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Great Job, Internet!: Finally, a video defense of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen

43 minutes ago

In a career full of divisive movies, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen still stands as one of the most polarizing. It’s not as universally hated as Batman V Superman nor as universally tolerated as 300. Instead, it’s loved and hated in equal measure, and those differing reactions often have to do with what people think about the film’s relationship to its source material: Is it faithfully adapting, subverting, or willfully missing the point of Alan Moore’s iconic comic series from the 1980s? That’s why it’s interesting that this new video from the Wisecrack YouTube channel comes down in favor of Snyder’s Watchmen without really analyzing its relationship to its source material at all.

The video is interested in Watchmen less as a piece of cinema than as a piece of philosophical commentary. Its oddly high-concept narrator celebrates the film’s flawed, morally complex heroes ...

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- Caroline Siede

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Newswire: The Razzies assert their continued relevance by making fun of Zoolander 2

54 minutes ago

Hey, remember Zoolander 2? Exactly. So it’s sort of ironically perfect that the Golden Raspberry Awards, a.k.a. The Razzies, the awards show honoring the worst in cinema as picked by the people who write those “1001 Jokes” books that was founded in 1980 and hasn’t really updated its comedic style since, is hitching its wagon to that underperforming, decades-late Ben Stiller vehicle. The big news this year is that the Razzies have followed the Oscars’ lead in expanding their category sizes; as organizers put it, “2016 was so overfull of bad movies that we had to expand every category from five movies to six.”

However, despite their widened scope, this year’s Razzies nominations have followed the usual pattern of fixating upon a handful of critically panned-but-profitable titles, allowing the awards show to have it both ways in terms of capitalizing upon the films’ popularity while ...

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- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Weekend Box Office: M. Night Shyamalan twists again

1 hour ago

Turns out America still likes M. Night Shyamalan. The reputation of the former next great hope of Hollywood fizzled out after a string of poorly received films and ill-conceived forays into effect-driven blockbuster fantasy, but now the low-budget thriller Split has proven to be his critical and commercial comeback. The film earned Shyamalan his best reviews in 15 years (since Signs, in other words), as well as one of the largest January opening weekends on record. Exceeding predictions, the movie opened at No. 1 with a $40.2 million box office debut. Given that the movie cost less to make than Shyamalan’s little-seen pre-Sixth Sense feature Wide Awake—the one where Rosie O’Donnell plays a nun—that means it’s already wildly profitable. It helps the thing is damn entertaining.

In bizarre callback to Shyamalan’s early 2000s heyday, the No. 2 slot went to xXx: The ...

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- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Watch This: Steve Buscemi made his screen debut in an early milestone of queer cinema

2 hours ago

One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. This week: With Sundance in full swing, we’re looking back at some of the best directorial debuts that premiered at the festival.

Parting Glances (1986)

Bill Sherwood’s New York‒set Parting Glances is chiefly remembered as the first movie of any consequence to tackle the AIDS crisis. True enough, but the tone of the movie couldn’t be further from Longtime Companion, Philadelphia, or the many other earnest AIDS pictures that followed. It is, more than anything, a party movie, with a sprawling cast of characters, a fresh scene to explore, some classic Bronski Beat tunes, and an infectious eagerness to fit as much life as it can into its 24-hour time frame. Accordingly, it feels like the first major gay movie made for gay people.

At the picture’s ...

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- Scott MacDonald

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Oscar This: This year, the Oscars celebrate 60 years of ignoring movies from around the world

2 hours ago

This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced on January 24. Will the Academy uphold conventional wisdom or think outside of the box? With Oscar This, we highlight unlikely candidates—the dark horses we’d love to see compete.

I’m not going to pretend that Bertrand Bonello’s Nocturama is the kind of film that would ever be nominated for an Oscar, even in that strange tide pool of a category called Best Foreign Language Film. It’s more than just an unlikely candidate: It’s an anti-candidate, an unseemly cinematic monster so hopeless that there’s a good chance I won’t have the opportunity to review it or publish the interview I recorded with Bonello last September. By that point, the movie had already flopped hard in France, grossing a small fraction of its budget. It still has no distributor in the United States, and even the ...

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- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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A.V. Club Live: The A.V. Club is live discussing the Women’s March, Star Wars, and Dippin’ Dots, oddly enough

4 hours ago

A.V. Club Live is our daily chat show, broadcasting live via Facebook every weekday at 10:30 a.m. Central.

Welcome to the other side. It’s the first A.V. Club Live since the inauguration, and to be frank, we’re still reeling. No matter, we’ll still be covering the top stories from this weekend, including celebrities at the Women’s March on Washington, Star Wars, and fucking Dippin’ Dots.

Tune in and comment in the post below.

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- Baraka Kaseko

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Newswire: David Ayer has a few Suicide Squad regrets

4 hours ago

Considering all that took place after it debuted in August, Suicide Squad is one of 2016’s more minor abominations. It didn’t even land on The A.V. Club’s worst films of the year list, despite the critical drubbing it received upon release. Director David Ayer, however, is apparently working through some feelings about the film, composing a long note posted to Twitter in which he explains what he would change about the movie if he had the chance to redo it.

