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Movie Review: Jaime Lannister goes ex-con weary in the uneven Netflix genre riff Small Crimes

4 hours ago

As Joe Denton, the hapless ex-cop/ex-con protagonist of Small Crimes, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau wears a thick goatee that somehow, all by itself, transforms his look from Lannister nobility into discount Josh Brolin. That’s entirely appropriate for this seedy exercise in corruption and redemption—the sophomore feature from Evan Katz, who was credited as E.L. Katz on his 2014 debut, Cheap Thrills. As the film begins, Joe is being released from prison after a six-year stretch, though the details of his crimes are slow to emerge; conversations with the ironically named Lieutenant Pleasant (Gary Cole) makes it clear that Joe was previously on the force, where both were involved in graft and murder, but the dialogue throughout is naturalistic rather than expository. For a while, all we really know about Joe is that his life is in ruins: His ex-wife has left town with their two young daughters and »

- Mike D'Angelo

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Movie Review: The sci-fi abduction thriller Rupture is as personality-free as its title

4 hours ago

In Steven Shainberg’s inane thriller Rupture, one Renee Morgan (Noomi Rapace) is abducted from a Missouri roadside and taken to a secret lab that looks just like a Halloween haunted house. It’s got gurneys, barred windows, purple lights, extra-large syringes of mad-scientist mystery syrup—the general aesthetic of a place that might be called the Screamatorium or the Shoe Factory Of Terror, but without the sickly sweet smell of glycerin vaporizing in a fog machine. There she is subjected to bizarre experiments by pod-person-esque creeps (played by the likes of Michael Chiklis, Peter Stormare, and Lesley Manville), who occasionally put on binocular glasses and yammer on about genetic codes, fear, and evolution. There are other test subjects, too. One tries to talk to her through a shared vent before what sounds like a drill is put through his eye. And poor Renee—she just dropped off her teenage »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Movie Review: Two new Netflix films reexamine JonBenet Ramsey and Rodney King through performance

4 hours ago

“What more is there to say?” It’s a question that plagues any attempt to wade back into yesterday’s headlines—the stories that have been covered so exhaustively, so round-the-clock extensively, that their every sordid detail is now burned into the public imagination. Indeed, without new information, what more can be said, for example, about the still-unsolved murder of child pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey? And what fresh insight can be gleaned from the caught-on-tape beating of Rodney King and the unrest that rocked Los Angeles after the police officers responsible were acquitted? These are the separate subjects of two movies arriving on Netflix this week, entirely different and yet strangely similar in their unconventional approaches to media milestones of the ’90s. Neither film features a single date-stamp, a single news clip, even a single image of Ramsey or King. Instead, both filter these highly public tragedies through the scrim »

- A.A. Dowd

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Newswire: Doritos is selling chips with the Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 soundtrack installed on the bag

5 hours ago

How many times have you been shame-gorging on Doritos, fingers slick with the blue or orange flavor dust of your choice, and suddenly thought, “It sucks that this chip bag isn’t playing music for me right now”? If the answer to that question is “once, or more than once, across your entire lifetime,” then you’re in luck, because Frito-Lay has announced that it’s making bags of its unpleasantly addictive flavor shards that fill exactly that extremely targeted niche. Specifically, the company’s new Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2-branded bags will come equipped with a music player stuck directly to the front of the plastic, in the shape of an old-school cassette player, and loaded with the film’s soundtrack.

Luckily for the grocery store clerks of the planet—who’d presumably be driven to madness by the sound of Parliament’s “Flashlight” playing on 50 ...

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: Jeff Goldblum refuses to learn his lesson about dinosaurs, signs up for Jurassic World 2

7 hours ago

Not counting a very elderly T. rex, Mr. DNA, and some night vision goggles, the only real character from the original Jurassic Park to pop up in Colin Trevorrow’s sequel/reboot Jurassic World was B.D. Wong’s Dr. Henry Wu. That’s going to change for Jurassic World 2, though, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm will be making a very ill-advised return to the world of dinosaur-filled theme parks. Goldblum’s character last appeared in 1997’s The Lost World, and though we don’t know anything about what he’ll be doing in Jurassic World 2, he’ll probably have something to say about chaos theory, his distaste for dinosaur droppings, and the fact that life, uh, finds a way.

