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Shang-Chi Movie: Marvel Trying To Cast Chinese Lead Very Soon

For Shang-Chi, Marvel Studios is reportedly looking to cast its lead role soon, with only Chinese actors in contention – possibly for a reveal at San Diego Comic-Con. With all three of 2019’s Marvel Cinematic Universe installments officially released (the last being Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home), fans are looking ahead at the wide open landscape of Phase 4. Bob Iger, CEO of Marvel’s parent company Walt Disney Studios, promised fans that the upcoming MCU Phase 4 slate would be revealed this summer, and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has assured reporters on multiple occasions that announcements would be made following the release of Far From Home.

Although no official announcements have been made, the Black Widow movie is filming, The Eternals is casting, and Shang-Chi has a director in Destin Daniel Cretton, if not a star – just yet. So fans know a little about what to expect from Phase 4. For its part, Shang-Chi will mark Marvel Studios’ first feature with an Asian-American lead, and it appears the studio and the film’s creatives are dedicated to making sure they do the superhero justice. Now, according to the latest reports, it seems Marvel Studios is moving quickly to cast the lead role of Shang-Chi, and they’re being particular in their search for the next MCU hero.

Related: Every Marvel Movie Coming After Spider-Man: Far From Home

Variety’s Justin Kroll reported on Twitter that Marvel is putting out test offers to a group of actors for the role of Shang-Chi. Per Kroll, Marvel is “adamant” the men are of Chinese descent specifically, not another Asian ancestry, to portray the Chinese superhero. As of yet, it’s unclear if Marvel Studios and an actor will reach a deal in time for San Diego Comic-Con, but the studio has roughly one week to do so. Marvel Studios is set to hold a SDCC panel on Saturday, July 20 in Hall H.

Given Shang-Chi will be the first major Chinese superhero in the MCU, the role is highly coveted. A number of actors in Hollywood have publicly put their names forward, including Grey’s Anatomy’s Alex Landi and Inhumans‘ Mike Moh – though it’s unclear if they also reached out to Marvel Studios. Meanwhile, a recently rumored short-list for Shang-Chi included Ludi Lin (Power Rangers). Though it’s unclear how much truth was in that report, Lin was born in China so he may be in contention after all.

However, it’s not yet known who exactly Marvel Studios sent test offers to. At least fans can take heart in Marvel Studios being dedicated to having a Chinese actor play the Chinese Shang-Chi character. Fans will have to wait and see who eventually gets cast as Shang-Chi, but they may not need to wait too long. With Marvel Studios holding a Hall H panel at SDCC next weekend, there are sure to be plenty of Phase 4 announcements – including, perhaps, who will play the lead role in Shang-Chi.

Next: How Marvel’s Shang-Chi Movie Can Avoid Iron Fist’s Mistakes

Source: Justin Kroll/Twitter



2019-07-13 07:07:17

Molly Freeman

Black Ops 4 Beginners Guide: How to Play (& Win) in Zombies Mode

The release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 brings with it a variety of different gameplay options for players. Although plenty of eyes seem to be on the title’s battle royale mode, Blackout, the traditional multiplayer modes like Team Deathmatch are still available. Also returning is the franchise’s Zombies game mode, this time with more options than ever before.

Indeed, Zombies is something of a different beast this time around. The mode comes complete with three maps, with two of them on the expansive side to boot. As such, new players might find it a little bit daunting, particularly given the intricacies of the game mode in comparison to some of the more simplistic elements of Call of Duty.

Related: Black Ops 4 Blackout Guide: Pro Tips For Battle Royale Beginners

Thankfully, new players can get a head start thanks to this guide. Read on to learn how to play Zombies mode, as well as some good strategies to help get that first win in what can be a tense and difficult part of Call of Duty.

What’s New In Zombies Mode?

This time around, Zombies is huge, with three different scenarios to choose from. Two of these revolve around Scarlett Rhodes and her band of misfits, with Voyage of Despair taking place aboard an RMS Titanic that had to handle a zombie threat alongside hitting an iceberg, while IX takes the team back in time to face gladiatorial combat in a Roman coliseum. Alongside this, there’s also the option to play Blood of the Dead, with the return of Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai.

Within that, the core gameplay loop remains the same. Survive waves of the zombie horde, unlocking areas of the map as and when the points are available, as the fight gets progressively tougher and tougher. This time around, though, it’s fair to say that the levels feel a little more maze-like and expansive, so make sure to be aware of the surroundings at all times to stop from getting stuck in a bottleneck.

Prioritize Your Points

As always, using points effectively is extremely important in Zombies. First and foremost, opening up areas of the map is a given, but more pressing is how the player uses their points towards perks and weapons. Although in early waves things like shotguns and pistols are all well and good, it’s important to aim to get weapons that have a faster fire rate and (most importantly) a faster reload rate as the game progresses. As such, look to weapons like the Spitfire or GKS to be most effective.

It’s also very important to improve the power of weapons as the game goes on. The most obvious way to do this is to keep returning to the Pack-a-Punch Machines once available, which give a 25% boost with each use. This does come at a considerable cost of 2,500 points per use, but it’s an undeniable way to get that firepower up.

Keep Moving

Staying static for too long in Zombies this time around is a recipe for disaster, as there is always the very real threat of being overrun by the horde. Whereas previous games could work with players cementing a position with a strong defensive line, at least for early portions of the game it’s recommended to keep moving. Not only does it avoid the issue of getting stuck in one place, but it also will keep players refreshed when it comes to where the different unlock options are in the map.

Keeping space from zombies is important for reasons other than this, too. Should one member of the team fall, they’ll have to be revived, and with a slightly longer revive time in Black Ops 4 it’s more vital than ever to have enough room to revive a teammate without having chunks taken out by an unseen zombie. This is particularly true when it comes to those special zombies that attack, so always keep an eye out.

Use Your Perks

In Black Ops 4‘s Zombies mode, players are able to use class customization for the first time. This isn’t just there for show, either, as a good grasp of what perks are available and how to use them can make the difference between success and failure. What’s more, the perks that can be chosen can actually work well for a variety of different play styles.

Those who want both power and speed could choose the likes of Deadshot Dealer, which automatically targets the zombie’s head when aiming down the sights, as well as Stamin-Up for a permanent boost to movement speed. Meanwhile, the frost explosion created by Winter’s Wail and the increased ammunition of Bandolier Bandit work well for those whose last stand may come from a more secure position. In essence, it comes down to how an individual best plays the game, and it’s good to have a variety of perks in the team to make the most of these options.

Work Together

As always, teamwork is the key to having an easier run of things in Zombies. Although it’s possible to play the game solo, this is always a challenge, and to help with this there are now bots to play with. Even so, it’s best to play with other human players, and as such taking on the game as a team of four is recommended.

It’s not just a matter of getting other human beings involved in the zombie slaughter, however. Working together cooperatively is key; don’t stray too far from one another, watch out for any fallen that need reviving, and potentially coordinate the perks used to make sure that everyone has bases covered for any eventuality. That way, the team should be set for what the game throws at them.

With these tips in mind, players should now have a solid framework to build on to get through the game’s Zombies mode. Whether taking a trip back in time to arena combat or trying to fight off zombified versions of Jack and Rose, Zombies is always a challenge for players, but with this guidance in mind players should be able to have a fighting chance of beating the supernatural threat.

More: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Trophy List Completely Revealed



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2018-10-14 02:10:08 – Rob Gordon

Harry Potter: 20 Crazy Details Only True Potterheads Knew About Wormtail

For a lot of reasons, Peter Pettigrew, AKA “Wormtail”, may be one of the creepiest characters in all of the Harry Potter series. First and foremost, is the rather strange decision on the part of author J.K. Rowlings, to make Pettigrew’s animagus form hang around so closely with a preteen Ronald Weasley. With that particularly large elephant out of the room, we can get into some of the more unnerving, crazy, and interesting facts about this Voldemort supporter.

