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Movie Review: A terrific cast elevates the thoughtful, stripped-down sci-fi of Marjorie Prime

2 hours ago

Sci-fi effects extravaganzas are a dime a dozen, but bona-fide sci-fi films—that is, movies that exemplify the so-called literature of ideas and not just the sci-fi aesthetic—are rare. Marjorie Prime, the offbeat indie stalwart Michael Almereyda’s thoughtful adaptation of a Pulitzer-nominated play by Jordan Harrison, isn’t interested in futuristic, high-tech backdrops, even though it seems to be set sometime in the 2040s. The most stylish thing about it is the eerie original music by Mica Levi, the art-damaged noise-popster-turned-composer who previously scored Under The Skin and Jackie. But aside from that, the movie lacks ostentation; it appears so simple and unworldly and unhip that one wants to protect it. This is business as usual for Almereyda (Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story, Hamlet), a brainy misfit kind of filmmaker who works with that mostly forgotten credo that indie films should give viewers something that doesn’t »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Movie Review: Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds sneak only a little fun into The Hitman’s Bodyguard

12 hours ago

The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which bears the tagline “Get triggered” and is essentially a dumber, tackier Midnight Run, was destined to be one of those Neanderthalic, faux-merican EuropaCorp action movies, like The Transporter or From Paris With Love­­—except fate fumbled, and the film ended up as a coasting-on-star-power Hollywood programmer directed by The Expendables 3’s Patrick Hughes. At least it manages to be sort of amusing. Ryan Reynolds plays the Robert De Niro role, only instead of being a prickly, Sinatra-belting bail bondsman and former Chicago cop who’s still hung up on his ex-wife, he’s a finicky, Ace Of Base-yodeling bodyguard-for-hire and former CIA agent (aren’t they all?) who’s still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. We’re introduced to him living in one of those glass modernist shoeboxes that all of today’s elite big-screen gunmen seem to live in, until one pesky »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Movie Review: 8 Mile gets a distaff makeover in the tacky underdog crowd-pleaser Patti Cake$

12 hours ago

A distaff discount 8 Mile for anyone who thought that fictionalized Eminem show should have hustled and flowed a little harder for the audience’s affection, Patti Cake$ stops just short of superimposing an applause sign over every image. Perhaps you’ve heard tell of the standing ovations writer-director Geremy Jasper has already earned for his debut feature; they are the intended Pavlovian reaction to a crowd-pleaser that hits every box on the underdog star-is-born checklist. This is a movie that includes a neighborhood bully, a godlike record-industry mogul, a disapproving parent still resentful about her own music-biz failures, a nerdy sidekick, a mysterious but secretly sensitive love interest, a big talent competition, a family member on her deathbed, a scene where it looks like the heroine is about to rousingly succeed but then she actually fails, a scene where the heroine sticks her head out the window of a »

- A.A. Dowd

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Newswire: Here’s what’s coming to (and going from) Hulu in September

17 hours ago

August has been Friends Month at Hulu, with the streaming service getting a big collection of movies and TV shows that are all about people who have friends or whatever, so it’s appropriate that September will be Family Month—a month dedicated to movies and TV shows about people who either have families or don’t have families because their parents were gunned down in an alley. In September, Hulu subscribers will be able to catch such family-centric content as The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, season 13 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Batman, Batman Returns, Carrie, My Girl, Robocop, And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird, Silent Hill, Freaky Friday (1977), Freaky Friday (2003), and Lilo & Stitch—though that one’s technically about ‘ohana, which means family.

Subscribers will also be able to watch a bunch of classic Tgif sitcoms, most of which revolve around families »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Not even Chris Hemsworth can resist Chris Pratt’s charms

18 hours ago

Life must be pretty easy for a famous guy named Chris, since statistically you’re the most famous and handsome man in any room you walk into, but the filming of Avengers: Infinity War has apparently been a real culture shock for one famous Chris. Speaking with Elle (via Entertainment Tonight), Chris Hemsworth (who plays Thor) says he was “weirdly shaken” when he first met Chris Pratt (who plays Star-Lord), which kind of makes it sound like that time on The Simpsons when Milhouse met the other kid named Milhouse and they instantly shared a deep bond with each other.

