Film Features

Before Its Time: 1996's "Romeo + Juliet"

Baz Luhrmann's 1996 Romeo + Juliet is an ecstasy-infused, colorful retelling of the star-crossed lovers' tale that takes a 425-year-old story and strangely reflects society in 2020.

Pandemics are known for triggering upheaval and societal change.

It's probably no coincidence, then, that Shakespeare penned Romeo and Juliet around 1595—directly in the middle of the deadly Bubonic plague pandemic that ravaged Europe. Amidst today's pandemic, the most relevant adaptation of this timeless and classic tragedy was made nearly 25 years ago.

Baz Luhrmann's 1996 Romeo + Juliet is an ecstasy-infused, colorful retelling of the star-crossed lovers' tale. Romeo + Juliet made a decent ranking at the box office, but it was heavily overlooked for awards, only receiving one Oscar nomination for best art direction.

Had Luhrmann waited just 10 years to release Romeo + Juliet, there may have been more positive reactions to the film. At one point, Baz himself doubted that the movie would ever be made. During a 2015 interview discussing the film, Baz said: "When we went to Twentieth Century-Fox with it, under the terms of my first-look deal, I think rather than let me go, they sort of said, 'We'll give him $100,000, let him do his little workshop and maybe it'll go away.' Well it did not."

Romeo + Juliet takes a 425-year-old story and strangely reflects society in 2020. Here's why:

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JUNE 1ST-3RD | What's Coming to Theaters This Weekend?

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The cinema is just starting to heat up in time for the summer holidays to begin!

In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about having your pants scared off? Maybe you just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have you covered. Take a peek at our top picks for this week…

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In a way, Carrie is the anti-woman, the id inside all of the women who hate participating in passive aggressive female nomenclature.

Watching Homeland is a uniquely satisfying experience for me. I am obsessed with everything Carrie Mathison (played by the fierce Claire Danes) does. From the way she haphazardly throws her kid's lunch together, to how she nonchalantly tucks her hair behind her ears before entering a deserted warehouse likely filled with killers and rapists. I could watch this character make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I love her, without condoning her. Does that make sense?

I don't tend to gravitate towards shows or films where it would be 100% unrealistic for me to emulate. I am not great at suspending reality, and usually avoid all sci-fi/superhero/action shows ect…I tend towards dramas and comedies, as I can always picture myself as a teacher, a lawyer, a professor, ect…but I could never picture myself as a CIA agent, using my actual physical body to beat-up criminals, running for my life, surviving POW experiences. No way. I am a petite Jewish gal with a propensity for long hot showers and my idea of adventure is leaving home without my phone charger. So why do I love this Mathison character so much?

In a way, Carrie is the anti-woman, the id inside all of the women who hate participating in passive aggressive female nomenclature. You know, the part of the woman (self included) who offers to help another woman with (insert any stereotypical female-driven event) when in reality she is at her brink, nearing domestic suicide. I have never seen this character plan (or attend for that matter) a baby shower, sit in on a PTA meeting, orchestrate the logistics of a family holiday, or even host a play date. While I haven't forgotten that she almost killed her baby several seasons back, and I recognize she almost dies in every episode, taking unbelievable risks fighting terrorism both domestic and abroad… I still find it unusual how much I love watching this character that on the surface, and perhaps even below it, I have nothing in common with.

I think I love this Carrie character so much simply because Carrie refuses to "do woman," the way society expects her, or any woman to do it. Women obviously have come along way, but there are still some basic ideals that no matter what, and no matter how liberal of a bubble you try and hide in, society does not allow for. The main one being, don't F*&% with Motherhood…with a capital M. Motherhood is unanimously agreed upon as being sacred. Fatherhood is not sacred. Fatherhood is valued, important, admired…but it is not sacred.

