Looking Back: Labyrinth(1986)

Labyrinth(1986)

Starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly

Since the long-awaited Labyrinth 2 is in the works, I just thought I’d take another look at the original Labyrinth(1986) from Jim Henson Productions.

I will have to say that this movie is one of the best modern fantasy films.   Not only does it have an engaging story, but the themes of friendship, gratitude, and on some level, love, are presented in a way that it appeals to both young children and older adults.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, it’s basically about Sarah, a young girl who feels that she can’t have a life taking care of her baby brother, Toby.   So as a result, she says the “magic words” for the Goblin King, Jareth to take him away.   However, when he does so, Sarah regrets it, and she wants her brother back.   The Goblin King says the only way she can get Toby back is to solve his puzzle.

The story that unfolds in Labyrinth is entertaining and it presents its themes that are open to interpretation for the viewer.   For example, let’s take a look at the friendship between Sarah and Hoggle the dwarf.   At first, the “friendship” was undefined, but towards the end their friendship was solidified, where both of them learned that they were important to each other in times of need.   When Sarah was able to get her brother back, she gave him her teddy bear, grateful for the fact that she has Toby again.   At first, Sarah didn’t want her brother to have her toys.   However, after her ordeal, she had to realize that giving away a plush animal would not diminish her sense of control.

The theme of love was definitely open to interpretation.  The dialogue between Jareth and Sarah towards the end, was suggestive in the fact that it explored intimacy in a covert way.  There was a part of me that wished the movie explored that dynamic more, but maybe the sequel will further show the subtextual meaning of their relationship.

Labyrinth is the type of fantasy movie that is many things to many people.   It is a coming-of-age tale, comedy, a puzzle(metaphorically and literally), and an adventure that resonates with the viewer.  If you’re in a mood for an entertaining and thoughtful fantasy film, add this one to your collection.   My score: 8/10.

Many CAA offices to remain closed through January 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic (exclusive) 

We have learned that the Creative Artist Agency is closing several home locations until early 2021. The internal memo, alerted agents and others that the CAA headquarters in Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York offices, would remain closed as epidemics spread.
 

“After carefully studying many factors as a top priority for employee health and safety, we have concluded that we will not return until at least January 2021. There is still a long way to go before a specific date can be set. , “
 

The company will also look into the re-entry protocol for its London office. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the CAA, affectionately known as the “Death Star”, sits in Century City, and it’s a wonderful illustration of the power of Hollywood rooms. “In reviewing today’s decision, in addition to a large group of internal executives, external consultants have focused on several criteria, including health options guidelines, Local laws, and infection rates; Availability, or lack thereof, testing, vaccines, and treatment. Limit the personal circumstances of our employees, availability, and cost of supply, mask, and modification facility; the senior leadership wrote, and, of course, we can better support our capabilities and work together.
  

The Invisible Man(2020)

The Invisible Man(2020)

Starring Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer

(WARNING!: This review contains some  spoilers)   The Invisible Man(2020) can be seen as a commentary on domestic abuse, and how it is considered “invisible,” until one comes forward and reveals his/her unfortunate situation.    This movie centers on Cecelia, who manages to escape her abusive boyfriend,  Adrian.  However, Adrian fakes his death, and uses his invisibility suit to further torment his former girlfriend.  So now, if Cecelia informs anyone of her predicament, no one will believe her, and Adrian can successfully keep the torment “invisible.”

The Invisible Man’s strengths lies in its great performances from the actors, effectively built tension, and subtle camera work that makes you wonder if Adrian is in the room with Cecelia in some scenes.  However, the film’s overall plot and pacing gives you more of a made-for-TV movie with a psychological thriller- vibe, than a horror movie.  Also, the first two acts took very long to get you to the payoff in the third act.  And the ending..well, I was impressed with how she used his suit to overcome her pain once and for all;  It was satisfactory, but anticlimactic.

I would suggest watching Invisible Man for its intriguing take in tackling such a serious topic, but the execution of the story could have given us a more brutal, intense illustration of the real horrors of domestic abuse.  This is a weekend rental.  My score: 7/10.

