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Nick's Top 15 Movies of 2016

Jan 24 // Nick Valdez
15. Shin Godzilla I've got to admit my major Godzilla bias helped it make the list, but I argue it's a great enough movie to belong here. Along with a fresh take on an old monster, Toei gave it a more pro-active Japan in the narrative. In films past when Godzilla attacked, the Japanese citizens were always just reacting to Godzilla or running from this nuclear fear. But in Shin Godzilla, it's the humans who are finally able to put him down. Through intelligent strategy (as it unfolds like a political thriller that also sneaks in some digs at the Western version of Godzilla) and science, the humans prove that there is hope in a hopeless situation. It's a far cry from where Toei started with this series. Couple the strong message with a fantastic monster suit, and Godzilla has never been better.  14. Morris From America What seemed to be a major theme in 2016 was youths growing up in an ever changing world. Quite a bit of films followed kids as they formed their own perspectives and found their voices. One of the more unique takes was Morris From America, which followed the young Morris (Markees Christmas, who is going to have a huge career ahead of him) and his father (Craig Robinson, who definitely should pursue more dramatic work) as they both tried to accept their new lives in Germany. Morris finding his way through rap lyrics, and then discovering that he shouldn't merely mirror the voices of others, was a journey we don't really see much in film. It's a nice slice of life about a kid just trying to be himself. That's always nice.  13. Hell or High Water In might be because I'm from Texas, so I'm willing to forgive a lot of its character faults because I know people like this, but Hell or High Water really struck a chord with me. It just seemed so unique. It's a film following two sets of characters as a string of robberies occur in bumblefuck Texas, but there's just so much said. It's all in the smaller moments such as when a jerk gets his face bashed in, or when Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham throw subtle, racist jabs at one another. Or when Ben Foster and Chris Pine's characters rob a bank and you have hilariously awkward dialogue between the two of them. Then it's all the more devastating when the film reminds you of the reality of these characters' situation. There's beauty in the film's gradual progression.  12. Fences Since Denzel Washington directed Fences, and helped get it to the big screen in the first place, it was touted as some kind of major performance from him, but he's honestly my least favorite part. It's everything around him that's fantastic. In fact, his overacted performance actually works in his favor since his overbearing father character is inherently flawed and unlikable. But you feel for his family, these characters, trapped in this continuously awful situation until Viola Davis just breaks down and brings in the most commanding performance of the year. It's a bit of a dense piece, but worth the watch completely.  11. 10 Cloverfield Lane This Cloverfield sequel was the first major surprise of 2016. Hitting theaters only two months after its sudden announcement, it was already in my good graces since I didn't really have any expectations for it. What we got was one of the more tense productions of the year with standout performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. In fact this film was so damn good, the thought of an entire Cloverfield extended universe doesn't seem too bad at all. It cemented Cloverfield's franchise status and gave us the kind of sci-fi horror we haven't seen in years.  10. Sing Street It might be unfair to compare two musicals, but after such a drought it seems apt. La La Land is going to get all of the attention (which is mostly deserves), but Sing Street was the musical that hit home for me. Kids forming a new wave band in 1980s Dublin might not seem like the most inclusive premise, but it's positivity makes it familiar. It's a nice musical about chasing your dreams, and it's got a killer soundtrack to boot. "Drive It Like You Stole It" was one of my favorite songs in film last year, and the final performance was one of my favorite moments of the year entirely. Sing Street is charming, quietly strong, and it's just a musical of pure fun.  9. Moana Disney always seems to find a way onto my end of year lists, and 2016 was no different. But while there were two strong offerings, Moana is leagues above Zootopia in its awesomeness. A princess film where a young girl learns not to just aim to help a man, but accomplish things her own damn self? It says more than Frozen ever did. While the soundtrack admittedly doesn't have the staying power of its more Broadway predecessor, the film makes up for it with a deep color palette, astounding animation, and awesome performances from its two leads. Auli'i Cravalho has a major career ahead of her, and I can't wait to see how far she'll go.  8. O.J.: Made in America You can argue the five hour O.J.: Made in America project isn't technically a film, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better documentary last year. A documentary somehow always finds a way on to my list each year, so I definitely felt I should include this seeing as how I watched all five hours of it in one sitting. The O.J. Simpson trial happened before I was conscientious of things happening in the world around me, so seeing it all laid bare is fascinating. An enthralling portrait of the figurehead Simpson had become through his trial and then cataloging his public descent into mediocre madness was honestly something you couldn't make up. "Stranger than fiction" has never been more appropriate.  7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople Taika Waititi has quickly become one of my favorite directors. After a strong showing in the surprising What We Do in the Shadows, and before seeing what he can do with Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is yet another home run for him. The story of a kid in New Zealand who's been bounced between foster homes and his adoptive father who couldn't give less of a damn about him running through the forest is one of the funniest films of the year. Like Shadows before it, it's a dialogue heavy comedy full of of awkwardness and charm from the young Julian Dennison.  6. The Jungle Book I can't believe Disney took a terrible sounding idea, remaking their animated films into live-action, and produced some of their best work from it. Maleficent, Cinderella, and now The Jungle Book. I've never been a fan of the original, but Favreau's take was fantastic. Stunningly animated animals, a great voice cast (with Walken's mob boss styled King Louie being an obvious stand out) , a tense story, and a great performance from the young Neel Sethi, who somehow was still believable while acting for a green screen. I watched this a number of times last year just to marvel at it, and I don't expect to stop anytime soon.  5. Moonlight The one major awards contender I'm rooting for is Moonlight. It's simply incredible. Watching the young, quiet Chiron grow, deal with his terrible home situation, struggle with his sexual identity, and survive in a world that wants to destroy is a phenomenal experience. Barry Jenkins' directorial strength comes through with his intimacy in heinous situations and finding the beauty in the mundane. A deep, bright color palette showing Miami in a light rarely seen in film, close face ups that linger on a character's internal pains, and strong central performances anchor the film's journey. It's not a film I can recommend for everyone, as my own sister exclaimed how boring she felt it was, but it's an experience you should have for yourself.  4. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping I've always taken The Lonely Island trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone for granted since I keep forgetting how much genius they share between them. Their last project, Hot Rod, is still a film I re-watch to this day, and Popstar dutifully continues that tradition. I've seen it four times since I first viewed it in theaters and, of course, I'll never stop never stop it. A hilarious script, charming performance from the trio, and original songs that oddly sound great enough to fit in with the pop scene. The genius is in how slightly off each of those songs are, to remind you of the parody. I mean, "Equal Rights" and "Finest Girl" are some of the most hilarious things I've heard in years.  3. Kubo and the Two Strings I was attached to Kubo from its very first trailer. Laika is one of the few studios keeping stop-motion animation alive, and luckily for all of us they're phenomenal at it. Kubo is their strongest offering to date with the story of the titular Kubo journeying across the world to find the pieces of a mystical suit of armor to fight the ghosts of his unknown past. It's got this mythical quality in its storytelling, so it's kind of like a new, yet familiar take on a fairy tale. Coupled with the previously mentioned crisp animation (which Laika makes more and more seamless with each film), great voice cast (including the likes of Rooney Mara and Charlize Theron), and stunning score. I've yet to hear a better version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." 2. The Nice Guys So this came out of nowhere, huh? Shane Black's unique perspective always yields a great film and The Nice Guys is no different. Ryan Gosling may get tons of attention for La La Land, but he had a much more nuanced performance in this film. He even seemed to have more fun bouncing off of Russell Crowe in Black's vibrant, violent version of the 1970s. This dark comedy was unique, full of tons of memorable scenes, and has my favorite finale of the year. That final shootout was fantastic. Black really has a handle on his scene geography so you never lose sight of where everyone is, yet there's still plenty of surprise. Too bad it's bound to ignored by virtually everyone.  1. Green Room For me, 2016 peaked early. Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room premiered in April and ever since then, I found myself watching films and thinking "Well that was good, but not as good as Green Room." It is just so f**king intense, man. The chilling, stoic viciousness of Patrick Stewart's performance, the unbelievably charming band, The Ain't Rights, at the center (with a fiery rendition of "Nazi Punks Fuck Off," which is sadly needed now more than ever), and top tier performances from Imogen Poots and the late, too f**king great, Anton Yelchin. When the world came crumbling down around these characters, it was so tense my mouth was wide open the entire time. A brutal knuckle drag of a film with an unapologetic, highly intelligent narrative bound to make you hate Nazis even more (if that were even possible, to be honest).  Green Room is pure gold, and my favorite film of 2016. 
Nick's Top 15  photo
2016 was rough, but the movies were good

