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‘Smokey and the Bandit’: THR’s 1977 Review

The film is based almost solely on derring-do feats with little concern with substance and/or reality.
On May 19, 1977, Universal premiered Burt Reynolds’ Smokey and the Bandit at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review of the action comedy is below:
One of the last American frontiers is the open road and the men who drive the 18-wheelers across these paved wildernesses are the ones who will provide our modern legends, according to Jerry Reed’s main credit song for Smokey and the Bandit, a Rastar production for Universal.
And, like most legends, the film is based almost solely on derring-do feats with little concern with substance and/or reality. It’s a merry chase caper story line in which action is substituted for character or plot development.
Burt Reynolds stars as Bandit, a devil-may-care trucker who, with his sidekick, Snowman (Jerry Reed), accepts a challenge to go to Texarkana, Texas, pick up 400 cases of Coors beer and return to Atlanta, Ga., (a round-trip total of 1,800 miles) within 28 hours.
Along the way, he picks up Carrie (Sally Field), a Broadway gypsy who has just jilted someone at the altar. It turns out that her suitor (Mike Henry) was the son of the local sheriff (Jackie Gleason), who sets out in hot pursuit of the runaway bride.
That’s the sum total of the plot and the 97-minute running time is devoted to one long chase involving Reynolds and Field in a sporty Pontiac Trans Am, Reed and his dog in the 18-wheeler, Gleason and Henry in a patrol car that is slowly torn apart, and various truckers, citizens band friends and bumbling cops.
While the joke wears thin very quickly, there are a number of amusing sequences, which are combined with some exciting road action to provide a mildly entertaining — and totally mindless — film. Hal Needham, making his directorial debut after an illustrious career as a stuntman, makes the most of the action and progresses the film with a perfect light-hearted touch.
Reynolds performs with an offhand, easy style and he creates an engaging character that should please his many fans. The script requires little from any of the actors, but they all give personable performances. Field is well-cast as the kookie dancer, Reed is fine as Reynolds’ sidekick and Pat McCormick and Paul Williams appear as the incongruous father and son team who challenge Reynolds. Gleason has plenty of opportunity to clown around, but much of the time he seems to be doing a prissy Zero Mostel imitation and he too often forces the exaggeration.
The film has been attractively photographed by Bobby Byrne and the effective musical score by Bill Justis and Jerry Reed features three excellent country/western songs by Reed and Dick Feller, sung by Reed.
Produced by Mort Engelberg for executive producer Robert L. Levy, Smokey and the Bandit is basically a series of excellent comedy and action scenes that fail to come together as a satisfactory whole. — Ron Pennington, originally published on May 18, 1977. 

Why ‘Psychokinesis’ Is the Antidote to Summer Superhero Movie Fatigue

Sang-Ho Yeon’s Netflix film tells the story of a slob who develops psychic abilities and is worth watching if you feel like skipping ‘Deadpool 2

On April 25, Netflix unceremoniously released the miraculous South Korean superhero film Psychokinesis, a character-driven action film about a slob who develops psychic abilities after he accidentally drinks meteorite-infused spring water. The folks in charge of Netflix’s Instant video releases seem to have thought so little of Psychokinesis — the latest film by Sang-Ho Yeon, the talented writer/director of the breakout 2016 zombie thriller Train to Busan — that they didn’t even wait to release Yeon’s latest on a Friday, the day they normally reserve for their most high-profile titles. Instead, Netflix released Psychokinesis on a Wednesday, a piddling nothing of a weekday that’s only significant because ha ha, Humpday.
Still, Yeon adds a sneaky emotional resonance to what could have been just another deadbeat dad redemption story, a formulaic narrative that has become a staple of American blockbusters thanks to Steven Spielberg’s (understandably!) popular daddy issues dramas. Yeon struggles with his film’s central concern: does a lousy father deserve a place in his daughter’s life given that his absence has already created significant emotional distressIn questioning that by-now trite restorative narrative and its attendant shop-worn tropes, Yeon delivers a superhero film of rare emotional resonance and potency. If you’re looking for an alternative to this weekend’s Deadpool 2, this is the movie for you.
There are a lot of spoilers ahead. If you don’t want to be ravished by spoilers, you should save yourself some grief and watch Psychokinesis now.
For starters: Yeon sympathizes with bad dad Seok-heon (Seung-ryong Ryu) without blithely confirming his character’s paternal and often condescending point-of-view. Seok-heon is pretty much the only male character who gets stuff done: every other semi-efficient and/or emotionally complex character is a woman, particularly Seok-heon’s conflicted daughter Ru-mi (Eun-kyung Shim) and his power-hungry corporate antagonist Director Hong (Yu-mi Jung). Seok-heon’s point-of-view is ultimately validated, but Psychokinesis isn’t just about a well meaning guy who takes some licks, flexes his muscles and saves the day. Instead, Yeon’s latest is believably concerned with a sucky dad’s inevitable realization that he’s now living in his daughter’s world, a rite of passage that is confirmed at film’s end, when Ru-mi orders Seok-heon to use his powers to serve her restaurant’s customers.
Psychokinesis begins with a TV news item about Ru-mi’s own Gaem Gaem Chicken restaurant, a popular local business in Seoul’s 6th Nampyeong district. In this personal interest story, Ru-mi reveals her backstory in a couple of expository lines of dialogue: her father left when she was very little, so her mother had to support them both by re-selling hair-pins down in the city’s subway. Ru-mi can’t bring herself to look at the camera. She’s proud of herself, but you can tell she’s blushing — even without the camera crew’s unkind application of the kind of cameraphone app that adds blush, stickers, and puppy dog snouts to users’ selfies — when the off-camera news correspondent asks her why she doesn’t have a boyfriend. It’s an embarrassing question, but not because Ru-mi doesn’t believe in herself. You can see a lot of mixed emotions struggling to surface as she modestly describes the impact of Seok-heon’s abandonment: “My mom…she’s had a tough time.” The forced nature of Ru-mi’s matter-of-fact tone sets the table for a number of Ru-mi and Seok-heon’s subsequent conversations.
Soon after this introductory sequence, we flash-forward to the present, where Ru-mi struggles to defend her storefront from burly, hard-hat-clad Pinkerton types. These guys are acting on behalf of Taesan, an omnivorous mega-corporation that wants to raze Ru-mi’s neighborhood so that they can develop “a large-scale, duty-free shopping center for Chinese tourists.” The locals are united with Ru-mi in their refusal to take Taesan’s buy-out offers. This is their home and they won’t be made to move. Unfortunately, that stubborn-ness in the face of Taesan’s overwhelming influence — about two dozen men against one well-barricaded woman — doesn’t serve Ru-mi well. Her mother (Yeong-seon Kim) pays the price when she, trying to defend Su-mi, crashes their Gaem Gaem Chicken van in a vain attempt at dispersing the mob. Ru-mi’s mom dies from this collision, but not before the above-mentioned meteor passes over-head. Ru-mi’s mom cries as the pretty space debris flies by. And for a moment, it looks like she’s wishing for a miracle that will save her daughter. Granted, this trope is hardly progressive: a well-meaning, but effectively powerless woman can’t save her own child and therefore relies on her historically negligent ex-husband to set things right. But…well, hang on.
Seok-heon makes an appearance at his ex’s wake, but only because Ru-mi found his phone number in her dead mom’s cell phone. Here we get another semi-substantial scene that has nothing to do with Seok-heon’s powers, and everything to do with Ru-mi’s emotions. She apologizes to him for “calling out of the blue,” but her deeply internalized rage — and the attendant ways that she’s chosen to suppress it — is apparent by the way that she walks away right after she orders him to get some food for himself. Still, Ru-mi isn’t a pushover. She sees a group of Taesan heavies — including a guy whose haircut she messed up earlier — and literally charges at them head first. Here, cocky Taesan rep Min (Min-jae Kim) tries to win an ouch contest despite the apparent fact that he is crashing the wake of a woman who died trying to defend her family from his company. He whines to Ru-mi, “You’re making my life so difficult. I’m so stressed out.” Then he gallingly doubles down on his ridiculous self-victimizing claims: “Your mother passed away while driving. Why are you putting the blame on us? You obviously think like that because you’re completely delusional.” This scene is important later when Hong shows up, and reveals Min to be a boot-licking toady.
Still, you might be asking: what kind of man is Seok-heon that he can idly watch all this happen without even trying to intervene? When we first meet him, Ryu’s character is a boorish security guard who thinks he’s clever for stealing toilet paper from work and instant coffee packets from a nearby bank. He doesn’t go through the usual hero’s journey motions of struggling to master his powers, as so many formerly-impotent men do after they become super-hard. In fact, Yeon bluntly mocks the emasculating nature of Seok-heon’s pre-powers crisis in a scene where Ryu’s protagonist tries to show off to Ru-mi by using his mind powers to make his yellow neck tie dance around like a snake. It’s important to note that we’ve already seen, in two earlier scenes, that Seok-heon has mastered his supernatural skills. Now the only thing that can stop Seok-heon from getting it up is Ru-mi, the strongest woman in the film.
Thankfully, Ru-mi isn’t just the buzzkill who reminds Seok-heon of his past. In fact, she owns this confrontation, and finally gets to tell him off in a way that doesn’t just make her look like a major stepping stone in her dad’s path to emotional growth. Look at the way that Yeon focuses on Shim’s actions and Ryu’s reactions. Ru-mi stops her dad’s impromptu magic act and takes control of the scene with an accusation: “Do you remember when our eyes met, as you were leaving at the break of dawn?” It’s a super-charged moment, one that could have easily boiled over into unbearable bathos. But Shim holds it together until we see, in a reaction shot, that she’s not getting through to him. So she continues, while holding back hiccup-sized sobs: “You pretended like you didn’t see me.” Again, she can’t bring herself to look him in the eyes.
Seok-heon tries to regain control of this conversation, but Ru-mi stops him: “I’m trying to pull myself together, to get my life on track.” At this point, she can’t hold back and the rage she’s been holding in for who knows how long comes out in a way that she instantly regrets: “But you showed up, and you’re ruining everything now!” Shim quickly pats down her face with her palms and apologizes. Then she adds something that she can’t take back: “But don’t pretend like you’re my dad now after being absent for years. It’s disgusting.” She walks off, and for a second, he’s stunned into silence. The last thing we see in this scene is an over-the-shoulder medium shot of him processing what he just heard. Seconds later, as he’s slouching away: he flashes back to the day he left and the time his daughter caught him leaving.
Any succeeding displays of Seok-heon’s computer-generated super-abilities are colored by this scene. There are clear stakes now, and they’re confirmed every time Seok-heon can’t bring himself to look Ru-mi, Hong, or anyone else directly in the eye. Ryu admirably holds his own with Shim, and makes you believes that Seok-heon not only wants to make things up to Ru-mi, but also take his place in her narrative. At film’s end, Seok-heon makes a symbolic gesture that not only gives audiences a sense of closure, but also gives Ru-mi and her neighbors a genuine gift: the ability to start over without feeling like they failed. 
But before Seok-heon can prove himself in battle, he must confront Hong, a villain who says all the right things, but always has a nasty smile on her face that reveals her bullying nature. Hong is not, as one newscaster cheekily puts it, defined by “super-powerlessness.” She has flunkies savagely beat Min while she doctors evidence against Seok-heon. And she controls the sensation-chasing news media and the hammer-to-nail cops. The biggest difference between the city’s equally mindless police officers and news anchors is that Hong doesn’t have total control over the latter group, as a later scene proves. Still, Hong is in charge no matter how she claims that “those with real power aren’t people like us[…]they have power over this country, the Republic of Korea. The country itself is their power. Everyone else, including you and me, are just slaves of this society.”
Yeon puts the lie to Hong’s protests by cross-cutting to a riot that pointedly brings to mind the real-life Yongsan tragedy, a 2009 incident that left five Seoul tenants dead after riot police rushed into action without sufficient information. Seok-ki Kim, the former head of the city’s police force, resigned in disgrace after this incident. But in the film, Seoul’s policemen are briefly humanized in their own powerlessness, just as the rioters — led by Ru-mi, who chucks soju-based Molotov cocktails with unrestrained gusto — are presented like a wild force of nature. The individual participants in this violent set piece — the flashiest in the film — aren’t strictly good or evil. If anyone is to blame, it’s Min since he is literally revealed to be in the thick of the riot-gear-clad cops, like a tumor that’s co-opted the city’s potentially benevolent defenders.
Herein lies the secret of Psychokinesis‘s low-key maturity: Yeon makes you want to applaud Seok-heon’s realization that he not only cannot but really should not punch all his problems away — no matter how eminently punchable Min may be —  by consistently focusing on the incremental evolution of Seok-heon and Ru-mi’s relationship. You can tell that she ultimately has more power than he does just from the scene where she takes him out to lunch at her favorite “stew place.” This scene is characteristically well-filmed and performed: Ryu purses his lips and hangs his head while Shim walks ahead of him without looking back once to see if  he’s following her. Once they’re both seated, they talk about the potential health risks of having super-powers. And for once, this exchange isn’t a cheap way to foreshadow a plot contrivance about the biological limits of Seok-heon’s strictly imaginary powers. Instead, Ru-mi and Seok-heon’s dialogue functions as it should in any other drama: to develop their relationship in a semi-meaningful way. Modestly-scaled, and exceptionally well-realized scenes like this are why Psychokinesis is the superhero film of the summer. You just have to dig a little to find it

