Marvel’s “Black Panther” Will Be Incredible

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Set to hit movie cinemas in February 2018, Marvel’s “Black Panther” already looks like an incredible new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on teasers, trailers and images made available by Marvel, there are so many reasons to be excited about “Black Panther.”

“Black Panther” will be the first Marvel film to feature a mostly black cast

Writer and director Ryan Coogler has assembled an absolutely first-rate black cast for this film, headed up by the young Chadwick Boseman. You probably know Boseman best for his role as Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” or as Jackie Robinson in the critically acclaimed “42.” He’s also going to appear in two upcoming Avengers movies, including “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018, where he will also play the role of T’Challa (the real name of Black Panther).

But just check out some of the other high-profile cast members set to star aside Chadwick Boseman. There’s Lupita Nyong’o in the role of Nakia, Forest Whitaker in the role of Zuri, Angela Bassett in the role of Queen Mother Ramonda, and Michael B. Jordan in the role of the villain Erik Killmonger. In the “Black Panther” comics, Nakia was both a lover and enemy of Black Panther, so it will be interesting to see Lupita Nyong’o in this role – based on the trailer, she is as beautiful as she is fierce, and she’s going to be a very powerful on-screen presence.

“Black Panther” will showcase the techno-utopia of Wakanda

The home of T’Challa (Black Panther) is Wakanda, which looks from the teaser videos and trailers to be a combination of techno-utopia and African tribal kingdom. There are futuristic space ships flying around, some high-tech weapons and also people dressed in outfits that are reminiscent of African tribes. Some of the scenes from the movie – such as what appears to be a coronation scene at the Warrior Falls – are absolutely breathtaking. And the Royal Guard protecting the royal family at Wakanda – known as the Dora Milaje – looks amazing: it’s essentially a super collective of beautiful warrior women.

 

“Black Panther” will reveal the secrets of T’Challa’s super powers

In the “Black Panther” comics, Wakanda was the home of the valuable metal vibranium, which was used to make the high-tech suit used by Black Panther. With this suit, T’Challa is able to deliver short pulses of fantastic (and lethal power) as well as to scale large buildings. In the comics, this body suit was the equal of the suit worn by Iron Man, so you can get a real sense of the types of super powers that Black Panther will have in this movie.

“Black Panther” will feature some riveting action and combat scenes

Some of the highlights from the trailer were all the combat scenes, both between Black Panther and his enemies, and between those who are trying to usurp power in Wakanda. T’Challa is returning home to Wakanda, and there is plenty of political intrigue. For one, his father, the king T’Chaka, managed to make enemies across Wakanda. Secondly, there are plenty of rivals to the throne who view themselves as the mental and physical equals of T’Challa – and that’s going to invite some open rivalries to emerge.

It looks like there will be at least several internal pretenders to the throne, with the most powerful of them being Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan). In the comics, he was often able to compete one-on-one with T’Challa, and the trailer teases what appears to be an epic showdown at Warrior Falls between T’Challa and Erik Killmonger.

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“Black Panther” is going to show us the trials and tribulations of T’Challa as he becomes king

One of the best lines from the trailer is, “It’s hard for a good man to be king.” Lupita Nyong’o speaks another great line, “You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be.” That apparently foreshadows some of the trials and tribulations faced by the new would-be king. Yes, his father bequeathed him a marvelous kingdom, but there are plenty of warring factions and even some who appear to be the physical equal of T’Challa – not easy, considering that he’s the superhero Black Panther.

Plus, a voice in the trailer keeps intoning about a potential revolution. So you can appreciate the epic challenge facing T’Challa. Add in the prospect that his love interest – Nakia – might not be who she claims to be, and the choice of who might become the future queen to rule after the Queen Mother Raymonda (played by Angela Bassett) hands off her duties is not so clear-cut.

“Black Panther” is going to include a diabolical plot from T’Challa’s traditional enemy, Ulysses Klaw

The one evil villain that Black Panther fans can’t wait to see on screen is Ulysses Klaw (played by Andy Serkis), who has always been the traditional sworn enemy of Black Panther. According to the film narrative, this villain is once again up to no good. This time, he’s trying to steal the precious metal vibranium, which can be used to make superhero suits like the worn by Black Panther. This villain plot line is especially important because it is the narrative plot that connects the story of political intrigue in Wakanda with the events happening in the “real world.”

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“Black Panther” is already creating a huge social media buzz online

One of the biggest hits thus far on social media has been an epic YouTube mash-up video created by a Black Panther fan who has spliced together clips from the “Black Panther” trailer with scenes from a variety of “X-Men” and “Wolverine” films. In this YouTube viral hit, Black Panther is seen doing battle with Wolverine in a truly epic showdown.

That scene, of course, won’t appear in the real “Black Panther” movie, but it shows you how excited fans are becoming. Black Panther has always been one of the least-known Marvel comic book heroes, and it’s clear that the fan anticipation is building to a fever pitch,

Best of all, it looks like director Ryan Coogler is just as much of a fanboy of the “Black Panther” comics. Fans have studiously dissected every scene from the trailer and found hints and clues to Black Panther plotlines that have appeared throughout the nearly 50-year history of this beloved comic book hero. Seeing it all come alive on big theater screens starting in February 2018 is just going to be incredible.

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“Stranger Things” Season 2: Intense, Creative and Charming

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Almost overnight, it seems like “Stranger Things” has become the new “must-binge” TV show from Netflix, following in the long line of popular shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” that have influenced the pop culture mainstream. So it shouldn’t perhaps have been a big surprise that Season 2 of “Stranger Things,” when it finally dropped on October 27, was just as intense, creative and charming as Season 1.

