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First Lady Melania Trump Wore a Pith Helmet During Tour of Africa

First Lady Melania Trump is currently on her first international solo trip, visiting various countries in Africa over the course of a week, and it hasn’t been without a few raised eyebrows.

Once again, FLOTUS’ wardrobe—particularly, one white hat—has come under scrutiny. This morning in Kenya, she visited the Sneldrick Wildlife Elephant Project wearing a white button-down, khaki pants, and tall boots. By the afternoon, to go on a tour of Nairobi National Park, she had added another item to her outfit: a pith helmet.

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PHOTO: SAUL LOEB

Quickly, people across the globe pointed out the jarring image, as pith helmets have long been associated with colonial rule, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia and the Middle East, and are considered a symbol of oppression.

Over the course of her time in the White House, Mrs. Trump’s fashion has gotten a lot of attention, with the public reading into the meaning behind every wardrobe choice, even as FLOTUS declines to offer any. Still, many have followed it closely: The New York Times reports that the hashtag #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo, started by a political science professor in California, is tracking what could be interpreted as insensitive behavior, from outfits to activities, during FLOTUS’ trip.

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PHOTO: SAUL LOEB

The White House has yet to release a statement on the pith helmet from today’s visit to Kenya. The East Wing did release an official summary, though, with FLOTUS saying: “The hospitality that I received made the experience so special. I was awed by the beauty of Nairobi National Park and was very interested to learn more about Kenya’s conservation efforts. The Nest is a prime example of what it means to protect and nurture our next generation—seeing their efforts shape the lives of so many children is something I will never forget. I look forward to visiting again in the future.”

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HeroBlend #25: Venom Reaction

To start, if you haven’t seen the movie yet but still want to hear about Sean’s impressions of Venom, you’re in luck. What we’ve done for you this time is begin HeroBlend with about 15 minutes of pure, unadulterated, spoiler free Venom discussion! We’ll talk, in general, about the plot, performances, action sequences and special effects, so you can get a basic idea of what Sean thought of the movie. After that, never fear, full fucking spoilers are here! That’s right, the next step is for Eric and Adrienne to grill Sean on the specifics of what did and didn’t work in Venom, using concrete examples from what he saw. We’ll go over everything from the spoiler free portion, but more in-depth, and also touch on things like how many symbiotes the movie actually uses and whether or not it’s easy to tell them apart, if the movie works with a PG-13 rating, if the film really did need some Spider-Man and how many dudes you can expect to get eaten.

Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 Review

While I came to the original Life is Strange late in the game, after every episode had already been released, I loved the story the game told. The story of Max and Chloe was a heartbreaking one, no matter how it ended and it showed that the team at DONTNOD Entertainment was on to something. Now, with Life is Strange 2, the universe of Life is Strange has begun to expand and while the first episode is far from revolutionary, it is a promising first step in a new direction with new characters.

You play as Sean Diaz, an American teenager of Mexican descent living in the Seattle, Washington area. You live with your father, a mechanic, and your younger brother Daniel, and your biggest concern is how you’re going to impress the girl you like. Unfortunately, when a tragic series of events unfolds, Sean is forced to grab his younger brother and run away from home. On the run from the police, Sean heads south, with some rough idea of getting to the Mexican town where his father grew up, where he might find potential safety.

Gameplay is, for the most part, identical to the previous Life is Strange and other modern adventure games of its type. You walk around a map, interact with the environment, pick up objects, and engage in dialogue with other characters. Decisions you make have the potential to change the story as you progress through the episode as well as in future episodes. The changes between the original Life is Strange and the sequel are subtle but welcome. Not all dialogue sections force you to stand there and talk, instead, you’re frequently able to move around and continue to interact with your environment while still engaged in conversation. It feels more natural.

However, the biggest change comes from the new perspective that Life is Strange 2 takes. It’s clear from early on that while the player is in control of Sean, this isn’t really his story. In the same way that Telltale’s original season of The Walking Dead was more about Clementine than Lee, Life is Strange 2 looks like it will be about Daniel, not Sean, but told through Sean’s eyes. Daniel is always there watching you and even if a decision you make doesn’t technically involve him, he’s a young child and he’s soaking things up like a sponge. Your job as the player is to lead by example. If the example you set is a bad one, well…

These changes are minor, and by the end of Episode 1, they’ve hardly had a major impact on the game. While that could certainly change in future episodes, Episode 1 feels like any other modern adventure game. It remains to be seen how drastically the choices you make will impact the game, though the fact that the biggest decision of Episode 1 is made for you is a bit frustrating for a series that claims that you can control things.

