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Miles Morales, who took up the mantle of Spider-Man in the comics seven years ago, gets his onscreen debut in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The movie outlines his origin story, from when he’s bit by a radioactive spider to the moment he dons his own black-and-red version of the Spidey uniform.
But Morales (Shameik Moore) is far from the only Spider-Person in the film. After a villain named Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) rips a hole in the space-time continuum, the film is flooded with heroes from parallel universes. Miles learns the tricks of the trade from a 40-year-old version of Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage) and Peter Porker (John Mulaney). There’s also another Spider-person in the end-credits.
Each character briefly references his or her own origin story in the film. But for those who are only familiar with Peter Parker, here’s a brief summary of the comic book tales behind each person and animal who was bit by a radioactive arachnid.
Though Into the Spider-Verse, outlines Morales’ origin story, the movie version diverges a bit from the comics. Comic fans first met Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager living in Brooklyn, in 2011. Morales excels at physics and admires Spider-Man (a.k.a. Peter Parker), despite his policeman father’s protestations about the superhero’s vigilante methods.
In a run of comics called the Ultimate Marvel Universe, an Oscorp scientist uses Peter Parker’s blood in order to create another radioactive spider. A thief named Aaron (a.k.a. the Prowler) sneaks into Oscorp and accidentally brings home a radioactive spider.
Aaron’s nephew, Miles Morales—a half-black, half-Puerto Rican teen living in Brooklyn—visits Aaron’s apartment and is bit by the spider. Morales gains all of Parker’s abilities plus the power to camouflage himself and a “venom strike” that manifests as an electric shock. Morales is initially resistant to using his powers for good, but is overcome by guilt after he watches the Green Goblin kill Parker and does nothing about it.
Morales takes over as Spider-Man. His uncle Aaron eventually pieces together Morales’ secret identity and tries to blackmail him into helping him commit crimes. The two fight, and Aaron’s weapons malfunction. Aaron dies and Morales survives.
In the early Spider-Man comics, Gwen Stacy appears as Parker’s love interest who meets a tragic end: The Green Goblin throws her off the Brooklyn Bridge, and when Parker tries to catch her with his web, her neck snaps. Emma Stone played the character in the Amazing Spider-Man movies.
But in an another run of the comics, a radioactive spider bites Stacy instead of Parker. Stacy uses her newfound power to defends the nerdy Parker from bullies. But Parker, who clearly can’t deal with strong women, creates a serum to give himself superhuman abilities. He turns into the Lizard, and Stacy fights and accidentally kills him. She mourns her best friend and swears to never kill again. She goes by the name Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen or Ghost Spider, depending on the comic.
Many of Stacy’s storylines focus on her relationship with her father, the police chief, who knows her identity but disapproves of her vigilantism. In her free time, Stacy plays in a band called the Mary Janes with, yes, Mary-Jane Watson. In one comic book run, Morales travels to Stacy’s universe, and the two become romantically involved.
Peni is an anime-inspired version of the hero. When she was nine, her father died while piloting a robot suit called SP//dr. It’s unclear how the suit came to be, but presumably Peni’s father built it.
Peni moves in with her Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and they tell her that she must become the new pilot of the suit. Peni then allows a radioactive spider to bite her. She and the Spider share a psychic connection that allows them to control the CPU of the suit together.
Though Peni doesn’t have superhuman abilities herself, her suit is formidable. At one point in the comics defeats a Venom suit piloted by her friend-turned-foe Addie Parker.
The black-and-white Spdier-Man Noir is born straight from a dark version of the comics set in the 1930s during the Great Depression. In this iteration, Uncle Ben and Aunt May are social activists who come into the crosshairs of crime boss Norman Osborn. Osborn orders Vulture, a freak in a circus, to eat Ben alive.
Peter, a journalist, follows Obsorn’s men to a warehouse where they are smuggling antiques, including a creepy old spider statue that contains—you guessed it—radioactive spiders. One of the spiders bites Parker, and he hallucinates a Spider god who gives him “the curse of power.” This Parker creates a costume based on Uncle Ben’s World War I uniform and—unlike most other Spider-People—arms himself with a gun.
Peter Porker, a.k.a. Spider-Ham, hails from a parallel universe full of anthropomorphic animals. He actually began life as a spider but was bitten by a radioactive pig.
