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The Tragedy of Macbeth | One Of The Best Adaptations Of Shakespeare’s Work

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Joel Coen’s first venture without his brother is the latest reincarnation of William Shakespeare’s classic play. The Scottish play was first performed 415 years ago and has since been adapted multiple times since its stage premiere in 1606 when King James ruled. Even the word “Macbeth” is strictly Taboo in theatres as it’s believed to bring bad luck or even disaster as according to folklore, the play’s history of bad luck began with its first perforce in 1606 when the actor scheduled to portray Lady Macbeth died suddenly, so Shakespeare himself was forced to replace him.

Then in another 17th-century production held in Amsterdam, the actor playing King Duncan was allegedly killed in front of the live audience when a real dagger was used instead of the stage prop during stabbing scenes.

The Tragedy of Macbeth tells the tale of a Scottish Lord convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.

Coen provides masterful direction along with a technical achievement in filmmaking with a level of artistry rarely achieved in films, and it’s certainly one of the best Shakespeare adaptations. Coen also covers ground that was formally walked upon by Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski and recently in 2015 Justin Kurzel. however, Coen surpasses them with his German expressionistic style which felt stark and severe as the noir aspects with the blades of light displayed onscreen by Coen and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel. It’s theatrical and cinematic all rolled into one as it’s shot in black-and-white with a 1:33:1 aspect ratio that harkens back to the end of the Silent picture era. The frame is a neatly pictured square that is also reminiscent of classic Hollywood and truly evoked the filmmaking style of that golden age.

The film drops us instantly into a realm that reveals in the eeriness, ethereal and otherworldly which showcases the text becoming a provocative backstabbing historical epic that carries along with manipulation, soaring anger, and ambition and prophecy that embeds itself throughout the film creating stages of madness in each sequence further showcasing the loudness of power and how it succumbs you.

Fog and smoke obscure this silvery landscape as lights cast harsh shadows and silhouettes. The sets are stark and minimal and fade into each transition from one scene to the next which felt similarly theatrical as if watching sets being moved and repositioned on a stage, in fact, the Macbeth was filmed entirely on sound stages which also provides a hybrid between film and theatre and ultimately gives the film a dreamlike and hypnotic quality.

Many of the sets were built in sections and put together whilst relying on beautiful matte paintings to fill in the environments, which is also feels like another throwback to the multi-plane ingenuity reminiscent of Citizen Kane.

The score by Carter Burwell also plays a part in this Shakespearean story as he delivers a genre-filled symphony that intertwines with the story as it serves the purpose of making the audience uncomfortable and essentially drives the story forward. He uses the dialogue himself as a melody.

The real component of what makes all the above work so remarkable is the cast, made up of an ensemble of incredible actors who’ve made their names both on stage and screen. Leading them are Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. They truly bring the best of both worlds here as they understand what works for the camera. Washington is magisterial in the title role, he brings a vocal flavour to the dialogue and he beautifully shows Macbeth losing his ways. Though he also gives Macbeth a quality of vulnerability as he grows more desperate in covering his tracks.

McDormand (who also produces) meanwhile brings an element of desperation to Lady Macbeth’s ambition, as she grasps for power that has long eluded her. She is his hard-edged conspirator- turned madwoman.

The casting of Washington and McDormand both in their sixties truly brings a sense of stifled ambition and a generational power grab. Both have a familiarity with Shakespeare as having done adaptations of his work before and it truly shows how powerful and award-winning their performances truly are.

Then there’s Kathryn Hunter who astonishingly plays all the three witches who prophesy Macbeth’s ascension and doom. A physical performance with limbs contorted as she shapeshifts with twisted movements using a deep, booming voice which is sinister as their nature and motivations are unknown. Hunter’s character is the first witch we meet and she brings this world of supernatural dark magic to life as she manifests her gaunt form into a trio of shrouded silhouettes. Hunter’s physicality and presence are utterly captivating.

The other actors are well cast and truly bring their skills to Shakespeare’s work. From Brendan Gleeson’s quietly prestigious King Duncan to Corey Hawkins’ Macduff, an antagonist fired by the youthful integrity and then vengeance. Carvel’s Banquo felt very sympathetic whilst Alex Hassell portrays the nobleman Ross with intrigue.

