On the evening of November 9th, at the Bam Harvey Theater in Downtown Brooklyn. Andscape a Black run production company and Hulu partnered with Tierra Whack to premier her debut film Cypher. The atmosphere exuded a Black essence, the vibe was real and the partners understood what it meant to honor Black creativity.
With the release of The Marvels, the MCU’s next major film, many have been wondering if this one is as good as previous films, if it is essential to understanding Phase 4, and if it should be watched now or later on Disney+. These questions always arise with every new Marvel release, but I can say with enthusiasm that audiences must understand how great The Marvels is as a film, and how it should not be skipped at all this season.
Below are five reasons you should watch The Marvels as soon as possible, or you’re missing out.
The Marvels features the return of fan-favorite characters and actors
One of the first noticeable draws to watching a major blockbuster film like The Marvels is its use of a stellar cast, some of which are favorites among Marvel fans. Fans have been clamoring for a return for Iman Vellani, and the character she plays, Ms. Marvel, from her hit Disney+ show of the same name. This is the first time we see her working alongside her idol, Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, who we have not seen since Avengers: Endgame, all the way in 2019. Also returning are Teyonah Parris, playing Monica Rambeau, and Samuel L. Jackson, playing his iconic role as Nick Fury. Fans of any of these characters will definitely be pleased, as they are further fleshed out and given new situations they must deal with.
The Marvels makes use of astounding CGI
The film also features amazing action and setpieces that is at times beautiful and a sight to behold. The lush alien landscapes and cosmic battles depicted are crisp, colorful, and grandiose, while still maintaining a level of realism that makes everything look believable. A highlight is the new mechanic that the three titular characters must face, which is that their locations in space are exchanged every time they use their powers. This creates some intense fight scenes that involve them constantly switching places and resulting in frantic, interesting combat that is a pleasure to watch.
The Marvels tells a compelling and heartfelt story
While there certainly are entertaining visual elements to the film, it should also be noted that the story is particularly intriguing and downright emotional at times. In the film, Captain Marvel struggles with the repercussions of her actions, as she has attempted to use her powers for good, but in doing so, she inadvertently deprived a planet of critical resources. In this film, she must face the consequences of her decisions, and how this affects her relationship with those that look up to her. There were several moments that were almost tear inducing, and those that enjoy a layered and complex plot will find plenty to love here.
The Marvels is funny as hell
I’ll say it: this movie is absolutely hilarious. For all its deeper and slower moments, it has situations that are side-splittingly funny. The movie seamlessly transitions between serious and comical moments, and one of its strong suits is being able to do so in a way that feels natural and not forced, even with high stakes.
A particular moment that comes to mind is a sequence at a planet where all the inhabitants only speak in song and dance, which leads the main characters to fall into some hilarious situations as they attempt to communicate with these individuals. The movie is filled with moments like these that are extremely memorable.
The Marvels contributes to the overarching story in Phase 4
Lastly, those that want to see some progression with the overall Marvel story in Phase 4 will also be pleased. This film shows some continuation of Nick Fury’s character from Secret Invasion, with a possible setup for a future Avengers film, and also continues this phase’s themes of multiverse and the threats that follow. The after credit scenes show how several old and new characters will make an appearance in future movies, progressing this phase forward.
As can be seen, there are a multitude of reasons to watch The Marvels, and longtime fans of Marvel as well as newcomers will both be pleased. This film has something for everyone, for those that follow the lore extensively to those that are not as serious. Definitely catch this film soon, you will not be disappointed.
Special thanks also goes out to Urban Hydration, the sponsor of the premiere event that I attended. I tried several of their moisturizing products, and I could see the difference instantly. For someone that suffers from dry skin in the colder months, something like this is an absolute life saver. Urban Hydration’s message itself spoke to me as well. I recognized the connection between the ideas of hydration, balance, and finding power within oneself that Marvel’s superheroes embody, while also having fun. The Algae collection specifically is a testament to Urban Hydration’s commitment to providing effective skincare solutions. It’s designed to cater to various skin needs, emphasizing the importance of self-care and achieving a natural, healthy glow, and I couldn’t be more happy to promote this product: such a business that is proudly woman-owned and that supports woman empowerment is exactly what needs to be brought to light to give their mission a voice.
