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From “Avengers: Endgame”, “Joker”, “The Lion King”, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “Captain Marvel” to “Jumanji: The Next Level”, 2019 was Hollywood’s big year for films of Superheroes and big franchises.
It was a year to break records and make new history in Hollywood, with “Avengers: Endgame” ending the decade-long reign of “Avatar” by emerging the world’s highest-grossing film of all time, and “Joker” becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time.
There were some anticipated follow ups including “X-Men: Dark Phoenix”, the revamped version of “Charlie’s Angels”, the musical “Cats” and “Men In Black: International”, which turned out to be duds.
Despite the misses, hits were plenty and made it up for the duds. Robert Downey Jr bid farewell to his Iron Man avatar while breaking hearts and cinematic records, actor Joaquin Phoenix turned the story of a mentally unstable loner and failed comedian Arthur Fleck, who picks violence to find calmness in his life, into a blockbuster.
Before the year ends, IANS takes a look back at the hits of Hollywood.
It was an epic conclusion of an era and a historic achievement for Marvel. Every Marvel superhero from Iron Man and Thor to Captain America and Black Widow, assembled one last time to save the world from the supervillain Thanos with “Avengers: Endgame”, which shattered several box office records. Helmed by the Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, the film marked the end of the third Marvel phase.
It was an emotional affair for the fans as they lost some of their favourite heroes, with Iron Man sacrificing his life for the world, Captain America (essayed by Chris Evans) passing on the shield to Sam Wilson, aka Falcon and Black Widow giving her life so that Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) could secure the Soul Stone. It opened in April.
The film’s star-studded cast also includes Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper and Josh Brolin. In July, “Avengers: Endgame” dethroned “Avatar” to become the world’s highest-grossing film of all time.
Joaquin Phoenix as the new Joker had a good laugh at the box office. From the way he uses violence to fight his inner demons to his chaotic laugh to his illusions to his revelrous dance, Phoenix won plaudits for transforming into the mentally unstable loner Arthur Fleck in the comic book drama. It narrated his journey of becoming supervillain Joker.
The 45-year-old star is being considered as a contender of Best Actor Oscar this year for the Warner Bros. project, which has become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, and has crossed the $ 1 billion mark at the worldwide box office. In fact, the impact is deep as it has sparked conversation around mental health. A follow-up to film is also in the works.
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
Tom Holland came back on the big screen as the iconic webslinger Spider-Man along with his friends to rule the box office. The Jon Watts directorial follows the aftermath of “Avengers: Endgame”, with Iron Man having a strong influence on the narrative despite his death.
From Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man grieving the death of Iron Man and trying to move on by going on a school trip to the world mourning the demise of their enigmatic superhero — Iron Man comes back to life in the film — through his persona, legacy and technological inventions. Along with some imprints from the past, the film brought forward another adventure and enemy for Spider-Man in form of Mysterio (actor Jake Gyllenhaal).
Globally, the film swung past the $1 billion mark, becoming the first instalment in the franchise to do so. It’s also the first “Spider-Man” film to reach the milestone, and Sony’s second film to do so after “Skfall”.
Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” had a smooth take-off in the superhero universe. The project introduced the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) first standalone, female-franchise title character, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, essayed by Larson. It follows Danvers’ journey as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. It was released in March.
Breaking the misconception that female superheroes can’t hold strong on their own at the box office, the film joined its superhero counterparts (“Avengers: Infinity War”, “Black Panther”, “The Avengers”, “Captain America: Civil War”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Iron Man 3”) in the ‘billion dollar’ club in April.
Disney’s live action film “Aladdin” brought back nostalgia, weaving a success story with the thrilling and vibrant adaptation of the loved animated classic movie, which took the world by storm in 1992 and established a legendary status amongst fans, especially with its blockbuster music.
In the film, directed by Guy Ritchie, Will Smith stepped in the shoes of late Robin Williams by taking on the role of larger-than-life Genie. Mena Massoud was seen as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. It was yet another Disney project to enter the $1 billion club this year.
THE LION KING
“The Jungle Book” fame director Jon Favreau took audience for a walk down the memory lane by re-imagining the world of Disney’s 1994 classic to bring alive a live-action film. “The Lion King” follows the adventures of Simba, who is to succeed his father Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands, and narrates a tale of how he rises up to the occasion despite several attempts to bring him down by his villainous uncle Scar.
