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How Ariana Grande Has Covered Up Her Pete Davidson Tattoos

Ariana Grande has covered up yet another Pete Davidson-inspired tattoo—this time with a tribute to her late ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller.

Eagled-eyed fans caught the ink update in Grande’s behind-the-scenes featurette for her “Thank U, Next” music video. Early in the BTS footage, she’s rehearsing her bend-and-snap (for the Legally Blonde portion of the actual music video) when she jokes about how much she loves her tattoos. “Look at my ‘Myron,'” Grande says, in reference to her foot tattoo of the word “Myron.” “Look! How cool, right?”

This “Myron” tat is located on Grande’s left foot in exactly the same place where, just a few months ago, she had 8418: the firefighter badge number of Davidson’s father, who died in 9/11. “Myron,” for those who don’t know, is the name of Mac Miller’s dog. It appears, at least, that Grande has covered up “8418” with “Myron.”

Watch Grande talk about this change in the video, below. Start around the 2:30 mark.

And here’s a photo of the switcheroo up close:

PHOTO: Republic/YouTube

This isn’t the first Davidson tattoo Grande has covered up. Below, a quick guide to all the ink Grande swapped out in light of her breakup with Davidson.

When filming NBC’s Wicked Halloween special, Grande covered the “Pete” tattoo on her left ring finger with a Band-Aid.

A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway - Season 2018

PHOTO: Getty Images

She replaced the “reborn” tattoo she got with Davidson with a feather.

PHOTO: Getty Images/Instagram

Grande ultimately replaced that “Pete” tattoo with a black heart, which we see in the “Thank U, Next” video.

Davidson covered one of his Grande tattoos, Dangerous Woman-esque bunny ears, with a black heart, which led the Internet to think the two of them coordinated breakup ink. That’s probably just a coincidence, though. What a time!

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The Seattle Hotel Playbook

Far & Away, from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal.

When the W Bellevue opened last summer, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Seattle, the property became the first marquee hotel in Bellevue, Seattle’s neighbor to the east. Now, with a buzzy place to stay on the Eastside, it begs the question: When traveling to the Seattle area, what’s the best hotel strategy?

Even…

Why Secret Wars Is A Great Idea For An Avengers Film

We’re all still waiting on that Avengers 4 trailer, but there’s still loads more to come from the MCU. Avengers 4 may close the book on this iteration of the MCU, but a whole new saga is on the way! Ten years from now, it’ll need its own epic conclusion on par with whatever Avengers 4 will be, and the perfect idea already exists in the form of Secret Wars, Marvel’s massively successful 80’s comic book event.

Anthony and Joe Russo have been working for over a year on their pair of Avengers movies to conclude Phase Three, and they are done directing MCU films once Avengers 4 is complete. However, not even the directors can resist the siren song of Secret Wars, and recently said that they would be willing to return to the MCU when it was ready to make a Secret Wars movie.

It makes total sense why the Russo Brothers, who grew up reading comic books, would be down to adapt the incredibly geeky Secret Wars. For those not up on their comic book trivia, Secret Wars is a 1984 comic book event that featured almost every major hero and villain in the Marvel universe. Officially called Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, the 12-issue series found the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, and others teleported to an alien world by an omnipotent being known as the Beyonder to do battle with some of their biggest villains.

Back in the 80s, the idea that a movie adaptation featuring so many superhero characters is possible probably felt more like a dream… yet, in 2018, we all know it to be extremely possible. The MCU has been making team-up movies with The Avengers franchise, but I think that Avengers: Infinity War was the first film to truly embody the spirit of a comic book event. The Russos brought their A-game to Infinity War, drafting a movie that was massive in scale with over 20 essential characters, and that’s a great warm-up for a story as nuts as Secret Wars.

It was one of the first stories to feature so many superhero characters at once on such a grand scale. It beat DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (another influential comic book story) to shelves by about half a year.

Secret Wars lends itself to grand, blockbuster storytelling. Its got loads of action, characters and memorable moments like Doctor Doom becoming a god and Spider-Man finding the symbiote for the first time. It’s a great story to end a Phase, as the heroes have to defeat their villains one last time in a no-holds-barred battle. It offers the opportunity for tons of fun and different character combinations, both for the heroes and the villains — the latter of which rarely gets enough attention in the MCU.

