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Random Roles: Lance Henriksen on Millennium, Close Encounters, and whether he can do that Aliens knife trick

7 hours ago

Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.

The actor: When Lance Henriksen learned that readers had pitched nearly 50 different roles for The A.V. Club to ask him about, his succinct response —“Oh, shit!”—came with a surprising amount of incredulity for a man who has three times that many movie credits to his name, not to mention 50-plus additional television credits. Having made a career out of character work, Henriksen’s back catalog is one that bounces from soap operas (Ryan’s Hope) to sci-fi (The Terminator), playing androids (Aliens), astronauts (The Right Stuff), assassinated presidents (The Day Lincoln Was Shot), and even voicing the occasional animated ape (Tarzan). To put it in Henriksen’s own words, “Buddy, I’ve done some good »

- Will Harris

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Movie Review: Okja is a messy, go-for-broke satire from the director of Snowpiercer

7 hours ago

A choppy mix of anti-corporate farce and Spielbergian fantasy, Bong Joon-Ho’s bilingual Okja veers wildly, but never stalls; if Bong, the South Korean writer-director behind The Host, Memories Of Murder, and Snowpiercer, never squares the film’s satirical means with its sentimental ends, he at least throws the weight of his considerable filmmaking talent behind both. At the center—sometimes literally, as she tends to squeeze everyone else out of the way—is Okja, a hippopotamic female “super-pig” raised from piglethood in the mountains of South Korea by little Mija (Ahn Seo-Hyun) and her grandpa Hee-Bong (Bong regular Byun Hee-Bong). They are among two dozen “traditional farmers” selected from around the world to raise super-pigs as part of a decade-long publicity stunt put together by the agri-business titan Mirando, culminating in a contest judged by campy TV animal expert Dr. Johnny (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a public unveiling at a »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Movie Review: Edgar Wright drifts out of comedy and into the crime-musical bliss of Baby Driver

7 hours ago

In Edgar Wright’s exhilarating genre pastiche Baby Driver, lanes of traffic become dance floors for swerving vehicles, gunshots ring out like bebop punctuation, and even the tough-guy patter has a musical quality, a rat-a-tat rhythm. Wright, the director of Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, and a couple other peerless laugh riots, has crammed a jukebox musical under the hood of a gearhead crime caper. His clever hook: The movie’s hero, an underworld wheelman played by Ansel Elgort, has a lifelong case of tinnitus, and he drowns out the high-pitched whine by flooding his damaged eardrums with music, a constant stream of good vibrations piped in from the candy-colored iPods he keeps in his pockets.

Wright has always had a movie like this in him, and not just because he’s been dreaming about it since the ’90s. Up until now, the filmmaker has used his supreme technical »

- A.A. Dowd

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Coming Distractions: Jackie Chan goes on a rampage in this trailer for The Foreigner

13 hours ago

Jackie Chan is 63-years-old, but this trailer for director Martin Campbell’s The Foreigner is proof that he can still kick a whole bunch of ass. The movie sort of looks like a spin on Taken, with Chan as a businessman whose daughter is killed in a terrorist attack, but instead of immediately getting revenge on the people behind the bombing, he quietly mourns and repeatedly asks a British government official played by Pierce Brosnan for help identifying the attackers. Unfortunately, Brosnan seems to have been in on it, and Chan goes on a full-on rampage once he puts that together. The trailer doesn’t specifically show Chan beating the snot out of Brosnan, but it definitely won’t be a fair fight whenever it goes down.

The Foreigner is based on Stephen Leather’s novel The Chinaman (changing the name seems like it was a good idea), and it »

- Sam Barsanti

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Great Job, Internet!: Here’s the story of Theresa May’s failed campaign as told by Monty Python

14 hours ago

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Theresa May lost the general election that she herself called. Both during and after the election, Twitter whipped itself into a frenzy, mocking everything from “protest vote” candidate Lord Buckethead to the “fields of wheat” that May admitted running through when asked about the “naughtiest” thing she ever did as a child.

