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Lines Never Felt So Good: Crowds Herald New York’s Reopening



The line outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art trailed out the door, down the rain-swept stairs, around the trees and past the fountain and the hot-dog stands on Fifth Avenue as visitors waited under dripping umbrellas. They were among more than 10,000 people who had the same idea for how to fill a rainy Sunday in New York City, turning the holiday weekend into the museum’s busiest since the start of the pandemic.

In Greenwich Village, jazz fans lined up to get into Smalls, a dimly lit basement club with a low-ceiling where they could bop their heads and tap their feet to live music. All five limited capacity screenings of Fellini’s “8 ½” sold out on Monday at the Film Forum on Houston Street, and when the Comedy Cellar sold out five shows, it added a sixth.

If the rainy, chilly Memorial Day weekend meant that barbecues and beach trips were called off, it revived another kind of New York rainy-day tradition: lining up to see art, hear music and catch films, in a way that felt liberating after more than a year of the pandemic. The rising number of vaccinated New Yorkers, coupled with the recent easing of many coronavirus restrictions, made for a dramatic and happy change from Memorial Day last year, when museums sat eerily empty, nightclubs were silenced, and faded, outdated posters slowly yellowed outside shuttered movie theaters.

For Piper Barron, 18, the return to the movies felt surprisingly normal.

“It kind of just felt like the pandemic hadn’t happened,” she said.

Standing under the marquee of Cobble Hill Cinemas in Brooklyn, Barron and three friends who had recently graduated high school waited to see “Cruella,” the new Emma Stone movie about the “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” villain. Before the pandemic, the group was in the habit of seeing movies together on Fridays after school, but that tradition was put on hold during the pandemic.

“We haven’t done that in a long time — but here we are,” said Patrick Martin, 18. “It’s a milestone.”

In recent weeks, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has relaxed many of the coronavirus restrictions that limit culture and entertainment, and Memorial Day weekend was one of the first opportunities for venues to try out the new rules, with a growing numbers of tourists and vaccinated New Yorkers looking forward to a summer of activity.

At the Met, Saturday and Sunday each drew more than 10,000 visitors, a record for the museum during the pandemic, and roughly double what it was logging two months ago, before the state loosened capacity restrictions, said Kenneth Weine, a spokesman for the museum.

Despite the near-constant rain, museum visitors and moviegoers agreed: this was much better than whatever they did over Memorial Day weekend last year. (“Nothing, just stayed home,” recalled Sharon Lebowitz, who visited the Met on Sunday with her brother.)

Of course, the pandemic is not yet over: an average of 383 cases per day are being reported in New York City, but that is a 47 percent decrease from the average two weeks ago. And there were physical reminders of the pandemic everywhere. At Cobble Hill Cinemas, there were temperature checks and a guarantee that each occupied seat would have four empty ones surrounding it. At the Met, a security staffer asked visitors waiting in line for the popular Alice Neel exhibition to stand further apart from each other.

And, everywhere, there were masks, even though Mr. Cuomo lifted the indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals in most circumstances earlier this month. Most museums in the city are maintaining mask rules for now, recognizing that not all visitors would be comfortable being surrounded by a sea of naked faces.

“It’s certainly not all back to normal,” said Steven Ostrow, 70, who was examining Cypriot antiquities at the Met.

“If it was, we wouldn’t be looking like Bazooka Joe,” he added, referring to a bubble gum-wrapper comic strip, which has a character whose turtleneck is pulled high up over his mouth, mask-like.

And at the Museum of Modern Art, the gift shop was offering masks on sale for up to 35 percent off, perhaps a sign that the precaution could be on the way out.

Although the state lifted explicit capacity limits for museums and other cultural venues, it still requires six feet of separation indoors, which means that many museums have set their own limits on how many tickets can be sold each hour. And some have retained the capacity limits of previous months, including the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which has capped visitors at 50 percent, and El Museo del Barrio, which remains at 33 percent.

Venues that only allow vaccinated guests can dispense with social distancing requirements, which is proving a tempting option for venue owners eager to pack their small spaces. And there seems to be no shortage of vaccinated audience members: On Monday, the Comedy Cellar, which is selling tickets to vaccinated people and those with a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours, had to add an extra show because there was such high demand.

No one was more pleased to see lines of visitors than the venue owners, who spent the past year eating through their savings, laying off staff and waiting anxiously for federal pandemic relief.

During the lockdown, Andrew Elgart, whose family owns Cobble Hill Cinemas, said he would sometimes watch movies alone in the theater with only his terrier for company (no popcorn, though — it was too much work to reboot the machine). Reopening to the public was nothing short of therapeutic, he said, especially because most people seemed grateful to simply be there.

“These are the most polite and patient customers we’ve had in a long time,” he said.

Reopening has been slower for music venues, which tend to book talent months in advance, and who say the economics of reopening with social distancing restrictions is impractical.

