breakout performance of the year

7

Moonlight (2016)

Directed by Barry Jenkins

Cinematography by James Laxton

It (2017)
Movie Review by: Will Whalen

It has finally returned 27 years later to feed on the masses. Ironically, in the story of IT, the clown returns every 27 years to Derry and it has been exactly 27 years since the original It miniseries premiered. I never saw the original and I sure am glad I haven’t. I’ve always infamously heard about the It novel and Tim Curry’s Pennywise but knowing next to nothing about the actual story of It, made this experience so much better and even more terrifying.

It is directed by Andy Muschietti and stars Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis and many others. As you may know, It is the story about a clown who appears in the very haunting town of Derry, Maine and starts hunting children. The Losers Club, a group of unpopular kids, form together to try and fight this evil clown.

Like I said, I never read the book or ever watched the original 1990 version of It but I was glad to know nothing about either going in because this big screen adaptation of It, well, I absolutely loved this movie. From beginning to end, from the horror to the comedic elements from The Losers Club, It is now one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations and to me, is one of the best.

The Losers Club themselves are enough to make this movie great. Take away the horror and Pennywise and these kids are enough to take this movie where it needs to go. However, then it wouldn’t be It but it sure would be a great time.
The performances are excellent across the board but the standout here is, without a doubt, Finn Wolfhard, who just had his big breakout performance as Mike from Stranger Things barely a year ago. He’s, without a doubt, the funniest thing about this film and steals every scene he’s in. He was the kid with the “mouth” and every line he said had the theater in an uproar of laughter and was always perfectly timed. Although he was my favorite, don’t let me deter you away from the other kids in this film, who are all excellent characters, hilarious, and great young actors.
What makes all of these kids so great is how well written they are. They’re not like Hollywood type of kids, they’re real kids. They talk, cuss, say nasty things about each other’s moms like real kids, and that’s something I loved here. Another thing they did really well is that they didn’t spend too much time on any certain kid. They don’t go into too much of their home lives unless it deliberately has to do with their fears that Pennywise feeds off of, which, to me, is brilliant and an excellent choice. 

The Losers Club are awesome and have the spotlight but that spotlight is grabbed and dragged straight into the sewers when the dancing clown himself, Pennywise, is on screen. Bill Skarsgård as this evil entity that is Pennywise is absolutely perfect. From the portrayal, to the look of him, he’ll have you gripping your seat and constantly waiting to see what he’ll do next. You can also tell how into this character Skarsgård was and masterfully crafted himself into him. He feeds off these kids’ biggest fears, which provided for some amazing and jaw dropping scenes. The makeup and design of him are what real nightmares are made of, and anyone that is scared of clowns will be horrified by It.

Now let’s talk about the mastermind behind the vision of It and that’s Andy Muschietti. He helmed this adaptation of the infamous novel almost too well. He managed to show just enough of the kids, just enough of Pennywise, and did an absolutely amazing job at capturing the town of Derry. Like I said, I never read It but I have read another novel by Stephen King that happens to take place in the town of Derry as well and that is his book, Insomnia. Like It, it’s one of his longest novels and Derry in this is pitch perfect to how I pictured it, that it kind of weirded me out.
Muschietti did a fantastic job at directing the film and creating some chilling and fantastic scenes. His framing and shots that he crafted were far better than I could’ve hoped for. However, a lot of that had to do with the phenomenal cinematography that gave this film the exact look it needed to have that gave it a truly chilling vibe. He also had some help with some incredible set pieces that had me cowering in my seat. 

As for problems, I thought, at times, it was just a bit bouncy. Just the way it would shift scenes and near the end, it felt like they tried to rush to the climax. These are mostly just nitpicks but if I had to pinpoint a certain thing, that would be it. There’s also a few things that were never really completely explained, but it was just little things. Like “But what about this and what happened with that?”. You know, little things like that but none of which were very integral to the film. They’re honestly just nitpicks because I had very few problems with this film and I loved every minute of it.

