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Kong: Skull Island photo
The king has returned

When Legendary Pictures, the company behind giant monster movies like Godzilla and Pacific Rim, moved King Kong over to Warner Bros in order to have him fight Godzilla eventually, I've been looking forward to the first look at Kong: Skull Island

While the first poster for the film looks intense, the SDCC trailer itself seems a bit off. The new Kong looks fine, and the cast is stacked with talented people (Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, etc.), the focus on human drama has the potential to bring down the entire experience. It's certainly an interesting idea, but Peter Jackson's King Kong already succeeded with the personal drama route. Let's hope we haven't seen the really good stuff yet. 

Kong: Skull Island opens March 10, 2017

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Instagram is blowing up with pictures from Marvel, Marvel employees, and San Diego Comic-Con attendees. One such gem: gladiator armor that the Hulk will wear in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok (November 3).

While plot details of Thor: Ragnarok are still not entirely known, the gladiator armor suggests we may be getting a Planet Hulk storyline. Now, whether or not this will unfold in the Thor sequel, or this will merely set it up for a standalone Hulk feature (as Flixist previously suggested), we don't yet know.

Planet Hulk, a 15-comic stand alone story arc created by Greg Pak in 2006, revolves around the Hulk being sent to an uninhabited planet by a superhero Illuminati, only things go awry and the hulk ends up doing his best Russell Crow impression on an inhabited, violent planet instead.

Check out this sickness that Instagram user @agentm posted:

The Hulk gets some new gear for 2017's "Thor Ragnarok."

 

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Justice League footage photo
The Flash, you kidder

Big things happening today for the DC Cinematic Universe. In addition to the Wonder Woman trailer at San Diego Comic-Con, here's your first taste of Zack Snyder's Justice League movie. It seems goofier and more lighthearted than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Watch below, comment in the comments section, check out the official Justice League image in the gallery, and play a mean guitar riff.

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[via ComicBook.com]

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Watch the trailer for The Lost Arcade, a documentary on NYC's Chinatown Fair

Jul 23 // Hubert Vigilla
Here's a official synopsis for The Lost Arcade: Written and produced by Irene Chin and directed by Kurt Vincent, THE LOST ARCADE, is an intimate story of a once-ubiquitous cultural phenomenon on the edge of extinction, especially in New York City, which once had video arcades by the dozen. These arcades were as much social hubs to meet up and hang out as they were public arenas for gamers to demonstrate their skills. But by 2011, only a handful remained, most of them corporate affairs, leaving the legendary Chinatown Fair on Mott Street as the last hold-out of old-school arcade culture. Opened in the early 1940’s, Chinatown Fair, famous for its dancing and tic tac toe playing chickens, survived turf wars between rival gangs, increases in rent, and the rise of the home gaming system to become an institution and haven for kids from all five boroughs. A documentary portrait of the Chinatown Fair and its denizens, THE LOST ARCADE is a eulogy for and a celebration of the arcade gaming community, tenacity, and Dance Dance Revolutionary spirit. The Lost Arcade will be out in San Francisco on August 5th and will be released in New York City on August 12th at Metrograph. The Lost Arcade will be available on VOD in September.
The Lost Arcade photo
A look at New York's arcade culture

As someone who still wears the occasional onion on his belt, I remember arcades quite fondly. They were in steady decline when I was a kid, but they were a good way to kill time at the mall or to spend a Sunday morning. They've come back in modified form (e.g., Barcade), and while there's a social aspect to this new coin-op gaming, it's just not the same. I mean, I'm getting drunk on craft beer and I'm not always wearing an onion on my belt.

The fondness for old school arcades is at the center of Kurt Vincent's documentary The Lost Arcade, which focuses on Chinatown Fair, an arcade that's been around since the 1940s.

Check out the trailer below.

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Wonder Woman trailer photo
It's Wonder Woman, suckas!

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was one of the highlights of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. She was a real hero in a movie filled with mopey people. Her appearance whetted everyone's appetite for Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman movie. After the release of a colorful and well-done poster, we now have our first look at the film.

Enough of my jibber-jabber. Watch the Wonder Woman trailer below and leave a comment.

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[via YouTube]

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LEGO Batman Movie photo

The LEGO Movie was one of the funnest animated films of the last few years, so naturally we were going to get a lot more of it. Luckily, first on the docket is the great looking LEGO Batman Movie. The first couple of trailers impressed, and I'm only more convinced the spin-off is going to be a good time. 

Case in point are these new images of its glam version of Robin (Michael Cera) and its slightly monstery Joker. There's so much personality in Robin's design, I definitely want to see it in motion. 

The LEGO Batman Movie releases February 10, 2017. 

[via Collider]

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Justice League Action photo
Like a pocket Justice League Unlimited

With as wonky of a movie universe it has. DC have really succeeded on the small screen. They've been dominating since Dini's run from Batman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimted and now CW's got a whole universe. Since Teen Titans Go has been doing so well on Cartoon Network, it was only a matter of time before the Justice League would get a more kid friendly version.

But I enjoyed Justice League Action's first trailer. It's got the OG cast (including Convoy and Hamill), it's got a slick design, and the tone seems really light and fun.

Justice League Action is coming to Cartoon Network in the near future. 

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Blair Witch photo
The Woods is actually Blair Witch!

In an era where it's practically impossible to hide anything from the Internet, we were completely surprised by two projects kept under wraps. Joining 10 Cloverfield Lane is Blair Witch, a project only known as The Woods until San Diego Comic Con this weekend. 

There are several reasons I'm excited about this. This first trailer is captivating, it's a legitimate sequel to the Blair Witch Project (and it doesn't look as awful as the straight to video Book of Shadows), the first person POV finally seems interesting, and it's Adam Winguard and Simon Barrett's follow up to You're Next and The Guest, two of the best horror films of the decade. With their track record and how fantastic this trailer is, I'm 100% confident this is going to be awesome.

Best news? The film is only two months away as Blair Witch opens September 16th. 

[via Bloody Disgusting]

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More colorful than all of BvS

Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman was one of the only bright spots in this year's dour Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which, granted, isn't saying much, especially since her inclusion helped the movie feel overstuffed). She was the only character in the whole damn movie – give or take a Lex Luthor – who seemed even mildly happy at any point in the movie, and her share of the climactic battle scene did a good job depicting why it's such a travesty the Amazonian princess hasn't been on the big screen before now.

Anyway, since then I've been legitimately anticipating her solo movie, which I can't really say about any of the other DC offerings at the moment. And with San Diego Comic-Con in full swing this weekend, we're sure to get a good amount of information about the movie, which has already started with the reveal of the first poster for the film. Check it out:

It's not surprising that the first thing that strikes me about this poster is just how damn colorful it is. Back when Warner Bros. first revealed Godot in the full Wonder Woman gear for BvS about a year ago, one of the biggest complaints was the image's washed out, monochrome palette. This new poster just pops – not just the red, gold and blue of the costume, but the smoke and the sky in the background. BvS was a trashcan fire of a movie, but if its legacy is a more lighthearted and colorful DC Expanded Universe going forward, maybe it was worth it (spoilers: It totally wasn't, that movie was bad as hell).

Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman hits theaters on June 2. The movie also stars Chris Pine, Lucy Davis and Robin Wright.

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Get a taste of Jared Leto's Joker performance in this Suicide Squad promo

Jul 22 // Hubert Vigilla
Remember, Leto was in-character during the shooting of Suicide Squad, because of course Jared Leto is an insufferable method actor. Jeez, man. Anyways... What do you think about this little snippet of Jared Leto's The Joker? Will you attend The Gathering of the Jared Leto's? Chime in down below. [via /Film]
Jared Leto Joker photo
The Gathering of the Jared Letos

I'd like to think that Jared Leto is currently at The Gathering of the Juggalos dressed as The Joker from Suicide Squad. In-character, too. He would fit right in, as least outwardly. We know he's got facial tattoos and is full of attitude, but what about his mannerisms and personality? Is he more of a Violent J guy or a Shaggy 2 Dope guy? What's his favorite ICP deep cut?

In this extended promo for Suicide Squad, The Joker gets to be in the spotlight, giving you just a hint of what's to come in the full film.

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Marvel photo
First looks galore

Netflix came out swinging at this year's Comic Con. Not only did they drop a trailer for the upcoming Luke Cage movie, but also teasers for Iron Fist and The Defenders. As you may or may not know the latter of those will see Netflix's entire stable of heroes team up to fight some big bad guy. Probably the person mocking them at the end of the teaser, which also confirms a 2017 release date for the series.

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The Iron Fist teaser is short and sweet, showing off some super powers that seem a little more aggressive than the original Iron Fist ever had. Finn Jones still isn't Asian, but he does look very interesting. The trailer feels in line with Netflix's darker take on the Marvel universe and hints that there might be some mental health issues going on with our hero Danny Rand. No confirmation of release date on this one, but 2017.

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The stand out has to be the Luke Cage trailer, which pumps out ODB‘s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” while Cage plows through a crime-filled building in a Raid-esque fight sequence. The show is supposed to have 90s hip-hop vibe and the writer has called it Marvel's version of The Wire. Whatever it turns out to be it already looks awesome. 

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Jon Stewart returns, does a Daily Show takedown of Donald Trump on Stephen Colbert's Late Show

Jul 22 // Hubert Vigilla
Seeing Stewart do his thing again makes me appreciate just how good he could be when he was on fire. Not every episode of The Daily Show was great--off night, slow news days, the grind of doing it four times a week takes its toll--but on the whole the show was always reliably brainy and heartfelt. This all makes me wonder what would happen if Jon Stewart had stuck around for this election year, like a general ordering one final charge up Bullshit Mountain, and boldly leading the way. What would he have made of the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders battle? What jokes would there have been about drowsy Ben Carson and Ted-Cruz-y Ted Cruz? Oh, and Jeb--poor, poor Jeb. And of course there's Donald Trump. I don't believe that one comedian could have brought him down. Like the idea of Savior Candidates, I find the idea of Savior Comedians naive. Besides, Stewart would have been branded as one of the media elite who just doesn't get Trump like Trump's supporters do--that's the narrative, and why so many of Trump's horde seem to delight in proving their critics wrong. Yet I think Stewart would have made this car crash a bit more bearable. Maybe that's what political satirists do best in troubled times: they go from the nation's conscience to the nation's airbag. Okay, less morbid. Maybe a good satirist who is first and foremost a good person would, after cracking wise, just sit with you and talk things out until something at least resembling joy could be found simply in an act of mutual commiseration. Stop by again some time, Uncle Jon. I like our talks. [via YouTube]
Jon Stewart returns photo
America's cool uncle stopped by to visit

Jon Stewart left a major void behind when he ended his run on The Daily Show last year. Don't get me wrong--I love Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, I think Trevor Noah's gradually finding his voice, and Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show is solid. Yet Stewart was the premiere political satirist and media critic of the last 15-16 years. He'd also become that familiar and reassuring presence on TV--a Walter Cronkite prone to spit-takes and telling Glenn Beck to go fuck himself. He launched dozens of comedy careers fighting Bullshit Mountain, and in the process became (liberal) America's conscience.

So many have been clamoring for Jon Stewart to return to The Daily Show, especially given how insane this election season has been. Last night on a live edition of Stephen Colbert's The Late Show, America's cool uncle stopped in for a visit.

Give it a watch below.

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Review: Star Trek Beyond

Jul 22 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220689:42999:0[/embed] Star Trek BeyondDirector: Justin LinRated: PG-13Release Date: July 22, 2016  While many Trek fans will probably balk at this idea, Justin Lin was the exact right man to helm a Star Trek. We'll never be returning to the all out, slow-pan-around-a-star-ship, philosophical, socially aware, political format of Star Trek of yesterday because that's not what makes money, but we can have a strong mixture of action and heart. Lin brought that to the Fast and the Furious franchise in spades, turning a crappy series into something spectacular that people want to see. He did this not just through action, but by turning a cast of characters into a #family. That's what he's done with Star Trek Beyond too. The crew of the Enterprise is finally on their five year mission. In fact, they're three years into it and, as Captain Kirk's (Chris Pine) captain's log tells us, they're all getting a little bored with the daily grind of exploration. Kirk is questioning whether he wants to be a captain anymore and Spock (Zachary Quinto) is shocked to find that his elder self has passed. Luckily they're docking for resupplies at the newest and largest Star Fleet space station, but before they can settle in an alien shows up requesting help to rescue her crew from an uncharted part of a nearby nebula. The crew of the Enterprise jumps into action and promptly gets the ship torn to shreds, crash landing on an alien planet run by an evil alien named Krall (Idris Elba).  The separation of the crew after the crash landing and the relatively small scale of the story overall delivers a Star Trek that is far closer to the original series in tone than either of the previous two films. The removal of larger political pictures and the Enterprise itself means the focus lands squarely on the crew and that works wonders for finally delivering a Star Trek where you feel the crew is anywhere near the family that the crew of the original series was. Spock and McCoy's (Karl Urban) relationship is especially fleshed out while Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) actually become characters instead of plot devices. It's clear that screenwriters Pegg and Dough Jung along with Lin have a far better understanding of what makes Star Trek special than Abrams and crew did. That doesn't mean that the movie turns its back on the new Trek formula. This is still an action movie first and a space drama second. Lin, of course, is really good at action. Again, though, the fights feel more personal and well executed than the previous films. The action is possibly even more over-the-top, and yet it feels more grounded. More importantly Lin keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout every sequence. By the time the now obligatory Beastie Boys song comes on its hard not to be cracking a massive smile no matter how much of a dour original Trek fanboy you are (and I am a big one).  It's even more refreshing that Beyond finally pulls the rebooted franchise out of the shadow of its predecessors. Into Darkness's misguided attempts to recreate Wrath of Khan made the crew seem trite and the story not hit when it was supposed to. Beyond is finally its own story, defining its own crew and creating its own feeling. While it still makes a nod here and there to the original films, it is finally telling its own story -- even if that story isn't all that groundbreaking. I must also champion the film for finally ditching the under armor uniforms that made it look like they were all on the way to bro out at the gym for a bit. The new costume design is spot on and feels much more like something the crew of a starship would wear. The redesign (yet again) of the Enterprise is pretty stellar as well.  For all the fun (and it is really fun) of the movie it isn't really pushing any new boundaries. The story may be new and the cast finally feels like it's gelling, but the plot is paper thin overall. You don't really have time to catch your breathe and think about it while you're watching, but Beyond doesn't go very far beyond in terms of pushing ideas or themes. Maybe, in this case, it doesn't have to. It's focus on the characters overrides its need for a strong plot line and it clearly cares more about hashing out the crew as people than making a profound social statement.  That focus on the crew means that this is by far almost every actors best turn in the role. Pine seems especially comfortable as a more laid back, experienced Captain Kirk while Urban's McCoy becomes less homage to the original and more something of his own. Yelchin finally gets a chance to turn Chekov into something else than a funny accent and nails it, and it's a shame we won't get to see him take the character any further.  Star Trek beyond feels like a very big budget episode of the television show, and while that was a insult for Star Trek: Insurrection, here it is a compliment. The original series and all its progeny had a sort of magic to them, and it stemmed from a crew that felt like a family. That, it turns out, was missing from this new Star Trek thanks to Into Darkness's attempts to replicate instead of create. Thankfully, Beyond brings it back and turns the franchise into something you definitely want to see live long and prosper.
Star Trek photo
Going where no new Trek has gone before

