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Coming Distractions: This trailer for Clowntergeist isn’t as funny as its title suggests

48 minutes ago

These days, the “clowns are scary” narrative has built up so much steam that it’s hard to tell if anyone is actually afraid of clowns or if it’s all propaganda generated by the birthday magician lobby, but clowns have become popular fodder for horror movies either way. There was that Clown movie last summer, the upcoming It remake, and now we have a trailer for Clowntergeist, a movie with a great name about a small town that is terrorized by a demon-possessed clown man. There’s a lot to like here, from the way the guy says “for a manhunt” at the beginning to the fact that the end of the trailer suggests it used to be called Fear Itself, but the bit at the end where the girl sees her bedroom door creepily open and then pretends to be asleep is simply fantastic. It may not seem »

- Sam Barsanti

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Coming Distractions: Bob Odenkirk is a greeting card writer on the run in the Girlfriend’s Day trailer

1 hour ago

Pioneering the new genre of greeting card comedy noir, Netflix has released a trailer for Bob Odenkirk’s new dark comedy Girlfriend’s Day. The film sees Odenkirk play a down-on-his luck penner of smarmy odes to mothers, fathers, and all the other standard recipients of Hallmark’s industrially packaged warmth, whose life takes a turn for the surreal when the government announces a greeting card contest for a new holiday, and all the best entrants wind up dead.

Besides the pleasure of Odenkirk as a deadpan, bumfight-loving former romantic, Girlfriend’s Day is stuffed with recognizable comedy names. Andy Richter, June Diane Raphael, Natasha Lyonne, Toby Huss, and even Odenkirk’s old Breaking Bad co-star Steven Michael Quezada all stop by to turn his hapless protagonist’s life into a saccharine-tinged hell. Girlfriend’s Day debuts (of course) on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me will arrive in June

2 hours ago

Benny Boom’s All Eyez On Me promises to be a lurid, somewhat sensationalist depiction of the complex life of rap legend Tupac Shakur, complete with warnings about the price of fame, and the looming shadow of the rapper’s 1996 death. Today, Deadline reports that the film has secured a release date, with Boom’s biopic landing on June 16, 2017. The film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur (and, presumably, his immortal hologram, provided its narrative stretches that far). Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Annie Ilonzeh, Dominic L. Santana, Jamal Woolard, Keith Robinson and Cory Hardrict all co-star, operating off a script from Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft. »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Kenya Barris is remaking White Men Can’t Jump

3 hours ago

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a White Men Can’t Jump remake is on the way from Mortal Media partners (and pro athletes) Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil. This is especially good news in a week that’s already seen one fundamentally flawed attempt at mending race relations in this country. Ron Shelton’s original film showed Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson settling their differences on the paint, even as Harrelson’s character comes to accept that he cannot, in fact, dunk (this hasn’t quite proven to be an immutable truth across his demographic).

Obviously, we need a White Men Can’t Jump remake more than ever, to show how black and white people can work together to hustle other half-court players. Besides, Rob Schneider lacked awareness and knowledge of beginner’s American history, while the White Men Can’t Jump remake has tapped Black-ish creator Kenya Barris to »

- Danette Chavez

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Newswire: Ricky Gervais’ Life On The Road will premiere next month on Netflix

4 hours ago

Do you enjoy watching as failed businessman with dubious entertainment skills blithely sputters nonsensical absurdities and mirthfully belches offensive comments at everyone within earshot, all without realizing that he’s not the most likable person in the room? If not, you should probably avoid the news over the next few years. And one way to do that is to watch Ricky Gervais’ new mockumentary David Brent: Life On The Road, which will begin awkwardly streaming on Netflix starting February 10.

The feature-length film follows the main character from his break-out BBC Two sitcom The Office, as he tours the U.K. with his rock/rap band Foregone Conclusion. It will definitely be somewhat uncomfortable, and some people will almost certainly be hurt (he does have a high-powered T-shirt rifle), but you’ll be able to soothe yourself with the knowledge that none of it is really happening.

The film saw ...

