We Listened To A Lot Of Podcasts In 2018. Here Are 31 We Loved.
11/29/2018 04:23 pm ET We Listened To A Lot Of Podcasts In 2018. Here Are 31 We Loved. From the infuriating to the inspirational, these are the best series that earbuds had to offer this year. By Jillian Capewell
“We’re not experts.”
It’s a necessary disclaimer that comes, in some form or another, at the start of so many podcasts that dip into beauty or legal or medical advice. The hosts of “Forever 35,” a show that’s more personal reflections on self-care than a WebMD-like lifestyle resource, offer such a caveat before each episode kicks into gear.
“We’re just two friends who like to talk about serums,” they remind their unseen audience.
Some of the best podcasts make us feel like that — like you’re tuning in to a conversation between cool friends who happen to be great at producing regular, compelling content. They don’t have to tackle hard news, and they don’t have to be leading authorities in their fields. But they do have to provide good company.
And hey, we’re not experts either. So consider the following list ― composed of podcast series that began or released new seasons during the 2018 calendar year ― to be a friendly resource created by casual podcast listeners across the HuffPost newsroom. From “Doctor Death” to “Personal Best” to “Halloween Unmasked,” these are the shows that kept us company this year. “Personal Best” (Curiosities) I’ve never heard anything quite like ” Personal Best ,” which falls in a strange middle ground between satirizing the self-improvement genre and earnestly helping people fulfill their dreams. Each episode focuses on helping someone achieve a goal — often a relatively silly goal, like learning to birth a calf. The comedy comes from the ridiculous training journey that hosts Andrew Norton and Rob Norman create to help their guests achieve these goals. (The calf episode involved someone wearing a cow suit in a bathtub, while the guest mimicked what to do during a birth.) In life, the hard work required to achieve goals can be scary at the onset. But by diving so deep into the absurd, “Personal Best” makes the whole process seem magical. — Todd Van Luling “Where Should We Begin?” (Personal) Each episode of ” Where Should We Begin? ” is a real couples therapy session moderated by psychotherapist Esther Perel. Couples sign up to see Perel — whose TED Talks have been viewed over 11 million times — for a variety of reasons, from infidelity to infertility, sexual dispassion to unwieldy fetishes. It’s thrilling to have access to such a private arena, where strangers share their most intimate feelings and fears, often for the first time. And Perel — a whip-smart emotional savant who pierces through human defenses with the efficiency of a surgeon — is a wonder to behold. Her superpower is her ability to parse out the narratives her clients cling to, offering them other, more productive ways to understand their love story. While listeners might not identify with the particular details of each client’s experience, the underlying themes of longing, insecurity, past trauma, obstinance, fear and hope resonate, hard. Plus, Perel’s soothing French accent is my version of ASMR. — Priscilla Frank “Slow Burn” (History) “Slow Burn” Season 1 was all about Richard Nixon — specifically, how the Watergate scandal of the 1970s played out in real time during his presidency. Season 2 turns to Bill Clinton and how the scandal leading to his impeachment gripped the American people and press in the ’90s. If you’re looking for a podcast that will distract you from the historical nightmare that is 2018, with its sexual harassment accusations and thorny media narratives … “Slow Burn” is not it. (Sen. Chuck Grassley, is that you again?) But there is something sobering about the series. Every moment is a reminder of how cyclical politics can be, of how not unique our present moment really is. — Katherine Brooks “Dr. Death” (Investigative) “Dr. Death” is a wild and addictive podcast from Wondery about Christopher Duntsch, a former neurosurgeon whose botched surgeries left more than 30 people hurt, paralyzed or dead in Texas. The story is shocking, often leaving you not only wondering how this man got away with what he did for so long but enraged over the shortcomings of the medical system. Rich with interviews and in-depth reporting, this podcast was impossible to stop listening to. And terrifying. — Jamie Feldman “Forever35” (Beauty) Doree Shafrir and Kate Spencer may have come together as friends who like to talk about serums, but since its start in early 2018, their podcast has grown to envelop all kinds of self-care, from exercise to face masks to more existential questions like your life’s purpose. The two hosts invite a guest each week, often an influential woman in the arts or beauty space (Eva Chen, Nicole Chung and Rebecca Traister were recent guests). This is a pod that truly sounds like you’re eavesdropping on a conversation between your friends. — Jillian Capewell “Ear Hustle” (Interviews) This podcast from California’s San Quentin State Prison continues to tell unexpected stories about life behind bars in its third season. Each episode revolves around interviews with inmates, many of whom are surprisingly open about their past and their current challenges. The third season explores surviving prison lockdowns, the challenges that immigrants face when they are released, love behind bars and more. Co-host Earlonne Woods was a prisoner at San Quentin through the first two-and-a-half seasons, but after 21 years behind bars he saw his sentence commuted by Gov. Jerry Brown just before Thanksgiving. The podcast has said it will now hire Woods, and he will share his journey of re-entering society in future episodes. He and co-host Nigel Poor, a visual artist who volunteers at the prison, have a relaxed