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‘The Notebook’ Remains One of the Most Heartbreaking Movies on Dementia

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‘The Notebook’ Remains One of the Most Heartbreaking Movies on Dementia

“It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” While this usually relates to the physical loss of someone, it can just as easily fit for the distressing condition, dementia. The Notebook’s Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) may not have lost Noah (Ryan Gosling), but she lost the memory of him, and maybe that’s not all too different. When the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel hit the big screen in 2004, it wasn’t long before it was being dubbed the next big romance. After all, what says romance better than lovers embracing in the pouring rain? (Minus the drowned rat look, of course). But while it may have gotten lost amongst the saturated marketplace that is the romance genre, its deeply affecting portrayal of dementia still stands out to this day.

Today, there are several on-screen depictions of dementia, the most recent of which is The Father. Filmed in such a way that the viewer experiences much of the same confusion as someone living with this condition, it quickly garnered praise. And Anthony Hopkins even picked up the ultimate accolade — the Oscar — for his portrayal. Yet, while there has been plenty of material that has given us a good insight into the day-to-day reality for sufferers and their families, The Notebook gave us something different. And coming out in 2004, it was one of the first movies that delved into the topic.

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Directed by Nick Cassavetes, The Notebook is a classic boy meets girl tale. Meeting as teenagers, headstrong rich girl, Allie, and poor boy with a heart of gold, Noah, are instantly inseparable. But, as the saying goes, “the course of true love never did run smooth.” Barriers, such as disapproving parents and insecurities, start disrupting their blissful bubble, ultimately leading to separation.


RELATED: Why Is ‘The Notebook’s Ending Different on Streaming?

Well, for seven years that is, before they get their happy ending. But while this storyline may not sound all that unique, there’s another storyline going on also — the one of the aged Allie and Noah. We soon discover that Allie (Gena Rowlands) now has Alzheimer’s and lives in a home. Every day, Noah (James Garner), known as Duke, reads to her from a notebook. This notebook tells the story of their love, but to Allie, it is simply fantasy. Despite being told repeatedly by doctors that Allie just won’t remember, Noah never gives up hope. “Science goes only so far, then comes God,” he argues.

Seeing this deeply affecting condition played out before our eyes is bound to be heartbreaking in any form. Yet, there is something even more moving about seeing it interspersed with joyful youth. The audience gets to see the full life this woman led. Her love, her talents, and her ambition were at once what made up her existence. The juxtaposition, from a fun-loving Allie frolicking in the expansive sea, to a woman trapped by her own mind, is a sobering reminder of the fragility of life. When Noah sits down at the table opposite Allie to read to her, she simply sees a man. She doesn’t see everything he represents – her first love, her first breakup, and her hard-fought love story. Although when she says, “I think I’ve heard this before,” we see a glimmer of memory breaking through. Of course, at the end we find out this is actually her story. “Read this to me & I’ll come back to you,” is inscribed under the title “The Story of Our Lives.” While forgetting her one true love may seem the worst fate, we soon find out it gets worse, as she has children. On a visit to see the mother who no longer knows them, we see the kids playing along, introducing themselves as Duke’s children.


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But one of the most upsetting scenes comes when Allie remembers Noah. “It was us!” she tearfully exclaims over a candlelit dinner. Sweeping Allie up in a strong embrace, he tells her they may only have five minutes together before she forgets again. It is in this scene that we see why Noah hasn’t given up the fight. He is living for these small, yet magical moments when she remembers him. However, things soon turn sour when she snaps at him for calling her darling. It’s not long before staff come rushing in to restrain the agitated Allie, while Noah weeps. So, if a tear hasn’t escaped by now, this moment may just do it.

Although The Notebook received some criticism for its highly romanticized vision of dementia and caregiving, it still carries with it an important message on the power of unconditional love and unwavering hope. It shows a man giving his life to another in the purest of ways and a woman who lived a full life and gave her love freely. And, although she may not remember it, she provided beautiful memories for others in her presence and at the end of the day, perhaps that’s what counts most.


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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