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Tessa Thompson Is the Heavyweight Champ of Creed II

How the actress made sure Bianca would be “no sidekick or cheerleader.”

Tessa Thompson is a superhero. In the past year alone, she’s starred in Sorry to Bother You, Annihilation, and Creed II, she has a Men in Black reboot on the way, and she literally played a superhero in Thor: Ragnarok.

For Creed II, she’s also written and performed her very own original music, redefined the role of the stereotypical boxer wife with strength, independence, and unapologetic blackness, and dealt with a “hangry” Michael B. Jordan on set.

And what does she ask of us? To let her be mediocre. Let her be average. “For me, the mark of true equality will be when we get to be mediocre,” says Thompson, the “we” here referring to black actors. “I feel like we are all exceptional because you have to be. It will just be nice when you get to be average.”

While Thompson probably won’t be pulling an “average” any time soon, the actress is finding the balance between roles that challenge her and providing some much-needed representation in Hollywood. And with boxing blockbuster Creed II, Thompson has done just that. She plays Bianca, a “fiercely” strong musician who can and does, go toe to toe with Jordan’s strong-willed boxer Adonis. Bianca is no sidekick or cheerleader—a choice that Thompson influenced while shaping the role with director Steven Caple Jr.

Below, Thompson opens up about her special connection to the characters she plays, her undying passion for acting, and Michael B. Jordan’s secret (he eats pizza in sweatpants).

You’ve said you felt a connection with Bianca even when you weren’t filming and have mentioned that you look for roles that are parts of yourself you haven’t been able to explore. How does Bianca fit into that?

Well, we’re actually really dissimilar in a lot of ways, but I can relate to the fact that she’s a musician and that’s really tied to her identity. I can relate to that. It felt like acting was always this compulsion in school; I would try to do other things and went to school for other things, but always came back to acting. It felt like something that I could not not do. In the first film, Adonis asks her why she does what she does, and she says it makes her feel alive. In this one, it’s something they talk about a lot, that they wouldn’t exist if they didn’t do the thing that they burn for. I think I can really relate to that.

Who do you feel most like, Valkyrie from Thor: Ragnarok, Bianca from Creed, or Detroit from Sorry to Bother You?

They all mean a lot to me, for a multitude of reasons. I feel really lucky to get to make work at this time and be part of the conversation around representation for women and particularly women of color; our ideas are becoming more expansive. Detroit means a lot to me because I felt like it was the first time I had the chance to play inside of a magical-realism narrative. So many of the films that I grew up watching that made me want to make movies, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—all of these incredible sort of mind-bending, hyper-imaginative stories—just felt really not terribly inclusive of people of color, so that felt monumental to me.

Obviously, to get to play a superhero—again, you don’t see a lot of women of color in that space, but particularly queer women, and to get to play a character that’s queer, that felt significant to me.

Bianca feels significant to me in the sense that she’s a really well-rounded female character inside a sports narrative, which is really rare. We hadn’t seen that since the first Rocky, and so to continue that tradition with a character that is also unapologetically black and independent felt significant. I couldn’t really pick one. It’d be like having to kill one of my darlings. They all mean a lot to me.

Michael B. Jordan recently talked about selecting movies with bigger cultural aims for black people, and becoming a movie star, without the descriptor “black” first. Do you look at it through a similar lens?

I’d be hard pressed to look at something objectively, because I’m me. I feel like, yes, selfishly I want to be breaking new ground for myself. So it’s like, “What have I not done?” I came from the indie world, so the idea of getting to do a big ol’ giant movie and work on green screen felt attractive because it mildly terrified me. It felt like something new. Then in a macro sense, I feel like it’s deeply significant culturally. For me the sweet spot is when those two things align. I want to make work that I’m proud of, so that’s the first thing. And then inside of that is also, “Is this a good way to contribute? Is there something to say in this that the culture needs?”

I feel so tethered to stories that center women and center women of color, because I happen to be both of those things. But I feel like where we really can break ground is when there are too many of us for one of us to be exceptional. That’s what’s exciting about this time. Playing Valkyrie was cool, but then when Black Panther came along and suddenly there’s all these other women of color in this space, that’s cooler. That feels better to me. I would prefer to be one of many than to be just one. Similarly, getting to work with women directors. We just don’t get those opportunities nearly enough. For me, the mark of true equality will be when we get to be mediocre. I feel like we are are all exceptional because you have to be. It will just be nice when you get to be average.

