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Sundance 2018: Patient Nicolas Cage Fans Will Be Very Happy With ‘Mandy’

By Rob Hunter

It’s exactly what you expect from the director of ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’… and exactly what you want from the star of ‘The Wicker Man’ remake.

Low-key weirdness and high-energy intensity may not seem like an ideal match, but the pairing of director Panos Cosmatos and Nicolas Cage sees both talents giving everything they’ve got into a uniquely memorable collaboration. A simple plot synopsis for Mandy sounds exactly like a thousand other tales of revenge — a man seeks revenge for the murder of his wife — but the devil is in the ridiculously trippy and very bloody details.

Red (Cage) is a logger working the remote Shadow Mountains in the early 80s, and he comes home each day with a smile to his girlfriend, Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). Her company is his lifeblood, and whether they’re discussing the stars or simply sleeping arm in arm beneath them it’s as perfect a life as he could hope for. Red’s not alone in his interest in Mandy, though, as a cult leader named Jeremiah (Linus Roache) has decided he wants her to join his caravan of killers. The group attacks the couple late one night leaving Mandy dead and Red refusing to die, and while the killers leave the carnage behind vengeance is soon on their trail.

Cage has dabbled in characters touched by hell before — Ghost Rider, Drive Hard, The Croods — but none have captured the feeling of being immersed into a hellscape as completely as Mandy. Cosmatos’ style is such that nearly every moment outside of the first ten minutes feels one or more steps removed from reality. Early on the sensation works as a calming, dreamlike salve to the point that we feel the couple’s calm and affection, but once the film shifts it enters into a fever dream of color, tension, and unease.

A big part of that is our time spent with Jeremiah’s “family” and the nightmarish gang he summons to abduct Mandy. An elaborate signalling draws the latter, a quartet of ATV-riding cenobite-like beings who were clearly once human but are now… not quite, but as unnerving as they are the cult members are still more frightening. Their humanity is very much intact, and they’re all the more dangerous and terrifying for it.

The film, co-written by Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn, is divided clearly into two parts, and it’s there where it will find and lose viewers. The first is pure Cosmatos, and anyone who’s seen Beyond the Black Rainbow knows that means scenes that are beautifully composed, seductively scored, and maybe three to four minutes too long. It’s more about tone and surreal atmosphere than convention, but it shifts into the best of both worlds after the attack.

Cage goes bonkers as only Cage can — one extended sequence sees him grieving in his tighty-whities while screaming, alternating between chugging vodka and pouring it on his wounds — and he stays in that mode through to the end. He secures weapons, from a crossbow he calls the Reaper to an elaborate battle ax he smelts himself, and he immediately gets to work chasing down every one responsible. Bodies are savaged, flesh is burned, piles of cocaine are snorted, and Cage sits wide-eyed at the center of it all.

As amazingly over the top as much of this is it’s worth noting that beneath the blood, sweat, and ever-shifting color palette sits a legitimately terrific performance by Cage. From the early calm through the later rage, there’s a focus here that’s been missing from too many of his direct to DVD “action” films of late. His grief is palpable, and we watch as that sorrow and anger combine to fuel his vengeance. His time with Riseborough feels lived in and real — not the dreamlike atmosphere, but the relationship itself — and it makes the inevitable turn that much more affecting.

Mandy‘s first act seems guaranteed to test the patience of viewers unaccustomed to Cosmatos’ way of doing things, and a handful of trims to the first hour would work wonders for the pacing (provided they keep the world’s best Erik Estrada knock-knock joke). If you make it past that hour, though, and I recommend that you do, the back half delivers a world unlike any other. Brutal brawls, very funny Cage quips, animated sequences, a chainsaw duel, a mother-flippin’ tiger, and more await.

Mandy Final Digitalversion Poster Copy

The article Sundance 2018: Patient Nicolas Cage Fans Will Be Very Happy With ‘Mandy’ appeared first on Film School Rejects.

Source: https://filmschoolrejects.com/mandy-review/

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Jumanji Wins Box Office for Third Straight Weekend

(NEW YORK) — “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” outdid another weekend’s worth of newcomers to top the North American box office for the third straight weekend, making the surprise hit the fifth-highest grossing film of all time for Sony Pictures.

“Jumanji,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, sold $20 million in tickets, according to studio estimates Sunday, bringing its five-week domestic total to $317 million. That makes Sony’s reboot the studio’s best non-Spider-Man movie domestically, not adjusting for inflation.

The film’s unexpectedly strong staying power has lent a boost to the January box office but kept new releases from reaching the top of the box-office chart. “Jumanji” has also reigned overseas, where it has grossed $450.8 million and topped all films internationally for three straight weeks.

The war drama “12 Strong,” starring Chris Hemsworth, debuted in second with $16.5 million in ticket sales. The Warner Bros. release, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, is a fact-based tale, adapted from Doug Stanton’s best-seller “Horse Soldiers,” about a group of Special Forces soldiers sent into northern Afghanistan just weeks after Sept. 11.