Everyone knows Wormtail to be the man who betrayed Lily and James Potter’s location to Voldemort, who sought to destroy them and their newborn son after finding out that Harry may one day defeat him. Although Voldemort’s attempt on Harry’s life backfired (quite literally), this moment it did cement Wormtail as one of Tom Riddle’s most famous supporters. In addition to this, Wormtail also got away with it all by blaming Sirius Black for that horrible night.

In many ways, Wormtail was the most unlikely member of Voldemort’s inner circle. He didn’t have the dedication to Voldemort’s evil agenda that Lucius Malfoy did. Nor did he have the obsessive nature of the deranged Bellatrix Lestrange. At the end of the day, Wormtail was a coward, and that why he let betrayed his friends to become part of one of the darkest cults of all time. Despite all he has done, Wormtail was still a far more engaging character than most fans may recall.

Without further ado, here are 20 Crazy Facts About Wormtail.

20 He Was Almost Not Sorted Into Gryffindor

When Peter Pettigrew arrived at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he lined up with the rest of the First Years to await The Sorting Hat’s decision on which House he would join. While in line, he met both Sirius Black, who uttered his contempt for Slytherin House, and James Potter. Immediately, Pettigrew took a liking to these boys and longed to be Sorted with them.

When he finally was placed under The Sorting Hat, Pettigrew waited a whole five minutes to be placed in Gryffindor.

This is what was called a “Hatstall.” The Sorting Hat clearly saw that this character was suitable for more than one house. Although Slytherin would be the obvious alternative choice, Hufflepuff was one as well.

19 He Was A Member Of The Order Of The Phoenix

Due to Peter Pettigrew’s friendship with James, Remus, and Sirius, he joined The Order of the Phoenix after his time at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Order of the Phoenix was a secret society founded by Albus Dumbledore to combat Voldemort and his sycophantic followers during the First Wizarding War. This was the time when Voldemort returned from traveling abroad and sought to overthrow the Ministry of Magic and persecute Muggles and Muggle-born magical folk. Although Pettigrew wasn’t a fan of Voldemort’s ideology, he was part of the Order purely because his friends were. It was a community for him. He did not have the same passion for the cause as the other members did.

18 He Wasn’t A True Believer In Voldemort

Much like Peter Pettigrew wasn’t a true believer in the Order of the Phoenix, he wasn’t one of Voldemort’s dedicated followers either. He did not share the same lust for dominance over the Wizarding World, nor the same level of intolerance.

When Pettigrew became a spy for Voldemort, it was purely out of fear.

Wormtail, at the end of the day, is an opportunist. He is someone who will do just about anything to survive, and that included betraying his best friends in order to remain on the powerful dark wizard’s good side. In many instances, especially in the books, Wormtail even couldn’t bear Voldemort’s violence and occasionally attempted to suggest alternative measures to achieve his dark desire.

17 McGonagall Didn’t Like Him, even as a kid

If there’s one thing that Minerva McGonagall has never done, it’s mince words. First and foremost, this Transfiguration professor and Gryffindor Head of House is brutally honest. In the books, she was honest about how she felt about Peter Pettigrew during his time at Hogwarts.

Of course, McGonagall taught him Transfiguration as well as watched over him as the H.O.H. She claimed that Pettigrew “hero-worshipped” both James Potter and Sirius Black. In fact, she even described him as a “lump of a boy” who constantly followed Sirius around like his lap-dog. She even claimed that Peter was “stupid” as well as “foolish.” However, Minerva clearly grew to have some respect for him once he joined the Order. She even spoke sadly about him before she learned that he was the one responsible for the betrayal and not Sirius.

16 He Lived As A Rat For 12 Years

As most fans know, Peter Pettigrew was one of the Mauraders, the small group of friends that consisted of James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin. Peter even decided to become an animagus in order to make Remus feel more comfortable with the fact that he was tragically turned into a werewolf. The fact that Pettigrew could turn into a rat at will was something that came in handy after he was forced to fake his own demise in order to properly frame Sirius Black.

Due to his fear of being caught, Pettigrew lived as a rat for a solid 12 years.

He was eventually discovered by Sirius and Remus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

15 He Chose The Weasleys As Owners To Avoid The Death Eaters

After Pettigrew faked his demise, he chose to live as a rat in order to both keep up his lie as well as to avoid the Death Eaters. At this stage, many of Voldemort’s followers were unknown to the authorities and lived amongst the common-folk. Due to the fact that Voldemort’s apparent demise happened due to Pettigrew’s information, the Death Eaters believed that Pettigrew was a traitor and therefore sought to destroy him.

Wormtail knew that he stood a better chance at staying alive if he picked a “good” family to stay with. Eventually, he came to be Percy Weasley’s possession and was handed down to Ron. Presumably, Wormtail (as “Scabbers”) stayed with the Weasleys because he knew that the family would treat him right as well as shield him from Voldemort’s secret followers.

14 He Almost Ruined Ron And Hermione’s Relationship

Although Wormtail didn’t mean to, he almost completely ruined Hermione and Ron’s friendship in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Throughout the book and the film (to a lesser extent), Ron was constantly trying to save Scabbers (AKA Wormtail) from Hermione’s carnivorous new cat, Crookshanks. When Wormtail heard that Sirius Black had escaped from Azkaban and was poking around the Hogwarts grounds, he decided to flee, faking his demise a second time.

In the book, he bit himself in order to leave blood that suggested that Crookshanks had finally taken him out.

It completely convinced Ron, and the pair’s relationship nearly ended until the truth was revealed. This is just another instance of Peter Pettigrew doing anything necessary to remain alive.

13 Rats helped him find Voldemort

A lot of fans of Harry Potter who haven’t paid close enough detail to the books wonder how Wormtail and Voldemort were reunited before the events of The Goblet of Fire. Well, the truth is Wormtail learned from fellow rats that a dark force was living in a forest in Albania. This force ended up being Voldemort himself, who was living off the animals in the forest. However, Voldemort was just clinging to life in his shriveled-up form.

Wormtail lured a prominent ministry witch, who was on vacation in Albania, into the forest and then proceeded to force information out of her that helped persuade Voldemort to take him back into his good graces.

12 He Fed Voldemort Nagini’s Milk to Save Him

Aside from finding Lord Voldemort in a forest in Albania and giving him some vital information about the upcoming Triwizard Tournament from the ministry official he lured into the forest, Wormtail also stayed in Voldemort’s good graces due to the fact that he kept him alive. At this point, Voldemort was simply a shriveled up humanoid creature who barely had any power at all.

With Wormtail’s help, he managed to stay strong enough to last until the end of The Goblet of Fire when he was “reborn.”

Wormtail was able to do this because he milked the venom out of Nagini, Voldemort’s giant snake who will appear in human form in Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald. This venom provided Voldemort with the rudimentary body we see in Goblet of Fire.

11 He Helped Capture Mad-Eye

When Wormtail traveled to Albania to seek Voldemort, he ran into a ministry official who he forced into telling him legitimate information about the goings on at Hogwarts. This included the upcoming Triwizard Tournament that they would get Harry Potter to take part in, as well as the fact that Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody would be the next Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.

Another piece of information this ministry official gave was that there was a Voldemort supporter hiding out in England. This ended up being Barty Crouch Jr., who, with the help of Wormtail, tracked down Mad-Eye Moody and captured him. Crouch then famously continued to take locks of Mad-Eye’s hair in order to brew a Polyjuice Potion that turned him into Mad-Eye.

10 Snape Got His Revenge On Pettigrew

As we found out through various flashbacks during Harry’s time learning legilimency from Severus Snape, Severus was teased and pushed around by Harry’s father, Lupin, Sirius, and Peter Pettigrew as a child. Pettigrew probably wouldn’t have been the one to instigate this, but he was happy to play along with what the “cool kids” were doing. That, after all, was sort of his M.O. However, in their later years, Snape got his revenge on Wormtail after Voldemort ordered Wormtail to live with Snape at Spinner’s End in order to help him with various things.

Wormtail ended up being Snape’s punching bag and personal servant.

In fact, Snape treated him quite poorly, which, without a doubt had more to do with Wormtail betraying Lily Potter than anything else.

