•   
  •   
  •   

Entertainment ‘The Underground Railroad’: TV Review

20:46  04 may  2021
20:46  04 may  2021 Source:   hollywoodreporter.com

Best old phone to buy in 2021

  Best old phone to buy in 2021 "Latest and greatest" doesn't always make a device your best buy. Today's phones are capable of lasting a couple of years without little compromise, and Matthew Miller found a few select older models that you should consider.High-end flagship smartphones appear in advertisements and dominate review headlines, but these innovative smartphones are often priced at $1,000 or more. With smartphones being released with high-quality components, durable features, and the capability to receive software updates, phones that were flagships one or two years ago can save you hundreds while offering nearly the same experience as the latest and greatest.

With his Amazon adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins walks confidently, if perhaps unintentionally, into the ongoing debate about Black-created/led movies and TV shows that center Black trauma. That debate has reached a fever pitch in recent months with small-screen offerings like Lovecraft Country and Them and, of course, real-world footage of Black people being killed by law enforcement.

Late in this Underground Railroad, a character approaches a roving poet with a simple and sad request: “If I gave you my sorrows, would you make them sound pretty?”

Myanmar youth fight internet outages with underground newsletter

  Myanmar youth fight internet outages with underground newsletter Myanmar youth are fighting the junta's internet shutdown and information suppression with an explosive underground printed newsletter they are secretly distributing across communities. For 56 days straight there have been internet outages in coup-hit Myanmar, according to monitoring group NetBlocks. The country has been in turmoil since democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted in a February 1 coup, triggering a mass uprising that has resulted in a brutal security crackdown and more than 700 civilian deaths.

Directing all 10 installments, most running over an hour, Jenkins indeed makes a wide range of sadness beautiful, doing the same for strains of trauma and rays of joyful light. By nature of its subject matter, The Underground Railroad is an often arduous journey — a tough watch, but a rapturous watch, with occasionally questionable narrative choices generally outweighed by a spell that’s at once poetic and grounded.

We begin in unspecified antebellum times at a slave plantation in Georgia. Cora (Thuso Mbedu) is initially reticent to flee, scarred and haunted by the presumed escape, and disappearance, of her mother Mabel (Sheila Atim, astonishingly vivid in barely a cameo). After a series of escalating atrocities, Cora is finally convinced by newcomer Caesar (Aaron Pierre), who leads her away to a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Trillions of 'Brood X' Cicadas Are About to Emerge Across the U.S. to Sing, Mate and Die. Here's What to Expect

  Trillions of 'Brood X' Cicadas Are About to Emerge Across the U.S. to Sing, Mate and Die. Here's What to Expect This year's 'Brood X' emergence will be full of drama . “There’s going to be birth, there’s going to be death, there’s going to be predation, there’s going to be romance, there’s going to be sex in the treetops, there are going to be songs,” he says. A few weeks before their emergence, the Brood X cicadas–each about the size of a typical human adult’s thumb–will begin creating exit holes in the ground, a sign that they’re getting ready to emerge. Then, when soil temperatures reach about 64° F, the cicadas will fully dig themselves out.

Whitehead’s core conceit is that the “railroad” is a literal thing: a system of subterranean locomotives where the only price for being taken to freedom is a commitment to record your story in a ledger — to put a name and personal expression to the circumvented trauma. Of course, the path to freedom isn’t a direct one: Every new gradation of liberty comes with a gradation of injustice, each promising destination with a new type of enslavement, whether corporeal or spiritual. Pushing Cora forward is the hope for a true, complete (illusory) freedom, as well as her pursuit by vicious slavecatcher Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), who views his failure to retrieve Cora’s mother as a personal stain. Ridgeway is accompanied by dapper and diminutive sidekick, and former slave, Homer (scene-stealing Chase W. Dillon).

The Underground Railroad, as both a book and a limited series, is structurally almost startlingly episodic, and therefore tailored for television rather than feature-length film. Each chapter puts Cora in a new situation that appears preferable to life on the plantation, yet conceals its own insidious version of racism. There’s a South Carolina community in which the ostensibly benign campaign for the “betterment” of African Americans is a flimsy cover for an experiment in eugenics. There’s a precarious safehouse in which Cora’s concealment becomes a dangerous prison of its own. There’s a Black farming cooperative in which the need for assimilation — to appear legitimate in the eyes of white business owners — seems to become a greater priority than helping escaped slaves. Within each episode, Jenkins builds suspense, while taking long and deep breaths of the sort you can indulge when you’re working for a streaming service willing to let episodes run as long as 77 minutes. Cora might be in a rush, but Jenkins is not.