Being a fabulous father can mean paying child-support, being around on holidays and weekends, and not forgetting a birthday. And to be fare, even if you are tending to the vast emotional, physical, educational, social, and million other unique needs of a small child, if you are not financially providing for your child, society sees you as a week man, not-quite-cutting-it, and missing the mark on your man-hood responsibilities. Why? Because your role is not seen as sacred, it's seen as something to be performed. Now, if a mother decides to drop the ball on pretty much everything except financial security, she is seen as an evil Satin, narcissistic-workaholic who clearly doesn't love her children. I guess I love this character so much because there are some days, some moments, some milli-seconds that I don't want to be sacred! It's too much.

I know I know, she has bi-polar disorder, the plot is unrealistic, she is actually likely and technically un-fit to be a mother. I am not arguing or defending her abilities. I am just relishing, indulging in a momentary fascination, and realization that it is her refusal to accept her role as "sacred mother', that is momentarily inspirational for people like me, who feel guilty when we leave our kids with a responsible childcare provider for even a hot minute.

One last Carrie obsession. So many of Carrie's relationships on this show are with men (much like most high profile professional women). This means, most of her communication is concise, to the point, and filled with specific directions or demands. If someone is expressing an emotion to her, it's usually either a pat on the back (gratitude), or rage and anger due to her immense domestic or oversees F*&^ Up. What she doesn't face a lot of, is passive aggressive situations, social niceties, and hidden requests.

Obviously I do not want to be screamed at by the president of the United States or tortured and held at gunpoint… but guess what I also don't want?. To spend 30 minutes trying to discern if you DO or DO NOT want a 30th birthday party. If you are mad at me, just tell me, and get over it. If I am mad at you, let me tell you how you pissed me off, and I will get over it. If you wished I would support you in a specific way, tell me, and also don't deem me as the most selfish woman alive when I say 'no thanks, that doesn't appeal to me'. In fact, just assume I am in the CIA and have other extremely important duties, and your window to communicate with me is short.

Yes this CIA character analogy is TOTALLY far fetched. But wasn't it fun!? What if all women decided to be HUGE DISAPPOINTMENTs to each other… even just for a day or two. Go ahead, just pretend you have an EXTREMELY high profile job (you totally might) with the CIA and you can't make it to (insert any and every domestic-social expectation). You will still be seen as a HUGE DISAPOINTMENT… but people will say something like, 'she was a smart one…. likely too smart for her own good' and secretly admire your courage to disappoint!

Keeping the Real's Reel


By Rachel Hall, Rachel has a Masters in Cultural Gender Studies, and a BA in Communication & Culture, and works with all kinds of people to improve their ability to work with all kinds of people. She can often be found hiding in her laundry room from her two children. More about her on her website.


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The Season 5 premiere of Homeland got off to a slow but pretty damn strong start.

Separation Anxiety kicked off two years after last season’s events unfolded—with Carrie Mathison attempting to live a peaceful, drama-free civilian life in Berlin, Germany.

But, lest we forget, this is Carrie Mathison folks…. and, as we all know, peaceful and drama-free is never going to last for long where she's concerned.

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Carrie is giving it her best shot though, working as the head of security for the During Foundation, living with a coworker, a smokin’ hot German lawyer beau, named Jonas, and playing mom to daughter Frannie—at the same time, she’s also doing what she always does best, staring into the distance, brow furrowed, looking pensive.

There’s Carrie receiving holy communion in a Berlin church, praying, looking pensive….there’s Carrie dropping Frannie off at school, looking pensive as she watches her walk away…. there's Carrie making balloon animals at a kids’ party, staring off into the distance pensively… you get the idea.

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Carrie’s peaceful and drama free civilian life is about to come to an abrupt end though, courtesy an urgent and nefarious sounding trip to Lebanon with her boss at the Foundation, Otto During.

During tells Carrie they need to leave in three days, all under the guise of having to drop off food and medical supplies to a Hezbollah run refugee camp, that provides a safe refuge to those fleeing from ISIS.

And, with that, Carrie is about to thrown back into the fray.

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Meanwhile, the CIA is facing a potential major embarrassment after two German hacktivists manage to breach their security system and download documents including a shit ton of confidential state secrets.