“FOR ME, THE MARK OF TRUE EQUALITY WILL BE WHEN WE GET TO BE MEDIOCRE.”

The role of the boxer wife has been done before, often as a stereotypical anxious woman behind the scenes, but that’s definitely not Bianca. How is Creed II rewriting this narrative?

That was super important to me because it’s what we established in the first movie. A part of the reason why Bianca disappears from the third act of the first movie is because Michael’s character messes up and she’s like, “Look, I have a world that’s too big and I’m trying to do too many things to have you mess with it, so goodbye.” I loved that about her. I loved that she just had her own agency. Even though they become far more intertwined in this one, and they make a commitment to each other and they’re beginning a family, it is really important to honor that the woman we’ve established is fiercely, fiercely independent.

I had some measure of hesitation when I knew that she was going to be pregnant, and some worry that she might end up being the dutiful wife. I expressed those concerns to Steven Caple Jr, our fantastic director, and those concerns made it into the movie—when she says to him: “I’m not gonna be this barefoot wife making you sandwiches.” That was literally something I expressed to Mike and to Steven and they were like, “Let’s put it in the movie.”

Michael B. Jordan is perfect and wonderful, but can you give us the dirt? Does he have bad breath? Does he clap when the plane lands?

I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this, but he’s really irritable when he hasn’t eaten. He gets really angry. It’s not just sort of like, “Okay, get him a sandwich.” I think it might have also been exacerbated by—when he’s training, there are certain days where he wouldn’t drink water all day and he was going through very intense training. So he was allowed some irritable days.

Also, when he’s having a cheat day, he really goes in and it feels like being at a college dorm room, but a really nice one, where the kid has a lot of money because he just has everything from Chinese food to pizza. Every kind of junk cuisine he’d want. He’s in basketball shorts just gorging himself. But he only had a couple of those days, so he’s allowed.

Source: Elle

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Entertainment

The 10 Best Netflix Original Horror Movies

As so much of the world quakes in the shadows of The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix’s masterful horror series, viewers are turning to the streaming service for scares more than ever.

It helps that this month’s crop of Netflix original movies has turned notably gloomier and creepier with the changing season, most notably in new works like Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold the Dark and Gareth Evans’s Apostle.

The platform has amassed a pretty impressive collection of horror films and can just about serve as your one-stop shop for a Halloween horror marathon, depending on how much you like Mike Flanagan.

We watched as many of the horror offerings under the Netflix Original banner as possible and ranked the best ones. Two notes on qualifications. First, it has to have the already-iconic Netflix boom-boom title card, so stuff that they picked up but don’t consider a “Netflix property” for whatever reason (like the great Under the Shadow) doesn’t qualify.

Second, it has to be a horror movie. There are some thrillers (like Hold the Dark and Rebirth) and sci-fi action movies (like Spectral) that aren’t quite technically horror. With that said, Netflix’s best ten horror flicks are …

10. Before I Wake (2016)

Before long, Netflix is going to have its very own Mike Flanagan Channel. The auteur behind The Haunting of Hill House has three movies on this list, and while this one is the most mediocre, it contains just enough moments that work to make the cut.

While it didn’t premiere on Netflix until early this year Before I Wake is actually Flanagan’s third film (after 2011’s Absentia and 2013’s Oculus), produced in 2014 and then delayed multiple times. Room star Jacob Tremblay appears as a kid whose dreams manifest into reality, allowing Flanagan a few hair-raising sequences and a memorable monster known as “the Canker Man.”

Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane co-star. It’s definitely the product of a filmmaker finding his feet, but the film is even more interesting now considering how easy it is to see the themes Flanagan would hone in his later works.

9. Malevolent (2018)

Still in the “yeah, it’s okay” section of the top ten is one of Netflix’s most recent offerings, a ghost story that takes a hard turn into something closer to torture porn in the final act.

There’s some really effective filmmaking before then, largely due to the grounded, in-the-moment performance from Florence Pugh, an about-to-breakout star who went on to feature in films by David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), and Ari Aster (Hereditary).

Here, she plays a faux ghostbuster, conning people out of their money with her brother, who finds out that some ghosts are real. The end of this movie is a mess, but Pugh does enough good work in the first hour to justify a look.

8. 1922 (2017)

It wouldn’t be a list of horror movies without a Stephen King adaptation or two, and this Zak Hilditch period piece is based on one of the master’s novellas from the 2010 anthology Full Dark, No Stars.

