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Ranveer Singh Strips Down and Slams Haters: ‘Anybody Who Judges Me Can Eat My F—ing Ass’



Bollywood star Ranveer Singh is holding nothing back in the new issue of Paper Magazine, where he graces the cover fully nude and tells off his haters with an explicit takedown. Singh is one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the world and has a social media following of well over 50 million. He’s made headlines in India for his gender-fluid and colorful fashion style, which has earned him comparisons to Harry Styles. Singh doesn’t care what anyone thinks about how he dresses.

“I work fucking hard. I want to wear nice shit. Eat my fucking ass, I will wear nice fucking shit,” Singh said. “I bust my balls, I work 20-hour days. I’m not complaining — I’m only too happy and too grateful — but I go fucking hard. I will fucking buy Gucci, I will wear it from head to toe. Anybody who judges me can eat my fucking ass.”

Coming out of the pandemic, Singh said his “appetite for prolific work has become insatiable,” adding, “I’m so hungry for work, to do, to give, to perform, to ideate, to create, to collaborate. I have a ravenous appetite for work, I’m doing 20 hours a day and I’m damn fucking happy about it.” 

Was Singh nervous about getting naked for the cover? Not at all. “It’s so easy for me to be physically naked, but in some of my performances I’ve been damn fucking naked,” he said. “You can see my fucking soul. How naked is that? That’s being actually naked. I can be naked in front of a thousand people, I don’t give a shit. It’s just that they get uncomfortable.”

Variety spoke with Singh last December to discuss his acclaimed cricket epic “’83,” an account of the Indian men’s cricket team wining the World Cup in England in 1983. “’83” was originally supposed to release in April 2020, but the first wave of the pandemic delayed it. Producers decided to hold out for a theatrical release and not bow the film on a streaming service while cinemas remained closed. “’83” finally premiered at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival to rave reviews in December.

“I’m just so happy with the response that ”’83” has gotten – I want to make films that are memorable, that connect with people, like they can feel nostalgia, catharsis, they can laugh, they can cry, they can applaud,” Singh said. “That’s what I want to do. And I want to do more of it. And I want to keep doing it. I am fully ready and excited and enthusiastic about about the journey that lies ahead.”

Read Singh’s full interview with Paper Magazine at the link below.

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‘Is This a Nightmare?’: Shock and Outrage as South African Film Board Rejects Groundbreaking African Classic ‘Black Girl’ Over ‘Hate Speech’



The Joburg Film Festival defiantly went ahead with a screening of Ousmane Sembène’s “Black Girl” on Thursday, refusing to bow to political pressure after South Africa’s Film and Publications Board (FPB) denied it permission to hold a public screening of the Senegalese director’s groundbreaking debut.

In a decision that shocked festival organizers and many of the African filmmakers in attendance, a FPB reviewer recommended the film be submitted for “full classification” — a process that would determine its suitability for public viewing — “due to prejudicial element that contains acts of hate speech which is degrading of a human being.”

The festival has appealed the ruling but decided to go on with Thursday’s screening when no official response to that appeal appeared forthcoming. The FPB did not immediately respond to a request from Variety for comment.

Addressing moviegoers on Thursday, a festival spokesperson rejected the board’s “unfair” decision and defended the screening of Sembène’s “monument of African cinema,” describing it as “a matter of principle” that aligned with “the spirit of protest that is the founding spirit of our country.”

Rafiki Fariala
Courtesy of Joburg Film Festival

Variety understands that in addition to “Black Girl,” at least two other films screening at this week’s Joburg Film Festival have been flagged by the review board: Rafiki Fariala’s “We Students!,” a documentary about a group of university students in the Central African Republic that played at the Berlin Film Festival last year, and Vladimir Seixas’ “Rolê — Histórias dos Rolezinhos,” a documentary about shopping mall protests that mobilized thousands of Black people against racial profiling and violence by security guards in Brazil.

Based on a short story written by Sembène, “Black Girl” follows a young Senegalese woman who moves to France in search of a better life. After taking a job as governess for a wealthy white family, she finds her hopes thwarted by a barrage of racist and humiliating incidents that finally drive her to commit suicide.

Credited with being sub-Saharan Africa’s first feature film, Sembène’s 1966 debut was instrumental in laying the foundation for post-colonial African cinema. In a 2015 review of Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s documentary about the late filmmaker, Sembène!,” Variety’s Guy Lodge described “Black Girl” as “a brief, searing snapshot of immigrant life in France that gained unprecedented international exposure for a film from sub-Saharan African cinema,” adding that the director’s “scorching brand of political cinema has lost none of its rhetorical and sensory immediacy over the years.”

The film previously played at the Joburg Film Festival without controversy in 2016.