The audience viewership numbers for “Stranger Things” Season 2 are off the charts

Netflix has been notoriously secretive about the total viewership numbers for its shows, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Nielsen from finding ways to measure how many people are actually watching shows like “Stranger Things.” And it turns out that the audience viewership numbers for “Stranger Things” Season 2, as measured by Nielsen, are off the charts.

Here’s just one number that really stands out: Nielsen found that 361,000 people watched all 9 episodes of Season 2 within 24 hours of their first release on October 27. That is the true definition of a “binge.” The average viewer watched 2.9 episodes within the first 3 days of release, meaning that they averaged 1 episode per night. You might call this a “light binge” because these viewers were still on pace to watch 9 episodes in 9 nights – very impressive by any standard.

Moreover, on average, Netflix attracted an average of 8.8 million viewers per episode of Season 2, of which 6.2 million were in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic. But that’s just an average – Episode 1 attracted 15.8 million viewers, with 11 million in the 18-to-49 demographic. Even the final episode (Episode 9) attracted more than 4 million viewers – a clear suggestion that close to 4 million viewers did an intense three-day binge of the complete Season 2.

Some of the more intense, creative, and charming elements from “Stranger Things” Season 2

So what exactly was driving all this impressive viewership of “Stranger Things” Season 2? Here are just some of the themes that social media interactions were picking up on with great regularity:

  • Anything involving demons (especially the “demodogs”!)
  • The supernatural elements of the Upside Down
  • Will Byers being held captive by a demon
  • The evildoers at the Hawkins lab

While Season 2 tended to follow the same basic narrative arc of Season 1 – the lab in Hawkins commits errors, Will Byers gets victimized by supernatural elements, monsters escape to wreak havoc, and Eleven finds a way to save everyone – the way the show continues to weave new narrative subplots in and out of this basic narrative arc is very impressive. Some of the scenes can be intense – such as just about any scene of Will being victimized by supernatural elements – but they help the viewer to identify even more strongly with the characters of “Stranger Things.”

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“Stranger Things” 2 includes plenty of references to 1980s nostalgia

One favorite pastime of “Stranger Things” fans is trying to spot all the references to 1980s pop culture contained within the show. Some of the references are obvious even to the casual, first-time viewer, such as the “Ghostbusters” outfits worn by the kids, but some of the other references might be a bit harder to figure out. Keep in mind – this show is set in the year 1984, so it’s easy to see why viewers love to track down all of these 1980s references.

Insider.com, in fact, tracked down 17 of the more creative and charming 80’s pop culture references within the show, finding connections to some of the most beloved films of that decade, including “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “War Games,” “Risky Business,” and “E.T.” Sometimes, these references included something very subtle – like a videocassette for one of those movies appearing in a scene – and sometimes they a subtle homage to those films, such as when Steve and Nancy dress up like Joel and Lana from “Risky Business” for a party.

Here’s just one example of how clever and charming these ‘80s references are: when Will is being held at the lab for tests, he’s asked to give his first choice for candy. He eventually decides on Reese’s Pieces. Well, there’s a good reason for that – Reese’s Pieces were the exact type of candy that the kids in “E.T.” fed E.T. in order to get him to trust them.

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“Stranger Things” 2 is all about creative and charming character development

As more than one movie critic has pointed out, the main reason why viewers insist on binge-watching “Stranger Things” has to do with the creative and charming character development. We really want to learn more about these kids. Thus, it seems like Season 2, much more than Season 1, focused on their growth and emotional struggles. For example, you have the heartbroken Mike after he fails to win the girls of his dreams, and you have the sad, crestfallen Eleven shattering windows and adopting a new “MTV punk” look as a way of dealing with her emotions.

All of these emotional subplots are woven into the larger story, showing us what it means to deal with adolescence. And, in one of the more creative touches of Season 2, it turns out that a mysterious storm bearing down on the town of Hawkins turned out to be (spoiler alert!) a physical manifestation of puberty. The storm was meant to show us what this phenomenon must have felt like for these kids, so unused to experiencing certain feelings and thoughts.

“Stranger Things” 2 is all about the new monsters and demons

Based on the types of social media interactions that fans of “Stranger Things” have been posting on Facebook and Twitter in the period after Season 2 was released, it appears that viewers were intensely interested in all the monsters and demons that have been released by the Hawkins lab. Fans really wanted the return of the Demogorgon in Season 2, but what they got instead was a big, spider-like storm beast. So there was a lot of discussion about the differences between Gothic-style monsters and smoky, shadowy monsters. And fans couldn’t stop talking about the Demodogs!

“Stranger Things” 2 has a chance to become the new Netflix flagship hit

For so long, “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” have been the flagship shows of Netflix, showing us what it means to create an intense, creative and charming show. Well, it now looks like “Stranger Things” – thanks to its amalgam of 1980’s pop nostalgia, strong character development, and creative adaptation of classic science-fiction plot lines – is now on pace to become the new Netflix flagship show.

