Category Archives: Adventure

WONDER WOMAN 1984

Directed by Patty Jenkins

Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, and Kristen Wiig

Wonder Woman 1984…how can I describe this film without giving away any spoilers?   Well, I will have to say that this is an ambitious, very superhero-laced movie that provides the emotional depth which will make you curious about Wonder Woman’s future adventures. Even though there were some elements that needed some strengthening, this movie kept me engaged from beginning to end.

This sequel is ambitious in the sense of the message it was trying to convey: the theme of being careful of what you wish for, because it will come at the expense of losing something more valuable.

Wonder Woman 1984’s beginning sequence is very strong, which was a great start for the movie. Gal Godot’s performance is a little stronger in this one..her performance with Chris Pine is a good showcase of their chemistry, as always.

We also received more of the “superhero” vibe, meaning the character showcased more of what she can do such as the lasso tricks in dealing with her enemies, her power of making things invisible, and her flying through the sky.

Now I will be honest and say that there were some elements that needed polishing. The way Steve Trevor returned is an example. Again, I will not give anything away, but it brought more questions that were unnecessary. Kristen Wiig gave a decent performance as Cheetara, but I felt that her transformation from “needy” to having similar powers to Diana needed strengthening. Pedro Pascal also gave a solid performance as Maxwell Lord, but it was not memorable in my opinion.

Overall, despite some questionable plots and scenes, Wonder Woman 1984 is an enjoyable film. This movie may not work for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the character, and you like superhero movies with an intriguing premise, this comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10(Watch in the theater if you can)

Looking back at the Animated Classics: 101 Dalmations

101 Dalmations(1961)

Starring the voice talents of Paul Wexler, Mary Wickes, Barbara Luddey, and Lisa Daniels

This may come as a surprise, but I just saw Disney’s 101 Dalmations for the first time.    And I have to say that after watching this classic,  I was very impressed with the story.

I don’t want to assume that everyone knows the plot, so for those of you are unfamiliar with the movie’s premise, it centers on a Dalmation couple, Pongo and Perdita. The two go on a mission to rescue their puppies from the fashion-obsessed Cruella DeVille.

101 Dalmations not only had a well-paced and impressive story, but the characters’ performances were engaging and memorable. Another particular aspect of this animated feature that I admired was the vast network the canine community created to help any dog in need. For example, when the humans were unable to find the puppies, Pongo’s friend The Great Dane, helped them find their children through his contacts and vast “barking” network.

I don’t want to give away the whole movie, but if you’re an animation fan who wants a good adventure, 101 Dalmations comes highly recommended.   My Score: 8.5/10(Add this to your collection).

Christopher Levy Launches CINEFLIK a new streaming service that cares


The film industry is ruled by companies that value corporate gain over artistry and films that tell real stories. These companies don’t give independent filmmakers a chance. In a time where it is so important that voices are heard through the imaginative minds of the creatives out there with a dream. 
 

I have been in the film industry for two decades. I have seen how they operate with a tunnel vision focus on numbers and sales. Large studios and others are taking advantage of independent filmmakers. They are not given a fair chance to showcase their talents, and they are not being adequately paid for their art. I have been a producer for several studios and I have seen how they turn everything into numbers. There is no creativity, there is no freedom. Everything turned into a walking barcode that depicted your worth. All you look for is the next “big hit”. The old saying that you are as good as your last movie constantly in playback in your head. 

I quit everything in 2019 and set to reinvent myself and what I stand for. I started my own production company to seek out true talent with beautiful stories, now adding to the distribution side, having a presence in Cannes, Berlin, and L.A’s AFM. It is not enough that these films are being made, but they deserve the opportunity to be seen.

CINEFLIK is a streaming service built for people who want exposure, a platform to showcase creativity and talent. Whilst we are not as established as Amazon, HBO max, and others, what sets us apart is that we care. We care about the integrity of filmmaking and the efforts that you have put in, as an artist to create these films. You are not just a number to us, we will also put in our all to make sure your story has the opportunity for maximum exposure. That is why I have also partnered with INFILMS Magazine to promote filmmakers. 

