Netflix’s Earthquake Bird, which hit the streaming service last Friday, uses expat life in Tokyo as the backdrop for a murder mystery. Scored by Atticus Ross, the film stars Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, Jack Huston, and Japanese actors Naoki Kobayashi and Kiki Sukezana—the latter of whom recently played the central antagonist in AMC’s The Terror: Infamy. Ridley Scott also serves as a co-producer here, as he did with that series.
There’s a long line of Hollywood movies set in Japan, many of which betray a decidedly ethnocentric perspective. When we first meet Vikander’s character, she’s working as a translator, doing subtitles for Scott’s 1989 yakuza thriller, Black Rain. As a Netflix film, Earthquake Bird comes on the heels of last year’s The Outsider, another such thriller that cast everyone’s least favorite Joker, Jared Leto, in the role of an unlikely yakuza enforcer. In contrast to that movie’s hollow posturing, Earthquake Bird is much more grounded in some semblance of recognizable reality. It isn’t a perfect film, but parts of it ring truer than the typical “gaijin in Tokyo” flick, because it was made with an eye toward authenticity by a director who lived in Japan and an actress who committed herself to learning Japanese.
Earthquake Bird sees Vikander returning to the chilly mode of her breakout performance in Ex Machina. In that film, she played a humanoid robot. In this one, she plays a human who might come across as robotic at times, insofar as she is emotionally subdued. Her character, Lucy Fly, is the kind of person who buttons up her collar on the train, eyes darting around before settling back down into a benumbed stare out the window. When the train arrives at the station, she’s the only modestly dressed, non-Japanese face in the crowd of schoolgirls and salarymen who come filing out onto the platform. At work, she greets her colleagues demurely, shuffling over to her desk on an office floor that eschews cubicles in favor of a more open, newsroom-like layout.
That’s Tokyo. Since 2013, when the city won its bid to host the Olympics, the number of foreign tourists in Japan has steadily increased, reaching record numbers in 2018 and the first half of 2019. However, the country’s population is still 98% ethnically Japanese and I can say from personal experience that there are many times when you might indeed look around and be the only non-Japanese person on the train or at your job.
Depicting that, in and of itself, doesn’t make Earthquake Bird special. After all, we saw Scarlett Johansson riding the train alone and staring out the window, too. The difference here is that Lucy lives and works in Tokyo. She’s not holed up in the posh Park Hyatt hotel, using the city as her own personal playground, like the characters in Lost in Translation....
Netflix has released the first trailer for Extraction. This one, on paper, has a whole lot going for it. For one, it's one of few new blockbuster-level releases viewers will be able to watch this month, as movie theaters all around the country remain closed. It also features Chris Hemsworth in the lead. To top it all off, he's reunited with Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of Avengers: Endgame, who are producing the original thriller. And, based on this first trailer, this could certainly be something to look forward to this month.
The trailer opens up with Chris Hemsworth doing some intense cliff diving/meditation before some of the action kicks in. We get the sense that Hemsworth has something of a death wish. We then get to the heart of the matter, which sees this man having to rescue the son of a drug lord, who was kidnapped by a rival drug lord. Things escalate, to say the very least of it, and Hemsworth is left trying to fight off impossible odds to keep this kid safe. This does seem to lay everything out on the table, seemingly not leaving much up to the imagination, but it's an impressive trailer. Lots of action. Real stakes.RELATED: Netflix's Extraction Poster Shows Chris Hemsworth as a Deadly Black Market Mercenary googletag.cmd.pushfunction ;
New Netflix original Extraction centers on a hardened mercenary's mission, which becomes a soul-searching race to survive when he's sent into Bangladesh to rescue a drug lord's kidnapped son. The cast also includes Rudhraksh Jaiswal, David Harbour, Derek Luke and Golshifteh Farahani. Taking to Twitter, Chris Hemsworth expressed his excitement in sharing the trailer, especially at this moment in time, given what's going on in the world.'So happy to finally be able to share the trailer for Extraction with you all! This has been a difficult few months for all of us, and we hope this will provide a bit of entertainment while we are all staying home.'
This trailer arrives after an Extraction poster proved to be quite popular after it was unveiled. Netflix has been ramping up its work with A-list filmmakers in the past few years and this is a huge example of that. The Russo brothers, coming off of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, have been busy producing a number of high-profile projects. In this case, Joe Russo wrote the screenplay and is producing alongside his brother, Anthony Russo. Re-teaming them with Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, makes this an impressive package deal.
Sam Hargrave, a longtime stunt coordinator who has worked on quite a few massive blockbusters in his day, including Captain America: Civil War with the Russo brothers, is making his feature directorial debut. Hargrave also worked on Atomic Blonde, The Hunger Games series and Suicide Squad, as well as a few other MCU titles like Thor: Ragnarok. So he knows his way around a big...
Although “The L Word: Generation Q” may have tried desperately to speak to a “new generation” of queer women and non-binary folks, fresher creative voices quickly rose to the top in its place. Though people still watched. Showtime’s “Work in Progress” was the best queer comedy of the year, Netflix’s “Feel Good” was an unexpected delight, and “Vida” is returning just in time for queer audiences to catch up on the best show about queer women of color on TV. Yet another contender released a promising first trailer today: “Betty” is a stylish and youthful portrait of Brooklyn teen skaters that already appears extremely queer.
The six-part half-hour arrives on HBO from filmmaker Crystal Moselle, who quickly made waves in 2015 with her her riveting documentary hybrid “The Wolfpack.” “Betty” is adapted from her second feature, the similarly hybridized “Skate Kitchen,” which followed a group of teenage girl skaters in New York City. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released by Magnolia Pictures that year.
In his B+ review of “Skate Kitchen” out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The streetwise alternative to ‘Girls,’ the movie weaves together such a complete vision of its subjects that the rest of the world barely exists. Of course, there's a long-standing precedent to capturing this subculture — ‘Kids’ did it, with more adventurous storytelling twists, more than 20 years ago — but Moselle's subjects hold their own with the surprising ability to clarify their emotions through the cathartic process of hanging out.”
“Betty” features many of the film’s original stars, most of whom had not acted before, including Kabrina Adams, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, and Ajani Russell. All accomplished skaters in their own right, the first trailer shows the charismatic crew navigating various crushes and friendship trials with compelling panache and humor.
“Betty” is directed, co-written, and executive produced by Moselle. Lesley Arfin and Patricia Breen are also co-writers. Arfin, who also EPs, is a comedy writer best known for co-creating the Netflix series “Love” with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust.
HBO will release “Betty” beginning May 1 at 11 pm ET. Check out the exciting first trailer below:
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...