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Random Roles: Ethan Suplee on Deepwater Horizon, Mallrats, and not knowing if he’s in the new Twin Peaks

2 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: Since breaking into the business as a teenager in the mid-’90s, Ethan Suplee’s cultivated a remarkably diverse career. After stepping toe-to-toe with Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter as lovable lug Frankie Stechino on Boy Meets World, Suplee found an artistic home in Kevin Smith’s View Askew universe. His career took on added texture after memorable supporting turns in American History X and Blow, leading Suplee to work with visionary directors like Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain), Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain), and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street). Suplee wrapped up four seasons of My Name Is Earl in 2009, and since then has continued to work steadily in film and TV, with his ...

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- Randall Colburn

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TV Review: Amanda Knox, the drug-and-sex-crazed murderer who wasn’t

2 hours ago

Unlike Making A Murderer or any given episode of 48 Hours, Netflix’s Amanda Knox doesn’t seek to build mystery or suspense: One of the first shots is of Knox herself, talking straight to camera, clearly not behind bars or in prison clothes. She introduces her nearly unbelievable story with a frightening binary: “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.” By “you” she means any innocent person who might find themselves in prison for something they didn’t do. Amanda Knox is her story, it bears her name, and the documentary wants viewers to believe her. That’s easy to do because the evidence is clear, but it doesn’t make the story itself any less harrowing or fascinating.

Knox was a 20-year-old American who had been in Italy for school just a couple of months when she was arrested for brutally murdering ...

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- Josh Modell

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Movie Review: Denial is pretty dull for a film with so much chilling relevance

2 hours ago

Denial tells a fact-based story that should be a footnote, but holds a disturbing degree of present-day resonance. In 1996, self-styled historian David Irving filed a lawsuit against actual historian Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher for references in her book Denying The Holocaust that Irving considered libelous and that Lipstadt considered true. She went forward with the trial, even though it was held in Irving’s native England, where the burden of proof is placed on libel defendants, not their accusers. The story positively buzzes with present-day parallels, from its invocations of elaborate, grandstanding conspiracy theories, to the way deniers bend history to better suit their prejudices, to the way Irving seems to consider being called a Holocaust denier more offensive than denying the Holocaust. Intentionally or not, Denial is perfectly timed to a season of insane conspiracy theories and feelings-based readings of facts.

It’s disappointing to report, then ...

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- Jesse Hassenger

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Movie Review: The gorgeous, sprawling American Honey is a road trip worth taking

2 hours ago

The kids are from all over: the South, the West, outside the United States, New Jersey, all crammed together in an oversized van, nearly impossible to keep straight. But they come together for bursts of music—radio songs, songs over Kmart Pa systems, or once in a while, the sounds of one of them strumming an acoustic guitar. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey doesn’t contain musical numbers, exactly; its interludes are more like the “Tiny Dancer” scene from Almost Famous crossed with a low-budget music video. Even literal background characters get in on the action, from country line-dancing in a dingy bar to suggestive moves practiced in the backyard at a young, privileged teenager’s birthday party.

Star (Sasha Lane) and Jake (Shia Labeouf) are not attending the birthday party in question. Rather, they’ve managed to get in the door of a well-appointed home because they’re selling »

- Jesse Hassenger

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Movie Review: Zachary Quinto pretentiously narrates the sub-Cousteau Passage To Mars

2 hours ago

World Without Sun, Jacques Cousteau’s classic portrait of life in a submarine lab with half a dozen paperback-reading, chain-smoking Frenchmen, ends with a scene in which Cousteau’s saucer-shaped submersible briefly surfaces in an air pocket in an undersea cavern. It’s a strange and inspiring coda, but also blatantly staged (though so is almost everything in World Without Sun) and could never pass muster in our age of interchangeable educational nature documentaries. But lest one think that Cousteau’s light-on-facts approach was easier (“As soon as you are specific, the poetry disappears,” he said at that film’s premiere), there are bad imitations to prove otherwise. If nothing else, Jean-Christophe Jeauffre’s insipid Passage To Mars instills a greater appreciation for the classic movies that clearly inspired it.

