Film

‘Wonder Woman 2’: Where the Franchise Should Go Next

Here are 5 questions the next solo movie needs to answer.

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Wonder Woman.]

Not since Marvel’s first Iron Man in 2008 has a superhero movie left audiences wanting more as soon as possible as Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman. Of course, they’ll get more this November when Gal Gadot returns in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but it’s not the same; there, she’ll be one of five heroes — six, if Superman returns — instead of the star of her own show. And, as her first solo movie demonstrated, there’s a lot of space left to be explored when it comes to Diana, Princess of Themiscyria.

What Did Diana Do Next?

There’s literally a century of time between the end of Wonder Woman and her re-emergence as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a lot of untold story to connect those two narrative dots. Where did Diana go for all that time? How did she become acclimatized to the world beyond Themiscyria to the extent that she appears to be in BvS? Was she retired all that time, or working in secret — and if so, what was she doing? (If she didn’t have secret missions run by Etta Candy, then it’s yet more proof that we’re living in the darkest timeline.) There is more than enough material to be mined from this century time gap for a sequel… if not multiple movies.

Is Ares Actually Dead?

It certainly looked like Ares was fully defeated — and destroyed — at the end of the movie, but is it really that…

‘Wonder Woman’ Is a Milestone, But It Shouldn’t Be

Warner Bros. and director Patty Jenkins broke a superhero glass ceiling that should have been shattered long ago.

This weekend’s release of Wonder Woman represents multiple cinematic milestones. It’s the first female-led superhero film in more than a decade, and with Patty Jenkins at the helm, it’s the first to be directed by a woman. Wonder Woman is also the first female superhero to get her own movie in either of the two shared universes from rivals DC and Marvel. Jenkins is just the second female director to make a movie with a budget of more than $100 million, (Kathryn Bigelow, with K-19: The Widowmaker, was first) and she now holds the record for the largest opening of all time for a female director, with an estimated $100.5 million.

DC’s previous films have been subjected to a wide array of criticism, in spite of its defenders. But Wonder Woman, notably, has been greeted with generally positive reviews (and is generally very entertaining, to boot). Considering that those other DC films, such as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, are largely male-dominated, it’s worth noting that DC broke the glass ceiling in its fourth film while Marvel hasn’t done so in 15 films. (If we add Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman films, that makes seven for DC, but the gap remains.)

These are all milestones for DC and for Hollywood, but they shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t have taken until 2017 for a major studio to hand over the reins of a big-budget blockbuster to a female director as well as a female star, and DC deserves credit for beating Marvel to the punch.

For all its enjoyable films and characters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is plagued by indecision around its female leads. By the spring of 2019, Marvel will release its first film led by a woman: Captain Marvel, with Oscar winner Brie Larson as the title character. Even so, the movie has two directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Boden and Fleck are talented filmmakers, the team behind Half Nelson and Sugar, yet the optics of Marvel waiting so long to let a woman lead one…

This Snow White Adaptation Trailer Blatantly Body-Shames & Sends A Toxic Message To Its Young Intended Audience

Children’s movies hold a special place in our hearts, but we’ve long questioned what they teach young girls; and a new release isn’t doing anything to help matters. An upcoming Snow White spoof has been accused of body-shaming, and one look at the film’s promotional poster makes it easy to see why.

Bustle reached out to Locus Studios, and received a reply from Sujin Hwang, one of the film’s producers:

Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs has a chance to take the Snow White classic and redefine it a bit with less stereotypical gender expectations than children’s movies have typically placed on little girls; but judging on the trailer along, it falls horribly short. On Tuesday, body-positive model Tess Holliday tweeted a picture of the poster, which features one slender Snow White next to a fuller-figured Snow White. The problem is in the text: “What if Snow White was no longer beautiful and the 7 dwarfs not so short?” it reads. The implication here is clear, as tweeted by Holliday: “no longer beautiful” and “fat” are one in the same. Snow White loses her desirable appeal once she packs on a few pounds. It implies that the woman who was seconds before exciting and pleasing to the eye, suddenly becomes displeasing and ugly — all because of her size and shape. Is this a message we want to teach young, impressionable children?

Things only get worse with the film’s trailer. In it, two dwarfs are seen watching Snow White undress without her knowledge (which, dear God, is a whole new problem in and of itself), eagerly awaiting the moment she takes it all off. But when she does, her true appearance is revealed: a plumper, curvier version of the same woman. The dwarfs appear disgusted, and the message is clear: fat is ugly.