It is one of the best horror films in years and has earned its place as one of my new favorite King film adaptations. The kids in this film are consistently hilarious, Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise is terrifying, and Andy Muschetti makes an eerie and beautifully scary film that I can’t wait to see again. I also can’t wait for the already confirmed Chapter 2. You’ll float too… with excitement after you see this film.

I’m going to give It

4 out of 5 stars.

NJPW Wrestling Primer (Updated for 2017)

A while back I did a primer post to help introduce people to the wrestlers of NJPW, but it’s become out of date over time as things have changed since then, since wrestling always changes. So this is an updated version from mid-April 2017.

Kazuchika Okada - The greatest wrestler on the planet today, and one who is in the middle of possibly the best title reign of all time, which has featured numerous 4.5 and 4.75 star matches, as well as two 5 star and even a 6 star match. He originally made his legacy in NJPW with a now iconic rivalary with Hiroshi Tanahashi, but since has become a true ace for the company. He is the leader of the CHAOS faction and possibly Gedos son. Though, the position of ace wasn’t meant for Okada, it was meant for..

Tetsuya Naito - Naito was supposed to be the new top face of NJPW, but the fans rejected him. So during a US tour, instead of returing to Japan like most, he took a little soul searching journey down to Mexico, and met a man named La Sombra (you might know him as Andrade Cien Almas from WWE NXT) and his Los Ingobernables stable. This inspired a change of attitude in Naito, who returned to NJPW, and turned his back on the fans who rejected him, becoming one of the best characters and heels in wrestling in the process. He leads the Los Ingobernables stable, has had 5 star matches with Kenny Omega, Micheal Elgin (and imo with Tanahashi at WK11), and is just a master of working a crowd. He won the IWGP Heavyweight Title, and threw it in the air like a piece of trash. It was amazing.

Kenny Omega - Currently in NJPW, there are three men who could be considered the ace. Okada, Naito and Kenny Omega. Omega is probably the most popular wrestler in NJPW outside of Japan, due to him being Canadian. He’s the leader of Bullet Club, and is one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet today. Theres simply nothing Kenny Omega can’t do. But he has two modes: if he keeps his shirt on in a match, expect more comedy, but if the shirts off you’re in for the match of the night because thats when he gives 100%. Last year he became the first gaijin to win the G1 Climax Tournament, and went on to have a 6 star classic match with Okada in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Since losing, he’s been searching for the answer of “why can’t I win big matches”, and his current goal is to walk into the upcoming NJPW shows in America as champion, no matter what.

Hiroshi Tanahashi - The former ace of NJPW. He’s the man who pulled NJPW out of the dark ages. A wildly popular rockstar of a man, who is still one of the best big match workers in all of wrestling, even now that he’s slowing down. He’s had classic matches with just about every big name on the NJPW roster, and I don’t think you can count him out just yet. He’s currently a member of the weird Taguchi Japan stable, and doing lots of 6 man tag matches, but I can’t help but feel he’ll be chasing singles gold again soon.

Katsuyori Shibata - Shibata is an interesting case. He debuted alongside Tanahashi and Nakamura and with them he was part of the chosen future of the company. But when things got rough for NJPW, he jumped ship to go do MMA fights instead. With his 4-10-1 record, it is often considered pretty bad for him, but when he came back to wrestling, he seemed more legitimate than ever and wants to fight his way to the top instead of being handed the title. He’s the anti-hero face that everyone wants in wrestling, a true badass who will fight until the very end… which he might have in his recent main event with Okada. Due to a combonation of dehydration due a longer match than he’s used to, and a dangerous shoot headbutt spot, he had to get surgery on his head following the match and might never wrestle again, but if his music hits again, the pop will likely be thunderous.

Minoru Suzuki -  48 fights, 29 wins & 19 losses. That is the MMA record of former King of Pancrase Minoru Suzuki. He’s the leader of Suzuki-Gun, and someone who would break your arm off and laugh at your suffering. He’s the best bastard heel on the planet, a legitimate badass, and he scares me. He’s held both the AJPW Triple Crown Championship, and NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Championship, and only needs the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to be one of few men to hold all three of Japans top belts, and even at 48 years old, age might not be enough to stop him. He’s an ageless badass.

