Of Course Nomadland’s Frances McDormand Cleaned ‘Grody’ Toilets With Her Co-Stars To Make The Movie Feel Real

datetime=”2021-03-08T13:55:10-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 1:55 PM


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Actors can be a very particular lot, especially when it comes to what they decide to do in order to make a role feel real. In writer/director Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, the reality of the stories from Jessica Bruder’s nonfiction best-seller is anchored by two very important fixtures. Part of that winning formula comes from the casting of some of the real-life subjects of Bruder’s work, such as acting newcomer Linda May. But the other part comes from the fact that acting legend Frances McDormand not only connected with her co-stars on a very personal level, but she dove head first into tasks like cleaning very “grody” camp toilets without pretense.

I learned these facts firsthand when I was given the honor of interviewing Linda May for CinemaBlend. Covering the Nomadland press day shortly after the film’s big Golden Globes wins for Best Director and Best Picture in the Drama category, those successes were even more of a delight to behold. With Chloe Zhao’s quiet examination of McDormand’s protagonist Fern in the world of nomadic living, the organic approach to the subject matter helps the audience connect with the material all the better. And as Ms. May told me during our talk, Frances McDormand’s approach was just as personal:

Did you see Frances cleaning that toilet? That was a grody camp toilet, and she just jumped right in. She said, ‘I’m really just a housewife.’ That’s how she sees herself, she’s a housewife. Loves taking care of her family and her home. The cleaning was just part of what she does.

Some of Nomadland’s most powerful moments are the ones where we get to see Fern going through everyday life with the slightly fictionalized versions of real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells. The fictional narrative of Frances McDormand’s character drifting through life after loss weaves through some extremely personal accounts from the actual figures that the 2017 source text makes its home in. By extension, McDormand the “housewife” is the glue that makes the entire project work as well as it does, as we don’t see the Academy Award-winning actor on screen in Nomadland, but rather, we see Fern.

The friendships between Fern and her fellow campers is certainly a crucial component to making Nomadland’s efforts to straddle the line between fiction and reality work. Which makes the fact that Frances McDormand wasn’t given a lot of time ahead of shooting to prep with her reality based co-stars even more impressive. As she and Linda May had such an excellent rapport on screen, I had to know just how they became such great friends on and off screen. May credits that authentic nature to a couple of things; the first of which she describes below:

We got together and had a dinner, it was a kind of a welcome to everyone [and] the crew. And the next day, we went to work. We were there in South Dakota when we started, and I think the bathroom scenes and the golf cart scenes were the first things we did. Those allowed Frances and I to rub up against each other: cleaning toilets together, scrubbing down mirrors, and jumping in a golf cart and taking a trip around the camp. That was a nice way to start.

If you’re a first time actor, and you’re diving into actual chores beside an award winning actor who isn’t afraid to get dirty on camera, that feels like a shortcut to getting to know an actual person as your co-worker. Which, to be completely honest, doesn’t fee like a surprise, as Frances McDormand isn’t the type that buys into the usual hype and pomp that a Hollywood production carries with it. Nomadland benefits from that fact above all else, because McDormand sells Fern to audience member and co-star alike with only the utmost verisimilitude.

But perhaps the greatest symbol of Frances McDormand’s giving nature as an actor has to come through how she aided the performance of her co-star. Seeing as Nomadland is Linda May’s first feature film role, the fact that she’s playing herself doesn’t mean it was just going to be a walk in the park. As such, this led to the greatest bonding opportunity for May and McDormand, as the latter helped the former with her performance through an act of kindness:

She’s just so sweet, she’s really… I can’t even tell you how good she was to me. For an actress of her caliber to say to someone with no experience, ‘Would you like to rehearse the lines?’ … And she would do it until she thought I was comfortable. And then she would say to me, ‘If you get lost,’ because, you know, I would get lost in the dialogue, she said, ‘I’ll just ask you a question.’ And then I said, ‘Oh, that’ll bring be back exactly where we’re supposed to be.’ Who does that?

Acting is rarely ever a solo quest, as casts need to collaborate, no matter how great the size of their role, in the name of making the entire piece come to life. Nomadland proves this point in one of the most spectacular examples of reality making for better, more believable fiction. In both employing real people like Linda May to portray themselves on screen, as well as top notch actors like Frances McDormand and David Strathairn to play a similar reality through fictionalized personas, everything meshes together into one of the most memorable film experiences from 2020. You can see the finished product for yourself, as Nomadland is in theaters where available, as well as streaming through Hulu.


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First Glimpse At Michael Bay’s New Movie Is Totally Explosive And It Looks Wild

datetime=”2021-03-08T13:26:16-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 1:26 PM

When it comes to Michael Bay movies, the man has something of his own style. A former music video director, Bay has never really left that particular aesthetic behind. Not only does the man make action movies, but he makes them with a degree of spectacle that is rarely matched in Hollywood. Good news fans, even though Bay’s next movie may have the somewhat less impressive title of Ambulance, the movie is already looking like it’s going to be just what people who love Michael Bay movies love about Michael Bay movies.

Michael Bay’s new movie is about a pair of thieves who steal an ambulance after their heist goes haywire. He shared a behind the scenes shot of one of the films’ stunt sequences, that shows the titular rescue vehicle not being used for its intended purpose, as it barrels through a police car barricade. Check it out.

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Ambulance stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a pair of thieves who hijack an ambulance to use as a getaway vehicle. Unfortunately, their escape is complicated by the fact that the ambulance contains a paramedic, played by Eliza Gonzalez, and a patient in critical condition. The film is an adaptation of a 2005 Daish movie of the same name.

The original Danish film is somewhat unique because the four characters just described are the only four characters credited in the original movie. Plus the entire film takes place entirely on the Ambulance, and it takes place in “real time.” It’s an action movie gimmick that’s been done before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does work it can make an action movie that much more of an edge of your seat thrill ride, as the real time element can turn the tension up a few degrees. Some additional shots of the sequence were captured which Michael Bay shared as an Instyagram Story.

It’s unclear of the Michael Bay version will actually be using all these concepts in the American version of Ambulance. The official cast list for this movie appears to be larger, though the Danish version does have more actors in it, they’re simply in bit parts that you wouldn’t normally credit. With a couple of strong character actors like Garret Dillahunt, A Martinez, and Keir O’Donnell also apparently on board this version, it would seem the cast of the American version will be at least slightly larger. The movie isn’t using the same script Chris Fedak, who has written and produced shows like Legends of Tomorrow, Prodigal Son and Chuck is reportedly handling the adaptation.

What’s clear from this short video is that, while the movie might be “small” in terms of characters and sets, the action will not be. It’s going to be up to Michael Bay’s usual standards as an action movie, with the set pieces being massive. Although, Bay does say here that on set this action wasn’t quite as big a deal as it appears in the video. Still, as one photographer captured some action, it looks pretty impressive.

Whatever the scale of the thing, this movie looks like it’s going to be full of great action, and the premise is interesting enough that it could also make for an equally exciting story. The cast is rock solid and so far, this looks like fun.


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Sons Of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter Is Teaming With Netflix And Blumhouse For Bloody Directorial Debut

datetime=”2021-03-08T12:50:15-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 12:50 PM

Thanks to his work both as a writer on FX’s dark and celebrated hit The Shield and as the creator of (and co-star within) the cabler’s flagship biker drama Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter cemented himself as an often brilliant storyteller, though one whose workplace behavior got him into trouble on occasion. For his latest project, Sutter is completely changing up mediums to team up with Blumhouse Productions and Netflix in creating a monstrous new streaming film titled This Beast.

To be expected, Kurt Sutter will not only be directing This Beast, but he’ll also be producing as well as writing the screenplay. Which means this marks the first time Sutter will have full control (as it were) over what will almost definitely be an R-rated project. So if Sons of Anarchy’s most extreme moments are anything to go by – or even those of The Bastard Executioner – then This Beast will likely be filled with explicit language, references to genitals, people getting beaten in disturbing ways, and maybe even a motorcycle or two. Well, maybe not that last one, considering the movie takes place in the 1700s.

Here’s how This Beast’s story will go: In the 18th century, there exists an English village that is plagued by the deadly and seemingly unstoppable whims of the mysterious and unidentified beast of the title. After dozens of villagers fall victim to the slaughter, the already horrifying situation is exacerbated by religious fanatics in the area. Enter an unsuspecting trapper who claims to be the one who can bring the beast down, though his interest in the hunt is far more of a personal mission than anything else.

Kurt Sutter’s story for This Beast is partially inspired by the mysterious French creature dubbed The Beast of Gévaudan, a name likely familiar to Teen Wolf fans. In the 1760s, The Beast of Gévaudan was infamous for terrorizing a village in France and reportedly causing hundreds of deaths to people and animals during that stretch. A monster whose bite is worse than its bark sounds like the perfect Sutter character.

Here’s what Kurt Sutter had to say in his statement about This Beast:

Bringing my disturbing, familial story sensibility into the Blumhouse world just seemed like something that had to happen. And This Beast is the perfect project for that marriage. And Netflix is the perfect venue for that bloody ceremony.

Jason Blum championed Kurt Sutter for his “unparalleled storytelling” that can be both extremely intense and disturbing while also packing “an emotional punch.” Blumhouse has obviously come a long way from its low-budget horror roots, and is now known for all manner of award-friendly genre projects. (Okay, so that long-gestating Five Nights at Freddy’s adaptation probably won’t be Oscar bait.) Will that company survive its first partnership with Sutter on Netflix? It’s definitely got a better shot than 80% of This Beast’s characters.

With the screenplay for Jake Gyllenhaal’s boxing flick Southpaw as his sole entry on the theatrical side of things so far, Kurt Sutter most recently served as co-creator and co-showrunner on the Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C., but after he initially announced he was stepping down as co-showrunner for Season 3, he was fired outright by FX for workplace conduct. For whose who miss that corner of the TV universe, Mayans M.C. will return to FX with its highly anticipated third season on Tuesday, March 16.

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Is Raya Disney Animation’s First LGBTQ Princess? Here’s What Kelly Marie Tran Says

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Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 12:24 PM


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Disney is known for its animated blockbusters, and a new one recently arrived in theaters and homes thanks to Raya and the Last Dragon. Directed by
Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, the film welcomes a new Disney princess in the form of Kelly Marie Tran’s badass title character. Since the movie’s release, there’s been some conversation about if Raya and Namaari (Gemma Chan) actually have a romantic connection. Luckily, Tran herself recently opened up about that possibility.

Over the past few years, there’s been a ton of conversation about inclusion in movies and TV. As film projects become more diverse, there’s also been calls for underrepresented folks like the LGBTQIA+ community to have proper representation. Some moviegoers thought this might have occurred with via the title character of Raya and the Last Dragon, and Kelly Marie Tran addressed this theory. In her words,

I’m obsessed with Namaari and I’m obsessed with Gemma Chan. So I’m really excited you brought this up. I think if you’re a person watching this movie and you see representation in a way that feels really real and authentic to you, then it is real and authentic. I think it might get me in trouble for saying that, but whatever.

Touche. While it doesn’t look like Disney actually included a queer leading character in the form of Raya, Kelly Marie Tran understands the power of the audience reactions. What’s more, she wants people who are empowered by her new Disney character to remain so.

Kelly Marie Tran’s comments to Vanity Fair will certainly add fuel to theories about Raya and the Last Dragon. While Disney and its various projects have started dipping their collective toe in the water of queer representation, some fans were hoping that history was made regarding Raya’s characterization. We’ll just have to see if a sequel gets ordered, and whether or not this theory comes to fruition.

Raya and the Last Dragon is currently available on Disney+ at an additional cost. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

While Disney princesses are historically known for their love stories, the House of Mouse has pivoted away from this trope in recent years. Moana and Frozen were not love stories, and neither is Raya and the Last Dragon. Still, the connection between Kelly Marie Tran’s character and her rival/friend Namaari was one that piqued interest.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Disney fans have theorized about a major princess being an LGBTQIA+ character. Frozen’s heroine Elsa has yet to have a romantic storyline, although some were hoping that she’d end up queer in Frozen II. Star Wars’ Oscar Isaac himself pushed for his character Poe to have a romantic connection with Finn, although he was denied. We’ll just have to wait and see what the studio has to say about Raya.

As far as representation goes, Disney is going to be making history with the delayed Marvel blockbuster Eternals. The movie will feature a Black, gay superhero, as well as the first hearing impaired hero. The movie’s cast is extremely diverse, and Nomadland filmmaker Chloe Zhao is behind the camera and breaking new ground in the process.