banter, even when discussing uncomfortable situations, and it will be interesting to see how the podcast evolves after his release. Revisit earlier seasons to hear about prison pets, parenting while incarcerated and LGBTQ inmates. — Sara Bondioli “Uncover: Escaping NXIVM” (Investigative) Imagine you ran into a high school classmate you hadn’t seen in forever. When you ask how they’ve been, they respond, “I just escaped from a cult.” That’s what happened to Josh Bloch, who narrates the CBC investigative podcast “Uncover: Escaping NXIVM.” The podcast retraces the path of Bloch’s former friend Sarah Edmondson as she rose through the ranks in a cult that clucked about empowering women while asserting control over her every move. You might have heard about NXIVM, which attracted celebrity clientele like heiress Claire Bronfman and “Smallville” actress Allison Mack, and was known for branding its members with the initials of leader Keith Raniere. But Edmondson offers a deeply personal account, focusing on how a normal person could overlook all the red flags and find her world turned inside out. — Priscilla Frank “Wild Thing” (Investigative) From the first episode of this podcast, journalist Laura Krantz understands listeners might be skeptical about a deep dive into Bigfoot — something her late distant cousin, a professor and noted scholar of Sasquatch studies, also had to contend with. Surely, if a creature like this existed, we’d have proof by now. But while there is no definitive evidence that Bigfoot is anything more than myth, there are still scores of people who believe. Krantz digs into her cousin’s work, meets with today’s believers and explores our cultural obsession with an otherworldly creature. Krantz wasn’t going to find definitive proof in her comparatively short investigation — seriously, people have been looking for decades — but what she does bring to the table is accessible, interesting and a welcome diversion into the unknown. — Jillian Capewell “Halloween Unmasked” (Movies) Michael Myers stalked his way back into our hearts this fall, but do you know all there is to know about Hollywood’s most influential serial killer? You will after listening to “Halloween Unmasked.” Film critic Amy Nicholson, who also hosts the entertaining movie podcast “Unspooled,” walks us through the legacy of the 40-year-old “Halloween” franchise, including Michael’s psychology (with an assist from a real serial-killer expert), how it influenced the horror genre at large, and what went into the saga’s most recent feminist rebirth . John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and many more assorted players from Haddonfield’s past and present appear throughout the eight “Unmasked” episodes, serving up astute insights about a series that continues to haunt us. — Matthew Jacobs “Cover-Up” (Investigative) On July 18, 1969, Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his black Oldsmobile off a bridge and into a pond on Chappaquiddick, an island near Martha’s Vineyard where he’d hosted a party for campaign staffers who’d worked for his late brother Robert. Kennedy escaped the accident. Ten hours later, he told police. But he had not been alone in the car — and the accident had taken the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. “Cover-Up,” which is somehow People magazine’s first podcast, dusts off the scandal that was shoved into a neglected corner of history as Kennedy’s service in the U.S. Senate stretched past four decades. Over seven episodes, journalist Elizabeth McNeil interviews surviving witnesses, law enforcement and family members in an attempt to truly expose this ugly blight on a powerful family’s legacy. Why did it take so long to call police? What were Kennedy and Kopechne doing out together? Did Kennedy try to save his passenger? Did he even know she was in the car? Did she drown … or did she suffocate? — Sara Boboltz “How to Build a Nation in 15 Weeks” (History) This nerdy history podcast created by a law firm in New York provides a detailed dive into the Constitutional Convention of 1787. It goes week by week examining what was debated at the convention that made the U.S. Although the podcast includes some discussion of how portions of the Constitution are viewed today, it largely focuses on actual events back then, drawing from a number of historical texts and records to reveal the convention delegates’ opinions and motivations. It’s a hidden gem for any “Hamilton” fans (or history buffs) who want to delve into this period a bit more. The 15 weeks ended in September, but you can still relive them — and the crew is planning a Season 2, which will focus on topics such as ratification and the Bill of Rights. — Sara Bondioli “Bodies” (Personal) Allison Behringer didn’t know what was “wrong” with her. Suddenly, it hurt for her to have sex. She couldn’t figure out the cause; online searches weren’t fruitful and her doctor told her it would simply go away. In the first episode of her podcast “Bodies,” she documents her quest to figure out what was going on, and along the way touches on the politics of sexual health and the chronic disbelief in women’s pain. The series moves beyond Behringer as well, with each additional episode focusing on another woman’s medical mystery. The stories are compelling from both an investigative and a personal standpoint — you’ll want to know if the problems presented in each episode are resolved, and whether the broken system in which they exist can be changed. — Jillian Capewell “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness” (Interviews) You probably know Van Ness as the silken-haired grooming guru on the “Queer Eye” reboot, which he brightens with his supernatural whimsy and warmth. But Van Ness’ best asset — his delightfully sharp curiosity — can’t be fully appreciated in that setting. He’s better