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- Dennis DiClaudio

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Newswire: Emma Watson said “no” to Cinderella before signing on for Beauty And The Beast

4 hours ago

Emma Watson has lived the dream of countless childhoods by getting her pick of Disney princesses to play. And like those of us who ignored the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing to focus on our favorite character’s literary inclinations, she chose Beauty And The Beast’s Belle. In an interview with Total Film, coming to us via Screen Rant, Watson explained that she was offered the part of Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 live action reboot, but said no, leaving the role for Lily James to swoop up in her giant gown. Then the chance to play Belle came along.

“I didn’t know they were going to make Beauty And The Beast at the time I turned down Cinderella, but when they offered me Belle, I just felt the character resonated with me so much more than Cinderella did,” she said. “She remains curious, compassionate and open-minded. And ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Ocean’s 8 recruits Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner

4 hours ago

Despite the recent additions of Matt Damon, James Corden, and Damian Lewis, Ocean’s 8 is still poised to be a female-led caper. While casting for cameos, the production team stumbled upon the perfect players for bit roles in the New York Fashion Week-centered story: Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner. We say that because both Kardashian and Jenner are involved in the fashion industry, and because they should be able to play themselves with aplomb. TMZ reports the sisters were recently and ever so briefly on set, all dolled up and ready to stroll wordlessly past the actors. (Our header image is actually a photo of Kardashian and Jenner‘s performance.)

But, just as we were ready to welcome one or both of the Hadids to the heist, Deadline reports that another dude has made his way into the cast. The Hobbit trilogy’s Richard Armitage has signed on in ...

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- Danette Chavez

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Newswire: Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Nebula will show up in Avengers: Infinity War

4 hours ago

Not every actor who plays a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has admitted that they’ll be among Avengers: Infinity War’s 68 characters, but enough have that we can assume everyone who has ever punched a Hydra goon or killed a Chitauri invader—unless they’re from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Netflix shows—will make an appearance. That still leaves the door open for surprises, though, like the mystery character Peter Dinklage might play or the new reveal from Karen Gillan that her Guardians Of The Galaxy character will “be making a little appearance” in Infinity War.

That quote comes from a BBC profile (via /Film) in which she briefly talks about her upcoming projects, and though she doesn’t offer any details beyond that, it may be an important detail that connects Infinity War to the comic book miniseries that it ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Lily Tomlin’s lifetime achievement award celebration will be a 9 To 5 reunion

7 hours ago

It makes sense that Jane Fonda would be on hand for this year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Lily Tomlin is set to receive a lifetime achievement award. After all, both are nominated for their work in Grace And Frankie. But the SAGs aren’t going to pass up on the potential for a full-scale 9 To 5 reunion. The show’s executive producer announced today that Fonda will present Tomlin with her big honor alongside Dolly Parton, who hopefully will just do her tribute as a musical number. Even if we don’t get a performance of the theme song from the 1980 film, Violet, Judy, and Doralee will be together once again right when we could use some badass ladies taking on sexist jerks.

The SAG Awards are set to take place January 29. No word on whether Dabney Coleman is also expected to attend, but if ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Great Job, Internet!: Even Rogue One’s soundtrack contained weird allusions to other Star Wars movies

7 hours ago

Star Wars’ “Imperial March” is one of the most recognizable pieces of music in cinema, at this point a shorthand for anything ominous and evil. Your dad has probably prefaced the arrival of a visiting in-law with it, to no one’s delight. You only need to hear the march’s opening notes to immediately know it’s coming.

Interestingly enough, we all heard it tucked away in Rogue One, which was ostensibly last year’s introduction to the new series of one-off “anthology films” but is serving more, at this point, as an endlessly refractive hall of mirrors forecasting possible future editions, alternate-reality versions, and references to previous films. As Gizmodo points out, a few Redditors and musicians have already picked into the way the March can be heard vaguely within the Rogue One cut “Hope,” but it wasn’t until Portland Mercury writer Bobby Roberts mashed them up »

- Clayton Purdom

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Newswire: Nicolas Winding Refn releases LP of music that inspired The Neon Demon

8 hours ago

Nicolas Winding Refn’s glamorous and gruesome The Neon Demon was one of 2016’s more divisive releases. But its fans can have more to chew on when Refn debuts The Wicked Die Young, an album comprised of music that inspired him when undertaking the project. According to Pitchfork, the compilation will be available for purchase on vinyl April 14, with cover art of an eyeball peeking out from two parted lips—an image that may test your gag reflex if you’re familiar with the movie’s plot.

