.S. and UK Locations, Company Confirms

Update: Cineworld issued the following statement on Twitter Sunday:

We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached. Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.

Earlier: All 542 Regal Cinemas locations in the U.S. are set to temporarily close once again. The move is part of a plan by parent company Cineworld to shutter all of its U.S. and UK locations, according to multiple reports, and comes after the American and British distributors of “No Time to Die” pushed the release date of the James Bond installment from next month to April 2021. The closures are set to happen as early as next week, Variety reported.

The news, first reported by The Sunday Times, means the states’ second-largest theater circuit and the UK’s largest will close for a second time amid the pandemic. Regal, along with virtually every other American theater, closed in March and began reopening over the summer, when a full schedule of tentpoles suggested studios were ready to gamble on audiences feeling safe heading back to theaters.

“Research shows how much people miss the cinemas. We are thrilled to be back,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger, said in June, when he announced Regal’s reopening. “With the great movies ahead including ‘Mulan,’ ‘Tenet,’ ‘A Quiet Place Part II,’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘No Time to Die,’ ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Soul,’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and many more, we at Regal are committed as always to be the Best Place to Watch a Movie.”

So much has changed since then. Disney’s live-action “Mulan” adaptation skipped theaters in the US in favor of a Disney+ PVOD release September 4, while “Tenet” served as a test balloon for the viability of theatrical tentpoles during the pandemic, released around the same time. Warner Bros. saw lackluster “Tenet” returns; Christopher Nolan’s latest only grossed $41.2 million domestically.

Meanwhile, all of the other movies Greidinger name-dropped — aside from Pixar’s “Soul” — have been pushed back: “A Quiet Place Part II,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Black Widow,” and “Top Gun: Maverick” later release dates are all contributing to what IndieWire’s Tom Brueggemann termed a “new-product desert” for theaters.

Daniel Craig’s final bow as James Bond was among the fall’s most anticipated releases.

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of ‘No Time To Die,’ the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience,” the filmmakers said in a statement on Friday. “We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing ‘No Time To Die’ next year.”

Source: IndieWire film

October 4, 2020

‘Red, White and Blue’ Review: John Boyega Gives Career-Best Performance as Activist Policeman

While Steve McQueen’s five-film anthology “Small Axe” presents a collage of complementary stories from London’s West Indian community, “Red, White and Blue” plays like a breaking point. The two installments revealed earlier on the festival circuit, “Mangrove” and “Lovers Rock,” both showcase a self-sufficient community navigating the existential threat of institutional racism, but the protagonist of “Red, White and Blue” aims to improve the system by joining it.

Needless to say, that’s no easy task for Leroy Logan (John Boyega), who doesn’t exactly find a welcoming crowd when he becomes the sole Black officer in the Metropolitan Police Force circa 1983, and “Red, White and Blue” finds him at constant odds with his idealism. McQueen’s gripping true-life drama compensates for some of its more heavy-handed beats thanks to Boyega’s staggering, career-best performance and the fiery tone that surrounds it at every turn. The movie is both a ferocious indictment and a call to action that embodies Logan’s cause, even if it’s doomed from the start.

Co-written by British-Caribbean playwright Courttia Newland (who also scripted “Lovers Rock” with McQueen), “Red, White and Blue” hooks its central drama around a fascinating intergenerational tension. Logan’s father Ken (Steve Toussaint) detests the xenophobic white men in uniform who hassle his people on the regular (and understandably so, as he experienced the same timeline as the oppressed activists of “Mangrove”). Leroy grows up watching these frustrations and decides to take a different course. In a taut prologue from his childhood, Leroy’s harassed by some white officers outside his private school, only for his father to intervene at a key moment. His lesson to his son is blunt: “Don’t be no roughneck and don’t bring no police to my yard.” Instead, years later, Leroy decides to become one.

When the police eventually come to Ken’s yard years later, they’re looking for their new coworker. At first stuck in forensics, Leroy reacts to his father’s latest skirmish with the cops by signing up for a rigorous training process. With Ken beaten over a parking ticket by the same officers his son hopes to work alongside, Leroy’s activism may seem destined to come up short — but as Boyega’s stern gaze often makes clear, he’s absorbed his father’s resilience by funneling it into unbridled fighting spirit. McQueen stepped up to deliver tense, unnerving action scenes in “Widows,” and some of that visceral energy reemerges in the brutal training that Leroy undergoes as he makes his way through the ranks. It’s there that he faces the psychological warfare of his new white colleagues, whose disturbing locker room glances eventually give way to more overt racist aggression.

At 78 minutes, “Red, White and Blue” wastes little energy building out Leroy’s conundrum, though his developing family life and relationship to the neighborhood characters he’s known his whole life make it clear just how much he’s putting on the line. Compared to the mesmerizing party scenes of “Lovers Rock” or the prolonged courtroom showdowns of “Mangrove,” this installment follows a slighter narrative arc: Once Logan joins the force 30 minutes in, there are few surprises in store. Yet McQueen and cinematographer Shabier Kirchner continue to work wonders with colorful period details and roving camerawork (including a chase sequence through a paper factory staged in a gripping long take) that enriches the complex backdrop throughout.