The rebooted Star Trek franchise hasn't really had a bad movie. J.J. Abrams put together two highly entertaining pieces of cinema back to back. However, if you're a Star Trek fan Into Darkness was concerning. An action packed film, the movie felt more like Star Wars than Star Trek and played heavily on nostalgia instead of forging its own path. While entertaining, Into Darkness put a bit of a shadow over the franchise's future.

Consider that shadow gone in a poof of prolific Justin Lin action sequences and a return to the focus on what made Star Trek great: the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

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Shrek  photo
someBODY

Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb

So much to do, so much to see
So what's wrong with taking the back streets?
You'll never know if you don't go
You'll never shine if you don't glow

Shrek is love. Shrek is life.

[via THR]

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Here's an underwhelming first look at Amazon's The Tick reboot

Jul 21 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]220686:42998:0[/embed] Thanks, Joe. The cheap-looking costume and less-beefy version of The Tick (played by Peter Serafinowicz) are pretty meh. Something about that light blue with the pocked-plastic texture and the sports-pad pattern makes him look like a dude cosplaying as The Guyver rather than a neat and nigh invulnerable hero. Serafinowicz looks more like Arthur than The Tick, come to think of it. On its surface, this just looks like a serious downgrade from Patrick Warburton's deep blue big guy from the short-lived live-action TV show, and a major step down from the Ben Edlund comics and the beloved 90s cartoon. You can see all the images released in the gallery, including one with Whoopi Goldberg. The Tick reboot premieres on Amazon Video on August 19th. Let us know what you think about the new version of The Tick's costume in the comments. [embed]220686:42998:0[/embed] Okay, that's quite enough, Joe [via io9/Gizmodo]
The Tick reboot photo
SPOOOO--whoa, what?

When we reported about Amazon's reboot of The Tick a few months ago, we learned that the reboot would be "darker and more grounded," which is exactly what people wanted from a parody of superheroes. Now we have our first look at this darker and more grounded version of The Tick and it's thoroughly underwhelming.

Just take a look at the new costume:

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Life is like a hurricane, full of remake

Ducktales is coming back because there's nothing original anymore. In fairness, if there is any Disney property I'd like to see back in from the heyday of their Saturday morning cartoon glory it's probably Ducktales, and from this poster at least the look is pretty solid. The animation has almost a classic look to it and ditches a lot of the sharp-edged style that most modern cartoons love. I'm digging it. 

The new show will once again follow the exploits of Scrooge McDuck and his plucky nephews and niece (and Donald Duck, evidently) as he tries to become richer and richer. Presumably there will be money swimming as well, but this has yet to be confirmed. The show will be broadcast on Disney XD and we're guessing will cater not just to that channels pre-teen audience, but also nostalgia loving adults as well.

Now, lets all spend the rest of the day trying to get the theme song out of our heads. 

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And Hell, if we're lucky ...

Remember back in May when Allegiant bowed to a $29 million opening weekend and the CEO of Lionsgate (the Dream Team behind the Divergent series films) said, "Yeah, our movie is the worst"? Me neither, but it happened! Well, now it seems they entire Lionsgate team has swallowed their Kool-Aid pride and taken the big hint from audiences everywhere, because the Divergent finale, Ascendant, is skipping theaters and going straight to the original home box office, cable, where it will await its fate.

The decision came in the nick of time, as shooting was originally scheduled to begin this summer. But common sense prevailed.

 

[Via Variety]

Now, the series will look to conclude its storyline with Ascendant before beginning a run as a TV spinoff. No final details as available as this has yet to be picked up by anyone. Common sense is in abundance today. No word on whether the original cast (Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jai Courtenay, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, etc.) will reprise their roles for the made for TV flick.

Thus concludes the last chapter in what is truly my least favorite teen, dystopian, Edwardian, futuristic, film series based off books, ever. May it rest in pieces.

