Tag Archives: States

Ryan Coogler’s ‘Black Panther’ Is A Cultural Phenomenon Because We Made It So

A week after its release in theaters across America, director Ryan Coogler’s new Marvel comic-adaptation, Black Panther, is still setting box office records. The film is the 5th highest domestic debut of all time, and the highest grossing February release in history, with a staggering $202,003,951. It earned more in just 3-days in theaters than any other film featuring a black director and predominantly black cast with an impressive worldwide opening weekend gross of $350 million. The success of the film has not only shattered age-old myths surrounding the “unpopularity” of all-black ensemble movies in Hollywood. It is also changing the way Hollywood, and America at large, view films that deal primarily with black and African American culture. But why is Black Panther such a big deal for America and not simply just another superhero movie with a hero who happens to be black? Continue reading

New World War II Drama ‘Darkest Hour’ Brings Churchill’s Perseverance and Leadership To Modern Audiences

Despite the new World War II drama Darkest Hour now playing in theaters nationwide, “Who was Winston Churchill?” still sounds like a question you’re likely to find on one of those ‘the dumbing down of America has happened’ videos. While Churchill may not have been American, himself, his influence and importance in the events of the mid-20th Century cannot be overstated. Winston Churchill was elected Britain’s Prime Minister in 1940, a position he held throughout the remainder of World War II and again from 1951 to 1955. Before his career in politics he had worked as a writer and served as a member of the British Army. His election in 1940 came at a time when Britain’s, and indeed the future of the whole of Western Europe was uncertain. Hitler had been elected Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and, by the time of Churchill’s election, was already marching across France, pushing British forces to the shores of the English Channel, where the famous evacuation at Dunkirk took place (if you haven’t seen Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, I highly recommend it!).

With the United States still hesitant to enter the war effort in either Europe or the Pacific, the newly appointed Prime Minister was faced with the choice of either regrouping and rallying national support to continue the war effort against Nazi Germany, or agreeing to sign a peace accord with Hitler and the Axis Powers. As the United Kingdom stood at the brink of invasion, it was up to Churchill to persuade Parliament, King George VI, and the people of Britain that the war could be won and that it was worth fighting, an extremely difficult prospect considering the ever-growing influence of Nazi Germany and the reluctance of the United States to enter the war. Continue reading

Watch For Director Adam Smith’s ‘Trespass Against Us’ Coming In 2017

Director Adam Smith’s family-crime drama Trespass Against Us received an Official Selection nod at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as well as top nods at the British Independent Film Awards and the Zurich Film Festival. Following a number of runs at various film festivals here in the United States, the film received a brief limited release back in January, but as of now we have yet to see it picked up for major distribution in theaters nationwide, but here’s hoping that changes! Written by documentary director Alastair Siddons (Turn it Loose, Inside Out), Trespass Against Us follows a man who comes into conflict with his outlaw father and family after he decides he must find a way out of his own criminal world in order to provide a better future for his own family. Michael Fassbender (Macbeth, The Light Between Oceans) and Brendan Gleeson (Cold Mountain, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) lead the cast as Chad and Colby Cutler, the father and son who come to arms with each other over the former’s desire to break free of his criminal past. Continue reading

This Week In Movie History…


On September 20, 1956, director William Wyler‘s Friendly Persuasion was released in theaters in the United States. Based on the book by Jessamyn West, the story revolves around a Quaker family in 1862, whose faith and belief in non-violence is tested when Confederate troops come sweeping through their land and the family must decide whether to fight or to remain complacent. The film was written by screenwriter Michael Wilson (A Place in the Sun, Planet of the Apes), and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenwriting. It wasn’t until 2002, however, that Wilson would receive legitimate recognition for his work on the film. Continue reading

Veteran Actress Madeleine LeBeau Passes Away At 92


Veteran actress Madeleine LeBeau (8 1/2, Angelique), who was the last living cast member of 1942’s Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart (The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep) and Ingrid Bergman (Notorious, Autumn Sonata), has passed away at the age of 92. LeBeau starred as Bogart’s mistress, Yvonne, in a role that mirrored her own experience as a European refugee at the height of the Nazi occupation. LeBeau had made her debut in France with a film called Girls in Distress in 1939 before fleeing with her husband to Spain. They eventually entered the United States with temporary Canadian passports and went to Hollywood to find work. Both LeBeau and her husband, actor Marcel Dalio, were cast in supporting roles in Casablanca, and LeBeau would make two more films (Paris After Dark, Music for Millions) before returning to France following the end of World War II. She would continue to work as an actress until her retirement from the screen in 1970. LeBeau died on May 1st in Spain after breaking her hip.