Admittedly, Cousteau and other nature documentary pioneers like Jean Painlevé and Hans Hass had it a little easier, because they »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Movie Review: An industrial disaster turns workmanlike in Deepwater Horizon

2 hours ago

There’s a novelty inherent in seeing a Hollywood movie depict its characters’ chosen professions as unglamorously as Deepwater Horizon does when it shows the day-to-day operations of a drilling rig. These are some of the best parts of Peter Berg’s workmanlike disaster movie: riggers checking in at a heliport before being flown out for their 21-day shifts; a sore, tired-looking guy in safety-orange coveralls cracking a dumb joke; middle-aged men who pronounce “cement” as “see-ment” talking construction timetables; a visiting executive being asked to remove his magenta tie because of industry superstition. But in all other respects, this dramatization of the real-life 2010 blowout and fire that killed 11 people is a poor man’s Towering Inferno, despite the hefty $156 million budget.

The fact that this industrial disaster precipitated the worst maritime oil spill in U.S. history is tertiary; the movie dispenses with it in a ...

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- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: Justin Lin to play with his cars again as the director of the Hot Wheels movie

7 hours ago

Director Justin Lin spent four years (and three eclectically named sequels) pushing cars around as the temporary steward of the Fast & The Furious franchise, ramping them off of stuff, setting off giant explosions, and (we’re guessing) making “vroom-vroom” noises with his mouth. Now, after a brief detour into the world of spaceships and even bigger booms, Lin is getting back to playing with his cars again. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Star Trek Beyond director has signed on to helm the Hot Wheels movie, the one that various Hollywood studios have had in the works for years now.

Last we’d heard, Hot Wheels was being directed by prolific stunt coordinator and second unit director Simon Crane, and was set to center on “a washed-up Illinois State Trooper who, after a dangerous military device falls into the hands of a criminal, fights the man his father once ...

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- William Hughes

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Coming Distractions: Jim Jarmusch interrogates The Stooges for this Gimme Danger trailer

8 hours ago

In a Cannes write-up back in May, The A.V. Club’s own Mike D’Angelo said that Jim Jarmusch’s Stooges documentary Gimme Danger is “entirely safe, even cozy,” adding that the film seems specifically designed by Jarmusch “to ensure that The Stooges receive their due as one of the most influential forces in music history.” On that note, this trailer for Gimme Danger opens with Jarmusch sitting down to talk with a sadly shirt-wearing Iggy Pop about The Stooges, which he refers to as “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band ever.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a documentary that loves its subject, but it’s pretty clear that Gimme Danger isn’t going to reveal some dark, unspoken secrets from The Stooges’ heyday. Instead, it’s targeted at the people who already love the band or are curious to see why they’re so highly regarded »

- Sam Barsanti

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Great Job, Internet!: Thousands of movie lovers rely on this single theater in their area

8 hours ago

It’s easy to take movie theaters for granted when you live in a place where the nearest one is a short drive away. But not everyone is surrounded by malls and multiplexes. For some, the options for a night at the movies are considerably slimmer. Take, for example, the nearly 20,000 residents served by the Patricia Theatre, located in Powell River, British Columbia, some 100 miles northwest of Vancouver. There are no other movie theaters in the vicinity of this single cinematic haven; most of its clientele would have to drive for more than two hours—and possibly take a ferry—to find another silver screen. That makes the Patricia more than just an entertainment destination. It makes it a pillar of a community and a public service.

Opened in 1913 and advertised as the “longest running movie theater in Canada,” the Patricia is the subject of “A ...

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- A.A. Dowd

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Fantastic Fest: Shin Godzilla stomps all over Fantastic Fest

8 hours ago

Film festivals in general—and Fantastic Fest in particular, I suspect—present a situation that’s both fun and kind of intimidating: Take a bunch of people who prefer to spend their time immersed in fantasy worlds, and make them socialize with each other for an entire week. On the one hand, it’s exciting to meet people who have the same passionate feelings about obscure genre films as you do. On the other, serious cinephiles tend to be introverts, and introverts, as a rule, find parties draining. In other words, by the sixth day of the festival, the standard icebreaker question—“What have you seen so far?”—has taken on a certain world-weary quality.