in his podcast , in which he goes deep to interview experts about a wide variety of random topics, ranging from medical marijuana to Saudi Arabian politics to how to execute a triple axel. His interview style is stream-of-conscious, humble and quirky, and you’ll put down your earbuds having learned a lot of amazing conversation starters to take to your next party. — Kristen Aiken “Making Obama” (History) From WBEZ Chicago, reporter Jenn White and producer Colin McNulty’s six-part series on former President Barack Obama’s political rise stands out in two major ways: It centers the story on Obama’s nascent career in Chicago, and it features a wide range of figures, who encouraged the idealistic community organizer-turned-law professor to enter public life but were much more clear-eyed about the steep climb ahead.So many of the narratives about Obama tend to focus on the apex of his career. But by documenting some of his lowest points, “Making Obama” provides a fresh and more nuanced take on the man. The podcast’s many engaging interviewees make the biggest one — Obama himself — almost unnecessary. — Marina Fang “FAQ NYC” (Investigative) From the very beginning, “FAQ NYC” billed itself as “The New Yorkest” podcast. That kind of chutzpah easily grabs attention, but rarely does it command respect. “FAQ NYC” is the exception. The show brings a New York tabloid reporter’s notebook to life, with distinct, at times hypnotic, audio mixing and unapologetically serious interviews with major political players. In the third episode, the hosts — New York Daily News columnist Harry Siegel, political scientist Christina Greer, and journalist and show producer Alex Brook Lynn — press Mayor Bill de Blasio on his wars with the press. In the 11th, they question the Republican gubernatorial candidate on how he could actually beat Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The latest episode takes a detailed look at New York’s deeply flawed election system. It’s witty, fact-rich and clear-eyed, a resource for anyone who wants know more about the nation’s biggest and most economically influential city than restaurant suggestions. — Alexander Kaufman “The RFK Tapes” (History) This look into the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy focuses on conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting and subsequent investigation. Was hypnosis involved? Was there a woman in a polka-dot dress? The podcast , which comes from the creators of “Crimetown,” vacillates between a deep dive into conspiracy and a matter-of-fact look at the rushed investigation. At times, it veers a bit too far in one direction or the other. But overall, it’s a fascinating exploration of what really happened — and whether what we think we know is the whole truth. — Sara Bondioli “Household Name” (Curiosities) There is nothing I love more than deep dives into odd things that were right in front of my face the whole time, and this podcast from Business Insider delivers. It takes well-known brands — think Waffle House, Disney, Mattress Firm and Starbucks, among others — and tackles some quirky aspect of them. (Did anyone else think the excess of Mattress Firm stores around the country was part of a huge conspiracy?) It pulls back the curtain on the familiar, revealing surprising and pleasingly weird aspects of the products and brands we interact with nearly every day. — Jillian Capewell “The Dream” (Investigative) If you’ve ever been solicited over Facebook about an “exciting opportunity” that would allow you to work from home, spend more time with family and make money in your sleep, you’re likely familiar with multi-level marketing companies. Focusing on what is sometimes called “direct sales,” they often require a startup investment from new salespeople and focus on recruiting those salespeople over actually selling the product. “The Dream” examines these companies from their beginnings to today. One producer even joins up with such a business, attending a conference where she finds that many of the salespeople — largely women — aren’t doing it for the promise of luxury cars and extravagant vacations, but for things as simple as paying the rent or buying a tombstone for a parent. It’s an eye-opening look at the economic realities that push people into these predatory companies and how difficult it can be to get out. — Jillian Capewell “Decoder Ring” (Curiosities) Since its launch in April, “Decoder Ring” has impressed me, but for the most part I didn’t find it that exciting. Each episode dives into a recognizable but mundane cultural phenomenon — such as laugh tracks or hotel art — and provides information that rarely elicited more than a “huh, that’s kind of interesting” reaction. This changed with an October episode called “The Incunabula Papers.” While looking at a popular conspiracy theory from the 1980s, the hosts wove in a new mystery of their own — one that pointed to a mysterious website that had a puzzle to be solved. I fear this might have just been a one-off Halloween project, but that would be a shame. The episode expanded my idea of what a podcast can accomplish, and I hope “Decoder Ring” tries more projects like that instead of contenting itself with highlighting ephemera. — Todd Van Luling “In the Dark” (Investigative) Peak podcast has given us a glut of shows that have all the trappings of hard-hitting journalism — archival courtroom audio! ambient noise from a road near the crime scene! — but none of the impact. The antidote is “In The Dark,” which dedicated its second season to investigating an unbelievable death row case and, in doing so, delivered the year’s most jaw-dropping exposé on the criminal justice system.The show unravels the case against Curtis Flowers, a black man who has been tried for the same crime, a horrific multiple homicide, six different times. Host Madeleine