Top celebrity latest news right now? The systemic culture of indifference and cruelty that often forms around a powerful serial abuser gets put under the microscope in this studiously observed New York office drama, which draws inspiration from the behavior of Harvey Weinstein while intentionally blurring some of the details. We never learn the name of the tyrannical boss in the story and the exact nature of his crimes are never fully revealed; instead, Julia Garner’s assistant Jane, a Northwestern grad fresh off a handful of internships, provides our entryway into the narrative. The movie tracks her duties, tasks, and indignities over the course of a single day: She makes copies, coordinates air travel, picks up lunch orders, answers phone calls, and cleans suspicious stains off the couch. At one point, a young woman from Idaho appears at the reception desk, claims to have been flown in to start as a new assistant, and gets whisked away to a room in an expensive hotel. Jane raises the issue with an HR rep, played with smarmy menace by Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen, but her concerns are quickly battered away and turned against her. Rejecting cheap catharsis and dramatic twists, The Assistant builds its claustrophobic world through a steady accumulation of information. While some of the writing can feel too imprecise and opaque by design, Garner, who consistently steals scenes on Netflix’s Ozark, invests every hushed phone call and carefully worded email with real trepidation. She locates the terror in the drudgery of the work.
The couple enjoyed a date night with a difference in May when they went to an ice hockey game together. Both the actress and country music star shared an image of themselves holding hands and watching the game dressed in matching yellow Nashville Predators t-shirts. Nicole and Keith recently returned to their home in America with their two daughters, Sunday and Faith, after several months in Australia. While they were there, Nicole filmed her upcoming project, Nine Perfect Strangers, which she stars in alongside many other major names such as Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans and Regina Hall.
The competition between video streaming services has never been tougher, so some media companies are banding together. For instance, CBS and Viacom merged (again) and launched Paramount+. AT&T announced plans to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery to form a new streaming giant. Amazon is reportedly buying MGM for $9 billion, too, which should considerably boost Prime Video’s library. The increasingly competitive streaming market is not without consequences. Consumers who may have originally been attracted to the flexibility that streaming services offer over cable, now must navigate a crowded and constantly shifting nightmare of streaming rights and new services, many of which continue to rise in cost. Live TV streaming services are also struggling to adjust to the rising costs of broadcast rights from cable channel owners. The price of just about every one of these services has increased considerably over time.
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At first blush it’s easy to dismiss Birds of Prey. But this feverish spectacle directed by Cathy Yan and scripted by Christina Hodson is a triumph that takes the typically limp superhero genre and injects it with life and bravado as it traces Harley Quinn’s (played by a brilliant Margot Robbie) emancipation from the shadow of her relationship to the Joker. What could have been a trifle turns out to be a rich reimagining of Gotham City into a glittery haven for criminals like Ewan McGregor’s prancing Black Mask and his right hand, Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina stealthily turning in one of the best performances in the film), who are nipping at Harley’s heels over a lost diamond. The plot is besides the point. What matters is the visceral experience. The costume design by Erin Benach is iconoclastic, drenching Harley in a confetti-and-caution-tape aesthetic. The supporting actors give surprisingly realized turns, especially Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the awkward but committed assassin Huntress on a mission of vengeance, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s high-kicking fearsome Black Canary. What makes the film sing at the right register of pleasure is its commitment to crafting some of the most audacious, eye-catching, and bone-crunching action set pieces that brim with humor and complication thanks to stunt coordination and fight choreography by Chad Stahelski. We got to see the film four times in theaters before all of this happened, and with each viewing our hearts burst with more appreciation for this scrappy, wild, bombastic film.
The darkness is all-consuming, as is despair over a lost past and future, and a purgatorial present, in Vitalina Varela, Pedro Costa’s aesthetically ravishing true tale of its protagonist, a Cape Verde resident who returns to Portugal mere days after her estranged husband’s death. Vitalina wanders through this dilapidated and gloomy environment, which Costa shoots almost exclusively at night, the better to conjure a sense of ghosts navigating a dreamscape of sorrow, suffering and disconnection. Each of the director’s images is more ravishing than the next, and their beauty – along with an enveloping soundscape of squeaking beds, sheets blowing in the wind, and rain pattering on crumbling roofs – is enchanting. Presenting its story through fractured plotting and dreamy monologues, the Portuguese master’s latest is a series of tableaus of lovelorn grief concerning not only Vitalina but also an aged priest in spiritual crisis and another young man poised to endure his own tragedy. The film’s formal grandeur – its compositional precision, and painterly interplay of light and dark – is overwhelming, as is the majestic presence of Vitalina herself. Read additional info on https://www.bloggeron.net/.
Dramas don’t come much bleaker than Beanpole, director Kantemir Balagov’s wrenching story about the damage caused by war, and the exceedingly high cost of survival. In a 1945 Leningrad still recovering from the end of WWII, lanky Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko), aka “Beanpole,” works as a nurse even though her military service has left her with a condition in which she becomes temporarily frozen. Iya cares for Pashka (Timofey Glazkov), the young son of her frontlines friend Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina), and when Masha appears to reclaim her child – only to learn of an unthinkable tragedy – their relationship buckles under the weight of grief, guilt, regret, resentment and need. Cruel blackmail soon proves to be Masha’s means of coping with loss, but healing is in short supply in this ravaged milieu. Shot in alternately tremulous and composed handheld, director Balagov’s long takes place a premium on close-ups, the better to convey the dizzying anguish of his subjects, who are as decimated as their environment. Overpoweringly desolate and moving, it’s a vision of paralyzing individual, and national, PTSD – and, ultimately, of women banding together to forge a new future.