Founder Psyche Terry shared:
I believe that working with Marvel Studios provides an exciting platform for my to share the story of Urban Hydration’s mission and products in fun and creative ways. I recognized the connection between the message of hydration, balance, and finding power within oneself that Marvel’s Super Heroes embody. The collaboration further expands on our Urban Hydration mission to reach more people, inspiring them to take charge of their skin needs and help power up their glow. The connection between hydration, balance, and inner strength that Marvel’s Super Heroes embody resonates with Urban Hydration’s mission. This collaboration is about product promotion and sharing a powerful message of self-care and empowerment. The Algae collection is a testament to Urban Hydration’s commitment to providing effective skincare solutions. It’s designed to cater to various skin needs, emphasizing the importance of self-care and achieving a natural, healthy glow and I couldn’t be more happy to bring this partnership to everyone.
The Marvels is in theaters right now, and Urban Hydration products can be purchased online from their website.
The enchanting spirit of the holiday season came to life at Century City Mall on December 8 as Disney hosted a dazzling outdoor mixer to celebrate the launch of ‘The Santa Clauses’ Season 2 on Disney+. The event not only brought together fans of the heartwarming show but also invited guests to partake in a magical evening filled with festive attire, Toys for Tots donations, and the chance to delve into an early Christmas Spirit with a special appearance of Santas’s elves.
As the night began, the outdoor setting at Century City Mall provided the perfect backdrop for a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, seasonal decorations, and a touch of Disney magic. The dress code for the evening was nothing short of enchanting, as attendees gazed through the North Pole in their most festive attire to match the holiday cheer that filled the air.
Throughout the evening, guests had the chance to mingle with fellow Disney enthusiasts, snap photos with festive photo opportunities, and enjoy holiday-themed refreshments. The atmosphere was infectious, and the sense of community and shared joy created memories that made the start of the holiday season memorable.
The winter enchantment continued with complimentary ice skating, turning the outdoor space into a frosty playground for guests of all ages.
The highlight of the evening came alive as Santa’s elves took to the ice, transforming the rink into a spectacle of joyous celebration. The elves enchanted the audience with their expertly choreographed ice-skating routines to the soundtrack of ‘The Santa Clauses’ Season 2. The crowd in attendance and mall shoppers couldn’t help but bring all focus to such a captivating performance creating a joyous atmosphere that resonated with the heartwarming essence of ‘The Santa Clauses.’
Following the mesmerizing elf ice skating performance, Disney treated attendees to the ultimate gift – a sneak peek into a series of clips from the new season of ‘The Santa Clauses’ Season 2. The crowd eagerly gathered to witness a preview that would unfold the magic of the upcoming season.
The Disney Holiday Mixer for ‘The Santa Clauses’ Season 2 Premiere became a joyous celebration in honor of the much anticipated new season to premire November 8. The night came to an end, but the magic of Disney and the warmth of the holiday season will undoubtedly endure in the hearts of all who attended.
Check out the reel here!
Are you ready for some frighteningly good news?
Exclusive: Executive Producers of Disney+’s Goosebumps Talks introducing the Franchise to the current generation at New York Comic Con
At New York Comic Con, the executive producers of Disney+’s new adaptation of the beloved “Goosebumps” spoke with the press. The producers, known for their expertise in creating thrilling and family-friendly content, shared insights into their approach to reviving the classic series.
The audience was treated to a sneak peek of what to expect from the new “Goosebumps” series, with promises of spine-tingling adventures, nostalgic callbacks, and fresh, modern twists. Their presence at the convention generated significant buzz and anticipation for the upcoming show, reminding fans that the eerie tales of R.L. Stine are set to captivate a new generation of viewers on the Disney+ platform.
During the press conference at New York Comic Con, Executive Producer Rob Letterman took the opportunity to discuss the approach to the new “Goosebumps” series compared to its earlier iterations. Letterman emphasized the importance of staying true to the essence of R.L. Stine’s iconic tales while also infusing them with a fresh, contemporary twist.