Baran subjects the prosecutor’s case to relentless scrutiny and lays out in painstaking detail how racist, corrupt policing doomed the investigation from the start. If that sounds like just another true crime podcast, it’s not. “In The Dark” is never speculative and never treats reporting like a license to gawk at private tragedies. It’s journalism at its best: unflinching, accountable and infuriating. — Molly Redden “Change Agent” (Personal) There are plenty of advice podcasts to choose from, but few that tackle its subjects’ problems this inventively. This limited series from The New York Times takes an issue someone is having (say, being unable to stop shopping) and tries to solve it using methods typically aimed at a wildly different problem (say, holding your breath for three minutes). What results is an oddly inspirational podcast that feels encouraging even if you don’t share the same problems as the episodes’ subjects. It’s a reminder that, sometimes, the least obvious solution to a problem is one worth exploring. — Jillian Capewell “30 for 30: Bikram Yoga” (Investigative) Julia Lowrie Henderson was into Bikram yoga — so into it that, at one point, she managed a studio devoted to its teachings. She was among the tens of thousands around the world who followed the grueling physical practice espoused by its founder, Bikram Choudhury, who became a guru-like figure for his followers. But beginning in 2011, formal complaints and lawsuits against Choudhury emerged, accusing him of inappropriate behavior, harassment and rape. In the third season of ESPN’s “30 for 30” podcast , Henderson grapples with Choudhury’s public downfall, her own experiences with the fitness leader and how followers have moved forward. — Jillian Capewell “Dear Franklin Jones” (Personal) Cults and gurus are maybe second only to murder when it comes to podcast fixations. That’s the obvious appeal of “Dear Franklin Jones,” hosted by Jonathan Hirsch. He was raised to follow Franklin Jones, a New Age leader who required complete devotion from his followers. Hirsch’s family left after nearly two decades, but questions remained for Hirsch himself. The resulting series is as much family history as it is cultural exploration — a fascinating, at times disturbing, personal account of a truly unusual upbringing. — Jillian Capewell “Love Letters” (Personal) The Boston Globe’s Meredith Goldstein takes the wisdom she’s amassed over years of doling out advice to readers of her “Love Letters” column to answer a burning question: What’s the best way to deal with a breakup? That’s the subject of the entire first season of the newspaper’s newest podcast. In answering it, nothing feels off limits. We don’t just hear from Goldstein or experts., Sometimes it’s her sister or ex who lend their voice, and that makes the whole listening experience more authentic and relatable. — Kyna Doles “My Dad Wrote A Porno” (Comedy) Each episode of “My Dad Wrote A Porno” is more or less the same. Two of the three hosts — James Cooper and Alice Levin — listen as the title’s implied son, Jamie Morton, reads aloud from one of several rather erotic novels that his father self-published. Morton doesn’t ever get far in his recitations, because Cooper and Levin are never not floored by the explicit content spewing from their perpetually distressed friend’s mouth. Season 4 doesn’t disappoint. Belinda is back in chapters titled “Zachariah’s Magic Wand” and “Clit Talk,” which revolve around characteristically smutty and quizzically worded narratives involving people like “The Special One.” It’s beautiful garbage that makes you laugh out loud on the subway. What more can you want? — Katherine Brooks “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” (Curiosities) If you love the “Harry Potter” series and want to spend 30 minutes a week thinking about how to live a more ethical life, this is the podcast for you. It was started by three Harvard Divinity School students who decided to apply to Rowling’s books the same reading practices they’d been applying to the world’s most sacred works. Every week, they read the next chapter in the series — this year’s Season 5 appropriately focuses on the fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix — through the lens of a different theme. Recent episodes have been about humility, gratitude, compassion and grief. The hosts are funny, thoughtful and, most importantly, defiantly earnest about what they love and why they love it. Come for the big questions about how to live a good life; stay for the many jokes about the failed pedagogy of Hogwarts . — Chloe Angyal “The A24 Podcast” (Movies) The upstart indie movie studio behind a lot of critical favorites over the last few years (“Moonlight,”“Lady Bird,”“The Lobster,”“Room,” among others) launched a podcast this year as part of its slate of offbeat promotional tools, which also include swag and ‘zines connected to new releases. Demonstrating that the studio knows its audience, “The A24 Podcast” manages to be not simply a commercial for the movies, but also a forum for film lovers. Some highlights: the inaugural episode , featuring a conversation between “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and “Lady Bird” director Greta Gerwig on making movies about their hometowns, and a recent episode with the genius pairing of “Eighth Grade” breakout star Elsie Fisher and ‘80s movie icon Molly Ringwald, comparing notes on adolescence and growing up on screen. — Marina Fang “Caliphate” (Investigative) It’s rare, especially in the Trump era, to find examples of reporters adding great value to a story by inserting themselves. That’s what makes “Caliphate” stand out. The show follows star Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi as she tracks an apparent former Islamic State fighter who has returned to Canada. The story veers