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Avq&A: Tell us about your pop culture weekend: July 21-23

23 hours ago

We’ve expanded the definition of Avq&A—our weekly thought-starter—by asking you (and us) a simple question each week: What pop culture did you consume this weekend, and what did you think of it? If you have suggestions for Avq&A questions, big or small, you can email them to us here. »

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Newswire: Michelle Pfeiffer joins the McU as Ant-Man And The Wasp’s Janet Van Dyne

22 July 2017 8:25 PM, PDT

The company still hasn’t released that damn Infinity War trailer, but there was plenty to get excited about in Marvel Studios’ presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con earlier tonight. Among the news about Captain Marvel battling the Skrulls, new Black Panther footage, and that Thor: Ragnarok trailer, there was a lower profile, but equally interesting, announcement: That Michelle Pfeiffer has joined the cast of Ant-Man And The Wasp as Janet Van Dyne. In the comics, Janet Van Dyne was the wife of Hank Pym and mother of Hope Van Dyne, who served as the original Wasp until she was lost in the Quantum Realm. She’s been assumed dead ever since.

This will be a return to comic-book movies for Pfeiffer, who famously portrayed Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns. It’ll be her Marvel debut, though. Speaking of, Pfeiffer’s casting was announced at the end of a »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: T’Challa’s suit got an upgrade in new Black Panther footage that Marvel won’t show us

22 July 2017 7:13 PM, PDT

A lot of Captain America: Civil War involved laying the groundwork for the Black Panther movie, and during its Comic-Con panel today, Marvel unsurprisingly revealed that Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther will actually take place just after the events of Civil War—meaning T’Challa’s father has just been killed and Bucky Barnes has just been released into his custody and re-frozen until people can figure out how to stop him from turning into a brainwashed murder machine again. Other than that, Marvel offered some character details on Black Panther’s supporting cast, but the biggest part of the panel was some secret footage that apparently won’t be released online (a rarity at this year’s Comic-Con).

Luckily, Marvel can’t stop anyone from describing what it entailed. The clip reportedly opened with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa arriving at a casino of some sort with Lupita Nyong »

- Sam Barsanti

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Coming Distractions: The God of Thunder gets his groove back in the new Thor: Ragnarok trailer

22 July 2017 6:30 PM, PDT

Amid the flurry of casting news and plot details emerging from Marvel Studios’ Comic-Con panel, the cast of Taika Waititi’s upcoming Thor: Rangarok took the stage to describe where their characters are at when the film begins. Chris Hemsworth describes a Thor without his hammer or his long blonde locks who’s in the middle of a “midlife crisis,” and Mark Ruffalo says The Hulk has started a new life as a gladiator on the planet Sakaar, where Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie delivers Thor into the hands of Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster. Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is four years into posing as his adoptive father Odin, and Cate Blanchett, who plays Goddess of Death Hela, declined to give any details about her character, telling the crowd that she’s just happy to be along for the ride.

The discussion was followed by the reveal of a new »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Captain Marvel is set in the ‘90s and features the Skrulls

22 July 2017 6:17 PM, PDT

During Marvel’s Comic-Con panel, the studio dropped some interesting reveals for Brie Larson’s upcoming Captain Marvel movie. For starters, we now know that the movie will be a ‘90s-set prequel to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and though we already knew that Samuel L. Jackson will be reprising his role as Nick Fury in the movie, we now know something shocking about how he’ll look in the movie: Apparently, Fury will still have both eyes, meaning Captain Marvel may reveal why he wears that iconic and stylish eyepatch in the other films.

The most surprising Captain Marvel reveal had nothing to do with eyes or the ‘90s, though, as Marvel also announced that the villains in the movie will be none other than the Skrulls, a race of shape-changing aliens with gross chins and green skin. This is clearly the result of some kind of »

- Sam Barsanti

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Coming Distractions: Something’s wrong with Jeffrey in the My Friend Dahmer trailer

