Compared to Pixar’s recent spate of sequels to past hits, Soul is a loftier project—a messy but expansive story worthy of its director’s grand ambitions.
But if film fans are now beginning to appreciate Waterworld, why was it so eagerly dismissed and savaged when it originally hit cinemas? According to the University of Liverpool’s Yannis Tzioumakis, a perfect storm of issues blighted its release. First of all, there was a “huge increase in what’s called enfotainment” – the combination of entertainment and industry news. This primarily covers “box office figures and film productions, especially if they have problems and go over budget”.
The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical biographical drama film directed by Michael Gracey in his directorial debut, written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. Featuring nine original songs from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum‘s creation of Barnum’s American Museum and the lives of its star attractions.
Today, Barnum and his career arguably serve as a Rorschach test for where we are, and what kind of humbug tale we are willing to be sold. But if you’re looking clear eyed at Barnum, an undeniable fact of his biography is his role marketing racism to the masses. “He had these new ways of making racism seem fun and for people to engage in activities that degraded a racially subjected person in ways that were intimate and funny and surprising and novel,” says Reiss. “That’s part of his legacy, that’s part of what he left us, just as he also left us some really great jokes and circus acts and this kind of charming, wise-cracking ‘America’s uncle’ reputation. This is equally a part of his legacy.”
Rather than explore such dark notes, The Greatest Showman is more interested in spinning a pretty tale, a humbug, if you will, of a magnitude, that Barnum himself would likely tip his hat to.
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There is also this strange Disney subplot where it felt like there was a quota to how many times the camera cut to Zac Efron and Zendaya?
There is a universal relatability to a brilliant film score, even in fragments. Morricone is credited for (re)defining the sound of the Western (although his music obviously went much further than that); meanwhile, US composer John Williams summons otherworldly adventures, across the Star Wars and Superman sagas, ET and more. When Brand reminisces about leaving a busy cinema screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), I instantly think of Williams’s five-note UFO synth motif: “Every single one of us in the crowd looked up at the sky when we walked out,” said Brand. “Suddenly, we were in a world where that was possible. I wanted the real world to be like film… and music is the thing that will allow you to do that.”
Black representation in Hollywood has come a long way. We’ve still got a long way to go.
During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
Although I enjoyed this film, it felt like a form of sanctioned fan fiction.
Directed by Joachim Rønning. With Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer. Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play.
Directed by J.J. Abrams. With Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver. The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.
What are the best movies for thinking through the future and technology?
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee. With Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.
If it feels obvious and predictable, that’s because you’ve seen it a thousand times, but no one questions it when the hero is a street rat, a farm boy, or a damn lion. If it feels fresh, it’s because we still don’t have enough heroines going on fully nuanced voyages of self-discovery where the prize is not a heterosexual relationship (a Disney princess stalwart), but rather the contentment that comes with simply knowing yourself. The fact that Elsa gets her own journey of such mythical proportions rightfully allows her to join other recent Disney protagonists like Rey from Nowhere and Moana of Motonui as self-sufficient, self-accepting, and utterly inspiring heroines of the modern age.
Directed by Jon Favreau. With Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor. After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.
At least it gave us Beyonce’s Gift.
So, you might ask, what’s my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be? The reason is simple. In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever. The equation has flipped and streaming has become the primary delivery system. Still, I don’t know a single filmmaker who doesn’t want to design films for the big screen, to be projected before audiences in theaters.
Lynch’s body of work implies that the cruelty of such people isn’t really what we should fear most. It is, instead, those who laugh, cheer or simply turn away – responses that enable and empower such behaviors, while giving them an acceptable place in the world.
When they were first released, Lynch’s films may well have appeared as funhouse mirror reflections of society.
Not so anymore.
On a side note, you might be interested in Reclaim Video and the effort to reclaim lost memories and technology.
When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
I cannot believe this even made it to a children’s show. Also, as someone who was a cleaner in a past life, I do not think that it is a very fair representation.
Directed by Scott Derrickson. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong. While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth. After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.
Directed by Tim Burton. With Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green. A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.
I was intrigued about Tim Burton tackling a Disney classic. In hindsight, he was exactly the right person to capture the carnival atmosphere. Also, I really like Arcade Fire’s rendition of Baby Mine: