Hypable Movie Review: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

6:40 pm EDT, January 11, 2013

At this point it’s impossible to write about Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s portrayal of the hunt for Osama bin Laden without addressing all the controversial baggage that has come along with its release. Yet it’s more important to address it as a piece of filmmaking, to which it is a masterful, towering achievement.

Zero Dark Thirty packs a massive punch as it distills the 10 year hunt for bin Laden into a 157 minute procedural that ends spectacularly. Cold and uncompromising throughout, the film will likely turn some off as from the start it is perhaps an overly intense experience. Much has been made of the film’s opening moments, which sees CIA interrogator Dan (Jason Clarke) using “enhanced interrogation techniques,” (read: water-boarding and sleep deprivation) on a detainee. The film’s central character, Maya (Jessica Chastain), watches in the background during what boils down to an extended torture sequence.

Zero Dark Thirty

It’s brutal to watch and immediately sets the stakes as high as possible, regardless of the fact we know the outcome of the film going into it. To address the controversies surrounding the inclusion and use of torture in the film, I’ll simply say by having it in the film, Bigelow and Boal are definitely not endorsing torture or even saying it works. Instead, it’s much more of a journalistic approach, and definitely doesn’t play fast and loose with it, rather letting history (or their interpretation of it) speak for itself.

Jessica Chastain is stunning as Maya, a character that constantly surprises. She is a terrifically written character which Chastain brings a quiet power to that perfectly matches the tone of the film. The film shifts between different chapters of the decade-long search, as the likes of Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Duplass and Jennifer Ehle appear in supporting roles as various CIA operatives and higher-ups.

These performances are all solid, as are Chris Pratt, Joel Edgerton and others as members of SEAL Team Six, but it’s Chastain and Clarke who stand out of the crowded ensamble piece. Maya’s tenacity and determination to find bin Laden fuels much of the energy of the film, which unfolds in detailed, procedural fashion. Her character arc is interesting to behold, as it occurs over the course of a decade. Clarke’s is also quite interesting, as early on we see him as the instigator of torture and ends up as a man behind a desk in Washington.

Zero Dark Thirty

Just as Boal wrote an impeccably crafted, impossibly detailed account of the search for bin Laden, Bigelow proves once again to have a command over her material, creating visceral, adrenaline-pounding sequences to balance out with the years of searching. While Maya is at the center, Bigelow impressively captures just how much of an effort the hunt was, while creating a chilling portrayal of al-Qaeda.

The attention and commitment to detail is impressive to say the least. Bigelow does an impressive job of keeping the audience with the film for the first two hours-plus of its running time, before SEAL Team Six arrives on the scene and delivers an impressive, breathtaking final act that will keep you on the edge of your seat, again, despite the fact that you know the outcome.

As Zero Dark Thirty comes to a close, Bigelow adds the right touches to make the film come together as well, if not better, than it started. There isn’t as much of an emotional impact here as with many other films of the year, however the result is just as impressive as any and all of them. It’s a remarkable achievement on multiple fronts, but perhaps more impressive of all is what is ultimately delivered: a dramatic retelling of recent moments in history of the highest order.

Grade: A

Rated: R (for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language)

Zero Dark Thirty expands nationwide on January 11, 2013.

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

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Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Everything you need to know about ‘Luke Cage’

The man

luke cage premiere date

We first met Luke in the series premiere of Jessica Jones and he was in the majority of the episodes for the season. He owned a bar in Hell’s Kitchen and made it a priority to stay away from complications. Too bad Jessica Jones is the definition of complicated. Sweet Christmas.

With chemistry pretty much off the charts, it didn’t take long for Luke and Jessica to start hooking up. Unfortunately, between Kilgrave’s manipulations and Jessica’s lies, the situation came to a head and Luke found out it was Jessica who was responsible for his wife’s death way back when Kilgrave was livin’ large with Jessica at his side.

Luke left after that, but not before he ran into Kilgrave with the intention of killing the man. Instead, Kilgrave used his power of mind control to plant Luke back into Jessica’s life and keep an eye on her until it was time for Kilgrave to use his trump card. He even forced Luke to blow up his own bar.

In a final confrontation, where Kilgrave once again played with Jessica’s emotions, Luke said he didn’t forgive her for killing his wife and, under Kilgrave’s power, attacked her until she was forced to put a shotgun to his head and pull the trigger.

Thanks to Luke’s powers, he survived, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t some damage. Luke was unconscious, and Jessica was forced to bring him to the hospital where Claire used her position as a nurse to sneak him back to Jessica’s apartment and keep an eye on him.

By the end of the series, once Kilgrave was killed and Jessica was arrested, Luke recovered from his injuries and left Jessica’s apartment when Claire wasn’t looking.

The myth

luke cage mike colter

Luke Cage’s powers are not unlike Jessica’s, though where they both share a similar level of strength, Luke has the added benefit of unbreakable skin. The experiments he was subjected to didn’t make him completely impervious to injury, as seen when the shotgun blast rattled his brain so much it did some internal damage. Areas like his eyes are also open to injury, if Claire sticking that needle through the socket is any indication.

Luke is also just, you know, a big guy. Is intimidation a supernatural ability? Because if so, this guy has got it in spades. He’s a good fighter and obviously used to dealing with the seedier side of the city, so even without his powers, he’d be good to have in a fight.

Luke Cage from the comics isn’t much different, though his interactions with other superheroes have given him an additional leg up. For instance, Iron Fist has taught Luke Cage additional fighting techniques, but we haven’t seen that in the MCU since Iron Fist has yet to debut on Netflix and it’s uncertain what their interactions will be like.

Apparently Luke also has a sweet jacket that’s as impervious as his skin. Given all the clothes we see him go through in the trailers for the upcoming season, perhaps we’ll see him gain a useful item like this in the upcoming freshman run.

The legend

luke cage clip

Luke Cage is already making a name for himself by the end of Jessica Jones, and it’s clear that season 1 of his own show is only going to further his story as a legendary hero. If you want to avoid spoilers at all costs, skip this section. If you’d like to get familiar with some of the show’s upcoming new characters, read on.

In Luke Cage season 1, it’s clear that Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth will be to Luke as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin was to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil. This is the guy who wears the crown around Harlem (where Luke has recently moved following his interactions with Jessica), and it’s pretty clear Stokes took no time in pissing off Luke.

Mariah Dillard will be an enemy of a different variety, as she’s a powerful local politician who also happens to be Stokes’ cousin. From the trailers it looks like the two are in business together, but the relationship is contentious at best. Alvarez/Shades, an associate of Cottonmouth, is also going to cause some problems for Luke.

On the other side of the line you have Misty Knight, a police detective who has Luke Cage on her radar. She might also be causing some problems for our hero, but she’s definitely one of the good guys. Her partner is Rafael Scarfe.

Claire will also be returning, this time in a starring role, so the hope is we’ll be seeing plenty of the nurse who is heroic in her own way. She might not have supernatural abilities, but she heals who she can, despite their various complications. She’s also there to light a fire up under the asses of heroes who might be losing their way — and she’s very good at her job.

Everyone’s favorite crook, Turk, will also be showing up in Luke Cage, as will Claire’s mother, Soledad. You can also expect Willis Stryker/Diamondback to play a part this season. He’s tied up with Cottonmouth and Shades and definitely has something against Luke. In the comics, they go way back, and Stryker even had a thing for Luke’s wife, Reva.

Here’s the latest trailer for ‘Luke Cage’ season 1

‘Luke Cage’ season 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Netflix come September 30

Once Upon a Time season 6 will see Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood at least one more time! Come on, is anyone ever really gone for good on this show?

Remember when Hook died, but he really didn’t? Remember when Neal died, but we got see him again in limbo between reality and the Underworld? Well, Robin Hood is following a similar Once Upon a Time narrative arc as EW confirms that the outlaw will return in season 6.

Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed the news saying, “We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising.”

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Once Upon a Time season 6 will see Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood at least one more time! Come on, is anyone ever really gone for good on this show?

Remember when Hook died, but he really didn’t? Remember when Neal died, but we got see him again in limbo between reality and the Underworld? Well, Robin Hood is following a similar Once Upon a Time narrative arc as EW confirms that the outlaw will return in season 6.

Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis confirmed the news saying, “We’re thrilled to have Sean back for this story arc and are excited for the audience to see what we have planned, which in the wake of his character’s heartbreaking demise, is something we hope is unexpected and surprising.”

Bringing back characters is one of the major reasons why characters on this show can never have closure. In the aftermath of season 5’s most remarkable death, Once Upon a Time took the necessary steps to give Regina closure. In Neal’s apartment (once again, reviving Neal’s presence for Emma), Regina began to process the reality of her life through a letter from Robin.

Once Upon a Time season 5 regina robin

Kitsis makes note that Regina’s course of action this season will deal with processing her grief. “I can tell you that a lot of this year is about Regina dealing with loss and moving on, because I think Regina has the most unfair luck of anybody, but that’s what makes her Regina,” says Kitsis.

We already caught some of that in the season 6 opener where Regina talks with Snow White about her character’s story and its various interpretations. If the feather floating away from Regina on the bench was a nod to her finding the strength to let go even a little bit, what will Robin’s return mean for her mentally? Regina needs all her faculties to face the most terrifying adversary this season– herself.

What will Robin’s return look like?

Maybe he will appear Jiminy Cricket style and remind her of her best qualities as she faces the Evil Queen. Or perhaps he will appear to save his daughter through some kind of intrinsic bond that exists between them? Maybe that feather actually means a bit more than we give it credit for!

Once Upon a Time season 5 episode 100 review regina robin henry

Kitsis and Horowitz note that Sean Maguire will have “an arc” meaning it is likely that he will appear in more than one episode.

What are some of your theories for Robin’s involvement in season 6? Let us know in comments!

Once Upon a Time season 6, episode 2, “A Bitter Draught,” airs Sunday, October 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Netflix’s The Crown chronicles the early years of Queen Elizabeth II, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the queen and consort. Watch a new trailer now!

We’ve already got Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman playing Queen Victoria on ITV, and now the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is playing her great-great graddaughter’s husband. Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey.

Netflix’s original drama series The Crown stars Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II, and tells the inside story of her early years as monarch. Watch the new trailer below:

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Netflix’s The Crown chronicles the early years of Queen Elizabeth II, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the queen and consort. Watch a new trailer now!

We’ve already got Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman playing Queen Victoria on ITV, and now the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is playing her great-great graddaughter’s husband. Wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey.

Netflix’s original drama series The Crown stars Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II, and tells the inside story of her early years as monarch. Watch the new trailer below:

The trailer offers an overview of the story we know — Elizabeth’s coronation, her wedding, her celebratory rides through joyous crowds — and reveals glimpses of the story we don’t.

The Crown claims to tell the inside story of Queen Elizabeth’s early reign, offering an intimate look into the fraught relationship between Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Showrunner Peter Morgan previously wrote the script for The Queen, which starred Helen Mirren and explored the events surrounding Princess Diana’s death.

The series is based on the award-winning play The Audience, and also stars John Lithgow as Sir Winston Churchill, Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother, Jared Harris as King George VI, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret and Dame Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary.

The official Netflix synopsis reads:

“A Netflix original series, The Crown focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. The British Empire is in decline, the political world is in disarray, and a young woman takes the throne….a new era is dawning. Peter Morgan’s masterfully researched scripts reveal the Queen’s private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. Prepare to be welcomed into the coveted world of power and privilege and behind locked doors in Westminster and Buckingham Palace….the leaders of an empire await.”

‘The Crown’ lands on Netflix on Friday, November 4

Here are the poster and promotional images released for the series:

TheCrown_KeyArt_US

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown

The Crown