Hemsworth says he doesn’t know why it was so powerful to meet another famous guy named Chris, but he says that Pratt is “just so charismatic” and “good at what he does” that it evidently shook him to his mighty core. He doesn’t say what it was like »

- Sam Barsanti

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Great Job, Internet!: Let’s debate Steven Soderbergh’s filmography

20 hours ago

Steven Soderbergh frequently claims he’s retiring from directing movies, but fortunately these protests never seem to last very long. His current return from the cinematic grave is Logan Lucky, which opens this weekend; our film staff says the movie proves that Soderbergh is as great as ever. He’s had quite an illustrious film career, ever since his debut Sex, Lies & Videotape wowed audiences at Cannes in 1989. His peak (so far) was likely 2001, when he was Oscar-nominated for directing both Traffic and Erin Brockovich (winning for Traffic). There have been various ups and downs along the way, like Magic Mike, Solaris, the Ocean’s trilogy, The Limey, Bubble, The Girlfriend Experience… the list goes on.

On to about 20-some movies, which is why not one but two sites this week (that we know of) took it upon themselves to rank all of Soderbergh’s movies from »

- Gwen Ihnat

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Newswire: Mission: Impossible 6 production goes on hiatus for Tom Cruise’s broken ankle

20 hours ago

Earlier this week, Tom Cruise suffered an injury on the set of Mission: Impossible 6—because he’s a 55-year-old man who insists that Scientology magic gives him the power to do ridiculous stunts—and now it looks like the injury was bad enough that it’s going to cause some headaches for the movie’s production company. Cruise apparently broke his ankle while trying to jump from one building to another, but since Mission: Impossible isn’t the kind of series that would ever waste time on a scene where Cruise’s character sits down or walks on crutches for a few minutes, production has been shut down while he recovers.

That comes from Deadline, and while things sounded fairly dire for the movie at first, Paramount has issued a statement that makes it seem like everything will be alright. The statement acknowledges Cruise’s accident and says that »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: American Honey’s Sasha Lane joins the Hellboy reboot

21 hours ago

The human cast of Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot is continuing to fill out, as just a few weeks after Ian McShane joined the cast as the red guy’s adoptive father Professor Brutenholm, The Hollywood Reporter says that American Honey star Sasha Lane has joined the cast as well. Lane will reportedly be playing Alice Monaghan, a woman who—in Mike Mignola’s comics—was rescued by Hellboy after being captured by fairies and retained some supernatural powers from her time with them. The fact that she’s going to be in this movie suggests that Marshall is digging relatively deep into the Hellboy canon, possibly to avoid using too many of the same characters as Guillermo Del Toro did in his Hellboy movies.

David Harbour from Stranger Things is set to play Hellboy himself, with Milla Jovovich playing a villain who is apparently called The Blood Queen—which »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: St. Vincent to direct a gender-swapped take on The Portrait Of Dorian Gray

22 hours ago

Musician, filmmaker, and passionate defender of the word “fuck” Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, has set her feature-film directorial debut, according to Variety. The project will be in the spirit of Clark’s directorial debut, period, a segment in the female-focused horror anthology Xx; as Variety notes with glee, it’s an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Portrait Of Dorian Gray, but with a woman in the title role. This variation on the theme has been done once before, in the 1983 made-for-tv movie The Sins Of Dorian Gray, starring Belinda Bauer as an actress whose soul is trapped on film instead of in a painting.

Clark’s attempt at ruining Victorian childhoods is still in its earliest stages, but Elle screenwriter David Birke has been hired to write the script. We were mixed on Clark’s segment in Xx, writing in our review: “’The »

- Katie Rife

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Odds And Sods: The Defenders pick who they’d least like to fight in the Marvel Universe

23 hours ago

Marvel’s The Defenders is upon us with just a few days left before it premieres, and early reviews are generally positive (you can read ours here). The show is the culmination of three years of work, uniting the four heroes of Marvel’s Netflix properties for an all-out war against Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra and clandestine organization The Hand. In the video above, we chat with three of the four Defenders—Daredevil’s Charlie Cox, Luke Cage’s Mike Colter, and Iron Fist’s Finn Jones—to see which hero from the Marvel Universe they’d least like to fight. »

- Baraka Kaseko

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Great Job, Internet!: Learn the formula for making a blockbuster movie trailer

16 August 2017 10:15 AM, PDT

When watching the trailers that precede any big summer action flick, it can sometimes feel like you’ve just watched the same 2-3 minute clip four times in a row. Either due to laziness or some sort of esoteric marketing science, every new trailer tends to hit the exact same visual and emotional beats, ultimately leaving the viewer with a bland taste in their mouth. Now, thanks to a new instructional video, you can experience the benefits of that same repetitive formula without having to worry yourself with plot, characters, or even a real movie.