Bruce Willis Has Legal Win Against Film Producer Reversed by Appeals Court

Producer Michael Benaroya is fighting a contract and fraud claim over Willis’ services for an aborted film

Yet another lesson in getting everyone’s signature on a deal came on Thursday when a California appeals court reversed  Bruce Willis’ $5.9 million win against producer Michael Benaroya over the aborted film, Wake.
As previously described here, Willis was to star in the movie about a sociopath who attempts to reconnect with his estranged family. The picture was being produced by Benaroya Pictures, run by Mr. Benaroya (Margin CallLawlessThe Words), which under an escrow agreement, was supposed to put up $8 million for the actor’s services.  Only $3 million came into the escrow before production company ran into financing problems and the movie had to be shut down. Thereafter, Willis filed a demand for arbitration at JAMS claiming that Benaroya had breached contract and committed fraud and negligent misrepresentation. First, the arbitrator found in his favor, and then a Los Angeles Superior Court judge confirmed the judgment.
The big issue on appeal was the arbitrator’s finding that Benaroya was the alter ego of his production company and had to submit to arbitration even though he didn’t personally sign the agreement. As the arbitrator determined Benaroya was a proper party, he became jointly responsible for the judgment with the production company.
The core argument why Benaroya had to accept arbitration was that the escrow agreement stated that any dispute would be handled by the rules of JAMS (an arbitration forum), and those rules give the arbitrator the ability to determine its own jurisdiction.
But the California appeals court rules that it should have been a trial court and not the arbitrator to determine who among those who hadn’t signed the agreement was a proper party.
“Here, while it is true that the language of an arbitration agreement determines the scope of the arbitrator’s powers granted by the signatories, the agreement cannot bind nonsignatories, absent a judicial determination that the nonsignatory falls within the limited class of third-parties who can be compelled to arbitrate,” states the opinion.
The judgment against the production company stands, but for the moment, Michael Benaroya has been able to reverse a decision he’s liable as an alter ego.
Marty Singer, attorney for Willis, is ready for the next round.
“The Appellate Court ruling on whether Michael Benaroya should be an alter ego is a procedural issue,” he comments. “Per the Court of Appeal ruling, we will now be proceeding in the Los Angeles Superior Court and we are confident that the court will follow the undisputed evidence in the arbitration establishing the liability of Michael Benaroya as the alter ego of Benaroya Pictures.”

‘Happytime Murders’ Red-Band Trailer: Melissa McCarthy Cavorts With Sex-Crazed, Alcoholic Puppets

The raunchy creatures also push the comedian to do ecstasy in the not-for-kids trailer for the dark comedy

Melissa McCarthy plays the lead detective in a world where humans and puppets coexist. When the puppet castmembers of a beloved puppet TV show, The Happytime Gang, begin turning up dead, she’s forced to team up with a sex-crazed, alcoholic puppet.
Throughout the red-band trailer, McCarthy’s character encounters puppets doing everything from propositioning sex to forcing her to snort ecstasy. “That is good shit!” she yells after seemingly coming back from the dead.
Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph and Leslie David Baker can also be seen in the sneak peek.
The Happytime Murders hits theaters August 17 from STX Entertainment.

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Star Reveals His Secret Love of ‘Sex and the City’

“Ask me trivia on ‘Sex and the City,’ and I will know it,” says John David Washington, who wishes he could vote in New York for gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon

John David Washington — star of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, which is vying at Cannes for the Palme d’Or — boasts a hidden talent. The Ballers actor can quote verbatim from all 94 episodes of Sex and the City. “Ask me trivia on Sex and the City, and I will know it,” dares Washington. “I rewatch it every year. Samantha? Charlotte? Those are my girls.”
As for his other, more publicized talent, breaking tackles as a former St. Louis Rams running back, Washington says he learned all about acting rejection through football, recalling a general manager who “told me I’d never play in the NFL again, and he ended up being right. I sat waiting for almost an hour for him to tell me that.
“So when you get rejected from a casting agent or they don’t want you for an audition, it doesn’t compare to that feeling. I was ready. I was ready for rejection.” When asked if, as Denzel’s eldest son, he’s auditioned for parts he hasn’t gotten, Washington says: “All the time. I’m zero for about a hundred right now.”
That could soon change as Lee’s BlacKkKlansman debuted to a 6-minute standing ovation in Cannes on Sunday night, and Washington, in particular, was singled out for his lead role.

Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin Spoof ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ with James Corden

The reboot didn’t work out because of Corden’s refusal to be dubbed “the Ugly.”
Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin made their latest Deadpool 2 press tour stop with a pretaped sketch for The Late Late Show on Thursday night, but host James Corden didn’t seem too happy in their attempted remake of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The footage — complete with horses, gunslingers and everything else needed to make a Western — was supposedly shot before Reynolds and Brolin joined forces in Deadpool 2. However, the reboot never saw the light of day for reasons that quickly became evident.
“It’s high stakes at high noon,” a voiceover said before dubbing Reynolds the Good, Brolin the Bad and Corden, of course, the Ugly.
Corden cut the voiceover off afterwards. “I’m sorry, what did they just say? Did anyone else hear that?” he said, to which Reynolds replied, “Yeah, they just called you ugly.”
“Uglier than a sack of pig testicles,” Brolin said.
Corden wasn’t buying it, though. “I’m the one who’s good,” he said. “I’m a loving father and husband. I’m active in my community. I give to charity.”
But Reynolds said he does all that, too — plus he’s Canadian, while British people like Corden are often villians.
“Why do you guys play bad guys in like every movie?” Reynolds asked before spewing out examples with Brolin’s help: Die Hard, Star Wars, Jungle Book, Silence of the Lambs and even Harry Potter (“Everyone’s British in Harry Potter!” Corden yelled.).
The three continued to argue about their respective roles, but since Corden wouldn’t budge, they eventually killed the project. He seems to go along with Reynolds suggestion of a different movie, but it’s easy to see how things will go sour. In a remake of Three Men and a Baby, the three men are actually Reynolds, Brolin and Corden’s bandleader Reggie Watts — leaving Corden as the actual baby.

‘Usagi Yojimbo’ Creator Wins the First Joe Kubert Storyteller Award

The first Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller Award has been presented at Ontario’s Comic Con Revolution, and the recipient is a comic book veteran whose career has lasted for more than thirty years and multiple publishers. Stan Sakai, the creator of epic anthropomorphic historical series Usagi Yojimbo, has nabbed the honor.
Sakai, who was born in Kyoto, Japan and raised in Hawaii, got his start in comics as a letterer in the early 1980s on a number of independent comic book series, including cult classic Groo the Wanderer by MAD Magazinecartoonist Sergio Aragones and Mark Evainer. He was soon writing and illustrating his own characters, beginning with The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper and Hermy in the debut issue of the anthology title Albedo. Usagi Yojimbo followed in the very next issue, setting Sakai’s career path for years to come.
In addition to the ongoing Usagi Yojimbo series, the character has appeared in a number of different comic books, as well as on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated television show and merchandise including video games, toys and apparel. Sakai also created the spin-off series Space Ysagi, which was the basis for a never-completed animated TV pilot. The central Usagi series was optioned earlier this year for development into an animated series with James Wan’s Atomic Monster and Gaumont on board to co-produce with Sakai.
Beyond Usagi Yojimbo, Sakai’s work has appeared in comic book series including 47 RoninCritters and Dark Horse Presents. In addition to lettering Groo the Wanderer, he also worked on the syndicated Spider-Mannewspaper strip, and has won numerous awards for his work including an Inkpot Award for “Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Cartooning” and the 2016 Harvey Award for Best Cartoonist.
The Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller Award was created this year by the Kubert School and Atomic Crush Events in tribute to the work of Kubert, who died in 2012. The award is given to a creator who not only produces high quality work, but is also committed to helping the comic book community at large with a focus on helping new creators.
In a statement supporting the announcement, artist Bill Sienkiewicz said, “Stan Sakai is a personal hero of mine, the epitome of what one person with a unique vision can do creatively. His singular commitment to his art, and story, mainly via his brilliant Usagi Yojimbo, should be inspiring to anyone with their own story to tell. This is how you do it. You commit, every single day. So here we are, 34 years later, enriched by his wonderful tapestry of humor, wit, empathy, artistry and history. And thankfully, there is so much more to come from him.”
David Mack, creator of the critically acclaimed Kabuki, added, “Stan is such a great choice to receive this award. He’s been such a great example of a creator having a vision and seeing it through. I had the good fortune to do some signings in Paris with Stan many years ago, and meeting him very early in my career.  In addition to his work and commitment to his work being a guiding example of a creator manifesting his vision, as a person, he has always been kind and nurturing to new comic creators as well.”

If THR Critics Picked the Cannes Prizes…


  • South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong’s latest is a stunning, slow-building romantic thriller in which an aspiring writer and a rich hotshot become rivals for the affections of a charismatic young woman. In his review, Todd McCarthy writes: “Director Lee Chang-dong establishes and then sustains an almost trancelike state while still keeping a simple yet elusive story afloat. This is a beautifully crafted film loaded with glancing insights about class privilege, reverberating family legacies, creative confidence, self-invention, sexual jealousy, justice and revenge.”

Grand Prize (2nd place): ‘Shoplifters’

A ragtag family of petty thieves provides an affectionate home for an abused little girl in Kore-eda Hirokazu’s tender family drama. The film is “studded with memorable characters and believable performances that quietly lead the viewer to reflect on societal values,” Deborah Young writes in her review. “Who better than Kore-eda, a director who whispers instead of shouts, is able to capture contradictions and issues though such a subtle, unforced style of storytelling?”

Jury Prize (3rd place): ‘Cold War’

A companion piece to his foreign-language Oscar winner Ida, this is yet another exploration of Soviet-era angst from director Pawel Pawlikowski. Tracking the relationship between two Polish musicians as they shuttle back and forth across the Iron Curtain, from Warsaw to Paris and beyond, the film, writes Leslie Felperin, is “bittersweet and unbearably lovely, a sad ballad of two lovers who can’t stand to stay apart but also sometimes can’t stand each other.”

Cannes: Netflix Lands ‘Happy as Lazzaro,’ ‘Girl’


Netflix has acquired a pair of Cannes award winners, nabbing North American and Latin American rights to Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro and North American and Latin American rights to Lukas Dhont’s Girl.
Happy as Lazzaro premiered in competition and was awarded best screenplay for Rohrwacher. Girl premiered in the Un Certain Regard sidebar, where it landed the best actor prize for Victor Polster. Girl also won the Camera d’Or prize for best first film.
Happy as Lazzaro chronicles a meeting between the titular character, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible ­Marchesa­ Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping, sparking a strange and improbable alliance.
The cast includes Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher, Agnese Graziani, Tommaso Ragno, Sergi Lopez, Natalino Balasso, Gala Othero Winter, David Bennent and Nicoletta Braschi. Carlo Cresto-Dina produced the film.
Girl centers on a determined 15-year-old named Lara who is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara’s adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy.
Girl was awarded this year’s Queer Palm award. Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart, Tijmen Govaerts, Katelijne Damen, Valentijn Dhaenens, Magali Elali and Alice de Broqueville co-star in the film written by Dhont and Angelo Tijssens. Dirk Impens produced.
The Match Factory represented both films in negotiations with Netflix.

‘Deadpool 2’ Is Truer to the Comics Than Fans May Realize

Josh Brolin’s Cable has a far simpler backstory than Marvel readers remember, but that’s how the character’s creators intended it.

When Deadpool was released in 2016, it was praised for the accuracy in which it depicted its central character. Despite some minor alterations to his origin and the emphasis on a love story – a surprisingly touching one, Deadpool stuck the superhero landing as one of the most accurate portrayals of a comic book character in film. The successful collaboration between star Ryan Reynolds, director Tim Miller, and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick set a new standard for comic book accuracy in film, and they did it with an R-rating and a $58 million budget to boot. This accuracy was rewarded with a $783.1 million global take, and the ability to chart a bigger course for the sequel. But new challenges come with bigger expectations and a vaster landscape to play in. There are few courses larger, more tangled, and emblematic of the best and worst of comic book narratives than Cable’s. For a film that’s success hinged on comic book accuracy as well as the simplicity of its narrative, Deadpool painted itself in a corner during the post-credits scene by promising the time traveling mutant from the future, Cable (Josh Brolin), for the sequel. But as this weekend’s release of David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 proves, the corner is where the minds behind the movie work best.

On the page, Cable may seem simple: a soldier from the future with a metal arm and a poor sense of humor. But keep turning those pages, and what’s revealed is a complex backstory involving the X-Men’s leader Cyclops having a child with the clone of Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor, in the aftermath of the former’s death in Chris Claremont’s famed “Dark Phoenix Saga.” That child, Nathan Summers, was then infected with the techo-organic virus by ancient mutant despot Apocalypse, resulting in the living metal tissue that makes up a good portion of his body. The only way Nathan could be saved was to be sent 2000 years into future where he could possibly be cured. In the future, Nathan Summers grows up as a prophesized messiah who can free the world from the tyranny of Apocalypse. While one of the most powerful mutants in existence, with telepathy to rival Xavier’s, and telekinesis that could extinguish stars, his mutant powers are fully occupied by keeping the techo-organic virus from consuming his body. Thus Nathan Summers is forced to rely on weapons and tech instead of his mutant abilities, essentially becoming a one-man army. The name Cable stems from his father telling him that he’ll be “a cable that unites the past with the present and future” (Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix No. 4, 1994). Realizing it’s the only way he can truly stop Apocalypse and his protege Stryfe (a healthy clone of Cable), he travels back to the past and meets up with the then-present day X-Men and co-opts Xavier’s dream to create his own hard-knock school of soldiers, the X-Force. Yes, it’s exhausting and brilliant in the way that only X-Men comics can be.

It’s clear to see why trying to present this comic accurate version of Cable would be a challenge, particularly when he’s not even the central focus of the movie. The X-Men movies, despite being six films deep, have yet to even reach the point where Cable’s backstory could be seamlessly worked into this world, even with the time travel shenanigans of X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) considered. Instead of trying to streamline Cable or drastically alter his character, something that Deadpool knows firsthand about via X-Men Origins: Wolverine(2009), the sequel takes the character back to his roots and presents him as simply as he was presented on the cover of his first appearance in 1990’s The New Mutants No. 87 as “the man called Cable!!” As originally conceived by Rob Liefeld, Cable was a Terminator-esque cyborg from the future, who could upset the status quo of Professor X’s peaceful agenda. After Louise Simonson and Liefeld brought the character to life, it was later decided by other parties at Marvel, including comic superstar Jim Lee who revitalized the X-books in the 90s along with Liefeld, that Cable should be Nathan Summers and thus connect back to that larger narrative. Deadpool 2 goes back to Liefeld’s original vision for Cable, and in this small space the character is able to be interesting on his own rather than as a result of his relation to the wider X-Men cinematic universe.

What Deadpool 2 does so brilliantly is that it manages to present an accurate version of Cable by only presenting what’s necessary for the context of this particular film. This isn’t to say that the film’s version of Cable isn’t Nathan Summers: messiah, but rather that for this film it simply doesn’t matter. He alludes at fighting other tyrants in the past in order to save the future, but his mission in the film is defined by it how it relates to Deadpool’s personal arc, rather than how it relates to an audience seeking to piece together canon. While so many superhero films are focused on planting what comes next, Cable isn’t defined by what we know from his comic book narrative, but rather by Brolin’s ability to create an empathetic asshole who is able to find hope in the past. There’s a sense of physical fatigue in Brolin’s every movement, giving us a sense of Cable’s never-ending mission. This unending war Brolin imbues the character with also creates subtle dimensions in how he’s sees the people around him, tragically damned and cartoonish projections of beings whose status in reality could change in an instant. Brolin’s Cable is the equivalent of Bob Hoskins’ Eddie Valiant from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), forced to find substance in a world he’s dismissed as fiction beyond his personal desires.

When it comes to Cable, Deadpool 2 manages to do more with less by delivering only the comic-book accuracy that’s needed and holding back the rest. There’s plenty of room left to go with Cable’s character in the future, and there’s little doubt that the twisting avenues of his backstory will eventually be explored on film. But by opting not to try to fit decades of narratives and retcons into a character introduction, Deadpool 2’s Cable showcases that increasingly complex comic book films can still find precision in simplicity.

Luc Besson Accused of Rape (Report)


Luc Besson has been accused of rape and is being investigated by French authorities, according to a new report from Europe 1.
The outlet reports that a 27-year-old French actress, who remains unnamed, brought forward a complaint against the Valerian and a Thousand Planets helmer on Friday morning. The actress is said to have known Besson for many years.
The actress alleges that at a meeting at Le Bristol luxury hotel in Paris, Besson added something to her tea, after which she started feeling out of sorts and lost consciousness. When she awoke he was touching and penetrating her, the actress claims. The director departed the hotel before the actress and left her with a wad of bills. The actress says she then went to a female friend’s house for safety.
The French police are investigating the claims after the Friday morning report, according to Europe 1.
Besson’s lawyer, Thierry Marembert, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, “Mr. Besson fell off his chair when he learned of these accusations, which he flatly denies.”
Besson, a highly acclaimed director who has won one BAFTA award and earned 10 César nominations, has helmed 18 feature-length films, including Léon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita, Lucy and Valerian. Besson is currently the CEO of France-based production and distribution company EuropaCorp after former leader Marc Schmuger stepped down in 2017, following a $135 million loss during the 2016 financial year.

Royal Weddings in Movies, TV Shows


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are just hours away from tying the knot at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, with the pair’s engagement announced at the end of November.
Weddings have long been a popular component of movies and TV shows. For many viewers, the only thing more romantic than a wedding is one that’s royal. While projects likeThe Crown and The Young Victoria featured ceremonies based on real-life courtships, other productions like The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and Gossip Girl have taken inspiration from the royal lifestyle to depict elaborate nuptials.
As the latest royal wedding approaches, take a look at similar ceremonies from movies and TV shows.

‘The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement’ (2004)

  • In the sequel to the 2001 film, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement finds recent college graduate Mia (Anne Hathaway) coming to terms with the fact that she must take over the role as Queen of Genovia when her grandmother Clarisse (Julie Andrews) steps down from the throne. The only way Mia can ensure the she will be next in line for the title is if gets married by the end of the month. While much of the film follows Mia’s journey to find a husband, Clarisse ends up as a bride at the end of the film when she spontaneously marries her longtime bodyguard Joe (Hector Elizondo).

‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006)

At the age of 15, Austria native Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) marries Louis XVI of France (Jason Schwartzman) to form an alliance between the two rival countries. While they have an elaborate wedding with more than 6,000 guests in attendance, the marriage has a rocky start when they are pressured to immediately produce a new heir to the throne.

Hollywood Flashback: How Hedy Lamarr Helped Invent Wi-Fi


History and Hollywood conspired to make Hedy Lamarr’s life a bit too interesting. She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler to Viennese Jewish parents in 1913. She became internationally famous as the nude actress in the 1933 Czech film Ecstasy and wed the third-richest man in Austria, a fascist arms maker 30 years her senior (Mussolini once came to dinner). She eventually fled her husband and sailed from England to America on a ship with MGM’s Louis B. Mayer, who gave her a seven-year, $500-a-week contract ($8,600 today) along with a new glam name and the title the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.
Within a year of arriving in Culver City — and still just 24 — Lamarr made Algiers in 1938 with Charles Boyer. THR said “she had more sex, more rare beauty than the screen has seen for many days” and predicted she was “destined to reach great heights if given the proper material.” That didn’t happen, but other successes did.
Most curious is that she and composer George Antheil patented a device that made radio frequencies jump around — technology used today in GPS and Wi-Fi.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t make a dime off it,” says Alexandra Dean, director of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, which airs May 18 on PBS.
Lamarr’s last good film was 1949’s Samson and Delilah (“The wine of parting is bitter, Samson,” is one of her lines). She married five more times; sued Mel Brooks for naming the Harvey Korman character in Blazing Saddles Hedley Lamarr (“She did it for the money, she was broke,” says Dean. “And Mel loved her, so he paid her”); and had her last big splash in the press when she was arrested in 1966 for shoplifting $86 in merchandise from May Co. department store (soon to be the Academy museum).

Weekend Box Office: ‘Deadpool 2’ Earns Record $53.3M on Friday


Avengers: Infinity War finally has some competition.
Ryan Reynolds and 20th Century Fox’s summer event pic Deadpool 2 rocketed to a huge $53.3 million on Friday, the best opening day in history for an R-rated film. The previous champ was New Line’s It ($50 million). Deadpool 2‘s Friday haul included $18.6 million in Thursday-evening previews.
The sequel has a shot at scoring the top opening of all time for an R-rated title if it bests the $132.4 million launch of Deadpool in February 2016. So far, it’s pacing ahead of the first film, which grossed $47.4 million on its first Friday.
The Merc with the Mouth is now also a straight A student, with both films earning an A CinemaScore.
Playing in a total of 4,349 theaters in North America — the widest release in Fox history — Deadpool 2 will easily win the frame, ending Infinity War‘s three-week rule. Disney and Marvel’s Infinity War is looking at a $28 million-$30 million weekend as it heads for the $1.8 billion mark at the worldwide box office. Infinity War grossed $7.2 million on Friday to come in at No. 2.
Overseas, Deadpool 2 is opening in most major markets timed to its U.S. launch — one major exception is China — for a projected foreign debut of $150 million-plus.
Reynolds reprises his role as the irreverant Deadpool in the follow-up. He produced the sequel and co-wrote the script with his Deadpool collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch, follows the irreverent superhero as he forms an X-Force posse in hopes of stopping the evil Cable (Josh Brolin). Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand and Jack Kesy co-star.
A pair of smaller films also open nationwide: Paramount’s female-fronted Book Club and Global Road’s family offering Show Dogs.
Targeting older femmes, director Bill Holderman’s Book Club stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as four friends who decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey with unintended consequences. Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson play the love interests.
Book Club is exceeding expectations, earning roughly $4.7 million on Friday from 2,781 theaters for a projected $14 million-$15 million debut.
Conversely, Show Dogs may only earn $5 million-$6 million for the weekend from 3,145 cinemas (Global Road had hoped for slightly more).
Rated PG, the pic chronicles the adventures of a Rottweiler police dog (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) that infiltrates a prestigious dog show with the help of his human partner (Will Arnett). Other castmembers include Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Shaquille O’Neal and Alan Cumming.


Antoine, scapolo impenitente, vive in un magnifico appartamento di Parigi con Thomas, coinquilino che si trasferirà presto a Los Angeles e che ha promesso di trovargli un sostituto all’altezza. Il successore in questione si chiama Jeanne, è alta un metro e settanta e ha grandi occhi blu, in cui Antoine si tuffa senza indugio con una bottiglia di Champagne in mano. Ma Jeanne ha poco o nulla da festeggiare, separata di recente da un marito infedele, si trasferisce a casa di Antoine coi suoi bambini, Théo 8 anni e Lou 5 anni. Terrorizzato e privo di qualsiasi vocazione paterna, Antoine soccombe presto a mamma e figli tra un colpo di pennarello e una manciata di Smarties.
La commedia della coabitazione sta diventando un vero sottogenere in Francia dopo Libre et assoupiAdopte un veufSous le même toit (sempre con Louise Bourgoin), Daddy Cool, inediti in Italia ma allineati nel descrivere una realtà sociale (la condivisione di un appartamento) in costante crescita tra gli over 35/40 anche nel nostro Paese.
Insomma sono lontani i tempi in cui la convivenza domiciliare era una soluzione ‘per universitari’. Il cinema francese, sensibile al soggetto, ne rivendica la modernità e mette in schermo tutto quello che ha di più spendibile. Nasce così una commedia di intrattenimento che, a questo giro di inquilini, vorrebbe fare implodere con insolenza il modello familiare.

Opera prima di Emmanuel Gillibert, Famiglia allargata è la storia di un tipo che non pensa che a lui, un seduttore incallito, maestro di immaturità che finisce suo malgrado per convivere con dei bambini e diventare grande con loro, da cui apprende più di quanto avrebbe potuto immaginare. Nella medesima circostanza ovviamente conquista una donna, sempre più adulta e responsabile di lui, in altre parole più noiosa. Tutto questo vi rammenta qualcosa? È normale, è la sintesi di tante commedie che scorrono regolarmente sui nostri schermi. Sceneggiatura greve, grammatica televisiva, dialoghi sconfortanti non sono nuovi a questo genere popolare che, lo si ami o no, può contare sovente sul carisma dei suoi attori principali

Lisbeth Salander Returns in ‘The Girl Who Danced With Death’ Comic (Exclusive)

The girl with the dragon tattoo just can’t catch a break. This August, Titan Comics continues the story of Lisbeth Salander with the new comic book series The Girl Who Danced With Death – Millennium, and THR has an exclusive preview.
Written by Sylvain Runberg with art by Belen Ortega, The Girl Who Danced With Death continues Titan’s best-selling graphic novels based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, with an all-new story in which Salander’s friend Trinity is kidnaped, leading her to recruit Mikael Blomkvist to investigate what happened, and discover the secret of a group known only as Sparta. The three-part series will be the first time the material, which was published in French in 2016, has been released in English.
2018 is clearly the year for new Millennium material; November sees the release of The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a movie adaptation of David Lagercrantz’s continuation of the Larsson novel trilogy. Claire Foy, of Netflix’s The Crown, will play Salander, replacing Rooney Mara, who played the character in David Fincher’s 2011 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo adaptation.
The Girl Who Danced With Death – Millennium No. 1 (of 3) will be released Aug. 15 in comic book stores and digitally. Two pages from that issue, as well as the variant cover, are below.

‘Capharnaum’: Film Review | Cannes 2018


According to one definition found online, Capharnaum means a “disorderly accumulation of objects.” Although that’s a fantastically uncommercial title for a movie, the concept suits this latest work from actor-writer-director Nadine Labaki (CaramelWhere Do We Go Now?). She’s made up a grab bag of ideas and plot elements that work surprisingly effectively as a melodrama with a message. Several messages, in fact, all illustrated through the ordeals suffered by 12-year-old Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), a child fighting to survive in the slums and shanty towns of Lebanon. Although the narrative is structured through a highly unbelievable instigating conceit — Zain is trying to sue his own parents in court for giving him life in the first place — Labaki lures such outstanding performances out of the almost entirely non-professional cast and sketches such a credible view of this wretchedly poor milieu that the flaws are mostly forgivable.
Labaki and casting director Jennifer Haddad have sought actors whose life stories track closely to the backstories of the characters they’re playing. That means star Al Rafeea really is a kid who had until recently been working, per the press notes, as a delivery boy since the age of 10, while Cedra Izam, the girl who plays his 11-year-old sister, is a Syrian refugee who was discovered while selling chewing gum in the streets of Beirut, and so on.
But such parallels between life and art aren’t enough on their own to account for the felt authenticity of the performances. It takes a director with genuine empathy, patience and rapport with performers, backed by enough budget to shoot hundreds of hours of footage (the film was made over six months) in order to make a work this emotionally persuasive.
Inevitably, there will be doubters who won’t feel so won over, who will yawn and invoke parallels with films like Slumdog Millionaire and other works of so-called “poverty porn” and mock the pile-up of misfortune heaped upon the hero and his friends. Reactions will depend on each viewer’s unique levels of compassion and cynicism. I do know that by the end, both I and the total stranger sitting next to me were sniffling and sharing a packet of tissues between us.
Structurally picaresque, the story starts in a courtroom into which Zain is led in handcuffs, having been arrested for stabbing “a son of bitch” as he describes him. It’s revealed that, with support from his lawyer (Labaki herself, taking an onscreen backseat), he hopes to sue his parents — mother Souad (Kawthar Al Haddad) and father Selim (Fadi Kamel Youssef) — for giving him life in the first place when they couldn’t offer him even a minimal level of care, safety and affection.
Zaid’s parents are so poor they couldn’t afford the fees to register his birth, which means he can’t get a state I.D. card and is therefore effectively a non-person, unqualified to get a passport, attend a school or even get medical assistance at a hospital in case of an emergency. This lack of papers is a crucial theme in the film and an issue some audiences may fail to grasp the significance of, creating a potential messaging problem in some offshore markets.
Raised in a filthy hovel in a crumbling concrete high-rise, Zain, as one of the older kids in the family, is forced to work in order to feed himself and his siblings. He makes deliveries for a local grocer, a man with a sinister interest in Zain’s little sister Sahar. When his desperate parents effectively sell Sahar off to the grocer, Zain runs away to a coastal town. A chance encounter on a bus with a slightly addled Armenian dotard dressed like Spider-Man, or Cockroach-Man as he prefers to call himself, leads to Zain sleeping at a beachside amusement park.
There he meets Ethiopian immigrant Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw), a kindly soul who is barely better off than Zaid. Rahil is hiding the existence of her 1-year son Yonas (played by unbearably cute baby girl Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, whose own real-life parents were temporarily deported during filming) from both employers and the authorities (she keeps the kid in a shopping cart while at work). Living in a shack made of corrugated plastic, detritus and rust, she is trying to save up enough cash for a new forged I.D. card on offer from shifty souk trader Aspro (Alaa Chouchnieh). Rahil takes in Zaid who proves to be a surprisingly resourceful and adept babysitter for Yonas, whom he passes off as his brother.
The film detours away from Zain in order to follow Rahil and her travails for a while, only to swing back suddenly to Zain when Rahil inexplicably fails to return from work one day, forcing the prepubescent child into increasingly desperate measures to keep himself and Yonas from starving to death. But while the trajectory looks unrelentingly grim, Labaki punctuates the ordeal with moments of joy, warmth and humor, while her husband and producer Khaled Mouzanar’s orchestral score offers sweet notes of optimistic promise among the often discordant strings and feedback.
Those who won’t go along with the film’s earnest exploration of the depths of despair won’t be any more mollified by the last act’s many collisions of coincidence and grandstanding speeches. But it’s impossible not to appreciate the vigorous editing by Konstantin Bock and Laure Gardette that keeps things going at a clip that sweeps you up like a wave, and the way Christopher Aoun’s cinematography, often interspersed with breathtaking drone footage, shows off Beirut in all its squalid splendor.
Venue: Cannes Film Festival (competiton)
Production: A Mooz Films presentation in association with Cedrus Invest Bank, with the participation of Sunnyland Film Cyprus, in association with Doha Film Institute, KNM Films, Boo Films, The Bridge Production, Synchronicity Production, Loverture Films, Open City Films, Les Films des Tournelles
Cast:Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Kawthar Al Haddad, Fadi Kamel Youssef, Cedra Izam, Alaa Chouchnieh, Nadine Labaki
Director: Nadine Labaki
Screenwriters: Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Kesrouani, Georges Khabbaz, Khaled Mouzanar
Producers: Khaled Mouzanar, Michel Merkt
Executive producers: Akram Safa, Fouad Mikati, Candice Abela, Samer Rizk, Georges Sarraf, Sylvio Sharif Tabet, Ray Barakat, Chady Eli Mattar, Antoine Khalife, Joslyn Barnes, Danny Glover, Wissam Smayra
Co-producer: Pierre Sarraf
Director of photography: Christopher Aoun
Art director: Hussein Baydoun
Costume designer: Zeina Saab Demelero
Editors: Konstantin Bock, Laure Gardette
Music: Khaled Mouzanar
Casting: Jennifer Haddad
Sales:  Wild Bunch

Marvel Relaunches ‘West Coast Avengers’ as Young Hero Team

The comic book series will star teen hero Kate Bishop.
With its relaunch of the core title less than a month old, Marvel Entertainment has already announced plans to expand the Avengers franchise into a second title. It’s one that is likely to thrill fans old and new alike, with the revived West Coast Avengers spinning out of the critically acclaimed recent Hawkeye run.
The new miniseries will be written by Hawkeye’s Kelly Thompson, with art by Stefano Caselli, and sees the titular star of the earlier series — Kate Bishop, teenage superhero turned Los Angeles-based private eye — gather a team of fan-favorite younger characters together for a very simple purpose: Keep L.A. in one piece.
“They all need and want something from being on that team together,” Thompson told Marvel.com. “Kate needs to help save L.A., and she needs help to do that because villains have taken notice that there are no Super Heroes out there. I think there’s part of her that misses [being on a team] too.”
Other members of the team include X-Men supporting character Quentin Quire, fourth-wall-breaking Gwenpool, dimension-hopping superstar America Chavez…and Bishop’s non-powered boyfriend Johnny, who might find that the superhero life isn’t what he expected. Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye, will also be a player in the series, with Thompson teasing that he “doesn’t want to admit how much it’s fun for him to mentor” the younger heroes.
The name of the new series is one that older fans will remember from the 1980s. The 1984 West Coast Avengersminiseries — which begat an ongoing series of the same name a year later — was the first time Marvel had successfully transformed the Avengers series into a franchise of its own. Before too long, it had been joined by Solo Avengers, with a multitude of other titles including New AvengersYoung Avengers and even Great Lakes Avengers.

