|AMAZON PRIMECOLLECTIONSXSW 2020AMAZONSXSW|
“Tales From the Loop” has all the elements of a mystery box show, except it’s largely — and wisely — uninterested in its mystery. Set in a small Ohio town at an undisclosed time, the new science-fiction series from creator Nathaniel Halpern a writer on “Legion” tracks the lives of various locals who are affected by the titular “Loop”: a massive black machine housed underground within an experimental physics center.
So, what’s this machine do? As the company’s founder, Russ Jonathan Pryce, explains to his grandson, Cole Duncan Joiner, The Loop “makes the impossible, possible.”
If your mind is already racing with possibilities, slow it down. While most writers would treat a statement like that as a starting gun, sending viewers through a maze of puzzles to find out the truth behind The Loop’s exact origins, express purpose, and explicit capabilities, Halpern isn’t interested in puzzles. He’s interested in people. Each episode of “Tales From the Loop” focuses on a different citizen of Mersa, Ohio. Each episode sees The Loop create a bizarre, inexplicable event. But each event and episode are designed to bring you closer to the individual, not the machine.
Told with a delicacy and patience, “Tales From the Loop” is better for not being another ambling mystery box show, yet carries a few of the common flaws seen in other episodic anthologies especially hourlong ones. Detailed character work from Rebecca Ferguson, Jonathan Pryce, and a slew of lesser known actors help build emotional ties quickly, and gorgeous countryside compositions from directors like Jodie Foster, Andrew Stanton, and So Yong Kim create a distinct yet familiar world worth investing in again and again. The show is inspired by co-executive producer Simon Stålenhag’s artwork. Even when arcs are a little too simple, to fit within the story’s abbreviated runtime, these creative tales should prove absorbing for more than just genre enthusiasts.
The first episode tells you all you need to know about “Tales,” especially related to the machine. Ostensibly about a little girl whose mother performs risky experiments for the company, “Loop” sets up the audience’s relationship to its characters, world, and The Loop itself. Really, the show couldn’t care less about the machine. The company barely even guards it. Kids make their way down to look at it, grab chunks off its rocky facade, and are barely scolded for intruding. Halpern acknowledges the allure of The Loop by letting his characters ask questions and get hands-on experience with it, but they all more or less move on. While The Loop is obviously important — it’s quite the literal interpretation of a story engine — Halpern carefully guides...
The federal government’s recently-passed $2 trillion economic stimulus includes a $454 billion loan guarantee fund for businesses struggling from the economic blowback of the coronavirus, including movie theaters, which are facing a challenge like never before in the history of Hollywood. But it’s still unclear to me exactly what the timing will be on how the distribution of those funds will play out, and which theaters might be left standing when this pandemic eventually ends.
Today, the Criterion Collection and Janus Films have teamed up to start an arthouse relief fund for independent cinemas in the hopes that more than 150 theaters across the country will be able to pay their essential bills, including “payroll, insurance, rent, non deferrable loans, utilities, fundraising, and mortgages,” until we get through this period. Get the details below.
The government’s stimulus package expands its Small Business Administration programs in the hopes of letting smaller businesses those which have 500 or fewer employees pay their fixed costs with no revenue coming in, and in some cases, be eligible for loan forgiveness. The National Association of Theatre Owners says that a majority of cinemas in the United States are classified as small businesses. There are additional ways theaters could be helped out by this stimulus, but again, the timetable is a little murky and by the time this aid is disbursed, it may be too late for some struggling theaters.
So the Criterion Channel and Janus Films teamed up to donate $50,000 to establish the Art-House America Campaign via ComingSoon, which “aims to provide financial relief to struggling independent cinemas across the country so they can pay staff and their essential bills and survive until it is safe to reopen their doors.” Their research shows that “even in normal times the average independent theater has only one month and twenty-six days of operating cash on hand,” so they wanted to do something to help – and fast.