2016 was full of all sorts of losses for me. My life went through a few unwelcome changes, we've got a crazy President now, and the general air was full of strife. But at least there were some good movies last year. The year may not have been as stacked with greatness as years past, but there were some definite gems. 

Highlighting the year were major surprises, a fantastic animated slate, and one film I found myself (mostly) unfairly comparing every other release to. 

Here are fifteen of my favorite films from 2016. 

30-16: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sausage Party, Bad Moms, Star Trek Beyond, Zootopia, Deadpool, Storks, Magnificent Seven, The Boy and the Beast, Everybody Wants Some, The 13th, Ouija: Origins of Evil, La La Land, Hidden Figures, Kicks

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2017 Academy Award nominees announced, here's a full list of the Oscar contenders

Jan 24 // Hubert Vigilla
Best Picture Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight   Best Director Denis Villeneuve, Arrival Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge Damien Chazelle, La La Land Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Barry Jenkins, Moonlight   Best Actor Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge Ryan Gosling, La La Land Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic Denzel Washington, Fences   Best Actress Isabelle Huppert, Elle Ruth Negga, Loving Natalie Portman, Jackie Emma Stone, La La Land Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins   Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, Moonlight Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea Dev Patel, Lion Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals   Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis, Fences Naomie Harris, Moonlight Nicole Kidman, Lion Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea   Best Original Screenplay Hell or High Water La La Land The Lobster Manchester by the Sea 20th Century Women   Best Adapted Screenplay Arrival Fences Hidden Figures Lion Moonlight   Best Film Editing Arrival Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water La La Land Moonlight   Best Cinematography Arrival La La Land Lion Moonlight Silence   Best Production Design Arrival Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Hail, Caeasar! La La Land Passengers   Best Costume Design Allied Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Florence Floster Jenkins Jackie La La Land   Best Make-up and Hairstyling A Man Called Ove Star Trek Beyond Suicide Squad   Best Original Score Jackie La La Land Lion Moonlight Passengers   Best Original Song "Audition", La La Land "Can’t Stop the Feeling", Trolls "City of Stars", La La Land "The Empty Chair", Jim: The James Foley Story "How Far I’ll Go", Moana   Best Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon Doctor Strange The Jungle Book Kubo and the Two Strings Rogue One: A Star Wars Story   Best Sound Editing Arrival Deepwater Horizon La La Land Sully   Best Sound Mixing Arrival Hacksaw Ridge La La Land Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 13 Hours   Best Foreign Language Film Land of Mine A Man Called Ove The Salesman Tanna Toni Erdmann   Best Documentary Feature Fire at Sea I Am Not Your Negro Life Animated OJ: Made in America 13TH   Best Documentary Short Extremis 4.1 Miles Joe’s Violin Watani: My Homeland The White Helmets   Best Animated Feature Kubo and the Two Strings Moana My Life as a Zucchini The Red Turtle Zootopia   Best Animated Short Blind Vaysha Borrowed Time Pear Cider and Cigarettes Pearl Piper   Best Live-Action Short Ennemis Interieurs La Femme et le TGV Silent Nights Sing Timecode
2017 Oscar nominees photo
La La Land lands 14 nominations

The 2017 Oscar nominees have been announced. The leader of the pack this year is Damien Chazelle's La La Land, which garnered 14 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and two Best Original Song nods.

Wait, two Best Original song nominations? Sing Street was robbed, I tells ya.

14 nominations ties a the all-time most nominations record set by Titanic and All About Eve.

Other major films vying for gold this year include Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, Kenneth Longergan's Manchester by the Sea, Theodore Melfi's Hidden Figures, Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, Denzel Washington's Fences, and, surprisingly, Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge.

Check out the nominations below and then complain about what got snubbed in the comments.

*cough Paterson*

*cough The Handmaiden*

[via The Oscars]

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi photo
Kylo Ren = The Shogun of Space Harlem

It's official, ladies and gents. Star Wars Episode VIII from wirter/director Rian Johnson is titled The Last Jedi. One might have expected this to be the name of the the third film in the new trilogy, following the naming conventions of Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. Instead, a swerve that reminds me of the cult martial arts movie The Last Dragon.

This means that Rey is Bruce Leroy and Kylo Ren is the Shogun of Space Harlem.

A poster for the film is in the gallery. What do you think of the title? Let us know in the comments.

[via Star Wars on Twitter]

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Every Power Rangers Theme Song, Ranked