What’s clear about Life is Strange 2 is that the game clearly has something it wants to say. While the original Life is Strange, as well as its prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm dealt primarily with female relationships, of both the loving and the dangerous kind, Life is Strange 2‘s focus is on giving an audience a glimpse at what it’s like being a minority. And the game is not subtle. One character I met on my travels even commented that he wanted to “build the wall,” in case you were curious how closely the Life is Strange universe mirrors our own. The game’s inciting incident is one so “ripped from the headlines” you half expect the cast of Law & Order to show up.

Life is Strange fans may have noticed I have yet to mention anything about the supernatural powers that were a key part of the gameplay of the first game. In order to avoid spoilers I’m not going to go too deep into them, as most of the detail as to how they will impact the plot isn’t revealed until the end of the episode, but needless to say, powers of that sort do exist in the game, though they’re not identical to the powers of the first game, and how exactly they integrate into the story will be somewhat different.

Overall I’m not waiting with baited breath for the next episode of Life is Strange 2, but I am certainly interested enough to see where things go. Honestly, that’s about where I was at this point in the first Life is Strange. That game also took some time to get going, but once it did, it was an emotional journey worth taking. If that happens here as well, I won’t complain.

This review was completed with an Xbox One version of the game provided by the publisher.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
3.5/5

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To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Venom Ticket

3D SCORE:
21 /35

3D and superhero movies are like chocolate and peanut butter: two normally good tastes that go great together. But then again, Venom is no ordinary comic book movie, because as the trailers have told us, the world has enough superheroes. So there’s a chance that taking a spin in the third dimension with this Spider-Man adjacent universe could be something unlike anything we’ve already seen. Or… it could be the exact metaphor you’ve been quoting from the now infamous trailer.

Which means court is in session, as it’s time to ask and answer one of our favorite questions: to 3D or not to 3D? If you’re interested in seeing how Venom works as a movie, you can find out as you read our official review. But from this point on, it’s 3D time, as we put our glasses on and tell you whether or not Eddie Brock’s adventures are worth your hard earned 3D dollar.

3D Fit Score

5/5

Picture this scenario: your anti-hero has the power to change into a super powered monster that shoots strands of goo towards his enemies. You can see why Venom is a perfect fit, as the spectacle factor of this film and source material lends itself to a potentially fantastic 3D conversion. With a lot of action, both human and symbiote related, ready to pop off of the screen, this couldn’t be a better fit for the 3D format.

Planning & Effort Score

2/5

While Venom is a perfect fit for 3D conversion, the planning and effort showing through Venom’s final 3D product is quite subpar. The biggest handicaps to the film’s execution in the third dimension are both the editing and the darkness of the film itself. Very jumpy visuals and a murky color palette wreck the chances that the film has of being a proper 3D film. At the very least, Venom does have some decent depth drawn in its picture, but it’s not enough to make up for the failings that plague the majority of its runtime.

Before the Window Score

2/5

In a better 3D conversion, Venom’s symbiote powers would be able to come off of the screen and into the audience with gleeful abandon. That’s not the movie we get with this conversion though, as with the exception of a couple shots throughout the film, most of the aspects on the screen stop short of jumping before the window. There are even shots that are primed for a good eye-popping gag, only to be filmed and converted in such a way that we never get that effect. Altogether, it still feels like you’re watching a movie happening behind a screen.

Beyond the Window Score

4/5

Meanwhile, in the beyond the window department, Venom actually manages to do its best work with the depth depicted in its images. Backgrounds are pretty limitless, through various shots involving alleyways, laboratory hallways, and select sequences with objects and persons plummeting to the ground. There’s even a special added effect of depth, which sees Eddie Brock and his symbiote temporarily separating during certain distressing times, which adds another layer of depth between characters. Say what you will about any other factor in this film’s 3D conversion, but at least the depth in Venom is near perfect.

Brightness Score

2/5

Your mileage may vary depending on how well your theater keeps up the health of its projector and auditorium, so keep that in mind when deciding whether Venom is 3D worthy for you. However, even with that caveat in mind, it’s highly doubtful that the extra dimness of the 3D glasses add to the picture will do any favors to the audience. Some sequences do have better lighting that makes it easier to make out who’s in a scene with who, but a good majority of Venom’s shots are at night and in the darkly lit forests and labs, rendering it nearly unwatchable. This is more than the minor level of grey the glasses lend to the picture; this is a problem that goes straight to the source of the picture.