‘Knife + Heart’ (‘Un couteau dans le coeur’): Film Review | Cannes 2018


If Dario Argento, Brian De Palma and Kenneth Anger conceived a three-way love child while watching Cruising and listening to a Giorgio Moroder mix tape, the result would be something like French director Yann Gonzalez’s Knife + Heart (Un couteau dans le coeur).
Taking the erotic kitsch and glamorously trashy aesthetics of his many shorts and first feature, You and the Night, to the next level, Gonzalez uses a murder mystery set in the late-’70s gay porn industry to explore deeper themes of desire, abandon and sexual repression, all of it with plenty of humor and blood splatters. Playing the same late slot that Good Time and Drive did in previous festival editions, the film should add a needed dose of glitz and gore to an otherwise tame Cannes competition, with potential for crossover appeal in France and elsewhere.
Shot on 35mm by Simon Beaufils and backed by a throbbing retro score from Gallic electro rockers M83 (one of whose founding members is the director’s brother), Knife hits you from its very first frame — and this is really a frame of celluloid and not a file of gigabytes — as a work engulfed in the pleasures of filmmaking’s past.
In the beguiling opening sequence, Gonzalez cuts between an editor splicing 16mm footage; a porno movie shot somewhere in the countryside; and scenes of its young, waifish star heading out to a nightclub and meeting a man in a leather mask. Anyone who’s seen the 1980 Friedkin-Pacino movie or the works of giallo auteurs like Argento or Lucio Fulci can imagine where this late-night encounter is headed, though the director tosses in one of several surprises when the murder weapon turns out to be a black dildo armed with a switchblade. This is not your typical slasher pic.
The young victim was the latest muse of 40-something gay porn producer Anne (Vanessa Paradis), who has built up a sizable filmography of semiautobiographical skin flicks with cheeky titles like Anal Fury or Homocidal.  With the help of her favorite actor-director Archibald (a hilarious Nicolas Maury), her editor and former lover Lois (American actress Kate Moran) and a fluffer nicknamed Golden Mouth (Pierre Pilol) — or Bouche d’or in French (not to be confused with Palme d’or) —  Anne is as passionate about her oeuvre as any self-respecting Gallic auteur, even if her movies only play at a seedy Parisian XXX theater that also doubles as a cruising spot.
Gonzalez has a good time exploring the slapstick behind-the-scenes side of Anne’s productions, although when we first meet the woman, she’s totally grief-stricken after breaking up with longtime girlfriend Lois, who’s had enough of her drunken shenanigans. Anne’s work is further compromised by the fact that castmembers keep dying left and right, with each killing beautifully, and sometimes comically, staged in a different setting: a forest during a wind storm, a late-night parking lot, the movie set itself. She soon decides to embark on an ambitious new feature that re-creates the murders in front of the camera, while investigating the murders behind it, as Knifetransforms into a film within a film that blurs the boundaries between reality, fiction, dreams and disaster.The whodunit side occupies much of the movie’s second half, with Anne turning into an amateur sleuth who uncovers a trail of bread crumbs involving a former actor and his doppelganger (Khaled Alouach), a blind crow that looks a lot like the one in Game of Thrones, and a series of black-and-white flashbacks that reveal a dark family secret involving a character named Guy (Jonathan Genet) who may or may not be dead. It’s too much to handle at times, and the film’s rhythm dips a little during the closing reels, but the ending adds some needed thematic weight to all the B-movie antics by focusing on how sexual repression — specifically of gays — can spiral dangerously out of control.
Like in Gonzalez’s debut feature, Knife indulges in the seductive, sleazy stylings of thrillers and horror flicks from the ’70s and ’80s (alongside movies by Argento and De Palma, the cult classic Liquid Sky also comes to mind here), with cinematographer Beaufils bathing scenes in oversaturated shades of blue and red as M83’s vintage beats blast on the soundtrack.
Casting legendary pop star Paradis is another nod to yesteryear, and the singer turned actress gives one of her stronger recent performances as a woman dealing with both the sorrow of a breakup and the turmoil of artistic passion. The rest of the cast is lively, while a cameo by the great French actor-director Jacques Nolot — whose 2002 movie Porn Theater serves as another reference, especially for Knife’s penultimate murder scene — perfectly befits a work that revels in the guilty pleasures of film and the flesh.

Ubisoft’s ‘Far Cry 5’ First-Week Sales Top $310 Million

It’s the second highest launch in the studio’s history

Far Cry 5 scored Ubisoft its second-highest grossing launch of all time, the company said in its annual sales report Thursday.
The open world first-person shooter earned $310 million during its release week, making it the fastest selling title in the franchise, as it more than doubled Far Cry 4‘s launch in 2014. Tom Clancy’s The Division in 2016 remains Ubisoft’s biggest launch in history with a $330 million haul in its first week..
The company also said that Far Cry 5 garnered more than 117 million views on YouTube and Twitch for streaming gameplay, the most ever for a Ubisoft title.
Far Cry‘s first-week sales — along with a strong fourth-quarter showing from last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins and the success of Tom Clancy’s The Division, Rainbow Six Siege and Ghost Recon Wildlands — buoyed Ubisoft’s total annual sales for 2017-18 above its target of $1.9 billion to $2 billion.
A particularly strong fourth quarter helped the French gaming studio reach the mark, as Origins surged to record late-quarter earnings for an Assassin’s Creed title, and Far Cry‘s March release fell right before the deadline, boosting sales numbers. Meanwhile, the company’s online services platform hit 88 million unique active players, and esports viewership for Rainbow Six’s Six Invitational in February rose approximately 300 percent.
Ubisoft’s sales were led by the Playstation 4, which more than doubled the percentage of sales on its competitor, the Xbox One. The bulk of the French company’s sales came from North America (47 percent), while Europe and the rest of the world made up 37 and 16 percent, respectively.
As E3 approaches in June, many are speculating that Ubisoft will unveil new Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creedtitles, while The Division 2 has already been announced.

Germany’s Splendid Films Sets up SVOD Service With Mobile Carrier Debitel


German independent producer/distributor Splendid Films has signed an exclusive deal with telecommunications group Freenet AG to launch a new SVOD service on Freenet’s mobile carrier unit Debitel.

Splendid will operate the service, freenet Video, which will be based on Splendid’s in-house SVOD platform “mein VoD.”

The Cologne-based film group will also stock the service with more than 1,000 film and TV titles from its library, including such hits as The Expendables franchise.
The freenet Video service went live Tuesday on the company’s website and will roll out across Debitel’s 560 brick-and-mortar shops in Germany on May 22.
In addition to Splendid’s titles, freenet Video will offer more than 8,000 films and series to rent or buy. A freenet Video subscription will cost $5.98 (€4.99) per month, compared with $9.57 (€7.99) per month for a Netflix subscription in Germany. The freenet offering will also allow subscribers to stream video on up to five devices, compared with just one for the standard Netflix subscription. A four-device Netflix subscription costs $14.36 (€11.99) per month in Germany.
The deal is set to run a minimum of five years. Debitel is Germany’s fourth-largest mobile phone company, with a share of around 13 percent of the German market.

‘School of Life’ (‘L’ecole buissonniere’): Film Review


Unabashedly old-fashioned, Nicolas Vanier’s heartfelt period feature fondly references a gentler time, before the Second World War reshaped the landscape of Europe and the trajectory of French society. Similar to Vanier’s 2013 Alps-set Belle & SebastianSchool of Life warmly celebrates the invigorating virtues of the French countryside, this time centered on the Loire Valley.
This assuredly crafted exploration of the intricacies of early-20th-century social stratification, released in France last October, soars on the strengths of sympathetic scripting and striking wildlands cinematography, although it’s likely to reach wider audiences only via film festivals and specialized streaming services.
In the aftermath of Europe’s Great War, thousands of children lost their parents, including Paul (Jean Scandel), relegated to a bleak Paris orphanage after the death of his father at the front, his mother having died in childbirth. Unexpectedly, he’s plucked from his cheerless lodgings by Mme. Celestine Borel (Valerie Karsenti), who says she’s a distant relative taking him to live with her over the summer (notably without any assurances about adopting him).
Vanier achieves this swift synopsis even before the opening credits roll over scenes of a steam engine powering across the countryside south of Paris to arrive in the Sologne region of the Loire Valley, in the vicinity of OrleansPlunked down in the farmhouse that Celestine shares with her gruff husband, Borel (Eric Elmosnino), gamekeeper on the sprawling estate owned and overseen by the Count de la Fresnaye (Francois Berleand), Paul finds himself entirely confounded by the peculiarities of country life.
Although he’s eager to learn more about the relationship between Celestine and his deceased parents, he avoids the widowed Count’s manor where she works as a domestic. On his wanderings around the property, though, he soon encounters the enigmatic hunter and fisherman Totoche (Francois Cluzet), a true man of the land. Nowadays, adults might tell a kid like Paul, “Don’t go near that hobo or his broken-down boat,” referring to Totoche’s rustic riverside lodgings.
Technically a poacher, Totoche shamelessly helps himself to the bounty of the Count’s estate, although the property owner sympathetically turns a blind eye. Borel considers his rival the equivalent of a frontier outlaw, however, and swears to bring him to justice. Ever observant, Paul notices a peculiar connection between Totoche and Celestine, using his discovery to persuade a reluctant Totoche to apprentice him in the poaching trade and incidentally reveal some clues behind the mystery of his parentage.
This relationship between the poacher and the domestic similarly plays a central role in Jean Renoir’s classic The Rules of the Game, not coincidentally set and shot in the Sologne. And while School of Life hardly sets out to satirize the Paris smart set of the 1930s, Vanier and co-screenwriter Jerome Tonnerre (who also wrote Renoir, a biopic on the French filmmaker) express concerns regarding the period’s distinct social divide quite similar to Renoir’s own.
In Vanier’s version, it’s the tension between Totoche and the Count, who in their love of the land are perhaps more alike than either might admit, that helps anchor the film. His familiar features and twinkling eyes obscured behind a bushy beard, Cluzet (Intouchables) plays Totoche with verve and a sincere specificity of character that nods to the great tradition of French humanist cinema.
Berleand (Entre amis), ensconced in the Count’s manor house, doesn’t exert a similar degree of influence over the cast, although he turns out to be a key player in Paul’s emergence from childhood. Young Scandel, in his first feature role, confidently grasps the boy’s struggle to adjust to an unfamiliar environment, while enthusiastically embodying his affinity for the outdoors.
Unlike Belle & Sebastian, which was adapted from a popular TV series, with School of Life Vanier succeeds in crafting an admirably original film that unaffectedly draws upon his boyhood growing up in the Sologne, as well as his numerous nature documentaries and adventure narratives exploring the relationships between humans and wild places.
Gorgeous woodland scenery and spectacular wildlife photography cast a magical spell under Vanier’s skillful direction, capably supported by Belle & Sebastian cinematographer Eric Guichard and an ace team of animal wranglers.

‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Christina Hendricks (‘Good Girls’)

The six-time Emmy nominee and two-time Critics’ Choice Award winner reflects on why her agents fired her after she agreed to play Joan, how she feels about all the attention paid to her figure and why she decided to follow a period drama with a contemporary network dramedy

“I love television, so I was never against going on to another series,” says the actress Christina Hendricks, who is best known for playing Joan Holloway (later Joan Harris), a Madison Avenue advertising agency’s office manager who claws her way up the corporate food-chain over the course of seven seasons on AMC’s landmark drama series Mad Men, as we sit down at the offices of The Hollywood Reporter to record an episode of THR‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast. The 42-year-old, whose work on that show garnered her six Emmy nominations for best supporting actress in a drama series and two Critics’ Choice Award nominations — and wins — in that same category, emphasizes, “I just wanted it to be the right one.”
Mad Men aired its final episode on May 17, 2015. Less than three years later, on Feb. 26, 2018, Hendricks began starring in another — albeit very different — series, NBC’s Good Girls, as one of three suburban Detroit housewives who try to extricate themselves from desperate financial straits by teaming together to rob a grocery store, only to find themselves in hotter water than ever. “When this opportunity came up,” she says, “I had to ask, ‘Do I want to do this every day for potentially seven years?’ And I looked at these two other women [costars Retta and Mae Whitman], and this writing and this tone, and it was so different. I loved the balance of the drama and the comedy, and being able to stretch my muscles or whatever, and play in comedy alongside the drama, which I would say most people know me for. And I thought, ‘That would be fun to do every day.'”

What Is the Actual Speed of an 802.11b Wi-Fi Network ?

The theoretical peak bandwidth of an 802.11b wireless connection is 11 Mbps. This is a performance number advertised on 802.11b Wi-Fiequipment, which many people equate with the expected speed of a network. However, this level of performance is never achieved in practice due to network overhead and other factors.

The typical peak throughput—sustained data rate—of an 802.11b wireless connection under ideal conditions for end-user data is roughly 4 to 5 Mbps. This level of performance assumes a wireless client in close proximity to the base station or another communication endpoint. Due to the distance-sensitive nature of Wi-Fi signaling, 802.11b throughput numbers decrease as the client moves farther away from the base station.

The Big Difference Between Real and Theoretical 802.11b Speeds

The large difference between theoretical and actual data rates for 802.11b is due primarily to protocol overhead. Wi-Fi generates a relatively large amount of traffic to maintain connections, coordinate the sending and acknowledgment of messages, and maintain other private state information. Throughput also decreases when interference in the 802.11b signal range of 2.4 ​GHz is present. Interference often causes retransmissions due to data corruption or packet loss.

What About 22 Mbps 802.11b?

Some 802.11b Wi-Fi products claimed to support 22 Mbps bandwidth. Vendors created these proprietary variations of 802.11b by extending the technology by various nonstandard methods. The actual throughput of 22 Mbps 802.11b networks is not double that of an ordinary 802.11b network, although typical peak throughput may increase to roughly 6 to 7 Mbps.

The Bottom Line

While peak data rates may be achievable at times, and a few households might have upgraded to 22 Mbps gear, many 802.11b home network links typically run at 2 to 3 Mbps. This is faster than some types of home internet connections but is increasingly too slow a speed for modern wireless networking. More recent versions of this protocol—802.11g, n, and ac—achieve faster speeds.
Finally, the perceived speed of a network is determined not only by available bandwidth but also by network latency.

Why Dual-Band Routers Are Good for Wireless Home Networking ?

In wireless networking, dual-band equipment is capable of transmitting in either of two different standard frequency ranges. Modern Wi-Fi home networks feature dual-band broadband routers that support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels.
First generation home network routers produced during the late 1990s and early 2000s contained a single 802.11b Wi-Fi radio operating on the 2.4 GHz band. At the same time, a significant number of business networks supported 802.11a (5 GHz) devices. The first dual-band Wi-Fi routers were built to support mixed networks having both 802.11a and 802.11b clients.
Starting with 802.11n, Wi-Fi standards began including simultaneous dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support as a standard feature.

Benefits of Dual Band Wireless Networking

By supplying separate wireless interfaces for each band, dual-band 802.11n and 802.11ac routers provide maximum flexibility in setting up a home network. Some home devices require the legacy compatibility and greater signal reach that 2.4 GHz offers while others may require the additional network bandwidth that 5 GHz offers.
Dual-band routers provide connections designed for the needs of each. Many Wi-Fi home networks suffer from wireless interference due to the prevalence of 2.4 GHz consumer gadgets, like microwave ovens and cordless phones, all of which can only operate on 3 non-overlapping channels. The ability to utilize 5 GHz on a dual-band router helps avoid these issues since there are 23 non-overlapping channels that can be used.​
Dual-band routers also incorporate Multiple-In Multiple-Out (MIMO) radio configurations. The combination of multiple radios on one band together with dual-band support provide much higher performance for home networking than what single band routers can offer.

Examples of Dual Band Wireless Devices

Not only do some routers provide dual-band wireless but also Wi-Fi network adapters and phones.

Dual Band Wireless Routers

The TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router has 450 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5GHz, as well as IP-based bandwidth control so you can monitor the bandwidth of all the devices connected to your router.
The NETGEAR N750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router is for medium to large-sized homes and also comes with a genie app so you can keep tabs on your network and get help troubleshooting if any repairs are needed.

Dual Band Wi-Fi Adapters

Dual-band Wi-Fi network adapters contain both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless radios similar to dual-band routers.
In the early days of Wi-Fi, some laptop Wi-Fi adapters supported both 802.11a and 802.11b/g radios so that a person could connect their computer to business networks during the workday and home networks on nights and weekends. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac adapters can also be configured to use either band (but not both at the same time).
One example of a dual band gigabit Wi-Fi network adapter is the NETGEAR AC1200 WiFi USB Adapter.

Dual Band Phones

Similar to dual-band wireless network equipment, some cell phones also use two or more bands for cellular communications separate from Wi-Fi. Dual-band phones were originally created to support 3G GPRS or EDGE data services on 0.85 GHz, 0.9 GHz or 1.9 GHz radio frequencies.
Phones sometimes support tri-band (three) or quad-band (four) cellular transmission frequency ranges in order to maximize compatibility with different kinds of the phone network, helpful while roaming or traveling.
Cell modems switch between different bands but do not support simultaneous dual band connections.

802.11 Standards Explained: 802.11ac, 802.11b/g/n, 802.11a

Home and business owners looking to buy networking gear face an array of choices. Many products conform to the 802.11a802.11b/g/n, and/or 802.11ac wireless standards collectively known as Wi-Fi technologies. Bluetooth and various other wireless (but not Wi-Fi) technologies also exist, each designed for specific networking applications.
This article describes the Wi-Fi standards and related technologies, comparing and contrasting them to help you better understand the evolution of Wi-Fi technology and make educated network planning and equipment buying decisions.
For quick reference, 801.11aj is the most recently approved standard. The protocol was approved in May 2018. Just because a standard is approved, however, does not mean it is available to you or that it is the standard you need for your particular situation. Standards are always being updated, much like the way software is updated in a smartphone or on your computer.

What Is 802.11?

In 1997, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the first WLAN standard. They called it 802.11 after the name of the group formed to oversee its development. Unfortunately, 802.11 only supported a maximum network bandwidth of 2 Mbps – too slow for most applications. For this reason, ordinary 802.11 wireless products are no longer manufactured. However, an entire family has sprung up from this initial standard.
The best way to look at these standards is to consider 802.11 as the foundation, and all other iterations as building blocks upon that foundation that focus on improving both small and large aspects of the technology. Some building blocks are minor touch-ups while others are quite large.
The largest impacts to wireless standards come when the standards are ‘rolled up’ to include most or all small updates. So, for example, the most recent rollup occurred in December of 2016 with 802.11-2016. Since then, however, minor updates are still occurring and, eventually, another large rollup with encompass them.
Below is a brief look at the most recently approved iterations, outlined from newest to oldest. Other iterations – 802.11ax, 802.11ay, and 802.11az – are still in the approval process.


Known as the China Millimeter Wave, this standard applies in China and is basically a rebranding of 802.11ad for use in certain areas of the world. The goal is to maintain backwards compatibility with 802.11ad.


Approved in May 2017, this standard targets lower energy consumption and creates extended range Wi-Fi networks that can go beyond the reach of a typical 2.4 – 5 GHz network. It is expected to compete with Bluetooth given its lower power needs.


Approved in December 2012, this standard is freakishly fast. However, the client device must be located within 11 feet of the access point.


The generation of Wi-Fi that first signaled popular use, 802.11ac utilizes dual-band wireless technology, supporting simultaneous connections on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. 802.11ac offers backward compatibility to 802.11b/g/n and bandwidth rated up to 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band plus up to 450 Mbps on 2.4 GHz. Most home wireless routers are compliant with this standard.
  • Pros of 802.11ac – Fastest maximum speed and best signal range; on par with standard wired connections
  • Cons of 802.11ac – Most expensive to implement; performance improvements only noticeable in high-bandwidth applications


802.11n (also sometimes known as Wireless N) was designed to improve on 802.11g in the amount of bandwidth supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and antennas (called MIMO technology) instead of one. Industry standards groups ratified 802.11n in 2009 with specifications providing for up to 300 Mbps of network bandwidth. 802.11n also offers somewhat better range over earlier Wi-Fi standards due to its increased signal intensity, and it is backward-compatible with 802.11b/g gear.
  • Pros of 802.11n – Significant bandwidth improvement from previous standards; wide support across devices and network gear
  • Cons of 802.11n – More expensive to implement than 802.11g; use of multiple signals may interfere with nearby 802.11b/g based networks


In 2002 and 2003, WLAN products supporting a newer standard called 802.11gemerged on the market. 802.11g attempts to combine the best of both 802.11a and 802.11b. 802.11g supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, and it uses the 2.4 GHz frequency for greater range. 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b, meaning that 802.11g access points will work with 802.11b wireless network adapters and vice versa.
  • Pros of 802.11g – Supported by essentially all wireless devices and network equipment in use today; least expensive option
  • Cons of 802.11g – Entire network slows to match any 802.11b devices on the network; slowest/oldest standard still in use


While 802.11b was in development, IEEE created a second extension to the original 802.11 standard called 802.11a. Because 802.11b gained in popularity much faster than did 802.11a, some folks believe that 802.11a was created after 802.11b. In fact, 802.11a was created at the same time. Due to its higher cost, 802.11a is usually found on business networks whereas 802.11b better serves the home market.
802.11a supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps and signals in a regulated frequency spectrum around 5 GHz. This higher frequency compared to 802.11b shortens the range of 802.11a networks. The higher frequency also means 802.11a signals have more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions.
Because 802.11a and 802.11b utilize different frequencies, the two technologies are incompatible with each other. Some vendors offer hybrid 802.11a/b network gear, but these products merely implement the two standards side by side (each connected devices must use one or the other).


