white snake review

For all the dominance that China has asserted on the movie industry in recent years, the country has not yet been able to gain a foothold in the animation market. There have been a few Hollywood productions co-financed or co-produced by Chinese studios, but no original films from China have yet to make a mark on outside of the country’s borders. And considering China’s rich cultural history and mythology — which has frequently been cribbed by Western animators — it seems like a long time coming.

White Snake, the second feature film from Beijing-based CG animation studio Light Chaser Animation, bears all of this baggage on its back and delivers a breathlessly imaginative and visually stunning animated film that is easily one of the most beautiful animated films this year. But for all its visual splendor, the story itself feels like an afterthought, too heavily inspired by the Disney films that it emulates.

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his dark materials the spies review

It took long enough, but it finally feels like we’ve gotten to the plot of His Dark Materials. It was partly on the fault of the series, for taking the Game of Thrones approach that unwisely split up our disparate storylines to give the impression of an epic, sprawling saga.

But for the first time, His Dark Materials feels focused toward an end goal that unites our two biggest groups of characters: Lyra and the Gyptians. It was a major misstep to separate these two storylines in the first place – the familiarity with which Lyra greets the Gyptians in the third episode of His Dark Materials, “The Spies,” feels out of step with the cushy isolation that she existed in before. But now that Lyra and the Gyptians’ storylines are united, His Dark Materials finally feels like it’s settling into itself.

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Y cast

Y: The Last Man is one of the most universally lauded comic book series of the past few decades, and it will soon set to receive a star-studded TV series adaptation at FX, simply titled YBrian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra‘s Eisner Award-winning series is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi parable that centered on Yorick Brown, the last surviving male of the human race after a cataclysmic event wiped out all other living mammals with a Y chromosome. The comic book series was celebrated for its vision of matriarchal society, but in the years since its publication between 2002 and 2008, our understanding of biological sex and gender has evolved. And it seems that FX’s Y is taking that into account.

A casting call is circulating for a transgender character original to the series. As a transgender man, the new character would survive this apocalypse because he was biologically born a woman. While this casting addresses some of the failings that the original series had in regards to diversity and representation, a transgender character joining the cast potentially opens the floodgates for a whole new set of issues.

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holiday rush trailer

Nothing says Christmas like another cheesy addition to Netflix’s bottomless well of holiday movies. Holiday Rush has everything you expect of a Netflix holiday movie: impeccably groomed actors, a sweet romance, twinkle lights, and lots and lots of scarves. But Holiday Rush, which stars Romany Malco and Sonequa Martin-Green brings in one more holiday staple: Christmas music. Or at least, the radio stations that endlessly replay the holiday music you know you have been singing along to since November started. Watch the Holiday Rush trailer below:

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knives and skin trailer

Knives and Skin became a cult film festival darling this year, building up buzz for its neon-drenched missing girl mystery at Berlinale, the Tribeca Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and AFI Fest. Now Jennifer Reeder‘s Lynchian thriller is making its way to theaters and VOD this December. Watch the Knives and Skin trailer below.

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weathering with you trailer

Makoto Shinkai‘s films have the ability to impart an immense sadness upon its viewers — but the greatest sadness surrounding his newest film Weathering With You is that U.S. audiences have to wait another two months to see it. GKIDS has released yet another trailer for Japan’s Oscar contender, but it’s only a cruel reminder that Shinkai’s highly anticipated follow-up to his sublime 2016 hit Your Name is not hitting U.S. theaters until January. Watch the official new Weathering With You trailer and prepare yourself to cry an ocean’s worth of tears.

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best foreign movies and tv streaming

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

From the harrowing, to the hopeful, the plain old awesome, this week’s Pop Culture Imports will have you covered on all the bases. The best foreign movies and TV streaming now include Neill Blomkamp’s modern sci-fi classic District 9, the harrowing one-child policy documentary One Child Nation, an unexpectedly awesome Ip Man spin-off, a lovely slice-of-life Japanese anthology series, and a slow burning Korean romantic-comedy.

Fire up those subtitles and let’s get streaming.

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doctor who season 12 writers and directors

Doctor Who is the longest-running sci-fi show in history, but it’s only in the past few years that the BBC series started to diversify behind the scenes. The 56-year-old series has long been criticized for its lack of female writers and directors — though it should be noted that it was a female producer that helped bring the show to life — but new showrunner Chris Chibnall has made it his mission to bring more women on board the TARDIS. Chibnall’s first season already saw record diversity, and the new batch of Doctor Who season 12 writers and directors is only improving on that.

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joker sequel

From the outset, Todd Phillips was determined to not direct a Joker sequel. Phillips made it clear that he only directed the wildly successful film as a standalone feature, with no plans to continue the story of the Batman rogue. But following the massive box office success of Joker, which is expected to clear $1 billion worldwide by the end of the week, Phillips may be starting to change his thinking on coming back for a Joker sequel.

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star wars holiday special

The 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special has been famously ridiculed — the dated 1970s variety special structure; the hokey musical sequences; the endless Wookie grunts; Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill looking absolutely mortified — but for a rare few fans, it holds a special place in their hearts. One of those fans is apparently Jon Favreau, the creator of the successful new Disney+ series The Mandalorian, who actually has the power to do something about that. Favreau revealed that he is genuinely interested in making a new Star Wars Holiday Special and in fact already has plans in place for one.

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