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Why we’re worried about the Razor Crest in The Mandalorian season 2

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If indeed the Razor Crest becomes the Roasted Crisp, then Mando will definitely be in the market for another ship. Fortunately for him, it’s been strongly rumored that season 2 of The Mandalorian will finally see the return of one of the most iconic characters in all of Star Wars lore, and the template for Mando himself — Boba Fett, the infamous bounty hunter who wore Mandalorian armor, and who appeared to become Sarlacc chow during the events of Return of the Jedi.

Now, it should be noted that this has yet to be confirmed. We do know, however, that Deadwood‘s Timothy Olyphant has joined the cast as an unidentified character, and that Olyphant has been confirmed to have shot scenes while wearing Boba Fett’s iconic armor. Confusingly, though, it’s also been reported that Temeura Morrison has joined The Mandalorian‘s season 2 cast. Morrison portrayed Jango Fett — of whom Boba is a clone — in Attack of the Clones.

Lucasfilm and Disney may be holding their cards close to the vest, but many observers have reached the conclusion that Olyphant will be portraying Cobb Vanth, a former slave introduced in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath novel series (which happens to be canon) who scavenged Boba’s armor from that filthy Sarlacc pit. That would mean that Morrison is almost certainly playing Boba himself, who probably wants his armor back — and who will probably be in pursuit of Vanth aboard his own iconic vessel, the Slave I.

If Mando and Boba should cross paths, it’s not likely to be a friendly encounter — and if our hero manages to do what the Sarlacc couldn’t and put an end to Boba for good, well, the Slave I is going to be up for grabs. It happens to have a lot of cool custom features designed specifically for bounty hunters — and what Star Wars fan wouldn’t be thrilled to see Mando at its controls?

The Mandalorian season 2 debuts on Disney+ on October 30, 2020.

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The Charges Against the Louisville Cop Involved in the Killing of Breonna Taylor, Explained

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On Wednesday, September 23rd, over six months after three police officers killed Breonna Taylor while she was asleep in her apartment, a grand jury announced that just one ex-cop involved would face charges in a case that became a focal point of this year’s protests against police brutality and systemic injustice.

A Kentucky grand jury decided to levy just three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment at Brett Hankison, while declining to press charges against the other two officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove. The decision was a far cry from the justice Taylor’s family and protesters across the country had been demanding for months, and following the announcement, a new wave of protests in response to the decision quickly took off in Louisville and other cities.

Wanton endangerment is a class D felony, and at a press conference Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that, if convicted, Hankinson — who was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department in June — could face up to five years in prison for each count. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, and his bail was set at $15,000.

Along with being nowhere near the murder charges for all three officers advocates had been seeking, both lawyers for Taylor’s family and other activists were quick to point out a frustrating specific in the already-slim charges against Hankison. The charges of endangerment were tied to the multiple shots Hankison fired that traveled through the walls of Taylor’s apartment into the apartment directly behind hers. The charging documents only listed the initials of those in the other apartment as being endangered; the initials of Breonna Taylor, the only person who was killed, were not included.

“Jefferson County Grand Jury indicts former ofc. Brett Hankison with 3 counts of Wanton Endangerment in 1st Degree for bullets that went into other apartments but NOTHING for the murder of Breonna Taylor,” Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, tweeted. “This is outrageous and offensive! If Brett Hankison’s behavior was wanton endangerment to people in neighboring apartments, then it should have been wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor’s apartment too. In fact, it should have been ruled wanton murder!”

Ultimately, not a single charge was filed directly in relation to Breonna Taylor’s death.

It is unclear when Hankison’s trial will start, but AG Cameron said his office was “prepared to prove these charges” against him. Cameron also addressed those dissatisfied with the scope of the charges, saying, “Our job is to present the facts to the grand jury, and the grand jury then applies the facts… If we simply act on outrage, there is no justice — mob justice is not justice. Justice sought by violence is not justice. It just becomes revenge.”

Per the Louisville Courier Journal, Cameron also said that the grand jury decided homicide charges were not applicable, and that the majority of the officers’ actions were justified. During the botched raid on Taylor’s home, the police entered her apartment using a no-knock warrant, believing it was allegedly being used as a place for drug suspects to pick up packages. While the police claimed that they announced their arrival, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said otherwise; so when the three cops burst through the door, Walker, a registered gun owner, fired a warning shot at the people he believed were intruders, and one officer was struck in the thigh.