IEEE expanded on the original 802.11 standard in July 1999, creating the 802.11bspecification. 802.11b supports a theoretical speed up to 11 Mbps. A more realistic bandwidth of 5.9 Mbps (TCP) and 7.1 Mbps (UDP) should be expected.
802.11b uses the same unregulated radio signaling frequency (2.4 GHz) as the original 802.11 standard. Vendors often prefer using these frequencies to lower their production costs. Being unregulated, 802.11b gear can incur interference from microwave ovens, cordless phones, and other appliances using the same 2.4 GHz range. However, by installing 802.11b gear a reasonable distance from other appliances, interference can easily be avoided.

What About Bluetooth and the Rest?

Aside from these five general-purpose Wi-Fi standards, several other related wireless network technologies exist.
  • IEEE 802.11 working group standards like 802.11h and 802.11j are extensions or offshoots of Wi-Fi technology that each serve a very specific purpose.
  • Bluetooth is an alternative wireless network technology that followed a different development path than the 802.11 family. Bluetooth supports a very short range (approximately 10 meters) and relatively low bandwidth (1-3 Mbps in practice) designed for low-power network devices like handhelds. The low manufacturing cost of Bluetooth hardware also appeals to industry vendors. You can readily find Bluetooth in the networking of PDAs or cell phones with PCs, but it is rarely used for general-purpose WLAN networking due to the range and speed considerations.
  • WiMax also was developed separately from Wi-Fi. WiMax is designed for long-range networking (spanning miles or kilometers) as opposed to local area wireless networking.
The following IEEE 802.11 standards exist or are in development to support the creation of technologies for wireless local area networking:
  • 802.11a – 54 Mbps standard, 5 GHz signaling (ratified 1999)
  • 802.11ac – 3.46Gbps standard, supports 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies via 802.11n
  • 802.11ad – 6.7 Gbps standard, 60 Ghz signaling (2012)
  • 802.11ah – creates extended range Wi-Fi networks that can go beyond the reach of a typical 2.4 – 5 GHz network.
  • 802.11aj – Approved in 2017; primarily for use in China.
  • 802.11ax – pending, approval expected 2018
  • 802.11ay – pending, approval expected 2019
  • 802.11az – pending, approval expected 2019
  • 802.11b – 11 Mbps standard, 2.4 GHz signaling (1999)
  • 802.11c – operation of bridge connections (moved to 802.1D)
  • 802.11d – worldwide compliance with regulations for use of wireless signal spectrum (2001)
  • 802.11e – Quality of Service (QoS) support (2005) to improve delivery of delay-sensitive applications, such as Voice Wireless LAN and streaming multimedia. Also known as 802.11e-2005
  • 802.11F – Inter-Access Point Protocol recommendation for communication between access points to support roaming clients (2003)
  • 802.11g – 54 Mbps standard, 2.4 GHz signaling (2003)
  • 802.11h – enhanced version of 802.11a to support European regulatory requirements (2003)
  • 802.11i – security improvements for the 802.11 family (2004)
  • 802.11j – enhancements to 5 GHz signaling to support Japan regulatory requirements (2004)
  • 802.11k – WLAN system management
  • 802.11l – skipped to avoid confusion with 802.11i
  • 802.11m – maintenance of 802.11 family documentation
  • 802.11n – 100+ Mbps standard improvements over 802.11g (2009)
  • 802.11o – skipped
  • 802.11p – Wireless Access for the Vehicular Environment
  • 802.11q – skipped
  • 802.11r – fast roaming support via Basic Service Set transitions
  • 802.11s – ESS mesh networking for access points
  • 802.11T – Wireless Performance Prediction – recommendation for testing standards and metrics
  • 802.11u – internetworking with 3G / cellular and other forms of external networks
  • 802.11v – wireless network management / device configuration
  • 802.11w – Protected Management Frames security enhancement
  • 802.11x – skipped (generic name for the 802.11 family)
  • 802.11y – Contention Based Protocol for interference avoidance
The Official IEEE 802.11 Working Group Project Timelines page is published by IEEE to indicate the status of each of the networking standards under development.

How Fast Is DSL Internet Service ?

Compared to the performance of cable Internet service, DSL speed has historically been slower. However, the speed of DSL Internet is increasing as the technology improves and service providers upgrade their network infrastructure. The exact DSL speed you will enjoy varies depending on several factors. How fast, then, is DSL?
Service providers advertise DSL speed in terms of bandwidth ratings. Bandwidth numbers advertised for residential DSL service range from 128 Kbps to 3 Mbps (3000 Kbps).
Because these DSL speed ratings vary so widely, it’s best to check first with your service provider to determine the bandwidth levels associated with your subscription. Many providers offer a choice of DSL services with different bandwidth ratings.

DSL Speed of Downloading and Uploading

Your DSL speed can change depending on how you use the network.
DSL providers often advertise speed of their service using a combination of two bandwidth numbers; for example, “1.5 Mbps / 128 Kbps.”
The first number, 1.5 Mbps in this case, refers to the maximum bandwidth available for downloads. Examples of network download activities include browsing Web sites, receiving files from P2P networks, and receiving emails.
The second number, 128 Kbps in this case, corresponds to the bandwidth available for uploads. An example of network upload activities includes publishing to Web sites, sending files over a P2P network, and sending emails.
Residential DSL services often provide higher bandwidth for downloads than for uploads, as most customers spend more time in network downloading activities. These are sometimes called asymmetric DSL (ADSL) services. In ADSL, the first bandwidth number will be much higher than the second as in the example above. With symmetric DSL (SDSL), both numbers will be the same. Many business-class DSL services utilize SDSL, as business customers often spend significant time uploading over their networks.

DSL Speed Differences Between Households

The rated maximum bandwidth of a DSL connection often cannot be reached. Additionally, actual DSL speeds vary between households. Factors affecting DSL speed include:
  • Quality of the phone line at your residence. Neighborhoods with better copper wiring can achieve somewhat faster DSL speeds.
  • Length of the phone line between the residence and the phone company hub (often called “central office”). DSL technology is “distance sensitive” because its performance decreases significantly as you get further away from this hub.
  • Service glitches. While normally a constant, DSL speed can suddenly drop if the service provider has technical difficulty with their network. Speeds should return to normal after a few minutes or hours.
Short of rewiring their residence, customers can do little about changing these factors. Other factors you can more directly control include:


  • Spyware on the computer(s). Even when the DSL network may be functioning at full speed, spyware programs may be consuming the bandwidth, robbing your DSL speed. Anti-spyware programs should be run regularly on networks to prevent this problem.
  • Misconfigured wires or wireless router. Routers sit between your computers and the Internet connection. If not functioning properly, a router can greatly limit the DSL speed achievable on all computers. Temporarily connecting a computer directly to the Internet can help diagnose this situation.
  • Slow wireless network connection. In extreme cases, a very slow Wi-Ficonnection between a computer and a wireless home network will not keep pace with the speed of the DSL Internet connection. Improving the quality of the Wi-Fi connection will solve this problem.
  • Old computer(s). Very old computers lacking sufficient processing power or memory cannot keep pace with a high-speed DSL connection. You can verify this problem by comparing the DSL speed between computers at the residence.

The 9 Best Cable Modem/Router Combos to Buy in 2018

Some folks prefer the simplicity of having their modem and router in the same device. There are several advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement, the most significant of which have to do with upgrades, future-proofing and access to network controls, but it’s safe to say most basic Internet users will appreciate how simple combo devices can be. If you find yourself in this camp, check out our below guide to the best modem/router combos.

Best Overall: Motorola AC1900 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router and Modem

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One of the most important considerations for selecting the best modem/router combo device is reliability. Many modem/router combos we’ve come across require you to restart them often or don’t broadcast WiFi far enough. The Motorola AC1900 is a little expensive, but it’s worth it because it means your Internet will almost always be reliable and that’s worth a lot in our age of connected smartphones, computers and wearables. On top of reliability, the AC1900 offers speeds up to 686 Mbps (16 times faster than DOCSIS 2.0), it has four 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as a “Wireless Power Boost” that broadcasts as far out as it can up to the legal limit. Also, almost every major internet provider works with the AC1900, including Charter Spectrum, Comcast XFINITY, Time Warner Cable and Cox, so this is a good choice for replacing the standard modem/router device that comes with your ISP plan, if you so choose.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Motorola MG7700

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The MG7700 is a recent addition to Motorola’s modem-router combo line, and it gives you all the speeds you’d expect from a modern unit, plus some cool proprietary capabilities. The DOCSIS 3.0 modem gives you 24 downstream channels, totaling a projected, nominal speed of up to 1,000 Mbps, alongside eight upstreams that can yield speeds up to 146 Mbps. The wireless router is no slouch either, offering two bands at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, plus IPv4 and IPv6 for easier networking.
Their AnyBeam technology focuses the connection based on your ​wireless client so anyone trying to connect will have a reasonably customized focus for a more stable connection. They’ve even added in a Wireless Power Boost to amplify weak signals to the highest limit allowed by law. There are four ethernet ports on the back and the indicator lights are super bright to better show when it’s working or not.

Best for High Internet Speeds: NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (24×8) Wi-Fi (C7000)

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If you’ve decided that a modem/router combo is the best way to go, but you still plan on optimizing your Internet connection for the highest possible speeds (maybe you have a gigabit connection), you should check out the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router. While the modem is not quite optimized for gigabit speeds, it’s darn near close enough, with a modem speed of 960 Mbps, 24 downstream channels and DOCSIS 3.0 technology. As a router, you get similarly beefy specs. It delivers the latest wireless AC1900 speeds of up to up to 1.9Gbps, and features a 1.6GHz combined processor and a USB port, to boot. It’s good to go with any major U.S. cable provider and enjoys a host of solid user reviews as well. It’s not exactly cheap, but for truly high-speed gigabit Internet in a modem/router combo, this is about as good as it gets.

Best Value: Netgear N300 Wi-Fi DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router (C3000)

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Whether you’re in the market for a modem, a router, or a modem/router combo, you really don’t have to spend a lot to get reliable, high-speed Internet performance. For the sub-$100 modem/router price range, Netgear N300 Modem Router (C3000) is one of the best products you’ll find. The modem delivers solid DOCSIS 3.0 connectivity, including eight downstream channels with download speeds of up to 340 Mbps, and is optimized to work with all major U.S. Internet service providers. The integrated router is equipped with single-band N300 (wireless-N) WiFi technology, which isn’t exactly next-generation, but it’s probably fast enough for most purposes. It also features Gigabit Ethernet ports if you want to bypass the WiFi and deliver super fast wired connections, and a single USB port for data from your device’s hard drive.

Best Value Dual-Band: NETGEAR N600 Wi-Fi DOCSIS 3.0 Modem Router (C3700)

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If you prefer the speed and efficiency of a dual-band router but still don’t want to pay a whole lot, check out the NETGEAR N600 Wi-Fi DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router (C3700). It offers a lot of the same tech but with dual-band capabilities in the router. The modem features DOCSIS 3.0 tech with eight downstream channels and four upstream channels (8×4), allowing for cable Internet speeds up to 340 Mbps. The dual-band router offers N600 wireless speeds at up to 300 Mbps on each band. It’s certified to work with all major U.S. ISPs, includes Gigabit Ethernet Ports if you’d prefer to go wired for faster service and also features a USB port to wirelessly share your device’s hard drive. This is a slightly beefier version of the Netgear N300 DOCSIS 3.0 Modem Router, and is ideal if you’re likely to have more than a few clients on the same network.