unflinchingly into gory details, but does so in the service of better understanding the men who traveled from the West to Syria to fight and kill. Along the way, the show travels with Callimachi to Iraq, where she scours former ISIS strongholds and finds a trove of official ISIS documents that later becomes a blockbuster scoop. The show is a haunting masterpiece of gonzo journalism, at once an empathetic examination of the allure of revolution and an unsparing chronicle of performatively depraved violence. — Alexander Kaufman “A Very Fatal Murder” (Comedy) True crime and podcasting go hand-in-hand, whether it’s in the investigative format like “Serial” or “Up and Vanished” or in grisly retellings like “My Favorite Murder” or “Sword & Scale.” A parody of the genre was all but foretold, and it’s in capable hands with this project , released in January. Reporter David Pascall, working for Onion Public Radio, is on a mission to find the perfect murder that he can spin into an award-winning, piano-soundtracked podcast, going so far as to set up Google Alerts for “decapitation.” With the help of his virtual assistant, he finds his subject: “a murder in which a really hot white girl dies.” What results is a wry, morbid send-up of the moral quandaries associated with spinning tragedy into entertainment for the masses. — Jillian Capewell “Heavyweight” (Personal) Host Jonathan Goldstein acts as a guide for people filled with varying regrets. Each of his guests wishes to right some perceived wrong from the past and Goldstein pushes them to fulfill that goal. Besides the engaging stories that come with humans confronting their darkest demons, Goldstein’s unique charm turns what could be adventures of gloom into hilarious romps. Also, “Heavyweight” made a special “animated episode” this year that featured my former HuffPost colleague (and current friend) Chanel Parks . That episode made me cry and smile a lot. — Todd Van Luling “Cocaine & Rhinestones” (History) Country music is so much more than what you see onstage at the CMAs (no shade, though). Tyler Mahan Coe, who describes himself as a “lifelong veteran of country music and its mythology,” shares some of that rich, fascinating history in this podcast. Learn about the contentious reception of Loretta Lynn’s groundbreaking song “The Pill” or the tale of Spade Cooley, believed to be the only convicted killer with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The research and detail in each episode make this podcast a standout. Fans of “You Must Remember This” especially shouldn’t miss this one. — Jillian Capewell
Angelina Jolie joins Marvel superhero universe | Film
Star set to play a superpowered near-immortal human in The Eternals, reports say. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has landed one of Hollywood’s biggest fish, it has been revealed, after reports suggested Angelina Jolie is closing a deal to star in a superhero movie based on The Eternals.
No official announcement has been made, but it is understood that Marvel is moving ahead with the project after studio president Kevin Feige confirmed its development last April , as part of Marvel’s so-called “Phase 4”.
The Wrap suggested the central character of The Eternals film – whom Jolie is presumably playing – is called Sersi, one of a group of near-immortal humans given superpowers by aliens. ( An online Marvel character profile identifies her with Circe, the witch from Greek myth who appears in Homer’s Odyssey.)
The Eternals is to be written by cousins Matthew and Ryan Firpo, and directed by Chloé Zhao, who made waves with her award-winning rodeo drama The Rider .
Chloé Zhao: ‘I saw Brady training horses and I knew I had to make a film with him’ Read more
Jolie is currently working on Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the sequel to the successful Sleeping Beauty spin-off from 2014. While The Eternals would be Jolie’s first Marvel film, she is no stranger to fantasy-action film-making: she has previously appeared in comic-book adaptation Wanted in 2008, the sword-and-sorcery epic Beowulf in 2007, and two Lara Croft films, in 2001 and 2003.
Topics Superhero movies Angelina Jolie Marvel Film adaptations Comics and graphic novels news
Movie Review / 26 Mar 2019 9:00 AM PDT Dumbo Review Tim Burton’s live-action remake of the Disney animated classic fails to take flight. By Rosie Knight
Filmmaker Tim Burton’s later-stage offerings have been a mixed bag, with his directorial choices replacing visual ingenuity with a lot of CG. The early trailers and promos for Dumbo hinted that this might be the film to buck the trend, but alas the faded palette and what looks like massive amounts of post-production work take away much of the visual charm that a circus film by Burton starring Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito promises.
Disney’s current trend of adapting their classic animated films to live-action has thus far served them pretty well. A mix of nostalgia, brand recognition, and curiosity have made box office smashes out of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book. The success of those explains Disney’s eagerness to continue that streak with three flagship ‘live-action’ releases just this year, beginning with Burton’s Dumbo. The film was first announced a few years ago, but sadly for fans of the original and the lauded director, the uneven and uninspiring offering wasn’t worth the wait. Exit Theatre Mode
Dumbo is also just a generally strange prospect. Whereas you can hypothetically imagine a world where even if their animated counterparts didn’t exist Disney might still make live-action films about fairytale princesses or jungle creatures, the tale of an early 1900s circus and its mysteriously talented flying elephant feels less likely, and Burton’s adaptation does nothing to convince the audience otherwise.
