How The Last Jedi and Force Awakens Trailers Are the Same

Over the weekend, Star Wars fans were finally given the gift they’ve been wanting in the form of the very first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi. While some have expressed vague disappointment in the teaser, the general consensus has been excitement. For those who may have felt a little underwhelmed, there is an explanation; Star Wars: The Last Jedi pretty much has the same trailer as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

You may be thinking, “What? No they are not the same!” But thanks to some detailed analyzation of the two trailers by YouTuber James Van Fleet, it is clear that there are a lot of similarities. This isn’t so much trying to say that the The Last Jedi trailer looks exactly like the trailer for The Force Awakens, but more that it hits the exact same beats. It should be noted that the comparison is being made to the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and not the first, very brief teaser. Here is what James Van Fleet had to say about his observations in the description provided for the video.

“If the Last Jedi teaser trailer feels familiar to you, that’s because it has the exact same rhythm, sound cues, and many of the same image beats of the globe-smashing Force Awakens Teaser #2 (with a quick opening BOO! moment borrowed from the Force Awakens Teaser #1). Lucasfilm/Disney has figured out how to make a “Star Wars” trailer, and they are sticking like hell to that formula. (And honestly, why shouldn’t they?)”

In order to prove his point, the video goes through the trailers frame by frame and, using a handy sidebar that lists the beats of each trailer, shows that these trailers both carry the same formula. For example, both the Star Wars Episode VII and Star Wars Episode VIII trailers open with landscapes and a shot of Rey, which is followed by the “Twin Suns” theme and some narration from Luke Skywalker. Both trailers then have a callback to Darth Vader, some more narration from Luke and then a callback to R2-D2. It goes on like this.

So, even though the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer looks very different, it probably feels very much the same, even if you might not have realized it until now. It is hard to say if this was intentionally done by Lucasfilm, or if it was just an odd coincidence, but it would be tough to blame them for wanting to use the same formula that brought so much success with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie did wind up grossing more than $2 billion worldwide. Why try to fix something that isn’t broken?

Star Wars 8 stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’O, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and is set for release on December 15. Be sure to check out the video comparing the two trailers for yourself below.

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Watch Lady Gaga Debut New Single The Cure At Coachella

Lady Gaga managed to fit studio time into her busy schedule to create an incredible new track, which she debuted at Coachella. Check out Mother Monster’s powerful first performance of the song here.


‘Fate of the Furious’ Box Office: Who Showed Up and Who Didn’t

The movie scored the biggest launch ever at the global box office, besting ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ even while lagging behind the last installment in the U.S.

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John Oliver: Donald Trump A “Leader Operating On A Learner’s Permit”

John Oliver opened the latest edition of his HBO show Last Week Tonight talking about “President Trump: two words give you a sense of impending doom, like ‘Sewage Enima’ or ‘United Airlines’.”

The week saw the spectacular moment when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted to explain the Trump administration’sstance on Syria by pointing to the fact Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. It was not a difficult concept to explain –and  “certainly very difficult to explain this badly,” Oliver said of Spicer’s remark that, during World War II, “someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.”

“That’s not just wrong, that’s $200 question on Jeopardy wrong,” Oliver raved. “Everybody knows mass chemical extermination was kind of Hitler’s thing. That and the mustache. You take them away and all you’ve got is an ill tempered Austrian with resting bitch face.

When a reporter at the briefing gave him an opportunity to “clarify,” Spicer made it worse, saying Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people, the same way that Assad is doing…he brought hem into the Holocaust center I understand that.”

“At no point during that was he in control of his own mouth,” Oliver snarked. “Most specifically, the moment he suddenly decided to coin the term ‘Holocaust center.’ Which sounds like the home arena for an alt-right hockey team.”

Spicer then put out three statements clarifying his clarification, each time digging the hole a little deeper.

“And then a final statement that read, in its entirety: ‘Hello I can’t stop making statements. I don’t want to make any more statements. Can anybody hear me? Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. Sean,” Oliver joked.

