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George Lucas voices support for Bob Iger amid Nelson Peltz proxy battle

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George Lucas voices support for Bob Iger amid Nelson Peltz proxy battle

Is the Force strong with Bob Iger? On Tuesday, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas threw his support behind the Walt Disney Co. boss amid the executive’s fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz.

The Lucasfilm founder and longtime Disney shareholder released a statement professing his “full faith and confidence in the power of Disney and Bob’s track record of driving long-term value.” The Burbank-based entertainment giant acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion and has since released a spate of “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” movies and TV series under the storied banner.

“Creating magic is not for amateurs,” Lucas said in a statement provided to The Times. “When I sold Lucasfilm just over a decade ago, I was delighted to become a Disney shareholder because of my longtime admiration for its iconic brand and Bob Iger’s leadership.”

Lucas’ stamp of approval comes at a pivotal time for Iger and the Disney board. The House of Mouse’s annual shareholder meeting — which will see Peltz and his company, Trian Fund Management, attempt to unseat two Disney board directors — is scheduled for April 3.

Also on Team Iger is investment firm and Disney shareholder ValueAct Capital Management. In Peltz’s corner are former Marvel Entertainment Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter and ex-Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, whom Trian is nominating for a board position along with Peltz.

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“When Bob recently returned to the company during a difficult time, I was relieved,” Lucas continued in his statement. “No one knows Disney better. … I have voted all of my shares for Disney’s 12 directors and urge other shareholders to do the same.”

Lucas hasn’t always spoken so warmly about Disney. In 2015, in an interview with Charlie Rose, he expressed regret for selling Lucasfilm to what he referred to as “white slavers.”

“They looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’” Lucas told Rose. “They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway — but if I get in there, I’m just going to cause trouble, because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. … And so I said, ‘OK, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’”

Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm was among Iger’s most high-profile accomplishments during his first 15-year run as CEO, along with the purchases of Pixar, Marvel and 21st Century Fox.

The company brought back the Skywalker franchise in 2015 with J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which grossed $2 billion in global box office sales. Jon Favreau’s series “The Mandalorian” was one of the first major hits for Disney+, leading to a surge in subscribers and Baby Yoda merchandise sales.

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But the studio, led by Kathleen Kennedy, also has had stumbles, including the poorly received film spinoff “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The 2019 trilogy capper “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” grossed $1.08 billion, significantly less than the two previous installments, and got poor reviews. Lucasfilm’s latest movie, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” collected a disappointing $384 million in ticket sales.

The next “Star Wars” movie for theaters is “The Mandalorian & Grogu,” planned for 2026, with Favreau directing.

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Movie Reviews

Humane (2024) – Movie Review

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Humane (2024) – Movie Review

Humane, 2024.

Directed by Caitlin Cronenberg.
Starring Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Peter Gallagher, Enrico Colantoni, Sebastian Chacon, Alanna Bale, Sirena Gulamgaus, Uni Park, Martin Roach, Blessing Adedijo, Joel Gagne, and Franckie Francois.

SYNOPSIS:

In the wake of an environmental collapse that is forcing humanity to shed 20% of its population, a family dinner erupts into chaos when a father’s plan to enlist in the government’s new euthanasia program goes horribly awry.

Humane takes a darkly fascinating, timely concept regarding ecological collapse and overpopulation, competently establishes some of that world-building that’s not too far off from a potentially bleak future reality, and then devolves into an hour of filthy rich siblings, most of whom are unlikeable, shouting at each other in an attempt to decide who they are going to sacrifice as part of an ongoing government-funded euthanasia cleansing.

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There is also nothing wrong with these characters being offputting and morally bankrupt when a sudden gathering organized by patriarch Charles York (Peter Gallagher) turns into an evening of survival, especially when there are military personnel and individuals even more psychotic overseeing the euthanasia process (a procedure with rewards that seemingly sets up the rest of one’s family financially for life), but the script from Michael Sparaga lacks characterization and complexity beyond one or two defining traits for each sibling. As a result, much of the backstabbing and betrayal between two particular siblings strains credibility and comes across as the screenplay looking to stretch the physical family feud long past its repetitive breaking point.