He then joined forces with heroes like Captain Americat and the Fantastic Fur to battle Ducktor Doom and other baddies in a series of humor comics.
Yet another Spider-Man appears in the end-credits scene of the film: Miguel O’Hara (voiced by Oscar Isaac). This version of Spider-Man is a geneticist who hails from the year 2099. He lives in a dystopian version of New York, known as “Nueva York,” where a handful or corporations control everything and everyone. He works for the company Alchemax (the same one run by Kingpin in Spider-verse) but comes to realize they have nefarious intentions. After he comes into physical peril, he changes his own genetic code to make his DNA part-spider and fights criminals, including the heads of Alxhemax and their cronies.
Miguel was the first Latinx superhero in the comic books when he debuted in 1992. He fights villains with the help of a hologram named Lyla. Instead of sticking to walls, he has talons at the ends of his hands and feet that will allow him to cut into surfaces and hold onto them. He also can paralyze villains with venom by biting them with his incisors, kind of like a vampire.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 6:07 pm
In an era when end-credits scenes are often used to tease new characters and villains, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse finds an innovative way to both introduce a new character and make fun of a popular Spider-Man meme.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already counts six Spider-beings among its cast. Several will return to the big screen in the near future: Sony is already working on a sequel featuring Miles Morales and a spinoff starring Gwen Stacey. But there could be even more Spider-spinoffs to come. Fans who stuck around for a post-credits scene were introduced to yet another Spider-Man: Miguel O’Hara, played by Oscar Isaac.
The scene begins with a narration box that says, “Meanwhile, in Nueva York.” That text alone should clue comic book readers into Miguel’s entrance into the Spider-Verse. Miguel O’Hara stars in a Spider-Man comic titled Spider-Man 2099. Miguel was the first Latinx character to take on the Spider-Man mantle when he debuted in the comics in 1992. His story is set in a future, dystopian New York City that’s been dubbed Nueva York.
In Miguel’s comic book story, America is controlled by a few menacing corporations—including Alchemax, the company run by villain Kingpin in Into the Spider-verse. Miguel is a geneticist working for Alchemax when his life is threatened. He rewrites his own genetic code to sustain himself and gains spider-like abilities in the process. He has many of the same powers as the other Spidey, though he also has teeth that can inject bad guys with paralyzing venom. He becomes a superhero and fights crime with the help of a hologram named Lyla, who provides him with intel on his enemies.
Lyla is the first person audiences see in the Into the Spider-Verse end-credits scene. She chastises an unseen Miguel for being late. She tells him he has missed out on all the fun of closing the hole in the space-time continuum with Miles and the rest of the Spider-people. “Here’s the good news, the multiverse didn’t collapse, though it was touch and go,” Lyla says.
Miguel then asks Lyla if she “finished the goober,” the piece of technology that will allow him to jump to another universe. Lyla warns Miguel that he is about to be the first person to make a multiverse jump with the device. Miguel says, “Let’s start at the beginning one last time: Earth ’67.”
Miguel then appears in the Spider-Man cartoon from the 1960s, the one with the catchy “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a Spider can” theme song that’s now stuck in your head. He lands on earth and tells Peter Parker, “I’m Spider-Man. You need to come with me.”
“Who the heck are you?” Peter Parker replies, pointing at him. Miguel points back at Peter, and they begin to bicker, pointing back and forth from one another.
Those who spend too much time on Twitter will recognize this scene of two Spider-Men pointing at one another as a popular meme. The Spider-verse writers riff on the scene by adding new dialogue. Miguel and Peter Parker point at one another and argue over who started the pointing first. The scene cuts before the two Spideys resolve their quarrel.
The actual reference to the original television series is less important than the introduction of Miguel. Isaac probably didn’t drop into a recording booth just for fun: Expect to see this character return in future iterations of Spider-verse.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 5:27 pm
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Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s highly personal, critically acclaimed new film, meticulously reconstructs the Mexico City of the filmmaker’s 1970s childhood, depicting events both insignificant and monumental — from unfinished colas to political upheavals — with equal care. The movie, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in August and opened in theaters in November ahead of its Netflix debut on Dec. 14, has already picked up a trove of awards and nominations, including three nods from the Golden Globes.
The film is painstakingly precise in its recreation of the place and time during which the story is set, as shown through the eyes of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a live-in domestic worker inspired by the one who helped to raise Cuarón, and the middle-class family that employs her. Although the movie is not directly about the politics or social issues of the time period, they seep into the narrative, subtly at times, and dramatically, unmistakably, at others.