“How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer” employs all the familiar tropes that moviegoers have seen in the past few years. There’s the ominous single note, the jarring over-use of “Bwaa”s, and, perhaps most egregious, the “unexpected cover of a classic hit,” but the most accurate aspect of this parody/analysis is the »

- Dan Neilan

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Coming Distractions: Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell get creepy in trailer for The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

16 August 2017 9:06 AM, PDT

With 2015’s The Lobster, Greek weirdo auteur Yorgos Lanthimos achieved a surprising level of mainstream success in the States, given his film was about a dystopian alternate reality where people are turned into animals if they fail to find a mate in 45 days. But whereas that film was a darkly comic drama, bordering on a romance, his new film looks to return him to much bleaker territory. All of his films have possessed an element of the inexplicable, but The Killing Of A Sacred Deer might be the first time he’s put his gift for fusing the pedestrian and the otherworldly to deliberately sinister ends.

The movie finds Lanthimos re-teaming with his Lobster star Colin Farrell, with the Irish actor playing a surgeon with a seemingly placid domestic life, married to Nicole Kidman’s searching mother and raising two kids. But his world begins to unravel after »

- Alex McLevy

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Newswire: Samuel Jackson says Nick Fury’s sitting out Avengers: Infinity War

16 August 2017 8:23 AM, PDT

Avengers: Infinity War is noteworthy not just for being the culmination of a story Marvel has been developing throughout the three phases of the McU (or at least since the first Avengers back in 2012, when we got our initial look at Thanos), but for having basically damn near everyone who ever appeared onscreen in it, presumably even just people who were once extras on Charles In Charge. (Hence the third Avengers film being super-long.) And for a good while, Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury was the connective tissue between a lot of the various superheroes, showing up in everything from brief post-credits stingers to being a vital supporting character. So it’s understandable that Jackson might be a bit put out by feeling like Marvel has pretty much abandoned him, which is the vibe he gives off in a new interview with Yahoo! Movies.

During a promotional interview for »

- Alex McLevy

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Newswire: Andy Serkis is producing a cinematic Planet Of The Apes video game

16 August 2017 8:15 AM, PDT

A new Planet Of The Apes video game based on Fox’s reboot series is in development and scheduled to be released this fall, according to an announcement on IGN. Called Planet Of The Apes: Last Frontier, it’s the first project from a new London-based game studio named Imaginati, and it’s being published by the new games division within The Imaginarium, the production house and performance capture studio founded by Andy Serkis, who of course stars as Caesar in the new Apes movies. According to IGN, Serkis, whose prolific performance-capture career includes games like Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey To The West, is executive producing Last Frontier, and all of the game’s performances are being recorded using The Imaginarium’s “world-class” facilities.

The game itself is a choose-your-own-adventure story, not unlike Telltale’s popular Walking Dead series, where players will watch cinematic scenes unfold and be »

- Matt Gerardi

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Power Hour: Have the time of your life with 60 minutes of schlocky movie love songs

15 August 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

Power Hour creates one tight 60-minute set from a musician’s discography or a genre, picking both big hits and deeper cuts.

Film has been used as a vehicle to increase the popularity of particular songs as far back as the black-and-white musical days, when legendary songwriters like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and the Gershwin brothers penned tunes for movies that remain standards today. The popularity of the movie musical has waned over the decades (La La Land notwithstanding), but the success of 1970s movie soundtracks like those for Saturday Night Fever and Grease convinced some songwriters that a hit movie was a great way to present a song. The most popular of these were love songs, some decidedly more successful than others.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of Dirty Dancing and the 25th of The Bodyguard, we’ve pulled together 60 minutes of the schlockiest romantic movie themes »

- Gwen Ihnat, Katie Rife

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Movie Review: The surreal indie comedy Lemon looks better than it runs

15 August 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

The sad fact about modern weird-for-weird’s-sake micro-indies is that they tend to be even more alike that than the toothlessly quirky Sundance items to which they’re supposed to serve as an antidote. It’s like they’ve all been grown from the same frothy mixture of Adult Swim anti-comedy, vintage lens fetishism, and male pattern baldness. Every now and again a movie like Rick Alverson’s Entertainment might crawl out of this mad-science vat, but more often than not, it’s something like Janicza Bravo’s Lemon, a comedy about a Los Angeles actor (Brett Gelman) who endures one surreal humiliation after another while doing a generally piss-poor job of keeping it together in the face of an impending break-up with his blind girlfriend (Judy Greer). It’s been a few years since the quintessential micro-indie weirdster Quentin Dupieux stopped churning out sporadically irritating and hilarious movies like »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: Happy Fucksgiving: Daniel Craig confirms he’ll be back for at least one more Bond film

15 August 2017 9:29 PM, PDT

In the end, it turned out that Daniel Craig really did give a fuck after all; after years of dodging, shrugging, and claiming that, if he came back to the part, it would only be “for the money,” Craig confirmed tonight on Late Show With Stephen Colbert that he’ll be back for at least one more turn as international superspy James Bond.

Tonight: Daniel Craig makes an announcement that will leave you shaken, not stirred. #JamesBond #Lssc pic.twitter.com/gaSgVs3LkN

The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) August 16, 2017

Colbert pressed the actor—who’s currently starring in, and doing press for, Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky—about his caginess regarding his return to the part. “You’ve been reported to have accepted the role of James Bond again in the New York Times. Back in July, they said that you are going to be the next James Bond. People »

- William Hughes, Gwen Ihnat

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Newswire: That Hunger Games theme park is actually happening

15 August 2017 6:51 PM, PDT

Today, in ideas you’d think Westworld—or at least “Itchy And Scratchy Land”—would have taught people to stay well the fuck away from, plans for a theme park with areas modeled after The Hunger Games are currently in the works. Lionsgate has been floating this murderously bad idea for a few years now, hoping to entice the franchise’s fans to come hang out in perfectly imagineered recreations of filthy, dystopian coal mines, or possibly a series of maliciously designed murder courses. Now, it’s licensed the series—and several other Lionsgate properties, including Now You See Me and Twilight—to a South Korean theme park developer.

But as excited as we are to experience the Team Edward/Team Jacob dueling brood-coaster—or the Jesse Eisenberg Close-Up Magic Experience—it’s the Hunger Games park that strikes us as the most fascinatingly baffling. Author Suzanne Collins did pretty »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Dear White People’s Justin Simien is making a horror satire about an evil hair weave

15 August 2017 5:54 PM, PDT

Dear White People director Justin Simien is getting back into making films, with Entertainment Weekly reporting that he’s currently developing a new horror satire about a woman whose hair weave turns out to be evil. Bad Hair will be Simien’s first film since his 2014 debut; in the meantime, he’s been working on the Dear White People TV show for Netflix.

Simien called the film—set in the late ’80s, and centered on a young black woman trying to break into the world of music television—“a love letter to black women and a critique of the cultural forces our society puts them through.” He also released a teaser announcement for the film today, showing fields of flowing black hair, set to a discordant and unsettling tone. »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: AMC Theatres threatens legal action against MoviePass for dropping its prices

15 August 2017 5:01 PM, PDT

Earlier today, MoviePass—an online subscription plan that allows users to see one 2D, non-imax movie per day for free at most major theater chains—announced that it was drastically dropping its prices, from $50 a month to the frankly insane-sounding $9.95 (i.e., less than the price of a single non-matinee ticket at the average American movie theater). The announcement promptly had the intended effect, sending thrifty movie fans in droves to the company’s site, which promptly crashed. (It seems to now be back up.)

But consumers weren’t the only ones watching the actions of the company, which sold a majority stake of itself this week to data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. in order to fund the drop in price. The AMC Theatres chain has now denounced MoviePass, claiming that its new pricing model is intended as an attack on theaters, and that it »

- William Hughes

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