22 July 2017 5:23 PM, PDT

The A.V. Club caught an advance screening of director Marc Meyers’ new movie My Friend Dahmer at the Fantasia International Film Festival last weekend (full coverage coming next week), and it’s really something special. Starring Disney channel star Ross Lynch as the future cannibal killer, the film is framed as a high-school dramedy about friendship and fitting in, luring viewers into sympathizing with Jeffrey and his struggles with his sexuality, his parents’ divorce, and his outcast status at school—until you remember, “oh yeah, that guy went on to murder 17 people.” By focusing entirely on the factors that influenced Dahmer’s madness and not its horrific consequences, My Friend Dahmer takes an alternative approach to true crime that raises questions of how future serial killings can be prevented. Oh, and it was shot in Jeffrey Dahmer’s real childhood home in Ohio, which is creepy and kind »

- Katie Rife

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Spoiler Space: Spoiler Space: Dunkirk

22 July 2017 4:32 PM, PDT

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot points we can’t reveal in our review.

Here is an interesting fact: Dunkirk is the first Christopher Nolan movie in which the fragmented, loopy storytelling doesn’t have some kind of subjective explanation, like a fading memory (Memento) or a mind-warping sci-fi technology (Inception). Oddly, that means it’s used to exclusively subjective effect: to squeeze or stretch a sequence of events to show how different perspectives on one crisis create impressions of urgency and time. The other interesting thing is that the three-piece narrative’s only real twist—namely, the fact that the mute infantryman in the Spielbergian “The Mole” section is actually a French soldier who yoinked a British uniform off a corpse—is unrelated to the structure, and is played totally straight.

Speaking of distended time: the languorous ending stretch might be the closest that Dunkirk has »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: DC showed off its first Aquaman footage (and a bunch of new logos) at Comic-Con today

22 July 2017 3:42 PM, PDT

Warner Bros. opened the DC portion of its Comic-Con panel today with a hefty burst of visual information for fans, showing off the logos for what seemed to be every single one of its upcoming comic book adaptations. Some of these were old news—we’ve been fielding reports on, say, Suicide Squad II for a while now—but the studio also snuck in some new (or at least only previous speculated) information into the mix.

For instance, we got confirmation that Green Lantern Corps and Batgirl are still in the works, while the studio also took the less-than-controversial stance of confirming that it’s working on Wonder Woman II. (Still no definitive word on Patty Jenkins returning to the franchise to direct, though.) The most interesting tidbit, though, was related to DC’s plans for the Flash, with the logo revealing that the upcoming film adaptation of Ezra Miller »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Pamela Adlon joins the Transformers spin-off, Bumblebee

22 July 2017 2:53 PM, PDT

Fresh off an Emmy nomination for her FX series Better Things, Pamela Adlon has apparently decided to spend her newfound clout by tossing herself into the whirling gears and gaping robot maws of Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise. Per Deadline, Adlon is in talks to appear in the Transformers spin-off movie, Bumblebee, where she’d play the mother of star Hailee Stanfield.

As watchers of the franchise know, Transformers is as ravenous for talented guest stars as robot dinosaurs are for glowing blue rocks. The franchise is loaded with people who make you go, “Hey, what are they doing in a Transformers mov—” before the next rapid, brain-melting edit has carried you away, and all traces of Anthony Hopkins or Frances McDormand have been wiped from your mind. (And that’s how we end up with poor old John Turturro, covered in robot piss.)

Anyway, Bumblebee is currently aiming at »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Harrison Ford will reboot anything that moves

22 July 2017 2:29 PM, PDT

The cast of Blade Runner 2049 made an appearance with director Denis Villeneuve at San Diego Comic-Con earlier today, sandwiched between Ready Player One and Justice League at Warner Bros.’ annual cavalcade of cinematic hype. With the film’s release coming up on October 6 and several trailers already out, there wasn’t a whole lot in the way of new footage at the panel, save for a clip featuring Ryan Gosling’s Officer K touring a hall of replicants that appeared in the first trailer for the film.

But the cast and crew were entertainingly candid, with Villeneuve explaining that he took on the project “because I didn’t want anybody else to fuck it up.” Harrison Ford, meanwhile, was at peak Harrison Ford, grumbling, “It doesn’t matter what I think,” when his internal calculations about how much air he could get in a vintage Wwi biplane »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Ben Affleck goes rumor-smashing, calls Batman “the greatest fucking part in the world”

22 July 2017 1:04 PM, PDT

Indirectly referencing rumors that have continued to plague his time as the Dark Knight—including sources from as recently as yesterday, which suggested that Warner Bros. was looking for a way to gracefully replace him in the role—Ben Affleck doubled down on his love for Batman at today’s Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con. According to Coming Soon, Affleck called his role as Bruce Wayne and his gravel-throated alter-ego, “The greatest f--king part in the world,” adding, “I am thrilled to do it.” (He also praised The Batman director Matt Reeves, saying he’d be an “ape in the background” for one of Reeves’ Planet Of The Apes movies if the director asked.)