A last-minute addition to the schedule, the North American premiere of Shin Godzilla (Grade: B), formerly known as Godzilla: Resurgence, promised to change that, at least for the specific subset of nerd that’s really »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Rev up the Mini Coopers: The Italian Job is coming to TV

8 hours ago

NBC is working on a TV version of iconic heist caper movie The Italian Job. That’s per Deadline, which says that the network has given a script commitment to a new crime drama based on the 1969 Michael Caine classic. The show is being written and produced by BallersRob Weiss, whose old Entourage co-producer Mark Wahlberg starred in the original’s 2003 remake.

NBC is promising a “noisy, sexy, thrill-ride” with its new show, along with—presumably—a whole host of product placement for BMW’s Mini Cooper. Coopers—originally produced by the British Motor Corporation—were a key component of the climax of both films, with the Quincy Jones-scored Cooper chase from the original a regular entry in lists of the best cinematic car chases of all time.

A sequel to the 2003 film, tentatively titled The Brazilian Job, has been in the works for years, but ...

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: Takashi Miike to direct live-action adaptation of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

10 hours ago

It’s not particularly notable that Warner Bros. is developing a live-action adaptation of Hirohiko Araki’s popular manga series, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Jojo No Kimyo Na Boken). Most of the films the studio is putting out in the next half-decade are based on comic books. No, what’s interesting is that they’re actually allowing a real life Asian actor to take the lead role, instead of a regular ol’ white actor like Matt Damon or Jim Sturgess. The protagonist, Josuke Higashikata, will be played by 22-year-old Tokyo-born Kento Yamazaki.

Part of the reason that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure—about a clan of good guys with superpowers who fight bad guys with superpowers—isn’t being Last Airbender-ed is that Warner Bros. is co-producing the action-fantasy film with Toho, the Japanese studio behind 28 Godzilla movies. Another is that it’s being directed by Takashi Miike, the ...

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- Dennis DiClaudio

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Newswire: Shout! Factory TV is now streaming on Amazon Prime

11 hours ago

Shout! Factory jumped on the bandwidth wagon with the launch of a streaming channel back in February 2015, thereby introducing new generations to—or just reacquainting old ones with—Mystery Science Theater 3000, a plethora of Godzilla flicks, and all the Home Movies they could handle. Sure, Shout! Factory TV was an ad-supported site, which meant sitting through commercials as if you were watching those Dennis The Menace reruns on an actual TV. But that was still a small price to pay, considering it was actually free. Well, for those who are a little more concerned with time than their budgets, Shout! Factory’s just launched a new add-on subscription with Amazon Channels that’ll let you watch The Jerk and The Saint for not much more than a single Redbox rental.

Amazon Prime members can sign up for the Shout! Factory TV video subscription for just $2.99/month ...

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- Danette Chavez

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Movie Review: Tim Burton enters mashup mode with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

11 hours ago

The central setting of the new Tim Burton movie, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, is an abandoned orphanage, overgrown with vegetation and situated on the lonelier side of a small Welsh island. Except the building isn’t abandoned, not really. Behind its dilapidated walls, a makeshift family of superpowered youths, or “Peculiars,” stay forever young. For these outcasts, every day is the same day: September 23, 1943. And every night, they gather on the front lawn and slip gas masks over their faces to watch a fleet of German aircrafts fly overhead, dropping the bomb that would destroy them all, if they didn’t possess the power to freeze it in midair, turn back the hands of the clock, and start the day all over again. They’re stuck in a loop at the edge of oblivion: a clan of lost boys and girls, living out their final »

- A.A. Dowd

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Coming Distractions: The trailer for Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change documentary is here to bum you out

15 hours ago

If you haven’t yet gotten your fill of a bewhiskered Leonardo DiCaprio trudging through the wilderness and bearing witness to a seemingly unending string of soul-crushing atrocities, then you are in luck. His new documentary project with actor-documentarian Fisher Stevens (Crazy Love) for National Geographic, about how we’re all going to die from unchecked climate change, looks to be almost as bleak as The Revenant. It follows the A-lister around the world as he discusses our species’ impending doom with very smart and famous people like Elon Musk, Pope Francis, and President Barack Obama and then bums out the world while addressing the United Nations. Think An Inconvenient Truth, but with a bangable Al Gore.