Raya and the Last Dragon is currently available on Disney+, as well as in theaters. Be sure to check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.


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Ryan Reynolds And Hugh Jackman Are Both Celebrating International Women’s Day In Totally Different Ways

datetime=”2021-03-08T11:53:14-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 11:53 AM

Today, March 8th, marks International Women’s Day. As such, a number of big name celebrities have taken to social media to celebrate female friends, coworkers and more. Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and X-Men heavyweight Hugh Jackman both took the opportunity to show their support in their own, perfectly on-brand ways.

Logan star and long-time Wolverine Hugh Jackman shared a heartfelt message to all of the women of the world, as opposed to Ryan Reynolds, who took the opportunity to reference Deadpool’s Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa and sneak a NSFW reference in. Check out how the pair celebrated on their instagram stories. First up, Jackman:

Unsurprisingly, Hugh Jackman went for the heartfelt and sentimental message, which is pretty on-brand for the actor. Despite his on-again, off-again feud with Ryan Reynolds, the Greatest Showman actor has generally taken a more playful approach in his social media presence, versus Reynolds’ penchant for R-rated comedy. Over the years, the pair have jokingly gone back and forth on social media, and have even gone so far as to get family members involved in their ongoing feud.

Despite Hugh Jackman’s sweet message in celebration of International Women’s Day, Ryan Reynolds took the opportunity to reference his Deadpool character, as he’s known to do, and pay homage to Deadpool co-star Morena Baccarin.

What seems like a good-intentioned post is also another sly reference to Deadpool’s R-rated comedy. Fans may remember that the pair celebrated International Women’s Day in 2016’s Deadpool with some NSFW activities.

Since joining the MCU via the Fox and Disney merger, it’s looking like Ryan Reynolds will be the only X-Men character that won’t be rebooted, as he will continue to play Wade Wilson in the upcoming Deadpool 3. While some fans were initially concerned that the Deadpool character would be held back by Disney’s commitment to family-friendly films, MCU executive Kevin Feige has already confirmed that the third film will be R-rated.

Just as Ryan Reynolds is getting his start in the MCU, it doesn’t look like his feuding friend Hugh Jackman will return as Wolverine any time soon. While he would have been down to join the ever-expanding franchise in the past, the timing just didn’t work out. Since hanging up the claws after 2017’s Logan, Jackman has expanded his musical work with The Greatest Showman, and his performance even earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to see Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman finally duke it out and squash the beef in a Deadpool/Wolverine crossover movie. While that may not be likely, there’s always a possibility that Jackman could at least make a cameo considering how important the multiverse will be for the MCU’s upcoming Phase 4.

That being said, I don’t have the insane regeneration abilities of either Deadpool or Wolverine, so I won’t be holding my breath. While it’s nice to see both actors celebrating International Women’s Day in their own way, don’t expect this to be the last adult-oriented joke from Reynolds, especially as we get closer to the release of Deadpool 3.

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Lupita Nyong’o Shuts Down Talk About Black Panther 2 But Does Touch On Chadwick Boseman’s Marvel Legacy

datetime=”2021-03-08T10:57:03-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 10:57 AM

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an ever-growing place, but its contents can be affected by what’s happening in the real world. This is certainly the case for Ryan Coogler’s upcoming Black Panther sequel, as Chadwick Boseman’s unexpected death raised countless questions. Not much is known about how the property will continue, but those involved have denied about recasting or using CGI to bring the late icon back. Lupita Nyong’o recently shut down talks about the sequel, while also speaking to Boseman’s legacy.

Chadwick Boseman died in August of 2020 after a private battle with colon cancer. It was a terrible loss to his many fans, especially those that looked up to the late actor as a hero. Ryan Coogler and company will no doubt have to change Black Panther 2 greatly as a result, and it’s currently unclear how Marvel Studios will continue the franchise without its protagonist. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o recently addressed this honestly, saying:

You know I have nothing to tell you, but it’s going to be a hard one. It’s going to be different, of course, without our King to go back into that world. But I know that all of us are dedicated to reimagining or carrying on his legacy in this new Black Panther. Ryan Coogler has some really, really exciting ideas that I look forward to bringing to life with the rest of the family.

Well, there you have it. While Lupita Nyong’o is not at liberty to reveal the plans taking place from within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s clearly going to be an emotionally difficult task to film Black Panther 2 without Chadwick Boseman. Luckily, she has only positive things to say regarding the current plans for the beloved property.

Lupita Nyong’o’s comments come from her recent appearance on Good Morning America. While being careful not to actually reveal anything about what’s happening with Ryan Coogler at Marvel Studios, she did peel back the curtain on how the cast and crew are feeling about the project. And while there’s a story to be told, the Wakanda Family seem wholly focused on properly honoring Chadwick Boseman in the project.

Black Panther and Chadwick Boseman’s other appearances in the MCU are currently available on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Marvel fans are very eager to catch up with Lupita Nyong’o’s character Nakia in the Black Panther sequel. She was a major supporting character in Ryan Coogler’s first movie, but she was noticeably absent from the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. It’s currently unclear if she got snapped out of existence, or continued her outreach work during the five-year time gap. Either way, she wasn’t seen in either the Battle of Wakanda or the final stand against Thanos and his forces.

Since T’Challa won’t be recast for Black Panther’s sequel, fans are theorizing about who might take up the mantle next. The most obvious choice is perhaps Shuri, but Nakia, Okoye, or M’Baku also seem like great choices. We’ll just have to wait for the developing sequel to arrive, and see how it honors Chadwick Boseman.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow on May 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.


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Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 10:30 AM

We’re partnering with Loot Crate for another giveaway! We’re giving away three of Loot Crate’s April subscription box, which is Rick and Morty: “Interdimensional Cable.”

The April “Interdimensional Cable” crate is filled with exclusives including a Two Brothers T-shirt, Mr. Poopybutthole Stress Ball, Story Train Cereal Pouch and more.

Simply fill out the form below for your chance to win! The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. CST on March 29, 2021.

Official Rules: Just fill out the form above to enter. No purchase necessary. Must be a U.S. resident over 18 years of age to enter. The sweepstakes ends at 11:59 pm CT on March 29, 2021. The winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. Winners must respond in 3 days to claim prize or risk forfeiting. Participants can be disqualified for any reason. Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification and subsequent mockery. CinemaBlend cannot accept responsibility for any shipping issues. Good luck!

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Zack Snyder’s Justice League Drops New Wonder Woman Footage For International Women’s Day

datetime=”2021-03-08T09:54:00-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 9:54 AM

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We’re now less than two weeks away from Zack Snyder’s Justice League being released to the masses, which naturally means that the final marketing wave to promote the Snyder Cut is underway. Over the last few days, we’ve been treated to new footage from the upcoming DC Extended Universe event of Batman, Superman, Aquaman and The Flash. With today marking International Women’s Day, it’s only appropriate that Wonder Woman is the next hero to get her own promo.

It was a little over two months ago that we reunited with Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince in Wonder Woman 1984, but Zack Snyder’s Justice League is taking us back to the present day to show a different account of how Wonder Woman joined forces with her fellow superheroes to protect the world from Steppenwolf. Take a look at the wondrous new footage of her in action (pun fully intended) below:

"We have no fear!" #WonderWoman #SnyderCut #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/IDXM9WtTZr

— Zack Snyder's Justice League (@snydercut) March 8, 2021

The first few seconds of this Wonder Woman-centric promo for Zack Snyder’s Justice League starts off with Diana with a torch in hand, and while this particular video doesn’t reveal what she’s gazing at, we know from footage released in June 2020 that it’s a mural of Darkseid. The promo then cuts to Diana standing near an ancient Greek temple with an arrow in hand. In case need a refresher on Justice League’s theatrical cut, Diana’s mother, Hipployta, warned her daughter that Steppenwolf had arrived on Earth by shooting an arrow to light a torch inside the Shrine of the Amazons. This same warning system will in place for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Of course, just like the other recently-released Snyder Cut promos, Wonder Woman’s preview includes audio snippets from both Diana and other characters, including Hippolyta, Batman and Aquaman. The video then wraps up with Wonder Woman clashing with the redesigned Steppenwolf, and while I won’t provide spoilers for those who haven’t been following the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement over the years, let’s just say that their climactic conflict unfolds differently than what went down in the theatrical version of Justice League.

With the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in both theaters and on HBO Max next week (feel free to use this link to sign up for the streaming service), Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will have appeared the most times of any DCEU superhero, having previously shown up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, the theatrically-released Justice League and Wonder Woman 1984. Granted, she’ll go back to being tied with Ben Affleck’s Batman once The Flash comes out, and an argument could be made that the DCEU’s Superman will also soon have five appearances under his belt if you count his Shazam! cameo (although Henry Cavill didn’t play him in that scene). Nevertheless, with both Wonder Woman 3 and an Amazons spinoff on the way, we’re far from done exploring Wonder Woman’s corner of the DCEU.

Now that Wonder Woman’s covered, that leaves Ray Fisher’s Cyborg as the final Justice Leaguer to get his own promo ahead of Zack Snyder’s Justice League arriving on March 18. Stay locked on CinemaBlend for more coverage on the four-hour tale, and find out what the DCEU has lined up for theaters in the coming years with our DC movies guide.


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New Godzilla Vs. Kong Image Features The Titans’ Scars From Their Epic Fight

datetime=”2021-03-08T09:11:09-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 9:11 AM

Godzilla vs. Kong has already become one of the most anticipated movies of the year. While there’s a lot we still aren’t sure about regarding the 2021 film slate, we know that the two behemoth monsters are going to face off. And with the first trailer we saw that the battle between the two would literally pull no punches. Now a new poster has been released that shows the two monsters who are suffering a bit from their battle, with each one covered in scars.

Check out the image below, from Kaiju News Outlet, which shows Kong and Godzilla clearly in the middle of their battle. But with neither one looking to back down. Humanity is there as well, in the form of planes and helicopters, but considering just how tiny they all look, it seems unlikely that they’re going to have much of an impact on the outcome of this clash.

A new #GodzillaVsKong poster has been released. pic.twitter.com/yliFh2TDZj

— Kaiju News Outlet (@KaijuNewsOutlet) March 1, 2021

While a still image may not be quite as exciting as a full-motion movie trailer, this image packs a lot of action into its single shot. You can feel that the fight between these two prior to this moment has been brutal, but that neither one is ready to ready to give up. You can also feel the helplessness of humanity, looking so tiny and clearly unable to do much of anything beyond watch.

What we don’t really understand yet is exactly why these two have found the need to beat the hell out of each other. We know it’s at least theoretically possible for the massive kaiju in this universe to get along, or at least not always beat the hell out of each other. Whether one of these two is the real aggressor, the “bad guy” in this fight, is unclear. It seems more likely that the fight between the two is one of necessity for one or the other. Perhaps there’s an external force at work pushing the conflict into happening.

As with other massive battles between fan-favorite characters like Batman v Superman, there’s a good chance that Godzilla vs. Kong will actually end with the two title characters on the same side fighting together. Which very likely will be just as awesome as any fight between them. At the same time, the film’s marketing has made it clear that one of the two title characters will “fall.” There’s a strong impression that either Godzilla or Kong won’t survive the events of this film.

It’s possible that one could “fall” without actually dying, but that feels like a bit of a cop out. It’s more likely that one of the creatures will die, but perhaps not at the hands of the other title character. These sorts of things rarely see a definitive winner between two fan-favorite characters, as you will almost certainly upset half the fan base if their favorite creature dies at the hands of the other when they don’t believe that should happen.

However it all shakes out, Godzilla vs. Kong, the grudge match for the ages, will take place, both in theaters and on HBO Max, on March 31.


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After Revealing New Action Training Routine, Bond Girl Ana De Armas Is Practicing Her Shooting

datetime=”2021-03-08T08:31:10-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 8:31 AM

Actress Ana de Armas’ star power has been steadily growing over the past few years. Her work in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out made her a household name, and fans can’t wait to see her once again work opposite Daniel Craig in No Time to Die. While the highly anticipated Bond flick was pushed back a number of times, de Armas has another action movie lined up with Netflix’s The Gray Man. The actress recently shared how she was getting into shape for that upcoming role, and now we can see her in the midst of gun training.

While Ana de Armas’ role in No Time to Die is largely a mystery, she’s expected to be a CIA agent and ally of James Bond during his mission. The trailers and footage showed her character Paloma engaging in a thrilling gunfight, but the actress is seemingly stepping up her training for The Gray Man. Check out the epic video below.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by A N A D E A R M A S (@ana_d_armas)

No Time to Die might be delayed, but the above video shows that Ana de Armas is going to be able to hold her own in the 007 movie. What’s more, anticipation is sure to build for The Russo Brothers’ upcoming action thriller The Gray Man. That, and the fact that it’ll be Netflix’s most expensive movie ever.

