Knives Out Contains A Clever Visual Twist Many Viewers Are Missing

Knives Out is a, more or less, whodunit in the classic style. It’s got a house full of suspects in the form of an all-star cast. It’s got a detective who seems to see everything. It’s got a seemingly impossible murder. It’s the sort of movie that is designed to keep its audience guessing and get them to question everything that they see. And as it turns out, with Knives Out we should be questioning literally everything we see as even some of the film’s simplest elements aren’t what they appear to be.

Knives Out cinematographer Steve Yedlin recently took to Twitter to reveal some of the film’s secrets that we didn’t even know were secrets. Because of Knives Out‘s particular style, the movie has a lot of close ups of actors speaking, and some of them, like Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Craig, are wearing eyeglasses. This is a problem because the glasses can potentially reflect the lighting and cameras being used to film them. However, the movie’s Key Grip, Matt Mania solved the problem, and in the below tweet you can see how.

For this scene with Jamie Lee Curtis, we see that it’s being filmed on a stage, not a room in an actual house, which means the actress isn’t looking at anything other than the crew filming her for the movie. If her glasses reflected what she actually saw, we’d seen the camera operator and the lighting rig, but thanks to the Key Grip, we see what we would expect to see, windows on the opposite side of the room. There’s are no windows of course, it’s a painting, but in the reflection, that fact is lost.

It’s a neat trick that certainly works. The alternative would have been simply removing the lenses from the glasses in order to prevent reflection. This is what Paul Feig did for Chris Hemsworth in the Ghostbusters reboot, that actually led to a great joke about the lack of lenses. However, by taking the extra step here, Knives Out feels that much more real because we can see the reflections.

Here’s a second example of a forced perspective matte painting, that doesn’t only hide the filming equipment, but makes the room where the filming is happening appear larger than it actually is, based on where the painting is located.

This works so well, and it’s something that few people would actually go looking for, so it seems unlikely we ever would have known this was being done if the Knives Out crew hadn’t shown it off. At the same time, it’s great work and Key Grip Matt Mania deserves all the credit in the world for his work, so it’s nice to see his work being recognized. If you haven’t seen Knives Out, you can now do so with an added piece of information and now you can closely inspect all the eyeglasses to see if you can tell the difference.

Even John Boyega Was ‘Iffy’ With Some Choices Made In Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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The Star Wars franchise is in a fascinating place right now, and fan excitement is palpable. In addition to the release of The Mandalorian on Disney+ (and the adoration of Baby Yoda), we’re mere days away from the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams’ upcoming blockbuster will end the nine-film story that began with A New Hope, so the pressure is on. It’s also the follow-up to The Last Jedi, the most divisive entry in the franchise. And now John Boyega has opened up about feeling “iffy” about Rian Johnson’s previous installment.

John Boyega’s Finn is one of the new heroes in the current trilogy, leading the cast alongside Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac. Finn spent The Last Jedi on a side mission with Rose Tico, and it seems he wasn’t really happy with that narrative choice. He recently spoke to his concerns, saying:

Rian Johnson’s bold narrative choices weren’t only divisive among the fans, but among the cast of The Last Jedi itself. Mark Hamill has been open about his concerns regarding Luke’s story, and now it seems that John Boyega spoke to the legendary actor about his own concerns.

John Boyega’s comments to Hype Beast aren’t especially specific about what John Boyega disliked about The Last Jedi, but it was at least partly due to the starring cast being separated. Rian Johnson put the trio of heroes on their own adventures, resulting in three very different stories. Rey attempted to bring Luke back to The Resistance, Poe staged a mutiny, and Finn traveled to Canto Bight in search of a hacker. The separation was so severe that Poe and Rey met for the very first time in the final scene.

Of course, this might not be the only issue John Boyega had with The Last Jedi. He mentions not agreeing with “a lot of the choices”, that were made for Episode VII, so he could be referencing any number of twists. Snoke was unceremoniously killed, while Rey’s parentage was given an anticlimactic answer. Then there was the handling of Luke, as the franchise’s hero was transformed into a jaded recluse. Plus, there’s his ultimate fate and death.

The pressure is on for J.J. Abrams to deliver, although the cast seems happy with how the franchise ended. Luckily, all of our questions about the blockbuster will soon be over.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive in theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Knives Out Contains A Clever Visual Twist Many Viewers Are Missin

Knives Out is a, more or less, whodunit in the classic style. It’s got a house full of suspects in the form of an all-star cast. It’s got a detective who seems to see everything. It’s got a seemingly impossible murder. It’s the sort of movie that is designed to keep its audience guessing and get them to question everything that they see. And as it turns out, with Knives Out we should be questioning literally everything we see as even some of the film’s simplest elements aren’t what they appear to be.