Tomohiro Ishii - Ishii is one of the most underrated men in NJPW, as he can be slotted in as a top guy at any time and he’ll put on a fantastic match. Just an incredible worker when motivated in a singles match, but usually does tag work with other members of CHAOS, usually Toru Yano. But there are moments of brilliance in all of his matches.

Those are the major players in the company in my eyes but here’s some fun minor characters:

Ryusuke Taguchi - The funky weapon, who likes to throw his ass into peoples faces to win matches. When motivated he’s one of the most dangerous junior heavyweights on the roster, but he’d rather just have fun. He leads Taguchi Japan, which is a stable of random members of the roster who for some reason united under the flag of The Funky Weapon. It’s awesome just trust me.

Bad Luck Fale - A huge, slow beast of a man. Currently the longest running member of Bullet Club, being the first person to join Prince Devitt’s (WWE’s Finn Balor) new stable back in 2013. He’s a constant force that is protected in singles action and that makes him dangerous. In tournaments he’s a spoiler. Don’t bet against Fale, he’s kill your brackets and your dreams. He’s gotten singles wins over most big names in current NJPW, and is a hard guy to predict. Fear the Underboss of Bullet Club.

Tama Tonga - A future breakout star for NJPW, since his awesome performance in the G1 Climax last year, Tonga has just been getting better and better with each match. He’s got a unique in ring style where he uses his speed to confuse an opponent before striking. Always fun to watch, and I see singles success in his future, as well as more tag success with his brother:

Tanga Loa - Camacho. Does anyone remember Camacho? Teamed with Hunico in WWE? No? Well he’s in Japan now with his brother and they’re pretty great. He’s a brawler, and that’s about it. It works in tag matches but don’t expect much from a singles match with him.

Ricochet - The human incarnation of flippt shit. He busts out 630 sentons like they’re nothing, it’s incredible. But beyond that he’s just a fantastic and well rounded wrestler.

Will Ospreay - The best high flyer in wrestling but needs to slow the fuck down before he kills his knees. He’s only 23, and already one of the best in the world, and only gets better as he expands his style.

Jushin Thunder Liger - Iconic legend of juniors wrestling, character was based off an anime which is much less known than Liger himself, still wrestles but has slowed down a bit. He’s 52 years old and can still outwrestle most juniors on the roster.

Tiger Mask W - Not Kota Ibushi

Kota Ibushu - A freelancer who turned down a full time WWE contract to do weird shit in Japan, used to team with Kenny Omega as The Golden Lovers but they broke up and have soap opera level drama AND JUST NEED TO MAKE UP ALREADY. He’s also not Tiger Mask W.

Togi Makabe - Bruiser Brody 2.0

Ropongi Vice - Trent Barreta (yes, that Trent from WWE) and Rocky Romero just wanna have a good time in Ropongi, but have to wrestle too but are very good at it. Rocky is one of the best tag wrestlers around, and Barreta is becoming one of the best too.

Sanada - A member of Los Ingobernables De Japon. I can’t help but feel like NJPW has big plans for him. He debutted helping Naito win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and has had big singles matches with both Tanahashi and Okada, but has never held singles gold. (only member of L.I.J to not get a singles title) He’s an incredibly agile, handsome, and skilled wrestler, expect big things from him in the future.

Evil - A member of Los Ingobernables De Japon, is Evil and has lasers.

Hiromu Takahashi - The Joker mixed with Kefka mixed with a Pro Wrestler, he will kill himself so long as he kills his opponent at the same time. Has a fetish where he needs to lick everything he touches.

BUSHI - Evil Luchador who spits mist in peoples eyes and has really fucking cool masks.

Yujiro Takahashi - The Godfather but Japanese, the only Japanese member of Bullet Club, formerly teamed with Tetsuya Naito as No Limit

Micheal Elgin - The worlds strongest Canadian, likely lives in a gym.