Elsewhere this week, President Trump was interviewed by Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo about Syria, during which he described, in great detail, the moment he informed Chinese President Xi Jinping the strikes would be taking place, as they dined at Mir-a-lago. Trump included the fact that the Chinese leader was eating “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you have ever seen…and enjoying it.”

“Only Donald Trump could use a conversation about missile strikes in the middle east to advertise the cake at Mir-a-Lago,’ Oliver speculated.

And if you are thinking perhaps Trumpbrought up the cake because he wants to be extra precise about every single detail, Oliver noted that, one minute later, he told Bartiromo, “So, what happened is I said, ‘We’ve just launched 59 missiles, heading to Iraq.”

Bartiromi had to save Trump from himself, saying, “Heading to Syria.”

“Yes, heading toward Syria,’ Trump responded.

The Syria attack is, Oliver noted, a flip-flop for the Trump who once tweeted: “What I am saying it stay out of Syria.”

Which was just a warm-up for the week full of  Trump flip-flops including declaring NATO “no longer obsolete,” announcing China no longer is a currency manipulator, changing his mind about replacing Fed chair Janet Yellen, etc.

“If you are Trump supporter, might might rightly be pissed off….It’s like getting tickets for The Vagina Monologues but, on the night you went, it starred Brian Dennehy,” Oliver joked.

During the week, Trump also changed his mind about believing North Korea could easily be taken care of by China, apparently after Xi Jinping spent just 10 minutes explaining to him the history of China and Korea.

“The president seems to change his mind based on any information that is new to him. Which seems to be almost any information,” Oliver observed, adding, “That is genuinely worrying. We have a leader operating on a learner’s permit.”


‘Girls’ Series Finale: Lena Dunham & EP Jenni Konner On Hannah’s Future, Marnie’s Choices & Why No Mr. Big

Spoiler alert! This article contains details of tonight’s series finale of HBO’s Girls.

Like Joan Didion fifty hears before her, Hannah Horvath said goodbye to all that. Goodbye to New York, to the friends that she’d invested in so heavily since college, and goodbye to the Big City dreams of a hopeful young writer. Goodbye to Girls.

“Latching,” tonight’s series finale of Lena Dunham’s groundbreaking (truly) HBO drama was a departure all around – in plot, of course (stop reading here if you don’t want to know who departed what, and how), in mood and tone, in setting, in focus. Girls, created by and starring Dunham, even departed from traditional finale convention: Last week’s episode was the real ending; tonight’s felt more like a beginning.

In recent episodes, Girls wrapped up, or at least addressed in some closing manner, the series-spanning plots and character arcs. Pregnant and with no interest in a relationship with the father (a minor character she and we barely knew), Hannah had already decided to keep and raise the baby. She’d also made a final decision about the on-off relationship – with Adam Driver’s Adam – that formed the show’s chief romance (after a long separation and a brief, blissful reunion, she turned down his marriage proposal, wordlessly, in one of the season’s most remarkably acted scenes).


And last week, she reunited, physically if not always happily, with the three other friends who together gave the series its title. After a season of strains, feuds and absences, the four girls – Dunham’s Hannah, Allison Williams’ Marnie, Zosia Mamet’s Shoshanna and Jemima Kirke’s Jessa – came together for a final confrontation in a bathroom at a party. At the end of the episode, three – all but Shoshanna – had more or less come to some sense of reunification and friendship. Shoshanna, the youngest and most (formerly) idol-worshipping of the bunch, was over them all, and ready for a new life.

Tonight’s series finale picked up months later with Hannah and Marnie living in bucolic upstate New York, Marnie helping to raise baby Grover as Hannah prepares to begin her college teaching job. (Longtime viewers long ago made peace, or didn’t, with Girls‘ out-of-nowhere, credibility-defying job offers: Elijah (Andrew Rannells) recently landed a big musical, becoming the show’s second character – after Adam – to find Broadway success with remarkable ease and little planning. And remember Christopher Abbott’s drifty Charlie becoming an overnight tech gajillionaire?).