Jan 22 // Nick Valdez
[embed]221220:43333:0[/embed] 20. Power Rangers Operation Overdrive (2007) Back when Disney owned the rights to Power Rangers, they made quite a bit of changes in order to reinvent it for their network. Punches and kicks were replaced by more lasers, explosions allegedly couldn't occur in front of the Rangers themselves, and they wanted to do a rap theme for some time. Unfortunately for all of us, their idea of rap was total garbage.  Highlighting the worst season of Power Rangers is faux-techno rap babble with the lyrics "There's treasures to be found, there's some lives to be saved, our planet to look after, there's a whole lot of space!" There's a whole lot of something, all right.  [embed]221220:43334:0[/embed] 19. Mighty Morphin' Alien Rangers (1996)  I wasn't originally going to count this, as the Alien Rangers arc is the capper of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' final season and it's merely a copy of the OG theme with "alien rangers" in the lyrics, but you'll see in the next couple of entries this theme has a bit more effort in it than others.  I'm giving it credit for merely existing when it didn't need to. We didn't need a new theme, but it was nice to hear something different in preparation for the major reboot the series would go through a season later.  [embed]221220:43335:0[/embed] 18. Power Rangers Samurai (2011) / Power Rangers Super Samurai (2012) When Saban re-acquired the rights to Power Rangers (which fans have dubbed the "Neo-Saban"-era), they chose to reintroduce the series to kids on Nickelodeon with a remix of the show's original theme with the additional lyrics, "Rangers Together, Samurai Forever." But unlike the Alien Rangers theme, this remix is weak. I get the need to reintroduce the series' mythos to a new generation, but Saban missed the chance to highlight the show's obviously Japanese influences.  It's reflective of Saban's growing pains over the next few seasons that'll only get worse. Even worse is having the characters shout their names during the title sequence, treating kids like little idiots.  [embed]221220:43336:0[/embed] 17. Power Rangers Megaforce (2013) / Power Rangers Super Megaforce (2014) Megaforce was a worse season than Samurai in a lot of ways. Chiefly it's biggest disappointment was in how lazy of a show it was. It's exactly the same theme, complete with characters shouting their names during the credits, but it's just slightly better thanks to the first couple of seconds. With a season as lazy as this was, take what you can get.  [embed]221220:43337:0[/embed] 16. Power Rangers Mystic Force (2006) Just as Operation Overdrive somehow needed a rap in its theme song, Mystic Force was the first attempt at it. It's not a full-on trash rap, nor is it just a retread, but it's not an accomplishment by any means. This season was weak for a number of reasons, but the theme should've been the first indicator of its overall terribleness. [embed]221220:43354:0[/embed] 15. Power Rangers Jungle Fury (2008) Remember the band Metro Station? What about 3OH!3? Well, if either or those bands wrote a Power Rangers theme song it'd be whatever the hell this song is. Taking advantage of the faux-emo wave at the time is this piece of work which in no way suited a cool season of kung-fu Rangers.  Jungle Fury had a lot of great things going for it, but I could imagine this theme song turning kids away. It's just way too in your face with its awfulness.  [embed]221220:43338:0[/embed] 14. Power Rangers RPM (2009) Originally intended to be the final season of the series, as Disney got tired of spending money on it, RPM was a surprisingly mature story of the last bits of humanity fighting against machine apocalypse. Borrowing imagery from films like Mad Max and Terminator, this series was as awesome as Power Rangers has ever gotten...but the theme didn't tell you any of that. Other than some techno mess in the middle of it, this theme was a little too generic. All it's got to offer are a few "Power Rangers RPM, get in gear!" thrown in every now and again, and it's a letdown for what's arguably the best season of the series.  But it's not a rap song, so there's that.  [embed]221220:43341:0[/embed] 13. Power Rangers Wild Force (2002) Wild Force was basically a Power Rangers version of Captain Planet, as the Rangers fought against pollution and what not, so a boring season unfortunately got an equally boring theme song. There's nothing technically wrong with the song, it's just a little too loud and busy to really hit home. Accompanying animal roars, a tone that's constantly aggressive, with nothing sticking out to make it unique. The best seasons (as you'll read in a bit) have themes with distinguishing, memorable characteristics. Don't expect anyone to remember this.  [embed]221220:43340:0[/embed] 12. Power Rangers Ninja Storm (2003)  Ninja Storm's opening theme is about as forgettable as Wild Force's, but what makes it win over in the end is how unique it is. Matching its series' tone of extreme sports loving ninja masters is a chill rock song that helps play up the "Storm" in the series title. There still has yet to be a theme like it.  [embed]221220:43342:0[/embed] 11. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (1999) Since Lost Galaxy was the first self-contained season of the series, not continuing the story started in MMPR, it needed a theme that sounded wholly different than what had come before. And it got that...for the first thirty seconds or so. As the first opening theme of the series not composed by Ron Wasserman (who's credits include MMPR through In Space and the Mummies Alive! opening theme), it's different enough to stand out yet feels similar enough to themes before. But after the great "ahhhhhhhh," it starts feeling repetitive. Granted all of these themes are repetitive, but this one really lets down its grandiose beginning.  [embed]221220:43343:0[/embed] 10.  Power Rangers Ninja Steel (2017) Since this season just premiered it might be a bit too soon to have the opening theme crack the top ten, but it's pretty dang good. It's the opening few seconds that really drive the point home. While I'm not sure if the series will live up to the Asian influences the theme presents, it already seems much different than seasons before. Coupled with a remix of the original theme (in order to keep building the mythos, as mentioned) thrown in for good measure, and I'm pretty stricken with it.  [embed]221220:43344:0[/embed] 9. Power Rangers Turbo (1997) As the only season of the series to premiere with a movie, Turbo didn't have to do much. The season itself had a ton of problems, but its theme has the best final seconds of any season. While the full version of this theme breaches hilariously bad territory (complete with a car starting up for the first 20 seconds), the show's 30 second cut was amazing. It's surprising the series never returned to 30 second themes, but it at least helped Turbo.  [embed]221220:43346:0[/embed] 8. Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (2000) I don't know why, but Lightspeed Rescue has the one theme I found myself singing the most as a kid. Like Lost Galaxy, the second half doesn't have as much to offer as the first but I prefer the lyrics here than in most of the other themes. It's goofy, but in a series about an emergency rescue team of Rangers, the lyrics "the signal is calling, our planet is falling, the danger will test you, better make it Lightspeed Rescue!" are just hype.  [embed]221220:43345:0[/embed] 7. Power Rangers Zeo (1996) Zeo marked a lot of first for the series. It was the first reboot, it was the first time the Rangers had wholly new suits and powers, and it was the first real season to change the theme. Thankfully, it delivered on everything it was supposed to. With lyrics like "stronger than before" and "powered up for more," mixed it with the standard "Go Go Power Rangers!" you really got the idea that these new powers were different, better maybe.  [embed]221220:43347:0[/embed] 6. Power Rangers Dino Charge (2015) / Power Rangers Dino Super Charge (2016) Speaking of remixes, Saban wouldn't get it right until much much later with Dino Charge. The first good season of the Neo-Saban era, Dino Charge burst out of the gate with a theme sounding like an original until it reminded you that it's a remix of the original song. If Power Rangers could've been reintroduced with this series, this opening theme, than it be a much bigger hit for Nickelodeon than it is now. There's something about dinosaur themes that really makes Power Rangers pop.  [embed]221220:43350:0[/embed] 5. Power Rangers In Space (1998) Just as how RPM was intended to be the final season of the series years later, In Space was initially planned to be the final season before doing well enough in the ratings thanks to its space opera narrative. This theme may have an atonal quality to its lyrics, but the opening countdown has always set it apart in my mind. As the final theme (at the time) composed by Ron Wasserman, it has a ton going for it. The final half, while admittedly as repetitive as other themes on this list, is too hype to pass up. I think the "go go go fly!" always does me in, haha.  [embed]221220:43352:0[/embed] 4. Power Rangers Time Force (2001)  Time Force was a much better season than it got credit for. It was right around the time less kids paid attention to it as we were all starting to grow out of waking up early on Saturdays, but it had so much good in it. The actors were all great (most of them having had experience in film and TV beforehand, which is sadly notable for this series), the premise was great (time patrollers fighting mutants), and it had a memorable theme song. The guitar solo here was the best in a long time and it's better than a lot that came after it. Just like how In Space has a line that does me in, here it's "timeless wonders, fire and thunder, all to save the world." It's goofy when written out, but trust me on this.  [embed]221220:43351:0[/embed] 3. Power Rangers Dino Thunder (2004) As I'm sure you've guessed, Power Rangers has gone through tons of reinventions and new beginnings in order to keep kids entertained. Disney bought the rights to the series mid-Wild Force, but it wasn't until after Ninja Storm that Disney had their own take on the series. To go along with another dinosaur themed team of Rangers, the series also tried to bring back old fans with Jason David Frank, an evil Ranger storyline, and most importantly, a kick-ass rock theme song. This theme is probably the closest to an actual "song" in the entire series, and it's the one theme that's most fit for a sing along. With the strongest lyrics of the entire series, this theme song is only beaten by musical greats. [embed]221220:43349:0[/embed] 2. Power Rangers S.P.D. (2005) Although Ron Wasserman composed a few demos during the Disney era, only one of them really made it to the actual show. Thankfully, it was the best one. The only theme on this list to highlight percussion rather than guitar riffs made it stand out for a number of reasons. It's entirely strong throughout with a kick-ass opening and a final ten seconds which elevate it over the other seasons' themes. It'd be the best overall if not for the final entry on this list.  [embed]221220:43353:0[/embed] 1. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (1993-1995) C'mon, like I was going to put something else here. I'd be lying to myself, and you, if I didn't pay tribute to the original. It's the theme everyone remembers for a reason. With a harder rock composition than kids deserved, it treated this new series with an awesome reverence that would sadly never get matched again.   They just don't make theme songs like this for kids anymore. 
Power Rangers Themes photo
Go Go

Pop culture is full of different kinds of media, but the ones with the most lasting power all do a very important thing: build mythos. "Mythos" is essentially a group of ideas uniquely tied to a premise. Power Rangers has managed to last 24 seasons because of its mythos. When you hear "Power Rangers" you expect a show full of brightly colored spandex, giant robot fights, and most importantly, a rockin' theme song to kick it all off.

But did you know each season brought a new theme song? Some were hype, and others were decidedly not. A children's show is only as good as its theme song, so I'm here to tell you which Power Rangers opening themes were the best. 

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Logan Trailer photo
I'm so ready for this

We were all stricken by the first Logan trailer for its gritty setting, somber tone, and older Logan, and it looks like the second trailer delivers that even more so. The third, and final, Wolverine film follows Logan as he struggles to keep a little girl who shares his adamantium skeleton safe. With this trailer, we finally get a taste of what an R-rated Wolverine film can give us. 

Patrick Stewart is also back as a Professor X who's fighting dementia and drops a few F-bombs more than expected. It's so nice to hear, honestly. Hugh Jackman has wanted to do an R-rated Wolverine film for years, and he's going to deliver. I hope it's a good end to the character before Fox inevitably reboots him later. 

Logan opens March 3rd. 

[embed]221219:43331:0[/embed]

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Power Rangers photo
Everything and the kitchen sink

This newest trailer for Power Rangers has everything, and I mean everything, you probably we wanted to see. We see the new Command Center, Zordon, Alpha, we see the suits in action, zords, Rita Repulsa, the Megazord, and pretty much every big scene in the movie (which was what I was afraid of). But...I'm really feeling this. 

While the suits still look a mess, and the finale is going to be lots of CG nonsense, I really liked this trailer. I don't like it as a "fan" of the series, but it's at least a much better cut trailer than the first one. It drops a lot of its pretense, and has the kind of fun I wanted from the jump. I hope the full film can match this tone. 

Power Rangers releases March 24th. 

[embed]221218:43330:0[/embed]

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Watch Ryan Scafuro's Election Night, a short documentary about America's long evening

Jan 17 // Hubert Vigilla
It's fascinating to witness the entire tone of that pub change. Once there was optimism, then there was deflation and disbelief; both of the latter linger without leaving like some awful fog. It's not a be-all or end-all statement on election night, but it's a chronicle of moods that many are still dealing with. We're days away from a new President of the United States, and I sense a lot of this country and the population overseas continue to be stuck with that uncertain feeling captured at the end of this film. It's morning in America, and it's raining. If Scafuro's name sounds a bit familiar, he was the producer and director of photography on the excellent strong man documentary Bending Steel, directed by Dave Carroll. Both Scafuro and Carroll have also worked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. How was your election night? How are you feeling now? Chime in down below in the comments. [via Short of the Week]
Election Night photo
Democracy's rainy hangover

Inauguration Day is this week. It's also my birthday on Inauguration Day. If you've seen some of my previous film and TV-related posts about Donald Trump on this site, you probably know how I feel about this. It's a glum and heavy feeling that I've been carrying with me since election night last November. What a strange, strange time to be alive.

Filmmaker Ryan Scafuro was in the UK last November, and he captured that day's hope, fear, disappointment, and numbness in his short documentary Election Night. The eight-minute film premiered today over at Short of the Week. You can give it a watch below.

[embed]221216:43329:0[/embed]

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Chips Trailer photo
Jump Street this isn't

Joining shows getting remade for the screen like The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, and Baywatch, is CHiPs, a show practically everyone forgot about. And like 21 Jump Street, this new Chips is trying to be a goofy buddy comedy that would reinvigorate the brand. Unfortunately, this first trailer for the remake is awful. 

Starring Dax Shepard (who also directs the film) and Michael Pena (an FBI agent using the "Ponch" identity), this trailer has a bunch of what I think are jokes? It might just be the way the trailer is edited, but nothing hits the mark here. The tone is weird, the cast doesn't seem to have chemistry, and Shepard and Pena don't have a lot of fun here. I'm hoping the next couple of trailers can fix this issue, or we're all in for a bad time. 

CHiPs hits theaters March 24th. 

[embed]221213:43328:0[/embed]

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Review: We Are the Flesh

Jan 12 // Hubert Vigilla
TRAILER IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK (NSFW) [embed]220963:43146:0[/embed] We Are the Flesh (Tenemos le carne)Director: Emiliano Rocha MinterRating: NRRelease Date: January 13, 2017 (limited)Country: Mexico  We Are the Flesh reminds me of early Clive Barker splatterpunk stories; one scene in thermal vision even recalls Barker's little-seen short film The Forbidden. There's also a hint of Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo: The Iron Man, though it's shorn of the technological madness and kinetic stuff--this transgression is luridly organic. Maybe Tetsuo by way of Gaspar Noe, with occasional outbursts of hysterical excess straight out of Andrzej Zulawski (Possession). The film also has some moist, mucus-rich makeup effects that wouldn't be out of place in a Brian Yuzna movie (Society, From Beyond). This paragraph is either a warning or a recommendation--if you want blood, you got it. There's a man with a demonic smile (Noe Hernandez) who lives in an abandoned building. He gets high on homemade gasoline and gets off on solitude. A boy (Diego Gamaliel) and a girl (Maria Evoli), siblings, enter his building. They're desperately in search of food and shelter. The man lets them stay as long as they help him construct a claustrophobic landscape within the building. Think of something like a cave and a uterus complete with a pseudo birth canal; a psychoanalytic hellscape where the id can thrive. All the while, the man tries to coerce the boy and the girl to break social, sexual, and interpersonal taboos. Minter builds up dread through whispers and shouts as he mounts transgressions upon each other. There's incest, rape, murder, cannibalism, on-camera sex, and necrophilia, and even now I can't say what it all adds up to. We Are the Flesh may not add up to anything, to be honest. Even though Hernandez and Evoli give the film their all--Evoli in particular goes for psychotic broke--the movie may just be images and noise with the intent to shock. I think there's a political allegory about Mexico and poverty, that a lack of means reduces us to some base state of nature in which social mores no longer matter. But it's a bit of a guess. It might be a stretch. Sometimes extreme cinema is just extreme cinema, but I can't help but sense something more meaningful behind all of this given how repulsed yet affected I felt. When someone lets out a blood-curdling scream, there has to be a reason, right? Maybe? Or was it just the desire to scream? This struggle for meaning is probably an intentional provocation from Minter. When confronted with something shocking, I usually feel challenged to interpret it. Yet Minter evades overt meaning making. There seems to be 10 minutes missing from the final act of the 80-minute film. Several events take place off camera unexplained, and it leads to total narrative disorientation. We Are the Flesh was a feverish nightmare already, and then that skimpy dream logic breaks down completely. No order, not for this this movie. What Minter provides is a sustained sense of unease, however. That feeling remained with me even after a less than satisfying conclusion. Even if We Are the Flesh only prompts exasperation and disgust, it's such a strange trip into the abyss I want to send others down there into the dark who are willing. Minter, like or hate it, is a Mexican filmmaker to watch. I'm reminded of something Clive Barker said about movies once (paraphrased): I want to feel something, even if it's just disgust; better that than thinking, okay, let's go for a pizza. After We Are the Flesh, pizza was the last thing I wanted.
Review: We Are the Flesh photo
The ecstasy of pure id

Reviewing We Are the Flesh from writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter is tricky. On the one hand, it's a deeply flawed film aimed at a limited audience. It's transgressive in the extreme, sexually explicit bordering on pornographic, nonsensical bordering on pretentious. Minter seems to want to find that sliver of an audience that loves high-brow art house movies as much as they love sordid exploitation trash. Characters are reduced to character types and symbols, which themselves get reduced to the most base animalistic impulses (i.e., eat, f**k, repeat).