He explained that the advancements in technology and storytelling techniques since the original “Goosebumps” series allowed the creative team to dive deeper into the eerie and supernatural elements, making the scares even more captivating. Moreover, Letterman highlighted the commitment to bringing the beloved characters and monsters to life in a way that would resonate with both dedicated fans of the classic books and a new generation of viewers. His insights provided an exciting glimpse into the approach that would make the upcoming “Goosebumps” adaptation a thrilling and faithful reimagining of the beloved series.
“I think that the big difference was that like the books, this was serialized. And so it is complicated to tell a story that has lots of interconnections and stuff. And so that was the huge difference,” he said.
Nicholas Stoller, one of the Executive Producers behind the new “Goosebumps” series, emphasized the necessity for the franchise to evolve with the times when we asked him. He noted that while the original “Goosebumps” captivated a generation of readers and viewers, the modern audience has different expectations and a changed media landscape. Stoller stressed the importance of preserving the essence and eerie charm of R.L. Stine’s stories while adapting them to cater to today’s audience.
“Trying to get it elevated where it would appeal to people who may have grown up on the books and are in their thirties and forties now, as well as young, younger teens and people who have no experience with Goosebumps inspired us to make a show that works for everybody,” he said. “And we also tonally, in putting in addition to obviously the goose bumps and the horror stuff wanted to draw upon, like movies that we all loved as kids, like the John Hughes movies or, you know, like a TV show, like Freaks and Geeks or Edge of Seventeen likes that stuff that really respects kids.”
We asked Hilary Winston, one of the Executive Producers of the new “Goosebumps” series, about the show’s approach. Winston emphasized the importance of grounding the narrative in authenticity and transparency. She noted that, while “Goosebumps” is known for its supernatural and spine-tingling elements, maintaining a sense of relatability and emotional depth is key to engaging the audience. This approach ensures that the scares and thrills are not only entertaining but also resonate with viewers on a more profound level. By striving for a balance between the fantastical and the emotionally authentic, “Goosebumps” aims to deliver a compelling and unforgettable storytelling experience for its audience.
“This show is really grounded,” she said. “How would you actually react if this stuff was happening in your life, if you really found a haunted mask? Like, how would you act? And that’s one of the things that we always talked about in the writers and production room.”
As we know them, fairy tales often involve a protagonist lacking control over her or his fate. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were driven into hiding, yet were doomed with a sleeping curse anyway—curses that could only be broken had their true love decided to awaken them. Rapunzel is locked away in a tower with no doors, needing a hero to rescue her. It’s exactly this what Siyu Liu set out to deconstruct in her directorial feature debut (and original screenplay) Flaming Cloud.
There are no villainous characters with wicked intentions to be found in Siyu Liu’s fairytale story, but Gods and Goddesses with voyeuristic tendencies and penchants for placing wagers pulling the strings. The story begins when two of the deities boldly place the most consequential wager any of them have ever witnessed—the existence of true love. Because of the wager, a randomly chosen baby, and the story’s hero, Sangui (played by Hu Xian Xu), is doomed to a curse of putting whoever he kisses to sleep, stripping him of agency over his destiny (or so we think?)
Branded a freak by his fellow villagers and socially ostracized at a young age, Sangui sets out on a hero’s journey, albeit one of a long period of loneliness, to the idyllic White Stone City. On his journey, he meets two women who represent fairy tale archetypes we’re well-acquainted with, each with their own wishes, but also unfulfilled needs.
Instead of making their own fairy tale wish come true, each character instead finds satisfaction in growing—by learning what they needed all along. For Sangui, this means finding the courage to confront his fears, and for the “wicked witch” character, who is very much the heart of this story, means facing her regrets. “Regrets can be curses too.” she whispers to Sangui in between exhausted breaths. In using surrealism, Siyu Liu reminds us that realizing what we needed all along can better than anything we can wish for.
Siyu Liu’s use of anachronisms in the costumes beautifully speaks to the timelessness of fairy tales, from 1920s flapper headbands to 1970s boho dresses—even the 1950s Philco Predicta televisions, which the Deities huddled around in sport to watch Sangui for a long period of his life. Combining the motifs and lessons of European fairy tales (and classic Disney films, by extension) and Chinese mythology, she masterfully tells a cross-cultural story, as seen from the moment the story begins with a kingdom of deities placing a wager on a “flaming cloud.”
