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Why Black Widow Is More Serious Than Other MCU Movies



Director Cate Shortland explains why Scarlett Johansson’s long-overdue solo film, Black Widow, needed to have a more serious tone than on MCU movies.

Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow will be more serious than other MCU films. Marvel Studios is kicking off its Phase 4 with the long-overdue standalone focused on Natasha Romanoff. Directed by Cate Shortland, the movie takes place in the two years between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War to work around the character’s tragic death in Avengers: Endgame.

Black Widow will be a more personal story as it deals with Nat’s previous life before she becomes a SHIELD operative, and then eventually an Avenger. Introducing the public to new characters who played a pivotal role in the character’s past life as a Russian spy, fans will learn more about her supposed first family composed of David Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov, aka Red Guardian, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff. They’ll team up against the mysterious villain only known as Taskmaster whose real identity is still tightly under wraps.

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Related: Every Major MCU Villain Who Wasn’t Killed Off

Other specific plot details for Black Widow are still shrouded in secrecy, but Shortland reveals in a new feature with Total Film (via Games Radar) that the film will be more serious than previous MCU films. According to the director, this was born out of Natasha’s lack of superpowers, and so throughout her life, she had to lean on pure grit and determination which will be fully highlighted in the project:

“She’s the only character that doesn’t have superpowers. We saw that as a strength, because she always has to dig really deep to get out of shit situations. And we just put her in a lot of hard situations. I thought about women walking to the train station being attacked, and what happens.

Natasha’s like [Jodie Foster’s Clarice] from The Silence Of The Lambs. It’s great, because when she holds her gun, it shakes. But she’s still really tough inside, and resilient. And I wanted to bring that to the character. So you’re not just watching her fly through situations, knowing she’ll get out of it. You want to see her grit and determination. And that’s what we got.”

Aside from that, Black Widow will also deal with the Time’s Up and Me Too movements, which both tackle the systemic abuse of women in all forms. 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron teased Natasha’s horrific experience being trained in the Red Room, includiung her undergoing a forced hysterectomy. Since then, it was never tackled again in the MCU, but with the new film directly dealing with the Black Widow Program, it could further reveal not only Nat’s suffering, but also Yelena and Melina, who also came from the same training academy.

Based on Shortland’s latest comments, Black Widow will lean more on Natasha’s humanity, potentially making a case about this being her “superpower.” The film can effectively frame this by showing just how much she’s gone through all her life even before she joined the Avengers. It could also explain why the decimation in Infinity War that led to the death of some of her closest allies whom she treated as second family hit her very hard. Finally, the movie could provide a justification for her controversial Endgame death. As with every Marvel film, there will more likely be humor in Black Widow as revealed in trailers; what will make it more serious is the idea that it tackles timely issues that need to be delicately dealt with given its real-world implications.

More: Every MCU Movie Mistake Marvel Admitted They Made

Source: Total Film (via Games Rader)

Key Release Dates

  • Black Widow (2020)Release date: Nov 06, 2020
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Feb 12, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022

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Chris Hayes Explains How AG Bill Barr and the DOJ are ‘Colluding with the President’ to Sabotage the Election: ‘Never Has the Plan Been More Obvious’ — WATCH




Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes on Friday night explained how the Department of Justice’s bungling moves this week exposed Attorney General Bill Barr’s plan to help Trump sabotage the 2020 election.

Said Hayes: “It is official now that the attorney general of the United States and the Department of Justice are colluding with the president and his campaign to sabotage the legitimacy of the election.”

“This has long been the fear of those of us who care about the fate of our democracy,” Hayes added. “Attorney General Barr has been telegraphing this is the play for a while now. He’s been going around lying about the rates of mail-in voter fraud, boosting the president’s dangerous and insidious false narrative. He even went so far as to tell a completely false inflammatory story about a supposed case of fraud in Texas which he later had to correct. But yesterday we saw the first instance of all the machinery working together. The president, his campaign, DOJ, even a local U.S. attorney all collaborating to essentially sow disinformation.”

The NYT reported earlier on Friday that “Attorney General William P. Barr personally briefed Mr. Trump this week” on a single case of nine military ballots in Pennsylvania that were allegedly discarded.

The NYT reports: “After Mr. Barr briefed him, Mr. Trump publicly referred to the discarded ballots in a radio interview on Thursday, which prompted questions from reporters and, eventually, the Justice Department’s release of details about the investigation. The disclosures helped feed the misleading narrative by the president and the attorney general that mail-in voting was rife with fraud. Around the time the Justice Department released the details on Thursday, White House and Trump campaign aides pointed to the case as an example of how mail-in voting was undermining the fairness of the election.”

Hayes then pointed out a memo from the DOJ that, because it was inaccurate, was withdrawn and reissued with new information.