Jason Momoa in Talks to Voice ‘Frosty the Snowman’ in Warner Bros. Movie 

Aquaman” himself, Jason Momoa, is in talks to play Frosty the Snowman in a movie to be made for Warner BrosMomoa will also perform with Geoff Johns, and Stampede’s Greg Silverman and June Berg. David Berenbaum, who collaborated with Berg on “Elf”, is ready to script the film. “We know Jason is a real man, full of love, compassion, and a deep connection to Ohana; he’s the living spirit of Xmas and Frosty,” Silverman said. 

Momoa’s “Aquaman was a huge hit for Warner Bros, grossing $ 1.14 billion at the worldwide box office. The studio is preparing a sequel. Berg, executive producer of “Aquaman“, said: “We all won from ‘Aquaman‘ as far as his marine success as a land of ice and fire, this time it was just right to feel Jason in the snow. “Berg, who was an executive producer at Aquaman. “ 

The character comes from the famous Christmas song written by Walter Rollins and Steve Nelson, and was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 after the success of Atri’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Momoa will be seen as Duncan Idaho in the next Warner Bruce sci-fi saga “Dune“. The news about the Frosty project was first announced through the deadline

FilmLA is getting 14 film permits in one day

FilmLA reports that about 14 film permit applications have been submitted since the resumption of remote operations on June 15. It reported on Wednesday that the largest television project to apply for a location shoot was Freeform’s “Love in time of corona”. The filmLA said that three soap operas have resumed filming on the sound stages in Los Angeles: “Bold and the Beautiful,” “The Young and the Restless” and “General Hospital.” FilmLA does not coordinate permits for the productions on certified sound stages. 

Epidemics halted film and television production in March. Unions and studios have been working in recent weeks to hammer out specific protocols to protect the health of those in the seats. The agency also said on Wednesday that it was interested in getting hundreds of moviegoers back to work. To date, 13 of the 16 city and county jurisdictions served by FilmLA have reopened to filming, as has one of the six school districts served by FilmLA. Representatives from FilmLA described the return of filming as “cautious and gradual”, with upcoming applications consisting of 56% small steel photo shoots and commercials. The next largest group of applicants comes from television, the way forward with the shooting of reality. 

“Since its reopening, we’ve seen growing interest from filmgoers and the community in how filming can resume safely and responsibly,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmLA. “New health orders for permit seekers – mandates issued by the County Public Health Department under the guidance of industry advisers – need to be seriously considered. This will make it much easier for us to re-film the local population. 

UNDERRATED GEMS to watch: Darlin’

Darlin’ (2019)

Starring Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, and Pollyanna McIntosh

Written and Directed by Pollyanna McIntosh

I checked out Darlin,’ and I will have to say that this film is ambitious. Like its predecessor The Woman, it continues the concept of a feral person being transformed into a “good woman.” Its mix of social commentary, coming-of- age drama, and gory horror(even though its less graphic than The Woman) makes this a decently executed story. I was expecting a better payoff towards the end, but I will have to commend the filmmakers for tackling a provocative subject. This comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10.

 

SAG-AFTRA Consulting Sccalaries Battle over Film and TV Contract Ratification 

Sag-AFTRA, with encouraging campaigns on both sides of the issue, has begun voting to ratify its successor agreement on its master’s contract for feature films and prime-time television works. The Actors Union, which represents 160,000 members, released a video on Thursday in which President Gabriel Carter called for a “yes” vote on the new deal and a referendum on July 22. Booklet published.
 

The pamphlet includes a 500-word opposition section requesting a “no” vote, and National Board members Ed Asner, Jennifer BealsNeve Campbell, Diane Ladd, Matthew ModineEsai Morales, Patricia Richardson, Rob Schneider, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas have endorsed it.
 

Contract for ratification 

The Sag-AFTRA National Board on June 29 approved sending the ratification agreement with 67.6% to 32.4% of the vote. Members are receiving a postcard in the mail instructing them on how to vote. Carteris headed the negotiating committee and began the video by saying, “Well, I’m glad to finally be able to talk about the good news for a change, really good news. 