Expertise on the time period is not a prerequisite for appreciating Roma, but viewers who experience the movie without a foundation in modern Mexican history might find themselves hungry for a better understanding upon leaving the theater (or closing Netflix, as the case may be). To help provide some of the context for the story, TIME spoke with experts on 20th-century Mexican history about the dominant political and social forces shaping Mexico during the time when Roma takes place.
A Nation on the Brink
Through much of the 20th century, Mexico was a nation situated at an uneasy juncture between authoritarianism and democracy. In the ‘70s, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) dominated the country’s government, as it had done since its founding in 1929, using a combination of political patronage, repression and electoral fraud to maintain its hold on power. Roma depicts Mexico at a moment when the tensions created by this system had nearly reached a breaking point.
Violence in the countryside had been a mainstay of the regime for years. One of the legacies of the PRI was the so-called “Dirty War” against insurgents in rural Mexico during the 1960s and ‘70s. According to an official report leaked in 2006, Mexican government soldiers carried out a host of atrocities during the campaign, perpetrating massacres, rapes and the destruction of entire villages in order to destroy both armed and legal opposition.
Roma captures Mexico at a time when this type of violence was making its way into every facet of society. In 1968, as youth movements broke out in the United States and around the world, Mexico City experienced a summer of street protests against government repression. On Oct. 2, thousands of students gathered in the Three Cultures Square in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco housing complex. During the meeting, government snipers positioned on rooftops opened fire, and as chaos took hold, soldiers positioned on the edge of the plaza began to fire into the crowds of students, killing dozens in what came to be known as the Tlatelolco massacre.
The events of Roma follow the horrific legacy of 1968. As the family drama unfolds, tensions within the city begin to boil. Campaign posters and signs touting the PRI appear in several scenes, while Fermín (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) a young man whom Cleo dates, is shown training with several hundred young men as part of a secretive paramilitary force.
These political stresses come to a head in Roma’s depiction of another event that rocked Mexico to its core: the Corpus Christi Massacre, which provides the backdrop to one of the film’s most climactic scenes. On June 10, 1971, a crowd of protesting students was attacked by the Halcones, or “Falcons,” a group of young government-trained paramilitaries intended to pass as a rival student faction. Armed with knives and bamboo sticks, the thugs killed dozens of demonstrators, and the clash sent shockwaves throughout the country.
“Part of the modern Mexican state’s deal with the Mexican people was that violence would not happen in the cities,” explains Paul Gillingham, a historian at Northwestern University specializing in Mexican politics, culture and violence. “Violence happens a lot in the countryside—it was very much a case of out of sight, out of mind, which was also helped by tight control of the Mexican national press,” says Gillingham. “The Corpus Christi Massacre and the Tlatelolco massacre that preceded it broke this basic rule.”
For some, the 1968 and 1971 massacres were galvanizing events, undeniable manifestations of the fact that the regime’s democratic motions were only window dressing for an authoritarian state.
“It was confirmation for many young people that there was no other way but armed struggle,” says Sergio Aguayo, a professor at El Colegio de México and the President of the Board of Directors of Fundar, a Mexican democratic research NGO. “[The government] crushed insurrections everywhere, and out of the disappeared people for political reasons emerged the modern human rights movement that was fundamental in the eroding of the legitimacy of the political system.”
It would take many more years for the PRI’s monopoly on power in Mexico to fall. Only in 2000 was the PRI’s presidential candidate defeated, by the country’s 55th president, Vicente Fox, ending the party’s 71-year period of political domination.
Land Reform: Blood and Soil
The issue of land usage also appears in the background of the story in Roma, much as many conflicts in the Mexican countryside tended to play out in the periphery of the lives of those living in the cities. In the film, when the family takes a trip out of Mexico City, they find that their landowner friends have been in conflict with their tenants, who have apparently killed their dog.
These land disputes have deep roots, dating back to conflicts over ownership from decades earlier. In the early 1900s and before, many villagers’ land was illegally confiscated by plantation owners, reducing farmers to serfdom. An important tenet of the PRI government was the restoration of these lands through breaking up plantations, a goal that was carried out sporadically through the decades.