9 Voldemort Loathed Him

Lord Voldemort may not have had the ability to love anything except for himself, and even that is arguable, but he certainly had some appreciation and respect for certain members of his cult. At one time, he had immense respect for Lucius Malfoy, but that went away after Lucius continued to fail him. Bellatrix and Snape seem to be in his good graces constantly as they appeared to be his most ardent supporters. Snape, specifically, was the one he thought was infiltrating Dumbledore and the Order.

Wormtail is a different story entirely. Voldemort never liked Wormtail at all. He put up with him because Wormtail helped to keep him alive. But even before Voldemort’s first downfall, the villain knew that Wormtail was only around out of fear, not out of duty or respect.

8 He Wasn’t Skilled At Magic

Throughout the course of the Harry Potter series, two very different powerful magical folk made comments on Wormtail’s lack of power. The first was Wormtail’s old Transfiguration teacher, Minerva McGonagall, who claimed that he was far less talented than his friends when it came to magic. Then there’s Voldemort, who always regarded his servant as particularly weak. The truth is, they were mostly right about him.

He was a hopeless dueler, only besting opponents when catching them off-guard.

However, there are a couple of instances where he’s shown more potential than even he believed. One of these moments was when he caused an explosion that ended the lives of twelve Muggles and allowed him to get away from Sirius Black.

7 He Was Surprisingly Intelligent And An Opportunist

You can say a lot about Peter Pettigrew, including his cowardly demeanor, but one thing you can’t say is that he was dumb. On the contrary, Wormtail was actually pretty intelligent. This cunning helped him frame Sirius for the crime that he committed, as well as search out Voldemort.

Wormtail’s intelligence also allowed him to be quite the opportunist. This trait perhaps sums him up the most, as from the start of things he knew how to get in with the “right” crowd. When the tides changed and there was a better group to be associated with, that’s exactly where Wormtail would end up. A fool wouldn’t be able to navigate situations like this, let alone stay on Voldemort’s good side.

6 The Other Death Eaters Didn’t Like Him

Being an opportunist didn’t quite go over well when it came to Voldemort’s closest servants. First of all, many of them, including Bellatrix Lestrange, were there because they either believed in Voldemort’s cause or Voldemort himself.

Many of these Death Eaters saw Wormtail as a clinger; someone who was merely there to survive and never truly fought for what they believed in.

Another major source of the dislike the Death Eaters had for Wormtail had to do with Voldemort’s first downfall. This event happened on Wormtail’s information. When Voldemort was seemingly annihilated after attacking Harry Potter, many Death Eaters saw Wormtail as a traitor who purposefully led Voldemort to his grave.

5 His Hand Was Cursed

Although the filmmakers behind the Harry Potter movies didn’t explore Wormtail’s silver hand, it was certainly talked about in detail in J.K. Rowling’s novels. Wormtail first got this magical silver hand after he severed it from his body while resurrecting Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire. However, it came with a catch.

The catch with Wormtail’s replacement hand was that it was cursed. Sure, the hand had magical properties, including being impervious to certain jinxes, but it also led to his downfall. Though Wormtail didn’t receive a proper final scene in the films, his demise in the books occurred when he was planning to do good on his “life debt” to Harry. Wormtail’s magical hand turned on him, wrapped around his neck, and took his life.

4 He was insecure about his body

Every single person on the planet has their own set of insecurities. This is true of all of the characters within J.K. Rowling’s masterful series. For Wormtail, it was his stature. Not only was his short height an issue for him, but his weight and shape particularly bothered him. He no doubt compared himself to the more traditionally handsome James Potter and Sirius Black while growing up.

Due to actor Timothy Spall’s height, Wormtail was portrayed a taller than he was in the books.

However, when he first appeared in Prisoner of Azkaban, he was around the same height as a 13 and 14-year-old Harry and Hermione. Both Harry and Hermione would grow to be taller, while Pettigrew remained the same height.

3 He Was Made More Rat-Like For The Films

J.K. Rowlings described Peter Pettigrew has had some of the qualities of a rat, especially after living as one for a solid twelve years. These traits included watery eyes, grubby skin, a pointed nose, and even a squeaky voice that followed him after he revealed himself in The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Azkaban director Alfonso Cuaron wanted to make sure audiences absolutely knew that Pettigrew would have maintained some of his rat-like qualities after his twelve-year stint. These added details included extra nostril hair, knuckle hair, two big teeth, and a consistency between Scabbers’ fur and Wormtail’s locks. Hiding his neck with the right coat also made Wormtail’s rat-like look more believable. These details also came in handy for Wormtail’s visual transition back into his animagus form as he escaped.

2 He Took Voldemort’s Wand

Wormtail didn’t keep his distance the day after Voldemort’s downfall in Godric’s Hollow. He made sure he was nearby as he hoped his information would be useful. Voldemort, of course, wanted to take out a young Harry Potter due to the prophecy that stated that the boy could lead to his demise. Unfortunately for Voldemort, his attempt on Harry’s life backfired and he was practically disintegrated.

Wormtail deduced this once he came across the rubble of the house. He then found Voldemort’s iconic phoenix-feathered wand and took it for safe keeping.

He later gave it back to Voldemort once he was strong enough to use it once more.

There’s no telling where exactly Wormtail stored the wand while living as a rat for twelve years.

1 His Demise Was Connected To The Marauders

Wormtail’s connection to the Marauders, Lupin (Mooney), Sirius (Padfoot), and James (Prongs) was fully realized the day that he met his end. This is because Wormtail’s demise (at least in the book) was very similar to those of his three classmates.

All four of them, in one way or another, passed away while trying to protect or save Harry.

James met his end at the hands of Lord Voldemort that day in Godric’s Hollow. Sirius was protecting Harry when he was struck by Bellatrix’s curse. Lupin fought in the Battle of Hogwarts, giving Harry a moment to escape from Dolohov, who was later revealed to have taken Lupin out. Finally, Wormtail’s cursed hand turned on him the moment he was about to let Harry go, honoring his life-debt.

What do you think is the craziest fact about Wormtail in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments below!



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2018-10-10 06:10:32 – Dylan Parker

Johnny Depp Confirms Fantastic Beasts 3 Return As Grindelwald

Following his official debut in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldJohnny Depp confirms that he’ll reprise his role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. With 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Warner Bros. launched a Harry Potter prequel spinoff series starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who anchors the overall narrative. Since the saga is set decades before the main continuity, it also features some familiar key players like Nicholas Flamel and a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) linking both timelines in the franchise together.

Backlash about Depp’s involvement began immediately after his reveal in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, given controversies hounding the actor. Despite calls for a recast, Warner Bros. stood its ground with both director David Yates and J.K. Rowling defending their casting choice. However, following the actor’s disastrous San Diego Comic-Con appearance, it’s as if Warner Bros. has been trying to minimize his presence in The Crimes of Grindelwald‘s marketing – an odd move considering that he plays the headlining character in the film. While many took this as a sign that the studio is finally hearing people’s pleas, it turns out that it really isn’t the case with Depp already set for the franchise’s third film.

Related: Fantastic Beasts Is Stretching Harry Potter Continuity To Breaking Point

Speaking with Collider, Depp talked about his experience being part of the Wizarding World and confirmed that he will continue to be involved in it, at least until the third film in the Fantastic Beasts series wraps up.

“I loved it yeah. I loved it because that’s really an arena where you can fly around and try different things and approach a character with a lot more…um…to take someone who is teetering on being a fascist, yeah he’s a fascist, he’s one of those, but to play him as a sensitive, concerned yet manipulative and powerful wizard. The possibilities in that world are wide open, so you can really try anything. So it was a gas and I look forward to the next installment, which I think we start the middle of next year.”

It remains to be seen how The Crimes of Grindelwald will perform at the box office, with people already knowing that Depp will play a central figure in the film. Its predecessor made $814 million against a $180 million production budget, but the actor’s involvement wasn’t revealed until the very end of the movie. If the sequel’s haul turns out to be significantly lower than Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and if there’s substantial proof that it’s linked to the backlash from Depp’s appearance, it’s still possible that Rowling and Warner Bros. might reconsider sticking with him throughout the next installment. Since the first movie established that Grindelwald can effectively disguise himself, perhaps they can bring Colin Farrell back to play the role permanently or any other actor that doesn’t pose a PR nightmare.