Shock G, off-kilter Digital Underground leader, dead at 57

  Shock G, off-kilter Digital Underground leader, dead at 57 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shock G, who blended whimsical wordplay with reverence for '70s funk as leader of the off-kilter Bay Area hip-hop group Digital Underground, has died. He was 57. Nzazi Malonga, a longtime friend who served as head of security and helped manage the group, said the rapper-producer was found unresponsive Thursday in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida. Malonga said the performer, born Greg Jacobs, had struggled with drug addiction for years. The group found fame with the Billboard Top 10 hit “Humpty Dance” in 1990, as Jacobs donned a Groucho Marx-style fake nose and glasses to become one of his many alter egos, Humpty Hump.

Interspersed with the Cora chapters are long sections dedicated to Ridgeway’s backstory, and it will be a reasonable source of confusion and/or irritation for some viewers that, as characters go, Ridgeway is more “explained” than Cora; his motivations and choices are more fleshed-out, more evident. But in the period depicted in the show, “choices” and “motivations” are, literally, a white privilege. Ridgeway has decided to be an antagonist. Cora, for the better part of the series, doesn’t know or believe that she’s capable of being a protagonist. This means that things audiences are trained instinctively to want a heroine to do — pursue romance, embrace her action-heroine badassery like June Smollett’s character in WGN’s Underground — don’t come naturally for Cora, which can be tragic and infuriating. Both Mbedu and Edgerton are exceptional, but neither has a character who evokes exactly the response you may expect or think you want.

Jenkins’ methodical patience cheats those expectations as well. You can sense him resisting the episodic flow of the narrative in those exhausting running times and in the way he sets aside conventional momentum — in an hour spent primarily meandering through burning fields in Tennessee, for example, or a 20-minute grace note of an episode spent with a tertiary character not included in the book at all. With characters delivering dialogue in marble-mouthed variations on Southern accents — the cast, while spectacular, contains precious few actors actually from the American South — conversation and exposition alike become secondary to overall mood.

Lost frescoes to greet visitors when Italy's Uffizi reopens

  Lost frescoes to greet visitors when Italy's Uffizi reopens MILAN (AP) — Recently discovered frescoes will greet visitors to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries when the museum reopens after months of being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Workers doing restoration discovered the frescoes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries beneath plaster in the museum's west wing, which is where the visitor entrance will be when the Uffizi opens to the public. Uffizi director Eike Schmidt said the new entrance facing the Arno River would provide “a glorious introduction” for visitors. The reopening date is not yet certain. The Italian Culture Ministry has said museums in Italy's lowest-risk regions can open starting Monday.

When the pieces come together, The Underground Railroad is remarkable. The ninth episode — which, among other things, includes the climax of William Jackson Harper’s arc as a freeborn man who takes an interest in Cora; an explosive rhetorical debate between characters played by master dialogue-spinners Chukwudi Iwuji and Peter De Jersey; and the series’ most extended action set-piece — is one of the best things you’ll see on TV this year. It’s the perfect intersection of story and style, a pendulum swing between horror and hopefulness.

The Underground Railroad sometimes falters. Jenkins never quite nails the Twilight Zone-esque unease of the South Carolina setting, or figures out how to build claustrophobia in the sections depicting Cora’s unnerving attic confinement. Still, it’s rare that Jenkins and cinematographer James Laxton let much time pass without a stretch of eye-popping imagery — and crucially never step over that delicate line into prettifying ugliness. Jenkins doesn’t hide from torture and abuse, but his concentration is more on soulful faces than battered bodies. The whole is enhanced by a rich, if sporadically overwhelming, sound design layering the natural and unnatural — cicadas commingled with the percussion of a train punctuated by the crackle of burning flesh.

It all results in a show that’s a challenging, binge-worthy interplay of standalone incidents, look-away unpleasantness that demands full immersion, denied emotional payoffs and unexpected catharsis. It’s a tough book to capture, but Jenkins has risen to the occasion.

Cast: Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon and Joel Edgerton. Aaron Pierre, William Jackson Harper, Sheila Atim, Amber Gray, Peter De Jersey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Damon Herriman, Lily Rabe, Irone Singleton, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Marcus “MJ” Gladney, Jr., Will Poulter and Peter Mullan

Creator: Barry Jenkins (from the novel by Colson Whitehead)

Premieres Friday, May 14, on Amazon.

Press Freedom Day 2021: Myanmar's journalists continue to report the truth on the military coup .
Journalist Ye Wint Thu was already on the run when his name and photo appeared on a wanted list broadcast by Myanmar's military junta.For weeks, he had been documenting protests in Yangon against the military coup. But in early March, after a colleague was violently arrested in the south of the country, and the junta revoked the licenses of five prominent media organizations, his included, he got word that he should go into hiding.

usr: 1
This is interesting!