Another major problem with adapting Dumbo comes from that very same source material. In the original film the entire core cast of characters are animals. Rather than going the Jungle Book or Lion King route and creating a CGI roster of creatures, Burton shoehorns in a selection of mostly forgettable human characters who are barely there when it comes to motivation, heart, or wholeness, and seemingly exist solely to push the plot along. Every Upcoming Disney Live-Action Remake 10+ IMAGES ESC 01 OF 19 Disney is going full-steam ahead on remaking its classic animated properties in live-action. Here’s every upcoming remake — some are about to be released, some are still in production, and others are still in the scripting stages — in the works for either theatrical release or as part of the Disney+ streaming service. 01 OF 19 Disney is going full-steam ahead on remaking its classic animated properties in live-action. Here’s every upcoming remake — some are about to be released, some are still in production, and others are still in the scripting stages — in the works for either theatrical release or as part of the Disney+ streaming service. Every Upcoming Disney Live-Action Remake Download Image Captions ESC
The only true standouts here are: Nico Parker, who plays the charming, intelligent and curious Milly, daughter of Colin Farrell’s bafflingly bland amputee soldier; Danny DeVito, who keeps the first act alive with a scrappy performance as Max Medici and is exactly as enjoyable as you’d expect DeVito playing a carnival barker to be; and Michael Keaton, who luxuriates in playing the machiavellian circus magnate V.A. Vandevere.
The basic premise is that Farrell’s Holt and his two children, Milly and Joe, are part of a travelling circus which, despite being a little run down, is still full of friendly faces. Unlike many Tim Burton movies those faces are a little more diverse here, but Dumbo definitely falls into the trap of a period piece that follows outdated tropes rather than subverting them, with a Black strongman, an Indian mystic, and a funny fat woman who are all (a very small) part of the Medici Brothers Circus. Dumbo 2019 – Concept Art and Costumes 10+ IMAGES Dumbo 2019 – Concept Art and Costumes Download Image Captions ESC
Burton has always enjoyed the aesthetic of difference, freak show sensibilities, and shock value, but his decision to stick to stereotypes–as well as making Holt an amputee (which has little to do with the plot) whilst casting someone with both arms in the role–showcases a lack of commitment or interest in the reality or authenticity of the lives of people who actually live and thrive in these circumstances.
The titular elephant turns up pretty quickly and is depending on your perspective either very cute or completely terrifying. After the arrival of the big-eared baby things get pretty rote, with the story diverting from the plot of the 1941 flick whilst still treading well-worn ground. There are some things to enjoy as Dumbo moves into its second act, with Burton teasing exciting visuals which hark back to his heyday without ever really delivering. Fans of the original will likely be amused by the nods which range from interesting diversions to terrifying recreations. Exit Theatre Mode
It’s a relief that times have changed enough that the most notoriously racist moments from the animated film have been erased, but one does wonder what drove them to remake this specific story at all. It hints at the flair of Burton’s best, but the heart and character on which he built his audience is nowhere to be seen. As the curtains close on Dumbo we barely know anything about the people and creatures we spent two hours with.
If you’ve got a young one who happens to have a specific love for the circus, or you hold particularly fond memories of the Disney cartoon, then maybe Dumbo will hit just right. Otherwise, this film seems like an odd choice that fails to inspire and highlights the weakness of solely relying on brand recognition and nostalgia to sell a blockbuster film. The Verdict
Maybe if Tim Burton had made Dumbo before his Alice In Wonderland phase it could have had something more interesting to say, or perhaps at least some more original visuals. Sadly, this routine remake doesn’t manage to recapture the surreal strangeness of the original Disney classic or elevate the dated premise into something better. IN THIS ARTICLE theater Mediocre Disney and Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo remake fails to reach the lofty heights of its animated predecessor. 26 Mar 2019 Buying Guide Powered by IGN Deals IGN Recommends
Nicole Kidman: ‘I’m always astounded at the harsh way in which women are judged’ | Film | The Guardian
The actor opens up about her good-cop-gone-bad role, working with Meryl Streep on Big Little Lies, and carving a path for the next generation. Female anti-heroes are, thankfully, no longer a novelty – think The Bride in Kill Bill or Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Yet the character Nicole Kidman plays in her latest thriller Destroyer is something quite different.
“A lot of times if you are going to be a female in an action film, they want you to look gorgeous, be bad-ass, be capable of firing guns and doing high kicks and still having lipstick and being svelte and being in a whole different class of action hero,” says Kidman, on the line from New York where she’s filming The Undoing opposite Hugh Grant.
“This is gritty and raw and totally authentic. It’s very different to give screen time – and this amount of screen time – to a woman who looks like this, who behaves like this, who is riddled with shame and anger and fury and rage, yet is also a mother and not a good mother.”
Destroyer review – Kidman’s bad cop blows them away Read more
Directed by Karyn Kusama, Destroyer tells the story of Erin Bell, a worn-down police detective, drawn back into an old case that left her traumatised.
