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Newswire: Woody Harrelson casually drops the name of his Star Wars character

46 minutes ago

So much for total secrecy. A laid-back but probably not high Woody Harrelson disclosed the name of his character in the Han Solo-focused Star Wars spin-off on The Tonight Show last night. Harrelson is remarkably unfazed by this whole “being in Star Wars” thing, explaining with a giggle that he was never a “fanatic,” but ”it’s nice to be a part of it.” Perhaps that’s why he’s so forthcoming—though admittedly he doesn’t say all that much. “I play a guy named Beckett who’s kind of a criminal and a mentor to Han,” he announced.

The “mentor” bit we knew already and the “criminal” part we assumed, but this would seemingly indicate he’s not portraying Garris Shrike, a character from The Han Solo Trilogy. (We’d also note that given the fact we only have the sound bite, the spelling of ”Beckett” is also »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Hope you like Power Rangers, because there are 5 more movies planned

1 hour ago

This weekend sees the release of the new Power Rangers movie, a decided upgrade from the Mighty Morphin’ type you might remember from back in the Triassic Period era known as the ‘90s. Along with a $120 million budget—which is probably $119 million more than was spent on every episode of the show combined—there’s also a new commitment to contemporary franchise storytelling, which is another way of saying they’d wouldn’t do anything so silly as craft a standalone film. As Variety reports, Power Rangers Svengali Haim Saban has charted a course for the characters that goes way beyond this latest origin-story adventure. “We already have a six-movie story arc,” Saban announces, presumably while lighting his cigar with a hundred-dollar bill.

This lengthy plan depends on the success of the new film, but the whole thing is based on a reimagining of the characters and universe ...

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- Alex McLevy

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Movie Review: Life comes at you fast when you’re being hunted by a hostile space octopus

1 hour ago

What does it say that most movies about making contact with an alien species inevitably devolve into a bloodbath? Is that mankind’s fear of the great unknown rearing its ugly head? Or, Arrival aside, is it just more fun (and profitable) when E.T. goes Ham? In the ruthless science-fiction thriller Life, a team of researchers aboard the International Space Station acquire definitive proof that we’re not alone in the universe: a carbon-based organism from Mars, small enough to fit into a petri dish. Unfortunately, and much to their surprise (though not to the audience’s), the little guy turns out to be something of a natural born killer. Life plays coy about this development for a while, going heavy on the oohs and the aahs and the proud video chats back to Earth; when the title arrives, more than a few minutes in, it’s to a »

- A.A. Dowd

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Coming Distractions: The hard bodies aren’t just on the beach in new Baywatch trailer

2 hours ago

Even before the first teaser was released, we all had a pretty good idea what we’d be getting from a Baywatch movie led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: The same beautiful people and pulse-pounding action of Baywatch the TV series and Baywatch Nights. The new film certainly appears to be delivering on the adrenaline, as all previous previews included the kind of explosions we expect to see in the Rock’s wake. And this latest trailer shows off all the gorgeous beach babes who are first and foremost life-saving professionals. Zac Efron’s character is a brash new arrival who hasn’t quite gotten with the program, which now includes going undercover and hanging out in morgues. But when that necrotic whatever drips right on his face here, you have to feel for the guy.

Baywatch hits the shore on May 26.

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- Danette Chavez

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Movie Review: A woman’s fetus commands her to kill in pitch-black slasher comedy Prevenge

11 hours ago

Pop culture frequently depicts pregnant women as beatific fertility goddesses, flush with hormones and the unparalleled satisfaction of fulfilling their biological destiny. (See: Beyoncé’s pregnancy photos.) Either that or they’re fragile vessels, their “condition” rendering them vulnerable to not only the cruelties of men but also the whims of the life inside them. Writer-director Alice Lowe—the co-writer of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, who’s probably best known in the U.S. for her roles in Hot Fuzz and on Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace—skewers both of these viewpoints in Prevenge, a wryly misanthropic slasher comedy about a woman whose fetus commands her to kill.