For the most part, Secret Wars is a basic story. The heroes are pitted against the villains by a cosmic being with the winning team acquiring their heart’s desire. It’s that simple, and it makes for a solid backbone for a movie. Keep in mind that Infinity War was simply about Thanos collecting magic jewelry and the Avengers trying to stop him.

That simplicity allows for a couple of things. First off, it’s easy enough for the audience to follow without getting lost in too much sci-fi mumbo-jumbo. It also allows the filmmaker time to dig into the characters and add whatever drama or complexities that they see fit. The Russos and other Marvel directors have proven themselves to be very good at keeping the basic elements of a comic book, but changing or adding things for the movie.

That’s assuming that Marvel adapts the first Secret Wars story. Yep, that’s right. Technically Secret Wars got two sequels and a high-profile spiritual sequel in 2015. Also called Secret Wars, it was a massive story that found the Marvel Multiverse all confined to one planet in an attempt to save all realities, with Doctor Doom as its omnipotent leader. It’s very good, and I could see Marvel taking parts of it and mixing it with other elements of the original Secret Wars.

Realistically, we are probably still another ten years out before Marvel Studios is ready to tackle Secret Wars, but that works to its benefit. As mentioned above, Secret Wars has characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four, which Marvel legally doesn’t have access to at this moment.

However, if you’ve been following the trades, you know that won’t be the situation for very much longer! Thanks to the historic Disney/Fox deal, Marvel will gain access to the characters that Fox has been licensing. Secret Wars could be a true Marvel team-up movie featuring every major character that the studio owns. The scale is almost too big to imagine, and it would likely be toned down to logistically controllable levels for a Secret Wars film, but it’s still epic.

Side note: This would mean that Doctor Doom would get to be in the movie, and he does some huge stuff in both Secret Wars stories. He straight up steals the power of the Beyonder to become a god.

That’s not to say that Secret Wars is a perfect comic book. It hasn’t aged super well, but maybe that’s to be expected from a story that was written to sell toys. Mattel had the license to Marvel toys and pushed the publisher to create a story with all the characters together using new weapons and vehicles so that it could sell more merchandise. And it worked! While the story itself may be tougher to read nowadays, it still has an important legacy and a lot of good ideas that can be tweaked for a film.

I feel very confident saying that if Marvel movies keep moving at the current momentum, there will absolutely be a Secret Wars film (or two!). It’s one of the most famous Marvel stories, and it’s a favorite of Marvel Studios most prominent directors. The story captured the imagination of a lot of young readers back in the 80s, and a movie is poised to do just the same today.

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New Aquaman Photos Highlight Dolph Lundgren’s King Nereus, Black Manta

While Aquaman as a comic book character has frequently been the butt of jokes, the early word regarding the new Aquaman movie has been overwhelmingly positive. It looks like DC may have another big hit on their hands, and as we wait the remaining three weeks to see just how good the movie is, a bunch of new images have been released that show off several of the film’s characters, including Dolph Lundgren‘s King Nereus and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta. Check out the DC villain in the image below.

Black Manta is one of several villains who will be making an appearance in the new film. While we’ve seen the character in trailers, it’s not entirely clear exactly how Black Manta will fit into the overall story. The trailers have focused on the conflict between Arthur Curry and his half-brother over the throne of Atlantis as the primary conflict of the plot.

Being one of the more popular Aquaman villains, Black Manta could potentially have been the primary antagonist of his own movie. However, it at least seems that the plan is for him to be a secondary issue for Aquaman, though we’ll have to wait and see exactly how it all plays out.

Another character that could very well be a villain of the film, but apparently is not is Dolph Lundgren’s character of King Nereus. Check him out below.

In the comics, King Nereus is portrayed as a villain, and so many assumed that would be the case when it was reported Dolph Lundgren would be taking on the role in the film. However, director James Wan has said that’s “not quite” the case. If Nereus isn’t quite a villain, then he probably isn’t exactly an ally either or at least not a willing one.

These are only a couple of the images that have been released by Warner Bros. ahead of the Aquaman release. The rest (via Collider) include, of course, various shots of Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, as well as Amber Heard as Mera. We also see several images of Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko.