Check Your Local Listings For This Week’s Limited Releases

There is a plethora of limited releases opening in theaters across the country this weekend that you should definitely consider checking out. First up is a new musical drama from director John Carney (Once, Begin Again) titled Sing Street, which follows a group of young Dubliners in 1980s London who decide to form a band while experiencing the ups and downs of youth, life, and rock and roll. Continue reading


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PUMA recently released a pair of new color ways utilizing their iconic “States” silhouette. The above “GORE-TEX” infused kicks come in burgundy and black, both of which feature gum bottoms. The “GORE-TEX” upper will provide that extra layer of protection against the approaching elements. If you like what you see, these should be available at your local PUMA retailer for just under $100.

New Showtime Documentary ‘Listen To Me Marlon’ Opening Nationwide This Fall

A new documentary from Showtime Documentary Films, Listen To Me Marlon, will be opening in theaters nationwide this fall. As implied, the film takes a personal perspective on the life and career of 2-time Academy Award-winning actor Marlon Brando, narrated by Brando, himself, from hours of audio tapes from his personal archives. Writer/director Stevan Riley (Fire In Babylon, Everything Or Nothing) compiled Brando’s narrations along with hours of archival film footage of the actor with the help of co-writer Peter Ettedgui (Vigo: A Passion For Life, Everything Or Nothing). Brando is considered among many film historians and critics to be one of the greatest actors in history, give-or-take a few others. He is probably best known for his portrayal of the title role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, but his dynamic talents lead him to portray a vast array of characters throughout his career in films like A Street Car Named Desire (1951), Julius Caesar (1953), and On The Water Front (1955), the latter of which earned him his first Oscar. He won his second Oscar for The Godfather in 1972 but famously refused to show-up to accept it and instead sent a young Native American woman in his place, making a political protest against the persecution of Native Americans in the United States. Nevertheless Brando went on to star in such films as Superman (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979), imbedding himself in American culture until his death in 2004. Listen To Me Marlon first premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled to be shown at the Film Forum on July 29th in New York City, and then 2-days later at LA’s Landmark Theater before the nationwide release in the fall. We’ll keep an eye out for an official release date.

‘The Hunger Games: MockingJay-Part 2’ To Be Released In 3D-IMAX

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012).

The Hunger Games film franchise will be wrapping up this November with Mockingjay-Part 2, and for the first time in the whole series, movie-goers will be able to see it in IMAX 3D. While the first two installments, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire saw release on IMAX screens, last year’s Mockingjay-Part 1 was not released on IMAX or 3D, at least not in the United States. Audiences in China, however, were able to see Mockingjay-Part 1 in 3D, and since the response was so positive, Lionsgate has decided to release Part 2 in 3D as well, so director Francis Lawrence has added another task to his post-production checklist, according to Lawrence the new format will only help to improve the quality of the movie, but I guess it will be up to the fans to decide whether or not it improves upon the earlier films or not. Mockingjay-Part 2 opens in theaters this November 20th, and stars Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), Josh Hutcherson (Bridge To Terabithia, Escobar: Paradise Lost), Liam Hemsworth (Empire State, Paranoia), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, A Most Wanted Man), and Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men, Zombieland).

‘Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance’ Opens October 17th In New York And L.A.


Although most of us won’t have the opportunity to see this one unless we’re in New York City or Los Angeles, it is still a project worth bringing to your attention. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Biutiful) released a new film at this year’s Venice Film Festival titled Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. The film features an all star cast lead by Michael Keaton and also featuring Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. The story follows an actor who, at the height of his career, portrayed an iconic superhero (Birdman) and now must overcome his eccentric ego in order to reclaim his seat in the spotlight by taking a role in a Broadway play. Inarritu directed the film from a screenplay written by himself and screenwriters Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo. Birdman has already seen several additional releases in the United States, including the Telluride Film Festival in August and the New York Film Festival, Hamptons International, and Philadelphia International Film Festivals earlier this month. Chicagoans will get a chance to see it on the 18th as part of the Chicago International Film Festival, but a nationwide theatrical release has not yet been announced. Stay tuned for more information.