One of the hacked documents contains information about a top secret surveillance program, monitoring possible jihadi activity in Germany, that’s being run by the CIA on behalf of the Germans, who aren't officially allowed to run a surveillance program in their own country themselves.

It’s the kind of top secret information that would cause a major embarrassment to both countries should it make its way into the public realm—and, guess what, it’s about to.

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An Edward Snowdon inspired coworker of Carrie’s has been sent a copy of the document, and she stops by for a visit, to see what Mathison knows about the alleged surveillance program—which, Carrie insists, is nothing.. in fact, she explains, she can’t even look at the hacked document as that would violate the terms of her exit agreement with the CIA.

The coworker threatens to publish it anyway, and beseeches Carrie to tap up her CIA sources to find out if it’s valid, or not…something that pushes Carrie into her usual bug-eyed state of panic.

“My old life came back.. everything I moved to get away from,” she whines to Jonas later on that night. “I don’t want to be in that world, I want to be here with you and Frannie.”

Homeland Recap—How Is Carrie Not Dead Yet?

“You don’t have to do any of that Carrie if you don’t want to,” Jonas replies….

Haha! As if….

Back at U.S. headquarters in Langley, the CIA is attempting to come to grips with the ever yummy Peter Quinn, who, fresh home from two years in Syria, is well and truly running rogue—all with the secret approval of Saul Berenson.

You may remember from last season that Saul was spitting mad after losing out on the top CIA position to the creepy Dar Adal—well, he’s still butt sore and licking his wounds over the slight, and he’s mixing shit up big time, courtesy the ever yummy Quinn.

Saul is also still pissed at his old protege, Carrie, blaming her for the recruitment slight, in addition to sulking about her decision to quit the agency.

The two engage in a showdown when their paths collide in Berlin, after Carrie meets with the CIA bureau chief there—her old Beruit buddy, Allison Carr—in an attempt to help gain safe passage to Lebanon for herself and her new boss, and to glean info on the possible surveillance program.

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It all goes rapidly downhill however, after Allison starts quizzing Carrie about the intentions of her new employers, and what the hell they’re really up to.. resulting in an awkward standoff between the two, which ends with Allison advising Carrie to leave via the back stairwell as she’s about to meet with Saul.

Saul’s jetted into Berlin for a crisis meeting about the hacking, and, as he enters the Berlin bureau, he runs smack bang into Carrie, who’s been lurking around at the bottom of the stairs in the hope of accosting him on his way in.

A terse conversation follows about Carrie leaving the agency, and her new job at the During Foundation—with Saul warning Carrie not to “go over to the other side” and Carrie insisting to Saul that the Foundation is not the other side.

“What are you atoning for Carrie?” Saul asks. “Keeping America safe? You’re being naive and stupid, something you never were before.”

Homeland Recap—Should’ve Known That Was Too Easy Carrie!

Clearly rattled by the day’s events, Carrie returns to the During Foundation, to advise her boss to delay the trip to Lebanon for safety reasons.

Carrie’s advice goes down like a cup of cold sick however, and it’s made pretty damn clear that the trip is going ahead whether she can ensure their safety or not.

With that in mind—Carrie busts out her very best headscarf from her extensive collection and heads to a local Muslim gym, that the Foundation funded. She begs with the Imam to facilitate a meeting for her with the Hezbollah commander, so she can speak to him about safe passage to Lebanon.

Hmmm….. has she conveniently forgotten all that shit that went down last season?!!!

Saul’s day is going every bit as badly as Carrie’s it seems. He and Allison meet with their German counterparts for a very awkward lunch to let them know about the security breach. To say they’re pissed would be an understatement—and they make it crystal clear that the joint surveillance project is well and truly over.

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But Saul’s not throwing in the towel just yet, he vows to Allison that jihadis are still a threat to Europe, and that he can’t just stand by and do nothing—and, with that in mind, he storms off into the city.

Meanwhile, guess who else has cropped up in Berlin? The newly rogue and ever yummy Quinn.