“Climate change is the most critical and urgent problem facing our world today, and it must be a top issue for voters this election day,” DiCaprio said of the film. “Fisher and I »

- Dennis DiClaudio

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Newswire: Jon Favreau crowned Disney’s live-action Lion King director

15 hours ago

Jon Favreau’s live-action The Jungle Book movie for Disney not only beat the Warner Bros.’ version to the screen, its $966M worldwide box-office take sent the rival project scampering off to 2018 for a release date. The McU player has already been tapped to helm a sequel. With Favreau so firmly planted himself among the flora and fauna of the jungle, Disney’s now teaming up with the director for a live-action reimagining of The Lion King. Favreau trumpeted the news on Twitter ahead of any formal press release, but at least he used the pertinent emoji:

Excited for my next project »

- Danette Chavez

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Coming Distractions: New Fantastic Beasts trailer features creatures galore

16 hours ago

The latest—and most extensive so far—look at the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them dives into Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) briefcase, a world filled with creatures majestic, fearsome, and cute. That little green twig dude is especially sweet-looking. Well, if we want to get technical, he’s a Bowtruckle. But outside of the wonders of Scamander’s luggage, it’s clear the film has a bunch of magical political intrigue at play. Samantha Morton’s on hand railing against witches, and Colin Farrell’s whispering in the ear of a withdrawn Ezra Miller. The function of Miller’s character—Credence Barebone, the son of Morton’s Mary Lou Barebone—has been kept deliberately obscure, but according to Entertainment Weekly his mom’s none too nice. Meanwhile, Redmayne’s mumblecore Scamander comes off sheepish and clueless here, while Katherine Waterston’s Porpentina Goldstein has »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson join forces for late-night talk show movie

16 hours ago

Over the years Mindy Kaling has been vocal about her love for Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, written by and starring Emma Thompson. Kaling put it on her list of #Fave7Films and said in 2014 that “Thompson gets overlooked for” it. So the news that Thompson will be co-starring in a film Kaling wrote must be something of a dream come true for The Mindy Project creator. Variety reports that Thompson will play a late-night talk show host who hires her first female writer, played by Kaling, and struggles to keep her show.

According to the publication, the film has been described “as The Devil Wears Prada meets Broadcast News.” Perhaps that means it will include dashes of The Late Shift and The Larry Sanders Show, with a hint of Joan Rivers’ real life thrown in for good measure. It’s been years since Rivers’ show was on the »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Interview: Meat Loaf on Fight Club, Miley Cyrus, and why he isn’t a musician

27 September 2016 10:00 PM, PDT

This month will see the release of Meat Loaf’s 13th studio album, Braver Than We Are. Coming nearly 40 years after the release of his cult classic Bat Out of Hell, the album is a continuation of what’s been a long, strange, and successful career in theatrics for the 68-year-old Texas native. (It’s also a reunion with his most successful collaborator, songwriter Jim Steinman.) As a sort of counter-culture polymath, Meat Loaf’s music and acting careers have more or less been one and the same since his breakthrough role as Eddie/Dr. Everett Scott in both the stage and film versions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His unlikely success since then has, in many ways, resembled the same kind of theatrical story arc of his music and its rock-opera characteristics.

Though that’s not to say it hasn’t been a long, hard, bat-ride out ...

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- Jonathan K. Dick

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Movie Review: The recycled teen-movie clichés of Girl Asleep may put you to sleep

27 September 2016 10:00 PM, PDT

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see another coming-of-age movie made by someone who actually graduated high school in the 1970s, but that won’t stop films from deploying the era’s teenage mores and tacky décor as lazy shorthand for the supposedly universal rites of teenhood. Girl Asleep, adapted by Australia’s Windmill Theatre Company from one of its plays, is one of these after-school special regurgitations. Never betraying an iota of lived experience, it trots out tropes seen in dozens of movies and sitcom episodes (the embarrassing dad, the big party, the fictional rock star crush, etc.), which can ring true only because they’ve been in circulation for decades. It’s not teenhood, but “teenhood,” with a fetish for depictions of adolescence that involved gawky boys in blue tuxedos and bedrooms decorated with pictures of horses. Perhaps something has been lost in translation; film and TV »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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