And yet this is why I can't get We Are the Flesh out of my head. No wonder Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Gravity) and Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman, The Revenant) have endorsed Minter's filmmaking. It might speak to the way that extreme cinema, even irresolvable or seemingly incomplete (maybe incomprehensible?) works, can affect viewers simply through a lack of restraint. It's like staring at a squalid ink blot and trying to discern meaning and intent, knowing that this shape may be nothing more than sound, fury, sex, and gore.

[This review originally ran as part of our coverage of the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. It has been reposted to coincide with the theatrical release of the film.]

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Joe Carnahan has finished Uncharted script, movie may finally get made, honest

Jan 09 // Hubert Vigilla
Carnahan would have been a fun director for the project, be he's only writing the film so he can direct Bad Boys 3. Levy seems like a strange choice to tackle this project, but if he actually sticks around, he'll at least have that over his numerous predecessors. What do you think? Will this actually happen or no? Discuss in the comments. [Joe Carnahan on Instagram via Movieweb]
Uncharted movie photo
Shawn Levy is still on board to direct

Sony has been trying and trying and trying to make an Uncharted movie for years. Now in 2017, they may actually start making the movie. Finally. Really. Well, maybe. We'll see if Shawn Levy sticks around to direct.

Joe Carnahan has finished the screenplay for the film, and he posted about it on his Instagram account:

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Justice League photo
Gal Gadot and a bunch of cosplayers

Did anyone else forget Justice League was coming out this year? I totally did. 2016 was such a weird year, it feels like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released forever ago. But as teased in both BvS, Suicide Squad and most likely Wonder Woman, Justice League is releasing later this year. Which means now the crazy advertising campaign can begin in full.

USA Today provided our first look at the team together and I'm not so sure about what I'm looking at here. I don't think I'm going to like Ray Fisher's Cyborg unless they fix more of his look in the coming months. He's a bit too CG and seems awkward standing next to the others. Granted everyone here looks awkward, and it's nice to have him front and center, but this still seems a little, well still

I'm probably being a bit too harsh but, after DC/WB's last two attempts, all of this is warranted. Part of me's going to geek out seeing all of these heroes on screen, but let's hope it's at least a good film. 

Justice League opens November 17th. 

[via USA Today]

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Beauty and the Beast photo
All in

I've been looking forward to Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast remake for a while now, and despite a funky looking Beast, every bit of footage we've seen has been fantastic. But Disney has smartly held off the film's all-important songs until now; since the film is three months away. 

I'm not sure if Emma Watson can really sing yet, but I'm going to believe in her. This TV spot reveals a bit of her prowess, and that's all I needed really. I can't wait to see what the rest of the cast has to offer, but I'm all in at this point, haha. 

Beauty and the Beast opens March 17th. 

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Here are your 2017 Golden Globes winners

Jan 09 // Nick Valdez
Best Supporting Actor in Any Motion Picture Mahershala Ali, MoonlightJeff Bridges, Hell or High WaterSimon Helberg, Florence Foster JenkinsDev Patel, LionAaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals Best Actor in a TV Series - Drama Rami Malek, Mr. RobotBob Odenkirk, Better Call SaulMatthew Rhys, The AmericansLiev Schreiber, Ray DonovanBilly Bob Thornton, Goliath Best Actress in a TV Series - Musical or Comedy Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-GirlfriendJulia Louis-Dreyfus, VeepSarah Jessica Parker, DivorceIssa Rae, InsecureGina Rodriguez, Jane the VirginTracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy AtlantaBlack-ishMozart in the JungleTransparentVeep Best Actress in a Limited Series  Felicity Huffman, American CrimeRiley Keough, The Girlfriend ExperienceSarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime StoryCharlotte Rampling, London SpyKerry Washington, Confirmation Best Limited Series American CrimeThe DresserThe Night ManagerThe Night OfThe People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime StoryHugh Laurie, The Night ManagerJohn Lithgow, The CrownChristian Slater, Mr. RobotJohn Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Best Original Score - Motion Picture MoonlightLa La LandArrivalLionHidden Figures Best Original Song - Motion Picture “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls“City of Stars,” La La Land“Faith,” Sing“Gold,” Gold“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Viola Davis, FencesNaomie Harris, MoonlightNicole Kidman, LionOctavia Spencer, Hidden FiguresMichelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series Olivia Colman, The Night ManagerLena Headey, Game of ThronesChrissy Metz, This Is UsMandy Moore, This Is UsThandie Newton, Westworld Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Colin Farrell, The LobsterRyan Gosling, La La LandHugh Grant, Florence Foster JenkinsJonah Hill, War DogsRyan Reynolds, Deadpool Best Screenplay - Motion Picture Damien Chazelle, La La LandTom Ford, Nocturnal AnimalsBarry Jenkins, MoonlightKenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the SeaTaylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water Best Animated Picture Kubo and the Two StringsMoanaMy Life as a ZucchiniSingZootopia Best Foreign Language Picture Divines (France)ElleNerudaThe SalesmanToni Erdmann Best Actor in a Limited Series Riz Ahmed, The Night OfBryan Cranston, All the WayTom Hiddleston, The Night ManagerJohn Turturro, The Night OfCourtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Best Actress in a TV Series - Drama Caitriona Balfe, OutlanderClaire Foy, The CrownKeri Russell, The AmericansWinona Ryder, Stranger ThingsEvan Rachel Wood, Westworld Best TV Series - Drama The CrownGame of ThronesStranger ThingsThis Is UsWestworld Best Director - Motion Picture  Damien Chazelle, La La LandTom Ford, Nocturnal AnimalsMel Gibson, Hacksaw RidgeBarry Jenkins, MoonlightKenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Best Actor in a TV Series - Musical or Comedy Anthony Anderson, Black-ishGael García Bernal, Mozart in the JungleDonald Glover, AtlantaNick Nolte, GravesJeffrey Tambor, Transparent Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Annette Bening, 20th Century WomenLily Collins, Rules Don’t ApplyHailee Steinfeld, The Edge of SeventeenEmma Stone, La La LandMeryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins Best Picture - Musical or Comedy 20th Century WomenDeadpoolFlorence Foster JenkinsLa La LandSing Street Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Casey Affleck, Manchester by the SeaJoel Edgerton, LovingAndrew Garfield, Hacksaw RidgeViggo Mortensen, Captain FantasticDenzel Washington, Fences Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Amy Adams, ArrivalJessica Chastain, Miss SloaneIsabelle Huppert, ElleRuth Negga, LovingNatalie Portman, Jackie Best Picture - Drama Hacksaw RidgeHell or High WaterLionManchester by the SeaMoonlight
Golden Globes 2017 photo
Queens, record breaks, and hidden fences

The Golden Globes were a weird sight last night. Technical flubs (which made Fallon awkwardly flail on stage until he mercifully shuffled away), Hidden Figures and Fences wrongly labeled as "Hidden Fences" (which reveals a whole host of other problems), and plenty of prolonged, awkward gags and bits. But anyway, it's all about the awards. 

Highlights include Meryl Streep's lifetime award acceptance speech (and Viola Davis' introduction), Donald Glover won a few Globes for Atlanta, La La Land broke a record for wins with seven Globes (winning basically everything it was nominated in), and finally, Moonlight was snubbed for the majority of the show until winning Best Picture in the end. 

Read below for the full list of winners. 