Jurassic World 2 is being directed by A Monster CallsJ.A. Bayona, and along with Goldblum, it’ll feature ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: The stars are aligned and Paul Verhoeven is making a nunsploitation movie

7 hours ago

The last time Paul Verhoeven made a comeback—with the caustic Dutch resistance thriller Black Book—audiences had to wait a decade for him to make another feature. But the success of last year’s superb Elle seems to have ensured that one of our greatest living filmmakers won’t have to struggle to get his next project off the ground. And it appears that, having turned the rape-revenge thriller into a corrosive critique of social mores with Elle, the Dutch filmmaker has set his sights on another staple of ‘70s Euro sleaze: nunsploitation.

Earlier today, Elle producer Saïd Ben Saïd announced that Verhoeven’s next project would be Blessed Virgin, with Belgian actress Virginie Efira—who played Rebecca, the neighbor’s wife, in Elle—in the lead role. (You can see the Nsfw announcement from Ben Saïd’s Sbs production company here.) Like Elle, Blessed Virgin will be a »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: A biopic about WWE’s Vince McMahon is in the works

8 hours ago

Even going off of only the stuff that the general public knows about him, Vince McMahon has led an interesting life. He’s the head of the WWE and the man who turned the World Wrestling Federation into a full-blown phenomenon, he’s somehow friends with our idiot president, and he could probably send a text message to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson whenever he wants and still get a response. That last bit alone makes his story worthy of a movie, and now Deadline is reporting that Sony and TriStar are developing a Vince McMahon biopic.

Called Pandemonium, the movie counts WWE Studios president Michael Luisi among its producers, which means it’s at least somewhat “official,” and it will be directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Deadline says the movie will cover McMahon’s “ascension in the wrestling business,” but it doesn’t offer a lot of specific »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen might be The Lion King’s new Timon and Pumbaa

11 hours ago

Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner might be Disney’s next farting, Hakuna Matata-quoting warthog and meerkat team, with reports coming today that the two comic actors are in talks to play Pumbaa and Timon in Jon Favreau’s upcoming Lion King remake. The Wrap quotes anonymous sources who say the two are in “final negotiations” for the parts; if so, they’d be taking the place of Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane, who originated the roles in the 1994 original.

We’ll be honest, though: This feels a little bit too much like “no duh” casting for us to wholeheartedly buy into its veracity. (That is, if someone asked you who should play a high-pitched, excitable meerkat in 2017, Billy Eichner’s the guy you’d skip over for being too obvious.) But it’s not like Favreau hasn’t been pulling out all the stops in the casting for ...

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: Chris Rock has been sucked into Netflix’s Adam Sandler machine

12 hours ago

According to Deadline, Netflix has lined up its next Adam Sandler movie, and this one will have a slightly more impressive pedigree than just Sandler himself. The film is called The Week Of, and it will star Chris Rock alongside Sandler, with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog’s dad Robert Smigel directing. The Week Of will be about the days leading up to a wedding between Sandler’s character’s daughter and Rock’s character’s son, and it will presumably involve some off-the-wall hijinks between the two dads as they struggle with the realities of watching their children grow up and go off to live their own lives.

Sandler may be the streaming service’s favorite comedian, but Rock already has a profitable relationship with Netflix of his own. Back in October, the company gave Rock $40 million for two comedy specials, with that fee reportedly being even higher ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Wes Anderson’s latest, Isle Of Dogs, gets a release date and poster

13 hours ago

Dust off your ‘60s rock records and prepare to frame your compositions directly in the center of the shot: The countdown to the next Wes Anderson film has begun. Anderson started filming on his latest feature, the stop-motion animated film Isle Of Dogs, back in December, announcing a cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, and, of course, Bill Murray. Now, Fox Searchlight has released the first poster for the film—mostly centered on its cast, and its apparent U.S./Japanese vibe—along with a release date: April 20, 2018.