In the meantime, Depp is expected to be front and center in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which hits theaters in a little over a month. The sequel follows the events of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, with Grindelwald successfully escaping and continuing his villainous schemes. Young Dumbledore teams up with Newt to take down Grindelwald once and for all, and it’ll also present a brand new threat to the underground Wizarding World.

More: New Fantastic Beasts 2 Poster Puts Grindelwald Front & Center

Source: Collider



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2018-10-10 05:10:12 – Ana Dumaraog

18 Best Sequels, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%)

We live in an age where sequels are all the rage. Every major studio is chasing those franchises that can keep their cash flow healthy for years to come. Sometimes, they’re exhausting. Other times, they can be our most anticipated movies. Maybe we could do without more Transformers movies, but Marvel and Mission: Impossible sequels are event movies that drive us to the theater in droves.

Sequels are tricky and unpredictable, though. On one hand, they’re often necessary for expanding stories and the good ones continue sagas we want to see progress. On the other, some are soulless cash grabs that shouldn’t exist. In the worst cases, some of them completely derail promising franchises by failing to deliver the goods. Then again, in some instances, sequels can get a series back up and running after they’ve experienced setbacks.

This list will look at those rare sequels that are considered worthy — and even superior — follow-ups. Those rare beasts that make us grateful for multiple movies in a series. Furthermore, we’ll also be discussing the most maligned sequels that brought no critical good will to their respective franchises whatsoever. It’s more fun this way. In order to fully appreciate the best of the best, we also must acknowledge the worst of the worst. Without evil, we wouldn’t be able to understand all that’s good and pure. Without terrible movies, we wouldn’t be grateful for the good ones.

With this in mind, here are 18 Best Sequels According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%).

26 Best: Captain America: Civil War (91%)

The decision to keep the same team of writers for all three Captain America films paid off in the end. The trilogy just went from strength to strength with each passing entry, though some would argue that The Winter Soldier is equally as good — if not better — than Civil War. Either way, they’re both prime examples of how to do sequels right.

Civil War tackles the same themes you’d expect from a movie about a do-gooder like Cap, but where the film truly soars is during its wild third act. The airport showdown is the best action showdown in the MCU, and that’s saying something.

25 Worst: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (0%)

If you didn’t know that sequels to The Bad News Bears exist then no one would think any less of you. While the first movie is a cult classic about an underdog baseball team, the sequels have faded from the collective memory with the passing of time, lost like tears in the rain. That’s for good reason.

None of the sequels are good, but The Bad News Bears Go To Japan is especially bad.

While the idea to relocate to Japan for a big game is good on paper, the sequel is just bland, forgettable, and was made to cash in on the brand name.

24 Best: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

Some fans argue that The Force Awakens is essentially a retread of A New Hope in many ways. However, clearly the critics and audiences didn’t necessarily agree, given its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score and its audience score of 87%, not to mention its impressive box office haul.

As far as Star Wars movies go, it hits the spot. The new characters are great, the return of some old faces is a trip down memory lane, and the story still made significant effort to push the franchise forward. In those regards, the film definitely succeeded.

23 Best: War for the Planet of the Apes (93%)

Anyone who has a problem with classics being rebooted needs to watch the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.  The finale pits the apes in a brutal battle against the humans, which leads to an epic confrontation between the Caesar the Ape and humanity’s ruthless colonel (played by an utterly wicked Woody Harrelson). As far as concluding trilogies goes, War for the Planet of the Apes has everything.

By no means is this a pleasant movie, but it is rewarding. And not only does it wrap up an epic story, but the film boasts some of the great CGI wizardry out there. The action is also ridiculously impressive and compelling, which is crazy considering it’s a movie about people versus monkeys.

22 Best: Logan (93%)

James Mangold’s Logan, the gloriously violent and heartbreaking farewell to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is an all-timer. Taking cues from the Old Man Logan comics, the movie has just as much in common with neo-westerns as it does with superhero yarns, which makes for a gritty, character-driven elegy to characters many of us grew up with.

Logan deserves praise for going R-rated and taking some stylistic risks.

The movie is proof that audiences will still flock to see superhero movies with some edge. If you’re going to send off some icons, this is the way to do it.

21 Worst: Return to the Blue Lagoon (0%)

Considering that no one liked The Blue Lagoon (it currently holds a 9% rating on RT), why anyone would want to return to the franchise is beyond comprehension. Of course, every sequel is a perfect opportunity to right some old wrongs if handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not. The story follows two children who are marooned on a tropical island as the grow up and fall in love, etc. The characters don’t wear enough clothes either, which makes for some weird, uncomfortable viewing.

There are some unintentional laughs to be had at the poor script and performances.

Otherwise the Blue Lagoon isn’t a scenic cinematic paradise worth spending time in unless you want to punish yourself for some reason.

20 Best: The Dark Knight (94%)

Few superhero movies are ever regarded as anything more than popcorn fare. However, if there were ever a superhero movie that proved the genre could be prestige cinema, it would be The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is an exploration of chaos and just how far people are willing to go to achieve their goal.

The Dark Knight — for better or worse when you consider how devoid of fun some DC movies have been since — also brought a gritty, realistic touch to the genre. The movie feels more like a Michael Mann crime saga than it does a story about superheroes versus their outlandishly evil counterparts.

19 Best: Finding Dory (94%)

In recent times, Pixar has been criticized for relying too heavily on sequels, but if it ain’t broke… Finding Dory was released 13 years after Finding Nemo, and it was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes is complemented by an 84% audience score.

Upon release Finding Dory was praised for being as funny and thought-provoking as the first movie, while also adding a new dimension to the story. As with any Pixar movie, Finding Dory can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. 

18 Worst: Staying Alive (0%)

No other actor on the planet has experienced a career of ups and downs like John Travolta has. When he broke out he had the world at his dancing feet. After that, his career experienced a downturn until it was resurrected briefly following Pulp Fiction until it ultimately plummeted when he started starring in movies like Battlefield Earth. Staying Alive was released in 1983 when Travolta was experiencing his first fall from grace. Following up a classic like Saturday Night Fever was never going to be easy, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult, either.

The sequel lacks the gritty realism of its predecessor, and instead tries to get by on dance sequences. What’s the point in dancing when we don’t care about who’s doing it?

17 Best: Creed (95%)

No franchise tends to remain compelling seven sequels in, but Creed is proof that the Rocky franchise is the rare exception. Granted, some Rocky movies aren’t exactly knockouts, but Creed got things back on track and showed that it’s game for a few more rounds.

By serving as both a sequel and a spin-off/soft reboot, Creed gave the franchise a breath of new life.

It passed the gloves on to Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous character.  Creed 2 is right around the corner. Let’s see if it can do what the original saga failed to do and deliver a second outing that’s as good as the inaugural entry.

16 Worst: Leprechaun 2 (0%)

The first Leprechaun movie doesn’t come close to being certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should come as no surprise that the sequels didn’t receive any critical acclaim. Especially not the second movie, which no critic seemed to enjoy at all.

Here, the infamous critter resurfaces in Los Angeles to find a bride, which leads to him abducting a young woman and trying to claim her as his own. This isn’t high art by any means, nor does it try to be.

15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (96%)

The Harry Potter books were an emotional roller coaster that affected millions of readers worldwide. Reliving those adventures on the big screen was also a great time to be alive, and the grand finale lived up to expectations. In the final installment of the saga about the Boy Who Lived and his fight against the forces of darkness, the ultimate showdown finally happens as our hero and his pals face off against Voldemort in Hogwarts castle.

It’s a true epic in every sense of the word.

As far as wrapping up the story goes, Death Hallows: Part 2 delivered the goods and gave us cinematic closure in style.

14 Worst: Looking Who’s Talking Now (0%)

Look Who’s Talking is a perfectly serviceable comedy that should never have received any sequels. In a bid to end to the trilogy on a high following the disappointing previous sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, someone thought it would be a good idea to introduce talking dogs to the mix for the series’ swan song. 