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Learn About Lady Gaga in Netflix’s “Gaga: Five Foot Two”

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Lady Gaga is undeniably one of the world’s most famous and talented musicians, and now Netflix is bringing us a new behind-the-scenes documentary that looks at a year in the life of this celebrated icon. “Gaga: Five Foot Two” takes us inside the making of her fifth studio album (“Joanne”) and gives us an inside look at the making of her halftime performance for Super Bowl LI. There’s a lot we can learn about Lady Gaga from this important new Netflix documentary.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” shows us Lady Gaga’s relationship with her fans

First and most importantly, this new Netflix documentary gives us an unprecedented look at Lady Gaga’s relationship with her tremendously devoted fan base. It is clear from this behind-the-scenes look at Lady Gaga that she really feeds off the energy and passion of her fans, and that’s why the fan encounters that “Gaga: Five Foot Two” depicts are so illuminating – they show us the character and persona of Lady Gaga. We see how she feels a unique burden to live up to the expectations of her fans – and also how these brief fan encounters are a way for her to energize and re-charge.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” gives us an unforgettable look at the Super Bowl LI halftime show

Has there ever been a more iconic and talked-about Super Bowl halftime show in recent memory than the one featuring Lady Gaga in 2017? The way she stood on top of the stadium in Houston and dove to the stage, and then burst into her most popular songs ever – it was simply incredible. And so “Gaga: Five Foot Two” gives us the remarkable story of how the show was dreamed up, how it was executed, and why it was so meaningful to Lady Gaga to pull off such a career-defining performance.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” gives the viewer a chance to learn about Gaga’s family

We often think of rock stars like Lady Gaga as being so absorbed in their music, tours, and entourage that they no longer have time for a real family. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for Lady Gaga, as “Gaga: Five Foot Two” makes clear. What quickly becomes clear from this documentary is that her family is what helped to make her such a strong person. There’s genuine love and affection, and we see that through each of her family members – Angelina Germanotta (the grandmother), Cynthia (her mother), Joe (her father) and Natali (her sister). The big moment, of course, comes when it’s time to unveil her new studio album, “Joanne,” which has special meaning for her and her family.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” shows us the celebrities in Gaga’s life

We always knew that the world of Lady Gaga was wonderful and fabulous, and this new Netflix documentary gives us the briefest glimpse at the types of celebrities whom she interacts with on a daily basis – people like Florence Welch, Tony Bennett, and Donatella Versace.

And, where the documentary really covers new ground is in its exploration of Lady Gaga’s feud with legendary musician Madonna. Is this just one of those staged feuds in the music world for both people to benefit from the resulting PR buzz? Or is there a real reason for two of this generation’s top musicians to have animosity for each other? Those are just two of the questions that this Netflix documentary helps to answer.

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“Gaga: Five Foot Two” is unfiltered “year in the life” saga

The documentary takes on a cinema vérité approach, showing us a real, unfiltered look at Gaga, her entourage, and her adventures. And we see that not everything is glamorous for this rock star. For example, part of the documentary deals with Lady Gaga’s physical problems, including her ongoing struggle with chronic pain. It’s not easy to be on tour for months at a time, or to carry out all of her high-energy performances, time and time again, and it’s clear that this performance lifestyle has taken a physical toll on our rock star hero.

And, as part of this “year in the life” saga (which some have compared to “Madonna: Truth or Dare”), we get to see some of the other creative projects in Lady Gaga’s life. For example, she is taking on a guest role in “American Horror Story: Roanoke” and this could be another way to tap into her immense and very unique talents. And, of course, she is always looking for ways to make her stage performances all the more stunning. What emerges from this documentary is the story of a much more nuanced, complex character than we might have assumed. For many of us, Lady Gaga is larger than life. But she is very human, with her own weaknesses and frailties.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” has the narrative arc of a true documentary film

On the surface, it might be easy to dismiss Netflix’s “Gaga: Five Foot Two” as just a celebrity puff piece, just another tool in the PR toolkit to build out her worldwide fame and generate sales for her new album. But do you know what? This is a real documentary film, and as proof of that, it actually debuted at the very prestigious Toronto International Film Festival before starting to stream on Netflix.

That, perhaps, is what gives this 2017 documentary film such a sense of realism – it is not just a rough cut compilation of unrelated scenes. Instead, it follows a true narrative arc. Yes, it might have a lot of rapid-fire cuts, but that’s only to intensify the feeling that we are one of the world’s busiest and most active performers. Everything that Lady Gaga does is high energy, and this documentary tries to convey that.

To be sure, you will learn a lot about Lady Gaga in Netflix’s “Gaga: Five Foot Two.” You will meet her entourage and her family, you will see her encounters with her fans, and you will see the making of two wonderfully creative works – her new studio album “Joanne” and her Super Bowl LI halftime show. And, best of all, you will learn about Lady Gaga not just as a performer and creative artist, but also as a wonderfully talented individual with a fascinating story to tell.

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Season 4 of “Bojack Horseman” Is Darker Than Ever

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Netflix’s adult animated comedy-drama “Bojack Horseman” is back for Season 4, and it’s clear that something has changed. Sure, the first three seasons of “Bojack Horseman” always seemed to be pushing the edges of just how far the show could go – but Season 4 is taking the show in a much darker direction, exploring themes like addiction, dementia and depression in ways that we never expected. In short, Season 4 of “Bojack Horseman” is darker than ever.

“Bojack Horseman” is no longer just a brilliant satire of Hollywood celebrity culture

When the star character of a show is a humanoid horse who’s also filled with addictive tendencies and a sense of deep self-loathing, there’s plenty of potential to explore the darker side of existence. Yet, for the first three seasons, it seems like “Bojack Horseman” was mostly willing to satirize Hollywood and celebrity culture. You basically had a washed-up Hollywood star – Bojack Horseman – trying to get back in the game and restore his once-fabulous TV career.

Along the way, we meet his on-again, off-again girlfriend (the pink cat Princess Carolyn), and watch him struggle to adapt to his current existence as a 50-something nobody without any real prospects in show biz. But here’s the thing: we as viewers believed that the show was about finding happiness, about finding redemption, and about finally making it in the end.

