ALLISON JANNEY SHINES IN AN OTHERWISE HALF-BAKED DARK SATIRE ABOUT THE UNQUENCHABLE AMERICAN DESIRE FOR FAME - The Daily Guardian
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ALLISON JANNEY SHINES IN AN OTHERWISE HALF-BAKED DARK SATIRE ABOUT THE UNQUENCHABLE AMERICAN DESIRE FOR FAME

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Time and again we have seen in American films how far people are willing to go to become famous. And the quicker they can achieve the fame the better it is for them. For, patience is certainly not one of their virtues. Perhaps, the best example of this is Martin Scorsese’s 1982 film The King of Comedy. In the film we come across an aspiring stand-up comedian named Rupert Pupkin (essayed by none other than the two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro) who goes to the extent of kidnapping a famous stand-up comedian for a chance at fame. Pupkin gets a six-year prison sentence for it but is out on parole after just two years. As soon as he is out, he gets bombarded with several attractive offers including comedy tours and a film adaptation of his memoirs, written by him during his time in the jail. 

Fast forward to 2021 and we come across Tate Taylor’s Breaking News in Yuba County that tells the story of an under-appreciated suburban wife named Sue Buttons (essayed by Allison Janney) who uses her husband’s apparent disappearance to become famous. On the day of her marriage anniversary, she catches her banker husband with another woman. Caught cheating on her, he gets a massive heart attack and dies on the spot. Pouncing on the opportunity, Sue secretly buries his body and goes to the police to file a complaint about her husband’s sudden disappearance. Her goal is clear. She wants to draw media attention to herself at all costs. When her initial efforts fail, she cleverly makes up a story connecting her husband’s disappearance to a recent kidnapping of a child—a news that’s been drawing everyone’s attention. Soon she is in the limelight she has been waiting for all her life. That’s not all. She is also able to use her newly acquired fame to keep the police as well as her relatives and friends at bay. 

Breaking News in Yuba County is essentially another of those dark comedies about the unquenchable American desire for fame. Sue’s desire to become famous is a result of her misplaced belief that she is totally worthless. Deep down, she is overcome by a strong sense of rejection. She feels unwanted and under-appreciated by all those around her. And when she finds her husband in bed with another woman and that too on their anniversary she reaches her saturation point. She thinks that if she becomes famous everything around her will change. And so, she embarks on a mission. She plans her each and every step meticulously, even managing to fool her own journalist sister into believing that her husband has actually gone missing.

Todd Phillips’ 2019 film Joker, which is widely believed to be inspired by The King of Comedy, also takes a similar route with its socially awkward protagonist Arthur Fleck (essayed by Joaquin Phoenix in an Oscar-winning performance) aspiring to become a famous stand-up comedian in order to prove himself worthy in his own eyes. He believes it to be the solution to all his problems. He dreams to be on his idol Murray Franklin’s talk show and even sends his clips to him in that hope that they will be featured on his show. But, to his surprise, Murray mocks Arthur by showing his clips. But, nevertheless, Arthur is invited to appear on Murray’s show owing to the unexpected popularity of his comedy clips. But by now Arthur is aware that he will never be able to fulfil his dream of becoming a famous stand-up comedian. That by inviting him on his show Murray further wants to humiliate him. But he still honours the invitation and makes an appearance on the show. And, to everyone’s surprise, Arthur shoots Murray twice on live television, killing him.

Now, Breaking News in Yuba County is of course not in the same league as Joker or The King of Comedy. Its biggest undoing is a horde of half-baked characters and a series of nonsensical sceneries involving the secondary characters. The film is at its best when the focus is on Sue Buttons. But every time the plot’s focus shifts to one of the other characters things begin to fall flat. Yes, Sue’s character is written well but it’s really Allison Janney’s magic that makes it look like an entirely different film every time she is on the screen. It’s a performance of great subtlety and artifice.

Allison Janney plays Sue so cleverly that we can’t help but route for her even when she is involved in the vilest acts. That’s how good she really is in the movie. While the performances from Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Samira Wiley, Jimmi Simpson, Bridget Everett, Awkwafina, and Wanda Sykes aren’t bad by any means, they all are let down by the shoddy work in the writing department.

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NUSHRRATT SHARES MOTION POSTER OF HER NEW FILM

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MUMBAI: Bollywood actress Nushrratt Bharuccha, on Thursday, shared a motion poster of her new upcoming film ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ on her social media.

Nushrratt took to her Instagram and shared the film’s motion poster, which had a super catchy foot-tapping soundtrack. In the caption, she wrote, “Ek womaniya sab pe bhaari, yeh suchna hai #JanhitMeinJaari.”

Producer Vinod Bhanushali and writer-director Raaj Shaandilyaa had earlier announced the film with a quirky poster. Shaandilyaa has also penned the film’s script, which has been directed by debutant, Jai Bantu Singh.