In many ways, it’s a typical good-cop-gone-bad film in the vein of Dirty Harry or Mad Max, those 70s action films that traditionally have a male lead as the lone wolf-type character.
Making her a mother is an unusual twist. Bell clearly has plenty to lose, and it was the pathos of this situation that drew Kidman to the story. “[Despite everything] she’s still trying to make a better life for her daughter.”
It added an extra level of truth for Kidman. “[This] is a woman who can’t express herself, she can’t say I love you, she sabotages her own life [and] the other people who love her, that is incredibly relevant. It’s also very real. If you’re in this world and you look around, there are so many people existing in that state of being and it’s devastating.”
Her performance in the film has been critically acclaimed: Variety declared “Nothing Nicole Kidman has done in her career can prepare you for Destroyer”, while Guardian UK described it as “a powerhouse performance by Nicole Kidman in her best role since To Die For”.
There’s been much discussion around her appearance because she plays both a younger and older version of the character. The younger version looks pretty and perky but as the older Bell, Kidman has been made up to look gaunt, tired and worn down by her anger, guilt and sadness. The Hollywood star audiences are used to seeing has been completely replaced: her hair is grey and her face is lined and mottled with pigment.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest “Maybe in 20 years time, for the next generation of women, it will be different but by god, I want to be one of those women who’s helping carve a path for the next generation.” Photograph: Sabrina Lantos/Madman
Transforming physically is part of the job description for most actors, yet there’s a different tone to the commentary around Kidman’s appearance and that of, say, Christian Bale who plays an overweight, balding Dick Cheney in Vice.
While the characters are undoubtedly different, Kidman is described as a “ grizzled character ” with a “ disorientingly scorched, ruined exterior” ; the “ dilapidated shell of a woman ” and so unrecognisable it takes time to realise that “the sunburnt piece of beef jerky up on screen is none other than the alabaster beauty from BMX Bandits and Far and Away” , while Bale’s transformation is breathlessly described as “ uncanny ” and “ shape-shifting ” and his dramatic weight gain as looking “ pretty husky” .
Although Kidman says she didn’t notice the discussion, it’s not entirely unexpected. “I’m always astounded at the harsh way in which women are judged, and I shouldn’t be. I should know that by now, but it is what it is.”
Although she sounds resigned to this state of affairs, she is doing her bit to push things along for women in the film industry. “Maybe in 20 years time, for the next generation of women, it will be different but by god, I want to be one of those women who’s helping carve a path for the next generation, because I’m the recipient of those that have come before me to even be in this position. We didn’t get to work 25 years ago, women were pretty much cast out by now, and that’s abominable. But that’s in any work force, and those trends are changing, thank god, but we have to keep the conversation moving forward.”
One of the women Kidman says helped to carve the way forward was Meryl Streep, and later this year she will star opposite Streep in the second season of Big Little Lies. Apparently Streep signed herself up to star in the show after the success of the first season, and she’ll play Kidman’s character Celeste’s mother in law.
Kidman is positively bursting with admiration for Streep: “She’s so professional, and prepared and still excited, and curious. She still has that – to still be excited about the work, I love that.” It’s about more than Streep’s unflagging professionalism: “I said to her: ‘Good god Meryl, you’ve managed to raise all those children, you’ve still got your husband and your marriage and your work’ – and she’s just had a grandchild … I’m just like, you’re a wow woman.’”
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Revisiting her Big Little Lies character is a first for Kidman, who has never done a sequel before, and she found it difficult to go back to Celeste. “Her husband is dead but she is nowhere near healed, she still has a long road ahead of her … [I wanted] to be truthful about her particular path. It’s not every woman, but it’s Celeste’s journey. Recovering from that, and facing hard truths about yourself and why you’re in a particular relationship and the nature of where that leads you. And then as a mother trying to raise two boys, all of those things, there’s just such depth there.”
Kidman is one of the series’ executive producers alongside Reese Witherspoon, and she says getting everyone back together was tricky because the second series wasn’t part of the original plan. “It was very much from audiences because when we were doing it, we had absolutely no idea we would be coming back. That’s why then to get everyone’s schedules and deals and everything done, it’s almost unheard of that you can pull it off, but it actually shows the allegiance to each other and the show that we did it.”
She won’t give away much more about the plot but she promises that all the main characters will have strong storylines, adding “It’s just nice to be able to offer up six women as leads in a series.”
Topics Film Nicole Kidman Destroyer interviews
Image: Katia Sae Exploring the entirety of space is impossi
By Lee Yancy on at
Exploring the entirety of space is impossible in the real world, but it’s now been done in EVE Online . A player by the in-game name Katia Sae is the first player to have officially visited every one of the game’s 7,805 star systems. Even more impressive, they did it without losing a single ship to EVE’s notorious pirates.