Possibly wanting to get in on this positivity party, Gal Gadot expressed similar affection for her own role as Wonder Woman. But, then, there haven’t been a bunch of news stories and question marks floating »

- William Hughes

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Coming Distractions: Heroes unite in the Justice League Comic-Con trailer

22 July 2017 12:50 PM, PDT

The members of the DC Extended Universe’s Justice League took a literal victory lap around Comic-Con’s Hall H today, as Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, and Jason Momoa all walked through the crowd greeting fans who had gathered to watch them discuss their double lives as onscreen superheroes. Miller, who showed up in cosplay, described the special bond between his character and Fisher’s Cyborg, Affleck denied rumors he was hanging up his Batsuit, and Gadot gushed about the outpouring of support for Wonder Woman, but the highlight of the presentation was a new trailer showing different sides of the team’s upcoming ensemble flick Justice League.

Opening with Wonder Woman saving a group of schoolchildren from armed assailants, the trailer shows the villainous Steppenwolf crash-landing in Diana’s homeland of Themyscira, prompting Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman to come together to »

- Katie Rife

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Coming Distractions: Freddy Krueger, Ninja Turtles, and the Iron Giant collide in the Ready Player One teaser

22 July 2017 11:57 AM, PDT

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline’s Ya novel combining ‘80s pop-culture nostalgia and post-apocalyptic sci-fi, is a natural fit for Comic-Con, and the cast and crew, including director Steven Spielberg, took the stage just a few minutes ago to present a first look at the highly anticipated film version of the book.

The CGI-heavy trailer for the film, set to Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” introduces us to the dystopian landscape of Columbus, Ohio in the year 2045, where residents of the junk skyscrapers known as “The Stacks” escape their bleak lives by disappearing into a virtual-reality paradise known as “The Oasis.” There, they interact with their favorite pop-culture figures—the Iron Giant, Ninja Turtles, Back To The Future’s DeLorean, and Freddy Krueger are just a few of the characters and props visible in the background—and, it appears, gear up for a massive virtual war.

Ready Player One opens »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: The gang’s all here, lookin’ kinda creepy in the latest Justice League poster

22 July 2017 11:28 AM, PDT

We’re just a few minutes out from Warner Bros.’ live-action movie panel at Comic-Con, which is likely to be stuffed to the filling point with new teasers and promos for the studio’s upcoming superhero tentpole, Justice League. Presumably hoping to whet fans’ whistles for any big announcements, the studio has just released a new poster for the film, and the results are…actually kind of spooky looking.

You can’t save the world alone. The cast of #JusticeLeague unites in Hall H Today. #Wbsdcc pic.twitter.com/ATXtFZ95xO

Justice League Movie (@justiceleaguewb) July 22, 2017

We’re not sure if it’s eyeless, glowering Batman, or just the general resemblance to the album cover for Queen II, but the whole composition is just a little on the off-putting side. On the other hand, the poster does seem to confirm what we all pretty much knew what was going »

- William Hughes

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Coming Distractions: J.D. Salinger rocks recluse-chic in the first trailer for Rebel In The Rye

22 July 2017 10:53 AM, PDT

The first trailer has arrived for Danny Strong’s Rebel In The Rye, with X-Men and Fury Road star Nicholas Hoult in the starring role of tortured would-be novelist J.D. Salinger. The film focuses on the earlier portions of Salinger’s career, with Kevin Spacey and Victor Garber on-hand to discourage or build him up as needed, and Sarah Paulson as his loyal literary agent, Dorothy Olding.