The above video comes to us from Ana de Armas’ personal Instagram page. The 32 year-old actress is fairly active on social media, amassing more followers thanks to Knives Out and her former relationship with Ben Affleck. This clip is a whole different side to de Armas, and it should be interesting to see how these hours training with guns ultimately affect The Gray Man.

The Gray Man is being helmed by acclaimed Marvel directors The Russo Brothers, so there are a ton of eyes on what the thriller will entail. They’re also collaborating with writers Steven McFeely and Christopher Markus, who penned their MCU movies including Avengers: Endgame. The movie will reportedly focus on a CIA agent who suddenly becomes a fugitive.

Ana de Armas isn’t the only notable name involved in The Gray Man. The Russos will be reuniting with Captain America actor Chris Evans, who will seemingly play the movie’s antagonist. Ryan Gosling will play the protagonist, and the cast is also rounded out by Jessica Henwick, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, and Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page. Only time will tell how many gunfights end up in the upcoming Netflix project.

Before The Gray Man comes, moviegoers will be able to see Ana de Armas kicking ass and taking names in Cary Fukunaga’s No Time to Die. The delayed movie will mark Daniel Craig’s swan song as James Bond, while also debuting the new character Paloma. Hopefully Ana de Armas gets the opportunity to reprise her role in another installment of the 007 franchise, especially as a new actor takes on the mantle.

No Time to Die is currently set to hit theaters on October 8th, and The Gray Man is currently gearing up for filming. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.


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Star Wars Fan Makes Colin Trevorrow’s Duel Of The Fates Script Into A Comic Book, And I Need It Now

datetime=”2021-03-08T07:22:33-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 7:22 AM

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It’s still hard to believe, but Star Wars’ nine-film Skywalker Saga ended years ago. J.J. Abrams returned to the galaxy for The Rise of Skywalker, and was tasked with crafting a satisfying ending for the decades-long franchise. Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow was the first director attached, and he had a very different vision for Episode IX. The script for that scrapped movie Duel of the Fates arrived last year, and one fan is bringing it to life in comic book form. And I need a copy immediately.

Colin Trevorrow departed Star Wars: Episode IX over creative differences, and his bold vision for the threequel was largely left on the cutting room floor. This made room for J.J. Abrams to complete the trilogy he began with The Force Awakens, although the final results were somewhat divisive. Colin Trevorrow had a much different story in mind for Duel of the Fates, and luckily Star Wars fans can be treated to enjoying it on the page shortly. This is thanks to graphic novelist Andrew Winegarner, who recently shared:

Hey, Star Wars fans. I've been working the past year on a comic book adaptation of Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars Episode IX script "Duel of the Fates" and I'd like you to check it out! (It will be 7 issues total when completed.)
Hope you enjoy it!https://t.co/XfrNX5wHvQ pic.twitter.com/2Ay070L9oS

— Andrew Winegarner (@AndyWinegarner) March 4, 2021

I mean, how cool is that? Because while it’s unlikely that we’ll be getting a Trevorrow Cut anytime soon, we can still see how Star Wars: Duel of the Fates would have gone down if the director’s vision came to fruition. And a good chunk of the comic book adaptation is already complete.

The above tweet comes to us from Andrew Winegarner himself, who shared the news about his comic book adaptation of Duel of the Fates’ script. The comic medium allows for the story to come to life without worries regarding budgets and visual effects, and Star Wars fans are no doubt thrilled to dive back into the property. This time it’s almost like a multiverse is opened, as we see how the sequel trilogy could have ended.

The Skywalker Saga is currently available on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

There are so many differences in this comic version of Duel of Fates when compared to the theatrical cut of The Rise of Skywalker. This does makes sense; the blockbuster got a new script and director. But seeing the adventures on the page open with Rey using a double-sided lightsaber has the potential to inspire some serious FOMO.

As his website reveals, Andrew Winegarner started illustrating the leaked script for Duel of The Fates because he was disappointed with the theatrical cut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. He certainly isn’t the only one, as the conversation about that blockbuster hasn’t slowed in the years since its release. And there are some moviegoers who prefer what they’ve read and seen about Colin Trevorrow’s original vision.

Despite his departure, Colin Trevorrow was still given a “story by” credit on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But it doesn’t look like much of the story itself was actually carried through to J.J. Abrams’ movie. And that’s made all the more clear by the awesome comic book version of Trevorrow’s leaked script.

The Star Wars franchise will continue with shows on Disney+, as well as Patty Jenkins’ developing Rogue Squadron movie. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your next movie experience.


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8 Mortal Kombat Characters We’re Still Hoping We’ll See In The New Movie

datetime=”2021-03-08T07:00:00-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 7:00 AM

As per the recent trailer, here are all the kombatants who are confirmed for the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie: Cole Young, Sonya Blade, Kano, Jax, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Liu Kang, Raiden, Kung Lao, Mileena, Shang Tsung, and Goro. Kabal (or at least the back of him) might also be in the trailer, as are Reptile and maybe even Smoke (Or Noob Saibot). Nitara is also in the film, though, she’s not in the trailer.

Okay, so that’s who’s confirmed for the movie. But you know what? I’m looking at this list and I’m seeing a lot of Mortal Kombat I and a few Mortal Kombat II characters. But come on now. There are 11 mainline Mortal Kombat games, and for there to only be one definite character from MK 3 (Kabal) and one from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (Nitara), I’m a little disappointed. Now, I don’t want this to be an overstuffed mess like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which had pretty much every Mortal Kombat character up to that point (even Rain!). But I do want to see a few of my favorite kombatants taking a one way trip to Outworld. Here are just 8 Mortal Kombat characters I’m still hoping will make an appearance in this new movie.

Kitana

Debuting in the game Mortal Kombat II, my mind can’t comprehend how Mileena is ready to rumble in this new movie but Kitana isn’t. And that’s because Mileena is Kitana’s clone. She’s known for her fans, which she tosses at foes or lifts them up in the air with. She’s also 10,000 years old, and the stepdaughter of Shao Khan, who I’ll definitely get into later.

I love Kitana since she’s a badass character who’s also essential to Mortal Kombat lore. So much so, in fact, that even though she debuted in the game, Mortal Kombat II, she still plays a prominent role in the first Mortal Kombat movie, which mostly focused on the first game of the series. She may just yet be in the movie since one of her fans can be seen in the trailer, but I’m not holding my breath. That could just be an Easter egg to get the MK fanatics excited. But who’s to say?

Johnny Cage

Okay, so, like Kitana, Johnny Cage is another “how is he not in this movie?” situation. Johnny Cage is 1 of the OG, Mortal Kombat kombatants, and EVERY character from that first game has been invited to the party except for JC (or at least, he’s not been confirmed). Johnny Cage was inspired by Jean-Claude Van Damme and is a movie star in his own right. His famous moves are the shadow kick and the nutcracker, and he’s usually brought around for the comic relief. Again, how can he not be in this movie?

When I initially saw screenshots for the film, I actually thought newcomer Cole Young (played by Lewis Tan) was going to be Johnny Cage, but nope, I was wrong. But seriously, I know we already have our normal human quotient filled up with Cole, but I still think Johnny Cage would be a great addition to this film, if only to fill out the complete roster of the original game.

Jacqui Briggs

First appearing in Mortal Kombat X, Jacqui Briggs is Jax’s daughter, and her backstory is kind of weird. After the Neatherrealm War that took place in Mortal Kombat 4 where Jax was Quan Chi’s slave, Jax didn’t want a warrior’s life for his daughter. But she felt it was her duty to protect Earthrealm, so she started kickboxing, got in peak physical shape, and joined the Special Forces, just like her dad. And since the story is kind of hinky with the timeline, she also wants to get back at Ermac (Not Sub-Zero, like in the movie) for ripping off her dad’s arms.

It would be cool if there was a cameo of Jacqui Briggs in the movie where she’s a child that sets up her vengeance against Sub-Zero (If he survives) for a sequel. This would kind of be like that sequel to Kill Bill I’m hoping for with Vernita Green’s daughter and The Bride. Because I love long-standing blood feuds.

Shinnok

First appearing in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, as the final boss, and then a playable character in MK4, Shinnok, the “Fallen Elder God” is the other main antagonist in the Mortal Kombat universe. He’s like the yin to Shao Khan’s yang. Instead of being about brute strength, he’s all about wizardry and tactics. He’s not as intimidating as Shao Khan, but he may actually be more powerful.

I’d love to see Shinnok in the movie because 1) This would be his first live-action appearance in a Mortal Kombat film, and 2) It would expand the MK universe to show warring factions in Neatherrealm, and I’m all about that lore.

Cyrax

Alright, so I think it’s safe to assume that the Lin Kuei (the clan that Sub-Zero belongs to) will somehow factor into this film, and if that’s the case, then I want one of the Lin Kuei’s cybernetic ninjas, like Cyrax.

First appearing in Mortal Kombat 3, Cyrax would be really cool since who doesn’t love cyborg ninjas?

Shao Kahn

Shao Kahn is the main antagonist of the Mortal Kombat universe. Appearing as the final boss in Mortal Kombat II, Shao Kahn is so confident in his strength that he’ll taunt you mid-fight and leave himself completely vulnerable. No worries for him, though. In three more hits, you’ll be dead.

We see Shao Kahn’s statue in the trailer, so he very well may be in the film. As a ruler of Outworld, I find it hard to believe that he’s not in the movie in some shape, form, or fashion.

Frost

First appearing in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Frost is Sub-Zero’s apprentice. She’s another member of the Lin Kuei who wants to be the very best. Even better than her mentor.

I think it would be cool to get more female characters into this movie. So far, we only really have Sonya Blade and Mileena, and I want another badass female. Especially if she’s another villain alongside Sub-Zero.

Mokap

Debuting in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mokap may just be the worst character in Mortal Kombat history. He’s pretty much the Dan Hibiki from Street Fighter fame, meaning he’s a joke character. He literally has motion capture balls all over his body. That said, he’s thrown into the narrative as if we’re supposed to take him seriously! God, I love Mortal Kombat.

I know this new movie is supposed to be super serious, but if there’s a background scene with Mokap before the characters make their way to Outworld, I will lose my mind.

With so many characters over the years, you know there are a ton more I would love to see in this movie, but these are the 8 main ones I hope to see. But out of the ones listed here, who would you like to see the most? Let your voice be heard in the poll below!

Out of the characters mentioned here, who would you most like to see in the Mortal Kombat movie?

  • Kitana

  • Johnny Cage

  • Jacqui Briggs

  • Shinnok

  • Cyrax

  • Shao Kahn

  • Frost

  • Mokap

Vote RESULTS

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Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 6:51 AM

Last week was a massive one for theme park news. We learned not only that Universal Orlando Resort is moving forward on the construction of the Epic Universe theme park much sooner than anticipated, but that Disneyland Resort now has a pathway towards reopening. While nothing is set in stone, starting April 1 it’s at least possible for Disneyland Resort to reopen its theme parks in a limited fashion. And over the weekend Chairman of the Parks, Experiences, and Products division, Josh D’Amaro was at Downtown Disney with former Disney CEO Bob Iger giving his appreciation to cast members, and looking forward to welcoming so many more of them back once the park opens.

Josh D’Amaro posted a gallery of images to his Instagram where he’s seen taking socially distant selfies with cast members, giving elbow bumps, and just talking to the people who have been able to get back to work at Disneyland Resort. Friday was National Employee Appreciation Day, and D’Amaro, Bob Iger, and Disneyland President Ken Potrock were on hand to show appreciation for the work that so many are doing. In the accompanying post, D’Amaro echoed the statement made by Potrock following California’s revised guidelines…

We are encouraged by the announcement today that California theme parks now have a path forward toward opening responsibly this spring and getting thousands of people back to work.

According to California’s revised guidelines, if Orange County California is able to drop from the “Widespread” infection tier down a level to “Substantial,” then theme parks in the county can open to 15% capacity, though only residents of California will be allowed to visit. If the county continues to drop, then capacity levels increase accordingly.

Disneyland has not revealed an official reopening date, it’s unclear at this point if the county will even hit the necessary goal to allow opening at all. Plus, it will take time for the park to get the wheels turning again. Disneyland also has it’s Touch of Disney Festival planned to open at Disney California Adventure next week, and a few weeks of tickets have already been sold to the event. So don’t expect that park to reopen April 1, even if Disneyland park somehow does.

