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‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’ Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Works His Magic In Sam Raimi’s Marvel Of Horror

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وقت القراءة المقدر: 7 دقيقة (دقائق)

When you bring Sam Raimi into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can bet you are going to get something different, and that is definitely the case with his pretty scary take on the latest MCU entry, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Although Raimi is well versed in the Marvel comic book world, having directed the first Spider-Man trilogy, he is just as well known for many other genres, certainly for his horror filmography including The Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell and a lot more, and here he successfully and entertainingly gets to mix that kind of dark terrifying storytelling with beloved established characters in the MCU.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Dr. Stephen Strange, a magician, sorcerer and superhero who can conjure up all sorts of colorful spells to save the day, just as he did in his first stand-alone 2016 film and again in MCU movies including Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and most recently bringing his unique tour of parallel Universes in considerably lighter form in Spider-Man: No Way Home. For this one he travels the multiverse, encountering different sides — as it were — of key players including himself. Most notable, though, is the reunion with Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch (played to the hilt by Elizabeth Olsen), who steals this film lock, stock and barrel. No shock there as she is coming off her own Disney+ take on the character in WandaVision, which acts as a nice setup for what begins to transpire here when Strange enlists Wanda to help him deal with a young girl named America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who turns out to have the keen ability to traverse many multiverses but doesn’t know how to control her powers.

 

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‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’ Presales Outpacing ‘Captain Marvel’, ‘GOTG Vol. 2’ & ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, Heading Toward $150M+ U.S. Opening

 

When Strange suddenly leaves the wedding of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams, returning) in order to fend off a giant octopus creature called Gargantos that is chasing America through the streets of the city in order to capture her and take her powers for itself, it is just the beginning of a beautiful and complicated relationship. America becomes target No. 1 for the spellbinding and blinding Scarlet Witch, the evil side of Wanda now trapped in another dimension and looking for her way back to motherhood and two young sons she has visions of in an alternate universe and very different life than the take-no-prisoners existence in which she now uses her extraordinary powers to decimate anyone and anything that gets in her way. She must get America’s abilities in order to get back to her kids — or so she thinks. She becomes the main nemesis for Strange and company. In light of all this, Mother’s Day weekend seems the perfect release date Disney picked to unleash this certain box office monster. And regarding monsters there are plenty of them of display as well.

‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’: Gallery Of Photos And Posters For The Marvel Movie
As for where it all goes, the less said the better because there are also plenty of surprises, and that includes numerous unbilled stars turning up that got whoops of delight at Monday night’s press screening in Century City. Believe me, there will be lots of buzz about them, as well as those who appear in the obligatory end-credits scenes where we are assured “Doctor Strange Will Return.”
After this very Raimified version, I am hoping Strange returns with this filmmaker because, with the help of screenwriter Michael Waldron (Loki), this feels like the most auteur-driven Marvel movie yet, at least one not afraid to deviate from the expected MCU marching orders but also quite faithful to the comic book bible in keeping the story in line with the overall arc of these intertwined things. It is a win-win all around.
Cumberbatch is having some delicious fun this time in several incarnations of Stephen Strange, including fighting opposite himself, and this actor makes all of them unquestionably his own, even if Olsen swoops in with such fierce power that she takes total command when she is onscreen. McAdams has some nice moments, as does the ever-reliable Benedict Wong, now promoted to Supreme Sorcerer Wong for this sequel. Gomez is a swell find as America. Chiwetel Ejiofor is in for a bit, reprising his role of the strait-laced Mordo, and so is Michael Stuhlbarg as Strange’s ex-colleague Dr. Nic West (they have an especially funny scene early on in church). It is especially heartening that so many women, also including the wonderful Sheila Atim, get such a strong showcase in a film like this.
The film delivers on all fronts, including a terrific Danny Elfman score, and looks great even if the overwhelming amounts of CGI psychedelic imagery is a bit overdone. This thing rarely slows down to breathe in the two-hour-plus running time. Fortunately it doesn’t wear out its welcome for fans, and they inevitably will be coming in droves when it opens Friday following Thursday evening previews. Producer is Kevin Feige, of course.
Rest assured that although there is plenty of gore, something Raimi is very capable of taking to the limit, it is a hard-PG-13 handling of it all here, stopping before it becomes too stomach churning for families.
Do you plan to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know what you think.