Needless to say, Look Who’s Talking Now wasn’t the glorious goodbye the series was looking for, but at least the film did cast some cute dogs.

13 Best: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (97%)

The third installment of Sergio Leone’s influential Dollars trilogy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is the creme de la creme of spaghetti westerns. 

The story centers around two men who form an uneasy alliance following a scam.

This leads them on a quest as it turns out there’s money buried in the desert and they want to find it. However, they have to compete against another who won’t hesitate to put a bullet in them to claim the prize. On top of being one of the most acclaimed movies out there, the film has been hailed as a major influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino.

12 Best: The Godfather: Part II (97%)

The continuation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Best Picture-winning 1972 crime saga, The Godfather: Part II chronicles Michael Corleone’s further ascendency in organized crime while simultaneously taking us back to the past to explore his dad’s humble beginnings.

Like its predecessor, the sequel also won Best Picture and is hailed by many a critic and film buff as one of the best movies ever made. Whether it’s better than the original is up for debate, but they’re like two sides of the same coin. These movies set the bar for mob pictures, and to this day, other directors are still trying to recreate the formula.

11 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)

Director George Miller was in his seventies when he unleashed Mad Max: Fury Road, but the energy and madness imbued in every frame of this extravaganza suggest a man half his age.

Maybe we’ll never see another Mad Max movie, but the world needs a Furiosa spin-off eventually.

Fury Road is essentially one non-stop chase that barely lets up from the get-go all the way to the climactic ending. Furthermore, it’s a movie that defied expectation by taking the focus away from the titular character and making Charlize Theron’s Furiosa the real hero of the adventure. 

10 Worst: Jaws: The Revenge (0%)

Is Jaws: the Revenge a good movie? Definitely not. Is it an entertaining movie, though? Definitely yes.

How many other movies have sharks that make a conscious decision to get revenge on the humans that wronged them? Not only that, but the shark here followed its target to the Bahamas from Massachusetts. And why would someone who wants to avoid sharks go to an island surrounded by ocean? The movie is illogical, silly, nonsense, but it does offer sheer entertainment value for bad movie buffs.

9 Best: Aliens (98%)

Alien and Aliens are quite different in some regards, but they complement each other perfectly. The first is an exercise in pure suspense and terror. The sequel, on the other hand, retains the horror elements but adds a lot more action to proceedings.

Aliens shows how to make a successful sequel: acknowledge what came before but don’t be afraid to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

James Cameron was on fire in the ’80s and he wasn’t afraid to make Ridley Scott’s baby his own.

8 Best: Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (98%)

While George Miller’s inaugural Mad Max caper is a cult classic, most film buffs would agree that a couple of the sequels are slightly superior. Taking nothing away from the first movie, Road Warrior is a vast improvement when it comes to world building and sheer action spectacle. The story follows the eponymous character as he helps a group of people steal oil from a tyrannical madman and his band of goons.

As far as cinematic thrill rides go, few movies are on par with Road Warrior. Here, Miller turned up the volume significantly by making the post-apocalyptic terrains feel more dangerous and the action sequences more gung-ho and grander in scale.

7 Best: Evil Dead 2 (98%)

Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie was a huge achievement for independent filmmaking when it was released back in 1981. The movie still holds up to this day with its innovative camera work, effective scares, and excellent cast as well.

The sequel is a triumph in its own right.

While the first movie contained moments of dark comedy, the sequel amps up the zaniness to become what is essentially the splatter flick equivalent of a Laurel and Hardy flick. For 90 minutes, Bruce Campbell is tormented by laughing ornaments and his own severed hand. As silly as that sounds, Evil Dead 2 still manages to pack more punch than your average MMA fighter.

6 Worst: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (0%)

In the third installment of the Police Academy franchise, the cops are understaffed and in need of some help. Naturally, the force turns to America’s civilians to help aid in their mission. Things don’t go smoothly, for the characters in the film and the movie itself.

Rotten Tomatoes describes Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as “Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny” and  a movie which sent “a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.” That sounds about right.

5 Toy Story 3 (99%)

Few franchises manage to strike three home runs in a row. Even The Godfather stuttered when it came to the third outing. Toy Story, on the other hand, never ceases to replicate the magic time and time again.

This emotional installment sees Andy get ready to leave for college and neglect his old toys.

He’s all grown up and has no use for them anymore, and what ensues is what is by far the most heartfelt movie in the series.

4 Worst: Highlander II: The Quickening (0%)

As far as pure entertaining action-fantasy goes, the first Highlander movie is a fun slice of popcorn entertainment that aficionados of cult cinema lose their head over. The sequel, meanwhile, is an incomprehensible mess.

Highlander II is too overplotted to explain, but the cusp of the story revolves around the hero from the first movie taking on a corporation after being led to believe that they don’t have the world’s best interests in mind. In this one, our hero is a defender of the ozone as well. What makes Highlander II so awful is that it completely retcons everything good about the original film and the mythology it introduced.

3 Best: The Bride of Frankenstein (100%)

We all desire to be loved by someone special– even bolt-head monsters made up of the remains of other people. But to find them a mate, one must dig up some more corpses and create a suitable partner that’s similar in genetic make-up. This is also the storyline behind James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein.

There are too many Frankenstein movies to keep track of at this point, but this sequel remains the pinnacle of the original series.

The movie is a masterpiece that successfully blends campy fun with Gothic beauty and genuine chills that’s stood the test of time as a result.

2 Paddington 2 (100%)

No one expected the the first Paddington to be as good as it is. That movie is a bona fide classic in the making in its own right, but the sequel is some next-next level brilliance.

Paddington 2 sees the lovable bear go to prison and, unsurprisingly, all the mean criminals fall in love with him as well. Critics, like the fictional convicts, were also full of praise for the titular bear and his second big onscreen adventure as well. At one point, Paddington 2 was even the best reviewed movie in history.

1 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

Following up a movie like Toy Story was never going to be easy, but that didn’t stop Pixar from trying and succeeding. In this one, we find out that Woody is a collectible when he’s discovered and stolen by a greedy museum owner. Naturally this prompts Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato, and the rest of the gang into action and they set out to save their friend.

General consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states that Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

The sequel raises the stakes and ups the element of adventure while retaining the humor and heart that made audiences fall in love with the franchise in the first place.

What’s your favorite sequel? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 04:10:39 – Kieran Fisher

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Review – A Pretty Slappy Sequel

Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.

R.L. Stine’s beloved 1990s children’s horror book series makes its way back to the big screen in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, a sequel to the live-action film adaptation of Stine’s novels that came out in 2015. While Jack Black starred as a fictional version of Stine in that movie, Sony didn’t even confirm the actor’s return for the followup until a few weeks before its release. Similarly, neither the director, writer, nor supporting cast of the (generally well-received) first Goosebumps film worked on the second installment. While Haunted Halloween certainly suffers for it, the sequel isn’t an entirely hollow continuation of the franchise either. Goosebumps 2 lacks the charm and inventiveness of its predecessor, but still has a reasonable amount of spoopy entertainment value to offer.

Goosebumps 2 picks up in the small town of Wardenclyffe, New York, as its residents prepare for the fast-approaching Halloween Night festivities. Meanwhile, in the Quinn household, high school senior Sarah (Madison Iseman) is trying to finish her college application and her younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is struggling with his science class project – a miniature replica of an experimental wireless transmission station in Wardenclyffe that was built and designed by Nikola Tesla, but never finished (aka. the Tesla Tower). The Quinns are joined by Sonny’s best friend Sam Carter (Caleel Harris), who is staying over at their house while his parents are away for the Halloween holiday.

After some prodding from Sam, Sonny agrees to take a break from his project and clear out an abandoned local house, as part of the duo’s ongoing efforts to launch a (successful) junk cleanup business. While there, however, the pair stumble upon an incomplete manuscript for a Goosebumps novel, unaware that the building was once owned by R.L. Stine himself. Not knowing any better, Sam and Sonny unlock the book and inadvertently unleash the Goosebumps villain Slappy the Dummy back into the real world. While the living ventriloquist dummy seems (sorta) friendly at first, it’s not long before he reveals his true evil plan, with only Sam, Sonny and Sarah to stand in his way.