Season 4 has changed all that. Themes like anxiety, drug abuse and depression are everywhere. It’s not just that Bojack Horseman is bitter and depressed, it’s that he’s now sinking further and further into the cesspool of dark emotions. He is, in short, now a substance-addicted narcissist. He is not getting any closer to enlightenment, and really, he doesn’t care. That’s dark, right?

“Bojack Horseman” has some dark scenes involving family members

In Season 4, we are learning more and more about Bojack Horseman, and we are finding out that he is not a very nice horse. For example, consider the plot lines involving his mother Beatrice. He has placed her in a ramshackle nursing home in Michigan, glad to be rid of her both physically and emotionally. As viewers and fans have pointed out, he has literally turned his back on her.

And that’s not all – Bojack Horseman is not dealing very well with the fact that Hollyhock might actually be his daughter. He doesn’t want to adopt her, and is looking for a way out. He is not willing yet to take on responsibility for her, and seems to be actively looking for someone else to take her on. He seems to be just going through the motions, not yet doing the “right thing” and becoming a loving parent and adopting her with love.

“Bojack Horseman” is shifting its dark focus from Hollywood to politics

On the surface, a plot line about Mr. Peanutbutter running for political office shouldn’t be all that dark. After all, he’s just a golden Labrador Retriever, right? But even here, you can start to see how “Bojack Horseman” is now willing to take on modern politics.

Throughout Season 4, there are veiled references to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger. How did we get to this point in modern society where it’s easier for a celebrity to win political office than it is for a life-long, professional politician? There’s something cold and unsparing in this analysis, though, that has overtones of darkness.

“Bojack Horseman” continues to explore the meaning of melancholy, shame and guilt

Part of why fans love “Bojack Horseman” so much are all the goofy background gags in nearly every scene – like polar bears hanging out in Hawaiian shirts when other animals are wrapped up in heavy jackets, or all the funny word plays on signs (“I Pita the Ful”). But here’s the thing – these signs and gags have started to be less about being funny and cute, and more about reinforcing the shame and guilt that different characters feel.

As one TV reviewer noted, “Bojack Horseman” is now “a marvel of melancholy.” You might say that the show has transformed from being “biting and sarcastic“ to being “darkly funny” to now being “a marvel of melancholy.” Each season, the show seems to be headed deeper and deeper in that direction.

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“Bojack Horseman” is all about broken, not flawed, characters

It might seem like a subtle difference on the surface, but there is a major, fundamental difference between being a “flawed” character and being a “broken” character. During the first 3 seasons, it was possible to see Bojack Horseman as a flawed character. Yes, he had destructive tendencies, and yes, he tended to feel sorry for himself, but you had the sense that it would all work out in the end.

Flash forward to Season 4, however, and it’s clear that Bojack Horseman is now a broken character. Some have compared him to Don Draper in “Mad Men” – someone that we initially trusted to be a true protagonist, but someone who showed that he was without true redemption. Bojack Horseman has addictive tendencies, he’s filled with self-loathing, and now he seems to be much more willing to take all this out on others.

So do we give Bojack Horseman another chance? Is a broken character like him capable of finding happiness? When he was simply bitter and jaded, we thought the answer was “yes.” Now, we are not so sure of the answer.

“Bojack Horseman” is still brilliant – but different than we remembered

It’s hard not to admit that “Bojack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg is absolutely brilliant. Obviously, the first three seasons were epic in ways that we never could have imagined. In Season 4, though, it seems like he has tried to push things further, to really make us understand the thoughts and motivations of Bojack Horseman.

And so Season 4 is somehow different from how we remembered Seasons 1 through 3. It’s still funny, and the sight gags and background props are still there, but the show is definitely darker than ever. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Bojack Horseman is finally able to find his own personal form of enlightenment.

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“Blade Runner 2049”: The Sequel We’ve Dreamed Of

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If there was ever a science fiction film that deserved a sequel, it was the original “Blade Runner” starring Harrison Ford and directed by Ridley Scott. It seems hard to believe, but that film came out in 1982, presenting a dystopian vision of Los Angeles in the year 2019. And now here we are in 2017, 35 years later, and it’s clear that the new “Blade Runner 2049” is the sequel we’ve dreamed of. The timing simply couldn’t be better.

“Blade Runner 2049” makes us question what it means to be human

In many ways, “Blade Runner 2049” is a deeply philosophical movie, asking some very deep questions about what it means to be human. And the way it does that is by making us question the blurred line between artificial life and human life. At what point does a replicant become a human? In the dystopian future, the only way to discern between a replicant and a human is a complex behavioral-emotional test.

The key to figuring all this out, of course, is the lead character, Ryan Gosling, who plays a replicant himself. He is Officer K of the LAPD, but “K” is just part of his serial number. He is a replicant – but a replicant who is more self-aware than most. He has memories, but knows they have been artificially created in a lab and placed within him. At one point, he even begins to question whether or not he has a soul. If he was “born” and not “made,” does that mean that he is more alive than other replicants?

Of course, there are layers and layers to dissect here, and that’s what makes “Blade Runner 2049” so much fun. For example, take the fact that Officer K has a girlfriend named Joi. Nothing too surprising in that, right? Well, it turns out that his girlfriend is an artificially intelligent hologram who prefers to call him by a human name (“Joe”) and not by his replicant name. And there is something remarkably human about K – he listens to Frank Sinatra, he reads Nabokov, and he yearns to learn the story of his existence. But is that enough to make him human?

“Blade Runner 2049” unites Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling

While Ryan Gosling is clearly the star of the movie, he is joined by the star of the earlier “Blade Runner,” Harrison Ford, who plays the legendary blade runner Rick Deckard. In many ways, this union of former star and current star is what makes this movie so powerful. The involvement of Harrison Ford is important for so many reasons, and not just for the reason that he provides a line of continuity between the original and the sequel.

