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  • Posted 2/18/17 at 4:27 PM

Samuel L. Jackson Isn’t Pleased That Marvel Left Him Out of Black Panther

It’s likely not an exaggeration to say that with Black Panther, Marvel will have more black people onscreen in one film than it managed in the total preceding MCU. Yet, despite Samuel L. Jackson’s placement as one of the most prominent people of color in the Marvel franchise, his Nick Fury is not in Black Panther, a fact that has Jackson irked. Talking to We Got This Covered, Jackson explained: “I asked them, ‘So you’re doing Black Panther and the only black character in the Marvel Universe is not showing up?’ And they’re like, ‘Nick Fury is not in Wakanda!’” That’s not logic that Jackson readily accepted, pressing, “How can he not know the other black superhero on the planet? How the hell does that work? But they just said, ‘No you’re not in that one.’” There are a lot of unanswered questions here, the least of which is why you would voluntarily get on Nick Fury’s bad side.

WGA Honoree Susannah Grant on Pocahontas, the Decline of Middle-Class Screenwriters, and Why She Loved Moana’s Character Design

On February 19, the Writers Guild of America will present its annual awards for writing achievements across film, TV, digital, and video-game formats at dual ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles. It will also honor a handful of industry luminaries whose careers exemplify the best of their guild, including Susannah Grant, whose script for HBO’s Confirmation, the saga of Anita Hill’s 1991 accusations of sexual harassment by then–Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, has earned her the Paul Selvin Award for its depiction of civil-rights themes.

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  • Posted 2/17/17 at 4:53 PM

Of Course Angela Lansbury Will Be In Mary Poppins Returns

Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dick Van Dyke, Emily Mortimer, and Ben Whishaw, make way: Angela Lansbury has joined the cast of Disney’s Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. Set 20 years after the original movie, the movie follows the adventures of three new Banks children in Depression-era London. Dick Van Dyke initially dropped the news that Lansbury would make an appearance in a December interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “This one supposedly takes place 20 years later and the kids are all grown-up,” Van Dyke said. “It’s a great cast — Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and that guy [Lin-Manuel Miranda] from Hamilton.” Now, the news is official: Lansbury will be playing the Balloon Lady, according to Deadline. The character is from P. L. Travers’s original books. Rejoice! We’re getting the very British Mary Poppins sequel we deserve.

The Power Rangers Reboot Trailer Uses a Kanye Song So You Know It’s Morphin Time

In this new trailer for the Power Rangers reboot, one of the kids asks a talking wall, “Are we more like Iron Man or Spider-Man?” Aside from the fact that one of them wears a red suit, there really aren’t a lot of similarities. For one thing, these rangers are way too teenage. After one of the rangers’ moms begs her to just say anything at all at the dinner table, the snarky young girl tells her family, “Pretty sure I’m a superhero” with a lot of vocal fry. Could she be more over it?

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How ‘Classic Man,’ One of the Best Music Cues of the Year, Ended Up in Moonlight

In the second-to-last scene of Moonlight, the lead character takes a car ride with the man he loves. It’s a simple setup, but in Moonlight it’s one of the most plainly intimate sequences of the film. It’s taken the hero Chiron (at this point in the movie, he’s rechristened himself as “Black”) an entire movie to figure out how to be loved, so his dinner with his childhood best friend Kevin is an especially meaningful climax — Black (played by Trevante Rhodes) wants desperately to let himself be loved by Kevin (André Holland), but he’s not sure how.

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How A Cure for Wellness Pulled Off Its Creepiest Scenes

Spoilers ahead for A Cure for Wellness.

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How Lion, Arrival, and Other Oscar Movies Are Revamping Their Awards-Season Narratives

So you’ve been nominated for a lot of Academy Awards. Now what? That’s the question a lot of savvy Oscar strategists have been planning for all season, which is why, as we rush headlong into the final stretch of awards season, so many of those movies are rebranding themselves and pushing a whole new narrative. On this week’s episode of The Awards Show Show, hosts Kyle Buchanan and John Horn look at films like Lion (where Harvey Weinstein is pushing a controversial new campaign with real-world resonance), Arrival (which has launched a more emotional phase-two ad strategy), and Manchester by the Sea, to investigate which movies have successfully pivoted to a fresh new talking point, and which have been left in the dust. Listen to the podcast and read an edited excerpt from their conversation below, and subscribe to The Awards Show Show on iTunes.