Knives Out cinematographer Steve Yedlin recently took to Twitter to reveal some of the film’s secrets that we didn’t even know were secrets. Because of Knives Out‘s particular style, the movie has a lot of close ups of actors speaking, and some of them, like Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Craig, are wearing eyeglasses. This is a problem because the glasses can potentially reflect the lighting and cameras being used to film them. However, the movie’s Key Grip, Matt Mania solved the problem, and in the below tweet you can see how.

For this scene with Jamie Lee Curtis, we see that it’s being filmed on a stage, not a room in an actual house, which means the actress isn’t looking at anything other than the crew filming her for the movie. If her glasses reflected what she actually saw, we’d seen the camera operator and the lighting rig, but thanks to the Key Grip, we see what we would expect to see, windows on the opposite side of the room. There’s are no windows of course, it’s a painting, but in the reflection, that fact is lost.

It’s a neat trick that certainly works. The alternative would have been simply removing the lenses from the glasses in order to prevent reflection. This is what Paul Feig did for Chris Hemsworth in the Ghostbusters reboot, that actually led to a great joke about the lack of lenses. However, by taking the extra step here, Knives Out feels that much more real because we can see the reflections.

Here’s a second example of a forced perspective matte painting, that doesn’t only hide the filming equipment, but makes the room where the filming is happening appear larger than it actually is, based on where the painting is located.

This works so well, and it’s something that few people would actually go looking for, so it seems unlikely we ever would have known this was being done if the Knives Out crew hadn’t shown it off. At the same time, it’s great work and Key Grip Matt Mania deserves all the credit in the world for his work, so it’s nice to see his work being recognized. If you haven’t seen Knives Out, you can now do so with an added piece of information and now you can closely inspect all the eyeglasses to see if you can tell the difference.

10 Great Serious Performances From Super Funny People, Including Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Hollywood can be a cutthroat business, so when a performer learns that they do something well, and can consistently get paid for it, it often makes sense for them to continue doing that thing. It’s why a lot of comedic performers generally stick to making comedies for the bulk of their careers. That being said, when a certain level of comfortability is reached, it gives actors the freedom to start testing their range and trying new things, and as we’ve seen many times in movie history, the results can be phenomenal.

This week we have a perfect example of this kind of move arriving in theaters in the form of the Safdie brothers’ crime drama Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler – so we figure now is as good a time as any to look back at some of the best serious performances from super funny people. Some resulted in attention from the Oscars, and some are very much underrated, but they all share greatness in common.

Adam Sandler holding a Furby necklace in Uncut Gems

Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Let’s start with the performance that inspired this list. Cinephiles have known for a long time that Adam Sandler has some serious dramatic chops, with his most lauded performance being his starring role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love, but the comedic actors has spent the large majority of his time in the years since then making silly low-brow features for Netflix. Uncut Gems, however, provides an opportunity for Sandler to get out of his box and do something legitimately special, and he excels. He’s a whole new orbit as the wheeling-and-dealing Howard Ratner, and delivers what we will likely look back on as the best work he has ever done.

Jim Carrey wishing good morning in The Truman Show

Jim Carrey, The Truman Show

With an incredible string of hits in the mid-1990s, Jim Carrey reached that aforementioned comfortability stage quite quickly in his big screen career, and it allowed him to do a legendary pivot to drama in 1998. After years of making audiences guffaw at his rubber faced antics, he teamed up with director Peter Weir for The Truman Show and delivered a genuinely deep and impressive performance. Much of the character work takes advantage of Carrey’s well-established and unique affability, but the film allowed him to reach a new level in audience perception as it’s remarkable to watch Truman Burbank begin to understand the nature of his life and all of the crushing realizations that come along with it.

Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple

Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple

Whoopi Goldberg presents an interesting case in this particular conversation, as she is primarily known for her career in comedy, but her greatest dramatic turn was in the second film she ever made. While she was simultaneously establishing a career doing stand-up comedy, Steven Spielberg caught a performance of hers on Broadway and enlisted her to do what would wind up being some blistering work as Celie Johnson in The Color Purple – which also earned her an Academy Award nomination. Few performers have ever arrived in the movie world with such a forceful impact, and the EGOT she has earned since makes every kind of sense.

Peter Sellers, Being There

Peter Sellers, Being There

Peter Sellers is unquestionably one of the most gifted comedic minds to ever walk this planet, with his incredible achievements and contributions basically being the same length as his resume. He spent decades making audiences bowl over in hysteria – so it’s somberly fitting that one of his final performances before his untimely death was in Hal Ashby’s dramatic adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There. It’s not entirely a dark affair, but it is a vicious satire that hinges on a very nuanced lead performances as Sellers’ Chance, a total simpleton, gains incredible power and influence through simple passivity.

Albert Brooks, Drive

Albert Brooks, Drive

Albert Brooks is an incredibly funny actor who has proven his dramatic chops numerous times – with titles like James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News and Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight standing out on his resume – but his performance in Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive has a notable extra spice added into the mix: intensity. It can be challenging for comedic performers to shift into villain roles given all of their work specifically trying to charm audiences, but Brooks is seriously scary as level-headed crime boss Bernie Rose, and it’s a true testament to his skills how his appearance on screen can raise your blood pressure.