Lowe, who was actually pregnant during filming, stars as Ruth, a seemingly rootless woman who lives out of a hotel room and stalks the streets of an anonymous city searching for what at first seem to be random victims. Her only regular human »

- Katie Rife

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Movie Review: American Anarchist cooks up an unsavory recipe for scolding an interview subject

11 hours ago

Documentary film often hopes to spark some passion in not only its audience but also its subjects. Whether it’s The Look Of Silence’s remorseless murderers being grilled by their old victim or Errol Morris’ multiple efforts to provoke new intellectual or emotional realizations in his man-alone character studies, there’s often an opportunity for reflection on the part of those whose lives are being analyzed. It doesn’t always happen (in the case of Morris’ The Unknown Known, about Donald Rumsfeld, it really didn’t happen), and it’s far from necessary. But it’s an appealing thought for directors, that they might end their feature-length investigations with some tangible evidence that the subject landed in a different place than where they began, the better to match the hoped-for journey of the viewer.

Unfortunately, you can’t force such a moment, and that’s where Charlie Siskel’s »

- Alex McLevy

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Newswire: Ian McKellen is resurrecting Gandalf for charity

12 hours ago

Doing for a London-based theater what he wouldn’t do for wizard nerd (and Napster founder) Sean Parker, Ian McKellen has announced that he’ll once again be bringing Gandalf the Grey back to life. It’s been a minute—i.e., three years—since McKellen last played the weathered old wizard, but audiences will get a chance to see him put on his robe and wizard hat one more time, as part of a one-man fundraiser the actor is performing at London’s Park Theater in June.

Titled “Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You,” the show will see McKellen discuss his storied career and reprise a number of his most beloved roles, including good old Mithrandir. (Or Stormcrow, if you’re feeling nasty.) Proceeds from the show will go to the Park, with McKellen praising the theater’s impact and hoping that he’ll help to bring in some of ...

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: African-American movie attendance doubled last year

13 hours ago

2016 was a better-than-average year for African-Americans in movies, with films like Hidden Figures, Fences, I Am Not Your Negro, and Ava DuVernay’s The 13th all taking their place in the public consciousness, while Barry JenkinsMoonlight (eventually) won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. That increased recognition and representation might help explain why black movie attendance nearly doubled last year, according to a study quoted by Variety.

Conducted by the MPAA, the study found that 5.9 million African-Americans were “frequent moviegoers” in 2016—defined by going to the theater once a month or more. (Asian-American ticketbuyers also saw a bump, jumping from 3.2 million to 3.9 million, although Hispanic numbers apparently stayed stable.) It’ll remain to be seen whether these trends hold through 2017; Jordan Peele’s black horror film Get Out has already set box office records, but there’s a lot of ...

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: People are still trying to make a horror movie about Elisa Lam

14 hours ago

Movie studios make films about real people all the time, but there’s always been something uniquely gross about the desire to adapt the death of Elisa Lam into a horror movie. Lam was the Canadian college student whose body was found in the water tank of a Los Angeles hotel in 2013, and her story became an internet legend when spooky security camera footage of her behaving strangely in an elevator before her death was released. Nicolas Winding Refn was set to direct a movie based on Lam’s story called The Bringing, but he dropped out in 2014. Then, in 2016, Sony canned the project completely.

Now, The Last House On The Left and Friday The 13th producer Sean Cunningham is set to make a totally different horror movie based on the slightly mysterious and tragic circumstances of Lam’s death. Titled The Elevator Game, Bloody Disgusting says ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Sony developing Spider-Man spin-off about Black Cat and Silver Sable

15 hours ago

A few days ago, we reported that Sony had penciled in a release date for Venom, a Spider-Man spin-off movie that would focus on his sticky, alien rival and wouldn’t include the Webhead himself at all. At the time, we noted that Sony was trying to develop a Spider-Man cinematic universe that could work outside of Marvel’s co-ownership deal for Spidey, and it looks like the studio is wasting no time in making that happen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony has just lined up Thor: Ragnarok’s Chris Yost to write a script for a movie about Silver Sable and Black Cat, two of Spider-Man’s most prominent female supporting characters.

