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Newswire: The writer behind Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky might not exist

2 hours ago

Something weird is going on with Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, and it actually has nothing to do with the big Nascar heist that the movie centers around. Actually, it has a lot to do with that big Nascar heist, because it’s all about the person who wrote the movie. A first-time screenwriter named Rebecca Blunt is credited with the Logan Lucky script, but according to a Hollywood Reporter story, there’s a very good chance she doesn’t actually exist.

Blunt is supposedly “a beauty” who lives in England and is “brimming with humor and life,” but she never visited the film’s set, hasn’t given any interviews, and she—along with the rest of the cast and crew—only received a barebones bio in the credits list given to the press. In theory, a real first-time screenwriter who penned a Soderbergh movie that’s getting some »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: This year’s Venice Film Festival is packed to the gills with big premieres

3 hours ago

While many critics and journalists (including our own correspondent, A.A. Dowd) have characterized this year’s Cannes Film Festival as underwhelming, the line-up for its fall cousin, the Venice Film Festival, is bursting with potential. As Variety reports, the main competition and sidebar selections includes Darren Aronofsky’s horror film Mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence; Guillermo Del Toro’s 1960s-set merman movie The Shape Of Water; Lean On Pete, the latest from British writer-director Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years); Martin McDonaugh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Ex Libris: New York Public Library, a new film by documentary titan Frederick Wiseman; Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, the first new film by Tunisian-French writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche since his Cannes prize-winner Blue Is The Warmest Color; Zama, Lucrecia Martial’s long-awaited follow-up to The Headless Woman; the black comedy Suburbicon, directed by George Clooney and starring Matt Damon; and Caniba, by Leviathan »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: The A.V. Club show examines the state of Tom Cruise

3 hours ago

Tom Cruise has enjoyed one of the most stable careers in Hollywood; unlike other celebrities of his caliber, Cruise remains unscathed by controversy, couch jumping, aging, and lackluster films. Even The Mummy, which was almost universally panned, wasn’t a true loss for Cruise when you take a closer look at box office sales. The man is unbreakable, and probably immortal too.

This week on The A.V. Club, we take a closer look into the state of Tom Cruise and exactly what makes his armor so impenetrable. A.V. Club News Editor Katie Rife and Film Editor Alex Dowd stop by to discuss Tom Cruise’s career highs and lows, and the best Tom Cruise impersonator in the world, Evan Ferrante, joins us for a workshop on Cruise’s articulations, laugh, and that infamous Tom Cruise run.

The A.V. Club airs every Thursday night at 9 p.m »

- Yolanda Carney

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Movie Review: The Emoji Movie is Inside Out crossed with a Sony commercial and dunked in toxic ooze

3 hours ago

Art can spring from many motivations. According to director Tony Leondis, The Emoji Movie is “personal.” Central character Gene (T.J. Miller), the inexplicably named “meh” emoji, must go on a journey of self-discovery and learn to accept himself, which chimes with Leondis’s own childhood, growing up gay in a religious household. (His father was a Greek Orthodox priest, no less). After viewing the final product, Miller’s reasoning for making the movie sounds more believable: “Sony knows we down to get motherfucking paid globally.”

Sporting the precise same young-outsider-learns-to-accept-himself-and-becomes-a-hero plot as every other family animated film, The Emoji Movie takes place in “Textopolis,” where emojis maintain their assigned expression with no deviation, waiting to be called up for their on-screen appearance as needed. Gene can’t keep a “meh” face and screws up his first time at-bat, prompting backstabbing head boss Smiler (Maya Rudolph) to order his deletion »

- Vadim Rizov

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Great Job, Internet!: Let’s dig into the mysterious ending of No Country For Old Men

3 hours ago

The Coen brothers’ 2007 film No Country For Old Men is unlike the traditional westerns it pays homage to. The good guy gets shot, the bad guy gets away, and the audience is left feeling uneasy about the whole experience. Perhaps the most non-traditional moment of the entire film is its seemingly unrelated closing monologue, delivered by Tommy Lee Jones’ character Sheriff Bell to his wife just before the film abruptly cuts to black. But a new video essay from ScreenPrism suggests that Sheriff Bell’s calmly delivered speech actually encapsulates the film’s themes and gives deeper insight into its title.