For the records, Refn selected songs from 999, Giorgio Moroder, and Sparks, while also nodding to the cinematic works that influenced him with the likes of Dionne Warwick’s “(Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls” and Pino Donaggio’s “The Shower (Theme From Dressed To Kill).” On Facebook, Electric Youth wrote that its entry, “Good Blood,” was written specifically for The ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Interview: M. Night Shyamalan on turning domestic worries into supernatural fears

8 hours ago

It was his third feature, the hit supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense, that turned M. Night Shyamalan into a household name. Since then, the writer-director has seen his share of ups and downs, from the highly regarded Unbreakable to the widely derided The Last Airbender. After a couple of back-to-back big-budget flops, Shyamalan decided to effectively reset his career with The Visit, his take on the found-footage horror movie. Now he’s returned with another low-budget genre film: the macabre, deviously pulpy, and very entertaining Split, an unapologetic B-movie that simultaneously finds Shyamalan returning to the territory of his most acclaimed and popular work. Explaining just how Split gets there would spoil the fun.

The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Casey, one of three young women kidnapped by Kevin (a superbly committed James McAvoy), a working-class Philadelphian with an unusually elaborate case of dissociative identity disorder. Though previously able »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Coming Distractions: An inner tempest boils over in the teaser trailer for Lady Macbeth

8 hours ago

Don’t let the title fool you: This isn’t a retelling of Shakespeare from the woman’s point of view. It’s a dark and unsettling drama that takes all the brutality, sex, and intrigue that the Bard would leave offstage and makes it viscerally clear. As described by the press release, the film follows a young woman (Florence Pugh) who is “stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, and his cold, unforgiving family. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.” As the above trailer makes clear, some turbulent emotions are roiling inside the lead character, and the events that unfold are going to trigger them. (There’s also a full-length trailer for this film out »

- Alex McCown-Levy

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Newswire: Original CHiPS star Erik Estrada is not loving the CHiPS reboot

8 hours ago

Between 2012’s 21 Jump Street movie and the upcoming Baywatch movie, all the cool kids are rebooting popular television shows from the 1980s and 1990s as feature films. But while 21 Jump Street and Baywatch both brought back original cast members for cameos, but don’t get your hopes up for any in the upcoming CHiPS movie. Directed by and starring Dax Shepard, the remake of the buddy-cop series about a duo of California Highway Patrol officers looks like it will be heavy on the farce, but it’s light on support from the original CHiPS crew.

Erik Estrada, who played Ponch in the television series, retweeted some rather scathing comments from folks reacting to the first trailer. In one of the tweets, an apparent fanatic of original flavor CHiPS called the movie “demeaning 2 CHiPs’ fans.” Another called it “Pure Trash.” Estrada didn’t say anything in his ...

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- Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

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The Overlook: Rapture with parrots: The delirious world of Finland’s king of melodrama

9 hours ago

In The Overlook, A.V. Club film critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky examines the misfits, underappreciated gems, and underseen classics of film history.

“How can you wear a white wedding dress over your filthy body?”

—The Cross Of Love

In the pantheon of unclassifiable filmmakers, there is a special place for Teuvo Tulio, Finland’s king of shameless melodrama. A fetishist, an outsider artist of 1940s and ’50s film, he was outrageous, incapable of subtlety, rising to a higher plane of camp—beyond Ken Russell, beyond Nicolas Cage doing an accent, beyond Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. His films feature distorted, bug-eyed acting, sometimes petrified in ecstasy, equally redolent of silent cliffhanger serials and late-night infomercials; a camera style that deliriously scrambles silent Soviet and German cinema with smoky Hollywood glamour, while maintaining almost no continuity; plots that are as formulaic as they are insane. The paradox of Tulio is that »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Movie Review: For the Iranian teen girls of Starless Dreams, life behind bars sadly beats the alternative