Disneyland Resort has always focused on the fact that keeping the theme parks closed has kept thousands of people out of work, and so Josh D’Amaro’s post focuses on this as good news that someday soon a lot more people will be working. D’Amaro ends his post by thanking all the employees under his division, both those working and not.

I wish I could have walked every property and thanked all of our Cast, Crew, Imagineers and employees around the world in person. I want to share my sincere appreciation to everyone in our organization, working and furloughed, who is part our magic!

Check out Josh D’Amaro’s full statement in the Instagram post below.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Josh D'Amaro (@joshdamaro)

While a lot is still unknown, the path to Disneyland reopening is now clear. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend as we’ll have the news of exactly when the parks will be reopening as soon as it’s revealed.


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Avatar 2’s Sigourney Weaver Reveals What She Loves About Working With James Cameron

datetime=”2021-03-08T06:24:08-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 6:24 AM

There are two people whose opinions on James Cameron and his approach to moviemaking have to be treated as Gospel: Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sigourney Weaver. These two powerhouse actors gave their all in some of Cameron’s most incredible works, and their collaborations with the Terminator and Titanic filmmaker date back decades. They have seen the Cameron machine up close, numerous times, so when they speak out to elaborate on the blockbuster filmmaker’s process — especially on something as anticipated as Cameron’s Avatar 2 — we tend to sit up and pay closer attention.

Sigourney Weaver explored a different side of her classic Alien character, Ellen Ripley, when she teamed with James Cameron for the explosive sequel, Aliens. It was a huge deal when Weaver returned to Cameron World to play Dr. Grace Augustine in 2009’s Avatar… and an even bigger deal that she’s returning for Avatar 2 (you know, because Grace died in Avatar). It has since been revealed that Weaver will play a new character in the sequels, but what keeps propelling Weaver to work with Cameron? Speaking with Collider about why she loves working with Cameron, Weaver explained:

The way I look at Jim’s movies, what I think will surprise people is what amazingly intense emotional stories these are. So, yes, we did great state-of-the-art performance capture and goodness knows all of the other things that he’s doing underwater, that will be dazzling technically. What I really admire is that he’s often invented a lot of these things because he wants the emotional power of the stories to come through. In that sense, he’s a real traditionalist, as well. He’s not doing far off, crazy sci-fi stuff. He’s really telling a very intimate story about an indigenous people and the corporations that come and almost wipe them out.

This isn’t that far off from the way that you can describe almost all of James Cameron’s biggest hits. He’s far more of a Romantic than he is a set-piece stager — though, make no mistake, very few can craft a set piece the way that Cameron does. But Titanic really is a love story that happens to be set on the world’s most famous shipwreck. The Terminator essentially becomes a love story through the ages, just one that’s celebrated between a man and a woman who are on the run from a murderous machine.

We don’t doubt that Avatar 2 will continue to lean into the “intimate story” that can be found at the heart of Avatar, the narrative that beats underneath all of the things that James Cameron does on a technical level to continuously change the way that we watch movies. There is no denying that he increased the industry’s interest in 3D with the original Avatar, and that fad lasted for several years before filmmakers stopped trying to chase Cameron’s wizardry. We can’t imagine what he has in store for when Avatar 2 drops.

When will that happen? As of right now, Avatar 2 is due in theaters on December 16, 2022. It’s supposed to be followed parts 3, 4 and 5, which will keep Cameron in Pandora through 2028. See you then.

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Nomadland And 5 Other Movies That Cast Non-Celebrities To Play Themselves

datetime=”2021-03-08T05:00:00-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 5:00 AM

I would agree that critics and audiences have been right to praise Frances McDormand for her work in Nomadland, which recently earned her a Golden Globe nomination. However, the performances in director Chloé Zhao’s acclaimed drama that I am even more fascinated by come from her co-stars. Not only is much of the cast made up of people who are not professional actors, but the characters they play are, essentially, themselves.

Believe it or not, this is a slightly more common practice in cinema (especially recently, as it turns out) than it may sound. To be clear, I am not counting the occasional cameo by a famous person as a fictionalized version of themselves, which is typically done for laughs. I am talking about an ordinary, average citizen who has never acted before, but is cast in a movie role with the same name, occupation, and other general characteristics of their being.

To some it may sound like a gamble to not hire a professional, but to the artists behind the films below, it is the perfect way to add that much-desired extra layer of authenticity that even the most talented actors may not have been able to crack. The following are six notable examples of people who were given the chance to star as a character whom no one else could have played like they could, starting with the real stars of Chloe Zhao’s award-winning masterpiece.

Nomadland (2020) – Most Of The Cast

The story of Frances McDormand’s Nomadland character, Fern, who travels the country in search of work after falling on hard times, is inspired by Jessica Bruder’s book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. The non-fiction book chronicles the journalist’s own experience among a group of middle-aged, unemployed “nomads” who emerged after the 2008 recession and still exists to this day. When Chloé Zhao stepped in to adapt the book into a film, she realized that including the people who define this culture were necessary to making it real.

Outside of McDormand, who also produced Nomadland, and David Strathairn, the majority of actors featured in the film are self-described “nomads” portraying slightly fictionalized versions of themselves. Among these many unlikely movie stars are the 64-year-old Charlene Swankie, who revealed in an LA Times interview that she had never heard of her Oscar-winning co-star before she was cast, and Bob Wells, who runs a non-profit organization which helps newcomers to the nomadic lifestyle survive on the road.

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How To Watch Nomadland Streaming

Good Time (2017) – Eric Paykert

You could say Robert Pattinson gave the “breakout” performance of Good Time, Josh and Benny Safdie’s hit anxiety trip before Uncut Gems, since his role as a criminal going to extreme lengths to get his mentally challenged brother (Benny Safdie) out of jail helped audiences see him as more than Edward Cullen. However, I would argue that the true breakout star is real-life bail bondsman Eric Paykert, who plays a bail bondsman named Eric in the A24 crime drama.

Originally, the character was played by another Eric, The Dark Knight star Eric Roberts, until unsatisfactory results led to the role being recast with Paykert, whose bail-bond agency was already being used for scenes where Pattinson’s Connie Nikas tries to buy his brother’s freedom. Josh Safdie told the Chicago Tribune that Paykert, who also appears in Good Time with his actual wife and office assistant Astrid Corrales, made the scenes feel “so much more alive.”

Sound Of Metal (2020) – Shaheem Sanchez

Nomadland is not the only Awards Season favorite released in 2020 featuring a non-actor as themselves. In the Amazon Prime original Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed plays a rock drummer losing his hearing who begins to gain a better understanding of it by spending time with people with the same disability, including Shaheem Sanchez.

Technically, we are breaking a rule here since this talented dancer has already gained a large following, especially on social media, as an inspiration to other deaf people with similar aspirations. Yet, he makes his film debut in director Darius Marder’s heart-wrenching drama as a deaf dancer named Shaheem, which will surely earn him a whole new audience of fans.

The Rider (2018) – Brady Jandreau

Nomadland also isn’t the only film written and directed by Chloé Zhao to use this technique. The award-winning Neo-western The Rider follows a young cowboy and rodeo performer named Brady Blackburn whose life changes when he suffers a critical skull fracture after falling off a horse. The movie is based on the life story of Brady Jandreau, who is played in the film by Brady Jandreau.

Chloé Zhao was filming her 2015 debut feature Songs My Brother Taught Me on Jandreau’s uncle’s South Dakota ranch when she first met him and already had ideas of making something together. When he suffered his injury in April 2016, that sparked the idea to collaborate on a project about his recovery process and, after a little convincing, Jandreau agreed to be the star.

The 15:17 To Paris (2018) – Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, And Spencer Stone

The Rider is not only biopic released in 2018 starring a non-actor in their own life story. The thriller The 15:17 to Paris is based on a real-life terrorist attack on a train in France prevented by three National Guard veterans and close friends. The Americans in question (Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler) appear as themselves in the film.

Just two years after their act of bravery made headlines around the world, director Clint Eastwood turned the trio’s own book about the event into a film that would also explain how they became acquainted with one another. The news came with the surprising announcement that Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler were also cast in the film as themselves. The heroes would claim to not necessarily be the “full on” leads, but being chosen to recreate one of the most important moments of their lives for the big screen was still an exciting prospect for them and audiences alike.

The Life Of General Villa (1914) – Pancho Villa

The 15:17 to Paris is not the first biopic starring an actual war veteran in their own life story. In fact, one of the first accounts of someone playing themselves in a film occurred more than century earlier when Pancho Villa appeared in The Life of General Villa in 1914.

This historical casting choice, in what would become the first feature-length movie, apparently came about when the Mexican revolutionary made a deal with a few American producers to film his war efforts against the military-run government, in the hope of getting funding if he starred in the cinematic recreation of his life. The interesting story served as the basis of the 2003 HBO Film And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, which earned Antonio Banderas a Golden Globe nomination for his title role.

With how frequently movies seem to enlist people to play themselves these days, I wonder if this will become a more common trend in Hollywood. In fact, I even wonder if Chloé Zhao has figured out a way to use that tactic in Eternals, her upcoming foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Until we see the next autobiographical cameo or amusingly meta fact-based drama, what is your favorite example of this fascinating casting choice so far?

What is your favorite film performance by a non-celebrity as themselves?

  • Nomadland – Most of the Cast

  • Good Time – Eric Paykert

  • Sound of Metal – Shaheem Sanchez

  • The Rider – Brady Jandreau

  • The 15:17 to Paris – Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone

  • The Life of General Villa – Pancho Villa

  • Other

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Paul Bettany: What To Stream If You Like The WandaVision Star

datetime=”2021-03-08T03:00:00-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 8. 2021 3:00 AM


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One of the biggest shows in the world has taken over our TVs and laptop screens, coming straight from Marvel Studios, and that show, my friends, is the Disney+ series WandaVision. With its compelling storylines, fun mysteries, and aggressive action, it’s the perfect pick for any superhero fan.

Even with Elizabeth Olsen leading the way as Wanda Maximoff, we can’t have WandaVision without the second half, who is, of course, Vision, played by Paul Bettany. While he has been getting a lot of publicity lately due to WandaVision, Paul Bettany has been around in the business for quite some time. Here are a few of the movies you should check out streaming which has everyone’s favorite android in them – well, human who’s played an android.

A Beautiful Mind (Peacock)

Starting out strong here, A Beautiful Mind tells the story of a man, played by Russell Crowe, who has an absolutely stunning mind which could help humanity, but also works against him, creating delusions which lead him to panic.

The movie itself was incredibly successful, winning the award for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and three others, as well. In this film, we really see Paul Bettany in one of his first main roles which really tested the boundaries of what he could do. The topic of A Beautiful Mind is so intense, with a heavy focus on mental health, but Bettany’s character work fits in well with the story. It’s a much different version of the Bettany we all know and love from the Avengers – but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.

Stream it on Peacock here.

Wimbledon (Peacock)

Moving on to a completely different genre, we enter into the sports world with Wimbledon. This sporting romantic comedy centers around an up-and-coming tennis star, played by Kirsten Dunst, who falls for one of the former best players in the world, portrayed by Paul Bettany.

This one is most certainly for fans of his latest show, WandaVision, because we really get to see Paul Bettany try his hand at the classic romantic-comedy trope, which we see plenty of in that series. Not only that, but the film is actually quite funny, and even if you’re not super into sports, this is one that you’ll definitely find something to love about, whether it be the relationship that builds up over time between the protagonists, to the star-studded cast, with actors like James McAvoy and Jon Favreau appearing alongside the star.

Stream it on Peacock here.

The Da Vinci Code (Hulu)

Now, this film is a classic. The Da Vinci Code tells the tale of a “symbologist” and a cryptologist who set out on a quest to find the legendary Holy Grail, but with plenty of twists and turns during the journey.

I know from the premise it sounds like this movie is going to be something that is entirely focused on religion, but I’m here to tell you that is not the case. In fact, The Da Vinci Code is one of the best mystery thrillers out there, with plenty of action and suspense to keep you watching. The cast, including Paul Bettany, is amazing, with actors Tom Hanks, Sir Ian McKellen, and more, shining in this film. Bettany really tries his hand at the thriller genre here and succeeds quite well, so if you’re into mysteries, as WandaVision has had plenty, this is the movie for you.

Stream it on Hulu here.

Creation (Amazon Prime)

When I tell you that Paul Bettany has been all over the map of movie genres, I am not joking. Now, we step over to a biographical drama in Creation, the story of Charles Darwin’s relationship with his wife, and the memory he has of his eldest daughter, while he writes On the Origin of Species.