Big names are attached as voice stars. In the Hollywood version, Donald Glover, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones Chiwetel Ejiofor and Alfre Woodard were leading the cast.
From casting Shah Rukh Khan and his son Aryan to bring to life the characters of King Mufasa and Simba respectively to Sunidhi Chauhan and Armaan Malik lending their musical touch to the story — the desi elements were embedded into the Hindi version, which widened the film’s reach. The film entered the $1 billion club with a loud roar.
“Frozen 2” opened another adventurous chapter from the lives of princesses Anna and Elsa.
Set in fantastical land of Arendelle, “Frozen” is a story of two sisters Elsa and Anna who are on a path of finding acceptance and love, while trying to save their kingdom infused with heart-touching music and emotions. Elsa is struggling to accept her magical icy powers and effervescent Anna is trying to find a bond with her sister. “Frozen 2” brought back their story as they continue on the journey of finding their own self, by tracing their past and piecing it together with their present. The tale was infused with an environmental message.
The Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee project has crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office, setting a record by becoming the sixth Disney release of the year to do so and the eighth title of 2019 over all.
The film opened life story of singing legend Elton John stitched together with music. Described as an “epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of John’s breakthrough years”, the film follows the journey of his transformation from a shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into an international superstar. Wrapped in a package of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, the movie highlights struggles of John, and his life beyond the sparkling glamour.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the film, distributed in India by Viacom18 Studios, stars Taron Egerton as John, Richard Madden as John Reid, John’s manager and one-time lover, and Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, John’s famed songwriting partner.
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
“Jumanji: The Next Level” took back actors Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black back into the jungle for yet another adventurous and chaotic ride. The body-swapping twist added to the fun of the film, and attracted cinema lovers to the theatres.
It is a sequel to “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”, which brought forward the world of Jumanji with a modern twist with a group of high school students getting lost in the jungle after laying their hands on a video game console featuring a version of the game. The film picks up where the 2017 film left off, but with some glitches and updates. The Sony Pictures Entertainment project also stars Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” was his love letter to Los Angeles of 1969, and it was loved by all.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is a fictional story of fading stardom told through aging star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Tarantino has woven real life stories into the plot with the infamous Charles Manson murders, including actress Sharon Tate, as a backdrop to make it more intriguing. Star power of two biggies, the Hollywood factor and ‘Tarantino’ treatment to a historical criminal case left everyone with a dazzling yet disturbing emotion.
Other notable releases included: “It: Chapter 2”, “Doctor Sleep”, “Gemini Man”, “Toy Story 4”, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”, “Knives Out”, “Bumblebee”, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”. (IANS)
Heinz has just rolled out a new product that the condiment company says is the "biggest innovation in sauce since the packet itself." Earlier this month, the world's largest producer of ketchup announced the Packet Roller, a ketchup bottle-shaped gadget that allows users to squeeze the most out of a condiment packet, CNN reported.
"Do not click 'purchase' unless you are prepared to change everything about the way you sauce," the Heinz Packet Roller website says. The roller goes for $5.70. The roller is pocket-sized, can be added to a keychain, and features a packet corner cutter.
Heinz has just rolled out a new product that the condiment company says is the "biggest innovation in sauce since the packet itself | Flickr
This announcement could be part of the fast-tracked, "future-focused culinary and packaging innovations" that Steve Cornell, president of Kraft Heinz's US grocery business unit, hinted at earlier this year amid a shortage of ketchup. A surge in takeout and delivery food orders during the pandemic led to a scarcity of ketchup packets, the report said.
In April, Heinz pledged to increase production of ketchup by 25 per cent to 12 billion packets annually. "Gone are the days of fumbling with ketchup packets, pants ruined by mustard disasters, and minutes taken off your life trying to get to the bottom of that mayo packet. With the patent-pending Heinz Packet Roller, what was once taxing becomes simple -- just snip and roll to squeeze out every drop of your sauce of choice," the website says
Keywords: Heinz, Packet roller, sauce, company, ketchup
Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer, who is recovering from a right-knee surgery he underwent last month, said on Sunday that it was a difficult process to decide whether to undergo a third right-knee surgery after having two last year. But following Wimbledon, where he was "really unhappy" with his performance in reaching the quarterfinals, Federer opted to go through with it.
