Pop culture can hardly avoid politics anymore, especially in the case of a huge target like "Star Wars." But the latest movie, "The Last Jedi," appears to lean into the political fray, from its egalitarian message to a more specific critique of callous plutocrats.For starters, the film's revelations about the lineage of Rey (Daisy Ridley), and the closing image that dovetails with that, suggest that a powerful connection with the Force can come from the humblest of origins. While the series has focused on inherited power in the Skywalker clan — from Anakin to Luke, Leia to Ben/Kylo Ren — allowing for the fact that the bad guy might by misleading Rey, "The Last Jedi" seemingly dispenses with heredity as a primary concern.More pointedly, the mission undertaken by Finn (John Boyega) and Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) leads them to a planet where the ultra-rich congregate at what amounts to an intergalactic casino. Moreover, it's noted that most of those one-percenters earned their money from war profiteering — selling weapons to the First Order and Rebels alike — while subjugating and exploiting those around them.The pair's escape also weaves in an animal-rights theme, as the two rebels liberate a creature used for a kind of horseracing entertainment. The beast eventually wanders off free, regaining its natural state.In the bigger picture this is all relatively mild, especially couched within a 2 ½-hour movie. But when a project possesses such a high media profile, pundits inevitably want to provide their own hot takes.Nor, frankly, does it take much to rile conservatives on constant alert for slights from liberal Hollywood. Mark Hamill's weekend Twitter spat with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz over net neutrality will provide further ammunition, but it's worth noting that the star is speaking as a private citizen, not for the movie.Analysis about political messaging within "Star Wars" movies is hardly new. In 2005, many took dialogue in "Revenge of the Sith" as a not-so-subtle indictment of the Bush administration, starting with Princess Amidala's observation as the Emperor expands his wartime powers. "So this is how liberty dies," she says, "With thunderous applause."Later, when the turned-to-darkness Anakin Skywalker confronts Obi-Wan Kenobi he warns, "If you're not with me, you're against me," to which his former master replies, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes." To many, the exchange vaguely echoed then-President George W. Bush's pronouncements about terrorism.The hang-wringing at the time felt a trifle overstated. Today, with political polarization having festered, those addressing the underlying ideas that "The Last Jedi" communicates seem rooted on firmer ground.The latest batch of "Star Wars" movies have also made a conspicuous effort to be more inclusive in terms of female and minority characters, after the original film was criticized for its all-white vision of space. George Lucas introduced Lando Calrissian, played by Billy Dee Williams, in its sequel.Of course, there's a pragmatic aspect to pulling "Star Wars" from the realm of escapism into politics: doing so provides cover for media outlets that wouldn't normally devote much time to such a movie to latch onto its coattails.Simply put, when a film earns $220 million in North America in its opening weekend, and more than double that worldwide, the temptation and commercial incentives to talk about it are strong.There's obvious irony in a money-making enterprise like "Star Wars" — fattening the coffers of the Disney empire — decrying capitalism run amok. Yet even if that's a minor, peripheral element in a fantasy set in a long-ago, far-away galaxy, rather than being reluctantly drawn into such debates, "The Last Jedi" signals its willingness to at least be part of the conversation by addressing issues in the here and now.
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007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge
Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..
Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.
Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.
Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.
"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.
"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.
"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."
Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".
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She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.
Sir Elton hits out at Russia for ‘cruel’ Rocketman censorship
Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic..
Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman.
The critically acclaimed film charts the British singer's rise to fame, and its scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, contributed to it earning a 15 certificate in the UK.
But in a bid to play down the sexuality of Sir Elton, played by actor Taron Egerton, for a conservative Russian audience, an estimated five minutes of footage was reportedly removed ahead of its debut in Moscow.
The Moscow Times quoted a Russian film critic who had seen the film at its world premiere in Cannes on 16 May as saying "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut", as well as a photo displayed during the end credits featuring Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish.
Sir Elton, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, released a joint statement with the makers of the film to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".
"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," they said.
"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.
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Ben Affleck steps out to drop off kids as Robert Pattinson is announced as new Batman
Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)
Ben Affleck has been pictured ..
Ben Affleck has been pictured performing his parental duties in Los Angeles, as his official replacement in the Batman role is announced.
The 46-year-old actor was seen in the early hours on Friday (31 May) dropping off son Samuel, seven, and daughter Seraphina, 10, to school.
Affleck has three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner – Seraphina, Samuel and 13-year-old Violet.
On the same day the actor was pictured, it was announced Robert Pattinson will take over as Batman in a planned trilogy of movies with director Matt Reeves.
Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 2017s Justice League, stepped down from the role in January earlier this year – after being originally down to direct and star in his own film.
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Speaking about his departure in March, Affleck stated how he was never happy with the script they were planning to use.
We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source
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