Bill Murray, Lost In Translation

Bill Murray, Lost In Translation

With a comedic flair that has long been defined by sardonic wit, Bill Murray seemingly always had the skills necessary to pull off real drama, and it was Sofia Coppola who really gave him his first chance at real greatness in the arena with the lead role in Lost In Translation. The role isn’t without some wonderful moments of levity, as fading movie star Bob Harris finds himself a fish out of water exploring the streets of Tokyo, but what makes the performance truly brilliant is the emotional depth that Murray is able to explore, and the spectacular bond he is able to create with Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte.

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Steve Carell has had a fascinating career from a genre perspective, as he’s one of the few great comedic performers who was so successful in making the transition from comedy to drama that he basically just decided to stick with it and totally change his public profile. While we will always remember laughing at his antics on The Office and The Daily Show, he is now regularly doing seriously emotional work in films like Adam McKay’s The Big Short and Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy, and it all started with Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. In addition to being an amazing physically transformative performance, with Carell being practically being unrecognizable as wrestling fanatic/murderer John du Pont, it’s also a turn that very much gets under your skin, and the actor very much earned his first Best Actor nomination.

Marlon Wayans, Requiem For A Dream

Marlon Wayans, Requiem For A Dream

There are many performances mentioned on this list that are incredibly griping and impressive, but Marlon Wayans work in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream is the one that’s so amazing that you can pretty much only ever experience it once — as going back for Round 2 would be straight-up emotional torture. Few films in history have done such a remarkable job depicting the horrors of drug addiction, and as helpless heroin user Tyrone C. Love, Wayans gives an absolutely gut-wrenching turn; and one that’s made all the more powerful thanks to all of the good will he earned through the years of making people laugh.

Jonah Hill on the phone in Moneyball

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

In 2011, audiences didn’t fully know what to make of Jonah Hill being cast as one of the key players alongside Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, as everyone was exclusively used to seeing him as Seth from Greg Mottola’s Superbad or his other Judd Apatow-related projects. With the based-on-a-true story baseball film, however, he was able to not only instantly change public perception of his acting skills, but pick up his first Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars. Peter Brand is a subtle character, acting as the man behind the man who helped change sports history in his own way, but it’s brilliant in its low-key way and a mix of both fun and wonderful.

Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in The End Of The Tour

Jason Segel, The End Of The Tour

Making the transition from comedy to drama is tricky enough, but Jason Segel made it an even trickier move by starring in James Ponsoldt’s The End Of The Tour by portraying a true life icon. More than just trying to carve out an authentic dramatic performance, the star had to embody the spirit of genius author David Foster Wallace, and really it’s stunning to see him work. The entire movie really rests on his personality, as the film is almost entirely a moving back-and-forth dialogue between him and Jesse Eisenberg’s David Lipsky, and it’s impressive to watch Segel work —spitting out personal philosophies that you want to immediately jot down and refer back to in regular life. It’s one of the more unsung turns on this list, but no less worthy of celebration.

What are your favorite serious performances from actors best known for their comedic work? Hit the comments section below with all of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions!

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Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Is Warning Epileptics About Strobe Sequences

If you’re someone who suffers from epilepsy, you’ll want to be careful seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in theaters. The final chapter of both the Sequel Trilogy and the entire Skywalker Saga is a little under two weeks away from release, and media empire Disney is making sure that photosensitive viewers exercise caution when going to see the movie.

In partnership with the Epilepsy Foundation, Disney has announced that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker “contains several sequences with imagery and sustained flashing lights that may affect those with photosensitive epilepsy.” If you’re looking forward to seeing The Rise of Skywalker, but are unsure if it’ll be safe due to epilepsy concerns, the Foundation offered the following suggestions:

So if you’re willing to forgo seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on opening night or even opening weekend, it couldn’t hurt to ask someone who can see the movie early to clue you in on when these flashing light sequences occur. Otherwise, just be careful when going to see the movie so as to avoid a seizure, especially if you’re taking a little one to The Rise of Skywalker, as photosensitive epilepsy is more common in children and adolescents.

In a separate report from Variety, Disney also recommended “out of an abundance of caution” to theatrical venues that they provide this information about the strobe sequences both at the box office, online and other places attendees can easily see it. As the Epilepsy Foundation explained, “exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or certain visual patterns” can trigger seizures for approximately 3% of people with epilepsy.

This isn’t the first recent instance of a Disney movie coming with an epilepsy warning, as in last year’s Incredibles 2, the main villain, Screenslaver, hypnotized people through technology that used rapidly flashing lights. However, in that instance, the warnings were posted after Incredibles 2 came out, whereas with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Disney’s making sure the word is out early.