Plotwise, “Latching” wasn’t intricate. The two ex-Brooklynites, their friendship strained to the breaking point by isolation, stress, boredom and a screaming, hungry baby who won’t “latch” with Hannah, attempt to settle into a country house big enough to swallow any four of their Greenpoint apartments. Marnie, in particular, has made a bad decision, driven more by martyrdom than reason.

Enter Loreen, Hannah’s long-suffering mother (Becky Ann Baker) whose life was upended in recent seasons when husband Tad (Peter Scolari) came out of the closet. Deeply alone and lost, she joins Hannah and Marnie, and, we can assume, gives Marnie the chance to live her own life, elsewhere.

When last we see Hannah, she has finally succeeded in breastfeeding little Grover, humming a song that harkens back to an earlier moment, and maybe more carefree times, as if she has no intention of completely leaving behind the friends and loves of Brooklyn.

“Latching,” was written by three of the show’s executive producers – Lena Dunham, Jenni Konner and Judd Apatow – and directed by Konner.

Deadline asked Dunham and Konner to reflect on tonight’s episode, the series, what they might have done differently and how they steered Girls to its destination, out of Brooklyn.

DEADLINE: So first question, what kind of mood are you in today?

KONNER: Do you want us to be honest?

DUNHAM: We feel really weird. It’s a really weird moment in time. I talked to Jenni today and I was like it’s not that we don’t have things going on, but it’s just shifting your focus. It will be seven years this week since Jenni and I met and began work on this, and shifting your focus and the energy of your life, it’s got a real sadness to it.

KONNER: And desolation.

DEADLINE: Desolation? But doesn’t it feel like mission accomplished and now on to new things? Or are you still in the grief period?

KONNER: I feel a very big sense of relief. I never know what people are going to like and I was very happy that people seemed to like season five so much, but then of course it went immediately to the place where I was like well, people are just going to say you should have ended it at season five. Season six sucks. But people have been responding so positively, so that’s been a huge relief. There is pleasure, absolutely, in the positive response.

DUNHAM: Absolutely, and there’s also pleasure in just having finished something in a way that we feel really proud of and we got to do it our way and we got to do it authentically. And it’s not like it ended and our office is shut down. We’re really, really lucky to be working on a bunch of different stuff right now and thinking about what is going to be the most exciting thing for us to do as a duo next. You have to crack your creative brain open at some point, even if it’s not easy all the time. And I’m glad that I’m doing that with Jenni.

DEADLINE: It struck me as I was watching the last few Season 6 episodes that episode nine – the second to last – was really the end, that was the finale. Episode ten was a beginning of some sort, a beginning of something else. Had you intended that?

DUNHAM: We’re really glad that you got that sense because the goal was absolutely that. We did a bit of a more traditional ending in nine, and then approached (10) in a different way.

KONNER: I think it was Judd’s idea originally, wasn’t it, Lena? To be like, Let’s have a finale and then have the real end.

DUNHAM: Yeah, he was just like, let’s not do this the way it’s always been done, let’s crack our brains open. There have been a few things that our writer’s room have been really resistant to, not to throw them under the bus, but it was like we wrote that final episode, a version of it, and left it with them for notes and when we came back the note was basically like, what if this wasn’t the final episode and you…

KONNER: They were like, we don’t need an episode ten, that’s what they said.

DEADLINE: I would have been disappointed without episode ten.

KONNER: Okay, good.

DEADLINE: We want to see what happens next, what happens to Hannah after she says her goodbyes in episode nine. 

DUNHAM: We always knew Jenni was writing episode ten, and we also knew she was directing it. So as we were writing, she had very strong ideas about what she wanted it to feel like visually, she was like, let’s make this like we have done with episodes in the past – but even more so – like it’s own little movie. And so having that allowed us to do something super, super, super specific. For episode nine, which was the episode that was wrapping up our more traditional storylines, we had Nisha Ganatra who’s an amazing director we had never worked with before, so she brought this very fresh perspective to an episode that was really tying up old stories. Then Jenni came in and really, really, really treated it like a film. So those two directorial styles I thought, was a really exciting contrast.

KONNER: And then we had to work with infants, so the whole plan went out the door.