Throughout the film, Sheriff Bell has been following the trail of Llewelyn Moss and hitman Anton Chigurh, played by Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem, respectively, and bears witness to the meaningless violence and destruction left in their wake. The dream Bell recounts at the film’s close suggest »

- Dan Neilan

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Newswire: Here’s what’s coming to Amazon Prime in August

3 hours ago

Channing Tatum’s weirdo Romanian cop parody Comrade Detective is coming to Amazon Prime on August 4—and you can see a new trailer for it right here—but it’s not the only new content that subscribers will be able to stream while enjoying their free shipping and exclusive sales. They’ll also be getting the reboot of cult superhero hit The Tick, kid shows Lost In Oz and Tumble Leaf, and a whole bunch of movies including Superbad, Florence Foster Jenkins, and five of the Saw movies. (If you want to see Saw VI or Saw VII, they’re already available on Prime.)

The full list of new movies and TV shows is below, and if you’d rather get this information in a video, Amazon has shared a sizzle reel as well.

Available August 1

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Among Friends

Bad Boys (1983)

Bad Company »

- Sam Barsanti

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Odds And Sods: Pinegrove rates all the different Batmans

4 hours ago

The A.V. Club went to Pitchfork Music Festival and met up with a dozen bands, musicians, and artists. In the spirit of the festival’s parent site, we asked the acts we met with to rate everyday things using the Pitchfork scale (0.0 to 10.0). In what’s sure to spark some ire from fans of the DC Extended Universe, members of the indie rock band Pinegrove candidly rated the actors who have played Batman, ranking Ben Affleck’s version of the Caped Crusader last, with a 4.6. »

- Baraka Kaseko

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Newswire: Henry Cavill reveals that his pesky Mission: Impossible ‘stache is actually evil

5 hours ago

Earlier this week, we reported that a mustache Henry Cavill grew for his role in the next Mission: Impossible movie was causing headaches for Warner Bros., since the studio needed Cavill for some Justice League reshoots and would have to use CG magic to digitally remove the ‘stache. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. is apparently run by jerks, so even though hilarious photos of Cavill wearing his Superman suit with a mustache must exist, the studio hasn’t released any. According to Cavill, though, there may be another reason that Warner Bros. won’t release these very funny pictures: The mustache is evil.

In an Instagram post (via Variety), Cavill explained that nobody is actively trying to shave the mustache, because any attempt to attack it would risk killing everyone involved. “It is not a question of If I should shave,” Cavill says, “It is a question of how can we possibly »

- Sam Barsanti

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Coming Distractions: Pennywise speaks in the new trailer for Stephen King’s It

6 hours ago

Given that Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise was clearly the best part of the 1990 TV mini-series version of Stephen King’s It, there’s been a lot of scrutiny surrounding Bill Skarsgård’s performance as immortal child-eating clown/shapeshifting manifestation of primal fear Pennywise in It’s upcoming big-screen remake. And in a new trailer for the film released this morning, we hear Skarsgård-as-Pennywise’s speaking voice for the first time, a breathy whisper as he lures poor, doomed Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) to his death in the novel’s famous cold open.

Along with an uptick in scary-clown footage, the trailer builds on an increasingly demented chant of “you’ll float too,” as Georgie calls to his brother from his watery grave in the sewers underneath Derry, Maine. All the marketing materials for the film promise an intense experience in breathless terror, so make like Eddie »

- Katie Rife

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Great Job, Internet!: There’s never a bad time to obsess over There Will Be Blood

6 hours ago

This video is not about There Will Be Blood—it is, rather, about using Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 masterpiece as a case study for the exercise of counting a movie’s cuts. In so doing, the latest Nerdwriter video elucidates a method of understanding a movie’s rhythms, and taking a more objective viewpoint of its various shots. Here we see that There Will Be Blood’s patient pace—only 678 cuts in the entire movie—gradually but steadily increases over the film’s runtime, and that Anderson and cinematographer Robert Elswitt were able to minimize cuts by framing multiple people and objects in the same shot. They’re images that gradually evolve as the scene demands it.