As someone who doesn’t know much about history, this movie was actually interesting to watch. I loved hearing about the life of one of the most known scientific men in history, and how he had struggles with his own family, considering his wife was very religious, and the way his theories were seen. Paul Bettany does a great job of portraying the legendary Charles Darwin and really makes you think deeply about the separation of science and religion, and how if you try hard enough, you really can find common ground among the two.

Stream it on Amazon Prime here.

Legion (Amazon Prime)

Now we move over to something that is the complete opposite of the last film, as Legion is an action horror film about the end of days. When God basically decides he’s had enough of humankind and loses faith, he sends down his legion of angels to destroy everything. It is up to the Archangel Michael, and a bunch of strangers trapped in a diner, to stop it.

Let me just say this movie is entertaining, especially with Paul Bettany taking on the role of Michael. I had such a great time watching it, because it’s an interesting concept to see one of God’s most powerful angels decide to take on God’s entire army to save humankind. It’s heavy, intense, and full of fights that will have you cheering on the characters from your couch. Plus, the movie even led to a short-lived TV show – which just proves that it’s a lot of fun.

Stream it on Amazon with AMC+ here.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (Disney+)

Alright, I’m going to stand up and say that Solo: A Star Wars Story was not bad, dang it, and Bettany does a great job in it. Solo: A Star Wars Story is exactly as you think it is – the origin story of the famous Han Solo from the Star Wars saga, even with the introduction of Chewie thrown in there as well.

Was Solo: A Star Wars Story as good as some of the other stand-alone Star Wars films? No; at least not in my opinion. But, I do not think it deserves the slander it has gotten from fans. Paul Bettany did an excellent job as a villain, even if he was cast at the last minute near the end of the film’s production. And, with co-stars like Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and more beside him, the movie is filled to the brim with talent. It’s worth a shot to watch if you’re a fan of Star Wars.

Stream it on Disney+ here.

Uncle Frank (Amazon Prime)

One of his more recent films, Paul Bettany really shows off his acting chops in this one. Uncle Frank is about the story of Frank, a closeted gay man who goes on a road trip to confront his past.

While, yes, the premise does sound like the most basic road trip movie you could ever imagine, Paul Bettany does a fantastic job of drawing your attention and keeping the pace of the plot moving along. The comedy flows fantastically, even though it can be dark at some points. Not only that, but the pairing of Paul Bettany’s Frank and Sophia Lillis’ Beth in this movie works so well. You never feel that they’re acting because their familial relationship seems so real. Trust me – it may sound average, but Uncle Frank is anything but.

Stream it on Amazon Prime here.

Age Of Ultron (And Other Marvel Movies) (Disney+)

I can’t have a Paul Bettany list without mentioning the man, the myth, the legend: Vision. Avengers: Age of Ultron is the second Avengers movie in the MCU saga, where the Avengers now need to take on a new threat in Ultron, an android with a mind of its own who wants to completely destroy humanity.

While Vision appears for the first time in Avengers: Age of Ultron, you can catch Bettany multiple times in other movies – as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark’s A.I. You really get to see the scope of Vision’s powers and what he’s able to do here. We always talk about how Robert Downey Jr. was at the very beginning of the MCU, when, technically, so was Paul Bettany – and now he even has his own show, so take that, Iron Man! (I’m just kidding, I love Iron Man too! Don’t hurt me!)

Stream it on Disney+ here.

WandaVision (Disney+)

While I know this is in the title and you’ve probably already watched it, I wanted to put it in here again because while the MCU movies might have introduced us to Vision, WandaVision actually made us care for him in a way I don’t think anyone ever did before. WandaVision is all about the aftermath of Wanda Maximoff losing the love of her life, Vision, in the war against Thanos, and the destruction she’s left in her path while trying to find a semblance of happiness.

But, what really makes WandaVision tick is that it expands on these two characters so well. We don’t really get to know Paul Bettany’s Vision that much from the movies, or Wanda Maximoff, considering they were more like side-characters as opposed to some other Avengers, but now we really get a look into their life.

As fans of Marvel, we start to see this whole new compassionate, different side of Vision that we had never seen before, and of course, we begin to care for this relationship, as dangerous as it might be for the state of humanity. It really takes these two characters and digs into their psyches, and I can always appreciate a show that makes you learn to love a character you never really liked before.

Stream it on Disney+ here.

With plenty of Paul Bettany to choose from, I’m sure there’s a genre and movie which will suit your fancy.

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Space Jam 2 Has Cut A Looney Tunes Character From The Film

datetime=”2021-03-07T18:13:09-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 6:13 PM

First introduced all the way back in 1930, most Looney Tunes characters have had remarkable longevity in pop culture, with an impressive number of shows, movies, and more dedicated to their antics. But while the majority of the material has remained fresh and relevant (I don’t think anybody is going to get sick of Bugs Bunny saying, “What’s up, doc?” any time soon), some of it hasn’t aged particularly well – and that’s apparent from this recent news about Space Jam: A New Legacy. According to new reports, Pepé Le Pew’s time in the spotlight seems to be coming to an end, with his presence in the new movie reportedly being left on the cutting room floor.

Being a skunk who pursues a romantic relationship with a cat despite being rebuffed thousands of times, Pepe Le Pew comes across as pretty damn gross in the modern era, and according to Deadline it seems like Warner Bros. is making steps towards retiring him from the Looney Tunes canon. The character was originally going to appear in a scene in Space Jam: A New Legacy with Jane the Virgin actor Greice Santo, the setup meant to spoof Casablanca, but apparently the moment was an inclusion by original director Terence Nance (who left the production in July 2019), and it has since been removed by current director Malcolm D. Lee.

The trade report offers a full description of what is involved in the deleted Space Jam 2 scene. The plot finds LeBron James and Bugs Bunny looking for Lola Bunny, and it takes them to a black-and-white bar a la Rick’s Cafe that Pepe Le Pew runs. Greice Santo plays a patron at the bar whose arm Pepe begins to kiss, and she slaps the skunk and pours her drink on him. It’s revealed in conversation that Penelope, the cat he has long lusted after, has filed a restraining order, and the NBA star remarks that “Pepe can’t grab other Tunes without their consent.”

The character has been noted as controversial in the past (Dave Chappelle memorably calls Pepe Le Pew a "rapist" in his 2000 stand-up special Killin’ Them Softly), but the issues surrounding the skunk have been raised recently thanks to a column in the New York Times by Charles Blow from earlier this month. That being said, the Deadline report says that the cut scene from Space Jam: A New Legacy and the comments in the newspaper are not correlated.

Still set to feature Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Marvin The Martian, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Lola Bunny, and more, Space Jam: A New Legacy is scheduled to arrive as one of the big movies of summer 2021. The live-action/animation hybrid blockbuster will be debuting in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on the same day, and that day is now just a little over four months away, with the premiere scheduled for July 16. To check out what else is set to be released in the rest of the calendar year, be sure to check out our full 2021 release schedule.

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Amy Poehler And The Moxie Cast Reveal Their Favorite Coming Of Age Movies

datetime=”2021-03-07T16:31:00-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 4:31 PM

Being a teenager is an extensively awkward experience, and while that’s universally true, it can also be a time of loneliness and insecurity. Thankfully we have coming-of-age movies. While tones can widely vary in the genre, the films possess a kind of magic in that those who watch them can potentially see themselves reflected, and in doing so understand that they aren’t alone in what they are personally dealing with. Just reading this paragraph you’re probably thinking about movies that you connected with growing up – and the cast of the new Netflix movie Moxie have their own favorites as well.

As featured in the video above, I had the opportunity to speak with director Amy Poehler and the cast of Moxie – including Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Charlie Hall, Sabrina Haskett, Sydney Park, Anjelika Washington, Josie Totah, Alycia Pascual-Peña and Nico Hiraga – during the film’s virtual junket last month, and one thing that I asked everybody was about their favorite coming-of-age movies. The responses I got represented an eclectic mix of titles, including both classics and some awesome features from the last few years, and covered a lot of ground within the genre.

Hadley Robinson, who plays the lead character, Vivian, in Moxie, was one of the actors who referenced more modern features – namely Olivia Wilde’s Booksmartand Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade. She pointed out that those weren’t films that she had the opportunity to connect with when she was the same age as the protagonists, as they were only released in the last few years, she understands now the impact that they would have had. Said Robinson,

I mean, I saw Eighth Grade and Booksmart… did those come out the same year? Around the same time. I think this film is similar in the sense that it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s a film I wish I’d seen growing up.’ Which is a reoccurring theme. But yeah, those are two films that are pretty inspiring.

For Lauren Tsai, who stars in Moxie as Vivian’s best friend, Claudia, the film that came to mind was Stephen Chobsky’s 2012 movie The Perks of Being A Wallflower, which is based on the director’s novel of the same name published in 1999. The book and the movie have a big following because of its portrayal of mental health issues that can sometimes plague young people, and just seeing that subject addressed in a big studio film was impactful to the actor. Tsai said,

I’m just thinking like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower; that’s like a high school movie I remember seeing, and I just felt… it talks about mental health and I think that it opened something in me. It made me really sad in a good way.

Moxie director Amy Poehler, who also plays Vivian’s mom, was among those during the press day who name-dropped John Hughes – but she also reflected that just because a movie features younger characters doesn’t mean that the only people who can see themselves in the material are audiences of the same age. As she pointed out, she may not be the same age as The Karate Kid’s Daniel LaRusso, or dealing with the exact same circumstances, but she was still able to perfectly understand where he was coming from during a recent rewatch. Said Poehler,

I grew up with a lot of like important John Hughes films that really played with the tropes of like the cliques and groups that one feels like they belong to or don’t belong to. But you know, I also identify with all different kinds of things when I was growing up and all different ages. I still identify with teen stories and young stories even though I’m a lot older. And I also really identify with… I feel like age is a very fluid thing where you can really understand… I just watched the rewatched the original Karate Kid, and it moved me, and that was made a long time ago, and me and Daniel we have different lives. So I think anything that’s authentic that really tries its best to have like a point of view it can speak to you in different ways.

Now Amy Poehler has a coming-of-age movie of her own that she hopes speaks to audiences in the same way. Moxie, which also co-stars Ike Barinholtz and Marcia Gay-Harden, is now streaming on Netflix.

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Twilight Fans Are Freaking Out Over Seeing The Movie Without Its Blue Filter

datetime=”2021-03-07T15:40:00-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 3:40 PM

So listen, I know it’s easy to make fun of Twilight. It’s very meme-able, between lines like “hold on tight, spider monkey,” the whole “say it loud” bit or all the long intense stares between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. But without the specific choices made in the film, it wouldn’t have become the cult classic it is now. And one specific cinematographic decision we overlook is the blue filter Catherine Hardwicke used for the first 2008 film. So as you would expect fans had thoughts when seeing what Twilight would look like without the filter.

Many have pointed the blue filter out as somewhat of an odd choice, but have you seen the rest of the Twilight saga? The blue filter was actually quite genius and that’s just been proven by an on-set image taken in the light of day. Once Twitter got a hold of it, we were reminded how necessary the tint was to the first Twilight. Take a look at the viral photo:

twilight without the blue tint just makes me uncomfortable pic.twitter.com/pIYn3xZvDE

— ???????? ?????ss???? (@twilightreborn) March 4, 2021

Once the Twilight fan account @twilightreborn shared the image, it spread far and wide. It seriously hits differently to see the baseball scene in broad daylight sans blue filter. As one person reacted:

and just like that, it's a late 90s/early 00s teen sitcom https://t.co/dC2bXbpcq1

— chelle (@ChelleDoggo) March 6, 2021

Yeah… that’s exactly what it looks like. But more importantly it reminded fans of another movie featuring teens and baseball:

twilight without the blue tint is just high school musical https://t.co/x4RmdlnfIj

— bat rastard (@lfaaleava) March 5, 2021

I cannot unsee this. The cast of Twilight looks exactly like the cast of High School Musical 2 during the sequel’s “I Don’t Dance” sequence. You know, the one that had everyone theorizing that Ryan and Chad were into each other. With the blue lights gone, the way the group of vampires is standing just looks like something you’d see in a musical, and it just doesn’t sit right with fans:

this photo exudes a theater kid energy that has triggered a fight or flight response in me https://t.co/dFdEI5PYNf

— oscar wilde 'n out (@mariasghost) March 5, 2021

It’s a pivotal scene in the movie that sees the Cullen Clan meeting Twilight’s baddie vampire James and his squad Victoria and Laurent. The scene breaks up the iconic “Supermassive Black Hole” baseball sequence, which absolutely takes full use of the blue-filtered aesthetic as the vampires play a game in a lightning storm.

