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‘Masked Singer’ winner reveals whether they will resume 'Musical' — that was a clue — career

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‘Masked Singer’ winner reveals whether they will resume 'Musical' — that was a clue — career

Sixteen contestants went down to one Wednesday night when the “Masked Singer” crowned Goldfish the winner. Underneath the mask was Disney darling, Coachella queen and Broadway beauty Vanessa Hudgens, who was champion of Season 11 of the reality TV competition series.

The competition was down to Goldfish, who sang “Heart of Glass” by Blondie and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John, and Gumball, who chose “Latch” by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith and “Renegade” by Styx. The candy man was revealed to be “Friday Night Lights” star Scott Porter, who worked with Hudgens on 2009’s “Bandslam.”

Judges Jenny McCarthy-Wahlberg and Robin Thicke both guessed incorrectly that he was Derek Hough. Ken Jeong guessed Taran Killam, and Rita Ora thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt was under the mask.

They fared much better unmasking Goldfish: While Thicke guessed Hilary Duff and Jeong said it was Nicole Scherzinger, both Ora and McCarthy-Wahlberg were correct that the star of Broadway’s “Gigi” was their winner.

“It’s honestly the most incredible thing ever. I’ve just been so excited to take my mask off and stare into Rita’s eyes and be like ‘Girl, this is why I couldn’t hang out with you,’” Hudgens, a longtime friend of Ora’s, exclaimed after the reveal.

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“I was like, ‘What’s going on with Vanessa? She always texts me back’ — but now it’s because you were here,” Ora yelled back from the judges’ seats.

The “High School Musical” star had been asked to join the show several times but decided this time to give her fans a taste of what they’ve been missing in her time away from music, Hudgens told ET.

“My fans had been asking, saying, ‘We want more music, we want singing anything, give it to us please.’ And I was like, ‘You know, this would be a really interesting way to give my fans what they want, but make sure they’re really fans,’” she said. “And they are!”

But the Queen of Coachella, so named because of her remarkable outfits at the annual Southern California music festival, admitted that she would probably stick to the screen for the immediate future.

The actor’s “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” opens in theaters on June 7. It’s the fourth film in the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy cop action comedy franchise. Hudgens also co-starred in the third movie, “Bad Boys for Life.”

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“I always say life is about priorities and [music’s] just not a top priority right now,” the new mom said. “Who knows? Maybe down the line, maybe it will be, but as of now, it’s still no.”

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Film Review: King of Prison (2020) by Kang Tae-ho

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Film Review: King of Prison (2020) by Kang Tae-ho

“King of Prison” is an unusual prison film, which combines drama, action and comedy in a realistic package

Usually in prison films, there is a level of exotification, which moves towards violence in the case of the male ones and sex for the female ones. As such, it is always interesting to watch films that take a more realistic approach, with “King of Prison”, although not completely void of crowd-pleasing elements, definitely following this path.

The story is presented through the perspective of Lee Man-hee, a 28-year-old man who becomes a member of a violent crimes cell, after getting caught up in a violent incident. In his cell, he meets the King of the Prison, Beom Teol, who is actually a former gang member in his 50s, who only uses violence when someone from the cell is bullied or in order to break up fights, while frequently giving legal advice to whoever needs it. Wal-Wal, another man his age, is a true character, who is infamous of how much his excrement smells, while the ‘cell ‘room’ also fosters an older guy who was convicted as sexual offender and frequently makes others laugh with his absurd stories, among a number of other ‘characters’.

In general, things go smoothly in the whole prison, until a true kingpin, Jeong Tae-soo is admitted, and decides to take over the role of the King, with the help of the warden. After a series of failed attempts against Beom Teol, he decides to bring in KTX from isolation, a convict who seems to be as good in fighting as Beom-teol.

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Although there is the occasional fighting throughout, and a finale that moves in the particular path, Kang Tae-ho’s effort mostly focuses on portraying life inside the prison, which is actually dominated by boredom instead of danger. Beom Teol is one of the main sources of this approach, since both in terms of appearance (essentially a middle-aged man with a mustache) and overall demeanor move towards the particular direction, with him rarely actually fighting.

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The way even the most insignificant treats of the outside worlds are treated as valuables inside adds another level in the same direction, with the same applying to drugs, homosexuality and sexual release. Particularly the last aspect offers one of the most realistic scenes, with Wal-Wal’s interaction with his visiting wife, and his requests, highlighting the fact in the most eloquent fashion. The friendship Man-hee strikes with another prisoner his age, although with some homosexual connotations, is in the same path. Lastly, the way corruption works inside, through the cooperation with the employees of the prison, cements this approach.

Granted, occasionally the film goes too far, particularly regarding the presentation of defecation, which eventually even becomes part of the action, but in general, the approach is grounded.

