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What Are You Watching?: 81 years ago, the first movie camera over Everest won an Oscar

8 hours ago

What Are You Watching? is a weekly space for The A.V Club’s film critics and readers to share their thoughts, observations, and opinions on movies new and old.

I watched Wings Over Everest, a half-hour “documentary” that won an Oscar in the defunct Best Short Subject (Novelty) category back in 1936, because I’ve long been fascinated by the life of one of its directors, Geoffrey Barkas. He was a specialist in adventure footage, best remembered for directing the African unit on the 1937 adaptation of King Solomon’s Mines, but when World War II broke out, he became the head of the British military’s famous Middle East camouflage division. The unit was composed of avant-garde painters, set designers, zoologists, and even professional stage magicians, and during the often overlooked North African campaign, they invented ingenious ways to disguise hundreds of tanks as trucks, built dummy supply ...

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- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: Boss Baby 2 is in the works

13 hours ago

Good news for dedicated fans of the Boss Baby Cinematic Universe: Deadline has confirmed that the franchise’s second film is now in the works, with star Alec Baldwin set to return as the hard-dealing suit baby audiences have come to know and love.

Of course, the existence of Boss Baby 2 raises all sorts of questions about the conclusion to Boss Baby 1 (or Boss Baby: Origins, as we’ll now retroactively begin to refer to it). After all, didn’t Boss Baby give up the magical serum that gave him his magical, boss-like powers? Wasn’t the Forever Puppies plot destroyed? Didn’t the film end by jumping forward to the future, showing a generation of new, non-Baldwin Boss Babies taking the corporate high-chair throne? (Rest assured, the answer to all these questions is “Yes, yes, and yes.”)

Still, it’s not like you get to write a ...

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- William Hughes

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

14 hours ago

Amazon Prime got some certified Oscar prestige last month, with subscribers able to stream both Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight, but June is going for some lower-profile films that are no less prestigious. On June 1, Prime subscribers will be able to watch The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning film that might be more famous for the fact that Farhadi—who is from Iran—and star Taraneh Alidoosti boycotted the Academy Awards ceremony over Donald Trump’s then-nascent Muslim ban. On June 22, Prime subscribers get Paterson, Jim Jarmusch’s well-received movie about Adam Driver as a bus-driving poet named Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey.

If those aren’t your thing, you can stream Urge, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Mr. Mom, the original Mechanic, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, and Bowling For Columbine.

The full list of what’s coming is below, along with a highlight ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Sausage Party director to get his greasy hands all over The Jetsons

15 hours ago

It’s been a while since we checked in on Warner Bros.’ new animated Jetsons movie—two years of whiles, in fact—but The Hollywood Reporter has some fresh news about George Jetson, his boy Elroy, etc. THR reports that Conrad Vernon—the Dreamworks veteran who directed Shrek 2 and Monsters Vs. Aliens, before moving into more adult fare as half the directing team on Seth Rogen’s recent hit Sausage Party—has been tapped to helm the Hanna-Barbera adaptation.

Presumably, Vernon’s kid-friendly new project will shy away from the sexually explicit hot dog buns and murderous douches that marked his last film—although hey, it’s the far-future, so who really knows? For its part, Warner Bros. has been trying to get a Jetsons project off the ground for decades now, following in the footsteps of failed live-action versions from Paramount and Universal in the 1990s.

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- William Hughes

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Newswire: John Wick: Chapter 3 will dig deeper into the series’ mythology

15 hours ago

The two John Wick movies have thus far only offered tantalizing teases of its universe’s crazy assassin mythology, with secret murder hotels, homeless kings, and tactical tailoring. But Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski says the next film will finally dig into the “intricacies of the world.” That comes from an interview with Collider, in which Stahelski explains that the plan for Chapter 3 is “not so much to go bigger,” but to focus on “different subtleties” that were left out of Chapter 2. He doesn’t want to “blow up a freeway”—which seems like a specific nod to one of John Wick star Keanu Reeves’ Matrix movies—but rather make “cooler and more intricate” set pieces.

