Why “It” Is Masterfully Terrifying

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The movie adaptation of Stephen King’s famous horror novel “It” is just about as terrifying as it gets for a Hollywood film. Just when you thought you had gotten over your fear of clowns and put to rest your old childhood traumas, “It” digs them back up and makes you confront your deepest fears. There are several reasons why “It” is so terrifying for both children and adults.

“It” turns the icons of childhood into elements of horror

First and most importantly, the film’s director Andrés Muschietti – following the lead of Stephen King – works to subvert the traditional view of childhood as a time of innocence and purity. Childhood, in short, is no longer a time when we can innocently make paper boats and float them in the water, or laugh along with clowns at birthday parties. Take, for example, the scene of little 6-year-old Georgie, a sweet child walking out in the rain who stumbles upon the predator clown in the most innocent of ways – his paper boat floats into the sewer system where the monster is lurking.

In “It,” the monster is Pennywise the Clown, and that’s what is so terrifying. We can no longer trust anyone or anything – the simple red balloon floating in the air could be a toy, or it could be what lures you to your grisly death. Remember, King’s novel of the same name was published nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, the clown-as-monster trope has entered the cultural mainstream, and nobody is shocked anymore when we hear stories of a child predator lurking in the woods, dressed as a clown.

“It” gives us images that are reminiscent of hallucinatory nightmares

The primary attribute of Pennywise the Clown (played by Bill Skarsgard) is that it can shape-shift and assume whatever form is most frightening to its victim. Thus, we see some graphic and hallucinatory images that seem ripped from our nightmares – human-like forms with spider limbs, deformed heads, and just about anything that will scare the wits out of you.

The one scene that everyone is talking about, of course, involves the long fun-house scene at 29 Neibolt Street. This is a haunted house of horrors beyond your wildest imagination. While some of the images and accompanying frights (and especially the creepy music!) may now be “horror film classics,” they are terrifying nonetheless.

“It” is really a story of innocent children vs. evil adults

What makes the film so terrifying from start to finish is how it creates a milieu in which children are good and adults are evil. Parents and adults, when they do appear in the film, do so only sparingly. And they are typically cruel, manipulative and downright immoral (such as the lecherous father who seems intent on corrupting his own daughter). The story that we learn in the film is that the parents know about the horror that has haunted the town for decades, but have done nothing about it. They have covered it up, and have not confronted it.

In contrast, it is the “Loser’s Club” led by Bill Denbrough (played by Jaeden Lieberher) who must take on the horror. They must travel through the town’s sewer system to find the evil lurking beneath. And it is they who must do so without the help of their parents. As Stephen King famously pointed out in the novel: “Adults are the real monsters.” The trailer for the film makes that point loud and clear – the most terrifying aspect of childhood is realizing that parents cannot protect you from the outside world.

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“It” equates childhood traumas with monsters

In many ways, “It” is a coming-of-age story, as it tells the story of the various kids in the town of Derry, Maine. The focal point, of course, is the “Losers’ Club” – a group of kids dealing with their own unique form of trauma. In many ways, they are stereotypes – the lonesome loser who hides in the library, the promiscuous girl who’s dealing with potential sexual abuse, the nerdy hypochondriac, and the shy new kid. And then, of course, there are all the psychotic bullies who make our lives difficult as children. All of these are childhood traumas that we largely outgrow.

The genius of Andrés Muschietti’s movie adaptation is that he equates confronting these childhood traumas with confronting the town monster. As the popular saying goes, you must learn to confront your own personal demons. And those demons can be harder to confront than a real, physical being because they live in your heads. In short, “It” messes with your mind. And that is what makes the evil clown figure so powerful – it is able to adapt its shape to match your inner demons. There is no escape because the scariest monsters are those that we cannot see.

“It” is part of the Stephen King horror milieu

All of the action in “It” takes place in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. This town has been a mainstay location in other Stephen King works – such as “Insomnia,” “Dreamcatcher,” “Fair Extension,” “Bag of Bones” and even some of the “Dark Tower” works. Thus, we as the viewer subconsciously recognize this location, making the geography of terror ever more real.

In short, the movie does not have to work as hard to convince us that a demonic and evil force resides in this town – we know it, as if from memory. “It” dredges up all the collective fears and terrors that we have from other Stephen King works and places them in our subconscious mind, rendering us more vulnerable to the terrors of Pennywise the Clown.

“It” makes us realize what a master of horror Stephen King is

Even if you’re not a huge Stephen King fan, it’s hard not to be impressed by his vast legacy of horror. The same novels that he wrote 30 years ago, when many of us were no older than the kids in this movie, are now turning into nightmarish films right before our eyes. Consider that “Dark Tower” also hit movie screens this summer, uniting the various strands of the Stephen King horror multi-verse.

What’s interesting about “It” the movie is that it transforms the fictional milieu of the book (the idyllic 1950s) into the 1980s. This was a time that many of us thought was the best of times, a time for childhood delights. But King is going to terrify us even now as adults, dredging up all those painful memories and traumas from a generation ago, and in a way so authentic that it is just downright terrifying.

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What To Expect From “American Horror Story: Cult”

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The clues have been coming fast and furious for the upcoming 7th season of the horror anthology TV series “American Horror Story,” which premiered on Tuesday, September 5, on FX.

While there will be a number of returning characters from past seasons – including Ally Mayfair-Richards (played by Sarah Paulson), Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) and Dr. Rudy Vincent (played by Cheyenne Jackson), there will also be a number of interesting new twists and turns, as well as new talent (Billie Lourd, Alison Pill, Lena Dunham). Here’s what to expect from “American Horror Story: Cult.”

#1: “American Horror Story: Cult” will be based on the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election

While FX has not released the exact plot lines and narratives of Season 7, we’ve received a number of tantalizing clues from the trailer as well as from the show’s director and co-creator, Ryan Murphy.

Here’s what we know: the action in Episode 1 will start on election night 2016 and all of the action will take place in Michigan. From the trailer, we see two very different reactions to the results of the election: Ally appears to be horrified while Kai appears to be exultant. (In fact, Kai lets out a roar of approval and then proceeds to mimic having sex with the television in front of him!)

