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After perfecting her plain-girl act in Arrested Development, Mae Whitman (her?) is trying to shake it off in The Duff. She plays Bianca, a high school senior who’s dismayed to realize she’s considered the DUFF — Designated Ugly Fat Friend — to her prettier pals. In an effort to reinvent herself, she enlists the help of handsome popular jock Wesley (Robbie Amell).

It all sounds pretty silly, starting with the notion that Whitman is ugly and fat. But this is movie-land, where Rachel Leigh Cook was once considered freakishly repulsive because she dared wear overalls and glasses. And where we’re supposed to believe Amell, a 26-year-old former male model, is a typical teenager. Hit the jump to watch The Duff trailer.

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Penguins of Madagascar

It’s been a big 24 hours for animated spinoffs about adorable groups of tiny, often incompetent helpers. Last night we got our first Minions trailer, and today we have the last Penguins of Madagascar trailer.

The action adventure sees Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (John DiMaggio), and Private (Christopher Knights) facing a threat from Dr. Octavius Brine (voiced by John Malkovich), an octopus with ties to the penguins’ past. In order to take him down, they join forces with an elite organization called the North Wind, led by the cranky, no-nonsense Agent Classified (voiced by notable penguin mispronouncer Benedict Cumberbatch).

Watch the new Penguins of Madagascar trailer after the jump.  Read More »

new Penguins of Madagascar trailer

If you’ve got some secret agent stuff that needs doing, you could hire James Bond. But he has to put on a tux for formal work. Why not hire a crew that is always wearing tuxes? Penguins of Madagascar opens up the hidden backstory of the birds from the Madagascar films. They’re masters of disguise and espionage, these guys (well, birds) and willing to leap into danger at a moment’s notice. In this new Penguins of Madagascar trailer we see some more of their antics, and also get to hear a bit more of Benedict Cumberbatch, as the voice of a classy spy outfit. Read More »

The Purge Anarchy 3

Just because J.K. Rowling returned to Harry Potter doesn’t mean Daniel Radcliffe has any plans to. Also after the jump:

  • Olivia Munn and Ken Jeong will tag along for Ride Along 2
  • Pirates 5 will go light on the monsters, says Jerry Bruckheimer
  • Bad Boys III will have a screenplay in the next few months
  • Yes, National Treasure 3 is still in active development
  • Jurassic World gets bloody in an intriguing new set photo
  • See a new batch of high-res stills from The Purge: Anarchy
  • Check out the first stills from SLC Punk 2: Punk’s Dead
  • Director Elizabeth Banks teases the plot of Pitch Perfect 2
  • Sharknado 2: The Second One releases a ridiculous trailer

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Turbo

So far, one of the ways that Netflix has differed from traditional TV is its model of distribution. Netflix typically releases a whole season at once, rather than parceling episodes out over the course of several weeks or months. But as the streaming service moves into children’s programming, they’re looking to shake up their approach.

Netflix is launching its first original series for kids, DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo FAST, with just five episodes slated to hit Christmas Eve. Learn more about their plans for the show, and watch the first trailer, after the jump.

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Community Comic-Con Panel

/Film didn’t get a chance to cover the Community Hall H panel at this year’s Comic-Con, sadly, but you can enjoy what we missed thanks to the power of the Internet.

A video of the entire event, from Dan Harmon‘s Iron Man-inspired intro to the final round of applause, has made its way online. Executive producer Chris McKenna and stars Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, and Jim Rash were also along for the ride. Watch it after the jump.

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Turbo

DreamWorks Animation has already gotten us to believe that pandas can be kung fu masters, dragons can be man’s best friend, and cats can be swashbuckling outlaws. In that light, I guess an snail competing in the Indy 500 isn’t that much of a stretch.

Turbo stars Ryan Reynolds (or his voice, anyway) as an ordinary snail who dreams of going fast. He gets his wish when a freak accident grants him superpowers, and with the support of his pals manages to enter the world-famous race. The new trailer offers a look at some of Turbo’s human supporters, including optimistic Tito (Michael Peña), pragmatic Angelo (Luis Guzmán), and brash Kim-Ly (Ken Jeong, playing a woman). Watch it after the jump.

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Hangover Part III header

The Hangover Part III isn’t much of a comedy. It wants to be funny (I think) but there are stretches without even an attempt at a joke. It’s closer to a hallucinogenic drama, decorated occasionally with an bloom of laughter. There are wild moments, but compared to the first two movies this one pushes the needle towards a different form of “outrageous.” (The most conventionally extreme jokes come when a mid-credits stinger scene goes straight for what viewers of the second film jeered: a flat-out reprise of the scenario from the original film.)

The focus this time is Zach Galifianakis as the damaged, nearly deranged Alan. Entitled and abusive, Alan is domineering at home and ever more reckless in the wild. His grossly disastrous attempt to domesticate a giraffe leads to horror at home; soon his wolf pack “friends” from the previous two films unite to stage an intervention. The Hangover Part III doesn’t go very far with the intervention idea, because further trouble takes precedence. A gangster once robbed by Lesley Chow (Ken Jeong) coerces the guys into tracking Chow, and life goes off the rails once more.

Director Todd Phillips, who co-wrote with Craig Mazin, seems stuck halfway between two extremes. On one side there’s a super-dark movie about mental illness; on the other there’s an Id-indulging comedy. In a way that is almost perversely appropriate for a film series about hijacked plans, The Hangover Part III never gets close to either point.

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