Deckard holds a lot of secrets – both for Officer K and for the audience. He is the central link back to the sci-fi classic, so it’s surprising that the movie studio originally wanted to keep the involvement of Harrison Ford in the film a surprise for moviegoers. Later, it was decided that Gosling and Ford had such chemistry together that all of the initial marketing for the movie had them doing joint interviews.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a mystery and a quest, all rolled into one

A sense of noir mystery seems to permeate every frame of “Blade Runner 2049.” Part of that has to do with the pacing from director Denis Villeneuve, who unveils, piece by piece, the future dystopian reality of the year 2049. Some viewers have complained that the length of the film – at nearly 2 hours, 45 minutes – is too long, but they are missing the central point: there is a secret within the film so big that it needs plenty of time to gestate. As one character in the film says of this secret, “This breaks the world.”

And, as much as “Blade Runner 2049” is a mystery, it is also a classic quest film. It is a quest to find the true answer about what the world has become. It is a quest to find the original blade runner, of course. And it is also a quest to find one’s personal identity. This is not a quest that involves a lot of lethal explosions every 10 minutes – it is a quest that takes place as much in the mind and soul as it does on the screen.

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“Blade Runner 2049” presents a new view of the dystopian future

If you think about most of the science fiction films of the past two decades, they have been strongly dystopian in nature. They ask a question, “What happens when technology gets out of control?” So in many ways, the new “Blade Runner 2049” follows this basic narrative of ruminating on the fate of a dystopian world. But it advances the narrative one step further by asking what we, as humans, can really do to prevent this world from happening, and whether humans are more to blame than the actual technology.

The milieu of “Blade Runner” is one in which replicants act more “human” than humans. Just how dystopian is a world in which the soul, feelings and emotions matter so much? How dystopian is a world in which we challenge our views and concepts and question why we’re on this Earth in the first place?

When the first “Blade Runner” came out in 1982, the idea of the future was that it would look a lot like downtown Tokyo, just filled with a lot of interactive holograms and replicants. That was the way we thought of the world. Flash forward 35 years, and the vision has become much more bleak. The feeling now is that technology will eventually destroy us in an orange apocalyptic fog. There is something within us as humans that might make us incapable of taking the next big step. Maybe it’s better if we just hand things off to the replicants.

“Blade Runner 2049” has a dream-like intensity

Those are some of the feelings, emotions and thoughts that will cascade through your head upon watching this film. Anyone watching “Blade Runner 2049” will inevitably feel more introspective upon exiting the cinema. The movie unfolds with a dream-like intensity. And, just like a dream, we can remember it, and we can remember how it made us feel, even if the details are hard to describe.

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Disney’s “Coco” Is Magical and Culturally Fulfilling

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During the Thanksgiving holiday, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios are bringing a new and much-anticipated animated film to the big screen: “Coco.” This film has the same amazing animation quality as every other legendary Pixar animated film of the past few years. Moreover, it includes a unique, authentic portrayal of Mexican culture. It all adds up to a magical and culturally fulfilling experience for the entire family.

“Coco” is a fun comedy adventure for the whole family

From the outset, “Coco” delivers a storyline that’s anchored in family values and tradition. Young Miguel, a 12-year-old boy with a passion for guitars and music, is fascinated by the thought of becoming a professional musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). However, his family has a long-standing ban on music, and Miguel must explore his passion for music in private.

That, of course, leads Miguel to search out the history of his family to see why music is considered to be a “curse.” Why are people trying to stop him from becoming a musician? There are scenes where he is trying to examine old family photographs and where he is trying to figure out what older members of his family – such as his great-grandfather – would think about his love for music.

That already sounds like a very charming premise for a movie, right? You can imagine grandmothers and grandfathers – not just moms and dads – bringing their kids to the local multiplex. This is safe family fare that isn’t trying to be “edgy.” It’s a fun comedy adventure for the whole family.

“Coco” offers a culturally fulfilling view of Mexican traditions

When Disney first started working on “Coco,” there were some immediate concerns that the animated film would be, well, too white. And even when Disney first worked on the name of the film, it ran into problems with the Hispanic-American community. Disney wanted to call the film “The Day of the Dead,” but Hispanics worried that Disney was trying to expropriate Mexican culture and trademark it all under the name of a huge American media & entertainment conglomerate. So, “The Day of the Dead” turned into “Coco.”

There’s a lot about this film that makes it so culturally fulfilling. First and foremost, Disney and Pixar were careful to cast only Latinos in the lead roles. Thus, there is a person of color in the lead role (Anthony Gonzales, as the young Miguel), and the other lead characters include Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt. So nobody can accuse of Disney/Pixar of not getting the very best Latino talent!

On top of all that, Disney pulled in a set of cultural consultants from Mexico to make sure that the view of Mexican culture was authentic. Thus far, it has all paid off. There has been advance positive acclaim for the film’s authentic portrayal of Mexican culture and traditions. In other words, the film doesn’t present a dumbed-down Taco Bell version of what Mexican culture is all about!

“Coco” has a musical soundtrack that will win over music fans

Music plays a huge part in “Coco.” It is central to every single plotline, and it is the character of Miguel – playing his guitar and trying to become the next Ernesto de la Cruz musical legend – who is the real star of this film.

And, the film includes so many great nuggets of wisdom that involve music. Here’s just one example – Ernesto de la Cruz is talking about how to handle adversity in life and says, “When life gets me down, I play my guitar.”

And, to convey the message of how music can capture a certain mood and a certain style, Ernesto de la Cruz likes to mention “a song that’s playing just for you.” It is music, indeed, that gives young Miguel the impetus to set off on his personal adventure.