A streaming service that cares about art and also the filmmakers 

With CINEFLIK, the film owners decide on the price of rental and receive a cut of 80%. We will give you a fair price because we understand how other larger companies will try and take advantage. We will not compromise the opportunity for distribution with fair compensation. For example, Amazon pays only 6 cents per hour, for up to 99,999 hours streamed in a period of 365 days, tied in with an exclusive rights clause. Not only are they taking advantage, but they are making sure that you are legally unable to sell or share your stories with others. If you rent your film for $1.99, you will get $1.59 with CINEFLIK as opposed to $0.06 you would get from Amazon, with 100 downloads is a difference between $159 and $6 with Amazon.
We only keep 20% to maintain the site.

Unlike other services we also don’t follow a set of rules and requirements that may restrict distribution. For instance, Redbox has a list of preferred titles and requests, like; Action genre with a recognizable cast, supernatural horror, and family films that are animated standalone features. They only accept “new” titles that have been produced in a rolling two-year time span, they don’t consider films that have previously been available on DVD or via SVOD streaming services, NC-17 ratings and features under 80 minutes are out of the questions and don’t even think about direct television in the Comedy or Drama genre or Foreign Language films or Documentaries. With all these restrictions, they are not accepting of a variety of content, effectively closing doors to many filmmakers. On top of that, they set the price and pay around $2.75 to $3.50 per disc, this is largely dependent on the cast, genre, and a fit for their customers. A factor that is completely determined by themselves, which doesn’t sound fair at all. The film owners would have to pay for the DVDs and they would have complete control of how many times your movie is rented. We do not want to go down this path, CINEFLIK is fair, we set the pricing together with the film owner, we respect that they deserve to have their films and shows distributed at a fair price. We respect and accept all submissions of genres, the audience is always evolving and we want to anticipate what they want by providing a range of films and shows. 

This marks a new chapter to promote independent filmmakers in a way that does not involve bias or pure judgment of how much money they can generate. CINEFLIK carries everything, including, Classic Movies, Independent Films, short and full-length Features, as well as all genres of Television shows. We embrace creativity and have a thirst for real stories and originality. We want your trust in your films. Let us take you onboard and together we can discover a whole new audience for you. I am excited about the future, we can challenge the underlying issues of the film industry together and pave the way for real stories and talent that is often overlooked by Hollywood executives. 

Let’s take this challenge on together, no more waiting, no more negotiations, no more banging on the wrong door. We are here to make it happen.

You can access CINEFLIK here http://www.cineflik.com
Membership is always free.

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.

Warner Bros. Moves fourth Matrix Film to 2022

Off the back of moving Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 to new release dates, Warner Bros. has announced the change in date of another upcoming highly anticipated movie.

This was announced in line with the huge changes Warner Bros. has been making. Matrix 4, which was initially scheduled to release May 21, 2021, is now scheduled for April 1, 2022.  This decision came as a result of the pause in production which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming of the movie was carried out in Germany before the pandemic and is proposed to start next month.

Many of the original casts of the franchise such as Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Neil Patrick Haris are back for the fourth installment of the movie. The franchise’s co-creator, Lana Wachowski, also remains one of the directors of the movie.

In other news, Warner Bros. has removed “Witches” from its scheduled release date and is yet to announce a date for the movie. The movie which stars Anne Hathaway is directed by Robert Zemeckis and was initially scheduled for release on October 8, 2020.

In addition, the sci-fi action movie “Godzilla vs Kong” is now scheduled by Warner Bros. to release May 21, 2021; the date which was originally scheduled for Matrix 4 release. Also, Warner bros. moved its upcoming live-action comedy film, “Tom and Jerry” to March 5, 2021, from December 23, 2020.

 The Hollywood studios also announced it will be releasing one of its untitled horror movies on Jun. 24, 2020 while also removing another untitled Warner Bros. event film originally scheduled for Oct. 16, 2020, to a date later to be announced.

All in all, the studio changed the release dates of 6 of its upcoming movies while also removing two other ones from their scheduled release date with no date yet to be announced. 

“Gone With The Wind” Screening in Paris Canceled by Warner Bros.