 

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‘American Horror Stories’: Ryan Murphy Unveils New Chapters Of Fear & Frights In ‘AHS’ Spinoff Teaser

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Ryan Murphy ushers in new chapters of the American Horror Story franchise in a teaser for the upcoming Hulu anthology series, American Horror Stories.

“Every episode brings you a different nightmare,” Murphy tweeted on Wednesday.

Murphy, who has been teasing American Horror Stories with posters on his social media accounts, dropped the teaser on Twitter. The brief snippet follows a rubber woman on a journey that revisits some of the most memorable locations in the AHS franchise.

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American Horror Stories is a weekly hourlong anthology series that will feature a different horror story in each contained episode. The spinoff will premiere exclusively on Hulu July 15. Earlier this month Murphy revealed that Kevin McHale, Dyllón Burnside, Charles Melton and Nico Greetham will star in the series.

During a panel for Ratched in August 2020, AHS and American Crime Story star Sarah Paulson said that she will direct some part of the series.

The tenth installment of the flagship series, American Horror Story: Double Feature, will debut on FX Wednesday, August 25.

During the May Upfront presentations, FX Chairman John Landgraf said that American Horror Stories will commence in July and conclude on Halloween. The series is executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Alexis Martin Woodall, John J. Gray and Manny Coto.

New horrors and fears await viewers in the American Horror Stories teaser – watch it below.

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 1,222 اجمالى المشاهدات,  22 اليوم

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‘Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare’ Is the Most Messed Up Found Footage Gem You’ve Never Seen

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وقت القراءة المقدر: 8 دقيقة (دقائق)