Both of those make an appearance—as does lightning rod Boris Johnson as a bug-eyed dragon—in this latest video, which tells the story of May’s campaign and defeat by recasting her as King Arthur in Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Huw Parkinson of Australia’s ABC News gracefully inserts May’s head over Graham Chapman’s as she spews some of her most memorable soundbites from the past year. Whether you’re into British politics or not, the video’s worth watching.

Although Lord Buckethead is rightly analogized as »

- Randall Colburn

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Great Job, Internet!: Let’s rewatch the scene that changes everything in The Incredibles

14 hours ago

Even though The Incredibles came out in 2004, such is the legacy of the famed Pixar movie that we’re still discussing and analyzing it over a decade later, especially as anticipation heats up for the long-awaited Incredibles 2, scheduled for release next year. The latest such excursion involves a key scene in the middle of the movie, focused on revelations for both Bob and Helen, that highlights how carefully and unexpectedly the movie pivots.

In a clever series of parallel edits, Bob discovers that he’s a pawn in Syndrome’s plan just as Helen finds out that Bob’s been lying about his business trips over the last few weeks. The parallel editing heightens the devastation on both sides, as technology enables both of them to understand that reality is much different than their previous perceptions. Simultaneous push-in close-ups highlight the gravity of the situation: Helen for the »

- Gwen Ihnat

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Newswire: Tom Holland confirms that Peter Parker is actually in Iron Man 2

15 hours ago

Due to Sony’s control of the character’s movie rights, Marvel probably never expected that it would be allowed to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that he’s been seen slinging webs in Captain America: Civil War, though, people have begun to wonder what Peter Parker was up to while the other Avengers movies were happening. As it turns, Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland has also been wondering about that, and he just confirmed a fun fan theory about his character’s place in the McU that involves a small retcon to 2010’s Iron Man 2.

Let’s back up: A lot of the plot in Iron Man 2 revolves around Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark becoming a big celebrity after the events of the first movie, prompting him to set up a Stark Expo where villain Justin Hammer inadvertently releases an army of »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: The Conjuring scares up a threequel

15 hours ago

The Conjuring spin-offs have been manifesting faster than ghosts at an abandoned mental institution over the past couple of years, with the first of those, Annabelle, even inspiring a sequel of its own. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Og Conjuring is getting another installment, as Deadline reports that Warner Bros. has hired a writer to bring The Conjuring 3 to undead life. That writer is David Leslie Johnson, who wrote last year’s The Conjuring 2 as well as the 2009 horror fake-out Orphan, this year’s crazy-eyed Katherine Heigl vehicle Unforgettable, and a handful of Walking Dead episodes. He’s also on board to write the purported Nightmare On Elm Street re-reboot, but we’ll not speak of such unholy things here.

Instead, we’ll focus on the fact that franchise creator James Wan is not expected to direct, but will be »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: The only gig Guillermo Del Toro regrets turning down is a Harry Potter movie

16 hours ago

Guillermo Del Toro’s cinematic comings and goings (mostly the latter, these days) are a subject of constant discourse and vigil here at The A.V. Club. For example, when Legendary passes on both the director and his Pacific Rim 2 script, we have to wonder how invested we are in a sequel without the creator of that kaijus-and-robots world (okay, so John Boyega buoyed our interest a bit). And when Del Toro and Ron Perlman give up on Hellboy 3, we die a little inside as we prepare another marker for the graveyard of the director’s projects. That’s why we greeted the news that Del Toro turned down a Harry Potter directing gig with a mixture of grief and relief—you know, because at least that time, it was his choice, and not the result of some shadowy forces working against him.

While at the Annecy Festival »

- Danette Chavez

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Great Job, Internet!: A former Star Wars star has some ideas about what to do with the Han Solo movie

16 hours ago

It has been a time of great turmoil in the Star Wars anthology universe lately. First came the news that directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were booted from the Han Solo film, and today comes a dishy report from The Hollywood Reporter detailing the directors’ insistence upon improvisational comedy at the expense of Lawrence Kasdan’s script, as well as a reportedly troubling lead performance from Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo. And honestly, if this movie were shaping up badly, it is probably for the best that they shifted ownership of it to noted Star Wars enthusiast Ron Howard. If there is one thing that you do not want, it is to betray the legacy of Han Solo. It is fair to imagine the mighty displeasure of the Star Wars-viewing populace were such a thing to be mishandled.