19 hours ago

The subjects of Mehrdad Oskouei’s prison documentary Starless Dreams are hardened criminals, locked up for offenses ranging from theft to drug trafficking to murder. Oskouei watches as they go through their daily routines of chores and meals, and films them as they fight boredom with games and goofing around. He also sits with them in one-on-one interviews and coaxes them to open up about their lives with quiet, patient questioning. Many of these cons have similar stories, about feeling boxed in by poverty and addiction, and trapped by dysfunctional families and poisonous personal relationships.

There’s nothing especially new about jailhouse confessionals. What sets Starless Dreams apart are the particulars of who these crooks are. They’re Iranian teenage girls, living in a stark Tehran dormitory while awaiting word from the authorities about when they’re going to be sent home. They don’t seem to know much about »

- Noel Murray

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Oscar This: The Academy won’t hear The Neon Demon’s terrific sound design over its unpopularity

19 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.

Most Oscar nominees, save perhaps for those in the acting categories, are drawn from two unofficial pools. There’s that year’s crop of big-category contenders (which for 2016 would include Manchester By The Sea, Moonlight, La La Land, and perhaps 10 or so others), and a group of lavish, mostly respectable but not quite Oscar-worthy movies, often blockbusters (which for 2016 could include movies like Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them or Doctor Strange). This is especially true for the categories least familiar (and easiest to confuse with each other) to Oscar viewers: Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, where some of the noisier Best Picture nominees tend to compete ...

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- Jesse Hassenger

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Newswire: Marvel’s Black Panther will feature a flashback to the ‘90s

22 hours ago

Evidently, Marvel’s Black Panther is a ‘90s kid, and Ryan Coogler’s upcoming movie about him will feature a flashback to his time living in California in the ‘90s. That’s according to the East Bay Times (via /Film), which reports that a retro-style Bay Area AC Transit bus is being built for a sequence in the film where we see a young T’Challa—before he’s the Black Panther—attending Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley. We don’t know much beyond that, but this might be where Sterling K. Brown’s character (“a figure from T’Challa’s past”) comes in.

Seeing as how the ‘90s are super hot these days, hopefully Marvel will take this opportunity to throw in some fun gags for people to pick apart in future YouTube video compilations. Maybe there’ll be a scene where T’Challa watches Seinfeld »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Ben Affleck is getting sick of all this talk about Batman

16 January 2017 5:25 PM, PST

Until recently, Ben Affleck has been actively giving off the impression that his Batman movie—the one he’s directing and starring in—might not happen. To the casual observer, it seemed like Affleck was foreshadowing an eventual announcement that the project had either been canceled or that he had stepped down as director, two decision that would probably be met with a resounding cry of “it’s for the best.” However, last week he finally came clean and admitted to Jimmy Kimmel that he is making a Batman movie, it just had to take a backseat for a while to Live By Night.

Apparently, though, there’s another reason he’s been hesitant to talk about Batman lately: He’s just fucking sick of talking about Batman. Affleck teased something along those lines during the Kimmel interview, bemoaning the fact that nobody ever pestered him about Live By Night »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: A24’s mystery trailer was for a short film called Toru

16 January 2017 3:57 PM, PST

Last week, Moonlight and Green Room distributor A24 put out a mysterious trailer that didn’t seem tied to any of the company’s previously announced films. The teaser’s total lack of information and ominous sci-fi tone seemed designed specifically to get the internet excited, especially since films like 2015’s Ex Machina (an A24 film, naturally) have proven that audiences are still hungry for clever, artsy genre movies.

Well, if there’s one thing the internet can do it’s solve a mystery, and the detectives at The Film Stage have already cracked this one open (via /Film). Apparently, a reader tipped off the site that a shot from a Sundance short called Toru matched a scene from the secret teaser, prompting The Film Stage to dig up set photos for Toru that also match up with things seen in the teaser. Ergo, The Film Stage concluded that ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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