As Murphy has pointed out, the fallout from the 2016 presidential election is a “horror show” with a “horrifying aftermath.” While he has said that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump will appear on screen during the show, Season 7 is clearly intended to be an “allegory” of what could happen – or what might already be happening – in much of America. As such, one person close to “American Horror Story” has said that Season 7 will be the “first full season of narrative television conceived, developed and written in response to the November election.”

#2: “American Horror Story: Cult” will focus on cults, not the occult

There’s another important point to keep in mind about the upcoming season of FX’s “American Horror Story” – it will not feature supernatural elements, as in past seasons. Instead, the focus will be on cults, and what happens when people feel very afraid and vulnerable.

From what we know, Kai Anderson (played by Evan Peters) is going to be a cult leader. The real reason why he’s so excited about a Trump win is because it frees him to run a cult where he can recruit very vulnerable people. In fact, there’s a line in the trailer that’s actually a bit alarming, “If you get people scared enough, it will set the world on fire.”

And we get another clue from the names of the episodes that have been released. If you look at Episode 7, it will be called “Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins, Scum Bag.” That episode will feature Andy Warhol, the cult around the Factory in New York City, and the events that led to Valerie Solanas shooting Warhol for not including her in his cult of personality. Director Ryan Murphy has already cast Lena Dunham for the role of Valerie Solanas, and has said that the episode will focus on “female rage” and what feelings people have when they are not accepted into cults.

#3: Get ready for Twisty the Clown and other regulars in “American Horror Story”

We’ve been getting a lot of clues from the team at FX that evil clowns – including Twisty the Clown from Season 4 (“American Horror Story: Freak Show”) – will make their way back into Season 7. And Director Ryan Murphy has also suggested that a number of other characters from previous seasons – including Bloody Face, Rubber Man and Piggy Man – will also appear in Season 7.

In fact, it’s all a bit creepy. Who’s not afraid of evil clowns? And judging from the trailer, these evil clowns and other characters start to become part of different phobias taking over the town in Michigan. In the trailer, we hear someone say, “It has just been getting so much worse” since the election, and it’s unclear what exactly this references – but it could be that the clowns are somehow connected to the cult of personality that Kai is trying to create.

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#4: The link between “American Horror Story” and the 1976 film “Network”

What’s really fascinating about Season 7 is how it seems to be much more of a statement on American society than previous episodes. You can interpret “American Horror Story” to be a metaphor for the broader swath of American society that has fallen under the misguided ideas of President Donald Trump – the people marching in Charlottesville, for example.

And that’s a point that Ryan Murphy makes – he says that much of the action in Season 7 was actually inspired by the 1976 film “Network,” which was a media satire. That film, says Murphy, helps to explain much of what we are seeing today.

#5: Plenty of evil plot twists involving children and bad neighbors from hell

One of the questions that we hear in the trailer for Season 7 is, “What fills your heart with dread?” The answer is both confusing and chilling: “Children.” And then the next scene is of an evil nanny or babysitter doing bad things to children. Yikes!

But again, it’s unclear for now how the phobias, the clowns, and the cults are related. We do have some clues from the episode titles, though. For example, Episode 2 is called “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” and Episode 3 is called “Neighbors From Hell.”

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There’s a good chance that, if “American Horror Story: Cult” is a rousing success this fall, it will lead to an entirely new type of genre on TV: the political horror film. Who needs the supernatural and occult to scare you when you have the politicians in Washington, DC?

And this is something that Season 7 intends to use with great effect – there’s even a rumored plot line involving Kai running for a city council spot and then dreaming even bigger – a shot at the U.S. Senate. At which point, you’re probably thinking about Kid Rock and his recently announced U.S. Senate bid from the state of – you guessed it – Michigan (where “American Horror Story” takes place). These are scary times.

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Does the All-Star Cast of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” Deliver?

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The first thing you need to know about the summer blockbuster “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is that it boasts an all-star cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek and Gary Oldman. And this is an all-star cast that really delivers for several big reasons.

#1: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” brings back the buddy action comedy

Remember back in the 1980s and 1990s when all the big Hollywood studios were cranking out buddy action comedies? The whole premise of those films was the “odd couple” or the “mismatched couple” that was forced to solve a problem together despite their seemingly irreconcilable differences. Everything else that happened – the car chases, the explosions and the stunts – was secondary to the banter and chemistry between the two stars.

Those types of films seem to have disappeared from the cinema in recent years (unless you count films like “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Central Intelligence”), and that’s why “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” seems so fresh. This is the classic, all-time “odd couple” – you have the straight-laced Ryan Reynolds who plays a “triple A security executive” (i.e. a bodyguard) and then you have the foul-mouthed assassin Darius Kincaid played by Samuel L. Jackson.

It’s the constant banter and wit between those two members of the all-star cast that should get all the attention. For example, one of the ongoing jokes of the movie is how Darius Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds’ character (Michael Bryce) 28 times. And there’s a big in-joke involving Samuel L. Jackson’s role in “Pulp Fiction.”

Despite all the car chases, explosions and violence in the movie, it’s the moments of humor between these two that has attracted the attention of moviegoers. In one scene, for example, Samuel L. Jackson is doing a sing-along with a group of Italian nuns in a cramped bus as Ryan Reynolds looks on incredulously. And there’s another hilarious scene where Ryan Reynolds sings a falsetto version of Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign.”

It’s clear that the Hollywood marketing behind this film is designed to get moviegoers in the mood to see this odd couple. There’s one movie poster where Ryan Reynolds is carrying Samuel L. Jackson around in his arms, clearly looking like that’s about the last thing in the world he’d like to be doing.

#2: Salma Hayek steals every scene she’s in “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”

Speaking of the all-star cast, you can’t forget about Salma Hayek, right? She’s always sultry and sexy, but here she really out-does herself. She plays Sonia Kincaid, the incarcerated wife of Darius Kincaid. Some critics have called her a “potty-mouthed Latina” for her role in this film, and that’s pretty accurate: she’s one woman you wouldn’t want to mess with and she’s not afraid to drop a few expletives here and there.

But she’s clearly playing more than just a stereotype here. There’s a lot of humor in her role, such as her desire to do yoga while behind prison bars. Every yoga scene she’s in is really top-notch.