While Incredibles 2 was certainly a box office powerhouse, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is on another level entirely, so it’s wise that Disney is nipping this in the bud now rather than waiting after the fact. And it’s a good bet that after The Rise of Skywalker has played in theaters for a couple days, some people will post online about what sections of the movie where epileptics will want to shut their eyes.

Set one year after the events of The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will chronicle both the end of the war between The Resistance and The First Order, and the millennia-long conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Along with the majority of the Sequel Trilogy’s main cast reprising their respective roles, The Rise of Skywalker will also introduce people like Naomi Ackie’s Jannah, Richard E. Grant’s Allegiant General Pryde and Keri Russell’s Zorii Bliss, as well as bring back characters like Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian and Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. Be sure to start planning what you’ll see next year with our 2020 release schedule.

The Best Sci-Fi Movies And TV Shows On Netflix Right Now

Netflix is a premiere place for sci-fi movies and TV shows

We have no doubt that you are thankful to have Disney+’s The Mandalorian to suppress your anticipation for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Of course, given how only one episode is released per week, you’re probably still hungry for movies and TV shows of the sci-fi persuasion, and what better place to turn to than Netflix?

Among the mixed bag that the streaming service offers, a good chunk of Netflix’s best movies and TV shows, even some Netflix originals, fall under the sci-fi category. Allow us to remind you of, or help you discover for the first time, the best in UFO sightings, phaser blasts, interdimensional adventures, and more that is available to stream now.

The Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix

Robotic Ava (Alicia Vikander) ponders her humanity in Ex Machina

Ex Machina

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein asked questions regarding the boundaries of creation, particularly how far can man go before its own scientific breakthrough becomes its downfall. 28 Days Later scribe Alex Garland made his directorial debut by exploring that concept through a more modern lens with 2015’s Ex Machina.

This highly intelligent and visually enthralling story follows computer programmer Caleb (future Star Wars star Domhnall Gleason), who is selected to collaborate with his employer, Nathan (future Star Wars star Oscar Isaac), in an experiment of human interaction with his creation: a remarkably humanesque robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). With breathtaking, Oscar-winning visual effects, this powerful cautionary tale asks what could happen when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence. Stream it here.

Joaquin Phoenix enjoying his time with Scarlett Johansson's voice in Her

Her

Speaking of cautionary tales involving artificial intelligence, instead of bleak depictions of mechanical revolt, writer/director Spike Jonze offered an uncomfortable prediction of the future through rose-colored glasses. Imagine if artificial intelligence could be so personable and relatable that it practically rendered human interaction meaningless.

That is essentially the question Spike Jonze asks in Her, the 2013 sci-fi romantic comedy in which divorced love letter writer Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his virtual home assistant’s operating system, named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Not only does Jonze’s Academy Award-winning screenplay make this idea sound plausible (it’s pretty much come true already), it absolutely captivates you into believing the unlikely romance between man and machine to be earnest and genuine. Stream it here.

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz race to save their forbidden romance in The Lobster

The Lobster

If one were to perceive the aging process as a gross, dehumanizing metamorphosis, the widespread appeal of dating service might grow dramatically. Well, what if the stakes in finding romance were truly that high?

In the brilliant absurdist comedy The Lobster, Colin Farrell plays a recently divorced middle-aged man living in an unspecified dystopian time period in which being single is outlawed, forcing singletons to find a partner in just 45 days or they will be surgically transformed into the animal of their choice. Director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) proves his keen eye for hauntingly dark humor in this scathing satire on modern dating. Stream it here.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith bring out the big guns in Men In Black

Men In Black

Maybe you’re not in the mood for something so thought-provoking and just want to have a good laugh, whilst satisfying your sci-fi craving. Few films have managed to combine complex science-fiction with lowbrow, breezy humor as flawlessly as Men In Black.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1997 hit, from executive producer Steven Spielberg, saw veteran Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) showing rookie Agent J (Will Smith) the ropes in monitoring extraterrestrial activity on Earth and defending the galaxy from some unfriendly “bugs.” With creature effects that still impress more than 20 years later, this film combines buddy cop movie tropes with fun sci-fi action. Stream it here.

Chris Evans leads a mobile revolt against the rich in Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer

A failed experiment to reverse climate change turns the Earth into an uninhabitable tundra and the last of humanity has survived by boarding the titular self-sustaining bullet train. Seventeen years later, in 2031, the passengers of Snowpiercer have developed a class system in which privilege increases by railcar, and the citizens of the caboose are setting their sites on the top.

Chris Evans, a far cry from Captain America, leads a colorful cast (also including John Hurt and Tilda Swinton) and the revolt against the train’s 1%, taking you on a journey through its bizarre world one car at a time. Future Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 dystopian dazzler is a thing of beauty that makes Mad Max look brighter by its mentally scarring violence and brutally poignant social commentary that will have you gripping tightly for the whole ride. Stream it here.