It’s a scary idea that we continue to battle — that a woman’s worth is reduced to unrealistic, damaging standards, like that skinny is preferable to fat. That body size has any indication on our attractiveness or inherent worth as human beings. That no woman can be attractive if she’s not super svelte, the way Snow White used to…

At Cannes, an existential fight over technology, Netflix and the future of cinema

Cannes technology battlers
Will Smith, left, and Pedro Almovodar flank fellow jury member Jessica Chastain at the Cannes Film Festival. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Will Smith and Pedro Almodovar jostled over it.

Silicon Valley executive Ted Sarandos defended it.

The Oscar winner Alejandro Inarritu boasted about it.

And the people who run the entertainment business can’t stop debating it.

Despite its traditionalism, or perhaps because of it, this year’s Cannes Film Festival became the epicenter of the digital disruption rumbling through Hollywood.

From the screenings in the Grand Palais to the crowds along the Croisette, it was impossible to run into a boldfaced name without confronting the issue of digital progress–how much of it can, will and should be allowed into this bastion of cinematic purity. Opinions flowed like rosé, arguments flashed like paparazzi cameras, as the industry’s relationship to Silicon Valley, the fate of the old-school movie theater and the kind of screen content that deserves to be called art were discussed and debated.

In other words, an existential fight for the future of entertainment along the French Riviera.

“Cannes,” said the festival veteran and FilmNation executive Glen Basner, “has to figure out what it wants to be.”

The identity crisis began even before the festival opened when two Netflix movies—Noah Baumbach’s family dramedy “The Meyerowitz Stories” and Bong Joon-ho’s biogenetic satire “Okja”– were included in Cannes’ prestigious competition section. French theater owners protested and festival organizers hastily backtracked, saying that in the future any movies not released theatrically in France would be barred from competition. (The winner of the competition section, considered the top tier of Cannes movies, receives the coveted Palme d’Or.)

At issue, however, is far more than a few international honors or the identity of a 12-day glitzy event on the French Riviera. Cannes may be the pinnacle of cinematic prestige and hold an outsized reverence for the past, but it represents a mind set that, depending on one’s point of view, should either be valiantly upheld in the face of barbarians or eagerly torn down in the name of democracy.

At the start of the festival, Spanish filmmaker Almodovar declared to reporters that “the size [of a film] should not be smaller than the chair on which you are sitting.” The head of this year’s competition jury, he added that: “[As long as] I’m alive I’ll be fighting for the capacity of hypnosis of the large screen.”

Sitting near him, Smith, a member of that jury, took exception. “Netflix has had absolutely no effect on what [my children] go to the movie theater to watch,” he said. “It has broadened my children’s global cinematic comprehension.”

The faceoff was a surprising moment of candor, violating an unspoken rule that jury disagreements stay private. And it was just the beginning.

Meeting with a small group of U.S. reporters at Netflix’s festival headquarters several days later, “Okja” director Bong said he didn’t mind if people couldn’t see his film in theaters. “It if looks good on the big screen it will look good on the small screen,” he said.

The pro-Netflix statement was met with a tweak by the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the film’s stars. “So everyone at the premiere can sit and…watch it on their phones?” he said to the director, who was sitting near him.

The blowback didn’t stop Netflix from seeking to leave its mark on the festival with numerous events and parties. The largest of them was a glitzy bash at a villa outside downtown that evoked halcyon days of festivals past, when established U.S. and French giants regularly threw over-the-top parties.

Yet the company has also sought to position itself as an outsider. Posting on social media shortly before the festival, Netflix chief Reed Hastings proclaimed that the “establishment [is] closing ranks against us.”

Later, at the villa party, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Sarandos told the trade publication Variety that if the company was indeed barred from next year’s competition, executives would find it “less attractive” to bring its movies to Cannes. He also said he found the idea of a high-minded festival requiring a commercial presentation a “paradox.”

Many found those remarks problematic.

“You can’t say you’re starting a business to shake everything…

Waiting for the Credits to End? Movies Are Naming More Names

It is now a standard feature of the typical Hollywood blockbuster. You watch scenes that have become more complex and dazzling than ever in their visual effects and technical mastery, then sit through end credits that feel almost novelistic in length: hundreds, or frequently thousands, of names in a blur of acknowledgment of the village it took to stage a superhero battle or bring robots to photorealistic life.

The names can occupy five to 10 minutes or more of a movie’s running time. And we’re often staying put so as not to miss a possible extra scene or a tease to other films in a franchise. In the meantime, we learn about film jobs we had no idea existed. (Hello, render wrangler!) And yet many names are still missing, and some in the industry don’t think the credits are long enough.

How did we get here?

It used to be much simpler. The earliest films, shown at nickelodeons at the start of the 1900s, had no credits at all, just the title.