The THR story doesn’t say if it will overtly connect to Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it seems likely that it will do what Venom is doing and distance itself from that movie a bit so Sony »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Director Lenny Abrahamson moves from Room to a burning pot farm

16 hours ago

According to Deadline, Room’s Lenny Abrahamson is attached to direct a movie based on Burning Rainbow Farm, a book by Dean Kuipers. The book is about Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm, a couple who ran a “peaceful, pot-friendly haven” in Michigan called Rainbow Farm in the ‘90s. The farm and its annual music festival quickly became a big draw for fans of that kind herb, but it all fell apart when a teen crashed his car and died during one of the farm’s events.

From there, things escalated dramatically: Cops raided the farm and took the couple’s son, and rather than face prison time for growing a bunch of pot and for illegally possessing a firearm, Crosslin and Rohm burned everything down. Eventually, the FBI got involved and Crosslin and Rohm were killed in a standoff. Also, this all happened about a week before 9/11.

It ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Paramount releases 5 minutes of Ghost In The Shell that you can freely judge

17 hours ago

The internet has a bad habit of judging things sight unseen, especially when it comes to movies that are adaptations of beloved, preexisting properties. This can be a wise decision, since it’s a good way to prevent the disappointment that often comes with high-profile adaptations, but it can also make the discourse surrounding an upcoming thing very cynical or bitter. The Scarlett Johansson-starring Ghost In The Shell movie has been facing a reaction like that pretty much ever since it was announced, but its detractors were still basing all of their knee-jerk judgments on (fairly well-reasoned) assumptions.

Now, though, Paramount has released a full, five-minute clip from the beginning of the movie that everyone in the internet is free to judge as much as they want.

Icymi: watch an extended clip from #GhostintheShell from the beginning of the movie. pic.twitter.com/pk2YVOkqlL

Paramount Pictures (@ParamountUK) March »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Brie Larson is running for president (in a movie)

18 hours ago

If only because she’s going to play Captain Marvel and occasionally tweets about The Legend Of Zelda, Brie Larson has already proven that she’s a lot more likable than our current president, so now she’s going to put on an American flag pin and see if she really has what it takes to run for president...in a movie. According to Deadline, Larson has signed on to star in and produce Victoria Woodhull, an Amazon Studios biopic about the first woman who ever ran for President Of The United States. Woodhull was a suffragist, naturally, and she ran in 1872—almost 40 years before women even had the right to vote.

Unsurprisingly, she was also a controversial figure, with even the Deadline story describing her as “a women’s liberator, non-conformist, conniver, narcissist, politician, and rebel” who had learned to “channel spirits” from her “con-artist father” so ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman want to make George Saunders’ first novel into a movie

19 hours ago

It took George Saunders a while to publish his first novel: The supernatural/historical fiction mashup Lincoln In The Bardo, released earlier this month, follows 20 years of award-winning short fiction, essays, and journalism from the MacArthur Fellow. But it didn’t take long at all for someone to think Lincoln In The Bardo would make a good movie. According to Deadline, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman have purchased the film rights to Lincoln In The Bardo, with Saunders joining them as a producer on the project. Deadline quotes Saunders as saying “My hope is that we can find a way to make the experience of getting this movie made as wild and enjoyable and unpredictable as the experience of writing it—I am so happy to have such fearless companions on the trip.”

“Fearless” is one way to put it. Taking place in a Washington D.C. cemetery during ...

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- Erik Adams

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Newswire: Power Rangers’ Lgbt superhero sneaks past Malaysian censors

20 hours ago

Earlier today, we reported that Malaysia’s decidedly homophobic censorship board would allow Disney’s live-action Beauty And The Beast to screen in the country without edits, and now another big movie with a well-publicized (yet similarly minor) Lgbt element has made it past the censors unscathed. According to Variety, Malaysia has given Power Rangers the go-ahead for release in the country, granting it the same “P13” rating that Beauty And The Beast received.

