Mike Birbiglia improv movie

Welcome to The Water Cooler, a weekly feature where the /Film staff is free to go off-topic and talk about everything except the movies and TV shows they normally write about. In this edition: Ethan saw Mike Birbiglia‘s new stand-up special live in person, Hoai-Tran has been reading a current best-seller, Peter attends a secret magic show, Ben read a classic Agatha Christie mystery novel, Chris attempts to get over his fear of flying, and Jacob explains the nightmare of buying a new house.

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Palpatine hologram

Rumors are stubborn things. The internet has made rumor a type of religion; something spread far and wide with staunch believers who refuse to accept anything but their own patented version of the truth. “It has to be true,” they might argue. “I saw it on the internet.” If there’s one film franchise the generates rumors left and right, it’s Star Wars.

With the production on the new films notoriously kept secret, the internet has no other recourse than to speculate wildly. They’ll take any source they can find and try to make it fit into a theory, even if that source just happens to be from something as innocuous a toy. Such wild speculation and rumor are now swirling around a hologram spotted within a LEGO First Order Star Destroyer set – a hologram purported to be of Emperor Palpatine. Does this hint at a return of a long-dead Star Wars character, or are we all getting excited over something with a much more germane answer? How true is this The Last Jedi Palpatine rumor? The only way for you to know for sure is to keep reading.

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star trek discovery trailer 1

Akiva Goldsman is no stranger to the minefield of fan franchises. Akiva Goldsman and I bonded when I interviewed him for Underground and shared my love for his maligned adaptation of Winter’s Tale. He survived the original Batman sequels and most recently headed up a writers room for Transformers: The Last Knight. He came aboard Star Trek: Discovery when Bryan Fuller left to focus on American Gods.

Star Trek: Discovery is set 10 years before The Original Series and tells a continuing serialized story involving the war between The Federation and Klingons. Goldsman spoke with /Film at the CBS party for the Television Critics Association.

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Best Movies Streaming

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.) 

Summer is over. Good riddance, I say! Bring on chilly weather, heavy jackets and pumpkins as far as the eye can see. I’m talking thousands of pumpkins here, people. As the warm weather subsides and the cooler weather prevails, it’s time to once again shun the outdoors, bundle up with your blankets and stream some movies. In this edition of Now Stream This, we have a classic from Akira Kurosawa, a spy thriller for people who have no interest in seeing the new Kingsman movie, Al Pacino hamming up, the best horror-comedy in film history, and more! Let’s get streaming

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Watchmen pilot

Earlier this week, Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof posted an Instagram photo announcing “Day One” of work on his television adaptation of Watchmen, DC Comics’ famed 1980s limited series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. TV Line reports that HBO has now officially ordered a pilot and “back up scripts” for the show, but what might a Lindelof-led version of Watchmen actually be like? Let’s try to figure that out.
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breaking away

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition we take a look at some of the best underdog sports movies you’ve probably never seen.)

I’m not a big fan of sports films in general, and it’s due at least in part to my disinterest in the sports themselves. The only ones I actively participate in, as a player and/or spectator, are tennis and racquetball. Neither sport has exactly lit up the multiplex, and while I have a soft spot for the goofiness of Wimbledon the dearth of truly good tennis movies means I don’t see my sporting interests represented up on the screen.

That changes, though, when the subject is tweaked a bit into the form of underdog sports movies. That’s a subject even someone like me can fully get behind, and thankfully filmmakers are happy to oblige. Were this a “best of” list with no other qualifiers, it would include the two actual best, but I think enough of you have seen Breaking Away (1979) and Lucas (1986) that adding them to a list of movies you haven’t seen would be preposterous and unsportsmanlike. You have seen them right? Right?! Breaking Away is among the very best American films, period, and Lucas stands tall as an underdog sports tale that succeeds while subverting the myriad tropes of the sub-genre. Seriously, seek them out immediately if you haven’t already seen them as they will re-calibrate the meaning of pure joy for you.

Keep reading for a look at the best underdog sports movies you probably haven’t already seen.

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friend request

This coming weekend sees the release of a new horror movie hoping to scare audiences out of a few bucks, and we’re hoping it delivers despite seeming destined to open lower than a certain other horror movie heading into its third weekend. I’m looking at you, Stephen King’s IT.

If nothing else, Friend Request stands apart from the old-fashioned thrills of killer clowns and pervy dads by hitching its jump scare-filled wagon to something far trendier. Yes, of course I’m referring to the dangers of social media. The film sees a popular young woman accept a friend request from someone much lower on the social ladder, but when she realizes her faux pas and ends the “friendship,” she discovers a demonic presence who isn’t too keen on saying goodbye.

The internet has offered an enormous boon to commerce, education, and cowardice, but while it brings users together there’s no doubt it’s also keeping people apart. The idea of humanity losing touch with the very connections that make us human is frightening enough in the abstract, but over the years, filmmakers have found and focused on very specific nightmares related to our increasingly online existence. The resulting movies haven’t all been winners – sorry Smiley and Open Windows – but a few have tapped into universally felt fears easily enhanced and magnified by the global nature and anonymity of the online world.

Keep reading for a look at the eight scariest internet-related horror movies.

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kingsman the golden circle trailer

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. Tying in with the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, this week’s edition asks “Who is your favorite movie spy (who is not named James Bond because that’s the easy answer and you have to try harder than that)?”

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The Meyerowitz Stories trailer

Every once in a while, Adam Sandler decides to stop making paid vacations disguised as movies and turn in a genuinely good performance. The best example is his work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, which proved Sandler could turn his short-tempered man-child routine into something genuinely compelling. Now Sandler is at it again with Noah Baumbach‘s The Meyerowitz Stories. Baumbach has surrounded Sandler with quite a cast, and you get a better glimpse of them all, as well as Sandler’s performance, in the new The Meyerowitz Stories trailer.

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the shape of water red band trailer

Another Toronto International Film Festival has been resigned to the dust, and it is time for us to look back on it and remember all the great (and not so great) films we witnessed there.

Truth be told, this year’s fest was slightly less exciting than last – the films were good, and some were even fantastic, but overall they did not pack as much of a punch as I’d been hoping. Still, it’s hard to deny the thrill one gets from attending TIFF; day after day, you spend hours upon hours watching films with audiences who are genuinely excited to be there, unlike seeing a film at your local multiplex, where the crowd could care less. If you’re covering TIFF as press, you rise at dawn, make your way down to the Scotiabank Theatre and spend almost the entire day there. It can be exhausting and draining, but it’s also wonderful.

For the sake of completion, I’ve compiled links to all the /Film reviews (written by me and Marshall Shaffer) out of this year’s TIFF, as well as a blurb or two for films that did not receive a full review. Here is every movie we saw at TIFF 2017.

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