John Boyega Star Wars Force Awakens Jakku

John Boyega first got famous battling aliens, became a household name after jetting off into outer space, and recently signed on to battle giant freakin’ sea monsters. But his latest new role will bring him back down to earth. The Star Wars breakout has been set to star in the new movie by Kathryn Bigelow, about the 1960s Detroit riots. He joins Game of Thrones actress (and fellow Brit) Hannah MurrayRead More »

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vinyl cancelled

Vinyl should have been on huge. On paper, it feels like a surefire hit and another jewel in HBO’s crown of all-time great shows. A drama series set in the music industry circa 1973, produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, run by the great Terence Winter, and starring fine actors like Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, and Olivia Wilde sounds like a list of things that should have made this whole thing soar. Then people actually started watching the show and whoo-boy, no one had many nice things to say. What felt like an instant winner quickly turned into an expensive misfire.

Despite low ratings and disappointing reviews from critics and TV fans alike, HBO renewed Vinyl for a second season back in February. Today, they’ve backtracked: Vinyl season 2 has been scrapped and the show has been cancelled.

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movies leaving netflix 2001

Yesterday, we ran down the best movies arriving on Netflix in July 2016, but that bounty of new entertainment comes at a cost – a bunch of quality movies and shows are departing the streaming service in the coming weeks and who knows when they’ll return. But I’ve got your back: here are the movies you need to watch before they disappear.

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neon demon interview

The Neon Demon won’t be for all tastes, but the latest film from Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn is a singular and memorable experience. It’s the kind of movie that lingers in the back of your brain for days after your screening, resurfacing every so often with a startling image or strange moment. It’s very much a companion piece to Refn’s Only God Forgives, exchanging the broken and doomed masculinity of that film to explore the feminine world of professional models, superficial beauty, and other, gnarlier subjects that don’t deserve to be spoken about in polite company.

Refn himself is polite company, even when your conversation about his divisive new film (which I quite like) turns a little contentious. I sat down with the filmmaker and his frequent collaborator, composer Cliff Martinez, to discuss why all films find audiences, the future of the entertainment industry, and how making a controversial film is harder than it looks.

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tv bits

In this edition of TV Bits:

  • How AMC is hiding Negan’s victim as they film The Walking Dead season 7.
  • The first photos from The Leftovers season 3 are here.
  • The trailer for the Looking TV movie has arrived.

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The Birth of a Nation

Any way you slice it, The Birth of a Nation was one of the biggest success stories to come out of Sundance this year. The film got scooped up by Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million — a new Sundance record — and it walked away with the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award. By all accounts, the energy at the film’s premiere was electric. By the time I got to see it at the press screening the next day, word had spread and the lines to get in were some of the longest I saw at the entire festival.

So what’s all the fuss about? What is it about the movie that has everyone so hyped up, director and star Nate Parker being anointed as the Next Big Thing, and critics predicting awards nominations a full year ahead of schedule? Well, you’ll get to see for yourself this fall when the film hits theaters. But to give you a little taste in the meantime, here’s a new The Birth of a Nation trailer.
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American Honey

Andrea Arnold‘s (Red Road) first U.S.-set film, American Honey, made quite an impression at the Cannes Film Festival last month. The drama won the Jury Prize and, although it somewhat divided critics, it provoked a variety of passionate reactions. Some called American Honey superficial, others proclaimed the film an achievement. Whatever the quality of the movie is, it’s directed by Andrea Arnold, meaning it’ll be, at the very least, an experience.

Below, watch the first American Honey trailer.

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eli roth death wish

It’s been a rough road for Paramount’s upcoming remake of Death Wish, which been the subject of a few behind-the-scenes creative clashes. The project was first announced in 2012 with director Joe Carnahan at the helm, but Carnahan departed a year later over those dreaded “creative differences,” which may or may have involved the director wanting Frank Grillo in the lead role and the studio insisting on Bruce Willis. Miss Bala director Gerardo Naranjo was the next to take the job, but he quietly stepped away. Things finally seemed to be on track just a few months ago when Big Bad Wolves directors Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales signed on, but they departed not longer after, citing creative differences over the Bruce Willis-approved screenplay.

But maybe fourth time is the charm, because Eli Roth is the next one up to bat.

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battle of the bastards recap

HBO hasn’t been shy about letting everyone know that “Battle of the Bastards” would feature the biggest battle we’ve seen on Game of Thrones and for the most part, it delivered. However, this episode wasn’t just about the action. The bloody showdown between House Stark and House Bolton marked a huge turning point in the fortunes for many of the show’s most important characters and a few major characters were wiped off the game board entirely.

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