Once again, the proceedings have been laced with a killer period-appropriate soundtrack, though in this case it moves beyond the reggae tunes of the other stories in favor of more widely popular hits like “Uptown Girl,” as if to mirror Leroy’s efforts to step beyond his insular roots.

That’s no easy transition. “Sometimes in life, it’s better to just blend in,” a superior officer says. The only like-minded colleague Leroy finds is a disgruntled Pakistani recruit who lacks Leroy’s conviction that they can “change the system.” Boyega has played this sort of determined man in uniform before, in Kathryn Bigelow’s harrowing 2017 drama “Detroit,” but “Red, White and Blue” does a better job of operating on the same intense wavelength as his performance. It feels like all the sophisticated layers the actor had to suppress for three “Star Wars” unleashed at once. McQueen even dares to wink at those credits when Leroy tells a friend he’s joining the force. “You gonna be a Jedi or something?” he’s told. (“Return of the Jedi” would have been out at the time.) While Boyega mustered enough hokey charm to carry his own in those movies, he’s clearly more in his element as morally-conflicted men committed to the greater good, and here manages to root that journey in sheer credibility.

He’s so good, in fact, that the performance often outpaces the screenplay, which falls more than once into hyperbolic shouting matches and dialogue that resorts to didactic conclusions. (“Someone’s got to be the bridge,” “Someone has to take on the world,” etc.). But within that limited framework, McQueen develops an absorbing atmosphere steeped in the uncertainty that Leroy finds at each stage of his journey, and doesn’t attempt to sugarcoat how those efforts played out.

Unlike “Mangrove,” McQueen doesn’t end “Red, White and Blue” with an explanatory card about what happened next, but it’s worth noting that the real Leroy Logan went on to found the Black Police Association, start an organization for at-risk youth, and write a memoir. To that end, the latest “Small Axe” entry to reach audiences functions as a significant origin story defined by the sense of vanity to Leroy’s mission and what compels him to keep going anyway. With the poignance of its climactic toast, “Red, White and Blue” suggests that nobody can permanently fix a system designed to be broken, but it’s worth the struggle anyway.

Grade: B+

“Red, White and Blue” premiered in the Main Slate at the 2020 New York Film Festival. It will stream on Amazon as part of the “Small Axe” anthology on Friday, November 20.

Source: IndieWire film

October 3, 2020

‘Luxor’ Trailer: Andrea Riseborough Is Gripped by Trauma and Love in an Ancient Egyptian City

Andrea Riseborough earned raves for her performance in two films that bowed at Sundance earlier this year, two films that could not be more different. The first, “Possessor,” which was released Friday, stars the English actress as an agent who uses a brain implant to inhabit other people’s bodies. The second, “Luxor,” is a slow-burn romance that has Riseborough play a war-zone doctor who works through trauma and falls in love against the stunning backdrop of one of the world’s oldest cities.

Below see a trailer for “Luxor,” which Samuel Goldwyn Films will release on VOD on December 4. The film is the first in ten years from writer-director Zeina Durra, whose 2010 Sundance pick “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!,” her feature debut, was similarly well received. “Luxor” reunites Durra with Karim Saleh, who also starred in “Imperialists.”

In “Luxor,” Riseborough plays a British doctor, Hana, who temporally eaves her war-zone post to return to Luxor, a beloved city from her past. There she works through the trauma of her grueling work and reconnects by chance with a former boyfriend (Saleh), a archeologist working in the region.

Riseborough told Deadline that both Hana and Sultan are “reclaiming something that is timeless.” “You have the potential for a couple of hours to just be completely transported to this place — to look at it and feel it. Some people think it’s about a woman finding herself, finding who she is, but that doesn’t seem to be Hana to me at all,” Riseborough said. “She’s a very highly skilled surgeon who’s operated in the most stressful situation you could possibly probably be in, and with the worst resources, in terrible circumstances. So it’s not discovering oneself, it’s connecting — or reconnecting — with the past and the future, and getting the perspective that there is so much more to come.”

The human drama, conveyed largely non-verbally by Riseborough, plays out amid Luxor’s ancient temples and other relics. Cinematographer Zelmira Gainza detailed her approach to capturing that historic beauty to IndieWire.

“When we were discussing how to shoot the film,” Zeina said that she wanted there to be restraint in all areas. “This meant that we shot minimal coverage, spending more time designing wider shots that really integrated characters in the locations,” she said. “Zeina’s framing is extremely precise. Our approach to lighting was to keep it as naturalistic as possible, and always soft, mainly using it to adjust contrast or shape the existing light. For night scenes we relied heavily on practicals.”