Those capacity limits and social distancing requirements have kept most jazz clubs in the city closed for now, but Smalls, in the Village, is an exception. In fact, the club was so eager to reopen at any capacity level that it tried to briefly in February, positioning itself primarily as a bar and restaurant with incidental music, said the club’s owner, Spike Wilner. That decision resulted in a steep fine and ongoing red tape, he said.

Still, for Wilner, there was no comparison between this year and last, when he was “in hiding” in a rented home in Pennsylvania with his wife and young daughter.

“It feels like some kind of Tolstoy novel: there’s the crash and the redemption and then the renewal,” he said as he shepherded audience members into the jazz club. “Honestly, I feel positive for the first time. I’m just relieved to be working and making some money.”

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‘Red Notice’ Delivers Light Humor and an Exciting Plot




Running through marble hallways, past gold-trimmed portrait frames and sculptures draped in plastic, FBI Agent John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) and Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) chase each other through a museum—immediately immersing the audience into an action-packed mystery story. Red Notice arrived on Netflix with its star-studded cast on Nov. 5, offering audiences comedy and a plot full of double-crosses and fast-paced chase scenes.

The movie begins with a documentary-like introduction to the legendary treasure that the plot revolves around: Cleopatra’s third egg. While the first egg resides in Rome and the second with a private buyer, the third golden, gem-studded egg remains lost. Hartley and Booth are both after that third egg. 

All things considered, this is a fun, entertaining movie with a very talented cast of superb actors and actresses. Red Notice is a quality addition to a very popular, very full genre of comedy-action movies. From start to finish, director Rawson Marshall Thurber leaves the audience guessing which character will be double-crossed next. 

The plot takes a variety of unexpected twists and turns on the path to a relatively satisfying, but predictable ending. While the several double-crosses add volatility—and perhaps even creativity—to the movie, the flow of the movie is unsurprising. 

Reynolds never fails to carry out his role with particular suave with his smooth line delivery, although he seems to be pigeon-holed into the same role in many of his movies. He plays the cunning, witty, and handsome thief who is able to escape authority, and he is perfectly suited to this role here and in the popular Deadpool films. 

In a similar sense, Johnson plays his typical no-nonsense-exterior-but-kind-heart-interior character for most of the movie. But who doesn’t love “The Rock”? The movie portrays a typical plot headed by actors playing very typical roles with no sense of exploration or originality.

But if the audience can get beyond the unoriginality, the extravagance of the museum sets and the intensity of the action scenes still provide a source of entertainment. As Netflix’s most expensive original movie to date, with a massive price tag of $200 million, the overall production was admirable. The CGI and animations were impressive, including a realistic bull that causes mayhem.

Ultimately, Red Notice is exactly what it advertises itself as. It’s a funny, wild, irreverent, silly family movie with a cast that performs their natural roles with ease. But, for anyone scrolling through Netflix looking for something new, something different, something to make you think or leave you in awe, this is not it. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Netflix

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Lord of the Rings Cast: Where Are They Now? –



Lord of the Rings Cast: Where Are They Now?

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KotOR remake release date, trailer, latest news



Ask people what the best Star Wars game of all time is and there is little doubt that the name you will hear the most is Knights of the Old Republic – or KotOR as we all call it for ease.

Being such a popular game, and with Star Wars all the rage again thanks in no small part to The Mandalorian, it came as little surprise to learn that we would be getting a KotOR remake and, if anything, the biggest surprise is that it has taken until now for it to happen.

And this is not just a touching up of the paint, this is a full-on remake from the ground up, so it should look incredible when we get to play it in glorious 4K HDR.

But when is the KotOR remake being released, and what changes are there to the gameplay? Here is everything you need to know!

When is the KotOR remake release date?

We will be making our return to around 4,000 years before the original Star Wars trilogy at some point, but don’t expect to be taking that trip any time soon. We do not have a release window yet, let alone a specific date, and with the team apparently still in the early stages of development, we would be surprised to see it this side of 2024 at the earliest.

What platforms can I get KotOR remake on?

The original KotOR was an Xbox exclusive. which makes it all the more jolting to learn that this will be a PlayStation and PC exclusive – at least at first.

The KotOR remake will be a timed exclusive and therefore should launch on other platforms after the time is up (which is normally 12 months). So Xbox will be getting it at some point, and there is the possibility of a Nintendo Switch release down the line too.

Can I pre-order KotOR remake?

Not yet! Fingers crossed we’ll be able to soon but, at the time of writing, there are no pre-order links available. As soon as that situation changes we will let you know right here.

KotOR remake story

Here is the official synopsis for the game, should you need your mind refreshed:

KOTOR, which is part of Legends storytelling, dials the Star Wars clock back to over 4,000 years before the Skywalker saga. The Galactic Republic is at its height and has just been through a major war. Jedi are plentiful, but so are the Sith, and the evil Darth Malak leads a growing legion of dark warriors. Players will go on an epic adventure and, along the way, visit different worlds, amass a party of memorable beings, and uncover their own mysterious past.

KotOR remake trailer

There certainly is a KotOR remake trailer and here it is for you to watch right now!

Follow Radio Times Gaming on Twitter for all the latest insights. Or if you’re looking for something to watch, see our TV Guide

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