The fund is hoping to raise $500,000 from donors, and theaters that receive funding from this will not be able to use the money to buy equipment, invest in future programming, or pay company executives. A committee will evaluate all of the applications “based on need, with the objective of helping theaters successfully survive temporary closures,” and funds will be distributed as soon as an application is approved.
To apply, theaters must meet the following criteria:
• Be an art-house motion picture exhibitor that operates year-round.
• Have been an open and operational cinema exhibitor for at least 6 months prior to COVID-19–related closures.
• Be an independent cinema. The exhibitor cannot be publicly traded or manage more than 4 separate theaters. 75% of staff...
High school can be a battlefield, but rarely has that battlefield seemed so dangerous as it does in Amazon’s stylish Sundance drama Selah and The Spades. The feature film debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe, Selah and The Spades follows a young girl who is chosen to be the protégé of the Queen Bee of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, and discovers that she wasn’t the first to be given this dubious honor. Watch the Selah and The Spades trailer below.Selah and The Spades Trailer
Amazon Studios has released the official trailer for Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut, Selah and The Spades, a stylish high school drama set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school. In this exclusive world, the student body is run by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects. Commanding the top faction is the titular Selah Summers Love Simone, who decides to choose a young protégé to take her place upon graduation. But as that sophomore upstart Paloma Celeste O’Connor soon finds, it’s a treacherous path to the top.
Selah and The Spades seems like a teen drama in the tradition of Brick or Thoroughbreds — stylish, razor-sharp, and populated by very good-looking teens who all act like characters in a noir film. The cast of fresh faces playing those characters include Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Here is the synopsis for Selah and The Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers Lovie Simone runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma Celeste O’Connor, to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a ened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.
Selah and The Spades premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 17, 2020....
The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.
There’s this weird in-between time when you’ve put in the work for a thing but the work for said thing hasn’t paid off just yet. That feeling manages to be one of the most nagging, frustrating sensations on the spectrum of nagging and frustrating sensations. It’s the time of doubt, confusion, fear, a whole gamut of questions that all ultimately end in “did I waste all of my time and make a terrible mistake?”
That’s exactly where Jamie Coral Amiga finds herself at the beginning of Georgia Oakley’s pilot of for the new series Bored, which is currently looking for a home and will hopefully find one.
Thankfully, Jamie’s got a best friend. Eve Nicole Hartley serves as Jamie’s polar opposite – at least as far as we can tell in the pilot. Where the former is driven and close to the vest, the ladder’s freewheeling and ready to live her life to the fullest. Eve’s not getting wrapped up in goals or relationship labels! The two friends are living in a 2017 London in the middle of Brexit. Folks their age are drinking, partying, and doing their best to forget the mess that’s going down around them.
But sometimes we manage to bring the mess home in our strongest efforts to escape it.
After partying a touch too hard, the ladies wake up to the realization that they’ve slept together. No big deal for Eve! She spends the majority of the episode ready to jump the soonest available candidate get it, girl. Jamie, on the other hand, finds herself pretty stressed about the ordeal. The questions going forward will be whether or not the girls’ friendship can survive their one-night stand. Because who doesn’t want complicated emotional issues while the world around them crumbles?
All in all, Bored presented with an effective pilot. The viewer immediately gets a solid sense of who our protagonists are, and what they stand for. Their world is fittingly small. Despite living in a politically tumultuous London, each of the ladies is selfish in their own way. They find themselves wrapped up in their own troubles despite the larger picture, so it makes perfect sense that we find ourselves in all of two locations in this first episodeboth of which are used incredibly well.
Equally as important as its effectiveness is whether or not the darn thing manages to be entertaining. I’m here reporting live from quarantine that I had a giggle or two! Both Eve and Jamie are relatable in their own way, and the dry wit serves the series well. There’s a bathroom scene that somehow managed to be both completely farfetched and perfectly believable at the same time.
I imagine we’ll see plenty of awkward moments, difficult conversations,...