“But then eventually people started to recognize stars that they liked,” said Dave Kehr, a curator for the department of film at the Museum of Modern Art. He mentioned the emergence of the silent-era actress Florence Lawrence, who wasn’t credited in her earliest films but built a fan following to the point that her name eventually appeared on a movie poster, making her one of the very first movie stars.

Credits grew in the following two decades, but not by much. They would all appear at the beginning of films, usually, in three or four title cards acknowledging the cast and principal technical players.

“In the ’60s, the unions get a little more power, and they are able to get more of their names on the screen,” Mr. Kehr said. (Having your name in the credits can help lead to more jobs.) Audiences began to see longer credits covering the full crew. One of the first lengthy sequences of this period was the Saul Bass-designed closing credits to “West Side Story” (1961), in which many names were scrawled in graffiti on walls and street signs.

As productions grew more lavish and more complicated, more and more crew members were needed. But in the age of celluloid, studios had to be mindful of how long their credits would be. Film was more expensive to work with and process, so each added reel had an impact on the budget.

Now that films are primarily projected in digital, this cost is no longer an issue. And credits have ballooned to their greatest lengths in the past decade. At least 50 films in the movie database IMDB.com have cast and crew credits…

When Netflix Is Attacked at Cannes, Will Smith Steps Up

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Two of the films in competition at this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival were produced by and for Netflix. It may be a watershed moment for films, given that the two movies — Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories — were produced for a TV streaming service, and not for a movie theater. At the festival’s opening press conference on May 17, renowned Spanish filmmaker and Palme d’Or prize juror Pedro Almodovar read a pre-written statement that said in part, “I personally do not conceive, not only the Palme d’Or, any other prize being given to a film and not being able to see this film on a big screen.”

almodovar

Pedro Almodovar (Laurent Emmanuel)

When Will Smith raised his voice in defense of Netflix a while later, a conversation began that reflects a seismic shift — and for some, a sobering one — in the film industry. Almodovar and Smith were each no doubt reflecting the views of many other people.

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Almodovar and Smith (Anne-Chirstine Poujoulat)

Prior to Almodovar’s statement, the mood at the press conference had been completely different. Though Cannes is always the place to see movie stars, few these days have the sheer wattage and charm of Will Smith, who had the room wrapped in the palm of his hand. “West Philadelphia is a long way from Cannes,” the star said, noting that, “I was probably 14 years old the last time I watched three movies in one day. Three movies a day is a lot!” Such is the lot of the Cannes festival juror. He also joked that he’d be trying to set a record for most outfits worn at the festival, 32, to top last year’s juror Kirsten Dunst’s 28.

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Smith and crowd crush (Loic Venance)

Almodovar claimed his stance doesn’t come from being anti-technology, saying, “All this doesn’t mean I’m not open to or don’t celebrate the new technologies. I do.” And yet another statement of his suggests otherwise. “I’ll be fighting for one thing that I’m afraid the new generation is not aware of. It’s the capacity of the hypnosis of the large screen for the viewer,” the filmmaker says. “The size [of the screen] should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting. It should not be part of your everyday setting. You must feel small and humble in front of the image that’s here.” Has he not seen the gargantuan TV screens on which people watch TV these days?…

What Is Interactive Video? Why Now? And How To Get started?

Are you creating videos as part of your marketing strategy?

A recent study from Vidyard found that businesses are now creating an average of 18 videos per month. So most likely your are. Especially, if you’re also aware of Cisco’s recent prediction that 84% of Internet traffic will be video by next year. With all this exciting video action, there is one thing I can tell you with almost complete certainty: people are not watching your videos. I may be wrong. You may be Wes Anderson (in which case: Hi Wes! No need for you to keep reading, but please do drop me a line). But if you’re like most video producers, your creations have these two things in common:

  • They are meant to promote a product or service
  • Their drop-off curve is steeper than the North Face of the Matterhorn (one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe.)

That’s the challenge of the day: faced with an abundance of content, and accustomed to multitasking, viewers will not stick around for your 5-minute presentation of whatever it is you’re selling.

A typical retention curve for a video on Facebook. Most of the users drop off after the very first seconds of the video.

I’ll argue in this article that what is needed is redefining the meaning of interactive video. I’ll also argue that interactive video has been done wrong in most if not all the previous attempts. Then I’ll demonstrate how interactive video can be effectively executed. Hopefully, when we get there, you’ll understand why marketers should pay more attention to interactive video in their campaigns.

What is interactive video?

A truely interactive video offers users a non-linear navigation experience and interactive layer of additional digital resources for users to learn more.”