But mostly, the whole thing’s just an opportunity to watch Daniel Day Lewis tear into that “I see the worst in people” line, to see Paul Dano’s smug, docile »

- Clayton Purdom

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Coming Distractions: The Coen brothers and George Clooney team up again for the Suburbicon trailer

6 hours ago

The trailer for Suburbicon, the new film written by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and the Coen brothers, and directed by Clooney, is a bit tonally disjointed. For roughly the first 40 seconds, it comes across like yet another broad satire of white people in the suburbs, a darkly comic and snide putdown of Pleasantville-esque tropes. But then the gangsters start to come out of the woodwork, some backstory involving Matt Damon’s buttoned-up businessmen and mob money is suggested, and it all starts to look a lot more like, well, a Coen brothers movie.

Set in 1959 in a tranquil suburban community, the film follows Damon’s husband and father Gardner Lodge as he plunges into a dark underworld of crime and violence. His wife gets murdered in the opening seconds of the trailer, which lets you know right away that this isn’t going to be some genteel »

- Alex McLevy

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Movie Review: The Incredible Jessica James is a breezy hangout with your coolest friend

7 hours ago

To be fair, it’s difficult not to be outshone by Jessica Williams, whose star has been continually on the rise since her debut on The Daily Show in 2012. It’s interesting, then, that this irrepressible personality would have her first starring film role project be as low-key as The Incredible Jessica James, especially since it seems to have been written just for her. Writer-director Jim Strouse (People Places Things) nails the trendsetting speech patterns and whip-smart witticisms familiar to listeners of Williams’ podcast with fellow comedian Phoebe Robinson, 2 Dope Queens, and writes Williams as a confident, charismatic young woman who rocks the hell out of a jumpsuit and who’s incapable of living on anyone’s terms but her own. Compared to her, the rest of the film can’t help but feel slight.

Williams stars, obviously, as Jessica James, a 25-year-old aspiring playwright who lives “deep »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: R.I.P. legendary voice actress June Foray

16 hours ago

June Foray, the voice of Rocky The Flying Squirrel, Granny from Looney Tunes, and literally hundreds of other beloved animated characters, has died. Heralded as “the first lady” and the “queen” of voice acting, Foray’s career in film and TV stretched for 71 years and more than 300 credits, embodying everyone from Magica De Spell to Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. As reported by Variety, Foray was 99.

Originally working in radio—and on comedy albums with Stan Freberg—Foray broke into film in 1950, when she voiced Lucifer the cat in Disney’s Cinderella. From there, it would probably be easier to list the beloved animated series she didn’t appear on: Her versatile voice showed up in The Flintstones, Peter Pan, Mister Magoo, dozens of Looney Tunes shorts—with director Chuck Jones supposedly once noting that “June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc, Mel Blanc »

- William Hughes

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Movie Review: A widowed Hasidic father faces a custody battle in the New York drama Menashe

17 hours ago

Before making the film Menashe, documentarian Joshua Weinstein donned a yarmulke and explored Brooklyn’s Borough Park, getting to know the stories and personalities of New York’s Hasidic Jews. That was the easy part of the process. It was trickier when Weinstein returned to the neighborhood with a camera crew to work with the locals he’d hired for his cast. In this insular society—which for the most part has kept itself purposefully cut off from popular culture—the whole Menashe project seemed morally suspect. Weinstein reportedly lost locations and actors as the shoot went on, and left some people’s names out of the credits so that they wouldn’t bring shame to their families.

Throughout, the movie’s key collaborator remained steadfast. And thank goodness he did. Menashe Lustig brings warmth and a lumpen charisma to Menashe’s lead role, giving life to a film based »

- Noel Murray

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Movie Review: Kyle Mooney’s Brigsby Bear is much too nice for its own intriguing premise

17 hours ago

James Pope, the gentle-souled dweeb Kyle Mooney plays in Brigsby Bear, is an almost literal man-child, quite literally sheltered. Thirty if he’s a day, James still lives with his eccentric hippie parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams), but he has a good excuse: They’re all holed up together in an underground bunker, thanks to an unidentified catastrophe that’s made the air above unbreathable. James’ sole interest, his consuming obsession, is Brigsby Bear Adventures, a low-budget science-fiction serial he’s been watching his entire life; the show, which is basically Doctor Who by way of Barney, arrives like clockwork on VHS every week and features a time- and space-traversing bear whose exploits convey simple life lessons that seem to suspiciously advance in demographic aim as James ages.