She took a “tremendous” advantage in participating in health planning and wages. The benefits were similar to the losses in the Directors Guild of the new US Master Contract, which was approved by members in April. “It’s the most lucrative deal ever. Carteris said the deal is worth 31 318 million over three years. That’s an additional 8 318 million in members’ pockets.” But more importantly, with a 26% increase in default stimuli, it prepares for our long-term future. She also said that the agreement includes maximum protection for actors, including the provision of 48 hours’ notice for nudity and prostitution. 

The opposition noted that it had launched a website on the DissentingOpinion2020.com and insisted that the phrase “historical benefits” did not tell the whole story. This agreement brings about historical losses and lost opportunities. Opponents say the deal was negotiated during “extraordinary global health and economic crises.” The value of our services is growing, not shrinking. Even with the common pain of the moment, we must negotiate with the power to fully protect your wages, arrears, health, safety, and the survival of your pension and health plans.
 

Opponents say the new deal will “destroy” the decades-old fixed formula, with a $70 million loss in three years and an eight-year loss of $170 million. It emphasized that the proposed 2% increase in pensions and health would be deducted from the 1.5% increase in wages and that the use of digital doubles was not a protection for background actors. They also said that eliminating the need for first-class travel for journeys of less than 1,000 miles would endanger members in the COVID era.
 

Three years ago, members of the SAG-AFTRA ratified the current agreement because it opposed one out of every four members who voted. About 76% of members approved the deal with about 15% of the 144,000 eligible members voting — or about 22,000 in all. 

‘Taken’ Director Pierre Morel Promises Nick Jonas will feature as Modern MacGyver in “The Blacksmith”


Pierre Morel who is known for his impressive work directing “Taken” has started work on another action thriller movie, “The Blacksmith”. He is working alongside AGC Studios to create the actioner and the movie is set to feature actor/singer Nick Jonas as the lead character. In Morel’s words, Nick Jonas will feature as a “Very modern and updated” MacGyver.

The film which is scheduled to start production in September will see Jonas portray Wes Loomis in the movie. Wes Loomis is a weapons expert and is the go-to man for the intelligence community. However, a series of bad events forces him to go into hiding. Acquiring the help of Noelle Hazlitt, a young CIA analyst, Wes then seeks out his mentor, Mather, who is a retired blacksmith in the hopes of finding answers to the bad events that happened to him. 

On why he is excited about directing the film, Morel explained, “I’m a James Bond fan and my big question as a kid was, what would it be like if Q had to do the mission himself? Since our hero in ‘The Blacksmith’ is a modern Q, I was blown away. This (is a) guy who can invent stuff and make up every device you can imagine…but is not a hero and isn’t supposed to be in the field. All of a sudden, he is thrown into mayhem and has to deal with the situation, [but] with all this knowledge and not with his muscles. That was key to my interest.” He also said “The Blacksmith” will rely more on CGI effects than his previous feature films saying, “It is in today’s world, but using devices that don’t exist. The idea is to make the scope bigger than I usually do, which will allow for bigger effects, destruction and devastation.”

Morel has directed some impressive action thrillers which gave him the required power to land the job. He has to his directing credits “Taken” which featured Liam Neeson, “The Gunman” with Idris Elba starring as the leads character and Jennifer Garner’s Peppermint to mention but a few.

“The Blacksmith” which will be financed and produced by AGC studios will have its production in Toronto. While some of the roles are yet to be cast, Mather is set to be played by Laurence Fishburne. 

 

Winona Ryder Accuses Mel Gibson of Making Anti-Semitic and Homophobic Remarks

Actress and Producer, Winona Ryder, in an interview with The Sunday Times, accused Braveheart star, Mel Gibson, of making anti-gay and anti-Semitic comments. The actress who is known for her role in “Stranger Things” said this after she was asked, during the interview, if she had experienced any antisemitism in the industry.

In the interview, she recounted how the Oscar winner made statements that were homophobic to her at a party. She said, “We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends,” she said. “And Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get Aids?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’”. She even went on to say Gibson tried to apologize for his comments.

However, Ryder’s claims of Gibson making the comments were refuted by Gibson’s representatives. A statement provided by the representatives to Variety read, “This is 100 per cent untrue. She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she’s lying about it now.” The representative also went further to say Gibson did not try to apologize as he did not make any homophobic or anti-Semitic comments.