Thomas Jane is excellent as Wilfred James, a Nebraska farmer with a very unhappy wife, played by Molly Parker.

When it becomes clear that Wilf’s wife is insistent on moving back to the city, the farmer decides she has to go, even convincing his son to help him. It’s essentially one of King’s riffs on murderous guilt à la The Tell-Tale Heart, with a seemingly good man going from one awful deed to flat-out insanity.

It can’t quite hold for its running time (as often happens with short stories turned into long films), but there’s some unforgettable imagery here.

7. Calibre (2018)

This is the only film on this list that one could argue isn’t really a horror film, but the final act gets so Wicker Man weird that we’ve decided it qualifies.

It starts as a pretty terrifying thriller, the inciting incident being a hunting accident in which one of the protagonists accidentally shoots a child. It gets worse from there. When they decide to try to hide their crimes, things go downhill fast.

Here’s the moral message: When one of your mates says “no harm done” after the murders of two people, you know you’re in trouble.

6. Cargo (2018)

Isn’t it amazing that there are any new stories to tell in the zombie subgenre? Just when you think they’ve run out of ideas, along comes an effectively human story such as this piece, starring the always excellent Martin Freeman of Sherlock and The Hobbit fame.

He stars as Andy, a man deep in the Australian outback, where things go very undead. The clever twist here is that the bitten don’t turn instantly — they have 48 hours to come to terms with their impending appetite for brains.

It makes for a melancholy take on the genre we haven’t really seen before, other than in the other Netflix zombie flick with a twist …

5. Ravenous (2017)

Just as Cargo has a somber tone, this French-Canadian zombie flick captures the depressive state that would fall over the world if most of its residents became hungry for flesh.

What works so well about director Robin Aubert’s Ravenous is the world creation he offers us via the brief glimpses of a few surviving characters. The film jumps around a rural landscape, finding a few random survivors just waiting for their next horrifying encounter.

Fans of a certain AMC series, take note: Ravenous has echoes of The Walking Dead in the way it captures how the survivors may actually be worse off than those who died.

4. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

Probably the most divisive film on this list is writer-director Osgood Perkins’s (son of Psycho star Anthony) moody ghost story, a film way more interested in getting under your skin than making you jump.

The Affair star Ruth Wilson stars as a live-in nurse at what could be a haunted house. With long takes and creepy sound design, Perkins’s film is a challenging one, but it’s a movie that does that one important thing that all the best ghost stories do: coming back to you in the middle of the night like a cinematic haunting.

3. Hush (2016)

Arguably more of a thriller than a horror film, Mike Flanagan’s second film on this list qualifies in the same way that The Strangers or even Scream qualifies — it’s one of the few “slasher pics” from the last few years that actually works.

The reason it does is because it’s one of the few to have an original idea. (Well, at least as original as 1967’s Wait Until Dark, which probably inspired it.) If you’ve been watching Hill House and wondering where you recognized Kate Siegel’s Theo from, it’s from here: She co-wrote and starred as Maddie, a deaf writer terrorized in the middle of the night.

It’s effective, hair-raising filmmaking, with a great turn from Siegel.

2. Apostle (2018)

Every horror section needs a batshit-crazy entry, the kind of gorefest you put on in the middle-of-the-night portion of your movie marathon just to keep everyone awake.

The first hour of this slow burn from The Raid director Gareth Evans may be a tough haul if you start this at 3 a.m., but the second hour will wake everyone up.

What first appears to be a gritty riff on The Wicker Man becomes an insane, gory riff on, well, The Wicker Man. Starring Dan Stevens (with a key supporting performance Michael Sheen), The Apostle follows a man invading a cult to find his kidnapped sister, and the closing scenes are as loony as anything you could watch on Netflix — or anywhere else really. Some love it, some hate it, but no one will forget it.

1. Gerald’s Game (2017)

Is it possible for a later work to make a previous one better? When we see a filmmaker exploring similar themes in a recent work, it often highlights how he did so in earlier films.

Such is the case with Mike Flanagan’s Gerald’s Game, which was a good movie last year but feels even better in light of Hill House, and not only because both feature great performances by Carla Gugino and Henry Thomas.

Flanagan expertly pulls out the human themes of Stephen King’s story of a woman trapped in a waking nightmare and how the trauma of her past influences her survival chances, and Gugino gives the best performance on this list — fearless and unforgettable.