And then there’s a funny flashback scene where we learn how Darius and Sonia fell in love – he’s such a badass assassin, and it turns out that the thing that really turned him on to her was her unflinching ability to take on a room of bad guys. During the scene, music from Lionel Richie’s “Hello” plays, so you can get an immediate sense of what kind of twisted humor the show’s director, Patrick Hughes, has in mind.

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#3: Gary Oldman really delivers as an evil East European dictator

The whole premise of the movie is that there’s a dictator of Belarus, Vladislav Dukhovich, who is having everyone murdered who dares to testify against him in a human rights case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the Netherlands. And so Gary Oldman, who plays the role of Dukhovich, has to pull off his very best “bad guy” routine to make the whole movie work. And boy does he deliver!

At first, you might not even recognize that it’s Gary Oldman. But he is able to convince everyone that he’s capable of getting to anyone in the world – even Darius Kincaid, who is being protected by the bodyguard Michael Bryce. Special props to Gary Oldman for pulling off his Slavic accent. Some critics have noted that it sounds a lot like his Russian accent in “Air Force One” – and if you’ve ever seen that movie, you’ll realize how much Gary Oldman really delivers on his role here.

#4: The real acting surprise of “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is Élodie Yung

Once we meet the love interest of Samuel L. Jackson in the movie, Salma Hayek, then you know that, sooner or later, we’ll meet the love interest of Ryan Reynolds. In this case, it’s the remarkable French actress Élodie Yung (best known for her role in “Daredevil”), who plays the French-English Interpol agent Amelia Roussel. It turns out that Michael Bryce and Roussel had a romantic relationship in the past, but then things went wrong. Bryce even harbors the suspicion the Roussel might have been responsible for his fall from grace as one of the most sought-after bodyguards in the world.

#5: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” is more than a live-action cartoon

Some critics have complained about all the bodies that seem to pile up, one after another in the movie. And yes, there are plenty of explosions, gunfights and violence that rapidly increase the body count within the film. However, here’s the thing – the characters of Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds keep this film from being just a live-action cartoon.

At one point in the movie, Darius Kincaid asks Michael Bryce to reconsider his sense of good and evil, his notion of right and wrong, and to consider what makes a “righteous” profession. In short, is it better to have a career killing evildoers (as Darius does, as an assassin), or is it better to have a career protecting the people who commit acts of evil (as Bryce often does, as a bodyguard-for-hire)? That question is not always an easy one to answer, which is why this film may have a few additional layers to unpeel before you can dismiss it as just another summer blockbuster.

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” has been a welcome summer surprise – it’s an action comedy filled with an all-star cast that really delivers. Moviegoers will love the non-stop banter and chemistry between Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds, as well as appreciate the great acting roles of Salma Hayek, Gary Oldman and Élodie Yung.

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Why “A Ghost Story” Will Haunt You

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A Ghost Story” is a story about ghosts, but everything about this small art house film is designed to challenge your views about the supernatural. The film is haunting and intense, but is not designed to be “scary” in the conventional sense. But as you begin to consider the implications of what filmmaker David Lowery shows you on screen, you may begin challenging everything you thought you knew about the afterlife and the linear march of time. Here are all the reasons why “A Ghost Story” will haunt you.

#1: “A Ghost Story” uses unconventional storytelling techniques

If you think about most horror movies, they are designed to shock and frighten you, usually with scenes of gore or some other spectacle. “A Ghost Story,” by contrast, does not rely on any CGI special effects. Any special effects, such as they are, are quite minimal.

In fact, it’s arguable that the only real special effect in the movie is Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck wearing a white bed sheet – the kind you might wear for Halloween – over his head for much of the movie. He is largely mute, using only his movements and gestures to signify what he is feeling.

Director David Lowery purposely lingers on scenes for far longer than feels comfortable. For example, after the loss of her husband (known only as “C”), the wife (known only as “M), played by Rooney Mara, eats a pie in near-total silence for four whole minutes. Moreover, Lowery often shoots at a distance, and that helps to create a certain type of relationship between the viewer and the people on screen.

To top it off, he uses a square aspect ratio, giving us the sensation that we are viewing the action through some kind of keyhole. This is immediately disturbing – it’s almost as if we are voyeuristically involved in studying how a woman is dealing with the death of her husband. All of the action largely takes place in just a single house, forcing us to focus on what is happening right in front of us.

It’s really the case that there is no final spectacle, no final grisly moment when we come face-to-face with the occult. Instead, we are shown the passage of time, and the ghost staying anchored to his spot, seemingly immobilized by his own grief. With each new tenant in the house that C and M once occupied, the ghost remains fixed in place. In fact, that’s literally the case – the ghost almost seems to be anchored in place.

#2: “A Ghost Story” is a ghost story as well as a haunting love story

With most love stories – even tragic ones – the audience knows much about the characters. We know why they fell in love, we know a history of their romance, and we most certainly know their names. But this film is very different – it is a love story, as the ghost waits patiently for generations to pass so that he can be reunited with his former wife. He almost seems stuck in a purgatorial way station, waiting for events to play out.

But here’s the thing – we don’t know the names of the characters. In the credits, they are known only as C (for Casey Affleck) and M (for Rooney Mara). We don’t know much about their previous life – or even if they were married. They are generic couples, and that’s what makes the film so supremely haunting – this is a story about C and M, but it is also a story of us. C and M could be any couple caught up in tragedy.

David Lowery has said that he was moved to make this film on a very limited budget ($100,000) after an argument with his wife. They had argued about mortality, about the life of the soul, and how certain places and spots in time are preserved over time. Moving from a house, he seems to be saying, means leaving these shared moments. He also seems to be making the case that emotions such as love and loss live on long after the body is gone.

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#3: “A Ghost Story” is a supernatural story of space and time

You could make the case that the real heroes of this movie are not the characters, but rather, the house itself. It is the house where the ghost lingers on for decades. And, as we see with each new generation of tenant (such as a single mom with two kids), there is something to human life that is very short, fleeting and transient.

At one point in this movie, a bohemian intellectual rambles on about the doomed efforts of humanity to leave lasting evidence of its life on Earth. But, alas, that permanence is not to be found. Instead, the best we can hope for, the film seems to be saying, is that we’ll linger on in some odd half-state between the physical world and the spiritual world. It is not heaven, and it is not hell. It is not even purgatory. It is a lost moment, and that is all.