Rosalie actress Nikki Reed recently disclosed that the vampires actually went to a cat movement class and the ridiculousness of that is ever-present in a shot like this. Just as one user realized, the blue filter was ultimately a godsend to Twilight:

proving that the blue tint was one of the best cinematographic decisions of our generation. if not all time https://t.co/EmhNzJ9W2p

— jowja (@georgiajxnes) March 6, 2021

As the movies continued with different directors, the blue filter was left from the films. I don’t know about you, but I think it added to the ridiculousness of them. Sometimes a movie just needs a bold stylistic decision like this.

Anyways Twilight fans, the franchise’s Emmett, Kellan Lutz, totally just welcomed his first baby girl, and we’re still processing Edward Cullen’s perspective of the story with Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun. We’ll catch you at the next thunderstorm!


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Chaos Walking And Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley Explains Why She’s Been So ‘Lucky’ With Roles

datetime=”2021-03-07T15:04:21-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 3:04 PM

Despite only being 28 years old, Daisy Ridley has had a great number of big roles, with the biggest feather in her cap being that she was a huge name in Disney’s Star Wars franchise for the last six years. The young actress has expanded her acting career since her breakout role of Rey, and her recently released Chaos Walking had her alongside other Disney franchise faces Tom Holland and Mads Mikkelsen. Now, Ridley has spoken out about how she’s gotten so “lucky” in throughout her career so far.

Daisy Ridley is a great actress in her own right but has had the good fortune to act alongside some huge names in the acting business, like Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. The actress considers herself lucky to have had those experiences and, in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, the Star Wars actress explained that by being next to stars with such talent, she’s never had a whole project weighing on her shoulders alone. Here it is in Ridley’s own words:

I’ve always felt really lucky because I never felt like anything was really resting on my shoulders, I always really felt part of a team. I always had John [Boyega] and then Oscar [Isaac] and Adam [Driver] and obviously [Harrison Ford] and Carrie [Fisher] and Mark [Hamill]. There were so many components to Star Wars that it never felt like I was out there by myself.

Much like her Chaos Walking co-star Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley was fortunate (and talented) enough to land a breakout role early in her career, one that allowed her to work very closely to large names in the business. Also like Holland, Ridley has moved her career forward by working in different types of roles. Although she is, of course, speaking about her time working on the three Star Wars films she’s appeared in, Ridley has been beside big names in her various other projects as well.

Even if you’re not counting her Star Wars connections or the big names in Chaos Walking (like Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelsen, and Nick Jonas), Daisy Ridley could name drop some pretty impressive stars. She worked with Naomi Watts in 2018’s Ophelia and, of course, who could forget her work in Murder on the Orient Express, a massive ensemble that paired her with stars like Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr. and Wilem Dafoe.

Even though Chaos Walking is first big film since her stint as Rey in Star Wars, she’s got a number of projects coming up to showcase that it wasn’t just “luck” that put her in the position that she’s in. With her talent, she doesn’t need big names to carry projects for her, and it’s getting to the point where Ridley is the big name in a project While that may come largely from her role as Rey in one of the biggest franchises of all time, most would agree that her talent certainly has a lot to do with it as well.


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That Time Paul Bettany Punched Tom Hanks So Hard That He Farted While Filming A Scene

datetime=”2021-03-07T14:05:52-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 2:05 PM

Things can get pretty exciting when shooting a film, especially those feature massive moments like fight scenes. While fight sequences probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when one thinks of The Da Vinci Code. However, the film still has some tense moments, a number of which involve Paul Bettany’s Silas, the albino Catholic monk who works for “The Teacher.” One particular scene saw Silas punch Tom Hanks’ Robert Langdon in the gut and, it turns out, Bettany caused Hanks to fart in the process.

During the film, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu pay a visit to Langdon’s friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, an expert on the Holy Grail. During their visit, Silas breaks into the house and punches Langdon. Paul Bettany recently recalled shooting that scene from The Da Vinci Code and remembers the set being incredibly quiet at the time. With this, everyone was all ears when Tom Hanks let out a fart due to Bettany’s punch:

I had to grab him and I had to punch him in the stomach and it’s very quiet on set. There’s always more quiet when there’s a stunt going on because you’re worried somebody’s gonna get hurt. So everybody’s listening, and I punched him in the stomach and he farted really, really, really loudly, but really loudly.

Needless to say, Paul Bettany and Tom Hanks shared a pretty memorable (and awkward) moment together. During his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the WandaVision star further admitted he was at a loss after punching Hanks. He also revealed his co-star’s hilarious reaction to his punch:

I didn’t know what the form was. What do you do when the biggest movie star in the world farts? I kinda looked at him. And he went, ‘What is wrong with you? You just made me fart!

In all honesty, that’s probably how most of us would respond if we had just farted loudly on set after being punched by a co-star. Thankfully though, Tom Hanks seems to have a pretty good sense of humor, as does Paul Bettany. Based on Bettany’s tone, it sounds like Hanks wasn’t seriously offended by the hit.

Every actor probably has moments on sets that they’re probably less than proud of. Even Tom Hanks admitted to being cranky while filming his classic Sleepless in Seattle. But being the professionals that they are, most actors work through and learn from their past slip-ups.

If anything, Paul Bettany has a great story that he can pass down to his children, and so on and so forth. Not many people can say they punched one of the greatest actors of our time and made him fart. In short, Bettany is in a class all his own, and he seems to know it. If you’d like to check out his tussle with Tom Hanks, you can stream The Da Vinci Code on Netflix.


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The Best Horror Movies Streaming On Shudder – March 2021

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Mar. 7. 2021 2:00 PM


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As a die-hard fan of horror movies, I am constantly scrolling through all the top tier streaming services in search of my next good scare. However, I can honestly say that most of the flicks streaming on Shudder come through for me more often than most.

Since it was first launched by AMC Networks in 2015, Shudder (which you can subscribe to now right here) has acquired a bit of a reputation as the premier streaming platform for the best in all things monstrous, maniacal, and macabre from both the small and big screen. The price (about $6 a month) is pretty decent, too, especially for the Golden Age classics, cult favorite essentials, and underrated gems in its catalog. In fact, some of its own exclusive content has achieved acclaim that some Netflix original horror movies have only dreamed about.

Admittedly, we have put the spotlight on Shudder’s finest selections once before, but some of those titles have expired while new ones have emerged. Thus, the time has come to provide you with our updated and upgraded list of 20 thrillers that chilled us to our core, haunted our dreams, or even made us laugh the most since streaming them on the all-horror platform, starting with a quintessential staple of the genre.

Halloween (1978)

Whether or not director John Carpenter’s hit about an escaped psychopath stalking babysitters on one fateful October 31st gave birth to the modern slasher is up for debate. Yet, the lasting influence of Halloween (from Carpenter’s chilling score, Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis’ star-making final girl role, and the Michael Myers’ mysterious embodiment evil) is indisputable.

Stream Halloween on Shudder here.

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The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Tiresome slash tropes (particularly excessive sexual content) heavily influenced this Roger Corman-produced flick about attractive high school students stalked by a mad escapee during a sleepover, but not in the way critics and audiences expected… or comprehended, for that matter. Despite its groan-inducing title, The Slumber Party Massacre (from a female writer-director duo) is a clever commentary on female stereotypes in the genre way ahead of its time… unlike its ridiculous sequel that throws all subtext (or logic) out the window.

Stream The Slumber Party Massacre on Shudder here.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

One argument against Halloween as the “first slasher” is that it is preceded by this relentless, visceral nightmare transferred to celluloid. Once believed to be based on a true event but really the brainchild late writer and director Tobe Hooper (with some inspiration from Ed Gein), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the grueling tale of five traveling college students who make a stop at the Lone Star state, only to fall prey to leather-faced, power tool-wielding freak and his family of cannibals.

Stream The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Shudder here.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Speaking of movies about cannibalism with a legacy for trend-setting and questionable accuracy, Cannibal Holocaust is often credited as the first found-footage horror flick, even though its documentary style footage of a crew’s ill-fated tribal studies in the Amazon rainforest makes up less than half of its runtime. However, this infamous, Italian-produced exploitation piece with a surprisingly thoughtful message was so shockingly realistic for its time that the director had to appear in court to prove no one died on set.

Stream Cannibal Holocaust on Shudder here.

Hell House LLC (2015)

Speaking of found footage, one of the most impressive examples of the subgenre that I have ever seen is this low-budget mockumentary chronicling the events leading up to a haunted house attraction’s tragic opening night. The first of a trilogy whose preceding installments are exclusive to Shudder, Stephen Cognetti’s Hell House LLC is a smartly crafted, thrilling exercise in slow-building, thoroughly engrossing dread.

Stream Hell House LLC on Shudder here.

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Host (2020)

From the woodwork of found footage horror, a newer subgenre has emerged that I like to refer to as “video call horror,” the finest example of which I have seen is this hour-long feature about friends who discover social distance can’t save them from the disastrous results of a virtual seance. Written, shot, and distributed on Shudder during at the height of Covid-19, Host could be the most frightening film of 2020 and one of the few I would ever recommend watching from your computer monitor instead of a TV.

Stream Host on Shudder here.

The House Of The Devil (2009)

While we are on the subject of seances and other “devilish” things, we have this slow-burn shocker about a financially desperate collegian (Jocelin Donahue) who quickly comes to regret her latest babysitting gig. Set in the 1980s and harboring the same B-movie aesthetics of the era, The House of the Devil made writer and director Ti West a hero of modern indie horror as both a classic throwback to the satanic panic thriller and a complete redefinition of it.

Stream The House of the Devil on Shudder here.

Luz (2018)

While we are on the subject of the retro and the revolutionary, never have I seen a film that technically qualifies as a possession movie quite like this overlooked gem about a young, Chilean cabbie (Luana Velis in the title role) and her disturbing encounter with an old “friend.” Luz (quite successfully) aims to be a lot of things, including a visually accurate recreation of a European ’80s art house thriller, a dense but thoroughly engrossing mind trip, and, most surprisingly, a unique meditation on unrequited love.

Stream Luz on Shudder here.

Hellraiser (1987)

Someone who mastered the combination of trippy and horrific with thought-provoking and romantic in the ’80s was Clive Barker in his directorial debut based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. In addition to being a thematically absorbing and visually strikingly supernatural thriller, Hellraiser also made Doug Bradley’s character, who came to be known as "Pinhead," a beloved icon of cinematic villainy.

Stream Hellraiser on Shudder here.

Mandy (2018)

Lately, Nicolas Cage has managed to reinvent himself as a horror icon of sorts, which began with this acid-dipped revenge fable exclusively available to stream on Shudder. The Oscar-winner takes on a cult that makes the Manson Family look friendly in Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy – which grants every ’80s metalhead’s wish to see their favorite album covers brought to glorious life.

Stream Mandy on Shudder here.

Color Out Of Space (2019)

Nicolas Cage would continue his horror hero reputation as a man whose family and their secluded farm undergo a strange evolution after finding a mysterious meteorite. Color Out of Space also sees the long-awaited return of director Richard Stanley, whose eye for wondrous and disturbing visuals is perfect match for this adaptation of the classic H.P. Lovecraft story.

Stream Color Out of Space on Shudder here.

Absentia (2011)

Future Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House maestro Mike Flanagan proved his worth as one of horror cinema’s greatest storytellers with this early effort that otherwise reeks of shoestring budget. Absentia, about a young woman (Katie Parker) who learns the unthinkable truth behind her brother-in-law’s disappearance, is a heartbreaking and terrifying adult bedtime story that I actually would advise against watching right before bed, no matter your age.

Stream Absentia on Shudder here.

Zombie (1979)

Lucio Fulci is a director who had an eye for the gruesome and absurd, which he perfected in his aptly-titled favorite of the zombie genre. Zombie (marketed overseas as a sequel to George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead) may even be the Italian filmmaker’s crowning achievement for its anatomically correct depictions of bodily dismemberment and rotting flesh, but more importantly for its epic, underwater shark vs. zombie battle.

Stream Zombie on Shudder here.

Train To Busan (2016)

Sang-ho Yeon’s more recent take on the apocalyptic uprising of reanimated corpses is certainly gruesome, but trades absurdity for a refreshing dose of logic and high stakes with real consequences. If have not seen Train to Busan, in which a train ride through Korea becomes the site of a relentless battle against the dead, be sure to before its highly anticipated follow-up, Peninsula, exclusively hits Shudder in 2021.

Stream Train to Busan on Shudder here.

Audition (1999)

Let’s take a trip to another corner of Asia with Japanese auteur Takashi Miike’s acclaimed masterpiece about a widower (Ryo Ishibashi) who plots a scheme to find a new lover by inviting women to a fake casting class, per the suggestion of his film producer film. Without giving too much away for those who have yet to endure the bloodcurdling experience that is Audition, I will just say that what our protagonist shares with his chosen (Eihi Shiina) is far from happily ever after.

Stream Audition on Shudder here.

The Collector (2009)

Ya know what? Allow me to explain Audition in another way: Eihi Shiina’s character and the titular antagonist of this amusingly absurd celebration of gonzo, B-movie depravity might get along great, with the exception of the latter being more mechanically inventive with his horrifying tricks of fate. From writer and director Marcus Dunstan, The Collector kind of puts a grisly spin on Home Alone which leads to you empathize with the intruder (Josh Stewart) once he discovers he has walked into a maze of increasingly deadly traps.

Stream The Collector on Shudder here.

The Mortuary Collection (2020)

Speaking of collecting things, Shudder released a number of original anthology horror films in 2020 – the best of which, in my opinion, is writer and director Ryan Spindell’s The Mortuary Collection, in which a young woman seeking a job at a funeral home learns a few lessons in its bizarre history from its eccentric director (Clancy Brown, who also produces). Each tale offers a brutal lesson to be learned, all cultivating in a on dazzling and morbidly funny treat.

Stream The Mortuary Collection on Shudder here.

La Llorona (2020)

This fellow recent Shudder exclusive received more than common praise from horror fans, but even earned itself a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Not to be confused with a certain The Conjuring Universe installment from 2019, La Llorona takes inspiration from true events of political strife in Guatemala and a traditional story of Spanish folklore, resulting in a film more haunting your typical supernatural thriller.

Stream La Llorona on Shudder here.

Spring (2015)

Watching all these frightening favorites may put you in need of something a little lighter, but still disturbing, nonetheless. I cannot think of a better example than Synchronic director Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s international drama Spring, in which an American tourist (Lou Taylor Pucci) falls in love with a woman (Nadia Hilker) while vacationing in Italy, where they share a romance that is more Lovecraftian than just “love.”

Stream Spring on Shudder here.

Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (2007)

If Spring get a little too heavy for you, try this mockumentary style cult favorite that offers the most clever and hilarious deconstruction of the slasher genre since Scream. Set in a world in which Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are real infamous killers, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon follows a camera crew documentary the titular character’s (Nathan Baesel) aspirations to follow in their footsteps.

Another cool thing about Shudder: even if horror is not necessarily your bag, the platform has a wide selection of films and TV shows from other genres, such as sci-fi or even grounded crime thrillers. However, we might save that list for another day. In the meantime, for any loyal, bloodthirsty subscribers of the all-horror service, what is your favorite choice among its available titles?

What is your favorite horror movie to stream on Shudder?

  • Halloween (1978)

  • The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

  • Hell House LLC (2015)

  • Host (2020)

  • The House Of The Devil (2009)

  • Luz (2018)

  • Hellraiser (1987)

  • Mandy (2018)

  • Color Out Of Space (2019)

  • Absentia (2011)

  • Zombie (1979)

  • Train To Busan (2016)

  • Audition (1999)

  • The Collector (2009)

  • The Mortuary Collection (2020)

  • La Llorona (2020)

  • Spring (2015)

  • Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (2007)

  • Other

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      Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children’s story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.

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The Coming 2 America Scene That Choreographer Wishes Wasn’t Cut Down In The Final Film

datetime=”2021-03-07T13:06:43-08:00″>
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Mar. 7. 2021 1:06 PM


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Spoilers for Coming 2 America lie ahead, so tread lightly.

After over 30 years of waiting, Coming 2 America finally arrived this past week, and it managed to give fans just about anything they could have asked for. Not only did the Eddie Murphy-led reunite the original cast, but director Craig Brewer was also able to give fans a burst of nostalgia while adding some fresh elemens. Amid everything fans love about the first film, viewers really enjoy the incredible dance sequences choreographed by Paula Abdul and, for the sequel, legendary choreographer Fatima Robinson carried on that proud tradition with some impressive numbers of her own. While Robinson is pleased with her work on the film, there is one scene she wishes hadn’t been cut down in the editing room.

Fatima Robinson has done more than her fair share of movies over the course of her extraordinary career, from fan-favorite comedies like Norbit and This is the End to acclaimed dramas like Dreamgirls and Charlie Wilson’s War. With this, Robinson is aware that certain moments can be cut in order to serve the story. When I recently had the opportunity to speak with Robinson, she revealed that one of Coming 2 America’s key scenes was shortened in post production:

The dance numbers were much longer, especially the funeral scene. So I’m super bummed that that got chopped on the editing room floor because it really was an amazing dance number. It’s a long movie, but the story is super important. And so I think when I watch it again and see how it all flows together, it makes sense. I hope there’s an extended version one day that allows the dance to really live.

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Those who have seen Coming 2 America know the funeral scene is one of the most extravagant moments in the film. Ahead of his death, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) asks that Eddie Murphy’s Akeem throw him a massive funeral that he can witness before he passes on. Akeem agrees, and the ceremony becomes an immaculate send-off, which features a major dance sequence and performances from En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa and Gladys Knight. While the dance number was exciting in the finished film, one can imagine that Fatima Robinson included a number of other elaborate elements that would further amplify them.

We don’t know much about what else didn’t make the final cut of Coming 2 America, though Eddie Murphy did reveal one scrapped idea. If he’d had his way the Klump family (from The Nutty Professor) would have made an appearance.

As Fatima Robinson says, it would be cool to see an extended cut of Coming 2 America that shows the funeral scene and the other dance numbers in their entirety. Any additional content from those moments would only enhance the movie-viewing experience for the audience.

Coming 2 America is now streaming on Amazon Prime.


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Disney’s Raya And The Last Dragon Surprisingly Underperformed At The Box Office

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Disney’s Raya And The Last Dragon Surprisingly Underperformed At The Box Office

datetime=”2021-03-07T12:02:06-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 12:02 PM


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Last weekend, box office prognosticators received a significant shock. Tim Story’s Tom and Jerry, which simultaneously debuted in theaters and on HBO Max, had a stunningly successful weekend selling tickets (at least relatively, during the pandemic). It became only the second film since mid-March 2020 to make north of $10 million in its opening weekend, and it well exceeded that benchmark with a domestic total of $13.7 million. The big win had Hollywood puzzling over the contributing factors – but now seven days later we have a fresh mystery, as Carlos López Estrada and Don Hall’s Raya And The Last Dragon, the latest feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios, was only able to earn a fraction of what the Warner Bros. release did.

Deadline has reported the box office numbers from Raya And The Last Dragon’s first three days playing theatrically, and they don’t exactly look impressive when compared to Tom and Jerry… nor next to other similar releases of the last six months. Playing in 2,045 locations, the new feature only made $8.6 million, which is not only less than last weekend’s big release, but also less than what Joel Crawford’s The Croods: A New Age made when it premiered with $9.7 million in November 2020.

So what are the reasons behind the film underperforming? There are a couple of notable factors, but the one that seems to stand out the most is the fact that Raya And The Last Dragon was also made available (for a premium price) on Disney+ this past weekend. It’s hard to say specifically what kind of impact the availability on streaming had on the numbers, mostly because Disney has not yet released any data about the debut, but one imagines that households around the country interested in the movie performed a calculus in the last few days – discerning whether or not the $30 “Premier Access” price on the subscription service was worth it when compared to a family trip to the local cinema.

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Raya And The Last Dragon Voice Cast: Who’s Voicing Each Character

Obviously the fact that Tom and Jerry was also simultaneously released on streaming adds an interesting wrinkle when comparing the box office results – but the comparisons are additionally complicated by HBO Max and Disney+ having different audience sizes and subscription costs (not only do the streamers have different monthly fees, but the cat and mouse movie didn’t/doesn’t require any additional payment).

Another huge factor in Raya And The Last Dragon’s underwhelming box office performance is the fact that it didn’t play on screens owned by some of the biggest theatrical chains in the United States. Cinemark, which is the third biggest chain in the country, and Harkins Theaters couldn’t come to an agreement with Disney regarding the movie’s day-and-date release on streaming, and as a result the animated blockbuster didn’t show in any of their combined hundreds of locations. That’s a factor that would take a bite out of any feature’s ticket sales.

The trade report additionally says that Raya And The Last Dragon premiered in 24 other countries this past weekend, and that thus far the film has made $26.2 million globally. Given that Walt Disney Animation Studios releases typically have reported budgets north of $150 million, the box office numbers would suggest that the release has a long way to go before it breaks even – but, again, we don’t yet know how much money the movie made from those $30 charges on Disney+.

Raya And The Last Dragon has certainly generated a lot of positive buzz, with our own Dirk Libbey giving the film a perfect five-stars in his review, so we’ll have to wait and see where the movie will ultimately stand in Disney’s notable legacy of releases.

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The Lovely Way Dwayne Johnson Paid Tribute To His Father During Awards Acceptance Speech

datetime=”2021-03-07T10:56:59-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 10:56 AM

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has had a life journey that’s hard to compare to anyone else’s, and the WWE-star-turned Hollywood actor has seemingly used the fame and fortune his unique journey has earned him to give back to others and make the world a better place. It would seem the Hollywood Critics Association agrees, as they have awarded this year’s Trailblazer Award to Johnson. In response to the new honor, the Jumanji star paid a lovely tribute to his father, who passed away in early 2020, in dedicating the award to him.

In awarding Dwayne Johnson the trailblazer award, the HCA said that Johnson “epitomizes everything our Trailblazer Award stands for” and “uses his voice to do good in a time most needed.” Johnson responded to winning the award via Zoom in real time, right after watching the award video. He gave an emotional and humble acceptance speech, saying he has the privilege in being in a position to use his voice to enact change. And at the end of his speech, he dedicated the award to his late father, saying he was the real trailblazer. Here it is in the Moana star’s own words:

I’m going to dedicate this trailblazer award to my dad, my old man, who died a little over a year ago. Man, that guy was a trailblazer. As complicated as our relationship was, our father/son relationship, complicated, tough love, tough love, he was a trailblazer because what trailblazers do is change people’s behavior. And he did everything he could to send people home happy.

In a lot of ways, we wouldn’t have the same beloved Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson we know today without his father and namesake, Rocky Johnson. He was a champion wrestler before his son and trained his son to follow in his footsteps as a WWE wrestler. While this family/work relationship may indeed be a source of the “complicated” relationship the younger Johnson speaks of, he is spot on about his father’s trailblazer title. Johnson senior was the first black wrestling champion in WWE history, along with his wrestling partner Tony Atlas, and the two paved the way for more inclusivity in the wrestling community.

Dwayne Johnson also speaks of his father’s ability to always send people home happy, which is surely a trait passed down, in this case, from father to son. Johnson has an infectious smile and a sense of humor that makes him a Hollywood favorite that defies generational norms. Although older generations may remember Johnson’s first his earlier work in films like The Scorpion King and The Rundown, he’s become a regular to younger audiences with roles in a number of Disney films like the upcoming Jungle Cruise. Even so, he’s maintaining his place as a versatile actor in playing in more adult-oriented projects like Ballers and the upcoming Red Notice with Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.

Even though Dwayne Johnson has accomplished a lot in his very versatile career and there appears to be no end in sight for the actor, it’s refreshing that he maintains a humble air about him when it really comes down to it. It takes a big man to stay grounded when his accomplishments are rewarded and an even bigger man to give credit to his roots, even if the relationship was strained at times with some “tough love”. While The Rock being a big man may not be news to anyone, it seems his character may be starting to outgrow his overgrown body. So here’s to you, Dwayne “The Trailblazer” Johnson, and the legend who came before you!

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Zack Snyder Shares Flash-Centric Snyder Cut Footage, And Now I’m Just Ready For The Flash Movie

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Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 9:54 AM


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The path to Zack Snyder’s Justice League (or the Snyder Cut) has nearly reached its end, as the highly anticipated director’s cut is set to arrive in less than two weeks time. With this, Warner Bros. and Snyder are doing everything they can to get fans hyped during the final stretch. This includes releasing tons of new footage, with some of it specifically highlighting certain characters. The most recent clip puts the focus on Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash. The footage shows off the Scarlet Speedster in action and now has me pumped for his upcoming solo film.