But the narrative is clear: “So Barr tells the president all about it. The president goes on FOX News radio to reveal it publicly. And then immediately, the Trump campaign whirred into motion pushing out the story. …

So what happened with these ballots? It appears to be an almost comically innocent story about a clerical error likely driven by the Trump campaign’s own lawsuit.”

Hayes then laid out exactly what happened with the ballots, adding that what it looks like happened was that a clerk mistook ballot request envelopes for actual ballots that weren’t in the proper envelopes. Read more about the “naked ballot” issue here.

“Clearly someone messed up,” Hayes continued. “These envelopes should not have been opened. And of course ballots should not be randomly thrown away. Don’t do that. That’s bad. But there is zero evidence of anything deliberately criminal happening here at all. And it is completely inappropriate for the U.S. Attorney’s office to be basically live tweeting their findings as they investigate this, including having to pull them down and correct them. DOJ policy calls for keeping voter fraud investigations under wraps to avoid affecting the election outcome. This was an obvious clear violation of that policy by the U.S. Attorney and William Barr, the president. But now we see what the plan is.”

“Imagine a politicized Department of Justice seeking to seize on every logistical hiccup and blast it out to the nation as smoking gun evidence of a vast conspiracy to steal the election from the president… that is what they did yesterday, that is what they are doing. The plan is to use fraud as a justification to challenge the results. Never has the plan been more obvious.”

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Princess Eugenie Announces She And Husband Jack Brooksbank Are Expecting Their First Child




Princess Eugenie is going to be a mom!

The 30-year-old daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson announced her exciting news on Friday.

It will be the first child for Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank. Eugenie and Jack were married in October 2018.

The news comes amid intense speculation that the York girls were both working to become moms. Eugenie’s dear sister, Beatrice, married husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July.

There were no photos of the two sisters together at Beatrice’s wedding, which started the rumors that Eugenie had something to hide. Royal fans knew she served as matron of honor at the wedding.

Yet Eugenie, who has her own Instagram account, never shared a single shot with Beatrice.

Eugenie decided to share her big news on Instagram. “Jack and I are so excited for early 2021….👶🏻,” she coyly captioned the image of the two holding teddy bear baby slippers. She also shared a closeup of the couple.

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are expecting their first child! After weeks of intense speculation that Eugenie might have good news to share, she did just that in an Instagram post on Friday morning.

“Jack and I are so excited for early 2021….👶🏻,” she captioned the photo of the two holding tiny baby teddy bear slippers.

They weren’t the only ones to share the news. Buckingham Palace also put out an official announcement.

“Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie and Mr. Jack Brooksbank are very pleased to announce that they are expecting a baby in early 2021,” the statement read.

“The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, Mr. and Mrs. George Brooksbank, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are delighted with the news.”

Sarah Ferguson shared the news and her sheer joy for her daughter and son-in-law.

I am so excited by the news that Eugenie and Jack are expecting their first child,” she captioned a photo of the couple. 

“Thrilled for them both and in my 60th year cannot wait to be a grandmother. Welcoming a new baby into the York family is going to be a moment of profound joy.”

Eugenie and Jack’s baby will be the first grandchild for the Duke and Duchess of York. The child will be the ninth great-grandchild for Eugenie’s grandparents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. That means the little one will be born before celebrations for the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday.

The news comes a month shy of Eugenie and Jack’s second wedding anniversary. The two were married in October 2018 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was just six months after Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding at the same venue. Controversially, Harry and Meghan shared their pregnancy news with the royal family at Eugenie and Jack’s wedding.

Interestingly, Eugenie’s early 2021 due date would mean she’s anywhere from four to six months pregnant. Recent images of Eugenie out and about suggest the lower end of that range. It’s possible that some royal family members only learned about Eugenie’s pregnancy news recently, perhaps at sister Beatrice’s wedding.

Pregnancy rumors around Eugenie reached a fever pitch earlier this week. She was spotted with Jack and Beatrice at Annabel’s, a members-only club in London. Now some are wondering whether the trip might have been scouting locations for an upcoming celebration with friends and family. Baby showers aren’t as popular in the UK as they are in the US, but the possibility is there.

Eugenie and Jack’s news also comes the same day that some ire was sent the Yorks way. The Duke of York came under fire after the release of the 2019-2020 Sovereign Grant Report. The financial report details a £15,848 (about $20,125) private flight to the Open Golf Championship in Portrush, funded by British taxpayers.

The baby news also has royal fans wondering if Eugenie and Jack will be looking for a bigger place to live. They currently live in Ivy Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace. They’re just steps away from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s family of five.

It’s been a particularly drama-filled era for the royal family, so some good news feels nice for a change. Still, fans are concerned about how Prince Andrew’s continued noncompliance with authorities might impact this joyful time in his daughter’s life. Certainly, Beatrice was impacted by having to shuffle her wedding plans around several times as the fallout from Andrew’s November BBC interview played out.