Glasses Off Score

3/5

With a dim brightness level and a lot of shaky cam in play, you’re going to want to take your glasses off at times while watching Venom in 3D. During those times you remove your facial furniture, you’ll notice that there’s a certain degree of blur at play in the picture’s presentation, which usually indicates the level of depth and projection that the 3D picture is supposed to reflect. Interestingly enough, there is are portions of Venom where the blurring in the picture seems minimal, if not completely 2D. Even more confusing is a sequence towards the beginning of the film, where portions of the screen are not blurry at all, with other smaller windows housing the blur of a 3D effect. Yes, there’s some blur, and it’s pretty healthy when it’s there. But altogether, it’s an uneven execution.

Audience Health Score

3/5

As previously mentioned, the dimness of the picture and the choppy editing of major action sequences in Venom seriously handicap the ability to watch the film effectively. Through some small miracle, the film is actually still watchable, and for the most part it’s not a straining affair. Once the action kicks in though, it’s a different story, as big set pieces are so visually jumbled that it makes the dimness of the picture even more of a problem. Whole sections of Venom are pretty difficult to watch, but the movie on a whole can still be enjoyed – provided the viewer is prepared.

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Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends

“WHAT IS REAL is what lasts,” said Oprah Winfrey in her toast to Ralph Lauren at his recent anniversary event in Central Park. After 50 years as a pivotal fashion figure with an unwavering American aesthetic, Mr. Lauren has outlasted his contemporaries like Donna Karan and Calvin Klein, both of whom no longer design for their namesake companies. At the close of a season marked by change, Mr. Lauren’s consistency stands out in a mutable fashion landscape. While some brands are still defined by their core DNA, others have been reinvented by a revolving-door procession of creative directors.

At the label Mr. Klein launched in 1968, originally known for its beige-y minimalism, Belgian designer Raf Simons proposed inventive, postmodern clothing for spring with references from prom to “Jaws.” It was heart-poundingly fun, and relevant, but bore little resemblance to Mr. Klein’s blueprint. At Celine, which former creative head Phoebe Philo turned into a brand beloved by women for its professional yet comforting shapes, Hedi Slimane divisively pulled the accent off the first “e” and sent sharp, very-Slimane tailoring and abbreviated dresses down the runway. The renegade designer Demna Gvasalia continued his sleight of hand at Balenciaga, combining elements from the brand’s past (like architectural waistlines) with technical fabrics. More faithfully, Pierpaolo Piccioli drew gasps for his gowns at Valentino, many in the brand’s signature scarlet color. And as one of the few designers who rivals Ralph Lauren’s longevity, Miuccia Prada unveiled delightfully (and characteristically) eccentric efforts at both Prada and Miu Miu. A variation on Ms. Winfrey’s sentiment seems likely to be chewed over in seasons to come: Do women want consistency or evolution?

Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends
Seeing Spots

That Betty Boop-ish vintage standby, polka dots, was given new life. From left: a sweet minidress at Carolina Herrera (care of a new designer, Wes Gordon); a sheer frock (slip required) at Prada; volume play at Celine; va-va-voom mega-dots at Dolce & Gabbana; a baby-doll at Burberry (newly designed by Riccardo Tisci).

Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends
To Dye For

This season proved that tie-dye, against all odds, can be refined. From left: An acid-washed interpretation on the cool girls at Proenza Schouler; a ladylike, deconstructed, shibori-style skirt at Prada; hints of a Bali summer gone absolutely right by Paco Rabanne; a silken slip dress at Christian Dior ; a showstopping, full-tie-dye jumpsuit (on Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter) at Stella McCartney.

Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends
Shore Things

Retro beach vibes harked back to more glamorous summer travel. From left: patterned splendor at Etro; that Goa lifestyle at Chloé, a fringed ensemble at Valentino for SPF-50 types; the ultimate embroidered caftan at Tory Burch; a yé-yé-girl shift at Chanel, where the models walked barefoot on a ‘beach.’

Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends
Noir Hour

Inky, gathered, voluminous dresses were a novel idea for evening. From left: Thick navy knots show Rei Kawakubo’s mastery at Comme des Garçons; an off-the-shoulder gown at Valentino; The Row’s sheer layers of chicness; Simone Rocha’s silk taffeta garment, topped off with a lacy veil.

Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends
Practical Magic

Refined utility looks will make phone storage a cinch in spring. From left: Sheer pocket play at Fendi; Givenchy’s luxe cargo pants are wish list-worthy; Hermès nailed the pocket-y jumpsuit; at Loewe the pockets were almost as big as the garment; Louis Vuitton’s futuristic woman uses old-school utility tricks.