Of course, in the end, a bunch of still images really aren’t going to give us the best idea of just what we’re in for when it comes to Aquaman. We do have something of an idea of what we’re getting when it comes to Jason Momoa as we met Aquaman in Justice League. We also briefly met Amber Heard as Mera but now Aquaman has to carry his own movie.

However, the early word of mouth is that Aquaman actually works out really well. The critics that have seen the movie so far seem to have an overwhelmingly positive reaction, although official reviews have yet to be published, so we’ll have to wait and see what the detailed word is. Aquaman hits theaters December 21.

7 Times Outlander Didn’t Follow What Happened in the Book

Spoiler alert: This article contains major plot details from Outlander, including the most recent episode of season 4, “Savages.”

Outlander fans got a big surprise this past Sunday’s episode, when a beloved character resurfaced and gave Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) yet another faint-worthy shock. Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix), whom viewers last saw being marched off to a future of indentured servitude in season 3, is now living in North Carolina—the same place Jamie and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) call home.

Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s books, which the Starz series is based on, will know this is a significant change. In the novel version, Murtagh dies during the Battle of Culloden, making his brief cameo as Jamie’s fellow Ardsmuir prisoner the first hint the show was going in a different direction with the character. Now Jamie’s godfather is poised as a potential source of conflict in his new role as a Regulator. (Murtagh as a budding revolutionary is problematic because Claire and Jamie’s homestead, Fraser’s Ridge, came courtesy of the British Crown.)

Outlander Season 4 2018

PHOTO: Aimee Spinks/STARZ

Murtagh

According to executive producer Maril Davis, having Murtagh survive on the show was an organic move. “As soon as we cast Duncan and saw how great that bond onscreen was with not only Jamie but also Claire that became very special,” she tells Glamour. “I think we always knew in the back of our minds that we would probably keep Murtagh alive. It just seemed like such a waste of the character [to kill him off].”

This decision is just one of many creative choices that deviate from Gabaldon’s written words that ultimately enhance the Outlander story over its four seasons. While some fans of the books are upset by the liberties taken by the series, those involved argue that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. “It’s good to surprise the fans of the books so they don’t know everything,” Sam Heughan tells us. “I think it’s important because otherwise it could be a bit formulaic.”

Below, Davis takes us through the thought process behind some of Outlander’s most important page-to-screen changes.

Outlander Season 1

Corresponding book: Outlander

In the book: The story is told entirely from Claire’s point of view.
What the show changes: The second half of the season opens with Jamie’s narration, which eventually allows viewers to see his rape and torture from his POV.
Davis’ take: “We felt a duty to Jamie. We felt that it was just so important to be there with him and experience [his sexual assault] through his eyes, because it was so brutal. And certainly people thought, ‘Well, why did you have to show so much?’ But rape isn’t pretty; and unfortunately, there is so much rape in Diana’s books. You have to deal with each situation differently—we’re not always going to show that experience the same way—but in that one we felt it was so important to see it from his point of view.”

In the book: Frank disappears from the narrative once Claire time travels to 1743.
What the show changes: Episode 108, “Both Sides Now,” shows Frank searching for Claire in the 20th century.
Davis’ take: “For me, you do always wonder what Frank was doing. I mean, he must have been looking for her! A lot of our fans are not Frank fans, but I happen to love Frank (though not more than Jamie). We did change Frank’s character a little bit, because in the books he’s more chauvinistic, and I think fans feel like we were softening Frank by taking out all those elements. But the reason we did is because if he was just a horrible person, and Claire went back to him and lived with him and he was racist or misogynistic, you don’t question at all that she goes back to Jamie. But the fact that he is a good guy and she still goes back to Jamie, that to me says more about the love of Claire and Jamie and how powerful that is than anything else. That is why I think it’s important to show Frank as a full character and why we wanted so badly to see his point of view. Claire, obviously, was the love of his life and something he never got over.”

Outlander Season 2

Corresponding book: Dragonfly in Amber

Outlander Season 2 2016

PHOTO: Neil Davidson/STARZ

In the book: It opens in 1968, with Claire and her daughter, Brianna, visiting Roger Wakefield.
What the show changes: The season opens with Claire’s return to 1948.
Davis’ take: “We loved seeing that whole season colored with the idea that we already knew Claire was going back. And also, I think we wanted to see a little of Claire’s life and struggle with what she was going to do when she came back [to 1948]. So the more we talked about it, I think the more we realized that it would be a great way to open the season; it would shake things up by already knowing that she goes back.”