Regarding the action scenes, the fact that the main protagonist is a middle aged man does restrict it somewhat, although the fact that the impressive throughout Lee Sol-gu exhibits a sense of danger with every move definitely helps. In general, the whole thing is slow, while the showdown with KFC could definitely have been handled better. On the other hand, one could say that this approach also follows the overall realistic one.

Apart from Lee Sol-gu, the ones who steal the show are Lee Hyun-woong as Wai-wai, the main source of comedy here, and Yoo Sang-jae who portrays a truly sinister villain as Tae-soo. Kim Min as KTX is both good in the fighting scenes and the humorous ones. The cinematography again focuses on realism, without particular exaltations in terms of visuals, while the editing could have been handled a bit better, at least in terms of pacing. It does not harm the film significantly though.

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“King of Prison” is an unusual prison film, which combines drama, action and comedy in a realistic package definitely deserving a watch.

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Review: Clad in leather, 'The Bikeriders' evokes ’60s cool, then watches it fade in the mirror

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Review: Clad in leather, 'The Bikeriders' evokes ’60s cool, then watches it fade in the mirror

In the mid-1960s, photojournalist Danny Lyon embedded himself with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in the suburbs of Chicago, snapping portraits and candid photographs while interviewing members of the gang. The result was a photo book called “The Bikeriders,” published in 1968, that serves as the inspiration for director Jeff Nichols’ latest film of the same name, a meditation on American motorcycle culture, the birthplace of a certain kind of cool.

Nichols is clearly enchanted by the inimitable style and intoxicating lore that Lyon’s photographs conjure, and he populates his cinematic Chicago-based motorcycle club — rechristened the Vandals — with a coterie of ruggedly handsome stars who can make sideburns and motor oil look good, including Tom Hardy, Austin Butler, Norman Reedus, Beau Knapp, Boyd Holbrook, Emory Cohen and Damon Herriman. There are also some unexpected and welcome casting choices like Karl Glusman and young Australian actor Toby Wallace, who is terrific as a young Vandals wannabe.

As the enigmatic Benny, Butler’s supernova star quality is undeniable, and the film opens with a bourbon and a bang — a shovel to the back of his head during a bar brawl that will haunt the rest of the film. In this bit of bravura filmmaking, Nichols demonstrates a slick style and rhythmic musicality that instantly draws us into this world.

When we next lay eyes on Benny, he’s hulking over a pool table at a bar, his long golden arms and tousled blond coif raked over by the greedy gaze of Kathy (Jodie Comer) who stops in for a drink and leaves with a lifetime lover. Nichols’ camera eats Butler up hungrily, every inch of battered denim and well-worn leather; every soulful pout and blood-spattered grin wordlessly seducing Kathy to the dark side. It’s no wonder Kathy’s boyfriend beats it as soon as Benny turns up on their curb, and it’s no wonder Kathy bends her life around her new brooding boyfriend and his clan of grease-streaked miscreants.

Kathy becomes our narrator, her mile-a-minute Midwestern patter adding a layer of percussion to the rumbling engines and plaintive crooning of ’60s rock ‘n’ roll on the soundtrack. In a rapid-fire Chicago cadence expertly enunciated by Liverpudlian actor and master of accents Comer, Kathy reels off stories about the boys into the microphone of photographer Lyon (Mike Faist). She’s the observant eyewitness and caretaker of their oral history, though the details are potentially lost, muddled or otherwise exaggerated by our storyteller. We see them though her eyes: sexy, dirty, violent and often tragic.

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We also see them through recreations of Lyon’s photographs, which Nichols and longtime cinematographer Adam Stone painstakingly compose and set to motion. In a montage, we see Lyon snapping portraits of characters like Cockroach (Cohen), Wahoo (Knapp) and Corky (Glusman), or capturing candids of the gang from the back of a bike. We see an image of a relaxed Benny riding over a bridge, one hand lazily gesturing behind him. Nichols improves upon Lyon’s shot by having our subject face the camera, rather than looking away.

Jodie Comer and Austin Butler in the movie “The Bikeriders.”

(Kyle Kaplan / Focus Features)

Watching “The Bikeriders” feels like flipping through a photobook filled with arresting compositions and snippets of stories, and there’s a sketchy, snapshot quality to Nichols’ screenplay as well. The film is an evocation of character, place and time, the tempo alternating between moody and lively, like our central odd couple, laconic Benny and chatterbox Kathy.

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Kathy has plenty to say about Benny, though we rarely see his unique qualities in action. He’s somewhat underwritten, and while Butler has the outsize presence to inhabit the iconic image, Kathy takes up all the air in the script. Benny is reduced to a symbol of sorts, a visual emblem of the Vandals’ dangerous glamour. Their mutual attraction is initially palpable, but we don’t see the glue that keeps them together throughout the years of peril and partying. The mysterious Benny has more chemistry with Johnny (Hardy), the Vandals founder and leader, and so too does Kathy.

