I wouldn’t mind seeing Avatar again…3D or flat IMAX, big sound, whatever feels right. Has there ever been a sequel to a hit theatrical film that came out 13 years after the initial debut? That’s how long it’s damn near been — 12 years and eight months.
Honest admission: I bought my Avatar Bluray in the summer of ’10, and I’ve never watched it once.
Posted on 12.18.09: Avatar was composed with an unusual four-act structure, and it all brilliantly pays off during the final half-hour.
The four acts can be summarized (spoiler whiners are advised to READ NO FURTHER) as (a) Jake Sully’s introduction to the deal and the Na’vi reality — i.e., the opportunity to serve as a military spy through his transformation into a Na’vi body and immersion into the Na’vi culture, and his first adventures going into this process; (b) love and exploration as Jake passes through the rites and passages of becoming a Na’vi, and the blooming of his feelings for Neytiri, his native guide and friend, ending with the line “Jake, what the hell are you doing?”; (c) disappointment, betrayal and downturn as Jake enrages his military boss, Colonel Miles Quaritch, by switching his allegiance to the Na’vi, and then admits to the Na’vi his military mission, which infuriates them as well, followed by brutal military attacks upon the Na’vi that send them scurrying; and (d) Jake’s resolve, forces gathered, Na’vi retaliation, serious payback, love fulfilled and final transformation.
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In an interview with Variety‘s Elizbaeth Wagmeister, Don’t Worry Darling director and costar Olivia Wilde has shot down a report that boyfriend & costar Harry Styles was paid more than three times Florence Pugh‘s fee.
Wilde denied the claim but in a curious way. In an emailed response, she lamented “a nonexistent pay disparity between our lead and supporting actors…[it] really upset me. I’m a woman who has been in this business for over 20 years, and it’s something that I’ve fought for myself and others, especially being a director. There is absolutely no validity to those claims.”
HE to Wilde #1: I thought Pugh and Styles were playing married-to-each-other leads in the film. You’ve described one as a lead and another as supporting. Given the “secretive evil men meets moralistic truth-seeking woman” scheme, Pugh has to be the lead, I gather. So Harry is the semi- marginal sideline character. Check.
HE to Wilde #2: You said there’s “no validity to these claims,” but you didn’t say that Styles and Pugh were paid the same amount. Were they? Or perhaps your denial strictly addresses the “Harry was paid three times more than Florence” rumor? Perhaps he was paid twice as much? Or slightly more? Or was given more back-end points?
Pugh, by the way, declined to be interviewed by Wagmeister. The reason for being unavailable, her publicist said, was that she was filming Dune: Part Two in Budapest. That’s total bullshit, of course. If Pugh wanted to talk to Wagmeister, all she had to do was pick up the phone between takes, or after shooting had wrapped at the end of a given day.
HE question to readership: If you were the Warner Bros. honcho or the producer in charge, would you calculate that Styles and Pugh should be paid the same fee? Or would you reason that Styles is much more famous and has a much bigger fan base than Pugh, and therefore deserves to be paid more?
NASA recently tweeted an eerie audio clip that represents actual sound waves rippling through the gas and plasma in the Perseus cluster, which is 250 million light years from Earth.” — posted yesterday (8.22) by Vice‘s Vicky Ferreira.
The misconception that there is no sound in space originates because most space is a ~vacuum, providing no way for sound waves to travel. A galaxy cluster has so much gas that we've picked up actual sound. Here it's amplified, and mixed with other data, to hear a black hole! pic.twitter.com/RobcZs7F9e
— NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) August 21, 2022
You could say that Sam Mendes‘ Empire of Light is a past-tense, memory-lane, movie-theatre thing. But it isn’t really. Or not that much.
Set in rural England (Margate) in 1980, it’s about an interracial May-December affair — a strapping, good-looking black dude in his mid 20s (Michael Ward, the main protagonist) and a white, middle-aged, past-her-prime British woman in her mid to late 40s (Olivia Colman). Separated by more than 20 years. Such affairs are always short-term.
So it’s not so much about a Cinema Paradiso-type atmosphere (The Blues Brothers and All That Jazz on the marquee) as a stew of race and sexuality and mental health issues and callous paternalism. One could infer, even, that Empire of Light primarily occurs within the Mendes sensibility of here and now.
Colman is a movie-theatre manager with an unstable, schizzy temperament; Ward is working for her (selling and tearing tickets, selling popcorn). They eventually fall into a sexual relationship, but problems surface. Such affairs were highly unusual if not what-the-fuck-are-you-thinking? in working-class circles.
Colin Firth is a crusty theatre owner who exploits Colman sexually, casually, off and on. Anti-immigrant skinheads and an act of particular brutality figure into the narrative.
Things were a lot different in England and the U.S. in 1980, racially speaking. If you ask me the likelihood of such an affair pushes the limits of credibility, or certainly the 1980 norm. Honestly. I visited London in ’76 and ’80…such affairs just weren’t in the cards. Interracial, sure, but older white woman-younger black guy? There was certainly a lot of racism among brutish working-class types. Gangs of skinheads roaming the London Underground…I was there, I saw it, I felt it.
May I ask something? Why would a smart, good-looking dude like Ward be interested in an unstable white lady on the far side of 45? What about all those foxy 20something girls running around town? I don’t get it. If Colman was in her early 30s, maybe. (I was into women in their 30s during my early to mid 20s.)
However unstable and erratic, Colman’s character would have had to nurse a streak of serious self-destruction to engage in a May-December affair like this. But if the director-writer of a film depicting such an affair adopts an attitude of presentism, a Ward + Colman-type affair is well within the realm of possibility.
A totally woke movie in 2022 has to cover at least two of the three fundamentals — race, gender, sexuality — and if it’s a 1980 period film the old presentism thang figures in. Empire of Light doesn’t do gender, but it covers the other three, you bet. Or so it would seem. I won’t see it until Telluride.
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- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »