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Netflix’s star-studded new hit, “Don’t Look Up,” was directed and created by Denverites

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Netflix’s star-studded new hit, “Don’t Look Up,” was directed and created by Denverites

Netflix’s new sci-fi comedy, “Don’t Look Up,” was its most-watched release over Christmas weekend and an instant global hit, the streaming service said Monday.

Released Dec. 24, the grab-bag of dark jokes and social appeals stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, dressed-down but still sparkling, as hapless astronomers, with Meryl Streep as a venal U.S. president; Cate Blanchett as a glassy-eyed TV host; Timothée Chalamet as a streetwise skateboarder; and (literally) dozens more marquee names.

David Sirota, left, and Adam McKay pose for a selfie at the premiere of “Don’t Look Up.” Director McKay and journalist Sirota co-created the story. (Provided by David Sirota)

Coincidentally, it’s directed by Denver native Adam McKay (“The Big Short,” “Anchorman,” “Vice”) and co-created with Denver-based journalist and podcaster David Sirota. Their story follows the scientists’ futile quest to warn of an approaching comet that will wipe out all life on Earth. Despite reaching the highest tiers of U.S. politics, media and technology, Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) and Ph.D. candidate Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence) are met with shocking indifference and mockery.

Whether people view “Don’t Look Up” as a metaphor for climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic (during which the movie was shot), it directly portrays the fear and ideology over facts that are hastening our preventable doom, its creators told The Denver Post this week. And some of the vicious responses to it only prove its point.

McKay, a former “Saturday Night Live” head writer and an executive producer of HBO’s hit “Succession,” and Sirota, an investigative journalist and senior advisor on Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, are no doubt polarizing. While some praised “Don’t Look Up’s” cultural relevance, acting and writing, others have eviscerated it as a preaching-to-the-choir indulgence that’s as artless as it is smug.

We caught up with McKay and Sirota this week to ask about the story’s origins and why the critical response matters. This Q&A has been condensed from separate interviews and edited for length and clarity.

Q: I’m curious how the story came together. Who wrote which parts?

McKay: About three years ago I was looking to address the climate crisis in a movie. I had written up four or five ideas but was still looking when David Sirota and I were commiserating about the world’s woeful response to what is literally the greatest threat to life in human history.

David, who is not only a great journalist but is quite funny, said, “It’s like a comet is about to hit Earth and no one cares.” And immediately I said, “That’s it. That’s the idea.” I realized we need to be able to laugh when dealing with something as overwhelming as the collapse of the livable atmosphere.

Sirota: We’ve spit-balled a lot of ideas over the years and you never know what’s going to (work). But we went back and forth on (this story) and Adam had all these ridiculous ideas for scenes. So when he said he was going to write it up, I thought, “Maybe I’ll never hear about it again.” And it must have been about six weeks after that when I got a script.

He moved it forward and started naming people he wanted to cast and I said, “Well, that sounds cool but … .” And within a span of about two weeks, he was like, “We got DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence and even Meryl Streep’s interested!” I was like, “Is this happening? Is this really happening?”

Netflixs star studded new hit Dont Look Up was directed and
The sprawling cast of “Don’t Look Up” includes, from left, Cate Blanchett as Brie Evantee, Tyler Perry as Jack Bremmer,  Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as Kate Dibiasky. (Niko Tavernise, Netflix)

Q: Did you have — or did you try to suppress — expectations about the media and critical reception of this film, given that it indicts them?

McKay: I was very surprised by the media’s response. They were so angry and dismissive. Our test audiences had never had that reaction. But then I realized “Ohhhh, this is a sore subject for them.”

Big money has put a lot of talented people in media in a tricky spot. They aren’t “encouraged” to talk directly about certain subjects. Especially when those subjects are uncomfortable for advertisers or ownership. And the way they frame that silence is by calling it “subtlety” or “being smart.” It’s fascinating but also quite depressing.

Sirota: I really have never seen anything like this. Everybody has a right to their opinion on whether it’s a good or bad movie, but I believe the tenor of some of the criticism reflects a judgment or an analysis of the message of the movie. If it didn’t have that message, that tenor would be much less frantic and furious. It’s a hero story of these scientists trying to muddle through institutions and systems that make it impossible to do the right thing.