Next Year’s Most Wearable Women’s Trends
Entrenched

From left: Croc coat at Burberry; a pearly gradient at Gabriela Hearst; ruffled sleeves at Max Mara; stripped-down stripes at Tod’s.

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Appeared in the October 6, 2018, print edition as ‘SPRING THEORIES ROLL Things We (Mostly) Loved.’

Eminem Infects An Entire City With A Shady Symbiote In ‘Venom’ Video

Just in time for the release of Marvel’s blockbuster Venom, Eminem has released the official video for his track of the same name. Unsurprisingly, it’s a dark and murky affair that has plenty of body-hopping symbiote action but, sadly, no Tom Hardy.

The “Venom” visual is a continuation of Em’s video for “Fall,” which ends with him smashing a CD copy of his (oft-panned) 2017 album, Revival. That disc houses an alien symbiote similar to Venom’s, and it causes a bunch of everyday people — and even a dog! — to spaz out and rap Em’s bars while haphazardly infecting one another. After working its way through the city, the virus eventually gets back to the Detroit MC, who in turn morphs into Venom itself in the vid’s final moments.

Along with appearing on the film’s soundtrack, “Venom” is the closing track on Eminem’s recent surprise-dropped album Kamikaze, which hit No. 1, becoming the rapper’s ninth chart-topping solo project. Venom hits theaters today (October 5).

The New Mortal Engines Trailer Is Gorgeous And Epic

A lot of the biggest films this holiday season are reboots, sequels or familiar big-name properties. Standing out from the pack of blockbusters in that regard is Mortal Engines. The film is based on the novel of the same name by author Philip Reeve and it is coming from the Lord of the Rings writing trio of Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson. Mortal Engines is a YA film with a steampunk aesthetic that looks positively nothing like the rest of the holiday slate. The latest trailer for the film has been released and it is the best one yet, teasing a positively gorgeous film with an epic feel. Take a look at the new Mortal Engines trailer below.

Despite how intrigued I was by the concept and wanted to love the first couple trailers for Mortal Engines, I was underwhelmed. This trailer though I feel does a much better job at selling this movie. It gives us a good look at different parts of the film that are more interesting than we’ve previously seen, and the special effects here also look much better. This film is a visual feast. Mortal Engines is the directorial debut of Christian Rivers, who worked on the visual effects for the Middle Earth films and won an Oscar for his VFX work on King Kong, and it shows in this trailer for Mortal Engines. Aesthetically, this movie is positively gorgeous. Everything from the griminess of the cities to the eye-popping color of the skies and landscapes keeps you transfixed on the trailer and demands that you see this movie on the biggest screen with the best projection possible.

In addition to the captivating visuals, this Mortal Engines trailer further expands on the history of the protagonist and the story of the film that centers on a megalomaniac, a rebellion and a mysterious girl. Comparisons to Waterworld have been made, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Clearly Hera Hilmar’s Hester Shaw is important, but this trailer still doesn’t tell us why she’s special. But maybe we’re not supposed to know that yet and that’s a journey we go on with the character.

The first teaser made it seem like this was standard YA fare in a different wrapper, but this latest trailer, with its steampunk aesthetic and zany characters, gives it a different feel. I’m getting strong vibes of other quirky sci-fi/fantasy flicks like Stardust, The Fifth Element and Snowpiercer (although the director has made other comparisons). Hopefully Mortal Engines leans into that weirdness.

This film also feels positively epic and grand in scale. Just watching the trailer you feel like you are going on a huge journey with these characters. Mortal Engines is an adaptation of the first novel in a four part series, but that novel can apparently stand on its own. This movie looks like it will introduce a whole world worth exploring and maybe it will get a chance to do that with sequels if Mortal Engines can stand out in a crowded holiday season.

Mortal Engines rolls into theaters on December 14. Check out our release guide for all of the biggest movies you can look forward to this holiday season.

New Hellboy Image Shows Off The Main Cast And Plenty Of Monsters

Maybe heaven can wait, but hell certainly can’t with the triumphant return of Hellboy coming soon. It’s been ten years since Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army starring Ron Perlman was released, and fans have been impatiently awaiting another film. When it was announced that a new Hellboy movie was being made, it promised a reboot instead of a conclusion to the previous franchise. October started fans off strong with a new blazing new poster of Stranger Things‘ David Harbour transformed into the badass hero. With New York Comic-Con is underway, the cast of the upcoming Hellboy are set to make their debut at a Saturday panel. In honor of this, a new image featuring more of the cast has been released. Take a look:

What a hellishly magnificent new poster! While David Harbour’s incredible straight-from-the-comics look is still front and center, this teaser shared on Twitter offers more to unpack for fans. On the left are creepy and gruesome devilish creatures to be unleashed in London. While Guillermo del Toro’s films imagined the beasts from the comic as more fanciful, director Neil Marshall will bring more horror elements to the R-rated reboot. In the center, (below Hellboy) is the first look at Milla Jovovich as Nimue the Blood Queen. The Resident Evil actress will be the main antagonist of Hellboy who threatens the fate of the world. To the right is the rest of the main cast including Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio, American Honey’s Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan and Deadwood‘s Ian McShane as Professor Trevor Bruttenholm.