Future movies will also delve into John Wick’s backstory a bit more, but it’ll be hinted at through action instead of being specifically laid out. Stahelski’s hope is that ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Great Job, Internet!: Sigh along with this list of 10 more movie remakes in the works

17 hours ago

We can complain about remakes until the hills have eyes but that’s not going to stop them from happening. Just in the last week, we’ve written about Hollywood remakes of Charlie’s Angels, Pinocchio, Resident Evil, Scarface, and The Mummy (and that’s not to mention to endless deluge of sequels and spin-offs). But hey, they don’t have to be bad. And this WhatCulture video outlining 10 in-development remakes even features a few that have potential of surpassing their source material. And even more that, well, don’t.

Who needs an Escape From New York remake? Why remake a movie that’s persevered not due to its core concept or message but because of the charisma and inimitable quality of its cast and crew? That’s a fool’s errand. There are also remakes in development of Little Shop Of Horrors and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, two movies ...

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- Randall Colburn

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Newswire: Silver Sable And Black Cat nabs Beyond The Lights’ Gina Prince-Bythewood

17 hours ago

According to Variety, Sony’s Silver Sable And Black Cat comic-book adaptation has found a director, with Beyond The LightsGina Prince-Bythewood stepping up to helm the movie and rewrite the script. The current draft was written by Thor: Ragnarok’s Chris Yost, and a previous one came from Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy, so it’s definitely gone through some iterations. The Variety story doesn’t offer any real details on what Silver Sable And Black Cat will be about, but the two eponymous characters are relatively prominent members of Spider-Man’s supporting cast in the comics.

Silver Sable is a mercenary from a fictional European country whose real name is Silver Sablinova (because comic books are often very silly), and Black Cat is a world-class thief named Blackagar Catagon (she’s actually named Felicia Hardy, but that’s not as funny). Also, while both characters have very close relationships »

- Sam Barsanti

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Movie Review: Hermia & Helena is a charming ode to sorting yourself out abroad

17 hours ago

There are filmmakers who draw the same motifs and plot points through every movie, like an artist who works with one brush and one set of watercolors, so that with every new picture, the colors become more intermixed. The prolific South Korean writer-director Hong Sang-soo (Right Now, Wrong Then, The Day He Arrives) is the most notorious example of this today, as half or more of his movies are about the romantic travails of backpack-wearing alter egos (often arthouse filmmakers) who are only in town briefly and could really use a drink and some company. A less extreme case is Matías Piñeiro, the Argentine writer-director of The Princess Of France, Viola, and Rosalinda, small films that revolve around Shakespeare plays being adapted or rehearsed by troupes of young artists. Although it’s largely set in New York City instead of Piñeiro’s usual Buenos Aires and leans less on the »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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Newswire: Internet reacts with predictable restraint to female-only Wonder Woman screening

17 hours ago

The first film of the modern superhero era to feature both a female protagonist and a female director, Wonder Woman is a major milestone for the DC cinematic universe. And the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas is celebrating by creating its own mini-Themyscira and hosting a one-night-only “female only” screening of the movie. Birth.Movies.Death, the Alamo’s in-house movie site, has the event description:

The most iconic superheroine in comic book history finally has her own movie, and what better way to celebrate than with an all-female screening?

Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying “No Guys Allowed” for one special night at the Alamo Ritz. And when we say “Women (and People Who Identify As Women) Only,” we mean it. Everyone working at this screening—venue staff, projectionist, and culinary team—will be female.

So lasso your geeky girlfriends together and grab your »

- Katie Rife

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Great Job, Internet!: Arrival’s mysteries are still worth exploring

18 hours ago

Arrival remains a rare case of a critically acclaimed, successful sci-fi movie that shirked action or horror in favor of the genre’s headier pleasures. It’s a dreamy, philosophical, sometimes melancholy film, known as much for the mood created by its elliptical editing as the twist ending that editing hid. An excellent new installment of Lessons From The Screenplay compares not just Arrival’s filmed version with its written version but also its source material, Ted Chiang’s novella Story Of Your Life. The result manages to parse how director Denis Villeneuve and his team maintained such a delicately intellectual film’s tone while still functioning as a crowd-pleasing popcorn sci-fi flick. (Spoilers ensue.)

The video details how screenplay writer Eric Heisserer tweaked three key elements when writing the movie: the perspective, which in the film follows along as Amy Adams’ character grasps the heptapods’ language and in the »

- Clayton Purdom

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Movie Review: Adios revisits Buena Vista Social Club with few insights

18 hours ago

It’s been 20 years since the Buena Vista Social Club album made Cuban music a crossover sensation in the U.S. (for the first time since the ’50s), and 18 years since Wim Wenders’ documentary of the same title played in theaters. What’s become of the gifted musicians who found renewed or belated fame and fortune as a result of those projects? Buena Vista Social Club: Adios seeks to fill in the gap, but this sequel’s subtitle is all too literal. Many of the group’s most prominent figures were already quite elderly two decades ago. Sadly, the answer to the question “Where are they now?” tends to be “dead.” Nor did they pass away recently, after taking part in the new movie. Tres player Compay Segundo and pianist Rubén González, for example, both died back in 2003. Vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer died in 2005. Adios serves as »

- Mike D'Angelo

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Newswire: Rosario Dawson in talks for New Mutants, every other superhero project

18 hours ago

Rosario Dawson has been quietly taking over the superhero genre for the last few years, playing a key role in all of Marvel’s Netflix shows (except the upcoming Punisher series), popping up as Batgirl in The Lego Batman Movie, and even playing Wonder Woman in DC’s animated movies. She was also in Sin City, which was based on a comic book even if it wasn’t about superheroes.

So, with DC and Marvel pretty well covered, Dawson has now set her sights on the X-Men universe, and according to Variety, she’s currently in talks to join director Josh Boone’s “full-fledged horror movie” New Mutants. Dawson would play Dr. Cecilia Reyes, a mentor for the young mutants who has the ability to “generate an invisible bio-field around herself.” Assuming she does get the job, she’ll be appearing alongside Maisie Williams as werewolf girl Wolfsbane and Anya »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Tonight, The A.V. Club show talks teen spirit and the cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson

18 hours ago

From ages 9-17 I went to a school that required a uniform, so I, without protest, donned an ill-fitting button-down every day. I was quiet in the hallways, raised my hand before asking questions, and dutifully adhered to all traffic signs. From the outside I had all the markings of your run of the mill Shy Teen Girl.

But as soon I got home from school I’d sprint to my bedroom and turn on Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Or Arctic Monkeys. Or Taylor Swift. And still dressed in that same button-down I’d sing (shout) the lyrics, jumping around that blue room with all my idols, joyfully exhausting myself. I’d stop, catch my breath for a moment, then reload the music video and start the ritual all over again. My favorite line to belt was from Yyy’s “Cheated Hearts.” I’d turn the volume all the way up »

- Keerthi Harishankar

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Great Job, Internet!: Fact check: Satan did not write Alien: Covenant

18 hours ago

It’s rare to see the kind of far-ranging critical disagreement that Alien: Covenant has engendered. Some are praising it as a great return to form for both the franchise and Ridley Scott, while others see it as a parade of rote slasher tropes awkwardly welded onto an old-school mad scientist yarn. Even here in The A.V. Club offices, opinions are split, among nearly everyone who’s seen the latest installment of the now nearly 40-year-old film franchise. Leaving aside the lingering questions raised by the ending, though, there is one thing we should all be able to agree on: The script was not crafted by Satan. (He was too busy spearheading London Has Fallen, presumably.)

Which is why we regretfully inform Jesse Russell, devout Christian and writer, that the recent article, “‘Alien’ movie seemed like a lot of fun…until I found Satan was behind the script,” contains »

- Alex McLevy

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Newswire: Please don’t hug Adam Driver when he’s in character as Kylo Ren

19 hours ago

The Dark side is so strong within Adam Driver when he’s playing Kylo Ren that he’s immune to such joys as getting hugged by John Boyega. Vanity Fair has a piece on just how incredibly intense Driver is when he’s in character—so intense, in fact, that he’ll simply ignore Boyega’s attempts to get him to chill out. “I give Adam hugs randomly, just for no reason,” Boyega told Vf. But, alas, he explained that Driver “just stands there,” adding: “He just waits for me to be done.”

Driver also turned down a lunch invitation from Mark Hamill, even when Hamill made a pretty good point about their characters’ relationship. “He’s very moody and intense,” Hamill said in an interview. “I remember saying to Adam, ‘I don’t know how you work, or your technique. But, at some point, you were my nephew. I »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Movie studios are still doing a crappy job at Lgbtq representation

21 hours ago

A new report released today by GLAAD indicates that in 2016, major movie studios still did a crappy job at Lgbtq representation, with just 18.4 percent of the 125 releases featuring characters that were identified as such. While that’s slightly up from 2015, it’s still unimpressive, especially given that of the 23 films that had Lgbtq characters, 43 percent gave said characters less than one minute of screen time. GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis put it simply in an interview with Variety: “It is not getting better.”

No studio received a grade of “Excellent” or “Good” from the organization. Universal—which fared best—received only an ”Insufficient,” with GLAAD citing Neighbors 2’s “unexpectedly well-handled subplot about former fraternity brother Pete [Dave Franco] getting engaged“ while also highlighting the “dated narratives” of Bridget Jones’s Baby and an “offensive and incredibly overdone” trope in Hail, Caesar ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Great Job, Internet!: Star Wars’ head-bonking Stormtrooper had the shits, it turns out

21 hours ago

For all its still-impressive special effects, there’s a scrappy immediacy to the original Star Wars that remains a part of its enduring appeal. While that was washed away with the CGI sparkle of the prequel trilogy, the currently unfolding trilogy retains a bit of that grit, with practical effects galore and sets that don’t look like anesthetized doctor’s offices. But it’s hard to imagine even those movies keeping in something like the infamous shot of the Stormtrooper parading through an open doorway on the Death Star only to bonk his head, cartoon-like, on the frame. Viewing after viewing, it only grows more apparent over time, and gets funnier as it goes.

The Hollywood Reporter has an interview today with the actor Laurie Goode, who claims to have been that infamous Stormtrooper. He was 31 at the time of filming, and his explanation for the blunder is ...

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- Clayton Purdom

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Newswire: The New Mutants will be a straight-up horror movie

21 hours ago

Being an adolescent really is a nightmare a lot of the time. The best pop culture about young people has openly played with how quickly everyday life can turn into a horror show (looking at you, Buffy The Vampire Slayer), and the ways the ups and downs of teenage life can sometimes feel like the end of the world. So it’s fitting The New Mutants, the upcoming X-men spinoff film from 20th Century Fox, is going to lean into that sensibility. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Josh Boone states, “We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe. There are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.”

Boone, who most recently helmed the massive teen-weepie hit The Fault In Our Stars, also revealed himself as a longtime nerd, discussing his childhood love of Stephen King »

- Alex McLevy

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Newswire: Adam Carolla needs your money to really stick it to those damn “safe spaces”

24 May 2017 10:13 PM, PDT

Adam Carolla has joined the ranks of the numerous comedians—mostly male, mostly white—defending America’s college campuses from the hated “snowflakes” that flurry all over them these days, ruining higher education with their constant demands for their personhood to be acknowledged or treated with respect. In order to combat this empathetic scourge, Carolla has announced a new film project, a documentary titled No Safe Spaces, that he’s creating with radio host Dennis Prager. And because there’s no more noble use of the beloved right to free speech than begging other people for money, he needs your help to make it.

Carolla has just launched a $500,000 Indiegogo campaign for the film, which will follow him and Prager as they travel America’s college campuses (including a stop at Uc Berkeley with Ann Coulter), spreading the gospel of “Suck it up, you pussy.” Carolla announced the ...

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- William Hughes

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Movie Review: A backpacker becomes a captive in the murky Berlin Syndrome

24 May 2017 10:00 PM, PDT

Women traveling alone are supposed to follow certain rules. Never go anywhere without someone knowing where you are and when you’ll be back. Don’t accept drinks from strange men. Don’t get into a stranger’s car. And no matter what you do, never go home with someone you just met, especially in a new city where you don’t know where you’re going. These rules aren’t always strictly obeyed, of course, particularly when a seemingly gentle man with piercing blue eyes and a charmingly incomplete understanding of the English language is involved. But the little voice in the back of your head is always there, reminding you that every time you sneak back into your hostel still wearing last night’s clothes, you’re lucky to be alive.

Australian director Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome, the follow-up to her 2012 World War II drama Lore ...

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- Katie Rife

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