Throughout the 20th century, the PRI continued to maintain popular support in part by portraying themselves as land reformers who would redistribute the country’s wealth, despite the fact that Mexico continued to be an extraordinarily unequal country under the party’s rule. For many, the massacres in Mexico City exposed the government for the near-authoritarian system it was. “Corpus Christi is the confirmation of the damage done in ’68,” says Gillingham. “[It was] the delegitimization of a revolutionary regime.”
In midcentury Mexico, land reform remained a promise only half kept, with many communities lacking the land they needed to subsist in the midst of an enormous demographic boom. By the ‘60s, the problem could no longer be dismissed.
“You have the influence of not just Mexican ideals of revolution, but you’ve also got Cuba,” explains Gillingham. In nearby Cuba, Fidel Castro had recently led a dramatic communist revolution, overthrowing the authoritarian government of Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and inspiring other poor populations to take up arms. “And so the effect of this is that through the 1960s you have increased peasant occupations of land, radicalism and army responses putting down peasant protests.”
A Racial Divide
In Roma, unspoken divisions of race and class play out beneath the surface of every encounter. Cleo, who is indigenous, watches television and goes on vacation with the white family she serves, seemingly erasing the barrier between them—until she is asked to go fetch tea.
“The color of your skin determines the size of your bank account, or indeed if you’ve got a bank account at all,” Gillingham says. “Most of the poorest rural populations in Mexico are also the most indigenous populations.”
Land shortages, in addition to the regime’s policy of keeping corn prices artificially low to promote industrialization, forced massive migrations of poor indigenous populations, both to the United States and to larger cities in Mexico. Many, like Roma’s Cleo, came to Mexico City and other urban areas to be housekeepers, often serving as bridges that drew others from their families or villages away from their homes in the countryside.
For Gillingham, the impetus behind these migrations is the same motivating force that underlies almost all of the social and historical dynamics in Roma’s Mexico City and the lives of those swept up in it: “straightforward, desperate poverty in parts of what is a really rich country.”
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 1:48 pm
Kids, Jimmy Kimmel is not your friend. He’s even turning your parents against you. The latest example: Kimmel asked parents to try turning off the TV while their kids were playing the popular video game Fortnite — and film their ensuing reactions. The results are suitably terrifying, as kids around the world flipped out on their parents as they watched their efforts onscreen go to waste when the TV turns black.
Earlier in the week, Kimmel issued a “YouTube Challenge” on his show, urging parents to submit videos of the Fortnite fallout for his amusement. “I asked, and many of you answered,” he explained as an introduction to the prank. The ensuing nearly-three-minute compilation is a mashup of varying levels of screams, disbelief and temper tantrums.
“What are you doing, go cook!” one kid asks. Others collapse into fits of rage. “What do you want!” another cries. “Are you out of your mind?” “What are you doing? My friend just died because of you!” Clearly, emotions run high when video game success is at risk. Kimmel’s advice at the end is simple: “Now go outside.” Good luck to the parents trying to convince their Fortnite-obsessed kids to brave the cold, however.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 1:42 pm
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A viral singer driving under the “influence” of the power of both rap and opera has created a mashup for our time.
“What opera sounds like in my head,” was the title of his YouTube video which shows him singing “Largo al factotum” from the Rossini masterpiece Barber of Seville with a more modern masterpiece, the hit track “Humble” from Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed 2017 album DAMN.
His performance, which is tailor-made for the internet, showcases the singer’s knack for modern music, his superb pipes for the classics, and his keen ability to merge both in a jam that matches up perfectly.
In an interview with TIME, he said that making a video of his genre blending was a real first.
“I’ve always noticed similarities between the two. I generally kept this to myself and played with them in my head or in the car because the opera culture can be very conservative,” he said. “But the few times I’ve slipped and sung some opera to a hip-hop beat, it’s been well-received.”
The Nigerian American vocalist did it all while he was behind the wheel, which makes him a consummate musical multi-tasker, endearing him to the 60,000 people who liked the clip and redditors who have fully embraced the song.
“People love the dichotomy,” he said.
He told TIME that he first loved the aria when he saw Robin Williams sing it in Mrs. Doubtfire and that when it comes to West Coast hip hop artists, Lamar is his absolute favorite, which made for the ideal match.
Babatunde Akinboboye is a baritone opera singer who has belted it out with the Opera Santa Barbara, Opera San José and the LA Opera. He’s also played Guglielmo in Così fan in Tutte and Horace Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, according to his website, which notes that fusing genres is all part of his repertoire.