 

Source: IndieWire film

September 27, 2020

‘Antebellum’: This Movie Polarizes Audiences and for the Directors, That’s the Point

Making movies is arduous, but the appreciation that follows can make it all worthwhile. For writer-director duo Bush|Renz, comprised of Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, that experience has so far evaded them. Their feature debut “Antebellum,” which premiered on PVOD last week, aimed to recontextualize what American slavery meant. To put it kindly, it found a blistering reception.

The film, a glossy twist on the so-called “slave narrative,” stars Janelle Monáe as a woman “trapped in a horrifying reality that forces her to confront the past, present and future.” (The promotional language is cryptic, but to say more would create spoilers.) The filmmakers (Bush is Black, Renz is white) made “Antebellum” to catalyze a national dialogue around a host of urgent topics, including race.

Critics don’t see it that way. Rotten Tomatoes currently scores “Antebellum” with a 28 percent rating, with the critical consensus that it’s “a largely unpleasant experience.” It has its supporters — Stephanie Zacharek at Time praises Monáe as “electrifying” and said the film is “a tense, thoughtful picture that seeks both to entertain and provoke.” She’s the outlier; others described it as “a gory theme-park ride showcasing the horrors of slavery” (The Atlantic) and a “leering, exploitative depiction of violent, slavery movie tropes” (RogerEbert.com).

Bush|Renz, best known for their advertising work and directing Jay Z’s 2017 “Kill Jay Z” short, know all of this, of course. Some filmmakers might find this crushing. “Well, we’re the number-one movie in the country on all platforms, streaming or rented or otherwise, so, there’s that,” Bush said. “So, apparently, the polarization of the conversation around this movie is working to great effect.”

Beyond box-office returns, they take the long view. “We maintain our sovereignty as artists above a tech platform as Rotten Tomatoes, because we know that in the end, this is a marathon and the art will be not judged to just in this moment,” Bush said. “And I think that you would be hard pressed to say that the movie isn’t generating so much conversation even among critics. We want them to have those conversations. But we don’t want to put ourselves in a place where our decision making, as artists, will be informed by what critics have to say about our art.”

Renz believes much of the critical reaction speaks to the film’s subject matter rather than the film itself. “We knew, based on slavery, that there were going to be plenty of people that would say, ‘Why is this movie necessary at this time? It’s irresponsible’, etc, and that’s the headline — that there’s no need for any other ‘slave film’, which we completely understand,” he said. “However, we’re not going to contribute to the erasure of the history of Black people in America and how this country was founded, and where they want to get back to. This movie really is a visual representation of what ‘Make America Great Again’ would look like.”

Bush rejects the idea of what is colloquially referred to as “slavery movie fatigue,” insisting that there are still far more stories to be told and being white is not a prerequisite to being a provocateur. “Me, as a Black American artist, I’m going to be really accurate about what my own history looks like,” he said. “Our Jewish brothers and sisters have done an effective job of taking responsibility for their own story,” he said. “I think from our perspective, the stories of the enslaved are by and large always approved or greenlit by someone white. And so it’s interesting to me that Quentin Tarantino is the only one who has been able to do something so provocative with the slave narrative in ‘Django Unchained’ because he could.”

Another factor that may feed into the “Antebellum” response is whether the film’s brutality, in all of its accuracy, might be viewed as overwhelming in this particular sociopolitical environment. Americans are overwhelmed by images of Black bodies under assault in the real world, along with a deadly pandemic that disproportionately affects Black people. Who wants to see a film that depicts brutality on Black bodies in a fictional world as well?

“I want to make it clear that we are deeply respectful of the trauma that Black folk have endured since our beginning in this country and we understand the exhaustion of it,” Bush said. “We are not irresponsible artists, and we would never want to traumatize the community. We know that it is quite traumatizing for some people and we need to respect that, but we also need for them to respect that Black people are not monolith and they don’t get to decide, as ‘thought leaders,’ what black people need or the conversations that they want to have around this film.”

Bush|Renz are not the first to reinvent the slave narrative. Other projects like WGN’s underground railroad action-drama series “Underground” (2016-2017) and Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet” (2019) also attempted to offer a different kind of slave narrative that broke free of the genres’ tacit restrictions that required Black characters to be portrayed as submissive victims of a tragic fate, lacking in agency. “Antebellum” shares a production company, QC Entertainment, with Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” a hit film that also hinges on the abduction of a Black person into subjugation by, and servitude of, white people.

“Black people, our history in this country, was built upon our kidnapping,” Bush said. “So thematically, kidnapping is just how many of these stories start, because our story in America starts with our kidnapping.”

Ultimately, the filmmakers hope that, at the very least, audiences walk away with the idea that Bush|Renz was committed and determined to depict Black people in a fresh and interesting way while addressing this country’s original sin of slavery.

“We cannot spend our time exhausted by critics,” said Bush. “The critics are here to critique us, the artists, and our art. They have every right to that, and we have every right to continue making the art that we feel compelled to make.”

“Antebellum” is now streaming across premium VOD platforms where it’s available for $19.99 per rental. The film is being released theatrically in select international markets.

Source: IndieWire film