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The Oscars Make a Statement While Still Staying Safe

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Somehow last night’s Oscars showed that the Academy certainly did care about political movies but not so much they would give them its highest honor.

If you were watching last night you will most likely agree that almost all the films and actors that should have won took home a statue. That was kind of nice. But then Green Book won Best Picture and you could see Hollywood still playing by its old rules.

Before we talk about that though let’s talk about what worked last night. There may have been a bit of a delay but The Academy seems to have finally gotten the #OscarsSoWhite memo as more awards went to people of color than any other year before. And the awards were well deserved. It opened the door for Ruth E. Carter to win for her costume design in Black Panther, a major studio film that focused on Afro Futurism. The film won for production design as well.

In a major upset Into the Spider-Verse took home best animated feature, the first in ages to not belong to Dreamworks or Pixar. This is even more important because not only is the film one of the most creative animated films to come out in years but it revolves around an Afro-Latino superhero. While that detail may seem small it is very important on a cultural level. Bohemian Rhapsody cleaned up as well in a move that really honored everything Freddie Mercury stood for, even if the movie itself had flaws. The whole night seemed to be an apology for years of #OscarsSoWhite.

Then Green Book won Best Picture. The film itself isn’t bad and it has some fantastic actors involved. Anything Viggo Mortensen or Mahershala Ali do is going to be a masterclass in acting. That doesn’t change the fact that the story plays out like a reverse Driving Miss Daisy. A film which, as it turns out, beat out the far superior Do The Right Thing. The same thing seemed to happen last night as Green Book beat out Lee’s exceptional Blackkklansman, a truly timely and hard-hitting film. Even if the Academy ignored Lee’s movie Vice was nominated as well and could have made a statement. It’s as if Hollywood was prepping itself to make a grand statement and backed out at the last minute.

Maybe next year the Academy will be ready to give its highest honor to a more deserving film but for now it seems happy making comfortable decisions that don’t disrupt the status quo.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Emma Stone (The Favourite)

Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Amy Adams (Vice)

Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)

Marina De Tavira (Roma)

 

Best Makeup and Hair

Border

Mary Queen of Scots

Vice

 

Best Documentary

Free Solo

Minding the Gap

RBG

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Of Fathers and Sons

 

Best Costume Design

Black Panther (Ruth E Carter) – WINNER!

The Favourite (Sandy Powell)

Mary Poppins Returns (Sandy Powell)

Mary Queen of Scots (Alexandra Byrne)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Mary Zophres)

Best Film Editing

 

Bohemian Rhapsody (John Ottman)

Vice (Hank Corwin)

BlacKkKlansman (Barry Alexander Brown)

The Favourite (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)

Green Book (Patrick J Don Vito)

 

Best Production Design

The Favourite (Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton)

First Man (Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas)

Roma (Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez)

Mary Poppins Returns (John Myhre and Gordon Sim)

Black Panther (Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart) – WINNER!

 

Best Cinematography

Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)

Cold War (Łukasz Żal)

Never Look Away (Caleb Deschanel)

The Favourite (Robbie Ryan)

A Star Is Born (Matty Libatique)

 

Best Sound Editing

First Man

A Quiet Place

Bohemian Rhapsody

Black Panther

Roma

 

Best Sound Mixing

A Star Is Born

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

Black Panther

 

Best Foreign Language Film

Roma (Mexico) – WINNER!

Cold War (Poland)

Shoplifters (Japan)

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Never Look Away (Germany)

 

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali (Green Book)

Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)

Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)

Sam Rockwell (Vice)

 

Best Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

 

Best Live Action Short

Detainment

Fauve

Marguerite

Mother

Skin

 

Best Animated Short

Animal Behaviour

Bao – WINNER!

Late Afternoon

One Small Step

Weekends

 

Best Documentary Short

Black Sheep

End Game

Lifeboat

A Night at the Garden

Period. End of Sentence.