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Home Alone with Blood adds gore, turns Kevin into a heartless killing machine

Jan 09 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221204:43322:0[/embed] [embed]221204:43323:0[/embed] [embed]221204:43324:0[/embed] [embed]221204:43325:0[/embed] Happy holidays, ya filthy animals. Oh wait... we're a little late on that... Umm... Gung hey fat choy, ya filthy animals. [via IndieWire]
Home Alone with Blood photo
Keep the change, ya filthy animal

We know that in real life Home Alone's booby traps would be a hyperviolent collection of severe bodily trauma. A full paint can to the noggin is not so pleasant. In fact, it's some straight-up horror movie stuff.

That's the conceit behind Home Alone with Blood. It adds blood to Home Alone. Not a misleading title. Well, it adds blood, gore, and a terrifying sense of gleeful sadism to Kevin McCallister's antics.

It's a little NSFW and a tad bit more disturbing than you might think, but give all four videos a watch below.

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Mark Hamill reads Donald Trump's thin-skinned tweet as The Joker, which totally fits

Jan 08 // Hubert Vigilla
You know, thinking about it, that tweet did sound like the sort of thing a megalomaniacal supervillain would say. Jesus... Trump Steaks are the new Joker Fish. Courage. Resist. [via Mark Hamill on Twitter]
Trump = The Joker photo
It did read like a supervaillain tweet

While Donald Trump was running for president, Billy West recorded a number of the candidate's dumber statements in the voice of Futurama's Zap Brannigan. It was funny. And now that Donald Trump is President-elect, it's just kind of numbly terrifying. Seriously.

Case in point, Donald Trump's New Year's Eve tweet was the sort of thin-skinned, petty, childish garbage a school bully would write: "Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!"

Ugh, right?

Well, Mark Hamill recorded that tweet as The Joker, a voice role he's played since 1992 for Batman: The Animated Series. And it works a little too well.

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New David Bowie video photo
I have something in my eye

David Bowie's death last year was so sudden and unexpected. He'd been battling cancer bravely and quietly for 18 months. Just days before he passed, he released Blackstar on his 69th birthday. That was a year ago today, and on first listen, not knowing Bowie was about to die, I could've sworn it marked a late-career creative surge that would last a long while.

There's new David Bowie music out now on what would have been his 70th birthday. The four-song EP is titled No Plan, and was recorded during the sessions that would make the album Blackstar.

You can watch the music video for the title track below. Elegiac and quite touching, the video was directed by Tom Hingston, who also directed the video for Bowie's "I'd Rather Be High" from the excellent 2013 album The Next Day.

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Happy birthday, David Bowie. We miss you.

[via Spin]

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Lucasfilm to discuss Star Wars and Leia plans following Carrie Fisher's death

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221197:43317:0[/embed] It should be interesting to see what choices are made. Thinking about Furious 7, they were able to give Paul Walker a touching tribute, and used a combination of CG doubles and body doubles to complete Walker's work in the film. If Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One was any indication, they could potentially resurrect General Leia as a CG performer so long as there is permission from Fisher's estate. It'd be ethically dubious and exploitative, though, especially so soon after Fisher's death. (Worst case scenario is Bruce Lee in Game of Death.) I'm not calling the shots on this--I would hate to be in that position, to be honest--but maybe the most respectful option is to rework the story of Episode IX and potentially Episode VIII if need be in order to give Leia some kind of satisfying sendoff. I'm not privy to any of the actual Lucasfilm plans, though. Maybe the payoff they were hoping for in Episode IX involved a reconciliation with Kylo Ren. If so, now what? Let's continue that discussion from the earlier Rogue One story. If you were running Lucasfilm. what would you do in this situation? Let us know in the comments. [via AV Club]
Leia in Episode IX? photo
How will the story change?

While people continue to mourn Carrie Fisher's passing, Lucasfilm now has to address a major question about Star Wars moving forward. What happens to Leia in this franchise? How will they rework their original plans? Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow will meet to figure out what happens next.

Reports are that Fisher completed her work on Rian Johnson's Episode VIII. The issue is with Episode IX. The original plans were for General Leia to have a larger role in the third film of the new Star Wars trilogy.

Will they try to write Leia out of the story between Episode VIII and Episode IX? Will there be any Episode VIII reshoots to give Leia a sendoff of some kind? And there's the other big elephant in the room: Will they resort to a CG double a la Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

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Trailer: Kung-Fu Yoga has Jackie Chan and a CG lion named Little Jackie

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
While Kung-Fu Yoga doesn't look good, it does seem like a throwback to the bizarre Hong Kong fare of the 80s, where random stuff happened and then there's a cool fight. There's also a little vibe of 2005's The Myth (also directed by Tong), a Jackie Chan movie that almost worked but just loses the thread in its last third. Here's a synopsis for Kung-Fu Yoga: Chinese archeology professor Jack (Jackie Chan) teams up with beautiful Indian professor Ashmita and assistant Kyra to locate lost Magadha treasure. In a Tibetan ice cave, they find the remains of the royal army that had vanished together with the treasure, only to be ambushed by Randall (Sonu Sood), the descendent of a rebel army leader. When they free themselves, their next stop is Dubai where a diamond from the ice cave is to be auctioned. After a series of double-crosses and revelations about their past, Jack and his team travel to a mountain temple in India, using the diamond as a key to unlock the real treasure. Kung-Fu Yoga opens in Singapore on January 26th and in China on January 28th. No word yet on an international release. [via Screen Anarchy]
Trailer: Kung-Fu Yoga photo
This is like silly 80s HK schlock

I don't think I've legitimately liked a Jackie Chan movie since 2004's New Police Story. There were good scenes and flashes of brilliance in Rob-B-Hood, The Forbidden Kingdom, and Chinese Zodiac, but they never really hung together as movies.

Regardless, Jackie Chan is back, and his latest movie is Kung-Fu Yoga. The film reteams Chan with Stanley Tong, who also directed some of Chan's standout work in the 1990s: Rumble in the Bronx, Police Story III: Supercop, and Police Story IV: First Strike.

If anything, the movie has Jackie Chan in a car with a CGI lion named Little Jackie. Seriously, give it a watch.

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Trailer for Cambodian martial arts movie Jailbreak looks like furious fun

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
Here's an official synopsis for the film: A group of Special Task Force Officers are sent to Koh Kla prison where they detain the country’s top criminals. What started as a simple escort mission will soon turn into chaos as the prisoners take over the prison grounds. Trapped in the building, our 4 heroes will have to get their way out for survival, or die trying. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! Jailbreak is out in Cambodian theaters on January 31st. No word on any international release at the moment. [via Screen Anarchy]
Jailbreak trailer photo
This trailer needs a Thin Lizzy song

My taste is eclectic, but I am, at heart, a simple man. Sometimes I want a long Hungarian art movie, or an oblique sci-fi existential meditation on trauma and pigs, or a reassuring week in the life of a working artist.

Other times I just want to see people punch each other in the face in really fancy ways.

So this trailer for Jailbreak looks pretty darn fun to me. The only thing that's missing is the Thin Lizzy song "Jailbreak". Give it a watch.

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Nightline shows how ILM created CG actors for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
Top Secret, guys! Were you expecting that spoof to be involved in Rogue One? No. Think about it. Thematically, it totally makes sense. Both movies are about fighting Nazis. The CG Tarkin and Leia were all right for what they were. Some shots of Tarkin were better than others. Leia seemed so jarring; the shot seemed unnecessary to me, and perhaps a better ending shot was 10 to 30 seconds earlier. This leads me to wonder how dated this feat of CG craft might look in 10 years time. I recall many people once touting the realism of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and ditto the CG burly brawl in The Matrix: Reloaded. These are like height marks against the side of a door--look at how much computer-generated actors have grown. While the technological leap is remarkable, I feel like just casting a live actor who looks similar would have been better. They did it with Mon Mothma in Rogue One, after all. The character was originally portrayed in Return of the Jedi by Caroline Blakiston. Mon Mothma was played by Genevieve O'Reilly in Revenge of the Sith (though the scene was deleted) who then reprised the role in Rogue One. How did you feel about CG Tarkin and Leia? Let's talk about it in the comments. We'll report on another story related to Star Wars and this issue in just a bit. [via The Playlist]
Rogue One CG actors photo
SPOILERS on some cameo appearances

If you've seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, you know that there are some unexpected appearances by well-known (and lesser known) characters from the original Star Wars. Needless to say, SPOILERS to follow.