It just won’t stop. Warner Bros. yet again makes changes to their scheduled dates. This time, the Hollywood studios announced “Gone with the Wind” which was scheduled for screening on June 23rd at the Rex Theater will no longer be released.

The Romance-Drama movie was scheduled for theatrical release on June 23 to celebrate the reopening of Cinemas in France after they were all shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Having been scheduled to release in France’s biggest theater, HBO Max temporarily pulled the Oscar-winning movie from their website following John Ridley’s featured article in the Los Angeles Times Newspaper. In the op-ed, John Ridley urged the streaming service to remove the movie from its library due to the way the film “romanticizes the horrors of slavery.

The award-winning classic was released in 1939 and has gone on to win eight (8) Academy awards but has always been partially criticized for its depiction of Slavery and black people as a whole. The movie starred Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, and Clark Gable and tells the story of the love between the daughter of a plantation owner and a southern aristocrat.

Realizing what releasing the movie would mean in light of the ongoing protests, HBO Max, released a statement while simultaneously pulling the movie from its website. In the statement, the streaming service said the Civil war epic would return and be available for people to watch. The service also added that it would be releasing a discussion about the historical context of the movie as well as their opposition towards the racist acts depicted in the movie.

“Gone with the Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American Society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions but will be presented as it was originally created because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history”.

The move does not come as a surprise considering the ongoing Black Lives Matter #BLM protests in light of George Floyd’s death. Re-releasing such a movie would only rile more people up.

2021 Oscars Postponed by two months due to Coronavirus Pandemic

With the world adjusting to the Coronavirus pandemic with various events being canceled and the deployment of several health guidelines, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its 93rd Academy Awards event has been postponed.

The announcement came last week the 2021 Oscars which was scheduled for Feb. 28 will be delayed by two months and the new date being April 25, 2021. This announcement is in line with Variety’s report in May in which the report said the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was planning on delaying the upcoming event due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released by Dawn Hudson (CEO) and David Rubin (Academy President), they said: “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control. This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark a historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema”.

Also, the academy announced that the annual Governors Awards gala scheduled to take place in November has been postponed with a date later to be announced. Also, the opening of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building in  Los Angeles, California has been pushed back to April next year.

Alongside postponing the date of their major events, the organization also updated its eligibility rules for the 2021 Oscars Academy Awards. In the new rules, feature films that want to be nominated for an award must have a release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb 28. 2021. The new submission deadline for specialty categories has been pushed to Dec. 30, 2020, while submission deadline for general categories (such as Best Picture, Original song, Best Actor and Actress, etc.) is now Jan. 15, 2021.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of changes in the entertainment industry. Many studios have turned to digital distribution platforms for the release of some of their movies due to the shutdown of movie theaters. Some other studios however decided to postponed their upcoming blockbuster movies with dates to be announced when movie cinemas reopen.

There is still no certainty what the future holds for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards telecast but we will definitely keep you updated. 

New Zealand Eases Covid-19 Border controls After Avatar Crew Allowed Entry

Following the New Zealand government’s decision to allow award-winning director James Cameron and his filming crew into the country, many from the opposition party have accused the government of double standards. Responding to this anger and outburst, the government announced it will ease its Covid-19 border controls.

Like every other country in the world, New Zealand was forced to close its border to non-residents and non-citizens in early March after recording cases of people being down with the coronavirus. However, as of Monday this week, a new rule is now being enforced. The new rule gives “high-value workers” with “projects or assignment of national or regional significance” access into New Zealand.

Earlier before the latest rule change, two athletes competing for America’s Cup were denied access to enter the country. Coupled with the rule change for high-value workers, arrivals are to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. This means James Cameron and his crew of 55 are currently in lockdown in their Wellington hotel rooms.

As of the time of this writing, New Zealand is yet to record a new Covid-19 case in 28 days. In addition, there are no active cases in the country

‘No Time to Die’ Release Date Changed AGAIN

No Time to Die, the latest installment in the James Bond franchise is now scheduled to release earlier than expected.

Originally scheduled to release April 2020 but then rescheduled with a new release date of November 25, the long-awaited movie will now be released five days earlier in U.S. theaters.