Now comes this anonymous screed from a former Star Wars »

- Clayton Purdom

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Newswire: Ben Affleck does the math, signs on for The Accountant sequel

16 hours ago

It’s unclear if the Bourne series or Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes movies will ever come back, so movie fans need a new hero they can turn to who is handsome, smart, and very good at hurting people. Luckily, they just might have such a hero in Ben Affleck’s character from The Accountant, because Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. has begun working on a sequel to director Gavin O’Connor’s 2016 action film. Affleck, O’Connor, and original screenwriter Bill Dubuque are all in talks to return, and once that stuff is taken care of, they’ll begin to “work out the beats of the story.”

The original was about a math genius with high-functioning autism (played by Affleck) who secretly worked as an accountant for criminals looking to make their work appear legitimate, along with a lucrative side hustle as an assassin. Also, he »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Weekend Box Office: Robots in decline

17 hours ago

Not that it’ll have any bearing on the future of the franchise—whose writers’ room is currently working on a solid decade’s worth of sequels—but it does seem that America is suffering from Transformers fatigue. That’s a relative statement, of course: Transformers: The Last Knight still came in at No. 1 at the domestic box office, albeit with a weaker opening than any other film in the franchise at $69 million. (Yep, that’s a franchise low, which goes a long way towards explaining why these things keep coming out.) That puts extra pressure on the film to perform in foreign markets; if it doesn’t, Transformers 8 might set a new record for biggest-budget VOD release of all time.

The No. 2 film, Cars 3, split the difference between the sentient mechanics of The Last Knight and the feminist message of the No. 3 film »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Johnny Depp’s ex-managers file paperwork alleging he physically abused Amber Heard

17 hours ago

The ongoing legal battle between Johnny Depp and his former managers at the unimaginatively named The Management Company has seen a lot of the Pirates Of The Caribbean star’s dirty laundry aired. Tmg filed a countersuit against Depp after he sued them for allegedly mishandling his money, thereby screwing him out of millions of dollars. The ex-managers have previously called Depp’s spending and professionalism into question, but their latest claims are a bit more personal in nature. According to People, Tmg’s moved past the “lousy spendthrift and actor” stuff and onto the “abusive turd” area of Depp’s life.

Amber Heard, Depp’s ex-wife, accused him of domestic abuse last May, when she was granted a restraining order. Depp denied that he was abusive, and Heard dropped that claim when they settled their divorce, pledging her $7 million settlement to charity. But in court documents that People »

- Danette Chavez

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Newswire: Netflix wants to dance with Jack Black’s Polka King

17 hours ago

Netflix seems to be taking a more proactive stance these days in terms of cutting original shows, but it has no qualms about continuing to throw money at original movies. Earlier today, we reported that the streaming service had bought the rights to the art world drama from the team behind Nightcrawler, and now Variety says that Netflix has also picked up the Jack Black-starring comedy The Polka King. As we noted when the project was originally announced last year, The Polka King is based on Joshua Brown and John Mikulak’s documentary The Man Who Would be Polka King, which centered around a Grammy-nominated artist named Jan Lewan who scammed millions of dollars out of his fans in an elaborate, Poland-themed Ponzi scheme.

Black is playing Lewan, and The Polka King will also star Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, Jacki Weaver, J.B. Smoove, and Vanessa Bayer. The film was »

- Sam Barsanti

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Mailbag: We’re giving away this Star Wars 40th-anniversary Funko box

17 hours ago

Welcome back to Mailbag, a series about the sometimes weird, sometimes fun stuff we get in the mail. Today, assistant editor Alex McLevy receives a Star Wars-themed Funko box commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars. In the box, you’ll find Star Wars pins, patches, and armbands; Han and Greedo salt and pepper shakers; and a Luke Skywalker Funko, fully equipped with an X-34 landspeeder. As always, we’re giving away this entire box to a special Star Wars fan if you follow The A.V. Club on Instagram. Be on the lookout for a photo of a Funko box, and comment on our Instagram post saying you want it for a chance to win. »