Zack Snyder took to Twitter today to share a new character poster for Ezra Miller’s Flash. That was quickly followed by a near-one minute clip that features the character doing what he does best. You can check it out in Snyder’s original post down below:

#Flash #SnyderCut #ZackSnydersJusticeLeague #UsUnited #AFSP pic.twitter.com/8hNOdIim8B

— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) March 7, 2021

The scene in question is one that fans have only gotten to see flashes (no pun intended) of in the past. It features Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen saving Kiersey Clemons’ Iris West from a nasty car accident. In addition, it shows Flash speeding into what appears to be an opening into the Speed Force. This clip alone is more than enough evidence of Barry Allen’s larger role in the Snyder Cut.

The film should also serve as a primer for what fans can expect from the character in his own film. While specific plot details are currently being kept under wraps, it would appear that the film will be a loose adaptation of the famous Flashpoint story. This tale saw Barry Allen land in an alternate timeline, one in which his deceased mother is alive. And by the end of the story, the hero ended up revamping the DC timeline.

Because it takes inspiration from the story, director Andy Muschietti is taking a cue and adding additional heroes into the picture. This includes Michael Keaton’s Batman and a Supergirl played by Sasha Calle, in her DC Extended Universe debut. And if rumors are to be believed, the film could even bring in another fan-favorite Batman actor.

Despite the spectacle and cool characters, the film will likely have an emotional center, thanks to Barry’s connection with his late mom. The two are sure to reunite at some point, and it should make for a sweet (and possibly heartbreaking) moment.

It’ll be interesting to see what Zack Snyder originally intended for Ezra Miller’s Flash and what lies ahead for the hero in Andy Muschietti’s The Flash. Even though the Snyder Cut technically isn’t in the DCEU canon, Barry Allen still has a big future ahead of him.

You can check out Zack Snyder’s Justice League when it hits HBO Max on March 18th. And The Flash is currently set to open in theaters on November 4, 2022.


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Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. Reflects On The Challenge Of Letting Go Of Aaron Burr

datetime=”2021-03-07T08:52:42-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 8:52 AM


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Many actors will tell you that their most significant roles stay with them long after they’re done with a project. That’s understandable — because with acting, even when you’re playing someone else, you put your own emotions and a part of yourself into that role. Leslie Odom Jr. knew that all too well when it came to his portrayal of Aaron Burr in Hamilton. In fact, he found it to be a challenge to let the role go once it was time to move on.

Hamilton has become a phenomenon since it debuted on Broadway in 2015 — which is a rare feat for a piece of musical theater. In the years since, it’s become more accessible to fans thanks to its popular original cast recording and a Disney+ movie. However, by the time the film hit the streaming platform and created a new wave of interest, the entire original cast had moved on to other projects.

While it’s impossible to say how each of the cast members felt leaving behind the roles that solidified their place in Hollywood history, Leslie Odom Jr. has opened up about his own experience. He told Variety that it was a bit of a struggle to get used to a reality in which he wasn’t Aaron Burr any longer:

No, it does take a second to let them go. I mean, as you can imagine, it took me a second to… I did over 500 shows of Aaron Burr (in Hamilton). And while that wasn’t a character that was about verisimilitude — it wasn’t about how much I can look and walk and talk like Aaron Burr — there was some creation there of a different character than myself, than the way that I sing. Somewhere between what Lin (-Manuel Miranda) was inspiring me to do with his writing and Lac (Alex Lacaoire) with those orchestrations, there was a different guy up there than me. So it took a while for me after 500 shows to let that go and remember who I am and how I like to talk and how I like to sing.

It’s clear that Leslie Odom Jr. was deeply invested in his portrayal of Hamilton’s narrator and primary antagonist, but that’s no surprise to fans. The actor’s performance in the musical earned him numerous accolades, including a Tony Award.

The projects that Leslie Odom Jr. took on next no doubt helped him to recalibrate his post-Hamilton understanding of himself. He appeared in films like Murder on the Orient Express and Tubman and more recently, took on another real-life role in the form of Sam Cooke in a Golden Globe-nominated performance for One Night in Miami.

Still, there’s a difference between playing a character on film and bringing them to life over the course of a few weeks and performing the same role hundreds of times. So it’s safe to say that Leslie Odom Jr.’s tenure with Hamilton was likely a unique experience, both in terms of his approach to the role and what it took to say goodbye.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home Fan Art Imagines Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock In The MCU

datetime=”2021-03-07T07:53:26-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 7:53 AM

Marvel fan art is nothing new, as many enjoy forecasting who would be a perfect fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Casting rumors surrounding many Marvel films such as Spider-Man: No Way Home alone have spawned countless images. The latest fan art has imagined Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock in the MCU, and it’s honestly pretty impressive.

Rumors of who is and isn’t in Spider-Man: No Way Home have been very interesting, and Marvel Studios isn’t looking to confirm things at the moment. Like most Marvel films, the Spider-Man: Far from Home sequel has been shrouded in secrecy. Alfred Molina’s return as Doctor Octopus has been one of the few reports that are seemingly legitimate. With this, concept artist AwedopeArts decided to create his take on an MCU Doc Ock and post it to his Instagram. Check out the artist’s original artwork below:

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A post shared by AwedopeArts – Rey (@awedope.arts)

As evidenced by the artist’s post, Doctor Octopus can definitely updated to fit the world of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. This design builds on the established Doc Octopus look and aesthetic by adding more technology into the costume. Though the costume also maintains the green and yellow color scheme of the classic character. Alfred Molina’s look in the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man 2 is iconic at this point, but this is pretty good interpretation that manages to perfectly mix older and newer elements of Otto Octavius.

Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus doesn’t appear to be the only Marvel veteran returning for Spider-Man: No Way Home. Jamie Foxx was confirmed to return as Electro for the MCU’s third Spider-Man installment, but rumors also allege that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will be putting on their Spidey suits again to join Tom Holland. While Holland shot down the rumors, there have been reports that contradict the MCU star’s words are still floating around. There are even rumors of Daredevil star Charlie Cox possibly joining the film. So unless Marvel makes some announcements, we’ll only know what’s real and what isn’t when we finally see the film.

Aside from fan art, Spider-Man: No Way Home’s mystery has been driving fans to create in other ways. The film has led to countless theories over possible storylines. The mystery of Spider-Man 3 went into overdrive with that multiple titles prank, which in turn spawned fan-created posters. Some even believe ties have also been established between the Marvel film and the recently concluded WandaVision. As more rumors continue to spread, fan art like and theories are sure to continue spreading like wildfire.

Only time will tell if AwedopeArts’s concept art proves true. But given the back-and-forth game Marvel has played in recent months, anything is possible when it comes to this movie. Spider-Man: No Way Home hits theaters on December 17, 2021.


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      A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).

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Kelly Marie Tran Loves That Raya And The Last Dragon Changes The Idea Of A Disney Princess

datetime=”2021-03-07T06:52:05-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 6:52 AM

In the era of cancel culture, storytellers are being faced with the decisions of whether to follow the current trends and whether to acknowledge or denounce their previous work that didn’t age well. Disney is one company that has figured out how to navigate this, and one example is the evolution of the Disney princess. Kelly Marie Tran, Disney’s latest princess and star of Raya and the Last Dragon, loves the idea that this film changes the idea of a Disney princess.

We started with Snow White, where our princess slept and had to be awakened by a prince. Fast forward to Tangled, where our princess chose to leave her tower and held the power in the film but still needed a man’s assistance. There’s nothing wrong with either of these films – I’m a huge Disney fan and love practically all of them. I was even a little sad that Moana and Elsa didn’t fall in love in their respective films. That being said, Raya is a brand new kind of princess, and here is what Kelly Marie shared with CinemaBlend about this:

I think growing up our perception of what was beautiful and what it meant to be a princess, we were sort of seeing the same image over and over and over in terms of what kind of person we should want to be. It does make it impossible if you’re not seeing yourself represented and you’re not seeing yourself in heroes and in these sort of big stories, especially at a young age. Yeah, it feels really cool to be part of that change, to be opening up the story. And to hopefully let people see themselves in these characters that might not see themselves in media normally. Yeah, it’s a big deal to me and it’s a big deal to be working with the people that I’m working with because so many of them are doing this in their everyday lives. They’re constantly fighting for visibility and equal representation. And I’m just overjoyed really to be part of this.

Kelly Marie Tran’s excitement about playing Raya radiates off of her and you can feel it when watching the movie, too. Not only is Raya wearing pants and going on an epic adventure that involves martial arts, but she is also Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess. As Kelly Marie Tran stated, representation is so important because it allows young people of all different shapes, sizes and colors to see themselves as heroes, too.

The excitement goes so far beyond giving us another princess of color. Raya is relatable to people everywhere because of her weaknesses, as well as her strengths. She embodies the human experience in a way the princesses before her didn’t explore. Qui Nguyen, one of the writers of Raya and the Last Dragon, elaborated on this with the following:

I think it’s just important to be able to give our lead character as much nuance and complexity and let her as an actor, as a character, be able to feel all the feelings of the human experience. Because I think that often when you get to see that it often is a male character, to be quite honest, and to be able to do that… We’re all very aware that we’re putting out a hero that isn’t often seen very much in Hollywood cinema and we knew how much that was going to – how important that was going to be for a kid. It’s really hard to watch a two-dimensional character represent you. It’s so much more satisfying to see one that represents all the feelings that you feel and go, hey, you’re justified in feeling those things. But ultimately, the bravery in taking that first step into trusting people is [feeling justified in your feelings]. It just makes that message so much more interesting to talk about and to receive.

Raya and the Last Dragon is not at all a political film or one that’s trying to make some grand statement, though its message still could not be more relevant. It tells the story of a land that’s broken by lack of trust and validates all the things that break trust in relationships. This film illustrates the strength and bravery that one needs to rebuild that trust and delivers the message from a badass princess.

You can feel all the feelings with Raya and the Last Dragon now in theaters or streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access. If you’re able, you can even see it in theaters and then go home and watch it repeatedly on Disney+. I’m not crying, you’re crying!

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Nomadland’s Michael Wolf Snyder Is Dead At 35

datetime=”2021-03-07T05:50:25-08:00″>
Published:
Mar. 7. 2021 5:50 AM

Nomadland has been in the news a lot recently, thanks to a combination of the movie heading to streaming and also landing awards notice at nearly the same time. However, this morning we have sad news to report, as sound mixer Michael Wolf Snyder, who recently worked on Chloe Zhao’s film, is dead at 35.

His father David Snyder was the first to break the news in recent days, telling those near and dear that Michael had not been heard from for a few days. So, David took a trip over to his son’s Queens, NY apartment where he found his son dead. The cause of death was suicide. David Snyder shared more about Michael Wolf Snyder’s final days on Facebook in the “hope that it could help others,” noting,

I would like to share a little bit more about what happened in the hope that it could help others. Michael took his own life sometime in the last week and wasn’t discovered until I went to check on him Monday after he had dropped out of contact for several days. He has suffered from Major Depression for many years. For most people, this is an illness that waxes and wanes over the years. I’m sure it was difficult for Michael that he spent most of the last year alone in his small, Queens apartment, being responsible about dealing with the coronavirus. In spite of this, we all believed he was doing well, and for most of this past year I think he was.

David Snyder said that one of the bright spots for Michael over the past several months were the accolades that his movie Nomadland was getting. Chloe Zhao won the award for Best Director at the Golden Globes a few days ago; the movie itself was nominated for four awards total. The film also won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, among numerous other accolades. David Snyder touched on how that notice had seemed to “invigorate” his son.

He seemed especially joyful and invigorated in these last few months since he was able to return to work on several different film projects. He was certainly thrilled about all of the accolades for Nomadland and told us many happy stories about his work on the film and the amazing people he got to spend time with.

Later, Michael’s Aunt Cathy Snyder also took to Facebook to share the family’s feelings following the devastating news. She noted that seeing how the world saw Michael Wolf Snyder has helped immensely.

Hard to read this piece just published in Variety, and wowed at the same time–our Michael Wolf–we know him as beloved nephew, son, cousin, brother, friend, and awesome human. Now, through all of the enormous and poignant outpouring of love and respect for M Wolf Snyder we are reading on social media, we get to learn how the rest of his world saw him.

Michael Wolf Snyder was a sound mixer who worked on a variety of both TV and film projects. Nomadland was among the most prominent, though the young man scored plenty of gigs since his start in the business about a decade ago. Other notable gigs include work on Amazon’s Good Omens and Bryce Dallas Howard’s documentary Dads.

Nomadland’s supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer Zach Seivers told THR M. Wolf Snyder saw himself as a “storyteller” first and foremost. He will be missed and it may be small comfort, but if there’s one thing we learned from Nomadland it’s that there’s no final goodbye. Just see you down the road.

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