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all from Flaming Cloud is that true love does indeed exist, but it does come to die one day—and yet, we all still reach for these stories for comfort. “Not everyone believes in true love,” Siyu Liu writes in the final frame of the film. “But we all long for that moment when it arrives with its magic.” Yes, yes we do.
I might be late to the party when writing this and I might sound like a broken record when talking about this movie, but Robert Zemeckis did a really solid job adapting ‘Pinocchio’ to live-action. It may not have been as great as Guillermo Del Toro’s version but that doesn’t mean that the film is terrible.
The 2022 Disney remake comes off as mostly unchanged from the classic 1940 film and sees the titular puppet come to life with the help of Cynthia Erivo’s Blue Fairy and must learn to be brave, truthful, and unselfish in order to become a real boy.
He is guided by his diminutive companion named Jiminy Cricket but is sidetracked by a litany of villainous characters like Honest John the Fox, Stromboli and the Coachman.
A lot of critics have criticized the film over its blend of CGI and live action and have called it soulless and unnecessary. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This film isn’t perfect but, what film is?
Zemeckis showcases some of his best visual magic tricks with some of the most entertaining characters we have seen in a while. Honest John (Keegan Michael-Key) is a riot as he flamboyantly skips across the screen with such vivacious vibrance with the most realistic CGI in recent years.
It has the whimsy and charm of earlier Disney films that almost never feels out of place, even if the Chris Pine joke was something sort of bizarre.
Moreover, the film has a deeper message than the 1940 film as the remake implies that being truthful, unselfish and brave is what makes someone real. Throughout the entire film, Pinocchio is objectified and used as a way for the villains to make money.
Honest John attempts to sell him to Stromboli for profit, Stromboli exploits the puppet’s talents for profit and the coachman had plans to sell him to the salt mines as a wooden donkey and make a fortune. His father Gepetto, portrayed earnestly by Tom Hanks, is the only person that saw him as anything more than a means to make a profit and cared about his well-being, which is what made him a real boy and not a vessel for making money.
The film, overall, is a good-natured venture into the soul of who they are and what they are made of. This film does not deserve the hate that it gets and I can bet that it will attain a higher cult status as the years progress.
Radio City’s Music Hall was bursting with excitement, as the large sign under the iconic Radio City, said “Disney Plus’ American Born Chinese World Premiere!”
Miep Gies was a hero that, up until recently, wasn’t well known. Her fearlessness led her to step up and help the Frank Family during WWII. Now, Nat Geo is telling Miep’s story.
National Geographic’s limited drama series A Small Light premiered two episodes on May 1st. It follows the extraordinary life story of Miep Gies, a charismatic young woman living in Germany during WWII. Once her home transforms in to a country controlled by dictator Adolf Hitler, Miep and her boss Otto Frank work together to escape in to hiding with their loved ones.
We all know the story of Anne Frank. The story of the young Jewish girl hiding in the midst of Hitler’s reign in Nazi Germany has been told many times over, its most famous depiction being what we now know as The Diary of Anne Frank. That may not have been possible without the help of Miep, who kept the diary entries in her desk after Anne’s arrest.
Played by Bel Powley, (The Diary of Teenage Girl, The Morning Show) Miep was also a young woman with a normal life until she wasn’t.
After taking up a job with Otto Frank, Anne’s father, Miep quickly finds herself entangled in a plan to help hide the Frank Family in the secret annex about Otto’s business. Despite protests from those close to her, Miep, along with her husband Jan, make the courageous decision to stand up against hatred and do everything in their power to protect her boss and his family.
The show stars Billie Boullet as Anne Frank, Ashley Brooke as Anne’s older sister Margot, Amira Casar as their mother Edith and Liev Schreiber as Otto. On screen, the four perfectly encapsulate the close familial dynamic between the Franks.
