FILM & TV

Fan Favorites Arizona and April Won't Return to Grey's Anatomy

Fans Are Devastated to Hear Some Favorites Will Be Written Off

Grey's Anatomy is no stranger to heartbreak and it seems there's more to come. News has rattled the fanbase when it was revealed that two longtime fan favorites will be departing after season 14. Marking the end of an era, Dr. Arizona Robbins played by Jessica Capshaw for 10 seasons and Dr. April Kepner played by Sarah Drew for 9 have been written off by the showrunners. Playing these rolls for 10 and 9 seasons respectively, it will be an emotional moment for those who saw themselves in these women and have followed their stories.

Arizona Robbins has been an important character for the LGBTQ community and many people feel disheartened at the loss of this representation. Shonda Rhimes has a passion for inclusivity on television and released a statement in response saying, "It's always hard for me to say goodbye to any of my characters. Both Arizona Robbins and April Kepner are not only beloved but iconic — both the LBGTQ and devout Christian communities are underrepresented on TV."

Jessica Capshaw and Sara RamirezIMDB

While Grey's Anatomy isn't technically renewed for another season, this cash cow shows no sign of stopping as it has negotiated the new salary of $10 million a season for its lead, Ellen Pompeo. As a result fans were quick to cast doubt and blame onto the show's star because of her newly signed two-year deal and hefty salary increase, but it seems this wasn't a result of Pompeo but the producers decision.

Showrunner Vernoff was quick to release a statement saying these accusations are, "wrong and hurtful and misguided," elaborating that, "it smacks of an old, broken, patriarchal notion that women must be pitted against each other and that one woman's success will be costly to others." Pompeo, who is an avid supporter of her fellow female cast members and women in general, said in addition that these character write offs were, "above her paygrade."

It shouldn't be a surprise to fans of the show that this was a creative decision and not just a financial one, given how long the series has stayed on air accumulating heartbreaking character departures.

Sarah Drew and Jesse Williams IMDB

The decision seems to have been abrupt with both the fans and women blindsided but there doesn't seem to be strong ill will between the showrunners and the actresses. Everyone involved had nothing but kind words about their experiences. Vernoff stated that, "as writers, our job is to follow the stories where they want to go and sometimes that means saying goodbye to characters we love. It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these phenomenally talented actresses."

After years of writing beautiful and heartbreaking farewells there is some hope they will get this right. Hopefully the writers will recognize the importance these characters in particular played in their show and in people's lives, and will give them the memorable finale that they deserve.

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Former NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Tom Brokaw is the Newest Name To Break During the Me Too Movement

The growing list of men accused of sexual misconduct shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The newest addition is the former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

The anchor, who retired in 2004, is now facing allegations from former NBC News correspondent Linda Vester. She claims in a recent series of interviews with Variety that Brokaw, "tried to force her to kiss him on two separate occasions," as well as groped her and showed up unprompted to her hotel room.

Tom Brokawgetty images

Brokaw has spoken out in response by denying any misconduct. The statement he provided to NBC News claims that he met with Linda Vester at her request on two occasions to provide advice about her career. Brokaw said, "The meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate and despite Linda's allegations I made no romantic overtures towards her at that time or any other."

These new allegations should come as no surprise breaking just months after another NBC News achor, Matt Lauer, was fired following allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. In response to Lauer's firing the NBC News chairman Andy Lack sent out a memo stating that Lauer exposed failures within the organization. The memo was released last December and stated, "Many of you have asked what we are doing to learn as much as we can about the circumstances around Matt Lauer's appalling behavior, why this was able to happen, and why it wasn't reported sooner."

Matt Lauergetty images

While Andy Lack's memo highlights the recognition that these behaviors should never have been able to carry on for so long it also points out the fact that Lauer was probably not the only predator to benefit from the system. Brokaw was an NBC News anchor in the same institution which failed Lauer's victims afterall. In her interviews, Vester casts doubt on the validity of NBC News taking their responsibilities to female employees seriously. NBC launched an internal review following Lauer's firing but they didn't bring in an external review, a step that Vester thinks is critical to the restructuring of NBC's culture.