We see him staking out a hookah bar in the dark, before climbing round the back into an apartment above.

Once inside, Quinn discovers a pipe bomb making factory, and when a swarthy looking old dude enters the apartment he bashes him over the head with a lead pipe, rendering him unconscious.

It doesn’t end there however, Quinn gets straight to building a fresh new pipe bomb, and when the now tied-up swarthy old dude comes round, Quinn makes small talk while finishing off his explosive handiwork, before telling the swarthy old dude that he has two minutes to prepare himself for paradise…. two minutes, more or less….as it’s not a very good timer on the bomb.

With that, Quinn exits onto the street….and….BOOM!

Carrie’s back in church looking pensive, clearly unaware of the drama that’s about to unfold. As she leaves to go home, a van pulls up, a hood is forced over her head and she’s bundled into the back.

She’s taken to a dark and dank basement where she meets with a top Hezbollah operative—and, he takes no time in reminding her of their last interaction in Beruit…. you know, when the CIA attempted to assassinate Abu Nazir.

The operative tells her he lost two of his men during the failed assassination, and that he’s sick of the CIA meddling in the affairs of his homeland, he’s sick of all the suffering they cause.

“All that suffering and yet nothing changes, that’s one of reasons I don’t work for the government anymore,” Carrie insists, going on to promise Hezbollah a shit ton of money if they arrange the safe passage to Lebanon.

But, no dice.

“You killed my son in Beruit. I will fight you for ever,” the operative vows before walking away, leading Carrie to scream after him that he’s obliged to take her request to the council.

Back home, Carrie's smokin' hot German lawyer beau, Jonas, is on the phone, attempting to persuade the Edward Snowden inspired coworker not to publish the hacked CIA documents—however, he hangs up mid-conversation after a van screeches up outside and he sees Carrie being thrown out and dumped on to the side of the road.

“Fuck you then, I’m posting,” the coworker vows into the suddenly dead phone line.

Oh shit son, it’s about to get real cray cray.

The ever yummy Quinn rendezvous with Saul at a mailbox place. Saul hands Quinn a key, he opens a mailbox, and takes out an envelope.

“How did your work go?” Saul asks.

“He’s in paradise, I’m stuck here,” a nonchalant Quinn replies.

Saul warns Quinn that the Germans want nothing to do with their next rogue operation, and that if anything goes wrong, he is on his own.

It transpires that the upcoming operation involves Quinn killing a whole bunch of people from the Al Fayid community center… something it seems, he relishes.

Finally, Carrie is in bed, next to Jonas and Frannie. She glances over at her phone, it’s ringing silently, she answers it….

“This is Hezbollah calling,” a voice says on the other end. “We are inviting you to visit Lebanon as our honored guest.”

Cue one last pensive look by Carrie…..

What did you think of the season 5 premiere of Homeland? Sound off in the comments below, and check back on Popdust next Sunday for a new recap.

For more entertainment, music and pop culture updates and news, follow Max Page on Twitter

 

Regrets? She has a few…. but then again…. too few to mention really….

Claire Danes is opening up about that whole Billy Crudup leaving his pregnant wife for her thing, and it seems she kinda, sorta, maybe feels a little bad about it—but, then again, despite her apparently “going through it” she says it’s all OK now.

We suspect that Mary Louise Parker—the then-pregnant wife in question, might still feel a little differently about the situation however.

Danes and Crudup started hooking up on the set of Stage Beauty, their 2003 movie together—leading to Crudup ditching Parker for his co-star—they had been in a relationship for eight years, and the Weeds actress was seven months pregnant with their child at the time.

I mean, seriously….. he couldn’t just wait another couple of months?!!

The scandalous new couple ended up dating for four years, before Danes eventually moved on to pastures new, in the form of another of her co-stars—Hugh Dancy—who was, thankfully, then unmarried and not about to be a father.

Dancy and Danes married in 2009, and have a 3-year-old son together, named Cyrus.

The 36-year-old was grilled about the cheating scandal by Howard Stern on his Sirius XM show Monday—and, being an actress, it was, of course, all about HER….