Outlander Season 2 2016

PHOTO: Ed Miller / Starz

In the book: Laoghaire MacKenzie does not appear in Dragonfly in Amber.
What the show changes: Laoghaire is brought back for a showdown with Claire, and to hint at her season three story line, in episode 208, “The Fox’s Lair.”
Davis’ take: “Laoghaire is another person that everyone loves to hate, like Frank. But at the same token, we realized that she was such a great foil and villainess that it seemed a shame to leave her behind and not see her again. We wanted to know what would happen if she and Claire met again after everything that Laoghaire had done to her. We felt like that was a missed opportunity that we never got to see. So that’s one of those times where we were like, ‘That would be so fun, let’s just do it.’”

Outlander Season 3

Corresponding book: Voyager

In the book: Claire buys an 18th-century-style designer dress before returning to 1766.
What the show changes: Claire makes a utilitarian “bat suit” out of raincoats.
Davis’ take: “The bat suit was [costume designer] Terry Dresbach’s idea. I think her fear was Claire was too smart to actually go out and buy a, I hesitate to say, cheesy outfit. Claire is the kind of person who would be thinking ahead about what she would need to go back; as a doctor, she would have something much more functional. And the idea that seeing Claire very buttoned-up as she goes back, and slowly over the course of several episodes—once she reunites with Jamie and throughout the rest of their journey—she starts unpeeling the layers of that suit and slowly reveals more of her real self that she’s hidden for all of those years with Frank.”

Outlander Season 3 2017

PHOTO: Aimee Spinks/STARZ

In the book: Frank has a series of affairs with unnamed women throughout his marriage to Claire.
What the show changes: Frank has a single mistress, Sandy, whom he loved and wanted to marry.
Davis’ take: “I know that some fans don’t like that we made Frank more likable, but I think we just all felt like it made Claire’s decision to go back to Jamie so much more powerful. Claire is amazing, but, one could argue—and that’s what we liked about that story line—that she was very selfish in keeping Frank. They made this decision very early on, that they were going to stay together for Brianna, but, really, was that fair? Claire obviously wasn’t going to start dating again, but for someone like Frank it really hampered his ability to love. Frank was probably going to propose to Sandy, and they were probably going to have a life which was cut too short. So we just thought that it was great to see the personification of that in one glorious woman, Sandy.”


As for the book purists who can’t help but nit-pick the TV series, Davis is quick to explain that from a logistical standpoint, “It would be hard to do a straight adaptation and not have any changes, because oftentimes there are things in the book that don’t necessarily translate to the screen.” (One of the best examples of this is the famous hot springs scene between Claire and Jamie from the first Outlander novel; showrunner Ronald D. Moore had to make the tough decision to not include it in the season one finale.) But what the show does allow is for viewers “to see the little nooks and crannies that aren’t explained in the books,” says Davis. While the series offers up new and different perspectives that may not always be welcomed, Davis offers this reassurance: “You’re always going to have the books. The source material will never leave.”

Crazy Rich Asians Was A Total Failure In China

Crazy Rich Asians had a — wait for it — crazy poor debut in China. That’s either very surprising or totally expected, depending on your vantage point. It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but if the box office were simple to predict, everyone would have a hit every time in every market.

There was speculation, and of course hope from the filmmakers, that the largest Asian nation might embrace the U.S. movie with an all-Asian cast. Instead, China had no interest in the film, which opened in eighth place with only $1.2 million.

Just quickly compare that to Venom, which has been cleaning up in China, adding another $12.3 million this weekend. According to THR, its 24-day total is $262.2 million. That’s just in China.

China currently has the second-biggest box office in the world, and success stories like Venom have shown how much money films can pick up there if the Chinese audience is engaged.

But it was clear to exhibitors over the weekend that Chinese moviegoers were not into Crazy Rich Asians. The film made less than $500,000 on Friday. Theaters reacted by pulling it from screens across the weekend, which wouldn’t help its box office gross, but clearly the bigger problem was apathy from the audience.