DEADLINE: Hey, even the baby gave a great performance.

DUNHAM: I have to say, if any director can work with an infant it’s Jenni. She was incredible with the infant, and she’s probably one of the only directors you’ll see who made the choice to babysit the infant herself between takes.

DEADLINE: How long had it been in your heads that the girls, the core group, would go their own ways? And one – Shoshanna – is clearly really going her own way.

DUNHAM: The whole show from the beginning was leading up to this idea, that the central question from very early on was, are these people supposed to be friends?

KONNER: Right, the friends you were friends with in college just because they were in your dorm.

DUNHAM: So that question has to be answered. Ultimately the show didn’t end up being a feel good ‘yep, it’s the friend you’re stuck with, the friends you’ll have for life.’ It ended up being something a little different than that. But then also I hope that what you get at the end of 10 is the idea that the Marnie and Hannah relationship is going to evolve but it’s not going to be lost. They may not always have the kind of codependence that they’re currently trafficking in, but the friendship won’t be lost.


DEADLINE: My sense is that Hannah’s Mom takes Marnie’s place in the house. Marnie stays emotionally close but not there.

KONNER: Marnie can’t spend her whole life circling around Hannah, but I do think when Marnie’s like, “Yes, I did it,” she is so stoked that she’s stuck around long enough to be the closest friend.

DUNHAM: 100 percent. That’s Marnie’s metric for success, the idea that she’s won the good friend/good person contest, which is one of the easiest, fastest ways to be the least good friend and the most annoying person.

DEADLINE: Hannah’s mom had that great speech tonight about how she devoted 30 years to being someone’s best friend [her closeted gay husband] and ended up hating him, which ties her storyline to the storyline of the girls. How long had you been thinking that Loreen would be the truth teller?

DUNHAM: Jenni really spearheaded the Tad-Loreen breakup, and after that was written I remember Judd saying, this storyline has so much, and we can’t – just because they’re the adults, just because they’re not this sort of central focus of the show – we can’t say their concerns can’t be there. We have to see them through the end. We owe it to them now. We can’t break them apart and not understand what happened to them, and we cannot put them back together. And so closure for Loreen became as important to us as closure for everybody, and Hannah having this baby seemed like a really natural place for that to happen.

DEADLINE: At what point did you know that Hannah and Adam would not get back together?

KONNER: Honestly, we never thought they would. He was never our Mr. Big, you know? He was Hannah’s first real relationship and they had a lot of chemistry and a lot of fun, but we never thought they were in it for the long haul.


DUNHAM: Hannah was like 23 when they started seeing each other. The relationship didn’t start from a place of real authentic support, love and purity, so I think that as many strides as they were able to make, it wasn’t enough. And the fact is, you can get an incredible amount of pleasure from someone and learn a lot from them but you’re not supposed to raise a child or a family with them.

DEADLINE: Lena, you essentially convey all of that wordlessly in Episode 9’s diner scene with Adam. What made you decide to not have Hannah tell Adam her answer to his marriage proposal, but rather to show it in her face?

DUNHAM: Judd and I were writing the episode together, and I had written an outline that had a much more talky thing. He just said, like, what if it were to go down this way and he described exactly what you saw on screen. I thought that’s a really great scene, you should probably get an actress who can do that. I mean, that wasn’t my specialty – a wordless flight of emotion dancing across my face. But we just had to trust that once I was in the situation, and once I was with Adam and once we had sort of established the emotional center of the episode, that it would be possible. Until I saw the edit, I was like, are we going to have to go back in and ADR six or seven lines? But I was so happy it worked. I think that so many of the most important transitional moments in our lives happen between words.

DEADLINE: In either of your heads, were there any possible alternate endings? Not just with Adam but with any of the characters? Was this the ending you were always heading towards?

KONNER: Yeah. Lena really has been talking about it for a very long time.

