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Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer: We Get Our First Look at Vision

Nothing completely shocking in this new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, unless you missed the part about Ultron being created by Iron Man (oops!) or that Elizabeth Olsen was in this one. However that opening eyeball at the very, very end? We suspect that might be the first apperance of Paul Bettany as Vision — the benevolent robot and longtime Avengers hero.  

There May Never Be Another Movie Star As Big As Will Smith

Will Smith's con-man drama Focus opened to a mild $19 million this past weekend, and the fact that this figure was received with such a shrug tells you all you need to know about the industry's diminished expectations not just for Will Smith, but for movie stars in general. Certainly, the 46-year-old Smith has been on a career downswing as of late, but if you swapped him and his co-star Margot Robbie for another set of actors — say, Ben Affleck and Kristen Stewart, or Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, just to name two pairs previously attached to the project — would they really have been able to bring in more viewers for an original R-rated drama released at the ass-end of February?

Here's three reasons why Smith will never be surpassed. »

Vince Vaughn Got Photoshopped Into Cheesy Stock Photos Because This Is How You Promote a Movie in 2015

To promote the release of Unfinished Business, Vince Vaughn and his cast mates were Photoshopped into cheesy stock photos. The first four are below. You can download them here gratis for editorial use, or you can totally print them out for your weekly Vince Vaughn fan club meeting and/or just hang them above your door for morning self-affirmations. The entire set, which reeks pleasantly of the uncanny valley, is available over at Adweek. Sadly, none feature him laughing alone with salad.

X-Men Receive Wes Anderson Treatment in Spot-on Fan-Made Mash-up

YouTube filmmaker Patrick Willems put the X-Men and lots of Wes Anderson's Life Aquatic in a blender to make a colorful faux-trailer smoothie, complete with quirky mutants, tastefully bland costumes, and loud backgrounds. The resulting concoction is delicious, with just the right hint of auteur-esque pretension. Watch as Bobby Drake, a.k.a. Iceman, reluctantly accepts his invitation to Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Writer Ol Parker on Good Sequels, and Judi Dench and Maggie Smith’s 60-Year Friendship

It’s been three years since a group of aging British expats moved into The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but they’re back this week in screenwriter Ol Parker’s follow-up to 2012’s surprise international hit. Parker chatted with Vulture about the first film’s success, the process of writing a sequel he never expected, and why working with two of Britain’s most beloved dames is anything but second-best.


Ex Machina Is Like I, Robot, But If the Robots Were Sexy

Uh-oh, a mysterious research lab far from civilization? Run by super-bearded Oscar Isaac? Bad signs. What's more: There's a confusingly sexy robot whose name is Ava and wants to befriend you? Run. 

Netflix Wants Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, Starring Idris Elba

Deadline is reporting rumors* that Netflix is ready to scoop up Cary Fukunaga's Beasts of No Nation, a film based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala about child soldiers in civil war. Starring Idris Elba, the film is apparently worth $12 million to the streaming giant, who will gladly outpay "numerous bids" from studios. Netflix wants those Oscars. Badly. 

* Update: Those rumors have been confirmed by a press release. Good for you, Netflix. 

J.Law, Spielberg Tackling War Photographer’s Memoir, It’s What I Do

Warner Bros. has bagged the rights to Lynsey Addario's memoir, It's What I Do, about her Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalism, Deadline reports. The deal — which reportedly had Reese Witherspoon, Darren Aronofsky, Natalie Portman, and the Weinstein Company, among other suitors, knocking at the door — has Steven Spielberg helming and Jennifer Lawrence starring. The latter Oscar-winning badass will play Addario, a combat journalist who, in the face of danger and kidnappings, captured unforgettable imagery from such war-torn areas as Libya, Afghanistan, and the Congo. (If you're already having stress daydreams about the imminent American Sniper–esque trailer for this, you're probably not alone.)

See the Short Film That Would Become Whiplash

Long before Whiplash was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, it was a short film made by writer-director Damien Chazelle. Well, more like a scene produced from a script he'd written starring J.K. Simmons and Johnny Simmons (who would be replaced by Miles Teller) to secure funding for a full-length production. So if you were wondering why Whiplash was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay instead of Best Original Screenplay, this short film is why. 