The Best Sci-Fi TV Shows On Netflix

Joel Kinnaman on Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon

One of the more unique and intriguing crossbreeds in genre is the fusion of sci-fi themes with the tone of film noir, such as Blade Runner or Looper. The Netflix original series Altered Carbon tried its hand at futuristic detective fiction in 2018.

Set in a time period in which consciousness can be transferred into digital files, Altered Carbon stars Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, a specially trained soldier uploaded into a new body and given the task of solving his own murder. It is unconfirmed when, but the series is set to return for a second season with Avengers’ Anthony Mackie as Kovacs’ new body. Stream it here.

Jodie Whittaker relives her digital memories in Black Mirror

Black Mirror

It almost seems out of place to include Charlie Brooker’s anthology series on a list of TV shows under the sci-fi category. The stories and concepts of Black Mirror feel too real to deservingly be considered “fiction.”

Originally debuting on the U.K.’s Channel 4 before becoming a Netflix exclusive, Black Mirror is five seasons of technophobic nightmares (including a bleak Christmas special and interactive movie) imagining an often cynical interpretation of the not-too-distant future. The title itself is a double-meaning, referring to both our own dark reflections in the empty screens of our daily devices and the dark reflections of our own increasingly tech-dependent lives. Stream it here.

Jonah Ray hosts Netflix's revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Sometimes there is nothing better than putting on a widely panned sci-fi movie for the sole purpose of laughing at its aggressive mediocrity. Such is the basis of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K), the cult favorite TV show sees a rotation of hosts trapped on a space station and forced to watch some of cinema’s most glorious missteps with his robot friends, who indulge in hilariously sarcastic comments aimed at the film of the week.

MST3K went through various distributors (and even spawned a theatrical movie in 1996) between 1988 and 1999 until its much celebrated 2017 revival on Netflix with host Jonah Ray. Both seasons of Netflix’s new Mystery Science Theater 3000 and 10 episodes of the series’ original run are available to stream on Netflix. Stream it here.

The young stars of Netflix's Stranger Things

Stranger Things

After The Duffer Brothers lost their chance to direct Warner Bros’ revival of It, they decided to develop their own Stephen King story. Combining the horror novelist’s themes with the tone of a Steven Spielberg sci-fi adventure gave birth to Netflix’s blockbuster original series, Stranger Things.

Quickly after its debut, every TV show wanted to be as big as this recreation of ‘80s cinema broken into multiple hour-long chapters that follow ordinary people of a small Indiana town taking on extraordinary situations. With fans eagerly awaiting the fourth (and potentially final) season, Stranger Things’ cultural impact remains stronger than Millie Bobby Brown’s telepathic Eleven in a sensory deprivation chamber. Stream it here.

Rod Serling, the creator and host of The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

Once you’ve finished your binge of Netflix’s popular sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, why not check out the series that responsible for its existence. Enter a dimension of sight, sound, and mind and experience the peak of man’s imagination in The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling’s endurable collection of fascinating fantasy tales ran on CBS from 1959-1964, but its legacy has yet to end, having inspired one 1983 film, three TV revivals (most recently from Jordan Peele), and countless other works of mind bending sci-fi on both the big and small screen. Four of the original five seasons are available on Netflix for you to relive the terrifying, captivating, and inspiring world of The Twilight Zone. Stream it here.

As one can see, Netflix has more than enough TV shows and movies to soothe the savage sci-fi fan. Choose wisely on your streaming escapade and may the wi-fi signal be with you.

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Birds Of Prey Is Taking Inspiration From A Number Of Amazing Films

Cathy Yan’s Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) is aiming to come together unlike any comic book movie you’ve ever seen. Because the driving perspective of the film belongs to a spunky psychopath, reality is portrayed with a special distortion that only the mind of Harley Quinn can provide. It should make for a unique cinematic experience when the feature arrives in theaters in a couple months, and part of that will be because of the way in which the production drew from an eclectic assembly of inspirations.

Even when working to craft something wholly original it makes sense to take lessons from the greats, and that’s precisely what director Cathy Yan, writer Christina Hodson, and star/producer Margot Robbie aimed for in the making of Birds of Prey. Yan and Robbie both explained as much earlier this year when members of the press were invited to the set of the film while it was still in production.

Going back to the movie operating with an unreliable narrator, evidence suggests that Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) won’t be delivering a totally straight-forward narrative, and in that venture Cathy Yan looked to some of the best non-linear films ever made: Quentin Tarantino’s scrambled anthology Pulp Fiction, and Akira Kurosawa’s perspective-shifting Rashomon. The director explained,

Continuing the trend of discussing crime movies, both Cathy Yan and Margot Robbie also namechecked a particular film that is specifically influencing one of Birds of Prey’s key relationships. A significant part of the narrative finds the seriously irresponsible Harley Quinn trying to protect young Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from the evil forces at the disposal of crime kingpin Roman Sionis a.k.a. Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), and cinephiles will hopefully note that their bond has a bond similar to the one between Jean Reno’s Leon and Natalie Portman’s Mathilda in Luc Besson’s classic Leon: The Professional.