Interactive video is a concept that has been floated around, in many incarnations, for a very long time. Google it: there are some 45 million results right now. Nor is it a concept that originated on-line: I remember seeing a screening, at the Neuchatel International Film Festival, of Mr. Sardonicus, a 1961 movie whose projection was interrupted a couple of minutes before the end so that the audience may vote on which ending they preferred, good or bad — limited interactivity, yes, but interactivity nonetheless.

The elephant in the room is really the “why”. Why would a film need to be interactive? After all, the main medium we think about when we think about film is motion pictures. While there have been attempts to make these films interactive, such as the Mr. Sardonicus example above, most film lovers would agree that such gimmicks could hardly contribute to the purity of a classic cinematic experience.

To answer this question, let’s take a step back and consider what is the definition…

How ‘Alien: Covenant’ Does What the Original Refused To

Part of what made the first two films great was not knowing exactly what was going on.
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Alien: Covenant]

Alien is widely seen — for good reason — as one of the great science-fiction films of all time, as well as one of the great horror films. Nearly 40 years later, Ridley Scott has directed the latest entry in the franchise, Alien: Covenant. So, with Covenant in theaters, it’s worth discussing one of many reasons why the original Alien succeeds, because it’s a big reason why (for me at least) Covenant doesn’t: it embraces the mystery of the situation instead of explaining everything.

Both the 2012 film Prometheus and Alien: Covenant try to answer the questions that the first Alien and James Cameron’s 1986 sequel Aliens steadfastly avoided. Where did the Xenomorphs come from? What is that mysterious ship that Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo explore? Where did those eggs come from if the planet is deserted? And how is it possible for these bloodthirsty aliens to evolve so fast? By taking place before the events of the 1979 film, Scott’s pair of Alien-adjacent films set out to resolve these burning questions without realizing that they don’t need to be answered.

Alien and Aliens are incredible examples of how science fiction, horror, and action can all blend together in a genuinely thrilling combination. Somehow, they’ve both stood the test of time without telling audiences that the Xenomorphs were created by a self-aware robot who so badly wants to create something that he chooses to create a “perfect” killing machine. These films don’t dispense with the revelation that the mysterious spacecraft from Alien belonged to the Engineers, humanoid aliens who are responsible for both creating humanity and intending to destroy it at a later date. There’s a clear reason why the original films don’t answer these questions: they don’t have to.

Covenant attempts to tie some of these strands together: we find out that once Michael Fassbender’s sociopathic…

Flappers Didn’t Really Wear Fringed Dresses

The latest movie version of The Great Gatsby came out, fashion historians set us straight about flapper fashions: they did not show off one’s curves the way the movie costumes did. It turns out that the most iconic signifier of a flapper costume is also false: the fringe. It wasn’t common at all in the Roaring Twenties. They didn’t have the lightweight, synthetic fabrics that gave us fringe that swirled when dancing. So why do we always…

Top 10 Travel Destinations for Movie Geeks

There’s something quite magical about seeing filming locations with your very own eyes. The celebrities and cameras may have gone, but a story’s physical setting stays just where it is. You can consider it as a star in its own right.

Here are 10 travel destinations that should absolutely be on every film lover’s bucket list:

New Zealand

Starred in: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (1999–2001)

“A rite of passage” is how a visit to New Zealand is described in this interactive map of the world’s top filming locations.One of the most beautiful places on the planet, New Zealand is the Lord of the Rings’ main filming location. The trilogy made full use of the location’s gorgeous natural landscapes and rolling green hills which any fan can recognize.

London, UK

Starred in: Jason Bourne (2016)

The latest adventure of the titular spy-on-the-run brought plenty of white-knuckle, high-stakes thrills to the streets of the English capital. Eagle-eyed fans will quickly recognize the Woolwich Arsenal train station and its surroundings. These are the areas that were transformed into Athens in the film. They also wouldn’t miss the areas around Paddington Station and Paddington Basin, where Jason Bourne made a particularly tense phone call.

New York City, US

Starred in: Ghostbusters (1984)

We could have gone with any of the countless films shot in the Big Apple, but the original Ghostbusters is the one that truly captured New York City in its ’80s-glory heyday. Streets, plazas, skyscrapers, bridges- you name it.

Looking around as you walk through the city will instantly open up a floodgate of pure nostalgia and Bill Murray hero-worship. There are even guided tours available to match the location to the scene!

Toronto, Canada

Starred in: Suicide Squad (2016)

Toronto has ‘stood in’ for many other cities in movies, but Suicide Squad’s Midway City may be its best fictional incarnation yet. Visitors can check out the spots where some of the film’s most iconic scenes happened. Just by walking along Downtown Toronto’s main thoroughfares, you can check out Yonge Street, Front Street West and Bay Street.

Visitors can check out the spots where some of the film’s most iconic scenes happened…