Overall every element of the Tragedy of Macbeth, from the hard, cold furniture to the swirling crows and drifting fog. The film truly gets to grips with the tales dark emotions as it’s one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare’s work I’ve seen recently.

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Apple TV+

Fly Me To The Moon | Official Trailer – Apple TV+

Marketing maven Kelly Jones wreaks havoc on launch director Cole Davis’s already difficult task. When the White House deems the mission too important to fail, Jones is directed to stage a fake moon landing as back-up.

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Genre:

Comedy, Romance

Release Date:

July 12, 2024

Director:

Greg Berlanti

Cast:

Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Woody Harrelson

Plot Summary:

Marketing maven Kelly Jones wreaks havoc on launch director Cole Davis’s already difficult task. When the White House deems the mission too important to fail, Jones is directed to stage a fake moon landing as back-up.

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Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock Season 2 | Let’s Radish and Roll

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This review was made possible by screeners for Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock Season Two which releases on Apple TV+ Friday, March 29th

Are you ready to Radish… Let’s all put on our Strawberry hats and dance the cares away, as Jim Henson’s fun-loving, musical Fraggles are back for season two. Join Gobo, Red, Wembley, Mokey, Boober, and POGEY! Alongside new Fraggle friends on hilarious, epic adventures about the magic that happens when we celebrate and care for our interconnected world.

The highly-anticipated second season of the beloved classic series reunites these characters and unearths them once again for Season 2 streaming on Apple TV+ on Friday, March 29, 2024. The second season of Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock by The Jim Henson Company consists of 13 incredible and entertaining brand-new episodes that are fun and educational for the whole family alike, as each episode features an important lesson that the Fraggle Five learn and ultimately accept. Important topics covered in these episodes are about facing your fears, the importance of change and adapting to it, anxiety and distraction, differences of opinion, using the right words, and self-expression. Such as embracing your uniqueness, and showing that there is nothing wrong with who you are. as well as how to treat others no matter their size, Of course, all of this is combined with catchy music and dance numbers, as singing and dancing are what a Fraggle does best. Fraggles explore their feelings, work through problems, and grow their minds and bodies through music so when a song comes on they celebrate. Parents will be able to show their kids how to clap, walk and move to the beat and ultimately learn the rhythm. 

AppleTV+

Jim Henson’s fun-loving and musical Fraggles—Gobo, Red, Boober, Mokey, Wembley, and Uncle Travelling Matt, appearing alongside new Fraggles and Doozers voiced by special guest stars, including Ariana DeBose (Mezzo), Brett Goldstein (Pryce), Catherine O’Hara (Leader), Daveed Diggs returning as Jamdolin, Adam Lambert (The Great Glitterini), and K-pop group Aespa—are back with more epic, fun, and zany adventures, this time with big changes affecting the Rock. The Fraggles, Doozers, and Gorgs are forced to confront their past and celebrate their interdependence as they move through challenges together with hope, silliness, and brand-new songs, all while dancing their cares away down at Fraggle Rock.

The addition of new Fraggle friends and special guest stars like the ones I’ve mentioned, such as Ariana DeBose, Brett Goldstein, and Catherine O’Hara, injects fresh energy into the series, adding new dimensions to the characters and their interactions. The voice talents shine through, breathing life into the colourful and vibrant world of Fraggle Rock.

All through the world of Fraggle Rock and the characters who inhabit the lands, ultimately, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock tells viewers that no two paths are the same, that we are not defined by our mistakes, and that if we all work together, no matter our differences, we can change the world.

Throughout season two of “Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock”, each of the Fraggle Five characters goes through personal growth and development, thanks to the talented puppeteers who bring them to life. Gobo Fraggle, portrayed by John Tartaglia, continues to lead the group but struggles with the balance of leadership and power. Red Fraggle, portrayed by Karen Prell, learns the value of humility and teamwork. Mokey, portrayed by Donna Kimball, must confront her fears of letting go. Wembley, portrayed by Jordan Lockheart, discovers the importance of self-expression and self-identity. Boober, voiced by Dave Goelz and puppeteered by Frank Meschkuleit, must learn to embrace change and recognize the power of words. The fantastic puppeteers truly embody these characters and provide a deep connection that enhances the viewer’s experience.