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Netflix launches Flixtape, which is part-playlist and part-mixtape

Jul 21 // Hubert Vigilla
I tried working on a quick Flixtape just now just because I like you a lot. And, umm, I dunno, you make me feel like I was in high school again when I actually did like, umm, make mixtapes and stuff. I think you're kind of great, so, like, here's a Flixtape. The Funky Slump Flixtape So, like, yeah, ummm... I kind of like that movie, you know. So, uhhh, see you in Mr. Akamichi's art class on Monday? Make your own Flixtapes by clicking here. Feel free to share them in the comments, on our Facebook page, tweet them to us on Twitter, or, you know, give them to us during art class on Monday. [via IndieWire]
Netflix Flixtape photo
The first track is most the important

Making a good mixtape can be a complex artform. The mix reflects your personal taste and expresses unspoken feelings while ultimately trying to appeal to the recipient.

Then there are the unspoken rules of the mixtape, right? The mood and tempo ought to vary, the songs should say something more on repeat listens, cover versions are only acceptable if they totally reinvent the original, and there should be at least one track by The Jam.

Now you can do a Netflix playlist as a mixtape thanks to a new feature called Flixtape.

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No sleep 'til Danny DeVito

Can you believe it's been 20 years since Pokemon first told us we gotta catch 'em all? I wouldn't necessarily call the franchise untouchable, but it quickly became one of Nintendo's most profitable and successful tentpoles alongside Zelda and Mario Bros. And with the ridiculously large success of Pokemon Go's US launch earlier this month, it seems like everybody has Pokemon on their minds.

As we mentioned back in April, a bidding war for a Pokemon adaptation was in full effect, with Legendary Pictures seen as the frontrunner. Now, the bidding war has officially ended as the production studio behind Inception, Pacific Rim, Jurassic World, Warcraft, and many, many more, has officially reached a deal with The Pokemon Company, the holding company that owns the rights to the Pokemon franchise. Production is scheduled to begin next year with Universal distributing the film to all regions outside of Japan.

The live-action film is rumored to center around Detective Pikachu, a particular Pikachu that can speak and is very intelligent. The character was the star of his own Pokemon spin-off game, Great Detective Pikachu, which launched in Japan earlier this year. There are no confirmed details beyond this, but rumors are swirling that Max Landis (Chronicle) might be involved.

Now if only Detective Pikachu can solve the mystery of Pokemon Go's terrible servers...

[via Deadline, lulz via Sean H.]

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xXx photo
Yea, this is happening

Did you think that the xXx franchise was dead and buried? Nothing Vin Diesel ever does truly dies! And so here is something you may not have been expecting a sequel to a movie so couched in 90s extreme sports that you wouldn't ever think it could be updated... and yet. 

There's something very Fast and Furious about this. A little bit of that ridiculousness that makes it work. That may come in part from Vin Diesel, but it's too the filmmakers credit that they were smart enough to update things (and possibly ignore the Ice Cube sequel entirely). My only true gripe here so far is that title. It makes it sound like we all remember the character of Xander Cage fondly when I can't even remember a single frame from the original movie. 

xXx: Return of Xander Cage opens January 20, 2017.

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Ash vs Evil Dead photo
Or... you know, it's a marketing gimmick

The first season of Ash vs Evil Dead was a miracle in modern television. It brought back a franchise that fans had been clamoring for while imbuing it with (yet another) new slant. Plus, it was a bloody, gory, one-liner-packed work of effing art. It concluded in the best way possible, with Ash screwing over the world so he could go party in Jacksonville. Pitch perfect Ash.

The second season is coming and if this bloody, gory, one-liner-packed, supposedly-banned-from-SDCC trailer is any indication then we're in for quite a treat, and some more fan love. Ted Raimi (who played a lot of evil monsters in the original) is returning as Ash's childhood friend and Michelle Hurd joins the cast as his highschool girlfriend. Also cast is a crap ton of fake blood and dismembered body part prosthetics.

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The trailer for Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville's Skiptrace would be better with Adele

Jul 20 // Hubert Vigilla
If the trailer actually ended with "Rolling in the Deep," it would be kind of great. Instead, they used a non-royalty off-brand version of the song. "Dolling in the Reep"? "Sowing What You Reap"? "Bowling on the Cheap"? "Look Before You Leap"? "Strolling Near the Creek"? "Deleting Racist Tweets"? "Shoes Are Totes on Fleek"? "Drooling in Your Sleep"? "Cajoling Easter Peeps"? "Going Home to Weep"? "Tolls Are Sort of Steep"? "Crying While You Eat"? "Rubbing Smelly Feet"? "Sourdough or Wheat"? Skiptrace will be out in theaters September 2nd. [via /Film]
Skiptrace trailer photo
Directed by Renny Harlin--RENNY HARLIN!

It's been a long while since Jackie Chan's put out a genuinely good movie. In my opinion, his last great film was 2004's New Police Story, though he's still capable of some flashes of brilliance as seen in 2013's Chinese Zodiac.

Skiptrace looks like a serviceable Jackie Chan buddy movie from the early 2000s, like a knock-off version of Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon. Instead of Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson, you get Johnny Knoxville. In the director's chair is Renny Harlin, the man responsible for Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2, The Adventures of Ford Fairlaine, and Cutthroat Island. (Harlin is still a trade up from Brett Ratner.)

Check out the trailer for this throwback action-comedy below.