Clearly this is the mashup that we not only need, but deserve.
Watch the opera and hip hop mashup below.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 11:26 am
Kit Harington is about to have a dragon-filled 2019.
Not only will the 31-year-old actor once again be fraternizing with Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons come April, but he’s also set to voice Eret in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. And thanks to DreamWorks, fans even get to see his (fake) audition tape for the franchise’s highly-anticipated third installment.
In the hilarious video, Harington attempts to work out his role in the movie alongside a mischievous Toothless while also poking fun at his Game of Thrones character. “I’m a little confused about my part really. I mean first I’m dead, then I’m not,” he says, hinting at Jon Snow’s backstory. “No one knows who my mother is.”
He even goes so far as to try to recreate the iconic Game of Thrones season 7 moment when Jon first comes face to face with Drogon.
The final chapter in the HTTYD trilogy hits theaters February 22.
Watch the full clip below.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 11:20 am
History changed around James Baldwin, but the glaring contradiction in American life that he so often highlighted still lurks within it. The author’s work argued that white Americans who boast of the United States as a nation of freedom can only do so by glossing over, to some degree, its history of slavery, as well as myriad other injustices experienced by minority groups of all kinds. In his lesser-known 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk, which arrives in theaters Friday with a film adaptation from Academy Award-winning director Barry Jenkins, insidious injustices are an inescapable part of everyday life — a truth the personal experience of which shaped Baldwin’s writing, propelling his evolution into a major voice for civil rights.
Born in Harlem in New York City on Aug. 2, 1924, Baldwin had one of his first political awakenings facing racism in the early 1940s at a restaurant in New Jersey, where he got a defense-related track-laying job during World War II. As the story goes, when a waitress told him the restaurant didn’t serve African Americans, he threw a glass at her. He felt “ready to commit murder,” as he later wrote in the 1955 anthology Notes of a Native Son, and thought he had to get out before he either killed someone or got himself killed. After that incident, he moved to Greenwich Village and began working in a restaurant and writing, then moved to Paris in 1948.
“Before he went to Paris, he had started to establish himself as a book reviewer, but he didn’t establish that prophetic voice until later,” says David Leeming, who worked for Baldwin and wrote James Baldwin: A Biography.
He would spend the rest of his life splitting his time between the United States and France. In Paris, he wrote Go Tell It On the Mountain — a semi-autobiographical 1953 novel about his stepfather, a stern preacher — and Giovanni’s Room, a novel that takes place within a circle of Parisian gay life, in 1956. He began to get more recognition among the general population for his critiques of American history, such as his 1955 anthology Notes of a Native Son, in which he wrote: “At the root of the American Negro problem is the necessity of the American white man to find a way of living with the Negro in order to be able to live with himself. And the history of this problem can be reduced to the means used by Americans — lynch law and law, segregation and legal acceptance, terrorization and concession — either to come to terms with this necessity, or to find a way around it, or (most usually) to find a way of doing both these things at once.”
While his career was already developing, there was one incident in that period that he would later single out as a starting point for his identity as a voice on civil rights.
On Sept. 4, 1957, white mobs spit on 15-year-old Dorothy Counts as she entered a newly-integrated school in Charlotte, N.C. Seeing news coverage of what happened to Counts compelled Baldwin to return to the U.S. to as a writer and activist. He repeatedly challenged white Americans to look inward, arguing in his 1961 anthology Nobody Knows My Name that the nation would not allow black people “to starve, to grow bitter, and to die in ghettos” if not driven by a fear that had nothing to do with the people who had to live with its consequences. He became even more famous as a spokesperson for the civil rights movement with a New Yorker essay that became the 1963 book The Fire Next Time, seeming to foreshadow 1960s race riots with its title, which was derived from a line in a spiritual in which God promises Noah that next time humanity will be punished for sin not with flood but with fire. Baldwin reiterated his belief that “the Negro problem” wouldn’t exist if white people truly learned to “love themselves and each other” — and made clear the terrible consequences that could follow if that didn’t happen.
With the publication of this essay, “he was suddenly recognized as an American novelist, not just a Negro novelist,” says Rich Blint, an expert on Baldwin and professor of Literature at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School.
The year 1963 was a turning point in the civil rights movement, and by that point Baldwin was at the height of his career and at the center of it all.