Bill Cosbygetty images

With the progression of the #MeToo movement and in the wake of Bill Cosby's guilty verdict these allegations are a bittersweet moment for those seeking justice. It shows that it should not matter whether your harassment and crimes are relics of decades past, because while time might have hidden your indiscretions it did not excuse or eliminate them. You can still be accused, exposed, and brought to justice even if you've escaped it in the past.


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FILM & TV

Is Tomb Raider the Feminist Film You've Been Waiting For?

Feminist Success or Another Terrible Remake?

Longtime fans of Lara Croft turned out this past weekend to see the newly rebooted Tomb Raider franchise. If you are a big fan of the past adaptations, you might be in for a surprise. 2018's Tomb Raider isn't full of over-the-top explosive action, nor does it have the trademark tackiness of a video game film. Instead we are given an emotional origin story that has left some people feeling let down. As critics and audiences disagree about the quality of the film, one question is standing out from the rest; how feminist is this new Tomb Raider?

It's hard to take a fresh look at this film without referring back to the original Tomb Raider films, starring Angelina Jolie. It's only when you contrast these two very different interpretations that the reality of this modern Lara Croft takes effect. Alicia Vikander's Lara is not the busty seductress that Angelina Jolie embodied with an effortless sensuality.

The new Lara is missing her trademark braid, wears long pants, doesn't have a padded bra, and isn't constantly portrayed through a hyper-sexualized lens. This Lara isn't put on display to pump up your libido- in fact, the only lingering shots featured aren't of Vikander's chest, but her incredibly defined arm muscles. Appearance wise, this new Tomb Raider look is realistic, refreshing, and definitely feminist. That being said, appearance seems to be one of the few feminist aspects of this film that they got right.

Warner Bros/Paramount

If you take this film as a stand alone, it will leave a lot to be desired. It can seem disappointing to watch Lara Croft come into her own while being outwitted, beaten up, and struggling throughout the start of this film. I take that with a grain of salt, because unlike the video game character who has been kicking ass for a long time, origin story Croft is just getting her start. It can be refreshing to see a woman who hasn't been training as a soldier her whole life, learn to find her inner power throughout the film. It feels very human to see Lara's failures make her stronger and smarter.

Her journey is perfectly embodied during the sequence where she breaks free from a headlock. At the start Lara has to tap out, bite and scratch to escape. She fails numerous times before she finally frees herself. She is a relatable female badass, and that is the second (and last) feminist breakthrough of this film.

IMDB

The lack of representation in this film is, honestly, incredibly disappointing. One might argue, this whole movie is centered around a woman, so how could it lack representation? I would respond that, if women make up around 50% of the population, then why is Lara Croft the only woman in this film? Sure, there are a handful of badass fighting women who make an appearance at Lara's boxing gym, but that first scene makes up the majority of the female cast and lasts about 2 minutes. Ethnically, this could be almost be considered diverse cast…. of men. There are only a handful of women, and none of color. The majority of people won't see themselves represented in this film.

There is so much potential here, but it doesn't quite come to fruition. However, this is a win for women who want to see a realistic action hero that is so much more than tits and ass. It just isn't the best it could be, and that's a problem. It does enough to get by, but with so many films doing better, it feels like it's time for everyone to step up their game.

IMDB

As for whether or not the film is a good movie, I really enjoyed it. It had me on the edge of my seat at times and Alicia Vikander carries this role with strength, grace, and a tiny dash of humor. As it stands on it's own, this movie isn't a true feminist victory. But, if it's meant to entice audiences into a series, where Lara Croft has developed into her role, then there's plenty of promise for the future. Here's hoping.


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FILM & TV

Where Does "Black Panther" Rank In The Marvel Universe?

See how well Black Panther holds up to its peers

Marvel/Disney

Ranking every movie Marvel released isn't easy, but we did it!