We also get a tiny glimpse of the film itself, which seems to feature an astronaut landing on the titular canine cay. We’ll presumably know more about what the Isle Of Dogs has in store for its human visitors as that April 2018 date gets closer.

(Image: Fox Searchlight) »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Faye Dunaway still feels terrible about the whole Oscars thing

14 hours ago

Last night, Faye Dunaway went on NBC Nightly News for her first official interview since she erroneously declared La La Land the winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture. (The award actually went to Moonlight, in case you’ve been cryogenically frozen for the past few months.) And, given some time to process the evening’s events, Dunaway had a more eloquent response than her reported quip at the Vanity Fair Oscars party: “I really fucked that up.”

Naturally, she’s still embarrassed about the incident, which presumably everyone from her agent to her mail carrier has been pointedly not mentioning until they just can’t help it anymore over the past few months. “I thought, ‘I could have done something, surely,’” Dunaway told NBC’s Lester Holt, after saying that she felt “very guilty” after the ceremony. “Why didn’t I see Emma Stone’s name »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: Disney unveils release dates for Star Wars: Episode IX, The Lion King, and Frozen 2

15 hours ago

It’s easy to forget just how thoroughly Disney has monopolized the blockbuster movie industry, but that fact becomes very clear when the studio decides to announce release dates for multiple huge movies all at once. This comes via Variety, which reports that Disney has just announced the premiere dates for Star Wars: Episode IX (that’s the one after The Last Jedi), Frozen 2, and Jon Favreau’s The Lion King. All three are set for 2019, with Episode IX coming on May 24, The Lion King coming on June 19, and Frozen 2 letting it go on November 27.

The Han Solo movie is currently set to debut in May of 2018, so if Disney sticks to this schedule, it will indicate a slight shift for its Star Wars movies. The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and the upcoming Last Jedi have all had December premieres, so this seems ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Playing The Joker didn’t lead to Heath Ledger’s death, family says

15 hours ago

At the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of the documentary I Am Heath Ledger, Kate Ledger, the sister of the late actor, tried to dispel the long-whispered speculation that her brother’s death had something to do with his role in The Dark Knight. Before his death in 2008, Ledger himself described suffering from insomnia and trying to treat it with prescription drugs during his legendary turn as the mass-murdering, psychopathic Batman villain The Joker, for which he won a posthumous Academy Award. But according to his sister, as reported by The Telegraph, all the depression and turmoil Heath was rumored to have been going during the film’s production, as well as the creepy Joker journal he’d constructed, was normal for the famously dedicated actor.

“I was really shocked, because that was him having fun,” The Telegraph reports her as saying. “Every report was coming out that he was ...

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- Matt Gerardi

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Great Job, Internet!: Rick And Morty creator has been trolling film studios forever

17 hours ago

In the actual TV show, Rick And Morty treats Back To The Future as if “crazy old scientist and his teenager sidekick” were a time-honored trope to be pulled out and riffed on, but the show’s proverbial origin story is that it was intended as a more direct spoof called “Doc and Mharti.” Series creator Justin Roiland later wrote:

I actually made this as a way to poke fun at the idea of getting cease and desist letters. At the time (October 2006) I had nothing to lose and my original intention was to call this “back to the future: the new official universal studios cartoon featuring the new Doc Brown and Marty McFly” and then I’d just sit back and wait for a letter from their lawyers to arrive. That’s actually why it’s so filthy. I was just looking to “troll” a big studio.

This ...

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- Clayton Purdom

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Newswire: Jon Bernthal and Tom Holland helped each other land their McU roles

19 hours ago

The coveted roles of The Punisher and the new, still-friendly Spider-Man went to Jon Bernthal and Tom Holland, who costar in this year’s Pilgrimage. But that’s not just a fun (well, as fun as a post-Crusades movie can be) coincidence. The actors actually helped each other prep for their Marvel future while they were filming Brendan Muldowney’s Irish medieval thriller. Bernthal tells Variety that, though he stopped talking on set for a bit to get into character as a monk who takes a vow of silence, he and Holland ran lines together for their Frank Castle and Peter Parker auditions, respectively. The Walking Dead alum stayed off camera for Holland’s audition tape, but he was joined in his reel, which sounds like it was a doozy, by the Lost City Of Z star.