 

Best Visual Effects

First Man

Avengers: Infinity War

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Ready Player One

Christopher Robin

 

Best Original Screenplay

Green Book (Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga)

The Favourite (Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara)

Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)

Vice (Adam McKay)

First Reformed (Paul Schrader)

 

Best adapted screenplay

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)

A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters and Eric Roth)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)

BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott)

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

 

Best Original Score

If Beale Street Could Talk (Nicholas Britell)

Mary Poppins Returns (Marc Shaiman)

Isle of Dogs (Alexandre Desplat)

BlacKkKlansman (Terence Blanchard)

Black Panther (Ludwig Goransson)

 

Best Original Song

Shallow (A Star Is Born)

All the Stars (Black Panther)

I’ll Fight (RBG)

The Place Where Lost Things Go (Mary Poppins Returns)

When a Cowboy Trades his Spurs for Wings (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)

 

Best Actor

Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) – WINNER!

Christian Bale (Vice)

Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)

Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)

 

Best Actress

Glenn Close (The Wife)

Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)

Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

 

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)

Adam McKay (Vice)

Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)

 

Best Picture

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star is Born

Vice

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Scrubs Reunion: The Band Gets Back Together

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Fans of the beloved medical comedy series Scrubs were recently treated to a thrilling surprise when John C. McGinley, who portrayed the iconic Dr. Perry Cox, dropped a photo on Twitter hinting at a potential reunion project. The image, showing McGinley alongside his former co-stars, sparked a wave of excitement and speculation among fans who have been longing for more adventures with the beloved Sacred Heart Hospital staff.

While details about the reunion project are still scarce, the mere possibility of seeing the gang back together again has sent waves of nostalgia through fans who fondly remember the show’s original run from 2001 to 2010. Scrubs was not just a sitcom; it was a heartfelt exploration of friendship, love, and the chaotic world of medicine, all wrapped up in a quirky and often hilarious package.

At the heart of the show was the bromance between JD (played by Zach Braff) and Turk (played by Donald Faison), whose antics and deep bond served as the emotional anchor for the series. Their dynamic, along with the sage wisdom (and relentless sarcasm) of Dr. Cox, provided viewers with memorable moments that have stood the test of time.

As we eagerly await more news about the Scrubs reunion project, one thing is for sure: it’s time to dust off those old DVDs, rewatch our favorite episodes, and get ready to welcome back our favorite gang of doctors, nurses, and janitors for what promises to be a memorable reunion.

But Scrubs was more than just its main characters. The supporting cast, including the eccentric Janitor (played by Neil Flynn), the neurotic Elliot (played by Sarah Chalke), and the wise-cracking nurse Carla (played by Judy Reyes), each brought their own unique flavor to the show, creating a rich tapestry of characters that fans grew to love.

While the photo shared by McGinley has fueled speculation about what the reunion project might entail, whether it’s a one-off special, a new season, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: fans are eagerly awaiting any opportunity to dive back into the world of Sacred Heart Hospital.

In an age where reboots and revivals are commonplace, Scrubs stands out as a series that has the potential to recapture the magic that made it a fan favorite in the first place. With its blend of humor, heart, and unforgettable characters, a reunion project has the opportunity to not only satisfy longtime fans but also introduce a new generation to the joys of life at Sacred Heart.

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Dune Part Two: The Lisan Al Gaib comes for you!

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Welcome back to our struggle for control of the known universe already in progress, the continuation of the journey of Paul Atreides from exile to Emperor, Dune Part Two

So when we last left our intrepid if dubious heroes, House Atreides had been betrayed and virtually destroyed, by a combination of House Harkonnens surprise attacks and the added treachery of Emperor Shaddam and his Sardaukar. Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the last surviving heir (so far) of House Atreides and his mother Jessica, have taken refuge on the desert planet of Arrakis amongst the indigenous Fremen, and as far as most are aware, the other remnants of House Atreides are dead as well. And here is where we catch up with everyone, as the struggle for Atreides emergence and dominance begins in earnest! 

The Emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) is known for her many skills, but her copious note-taking and writings on the large events shaping her world come to the forefront as she takes counsel with her father amidst games of chance on their homeworld. Her life is one of luxury and privilege but alas, Irulan is a trained Bene Gesserit and is well aware that in all likelihood, she will be used as a pawn in the marriage games empires have to go through. Bet she never imagined it could be to a House everyone swore had been utterly destroyed. 

Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Paul is trying to integrate himself into the Fremen way of life, which is admittedly far different from the life he led back on the Atreides homeworld of Caladan. (If nothing else, Caladan has vast oceans.) The Fremen are fiercely independent, gloriously strong fighters, survivors who dare to ride and revere the giant sandworms that inhabit their planet that they call Shai-Hulud, and rightfully distrustful of outsiders. After all, the previous stewardship of Arrakis belonged to House Harkonnen, known for their cruelty and glee at hunting Fremen and torturing their victims, sometimes for weeks at a time. But Paul won his and Jessicas way into the Fremen by fair combat against Jamis, and if nothing else, the Fremen are firm in their beliefs of the old ways. 

Or rather, the elder Fremen are, most particularly the famed Fedaykin fighter and Naib (leader) of Sietch Tabr Stilgar (Javier Bardem) is adamant in his unshakable belief that Paul is the foretold Lisan Al Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World, that will lead the Fremen to peace and paradise. Stilgar’s steadfast belief in Paul’s potential only grows, and he manages with just that to convince a great many of the other Fremen elders. The younger generation of Fremen however, of which Paul’s beloved Chani (Zendaya) is a part, generally scoff at the legends of otherworldly prophets and Arrakis as a fabled green, wet heaven. In the beginning, Paul himself swears he doesn’t want to be the Messiah, only a Fremen fighter amongst the rest of them, hundreds of years of the Missionaria Protectiva, the Bene Gesserit practice of spreading useful religious propaganda as seeds on various planets, is working double-time against him. It doesn’t help that Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) is expounding on that myth as much as she possibly can. 

And why would she do that? Survival yes, but also, Jessica is a thoroughly trained Bene Gesserit and knows of plans within plans within plans. Jessica also has many secrets of her own, and one very important one happens to be that she’s pregnant with Paul’s sister. The Bene Gesserit bodily control may be something out of legend, but even Jessica, possibly Reverend Mother Mohiam’s best and most fractious student, will have trouble with the trial the Fremen are insisting she go through to become truly one of them. The Reverend Mother equivalent of Sietch Tabr, known as their Sayyadina, is old and dying, and the Fremen have to have a Reverend Mother. Jessica tells Paul this much and explains that each culture is different in their trial to become a Reverend Mother, so she honestly doesn’t know what to expect. The reality happens to be worse than she could’ve imagined – Jessica must drink the Water of Life, a deadly poison that comes from Shai-Hulud (sort of), and come out the other side of it. And Jessica manages to do it, barely, with almost all of the consequences going to the poor fetus in her womb, the girl that will grow to become Alia Atreides, an insane legend in her own right. But for now, the unnamed fetus is awake and aware and full of the memories of generations of Bene Gesserit women that came before her – before she was even born

Paul participates in razzia raids amongst the Fremen as they work to take out the spice mining operations of the Harkonnens, immerses himself in the vastly different desert culture of his chosen people, and perhaps most importantly, his romance with his beloved Chani only grows stronger. After declaring his desire to join the fierce fighter elites amongst the Fremen known as Fedaykin, Paul is told by Stilgar that he must summon and ride one of the giant sandworms, the embodiment of Shai-Hulud where the Fremen get their terrible tooth Crysknives from. And after much sendup, in a glorious scene of blinding sand and huge monstrous killer worm-riding, Paul is triumphant and riding atop the sacred creature, his Maker hooks set properly to control the great beast, waving at great distance to his fellow Fremen as Chani looks on in bemusement. 

But that’s all external, and inside Paul is beginning to become divided on what he wants to do. As Jessica pushes the Protectiva hard amongst the women and priestesses of the Fremen, she is also pushing her son to become much larger than he ever wanted to be, if nothing else a conqueror can take revenge for the destruction of House Atreides and the death of her beloved Duke Leto. Paul may have earned his place amongst the Fremen and been given new names – Usul, meaning the strength of the base of the pillar, as his private name within the Sietch; and Muad’Dib, from the small mouse survivor of the desert, well versed in desert ways, called ‘Instructor-of-Boys’ in Fremen legend, as his open-use name – but now everyone wants Paul to be something greater, and potentially more destructive, than what he currently is. It only gets worse when Paul begins to suffer prophetic dreams, and visions when he’s awake, prodding him further to his destiny as an epic conqueror of worlds. Nothing can be done for it, Paul convinces himself that he must take the Water of Life himself, to awaken the sleeping prophet inside himself, and allow him to hopefully See a path through the future. 