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The new Magnificent Seven remake trailer feels like a rompy riff on the source material

Jul 19 // Hubert Vigilla
Your new Magnificent Seven is as follows: Denzel Washington Chris Pratt Ethan Hawke Vincent D'Onofrio Byung-hun Lee Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Martin Sensmeier Peter Sarsgaard and Haley Bennett round out the main cast. The Magnificent Seven will be out on September 23rd. Check out the poster for the film in the gallery.
Magnificent Seven trailer photo
Playing cowboy in a cowboy movie

John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven was an excellent riff on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, full of distinct characters, solid performances, and that memorable theme song.

I was a bit skeptical about Antoine Fuqua helming a remake of the film, but I have to say, the first trailer and the new trailer for The Magnificent Seven makes me feel hopeful. Both have the proper spirit of remakes and reboots. By that I mean the reboot/remake should feel like fans of the original playing with all the stuff they loved from the source material and then adding their own new material to it.

In this case, the new Magnificent Seven may be less like the original film or Seven Samurai and more like Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins. It feels like kids playing cowboy in a cowboy movie.

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The new Godzilla Resurgence trailer is full of gravitas, pathos, and splosions

Jul 19 // Hubert Vigilla
I think I have something in my eye... it's a bread crumb. How'd that get there? Here's a synopsis for Godzilla Resurgence: A cause unknown, an accident has occurred in the tunnels of the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line, causing an emergency cabinet meeting to convene. Immediately afterwards, a huge creature appears, destroying town after town with its landing reaching the capital. The mysterious giant organism named Godzilla. Godzilla Resurgence hits Japanese theaters on July 29th. When we get details on the international release, we'll be sure to share them with you. [via Collider]
Godzilla Resurgence photo
You'll cry, and you'll kaboom

I wasn't that much of a fan of Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla. While well-shot, the story was so-so and focused too much on Aaron Taylor-Johnson's bland lead character. It didn't help that Blandy McBlanderson was surrounded by a mostly forgettable group of generic supporting characters. (What a waste of Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, and Ken Watanabe.)

The new Japanese Godzilla film, Godzilla Resurgence/Shin Gojira, looks like the sort of movie I was looking for, though. Co-directed by Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and Shinji Higuchi (Gamera, Attack on Titan), the first trailer for Godzilla Resurgence was promising. This new trailer also makes the movie look pretty splendid, mixing melancholy, military strikes, and giant monsters. Give it a watch.

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Van Helsing photo
Shiny and chrome stakes to the heart

You may have forgotten that Universal is working on a big cinematic universe starring all of its classic movie monsters because the movie to kick it all off, The Mummy reboot, has been in production forever. Well, it was Dracula Untold for a bit since they kind of retconned the ending to fit into the universe, but now they've decided that that is no longer part of the universe so now it's The Mummy. The point being is that a monster universe is coming... at some point.

Eric Heisserer and Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) are the screenwriters in charge of the Van Helsing reboot for this monster universe and they're setting their goals pretty high. Heisserer said“I can only say that early on, our inspiration for his behavior and his mannerisms was all in Mad Max.” It's not clear if that means the later drafts lost that Mad Max feel or if it still has it, but that would be quite the departure from Hugh Jackman's CGI, suckfest in that it would fit the character better and, you know, not suck. 

Heissere also gave us some insight into the Universal Monster Universe as a whole, noting that the different monsters let them tackle different genres. 

It’s early days right now. I can say that the decision that a lot of us made was to go and just write the best movie we could in our own corner and make sure it’s good on its own…and didn’t necessarily need to link arm-in arm-with anybody else. And to be tonally different from the other films. One may be a little bit more comedic, action-adventure-y, one can be very much a traditional horror piece. That kind of thing. And then we’ll see what happens as the projects evolve and we all get a chance to convene and talk, and make sure the movies feel like they’re all in the same world.

Sounds like a better plan than DC's "stuff them all into one movie" tactic at least. 

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Ghostbusters photo
By the way, there will an extended cut

I liked Ghostbusters, but I readily pointed out that it had its flaws. The biggest one of which was the fact that it often veered into tired comedic tropes instead of capitalizing on the skills and chemistry of its cast. One moment where it avoided this was in a forced dance number that was clearly cut from the film and then played during the credits sequence. I gave Feig credit for cutting it since a big group dance number is an almost sure sign of a failing comedy.

Evidently that was a tough decision for Feig, and the dance number will be returning most likely in the Blu-ray releases, which will be 15 minutes longer than the film (though the initial cut was three and half hours).

We repurposed it into the end credits: [the dance sequence]. I loved it, and it’s actually going to be in the extended version of the movie. But there’s some babies that you just have to lose. That’s the hardest thing about doing comedy. You have so many funny things, but if you stack up too many, or it comes at a time when the audience wants to be moving forward… if you hang on to them you slow everything down. So that was a really tough one.

I can't express in words how incredibly wrong he is about the fact that a dance number would have made the film better, but I'm happy he realized just how out of place it would have been at that moment. 