They use mock scenes, but it was a man telling this young boy »

- Danette Chavez

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Newswire: Chris Pratt criticizes Suicide Squad for introducing too many characters

19 hours ago

Chris Pratt has some well-reasoned thoughts about Suicide Squad that should nonetheless go over terribly with DC fans, given the mildly critical stance he takes. Though initially Pratt told io9, “I really like all the Warner Bros. movies,” he did have a specific suggestion as to how that company’s bad-guys-doing-good movie might have been improved. “I think they’re really cool and I’m not a real tough critic on those movies,” he said. “But one of the flaws might have been they were introducing too many characters in Suicide Squad. They spent 10 minutes telling us why should we care about these characters, rather than creating trilogies for each character and convincing us to care about the characters.”

What’s curious is that Suicide Squad was arguably DC’s attempt to replicate the success of Guardians, the property that propelled Pratt to superhero stardom. Guardians also managed to ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Netflix is getting the Hell Or High Water gang back together

19 hours ago

The trio from one of our favorite movies of 2016 is reuniting. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hell Or High Water director David Mackenzie is likely going to team once again with actors Ben Foster and Chris Pine. But this time, it looks like they’re going from West Texas to Scotland: The three are in negotiations to make a film for Netflix about 14th-century Scottish rebel leader Robert The Bruce called Outlaw King. (These guys like their outlaws, royal or otherwise.) Mackenzie wrote the script, Pine is in discussions to star as the eponymous character, and Foster is in line to play knight James Douglas. If it all works out, the movie will begin shooting in August. »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Coming Distractions: Strap yourselves in for first Kingsman: The Golden Circle trailer

21 hours ago

After a couple of teasers that tried to cram a lot of sequel action, Channing Tatum, and Halle Berry into less than half a minute, 20th Century Fox has released a full trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. And oh dear, but things are looking rather grim for Eggsy (Taron Egerton)—the Kingsman headquarters and haberdashery/weapons depot have been destroyed, leaving his future somewhat uncertain. Beyond that setup and a not-so-surprising appearance from Colin Firth’s original Galahad, it’s hard to make out the rest of the events unfolding to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” But we do see that several Statesman members are present and accounted for, including Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and Pedro Pascal. And, most important, Julianne Moore presides over the chaos as the head of The Golden Circle.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle will be signing up new recruits in theaters beginning September 22.

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- Danette Chavez

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The Overlook: The director of Bad Lieutenant takes on the prescient cyberpunk of William Gibson

24 April 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

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

“The information highway is leading straight to hell…”

Abel Ferrara

The films of Abel Ferrara are probably too anguished and tragic to be called hangout movies. To an extent, they wallow in states of sin, doom, and moral disrepair: a personal hell in Bad Lieutenant, the Lower East Side as it faces the end of time in 4:44 Last Day On Earth, a grueling film shoot in Dangerous Game. To the circles of Ferrara’s inferno, one can also add the indistinct cyberpunk future of his 1998 William Gibson adaption, New Rose Hotel. It’s a shame that Ferrara’s forays into the fantastic—such as Body Snatchers and the vampire film The Addiction—are more obscure than his crime films and psychodramas, as they interpret well-worn sci-fi ...

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- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: A Madonna biopic is in the works, since that weirdly hasn’t happened already

24 April 2017 6:39 PM, PDT

Madonna is pretty famous, at least as far as iconic music superstars go, but nobody’s ever made an emotional biopic about how she went from a non-famous baby to the woman behind “Borderline.” Now, finally, that might be changing. According to Variety, Universal has picked up the rights to Blonde Ambition, a script written by Elyse Hollander that tracks Madonna’s life in 1980s New York “while navigating fame, romance, and the dismissive attitude of the music industry at the time” around the release of her self-titled debut album.

This is Hollander’s first script sale, but she has previously worked as an assistant for Alejandro González Iñárritu, so maybe Blonde Ambition will have some Birdman-style weirdness or Revenant-style bear attacks. You might say that Madonna was never attacked by a bear, but since there’s never been a biopic about her before, there’s really no ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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