Some of my favorite Easter eggs in the film include some Y-wing and X-wing fighters checking in during the final third of the film, including good ol' Red Leader.

Almost there.... alll-mosst theeere...

But the biggest and most unexpected appearances in Rogue One are from Grand Moff Tarkin and a young Princess Leia. Peter Cushing has been dead since 1994, and the late Carrie Fisher was just 19 years old while making the original Star Wars. Nightline aired the following report on how these actors were recreated by Industrial Light and Magic.

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Trailer: The Lure looks like the sexy cannibal mermaid musical the world needs (NSFW)

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
In my brain, I am doing a Daniel Bryan "Yes" chant right now. If the trailer is any indication, The Lure may enter the oddball musical canon alongside Forbidden Zone or The American Astronaut. Check out this official synopsis: In this bold, genre-defying horror-musical mashup--the playful and confident debut of Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska--a pair of carnivorous mermaid sisters are drawn ashore in an alternate ’80s Poland to explore the wonders and temptations of life on land. Their tantalizing siren songs and otherworldly aura make them overnight sensations as nightclub singers in the half-glam, half-decrepit fantasy world of Smoczynska’s imagining. In a visceral twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s original Little Mermaid tale, one sister falls for a human, and as the bonds of sisterhood are tested, the lines between love and survival get blurred. A savage coming-of-age fairytale with a catchy new-wave soundtrack, lavishly grimy sets, and outrageous musical numbers, THE LURE explores its themes of sexuality, exploitation, and the compromises of adulthood with energy and originality. The Lure will open at the IFC Center here in New York City on February 1st. The film will eventually open nationwide. Check out the poster for the film below and in the gallery. [EW via The Playlist]
Trailer: The Lure photo
But is it the one Gotham deserves?

I had no idea about The Lure until last night even though it played at Sundance last year. The Lure is now one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. The debut film from Agnieszka Smoczynska, The Lure is a horror/fantasy musical about carnivorous mermaids in Poland during the 1980s. Bonus: It's being released by Janus Films, that stamp of quality that suggests full-throated endorsement by the Criterion Collection.

If that elevator pitch alone isn't enough to sell you on The Lure, check out the trailer below. The trailer is NSFW since it contains some nudity.

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Diego Luna shares a Star Wars fan's Rogue One story about race, accents, and representation

Jan 06 // Hubert Vigilla
If you check out RiverAlwaysKnew on Tumblr, there's a lot of other people talking about a similar reaction to the film and representation. Hope, guys and gals. [RiverAlwaysKnew on Tumblr and Diego Luna on Twitter via Tor.com]
Rogue One: A Fan Story photo
Why representation matters

One of the most notable aspects of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was its multi-racial cast. This resulted in a dumb attempt at boycotting the film (not the first time this has happened). We can mock the racists and rubes all we want, but I think it's better to consider the positive effects of representation and why casts like Rogue One's have an impact.

Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor in Rogue One, shared the following anecdote from a fan on Twitter. It's a story about the fan taking his dad to see the film.

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Rings Trailer photo
'Cause I got a really big team'

Naturally when a film gets hit with numerous delays it's easy to assume the final product is subpar. Couple that with a bump from last October to February, and Rings already has a lot working against it. It's a sequel no one really wants (and the one we do want is premiering on Shudder soon), it's going to premiere when no one is interested, and this newest trailer for it doesn't look so hot. 

Instead of spreading through a VHS tape, Samara's going through spam e-mail but it's basically the same old schtick the other two films had. And like spam e-mail, folks will probably ignore this film and let it linger in their junk folder. 

Rings opens February 3. 

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There's a new Child's Play in the works for some reason

Jan 05 // Nick Valdez
Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) is erroneously convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new therapeutic “tool” to facilitate his patients’ group sessions — an all-too-familiar “Good Guy” doll with an innocently smiling face — a string of grisly deaths begins to plague the asylum, and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.
Child's Play photo
For Blu-ray and DVD

For those not too in the know, the Child's Play series has been keeping a single story alive for 30 years now. For some reason I don't completely comprehend, Chucky has been a horror icon to many and a joke to more. But regardless the seventh entry in the series, Cult of Chucky, is now in the works! 

According to Bloody Disgusting, Cult of Chucky will begin filming next week with most of the original series' team returning for it. Don Mancini is returning to write and direct, Brad Dourif is once again voicing the killer doll, Jennifer Tilly (who once also voiced a killer doll before becoming human), and even the original Child's Play's Alex Vincent. It's pretty damn neat the series has keep a single canon going rather than softly reboot the series each entry like other popular slasher franchises. 

Cult of Chucky will release directly on home video later this year. Check out the announcement trailer and plot synopsis below. 

[via Bloody Disgusting]

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John Carpenter is fighting with neo-Nazis over the message of They Live

Jan 05 // Hubert Vigilla
Of course, Nazis are disputing John Carpenter's claims about the meaning of his own movie. Apparently neo-Nazis and white nationalists have been reading their own agendas into the film for many years, and have even created offensive memes about it. And I mean, really offensive. [embed]221191:43313:0[/embed] You can check out the Gizmodo link below or the John Carpenter Twitter thread if you want to see some more of this stuff. As Sidney Fussell put it at Gizmodo, this is what "the surrealist shit show that life post-2016 has become". But like the old saying goes, Nazis are the fucking worst. Stay strong. Resist. Courage. Always leave your bubblegum at home. [via Gizmodo] [embed]221118:43264:0[/embed]
Nazi punks f**k off photo
This is the world we live in today

They Live is one of John Carpenter's indisputable masterpieces. Part satire and part ass-kicker, the film is all about the horrors of capitalism, consumerism, and 80s excess. Yet because the Internet exists and it is awful, a bunch of Nazi scum have been promulgating the theory that They Live is really about fighting the hidden Jewish agenda. Yes, neo-Nazi alt-right jagoffs think John Carpenter is on their side.

Ugh.

John Carpenter is having none of this insane nonsense. He took the Twitter the other night to dispel this mishegoss:

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Coachella BWAAAAAM photo
BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Composer Hans Zimmer has a world tour planned this year, and he's added an unexpected stop: Coachella. Running from April 14th-16th and April 21st-23rd in Indio, California, Zimmer will be playing on the 16th and 23rd. These are the same nights as Kendrick Lamar, New Order, Lorde, Devendra Banhart, and a bunch of other people I'm too old to have heard of.

Also, Radiohead and Beyonce are playing at Coachella this year. (Wait, they do two weekends of Coachella now?)

The one time I went to Coachella way back when I saw Pixies, Radiohead, Belle and Sebastian, The Flaming Lips, a little bit of The Cure. It was only one weekend back then, and everyone had onions on their belts, that being the style at the time. Hans Zimmer was definitely not there.

Or was he?

Hopefully there's no BWAAAAAM bleed from Zimmer's stage during the Future Islands set.

[via The Verge]

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#RobLiefeldMovieUniverse photo
TO THE EXTREME!

If you bring up Rob Liefeld among comic book fans, you'll get a whole slew of reactions. Some loathe the man and his artwork (which is very 1990s) while others like The Rob and what he does. One thing he did many years ago was create Deadpool.