Hardy is typically fantastic and fantastically weird, and he emerges as the gravitational center, not just of the Vandals, but of the film itself. Johnny leads by his own specific instinctual code based on whim and personal values, which gets harder to enforce as the club grows, with veterans returning from Vietnam seeking camaraderie, and bringing back darker vices.

“The Bikeriders” is a great hang until the party’s over and it’s time to hit the road. Though the dramatic thrust of the narrative never quite coheres, there is plenty of pathos, and the ebb and flow reflects both life itself and the uniquely human nature of the storytelling, as Kathy regales us with tales of these wild ones, who now live with the sound of roaring engines only haunting their memories.

Katie Walsh is a Tribune News Service film critic.

‘The Bikeriders’

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Rating: R, for language throughout, violence, some drug use and brief sexuality

Running time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

Playing: In wide release Friday, June 21

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How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies: a movie review

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How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies: a movie review

(Editor’s note: Spoiler alert: Today’s column contains details that reveal major details in the movie “How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies,” which is still showing in theaters.)

A mah or Grandmother (Usha Seamkhum) has stomachaches and blood in her stool, but her children do not tell her about having stage 4 colon cancer. This situation, one of several in the Thai film “How to Make Millions Before Grandma Dies,” hits close to home for many Tsinoy, Pinoy and other Asian families, making this comedy-tearjerker a box-office and viral sensation.

Hoping to be the prime beneficiary of her will, the family suck up to Amah, visiting her often and bringing favorite foods. M (Putthipong Assaratanakul), a college dropout, is inspired by his cousin Mui (Tontawan Tantijevakul), who takes great care of her own grandfather and inherits a fortune upon his death. So M decides to move in himself and take care of Amah.

Suspicious of such sudden solicitude, Amah confronts M, who tells her the truth. Amah’s stoicism upon knowing she has at most a year to live, reminds me of my father, who reacted to the horrible news the same way. He had the same disease, though he only had one month with us after diagnosis.

Amah repeats what M says—it is her body, so she has a right to know. When I work with families, some shield the elderly, fearing that they cannot handle the shock of death. I respect this genuine concern, but the older generation are often stronger than we think.

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Amah’s three children portray negative Asian tropes. Eldest son Kiang (Sanya Kunakorn), a self-centered stockbroker, does not make time to visit Amah. The film satirizes his aspirations. He sends his daughter to an international school, endangering her fluency in Teochew. I laugh out loud when M reminds the child to greet Amah in her native tongue—most Tsinoy youngsters will likely squirm at this, given their ineptness in any Chinese dialect. Kiang also grandiosely brings Amah to a temple, but instead of praying for her health, he asks favors for himself. When she does not give him her house, he vows not to attend her funeral.

Youngest son Soei (Pongsatorn Jongwilas), an inveterate gambler, steals Amah’s hard-earned baht (she sells congee every dawn). But like any Asian parent, Amah still gives the house to him, knowing that this is the only way he can pay off his debt. In a self-righteous fit of rage, M accuses Amah of enabling Soei, and loving the wrong person.

As a psychologist trained in Western methods, I have to agree that M. Amah enables Soei, fixing his mistakes and never letting him face the consequences. But as a Tsinoy, I know this is part of traditional culture. For most of his life, my father, who worked extremely hard, was disappointed by relatives who asked him incessantly for favors, and he was saddened when some even got mad when they perceived that the others received more. When I asked him why he still supported them, he said he had no choice since they could not fend for themselves. My friends who migrated to the West cannot understand this, but those who are here nod knowingly.

This behavior may taper off, since the younger generations I deal with mostly resolve to prioritize their own well-being, and choose to ignore family entitlement. Whether prudent or not, I do not know, but the film deserves credit for bringing difficult issues to light.

Middle child and only daughter Chew (Sarinrat Thomas), M’s mother, is the most likable of the three, but Amah finds her self-sacrificial mien disturbing. Working a supermarket shift by night and taking Amah to chemotherapy by day is not wise, and when M tells his mother that Amah privately cries over this, the former retorts that Amah never sheds a tear for her. We know that childhood hurts lurk beneath the surface. M offers to act as his mother’s representative and bring Amah for treatment

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Filled with Buddhist rituals (Guanyin is my late mother’s favorite goddess, and I confess to lighting incense to her, too) and shot in Bangkok’s Chinatown, the movie resonates true, with a surprise ending that is also bittersweet. No more spoilers—watch the movie now.

Queena N. Lee-Chua is on the Board of Directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her print book “All in the Family Business” at Lazada or Shopee, or e-book at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at [email protected].



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