Entertainment Extra

November 29, 2020

Ashland Independent TV Times

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18 The Independent • Entertainment Extra November 29 - December 5, 2020 By Dana Simpson TV Media WHAT'S NEW ON NETFLIX "Mank" (2020) Get acquainted with Herman J. Mankie- wicz this Friday, Nov. 4, as he makes his leading-role debut in the new Netflix film "Mank." Starring the iconic Gary Oldman ("Darkest Hour," 2017) in the title role, this modern-day film is like no other in that it pays such beautifully crafted hom - age to the noir films of the 1940s, you may find yourself forgetting it was just released. True to the timeframe it is mir- roring and shot entirely in the same dra- matic black-and-white as the best films of the beginning of the sound era, "Mank" tells the story of newspaperman-turned- screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Oldman) as he struggles to develop and finish the Oscar-winning Orson Welles masterpiece "Citizen Kane" (1941). Di - rected by David Fincher ("The Social Net- work," 2010), the screenplay was actually written by his late father, Jack Fincher, three decades ago. A sentimental passion project for Fincher now, his connection to the film and its process may be what earns him an Academy Award for Best Picture this year (while it is too early for official nominations, the New York Times is hinting that "Mank" has huge poten - tial in this area). If this is the case and "Mank" does go on to win the top spot at the Oscars for 2020, the film would mark Netflix's first-ever Best Picture win. Released to select theaters just prior to its Netflix debut, "Mank" also stars Amanda Seyfried ("Les Misérables," 2012) as actress Marion Davies, Lily Collins ("Emily in Paris") as Rita Alexander, Tom Burke ("Only God Forgives," 2013) as Orson Welles, and Charles Dance ("Game of Thrones") as the legendary newspaper magnate and subject of "Citizen Kane," William Randolph Hearst. WHAT'S NEW ON APPLE TV+ "Stillwater" Join in on the panda-monium with the new animated family series "Stillwater," premiering Friday, Dec. 4, on Apple TV+. The Apple streaming service has been hard at work in the family viewing de- partment lately, becoming the first digital platform to secure Daytime Emmy wins in its first year of launching — better still, Apple TV+ managed a whopping 18 nominations, going on to secure two wins for its family programs "Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10" and "Ghostwriter." Now, there's a new show in town. "Still- water" tells the story of three siblings — voiced by Judah Mackey ("The Young and the Restless"), Eva Ariel Binder ("Grey's Anatomy") and Tucker Chandler ("Mada- gascar: A Little Wild") — who, like most children, often get overwhelmed by even the smallest disruptions in their lives. Luckily, living next door to Stillwater the panda has its perks, as his Zen-like at- titude and fun-loving personality help the kids to make sense of their feelings and have a bit of adventure along the way. Based on Scholastic's beautifully illustrated "Zen Shorts" book series by Jon J. Muth, this new TV series is execu- tive produced by a team of eight talented show creators — including Nicolas Atlan ("The Jungle Book") and Caitlin Friedman ("Clifford the Big Red Dog") — and also features the voice talents of James Sie ("Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesome- ness"). WHAT'S NEW ON PRIME "Sound of Metal" (2020) Learn to feel the music as the world goes quiet in "Sound of Metal," coming to Prime on Friday, Dec. 4. When heavy metal drummer Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed, "The Night Of") begins to rapidly lose his hearing, he struggles to make sense of the world around him. Doing his best to adapt to his sound-centric career and maintain some sense of normalcy as his world silently crumbles around him, Ruben tries to focus on not letting his new-found vulnerability get the best of him. Written by Darius and Abraham Marder — who both worked behind the scenes on "Loot" (2008) — and featuring Darius Marder in his stunning directorial debut, "Sound of Metal" is a raw depic- tion of how one event has the power to change everything about the way we perceive ourselves. As if this wasn't a tall enough order for the film, Ahmed learned to play the drums and studied American Sign Language for his role, while Darius Marder goes to incredible lengths during production — such as sound cutting, muffling and subtitling the entire film from start to finish — to make the movie a fully immersive experience to be en- joyed by all. Featuring music by Abraham Marder and Nicolas Becker ("A Prayer Before Dawn," 2017), "Sound of Metal" also stars Olivia Cooke ("Bates Motel") as Ruben's girlfriend and bandmate, Lou; Paul Raci ("Fighting Tommy Riley," 2004) as Joe, a Vietnam veteran who lost his hearing during the war and now runs a deaf commune in the country; and Tom Kemp ("Blue Jasmine," 2013) as Dr. Paysinger. WHAT'S NEW ON HULU "The Big Ugly" (2020) Be careful who you make a deal with this Sunday, Nov. 29, because it could come back to haunt you as Hulu welcomes "The Big Ugly" to its lineup this week. Vinnie Jones ("Snatch," 2000) is back with a vengeance as Neelyn, the quick-to- fire muscle to high-class, London-based mob boss Harris (Malcolm McDowell, "A Clockwork Orange," 1971) in this new Scott Wiper ("The Condemned," 2007) film. Written, directed and co-created by Wiper, the film follows a Guy Ritchie-style dodgy money-laundering deal between Harris and big shot West Virginian oil baron Preston (Ron Perlman, "Hellboy," 2004). But when Neelyn gets wind that Preston's skeezy son, Junior (Brandon Sklenar, "Mapplethorpe," 2018), may have done something unspeakable to his lady friend, Fiona (Lenora Crichlow, "Being Human"), the backroom deal between the two parties goes sideways in a very menacing way. Chockablock with the ominous, gravelly English-accented threats and violent action sequences that made Jones a film icon, "The Big Ugly" features original music from the Golden Globe-nominated composer Alex Hef- fes ("Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," 2013). WHAT'S NEW ON DISNEY "National Treasure" (2004) and "National Treasure: Book of Se- crets" (2007) Go on an epic scavenger hunt through history with the National Treasure film franchise, available now on Disney+. Starring Nicolas Cage ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice," 2010) in the role of deter- mined cryptologist and treasure hunter Benjamin Gates, the first film in the saga (simply titled "National Treasure" from 2004) sees Gates and his comedic cohort, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha, "The Hang- over," 2009) team up with a brainy and beautiful archives curator, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger, "Inglourious Basterds," 2009), to steal the Declaration of Inde- pendence in order to keep it safe from his scheming and sinister former partner, Ian (Sean Bean, "Game of Thrones"), and ultimately find the legendary Templar Treasure before Ian and his team of mercenaries. The film's sequel, "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" (2007), how- ever, focuses on Gates and his team as they travel abroad to Europe in the hopes of exonerating Gates' bygone ancestor, who is accused of being an accomplice to John Wilkes Booth and planning the assassination of then-President Abraham Lincoln. Following clues from Booth's di- ary, the trio visits London and Paris while racing against competing treasure hunter Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris, "Apollo 13," 1995) to solve the puzzle first. And while, for the moment, there are only two films to quench your thirst for a historically fictional adventure, there have been whispers that a third National Treasure film may be in the works. In discussion at Disney since 2016 (according to Disney chairman and former CEO Bob Iger), the third installment has yet to be confirmed, so, for now, fans of the series will have to revisit the existing gems from 2004 and 2007. With both films directed by Jon Turteltaub ("Cool Runnings," 1993), the series also stars Jon Voight ("Anaconda," 1997), Harvey Keitel ("Reservoir Dogs," 1992) and Armando Riesco ("The Chi") in recurring roles. Amanda Seyfried as seen in "Mank" A scene from "Stillwater"

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