Given, the Deadpool back then wasn't the anarchic meta character he'd become, but without Rob Liefeld, there wouldn't be Deadpool. And without Deadpool doing so well at the box office (and on torrent/pirate sites), Rob Liefeld wouldn't have the insane film deal he got yesterday. Thus the son becomes the father and the father the son.

Fundamental Films and Akiva Goldsman have acquired the film rights to Rob Liefeld's Extreme Universe with the intent of creating a multi-film franchise a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Whatever That Dreck Is. The Extreme Universe includes Youngblood, Bloodstrike, Bloodwulf, Brigade, and a host of other characters that are sort of like Marvel ones but different. (For example, Bloodstrike is basically Deadpool.)

It's easy to make jokes about Liefeld's numerous Blood[blank] and [Blank]blood creations, but good work has come from The Rob through other writers. Alan Moore had an excellent run on Rob Liefeld's Supreme, turning a Superman rip-off into a love letter to and deconstruction of Mort Weisinger-era DC Comics. More recently, Brandon Graham took Prophet (a Captain America rip-off) and turned his adventures into a sci-fi adventure in the mold of Moebius and European comics. Maybe, with the right creative teams involved, something really cool can come of this.

Assuming these movies even get off the ground, of course. This could be Youngblood: Year One all over again.

[via The Wrap]

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Director Gareth Edwards and Rogue One editors talk about changes, reshoots, and restructuring

Jan 04 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221184:43308:0[/embed] In addition, Edwards also talked about the trailer shot of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) walking toward the TIE fighter that wasn't in the final movie. There was a bit of a process to refining the third act in terms of the specific shots and moments, and so certain things just fell away. But then what happens is marketing love those shots, and go, "Oh, we've got to use that." And you say, "Well, it's not in the movie". And they say, "It's okay, it's what marketing does, we just use the best of whatever you've done". And so there's lots of little things, but towards the end you go, "I know that's not in the film, but the spirit of it's in the film". [embed]221184:43309:0[/embed] As an interesting aside, Edwards also revealed an unlikely inspiration for a Darth Vader scene in Rogue One. I'm jealous of moments like in Empire Strikes Back where you see the back of [Vader's] head and you just go, "Oh my God, that is so cool," and wanted to try and find something like that in our film. [The bacta tank scene] was actually a Chris Cunningham-inspired thing of the idea of being in milk [like in the Bjork music video] "All Is Full Of Love". He's really a burns victim, and it’s not going to be fun for him when he’s not in the suit--he's going to be uncomfortable. I love the idea of showing that he’s vulnerable as well. [embed]221184:43310:0[/embed] Moving on to editors John Gilroy and Colin Goudie, they were much meatier with what they revealed to Yahoo Movies. Gilroy noted that the reshoots gave audiences the film they see today. They noted that in the beginning of Rogue One, Jyn's introduction and other character introductions were additions or alterations to add dynamism and excitement. John Gilroy: The story was reconceptualized to some degree, there were scenes that were added at the beginning and fleshed out. We wanted to make more of the other characters, like Cassian's character [Cassian Andor, the Rebel spy played by Diego Luna], and Bodhi's character [Bodhi Rook, the defected Imperial pilot played by Riz Ahmed]. The scene with Cassian's introduction with the spy, Bodhi traipsing through Jedha on his way to see Saw, these are things that were added. Also Jyn [Jyn Erso, the reluctant leader of the film, played by Felicity Jones], how we set her up and her escape from the transporter, that was all done to set up the story better. Colin Goudie: The point with the opening scenes that John was just describing was that the introductions in the opening scene, in the prologue, was always the same. Jyn's just a little girl, so when you see her as an adult what you saw initially was her in a meeting. That's not a nice introduction. So having her in prison and then a prison break out, with Cassian on a mission... everybody was a bit more ballsy, or a bit more exciting, and a bit more interesting. They got there eventually in the film, but this way we came in on the ground running, which was better. [embed]221184:43311:0[/embed] The action-packed finale of Rogue One was also heavily restructured and altered through reshoots. John Gilroy: It changed quite a bit. The third act has a lot going on. You have like seven different action venues, the mechanics of the act changed quite a bit in terms of the characters, and I don't want to go into too much detail about what had been there before, but it was different. We moved some of the things that our heroes did, they were different in the original then they were as it was conceived. Because you needed to figure that out, and everything else changes. Everything was connected to everything so doing something to one venue would change all the other venues, so really we had to... we were working on that until the last minute, because we working closely with ILM, they were giving us temporary shots and we'd put them in, we'd work them, we'd reconceive again. It was really like a very tight puzzle and we had to keep honing that and honing that, and I’m very proud of what we did there. So there you go, your first sense of what was different from the initial cut to the final cut. Did you notice any of the seams or was the finished film surprisingly seamless? Talk about it in the comments. [via Empire, Yahoo Movies]
Rogue One: What Changed? photo
Opening crawls and alternate scenes

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story underwent a number of changes from script to screen. There were extensive reshoots, the film was restructured, and certain shots and lines from early trailers never made it into the theatrical release of the movie.

We may not get the full story on what was changed for a while, but director Gareth Edwards and editors John Gilroy and Colin Goudie have started talking about various revisions and alternate takes.

First off, Edwards shared lots of Rogue One trivia, secrets, and info with Empire. Among these revelations, Rogue One originally had an opening crawl like the other Star Wars films.

The first screenplay that Gary Whitta wrote had a crawl in it--and you learn doing that that 'a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away' has four dots in it, not three. You get extra marks for that. And then at some point, probably like six months before we were filming, we were in a meeting, and they talked about not having an opening crawl, because these are standalone films, not part of the sagas. And if I'm honest, there was an initial kind of like, "Whaaaa? I want the crawl!" The opening sequence is kind of the crawl of our movie. It's like the setup. And our film is also born out of a crawl--the reason we exist is because of a previous crawl, so it feels like this infinite loop that will never end. It's a small thing to give up to get to do Star Wars.

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Han Solo's mentor photo
Kingpin is kind of underrated, guys

As a first foray into Star Wars spinoffs, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been extremely successful both critically and commercially. The upcoming young Han Solo film ought to do gangbusters as well. So far Alden Ehrenreich is slated to play Han Solo with Donald Glover set to play Lando Calrissian.

According to Variety, Han Solo is going to have a mentor, and Woody Harrelson is the frontrunner for that role.

Harrelson was also a mentor figure in The Hunger Games and, of course, Kingpin, the 1996 gross-out bowling comedy from the Farrelly brothers. It's unclear if Harrelson's character in the young Han Solo movie will be a pilot and swindler of some kind. I imagine Han's mentor will be a down-on-his-luck former bowling champion who finds promise in a young Amish man (Han Solo) who can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs and pick up 7-10 splits like they're candy wrappers.

I could be wrong, though.

Young Han Solo (aka Kingpin 2: Young Han Solo: A Star Wars Story) is set to come out May 25, 2018, though some rumors online suggest the movie may be pushed back to December 2018. This may be to ensure all actors are given proper bowling training so they can perform their own bowling stunts.

[via Variety]

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Tom Hardy reads a story photo
The moon rises!

Tom Hardy tends to be the best thing or secret-best thing in any movie he appears in. He's an exceptional actor who disappears into roles, often stealing the show through voice and mannerism. (For examples, see BronsonThe Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, and the otherwise forgettable Lawless. Actually, maybe don't see Lawless.)

A few nights ago on the children's show CBeebies, Tom Hardy and his dog Woody stole the internet's heart. Or something.

Before turning in tonight, here's video of Hardy and his dog reading You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley. It's the charming bedtime story born in the darkness, molded in it.

[embed]221182:43307:0[/embed]

G'night, kids.

[via IndieWire]

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