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Betrayal! Music! Kissing! Watch The Trailer For Terrence Malick’s Song To Song

So now we know for sure: the long-delayed Terrence Malick movie Song to Song (formerly known as Weightless) really does star Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, and Michael Fassbender. Malick is notorious for cutting even the most A-list actors out of his movies if he feels like it, but this posse plays the Austin, Texas, music drama’s main characters. Faye and BV (Mara and Gosling) are songwriters in love whose romance is complicated by the arrival of music mogul Cook (Michael Fassbender) and the waitress he’s seeing (Natalie Portman). In a conundrum that’s very Closer: The Musical, the two loves get tangled. “He’s after you,” Gosling mutters offscreen. Song to Song will be released March 17.

Why Are American Directors So Bad at Sex?

It may sound like cinematic blasphemy to suggest this, but one of the best movies of the year, the Sundance sensation Call Me by Your Name, has a whole lot in common with one of the most critically derided, Fifty Shades Darker. Both films are romantic stories about a sexual neophyte who falls for a wealthy, wary hunk, and even the way that Call Me by Your Name’s Oliver (Armie Hammer) exits every situation with a blithe “Later” recalls the impossibly dorky sign-off of Fifty Shades’ Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), “Laters baby.”

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According to a New Star Wars Novel, Jar Jar Binks Lived Out the Rest of His Life As a Sad Clown Haunted By Guilt

After he goofily, accidentally helped give Senator Palpatine control over the galactic senate and made Star Wars fans over the age of 8 question their allegiance to the franchise, we didn’t see much of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars universe. The Star Wars novel Aftermath: Empire’s End is finally giving the world’s Jar Jar heads the closure they need. The novel contains a section wherein we learn that the goofy Gungan was shunned for his political mistakes, and eventually took up a life on Naboo as a sad clown haunted by his guilt. Mashable describes the following scene between Jar Jar and a boy named Mapo thusly:

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Lin-Manuel Miranda Casually Consulted Meryl Streep On His Mary Poppins Returns Accent

Who cares about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s EGOT status after the Oscars next week — he’s spending time talking about his favorite accents with Meryl Streep, so he’ll be fine. Now that the two are starring in Mary Poppins Returns, Disney’s upcoming Mary Poppins sequel, Miranda oh-so-casually told the New York Times that he consulted Streep while perfecting his dialect. Cockney accents have evolved over time, so Miranda had to get a handle on exactly what kind of dialect he’d do. “I asked Meryl Streep, who’s in the film, what her favorite British accent is,” he said. “She said Thatcher. Thatcher was a self-created persona. [Thatcher] took elocution lessons, and made up her own accent.” (Of course Streep, the accent savant, would go for the hard stuff.) Miranda said he’s aiming for “just shy of Cockney east”: “I’m watching British stand-up comedy — East End guys — and I’m also listening to a lot of music, like Billy Bragg.”

Reese Witherspoon’s Best Type-A Maniacs

It’s hard to think of a role that’s a better fit for Reese Witherspoon than Madeline Martha Mackenzie, the uptight type-A supermom at the heart of HBO’s Big Little Lies. Madeline, on her second marriage (to a bearded Adam Scott), is still obsessed with her first husband, played by James Tupper, and rages impotently against his New Agey new wife (Zoë Kravitz). She treats her daughters with all the affection of a Soviet gymnastics coach, and her singular goal currently, other than getting those daughters into good colleges, is to stage a community-theater production of Avenue Q. In the hands of a lesser actress, Madeline would amount to a pile of nonsense in yoga pants. As played by Witherspoon, she’s funny, intimidating, and when she reveals the cracks in her moisturized facade, a little tragic.

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The Great Wall Is Wonderfully Ridiculous

If you don’t love The Great Wall, we don’t have much to talk about. Yes, it’s terrible, but it’s lavishly, generously terrible, and even at its worst it isn’t painful — unlike, say, the list of finalists for this year’s Razzie awards. (Try sitting through Zoolander 2 and tell me how bad The Great Wall is.) It’s fun to watch Matt Damon try not to look or sound like Matt Damon, dropping his voice half an octave, sucking in his gut, affecting a manly stoicism. For a while I wondered if he made this movie because he had gambling debts and the Triad was holding his family hostage, but then it hit me that he made it because he could. As an A-list international movie star, he can be a secret agent, an astronaut on Mars, or a fearless warrior in medieval China. You and I can’t be any of those things.