Based on our interviews, this came about because of a discussion that Margot Robbie had with Christina Hodson during the development of the script, and became a part of the work when they discovered their shared appreciation for the film. Said the actress/producer,

Clearly Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) looked to some fantastic works when determining the best way to structure the film’s story, but Cathy Yan noted that outside influence didn’t stop there. Again, because of the perspective of the story, this is going to be a Gotham City unlike any we’ve ever seen before on the big screen, and part of that comes from particular cinematic inspiration.

Discussing the special aesthetic Birds of Prey is playing with, the director highlighted the work done with production designer K.K. Barrett in the creation of the Black Mask Club, owned and operated by Roman Sionis. For that particular interior, Yan had Stanley Kubrick’s legendary A Clockwork Orange in mind – specifically the Korova Milk Bar that is featured throughout the movie:

Co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ewan McGregor, Chris Messina, and Ella Jay Basco, the film will be arriving in theaters on February 7, 2020, and keep checking in here on CinemaBlend for all the latest updates about the movie between now and then.

The Matrix 4 Just Added A Frozen II Star

The Matrix franchise is quintessential late ’90s early ’00s, and broke new ground as far as movie visuals go. The sci-fi property will return to theaters with the untitled Matrix 4, with Lana Wachowski returning to the director’s chair to continue the story. Wachowski has been assembling a cast for the upcoming sequel, with newcomers joining familiar faces Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. And another name has been added to that cast list, Frozen‘s Jonathan Groff.

Jonathan Groff has had a great career on the stage and screen, but landing a part in The Matrix will no doubt help him become a household name. Groff is perhaps best known for voicing the role of Kristoff in the Frozen franchise, as well as his leading role in Netflix’s Mindhunter. But his next movie project will bring him into an apocalyptic future, and one of the most iconic sci-fi franchises of all time.

Exactly what role Jonathan Groff has remains a mystery according Collider‘s report. And that will probably continue until the upcoming blockbuster wraps production. But he joins a stellar cast of fellow newcomers and returning cast members. Other new faces include Neil Patrick Harris, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Iron Fist‘s Jessica Henwick. Jada Pinkett Smith is also reportedly reprising her role as Niobe.

Jonathan Groff’s career started on Broadway, with theater roles continuing as he got film work. Groff was in the original cast of Spring Awakening and Hamilton, receiving a Tony nomination for each. After appearing in a handful of Glee episodes, Groff got his first starring TV role in HBO’s Looking. And in addition to voicing Kristoff in Frozen, he went on to play the lead in Mindhunter for Netflix.

It should be interesting to see what Lana Wachowski has in store for the Matrix franchise with the fourth movie. Wachowski has continued to push boundaries as a filmmaker, recently helming the massive ambitious Netflix series Sense8, and its finale movie. While that show was one of the first to be cancelled by the streaming service, she grappled with some complex stories that should hopefully aid her creative process with The Matrix 4.

As Lana Wachowski continues to assemble the cast of the fourth Matrix movie, I have to wonder if any of the cluster from Sense8 will get a call. She worked heavily with that group across multiple countries during filming, so it would stand to reason if she wanted to further collaborate. But we’ll just have to wait and see as the cast list continues growing.

Details about The Matrix 4 are slim, but the movie will reportedly feature younger version of the franchise’s heroes. Lana Wachowski and the Matrix franchise have been known for wild and unexpected plot twists, so seemingly anything can happen with the highly anticipated fourth entry.

The Matrix 4 is currently expected to arrive in theaters in 2022. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

13 Adam Driver Movies Worth Streaming, Including Netflix’s Marriage Story (But Not Star Wars)

Adam Driver in Silence Frances Ha Tracks

I love Star Wars too, but there’s much more to Adam Driver than Kylo Ren. Driver is returning for the final film in the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opens December 20. It’s a huge deal. But most of the time, Driver stars in smaller films, like Marriage Story, which is now breaking hearts on Netflix and may end up giving him his second Oscar nomination.

Adam Driver was in the Marines before turning to acting, finding fame in his breakout role on HBO’s Girls. He still tends to get the lead in indies and strong supporting roles in major films. (And he slays on SNL.)

Even though Adam Driver has only been in the industry for a decade, he has an impressive filmography — really, you should stream all of his movies. But time requires we make choices, so here are 13 Adam Driver movies I recommend you stream in this exciting time for the 36-year-old actor.

Adam Driver in J Edgar

J. Edgar

I’m starting with this 2011 Clint Eastwood movie because it marks Adam Driver’s feature film debut. Leonardo DiCaprio has the starring role as J. Edgar Hoover but the movie includes a subplot about the real-life Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Driver plays Walter Lyle, based on the real gasoline attendant who was given a questionable bill from a man later identified as Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted in the kidnapping. It’s a small role but in a very high profile prestigious film and put Adam Driver on the cinematic map. You can stream J. Edgar on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, or Google Play to rent starting from about $3.

