|PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIREPORTRAIT OF A LADYNEW RELEASEHYPNOTIC|
Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.
As this quarantine wears on, I know you’re all bored enough that you will give a foreign film a try. And with studios releasing some of their biggest theatrical and festival hits on digital platforms early, now is never a better time. Neon’s romance for the ages, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, hit Hulu early last week, while Netflix has some word-of-mouth hits on its hands with the electric K-drama Itaewon Class and the Spanish dystopian thriller The Platform. Those films and more are in this week’s Pop Culture Imports.
Let’s fire up those subtitles and get streaming.Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Hulu
Genre: Romantic drama
Director: Céline Sciamma
Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel.
When the poets write of the great love stories, at the top will be the searing romance between Marianne and Héloïse in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Céline Sciamma’s rapturous lesbian drama, Portrait of a Lady on Fire follows female artist Marianne Noémie Merlant who is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of a mysterious daughter Adèle Haenel of a French countess, under the pretense of being her walking companion. But as they spend more time together, a close friendship blossoms and eventually, a deep, ecstatic romance. What else can there be written about this movie that hasn’t been written already? Why haven’t you seen it five times already? Watch it now and weep over the sheer overwhelming emotion of it all.
Watch This If You Like: Call Me By Your Name, Carol, Disobedience, the myth of Orpheus but 10 times sadder.Itaewon Class – Netflix
Country: South Korea
Creator: Kim Do-soo
Cast: Park Seo-joon, Kim Da-mi, Yoo Jae-myung, Kwon Nara.
I write about a lot of K-dramas in this column, and even as a fan of the medium, they start to feel samey after a while. But Itaewon Class has an energy to it, an electricity that pulses through its story of a young business owner whose group of ragtag employees try to hold down their bar in the hottest neighborhood in Seoul, that makes the series feel like few K-dramas I’ve watched before. The series follows Park Saeroyi Parasite‘s Park Seo-joon, an impossibly principled young man with a bad haircut whose opens a pocha a sort of sit-down bar called DanBam and destroy his enemies by turning it into the biggest food company in Korea. He opens the restaurant in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Itaewon and hires a crew of misfits that all hail from backgrounds not usually seen on Korean TV — an ex-con, a transgender woman chef, and a black Korean man among them. Itaewon Class has a...
Marvel Studios has announced the new Black Widow release date. The highly anticipated Natasha Romanoff standalone movie will be released on November 6th. This was the release date for the Eternals movie, which has now been pushed back, along with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 projects. There was speculation that Disney and Marvel Studios were toying with the idea of releasing Black Widow and Mulan digitally, in an effort to skip theaters, but that is obviously not going to happen at this point in time.
The Eternals movie has been pushed to February 12th, 2021, while Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will now open May 7th, 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was probably going to get pushed back anyway, will now open on November 5th, 2021 and Thor: Love and Thunder has moved to February 18th, 2022. Looking ahead to the MCU's Phase 5, Black Panther 2 will still debut May 6th, 2022, while Captain Marvel 2, which previously did not have a firm release date, has been set for July 8th, 2022.
At this time, it is unclear when movie theaters are going to be able to open their doors again. Some have predicted that sometime in June is likely, though it is not guaranteed. AMC might not even open their doors again after their latest credit rating was revealed. With that being said, Marvel Studios made a wise decision in pushing everything back on their calendar. Black Widow could have come out in the late summer or early fall, but there's really no predicting what the entertainment business will look like at that time. Pushing things further may bum out fans, but there was really no avoiding this situation.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige announced the MCU Phase 4 titles at last year's San Diego Comic-Con and received an enthusiastic response from the world. In addition to the big screen titles, Feige also spoke about all of the Disney+ TV shows that are on the way too. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision were the first to go into production, but it's unclear if they will meet their release dates now that production has been halted. It is believed that they were mostly complete, but there has not been an official announcement as of this writing.
MCU fans are going to have to wait a bit longer to see some of their favorite superheroes on the big screen. This could end up being excellent news for last-minute story revisions and other things that may need to get changed, meaning we'll get a better movie when the dust settles. Hopefully the world's current situation will pass in the near future so that people can get back to some kind of normalcy. Variety was the first to announce the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 news.
“Uncut Gems” deserves an award for Most Stressful Theatrical Experience, and it’s cranked up to 11 thanks to composer Daniel Lopatin. He mashed synth sounds and elements of ’70s prog-rock to create a unique sonic environment that stands as its own work of art.
Lopatin is better known by his recording alias of Oneohtrix Point Never, and he previously soundtracked a Safdie Brothers film with 2017’s equally stressful “Good Time.” In a new documentary for Moog Music — know as a manufacturer of electronic instruments — Lopatin explains his process and innovative instrumentation in spinning this gritty urban thriller centered on Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a sad-sack jewelry dealer in over his head. Watch the video below.
“Howard Ratner is up against the clock, and there’s not a lot of time to figure out a whole lot of problems, and that essentially was mirrored in the studio. That kind of thing, it’s weird, but it does make its way into the music,” Lopatin said.
Of working in the recording studio with directors Josh and Benny Safdie — who were very hands-on throughout the process — Lopatin added, “You have to be so shameless. Unabashed, childlike studio tomfoolery is the only way to really get to this magical level.”
While the “Uncut Gems” soundtrack isn’t expected to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, it’s certainly one of the most original pieces of film music in recent years. The soundtrack is currently available to stream on music platforms. Some journalists last month were lucky to receive a vinyl copy of the album courtesy of “Uncut Gems” distributor of A24; it sounds great as an LP with headphones on, or in stereo, accompanying your next manic cleaning spree.
Watch the Moog Music documentary featuring Oneohtrix Point Never here. Also check out a recent IndieWire conversation with Josh and Benny Safdie, who discuss making their wild and crazy movie, and the many rings of fire they had to jump through in order for it to all come together as they’d hoped — from casting Adam Sandler to almost casting Kobe Bryant in a role that ultimately went to Kevin Garnett, another NBA Hall of Famer.