Source: Vulture

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Entertainment

Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Aretha Franklin, widely known as the ‘Queen of Soul,’ and one of America’s greatest singers of any style, died on Thursday morning at her home in Detroit.

Her death comes three days after she was said to be in hospice care at her home. “Official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” the family statement said.

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds,” Franklin’s family said.

Funeral arrangments will be made in the coming days, the statement said.

Franklin’s Career

Franklin’s music career started when she sang in the gospel choir at her father’s church in Detroit. She recorded her first hit with Atlantic Records in the late 1960’s called ‘I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You).’

She followed with a number of soul hits, including ‘Baby I Love You,’ ‘Think,’ and ‘The House That Jack Built,’ which made her world famous by the 1970’s.

Known for her beautiful and powerful voice, Franklin sang her famous song ‘Respect’ with meaning and fortitude. It was a demand for equality and freedom, carried out by a voice that spoke to many.

Franklin had a very successful singing career. She put more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts, including 17 top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits. Franklin received 18 Grammy awards and 44 Grammy nominations. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and even sang at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. She also sang at the pre-inauguration concerts for Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Bill Clinton in 1993.

The Rolling Stone magazine called her greatest singer, male or female, of all time in their 2010 list. She inspired generations of R&B singers after her such as Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, and Natalie Cole.

An outpouring of support and appreciation for Aretha Franklin was seen throughout Twitter today.



Source: The Nectarine

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Entertainment

HBO’s July 2017 Slate: Say Goodbye to Crossroads and Hello to The Dark Knight

Out with the old and in with the new!

Next month, movies like Batman Returns, Catch Me If You Can, Crossroads, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and Risky Business will be leaving HBO to make way for The Dark Knight, Erin Brockovich, Hacksaw Ridge, Pearl Harbor, Selena, and other titles.

July will also see the return of the network’s most buzz-worthy TV programs, including Ballers, Game of Thrones and Insecure.

Luckily, HBO subscribers still have three weeks to watch their favorite movies.

Leaving July 19

Beautiful Creatures

Leaving July 24

Unfaithful

Leaving July 31

Batman Returns

Catch Me If You Can

The Color of Money

Criminal

Crossroads

El Cantante

Evil Dead 2

Fracture

Hail, Caesar!

Hard to Kill

Hotel for Dogs

Innerspace

Keanu

The Main Event

Men in Black II

Midnight Special

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

My Cousin Vinny

Rendition

Risky Business

Road to Perdition

Rooster Cogburn

Simon Birch

This Boy’s Life

Wildcats

Coming July 1

About a Boy

American Gigolo

Bean

The Blair Witch Project

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Born on the Fourth of July

Cobra

The Dark Knight

Erin Brockovich

Heartburn

Johnny Handsome

K-Pax

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Le Divorce

Leatherheads

Loving

The Man Without a Face

Mimic

Minority Report

Mission: Impossible 2

Mr. Deeds

Necessary Roughness

Next Day Air

The Other Side of the Door

Over Her Dead Body

Panic Room

Pearl Harbor

Platoon

Richie Rich

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

The Rose

Selena

Solaris

Soul Food

Thirteen

Watchmen

The Women

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Coming July 8

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Coming July 15

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Coming July 16

Game of Thrones

Coming July 22

Hacksaw Ridge

Coming July 23

Ballers, Season 3

Insecure, Season 2

Coming July 28

Room 104

Coming July 29

Almost Christmas

Subscribers can stream their favorite movies and TV shows via HBO Go and HBO Now.

Source: eOnline

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Entertainment

San Francisco Bay Area Beautiful Sunset Evening

This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

I soon realised that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within. – Lillian Smith

But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia

Because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown.

And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her. Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts.

Put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way when she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains

One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia.

Put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline.

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Woman Preparing to Eat Big Bacon Burger

This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

I soon realised that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within. – Lillian Smith

But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia

Because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown.

And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her. Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts.

Put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way when she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains

One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia.

Put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline.

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T-Shirts on Rack with Room for Text

This is an example of a WordPress post, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many posts as you like in order to share with your readers what is on your mind.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

I soon realised that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within. – Lillian Smith

But nothing the copy said could convince her and so it didn’t take long until a few insidious Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia

Because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown.

And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her. Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts.

Put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way when she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains

One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia.

Put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline.