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Great Job, Internet!: Meanwhile, in China, people are just frolicking around dressed as Minions

1 hour ago

When Dante descended the circles of hell, he crossed the River Styx and found the damned, mud-covered and pitiful, tearing one another apart. In the real world city of Lianyuan—located in Hunan province, China—something much more horrifying occurs: Groups of tourists, dressed in adult-sized Minion costumes, frolic across nature’s beauty in open contempt of the notion of a just or kind universal order.

Tourists in #Minion costumes enjoy leisure time on rubber rafts at a riverside scenic zone in Lianyuan, Hunan province. #ChinaTravel pic.twitter.com/NqPO6ykHKn

— China News 中国新闻网 (@Echinanews) July 25, 2017

While the entire world is at fault for allowing the pube-headed, Twinkie-looking Despicable Me characters’ popularity to get this far out of hand, China in particular shoulders a decent amount of responsibility for injecting so much cash into the coffers of those who continue to make movies and merchandise centered on them. As »

- Reid McCarter

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Newswire: IMAX realizes that America doesn’t want a bunch of lame 3-D films after all

1 hour ago

The fad of post-converting every studio tentpole into 3-D that’s been around for the past seven years or so has officially gone on for six and a half years too long at this point. And while there are certainly films that are worth seeing in the format, those are the exception, not the rule, something it looks like IMAX is finally figuring out. The Wrap reports that the company has at long last realized that maybe we don’t want to strap on a pair of uncomfortable and cheap plastic glasses every time we go to the movies just so we can see a couple of buildings take on the slight impression of depth, or make Cara Delevingne seem lifelike. In other words, IMAX is officially going to start pulling back on 3-D releases, so we can all stop having to make sure we’re buying tickets for the »

- Alex McLevy

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Great Job, Internet!: The secret to Dunkirk’s intensity is in its score

1 hour ago

While one would expect a movie about thousands of soldiers trapped between the sea and an enemy army to be tense, Christopher Nolan manages to make that tension eerily palpable in his newest feature Dunkirk. As a new video from Vox explains, this is partially accomplished by the film’s score, which prominently features an auditory illusion called a “Shepard tone” that gives the impression of an infinitely ascending tone.

The Shepard tone illusion is achieved by layering several ascending tones separated by an octave, then decreasing the volume of the highest pitch while you raise the volume of the lowest. The result is an ascending scale that keeps climbing but never seems to reach its highest point. It. Is. Maddening.

For Dunkirk, Nolan once again worked with award winning composer Hans Zimmer, who brought a similarly intense sound to the empty space of Interstellar and the dense dreamworld of »

- Dan Neilan

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Great Job, Internet!: There’s still plenty to learn from 12 Angry Men

1 hour ago

In addition to being a master class in how to be a sweaty character actor, Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men is also a prime example of how to shoot a film dynamically when you have limited resources at your disposal. The entirety of the 90-minute feature takes place in the confines of a stuffy jury room and its adjacent bathroom, and while this setting is meant to feel claustrophobic for the characters, the audience never feels like its view is limited. A new video from The Royal Ocean Film Society takes a look at how Lumet used expert framing and staging to get the most out of not only his actors but also his setting.

While other dramas, especially recent ones, rely heavily on capturing their actors in a two-shot or alternating between over-the-shoulder angles during dialogue, Lumet gives his actors a freedom of movement that allows for sustained »

- Dan Neilan

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Coming Distractions: The Sharknado 5 trailer has almost no sharks for some reason

3 hours ago

For centuries, man has suffered the indignity of sharknados, or storms full of sharks, occurring all around the planet. At least, that’s the dumb Transformers-level mythos being peddled by the trailer for Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, coming soon to a channel enough of you are apparently leaving on during these things to encourage Syfy to keep making them. What began as an ironically entertaining exercise in straight-faced silliness has devolved into a pandering slog of product placement, pointless cameos, and a sugar rush of ideas so poorly thought out, Herschell Gordon Lewis would go, “Hey, fellas, this needs a rewrite.” The last one sucked so bad, it couldn’t even be bothered to explain why we should suddenly give a shit about the extended family of Ian Ziering’s Finley Shepard. When a cameo by Carrot Top as an Uber driver is one of the better parts of »

- Alex McLevy

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Sponsored Trailer: Brigsby Bear

13 hours ago

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A History Of Violence: Casino Royale thrillingly rebooted James Bond for the grim-and-gritty era

13 hours ago

With A History Of Violence, Tom Breihan picks the most important action movie of every year, starting with the genre’s birth and moving right up to whatever Vin Diesel’s doing this very minute.

Casino Royale (2006)

When I started this column, I decided that the modern action movie began with Bullitt in 1968. But a strong case—maybe a stronger case—could also be made that the genre starts with 1962’s Dr. No, the first James Bond movie. The Bond movies essentially turned the action movie into a formula before it was even really a genre: An aspirational larger-than-life hero, a comic-book villain, a few showstopping set pieces, a couple of chuckles. The thrills of the Bond movies were the Saturday-morning serial types: How will our hero get out of this jam? I tend to prefer the Bullitt take on the genre: The stoic intensity, the white-knuckle »

- Tom Breihan

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Coming Distractions: Woody Harrelson is America’s grouchy, toilet-sitting president in the first trailer for Lbj

16 hours ago

Woody Harrelson gives good cranky, something he’s proven in any number of film performances. Harrelson will have to put all of his grumpy muscles to the test, though, in Rob Reiner’s upcoming Lyndon B. Johnson biopic, Lbj. In a new trailer released today, Harrelson captures a number of Lbj’s grouchy mannerisms—most notably, his famous tendency to conduct business while seated on the toilet.

The acting and the visuals in the trailer both look top-notch, but it’ll be interesting to see how audiences reacts to Reiner’s tone, which looks to elevate Johnson to something close to sainthood, the living instrument of John F. Kennedy’s dreams and will. In any case, we’ll get some good performances out of it, with Richard Jenkins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Jeffrey Donovan all on-hand to embody some of the biggest names in mid-20th-century politics. »

- William Hughes

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Newswire: Robert Pattinson was originally too gloomy for Twilight

18 hours ago

To the casual observer, Edward Cullen from Twilight seems like a pretty morose dude. He’s got pale skin, he wears dark clothes, and he drinks blood, all of which would make most people a little gloomy. Robert Pattinson, who played Edward in the Twilight movies, felt the same way—at least until the movie’s producers told him to cheer up or get fired. Pattinson explained all of this in a recent appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius Xm show, saying that his vision for Edward was for the character to be “really intense” and dark.

“If you’re going into a relationship with someone,” Pattinson said, “the way to make it really intense is if you can barely talk to each other, you can barely touch each other.” He figured that teenage relationships are all like that, but since Edward Cullen is a vampire and thinks of himself »

- Sam Barsanti

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

23 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

23 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

23 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

23 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

23 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

27 July 2017 11:49 AM, PDT

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

27 July 2017 11:15 AM, PDT

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

27 July 2017 10:15 AM, PDT

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

27 July 2017 9:25 AM, PDT

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

27 July 2017 9:19 AM, PDT

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

27 July 2017 8:40 AM, PDT

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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