“12 Strong” appealed largely to an older crowd. Seventy-nine percent of its audience was over the age of 25, said Warner Bros.

The heist thriller “Den of Thieves” slotted in at third place with an opening weekend of $15.3 million. The STXfilms release stars Gerard Butler and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

Though “Paddington 2” disappointed last weekend in its debut, the acclaimed sequel slid just 25 percent in its second week. “Paddington 2,” which has set a new record for the most widely reviewed 100-percent fresh movie on Rotten Tomatoes, grossed $8.2 million in its second week of domestic release thanks in part to good word of mouth. Warner Bros. acquired the film’s North American distribution from The Weinstein Co. in November.

Also showing unexpected legs was “The Greatest Showman,” the Hugh Jackman-led musical about P.T. Barnum. It dipped just 12 percent in its fifth week of release. With another $11 million, “The Greatest Showman” has now grossed $113.5 million for 20th Century Fox.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” expanded nationwide, taking in $3.4 million from 896 theaters. The Focus Features release, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in what the actor has said will be his final performance, has grossed $6.2 million.

Also notable: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” crossed the $600 million mark domestically with $6.6 million in its sixth week of release. The Disney release stands at $604.3 million domestically — or no. 9 all-time, not accounting for inflation — and $1.296 billion worldwide.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final four-day domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” $20 million ($32.6 million international).

2. “12 Strong,” $16.5 million ($2.5 million international).

3. “Den of Thieves,” $15.3 million ($1.3 million international).

4. “The Post,” $12.2 million ($6.6 million international).

5. “The Greatest Showman,” $11 million ($11 million international).

6. “Paddington 2,” $8.2 million ($2.4 million international).

7. “The Commuter,” $6.7 million ($10.2 million international).

8. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” $6.6 million ($9.9 million international).

9. “Insidious: The Last Key,” $5.9 million ($18.4 million international).

10. “Forever My Girl,” $4.7 million.

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” $32.6 million.

2. “Secret Superstar,” $25.9 million.

3. “Forever Young,” $22.5 million.

4. “Insidious: The Last Key,” $18.4 million.

5. “Coco,” $18.3 million.

6. “Ferdinand,” $17.5 million.

7. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $15.2 million.

8. “Wonder,” $12.6 million.

9. “Darkest Hour,” $12.1 million.

10. “The Greatest Showman,” $11 million.

Source: http://time.com/5111809/jumanji-tops-box-office/

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Women’s Marches draw large crowds on second day

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New music releases: looking at albums by They Might Be Giants and Derek Smalls

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Peter Dinklage is ready for ‘Game of Thrones’ to be over

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Peter Dinklage is out in Utah to rep his new movie I Think We’re Alone Now at the annual Sundance Film Festival and — of course — he’s fielding questions about Game of Thrones.

HBO’s hit series is set to conclude with its eighth season in 2019, Dinklage seems like he’s ready to bid farewell to Tyrion Lannister in an interview with Variety.

“It’s time,” he said. “Storywise, not just for all our lives. It’s the perfect time to end it. Sometimes shows stay on a little too long, the jumping-the-shark thing.”

Dinklage admits there are “bittersweet” feelings in saying goodbye to a cast and crew he’s come to know over the course of eight seasons. But the “not just for all our lives” comment is telling of the show’s success, and the fame that’s followed each of its stars over the years. Read more…

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Source: http://mashable.com/2018/01/21/peter-dinklage-game-of-thrones-sundance-interview/

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Big Brother: Sources deny Channel 5 show is being axed later this year

celebrity-big-brother-2018.jpg

The Daily Star claimed that the show would be cancelled due to a slump in ratings, which sources at its production company deny

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/big-brother-celebrity-cancelled-2018-series-contestants-air-date-end-ratings-a8170936.html

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North Korean pop star visits South before Winter Olympics shows

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Hyon Song-wol, leader of Kim Jong-un’s handpicked Moranbong Band, will perform with 140-member art troupe

The head of a hugely popular North Korean girl band has crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea to check the preparations for her performance during next month’s Winter Olympics.

Appearing live on South Korean television, Hyon Song-wol remained silent as she walked past a crowd of reporters, onlookers and a barrage of camera flashes, before boarding an express train at Seoul’s railway station for the eastern city of Gangneung, where the art troupe she also leads is to perform during the Pyeongchang Games.

Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/21/north-korean-pop-singer-visits-south-ahead-of-winter-olympics-shows

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17 Instagram accounts showcase how important feminism is in 2018

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There’s no surprise that feminism was the word of the year in 2017. After 2016’s political rollercoaster, people began using their voices, platforms, and actions to demand change. 

However, the overwhelming demand to stay in touch with what’s going on in the world can be exhausting especially when it comes to social media. But, there are many accounts using their online presence to spread more good than bad.

They’ve made it their job to promote empowerment, information and overall positivity for the next 12 months.  Read more…

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Source: http://mashable.com/2018/01/21/17-instagram-feminism-2018/