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The Baby Episode 5 On HBO: May 22 Release, Time And Plot Speculations

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The Baby Episode 5 On HBO: May 22 Release, Time And Plot Speculations

We all have some conceptions about babies. They just can’t be ignored! Good or bad, most of the opinions assert that babies are indeed cute and utterly huggable. Corruption is at least a hundred miles away from their soul, but wait, hold on! Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. The Baby has come to trample upon our dreams and comically do it.

The new horror-comedy series on HBO has released 4 episodes, and they are jam-packed with stuff that surely one would get hooked up for another 4 episodes. It is no Baby’s Day Out, kid! The Baby is here to give people nightmares, albeit those that will make you giggle.

The Plot

One day a baby fell from the sky and fell upon the arms of a woman and forcefully bestowed her the honor of motherhood. The Baby, however, is no ordinary baby. Along with superpowers, the Baby has another secret, and he is a demon (or something very similar, the mystery is yet to be revealed).

The show is tinged with dark humor. The lead character Natasha is leaden with the horrors of motherhood. Her childless 38-years are suddenly turned upside down; from a leaf floating over the meadows, she becomes a twig rocking in the storm.

1653074948 388 The Baby Episode 5 On HBO May 22 Release Time

You Can Run! You Can Hide! But You Can’t Escape Baby’s Love!

 In the very first episode, the mysterious Baby enters Natasha’s life. And no matter what she does, she can’t get away from the Baby. It gives Case 39vibes; however, the spirit/baby here doesn’t seem that harmful to the mother itself, or we will have to see ahead to confirm.

The horror elements in the series seem genuine and not the usual jump-scare stuff that cheap budget movies and series are usually plagued with. It, on the contrary, has a character of its own that wants to assert something more than a simple watch and forget the experience.

What Will Be In Episode 5?

The fifth episode will release on May 22nd. The premise presented by the HBO says, “As Natasha and Mrs. Eaves remain trapped in Barbara’s summer solstice ritual, the baby’s complicated origin, connection to Mrs. Eaves, and trauma-filled path to Natasha are revealed.”

In the preview, we see a flashback of two women in love, going by the seaside, affixed in embraces on the bed. And then some violent scenes come one after the other speedily, creating the sombreness around Baby’s past.

Horror Comedy Is An Evergreen Combo.

This genre is complex, and one has to deal with it sensitively, or it can soon turn into a grotesque or derogatory piece. This show, however, maturely explores the themes that it has introduced so far. There is a subtlety that binds the episodes together. But what is not subtle is the impatience that we have because of the lack of episodes that were not dropped on us like nukes so that we could get lost in our bingeing oblivion. Sigh!

The post The Baby Episode 5 On HBO: May 22 Release, Time And Plot Speculations appeared first on Gizmo Story.

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Mets’ series opener against Rockies in Denver postponed due to snow

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Mets’ series opener against Rockies in Denver postponed due to snow

DENVER — In a flashback to last year’s trip to the Mile High City, the Mets were again hit with snowy and frosty weather that shelved their series opener against the Rockies.

The Mets’ game against the Rockies, scheduled for 8:40 p.m. ET at Coors Field, was postponed due to heavy snow in the forecast, the home team announced on Friday afternoon. The matchup will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Saturday, with Game 1 starting at 3:10 p.m. ET and Game 2 beginning at 8:40 p.m. ET. It will be the Mets’ fifth doubleheader of the season.

The city of Denver issued a winter storm and freeze warning beginning Friday evening that would last all the way until Saturday morning/afternoon. Total snow accumulations were forecasted to be between 3 and 10 inches, with temperatures dropping to 26 degrees.

The Mets were snowed out in Colorado last year (April 16, 2021). Prior to that, the last time the Mets were snowed out was on April 2, 2018 vs. Philadelphia at Citi Field. Before last season, the Mets were last snowed out in Colorado on April 15 and April 17, 2013.