Why? Well, it couldn’t help that the film came out four months ago here. Maybe they waited too long to release it in China. It wasn’t clear if the movie would even open in China at all, considering China’s strict content regulators. Also, the storyline focused on Asian-Americans, wealth in Singapore, culture clashes, and what was perceived to some as Asian stereotypes. Apparently none of that resonated with the Chinese public.

Most of China’s films already feature all-Chinese or all-Asian casts, so it wasn’t a novelty in that market, the way it was in North America. For example, THR reports that the “edgy local dramedy” A Cool Fish held on to its top spot on the Chinese box office chart this weekend, earning $24.2 million. But even Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English Strikes Again did nearly five times the business of Crazy Rich Asians, picking up $5.1 million.

Comic book films have had great success in China — see Venom again, but also Justice League, which picked up $106 million from China alone — and DC plans to capitalize on that with Aquaman. The film already had a big premiere in Beijing and it will open this Friday in China, two weeks before we get it on December 21 in North America.

Crazy Rich Asians has made $238 million so far, from what BoxOfficeMojo reports as a $30 million production budget. So it was a success in general, if not in China. With a domestic take of $174 million, it was the highest-grossing romantic comedy in the North American market in 10 years. A sequel to the romantic comedy is in development, based on the second book by Kevin Kwan.

That sequel — China Rich Girlfriend — does not have a release date at this point, and actress Constance Wu warned that director Jon M. Chu’s schedule may delay it for a bit. Here’s what we do know is ahead on the film schedule for 2019.

Body-Positive Influencers Respond to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 With Their Own Lingerie Photos

On December 2, the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired on ABC. Though in recent years, the broadcast has attracted criticism for its lack of body diversity on the runway, it faced additional scrutiny because of comments made by the brand’s executives ahead of the 2018 taping. Even before that, though, hashtags like #ImNoAngel, #WeAreAlltheFantasy, #WeAreAllAngels, and #BeautyBeyondSize have emerged to challenge the narrow beauty and body ideals promoted by the show’s casting. And this year, Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Danielle Brooks, Nicolette Mason, and other voices in the body-positive conversation have chimed in, sharing photos of themselves in lingerie on social media to demonstrate that people of all sizes are sexy.

Graham posted pictures of several curve models who have walked in Addition Elle’s lingerie fashion show, including Tabria Majors, Precious Lee, and Sabina Karlsson. (Pring thanked her on Instagram, writing: “Thanks for reminding me how much I love walking down the runway in my underwear.”)

Danielle Brooks, an ambassador for Lane Bryant’s Cacique, shared the brand’s most recent lingerie campaign, released ahead of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Mason, who co-founded Premme with Gabi Gregg, teased an upcoming lingerie set: “Not your angel… We made this set since VS won’t.”

Since Victoria’s Secret’s televised fashion show first aired, it has featured a lineup of slim, sample-sized models that, though racially diverse, doesn’t represent a range of body types. In November, Vogue published an interview with Ed Razek, CMO of L Brands (which owns Victoria’s Secret), and Monica Mitro, EVP of public relations at Victoria’s Secret, in which they defend its approach to casting. “If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have… We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world,” Razek said. Victoria’s Secret has since issued an apology for his comments regarding transgender models, but did not walk back the remarks on size inclusivity.

After the Vogue interview, ThirdLove took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, writing an open letter to Victoria’s Secret, responding not only to Razek’s comments about curvy and trans models, but also to his apparent jab at the brand. (“We’re nobody’s third love. We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning,” he told Vogue.)

U.K.-based Simply Be also staged a size-inclusive lingerie show—complete with wings.

In a statement to Glamour on the day of the taping, Mitro emphasized other forms of diversity in the show: “The women in this year’s show are from all over the world. They represent many stages of a modeling career, and each has her own story to tell. Scrutinizing women’s bodies of any size related to the Victoria’s Secret brand is unfortunate because it puts judgment on women of any body type. Victoria’s Secret believes the body positivity dialogue should be positive. It should not be done by putting other women down, including the 60 women that are excited to be in our Fashion Show. These women represent so many important aspects of diversity that should be celebrated beyond solely focusing on their bodies.”

With these posts, body-positive models and influencer argue that women of all sizes are worthy of being considered the “fantasy”—whether that means walking down the runway or simply feeling good in their lingerie. It’s not the first time they use social media to call out Victoria’s Secret and its annual show: Last year, Graham posted a photo from the Addition Elle runway, photoshopped to a pair of angel wings referencing the Victoria’s Secret Angels. “Got my wings…my Addition Elle Wings!” she wrote.