Leonardo DiCaprio Might Finally Get to Play a Criminal With Multiple Personality Disorder

Leonardo DiCaprio has long been interested in playing the role of Billy Milligan, the first person to successfully use multiple personality disorder as a defense in the courtroom, in The Crowded Room. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project has been dormant for nearly a decade, but now has renewed life as Jason Smilovic and Todd Katzberg have been hired to adapt the script from Daniel Keyes's nonfiction book about Milligan and his court trial, where he was charged with robbery and raping three women at Ohio State University. Milligan's various personalities included Adalana, a lesbian who took responsibility for the rapes, and Ragen, a Yugoslavian communist who admitted to the robbery. DiCaprio is going to be doing a lot of Acting.

There Will Be Adventure Time the Movie

The Land of Ooo is headed to the big screen. Deadline reports that Warner Bros. is developing the beloved Cartoon Network show Adventure Time into a film. The movie will be produced by Roy Lee, one of the executive producers of The Lego Movie, and Chris McKay, the man behind Robot Chicken. The show, currently in its sixth season, loosely follows a 12-year-old boy named Finn and his dog, Jake. Other details haven't been announced yet, but hopefully we will see a bevy of princesses, all of whom the Ice King will be obsessed with.

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 2:47 PM
  • Movies

The Lazarus Effect Is a Dopey Thriller That Wastes a Good Cast

Sort of a Flatliners for the sensitive indie-actor set, The Lazarus Effect is a grimy, dopey, confused thriller that wastes a very likable cast. The film takes place mostly in a Berkeley lab where a group of young medical researchers are developing an experimental new serum designed to prolong the neural activity of coma patients. The idea is “to give health care professionals more time to do their jobs” — because, of course, mad scientists who trample the laws of God always start off with the noblest of aims. From the film’s very first shot — video footage of a dead pig being given high-voltage doses of electricity — we know that these crazy kids are about to start bringing things back to life.

The Lazarus Effect is simultaneously too much and not enough. »

  • Posted 2/27/15 at 2:36 PM
  • Movies

Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green Make the Western The Salvation Worthwhile

I don’t know when the term revisionist Western came into widespread use, but it’s time we retired it. Even when it meant something, it was a bit of an overstatement; most of the great Westerns bucked convention in one way or another. But starting around the 1960s, it seemed like every entry in the genre pointedly tried to rewrite our collective dream of the West. The unmaking-of-a-myth in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, or the heightened violence in The Wild Bunch, or the anti-romance in McCabe & Mrs. Miller, or the ugliness of justice in Unforgiven — they all told us, “It’s not like you thought it was. It’s not what the movies have told you.”

There’s nothing surprising about The Salvation, which is the most surprising thing about it. »

Jack O’Connell Suffers (Again) and Shines in Northern Ireland Thriller ’71

In the last three films I’ve seen him in, Jack O’Connell has physically suffered so much onscreen that I think he’s accidentally atoned for humanity’s sins. The 25-year-old actor, who ably held together Angelina Jolie’s WWII epic Unbroken and David Mackenzie’s intense prison drama Starred Up, is now at the center of Yann Demange’s brutal ’71, and once again he experiences the tortures of the damned. Luckily, he’s riveting in the role: The film, about a novice British soldier cut off from his unit during a riot in Belfast, is less about words and more about the varieties of terror in a young man’s eyes. 


Maps to the Stars Is a Hollywood Psychodrama Played to Perfection

There are scads of scabrous inside-Hollywood psychodramas, but never a festering pyre on the order of David Cronenberg and Bruce Wagner’s Maps to the Stars. What a hyperfocused duo of ghouls! Their collaboration is a portrait of inbreeding—metaphorical and literal—in which a seemingly starstruck, fresh-off-the-bus young woman (Mia Wasikowska) becomes a catalyst for carnage, the nihilism so thick that it’s intoxicating, like that rank Icelandic rotten-shark dish that makes even the most hardened culinary daredevils retch. Please don’t bore me by complaining that the characters are “unlikable.” The defense admits that the movie is indefensible. Just breathe in the aroma of decay and howl like a banshee.