Satoshi Kojima - Heir to the lariat, will take your head off with it, loves bread (seriously follow this guy on Twitter, his broken english tweets are as wholesome as his lariats are stiff)

David Finlay Jr. - Son of Fit Finlay, getting very good

Tomaki Honma - Gravely voiced fan favorite who usually loses but is always fun, he uses his head a weapon, started his career in Big Japan Wrestling where he was the first person to use light tubes in a deathmatch, and is currently on the shelf with a very major neck injury and might never wrestle again.

Toru Yano - A comedy relief wrestler who just wants you to buy his DVD and will keep beating your faves with upset victories until you do

Yuji Nagata - Some would say Nagata is the former ace of NJPW during the dark years, but no one really wants to take that title. But he’s a fantastic worker even in his old age, one of the last of his generation of NJPW.

Hirooki Goto - A man who could challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship a thousand more times and still choke every single time, but always have a good match in the process. Seriously, this guy loses 80% of big matches he’s in. He’s a stiff worker and it’s great, but get your head in the game Goto, you can win matches, I know you can!

Kushida - Have you ever watched Back the the Future and thought, ‘this is great but I wish Marty McFly was a wrestler’. Kushida. That’s Kushida.

and just so many more and I could go on forever. There are so many great wrestlers in NJPW, and you really don’t need to know the commentary to enjoy it.

Margot Robbie Signs First-Look Deal With Warner Bros and will produce female-driven movies!

The Aussie actress already has two projects set at her studio, including a spinoff for her ‘Suicide Squad’ character Harley Quinn.

Margot Robbie is setting down roots at Warner Bros.

The Aussie actress is signing a first-look deal with the studio behind her summer Suicide Squad to develop and produce feature films through her LuckyChap Entertainment banner.

Producing and developing with Robbie will be her LuckyChap partners Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr.

Robbie, whose breakout performance came in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, is only 26 years old but has quickly grasped control of her career in a way few actors, especially female actors, do, steadily wading into the world of producing.

Robbie and LuckyChap are in post-production on their first movie as producers, the upcoming neo noir thriller Terminal. LuckyChap also is developing and producing a Tonya Harding biopic, I, Tonya, where the actress will play the disgraced figure skater, and is developing an adaptation of Bad Monkeys, a novel by Matt Ruff, along with with Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark for Universal Pictures.

Warner Bros. has built a relationship with the actress, who has starred in Focus and The Legend of Tarzan for the studio before becoming one of the key factors as to why Suicide Squad grossed over $700 million worldwide.

The actress already has two projects set at Warners: a Suicide Squad spinoff for her character Harley Quinn (as well as other DC heroines) that she will executive produce and an adaptation of Dean N. Jensen’s Queen of the Air to which she is attached to star.

The first-look deal underlines Warner Bros.’ renewed focus on female-driven storytelling and comes after some notables moves from the Burbank-based studio.

It created the Warner Bros. Emerging Film Directors Workshop earlier this year as a program to increase female voices, among other under-represented sectors, which was spearheaded by the studio’s president, creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman.

Warners has Wonder Woman, based on DC’s iconic female superhero, coming out next year and was firm in its commitment to find a female director for that movie. And it is prepping Ocean’s Ocho, a female-centric take on Ocean’s 11 that will feature an A-list female ensemble.

Robbie is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Jeff Bernstein of Jackoway Tyerman.

8

EDDIE REDMAYNE - The Theory of Everything 

Golden Globe Awards - Best Actor – Drama
SAG Awards - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Awards - Best Actor
Academy Awards - Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Dorian Awards - Film Performance of the Year - Actor • Hollywood Film Awards - Hollywood Breakout Performance Actor • New York Film Critics Online - Best Actor • Palm Springs International Film Festival - Desert Palm Achievement Award • Santa Barbara Film Festival - Cinema Vanguard Award • Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival - Best Actor • Women Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Actor

[!] Block B Added to KCON 2015 Lineup in Los Angeles

Block B and AOA have been announced as the next two artists for KCON 2015 in LA.

They join Super Junior, who was revealed last week, for the event.