By the end of the film, certain scenes start to make sense. We realize that things that go “bump in the night” do so for a reason.  In one scene, for example, the ghost gets visibly upset when his former wife begins to get romantically involved with someone else.

There are so many different ways to interpret “A Ghost Story,” and nearly every moviegoer will leave the film with a different view of what just happened. The film, undoubtedly, will polarize audiences. There will be some who love it, because it is so unique, new and moving. And there will be others who hate it, viewing it as being too precious and too affecting, and not nearly “scary” enough.

But one thing is clear – it is impossible to watch the film and not be deeply affected. The film is disturbingly intense, with the ability to transform slow motion takes of grief and sadness into moments that will touch your soul. “A Ghost Story” will haunt you, and you will want to discuss why with your friends and family.

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Charlize Theron Kicks Ass in “Atomic Blonde”

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Charlize Theron is the super-sexy, super-talented female spy that movie audiences have always wanted. In every scene in which she appears in “Atomic Blonde,” she dominates the action – whether she’s fighting off groups of bad guys with a dazzling array of action moves or slinking around in some impossibly sexy outfits. In short, Charlize Theron kicks ass in “Atomic Blonde.”

Charlize Theron’s character is James Bond meets John Wick

Some have tried to compare Charlize Theron’s character, MI6 Agent Lorraine Broughton, to a female James Bond. Yes, she’s employed by Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Yes, she’s impossibly cosmopolitan and suave. Yes, she’s trying to outwit a rival group of spies and double agents. And, yes, there are scenes where she’s downing shots of her favorite vodka drink (not shaken, and not stirred, by the way).

But the real inspiration for Charlize Theron’s character is really John Wick. And that’s not just a coincidence – David Leitch, the co-director of the first “John Wick” film, is also the director of this film. As a result, we get a character very much like John Wick – this is one badass woman you don’t want to mess with. She doesn’t need a gun to kill you, she’s just as adept as using the stiletto heel of one of her glamorous pairs of shoes. She’s perfectly willing to improvise, using a common garden hose as an unlikely form of strangulation. She’s able to stab someone with a set of car keys or shoot them straight up with unerring ease.

Charlize Theron is stunning in perfectly choreographed fight scenes

And where Charlize Theron really shines is in her fight scenes. Make no mistake about it – she’s perfectly willing and able to take on all comers. She’s in peak fighting shape, and employs a unique form of “lethal creativity” (according to one film reviewer) in devising new ways to take out her opponents. That’s what makes the action in this film so irresistible – every action fight scene is almost balletic in motion, with bodies moving to a perfectly choreographed beat.

And despite the frenetic pace of the action, Theron is always in control. Whether she’s careening through the streets of Cold War-era Berlin, where much of the action takes place, or fighting off Soviet assassin spies, you know that Theron is going to jump, kick, shoot and maim her way to victory. She’s always ready to kick ass, even if she’s just arrived in a foreign city and is trapped in traffic. “Trust no one,” she’s told. But there’s no real need to tell Charlize Theron that – she’s not the trusting type.

And what makes it all so badass is that Theron always looks better after fighting off her assailants. Even blood spatter in her hair looks more like funky pink highlights than any sign that she’s just been in a bloody battle. And the non-stop action is all synced to the pounding pulse of a 1980s soundtrack, in which songs from the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order help to highlight the action. At times, the movie feels like just one badass music video: Who really cares about the plot line and narrative, as long as our Atomic Blonde is out there, shooting up the place and killing all the bad buys?

“Atomic Blonde” perfects the cartoon-style violence of a graphic novel

In fact, sometimes Charlize Theron kicks so much ass on the big screen that it almost seems like the violence we’d expect from a superhero cartoon. And that’s no mistake – the movie sometimes attains a comic book aesthetic as a result of all the action. The movie is actually based on a graphic novel – “The Coldest City” – and so it’s no coincidence that some of the fights are so ultra-violent and ultra-bloody.

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Charlize Theron is a stone-cold killer (literally) in “Atomic Blonde”

And what makes Theron so deadly is that she’s so cool, calm and collected throughout. She’s a stone-cold killer, feeling little or no remorse for all the bloody victims left in her wake. As if to emphasize that point, David Leitch films scenes with Charlize Theron, naked in an ice bath, as she sips an icy cocktail. She’s an icy blonde you don’t want to mess with. She may be dressed to the 9s in a slinky dress and impossibly high stiletto heels, but she’ll take out any baddies just as easily as if she were dressed in full military camo gear. She’s just that cold of a killer.

Charlize Theron exudes a type of savage sexiness

If you’re used to Charlize Theron film roles in which she deliberately disfigures herself (the role of Imperator Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road” comes to mind), then you’re in for a real treat in “Atomic Blonde.” This female spy-assassin-killer is as savage as she is sexy. It’s a rare combination on the big screen.

And perhaps one of the sexiest scenes in the movie is one in which Charlize Theron describes her impossibly hot tryst with a French intel officer (played by Sofia Boutella of “The Mummy”). Her handlers at MI6 literally can’t believe what they’re hearing – and they don’t want her to stop. It’s just that hot and sexy.

This is one “Atomic Blonde” you don’t want to double-cross

The true mark of any badass is that you don’t ever want to cross him (or her). And Charlize Theron is very clear in this film that she’s not someone you want to double-cross or triple-cross. It can be sometimes hard to follow all the plot developments, but one thing is clear – Charlize Theron is more assassin than spy, and she’ll always get the person she wants.

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No doubt, the summer of 2017 has been very good to us. We first got Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman” as a female superhero who kicks ass. Now we have Charlize Theron as a female super-spy who kicks ass. If given our choice, we’d take Charlize Theron. There’s not a single one of her scenes in “Atomic Blonde” in which you can’t take your eyes off her. This film is so good it almost makes us long for the good old days of the Cold War, in which spies and super-spies played out an epic cat-and-mouse game in European capitals. Forget James Bond, though, we now have Charlize Theron as Agent Lorraine Broughton.