In South Africa, where memories of apartheid-era censorship run deep, the FPB’s decision met with swift backlash from the local film community.

“I do not understand it and I am absolutely horrified,” said Emmy-nominated documentarian Jihan El-Tahri (“House of Saud”), who is a member of the jury at this year’s festival and has worked as a filmmaker and university lecturer in South Africa for almost 20 years.

“‘Black Girl’ is not just any film. ‘Black Girl’ is a seminal film in African history,” she said. “This is the film that starts the idea of an African vantage point in international cinema [and] was the first film to give a voice to African women — the dignity of an African woman and what she faced.”

Ousmane Sembène’s “Black Girl” is credited with being sub-Saharan Africa’s first feature film.
Courtesy of The Film Foundation

El-Tahri, whose 2008 documentary “Behind the Rainbow” explored the transition of South Africa’s African National Congress from a liberation group into the ruling party, said the FPB’s ruling, if upheld, “would be a shift that is totally unacceptable for film heritage on the entire continent.

“If South African students, the South African public, are no longer allowed to see such films — the essential films that changed the vantage point from how we, from our perspective, can tell a story — that is a disaster,” she said.

Senegalese director Moussa Sène Absa, whose “Xalé” opened this year’s Joburg Film Festival, expressed disbelief at the board’s decision. “Am I dreaming? Is this a nightmare? ‘Black Girl’ censored in South Africa?,” he said. “No way. No way. No way.”

Moussa Sène Absa
Courtesy of Gerhard Kassner/Berlinale

Citing the movie’s influence on his own career as an emerging director more than three decades ago, Absa praised Sembène’s film for its visual poetry and withering critique of the subjugation and humiliation inflicted by French colonizers upon their West African colonies. It was the first film, he stressed, to upend the colonial-era narrative that African filmmakers were unable to tell their own stories.

“I cannot imagine it,” he said, reflecting on the ruling. “This film opened so many doors for African cinema. It doesn’t make sense.”

In the FPB report, a copy of which was obtained by Variety, the reviewer listed several “scenes of prejudice” in violation of film board regulations, among them a French newspaper headline describing the protagonist’s suicide (“Young negress slashes her throat in employer’s bathroom”), and a dinner table scene in which a French guest tells his companions “Africans only eat rice” and “their independence has made them less natural.”

That content, the reviewer determined, “may be threatening, disturbing, or cognitively harmful to children younger than 13 as they are still immature and impressionable to tolerate complex themes of exploitation and oppression…[and] will not be able to comprehend the intention of the director to show the impact of colonialism and slavery.”

Festival organizers, however, noted that children under the age of 13 were already restricted from watching the film.

Ousmane Sembène’s Venice Special Jury Prize winner “Mandabi” plays in Johannesburg this week.

“Black Girl” is the centerpiece of a programming strand at the Joburg Film Festival paying homage to Sembène, who would have celebrated his centennial birthday this year. Presented as part of the Africa Film Heritage Project, a collaboration between Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers and UNESCO to locate, restore and preserve African films, the sidebar will also screen a digitally restored version of Sembène’s Venice Special Jury Prize winner “Mandabi,” along with a selection of other pioneering African works.

The controversy this week in Johannesburg recalled a similar incident at the Durban Film Festival in 2013, when a ruling by the FPB against Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s “Of Good Report” forced organizers to show a black screen at the film’s opening-night premiere.

The Joburg Film Festival runs Jan. 31 – Feb. 5.

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 Movie Gets Surprising Development Update



Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 receives a surprisingly positive update from Legendary Entertainment years after it was announced to be in development.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 receives a surprisingly positive update from Legendary Entertainment. The first live-action Pokémon movie ever, Detective Pikachu follows Justice Smith as an aspiring trainer who teams up with the eponymous electric-powered investigator (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) to solve the mystery of his missing father. Months before the film’s release in 2019, Legendary was already developing a sequel with 22 Jump Street‘s Oren Uziel writing the script. However, there haven’t been any substantial updates since then.


Now, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 has received a surprisingly promising update. According to a representative for Legendary Entertainment (via Polygon), the project is still “in active development.” Representatives for Uziel stated he is no longer involved, though he did write a screenplay. However, Legendary remained mum on who is currently working on Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2.

This Detective Pikachu 2 Update Is Promising, But Is No Guarantee

Detective Pikachu smiling in the film of the same name.

This Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 update is promising, though it is also not a guarantee that the sequel will actually get made, as projects stall out while in development all the time. While Detective Pikachu star Smith has said he would love to participate in the project, he was not optimistic about the sequel’s chances the last time he commented on it publicly in 2021. Perhaps Smith’s outlook has changed in light of this recent update.