Block B, managed by Seven Seasons Entertainment, had a strong 2014 with their songs “Jackpot” and “H.E.R.” This year they came back with their subunit BASTARZ and their track “Conduct Zero.” Block B had their first US Tour last year, visiting New York, Washington DC, and Florida.

For AOA, this will be their first time performing in the US. They had a breakout year in 2014, releasing “Miniskirt,” “Short Hair” and “Like A Cat.”

We can expect about seven more artists to be revealed for LA, to match last year’s ten performers. The performance schedule will likely be released once the full lineup is announced.

KCON, scheduled for July 31 to August 2 this year, will once again have concerts on both Saturday and Sunday nights. For the convention, fans can expect celebrity panels, autograph sessions, contests, fan workshops, amazing food and much more.

ARCHIE PANJABI (Serena)

was recently named one of “Eight Actors Who Turned Television into Art,” by the New York Times Magazine for her performance as the provocative Kalinda Sharma in CBS’s hit show “The Good Wife.”  Panjabi won an Emmy Award for her performance as Kalinda in 2011 and has been nominated twice.  Additionally, in 2013 she was honored with a Golden Globe award nomination, won an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2012, and was nominated in 2013 and in 2014.  She was acknowledged as Breakout TV Star of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, Most Original Performance in Prime Time by People Magazine and was “One of the Top 10 Faces on TV to Watch,” by Variety.

Panjabi was seen opposite Gillian Anderson in seasons one and two of the critically acclaimed BBC drama “The Fall,” which became the highest rated drama series on BBC Two for the past 11 years.  She also continues to lend her voice to the stop-motion animated children’s series “Postman Pat.”

She most recently starred in “I Origins,” a feature film starring Michael Putt and Brit Marling and produced and directed by Mike Cahill. The film premiered in January 2014 at The Sundance Film Festival where it received rave reviews and won the prestigious Alfred. P. Sloan Feature Film Prize.  She also starred as one of the leads in “The Widower,” a three-part ITV drama written by multi award-winning producer Jeff Pope.

Panjabi made her film debut as tomboy, football-mad Meenah Khan in the critically acclaimed “East is East,” which received a 10 minute standing ovation at Cannes and won a BAFTA award for Best Picture of the Year in 2000.  She went on to star in “Bend it Like Beckham,” for which she won a BBC Mega Mela Award, and the film was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

Starring as the young Muslim woman in the title role of “Yasmin,” Panjabi won Best Actress Awards at the Reims Festival and Mons International Festival where she received The Shooting Star Award.  She then appeared with Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in “The Constant Gardener,” which won an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe in 2005.

Alongside Angelina Jolie in the gut-wrenching “A Mighty Heart,” Archie won the Chopard Revelation Award at The Cannes Film Festival.   She also appeared in the spy thriller “Traitor,” opposite Don Cheadle, and charmed audiences as Russell Crowe’s mischievous and savvy assistant in the comedy “A Good Year,” for director Ridley Scott.

Panjabi’s unique voice and broad range of accents have been used in numerous commercials, documentaries and animated projects.  She provides several of the voices for the well known children’s series “Postman Pat,” on BBC and PBS, and recently recorded the audio book I am Malala, about the 16-year-old girl shot by the Taliban for standing up for education.

Panjabi has gained worldwide recognition for her contribution for philanthropic endeavors. She is the Rotary International Global Ambassador for the We Are this Close campaign to eradicate polio in partnership with UNICEF and The Gates Foundation.  In April 2013, she emceed the first ever Global Vaccine Summit attended by world leaders in Abu Dhabi where she, alongside Bill Gates, helped raised just under $5 billion to end polio over the coming 6 years. She also spoke at World Polio Day at Northwestern University, Chicago, in October 2013.  Panjabi fronted the Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign, which eventually brought about several policy changes in support for victims of violence.   She was also a guest speaker at the Harvard University prestigious Artist in Residence Program.

Panjabi has a degree in Management Studies and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from her alma mater, Brunel University, England, for her contribution to the Arts. She continues to works closely with the university alongside Professor Ian Rivers, one of the top experts to study bullying behavior both in the UK and the US.

Archie was born in London and spent part of her childhood in Mumbai.