If the original Goosebumps movie was a throwback to the popular family-friendly spooky adventures of the 1990s (think Hocus Pocus), then Haunted Halloween is closer to being the 2018 equivalent of a direct-to cable scary movie for kids from the ’90s – that is, noticeably cheaper and more generic, yet otherwise harmless and playful in its own right. The Goosebumps 2 script by Rob Lieber (Peter Rabbit) likewise carries over the first movie’s imaginative premise and conceit (e.g. Stine’s Goosebumps novel manuscripts are really enchanted objects which contain and prevent his “demons” from entering the real world) and includes references to its story, yet never really tries to build on its concepts, much less its themes and lore. Instead, Haunted Halloween offers helpful, if unchallenging, life lessons for kids and a serviceable narrative that doesn’t exactly push the envelope for the larger Goosebumps brand.

At the same time, Goosebumps 2 is perhaps more successful than its predecessor when it comes to being genuinely menacing and scary for the juice box crowd, yet still light-hearted enough to avoid traumatizing them (hence, “spoopy”). Much of the credit for that goes to director Ari Sandel (The DUFF), who does a commendable job of combining suspenseful and creepy storytelling with comedic moments here, much like Stine did so well in his original Goosebumps novels. Haunted Halloween, as indicated earlier, feels like a lower-budgeted affair than the first Goosebumps, yet Sandel and his creative team – including, DP Barry Peterson (Game Night) and production designer Rusty Smith (Get Out) – still manage to deliver a movie that’s a proper cut above a comparable TV film, in terms of overall craftsmanship. That also goes for the CGI and creature effects in the sequel’s first half (more on the second half later).

The actual setting of Haunted Halloween is mostly populated by stock types, be they the film’s young heroes or the local bullies that Sonny and Sam have to deal with (not to mention, Sarah’s dishonest would-be boyfriend). While their characters are fairly two-dimensional in the Goosebumps sequel, Harris, Iseman and Ray nevertheless have the same affable screen presence that’s allowed them to stand out in films and TV shows past and, thus, make their protagonists all the easier to root for. That also goes for the adult supporting players here, as Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs) and Ken Jeong (Community) mostly channel their famous small screen personas as Sarah and Sonny’s adorkable mother Kathy and their eccentric neighbor Mr. Chu, respectively. As for Black as R.L. Stine: his own role in Goosebumps 2 is pretty superfluous, which is disappointing considering the energy that he brought to the proceedings as the first Goosebumps‘ co-protagonist (not to mention, his vocal performance as Slappy, which Black didn’t reprise in the sequel).

All in all, Haunted Halloween is a passable if derivative sequel – but not because the Goosebumps books themselves are incapable of sustaining multiple films. Rather, the problem is that the sequel recycles too much from the first movie and struggles to make creative use of the fresh elements (like the real-world Tesla Tower) that it brings into the mix here. It’s too bad, seeing as Goosebumps 2 had a wealth of different monsters and horror genres in Stine’s source novels to draw from, yet elected to continue simplifying the author’s mythology by making Slappy the big bad (again) and skimping on giving the other creatures much in the way of personality. As a result, the second half of the movie plays out as a watered down version of what happened in the original Goosebumps, albeit with lower production values and emotional impact.

Still, Goosebumps 2 should go over best with its young target demographic and provide them with enough silly scares and fun adventure to keep them engaged for its brisk runtime. Moreover, much like your average comic book movie these days, Haunted Halloween delivers its fair share of Goosebumps easter eggs and nods to the real Stine’s source material (right down to a Stan Lee-esque cameo from Stine himself), to further serve the property’s youngest fans. As for those who prefer their family-friendly fantasies with Jack Black starring front and center – The House with a Clock in Its Walls is still playing in theaters and ought to fulfill your own needs for some spoopy entertainment this Halloween season.

TRAILER

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween begins playing in U.S. theaters on Thursday evening, October 11. It is 90 minutes long and is rated PG for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-10-10 01:10:58 – Sandy Schaefer

The Flash Confirms [SPOILER] Still Happens In Barry’s Future

Warning! SPOILERS for The Flash season 5 premiere ahead!

The Flash season 5 premiere just revealed the full impact of the Crisis of 2024 – the future event from which comes the newspaper headline, “Flash Missing, Vanishes in Crisis” – and it’s not good.

As far back as season 1, we’ve known thanks to the future edition of The Central City Citizen stored in Gideon’s archive that come April 25th, 2024, The Flash would disappear. Some details have changed with the various timeline shake-ups, but that fact remains the same – during a battle with the Reverse-Flash, Barry disappears. We also know that when they disappear they actually travel back to March 18th, 2000, where the Reverse-Flash attempts to kill a young Barry but instead kills his mother. The Reverse-Flash then tries returning to his own time but can’t because he’s been disconnected from the Speed Force, and what follows leads to season 1 of the show.

Related: The Flash Fixes Plot Hole By Secretly Changing Arrowverse History

As for The Flash, it’s been assumed that after saving his past self, but not his mother, Barry returns to 2024 to face whatever new timeline awaits him. But as we learn in tonight’s season 5 premiere, that isn’t at all what happens. Nora, Barry’s daughter from the future, shares with 2018’s Barry a newspaper headline dated April 25th, 2049 which reads: “25 Years Later – Flash Still Missing.” So The Flash did not return home after chasing the Reverse-Flash to 2000, and by the time Nora travels to the past to spy on her parents, he has yet to return.

Nora’s behavior makes a lot of sense now that we know her father has been missing since she was a toddler. All throughout the premiere, she’s spouting off factoids she learned by studying every single one of his adventures, and when it comes time for their first attempt at sending her back to the future, she hugs Barry like she’s never going to see him again. Nora has clearly grown up not knowing her father so she’s spent a lot of time trying to learn everything she can about him. It’s why she travels back in time – to see her dad in action as The Flash. Of course, with traveling back in time comes the risk of changing the future – something Nora may have already done.

But the more distressing news is what happens to The Flash of the future? Why after following the Reverse-Flash to the year 2000 did he not return for at least another 25 years? The Flash season 5 is absolutely going to explore this, possibly even flashing-forward to that future date and showing what really went on – which, according to Iris’ original article, should see The Flash teaming up with Green Arrow, The Atom, and Hawkgirl to fight the Reverse-Flash as well as the ominous red skies and the immense destruction of Central City.

What The Flash season 5 may also do is explore how it is the future Flash comes back. We know that he must return because in 2056, a future Barry sends a message to Rip Hunter in 2016 warning him of Savitar. So he isn’t gone forever, just a lot longer than we initially thought. Nora’s newspaper has Barry gone for 25 years, and that isn’t exact but it’s very close to how long Barry is gone in the comics after Crisis on Infinite Earths – possibly DC Comics’ most famous storyline and in where The Flash sacrifices himself to save the world. He returns 23 years later in Final Crisis, revealing he had been stuck in the Speed Force. The CW’s The Flash has already done the whole ‘stuck in the Speed Force’ thing, so hopefully it won’t repeat itself, but it does appear as if they are preparing for The Flash of the future to finally make his return after being gone for a quarter-century.

Next: The Flash Season 5: New Cast & Character Guide

The Flash season 5 continues next Tuesday with ‘Blocked’ at 8pm/7c on The CW.



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2018-10-09 07:10:13 – Sarah Moran

Roger Ailes Movie Dropped By Annapurna Shortly Before Production

Annapurna Pictures drops director Jay Roach’s untitled film about former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, just weeks before it was set to begin production. The studio had been developing the project, which chronicles the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes, for quite some time – recruiting an all-star ensemble cast to boot.

Earlier this year, Charlize Theron signed on to portray former Fox reporter Megyn Kelly, and it was only a couple of months ago John Lithgow was cast as Ailes. Other prominent thespians involved include Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman, giving the film a tremendous amount of clout and prestige. Particularly in today’s climate, the Ailes movie seemed like the socially relevant film any studio would love to have on their slate, but Annapurna has to pass on it at the last minute.