The tone of the film feels very recluse-chic (or at least tortured cool), as Hoult’s Salinger struggles handsomely with his work, the publishing world, and his memories of World War II. And while we can’t imagine the man himself would have been overly happy about seeing his early life transformed into one of Byronic heroism, there’s an energy to the trailer that suggests the film might offer up more than a simple series of basic biopic pleasures. Rebel In »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: R.I.P. Home Alone dad John Heard

22 July 2017 8:15 AM, PDT

Variety reports this morning that John Heard, the longtime character actor best-known as the dad in Home Alone, has died at 72. No cause of death is known at this time, but TMZ reports that Heard was found in a hotel where he was reportedly recovering from a “minor back surgery” he had on Wednesday at Stanford Medical Center.

Few actors could rival Heard’s long and varied acting career. He started out in TV movies in the ’70s and was working steadily right up until his death. Although best-known for his patriarch role in two Home Alone movies, he also had major roles in ’80s hits like Big and Beaches. Other standouts from his career heyday include appearances in After Hours, Heaven Help Us, The Trip To Bountiful, and The Pelican Brief.

His career took another upswing when he played Vin Makazian on The Sopranos, a tragically corrupt detective »

- Gwen Ihnat

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Coming Distractions: Charlie Sheen’s latest trailer looks like the “bottle episode” version of 9/11

21 July 2017 8:55 PM, PDT

How do you do a movie about 9/11 when you don’t have the budget, crew, or special effects on hand to actually do that momentous day justice? If you’re Charlie Sheen and National Lampoon’s Cattle Call director Martin Guigui, the answer is simple: Stuff a bunch of actors in an elevator, grab some stock footage and B-roll of Whoopi Goldberg looking nervous, and stage the cinematic disaster flick equivalent of a TV bottle episode.

That appears to be what’s going on in 9/11, a movie we first told you about when Sheen was getting it off the ground last year. “Based on actual events”—No shit!—and co-starring Goldberg, Gina Gershon, and Luis Guzmán, the film looks like an attempt to make the least expensive 9/11 movie possible, boiling down one of the most life-changing events of the 21st century into a series »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: It’s Rumor Time: Is Warner Bros. trying to retire Ben Affleck’s Batman?

21 July 2017 4:15 PM, PDT

Given that it’s a team-up between one of the world’s most popular actors, and one of its most beloved superheroes, Warner Bros.Ben Affleck/Batman sub-franchise has gotten off to a shockingly rocky start. Although Affleck seemed comfortable enough in the part in Batman V. Superman—and even agreed to some light cameo duty in Suicide Squad—trouble has continued to plague the standalone film version of The Batman for months now. First, Affleck opted out of directing the movie, and, when the film finally did find someone to helm it—Planet Of The Apes mastermind Matt Reeves—he ended up tossing the script Affleck had written for it.

Back in February, rumors started circulating that Affleck wanted out of the part, and it’s starting to sound like the feeling might be mutual. Today, The Hollywood Reporter has some speculation on Batfleck’s future fate, noting that »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Todd McFarlane’s making a new Spawn movie

21 July 2017 2:57 PM, PDT

Someone needs to tell John Leguizamo to pull his old “demon clown” make-up out of storage, because Spawn is coming back to theaters. Earlier this afternoon, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane—accompanied by his pal Kevin Smith—posted a Facebook Live video announcing that he’s just signed Blumhouse Productions and its founder, Jason Blum, to help him make a new movie based off of his hell-bound anti-hero.

The film would mark the first time McFarlane—who’s best known as a comics creator/guy who puts his name on gruesome action figures—will sit in the director’s chair. (Mark A.Z. Dippé directed the 1997 Spawn film, starring Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, and Michael Jai White.) According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is being pitched as a “low-budget horror movie,” which seems like a weird direction, given that one of the major appeals of Spawn is his crazy, effects-heavy »

- William Hughes

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Film Club: Dunkirk breaks out of the summer blockbuster formula

21 July 2017 12:00 PM, PDT

For the first segment of this final live episode of Film Club, A.V. Club film editor A.A. Dowd and staff critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky delve into one of the summer’s most anticipated and acclaimed films: the World War II thriller Dunkirk, which finds blockbuster writer-director Christopher Nolan applying his cool touch and elaborate storytelling sensibilities to a pivotal event in the early part of the war to create something that is equal parts old-fashioned and convention-defying.

Watch the final live episode of Film Club below and stay tuned for a new format next month. »

- A.A. Dowd, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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