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‘Westworld’ remains easy to admire, harder to like in new season

Coming back after a long layoff, it's virtually impossible to recap all the threads left dangli..

Coming back after a long layoff, it's virtually impossible to recap all the threads left dangling after season one, except to say the amusement park for adults that Michael Crichton conjured — and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have cleverly updated for modern times — has imploded in a big way, resulting in an every-robot-for-him-or-herself melee on multiple fronts.Once again, the show oscillates between past and present, filtered in part through the character of the man in black, played with steely ruthlessness by Ed Harris. The newly sentient robots, meanwhile, have their own objectives, and it's the female characters leading the way, most notably Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton), who each exhibit an almost-ethereal serenity about the bigger picture and their roles in it."They took our minds. Our memories," Dolores says, hinting at plans to bring her battle from within the confines of Delos to the wider world.Where that will ultimately lead is this season's slow-unspooling mystery, while the human in charge (several of them new faces, for obvious reasons) seek to regain control. In the interim, there's a tremendous amount of bloodshed — blunted in its impact by the fact that some of it feels gratuitous, and a lot of it directed toward characters (a term used loosely, in some places) about which there's little reason to care.Admittedly, "Westworld" overcame initial misgivings about its first-season structure by thoughtfully flipping the script in terms of who the bad guys really were. Instead of renegade robots preying on humans, the show zeroed in on the nascent humanity of these artificial constructs, contrasted with the brutality inflicted upon them by people indulging their darkest impulses and fantasies.When William (Jimmi Simpson) tells Dolores, "You really are just a thing," there's considerable irony in the juxtaposition of his moral decay with her dawning awareness. And when she says later, "There is beauty in what we are," it's an invitation to contemplate what really makes somebody human.The push and pull of "Westworld" is that it grapples with deep intellectual conundrums while reveling in a kind of numbing pageant of death and destruction. Where the latter is organic to the world of HBO's other huge genre hit, "Game of Thrones," it doesn't always feel integral to the story here, but rather a means of killing (and killing and killing) time.As noted, "Westworld" has a genuinely epic quality to it, augmented by the addition of this season's Shogun World; a cast to die for (heck, we haven't even mentioned Jeffrey Wright yet, whose Bernard is one of the more complicated and fascinating personalities); and a demonstrable willingness by its writers to play the long game, in a way that turned first-season fans into amateur spoiler hunters.For all its strengths, though, the series proves a bit of a slog, at times, as the wheels turn along the dusty, blood-specked road to wherever this maze leads."Westworld" begins its second season April 22 at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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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.

Image: Cast members (l-r): Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch at the launch of the new Bond film

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.

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"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

Sean Connery and Mie Hama in You Only Live Twice, 1967
Image: The Bond films have been criticised for their sexism
Dr No turned Sean Connery into an international superstar
Image: Dr No featured the famous scene with Ursula Andress walking out of the sea in a white bikini

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 ".

More from Phoebe Waller-bridge

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'.

"As an actrRead More – Source (more…)

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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.

Taron Egerton on Sir Elton: 'I adore him'

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".

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"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.

More from Elton John

"We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to pushRead More – Source

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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 played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)

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.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck was on parent duties (Picture: Backgrid)

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.

More: Ben Affleck

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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.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck has a number of roles in the pipeline (Picture: Backgrid)
Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck with son Samuel and daughter Seraphina (Picture: Backgrid)

We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source

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