He was in the middle of a speaking tour for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) when he appeared on the cover of the May 17, 1963, issue of TIME right after school walkouts turned violent in Birmingham, Ala. Televised images of African-American children getting hosed down and attacked by police dogs, combined with the deadly 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in the fall, are considered to be catalysts for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Spring 1963 will long be remembered as the time when the U.S. Negro’s revolution for equality exploded on all fronts,” TIME wrote the next month, following Attorney General Bobby Kennedy’s meeting with a group of African-American literati, which was organized by James Baldwin. “After the spring of 1963, there can be no turning back.”
And yet, that revolution didn’t lead to as much change as Baldwin had hoped for. From the late ’60s until his death on Dec. 1, 1987, at the age of 63, his writing would reflect his increasing frustration and disappointment that the nation had yet to fulfill the promise of full equality for people of all races and sexual orientations.
The assassinations of Medgar Evers in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 “broke him,” says Blint. (In the 1972 anthology No Name in The Street, Baldwin recalls a postal clerk friend asking him if he could have the suit that Baldwin wore to Martin Luther King’s funeral after reading in a gossip column that the author vowed never to wear the suit again. Baldwin personally delivered it to him and stayed for dinner.) He attempted suicide at least four times throughout his life.
“Watching all of these men being snuffed out one by one really, really depressed him,” Blint says. “How much longer do we want to wait for a certain type of progress?”
It was in this later period that he wrote If Beale Street Could Talk, which reflects many of the often invisible, but perhaps even more dangerous, forms of racism that he saw throughout American culture. The novel’s protagonists have trouble finding an apartment because they’re black, and one is hastily locked up for a crime he did not commit — plot points that reflect the period’s concern with housing equality and the beginning of mass incarceration. TIME also saw it as a response to the studies such as the Moynihan Report, which made headline news of the state of vulnerable African-American families. “Possibly Baldwin, who now lives in France, took to long fiction for the first time in six years out of disgust with the slag heaps of sociology about blacks,” the magazine wrote in its original 1974 book review. “Such studies often go on about the instability of the black family; the [family in the novel is] both strong and united.” (The review also argued that the story would be more compelling staged, foreshadowing Jenkins’ film adaption: “As a novel it is not a success, being too sentimental and predictable by half. But it has the makings of a splendid opera.”)
While Baldwin is no longer alive, his writing is — from the 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro to the idea that he can be seen as a Founding Father of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“For people to reach for him in this moment makes all of the sense in the world — a moment of profound crisis, when the nation has to answer the question, Who are we?” says Eddie S. Glaude, a TIME columnist and Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University, who is writing a book about Baldwin.
And after all he lived through, perhaps that would not surprise Baldwin himself. “Each generation is promised,” he wrote in Notes of a Native Son, “more than it will get: which creates, in each generation, a furious, bewildered rage.”
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 11:06 am
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Amy Adams has collected accolades from the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, the Independent Spirit Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, and more. Now she has one more title to add to her growing collection—the first woman to reject a hug from Brad Pitt for a totally legitimate reason.
The actress regaled Jimmy Kimmel with the thrilling tale of rejection on Thursday night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. While Adams was ostensibly on the show to discuss her role in the new film Vice, where she plays former Second Lady Lynne Cheney in her new movie Vice opposite a transformed Christian Bale as Dick Cheney (“He’s more Dick Cheney than Dick Cheney!” Adams said), it was her story about giving Brad Pitt a hard pass that stole the show.
Pitt’s production company Plan B was a producer on Vice, along with Adam McKay, the film’s writer and director, and his Gary Sanchez Productions partners Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Kimmel wanted to know if he did any actual producing on the film and Adams assured him that Pitt did. “He came to the set one day,” she explained, noting that before she knew the actor turned producer was set, all the women had put on lip gloss and were “skipping”. All the women, save for Adams, of course. Pitt’s visit coincided with a day that she was playing an older Lynne Cheney, complete with “70-year old Lynne makeup” and a suit that made her look “quite a bit heavier.” To top it all off, Adams had just been diagnosed with pink eye. That’s when she found out Pitt was on set.
“I have seen him before, but every time you’re thinking it’s going to be like A River Runs Through It,” she told Kimmel. “You imagine yourself looking really pretty in, like, a white nightgown. But that wasn’t the case. I was in my fat suit with pink eye.”