This is frustrating since, again, the hook grabs attention. Charles is a former celebrated news reporter who financially benefited from years of society ignoring climate change, among other pressing issues. Somewhat of a failure as a parent and husband, currently with a new partner named Dawn Kim (Uni Park), who has faced racism at extreme lengths of having her restaurant burned down (the script also mentions that for whatever reason, Asians, in general, have been made public enemy number one for the current disastrous state of the planet, without ever really expanding on that.) Charles cares deeply about his legacy. He is also looking for some form of redemption, so he signs himself and Dawn up for the euthanasia process while inviting his four adult children (one adopted son) over to say goodbye without explaining what the reunion is about.

The children are Jared’s (Jay Baruchel) government mouthpiece for the euthanasia program, Rachel’s (Emily Hampshire) sociopathic businesswoman who doesn’t realize or seem to care that her heartlessness gets her daughter Mia (Sirena Gulamgaus) endlessly bullied at school, recovering junkie and adopted son Noah (Sebastian Chacon) and aspiring actress Ashley (Alanna Bale.) Due to not knowing the nature of this reunion, Mia also ends up in the house. It is also established that Noah and Ashley are closer to one another than everyone else in this dysfunctional family.

Following dinner, Charles blurts out what is happening here; the euthanasia enforcements arrive, insisting that the family figure out a way to provide a second body since Dawn had run off before they arrived. Whether there is a deeper significance to that remains a mystery. There is no backing out, and the menacing ringleader, Bob (Enrico Colantoni), scrambles the Wi-Fi and is certain that these people are so selfish they will try to kill each other to ensure they are not the second death. He also makes clear that this group does not euthanize children (although the slimy Jared is seen on television early on promoting the idea, admitting that he would allow his teenage son to consider it), ordering his armed guards to bring Mia outside and into his van as insurance while the family decides what to do.

The euthanasia process is unsettlingly creepy, as fully seen during an opening prologue juxtaposed with an upbeat, cheerful song choice. The film consistently finds pockets to quickly drop tiny bits of information about this world and how the service is handled in the public eye, including gallows humor commercials thanking regular citizens for their suicide contributions.

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That’s all one way of saying Humane has the ingredients to be a sharp and socially aware takedown of the rich and a reflection of a grim, possible reality if everyone on this planet doesn’t get on the same page to do something about devastating global concerns. However, the film takes that intrigue and squanders it all on a sibling match of who can yell the loudest and survive the most injuries. Characters repeatedly try to kill each other, form alliances, betray one another, and show their worst sides in ways that don’t always feel believable, even for these wealthy, self-centered assholes. It becomes exhausting, and at one point, we side with the gleeful euthanizing murderer for trying to convince Mia that her mom is an awful person. Hilariously, it also tries to give that character a dramatic backstory while dropping the psychopathic behavior for roughly two minutes.

What Humane does have going for it is that it is the debut from Caitlin Cronenberg, and while this is a different kind of horror from what her father and brother would craft (and sometimes a black comedy with Jay Baruchel eliciting some laughs), the violence still has some body horror that fits right in with the family portfolio. Fingers are forced inside stab wounds, and blood squirts so often that it becomes confounding no one is dead yet. As a director, there should be interest in what she does next, preferably something with a stronger screenplay and layered characters.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=embed/playlist

 

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Christina Applegate contracts virus after eating food contaminated with fecal matter

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Christina Applegate contracts virus after eating food contaminated with fecal matter

Christina Applegate was still recovering from her first run-in with COVID-19 when another virus recently had her health in the toilet again.

The “Dead to Me” star spoke humorously — and graphically — about her “gross” experience with a sapovirus infection in the sixth episode of “MesSy,” the multiple sclerosis-themed podcast she shares with actor Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

“It’s now time for the poop talk,” Sigler introduced the segment.

“It’s a poop pod,” Applegate said. “If you don’t like this part, totally fine. I get it.”

It started with dizzy spells and a bout of uncontrollable diarrhea.

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“I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t anything,” Applegate said, so she took a stool test. “You poop into a receptacle, and then you have to scoop your own poop into vials. And it was so gross, I started vomiting whilst doing this.”

The test told her she had contracted sapovirus, which occurs when one person ingests another’s fecal matter, most often via contaminated food. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Sapovirus infections are responsible for both sporadic cases and occasional outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis.”

The culprit, Applegate said, was most likely a takeout salad from a vegan restaurant she’s visited for years and declined to name.

“They say that it’s mostly from salads because cooked food kind of kills the bacteria,” she said. “Someone else’s poop went into my mouth, and I ate it.”

As if the virus wasn’t bad enough, Applegate said it exacerbated the symptoms of her multiple sclerosis, with which she was diagnosed in 2021. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the chronic illness can cause trouble walking, difficulty with balance and fatigue.

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“I woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning in a pool of s—,” she said. “Having MS at 3 o’clock in the morning and trying to change your sheets, it’s not fun.”

She and Sigler then joked about their qualms with adult diapers, which Applegate said she had recently been wearing again out of convenience. Their suggestions included adding Velcro and scrapping the “pretty” designs.

“I think it would be very nice if you could give me an adult diaper that fully supported my mood when I looked at it,” Sigler said, “which would be something along the lines of the words, ‘F— me’ across my pelvis.”

“Again, we’re losing a patent. Someone’s going to do this and make millions,” Applegate riffed.

The Emmy-winning actor has spoken about her experience with MS before, including on “MesSy.”

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During the podcast’s third episode, she revealed she was in a relapse at the time of recording, detailing “intense pain” in her legs and discomfort in her eye.

“I couldn’t sleep because every time I would close my eye, my eye would start doing some crazy s—,” she said, adding that damage to the optic nerve can be a symptom of MS.

During a March appearance on “Good Morning America,” Applegate said she suspects she had MS symptoms for several years before her diagnosis.

“I noticed, especially the first season [of “Dead to Me”], we’d be shooting and my leg would buckle,” she said. “I really just put it off as being tired, or I’m dehydrated, or it’s the weather. Then nothing would happen for months, and I didn’t pay attention.”

By the time she was filming the TV series’ third season, she was being brought to set in a wheelchair and sometimes had crew members holding up her legs out of camera range.

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Even now, she said, she struggles to accept her diagnosis or explain it to others.

“I live kind of in hell,” she said. “But of course, the support is wonderful, and I’m really grateful.”

Applegate received a standing ovation when she walked onstage to present an award at the Emmys in January. A few months earlier, her former “Married … With Children” co-star Katey Sagal physically supported Applegate as she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

During her speech, Applegate recalled how, as a child, she would read the names on the stars along Hollywood Boulevard, wondering how she could get hers among them.

“So this day means more to me than you can possibly imagine,” she said.

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Movie Reviews

Humane (2024) – Review | Dystopian Family Thriller | Heaven of Horror

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Humane (2024) – Review | Dystopian Family Thriller | Heaven of Horror

How to reduce the population in a humane way

In Humane, which takes place in one single afternoon, but based on events that have happened over decades, a family is forced to deal with an ecological collapse. Basically, we need to reduce Earth’s population now, so the question becomes; How can we do that as a society in a humane way?

Hot tip: You need to pay attention to everything being said in the background during the opening credits!

Of course, there isn’t anything humane about having to eliminate a large percentage of the population. And yet, money can help, so a new euthanasia program has been made. Basically, you can volunteer to be “put down!

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A very different take on the euthanasia plot here >

Your family will be by your side as you say goodbye to them and they will also get a pretty penny for your sacrifice. Clearly, this scheme leads to mostly poor people and immigrants signing up, as they can then help their children and grandchildren to a better life.

That’s why it’s such a shock when a recently retired newsman – who has plenty of wealth to last a few lifetimes – invites his four grown children to dinner to announce that he has enlisted for the euthanasia program.

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Of course, nothing is as simple as described in the commercials constantly playing on TV to enlist volunteers. So, when the father’s plan goes wrong, full-blown chaos erupts among the four siblings, and they end up fighting each other to survive.

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