I’m always looking to be shocked. I want to be shaken to my core, changed by what I’m seeing, and unable to keep off my brain once the imagery has seeped inside. That’s what I look for in my horror films—and to be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve been surprised or even genuinely scared while immersing myself in the genre. And then along came Rafaël Cherkaski’s Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare, a found footage nightmare he wrote, directed, and starred in.
I first saw the movie during the 2020 virtual edition of Unnamed Footage Festival — an incredible festival I encourage you to check out — and was immediately intrigued by its sharp spiral into depraved territory. It’s a great feeling (you know, as a horror die-hard) when a story keeps you anticipating how gruesome and debased it might become. I couldn’t stop watching until I knew. The terrifying French film is, without question, a found footage masterpiece. But the fact remains that it is highly under-watched. Because of its lack of exposure, a lot of genre fans have yet to experience the horror of this film, and what it seeks to teach us. Something tells me it would be on a lot more “best of” lists and the subject of even more essays if they had. It’s the most messed up found footage gem you’ve never seen, so strap the hell in.
Descent Into Darkness: My European Nightmare follows a bright young man named Sorgoi Prakov, a journalist from a fictional Eastern European country who has just arrived in Paris to film a documentary about the “European dream.” You know, like the American dream. Same difference, basically. However, a series of bad decisions and unfortunate incidents set Prakov on a path of self-destruction, mayhem, destitution, and madness as his project is devastatingly thrown off the rails.
The 2013 horror story has a pretty simple premise, yet its specificity is what sets it apart from just being your typical documentary-gone-wrong. The very real spiral its main character is forced down by the also very real circumstances of the film is something a lot of people are a stone’s throw away from. The tendency to imagine yourself in the same position while watching makes things infinitely more terrifying. Add the kind heart and specifically generous spirit Prakov brings to the piece and it’s hard not to sympathize with the disturbing turn of events he deals with.
The film is a cautionary tale that presents us with several lessons we can’t help but learn, mainly because the end is so brutal that no empathetic and sane human could justify the means, nor could they imagine how to make their way out of such a mental and emotional struggle unchanged. Unfiltered panic coupled with alienation can warp your brain and throw you off course, even more so if you have a mental illness you’re keeping at bay.
For an hour and a half, Descent Into Darkness fights to prove that a little kindness can go a long way— especially for those who are struggling in ways we have never and may never fully comprehend. Further, it’s an indictment on normal folks and the way we treat unhoused folks who have come onto hard times usually through no fault of their own. There is a specific and nearly existential horror in the way we alienate houseless and financially insecure people, making them feel less than for their struggles. Prakov’s sanity waxes and wanes on his descent into darkness. Those tides stem from whether or not he has been shown kindness as he struggles to get back onto his feet and make his way home.
Descent Into Darkness shows how the mental toll of those struggles and the alienation manifests inside him, and it really is far from pretty. It’s incredibly dark, but so is how we treat unhomed individuals in developed countries. Their plights are deeper and more insidious than we could imagine. But this film does a great job of helping us see that baseless physical and emotional destruction firsthand.
Aside from its smart yet simple story, Descent Into Darkness also shines through its more technical aspects. The directing—expertly tackled by lead actor Cherkaski—is incredibly smart. The filmmaker focuses on Prakov’s buttoned-up optimism at the beginning of the film and truly takes audiences down a spiral through more than just the script. The beginning of the movie definitely has a professional tinge to it to match Prakov’s initial intentions. But as we travel further down the rabbit hole, Cherkaski’s direction becomes more erratic and unpredictable. He uses quippy camerawork and fiercely smart editing by his editing team — one particularly beautiful cut between daylight and nighttime comes to mind—to support the main character’s degradation into psychosis. It’s done in such a way that the pacing of the film ends up feeling perfect, too.
You know when a film’s story feels like it’s moving unrealistically fast, or even just achingly slow? It takes you out of the story, where you need to be firmly planted throughout the runtime, and tends to ruin the experience. The way Descent Into Darkness is shot and edited, with an almost staccato mindset as the film progresses, aids in supporting the story and evens out its pace. The result is a perfectly timed, eerily orchestrated nosedive into hell.
Aside from the crucial behind-the-camera brilliance that makes this film an underappreciated gem, it’s important to highlight one of the main reasons to watch this movie if you haven’t yet: the acting. Cherkaski is electric as Prakov and perfectly balances the character’s desperate innocence—which quickly bleeds into wild depravity.
In 2010’s Black Swan, Vincent Cassel’s ballet company director character is unsure if he can trust Natalie Portman’s Nina Sayers with the lead role in “Swan Lake,” because she excels at the virtuous white swan, but may not have the bite to also play the black swan. Cherkaski doesn’t have that issue. He is the white swan and the black swan in equal measure, which makes you as sad for him as you are for the victims of his senseless violence. It’s a really natural performance. Cherkaski makes for one of the most convincing, menacing, and downright evil antagonists in found footage—maybe even horror in general.
There’s a lot to love in Descent Into Darkness, which feels like an oxymoron when you type it or say it out loud. But it’s truly a special horror film that both shocked and changed me when I was lucky enough to catch a special cut at a film festival. It’s a movie that proved to me there’s magic in horror, that it can do crazy things and that those crazy things can make you feel renewed. It’s a movie that made me appreciate filmmaking that much more. Descent Into Darkness is underappreciated, underseen, and undervalued in an oversaturated genre. So, it makes sense that it would’ve been overlooked. Do yourself a favor and change that. Pop a little popcorn, dim the lights. Just don’t expect to feel like you haven’t, too, descended into darkness when it’s all over.

 802 اجمالى المشاهدات,  18 اليوم

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‘Captive Audience: An American Horror Story’ Review: More Shocking Than Fiction

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وقت القراءة المقدر: 2 دقيقة (دقائق)

Too smart for “true crime” and far more artfully constructed than standard-issue nonfiction, “Captive Audience” revisits the case of Steven Stayner, who in 1972 disappeared without a trace and then resurfaced seven years later, with a fellow kidnap victim in tow. Those with long memories will know right off where else the Stayner family saga is going, but others will be utterly shocked—which is supportive evidence in the case being made by director Jessica Dimmock. “If you have an experience and it doesn’t become a story,” says Steven’s mother, Kay, “it dies.” Which, coming as it does near the end of episode 3, is a statement as startling as any other in this three-part series.
The word “story” is repeated at least a dozen times in the opening moments of “Captive Audience,” mostly by TV anchors and correspondents, framing the Stayner case as it led the news circa Dec. 4, 1972: a 7-year-old boy, vanishing on his way home from school in humble Merced, Calif., stoking the worst fears of parents, inspiring exhaustive searches and then, as all such stories do when they aren’t solved, going cold. The very sympathetic Kay Stayner, who says she never stopped believing her son would return, concedes that when the police contacted her in March 1980, she immediately expected the worst. “I had all this hope for all these years, and at the end I thought it was going to be bad news.”

 1,107 اجمالى المشاهدات,  18 اليوم

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