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What To Expect From “Justice League”

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The upcoming superhero film “Justice League” from DC Comics, set for a nationwide release in cinemas on November 17, has already started to generate buzz among moviegoers. If anything, all the excitement about “Wonder Woman” earlier this summer has only intensified anticipation about this film, which will include Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Here’s what we know about “Justice League” so far…

#1: “Justice League” is a direct sequel to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

With franchise Hollywood blockbusters, it’s never really clear until the last minute whether a film is a prequel or a sequel to previous films. And, even then, it’s never immediately obvious how long of a period of time has elapsed between the original and the sequel. But “Justice League” is different in this regard. We’re being told right from the outset that “Justice League” is a direct sequel to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

What that means for moviegoers is that the action in “Justice League” will take place just a few months after “Batman v Superman.” It’s not clear what has happened to Superman, and the thinking is that Superman has sacrificed his life for the greater good of humanity. That’s how the film starts – but not necessarily how it ends. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers for “Justice League,” it now appears that Superman (played by Henry Cavill) is going to return at the end of the film to help save the day. The return of the Man of Steel is going to be a major subplot of the film.

#2: “Justice League” is going to be a movie about friends and teamwork

After the latest trailer for the film dropped at San Diego Comic-Con earlier in the year, it now appears that this DC Comics superhero blockbuster is going to be a “Super Friends” movie, in which an all-star cast of superheroes led by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman save Planet Earth from evil intergalactic aliens. Other superheroes in the film will include Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa), Flash (played by Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (played by Ray Fisher).

Unlike previous superhero blockbuster films, which have pitted superheroes against each other (most notably, “Batman v Superman”), this film promises to be much more of a “Super Friends” movie. The superheroes rally together to save Earth from an existential crisis. This time, the enemies are Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.

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#3: “Justice League” is going to be much more cheerful and optimistic than expected

If there’s one thing that DC Comics learned from “Batman v Superman,” it’s that movie audiences don’t want too much grim, dark, gritty action. And that’s why, judging from the advance trailers and marketing promotion, “Justice League” is going to be much more cheerful, upbeat and optimistic.

Here’s just one example: the trailer features a lot of the lighter lines of dialogue. And the character of Flash is being positioned as more of an endearing, comic figure than a full-fledged superhero. (In the trailer, he jokes about participating in his first battle and seems slightly nerdy.)

To see the more optimistic look for the film, just check out the movie posters – the marketing for the film is positioning all of the superheroes as friends rather than rivals. And the tagline – “You Can’t Save the World Alone” – is meant to emphasize the role of teamwork and coordination amongst all the superheroes.

#4: Wonder Woman is going to be the real star of “Justice League”

After the remarkable success of “Wonder Woman” earlier this summer, DC Comics obviously did a lot of re-thinking about “Justice League.” Take the new main trailer, for example. The first superhero we see is Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot), who foils some kind of robbery taking place.

It looks like DC Comics is really going to be playing up the chance for fans to see their new favorite superhero in action yet again. And that’s not all – the trailer also hints that we’re going to see more of the Amazons from “Wonder Woman,” including Queen Hippolyta and General Antiope.

So, even though this film is being pitched as an ensemble cast movie, Gal Gadot might actually end up getting first billing, ahead of Ben Affleck (Batman) and Henry Cavill (Superman). Wonder Woman might end up stealing every scene she’s in, and so we hope that she plays more than just a supporting role here.

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#5: “Justice League” will introduce us to new characters in the DC Extended Universe

One new character that fans are buzzing about is Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa), who looks like he’ll be getting an enhanced role in this movie. In the trailer for “Justice League,” we see him in his underwater domain, and then again, as he destroys a villain and an entire apartment building in the process. And there’s more superheroes we’ll meet as well, such as Flash and Cyborg. (Oh – and don’t forget about the new villain, Steppenwolf, who is the general of an alien race, the New Gods, from the planet Apokolips.)

The reason why all this is important is because DC Comics has been working hard to build what it calls the DC Extended Universe. This film is actually the fifth installment of that DC Extended Universe. What it means for fans is that DC Comics is trying to unite all the various threads and worlds of its superheroes, so that they can all co-exist and all the narratives and plot lines make sense.

So look for more clues in this film about how the “Justice League” originates, and what its mission is going to be. One interesting side-note here is that the original director of the film, Zack Snyder, left the film in May 2017 due to a family crisis, and that means all the post-production was handled by Joss Whedon, who was brought in at the last-minute to finish up the film. Whedon was also responsible for filming some additional scenes needed to round out the action, so that might be a way to help tie up any loose ends.

Overall, “Justice League” looks like a fantastic new action-adventure movie featuring our favorite superheroes. It looks like DC Comics has really learned its lesson from “Batman v Superman,” and is doing everything possible to guarantee that “Justice League” is going to be a major success that’s well-received by fans.

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What to Expect From “Star Trek: Discovery”

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For more than a year now, Star Trek fans have been waiting for the upcoming TV series “Star Trek: Discovery.” After being announced in November 2015 as the first show specifically created for CBS All Access, there have been a number of twists and turns that have delayed its debut. So what can we expect from “Star Trek: Discovery” when it finally comes to CBS?

Right now, we don’t even have a firm date for the release of the show. The original release date was January 2017, but that was moved back to May 2017, and now CBS executives are saying that it’s far more likely that there will be a fall 2017 release. But they won’t even commit to a specific date. Meanwhile, filming continues in Toronto. But all of these delays are making fans anxious, as they are getting concerned that the latest “Discovery” could be a complete disaster like the doomed “Enterprise.”

In terms of what we know about the show, we know that the action will take place a decade before the events of the original “Star Trek” series. And we know that the show’s producers are being very careful to separate this TV show from the “Star Trek” films. In a teaser video that CBS released, we just got some boilerplate information about the show, saying that it would feature “new crews, new villains, new heroes and new worlds.”

The first-ever serialized “Star Trek”

If you think about the other “Star Trek” TV shows, they have always been episodic in nature. In other words, you could watch Episode 5 of a season without the need to watch Episodes 4, 3, 2 or 1. Each show took place in a different place in the universe, with a different problem or villain. One episode it might be the Klingons, another week it might be someone else.

But the producers of “Star Trek: Discovery” are saying that this is going to be a serialized “Star Trek.” That would make it more similar to shows like “Game of Thrones” that you might watch on cable TV, where there is a single narrative arc connecting each and every show.