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Darth Vader VR photo
Will probably be impressive

The storytelling potential of VR is pretty fascinating, as I noted with Allumette during the Tribeca Film Festival. A virtual headset can give you this unique feeling of immersion that allows you to interact with the story. If used right, this sense of participation can be integral to the experience of the story, and a reason to revisit/replay the story for a new experience.

Lucasfilm is going to do their own Star Wars VR project, and its going to center on Darth Vader. David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel) has been tapped to write the project. According to Lucasfilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo, the story will be canonical, so Darth Vader probably won't be working an office job or going to the grocery store or anything.

One unique aspect of the Darth Vader VR project is the space the story takes place in. According to The Verge:

The experience will take place in a 'persistent' world, one that cycles through day and night, has evolving weather conditions, and continues to go on even after the 'visitor' has gone through the story for the first time.

The VR project may not be out for another year or two, so you'll probably just have to content yourself with taping a tablet to your face and having your creepy uncle breathe heavy into your ear.

[The Verge via Slate]

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Nerd rage over all-female Ghostbusters reinforces negative stereotypes about male geek culture

Jul 18 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]220588:42985:0[/embed] If we're going to be fair here, Ghostbusters 2 did more to "ruin" the original Ghostbusters than the new all-female Ghostbusters. Honest Trailers does a pretty good job of summing it up (see above). And yet all the nerd rage is focused on the new Ghostbusters movie, probably because it's got women in it. No, scratch that, it's totally because it's got women in it. If the internet existed in its current form in 1989, a bunch of awful jerks probably wouldn't be whining online about how Ghostbusters 2 ruined their childhood because it at least had the original cast. Remakes and reboots will face some level of scrutiny given the weight of the original (e.g., RoboCop 1987 vs. RoboCop 2014), but with the Ghostbusters remake, the level of handwrining and vitriol is absolutely ridiculous and unwarranted. A lot of that is sexism, plain and simple. Once gender becomes an issue, suddenly everything is suspect, from the motives to the actresses to the characters. I can't help but think of the Mary Sue accusations about Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and ditto the sexism over Felicity Jones' character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It's almost like if you're a woman in geek culture (real or a character), you're either not good enough or too damn good and simply not afforded a space between extremes. By the way, you know who else was offended by an all-female Ghostbusters? Not Hitler, but close. There's a fair amount of MRA froth online about how the movie is pushing a social justice warrior agenda, as if "SJW" is some kind of damning pejorative and political correctness is destroying the fabric of American democracy. Conversely, there's been a fair amount of pushback from progressive and left-leaning culture writers about the importance of representation in media, with some even suggesting that Ghostbusters is a feminist call to arms that sticks it to the patriarchy. Before seeing the film, I felt some of the feminist reads of Ghostbusters were a bit of a stretch, and maybe even hoping for too much for the film's politics--it overreaches as a reaction to total dismissal. This is a Sony movie rebooting a lucrative IP. Its primary function is to make money, launch a franchise, sell toys, and advertise for media and corporate partners via blatant product placement (e.g., even though the Ghostbusters live in New York City, they order Papa John's Pizza). As it turns out, the Ghostbusters reboot pits our four heroes against a sad, dopey, male nerd stereotype named Rowan (Neil Casey). That's right, the villain in Ghostbusters is essentially some men's rights activist on Reddit (sans fedora). It's almost fitting that a movie that's prompted so much hatred from angry male nerd-bros is all about defeating an angry male nerd-bro. Rowan is an outcast, an exclusionary guy, someone who wants to harness power and influence and make the world fear his superior intellect. And he's a pasty dude who lives in a basement and has no friends. It's not subtle. The movie rarely is. Meanwhile, pasty dudes and basement dwellers take to YouTube and keyboards and rail against the movie, trying to deter others from enjoying the new Ghostbusters rather than giving people a chance to decide for themselves whether or not they like the film. But the nerds crave power and respect and have a persecution complex, which is why Rowan feels justified in destroying the world and toxic geeks in real life feel like the mere existence of an all-female Ghostbusters is a personal affront to a cherished childhood memory. Nerds really are the fucking worst sometimes. As I watched Ghostbusters, I couldn't help but think about its odd similarities to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The best scenes of the Ghostbusters reboot felt like Ghostbusters fans playing Ghostbusters in a Ghostbusters movie. As A.A. Dowd put it, the best parts of The Force Awakens felt like Star Wars fans playing Star Wars in a Star Wars movie. Both movies feature villains--Kylo Ren and Rowan--that embody the dark side of male geek identity. And like The Force Awakens, Ghostbusters gets hemmed in and struggles when it slavishly sticks to the story beats of the source material, and also when it gets a little too precious with dropping references to the original. That may be why Ghostbusters and The Force Awakens feel a little flat at the end, with the new characters weighed down by the checklist-feel of the script; without a little pause or modulation in tone, not much feels like a surprise in that final act, and nothing pops quite as much as it could. Even when Holtzmann (who is a little bit Poe Dameron, a little bit Rey) gets her moment to shine, it feels a little small, much like when Rey finally takes up the lightsaber against Kylo Ren. Again, Ghostbusters isn't perfect, but it's got some perfect moments. It needs space between being too damn good and not good enough. It shouldn't be held to a higher standard just because it's got women. Similarly, it shouldn't be viewed with malice just because you watched the original a lot growing up. You're not a special snowflake just because your folks had a VCR; your personal attachment to the film is yours and will always be yours, and four women in a movie isn't going to change that, you silly, silly nerd. Maybe the best lesson for toxic geek culture comes not from the original Ghostbusters but from another 80s movie directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray and Harold Ramis: [embed]220588:42988:0[/embed]
Ghostbusters reboot photo
Calm down, bros, your childhood is safe

Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot opened last week and came in second at the box office, earning $46 million. It wasn't a bad showing for the film, and there's talk about a sequel (because obviously). Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth were all solid comic performers, but the biggest highlight of Ghostbusters is Kate McKinnon. McKinnon plays a delightful, flirty oddball named Jillian Holtzmann, and she seems to be having the most fun out of everyone in the cast.

The Ghostbusters reboot is far from flawless (e.g., that awful Fall Out Boy/Missy Elliott theme song), but it's not nearly as bad as some guys on the internet will have you think. A lot of angry nerds (predominantly men) have down-voted the Ghostbusters trailer on YouTube, skewed the film's user rating on IMDB, and have have used various mediums to rant about how an all-female remake of Ghostbusters ruins their childhood. James Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd) even felt it was worth his time to make a video about why he was not going to review the new Ghostbusters, a film so unimportant to him he felt he needed to point out why it did not warrant attention.

Guys, this tantrum is a little sad. You're making yourselves look like a bunch of dim manchildren. I love the original Ghostbusters too, but let's be real here--if a movie is all it takes to ruin your childhood, you're probably not ready for adulthood.

***SPOILERS BELOW***

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Star Trek photo
Kirk's dad got famous

We all heard the rumors, but now it is official. Star Trek will carry on into a fourth film, which probably isn't too surprising to anyone. The rebooted franchise has been a moneymaker for the studio and the movies haven't that be too terrible. If early buzz on the Star Trek Beyond is any clue this one is going to be good too so why not hop right into a fourth? They've still got four movies to get even with the original cast.

What might be a bit more surprising is that Chris Hemsworth will be reprising his role as Captain Kirk's father. If you don't remember him that's because he was only present in the prologue to Star Trek at which point he died. Death and time have never been that problematic for Star Trek (*ahem* Generations *ahem*) so it's not much of a head scratcher to twist around how father and son will meet again. The younger Kirk's daddy issue have been running through all three films anyway.

Paramount also says that Simon Pegg and Doug Jung won't be tackling the screenplay this time around, but J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay instead. You may remember them from when Roberto Orci was heading up Star Trek Beyond since they wrote the first screenplay before Pegg and Doug came in and did a drastic rewrite. J.J. Abrams and Lindsey Weber are still around as Bad Robot is producing. Chris Pine is confirmed to return as well, and we assume the rest of the cast will come along except, sadly, for Anton Yelchin.

The tagline released goes like this:

In the next installment of the epic space adventure, Chris Pine’s Captain Kirk will cross paths with a man he never had a chance to meet, but whose legacy has haunted him since the day he was born: his father.

Now I don't want to start rumors, but the last time the original crew traveled in time whales were involved and it was awesome. It's unlikely that the movie will be about the crew travelling back to save humanity via whale while meeting Kirk's father, but we can dream. 

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Guys, look out for the explosions

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is coming in less than a year, so it's about time for the Hype Machine to really kick it into high gear. Ahead of what's sure to be a information-packed session at San Diego Comic-Con later this week, a new piece of concept art shows off the team in action, along with a new player.

Newly released concept art published in Entertainment Weekly depicts the team from the original surrounded by explosions, including returning frenemies Yondu and Nebula, played by Michael Rooker and Karen Gillen, respectively. The art also portrays a new character – a young, vaguely alien-looking woman with insect-like antennae. That's Mantis, a longtime character with associations to the Guardians going back nearly a decade, played by Pom Klementieff in the film. Check it out:

“She has never really experienced social interaction,” executive producer Jonathan Schwartz tells EW. “Everything she learns about dealing with people, she learns from the Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a very weird group to learn your social intricacies from.”

Created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck, Mantis first appeared in Avengers #112 in June 1973. Her history is long, complicated and spans several comic book companies, but the gist is that she's a martial arts expert who has empathic and telepathic abilities. Her time with the Guardians first began in 2007 in the Annihilation: Conquest – Star-Lord mini-series, where she joins up with a ragtag team of proto-Guardians to battle a robotic menace threatening to wipe out the galaxy. She was later a major character in the Guardians of the Galaxy series that spun out of the event (and on which the first film largely draws inspiration). She was with that team for its duration and has been bouncing around the Marvel Universe ever since.

Directed by James Gunn and also starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, 2017.

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