DUNHAM: It always felt like a sort of non-traditional but very dear way to keep Hannah moving forward emotionally, and it felt like something that she would do. People say “left” and she goes right – she’s the exact person who would actually make the ornery choice of a having a child alone at 27. But until we were on set and it was happening, I had no sense about whether it would feel natural or whether it would feel like some crazy leap. There was one day where I was standing next to Jenni with a pregnant belly on and I was rubbing it, and Jenni was like, this is getting really creepy. And I realized that this felt very, very, very natural. So this situation, this moment for Hannah, felt very, very natural.

DEADLINE: Are there any storylines throughout the series that you wish you would have done differently? Not so much specific episodes but story arcs and character development.

DUNHAM: We had a few moments where we just felt like we hadn’t quite nailed things, especially the first seasons there were some moments where we felt like we hadn’t quite nailed things totally. We didn’t yet understand that Girls was a show where you don’t really do like a sassy one-episode arc, you really dig into something. We had a few moments like that where we thought we could have told a story and more accurately expressed it through the style of our show. But we’re not massive regret people, are we, Jenni?

KONNER: No. I think truly we just learn from everything, and anything that, like, I really regretted taught me the lesson not to do it again.

DUNHAM: Totally. Completely. And some of the things we regretted, you shall never see.

KONNER: That’s true. Some things we took care of in post.


Easter Eggs Are Hatching in Jurassic World 2 Set Photo

After directing the first Jurassic World it seems like Colin Trevorrow has learned the art of how to tease fans. He has taken a step back for Jurassic World 2 and decided not to direct the movie, but he is still on as a writer and producer. For Easter Sunday, he posted a brand new photo from Jurassic World 2 that is of what appear to be dinosaur eggs. Which is very fitting for the particular holiday. But with almost no context, we are left to wonder what exactly this is and what it could possibly mean.

The photo was posted by Colin Trevorrow on his Twitter account and, similar to the classic scene in the lab from the original Jurassic Park, shows some dinosaur eggs in an incubator just waiting to hatch. While there aren’t any specific plot details that have been released for Jurassic World 2, what we know based on what happened in the first Jurassic World makes this very interesting. Let’s do some reasonable speculation.

We can very safely assume that the park is going to be shut down following the events of the first Jurassic World, which means that the lab will almost surely be shut down as well. So the eggs probably aren’t on Isla Nublar. But we do know that Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) made it off the island, escorted by members of InGen, with embryos and research for the dinosaurs. So, has Henry Wu set up shop in a government facility or a probably somewhat illegal secret InGen facility elsewhere? Are these eggs one of his new creations? Maybe some other genetically altered monster like the Indominus Rex. Or it could just be good old fashioned raptors who are being specifically bred for military purposes. That would make sense, especially since it is rumored that the idea of weaponized dinosaurs will be explored in Jurassic World 2. Or maybe it is just dinosaur eggs because this is going to be a movie about dinosaurs.

While no plot details have been released by the studio, we do know that Jurassic World 2 is going to be dealing with the issue of dinosaur rights and what to do with these creatures now that the park is closed down. There are rumors that suggest some sort of event will force a rescue mission of some kind. It is suggested that everything from the government bombing the island to a volcanic eruption could force this rescue mission. We also know that the original T-Rex from the first Jurassic Park is going to be back and that we are going to get to see the dilophosaurus for the first time since the first movie, thanks to some set photos that recently surfaced online.

The Jurassic World 2 cast includes Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin and Ted Levine. Jurassic World 2 is written by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. The movie is being directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls) and is set for release on June 22, 2018. You can check out the new picture for yourself below.

— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) April 16, 2017


‘A Star Is Born’: Bradley Cooper And Lady Gaga Filming In Coachella

After headlining a successful Night 2 at Coachella, Lady Gaga, alongside co-star Bradley Cooper, will be filming scenes for their upcoming movie A Star Is Born in Indio. On Sunday, festival goers were notified on Coachella’s mobile app that they had the chance to be in a scene for the upcoming Cooper-directed musical, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Based on William Wellman’s 1937 movie, A Star is Born is about a singer (Lady Gaga) who falls in love with an aging rocker (Cooper) who launches her successful career as his own is in a downward spiral. The film was remade in 1954 with Judy Garland and 1976 with Barbra Streisand, in what would be Gaga’s role.