The problem with that plan, is that Bene Gesserit are almost exclusively all women, and only they are supposed to know how to transmute poisons internally, along with all sorts of other “witchcraft”. But Jessica has been training Paul in forbidden Bene Gesserit ways all his life, and as much as Paul might rail and even quail against it, there is no denying his incoming destiny, crushing any resistance he may have with all the force of a giant sandworm hunting a spice blow. And even when Paul has finally given in and taken the cursed substance almost mockingly called the Water of Life, it falls to another strong and prophetic in her right female in his life, his beloved Chani, to save him from himself. But even Chani can’t stop Paul’s destructive destiny as the conqueror of the known worlds, guilty of slaying millions upon millions of people in his quest for vengeance, thinly disguised as peace. 

Over on the Harkonnen homeworld of Geidi Prime, “Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista) is disgusted and enraged at the continuing Fremen raids against the Harkonnens on Arrakis, and terrified of what his uncle the notoriously cruel Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), will do to him in response. The Baron’s nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), heir apparent or na-Baron to House Harkonnen, demonstrates his blood-inborn savagery in a slaughter of the remnants of House Atreides gladiator-style, as his birthday celebration. Pleased with the spectacle, the Baron commands Feyd-Rautha to take control of the fight against this Fremen rebel known as Muad’dib, as Rabban is proving himself more and more useless. And any tool or toy that the Baron finds broken or unusable, is destroyed before being discarded. 

As the legend of Muad’dib grows off Arrakis and circulates among the Imperial worlds, the Emperor grinds his teeth in frustration and the Bene Gesserit, led by Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) as the Emperor’s Truthsayer, begin pushing forward their plots and machinations. Lady Margot Fenring (Lea Seydoux), a criminally underused character in this respect, demonstrates her willingness to be a pawn in Bene Gesserit machinations, but never forget, strong Bene Gesserit women have been breaking their own rules for generations. Just look at what Jessica did. 

As the raids and rebellion on Arrakis continue, both the Emperor and the Baron become more and more desperate, sending in mercenaries and smugglers in the hopes they might have more luck. And aboard one of those smuggler’s vessels happens to be an old hand at being a smuggler himself, the warrior troubadour with the scarred face given him by “Beast” Rabban himself, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). Reunited with his beloved Duke’s only son, Gurney finds himself swept up in the legend of Muad’dib in the making along with everyone else, though at least from Gurney’s point of view, Paul is using the messianic angle to take revenge for House Atreides. 

Finally, in an act of what could be considered the ultimate in arrogance, Emperor Shaddam Corrino himself comes to Arrakis, along with Princess Irulan and many others of his Court, the Baron, and Feyd-Rautha in tow as well, to crush this upstart Muad’dib and his Fremen warriors. Sadly for all that the powerhouse actor Christopher Walken plays him, Emperor Shaddam Corrino is shown as a doddering old man, cowed in the face of Muad’dib’s overwhelming vitality and growing-ever-stronger legend. And there is where we will end the review, for the final confrontation between all key players in the Known Universe is full of spoilers and derivations from the original opus of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune

For those of you who stuck around long enough to get to the end, after all, Dune Part Two is almost three hours long itself, if you are fans of the original novel and the zany Lynchian masterpiece that was the first Dune film, you may be disappointed or even angered at the changes made to the story for the climactic end scenes. Director Villenuve has an eye for making grand epic scenes like Paul’s sandworm ride but can be a bit scattered when it comes to piecing the story together with all the key players needing to be involved in a way that can be understood by any layman. Dune in any form is a rich, vast universe of storytelling, and even an almost three-hour-long sequel simply can’t cover every last bit that’s in the novels. But if nothing else, the film is an overwhelming feast for the eyes and should bring a whole new legion of fans to the many worlds contained within Dune

If you want to dive further into the Dune-iverse, do yourself a favor and read the Dune prequel books written by Herbert Jr. and Kevin J. Anderson. Until then, dive into the sands of Arrakis along with Shai-Hulud and scream vengeance to the skies with Paul Muad’dib Atreides in Dune Part Two, in theaters now! 

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