Replying to the denial, Winona Ryder released a statement saying, “I believe in redemption and forgiveness and hope that Mr. Gibson has found a healthy way to deal with his demons, but I am not one of them. Around 1996, my friend Kevyn Aucoin and I were on the receiving end of his hateful words. It is a painful and vivid memory for me. Only by accepting responsibility for our behavior in this life can we make amends and truly respect each other, and I wish him well on this lifelong journey.”

This is not the first time Gibson has been accused of anti-Semitic and homophobic behavior. He has been reported to have made derogatory comments throughout his career his outbursts have been exposed publicly on several occasions. 

The most popular anti-Semitic comment Gibson made was in 2006 where he said, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” while being arrested. He later addressed the incident in 2016 and told Variety “It was an unfortunate incident. I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of — we’ll call it the press. So, not fair. I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”

European Producers Contend with the Growing Power of U.S. Streamers following production restart since the pandemic lockdown


With European producers looking to restart shoots post lockdown in the coming weeks, many have developed mixed feelings towards the powers Netflix and other streaming services have garnered during the lockdown. 

As a result of the worldwide lockdown, movie theaters were shut down, and movies that were scheduled for theatrical release have had to be pushed back or release via Video on Demand (VOD) services. In truth, the biggest winners of the coronavirus crises are the streaming platforms – Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Primes as the demand for these streaming services skyrocketed. These streaming services all pushed out many original movies and series for people to watch while staying at home.

The stats the streaming services recorded showed just how much people missed going to cinemas to see movies. Netflix now has over 180 million subscribers in 190 countries.

Alongside the giant streaming services, ARTE, Apple, BBC, RAI, and France Televisions all contributed to being the drivers of broadband traffic and massive internet usage during the lockdown. 

While streaming services were able to fill in during the lockdown, there is no doubt that the model with which these streaming platforms create their original movies is changing the movie and TV industry. This is because the business model of these streaming platforms is to fully finance the production of a movie in exchange for the full rights of the movie. This could pose a serious threat to the European industry which is already endangered. 

Speaking about the issue, Norwegian Producer, Gudny Hummelvoll stated that independent producers are in danger when production restarts. She noted that European independent producers have already seen “the predominance of a financing model based on the one the streamers use, where producers don’t have any rights or [get] revenues back” during the lockdown. She also stated that streaming platforms mostly use algorithms to determine which projects they want.

She did agree that the global exposure the platforms provide is a massive opportunity for Euro-producers. However, she believes the cost also needs to be considered since the platforms will not only keep the rights to the film but also decide the content they want the producer to make.

Simone Gattoni, another Italian Producer, also said “These days more than before, directors and producers in Europe are able to seek a wide range of partnerships; there is much more pan-European cross-pollination,”

Italian producers and Head of Cross Productions, Rosario Rinaldo also made suggestions similar to Gattoni’s. He said, “The (streaming) platforms are giving us a truly fantastic opportunity. My only worry is that so far I can’t see a business model that gratifies me, that can work for me the same way as the business model I have with [pubcaster] RAI. That is the damn problem!” He went on to explain that RAI, in his words, “has a culture of real productive exchange.”

He added, “We are co-producers. I invest, taking a risk. But I know that in the end I have the possibility of being able to monetize my rights. Rights that I hold on to.” Rinaldo cites the case of his weed-smoking cop show “Rocco Schiavone,” which plays on Starz in the U.S. and, “besides a minimum guarantee brought in a 90% profit margin in international sales.”

From the thoughts of the many concerned European producers, it is obvious they see streaming platforms and services as a good way to get their works to an even greater audience. However, they do not like the current terms they might have to agree to work with them.

These concerns are quite understandable considering European producers are having a difficult time trying to find insurance coverage before they can start filming again while production financed by Netflix and other streaming services have in-house insurance. 

Due to these concerns, the EPC has started a discussion on setting measures to reduce the power of streaming platforms. The main aim of this discussion is to find a way to ensure global streamers participate in the recovery efforts of the European film and TV industry rather than pump money only into the movies playing on their platforms