Not surprisingly, given the situation, both Danes and Crudup were subjected to a ton of media scrutiny over the affair, in addition to the inevitable public backlash—both of which, Danes admitted to finding “scary.”

“[The backlash] was a scary thing," she told Stern. "That was really hard. I was just in love with him. And needed to explore that and I was 24... I didn’t quite know what those consequences would be."

She went on to confess to being “careless” by hooking up with a married guy who was expecting a child, but, she says, she’s moved past it all now.

Good for you Claire! What a relief!

“It’s okay," she said. "I went through it."

For her part, Parker has always publicly maintained a dignified silence when it comes to her cheating scumbag of a then-husband—however, it appears that’s about to change with the publication of her first book.

In her memoir, Dear Mr. You, the 51-year-old tells her life story through a series of letters written to the most important men in her life, which will presumably include Crudup, and shed some light on her feelings about his affair with Danes.

Dear Mr. You is released November 1.

For more entertainment, music and pop culture updates and news, follow Max Page on Twitter

The season finale of Homeland opens with Carrie back in America, going through her father's possessions with her sister.

There's a ring at the door, and it's none other than Dar Adal. They talk about not knowing where the hell Quinn is, and Dar informs Carrie that Haqqani has returned to the tribal area of Pakistan and is being protected by the ISI. Ummm, didn't we see you in the car with Haqqani at the end of the last episode, Dar? Aren't you a traitorous bastard?

We find out later that Dar is determined to get Saul reinstated as Director of the CIA. Somehow, someway he got a hold of the only video footage of Saul in Haqqani's captivity, which apparently was a major road block in Saul's potential return to the CIA. In exchange for the video, Dar magically removed Haqqani from the CIA's kill list. This is all well and good, except for the fact that Saul doesn't want any part of the sneaky, backdoor way he'd return to the CIA. He also knows all about Dar in Haqqani's car, but of course Dar doesn't know that.

Back in Carrie's new reality, she's doing something that we've never really seen her do— she's being a good mother. Oh and speaking of mothers, Carrie's own mom is now randomly back in the picture after being estranged from her children for 15 years. Carrie's like, "Oh hell no" and wants nothing to do with this woman.

At her father's funeral, Carrie gives a very emotional eulogy. Randomly Quinn shows up, and after the funeral he ends up at Carrie's house for the reception. There's some alcohol involved, and when Carrie walks Quinn to his car they start making out. Quinn tells Carrie that he wants out of the CIA and he thinks she should leave too.

Umm, yeah, she's gonna to have to think about that one Quinn.

For whatever strange reason, Carrie decides that she does want to talk to her mom and tracks her down in some Missouri town. When she arrives she learns that she has a 15-year-old brother (hmm, hasn't her mom been gone for 15 years?), and she also learns that her mother was admittedly a serial cheater. The whole divorce was brought about by her adultery, not by her dad's bipolar disorder.

Meanwhile, a heartbroken Quinn decides to do what most people do when they're blown off by the person they love—take off to Syria on some top secret CIA mission.

When Carrie can't get a hold of Quinn, she shows up at Dar's house demanding to know where the hell he is. Dar's not willing to tells her a damn thing about Quinn, which naturally infuriates Carrie. She tries to force the information out of Dar by blackmailing him with the knowledge that he was in Haqqani's car—but no dice.

Dar tells Carrie that she really should talk to Saul before she goes making any threats, and Carrie tells him that Saul would spit in his face.

Ideally, yes.... Saul would spit in his face....but, this is the season finale so of course we're in for some bullshit cliff hangers, right?

Cut to Saul Berenson sitting on Dar's porch, presumably now very OK with the deception that went into him being reinstated Director of the CIA. Carrie is visibly devastated that she clearly does not know the man she thought she knew so well.

Wait, that's it??? That's how we're ending the season?? That's seriously it?!!! NOBODY DIES?!!!!!

REALLY?!!!!!

What did you think of the season finale of Homeland? Sound off in the comments below!