This news seems to have come as a bit of a surprise to pretty much everyone, as Variety even notes that “major Malaysian cinema chains” started to pull the movie from online ticket websites earlier this week. It’s possible that the censors simply didn’t want to face more blowback like they did when Disney refused to create a gay-free edit of Beauty And The Beast, but it seems just as likely that Power Rangers »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Michael Shannon is the frontrunner to play Cable in Deadpool 2

21 hours ago

Like Ryan Reynolds before him, Michael Shannon might be getting ready to jump from the DC movie universe to the X-Men one, as Variety is reporting that Shannon is Fox’s “top choice” to star alongside Reynolds as time-traveling mutant badass Cable in Deadpool 2. There’s no deal in place yet, and Fox itself has refused to comment, but apparently the studio has had its heart set on Shannon “for about a week.” If this does all work out, Shannon will also be appearing alongside fellow Deadpool newcomer Zazie Beetz, who was recently cast as Domino.

For those who don’t read the comics, Cable is the future son of “popular” X-Man Cyclops, and his gruff and gritty attitude has frequently acted as a fun contrast to Deadpool’s goofy shenanigans during their many years as crime-fighting partners and teammates.

John Wick’s David Leitch is set to direct »

- Sam Barsanti

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Coming Distractions: Willem Dafoe is ready to play in the Death Note trailer

22 hours ago

After the disappointing critical and commercial performance of his last movie, the sort-of sequel, sort-of reboot Blair Witch, director Adam Wingard promised a return to genre-bending form for his next movie, the Netflix original Death Note. He picked a doozy of a followup, too, adapting the cult classic manga-turned-anime-turned-video game-turned-live action film trilogy-turned-tv drama that’s become a multi-decade franchise phenomenon in its native Japan.

Here, Wingard moves the action to Seattle, where student Light Turner (Nat Wolff) stumbles upon a magical notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. And that’s Willem Dafoe’s signature creepy rattle as Ryuk, the listless demigod who amuses himself by dropping the book into the human realm. Stylistically, the trailer evokes the neon-noir stylings of The Neon Demon director Nicolas Winding Refn, posting the question of whether this hard-r adaptation will do for Death Note what »

- Katie Rife

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Great Job, Internet!: Rogue One fulfills its destiny, is spliced with beginning of A New Hope

23 hours ago

Since Rogue One was announced as an interstitial movie, settling between not just movies but also trilogies and acting as a preamble to A New Hope, its fate has been sealed: Someday, someone would cut the two films together. That day has come. Video editor Barre Fong has done god’s work, and you can now watch as the Death Star plans make their way into Rebel hands much to Darth Vader’s chagrin and then soar to Tatooine in the form of two lovable droids. (Please pay no attention to the fact that, canonically, Darth Vader constructed one of those damn droids. That’s prequel logic, and we’ll not have it here.)

Rogue One Melded” to “A New Hope” v.2 from Barre Fong on Vimeo.

Rogue One director Gareth Edwards was intentional in his homages to the original trilogy and the way that his film laddered ...

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- Clayton Purdom

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Odds And Sods: Octavia Spencer and John Hawkes tell us the smallest crimes they’ve committed

22 March 2017 9:01 AM, PDT

Last week at SXSW, The A.V. Club had the pleasure of sitting down with Octavia Spencer and John Hawkes, who play brother and sister in the new film Small Town Crimes, due out in theaters later this year. In the clip above, we discuss the upcoming movie and discover how much trouble the two actors got into when they were younger. »

- Baraka Kaseko

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Newswire: Beauty And The Beast and its gay moment will play in Malaysia

22 March 2017 8:40 AM, PDT

Beauty And The Beast—and its much talked about “exclusively gay moment”—will reportedly come to Malaysia, despite earlier indication that the country’s homophobic censorship board might block its release. Malaysian theater chains announced on Twitter Tuesday that the film would arrive in full on March 30, per The Hollywood Reporter. After initially making a cut that excluded the very brief queer content from the movie, Disney then decided that it wasn’t going to allow that version to screen. But it seems popularity won out over bigotry, and Malaysian moviegoers will get to see singing furniture and a quick shot of two men dancing. The live-action adaptation of the animated classic, however, has been given a PG-13 rating in the country. Russia deemed it 16+. In the U.S., it’s rated PG.

Beauty & The Beast is coming to #TGVCinemas on 30/3/2017! Advance sales start ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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