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‘Italian Studies’ May Be the Most Immersive Memory Loss Movie Ever Made

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“Do you remember me?”

It’s an innocent enough question, asked by a young woman sitting outside a recording studio in London. The flicker of panic that plays across the face of the person on the receiving end of it, however — a thirtysomething named Alina (Vanessa Kirby) — suggests something a little darker is lurking behind the answer. The teen had been staring at her while two shoegaze-y singers laid down a track inside, and now, sharing a cig with the Alina in the alley, she suggests that they have met before. There was a party in Manhattan. The older woman has shown up alongside an awkward kid named Simon. They hung out all night. That was her, right?

Alina seems perplexed, a little casually put-off, then slightly worried. “Was this when I lost my dog?” she asks. Once upon a time in downtown New York, Alina left her apartment to take her scruffy little pooch for a walk and stopped by a hardware store. Browsing the shelves, she pauses for a second…and it’s as if someone has pressed the Control-Alt-Delete button on her brain. She has no idea who she is, where she’s at, what she was looking for. In a blink, Alina has inexplicably turned into a blank slate. She wanders out of the shop, away from her dog, away from whatever her life was before her mental blip. So she just walks through the streets of the West Village, a lost soul in a big city with no direction home….

There are many, many movies that have used amnesia as a one-stop-shopping dramatic cliché, or an easy source of conflict, pathos or pity. Adam Leon’s Italian Studies is one of the few — the only? — films to force viewers into a disassociative mindset right alongside its main character. (At least, one of the few without the words “directed by David Lynch” attached to it.) It isn’t just that viewers have no idea who this woman really is, though pieces of the puzzle eventually do fall into place. It’s more that we’re pushed into this lo-fi mystery on her terms, and prompted to see so much of the world through her uncomprehending eyes.

The attack is two-pronged: Leon’s filmmaking takes on the fractured, free-flowing anxiety of a bad dream, helped immensely by the film’s stream-of-conscious approach to editing, sound design that suggests a radio transmission stuck between stations and composer Nicholas Britell’s droning, synth-heavy score. Meanwhile, Kirby’s performance gives you the sense that this person is truly in a fugue state, reacting to things completely in the moment while trying to mask her condition to those she encounters. There’s an almost childlike sense of wonder and confusion as Alina tries remember something, anything, about her identity. Even those who’ve charted the British actor’s career from Princess Margaret on The Crown to Mission: Impossible action heroine to that gutting portrayal of a grief-stricken mother in Pieces of a Woman will be surprised by what she’s doing here. It’s a completely raw, guileless, ego-less performance.

It’s in Italian Studies’ first half, when the filmmaker and his star seem to truly be working in tandem to give you a woman on the verge of an existential breakdown, that the movie turns into something that’s almost experiential, immersing you in this character’s wobbly, unstable world. Leon has been a fringe player on the microbudget side of the Amerindie world, but he’s a vital one: Both Gimme the Loot (2012) and Tramps (2016) give you an incredible sense of New York from a street-level, round-the-way perspective without posturing or pursuing agendas at the expense of storytelling. His latest ups the ante by turning downtown Manhattan into something that’s simultaneously familiar and foreign — sometimes a wonderland, sometimes a menace, always a place where a bodega clerk or a cranky library patron or a knucklehead kid hustling at the Chelsea Papaya hot dog joint will go with whatever flow the bewildered Alina brings.

Right, the knucklehead kid. That’s Simon, who tries to sell Alina several hot dogs he bought because he’s gluten-intolerant. Played by Simon Brickner, who Leon met when he collaborated on a variety show with a bunch of other high school-age youngsters, this stranger is both remarkably socially awkward and has a nonstop patter that would impress a Three-card Monte dealer. The scenes between the two of them have an oft-kilter feel that adds to the through-the-looking-glass vibe, which eventually transition into both of them hanging out with a crew of funky, creative teens. From that point, the movie slides into something else entirely, a kind of rough mix of testimonials and a documentary-like ride along that’s so loosely stitched together it keeps threatening to unravel before your eyes. The thrill pivots from wondering if this person can make it through the night to whether the movie can hold itself together until the end credits, which is an admittedly less engaging prospect.

Yet for a long stretch, Italian Studies turns this trip down memory-loss lane into a low-wattage livewire, an unpredictable stroll into the unknown. Its hero will slowly, eventually come back around to remembering her life before the reset. The movie itself, however, is unforgettable from the jump.

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Twitter Reacts To NLE Choppa’s Freestyle Surrounding A Fan Altercation

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NLE Choppa faced a lot of mixed reviews following his most recent freestyle with Funk Master Flex on Hot 97. In the three-minute freestyle, the rapper addressed an airport confrontation between himself and a fan where things got physical.

Many laughed at the Memphis native after seeing footage from the altercation where the rapper slips due to wearing a pair of flip flops.