It’s Julianne Moore who enters the pantheon of Hollywood freaks. »

Watch the Visually Remarkable Trailer for Bill Plympton’s Cheatin’

As computer-animated movies continue to become more prevalent, does it ever seem to you like they're all becoming one homogenous cartoon, where the faces and aesthetics all look weirdly similar? At least you'll never mistake the hand-drawn animation of Bill Plympton for anything else. You may recognize Plympton's iconic work from films like I Married a Strange Person and his collaborations with Kanye West and Madonna, and Vulture can exclusively premiere the trailer for the award-winning animator's new film, Cheatin’. Inspired by the works of Double Indemnity author James M. Cain, it's a story about love, lust, and jealousy, but the trailer is also a spellbinding tribute to hand-drawn creativity, and it might be the prettiest, most unusual thing you watch today. Cheatin' is out in theaters April 3.

  • Posted 2/26/15 at 12:30 PM
  • Movies

In the Age of Hacking, Is the Con-Artist Movie Genre Dying?

Focus, the new film starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, is a giddy love letter to a lost art: not the art of the con man (though it is that, too), but the art of the con-man movie. Con-artist movies are dying off, or at least finding it nearly impossible — like some grizzled, old-school grifter set in his ways — to adapt to the modern world, a place where you’re less likely to get your wallet pinched than to have your PayPal hacked. In Focus, Smith plays just such a grizzled old-school grifter, Nicky Spurgeon, while Robbie plays Jess, a fledgling hustler looking to Nicky for tips (and maybe more — dun dun dun!). As Nicky inducts her into his underworld of scoundrels, cutpurses and flimflam artists, the film nods dutifully to modern cyberscams — ATM skimmers, credit-card fraud, identity theft — but who are we kidding here? What we really want to see from Nicky are the lifts, bumps, slips, drops, flimps, fine-wirers, and tosses. In one scene, he shows Jess the various ways a person can be distracted and then relieved of her valuables — ergo focus — and it starts to look like he’s giving her a tango lesson. This classic sleight-of-hand trickery retains an aura of sexy romance that just doesn’t transfer to online swindlers tapping away at keyboards. There’s a reason the slang phrase cutpurse has a swashbuckling flare, but no one ever calls someone a cardswipe.

Which points to one of the great dilemmas of modern movies and TV: Just how do you make anything computer-related look remotely interesting? »

College-Rape Documentary The Hunting Ground Plays Like a Horror Movie

Journalistic prudence would have me evaluate Kirby Dick’s incendiary college-rape exposé The Hunting Ground objectively, careful to consider opposing viewpoints and to always put the word “alleged” before “sexual-assault victim.” Journalistic prudence would in this case be an ass. Rape is not a partisan issue, and—Rolling Stone’s infamously botched University of Virginia story notwithstanding—there aren’t two sides to the problem of college sexual predators. They need to be swiftly confronted and, if guilty, thrown the hell off campuses (preferably into prisons) before they can prey on anyone else. Administrators’ astonishing tendency to do otherwise is a mystery that leads Dick and producer Amy Ziering to the dark heart of American higher education. What they find has little to do with protecting the rights of the accused or—surprisingly—discerning the supposedly murky line between “yes” and “no.” As with so many things, you just have to follow the money, honey.

The filmmakers’ techniques are not subtle, but neither is their subject. »

Neill Blomkamp’s Alien Will Finish the Aliens Story Line

While promoting Chappie, Neill Blomkamp and Sigourney Weaver teased some exceedingly vague plot points for the former's newly announced Alien project. However nebulous the movie currently is, though, one thing's certain: "I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of Aliens," Blomkamp told Sky Movies. "So it's Alien, Aliens, this movie." Obviously this complicates the saga, given it already has Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. But hey, Weaver says she's willing to give us a proper Ripley ending (her words). So just relax, wait for more Blomkamp art, and bask in the joy of knowing this team has myriad mulligan possibilities to make a refurbished third installment.

Sand and Dancing Are Big in Beach Boys Biopic Teaser

Love & Mercy, the biopic about legendary Beach Boys front man Brian Wilson, unfurled a teaser today, and, as to be expected, it's very beachy. There's no dearth of sand, haphazard dance fits, warm horizons, or short-sleeved button-downs. There's also a lot of Paul Dano, who plays a young version of the troubled genius, and John Cusack, who may or may not be playing an older, fatigued version of Wilson. The movie, which will thankfully showcase the band's tasty tunes, too, is slated for a June release.