Produced by Bhanushali Studios Limited and Think Ink Picturez in association with Shree Raghav Entertainment LLP, the movie commenced filming today in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh.

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ANUSHKA SHARES POST-WORKOUT SNAP

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MUMBAI: Bollywood diva Anushka Sharma is back in town with her daughter Vamika after being in the UK with her husband Virat Kohli as India toured England for a cricket series.

Taking to her Instagram story, Anushka posted a surreal sea view picture from the balcony of her Mumbai residence. In the next IG story, she shared a post-workout selfie of herself. Anushka can be seen sporting a lime green t-shirt with her hair tied in a bun, as she hit the workout session. Alongside the picture, she also added a sticker that reads “Sweaty Selfie.” For the unversed, Anushka had gone to the UK with her husband Virat and daughter Vamika in July. She had shared a series of pictures from her English countryside getaway. The star couple had also celebrated Vamika’s six-month birthday in London.

On the work front, Anushka was last seen in the 2018 movie ‘Zero’, co-starring actors Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif.

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KIRTI KULHARI FULFILLS HER DREAM

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MUMBAI: People who love nature should travel in toy trains once in their life to experience the scenic routes that have been carved through mountains. Actor Kirti Kulhari recently fulfilled her dream of taking a toy train ride in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Taking to Instagram, Kirti posted a few picturesque pictures from her toy train journey. “Is the journey more important than the destination??? My answer is a ‘BIG YES’..#toytrain #jutogh #simla #himachalpradesh #traveldiaries. P.S – finally one more thing ticked off in my #bucketlist .. sitting in a #toytrain,” she captioned the post. The Kalka-Shimla toy train is a popular way of reaching Shimla. The particular railway line was declared a UNESCO world heritage line in 2008 and has been a great tourist attraction since then. 

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‘GODFATHER OF BLACK CINEMA’ MELVIN VAN PEEBLES NO MORE

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WASHINGTON: Veteran filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles has passed away at the age of 89. According to CNN, Melvin died at his home in Manhattan on Tuesday night. The news of his demise was announced by his family. “Dad knew that Black images matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth? We want to be the success we see, thus we need to see ourselves being free. True liberation did not mean imitating the colonizer’s mentality. It meant appreciating the power, beauty and interconnectivity of all people,” Melvin’s son Mario Van Peebles said in a statement.

Melvin was popularly known as the godfather of modern Black cinema. He had helped champion a new wave of modern Black cinema in the 1970s — especially with his films ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’. Melvin also was also a novelist, theatre impresario, songwriter, musician and painter.

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RANVEER URGES TO CREATE INCLUSIVE SPACE FOR THE HEARING-IMPAIRED

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MUMBAI : September 23 is celebrated as the International Day of Sign Languages, and on this occasion, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh has made a special appeal to the youth of the country.

Basically, he urged the youth to create an inclusive space for the deaf community. “If there is anything we all have come to value and embrace in the last year and a half is the power of community and being there for each other. My message to the youth today would be to keep doing the work you are… and if in any way you can create or propagate an inclusive space by working with the Deaf community, please do. From hospitality to education to creative arts. We can only make this change together,” Ranveer said.

Ranveer has been working hard to help the community. He has also been urging authorities to consider and declare Indian Sign Language (ISL) as the 23rd official language of India and also signed a petition aimed at furthering awareness of this cause. 

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Tom Hanks’ sci-fi movie ‘Finch’ drops first trailer

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WASHINGTON: The first official full trailer of Hollywood star Tom Hanks’ upcoming sci-fi adventure movie ‘Finch’ has recently been dropped by Apple TV+, where it will premiere on November 5.

The movie narrates the story of a lone survivor of a global apocalypse who has embarked on a dangerous journey to find a new home for his unlikely family, a dog and a newly created robot. Hanks has portrayed the titular character, a robotics engineer, who is the only survivor of a solar event. Finch creates the robot named Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones) to take care of his loyal companion, dog Goodyear, when he’s gone.

The almost 3-minute trailer of ‘Finch’ begins with Hanks’ character saying “It all happened so fast. There was a solar flare. Goodbye crops and food, goodbye everything,” as scenes of a deserted, dystopian America pass by. “So I hid, frightened and so alone, and I found you,” he continues, addressing the sweet dog.

After Finch develops the robot Jeff, it learns its purpose (“Robots must protect dog”), the trio then set out west, embarking on a treacherous journey to beat a deadly storm to safety. “If we don’t go before that storm hits, we’ll die. All of us,” Finch says in the trailer.

During the journey, they experience some lighthearted moments on the road, Finch teaching Jeff how to drive, Jeff learning how to “talk dog”, all while the pressures of the post-apocalyptic world seem to be closing in. Along the way, they navigate through extreme weather phenomena, merciless heat, UV radiation, and other unexpected challenges.

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