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What’s Holding Victoria’s Secret Back From Body Diversity on the Runway?

Halsey Calls Out the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’s ‘Lack of Inclusivity’

Every Single Look From the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018

Another Major Marvel Character Has Been Confirmed To Survive Thanos’ Snap

Despite being released back in April, news surrounding the events of Avenger: Infinity War has not slowed down. This is mostly due to the shocking final moments, where Josh Brolin’s Thanos succeeds in uniting the Infinity Stones, and wipes out half the galaxy with the snap of his finger. Moviegoers were left to watch in horror as countless fan favorite characters faded to dust, including the likes of Spider-Man, Black Panther, and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

But there are also plenty of supporting characters whose fate were left ambiguous, like Shuri and Wong. It was recently revealed that Thor characters Dr. Selvig and Darcy Lewis were recently revealed to have survived Thanos’ snap, and now it looks like another major Thor character has survived as well: Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster.

This revelation comes to us from a new novel The Cosmic Quest Vol. 2: Aftermath (via CBM) which expands the MCU in the wake of Thanos’ Infinity War massacre. In it, it is revealed that Jane didn’t turn to dust, and is actually working alongside her colleagues Selvig and Darcy in the “Science Avengers”. While the name might be cheesy, the fate of Jane and others has been an ongoing mystery in the months since Infinity War hit theaters.

There are some Marvel fans that are no doubt hoping that Jane and her buddies might pop back up in Avengers 4. Selvig had a key role in the first Avengers movie, and Jane’s absence in Ragnarok was pretty noticeable. And with so many of Marvel’s heroes turned to dust, it seems like the surviving characters could use all help they can get.

Unfortunately, Jane’s return to the MCU seems very unlikely. Natalie Portman seems to have left that role behind, and has been working on a ton of film projects since she was last seen in Thor: The Dark World. While Jane is still alive and well, she probably won’t factor into the narrative of Avengers 4. After all, she never made way into the first two, and her story seems to have been wrapped up offscreen through a breakup with Thor.

The Cosmic Quest Vol. 2: Aftermath is helping to answer some of Marvel fans’ outstanding questions, as the future is a total mystery in the wake of Thanos’ finger snap of death. There have been endless rumors and fan theories in the past months, mostly because Marvel and The Russo Brothers are keeping their cards close to the chest.

But with a first trailer finally arriving shortly, audiences should get at least some sense of the time setting and events to come in Avengers 4. The surviving Avengers likely won’t take the galaxy’s destruction likely, although they’ll need some help from heroes like Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Brie Larson’s massively powerful Captain Marvel.

Answers will finally arrive when Avengers 4 hits theaters May 3rd, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Cold War Review

Love stories are typically pretty straight forward. Person A meets Person B, and there’s a connection. That connection is something the audience is supposed to root for, and ultimately want to prevail. By time the movie ends, that relationship usually wins out, and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that the lovers are in love. Don’t expect that sort of cut-and-dried sort of love story in director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, as it is an atypical love story that explores a long term romance, with some seriously film noir tendencies.

Cold War tells the tale of a romance that spans a decade, ebbing and flowing between good times and bad in the relationship between Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zuzanna (Joanna Kulig.) The pair meet as instructor and pupil in a musical program intended to maintain Polish heritage through folk art in 1949. As the years forge on, they continue to waltz in and out of each others lives, with their fortunes rising and falling each time. As the world starts to change, and Communism rises as a barrier between the two, their relationship will be tested, along with their own personal fortitude.

The most lasting impression Cold War has on its audience is that it’s a film that tells its conventional story in an unconventional manner. Rather than throwing Wiktor and Zuzanna into a straightforward narrative, the story of Pawlikowski’s dour, and in all honesty toxic, romance is told by, in essence, snapshots in time. We never linger with these characters too long, as time and locales shift when the story needs them to.

So instead of a story that feels like a simple “A to B” plot, we’re given a movie that lets us fill in the blanks in-between the moments we do see. All the information is laid out for the audience to interpret as Wiktor and Zuzanna keep coming back to each other over time. This manner of storytelling inspires the viewer to really discuss what they’ve seen once Cold War has wrapped, and it definitely feels like the sort of movie that will reward devotees with repeated viewings.

What’s also rewarding is the lush landscape of Cold War’s visual and sonic landscapes. For a film that has music embedded into its DNA, it seduces both with some of the lushest black and white photography seen on screen in some time, and a musical accompaniment to die for. Polish folk music, American rock and roll, and French jazz all mix and mingle in this film, and if that sounds appealing to you, then Cold War will definitely warm your heart.

Especially since the film’s characters and story evolve and change much like a pivotal song at the center of the film. Much like the song Zuzanna sings throughout the film, Cold War’s romance translates differently each time it’s revisited. As the settings and language change throughout time, so does their story, to the point where you can recognize how it started, but can’t help but feel bad for how it all turns out.

Of course, any good love story has to have a pair that the audience can truly engage with, and it’s absolutely safe to say that Cold War delivers on that front as well. Tomasz Kot’s Wiktor bounces through the story, truly loving Joanna Kulig’s Zuzanna, despite the fact that she’s not always the best object of affection.

Meanwhile, Kulig’s female lead embodies a mixture of desperation and icy detachment, doing whatever she has to do to survive. Every moment of sweetness she gives Wiktor, we can’t help but question if she means it, or if it’s just another whim. As the film goes on, the line doesn’t get any clearer, but the result is constantly compelling nonetheless.

Cold War is a film that doesn’t belong in the modern era of filmmaking, and it’s hard to be convinced that this isn’t some lost romance made in the time of the French New Wave. It is totally committed to the time period its story is set in, and it creates a rare film that feels like stepping back in time as you watch it unfold.

Pawel Pawlikowski is in love with his characters, his story, and the world he’s built in Cold War, and it shows in every frame. It’s a beautiful story about people who can get really ugly, needy, or dismissive when they have to, and while the validity of Wiktor and Zuzanna’s romance may be the film’s biggest question of all, there’s no doubt that falling in love with this film is absolutely right.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
5.0/5

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The Touching Way Stan Lee Was Honored At The Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Premiere

While Stan Lee is credited with being part of the creation of an insane number of comic book superheroes, the one he will forever be associated with is Spider-Man. The character is by far the most popular one created by Marvel Comics, and so it’s only fitting that at the world premiere of the latest film about the character, a tribute would be paid to the creator. Pins were handed out at the premiere of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse over the weekend which displayed Stan Lee’s trademark aviator glasses. Check it out below.

It’s a simple enough thing, but for those who know what it means, nothing else is necessary. Stan Lee was rarely seen in public without his sunglasses, many of his movie cameos made use of them, so there’s probably no more perfect symbol of the man than the glasses.

Stan Lee passed away on November 12 at the age of 95 and millions of fans are still in shock. While the man had led a very fulfilling life, and due to his advanced age, we all knew the end was somewhat close, it never prepares you for losing anybody, whether it’s somebody you knew or just somebody that you felt like you knew.

While Stan Lee was best known for his work on Marvel Comics, he built a second career for himself as a movie star thanks to his regular appearances in the movies based on the characters he helped create. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the next Marvel film to hit the screens and while it’s not a Marvel Studios production, and also isn’t live action, that didn’t stop Stan Lee from making an appearance.

He also made an animated appearance in Disney’s recent Ralph Breaks the Internet. When he appeared on screen during my press screening, the audience let out an audible sigh.

It also won’t be the last time that we see those trademark sunglasses, as Stan Lee will also appear in Avengers 4 next May as he had already filmed his cameo scene before his death.

The fact that there will be future Marvel movies where Stan Lee won’t cameo is almost difficult to think about. Seeing Stan appear in the films was always a highlight of every trip to see the next chapter of the MCU. I can’t help but wonder if Stan’s cameo might be replaced by some sort of regular Stan Lee tribute moment, maybe something involving a pair of aviator sunglasses.

Whether or not this pin will be made more widely available isn’t clear. It’s probably just something special for the few lucky enough to attend the film premiere, though certainly there are a lot of fans who would love to get their hands on the pin as their own way of remembering Stan Lee.

Of course, we don’t need a pin to remember Stan Lee. It’s something we will do everytime we read a Marvel comic or watch a movie. Every time we see him on screen we’ll remember.