Of course, when the Mets begin a three-game road trip to sunny California against the Giants on Monday, the weather in Denver is expected to return to being warm and sunny.

Carlos Carrasco (3-1, 3.73 ERA) was scheduled to face off against right-hander German Marquez (1-3, 6.16 ERA) in the series opener. The Mets did not announce their Saturday pitching plans as of Friday afternoon, but it is expected that Carrasco will take the mound on an extra day of rest for at least one of the two games.

The Mets (26-14) are in need of a spot starter on Saturday for whichever game Carrasco does not pitch. Trevor Williams (2-4, 4.20 ERA) just pitched Game 1 of the team’s doubleheader against the Cardinals on Tuesday, so he would be pitching on just three days’ rest if the Mets decided to go that route. Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.52 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Sunday.

But it gets trickier after that, with injuries deconstructing the top of the Mets rotation.

Max Scherzer is sidelined until at least the end of June with a moderate to high oblique strain, so the Mets will need a regular replacement for the ace beginning Monday at San Francisco, which was his scheduled start day. Tylor Megill, who has been dealing with right biceps tendinitis since at least last Sunday, is expected to begin playing catch sometime this weekend. But Megill doesn’t appear close to rejoining the rotation.

And, of course, Jacob deGrom is still on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction on his scapula. DeGrom recently began increasing his distance and velocity while throwing on flat ground, but he has yet to throw off the mound.

David Peterson, who has not pitched since May 13 for Triple-A Syracuse, is the next best depth option to replace Scherzer. But, as of Friday afternoon, the Mets were still going through their options for Saturday’s spot starter and Monday’s outing. It’s possible, a team official said, that Peterson could jump into the rotation as early as Saturday and the Mets will push Williams back to Monday.

These next several weeks will feature a jigsaw puzzle of sorts for Buck Showalter’s Mets as they maneuver how best to proceed with their thin rotation.

Williams and Peterson, both of whom can be considered the team’s long-relief options, potentially sliding into the rotation on a regular basis will rely on their results. Williams has been solid for the Mets, hurling 7.2 scoreless innings combined in his last two outings (one long relief outing and one start against the Nationals and Cardinals, respectively). Peterson has a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings and four games (three starts) for the Amazin’s early this season, when he filled in for the injured Taijuan Walker.

Most alarmingly, the Mets bullpen is in danger of being overworked while Scherzer and Megill are on the IL as both of those right-handers were able to go deep into games. Without them, the relief corps may be called upon earlier, thus taxing a unit that is already one of the team’s weakest links.

The Mets are 6-2 in doubleheaders this year with two sweeps and two splits.

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Russia claims to have taken full control of Mariupol

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Russia claims to have taken full control of Mariupol

By ELENA BECATOROS, OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI and CIARAN McQUILLAN

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s defense chief says the country’s forces have taken full control of the steel plant in Mariupol that was the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in the city.

That would mark the end of a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of Mariupol to ruins and left over 20,000 people feared dead.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol has been “completely liberated” from Ukrainian fighters.

There is no immediate confirmation from Ukraine.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — The West moved to pour billions more in aid into Ukraine on Friday, as Russia shifted troops freed up by the imminent fall of the pulverized city of Mariupol and fighting raged in the country’s industrial heartland in the east.

Russian forces shelled a vital highway and kept up attacks on a key city in the Luhansk region, hitting a school among other sites, Ukrainian authorities said. Luhansk is part of the Donbas, the mostly Russian-speaking eastern expanse of coal mines and factories that Russian President Vladimir Putin is bent on capturing.

“The liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic is nearing completion,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared, referring to the breakaway state proclaimed by pro-Moscow separatists in 2014 and recognized by the Kremlin.

In Mariupol, the strategic port in the southern corner of the Donbas, Russian troops worn down by their nearly three-month siege of the city may not get the time they need to regroup, Britain’s Defense Ministry said.

With the battle winding down for the Azovstal steel plant that represented the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, Russia is continuing to pull back forces there, and their commanders are under pressure to quickly send them elsewhere in the Donbas, according to the British.

“That means that Russia will probably redistribute their forces swiftly without adequate preparation, which risks further force attrition,” the ministry said.