- Baraka Kaseko

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Newsire: Netflix snaps up art world movie from the Nightcrawler team

18 hours ago

Last week, we alerted you to the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo were planning to team up once again with their Nightcrawler director for a new film set in the art world. Now that is one step closer to hitting your eyeballs. Deadline is reporting that Netflix has bought the rights to the untitled project, details of which are still largely unknown aside from the fact that it has something to do with the art world. But according to Deadline, it is already being seen as a potential awards contender, and will have a theatrical run to qualify for such prizes as well as a streaming debut.

Screenwriter Dan Gilroy made his directorial debut with Nightcrawler and is currently working on his follow-up starring Denzel Washington. Gyllenhaal, meanwhile, is no stranger to the world of Netflix. He stars in Okja, which is being released on the platform this »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: There’s no improv in Star Wars, as Phil Lord and Chris Miller learned the hard way

19 hours ago

Now that the Han Solo spinoff movie has been safely delivered into the hands of Opie, we can all take a deep breath and dive in to the best part of a high-profile Hollywood shakeup: The gossipy postmortem on where it all went wrong. The Hollywood Reporter has just that in its newest issue, delving in great detail into what happened to make producer Kathleen Kennedy send directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller down the garbage chute. And while Lord and Miller clashed with Kennedy over several issues, the answer can be distilled down to one word: Improv.

Yes, the comedic technique that’s stretched the running time of your average Hollywood comedy far past its breaking point (Sisters really did not need to be two hours long) was a source of much conflict on the set, with Lucasfilm brass growing increasingly upset that Lord and Miller were taking too »

- Katie Rife

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Great Job, Internet!: Read This: How Wedding Crashers became “this generation’s Animal House”

19 hours ago

Wedding Crashers opened more than a decade ago to rave reviews, going on to unexpectedly make some $200 million at the box office. A new oral history from Mel Magazine digs into the movie’s success, using firsthand interviews with the movie’s director, writers, stars, and crew, and in the process it lays out a straight line from some of their behind-the-scenes decisions to the resurgence of bromance comedies (like The Hangover and many Judd Apatow movies) in intervening years.

Casting was crucial for this. The film hinges on the comic repartee of stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but also features a slate of then-unknown talents like Isla Fisher, Bradley Cooper, and Rachel McAdams, as well as well-placed supporting spots from Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken. Director David Dobkin insisted upon several weeks of rehearsals, during which improvisation and actor input was considered and then put into a »

- Clayton Purdom

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Great Job, Internet!: What does it mean for a horror movie to be “underrated”?

19 hours ago

One of the most useful things about a supercut video is being able to absorb a vast swath of related imagery and concepts in an extremely short period of time. Whether you’re looking to soak up knowledge of the 20 highest-rated TV shows of the ’90s or simply run down an assemblage of great serves from every tennis player in competition at Wimbledon this year, these videos can be a repository of enlightening information. Or, if you just want to see a bunch of dogs scared of farts, that’s also an option.

But some videos are worth calling attention to as a means of pointing out the fluidity of terms we now face daily on the internet. For example, let’s take a look at this new video from Looper called “The Most Underrated Horror Movies Of The Last 15 Years.” Presumably, the list wants to provide viewers »

- Alex McLevy

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Newswire: Idris Elba explains the Gunslinger’s backstory in new Dark Tower featurette

20 hours ago

With the release of The Dark Tower finally approaching, it’s time to get acquainted with its lore. Thus—after some expository spots—Sony has released a featurette explaining just what a Gunslinger is for those who might be new to Stephen King’s universe. Specifically, it delves into Idris Elba’s Roland Deschain, the last of those whose duty it is to guard the eponymous structure. “When I started The Dark Tower, I really saw the Gunslinger as this kind of concentrated force,” King himself says. The clip also includes footage of Elba showing off the skills that the name Gunslinger implies. The Dark Tower is due out August 4. »

- Esther Zuckerman

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