For example, Ayer says he’d make the Joker the main baddie, instead of relegating the character to the sidelines. Whether that would be a vast improvement on the original probably depends on how you feel about Jared Leto’s extra-hammy performance, but it also seems like a better choice than the largely nonsensical Enchantress plot. Speaking of, Ayer also notes he’d “engineer a more ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Star Wars: Episode VIII has a title

4 hours ago

Confirming suspicions that Luke Skywalker wasn’t wearing those gray robes and staring off into the misty horizon for nothing, Lucasfilm has confirmed that the full title of the next chapter in Star Wars’ Skywalker family saga will be Star Wars: Episode VIII—The Last Jedi. The news was announced on Twitter just a few minutes ago, along with the nifty teaser poster seen below. Expect more updates on this story than even the most diehard fan can handle between now and the film’s release date of December 15, 2017.

It’s official. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the next chapter of the Skywalker saga. This December. #TheLastJedi https://t.co/ySkVwQcMTP pic.twitter.com/eHrPgbsRJq

Star Wars (@starwars) January 23, 2017 »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Woody Harrelson is likely playing Garris Shrike in the Han Solo movie

5 hours ago

It appears that Woody Harrelson sheepishly let slip just who he’ll be playing in the Han Solo movie during an interview with Variety at Sundance. The actor’s initial reticence to respond perhaps implies that he’ll be getting a stern talking to from some higher ups at Lucasfilm, but he did seem to confirm that the mentor figure role he’ll take on will be Garris Shrike. As /Film notes, however, there is some lingering skepticism as to whether Harrelson was just reiterating that he’ll be in the Star Wars spin-off rather than spilling character details, but you can see for yourself:

Shrike is a character imported from The Han Solo Trilogy novels by Ann C. Crispin, the first of which, The Paradise Snare, was published in 1997. In that book, he’s a one-time bounty hunter who is the captain of the Trader’s Luck. Shrike ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Martin Freeman joins the Black Panther cast

6 hours ago

Martin Freeman made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Captain America: Civil War as bureaucrat Everett Ross, a guy who really seemed to have it in for Bucky Barnes. Perhaps that’s what’s prompted him to journey to Wakanda (that is, Atlanta). Freeman was photographed on the set of Black Panther over the weekend, and since he was accompanied by an umbrella holder, we assume he wasn’t just there to gawk at lead cast members Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, and Forest Whitaker.

Ross’ comics backstory has a much stronger connection to T’Challa. Not only did he serve as a diplomatic liaison to the prince, but he also dated someone who dated the Black Panther when he was in his Luke Charles guise. But even if he doesn’t find himself in that capacity, Ross could end up in Wakanda while on »


- Danette Chavez

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Together Again: Kevin Kline’s talent went wild when Lawrence Kasdan reined him in

15 hours ago

With Together Again, Jesse Hassenger looks at actors and directors who have worked together on at least three films, analyzing the nature of their collaborations.

Among the countless contributions Roger Ebert made to film criticism, the Kevin Kline Mustache Principle may not rank highest, but it has provided a lasting and extremely helpful lens for recognizing one actor’s intentions. Put simply: In movies where accomplished stage and film performer Kevin Kline sports some kind of facial hair, he signals that he is playing comedy. In movies where he is clean-shaven, he is usually serious. It’s not iron clad, but even the exceptions tend to prove the rule: When Kline appears clean-shaven in the comedies Fierce Creatures and Wild Wild West, he balances the scales by taking on dual roles in both movies, allowing him to have his beard and shave it, too.

The Kevin Kline Mustache Principle is »

- Jesse Hassenger

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Inventory: 14 Bush-era political artworks that stood the test of time

15 hours ago

The George W. Bush years were dark, no matter which side of the aisle you sat on. Less than a year into his first term came the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and everything thereafter was haunted by the specter of war—first in Afghanistan and then, erroneously, in Iraq. The U.S. government engaged in torture and gleefully degraded its prisoners, and it deflected all criticisms with an anti-intellectual form of doublespeak. Torture became “enhanced interrogation,” quagmires became “missions accomplished,” and the seeds for unprecedented government surveillance were planted in the Patriot Act. Meanwhile, rampant corporate greed instigated a great recession that gradually squeezed the middle class further and further into poverty. Almost a decade later, Bush’s legacy remains toxic.

It also looks positively quaint in comparison to our worst predictions for the looming Donald Trump era, and while it sounds foolish to suggest that totalitarianism »

- Laura Adamczyk, David Anthony, A.A. Dowd, Sean O'Neal, Clayton Purdom, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Nick Wanserski, Esther Zuckerman

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Sundance: Jeremy Renner shoots and misses in a directorial debut from the writer of Sicario

19 hours ago

Sundance isn’t going quite as smoothly as it usually does. That’s okay. The world isn’t going too smoothly right now either. Yesterday, on the first Saturday of the festival (usually a very well-attended day), the shuttle service everyone uses to get from venue to venue sputtered to a crawl. That’s okay, too, because it was for a good reason: Thousands of people flooded Main Street, epicenter of Park City’s nightlife, to participate in what now’s being reported as the largest protest—counting all cities that marched—in United States history. How could any of us cloistered Sundancers complain about not getting from one warm auditorium to another in a timely fashion? The country had taken to the streets in peaceful opposition, and here we were, scrolling past photographic highlights of the marches between punchy tweets about the day’s movies.

For the festival’s »

- A.A. Dowd

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