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“Coco” features an animated dog called Dante and he’s wonderful

While “Coco” is only set to hit the big screen in late November in time for Thanksgiving, fans have already had a chance to view a short two-minute film called “Dante’s Lunch – a Short Tail,” which dropped on March 29. The video has been a hit on YouTube, and was designed to showcase the character of Dante, Miguel’s small dog. This dog is wonderful, bouncing around and playfully trying to find a bone – but that bone happens to belong to a skeleton!

“Coco” has some imaginative and evocative dream-like sequences

There are some parts of “Coco” when you may audibly gasp while watching – that’s how impressive the animation work is. There are some sequences, such as when Miguel and Dante are crossing a bridge to the Land of the Dead, that may leave you scratching your head of just exactly how they pulled it off. The artwork is wonderful, and fans have already given the movie major props for the gorgeous art style.

It’s easy to see the hand of Pixar Animation Studios at work here. They are still the very best in the business, and the care and detail that went into every scene is truly impressive. The scenes in the Land of the Dead are amazing, and everything is done so well that you might not even realize that those are just skeletons!

“Coco” has universal and timeless themes

There are some themes within the film that are truly timeless, such as the need to “reach for your dream to make it come true.” Nobody is going to make a dream reality except you, and that’s a lesson that “Coco” offers again and again.

The themes of love, family and the importance of tradition all play a role as well. Much of the action centers on the Day of the Dead, an important Mexican holiday, and one that has special meaning for Miguel’s family.

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Ultimately, “Coco” looks like it is going to be another winner in Disney and Pixar’s animation portfolio. This animated film includes a stellar Latino cast, gorgeous artwork that is culturally sensitive to Latinos, and enduring themes that can be enjoyed and explored by the whole family. Truly, “Coco” is a magical and culturally fulfilling experience.

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Why “Mother!” Has Baffled Audiences

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The most baffling and controversial movie of this fall is almost certain to be Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” There is nothing simple or easy to explain about this movie – it is a psychological thriller, but it is also an extended biblical allegory, a horror film and a drama about a marital relationship. By the end of the movie, you are aware that Aronofsky has made you deeply uncomfortable, but you are not quite sure why. No wonder audiences have been baffled.

“Mother!” is impossible to place into a specific genre

With a cast that includes Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, you would immediately assume that this all-star movie cast is part of a conventional Hollywood movie production. But, as RogerEbert.com has pointed out, this film is the “most audacious and flat-out bizarre” movie that any major Hollywood studio has made in quite some time. It has already been compared to films in the Kubrick oeuvre, as well as films from Polanski (“Rosemary’s Baby”) and horror movies from De Palma. It is a masterpiece, to be sure, but one that people are still trying to give a traditional Hollywood label.

We’ve already seen this type of film from Aronofsky before – films like “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” and, most recently, “Black Swan,” have combined the literal with the metaphorical in a way that makes movie audiences squirm. Events start off with the literal, and quickly proceed to become stranger and stranger, until it is clear that we are watching something very different. The action happening inside someone’s head can be more dramatic than what’s happening around them.

As a result, movie critics have attempted to call this a horror movie, a thriller, a religious allegory and a psychological drama. The New York Times, in a bit of bizarre movie analysis, even suggested that this film was really a new type of comedy worthy of Blake Edwards.

Aronofsky himself has offered several different interpretations of “Mother!”

Making matters even more confusing, director Darren Aronofsky has almost flat-out attempted to stir the pot by tossing out several different interpretations of the movie. Aronofsky recently told the New York Times that the film was really about climate change, and that the character of Jennifer Lawrence (known only as Mother) represented the figure of Mother Earth.

But at other times, Aronofsky has doubled down on the idea that the film is really an extended biblical allegory and a clever retelling of the Bible. From this perspective, some critics have said that the figure of Javier Bardem can be characterized as a God-like figure that combines light and dark, and that the film is about creation and destruction, and the forces at work on Earth.

But still other critics have come up with a different twist on the religious allegory theme – they have suggested that the film is really about Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence as the first man and wife (i.e. Adam and Eve). And there are obviously hints within the movie to suggest as much – at one point, the house where the two are now living is referred to as “paradise” and when a mess appears in the house, it is referred to by Lawrence’s character as an “apocalypse.”

Some reviewers, such as the New Republic, have given up entirely, simply calling the film “a mess of biblical proportions.” It’s messy, it’s complicated, and even the biblical allusions are not precise. Maybe Aronofsky wanted us to be baffled at the outset.

“Mother!” purposefully uses camera angles to confuse audiences

Before the premiere of the film on September 15, director Darren Aronofsky sat down with the New York Times and discussed an important scene in the film, describing how he filmed “Mother!” using only three different camera angles, including an over-the-shoulder point of view (POV) shot and plenty of extreme close-up shots of the actors.

As Aronofsky explains, this was all done on purpose. The idea was to create confusion within viewers – without more conventional shots (such as establishing shots or tracking shots) – it’s harder to tell what’s going on. Moreover, Aronofsky wants the viewer to experience the movie in the same way as Jennifer Lawrence does. For that reason, the over-the-shoulder POV shots show us what she is seeing, but no more than that.

Almost every critical review of the film gives a huge shout-out to the lighting and cinematography. They seem to tell a story – but not always the one that we expect as viewers. The New York Times, given its cultural pretentiousness, even went so far as to describe the movie in terms of famous painters and paintings – from this perspective, the figure of Bardem is described as being like a figure from an El Greco painting while the figure of Jennifer Lawrence is described as being an “Italian Madonna” from the Renaissance era. So wait, is Jennifer Lawrence now a Madonna figure?