Frances Ha

His Noah Baumbach Movies 

Adam Driver has been in four of director Noah Baumbach’s movies so far, and it’s clearly been a very successful partnership. He started in 2013 with the black-and-white indie dramedy Frances Ha, playing Lev Shapiro opposite star/co-writer Greta Gerwig as the titular Frances Halladay. Driver returned to work with Baumbach in 2014’s While We’re Young, which stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts. In 2017, Adam Driver had a supporting role in The Meyerowitz Stories. And now we have Marriage Story, with Driver in the co-lead role of Charlie Barber opposite Scarlett Johansson as Nicole Barber. Their performances in the raw divorce drama have earned them rave reviews. You can stream Frances Ha, While We’re Young, The Meyerowitz Stories, and Marriage Story now on Netflix.

Lincoln movie

Lincoln  

As with J. Edgar, in Lincoln, Adam Driver got to play a real-life figure in a major movie from a major director. In Steven Spielberg’s 2012 movie, Driver played telegraph operator Captain Samuel Beckwith. He was “Grant’s Shadow” for Ulysses S. Grant in real life, but he’s Lincoln’s telegraph operator in the Spielberg movie. Once again, Driver got to play a small but important role in a historical movie, working with the greats like Daniel Day-Lewis. You can stream Lincoln now on Netflix.

Hungry Hearts movie

Hungry Hearts 

Five years before Marriage Story, Adam Driver co-starred in a very different relationship drama in Hungry Hearts. Driver plays Jude opposite Alba Rohrwacher as Mina in a movie that starts with their awkward meeting in the bathroom and becomes a dark drama with some harrowing commentary on motherhood. Driver and Rohrwacher both won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor and Actress at the Venice Film Festival for their performances in this movie. You can stream Hungry Hearts now with a Hulu subscription or rent it for about $4 from Amazon, iTunes, and the usual streaming suspects.

Adam Driver in Paterson

His Jim Jarmusch Movies 

Adam Driver and writer/director Jim Jarmusch were pretty much made for each other. So far, they’ve only made two movies together, but since they are Jarmusch’s two most recent films, there’s no saying what could be next. Their collaboration started with the 2016 drama Paterson, starring Adam Driver in the title role, which covered one week in the life of a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey. Driver and Jarmusch returned for the horror-comedy The Dead Don’t Die, which just came out earlier in 2019. This time, Driver co-stars with Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, and plenty of other crazy cats. You can stream both Paterson and The Dead Don’t Die to rent or buy on Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, etc.

Adam Driver in Midnight Special

Midnight Special 

I can’t say enough about this movie. I assume you’ve already seen it, but if you haven’t seen it since it came out in 2016, it’s worth watching again. Adam Driver doesn’t have the lead role in the sci-fi film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. He’s lower on the call sheet behind Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, and Kirsten Dunst. But his relatively small role as NSA communications analyst Paul Sevier is still important and just a bonus in this slow-burn supernatural thriller. Also, may I put in a request for Adam Driver and Michael Shannon to make more movies together? Thanks in advance. Stream Midnight Special on Cinemax’s Max Go or to rent/buy at Amazon, etc.

BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman 

Adam Driver earned his first Oscar nomination for playing Detective Flip Zimmerman, opposite John David Washington’s Detective Ron Stallworth, in Spike Lee’s 2018 movie about infiltrating the local Ku Klux Klan. The movie had six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Director — which was actually a first somehow for Spike Lee. Driver’s nomination was for Best Supporting Actor. He didn’t win, but he has another chance for a nod or win with Marriage Story. Stream BlacKkKlansman on Amazon, Vudu, etc. to buy starting around $7.

Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis 

Before they were both cast in the new Star Wars trilogies, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac both starred in this 2013 dramedy from the Coen Brothers. Oscar Isaac has the lead titular role, with Driver in the smaller role of Al Cody. But I mean, look — he gets to wear a cowboy hat and perform with Justin Timberlake! That’s how you know you’ve arrived. You can stream Inside Llewyn Davis for rent at Amazon, Vudu, etc.

Adam Driver in The Report

The Report 

In this new drama, which just released in late November 2019 on Amazon Prime, Adam Driver once again plays a key historical figure. Here, he’s Daniel J. Jones, the Senate staffer who led the investigation into the CIA’s use of torture after the September 11 attacks. The star-studded movie is led by Driver but also features Annette Bening, Maura Tierney, Jon Hamm, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, and Corey Stoll. The Report had a limited theatrical release before arriving on Amazon Prime Video, where you can and should stream it now.

Daniel Craig and Adam Driver in Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky 

Daniel Craig is the one who steals scenes in Logan Lucky, but Adam Driver co-leads with Channing Tatum as brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan. Driver is bar owner Clyde, who lost the lower part of one arm while serving in Iraq. Director Steven Soderbergh’s heist comedy got great reviews, and fans seemed to like it too, although it didn’t make much at the box office. Logan Lucky isn’t on Netflix at the moment, but you can rent it through Amazon, Yoube, Google Play, or Vudu.

Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver in Tracks movie

Tracks 

Tracks is such a special movie — a spare Australian indie drama following Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson to chronicle her nine-month journey across the Aussie desert by camel. Adam Driver plays Rick Smolan, the National Geographic photographer who accompanied her on the journey from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. Wasikowska was nominated for several awards for her performance and Mandy Walker was honored for the sweeping cinematography. Stream Tracks for about $4 on Amazon, iTunes, or Vudu.

Daniel Radcliffe Adam Driver The F Word What If

The F Word (or What If?) 

“I just had sex. I’m about to each NACHOS. It’s the greatest moment of my life!” Yes, that is a line from Kylo Ren to Harry Potter — or Adam Driver to Daniel Radcliff, who play best friends in this 2013 romantic comedy co-starring Zoe Kazan. Driver has shown he can do both comedy and drama with ease, but I do wish he did even more comedy. His delivery is perfect. This movie is called The F Word in some places and What If? in others, which can make it difficult to track down. But it’s available to stream for about $3 to Amazon or iTunes, Vudu, etc.

Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield in Silence

Silence 

It seems like every movie The Irishman‘s Martin Scorsese makes is described as a “passion project,” but that’s certainly the case for Silence. The 2016 historical drama — based on the 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo — made almost no money and was apparently brutal to film for stars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield. Garfield told Stephen Colbert he and Driver both felt emaciated preparing for their roles as two 17th-century Jesuit priests who traveled to Japan to find their missing mentor. Apparently Driver lost 50 pounds for the role. I can’t imagine where he found 50 pounds on his frame to lose! Anyway, you can stream the 2-hour 41-minute movie for rent on Amazon and the usual streaming places.

If you’re looking for other recommendations, I post streaming suggestions every Monday and you can check out these past features:

What is your favorite performance from Adam Driver so far?

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Wonder Woman 1984’s Patty Jenkins May Be Working On A Spinoff

Yesterday the first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 dropped, giving us our first taste of what to expect from Diana of Themyscira’s next solo adventure. But even with the sequel still six months away from release, director Patty Jenkins is already looking ahead to not just the superheroine’s future, but also her entire mythology. Because as it turns out, Jenkins is mulling over making a spinoff about the Amazons.

We already knew that Wonder Woman 3 was in the works, but Patty Jenkins also revealed that there’s a story “on the table” for the denizens of Themyscira too. Speaking about both the Wonder Woman threequel and this Amazons project, Jenkins said:

Patty Jenkins addressed the possibility of an Amazons spinoff with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the Wonder Woman 1984 panel at CCPX yesterday. Judging by the above comment, it sounds like this particular project isn’t cemented just yet, but Jenkins and Gal Gadot have given it a lot of thought. Should it move forward though, if Jenkins is willing to wait a little longer to deliver Wonder Woman 3 compared to the turnaround time on Wonder Woman 1984, it sounds like the Amazons spinoff could be a long ways off from becoming a reality.

It’s possible that Patty Jenkins and the Warner Bros executives want to wait and see how Wonder Woman 1984 performs before making a decision about this Amazons spinoff. If the sequel is successful, that obviously bodes well for Wonder Woman 3 moving forward, but it might also be enough to push the Amazons off on their own, separate narrative path. If that happens, then the question becomes which Amazon(s) would the spinoff focus on?

We got our first cinematic taste of the Amazons in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie when we watched Diana’s upbringing on Themyscira, particularly under her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her aunt, Antiope. When the German soldiers following Steve Trevor invaded the island, the Amazons made quick work of them, although Antiope died during the skirmish. Diana then decided to accompany Steve back to the outside world to kill Ares so that World War I ended, and as far as we know, she hasn’t been back home since.

Hippolyta and the Amazons briefly returned in Justice League to fight off Steppenwolf’s forces and prevent the Apokoliptan general from stealing the Mother Box that they’d protected for millennia, but they were unsuccessful. Obviously Wonder Woman 1984 takes place in between the events of Wonder Woman and Justice League, and the trailer indicated we’ll get flashbacks to Diana’s childhood on Themyscira. Whether the Amazons will factor into the main storyline remains to be seen.

Wonder Woman wouldn’t be the only superhero to get a spinoff movie. Aquaman is also getting such treatment with The Trench, which will spotlight the monstrous creatures Arthur Curry and Mera had to tangle with in one of the Aquaman movie’s most memorable sequences. And while he was only indirectly referenced in Shazam!, Black Adam, one of the World’s Mightest Mortal’s greatest adversaries, will snag the cinematic spotlight in late 2021.

For now, you can look forward to Wonder Woman 1984 opening in theaters on June 5, 2020. Don’t forget to look through our DC movies guide to learn what else this superhero franchise has coming down the pipeline.