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Colossal Trailer: See Anne Hathaway Mind-Control a City-Destroying Monster

Anne Hathaway starts out Colossal as a past-her-prime party girl with a serious lack of direction, but her whole outlook on life gets tossed upside-down when she wakes up one day to realize she is psychically linked to a kaiju ripping its way through South Korea. So much for avoiding responsibility. So goes the plot of the new sci-fi dramedy from director Nacho Vigalondo, which has been receiving strong reviews after debuting at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. From the look of the movie’s new trailer, there’s plenty of kooky happenings with the central conceit, and the presence of Jason Sudeikis suggests the film will lean on comedy at points. However, Colossal also reportedly has a lot of darker elements woven throughout. Hathaway and her monstrous psychological counterpart hit theaters on April 7.

  • Posted 2/16/17 at 4:32 PM

Will The Great Wall Make Me Mad?

The Great Wall, which stars Matt Damon as a monster-slayer in medieval China, hits U.S. theaters this weekend, finally answering the question: How many white men does it take to save the Great Wall of China? In the run-up to the movie’s release, Fresh Off the Boat’s Constance Wu echoed the concerns of many Asian-Americans when she criticized the movie for peddling the “racist myth” that people of color need to be saved by white people. The movie hasn’t been able to shed this controversy, with Damon himself telling people to see the movie before they criticize it. Of course, that’s a tactic that makes the movie money either way, something you may not be into. That’s where Vulture comes in. We watched The Great Wall, and are happy to help you calibrate the appropriate amount of outrage for it.

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Mel Gibson Directing Suicide Squad 2 Would Be So Weird for So Many Reasons

You may have noticed a little rumor making the rounds this week: Mel Gibson — megawatt movie star and Oscar-winning filmmaker turned Hollywood pariah turned back into Oscar-nominated filmmaker — is in very early talks to direct the Suicide Squad sequel for Warner Bros. This news comes courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, which clarifies that while “Gibson is familiarizing himself with the material,” Warners “is not being passive and is also looking at other directors.”

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Watch Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler Run a Basement Casino In The House Trailer

Viva Las Vegas — heist heaven. The House shows gambling is for good: Strapped for cash to pay their daughter’s college tuition, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler try their luck at running a Vegas casino. Well, not exactly Vegas and not exactly a casino, but at the very least Vegas-adjacent, Ferrell and Poehler become the bosses of an underground basement casino. “I’m not going to tell my daughter she can’t go to college,” Ferrell explains. “So we resorted to a life of crime.” We guess an entire movie chronicling Ferrell and Poehler trying to figure out the FAFSA wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. The House hits theaters June 30.

Jason Isaacs on His Most Frightening Role, and How to Play a Truly Chilling Villain

When Jason Isaacs was in drama school, the director Peter Chelsom came to one of his classes and imparted this advice: “You may have one line in a film, but you better create a whole movie in which you’re the lead, and it happens to overlap with the one you’re being paid for by one line.” Isaacs clearly took those words to heart, because it only takes about 30 seconds of screen time for one of the many characters he’s inhabited over the years to fill you with a kind of cold sick. From heels like Lord Felton in DragonHeart and Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot, to larger-than-life fantasy villains in Pan and the Harry Potter films, to the charismatic baddies next door in The OA and Stockholm, Pennsylvania, the actor has spent a significant portion of his 30-year career making viewers’ skin crawl. He’s almost become a human spoiler; if Isaacs enters a room, it’s best you exit as fast as you can.

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All the Ways Matt Damon Has Defended His Great Wall Casting: A Timeline

When The Great Wall is released on Friday, audiences everywhere will get to see Matt Damon protect the Great Wall of China from an army of gnarly monsters. It’s a goofy premise, but since the movie’s first trailer, it’s been the subject of controversy over its white-savior narrative, a story in which one heroic white man saves the day for people of color. As a result, Damon has spent much of his press tour for the film defending it, and begging us to believe he’s not the bad guy here. Here’s how it’s gone.

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Jared Leto to Direct 77, a Movie About the Kidnapping of Patty Hearst

Are Jared Leto and Patty Hearst a match made in cinema heaven? We the people will have a chance to find out, because Leto is making his narrative feature directorial debut with 77, a crime thriller that focuses on the rescue of the kidnapped heiress. The original screenplay was first written by L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy, with revisions done by David Matthews, who worked on Narcos and Boardwalk Empire. The movie will be set in Los Angeles in 1974, and it will tell the story of two police officers who set out to recover Hearst, and also to investigate the murder of a fellow officer. In the process, they find corruption and violent conspiracy. Even if this is Leto’s first time directing a drama, he has helmed multiple documentary efforts, including Artifact, Great Wide Open, and Into the Wild. He has also directed a bunch of music videos and commercials under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins, which is so perfect and obvious a choice for Leto we’re bummed we didn’t think of it first.