Ultimately, Cameron said, Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in firing off multiple shots because Walker had fired first. Cameron added that there was “nothing conclusive to say” that any bullets Hankison fired hit Taylor.

Aside from Hankison’s eventual trial, the avenues for justice for Taylor have now considerably narrowed. The FBI is conducting its own investigation for possible civil rights violations, and Walker has filed a lawsuit against the LMPD, claiming he was a victim of police misconduct and arguing that he should be given immunity from prosecution. (While it took over 100 days to file even the slimmest of charges in Taylor’s case, Walker was swiftly booked on an attempted murder charge that wasn’t dropped until late May.)

As it stands, the only justice Taylor’s family will likely receive came in the form of a settlement with the City of Louisville over a wrongful death lawsuit. The terms included a $12 million payout and the promise that the city would institute a new set of policing reforms. While that is something, as Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, made abundantly clear at a press conference announcing the settlement, it was never going to be enough.

“We must not lose focus on what the real drive is, and with that being said, it’s being time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”

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New York LGBTQ Film Festival to Open With Francis Lee’s ‘Ammonite,’ Screen Alan Ball’s ‘Uncle Frank’

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NewFest, New York’s LGBTQ film and media organization, has announced its program for the 32nd New York LGBTQ Film Festival. This year’s event will feature virtual events, as well as drive-in screenings at the Queens Drive-In at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The festival will open on Oct. 16 with the New York City premiere of Francis Lee’s “Ammonite,” a romantic drama starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. Winslet will present Lee with the festival’s inaugural world queer visionary award ahead of the screening. On Oct. 27, the event will close with a virtual screening of Faraz Shariat’s German drama, “No Hard Feelings.”

“With the presidential election right around the corner and a Supreme Court seat now open, it is more urgent than ever that queer stories be told and celebrated,” said executive director David Hatkoff. “We have created an 11-day event that will meet and speak to this moment, delivering a thought-provoking, inspiring and joyful look at the LGBTQ community and the unique challenges it faces, while also paying homage to the incredible queer legacy that exists in NYC.”

Other highlights include a drive-in preview of Alan Ball’s Sundance standout “Uncle Frank,” starring Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi and Steve Zahn and a screening of French filmmaker François Ozon’s “Summer of 85.”

This year’s festival will feature film introductions shot in front of historic LGBTQ sites, community organizations and queer-owned businesses throughout the city, as well as panels and conversations on different LGBTQ topics.

The virtual events will be available to ticket holders via NewFest’s on-demand platform. Individual tickets and all-access passes can be purchased now at NewFest’s website.

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“Kajillionaire,” Reviewed: Miranda July’s Astounding Metaphorical Vision of a World Out of Whack

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Imagination cannot be quantified, but Miranda July nonetheless boldly tries to in her new film—starting with its title, “Kajillionaire.” It’s saying too little to credit July with more imagination than most filmmakers. More important, her formidable powers are distinctively cinematic—they aren’t limited to the conceits of screenwriting but run comprehensively through her movies, inflecting image, performance, sound, dialogue, music, the conception of character, and the very vision of the world. Like July’s 2011 film, “The Future,” “Kajillionaire” (which opens in theatres on Friday) is built on a cosmic scale, with personal suffering finding correlates—even effects—in enormous geological events with a metaphysical twist. Like “The Future,” “Kajillionaire” is a simple and linear story in which complexity arises from the radical expressiveness of more or less its every moment, and in which the elements of fantasy look deeply at fundamental realities. Just as “The Future” is one of the most discerning movies about the lives and loves of young idealists, “Kajillionaire” is a ferociously sharp-minded movie about parents and children, about families and their bonds, about family unity and its place in the world.

It’s the tale of the Dyne family, a trio of desperate scammers: Theresa (Debra Winger), Robert (Richard Jenkins), and their daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), who has been raised to be a scammer along with them, and whose very name—which isn’t even heard until late in the film—is the vestige of a scam. Unable to raise the rent on their strange and sordid unofficial apartment (an empty office in a rundown factory), they pursue one more scheme, and, along the way, Theresa and Robert lure an outsider—an optician’s young assistant, named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez)—to work with them and enter the family circle, sparking Old Dolio’s jealous resentment. Old Dolio has been raised with the toughest of love, with no discernible signs of affection and no childlike frippery. (She wears style-free and mismatched sweatshirts and pants; her hair hangs loosely down, untended; and her quasi-robotic voice reflects an upbringing without emotional expression or empathetic connection.) Yet the faux warmth with which Theresa and Robert welcome Melanie arouses Old Dolio’s yearning for some authentic parental warmth—and Melanie, with authentically warm feelings toward Old Dolio, engages in some manipulative behavior of her own, in the interest of her prospective friend.

The movie’s drama is built on an abstract and fantastic framework (Did Old Dolio ever go to school? Did her somewhat distinctive background arouse questions?), but a bare-bones synopsis hardly captures the florid displays and pointillistic touches with which July dramatically expands and exquisitely illuminates the action—the emotional power that arises from her large-scale inspirations along with her finely discerning, poignant sensitivity to the piercing power of offhand remarks and passing glances. It’s in these adornments, at both ends of the perceptual spectrum—the monumental and the flickering—that July turns an implausible fantasy into a work of emotional and intellectual realism.

Also like “The Future,” “Kajillionaire” is a story of the temptations of isolation and solitude in the name of independence. Yet “The Future” is built on the dramatic bedrock of simple, familiar, instantly recognizable situations and characters, a pair of thirtyish artists living on dull day jobs and pining for the time and the mental space to create in unencumbered freedom. By contrast, “Kajillionaire” is a narrative house of cards, with many tiny backstory details, dropped in along the way, that have to fit together just so in order for it to make any sense at all. The elaborate setup makes the movie very hard to describe—because nearly every detail is both a plot point that shouldn’t be spoiled and a giddy surprise that’s wondrous to experience. What’s more, it’s all too easy to dwell on July’s teeming, idiosyncratic contrivances at the expense of the strong ideas that energize them. July’s world-building, her creation of a wholly synthetic setup, is ingenious in and of itself, but its allegorical artifice is not at all divorced from the mind-bending pressures of the modern day. Rather, its surrealism is a way of facing present-day realities minus the political particulars that can hardly be addressed without screaming. “Kajillionaire” is a metaphorical vision of a world out of whack, and it sees the disturbances in a vicious cycle that links economic despair, embittered nostalgia, and wanton cruelty. July’s aesthetic imagination is inseparable from her empathetic curiosity and emotional urgency; it tempers a howl of anguish at a world of pain into a kind of cinematic music that unfolds it in nuanced detail and extends a hand of consolation, even offers a note of hope.

The Dynes’ main scheme is postal theft; Old Dolio somersaults outside the post-office door (as if avoiding detection) and, reaching deep into a post-office box that they rent, steals letters and packages from neighboring boxes. They don’t just pilfer merchandise and checks; they insinuate themselves into the lives of people whose names and addresses they harvest, and hand-deliver ostensibly “lost” merchandise in quest of rewards, or, with clever diversionary tactics, steal from them. But, at the start of the action, the family is desperate: they’re on the verge of eviction from their utterly inadequate housing, an empty office in a company called Bubbles, Inc., which actually makes bubbles. Their room leaks bubbles (they have to be there at specific times, to mop the overflow), but they pay only (!) five hundred dollars per month, which now they don’t have. They’re three months in arrears and cadge a two-week extension for their fifteen-hundred-dollar debt from the company’s owner (Mark Ivanir), whose comedically involuntary soft-heartedness is a natural fit for a suds-maker.

It’s Old Dolio who figures out the scam that will pull them through, with a payout of fifteen hundred and seventy-five dollars (a figure that turns into a sort of incantation, as does its divisibility into an even three-way split). Old Dolio, the virtually nameless child, is also something of an ageless child (though she’s revealed to be twenty-six). She is an equal of sorts to her parents but also their total dependent—even as, to a large extent, her parents depend on her (not least, for her skills as a forger). Theresa and Robert, called upon to justify their unsentimental ways, present them as egalitarian—they treated her like an adult, without the comforting illusions or delusions of childhood gaiety and frivolity. What’s more, they take for granted that their nurture follows her nature—that she utterly lacks the human feelings that others, such as Melanie, display. They’re wrong, of course; Old Dolio’s journey of self-discovery—aided by Melanie’s alert ruses—and self-differentiation from her parents is the movie’s core.

The Dynes are raw survivalists whose lives of crime keep them off the grid, where Robert wants them to be; he fears surveillance cameras, fears being traceable in any way by society at large, thinks that society at large is inherently corrupt and is run on addictions as much material as emotional. (He cites caffeine and sugar.) Father knows best: with contempt for what passes for ordinary life, he uses the very title of the film to belittle the widespread and delusional dreams of wealth which he thinks drive people to lead lives of quiet aspiration. (Spoiler alert: the real kajillions are love.)

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