When he came to say hello to the star, he went in for a hug—but due to the pink eye diagnosis Adams couldn’t let that happen and stopped Pitt from giving her an embrace. As she told Kimmel, “And that’s when I became the first woman in history to reject a hug from Brad Pitt.”
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 10:05 am
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This post contains spoilers for The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town.
Netflix’s latest addition to its arsenal of true crime stories visits a small town in Oklahoma rocked by two brutal murders in the 1980s.
Based on John Grisham’s bestselling 2006 nonfiction book The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, the six-part series, The Innocent Man, takes on the separate investigations of the murders of two women in the usually quiet locale of Ada, Okla. Arriving on Netflix Dec. 14, the series weaves together the stories of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, two men who were wrongly convicted in the 1982 murder of Debbie Sue Carter, and Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, who were convicted in the 1984 murder of Donna Denice Haraway but continue to maintain their innocence.
The story is marked by several of the same themes that anchor Netflix’s other true-crime documentary hits. Along with shows like Making a Murderer and The Staircase, The Innocent Man reveals how the actions of a few individuals can corrupt systems of justice, unraveling the lives of innocent people and causing further pain to victims’ families, who seek closure.
Grisham’s book centers on the case of Williamson and Fritz—who were eventually exonerated—with a subplot about Ward and Fontenot’s conviction. The Netflix series provides updates to both cases with a deep dive that reveals startling similarities between the way both murder investigations were prosecuted, including using evidence based on coerced confessions, murky retellings of dreams and the testimony of a prison informant. Here’s what to know about the two murder cases central to The Innocent Man.
The 1982 murder of Debbie Sue Carter
The body of 21-year-old Debbie Sue Carter was found in her apartment in Ada in December 1982. She had been raped, murdered and left with words written on her body in ketchup.
Five years after Carter’s murder, authorities pursued Ron Williamson and his best friend Dennis Fritz in the case. Both men were well-known around Ada, particularly Williamson, who had left town with dreams of becoming a baseball star and returned after a series of injuries put those plans to rest. He suffered from mental health issues that intensified upon coming back home.
Williamson became implicated in the case after a witness, Glen Gore, reported hearing him harass Carter at the Coachlight Club, where she worked as a waitress, on the night she was killed. Fritz, a high school science teacher and single father raising his daughter following the murder of her mother, also came under suspicion because he was known to frequent the bar.
Both men were initially questioned early in the investigation and let go due to a lack of physical evidence. In the ensuing years, as prosecutors failed to bring any charges for the killing, Williamson went to prison for forging checks. While he was there, a prison informant, Terri Holland, told prosecutors that Williamson had confessed to killing Carter. Authorities jumped on the tip, and both Williamson and Fritz were arrested in 1987.
The evidence that emerged against the men was scant. Prosecutors relied heavily on the testimonies of Gore and Holland and hair samples that were said to match Williamson and Fritz. Police also recorded Williamson saying he had a dream in which he committed the crime, a statement they took as a confession. Ultimately, Williamson was sentenced to death and Fritz was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
About 11 years later, DNA tests concluded that the hair samples did not match either Williamson or Fritz. An evaluation of semen samples also suggested that the men had not raped Carter. Instead, DNA evidence pointed to the murder investigation’s key witness—Glen Gore—who was later convicted of killing Carter.
Williamson and Fritz were exonerated and released from prison in April 1999. Following their release, both men filed civil lawsuits against the city of Ada and others for their wrongful convictions. Both received an undisclosed amount of money in settlements.
By the time of his release, Williamson’s mental health had declined severely. He took to drinking heavily and died in 2004 at the age of 51 while living in a nursing home.
In the years after his exoneration, Fritz returned to teaching and became an activist on behalf of other people facing wrongful convictions, speaking frequently about the impact of imprisonment on his life.
“The harm that it did to me was that it took 12 years out of my life, away from my family members,” he told PBS in 2003. “I was cheated of watching my daughter grow and flower into a woman. No amount of money on the face of the earth could even begin to make an amend for what happened.”
The 1984 murder of Donna Denice Haraway
About two years before Williamson and Fritz received their wrongful convictions, two other men in Ada were given life sentences for the murder of Donna Denice Haraway.
Haraway, 24, disappeared in April 1984 from her job at a local convenience store. Her body was discovered in 1986 in a town about 30 miles east of Ada.