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“Mother!” is an insanely polarizing movie

It’s hard not to conclude that Aronofsky purposefully made this film to be as divisive and polarizing as possible. You will either love this movie, calling it a revelation (oops, there’s more of that biblical allegory), or you will hate it, calling it a confusing mess.

One reason that the movie is so polarizing is because it hits on some hot-button issues – especially religion – that it knows will stir people up. Another reason why it is so polarizing is because you realize that Aronofsky is toying with you on so many levels – the character of Ed Harris is only known as “Man,” the character of Michelle Pfeiffer is only known as “Woman,” and the character of Jennifer Lawrence is only known as “Mother.” Heck, even the first word of spoken dialogue in this film is simply “baby.” This is a big, important movie and Aronofsky wants you to know that.

People who love this move will simply adore the acting work of Bardem, Lawrence, Harris and Pfeiffer. They are all extraordinary in their roles. And, if you have any background whatsoever in biblical studies, you will love trying to piece together all the clues. Is Bardem really God? Is he a symbol of the Holy Church and written scripture? Is he Christ? Is he Adam? It’s hard to wrap your head around what all this means. It’s baffling, to be sure.

There are plenty of questions raised in this movie, and none that are resolved fully. It’s impossible to talk about this film without getting into spoiler territory, and for that reason, many reviews have been frustratingly vague, only hinting that the movie is so many things at once that it’s hard to break down into a meaningful, linear narrative. One thing is certain: “Mother!” has baffled audiences, and it’s well on its way to being one of the most talked-about films of the autumn.

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Why “Star Trek: Discovery” Has the Potential to Be the Best “Star Trek” Yet

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Admittedly, we’ve only seen the first two episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS, but what we have seen has been extremely tantalizing. After more than 12 months of worry and anxiety from Star Trek fans that maybe “Discovery” wouldn’t live up to the lofty standards of the “Star Trek” franchise, it looks like this new Star Trek has the potential to be the best one yet.

“Star Trek: Discovery” will offer us richer, more complex characters and plotlines

If you think about all the earlier iterations of “Star Trek,” they were essentially morality plays set in outer space. There were good guys – everyone from the Federation and everyone aboard the Enterprise. And then there were the bad guys – the Klingons and the various aliens populating the Star Trek universe.

It was easy to know who to root for, and who to root against. And you knew how every episode was going to end. It’s not that these shows were formulaic – but they did follow a very well known dramatic arc that followed the conventional format of TV shows. You had to set up a problem, introduce some conflict, and then resolve a problem, all within a very short period of time.

But look at how the first 2 episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” has completely turned that logic on its head. Start with the Klingons – they are still a martial, war-like species, but their motivations appear to be much more complex, making us question whether we might have gotten the Klingons all wrong.

In fact, the first episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” tries to show the Klingon perspective on why things are as they are. We see them being led almost by a religious fanatic, and how their enmity against the Federation is almost a holy war of sorts that is based on acts taken against them. We’re told that the Federation may be powerful, but that it is torn by conflict and even hypocrisy.

And then are the Vulcans – we usually think of them as being entirely rational and, ultimately, the “good guys.” But here again, things are not as they seem. We learn about the “Vulcan hello” – which is not exactly what you might expect. It turns out that, in the first encounter between the Vulcans and Klingons, the Vulcans’ first impulse was to fire on the Klingons and attack them. That’s hardly rational.

And then take the examples of the characters and heroes themselves. First Officer Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green) has been described as a “disturbingly flawed hero,” and for good reason. What other version of Star Trek has resulted in the First Officer being locked up in the starship brig and facing an imprisonment term for a breach of Federation policy? What other version of Star Trek has seen a character who seems to be wrestling so many internal demons as she decides upon the right course of action.

“Star Trek: Discovery” will be more cinematic than any of the previous TV versions

If you think about the Star Trek franchise, it has done a remarkable job of integrating both the film and TV versions. The times when the film has seemed to veer off-script is when fans have voiced their displeasure. Each new film that is released, then, has to follow a certain dramatic arc and conform to certain “rules of the road” in order to stay true and authentic to the original Star Trek vision.

What gives the new “Star Trek: Discovery” a lot more wiggle room is the fact that it’s set a full 10 years before the original Star Trek. Thus, it’s possible to imagine a new Star Trek universe, and to create plausible back stories for the original versions of Star Trek. The first, initial peaks at this world didn’t go over well with fans – the teaser-trailer showed a starship that many described as industrial-looking and not at all within the spirit of Star Trek.

But this “Star Trek: Discovery” seems to be winning over both fans and skeptics with its amazing cinematic sweep. This is a Star Trek that looks as good as it sounds. We almost feel like we’re watching a movie, and not just a TV series. The battle scenes with the Klingons are fantastic, and exactly what you would expect from a feature-length Hollywood film. And the initial battle with the Klingon guarding the ancient space beacon is almost gladiatorial in its filming. This is just really good TV – TV so good that it almost seems like cinema.

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“Star Trek: Discovery’ will be more high-tech and futuristic than other Star Trek shows

It’s hard to think of a TV show that has done more to support the spirit of scientific curiosity and innovation than Star Trek. This is a franchise that has given us the fantastic medical device known as the tricorder, the teleportation room for beaming down to distant planets, the notion of “warp speed” to connote travel at unbelievable speeds faster than the speed of light, and the “phaser” as the weapon of choice in hand-to-hand combat. It also taught us what a spaceship was supposed to look like. That’s hard to top, right?