Federer, who made a late decision to attend this year's Laver Cup in Boston -- a tournament held between teams from Europe and the rest of the world -- said on the sidelines of the event that the recovery and rehabilitation are "going to take me a few more months and then we'll see how things are at some point next year". "The reception I've received, everybody is so upbeat that I'm here. They wish me all the best and they don't even see the crutches. They just want me to be good again and enjoy the weekend," Federer said in an interview for the event with former world No. 1 Jim Courier.
"I've seen some incredible tennis, some great matches and it's been wonderful. I'm really happy I made the trip," the winner of 20 majors was quoted as saying by atptour.com. On why he opted for a third surgery, the tennis ace said, "I was just nowhere near where I wanted to be to play at the top, top level. But I tried my best and at the end... too much is too much. Now I've just got to take it step by step," Federer said.
Federer received thunderous ovations inside Boston's TD Garden, where he has often been sitting in the front row watching the action or behind the scenes visiting with the players. | Wikimedia Commons
"I've got to first walk again properly, run properly and then do the sidesteps and all the agility work and then eventually I've got to be back on the tennis court. But it's going to take me a few more months and then we'll see how things are at some point next year. "I've got to take my time. I don't want to rush into anything at this point. This is also for my life. I want to make sure I can do everything I want to do later on. There's no rush with anything, so I'm actually in a really good place. I think the worst is behind me. I took the time and, I don't know, I'm just really in a good place. I'm really happy."
Federer received thunderous ovations inside Boston's TD Garden, where he has often been sitting in the front row watching the action or behind the scenes visiting with the players. The former world No. 1 has played in the first three editions of the Laver Cup. "I think Boston is a great city. The stadium is wonderful, the crowds have been incredible. Both teams are stacked with absolute quality and top players," Federer said. "That's what the idea was behind it: that everybody could come together, have the most incredible weekend, learn from one another and then hopefully that's going to inspire them, motivate them and get them going for the rest of this year, next year." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Roger Federer, tennish, player, sports, knee, surgery
By Hitesh Rathi
Cleopatra, was regarded as a great beauty, to preserve her skin, she took her daily bath in donkey milk. Besides, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed donkey milk for various diseases including fever, wounds, etc. To add to these benefits, donkey milk has four times the amount of Vitamin C than cow's milk has. So, it's no secret that donkey milk is a powerhouse of nutrients for both the skin and body.
Used for Anti-Ageing and Healing
The milk contains essential fatty acids that work as powerful anti-ageing and healing properties. These fatty acids blur the wrinkles on the skin and help to regenerate damaged skin. Plus, donkey milk also contains anti-bacterial properties which are effective in healing skin irritation and redness.
The milk contains essential fatty acids that work as powerful anti-ageing and healing properties.| Flickr
Antioxidant and Nutrient-Rich
Known as a "natural elixir of youth", donkey milk is packed with antioxidants and nutrients. It contains vitamin E, amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B6, C, E, Omega 3, and 6. These properties together make it a rich ingredient when it comes to skin treatment. Moreover, vitamin D is another important ingredient for human skin, and the primary source to get it is through UV exposure. At the same time, too much of that leaves an adverse effect on the skin. Here is when donkey milk acts as a great substitute as it naturally contains vitamin D. All in all, if this milk is applied frequently, it brings a glowing effect while making the skin look brighter.
Known as a "natural elixir of youth", donkey milk is packed with antioxidants and nutrients.| Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash
Moisturizer and Softener
By now it's a well-known fact that this milk works as a powerful moisturizer for the skin. Besides, if donkey milk is used consistently, it acts as a great cleanser as well as helps in keeping the skin healthy, hydrated, and soft.
If donkey milk is used consistently, it acts as a great cleanser as well as helps in keeping the skin healthy, hydrated, and soft. | Photo by febri sym on Unsplash
Therefore, donkey milk with its healing, nutritional and rejuvenating properties for the skin is rapidly emerging as a key ingredient for skincare. These are also driving several leading players to roll out personal care products such as soap, cream, etc. manufactured using donkey milk. Moreover, the global donkey milk market is expanding rapidly with the market value projected to reach $68,139.0 thousand by 2027, registering a CAGR of 9.4 per cent from 2021 to 2027. And the growing use of donkey milk as an ingredient in cosmetic and personal care products will significantly contribute toward the growth of this market in the years to come. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Skin, donkey milk, skincare, anti-ageing, soft skin, hydrate, antioxidant, healing