Uziel, whose video game adaptation chops extend to Sonic the Hedgehog, wrote an outline and a first draft for Detective Pikachu 2, but with him no longer involved, it’s unclear who is actively working on bringing the sequel to life. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu writers Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit say they aren’t involved either, though they would like to be. The first film was developed by several other collaborators, such as Jurassic World‘s Derek Connolly and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Nicole Perlman, who could be brought back for the sequel.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was both a critical and commercial success, receiving praise for Reynolds’ performance and its visual effects, while grossing $433 million at the box office on a $150 million budget. Therefore, it seems like a no-brainer for Warner Bros. and Legendary to give the Rob Letterman-directed movie a bigger and more action-packed sequel, though Detective Pikachu 2 appears to have hit some roadblocks in development, possibly related to Legendary’s new distribution deal with Sony, which end its long-standing partnership with WB. While the recent Pokémon: Detective Pikachu 2 update is promising, it’s still unclear what the future holds for this live-action corner of the Pokémon franchise.

Source: Polygon

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Hollywood Returns (Cautiously) to Super Bowl With Spots for ‘The Flash’ and ‘Fast X’



During the peak of COVID, as movie theaters were struggling to stay open and blockbusters were getting delayed again and again, Hollywood tightened its wallet for expensive Super Bowl spots. Why spend a casual $6 million — or more — to promote a film that may not see the light of day any time soon?

But the movies are back, baby. And there’s no better place to guarantee America’s undivided attention than the most-watched television event of the year. Over 100 million viewers are expected to tune into this year’s showdown, between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, slated for broadcast on Fox on Feb. 12.

That’s why major studios, including Disney, Universal and Paramount, are returning — with a bigger presence, compared to earlier pandemic days — to the Big Game with looks at “Fast X,” the latest installment in the sprawling “Fast & Furious” franchise, the adaptation of “Dungeons and Dragons” and “Cocaine Bear,” a comedy about — you guessed it! — a bear on cocaine. The goal, of course, is turning those marketing dollars into box office ticket sales.

Major movie studios have long been a pillar of the Super Bowl ad roster, with the three aforementioned ones typically providing the bulk of the category’s commercial spending for the gridiron classic. But, as of late, some of that cash has been used to tout streaming hubs for venues such as Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Indeed, Paramount+ is set to run a Super Bowl ad starring Sylvester Stallone, the star of its show “Tulsa King.” Streaming services and broadband hubs shelled out $58.5 million to tout their wares in the 2022 Super Bowl broadcast on NBC, according to Kantar, a tracker of ad spending. That’s more than the money spent by crypto firms; big beer brewers; and consumer-goods manufacturers, three other Super Bowl category stalwarts.

As for other traditional players, Warner Bros. is reportedly bringing “The Flash,” a superhero adventure starring Ezra Miller, though the studio’s spokesperson Candice McDonough didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. Attendees of DC Fandom and CinemaCon were treated to teasers of “The Flash,” but it’ll be the public’s first look at the anticipated summer tentpole, which has been declared by James Gunn, the new head of DC Comics, as “probably one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.” (Objectively speaking, of course.)

Otherwise, studios are expected to offer new marketing materials for movies that have already been heavily advertised — such as “Scream,” which opens in March; and “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,” which debuts in June. A spot for “Fast X” is getting prime placement, but it’ll come a few days after Universal hosts an official trailer premiere in Los Angeles.

Disney is likely to promote several of its upcoming releases during the big game, but the studio isn’t sharing which ones will get airtime. Among the other major players, Sony, MGM and Lionsgate aren’t expected to bring the goods on Super Bowl Sunday. However, plans could always change prior to the main event.

Some of the usual suspects are trying a shift in strategy. Disney’s own plans may be foggy for the moment, but the company’s Marvel Studios is already showing up in an ad for Heineken. Actor Paul Rudd, the hero of the studio’s upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” appears as Scott Lang in a recent teaser from the beer. Mmm, tastes like corporate synergy.

Netflix is taking a similar route. It’s not running any stand-alone Super Bowl ads, according to Marian Lee, the company’s giant’s chief marketing officer, but the streamer has elected instead to team up with Anheuser-Busch InBev and General Motors with spots from those two advertising stalwarts to tout various Netflix series. An ad for Michelob Ultra also contains a QR code that lets viewers see a sneak peek of the golf documentary series “Full Swing.” And a one-minute GM spot featuring Will Ferrell will nod to Netflix shows including “Bridgerton,” “Squid Games” and “Stranger Things.”

Elsewhere, Michelob Ultra’s “Caddyshack” tribute, a “Breaking Bad” reunion centered around PopCorners and Meghan Trainor’s “look” at Pringles will keep the commercial breaks stuffed.

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