Right now, the best guess about that narrative arc comes from hints that the “Star Trek” producers have dropped. The first hint is that the series will be connected to “an incident and an event in ‘Star Trek’ history that’s been talked about but never been explored.”

Further hints and clues suggest that the incident might be related to the “Balance of Terror” story from the original “Star Trek” series that appeared back in 1966. The “Balance of Terror” episode introduced us to the Romulans, and featured a cat-and-mouse game between the starship Enterprise and the Romulan Bird of Prey ship, which was protected with a cloaking device.

And here’s where things get interesting – that episode from 1966 featured Sarek, Spock’s father, and we know that the new “Star Trek: Discovery” will feature Sarek as a Vulcan astrophysicist. So there might be a tie-in somehow.

A very diverse cast led by an African-American woman

We already know that the lead character for “Star Trek: Discovery” is going to be Sonequa Martin-Green (best known for her TV role in “The Walking Dead”), who will play the first officer of the USS Discovery. In the show, she will not be a full starship captain. Instead, she will be referred to as “Number One,” which is a reference back to the “Star Trek” pilot episode called “The Cage,” which also referred to the ship’s captain as “Number One.”

According to producers and showrunners, there will be a real emphasis on showing minority and female characters. And there will also be LGBTQ characters. In fact, the thinking now is that one of the main characters is going to be outwardly gay. Other top characters to keep an eye on include Nambue (played by Maulik Pancholy), chief medical officer of the USS Shenzhou, and Sarek (played by James Frain), Spock’s father.

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A new kind of starship that looks way too retro

While the entire series appears to be nearly a year behind in production, we did get an early preview of the USS Discovery at last summer’s Comic-Con in San Diego. There was a big unveiling of the USS Discovery, including a brief teaser trailer. The Discovery is golden hued and has a very different look than other “Star Trek” vessels. That has fans complaining, saying that the starship looks “too old and industrial” and not futuristic enough. Given that the action of this CBS show will take place only a decade before the first “Star Trek,” it’s hard to see how the Discovery eventually made way for the Enterprise we know and love.

A darker version of “Star Trek”

One aspect of “Star Trek” that fans have loved for more than 50 years is the optimistic message of the whole show. It’s all about exploring the universe, going where no man has gone before, and interacting with all the remarkable specimens and races of the galaxy in a way that unites rather than divides.

But it sounds like the plan for this new “Star Trek: Discovery” is to create a darker vision for the series. In fact, there have been suggestions that it could be united by a more post-apocalyptic story line. That makes sense, if you take into account that “Balance of Terror” episode, which featured the Earth-Romulan war and the ability of the warlike Romulans to destroy intergalactic space outposts with incredible weapons.

But that has fans concerned – they’re afraid that the optimistic, upbeat mood of the original Gene Roddenberry series might be lost. And, if that were the case, then it would lead to serious concerns that the show is headed in the right direction.

What’s most interesting about this new CBS show is what can best be called “the Netflix effect.” That means that CBS is specifically ordering a show that can become part of their All Access streaming service, and that’s what perhaps led to this being a serialized show. The whole reason people binge-watch is because they want to find out what happens next, and that’s why serialized shows are so popular.

There are some who say that, ever since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was released in 1987, each successive Star Trek series has been less and less popular. There’s still hope, though, that more than 50 years after the original “Star Trek,” we’re going to have a new series that’s better than anything we’ve ever seen before.

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Why “Glow” Is the Netflix Show of the Summer

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Think about what makes a great summer TV show – it has to be fun and entertaining, of course. It has to be binge-worthy. And it has to feature themes and topics that are light enough for the carefree days of summer, when many of us are heading to the beach (or, at least, the local neighborhood pool). So that’s exactly why “Glow” is the Netflix show of the summer – it delivers on all of this, and more.

#1: “Glow” is just good nostalgic fun

There’s nothing that says nostalgia more than ‘80’s music, big hair, and Jane Fonda leotards. This show has it all, and it’s just good fun. There are LA skate punks, seedy California motels, and plenty of hair spray.

Critics have called it “shameless summer fun” – and why not? If you’re sitting at home during the summer, you probably want to stream something on TV that’s not going to require a lot of mental effort, and that’s “Glow.” Just sit back and soak in the outrageous outfits and beautiful women in the wrestling ring.

The basic plotline of “Glow” is that a group of washed-up actresses from Hollywood during the 1980s are going to unite to form the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW). The movie itself was inspired by the original cult TV hit of the 1980s, which covered the rise of the women’s pro wrestling league in the 1980s.

And that’s what makes us so nostalgic – there seemed to be an era not so long ago when it was perfectly OK to enjoy shows just like this. Back then, professional wrestling was still a very underground, amateur sport and that’s what gave it so much fan appeal.

#2: “Glow” features a great ensemble cast and sharp character development

The real goal of “Glow” is to show us how these out-of-work actresses suddenly became wrestling stars. In this Netflix series, we meet them from the very beginning, when Sam Sylvia (played by Marc Maron) comes up with this outrageous concept. Maron himself is excellent in the role of the GLOW promoter, and special mention has to be made about Alison Brie, who plays the role of actress-turned-wrestler Ruth Wilder.

While Alison Brie is the official star of the show, the unofficial star of this show are the other 12 ladies. Each one of them seems to have a unique story, and it’s all very compelling. The character development in this series is top-notch, and encourages you to keep on watching. By the end of the 10 Netflix episodes, you will really care about these women.

#3: “Glow” is light and binge-worthy enough for a summer escape

You can watch “Glow” however you want. It’s a Netflix show, so the initial urge is to binge. And that’s what many people did as soon as the show came out. But here’s the thing: “Glow” is only 10 episodes of 30 minutes each. That’s a total of 5 hours. You could theoretically binge on this during a long summer afternoon. And that’s why “Glow” is really so much fun. It doesn’t require as much focus or attention as a typical 10-episode or 12-episode Netflix binge.