The new poster gives us a broader sense of the movie in anticipation for the Comic-Con panel tomorrow, and if predictions are true a trailer could also drop tomorrow. The highly artistic feel of the poster reflects Hellboy comic book creator Mike Mignola’s involvement in the script writing alongside Andrew Cosby. Mignola previously said that his visits to the Hellboy set felt like he was seeing something ripped straight out of the comics for the first time during production. This is certainly exciting for fans of the source material to bring the complicated hero to life in a new way.

Hellboy was originally set to be released in January, but last week it was announced that the release will be pushed back until April 11, 2019. With buzz just getting started for the new Hellboy, the movie will likely benefit from this date change. The comic book adaptation will now head to theaters just one week after Shazam!. With more time to market the film and generate more excitement for the film with teasers such as this, Hellboy could be a huge box office success.

DC Universe’s Titans Will Deliver A New Deathstroke

The anticipation surrounding DC Universe’s Titans is growing, and a fresh bit of info from the series’ writer and producer has the power to ramp up the anticipation for it even more. While at New York Comic Con, Geoff Johns teased that the show would be foolish not to tackle The Judas Contract, which would mean having to introduce the Teen Titans’ archnemesis: Deathstroke. There is a twist to this Deathstroke news though. Here is what Johns had to say:

That’s right! Geoff Johns confirmed that Titans would eventually introduce the character of Deathstroke with a hint of change in the air. The news comes from the DC Universe panel at New York Comic Con (via ComicBook) and the keyword that Johns says is “new.” What exactly he meant by a new Deathstroke is unclear. It is a crucial bit of info that is destined to send speculation soaring. For Titans to want a new take on the character makes sense given the competition it has received from other adaptations.

In the Arrow-verse, Deathstroke has been played by Spartacus‘ Manu Bennett. In the movie universe, True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello is the latest to play the Teen Titans’ greatest enemy. Whether the “new” Geoff Johns is referring to has to do with casting or the backstory of the character being different is unknown. With so many iterations, it will be intriguing to find out how Titans plans to set their Deathstroke apart from the ones that have come before.

As for Geoff Johns’ assertion that fans will “eventually” see Deathstroke on Titans — that leaves the door open for when exactly fans will catch a glimpse of the villain. The new DC Universe series will have time though, as it has already been renewed for a second season before its first one has even premiered. While that is good news for the show’s future, it theoretically pushes out the potential debut date of the new Deathstroke, unless he makes an appearance in Season 1.

As of now, fans will have to settle for debating what Geoff Johns’ “new” could mean, as it hints at any number of things. Given how alive the character has been on-screen, Titans will have its work cut out in finding a direction that is fresh. The other exciting part of this Titans news is that Geoff Johns is simultaneously confirming interest in adapting The Judas Contract while teasing the introduction of Deathstroke, which makes sense given the two go hand-in-hand in comic book canon.

Whether Titans introduces Deathstroke in an adaptation of that storyline or beforehand to establish the character will be fun to learn. In the meantime, you can start watching Titans when it premieres Friday, October 12 on DC Universe. From that point forward, new episodes of the 12-part season will drop weekly on the new streaming platform. With some time still left to go before Titans is released, there are a lot of other fall offerings to entertain you while you wait.

Remaining Telltale Games Staff Continues To Shrink

This is just the latest in the complicated and disheartening tale of the closure of Telltale Games. Reports following the initial firings stated that new employees were brought on the week prior; seeming to signify that it caught the studio itself by surprise. Further reports were that Telltale expected funding from a source that, at the last minute, decided to withdraw its support. That, in turn, led to the sudden closure of the studio. On top of that, some employees have opted to sue their former employer, as a closure of this magnitude, according to their claim, requires around a 60-day notice to be given to those affected. As for Telltale, they’ve since disabled sales of the final season of The Walking Dead and have begun looking for a way to get the story completed, potentially by a different studio.