AppleTV+

In season two, Uncle Traveling Matt’s return is highly anticipated as the Fraggles eagerly await his latest postcards and tales from his adventures in Outer Space. As each episode unfolds, we are entertained by Matt’s quirky observations and interactions with the strange beings he encounters. His use of Fraggle vocabulary adds a fun and playful element to his storytelling, making the audience laugh and appreciate the oddities of the Human world through Uncle Travelling Matt’s eyes. Matt’s return in season two brings a sense of excitement and wonder to the show, as we get to experience the unique perspective of this adventurous explorer and his amusing encounters with the unfamiliar.

We also get to see more from the Doozers who live amongst the Fraggles building and creating their infrastructure. Most Doozers are construction workers, while others are architects and miners. But I love that Cotterpin takes front and centre in this season providing such knowledge and insight that help the Fraggles confront the challenges they face. 

I’m also happy to say that we also get to spend more time with the family of Gorgs who live above Fraggle Rock. Junior Gorg (Voice and face by Dan Garza- body by Ben Durocher) is the son of Pa (voice and face by Frank Meschkuleit-body by Andy Hayward) and Ma Gorg (Voice and Face by Aymee Garcia-body by Ingrid Hansen), the self-acclaimed king, and queen. 

We also get to spend time again with Sprocket and Lili Cooper’s Doc whose messages and problem-solving especially what’s important to them mirror that of the Fraggles, whether that is climate change or food insecurity.

My belief is in the power of community and collective action. The Fraggles’ resilience and determination in the face of challenges struck a chord with me, reminding me that even in the darkest of times, there is always a way forward if we come together and work towards a common goal. Watching season 2 of “Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock” gave me hope and renewed my commitment to making positive change in the world. It reminded me that we are never truly alone, as long as we have each other to lean on and support us.

Jim Henson’s spirit and what he stood for truly shine throughout each of the thirteen episodes. Fraggle Rock wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the amazing puppeteers who have poured their heart and soul into creating this loveable series for the second time that will ultimately create a path for a new generation of dreamers. 

Puppetry especially the style Henson created has always held a special place in my heart. From the earliest memories of watching Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal and The Muppets, The skill and artistry involved in bringing puppets to life truly is awe-inspiring, and I’ve always been amazed by the way puppeteers can imbue these characters with so much personality and emotion. Watching John Tartaglia, Karen Prell, Donna Kimball, Jordan Lockhart, Frank Meschkuleit, and Dave Goelz alongside the many other incredible puppeteers who have my utmost respect bring the Fraggle Five and their friends to life is a truly magical experience, and I believe that the timeless appeal of puppetry is something that will never fade. Special mention must go to Kanja Chen who has made me fall in love with Pogey! 

Speaking of Tartaglia, As a long-time fan I couldn’t be more excited about his recent joining the Jim Henson Company in an official capacity as Creative Supervisor on Fraggle Rock. Tartaglia’s passion for Fraggle Rock and his deep understanding of what makes it special truly make him the perfect person to spearhead its evolution into a new frontier. His connection to the show, and the role it played in his childhood, gives him a unique perspective that will undoubtedly inform his vision for its future. 

AppleTV+

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock” is executive produced by The Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford and John Tartaglia, along with Matt Fusfeld and Alex Cuthbertson. Co-executive producers are Dave Goelz and Karen Prell, and the executive music producer is Harvey Mason Jr. The new season is produced by Chris Plourde and co-produced by Tim O’Brien. The series is produced in association with New Regency with Arnon Milchan and Yariv Milchan executive producing.

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock Season 2 premieres on AppleTV+ on Friday, March 29th.

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Apple TV+

The Changeling | Official Trailer – Apple TV +

When Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared, he left his son a box of books and strange recurring dreams. Now Apollo is a father himself–and as he and his wife, Emma, settle into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd. At first Emma seems to be exhibiting signs of postpartum depression. But before Apollo can do anything to help, Emma commits a horrific act and vanishes. Thus begins Apollo’s quest to find a wife and child who are nothing like he’d imagined. His odyssey takes him to a forgotten island, a graveyard full of secrets, a forest where immigrant legends still live, and finally back to a place he thought he had lost forever.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

September 8, 2023

Streaming:

Apple TV+

Cast:

LaKeith Stanfield, Amirah Vann,

Plot Summary:

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