#4: “Glow” is the perfect mix of “Wonder Woman” and “Orange Is the New Black”

The one movie that took cinema box offices by storm this summer was “Wonder Woman.” That movie was so special because it was a superhero movie made by a woman for women. It reflected a real female mentality and point of view. And, in many ways, “Glow” shares some of those characteristics. It’s also made by two women – Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch – and it also reflects a uniquely feminine point of view. In short, “Glow” seems to tap into the current cultural zeitgeist.

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And there’s one more thing – the same team behind “Glow” is also behind the Netflix cult favorite, “Orange Is the New Black.” If you love OITNB, you’ll love “Glow.” It’s also a story of strong female characters. Only this time, these characters are not in the Litchfield prison facility, they are in the professional wrestling ring.

So “Glow” manages to combine the very best of “Wonder Woman” and “Orange Is the New Black.” These female wrestlers may not be traditional superheroes, but they are heroes to many (including many teenage boys). And the show delivers the same type of dynamic character development that we’ve come to expect from “Orange Is the New Black,” but without all the heavy commentary about socio-economic conditions in America.

#5: “Glow” is not afraid to explore gender and racial stereotypes

Yes, “Glow” is a light, entertaining TV series for the summer. But it also has range and depth to it. The show is fearless in exploring gender and racial stereotypes. There are plenty of scenes where the wrestling promoters are trying to come up for identities for these girls – “the Arab girl” or “the Big Black Beautiful Woman” – where we vividly glimpse all the stereotypes floating through American society at that time.

But there are also all the stereotypes within the Hollywood acting community. There’s a reason why these women are out of work or under-employed – they are fighting against entrenched prejudices in the industry. In fact, many of the characters talk about “justice” during this TV show.

#6: “Glow” is the perfect origin story show

Deep down, we all love origin stories. We all want to know how something started, and why. And that’s why people love “Glow” so much. In many ways, this Netflix series is the perfect origins story, showing us how a pop culture phenomenon of the 1980s came to be.

And this is also a story of underdogs. And who in America doesn’t love a good underdog story? To give the series as much authenticity as possible, the female actresses even agreed to do their own stunts on set. So we are seeing real women being transformed right before our eyes into pro wrestling divas. This is really exciting stuff.

Thus, for so many reasons, “Glow” really is the Netflix show of the summer. It’s lightweight and entertaining – but comes packed with enough punch to make it truly binge-worthy. You’ll love following along as these women, led by Ruth Wilder, reinvent themselves as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

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How “Okja” Will Change Your Life

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As soon as “Okja” started streaming on Netflix on June 28, it started to generate intense online discussion about genetically-modified food, animal abuse and the virtues of a vegetarian diet. It is, in short, the type of film that gets people talking. Here’s how “Okja” will change your life.

#1: “Okja” will make you more aware of genetically modified foods in your local supermarket

The fundamental premise of “Okja” is that an evil corporation called Miranda Corporation is breeding genetically-modified superpigs. As part of a 10-year experiment, the company has placed 26 GMO superpigs around the world, to see where the most conducive environment is for breeding and raising these superpigs in the future.

But that’s where things go terribly wrong, because “Okja” – a superpig residing in South Korea with young Mija – is destined to become meat in the local supermarket if someone doesn’t save it. Miranda Corp. is ruthlessly breeding these superpigs as part of a broader strategy to solve the world’s food shortage problem. The superpig – which tends to resemble a really cute hippopotamus more than a pig – is a source of sustainable protein that “just tastes f***** good.”

Of course, that raises a bigger question about the role of genetically modified foods in today’s world. Do you really know what’s being sold in your local supermarket, and why? As we see in this really thought-provoking film, corporations can come up with an upbeat, positive marketing campaign for just about anything – and that includes pigs that are being bred to huge proportions as part of a master plan to solve the world’s food shortage.

#2: You’ll become a crusader for animal rights after watching “Okja”

One of the sub-plots of the movie involves the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a group of radical animal rights activists that are determined to free these genetically modified superpigs from captivity. Along the way, there’s even an epic scene where young Mija rides her superpig through the streets of Seoul, South Korea in an attempt to avoid Mirando Corporation.

As we’re shown time and time again in the movie, the Mirando Corporation often resorts to cruel and unethical treatment of animals in order to advance its corporate goals. No wonder PETA has become a champion of this film. And actor Paul Dano, who plays the role of the ALF activist Jay, has given interviews about the way the film has really affected him. Talking about Okja, he noted, “She’s beautiful, and feels real to me… and very emotionally real, too.”

Even pigs, it turns out, have emotions and thoughts. As PETA points out, pigs are social, playful and form emotional bonds. They can learn tricks, like sitting for a treat, and can often recognize their own names. And in the film, Okja is just so adorably sweet and wonderful – she’s like a hippopotamus that learns little tricks and is very loyal to little Mija. Who would possibly want to harm that wonderful creature?

#3: You’ll stop eating meat after watching “Okja”

The film also takes us behind the scenes to see how the meat is made at slaughterhouses. Your stomach will go sick from seeing these scenes – you’ve probably never seen what a mass killing factory looks like, and how little animals are ruthlessly slaughtered in the most inhumane way possible. The director of the film, Bong Joon-ho (who also directed “Snowpiercer”), himself visited a pig slaughterhouse in Colorado before making the film. And that experience alone completely turned him off meat.

Some, like foodie blog Eater, have declared that “Okja will turn the world vegan.” That might be overstating things – especially since BBQ is such a national pastime in South Korea, where the film was made – but it does suggest that people will re-think the role of meat in their diet. Some have also compared “Okja” to the 1905 masterpiece by Upton Sinclair, “The Jungle,” which chronicled the unethical and sickening behavior of Big Meat in America.

If you want to get started with a vegan diet after watching this film, PETA has you covered. They’re currently offering a “vegan starter kit” to help wean you away from meat. Every time you pass the meat section of a supermarket, you’ll be reminded that every beef burger is the byproduct of a cow that’s been murdered in some horrible way.

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#4: “Okja” will make you yearn for your youthful days of innocence and purity

One of the real highlights of “Okja” is the very young Mija, played by South Korea actress Ahn Seo-hyun. Some have suggested that “Okja” conjures up the feelings and emotions that we felt a generation ago, when we watched Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.” That movie, too, had a certain innocence and purity to it, reminding us that even strange alien beings can possess human-like emotions and thoughts.