Katia Sae and her trusty ship, the Jester’s Trek (Image: http://www.saganexplorations.net/ )
Katia’s journey began in December of 2009, in the wake of the launch of EVE Online’s “Dominion” expansion. “CCP was starting the rebeautifying effort of New Eden. They were updating the planetary graphics and background nebula, and I decided I wanted to see that,” the player behind Katia explained to Kotaku via Discord. They had no idea that this journey of simple curiosity would end up taking the next ten years of their life to complete.
Ten years seems like an incredible amount of time to explore the world of a video game, but EVE has a scale unlike other games. Katia’s journey was not as simple as visiting every system and immediately moving onto the next. The goal was to visit each system and actually explore it, visiting and documenting each area’s planets, monuments, and quirks. On Katia’s blog the journey is captured in a combination of in and out of character posts, covering the ten years of exploration. In addition to the enormous amount of time the project required, Katia Sae was an alt, or alternate character, and not the only pilot the player behind her focused on.
Graphic: A graph from Katia’s blog tracking her journey.
Over the duration of her travels Katia accrued over 50,000 screenshots of the game’s updated graphics, hosted on a blog . Amongst her favourite shots is the wreck of the first of EVE’s enormous Titan-class ships, Steve. The ship was destroyed in a battle between warring players in 2006, and a permanent monument was erected in space to commemorate the first Titan to ever be created and destroyed. “The wreck of Steve was something to see, the first titan kill in game. It’s really something to know that players were being recognised, and able to leave a permanent mark on the game,” Katia said.
Image: The wreck of Steve the titan. First to be built, and first to die.
The wreck of Steve highlights a style of gameplay in EVE that is foreign to the character of Katia Sae, who was from the first day of her creation a pacifist. Through the journey around EVE’s star systems, Katia never fired a single shot at a fellow player. Taking the path of the peaceful explorer is not an easy choice in EVE ; there are a lot of players who prey on peaceful people, seeing them as easy kills and a quick way to get some loot. Nevertheless, it’s a credo that Katia lives by. About halfway through her journey, she found others who feel the same.
Katia’s journey started before the inception of Signal Cartel, a group based on peaceful exploration of EVE . “Signal Cartel wasn’t around until about half way through my journey, but I have the honour of being the member with the longest tenure in the corporation, besides leadership,” Katia told Kotaku . The group is dedicated to being peaceful, friendly, and helpful explorers, in contrast to the many pirates and thieves that often come out of EVE. Joining Signal Cartel helped Katia stay focused on her pacifist mission during her journey, by introducing her to a steadily expanding group of like-minded individuals.
Just flagging yourself as a pacifist and a non-combatant does not guarantee safety in the lawless areas of EVE , though. Katia often ran into trouble from other players during her journey. “I was in a dead end system, and this corp bottled me up in there, only one way out,” Katia said of the time she came closest to losing her exploration vessel to enemy players. In EVE the only way in or out of a particular star system is via NPC-owned stargate structures. No one can be denied access to the stargates, even when they’re in player-owned territory, but players can create blockades to try to prevent anyone from entering or exiting through them. Running these blockades takes a combination of the right type of ship, precise game knowledge, and patience, making them formidable enemies for Katia. “They kept the gate camped for a couple of days, but they got lazy and a gap in their camp opened and I managed to get out.”
Katia also encountered danger from EVE ’s world itself, especially during the endless hours she spent searching for connections to EVE’s hidden-away “wormhole” systems. The wormholes aren’t connected to the game’s stargate network; to enter them, a player must find one of the roaming wormholes using specialised scanning gear. After a wormhole is found, you can navigate your ship through it into a hidden pocket of space, often considered one of the most dangerous types of space in EVE Online , in part because the wormholes decay over time and then randomly spawn a connection to different systems. There are 2604 wormhole systems in EVE Online , and there is no guaranteed path to any of them. Players can spend hours, or even days looking for a wormhole to a particular system.
Eventually, Katia’s journey came to a close, after countless near misses with danger and thousands of images documenting the beauty of EVE Online’s environment. Once her own personal records showed that she had indeed visited every star system there was, she approached the game’s creators, CCP, to see if they would verify it for her. Paul Elsy, aka CCP Falcon, a Community Developer for EVE Online , confirmed to Katia via Twitter that she had indeed completed her journey, but there seemed to be one more system she could travel to: Polaris, the in-game home of CCP Games, where EVE’s game masters, who deal with in-game player support, and other CCP employees congregate to test things in the live server. A few days later, Katia was pulled through a mysterious wormhole and appeared in Polaris, becoming the first player character to ever see the system and further securing her place in EVE’s history.
This once in a lifetime trip to Polaris is not the only gift that CCP has in mind for Katia. Last weekend, CCP announced that Katia Sae will receive her own in-game monument. The monument will be based on a 3D rendering of her character model and will be anchored in space in the Saisio system. Saisio is Katia’s “home” system, where she first spawned into the game after character creation. The monument to Katia’s achievement, once launched, will remain in place for as long as the game servers run, commemorating one of EVE’s foremost explorers.