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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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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Darth Vader

On the September 21, 2017 episode of /Film Daily, Peter Sciretta is joined by Ben Pearson to talk about the latest news, including who might direct the live-action Akira movie, Matthew Vaughn’s original plan for a young Wolverine movie and hopes for Kingsman sequels and spin-off films, a fifth Game of Thrones prequel tv show in development, Linda Hamilton returns for the next Terminator movie, and Paramount is reportedly not happy that JJ Abrams is ditching them again to make another Star Wars movie.

You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunesGoogle PlayOvercast and all the popular podcast apps (here is the RSS URL if you need it).

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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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Stranger Things Chicago Bar

We’ve got roughly a month and a week before we can binge watch the entire second season of Stranger Things on Netflix. Fans are chomping at the bits to see more from the new season, especially since we haven’t seen any new footage since the first trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con back in July. For those who are desperate to return to The Upside Down before the new season begins, you may want to hit up a new Stranger Things-themed hot spot in Chicago while it lasts.

The Chicago bar known as Emporium opened up a pop-up bar called The Upside Down that is not officially tied to Stranger Things, but once you see the decor inside, which includes a wall of Christmas lights with the alphabet painted on it, there’s just no denying it. Get a look inside the Stranger Things Chicago bar below. Read More »

Good WIll Hunting - Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, a video essay explores what Hollywood gets wrong about their portrayal of smart people, and it’s not as pretentious as it sounds. Plus, watch a short film sequel to American Beauty that is not what you would expect at all, and see how much cooler Game of Thrones can be edited in the style of the trailers for Baby Driver. Read More »

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Ant-Man Helmet Concept Art

Will we get even more flashbacks in the second season of Jessica Jones? When will Jean Grey be returning to Marvel Comics? Is a Power Pack movie back in development? What does Adrianne Palicki have to say about her failed Wonder Woman pilot? Will Inhumans only be lasting for a single season? How did the ratings for The Defenders compare to previous Marvel shows on Netflix? All that and more in this edition of Superhero Bits. Read More »