And just as young kids rescued E.T. from harm, it’s the youngsters in “Okja” who must rescue the superpigs. It’s that scene of young Mija riding a superpig through the busy streets of Seoul that will leave an indelible mark on you. You won’t be able to get that vision out of your head.

The exact opposite of this innocence is represented by Lucy Mirando (played by Tilda Swinton), the evil CEO of Mirando Corp. Whereas the children are innocent and delightful, Lucy Mirando is ruthless and calculating (and just a little vulgar about the way she describes the superpigs). It turns out that the real “pigs” are the humans like Lucy Mirando and her evil twin sister Nancy Mirando (also played by Tilda Swinton).

Overall, “Okja” really packs an emotional wallop. When the movie first premiered at Cannes, it received a four-minute standing ovation from the audience. People loved the movie and it how it told such an important story in such a clever way.

This film will really change your life. You’ll become much smarter about topics like GMO foods and the perils of a world food shortage. And you might just decide to give up meat forever. Okja the superpig is more than just a cute pet – she is a symbol of something much more, and that’s why this film is so powerful and will resonate with audiences everywhere.

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“Orange is the New Black” Season 5 Is the Worst One Yet

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Maybe long-time Netflix viewers started to expect too much from “Orange Is the New Black,” and they were inevitably doomed to be disappointed sooner or later. After four magnificent seasons, in which “Orange Is the New Black” made us re-think what’s possible in a TV series, Season 5 just never lived up to expectations. It’s safe to say that “Orange Is the New Black” Season 5 is the worst one yet.

Bizarre tonal shifts

While “Orange Is the New Black” has always shifted between genres, often interposing scenes of tragedy and comedy next to each other, there’s something distinctly “off” about this season. It’s almost like the series has lost its bearing, veering wildly from comedy to tragedy and then back to comedy, and viewers really don’t know what to think.

The New York Times has compared Season 5 of OITNB to “a speeding vehicle with a wheel missing.” With this season, the show is going too fast, the steering is unsteady, and it’s clear that there’s no slowing down. And this lack of focus can be disjointing – especially since all the action of Season 5 takes place within a very concentrated period of 72 hours. The mood swings are just too intense.

Plotlines and narratives just don’t add up

By now, you probably know that the dramatic narrative of Season 5 involves a prison riot and its aftermath at the Litchfield prison facility. The inmates rise up, take over the facility, take hostages, and reorganize themselves. One prison inmate, Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson (played by Danielle Brooks), tries to negotiate with the private company that runs the prison, urging them to change the living conditions within the prison.

So far, so good, right? This is the type of compelling story that “Orange Is the New Black” is known for. But then comes an episode smack dab in the middle of Season 5 that just doesn’t make any sense. Online fans have referred to this as “an homage to slasher films,” and it involves one of the prison guards (Piscatella) acting like he’s a villain from one of the “Friday the 13th” movies, abducting and tying up inmates.

What’s so bizarre about this whole plotline is that even the show’s writers don’t know how to play this. As a result, you get an episode that’s part horror film, and part comedy. It’s campy and cute and also horrifying. At some point, viewers don’t really know what to think. “Are they just messing with us?” is a thought that’s going to come to you during Season 5.

And that’s not all. There’s also the plotline of the prison inmate Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett (played by Taryn Manning), who winds up getting married to the man who raped her in Season 3. The show tries to make this into a bigger story of forgiveness and redemption, but it just comes off as a mess.

“Orange Is the New Black” fails to deliver on Shakespearean-sized ambitions

After four seasons of being an “important” series, “Orange Is the New Black” seemingly overdoses on its sense of self-importance. The website Vox.com has called Season 5 “staggeringly ambitious” and “a huge mess” – in the same sentence. That’s because the whole series starts to take itself too importantly.

Here’s just one example: the effort by the prison inmates to reorganize themselves into some kind of new women’s commune. There are all kinds of “important” socio-economic issues raised here, such as the possibility of building a society anew so that it is fair to everyone. But “Orange Is the New Black” constantly interjects its Shakespearean ambitions here, almost as if the show’s writers were trying to combine the very best of Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies into one TV show for the ages.

And here’s another example: the role of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren (played by Uzo Aduba), who has a role very much like that of the Fool in “King Lear.” She’s been taking medications for her mental illness, but the more addled she becomes, the more capable she is of speaking truth to power. But when it all comes as a rambling monologue, it just doesn’t add up.

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“Orange Is the New Black” has a final cliffhanger scene that may have driven too far off the cliff

The big cliffhanger scene of Season 5 – the one that has already sparked debate and discussion about a Season 6 for “Orange Is the New Black” – is a microcosm of what’s both right and wrong about the series. In that final cliffhanger scene, the riot police have stormed the Litchfield facility to restore order. And the 10 key characters are standing together in one room. For one of the first times in the five seasons of the show, the dramatic action has seemingly transcended racial and tribal lines.

This is supposed to be a big, important moment. It is supposed to be a moment when we imagine what’s possible when people rise up and reorganize into a better, more just society. But instead, the cliffhanger comes off as a tired ending to the season after the show has already careened out of control.

It’s almost as if many of the main characters are being prepared to be sent in new directions (or perhaps written out of the show entirely), and the easiest way to do this is just to gather all of them in one place (the abandoned swimming pool-turned-bunker at the prison) and then have the writers spend the off-season debating what to do with all of them. Next season, when some characters disappear, there will be a good reason why.

In addition, two of the main stars of the show – Alex Vause (played by Laura Prepon) and Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling) – seemingly no longer have a primary role to play in the series. In Season 5, they are often reduced to offering snarky commentary on the prison’s living conditions, but do not play a heroic role in changing those conditions. Some fans have even speculated that these characters won’t even be coming back for Season 6.

Ultimately, the problem may be that “Orange Is the New Black” simply raised our expectations too high. It was always one of the Netflix poster children for the “golden age” of binge-watching, but it’s clear that binge-watching (just like binge-eating) can have some pretty negative consequences. You don’t feel so good, and you suddenly can’t stomach the idea of one more episode of the series.

Hopefully, that feeling of a bad binge will wear off and we’ll be just as excited for Season 6 as we were for Season 5. But one thing is certainly clear – “Orange is the New Black” Season 5 is the worst one yet.

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