Any viewer paying attention may start to wonder about a post-apocalypse with Netflix services. Soon enough, we learn the shattering truth »

- A.A. Dowd

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Newswire: Ron Howard reunited with Willow’s Warwick Davis on the Han Solo set

26 July 2017 3:14 PM, PDT

Here’s one for anyone harboring a lingering nostalgia for Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy epic Willow: Howard—apparently delighting in his ongoing role as the trickster god of the Star Wars universe—obliquely revealed today that Willow star Warwick Davis will appear in his upcoming Han Solo spin-off. Howard made the announcement after someone asked him when they could expect a Willow 2, responding that, as it happens, he’d just finished directing Davis for the first time in 30 years.

Glad you are asking for one! I directed @WarwickADavis for the 1st time in 30 years today. It made me happy https://t.co/yW8E19MPCn

Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) July 26, 2017

Davis’ film-making career began with Star Wars, as heroic Ewok Wicket in Return Of The Jedi. Since then, he’s appeared as characters in a number of the franchise’s films, including a role in the recent »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Patton Oswalt, Danny Glover, and David Cross join sci-fi drama Sorry To Bother You

26 July 2017 3:00 PM, PDT

A lot of comedy movies would kill to include Patton Oswalt, Danny Glover, and David Cross in its cast, and though the three of them will be appearing in a movie together, it’ll actually be a sci-fi-ish drama. According to Deadline, Oswalt, Glover, and Cross have joined the cast of Sorry To Bother You, the directorial debut of writer Boots Riley. They’ll be joining previously cast stars Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Armie Hammer, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, and Steven Yeun.

The movie is about a telemarketer with low self-esteem who finds a “magical key to business success,” but as he begins to rise through the company, he discovers “the macabre secret of his corporate overlords” and must then decide if he should sell out and join them or stick with his ideals. »

- Sam Barsanti

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Movie Review: Charlize Theron stabs and struts her way through the dumb, retro-cool Atomic Blonde

26 July 2017 2:10 PM, PDT

Looking like a cross between Debbie Harry and a Nagel print, Charlize Theron struts her way through the Cold War howler Atomic Blonde dressed to the proverbial nines, in white pleather raincoats, tailored herringbone wool, and a deadly pair of red stiletto heels, often caressing a cigarette between her fingers. She also gets the shit kicked out of her; it seems no female action hero has taken as many punches to the mouth and eye socket or crawled out of a fight looking worse than Theron’s Lorraine Broughton. She’s a British spy sent to West Berlin in 1989, just days before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, though the actual plot of the movie is almost indecipherable: some junk about a McGuffin, a Stasi defector nicknamed “Spyglass” (Eddie Marsan), and a double agent. But it’s not like that matters. Atomic Blonde is a meaningless fetish piece of »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: Captain Marvel won’t be in Avengers: Infinity War

26 July 2017 2:03 PM, PDT

Back in 2016, Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo claimed that their movie would have 68 characters, leaving plenty of room for virtually every reasonably important character who has ever appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That number also left the door open for some surprise appearances from characters who haven’t actually debuted yet, leading some people to theorize that Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel might show up for a quick cameo ahead of her own solo movie. Unfortunately, Joe Russo has now shot down that theory, with Entertainment Weekly reporting that he confirmed that Larson’s Captain Marvel “won’t make an appearance in the film.”

This may be a little disappointing for Captain Marvel fans (and general Marvel fans), but it does make a lot of sense given what we learned about the Captain Marvel movie at Comic-Con. As Marvel revealed last week, Captain Marvel »

- Sam Barsanti

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Movie Review: Kathryn Bigelow takes aim at racism and police brutality in the scattershot Detroit

26 July 2017 11:25 AM, PDT

Detroit, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal’s dramatization of the police killing of three black teenagers at the Algiers Motel in the middle of the riots that burned through Detroit exactly 50 years ago, is a mess, but at least it has its reasons. This, after all, is a story without a protagonist or an ending, and Bigelow and Boal, who previously worked together on The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, don’t try to force either on it; the most they do is make Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega), a black part-time security guard who would end up a defendant in the case, enough of an interesting character to justify the young English actor’s top billing. At the center of the choppy, blunt narrative is the “death game,” a Gestapo-ian psychological torture gone horribly wrong and a caustic allegory for the workings of racism. But one »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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