In the freestyle with Funk Flex, Choppa says, “You won’t catch me dissing. Flip flops when I fight the only time I’m slipping. Next fan run up on me get the clip till its empty. I won’t stop till I’m finished, I’m really standing on business,” he said over an instrumental to The Notorious B.I.G’s “Who Shot Ya.”

Following the freestyle, NLE Choppa made a tweet to address fans to referred to the freestyle as “mid.”

that nle choppa freestyle was the worst thing i ever heard

— Lil Wrench (@WrenchhNotFree) January 27, 2022

“Musically I Can’t Do Nun Right Huh?” asked Choppa on Twitter. “Keep The Hate, Jokes, & Criticism Coming, Ian Too Far From The Top. Tables Turn And When They Do Remember That I Told You So. WATCH THE YEAR I HAVE!!!!!!”

Musically I Can’t Do Nun Right Huh? Keep The Hate, Jokes, & Criticism Coming, Ian Too Far From The Top. Tables Turn And When They Do Remember That I Told You So. WATCH THE YEAR I HAVE ‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️

— NLE Choppa (@Nlechoppa1) January 27, 2022

The “Walk Em Down” rapper is gearing up to release a new project this Friday. The rapper pushed back the release of the project in the past but it looks as if NLE Choppa is ready to make his comeback with alleged appearances from MoneyBaggYo, Young Thug, Polo G, and G Herbo.

Check out the freestyle below, what are your thoughts?

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Joey Badass Reveals He Wants a Polyamorous Relationship

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Joey Badass and his interest in polyamorous relationships seem to be stirring the pot after a recent interview on Angela Yee’s lip service this Tuesday.

At the beginning of the month, Joey first shared his views on monogamous relationships and the right to “love freely” after it came to light again that Tristan Thompson stepped out on the mother of his child, Khloe Kardashian.

“Tristian Thompson gotta stop being a sorry ass n*gga,” the rapper began. Tell Khloe you’re a f*cking gyalist and you need more than one woman. Straight up. Whats so hard about being honest with our women fellas? F*ck this western bullsh*t. Relationships should be expansive and beneficial for all.”

Tristian Thompson gotta stop being a sorry ass nigga. Tell Khloe you’re a fucking gyalist and you need more than one woman. Straight up. Whats so hard about being honest with our women fellas? Fuck this western bullshit. Relationships should be expansive and beneficial for all

— BADMON (@joeyBADASS) January 4, 2022

A “gyalist” is a term used for someone who can’t be with just one woman, a playboy, a ladies’ man, and the like.

“Most of us have been in polyamorous relationships our whole lives. The only difference is we weren’t honest about it,” he continued.

Most of us have been in polyamorous relationships our whole lives. The only difference is we weren’t honest about it. But if you’ve ever been sexually involved with someone non-exclusively, guess what, you’re polyamorous.

— BADMON (@joeyBADASS) January 4, 2022

“But if you’ve ever been sexually involved with someone non-exclusively, guess what, you’re polyamorous. Unconditional love means you love with no CONDITIONS. Most of our minds are way too conditioned to even love freely.”

Unconditional love means you love with no CONDITIONS. Most of our minds are way too conditioned to even love freely.

— BADMON (@joeyBADASS) January 4, 2022

The comments stirred the pot as some saw where the “Love is Only a Feeling” rapper was coming from, and others completely disagreed.

In the interview with Angela yee and co-host, Joey was asked if he wanted a polyamorous relationship and his desire to have two wives.

 “They will have to be cool with each other, they’ll have to be able to call each other if they wanna get down like that. But it’s not a requirement,” Joey explained before stating that he currently is in his ideal situation with two women.

“Potentially, I like to be bicoastal so maybe one in New York and one in LA,” the rapper said when asked if he had an interest in living with two women in the same household.

Check out the full interview below.

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‘Real Husbands of Hollywood’ Returns To BET+ for its Final Season

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The Real Husbands of Hollywood return for one last season of comedic antics and drama.

The series is set to premiere on Thursday, Feb. 10 on BET+ as six-part limited series. The Husbands’ final season was announced Monday during Nick Cannon’s The Nick Cannon Show, where he revealed the exclusive trailer as well.

Its original cast returns. Kevin Hart, Nick Cannon, JB Smoove, Nelly Duane Martin, Robin Thicke and Boris Kodjoe are back.

They will be joined by a few newcomers including Michele Weaver and Angela Rye. Hollywood is nothing without star power, which the final season will not in any capacity.

Viewers can expect celebrity cameos from Tiffany Haddish, Amanda Seales, Big Boi, Mark Cuban, Yolanda Adams, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Dr. Phil.

Back in July 2020, BET announced that Kevin Hart, ‘Real Husband’s’ co-creator and HartBeat Productions would team up with Jesse Collins and Jesse Collins Entertainment to executive produce the finale season of the reality television parody.

Viewers can check out Real Husbands of Hollywood: More Kevin, More Problems on BET+ on Feb. 10th.

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