Filming will take place on Tuesday, April 18 and Wednesday, April 19 and the scenes will portray a country western concert. Attendees must be 18 years or older and fans are asked to dress in western-themed attire. “All you Monsters that can attend should get decked out in your most comfortable denim & boots, throw on a Stetson (leave those pink Joanne hats at home) and come out to show your support!” reads the announcement.

It costs $10 to attend and all proceeds will be going directly to the singer’s Born This Way Foundation. Warner Bros. also tweeted out information on how to sign up.

Earlier this week cinematographer Matthew Libatique also shared a photo from set, “Always a thrill when you finally get to shoot in prep,” read the caption, as production is underway.

The latest version of the script was written by Eric Roth (Munich, Forrest Gump); previous versions were written by Cooper and Will Fetters. Cooper is producing with Billy Gerber, Todd Phillips, Lynette Howell Tayor and Jon Peters, with Basil Iwanyk on as executive producer.

A Star Is Born is slated to be released on September 28, 2018.


Split 2 Ending Is Too Scary to Write Says M. Night Shyamalan

If you haven’t seen the hit thriller Split yet, there will be SPOILERS below. While January isn’t typically a month associated with box office hits, Universal and Blumhouse’s thriller Split was one of the rare hits released during that month. The thriller, which was produced for just $9 million, earned over $274 million worldwide and was a critical hit as well with fans and critics alike praising the film. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan has since revealed that he is working on a follow-up, with the filmmaker revealing over the weekend that he’s almost done writing it, but the ending has him terrified.

At the end of Split, a post-credits scene revealed that the movie is set in the same universe as his hit 2000 thriller Unbreakable, showcasing a scene where Bruce Willis return as David Dunn from Unbreakable. The filmmaker later revealed he almost included scenes in the movie that would have alluded to David Dunn fighting Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass in the movie, but he decided to take them out and save the big reveal for the post-credits scene. The filmmaker also confirmed earlier this year that he has started writing the script, and yesterday he took to Twitter to confirm he’s about to write the ending, which has him terrified. Here’s what he had to say below.

“Writing climax of the new film. Had to step away. Heart pounding. Too scared and worried for the characters. Writing really is like acting.”

The director teased that the Split post-credit scene was almost much different, teasing that it was, “graphic images of The Beast and then David Dunn and then Elijah and then them all mixing together.” While he thought the scene was a “home run” on its own, when he put it in the movie, it just didn’t work. Instead, he crafted a post-credit scene that is set in a cafe, with patrons discussing The Beast case while watching a news report. One patron is reminded of another criminal with an unusual name, where we finally see David Dunn, who reveals the criminal she’s thinking of is Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass.

The filmmaker previously confirmed on social media that he has an 11-page Split 2 outline completed, while stating that he almost had several other Unbreakable Easter Eggs in Split, but he took them out because they began to “take over” the movie. James McAvoy has also teased in interviews that he will be back as Kevin Wendell Crumb, with M. Night Shyamalan confirming on a recent podcast appearance that Samuel L. Jackson will be back as Mr. Glass. Take a look at this latest tweet from M. Night Shyamalan regarding the highly-anticipated Unbreakable 2, which the director has confirmed as his next movie.

Writing climax of the new film. Had to step away. Heart pounding. Too scared and worried for the characters. Writing really is like acting.

— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) April 15, 2017


‘Guerrilla’ Review: Frieda Pinto Shines In Shrewd But Slow John Ridley Miniseries

A television team-up between John Ridley and Idris Elba is a good idea that works on more than just paper in the April 16-debuting and 1970s London-set Guerrilla, but the real stars of this smart though sometimes slow effort are Frieda Pinto and Rory Kinnear.

As a bohemian turned gun wielding urban revolutionary and the Scotland Yard cop on the Black Power desk who is hunting down Pinto’s Jas Mitra and her allies, the Slumdog Millionaire star and James Bond franchise alum are, as I say in my video review above, excellent in the Showtime six-parter, both unto themselves and as foils of sorts in the well-worth-watching drama.