An undisclosed number of Ukrainian soldiers remained at the Azovstal steel plant. Russia said more than 1,900 had surrendered in recent days. Also remaining at the plant were the bodies of soldiers who defended it while tying down Russian forces.

Denis Prokopenko, commander of the Azov Regiment, which led the defense of the plant, called them “fallen heroes.”

“I hope soon relatives and the whole of Ukraine will be able to bury the fighters with honors,” he said.

Wives of fighters who held out at the steelworks spoke emotionally about what may have been their last contact with their husbands.

Olga Boiko, wife of a marine, wiped away tears as she said that her husband had written her on Thursday: “Hello. We surrender, I don’t know when I will get in touch with you and if I will at all. Love you. Kiss you. Bye.”

Natalia Zaritskaya, wife of another fighter at Azovstal, said that based on the messages she had seen over the past two days, “Now they are on the path from hell to hell. Every inch of this path is deadly.”

She said that two days ago, her husband reported that of the 32 soldiers with whom he had served, only eight survived, most of them seriously wounded.

In other developments:

— The Group of Seven major economies and global financial institutions agreed to provide more money to bolster Ukraine’s finances, bringing the total to $19.8 billion. In the U.S., President Joe Biden was expected to sign a $40 billion package of military and economic aid to Ukraine and its allies.

— Russia will cut off natural gas to Finland on Saturday, the Finnish state energy company said, just days after Finland applied to join NATO. Finland had refused Moscow’s demand that it pay for gas in rubles. The cutoff is not expected to have any major immediate effect. Natural gas accounted for just 6% of Finland’s total energy consumption in 2020, Finnish broadcaster YLE said.

— A captured Russian soldier accused of killing a civilian awaited his fate in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial. Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, could get life in prison.

Meanwhile, fighting intensified deeper in the Donbas.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, said Russian forces were especially focused on the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway, the only road for evacuating people and delivering humanitarian supplies.

“The road is extremely important because it’s the only connection to other regions of the country,” he said via email. “The Russians are trying to cut us off from it, to encircle the Luhansk region.”

Russian forces shelled the road constantly from multiple directions, but Ukrainian armored transports were still able to get through, Haidai added.

Moscow’s troops have been trying for weeks to seize Severodonetsk, a key city in the Donbas. One of Friday’s attacks was on a school in Severodonetsk that was sheltering more than 200 people, many of them children, Haidai said. Three adults were killed, he said on Telegram.

Twelve people were killed in Severodonetsk, Haidai said. It was not immediately clear if that included the three at the school. In addition, more than 60 houses were destroyed across the region, he added.

Russian forces now control 90 percent of Luhansk, but the attack on Severodonetsk failed — “the Russians suffered personnel losses and retreated,” Haidai said. His account could not be independently verified.

Another city, Rubizhne, has been “completely destroyed,” Haidai said. “Its fate can be compared to that of Mariupol.”

Pro-Moscow separatists have fought Ukrainian forces in the Donbas for the past eight years and held a considerable swath of it before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. But the effort by Putin’s troops to take more territory there has been slow-going.

In a sign of Russia’s frustration with the war, some senior commanders have been fired in recent weeks, Britain’s Defense Ministry said.

Russian forces elsewhere in Ukraine continued to blast away at targets, some of them civilian.

In the village of Velyka Kostromka, west of the Donbas, explosions in the middle of the night Thursday shook Iryna Martsyniuk’s house to its foundations. Roof timbers splintered and windows shattered, sending shards of glass into a wall near three sleeping children.

“There were flashes everywhere,” she said. “There was smoke everywhere.” She grabbed the children and ran toward the home’s entrance, “but the corridor wasn’t there anymore. Instead, we saw the starry night.”

They ran down the road to a neighbor’s home, where they hid in the basement.

Around 20 other houses were damaged and two people were lightly wounded, said Olha Shaytanova, head of the village.

___

McQuillan reported from Lviv. Stashevskyi reported from Kyiv. Associated Press journalists Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv, Jamey Keaten in Geneva and other AP staffers around the world contributed.

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