The new release date was made official last week on the franchise’s official Twitter account. The account tweeted to reveal No Time to Die will premiere on November 20 only in the United States.

The tweet read: ‘The return of old friends in NO TIME TO DIE. In Cinemas 12th November UK, 20th November U.S.’

Asides being the latest movie in the James Bond franchise, the movie will also be Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond.

No Time to die is not the only highly anticipated movie whose original release date was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Other blockbuster movies like Disney’s Mulan (July 24), Paramount Picture’s ‘A Quiet Place II’ (Sept. 4), Pixar’s ‘Soul’ (Nov. 25), and Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ (Nov. 6) all had summer releases before being forced to reschedule their release dates.

The new release date is as a result of the changes Warner Bros. has been making to several of their upcoming movies. Other Warner Bros. movies have also been moved up and down to give the movies the best possible publicity they can get. Christopher Nolan’s upcoming spy film has been delayed from its initial release date by two weeks and is now scheduled to release July 31. Wonder Woman 1984’s initial release date of August 14 has also jumped to Oct. 2.

Los Angeles Sets Strict Rules for TV and Film Production Restart

With many countries now switching from total lockdown to partial lockdown, many activities have now been allowed to resume albeit under strict and extensive regulations.

Film and TV Productions is one such activity set to resume again in some states as early as Friday although with extensive regulations issued by Los Angeles Country. This new extensive regulation is not much of a surprise considering professional football has also restarted behind closed doors.

While productions are allowed to restart Friday, 19th of July, many producers would probably only start filming around July or August.

As would be expected, the first major rule is for cast and crew to maintain social distancing while on sets. The county also sets the use of face masks and coverings as an important detail not to be overlooked by cast and crew members as actors and musicians who cannot perform with face-covering on are expected to be eight feet apart. Furthermore, it mandates that only essential cast crew be present on set at any given time with the directive that actors must wash their hands before shooting any scene.

Also, it discourages all prolonged physical contact that arises from sex and fight scenes and mandates that all actors and crew keep information about any film shooting from the public. The country also directs that all crowd scenes are discouraged.

The rules also direct that makeup artist are only allowed on set when the actors cannot apply makeup to fit the scene. Also, Craft service buffets are temporarily forbidden on all sets.

Talk Shows and Sitcoms also looking to film new scenes in Los Angeles that must follow new rules. The rules now mandate that audience members must sit six feet apart and must not occupy more than 25% of the available space. It also allows paid staff and crew to serve as audience members. And capping it all, the rules set that only the same group of the audience present at the restart of filming are allowed for subsequent productions.

Although the entertainment industry released some rules for crews and cast to follow when production restarts, the rules released by the county are more strict. This is because the entertainment industry task force didn’t mandate many of their rules like the county did.

Following the release of the entertainment industry’s rules and guidelines, Donna Langley – Chairman Universal Film, stated in a statement that the rules, in his words, are “a significant step in getting our industry back to work in Los Angeles County”.

In his statement, the chairman expressed gratitude to the County Board of Supervisors as well as the county’s mayor for their commitment to the region’s economic recovery. He also expressed gratitude to the County’s Public Health Department for their efforts to keep their region safe. He then went ahead to say “Teams across the Studios, production companies, guilds, and unions in every facet of our business have shown and will continue to show innovation and creativity in bringing film, TV and digital production safely back to Los Angeles”.

Though production restart is imminent, there are still several things that will come into play which might delay restart to mid or late August. One of the obstacles production restart faces includes the detailed protocols all guilds and unions are yet to agree to.

Another major obstacle many productions will face pending the restart is whether or not they will be able to obtain insurance. Bob Jellen, the managing director for entertainment at HUB international believes many productions that were underway before the lockdown would be spared from “additional costs that are required to make filming safer for the actors and crew”. In other words, this obstacle is only for new productions that have not yet started filming before COVID-19 lockdown that caused productions to stop. Obtaining insurance is even going to be more difficult for independent filmmakers.

Many in the film making industry have expressed concerns about the difficulty many new productions will face when trying to secure insurance. To this end, Congress has introduced a bill that gives insurance companies the power to sell policies covering the coronavirus shutdown. The bill, however, is yet to pass.