Primarily written and partially directed by Oscar winner and American Crime creator Ridley and co-starring the Luther actor, who is also an executive producer, Guerrilla parachutes directly into the racially and culturally bifurcated Britain of 1971, a war zone of economic depression and winds of change, to quote ex-PM Harold Macmillan. Similar to today, immigration was one of the pitched battlefields, with the Conservative government of the time passing restrictive legislation and the tabloid press scapegoating minorities amidst rising and manipulated tensions.

Against that backdrop, Guerrilla finds Pinto’s Jas and boyfriend Marcus, played in boiling understatement by Babou Cessay, suddenly radicalized by a police induced fatality. With Black Panthers, the now nearly forgotten FLQ, heists, philosophical debates, break-outs and bomb blasts, the Ridley and Sam Miller helmed series then starts methodically opening the cabinet of curiosities and controversies that surrounded the era and the narrative with revolutionaries, would-be revolutionaries, class, race, power, betrayal and violence weaving in and out of the over-lapping stories.

Guerrilla on Showtime

Centering on a time when portions of a dank London were still pockmarked from the Luftwaffe bombings of World War II was wise for Ridley, who often tells his best tales in contrast – as is the case here as the sun had set on an Empire that was still in denial in some circles. Already fighting the IRA over in Northern Ireland and increasingly at home, it was also a time when the UK’s powers-that-be were legislatively at war with many of their own citizens. When one character in the Vietnam era Guerrilla refers to living “in an age of fear” it is much more than a nod to our own times and what now is clearly seen as a failing attempt to hold on to a certain type of Great Britain that we feel the beats of again in the time of Brexit.

The seemingly effortless and deceptive performance by Elba, who rarely fails to impress, in the Showtime and Sky Atlantic project is but one of many from a cast as shrewd and varied as the perspectives offered up by Ridley.

There are no spoilers but you can see more of my take on the complex and detailed designed Guerrilla in the video review above. Tell us what you think – will you be taking up the cause on April 16?

This review originally ran on April 13.

Related‘American Crime’ Season 3 Review: John Ridley’s Anthology Series Remarkable In Scope


‘The Leftovers’ Final Season Review: HBO Drama Departs With Greatness

Having started out in 2014 as a successful adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel, the April 16-debuting third and final season of HBO’s The Leftovers has officially achieved television greatness. Simply put, the eight-episode last run of the series executive produced by Damon Lindelof and Perrotta is a moving and powerful piece of American art that leaves nothing on the table.

Not to reveal spoilers, but the mostly Lindelof co-written final season has an auspicious, cathartic and complex narrative that is both dancing in the fields of the apocalypse and bathed in love and time as another anniversary looms of the pivotal Departure that saw the sudden disappearance of nearly 150 million people worldwide, the event that provided the set-up for the series. Also, of special interest to fans of that other Lindelof-EP’d series, LostThe Leftovers relocates from Texas to Australia in a geographically enhanced emotional journey and seems to have a conclusion in sight that is quite fulfilling from the seven episodes I’ve seen.

Excellent and sometimes gut-retching performances by Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Liv Tyler, Regina King, Christopher Eccleston, Jovan Adepo, Amy Brenneman, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Scott Glenn and more superb directing from the likes of Mimi Leder and Craig Zobel seemingly set the third season’s coordinates for the ethos of late-period Stanley Kubrick. The cumulative result for the final season pretty much achieves that destination, a tremendous triumph by any measure on the small or big screen.

Last month, Lindelof sent a letter to critics bemoaning binge-watching and asking them “if you were surprised by something that happens on the show (either positively or negatively), it would be cool to maintain that same surprise for the audience.” I agree with the no-spoilers request, but if you haven’t been watching The Leftovers so far (and Season 2 was pretty great, too), ignore Lindeloff and binge while you still can to catch up. If you are a fan of one of the best dramas on TV in this era of Peak TV, get ready because Season 3 will leave you wanting even more – in the best way.

Click on my video review of the final season of The Leftovers above to see more of what I think of the show. Tell us what you think of the show as it comes to its end.

This review first ran on April 6.

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