Well. it looks like “Star Trek: Discovery” might just be able to fill those big shoes. Fans are already raving about the holographic telepresence system seen in the first two episodes. Even something as simple as the spacesuits worn by the crew of the Discovery seem to be futuristic and sci-fi. If the first Star Trek TV series showed us a a world that already was high-tech and futuristic, then it looks like it is the job of this Star Trek to fill in all the blanks and lead us on a wondrous innovation journey from Discovery to Enterprise.

Put it all together – the more complex and nuanced characters, the more intricate plotlines, the cinematic sweep of the show, and the emphasis on creating the best sci-fi TV series yet – and it looks like “Star Trek: Discovery” has the potential to become the best Star Trek yet. If you had any doubts at all about this latest iteration of the Star Trek franchise, you can now rest easy – this show is going to be bold, daring and spectacular. Gene Roddenberry would be proud.

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Tennis Fans Will Love “Battle of the Sexes”

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If you’re a tennis fan, then the upcoming “Battle of the Sexes” movie starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone is going to be a pure delight. You’ll enjoy re-living one of the most famous moments in all of sports – the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs that took place back in 1973. There are so many reasons why tennis fans will love this new movie.

“Battle of the Sexes” captures the pure spectacle of 1970’s era tennis

It seems hard to believe, but the “Battle of the Sexes” event took place nearly 45 years ago in the Houston Astrodome. At the time, it was one of the most-hyped events ever, featuring the former Wimbledon star Bobby Riggs (played by Steve Carell) and the then No. 1 women’s player in the world, Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone).

Nobody gave Billie Jean King much of a chance, especially after Bobby Riggs had dismantled women’s tennis champion Margaret Court in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-1, just a few months earlier. But Billie Jean King proved her doubters wrong, and forever changed the trajectory of professional tennis with her convincing 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 straight sets sweep.

While many people may have forgotten the final score of the match, nobody who witnessed the event could ever forget the pure spectacle of it. To start with, it featured 30,000 cheering fans at the Houston Astrodome, then a record for professional tennis. And that number was dwarfed by the people tuning in on national TV. More than 90 million people watched worldwide, making it easily the most-watched sporting event of all time. Even the recent Mayweather-McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas couldn’t top this.

The “Battle of the Sexes” movie captures this pomp and circumstance with 70’s era music, and all the little style and aesthetic flourishes that brings back that golden era of tennis. Remember – that was an era before cable TV, before the multi-million-dollar prizes paid out at the Grand Slam tennis events, and before the era of rampant product endorsements. At the time, a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 was worth staking your fame and legacy on – and that’s exactly what Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs did back in 1973.

“Battle of the Sexes” shows the off-court trials and tribulations of both stars

At the same time that the championship match was happening on the court, there were plenty of off-the-court trials and tribulations for both Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. It’s hard to say which one faced greater personal demons.

On the one hand, you had Bobby Riggs, essentially a washed-up former star still struggling to stay relevant. He was a charmer, a huckster and a big-time gambler, and that caused havoc with his family life. When he won his Wimbledon men’s championship back in 1939, he allegedly made $100,000 by betting aggressively on his victory. But what goes up must come down, and in many ways, Riggs was headed for a crash landing due to his gambling.

He was, perhaps, the consummate showman. That’s something the film makes very clear – from the way he paraded around his anti-female chauvinism and bigotry, to the way he paraded around the tennis court like a clown.

On the other hand, you had Billie Jean King, who was fighting for equal pay and equal treatment. Concerned by the huge disparity in paychecks for men and women tennis stars, Billie Jean King joined the movement to start a separate women’s tennis tour. The final tipping point, as the film makes clear, was the wide gap in prize pools for the men and women tennis champions: men were making $12,000 per championship, while the women were making just a fraction of that ($1,500).

But Billie Jean King was struggling for more than just equal pay and equal rights – she was also struggling with her own sexuality. That’s another angle to the film that tennis fans will love, since they might not know the full extent of Billie Jean’s King LGBT issues. She was married, but fell in love with her hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett (played by Andrea Riseborough). So there’s another major plotline there.

“Battle of the Sexes” shows the origins of the modern tennis era

At one time, tennis was a gentleman’s sport, played only by men of the aristocracy. And until the 1970’s, it was largely seen as a privileged sport for men. But the events of that era exploded open that notion, democratizing the game of tennis for everyone. Today, it’s hard to believe that situation ever existed – go down to any local park, and there’s likely a tennis court. Go into any sporting goods store, and you’ll see life-size cutouts of tennis stars like Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova. They are multi-millionaires with huge endorsement deals and global celebrity profiles.

In many ways, the so-called “Battle of the Sexes” was the precursor to all that. And that’s why tennis fans will love this movie so much. You can mark down 1973 as the year everything changed. In many ways, it was the perfect storm – the end of the peak civil rights era, the sexual revolution and the transformation of niche sports into major professional leagues with huge TV audiences. With TV deals came bigger prize pools, and with bigger prize pools the best stars became celebrities. They no longer had to take up Bobby Riggs on a humiliating offer to make $10,000 – they could make several times that just on their talent alone.

If there is any complaint whatsoever about “Battle of the Sexes,” it’s that it perhaps treats Bobby Riggs too lightly. The film humanizes him too much, attempting to equate his struggles with the struggles of Billie Jean King. But he was a chauvinist, a gambler and a huckster. In contrast, Billie Jean King was a true tennis icon deserving of all the acclaim she receives today.

If you’re a fan of tennis, “Battle of the Sexes” has to be one of the most anticipated films of the fall season. Steve Carell and Emma Stone are fantastic as the two tennis champions, and the supporting cast – led by Bill Pullman and Elizabeth Shue – are fantastic as well. Tennis fans, no doubt, will love “Battle of the Sexes.”

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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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