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Odds And Sods: The Godzilla and Rogue One director has ideas beyond making things look “fucking cool”

46 minutes ago

Gareth Edwards has become known somewhat for the use of scale in his films. The creatures and machines from Edwards’ films like Monsters, Godzilla, and Rogue One are all made to look like massive juggernauts from the perspective of the audience. At SXSW, The A.V. Club sat down with the writer-director to get a better idea of his thought process and stylistic choices.

Watch Gareth Edwards discuss the Rogue One ending here.

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- Baraka Kaseko, Alex McLevy

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Odds And Sods: The director of Rogue One was convinced he wouldn’t be allowed to end the movie that way

46 minutes ago

This video contains spoilers for the ending of Rogue One, obviously.

The ending to Rogue One is quite unusual for a modern blockbuster. There aren’t many studios that would be comfortable killing off all the main protagonists in a blockbuster movie, especially one that’s aimed at a younger demographic. Early this week, it was reported that screenwriter Gary Whitta didn’t think Disney didn’t think the ending would be approved. Apparently, director Gareth Edwards thought so too. The A.V. Club caught up with Edwards at SXSW and talked to him about the ending—and especially how he didn’t think it was going to be allowed to happen.

Watch Gareth Edwards discuss his use of scale here.

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- Baraka Kaseko, Alex McLevy

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Movie Review: The most retro thing about Chips is the gay panic

1 hour ago

Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, the undercover FBI agent tasked with investigating corruption in the California Highway Patrol as portrayed by Michael Peña in the new action-comedy Chips, is heterosexual. Normally, that isn’t something that would be deemed important enough to note in the opening paragraph of a review. But this movie, loosely based on the late ’70s-early ’80s NBC cop show starring Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada and blatantly emulating the 2012 movie adaptation of 21 Jump Street, seems to think it’s really, really important for audiences to know that Ponch is not a homosexual.

He’s so straight, in fact, that he gets defensive and angry when he’s greeted by a man in his underwear, even if they happen to be in a locker room at the time. As Ponch explains it, it’s not homophobic to have a phobia of another man’s body, as long ...

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- Katie Rife

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Great Job, Internet!: What does your favorite movie for every year since you were born say about you?

1 hour ago

If you have any slightly pop culture-inclined friends within your social media network, you’ve likely come across the “Name A Favorite Movie For Every Year Since You Were Born” challenge this week. The parameters are simple and self-explanatory: For each year that you’ve been on this earth, choose a favorite movie that was released within it. Of course, if you have pop culture-inclined friends, you know that this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Choosing just one movie from a year that likely contains several unassailable classics, a few cult favorites, and something you watched 100 times on HBO is difficult—particularly when you’re the type of person who frets over what it says about your taste. After all, film fans tend to be a tad judgmental by nature.

And yet, they also love making lists like this, which is why several members of The A ...

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- A.A. Dowd, Sean O'Neal

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Movie Review: An amusing teen fantasy slowly morphs into a clunky reboot in Power Rangers

3 hours ago

In the old Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV show, the spandex-suited heroes fought many bizarre creations: a time-traveling cactus, a rapping upside-down jack-o’-lantern, a pineapple-octopus hybrid named Pineoctopus that could also take the form of a clown, and a killer clutch purse with a lipstick sidekick. In their big-screen reboot, they fight a big, lumbering goopy molten gold thing. Its name is Goldar, which was also the name of a villain on the TV show who looked like one of the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys on steroids. This Goldar also has wings, but that’s about all it’s got going for it; the effects are ugly, so the monster looks less liquid metal and more Velveeta cheese. As for the Power Rangers, their suits look like they’re made out of bowling balls. They barely even get to wear them, and only in the last 20 minutes »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: Never mind, the live-action Mulan might still be a musical

3 hours ago

Okay, forgive the emotional whiplash, but now it seems that Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan just might featuring singing. Or not. Let’s just say, it’s unclear at this point. What we do know is that director Niki Caro is walking back the comment she made that it has “no songs right now.” While that sounds fairly self-explanatory, Caro is now arguing it was misconstrued. Basically, at this point she has no idea whether the movie will incorporate Matthew Wilder and David Zippel’s catchy tunes from the 1998 animated version. ”We’ve never talked about songs, and no decision has been made,” she explained in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

For what it’s worth, the studio’s now incredibly successful Beauty And The Beast remake wasn’t going to be a musical but then Frozen came along and turned phenomenon. Given the fervor over ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Bold new Justice League poster awesomely captures visual equivalent of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3 hours ago

A new poster for the upcoming DC superhero team-up film Justice League was released today, and you might want to make sure you’re sitting down, because people have been known to be blown right out of their shoes by the sheer awesomeness of this thing. Never before have two letters looked quite so three dimensional, except for the Warner Brothers logo at the start of every movie for the past several decades.

We’d warn the Justice League promotional team that maybe you don’t want to try to tout the release of a generic poster with the same marketing bonanza you‘d normally reserve for a full-length trailer (which is set to debut on Saturday, March 25, and is a thing we’re generally looking forward to seeing), but clearly this poster is special. It dares the viewer to imagine a world where orange and blue are the ...

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- Alex McLevy

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

4 hours 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

4 hours 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

4 hours 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

6 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

15 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

15 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

16 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

17 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

18 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

19 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

20 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

21 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)

22 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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