Related: The Trailer for Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk

THR reports Annapurna dropped the Ailes film, with the official reasoning unknown. Some sources claim there were budgetary concerns, but that isn’t confirmed. It’s worth mentioning the project hasn’t been scrapped, and is now on the lookout for a new home. Per Variety, Focus Features may wind up distributing it.

The reported budget for the Ailes movie is roughly $35 million, which is a relatively small amount by Hollywood standards. However, Annapurna is going through quite a rough period. A separate Variety report stated Annapurna President of Film Chelsea Barnard is leaving her position as the studio also let go of the upcoming The Hustlers at Scores, which stars Jennifer Lopez as a stripper out for revenge. THR also notes the studio is hurting financially, which would explain their decision to drop two high-profile films. Last year, the indie house got in the business of distributing their own movies – an endeavor that likely hasn’t gone as well as they’d hope. To date, their biggest hit as a distributor is Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake, which earned $41.4 million worldwide.

Hopefully, Annapurna is able to find its footing soon, as it still has plenty of noteworthy films on deck. As of now, they’re distributing two of this year’s biggest Oscar hopefuls in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and Adam McKay’s Vice and handling the Stateside release of Bond 25. That’s a fairly tall order, particularly for a studio trying to keep its head above water. It would be a sad day for the film industry if Annapurna ends up going under, so ideally studio founder Megan Ellison will be able to work some magic and get things back on track. In the meantime, they desperately need Vice (receiving a wide release on Christmas) to be a hit this holiday season.

More: Watch The Official Vice Trailer

Source: THR, Variety [2]



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2018-10-09 04:10:51 – Chris Agar

Venom Erases Spider-Man To Avoid Marvel Mistakes

Venom may owe his origins to Spider-Man in the comic books, but in the movie version, Marvel’s hold on Disney means no Spidey at all. But while some fans worried that removing Spider-Man from Venom’s origin would be a problem, it actually makes for a way better story – and honestly, one much closer to Venom’s current origin, too.

By now even casual fans will be familiar with the classic origin story for Venom, if not from the comics, then the fact that Spider-Man 3 adapted it almost to the letter. Spider-Man brings an alien suit back from space, which eventually shows an ‘evil’ mind of its own. Spider-Man rejects the symbiote until it finds the same level of hatred for Spidey in Eddie Brock. Man meets suit, and together they become Venom to launch their revenge on Spider-Man in a tale many claim the Venom movie SHOULD have told.

The problem with that version of a Venom origin movie? It’s faithful to the original version of the comic books, sure. But it’s a story that makes Spider-Man the real star of the show, plus… that’s not what really happened, according to modern Marvel Comics.

  • This Page: Spider-Man Makes Venom Worse, Not Better
  • Page 2: Venom Avoids Marvel’s Mistake By Removing Spider-Man

Venom Should Be Eddie’s Story, Not Spider-Man’s

It’s easy to see why there would be an outcry over the need to remove Spider-Man from Venom’s origin movie. After all, the moviegoers who would know Venom’s origin best are Spider-Man fans, and who would wish to see Spider-Man in the movie more? (Not to mention removing Spider-Man means no iconic Venom logo.)

RELATED: Why Venom’s Director Saved [SPOILER] For The Sequel

But what fans want isn’t always what’s best, and in the case of Venom, the existing origin has one major problem: in the comics, it’s told as one of Spider-Man‘s most formative stories, with Eddie Brock a victim of Peter, the symbiote, and professional failure. While a victim’s story could be interesting, and has been used as a jumping-off point for other superhero origins… those heroes aren’t Venom. Besides the fact that the Venom movie is trying to have some fun with Eddie and the symbiote’s fusion, it’s built on the idea that Eddie is a good man, ruined by evil forces – not a bitter, angry, jealous man fueled by hate of Spider-Man as he was in the comic.

One of those descriptions fits a movie hero… the other fits a villain unlikely to star in a fun, subversive, and oddball body horror adventure. The result is a better version of a Venom movie. “But,” we’re sure some die-hard Spider-Man fans will cry, “you’re making Venom a different character!” And by twisting his origin to make Eddie and the symbiote a misunderstood antihero, the makers of Venom have done just that… but Marvel Comics did it first.

Marvel Has Changed Venom’s Origin Already

Revisiting the comic book history of Eddie Brock and his time as Venom means traversing more than one major retcon, or retroactive changing of his origin story. Fictionally, it’s an expansion and deepening of Eddie’s story. But practically, like most other retcons, it’s about ‘fixing’ past writing or plot that hinders the character’s next step forward. And for Eddie Brock, the idea of him being a byproduct of Spider-Man has been minimized, downplayed, or altogether changed since he first set out to play a hero in Venom: Lethal Protector, upon which the movie is based.

People who walk out of Venom excited to read that comic book inspiration are in for a rude awakening, however, since Spider-Man is without question the WORST part of it. Because Peter Parker is misinformed about who Venom is, what motivates him, and who he has become as more than just the hero’s villain. Arguably, every bit as misinformed as the people claiming the Venom movie ‘got it wrong’ by removing Spider-Man altogether.

As we see it, the makers of the Venom movie just learned from the missteps and corrections Marvel Comics has made so they wouldn’t make them in the movie, too. The first step? Taking Spider-Man out of the equation to create the Venom modern comic readers know and love.

Page 2 of 2: How Venom Avoids Marvel’s Own Mistakes

Venom Avoids Marvel’s Own Comic Mistakes

In Venom’s first solo comic outing, Spider-Man is an antagonist for completely flawed reasons. Despite Eddie being every bit the normal, evil-hating human he is in the comics, Spider-Man actively fights him, believing he’s still as evil as Marvel made him in his origin story. In his defense, Spider-Man was just late to the party, unaware that Marvel editorial, and a long line of writers and artists were already beginning to make Eddie and Venom not evil, just… misunderstood.

RELATED: Venom’s Post-Credits Scene Tease Explained

The changes came one by one: the Venom symbiote wasn’t hateful, but a traumatized member of an alien symbiote race, Eddie Brock’s rough exterior becomes a result of a cold, distant, single father, and just weeks ago, the origin was changed once more by showing that Spider-Man was evil, not the symbiote when they first merged. It’s flawed thinking to assume a movie should recreate each one of those steps, rather than looking at who Venom is today, and aiming for that from thee outset.

Still, one feels for director Ruben Fleischer for having to make that call, since he has admitted that removing Spider-Man from Venom was a challenge (that’s the origin everyone knows). But the finished film shows it was the right path to take for one simple reason: the Venom of the movie is basically the one Marvel took decades to arrive at. Not just Eddie the relatable hero, but the symbiote’s personality, voice, sense of humor, and even love for its host.

The Movie Venom is The True Comic Venom

In fact, the moments of humor and love from the symbiote may turn off older fans of the origin hero, while hitting the bullseye for the modern incarnations. After all, Eddie and the symbiote had a baby not too long ago in the comics, and it’s not hard to see a Venom movie sequel embracing that strange, borderline ludicrous plot. Leave the theater and go pick up the newest issue of Venom, and the version may not be perfect copies, but more importantly, the strengths of one are alive in the other.

And, perhaps most importantly, the existence of Spider-Man is a footnote, or back-up character at best. By now even Peter Parker understands that his time with the symbiote was a fluke, or coincidence, compared to the character Eddie and Venom became.

In Marvel’s Universe, there may not be a greater romance than Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote –  and when audiences line up for a great love story, you don’t bother starting with the flings, one-night stands, or bad dates that came before.

MORE: Venom Secretly Revealed Carnage’s Backstory



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2018-10-09 03:10:52 – Andrew Dyce

Better Call Saul Season 4 Finale Ending Explained

This post contains SPOILERS for Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul’s fourth season ended with “Winner,” an exciting finale that inches the spinoff closer to its Breaking Bad roots. This year, AMC’s acclaimed drama had to followup the jaw-dropping cliffhanger of season 3, where Chuck died in a horrifying fire. That tragedy is what truly spurred Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman as he dealt with the consequences and aftermath of not only his brother’s death, but also his bar suspension. Over the course of the fourth season, Jimmy became more involved with the criminal underworld of Albuquerque, launching his “get-rich-quick” scheme of selling prepaid cell phones to unsavory individuals.