About five months prior to the discovery of Haraway’s body, Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were convicted of her murder, in circumstances that somewhat parallel those of Williamson and Fritz’s conviction. With little physical evidence to rely upon, prosecutors moved forward on the basis of coerced confessions from the two men, who claimed they abducted Haraway and took her to a remote area west of the town where they said they stabbed her. According Ward’s account, they burned Haraway’s body in a shack. It was later revealed that Ward’s statement partially came from a dream he’d had in between police interrogations. Grisham’s work further uncovered that Holland, the jailhouse informant essential to the prosecution of Williamson, was called as a witness in Fontenot’s trial and told the jury that Fontenot had admitted to killing Haraway.
The men’s confessions also differed from the facts of the actual murder, which came to light once Haraway’s body was eventually found. While both men claimed they had taken her westward, Haraway’s body was found east of Ada. She was not killed in a stabbing, but rather died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Neither Ward nor Fontenot ever mentioned a gun or shooting Haraway. And although Ward had said they’d set fire to the body, no evidence of burns emerged.
Despite the physical evidence being at odds with the confessions, the investigation did not clear Ward and Fontenot. Both men were given life sentences and have remained in prison since. They have repeatedly appealed for freedom in requests that have not been granted.
How the cases took a wrong turn
Grisham, who executive-produced The Innocent Man and appears throughout the series, says the events in the story would be unbelievable if he’d written them in a novel because it’s hard to imagine an entire justice system breaking down as it did in these cases. He concludes that the immense pressure put on law enforcement officials in a small town like Ada emphasizes winning above other factors.
“Winning means justice, winning means everything,” he says in the series. “And along the way, if the truth gets blurred, or forgotten, or twisted, or manipulated, that’s too bad. And that’s how we get wrongful convictions.”
Behind the wrongful and contested convictions in Ada is a small group people: District Attorney Bill Peterson, Ada lead police investigator Dennis Smith and Gary Rogers, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent, all of whom were criticized after the exoneration of Williamson and Fritz for their sloppy handling of Carter’s case, as well as for ostensibly ignoring the evidence in Ward and Fontentot’s cases in favor of their own judgments.
Peterson has continued to defend his actions even after Williamson and Fritz were exonerated and never apologized to Carter’s family for the mistake. He has consistently maintained that he was just abiding by the rule of law, and that the results unfolded beyond his control.
“I don’t think I messed up,” he says in news footage included in the series. “To apologize to them for doing my job? That’s just not going to happen.”
Carl Allen, Ada’s assistant police chief from 1985 to 2011, also appears in The Innocent Man and asserts that the police officers involved in both cases did not “get together and decide to wrongly convict people on purpose.”
“I don’t believe they are capable of putting innocent people in jail,” he says. “I’m not telling you they’re not capable of making mistakes. We know they made some mistakes in the Carter case. That’s on record, everybody’s fessed up … Did they do it with purpose and evil intent? And I just don’t believe that they did.”
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 8:00 am
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(LOS ANGELES) — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year with actress Eliza Dushku after on-set sexual comments from Michael Weatherly, star of the network’s show “Bull,” made her uncomfortable when she was beginning a run as a recurring character.
CBS confirmed the settlement Thursday night in a statement to The Associated Press.
Dushku was written off the show after complaining about Weatherly’s comments on her appearance and jokes involving sex and rape made in front of cast and crew in March of 2017, according to the New York Times , which first reported the settlement.
“The allegations in Ms. Dushku’s claims are an example that, while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace, our work is far from done,” the CBS statement said. “The settlement of these claims reflects the projected amount that Ms. Dushku would have received for the balance of her contract as a series regular, and was determined in a mutually agreed upon mediation process at the time.”
The settlement remerged during the current investigation of former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who was ousted in September after the New Yorker published allegations from 12 women who said he subjected them to mistreatment that included forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted.
Weatherly, who appeared on the CBS series “NCIS” for 13 years before “Bull” began in 2016, said in an email to the Times that he had made jokes to Dushku during taping mocking lines in the script.
“When Eliza told me that she wasn’t comfortable with my language and attempt at humor, I was mortified to have offended her and immediately apologized,” the email said. “After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza.”
Dushku declined comment to the Times. Her manager did not immediately reply to an AP request for comment.
Source: Entertainment – TIME | 14 Dec 2018 | 12:14 am
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