Anne is passionate and outspoken while her sister is the complete opposite. Margot is meek and doesn’t like to rock the boat but when her family needs her the most, she steps up to the plate with no hesitation. A Small Light shares a modern take on history as we know it and shows how just a little bit of bravery can go a long way.
We talked to the cast and showrunners Tony Phelan, Joan Rater and Susan Fogel about the inspiration behind the show and how they were able to accurately portray Miep and the Frank family’s stories.
A Small Light airs every Monday at 9 PM EST on National Geographic and next day on Hulu and Disney+.
Sometimes I think on the nature of memories and this recent MCU addition, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, conjured up an interesting thought. When I think about what a Big Mac from McDonalds tastes like, do I remember what the last what tasted like or do I recall some particularly average or even above average taste from years and year ago? This may sound altogether stupid and unrelated, but the MCU has more in common with McDonalds than you may think. While McDonald’s menu features burgers and fries, the MCU’s menu is similar limited to origin story, hero’s development/coming of age, and end of an era/transition films. The thing is we’ve had the entire menu and it’s starting to get boring.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid movie. On one hand, it was the best Marvel product I’ve seen since No Way Home, and at the same time, I felt nothing after seeing it. The problem is that it’s the same good movie that Marvel has already made and that you’ve already seen. McDonald’s will always serve you the same burger and the MCU will continue it’s consistent stream of painlessly fine action movies.
At the end of the day, it’s a Gunn directed Guardians movie filled with the quippy comedy and touching moments this series and the overall MCU has embodied over the years. And those quippy jokes are very funny and those touching moments are about as empathetic as a touching moment can be. So despite being a fine movie, I had a hard time liking it and I guarantee I’ll have a hard time remembering it in the years to come.
Despite that, this film did have issues, starting with the visuals. For a film that reportedly cost $250 million dollars, it looks like it worked with a budget of half of that. Marvel seemingly has a lot riding on the success of this movie with recent MCU additions being panned by critics in their reviews and moviegoers by their avoidance of these movies. I would expect with that added pressure, more time and money would’ve been spent cobbling together a film that looked better. I don’t need the movie to look like Blade Runner 2049, but when compared to Marvel films from a few years ago, this looks like the work was outsourced to some up-and-coming studio getting their feet wet in special effects.
Credit where credit’s due, however. James Gunn knew what he was working with and purposefully shot scenes that featured the camera panning rapidly, quick edits, and only closed in on physical faces and sets. The reason why is that any amount of time spent looking at the digital sets greater than three seconds would’ve broken the viewer’s suspension of disbelief and make you realize that this is just some cheap amusement ride.
The other sin this film commits is in the action of the movie. It is the most bland and boring exercise in checking the time whenever a gun fight or space battle breaks out. Nothing about a gun fight or space battle should be boring, mind you, but here it seems like something you have to sit through to go from point A to B. There’s an action scene towards the end of the film where the Guardians battle a small army of enemies in a tunnel and it’s framed and set up like it’ll be a really cool action scene, but it just feels like any other action scene from any other Marvel movie. Compare that to any John Wick, where each film keeps you on the edge of your seat and the action and the story are one, not some disconnected mess which frames scenes of dialogue.
Additionally, outside of Rocket Racoon and his journey through this story, the other characters were flat. I will place no blame at the feet of the actors because I thought the entire cast did phenomenal job. However, the editing and thin nature of the story combined for a watery plot. Still, despite that, the plot structure was more or less sound. The only issue with plot structure was with Adam Warlock’s character. He was simply inserted to get his origin story in because his plot line could’ve been cut and the film would’ve suffered the most minor of damage in the process. This is just the sort of problems you’re bound to incur when each film is just setting the frame for the next one.
At the end of the day, seeing a Marvel movie is akin to getting a burger from McDonalds or a coffee from Starbucks. It’s fine and comfortable, but it’s nothing life changing or even at the very least, memorable. I do still think it’s a movie worth seeing and I’d recommend taking the time to watch it because it is one of those movies you have to see in the theater. Laughing and cheering with a crowd certainly changes the experience. To end on a more somber note, if the quality of these films don’t improve, I fear the MCU will be relegated to a streaming only series, which is a fate I would never wish upon a once dominated franchise.