Elsewhere in the Saul universe, Gus Fring looked to expand his cartel operations, commissioning the construction of the famous “super lab” Walter White and Jesse Pinkman cooked in during Breaking Bad. Entrusting Mike Ehrmantraut to oversee the operation, Gus hired a group of German nationals led by Werner Ziegler. While the project was taking longer than originally planned, the crew was working diligently and hoped to have it finished soon. Of course, things hit a snag at the end of last week’s “Wiedersehen” when Werner went AWOL, leaving only a note with detailed instructions for his team. These storylines (Werner’s disappearance and Jimmy’s bar reinstatement appeal) are the crux of the finale’s narrative, with both resolving in powerful ways.

The Tragedy of Werner Ziegler

Throughout the season, Werner’s team were recurring players, frequently interacting with Mike. Early on, it looked like Kai would be the troublemaker of the group, especially after his incident with the nightclub. However, Kai turned out to be a red herring, and Werner caused the biggest headaches for Gus and Mike. Werner, of course, is far from home and dearly misses his beloved wife. Wishing to see her again, Werner pitched Mike the idea of going home for a weekend, but was denied. Since he couldn’t get his superiors’ approval, Werner took matters into his own hands and hatched a plot for a loving reunion.

“Winner” reveals Werner ran off to a resort where he planned to spend time with his wife. He made travel arrangements that would see her fly over to America for a weekend and go back home. Sadly for Werner, he never gets to see her again. Mike tracks him down and after a discussion with Gus, realizes there’s only one resolution for this setback. Allowing Werner the opportunity to call his wife and tell her to return home before Gus’ people do anything to her, Mike then (reluctantly) kills Werner. Ehrmantraut says Werner’s death will be covered up as a tragic accident and his men will be sent back. As one might expect, Gus is angered by the lack of progress on the super lab (cutting a conversation with Gale short), which he thought would be completed by now.

Related: How Better Call Saul’s (Unseen) Breaking Bad Character Connects To Jimmy

Werner clearly had no ill intent (Mike knew he was jut homesick), but when he ran off, his fate was essentially sealed. This was the second transgression Werner committed against Gus – the first being his friendly chat about construction work with bar patrons. These two incidents back-to-back made it very difficult for Gus to trust Werner moving forward, and by now, fans are well aware of Fring’s ruthlessness. Mike mentions multiple times in the episode there are other ways to go about things, but he can’t convince Gus to spare Werner’s life. No amount of begging or pleading has any effect on Gus when he’s made up his mind about something. Unfortunately for Werner, he never completely understood what he got himself into and crossed the wrong people.

Lalo also factors into this storyline, with the mysterious member of the Salamanca clan tailing Mike and trying to locate Werner for his own reasons. Lalo does discover which resort Werner is staying at and briefly speaks to the Russian over the phone, posing as one of Gus’ employees. Not knowing any better, Werner begins to tell Lalo the first couple of basic instructions for the super lab construction, before Mike arrives in person and interrupts the call. Near the end of the episode, Mike tells Gus about what happened, and it’ll be fascinating to see how this continues in season 5. Of course, Fring does not get along with the Salamancas, and despite Lalo’s cheeky offer of a peace treaty in last week’s episode, the two warring sides will continue their power struggle. Lalo is clearly curious about what Gus is up to and wants to get an upper hand for himself.

Page 2: Jimmy McGill Becomes Saul Goodman

Jimmy McGill Is Finally Saul Goodman

Jimmy’s arc in season 4 is dealing with the fallout of his felony from season 2 (tampering with Chuck’s documents) as he tries to get by in life with his one-year suspension. Picking up lawful employment at CC Mobile, he does everything he’s supposed to do to work himself back in the graces of the committee. However, last week’s episode ended with the shocking twist that Jimmy was denied reinstatement – after he was found to be insincere in his comments. Kim, as she always does, stays by Jimmy’s side to help him win the appeal. In Kim’s mind, the sincerity issue stems from Chuck and Jimmy needs to show remorse for what’s transpired.

The two forge ahead with another one of their brilliant schemes. Jimmy spends the one-year anniversary of Chuck’s death mourning at his brother’s grave. An “anonymous” donation is made to HHM to name the legal library after Chuck, with members of Jimmy’s go-to video team telling people in attendance they heard the gift was from Jimmy. It all builds up to another hearing in front of the committee, where Jimmy uses the letter Chuck left him as a weapon in his favor. After (faking) being unable to read it in place of an opening statement, Jimmy launches into a nostalgic monologue where he reminisces about his brother, talks about wanting to make Chuck proud, and credits Chuck with influencing his interest in a law career. In their celebration afterwards, Kim feels some it was truthful, but Jimmy’s reaction makes it painfully apparent it was all a show for the committee so he could get his law license back. As he prepares to sign the necessary documents, Jimmy states he’ll no longer be practicing under his legal name. Turning to a clearly shocked Kim, he closes out the season by saying, “S’all good, man.”

Related: Bob Odenkirk Responds to Fan Theory About Chuck’s Letter

At a certain time in his life, Jimmy probably aspired to be an honest, hard-working lawyer like Chuck, but the events of Better Call Saul have rendered that impossible. During a key sequence of the episode, Jimmy (as part of his sincerity scheme) sits on the board awarding scholarships in Chuck’s memory. He vouches for a student named Kristy Esposito, who received only one vote (from Jimmy) because she was found guilty of shoplifting. In that moment, Jimmy realizes that the law community at large will never accept someone with a prior record, and clearly sees himself in the young Kristy. Because of his actions in season 2, the most prominent firms in the country will always consider Jimmy a liability, no matter how much he swears he’s changed. Chasing down Kristy after the scholarship meetings, Jimmy basically lays out the Saul Goodman playbook, telling his favorite student to cut corners and to not worry about what others think (because she’ll never “make it” the traditional way).

Instead of conforming to fit within the perceived standards of the field, Jimmy gamed the system to his own advantage. He told the reinstatement committee what they wanted to hear – even though he has no intention of following through on it – and is now set to play by his own rules. In his argument with Kim on the rooftop in “Wiedersehen,” Jimmy went on the defensive about how Kim views him as “the kind of lawyer guilty people hire” and is unworthy of sharing an office with her (while she thrives at a large firm in New Mexico). Jimmy is embracing his reputation. Saul Goodman, as Breaking Bad fans know, is exactly the type of lawyer criminals hire. Howard Hamlin wouldn’t touch Walter White and Jesse Pinkman with a 10-foot pole, but Saul went into business with them, doing whatever he could to protect his clients’ rights and help them avoid jail time.

The beauty of this is how it all traces back to Chuck and recontextualizes the character of Saul Goodman. When he was introduced in the second season of Breaking Bad, he was nothing more than an entertaining side player; a riff on the “sleazy lawyer” archetype who came up with elaborate schemes to win his cases. Now, the persona is revealed as a last resort for a man who once upon a time looked up to his brother, only to have his hopes and dreams destroyed by that very same sibling. Chuck went out of his way to block Jimmy from getting a position at HHM, fearful of what “Slippin’ Jimmy with a law degree” would be capable of. He wasn’t willing to give Jimmy the benefit of the doubt, and ended up unknowingly launching the career of Albuquerque’s shadiest criminal defense attorney. Maybe if he was more accepting and loving towards Jimmy, things would have turned out differently.

It’ll be exciting to see how the confirmed fifth season picks up on this. There were already hints the Jimmy/Kim relationship was fraying (the wonderfully constructed cold open of “Something Stupid”), and the former’s new career path might be the final straw. Kim is never mentioned in Breaking Bad, so obviously something happens there. Better Call Saul correctly took the long road to get to this point, and now the possibilities for its future are wide open.

More: Better Call Saul Fills In Breaking Bad Gaps



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2018-10-08 07:10:07 – Chris Agar