Marvel/Disney

There's good reasons why Marvel movie universe has become an ever-present box office sensation. The fans aren't just dedicated to the films because they get to see a good movie every couple of months, but because the overarching storyline that connects them all builds a realistic world where we feel compelled to know what's next. Every film has worked together like pieces of a puzzle building a bigger picture.

That being said, fans can be incredibly disappointed when the next film in succession doesn't live up to their standards. It's completely understandable. Fans that have come to see every movie, know the order of the timeline, and are waiting for every hint and secret moment weaved into these films to come to fruition in Avengers: Infinity war want every film to be great on their own no matter their role in the universe.

So I developed a fairly scientific method to rank every Marvel movie to find how the new Black Panther movie holds up. The science I used is simple but foolproof. Each film has two ratings on Rotten Tomatoes: one for the critics and one for the audience. By averaging those numbers I could more easily rank these films by their popularity. I don't like ties so I thought a nice tie breaker would be their box office numbers. So let's take a look at where the Black Panther ranks!

Here's a Little Guide:

Critics Score / Audience Score = Averaged Score. Box Office Revenue.

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REVIEW | Run Away To the Circus with the Greatest Showman

It Could Be the Holiday Spectacular You've Been Looking For

Are you looking for a movie for the family this holiday season? There are a lot of great options but my suggestion is heading to the Greatest Showman. If you like musicals, this is perfection. If you love watching a handsome Hugh Jackman, this is the movie for you. But the real reason to see this film is because it is the spectacular heartwarming story perfect for the holidays.

Let's get the reviews covered right away because movie's like this are susceptible to a pet peeve of mine. The critics gave this movie a 49% rating on rotten tomatoes while the audience boasts a 87%. Does this mean that you shouldn't see this movie? Absolutely not. This movie is exactly what it looks like and what the audience wanted. If you walk into it expecting oscar worthy dramatic performances that make critics go wild, you won't find them. You will find a simple story that is boosted with spectacular songs, dancing, costumes, and charm.

If you are coming to see the life story of P T Barnum then I'm sorry but you need to go watch some other documentary. This is a spark notes, a caricature, of the great man. His story has been cherry picked and whittled down to fit into a film that needs to make time for song and dance. It takes the idea that P T Barnum made a place for ordinary people to witness the extraordinary, even if it was by using some trickery. He gave people who would normally be shunned by society a place to not only be safe but to be happy and successful. This is a film inspired by P T Barnum, but not a film about P T Barnum.

Luckily for us, this is the role that Hugh Jackman was born to play. He provides this movie with the charm, enthusiasm, and heart that is needed to pull it all off. Hugh Jackman shines through with fantastic choreography and songs that are perfectly performed in his vocal range, yeah I'm throwing shade to Les Miserables. Throughout hero, villain, and redemption I don't know how many other actors could have pulled off this performance like Jackman. No matter what happens along the way his earnestness and enthusiasm is felt in every scene.

The rest of the cast thrives in this movie as well. Zac Efron revisits musicals with a more mature performance. Zendaya and Michelle Williams both bring real human vulnerability and emotional performances to a movie that consists of many larger than life scenes. The rest of the cast brings a grandness to this story. The band of misfits and 'oddities' are a chorus of funny, fierce, and heartwarming characters that turn this movie into a large scale emotional spectacular. This movie is just as much about them and their relationships with society, Barnum, and with each other than it is Barnum's story of success.

The songs and dances are modern, the sets and costumes are larger than life, and the story is basic but timeless. It's a classic hollywood story with the pitfalls of fame, the desire of prestige or the power of greed to corrupt, and leaving those you love behind on your social climb. They focus on the Barnum centered lesson that it's more important to have a great group who love you, than win the love of the whole world but lose what's most important. Through his betrayal the lesson of self acceptance, and the strength of the underdogs gets to make this movie a feel good film.

Honestly, don't see it for the plot because you've seen it before. See it for the heartwarming power of a feel good movie that sets out on an honest cause. This movie wants to remind you what's really important, despite the flash and color that accompanies the message. It's basic and childish at times but at the end of the day it is just so fun.


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