Best Budget Non-Cable Modem Router: Actiontec 300 Mbps Wireless-N ADSL (GT784WN)

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If we’re still looking at sub-$100 cable modem/router combos, you can’t get much cheaper than the Actiontec 300 Mbps Wireless-N ADSL Modem Router. This thing is pretty basic, especially on the modem end, and is made for DSL (not cable) Internet connections. It is not recommended for any situation involving more than two clients. It is perhaps best for light Internet users who live alone and only need Internet to check e-mail or occasionally browse the Web. The modem is a basic ADSL 2/2+ modem, and the router is a basic wireless-N device capable of delivering up to 300 Mbps of single-band wireless throughout. That said, the Actiontec is still built to deliver reliable, consistent service given the limitations of the medium (cable is almost always faster than DSL).

Best Parental Controls: Netgear Nighthawk C7000

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The Nighthawk C700 grants users with 24 download channels at eight upload channels, allowing for a downstream rate of up to 960 Mbps. Upstream bandwidth is currently limited to 32 Mbps, but both rates are still speedier than most options out there. As for the router, you’ll get 802.11ac connectivity, which deals you up to 1.9 Gbps of dual-band bandwidth, so you can expect network speeds ranging from 616 Mbps to 273 Mbps.
Through the NETGEAR Genie interface, you can tweak settings such as access control and security, as well as manage parental controls like what sites your kids can surf. It’s currently only compatible with Comcast XFINITY, Time Warner MAXX and Cox Premier & Ultimate packages, but if you have one of those, we highly recommend this modem to optimize your bandwidth.
Take a peek at some of the other best parental control routers you can buy.

Best for DSL: Motorola MD1600

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The Motorola MD1600 is a super-sleek take on the modem/router combo. And while looks aren’t really that important when considering your at-home network, it’s still a standout feature. It’s also important to note that this modem is only compatible with DSL networks, so make sure you check that you’re getting Internet from CenturyLink, Frontier, or something similar. But it’s perfect for ADSL or VDSL purposes, delivering speeds at the modem level up to 100 Mbps (competitive for DSL). The built-in Wi-Fi router follows suit giving you WPA/WPA2 protocol, two bands of 2.4 GHz connection, plus four built-in ethernet jacks that will all dish out high-speed Internet to most devices. Motorola has even loaded in a two-year warranty for good measure.

Easiest Set Up: ARRIS – SURFboard AC1900

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Perhaps the most intimidating issue with buying a cable modem/router combo is the setup. It can be frustrating to get the system up and running, but Arris makes it easy. Reviewers most commonly comment on how simple it is to setup, which involves setting up the gateway, testing the connection, then setting up the wireless network connection. An online quick setup guide walks you through all the steps.
Once you’re up and running, you’ll enjoy download speeds up to 686 Mbps and Wireless-AC technology with Wi-Fi speeds up to 1900 Mbps. It makes use of beamforming technology that helps to optimize coverage, and also has two USB 2.0 and four Gigabit Ethernet ports to keep you connected. All in all, it’s extremely reliable and powerful.

The 7 Best Wireless Travel Routers to Buy in 2018

Whether you’re a road warrior or trying to relax on vacation, sometimes you just want to kick up your feet and see what’s going on back in the real world. If you’re staying in a place with unreliable wireless internet, a travel router can help you connect to your mobile devices or laptop easily to the Web for reliable Wi-Fi. Beyond creating a secure internet connection, travel routers can also help with built-in storage for sharing files or streaming music to multiple devices. Need help picking one out? Here’s our vote for the best handy-in-a-pinch travel routers.

Best Overall: HooToo TripMate Titan

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The HooToo TripMate Titan is a great choice for a travel wireless router. It converts a wired network to a wireless one through its included Ethernet port and even does double duty as a portable battery charger, adding a 10,400mAh power bank that can charge an iPhone 8 up to three times. Removing the flaps that guard the ports against dust or dirt will reveal USB-A and micro-USB connections along with a Category 5 ethernet port. At 3.74 x 1.73 x 1.73 inches and only 9 ounces, the HooToo is perfect for slipping into a suitcase, briefcase or purse. Simply plug in an Ethernet cable to enable the HooToo as an access point, and log in with the default password on any laptop, tablet or smartphone to use it as a router. It can connect to up to five devices simultaneously.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: RAVPower FileHub Plus

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Essentially a 3-in-1 travel gadget, the RAVPower FileHub Plus offers direct capabilities as a media streamer capable of reading an SD card and external hard drives up to four terabytes in size. Secondly, the RAVPower functions as a personalized wireless router that connects directly to an Ethernet cable inside a hotel. As its third and final trick, the RAVPower operates as a battery for emergency charges (it’s capable of powering most smartphones up to 2x before running dry). Moreover, an SD slot allows for accessing photos and videos, as well as streaming directly to a Chromecast.
As a wireless router, the conversion from a wired line to wireless connection allows extra security, plus the opportunity to share a trusted and secure Internet connection with others in your party. The inclusion of the MTK762N built-in chip offers the best performance of both hardware and software and keeps your router up-to-date with the latest firmware for added levels of security. The RAVPower supports PPPoE, static and dynamic IP signals for a slew of capabilities for connections inside a hotel, Airbnb or other travel locations.

Best Range: TP-Link N300

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The pocket-sized TP-Link N300 is capable of hitting up to 300Mbps Wi-Fi speed and the 2.4GHz band connection ensures lag-free video streaming and online gaming over a wide space. The inclusion of compatibility with Google’s Chromecast highlights the flexibility of the N300, which can also function as a router, repeater, client, AP and hotspot.
The N300 is powered through a microUSB port that can connect directly to a wall charger or laptop. Installation happens in just under a minute with a WISP access point that can be shared by multiple users even in a hotel room next door. And since portability is key here, it weighs an ultra-light 7.2 ounces.

Best Budget: GL.iNet GL-AR150

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This budget pick has a small price tag and a lot of features, making the GL.iNet GL-AR150 a smart solution for travelers who want to quickly convert wired networks into wireless ones. Weighing only 1.41 ounces and measuring 2.28 x 2.28 x 0.98 inches, the AR150 comes with OpenVPN pre-installed for increased security. Compatible with over 20 VPN service providers and with TOR firmware available for downloading, the GL-AR150 provides maximum protection while surfing on insecure web networks. Powered by any laptop USB, power bank or a 5V DC adapter, the GL-AR150 is perfectly sized for tucking into carry-on or backpack for use at a hotel, remote workplace, or in the office. Available with dual Ethernet ports, 64MB of RAM and 16MB of flash, the GL-AR150 can increase its memory with external USB sticks. With a top speed of 150Mbps and low power consumption, GL-AR150 is made to work with a smartphone’s 3G or 4G connection and switch into a private WiFi network.

Best Speed: TRENDnet TEW-817DTR

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Offering super fast speeds of up to 433Mbps Wi-Fi over 802.11ac and 300Mbps on 802.11n connections, the TRENDnet TEW-817DTR is a serious speed demon. Weighing just under one pound, it’s compact and portable and offers interchangeable plugs for North America, Europe and the U.K. right out of the box, so it’s ideal for international travel. No matter what part of the world you’re in, you can quickly attach the TRENDnet to your existing wireless network and create your own secure Wi-Fi network with onboard encryption ensuring privacy and anonymity.
Working with both Wi-Fi AC and N devices on-the-go, the TRENDnet is the fastest travel wireless router on the market with a setup time that will have you online in just minutes. Fortunately, speed isn’t the only attractive quality of the TRENDnet. It can also stream videos, photos and music to a smartphone, TV, media player or other DLNA-device (like Google’s Chromecast, for example) effortlessly.
Additionally, the onboard toggle switch can quickly shift the TEW-817DTR from router mode to WISP/AP/Repeater mode or turn it off. And if you run into problems, Trendnet offers a three-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support for any setup questions while Stateside or abroad.

Best Value: GL.iNet GL-AR300M Mini Travel Router

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The Mini Travel Router earns its “value” spot on the list because it is, in a word, fast. At 300 mb/s, it’s faster than a lot of at-home routers, and it features an internal 128 MB of RAM. But what’s extra cool here is its open-source nature. You can expand the out-of-the-box capabilities by side loading in tons of functionality to support everything from webcams to USB disks. Plus for an extra $20 or so you can add a super powerful external antenna to the package for a wider, more stable network. Add that to the built-in VPN functionality (that supports more than 20 different existing clients) and you’ve got a powerhouse that fits perfectly in your pocket (or your carry-on).

Best Security: GL-MT300A

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The GL-MT300A marks another entry into the travel router space that’s well worth the price of admission. The 1.41-ounce, pocket-friendly design is truly portable and can be powered by any laptop USB, power bank or 5V DC adapter. Once powered on, the MT300A assists in the conversion of a wired network at a hotel or office to a private Wi-Fi connection that can be shared among multiple devices securely and easily.
Providing an extra level of security is the addition of both OpenVPN and Tor client (there are 20+ VPN providers for securely masking your connection and the downloadable TOR firmware ensures privacy). Additionally, the MT300A includes 128MB of RAM for faster performance, as well as 16GB of storage onboard for securely transferring files or multimedia. Beyond its secure performance and storage, the MT300A also includes dual-Ethernet ports for multiple connections, as well as a microSD card slot for even more file storage and sharing.

How to Bookmark on an iPad ?

Apple iPads ship with the Safari browser in all versions of the iOS so you can surf the net and visit websites just like you do on your desktop or laptop computer. The method of bookmarking a web page on the iPad is a little different from the way you do it on a computer, though, and it isn’t particularly obvious.

Adding a New Bookmark in Safari

Anyone who assumes you use the Safari Bookmark icon, which looks like an open book, to bookmark a web page is going to be perplexed. You add new bookmarks using the Share icon. Here’s how:
  1. Open the Safari browser by tapping on the Safari icon, which is located on the ​iPad home screen, unless you moved it to a different location.
  2. When the browser window opens, tap in the bar at the top of the screen and enter the URL in the blank field at the top of the screen or follow a link to the web page that you want to bookmark. (If the URL is already entered into the field, tap the URL field once and then tap the circled X in the field to clear it. Then enter your URL.)
  3. After the page finishes rendering, select Safari’s Share icon, which looks like a square containing an up arrow. It is located in the browser’s main toolbar, next to the field containing the URL.
  4. Select the Add Bookmark option from the pop-up screen that opens.
  5. View the title and full URL of the current page that you are bookmarking along with its favicon. The title text is editable. Tap the circled X in the title field to delete it and type in a replacement title. The location where your new bookmark will be stored is also editable. The Favorites folder is the default, but you can choose another folder by tapping on Favorites and selecting a different folder.
  1. When you are satisfied with the settings, tap the Save button, which saves the new bookmark and takes you back to the main Safari window.

Selecting a Bookmarked Website in Safari

  1. To access a stored bookmark, select the Bookmark icon—the one that looks like an open book—located at the top of the screen.
  2. A new panel appears where you can tap on Favorites—or any other folder—to view the bookmarked sites in the folder.
  3. Tap on any bookmark to open the web page in Safari.
At the bottom of the bookmark panel is an Edit option you can tap to add new folders or to delete bookmarked sites from the list. You can also rearrange the order of the bookmarks in a folder by pressing and holding as you drag a bookmark up or down in the list. When you are finished making changes, tap Done.
If you have more than one Apple computer or mobile device and have set Safari to sync between them using iCloud, any change you make to your bookmarks on Safari on your iPad will be duplicated in Safari on the other synced devices. 


Tip: If you choose to Add to the Home Screen in the Share screen instead of Add Bookmark, Safari places an icon on the home page of the iPad to use as a shortcut to that web page instead of bookmarking it.