The other question on royal fans’ minds is when we’ll see a baby for Beatrice. There have been rumors that she and Edo want to give his son, 4-year-old Wolfie, a sibling sooner than later. Seeing both York sisters enjoy pregnancy together might be the kind of eye bleach everyone living through 2020 needs right now.

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‘Must Try’ Whiskeys For Fall, According To Bartenders




While we enjoy whisk(e)y all year long, there’s really no better season for the spirit than fall. When the leaves begin to turn and the temperatures start to dip, the bottles of rye, Scotch, bourbon, and Japanese whisky in our liquor cabinets seem to call to us. Tempting us to sit with a dram by the fire.

With so many different varieties of whisk(e)y on the market and countless brands to choose from, it’s tough to pick just one or two bottles to invest in this fall. So we asked some of our favorite bartenders tell us their “must try” whiskey picks for autumn 2020.

Shenk’s Homestead Sour Mash

Mitchell Cochran, bar manager at Shades Bar & Grill in South Walton, Florida

Shenk’s Homestead Sour Mash. From the Michter’s Legacy Series, this whiskey has a very rye forward profile with a unique finish. The French oak barrels used to distill give it a very rich taste.

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Bourbon

Marla White, lead bartender at Lona Cocina & Tequilera in Fotrt Lauderdale, Florida

Basil Hayden’s 10-Year Bourbon. Has a nice spicy-sweet light body profile that tastes great served neat, over ice, or in an old fashioned.

Really enjoyable and easy to drink.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Frantjesko Laonora, lead bartender at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort in Curaçao

Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a must-try whiskey you won’t regret, as its dry smokiness artfully mixes with the sweetness of raisins on the nose. This whiskey serves a velvet combination of vanilla, honey, and rose petals with notes of hazelnut, sherry, and dark chocolate, and boasts a luxuriously long and smooth finish.

Legent Bourbon

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Legent Bourbon. The joining of Beam and Suntory is a true spectacle and does not leave you wishing for more. Japanese blending techniques and cask finishes create an excellent spirit.

Angel’s Envy Rye

Evgeny Anisimov, bartender at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in San Diego

If I had to pick one whiskey to enjoy this fall, I would pick Angel’s Envy Rye. It is finished in Caribbean Rum Barrels and has distinct aromas of butterscotch and maple.

While you sipping on it, don’t forget to snap a picture and tag #ToastTheTrees to help plant some White Oak Trees.

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky

Molly Safuto, bartender at Mila Rooftop Bar in Glendale, California

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky. This sweet-smelling dram, with hints of toffee, is so smooth going down — I guess that’s why Masataka Taketsuru is the father of Japanese Whisky.

Sunday’s Whisky

Emmanuelle Massicot, assistant general manager of Kata Robata in Houston

Sunday’s Whisky. Made from the team behind Yardbird in Hong Kong, this Japanese whisky was specifically designed for highballs. It is citrus-forward, dilutes evenly over ice, and in cocktails, and is incredibly smooth and light.

Abasolo El Whisky de Mexico

Crystal Chasse, Beverage Director at Talk Story Rooftop in Brooklyn, New York

Abasolo El Whisky de Mexico needs to be in your mouth! It is new on the market and is distilled from 100% Mexican Cacahuazintle corn from local farmers. The corn shines and is supported with beautiful notes of black tea and vanilla.

Four Roses Small Batch Select

Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

The must-try if you haven’t already is Four Roses Small Batch Select. It’s only been on the market for a year or so, and as Four Roses’ first new expression in several years, it’s a banger. With just a touch of raspberry and dark fruit on the front, the finish is dank lumber and leather with a toffee back.

At its very reasonable price point, this bottle is perfect for any application.

Aberfeldy 16

Brendan Bartley, head bartender and beverage director at Bathtub Gin in New York City

Must try whisky for me this fall is Aberfeldy 16 Year. I picture this when I think of fall. It’s weighed with honey, stewed fruits, and baking spice. It’s finished in oloroso sherry casks, so it has all those rich nutty flavors as well. The Scotch whisky category is filled with great products, so picking something is always hard. I just find the Aberfeldy is an easy-drinking 16 Year with all the indicators of fall with every sip.

High West Campfire

Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director at Borrachito in New York City

If you haven’t had anything from High West I’d start with their Campfire. Tastes like it sounds. This is just a terrific blend of scotch, bourbon, and rye. There’s a real nice peatiness to it that evokes a devilish smoked cinnamon aroma.

Parker’s Heritage Bourbon

Gavin Humes, bartender, Scratch | Bar & Restaurant in Encino, California

I’ve got to go with Parker’s Heritage. Every year they release a beautifully complex and deep whiskey bourbon with a fantastic spice profile. It’s got the right balance between that spice, the burnt sugar caramel, and tons of round richness. It’s great every year, and I’m sure it’ll be great again this year.

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